Friday, 31 August 2018

The Soviet PTRD-41 Anti-Tank Rifle.

Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning!

The PTRD-41 was a single shot anti-tank rifle used in large numbers by the Red Army throughout the Second World War. It lacked the capability of weapons such as the American Bazooka or the German Panzerschreck, firing a 14.5mm cartridge, which was incapable of penetrating the frontal armour of any of the German medium tanks. At ranges of less than 100 metres, it could penetrate armour plate with a thickness of around 35mm.

In Bolt Action terms, the PTRD-41 has a Penetration Bonus of +2, which compares to the +5 for the Bazooka and the +6 for the Panzerschreck. So, in game terms, it's a pretty feeble weapon, particularly if you are the poor soul lying there waiting to squeeze the trigger and a Nazi Tiger is heading straight in your direction.
Ivan... there's a Tiger heading straight for us!
Why then should you bother to spend the time and effort painting up the two figures you need to make a piece of kit which has the odds seemingly stacked against it?
Caught in the glare of an illuminating flare...
Firstly, I suppose, because Comrade Stalin had about half a million of the things built and delivered to his forces the length and breadth of the Eastern Front. If Uncle Joe says they are good enough to use against the Fascist Hordes, then who am I to argue?
Staring down the barrel of a tin opener.
Secondly, and more importantly, what does it matter if they don't quite fit into the 'my tank is bigger than your tank' arms race that Bolt Action has the potential to become? The PTRD is a quirky and off the wall sort of weapon and fits perfectly into the weird and wonderful world of the Soviet army. The PTRD is the weapon of the underdog, the weapon that might just pull off the improbable and make Soviet heroes of it's two man team; assuming that they are not squished under the tracks of that rampaging Panzer IV.
Aerial view of the No.2. Performing the vital pointing function and showing off his looted German accessories.
Thirdly, building and painting the PTRD-41 team is great fun. It's unlike anything else that you get in a box of Bolt Action troops. It reminds me of that fowling piece that they have on display in the Royal Armouries in Leeds...
If the PTRD isn't going to halt a Panzer IV in its tracks, then it might, at least, bag a brace of ducks and give its team a hearty meal before they sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the Communist cause.
The PTRD Stats in Bolt Action... with 6 on the die, against the side armour and with the wind blowing in right direction, who knows!

A Hero of the Soviet Union.

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