Fielding the VDV


Fielding the VDV
With Jacob Hopkins

Red Dawn, the Soviet invasion of the Americas, features the elite soviet infantry forces of the VDV. With a long history stretching back to before WW2, the VDV now operates as part of the Soviet strategic reserve, committed where they are needed most for special operations. Capable of performing Coup de main assaults with entire companies of infantry and their supporting IFVs, there is much to love about these new Infantry formations. So come comrades, exchange your helmet for a glorious blue beret and let us look at what is available to field the Vozdushno-desantnye voyska on the table

Before we dive straight into the new formations, it is worth taking a quick look at the Air Assault Brigade we already had access to in WW3: Soviet. The Afgantsy Air Assault Battalion represents the airmobile helicopter divisions of the VDV. Three Infantry companies chock full of AKs, RPGs, PKMs and their optional heavy weapons provide a solid line, with three squadrons of Hinds to transport them wherever they need to go. 

However, depending on the size of the infantry company, this formation may struggle as your Hinds will be hard-pressed transporting them. Forcing either the Infantry to slog it across the table on foot while your Hinds attack or the Hinds to ferry the infantry at the cost of not being able to engage the foe. A challenging situation to balance. 

In comes the new VDV BMD Air Assault Battalion. Starting with the HQ, similar to most Soviet Infantry Battalions, is a single AK-74 team and a BMD-1 or BMD-2.

VDV BMD Air Assault Company Unit Card

BMD Air Assault Companies

The BMD Air Assault Company comes in two flavours, either with BMD-1s or BMD-2s. Both are essentially lighter armoured and faster BMPs, carrying all our favourite weapons at only the cost of reduced side armour and a slightly higher cross check. However, unlike the BMPs of the Motor Rifle Battalions, our air landing BMDs benefit from the improved skill and courage of the VDV.

Carried forth within the BMDs we have the desantniki themselves; AK-74s and RPG-18s backed up by RPG-7s. Upgradable with up to one PKM, one AGS-17, or up to two SA-14s, and interestingly mounted in BTR-Ds rather than more BMDs, just in case you wanted some more automatic grenade launchers. With the Courage 3+ and Skill 4+ of the other VDV units, these will not struggle to get the job done. 

Formation support has several new and interesting options;


BM-37 Mortar Platoon

Two 82mm medium mortar teams carried within two BTR-D APCs. With the mortar group rule allowing each base to count as two guns, the mortars are quite capable of decent harassing fire at up to 56” away and come with the protection of being an infantry unit that can dig in, making them incredibly tough to shift. Add on top of that the AGS-17 grenade launcher mounted on the BTR-D, and these could easily be a thorn in an unsuspecting foe’s side.


2S9 NONA-S SP Mortar Battery

As the BMD is to the BMP, the Nona is to the Carnation. In this instance, however, the sacrifice is in the weapon itself; mounting a slightly smaller 120mm gun instead of the 122mm. In game terms, this works out to a somewhat reduced bombardment range at 64” but with the same firepower and AT rating. As well as a slightly worse direct fire profile, 20” and only AT 20, rather than 21. Coupled with the increased skill of the VDV, though, you will find these minor deficiencies to be easily overcome.


ASU-85 Assault Gun Company

With front armour of 5 and only an AT rating of 14 for its 85mm gun, the ASU-85 will require some finesse to maximize its potential. Best used as a flanker or an ambush unit to threaten the weaker sides of some older MBTs or used to prey upon the lighter armoured APCs or IFVs common in so many lists. Nevertheless, this will be one of your heaviest armoured assets within the formation, especially when conducting air assault operations.


BRDM-2 Recon Platoon

A familiar sight across the red army, the BDRM recon platoon isn’t much to write home about. Negligible armour and armed at best with a 14.5mm MG that offers only AT 5, this AFV's strength lies less in its ability to fight, and more in its ability to use Spearhead to extend your deployment zone. Being driven by VDV troops means it does have a higher-than-normal skill rating.


BTR-RD Anti-Tank Platoon

The same AT-5 Spandrel from your BMP-2 mounted on a more compact and air-droppable chassis. 8”-48” AT21 can threaten most western MBT’s frontal armour, even more so if used from a flank or an ambush.

TS162 Unit Card

BTR-ZD 23mm AA Platoon

Versatile and small, the BTR-ZD may be one of my favourite iterations of Soviet SPAA yet. While the main cannon will find difficulties fighting anything faster than a helicopter thanks to its manual tracking, its high rate of fire and AT value of 6 will see me gleefully using it to chase down M113s and other light vehicles. Of course, if the need arises, the SA-14s it carries will stand a better chance at shooting down enemy jets.

 TS164 Unit Card

VDV Afgantsy BMD Air Assault Company

Like the T-80 Shock company, the Afgantsy BMD company offers the Soviet player a Careful (hits on 4+) company option, in this case, Infantry focused. While it will lack the size of the Battalion, the higher to-hit number of its core units will possibly make this the new gold standard in infantry defence for the Warsaw pact. The organization of the company is similar to that of the battalion with a few notable changes.

Company HQ

In addition to the usual single AK team and transport, you may bring up to one PKM, one AGS-17, and one SA-14 SAM all mounted in an Afgantsy BTR-D. However, these must be attached to your Afgantsy BMD platoons before the start of the game.

VDV Afgantsy BMD Air Assault Platoon

Size is the most significant difference here. At most the platoon will comprise 3 AK and RPG-18 teams, three RPG-7 or 7VR teams, and 3 BMD-1s or 2s.

TS171 Unit Card

For the Companies support choices, only the BM-37s get the Afgantsy upgrade of the 4+ to hit, the others simply being the same units as available to the Battalion. And you lose access to in-formation BRDMs.

The last thing to mention is the VDV BMD-1 Observation post. It is fieldable alongside the NONA-S battery, Acacia Battery, and both BM-21 and BM-27 MLRS batteries. Being a BMD with only MGs, its combat capability is obviously low, but having the skill of the VDV at 4+ will help your other VDV artillery range in more effectively. Soon you will enjoy the same reliable artillery as most of our western opponents!

The Company and the Battalion provide you with excellent troops, but they are vulnerable to armour as they lack truly dedicated anti-tank assets. SU-25 or SU-17s are, to me, the obvious first choice; hard hitting air assets that can wreck enemy armour with missiles or cluster munitions. Following that, I would look to the Sturms or a company of Hinds and use their powerful ATGMs to knock out the enemies’ armoured assets while your men storm the field. 


So of course, lets put it all together and go all out!


This is perhaps not the most efficient force as it is lacking heavy armour and relying mostly on its airborne AT assets. However, it can leverage the speed of its Hinds to threaten forward with one of its Air Assault Companies, leaving the other dug in to hold objectives. With the Fitters providing suppression of enemy armour, their BMD-mounted comrades storm forth to crush the western foe!

We hope you have enjoyed and thank you so much for reading!

~ Jacob Hopkins
Lack of Foresight Gaming