on Red Actions! Cards
The original sets of Red
Actions cards cover the whole range of the Pygmy Wars in a smallish
set, so inevitably have some generalisations. Generally my expanded set
just adds other units or applies to certain more specific circumstances.
On a couple of matters, mainly relating to cavalry, I have changed the
original cards but that is only my take on the troops, not the final
word. If you disagree, don't use them.
Amending my cards to your own taste is a simple matter of cutting and
pasting in a drawing program (MSPaint works fine).
All standard Red
field guns have the same statistics for
fire-power. I have amended many of them downwards, to reflect a variety
of different factors. The main reason is that most armies struggled to
find adequately trained gun commanders, and particularly the armies
which discriminated against the bourgeoisie, which is the class most
artillery officers belonged to. Early in the war some armies struggled
to get adequate equipment or were not adequately trained on unfamiliar
material supplied by the Allies. Note that downgrading the
“Fire” statistic says nothing about the bravery or
dedication of the crews, it is merely a technical assessment.
- The Red Guard, UNR,
partisans and early Nationalists
suffered severe commander and equipment problems. They are
“Fire” = 12.
- The Red Army always
struggled to get sufficient commanders
and seems to also have had a problem with ammunition quality. They are
“Fire” = 16
- Many Nationalist
armies struggled to get satisfactory
training on foreign equipment. I have therefore graded the Estonians,
Latvians etc as “Fire” = 16.
- The rest remain
“Fire” = 18.
NB: normal Red Actions does not give different results for
“Fire” of 16 and 18.
While I believe that Red Cavalry was willing and capable of frontally
charging the enemy, I think that it lacked the officers and training to
do it in the classic knee-to-knee style. Apparently even the Whites had
problems getting their Cossacks to charge in close formation, so strong
was their preference for the loose-formation lava. Therefore I consider
that Red cavalry not be allowed to be “Formed”.
Not that this should be considered a slight against Red cavalry, who
were considerably better quality than most of their opposition. In fact
only the Whites, Cossacks, Reds, Poles and Makhnovists can be
considered charging cavalry in any sense – the Ukrainian,
States, Freikorps and normal partisan cavalry should not be charging
frontally at all, let alone in close formation. I consider that the
White and Polish cavalry’s strength was with a sabre or lance
hand, while the Red cavalry’s strengths tended to be in
flexibility and tenacity.
- My non-White and
Polish cavalry mostly have the
“formed” movement allowance removed on my cards.
Note that many of the documents on which I formed this opinion can be
this site – articles by Shinkarenko and Moslard, in
It was also the firm opinion of the Makhnovists that White cavalry was
a much more formidable opponent in hand-to-hand combat than any Red
cavalry (and they fought the Konnarmiya).
Fire values for
Those units which retain the “formed” ability did
because they preferred sabres and lances to carbines, whether for
reasons of chosen doctrine or forced onto them by ammunition
shortages.Thus my White, Cossack and Polish cavalry cards all have
their “Fire” statistic lowered.
Cossack cavalry was rightly admired for its horsemanship, but there is
a lot more to being good cavalry than the ability to ride a horse.
During the Russian Civil War the Cossacks performed quite differently
at different times and for different armies. Often they struggled for
officers as the higher grades tended to sympathise with, and fight for,
the main White armies.
The original set of RA cards has very high values for the Cossack
Cavalry. I feel that this represents them well when their morale was
high and they were fighting for their own Host, except that I trim the
However, frequently they were not fighting for their own Host but were
more or less forcibly drafted into forces with who they had serious
political disagreements. Therefore I have made another card which I
apply as the default value for Cossacks fighting for other
non-Bolshevik armies. This lower set of values is also useful for the
many occasions when the Cossack morale slumped badly. It was not
unusual for whole regiments to desert the front, or even to cross over
as a body to the enemy at bad times. In my view both these situations
are inconsistent with the higher card.
Their morale was even lower when fighting for the Soviets –
units were still deserting to fight for the enemy until the very end of
the RCW. As well as many of them having an aversion to losing their
privileges under Communist rule, the Red Cossacks also lacked the
trained commanders that made them more formidable when fighting in WWI
or for the Whites. My card follows the original, except that I do not
allow them to charge “formed” and have once again
the fire-power statistic.
- What I call my
“Host” Cossack Cavalry card is:
9 · 7 · 7 · 8 + 2 / 8
- What I think of as my
Cavalry card has values: 8 · 7 · 7 · 7 + 2 / 7
- The Red Cossacks card
reads: 7 · 6 · 6 · 7 + 2 / 7
Cossack plastoons (i.e.
The Host armies do not seem to have regarded fighting on foot as
suitable for a Cossack. There were severe shortages of officers as
well, since previously they would have been led by men who were not
Cossacks. Therefore I use the original Plastoon card for the
Cossack-based armies. What I call my “Host”
has values of: 6 · 5 · 7 · 7 + 4 / 3.
However, when fighting for the main White armies many of their
weaknesses were resolved. Fighting on foot was not disdained, there
were properly trained officers available and supply was often better
(especially when the VA could supply them with Lewis guns etc).
Therefore I have added a card for when fighting for the VA and similar
situations.My “non-Host” Plastoon card has values:
6 · 6 ·
7 · 7 + 5/3.
I have also added a lower card for poor Cossack foot, identical in
values to the ordinary White Conscripts card. The Conscript Plastoons
card has values: 6 · 6 · 6 · 6 + 4 / 3 with “mob”.
In the first edition of Red
the tachanka cards had
“Fire” = 18, to match the machine-gun cards. This
subsequently lowered to 12. I have retained the value of 18 because I
do not allow tachankas to move and fire in my games (based on the
difficulty of hitting anything from a moving cart) and this reduces
their fire effectiveness considerably.
If you do allow them to move and fire, then use the cards with factor
12, which are found in the "vehicles" set.
Fire values of 6
In the first edition of Red
a couple of élite
types had “Fire” = 6. This was subsequently lowered
to 5 in
all cases. I prefer the higher value in certain circumstances, but use
Often the high value reflects the presence of LMGs (particularly
Lewises) in the units involved. Thus, even as the quality of the
coloured infantry fell, their firepower increased as British supply
MG cards with
The basic system in Red Actions is that MGs have no
“Charge” statistic, a “Fear”
value one lower
than the equivalent infantry, a “Serious” value the
the equivalent infantry and no “Rally” value.
work the same way but add the “Rally” value of
The original Red Actions set did not have cards for each type of MG and
tachanka, which meant that the better troops had MGs worse than they
should be. Rather than prepare a separate card for every troop type, I
have amended some with a “±”to indicate
values may alter.
The “mob” characteristic is added to all troops
represent conscripts. Generally that will be the standard for that
troop type, but not necessarily. In particular, Polish Conscripts would
normally be “Upgraded Conscripts” and not use the
Some MG and artillery cards have characteristics added, such as
“Storm” or “Mob”. These have no
standard Red Actions, but have been added for my house rules.