1:300th scale (M)SH Infantry & infantry vehicles

This page last modified: 19 September, 2012 (motor cyclists and tent at bottom)

Here are two dismounted infantry elements, simulating a standard Czechoslovakian motor rifle company, with an AGS-17-armed AGL element in support.

Rifle company with AGLs in support

Czechoslovakian platoons were small, just under 30 men, so the entire company is just less than 100 men, and were transported in just 10 real-life vehicles, represented by just 2 elements in MSH. Ca. 50 men per infantry stand seems to be standard for MSH - American companies of the 1970s with ca. 140 men are 3-stands strong. Czechoslovakian companies didn't include a pair of vehicles carrying extra machine guns like Soviet motor rifle companies did, because they had more machine guns at the squad level (accordingly, Soviet companies also come out as 3 stands in MSH, as they have 12 vehicles per company, not 10).

In MSH, Warsaw Pact company-level auto-grenade launcher teams are modelled as a single consolidated stand at the battalion level representing 3 vehicles each carrying two launchers. These are good value in a game if fighting other infantry, with both an extra +1 anti-infantry factor, and 50% extra range, but they can only damage light armour, so are useless against proper tanks, whereas normal infantry still have their RPGs. The element depicted here has just two teams of two men, but now I include an extra riflemen on each base to make the bases 5-strong (my standard infantry bases have six figures).


Above is a BVP-1 company from the 3rd Division's 5th Motor Rifle Regiment, with a BHQ stand behind. Each Czechoslovakian Motor Rifle Division (or MSD, for short) had two wheeled Motor Rifle Regiments (or MSP for short), plus one each of Tanks and BVPs (BVP being the Czech for BMP). It was the introduction of the BVP that prompted the 3rd Division's reorganization in 1979; before this date, the tracked regiment used the OT-62 instead.

Table-top BVP battalions are slightly smaller on the tabletop than their OT-64 equivalents, since they lack the AGL element: by the time the BVP was introduced to the Czechoslovakian army, HE shells were available for the 73mm gun, and these, in conjunction with MGs, were considered to be good enough for anti-infantry work. Nonetheless, in MSH, BVP-1 combat teams have no better AI factor than OT-64 teams; what they do have is a (bizarrely) high AT factor, made even stranger by it being so much higher than the BMP-2s AT factor, when the BMP-2 was introduced primarily because of the deficiencies in the BMP-1 gun's performance against vehicles!

OT-62 company
and OT-62D supports OT-62s close-up

Above left is an OT-62 motor rifle company from the 5th Motor Rifle Regiment, with battalion-level OT-62D-equipped anti-tank stands behind, showing the pre-1979 organization; from 1979, the the OT-62Ds were retired as being superfluous due to the BVP's Saggers, shrinking the battalion's size. The retired equipment wasn't immediately scrapped, of course, but retained in storage for emergency use; so this could just as well model a reservist formation.

The "OT-62"s are actually what is labelled as a BTR-55PU (sic) in the H&R catalogue; nobody makes an actual OT-62 as far as I know, and the twin-cupola BTR-50PU comes closest. Most Czechoslovkian OT-62s sported a small turret on the right-hand cupola mounting a T-21 bazooka and a machine gun, but making these is quite fiddly since the turrets are so small, so I've done this so far only for my (less numerous) OT-65As; one day I hope I'll get around to rearming most of the OT-62s (but not all, since those serving with more specialist units, such as engineers, usually lacked them). In real life OT-62s also had a side hatch for troops to disembark through that BTR-50s lacked, making them much safer to dismount from under fire. They also had a (slightly) more powerful engine, which presumably causes it to cross some bhp/ton ratio that serves to distinguish 9" from 12" movement in MSH, because BTR-50s have a 9" speed while OT-62s move 12" a turn... (perhaps 20 bhp/ton?)

The close shot to the right shows a battalion HQ vehicle to the left, and a standard OT-62 combat team to the right. Most of my combat teams have 5 infantry figures on the base around their vehicle. rather than have the vehicles removable like the rules suggest, I simply have completely separate dismounted elements. Its more expensive, but much better looking. Infantry figures are cheap enough anyway.

Defend the
Cow Shed! Large corrugated iron shed

Above left is the DHQ's divisional security platoon dismounted in a built-up area. You can't tell from this small picture, but there's a sniper team at the front: one guy with SVD (Dragunov sniper rifle) taken from the H&R Soviet Airborne pack, and one guy spotting for him with binoculars. From the 1960s Czechoslovakian infantry no longer had platoon-level sniper teams like the Soviets did; just a single one at company level, so this guys's a rarity.

The buildings in this picture are from Leven Miniatures - a relatively new line of resin buildings from the UK. They are both nice models (as should be evident from this photo and the one to the right), and cheap, a rare combination indeed! The cow shed pictured, for example (60 mm long), is, like the great majority of their offerings, just 1 quid 50. The three silos are likewise just 1.50 for the set of three. Most of the range is of clearly British architecture, but the range is big enough that everyone is likely to find something of use, and it does have some specifically East-European things in it. As an aside, my BUAs are 80 mm square, rather than the usual 3". This is partly because as a scientist I have an aversion to using Imperial units (note to American textbook authors: they are not "English units"! Rant off.), but mostly because I have a vast stock of 80 mm square bases already cut out for basing my 15 mm ancients figures on.

OT-64 combat

Here's a close-up of one of my OT-64 combat team elements; this one is from the 3rd Division's 4th Motor Rifle Regiment's 2nd Battalion. As can be seen, the moulding lines are nice and crisp on this model (H&R CMZ02; CMZ01 is the OT-810). It's a bit hard to tell from the photo, but the wheels are a muddy brown. The Czechoslovakian "standard" green colour seems to have been quite a bit lighter than the green often seen on Soviet vehicles. The infantry are basically the same green colour, with weapons in black, and limited webbing in buff and/or light brown or lighter green.

The Czechoslovakians did have a camouflage scheme for wartime use that was occasionally seen in training exercises; it was applied with water-soluble paints that could be easily washed off, and the exact colours depended on the season. Some real-life examples can be seen here.


This is a company from the 1st Battalion of the Czechoslovakian 22nd Special Purpose Assault Regiment. As paratroopers, they are taken from the H&R Soviet Paratrooper pack. The Czechoslovakians had a Paratroop Brigade as far back as in the days of the 1st Corps in 1944. Most of its paratroopers were frittered away supporting the Slovakian uprising in 1944, leading to the Brigade being brought back to strength with 50% new recruits in 1945, and ensuring it couldn't partake in any paradrops due to lack of trained personnel.

In the 70s, the Czechoslovakians didn't go overboard in terms of numbers of paratroopers: just a single regiment, of two battalions, and one of those was a cadre-only organization. Even this many men was probably too many for realistic use as airborne troops (they had to borrow Soviet planes to jump out of during training exercises, so the chances of getting them in wartime would likely have been very slim indeed). Air-dropping into an environment as saturated with AA defences as a Western Europe battlefield would have been suicidal, so the most realistic use for these guys is light infantry, most likely delivered by Mi-8 heleicopter. Potentially useful for snagging a rear-area game objective that the enemy has subsequently vacated.

Motorcycle stand Motorcycle stand close-up

Back in the 60s, Czechoslovakian divisional reconnaissance battalions included full motorcycle companies. After that date, the only full motorcycle platoons to be found seem to have been part of divisional HQs, as security elements. Here's such a stand. It probably has too many standard motorbikes and not enough side-cars: I have seen photos of completely side-car-equipped platoons, but not any completely equipped with standard bikes, and which may have been used only for messangers, etc. rather than as transports for genuine infantrymen. As recon elements, motorcycle stands are awesome in game - they are spotted as if standard infantry but move around like fast vehicles. Alas, as non-recon elements they aren't nearly so useful, however.

HQ tent

This "vehicle" is part of an HQ of some sort - I haven't decided exactly what yet... I'll probably stick some more men on it at some point and turn it into a dismounted DHQ stand.

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