Knowing which figures were available from Peter Pig and in what quantities, and using Barrie Lovell's organisation charts, I calculated how I was going to construct the various elements of both the US and the NVA forces. I wanted to minimise as much as possible the purchase of figures over and above what was absolutely necessary.
BUILDING an NVA COMPANY
The NVA rifle company consists of six elements; the company HQ and Cadre, the three rifle platoons, the company combat support platoon and the reconnaissance squad. I worked out how many and which type of figures I would require for each of these.
This group consists of four stands, for a total of 13 figures.
Although the NVA rifle platoon has seven elements, it was only necessary for me to work out the composition of three of these; the platoon HQ, a rifle squad and an RPG team. Since the composition of the rifle squads and the RPG teams was to be the same, I simply needed to multiply the number of figures in each of these by three to obtain the total number and type of figures I required.
There are three of these platoons in the NVA rifle company. Each platoon consists of 10 stands, for a total of 33 figures. This adds a further 30 stands to the company and 99 figures.
The company combat support platoon is a mix of heavy weapons and contains a platoon HQ, three weapons squads (HMG, 60mm mortar and 57mm recoilless rifle) and a mortar forward observer.
The platoon consists of five stands, for a total of 12 figures and 3 weapons.
* Note that I am using crews of only two figures for the 60mm Mortar in the Combat Support platoon. For the 82mm Mortars in the battalion Combat Support Company I will use 3 crewmen.
Total NVA Figures required to build a Company are as follows (minimum number of 'packs' required is given in brackets);
* Note that the NVA Command, RPD and RPG figures are all provided for with the purchase of 3 Command packs.
There were a number of points that needed to be addressed as a result of this calculation. The 'Men of Company B' range does not list HMGs for the NVA/VC and, given the large number of separate crew figures required, how were these to be obtained without having a lot of redundant heavy weapons?
Fortunately, Martin at Peter Pig provided solutions on both counts. The HMGs, in this case 12.7mm DShKs, can be supplied from Peter Pig's Modern African Wars range (Range 17) known as 'AK-47' (3 weapons per pack, crew must be purchased separately and I have added these into the total number of separate crew figures required above) and Martin was also happy to provide individual crew figures, without their associated heavy weapons, in packs of 8 figures.
Total number of packs required for the Company = 19
Total Cost for the Company at time of writing (excluding p&p) @ £1.50 per pack = £28.50
On these calculations, a full battalion is going to cost about £100.00 excluding p&p. The catalogue offers 'free postage' on orders over £40.00 so if you can afford to do it you will be better off purchasing in bulk, say two full companies and then the third company plus the sapper and Recon platoons as well as the battalion Combat Support Company.
Expanding the Battalion
In order to build a battalion you will need to follow the steps outlined below;
BUILDING a US INFANTRY COMPANY
What I decided to do in these instances was as follows;
The company HQ group consists of 3 stands for a total of 7 figures.
There are three of these platoons in the US rifle company. Each platoon consists of 9 stands, for a total of 32 figures. This adds a further 27 stands to the company and 96 figures.
COMPANY WEAPONS PLATOON
Total US figures required to build a Company are as follows (minimum number of 'packs' required is given in brackets);
* Note that the US Command figures and RTO figures are all provided for with the purchase of 3 Command packs (5 command figures and 3 RTOs per pack)
** Note that in order not to have to buy a second pack of both M-79 and Shotgun figures in order to obtain the ninth required figure of each, I intend to leave one squad in the company without these figures and replace them with two M-16 figures. This has been catered for in the calculations above concerning the number of M-16 figures required.
*** Note that the Medics will be represented by M-16 figures and these have been catered for in the calculations above concerning the number of M-16 figures required.
Total number of packs required for the Company = 17
Total Cost for the Company (excluding p&p) @ £1.50 per pack = £25.50
On these calculations, a full battalion is going to cost over £100.00 (excluding p&p) since, unlike the NVA, the US infantry company can contain four rifle companies as well as a Service and Support Company (which I do not plan to field). The catalogue offers 'free postage' on orders over £40.00 so if you can afford to do it you will be better off purchasing in bulk, say two full companies at a time.
Expanding the Battalion
The final step at this stage was to break down the production of the two opposing forces into stages so as to have them progressing at the same pace. Also, I always find this useful as it keeps me on track and prevents me from purchasing masses of figures way ahead of need.