Cruel Seas, Profiles

Spotlight: The Red Fleet in Cruel Seas

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Rounding out our coverage of the different forces available in Cruel Seas, we’ve got a look at the Red Fleet and the array of unusual small craft that fought on Finnish lakes and along the coastline of the Black Sea.

The Red Fleet

Russia led the world in all manner of military development. Its huge tank armies and excellent tanks were an enormous shock to the Nazis in 1941. Russia was the first country to have a large force of paratroopers, and by 1941 could also boast the world’s largest submarine fleet.

Despite the reliance placed on their huge submarine fleet, the underwater boats performed poorly, certainly so when compared to either the American or German fleet. Their 277 submarines managed to sink 191 ships during the Winter War and the later war with Germany and Japan. They must also have damaged many others, but it was at the cost of 101 of their own submarines lost, a heavy price indeed.


Soviet small ships and boats came in many shapes and sizes. A common class, over 350 being put into service, was the MO small guard ship. It stood for Malys Okhotnik, or “small hunter” and gained the nickname “Moshka” or fly. These useful vessels were primarily built for anti-submarine work, but like most other Navies, soon found extra roles for them, minelaying and sweeping, convoy patrol and even supporting ground operations.

A Soviet D-3 motor torpedo boat.

They weighed 56 tons, could make 26 knots and had a crew of 22. Their offensive armament was depth changes for A/S warfare and 2 single 45mm main guns and 2 or more heavy machine guns, DSLK 12.7mm. They were tough little boats, made of wood but heavily compartmentalised ensuring good survivability if holed. A later version was built in Leningrad that was armoured, made of steel with 12 mm armour. They replaced one of the 45mm guns with a 37 mm 70k antiaircraft gun. 48 of this version, “BMO” were launched, the “B” standing for bronirovannyj (armoured).

The Soviets used captured craft and received British and American MTB’s that were used in their light flotillas. Their home-grown efforts, however, produced the peculiar looking G-5 light torpedo boats. They built scores of these aluminium boats, a material which was vulnerable to salt water. They were small and initially not very fast, but later models were 16 tons in weight and could manage 38 knots. Later models could even achieve speeds of up to 40-48 knots if well maintained. They had a petrol engine. The late series, even up to 53 knots!

A Soviet G-5 motor torpedo boat.

Their main strike weapon was two torpedoes stern launched, which was rare in WW2. They were dropped tail first into the water so a sharp turn was necessary, once launched, to get out of the way. Unlike most other nations, the boats carried no cannon but were armed with one 12.7mm machine gun and normally two 7.62mm MMGs.


A most peculiar type of Riverine and Estuary craft was also developed by the Russians. This was the 1124 and 1125 class of armoured rivercraft or Bronekater.

A Soviet Bronekater ready for action. Note the Katyusha multiple rocket launcher fitted to the stern.

These shallow draught craft, drawing only 2-foot of water, could penetrate river systems and lakes, even being moved by rail and lorry to new locations. Some featured numerous armoured turrets, even T34 turrets, and again, frequently equipped themselves with rails for the Katyusha launchers.

They were tough little boats capable of receiving and dishing out punishment, though had a small crew and were slow and poor deep-water craft.

The Soviet Navy in Cruel Seas

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The Soviet Navy then is not a glamorous fleet for the gamer. Rather it’s a solid, unsophisticated affair, with no radar, little radio, few automatic cannons or other refinements. As ever with Russian forces, quantity has a quality all its own. Your best tactic is to get in quick, torpedo your target and escape fast as you are likely to take much damage from concentrated cannon fire. Use the MO boats to support you, use minefields to hide in, and if desperate, use the threat of your terrifying if inaccurate Katyusha rocket! URRAH!

The Soviet Navy Fleet Contains:

  • 4 x G5 MTB (metal)
  • 4 x D3 MTB (metal)
  • 2 x Bronekaters (metal)
  • 1 x Fugas class Minesweeper (resin and metal)
  • 1 x Il-2 Sturmovik (metal)
  • Ship Cards
  • Wakes
  • Plastic Torpedo markers

Tom Mecredy
Tom spends most of his time buying books and painting miniatures. He enjoys putting animals on the bases of his miniatures and half-finishing side projects. Some say that he lives in a tower on top of some windswept northern hill with his wife and cow-patterned cat, Spaghetti.