Wargaming 'Not The Usual Suspects'.

A short how to, and guide to commercial armaments of the inter war years


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First of all what are the 'usual suspects' to which I refer? In WW2 wargaming, its Germans, Russians, British, Americans and the Japanese. the 5 main protagonists of ww2. Between them however many smaller nations got pushed, shoved or just jumped into one camp or another. Often less well equipped, often poorly supported by their own poor logistics and aging weapons to have much affect. But sucked in they did get. France and Italy are included despite initially being Major protagonists.

Below is a 'rough guide' to some of the nations that can be gamed, good figure swaps and what they can be equipped with from readily available kits and models.

There is a few themes in common with many of these forces, Some are French backed as they were a former ally of France in WW1, Others have some Italian influence, others used a lot of German/Austro-Hungarian equipment that was gained from war reparations of sales of this kit by their former post WW1 owner when something better was bought in the 30's.  

Paint Job Conversions. 

A paint job conversion is simply ignoring the instructions on the figure box, and finding out what the Soldiers actually wore. The main and best works on this are those of Andrew Mollo, Specifically the seriously great and recommended reference "Armed Forces of World War 2, Uniforms, Insignia & Organisations' (ISBN 0-85613-296-9)" and his entry in the "Blandford Colour Series" Army Uniforms of World War 2' (ISBN 0-7137-0611-2) which is co-authored with Malcolm McGregor which also in the text examines changes between the 2 wars.

Country Suitable Substitute figures Approx From Approx To Troops/deployment Main uniform colour Webbings and belt colour
France French WW1 1915 1930's Metropolitan army

(France mainland)

Horizon Blue. This is a sky blue,

Helmet varies but can be a greyer colour. Also Lighter cloth covers used.

Puttees are also Blue, but vary depending on supply

Plain Leather Brown
  French WW1 1916 onwards Colonial Troops in France

Legion, Zouves, Algerian and Senegalese Traillures etc.

Green Khaki.

Dyes tended to brown or yellow with age/wear

Plain Leather Brown
  French WW1 1930's   Metropolitan army Again a Green Khaki as per colonial troops Plain Leather Brown
Belgium French WW1 1915 1920's Western Front WW1 Serge Green (from British army stocks) Mix of Plain leather Brown Or Blacked leather
  French WW1 1930s   Vs Germans WW2 Darker Olive Green Blacked leather, German pattern
Italy French WW1 1916 1936 European service. Italian Front and Balkan Front WW1, Early CVT in Spain. Many reservists (especially garrison troops) in Sicily encountered wearing older uniforms in 1943. Medium Grey with a hint of Green Pretty much the same colour as WW2 Italians. Dark Green dyed leather, best treat as blacked.
Yugoslavia French WW1 1916 1941 Balkans both World Wars. Vs Hungary in Banat in 1919 Mid Grey Plain Leather Brown
Greece French WW1 1916 Mid 1920's Balkans WW1, Vs Turkey early 20's. Later adopted the British pattern Helmet. Green Khaki Plain Leather Brown

(click for link to re-enactors site)

Italian WW2 1935 onwards 1941 battles specifically. Italian helmet adopted. Supplemented with British Kit/Helmets later. Olive Green Plain Leather Brown
Romania French WW1 1917 early 1930's Vs Austo-Hungarian Forces in WW1

Vs Hungary in 1919

Early Barbarossa (1941)

Tobacco Brown in 1917-18

Green Khaki Later

Plain Leather Brown
Poland French WW1 1919 early 1930's Russo-Polish war, Battles with Lithuania, Czechoslovakia and Germany 1919-1920. Maybe reservists in 1939 Green Khaki Plain Leather Brown German Pattern.
  French WW1 1918 1920 Hallers Blue army. Émigré's raised in France in 1916 onwards and moved to Poland in time to fight at the 'Miracle of the Vistula'. Horizon Blue Plain Leather Brown
  German Late WW1 1939   Polish 10th Mechanised brigade retained German Coal Scuttles and fetching Black Leather Overcoats on top of the regular Polish uniform. Green Khaki

Black trench/overcoat

Plain Leather Brown German Pattern.
Mexico   ? ? Some sent to Spanish Republican troops in the Spanish Civil War. ? ?
Spain French WW1 1936 1939 Republican forces, Particularly popular with the International Brigades. Khaki Greens and Greenish Browns Take your Pick.
  German WW1 in Steel Helm 1936 1939 Spains own helmet was modelled on the German 1916 type. Saw service on both sides more in service with professional soldiers. Green Khaki Take your Pick.
Russia French WW1 1916 1930's Over 2 million supplied during WW1 As per standard Russian Uniform  
Hungarians WW1 Austrians

Late WW1 Germans

WW2 Germans in field caps and long trousers.

WW2 Germans with high marching boots

1922 1945 In action on the Eastern Front (south sector) up to and including Stalingrad. Then took a year out before returning to combat in Galicia in 1944. Mustard Khaki

Note usually wore Gaiter-ed trousers with anklet's. So paint as if trouser goes down the the Ankle.

Pre 1919, a light Grey colour was standard, though 'nettle green' also common (a dark green with a greyish tint)

Plain Leather Brown
Bulgarians WW1 Russians

Late WW1 Germans

WW2 Germans with high marching boots

1940 1945 Served mainly in anti-partizan duties Light Grey in WW1

Mustard Khaki from the early 20's onwards.

Often wore high marching boots or ankle boots and Puttees

Plain Leather Brown
Chinese Republican,/ Early warlord WW1 British (airfix)

Possibly HAT WW1 Russians

1916 1927-30(ish)   Summer uniform was a mustard Khaki, Winter tended to be a Dark Blue. Some northern Warlords took to a Blue Grey Plain Leather Brown. But usually Cloth in uniform colour.
Chinese Late 30s Late WW1 Germans

WW1 Austrians.

WW2 Germans in field caps and long trousers.

WW2 Germans with high marching boots

1930's Fell out of use 1937-40 The well equipped route army at Shanghai looked very ww1 German but in mustard Khaki. Held up the Japanese for a considerable time in 1937 Summer uniform was a mustard Khaki, Winter tended to be a Dark Blue. Some northern Warlords took to a Blue Grey.

Helmet (German style) was a Grey/Green colour

Plain Leather Brown. But usually Cloth in uniform colour.
Chinese Late WW1 Austrians.

WW2 Germans in field caps and long trousers.

1937 1949 Austerity measures in the uniform post Japanese invasion. Helmets restricted to loyal KMT troops Summer uniform was a mustard Khaki, Winter tended to be a Dark Blue. Some northern Warlords took to a Blue Grey.

Helmet (German style) was a Grey/Green colour

A greener uniform colour introduced.

Plain Leather Brown. But usually Cloth in uniform colour.

Notes: Khaki, there seem to be several types of Khaki, Considering its allegedly from an Indian dialect for 'Dirt coloured' this is not surprising. It seems to come in 3 major flavours. Green Khaki seems to be the most common (think British uniform or WW2 French), A light yellowy Mustard Khaki (Chinese summer uniforms, Hungarians etc) or a darker Brown Khaki (think Russians). These will be referred to as Green Khaki, Mustard Khaki and Brown Khaki.

The leather belts pouches and boots were normally left in leather, or blacked, I have noted this where possible. Normally all were Blacked, or left as is.

Every army needs heavy equipment. Here is what I have been able to Identify as defiantly available. This list is meant more as an illustration than any authoritive document.

Country Machineguns Mortars A/T Guns Feild Guns/Howitzers Armour.


Hotchkiss 8mm

81mm Brandt/Stokes mortar.

60mm Stokes type

Hotchkiss 25mm

Schnider 47mm

French 75mm

Schneider 105mm 1913

France obviously had her own production and in major numbers, here I ONLY refer to types that had other users apart from the Germans.

FT-17/18. Sold all over and much copied.

R-35 most numerous tank, also major commercial sales

Peugeot Armoured Cars (sold to Poland 1919)


Maxim MG08s

81mm Brand-stokes

47mm Schneider

Krupp 75mm 1905

Schneider 105mm 1913

 Belgium bought a number of unique Vickers commercials all based on the 2 man tankettes


Fiat Revelli 8mm

Schwartzlose in quantity but 2nd line for most of WW2.

81mm Brand-stokes

German 37mm PaK

47mm Bohler

Krupp 75mm 1905 (own Model 6 and 12s)

Skoda 100mm M14/19

Schneider 105mm 1913

Fiat 3000 (FT17 copy)

CV3/33 Commercial sales world wide.

Fiat ZM armoured Car.



No reports of mortars in use!

Skoda 37mm/47mm types

Skoda 100mm M14/19

Skoda, Skoda and More Skoda!

French R-35s and FT17.


St Etiene 1907 types

81mm Brand-stokes

Only Captured Types from Italy in 1941

Krupp 75mm 1905

Skoda 100mm M14/19

Schneider 105mm 1913

Whilst some types Purchased in the 1920s & 30s, all generally worn out by WW2, Captured Italian Tankettes were allegedly used.


Schwartzlose MG

81mm Brand-stokes

60mm Stokes type

Bofors 37mm

47mm Bohler

French 75mm

Schnieder 105mm

FT 17s, R-35s from France.

TNPH Light 2 man tanks

Skoda LT-35 Tanks (Panzer 35t)


Hotchkiss, German and Russian Maxims, Austrian Schwartzlose

1930's Browning Water cooled.

81mm Brand-stokes

Bofors 37mm

French 75mm

Schneider 105mm 1913

Skoda 100mm M14/19

Peugeot Armoured Cars (Russo-Polish war).

Renault FTs

Own types.


Hotchkiss 7mm (rechambered 8mm)

81mm Brand-stokes



Hotchkiss 7mm (rechambered 8mm)


81mm Brand-stokes

Russian 37 and 45mm guns (derived from German 37mm PAK).

German 37mm PaKs,

Bofors 37mm,

47mm Bohlers,

all made appearances.

Krupp 77mm

T26B's, BT5s from Russia

CV3/33s and Fiat IZMs From Italy (Franco)

Pz1s from Germany (Franco)


Russian MG10 maxim

81mm Brand-stokes

Russian 37 and 45mm guns (derived from German 37mm PAK)

Russian own types.

T-26B, and BT 5s