Rolling out from the Siberian factories comes some serious supporting fire for the Soviets in the form of the BM-13 Katyusha!
Our particular model is the Katyusha Zis-6 BM-13 Urss – based upon the rugged and widely used Soviet Zis-6 truck chassis
First seeing action in 1939, the Katyusha Rocket Launcher (know as ‘Little Katie’ to the Russians) was a system for mounting platforms onto trucks, tanks, artillery tractors, armoured trains and even some boats in order to provide fire support for the advancing Soviet forces on the Eastern Front.
The BM-13 system (as featured on our model) featured rockets that were 80cm long by 13.2cm in diameter. Each one weighed 43kg – and were loaded in batches of 14-to-18 rockets per salvo. The rockets were mounted upon large steel racks of launch rails – and this entire assembly was (in the case of our model) bolted onto the back of the ubiquitous Zis-6 utility truck which was used elsewhere on the Eastern Front to shuttle troops to-and-from the frontline as well as equipment, and for many other purposes.
Though it was initially conceived simply as a cheap, improvised method alternative to traditional artillery, early tests showed that just four of these trucks could launch as many as 48 rockets more than 9km in a single ten-second salvo.
In practise, the Katyusha was woefully inaccurate when compared to traditional forms of artillery – however the Soviets soon learned that the combined firepower of several trucks could be used to saturate a single area, to devastating effect. When combined with ‘Shoot and Scoot’ tactics of launching a quick salvo and quickly repositioning, before the enemy had chance to retaliate – German troops came to fear the distinct Howling sound of these iconic weapons of the Soviet army.
The inaccuracy of this weapon often didn’t matter – the morale-sapping experience of having your position bombarded by wave-after-wave of high explosive rockets would often be enough to send soldiers running and earned it the name ‘Stalin’s Organ’ by the Germans.
The Katyusha first rolled onto the battlefield during the early days of the German invasion of Russia in 1941, and it remained in use right up until the final days of the war during the assault on Berlin. It is estimated that 10,000 of these Rocket Launchers were produced.
In Bolt Action
|Cost:||64pts (inexperienced), 80pts (Regular), 96pts (Veteran)|
|Weapons:||1 forward-facing Katyusha multiple rocket launcher (heavy mortar)|
|Damage value:||6+ (soft-skin)|
|Special Rules:||Multiple launcher|
Whether fighting your first battles accross the Khalkyn Gol (river) against the Japanese (Empire in Flames page 26), operating in the deapths of winter against the resolute Finish army, or taking charge of Operation Bagration to drive the invaders clear back to East Prussia, your forces have loads of choice from ‘little Katie’ to the mighty KV-2