ICM 1/35 Soviet Divisional Artillery Horse Transport (1943-45)
Scott Van Aken
World War II was probably the
last time that a modern military made widespread use of horses. While cavalry
was an anachronism by that time, the truth was that several of the fighting
powers were lacking in motorized equipment for the jobs of prime mover for
artillery and for hauling supplies. These included Germany and the Soviet Union.
The armies just grew in size faster than motorized transport could be built. In
fact, a goodly portion of motorized transport used by the Germans in North
Africa was captured British equipment. In every country overrun by the German
Army, trucks were taken for use by the German Army.
In the Soviet Union, the
shortage was even more dire. Not having the industrial base to build the trucks
and prime movers needed to supply a rapidly expanding army, they resorted to
horses to fulfill these tasks. Even as equipment came in from the Allies through
Lend-Lease, it wasn't enough and equine power was used right up until the end of
has taken to what is basically combining
kits to produce this boxing. You get three sprues worth of horses, harnesses
and riders, though they are not identical sprues. The molding on these
sprues is very good and these provide for a variety of poses in terms of
both the horses and the riders. One thing I liked about these figures is
that the legs on both horses and riders are a solid piece so no worries
about gluing together thin halves and then dealing with a seam. It looks
like some of the harnesses are included as plastic, though most is not and
there are notes that these will need to be scratch-built. I have seen
excellent results using little more than thick paper cut into strips.
The other part of the kit is the limber. This is a 'Soviet universal Limber
52-R-353M'. It is basically a two wheeled cart with pneumatic tires and a
seat for a driver with storage space behind the seat. In this case, there is
no limber driver and to this limber one would attach a field gun or supply
wagon. The limber sprues include various axes, picks and shovels along with
Instructions are separate between the horses/riders and the limber. The ones
for horses/riders are like you would see in a figure set. You have drawings
of the completed figure with indicators of what part goes where. These also
include color information. I found it interesting that apparently all the
horses on the left side have riders while those on the right are rider-free.
The limber instructions are standard with several well drawn construction
steps and a color chart in generic and Model Master paint references.
This is a superb set for the diorama builder. These
arrangements were widely used by both sides in the war in Russia and the
completed kit will be a real beauty.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. This one
should be at your local retailer. If not, have them order it for you.
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