From the purges
|“|| Damnation! It's the Russian steamroller -- they'll be sending waves of infantry.|
- Andrew Campbell, Secret Weapons
Strekli are the light infantry of the U.S.S.R. The Strelki are slightly weaker than most light infantry, so it is recommended to deploy them in larger numbers. They can be upgraded to Gvardiya later in the game.
Strelki (стрелки, plural, singular - strelok) means "shooters", but in this context, they are riflemen. These are the typical G.I.s of the Red Army, the unglamorous grunts.
Thanks to reinstatement of conscription just prior WWII, the Red Army grew from 9 hundred thousand to 9 million. At the same time, Stalin's Purges resulted in execution, demotion or inprisonment of almost all Civil War (both Russian and Spanish) veterans, resulting in a force with no combat-experienced personnel. The average trooper of June 1941 had only received basic training (nicknamed "Take-off and Landing Course" in the Air Force), which focused on discipline and political reliability rather than combat performance. With outdated gear, confused commanders, poor communication and broken supply lines, the troops were armed with nothing but resolve.
- Mosin M1930 "threeliner" carbine - a cut-down version of M1891 rifle. A cutting-edge weapon at the time it was introduced, firing smokeless powder 7.62x54 Rimmed, still in use today, from a five-round magazine. Unlike the German Kar98, designed for volley fire, the bolt could be cycled through any jam, but the rifle had to be taken off the shoulder; overall, the ergonomics were designed for melee rather than shooting. It came presighted for firing with the "pig sticker" bayonet located to the left of the barrel - taking it off resulted in poor accuracy; in-obvious and short-lived safety. Extremely cheap to produce; old rifles could be "recycled" into pistols or submachine guns thanks to the identical caliber, 7.62 mm.
- RG-33 "stick" grenade (early-war), or the RG-42 ultracheap grenade, made from a modified tin can, a steel belt for fragmentation, a load of cheap TNT derivative and a fuze made at any toy factory, but just as effective.
- M1910 Maxim Gun - that Maxim Gun. The very first MG is still rumored to be guarding the border with China. Used on Sokolov two-wheel mount, water-cooled, belt-fed. Used up to the very last day of the War. Crew: 5.
- Ebonite capsule with personal information - the equivalent of "dog tag".
- "Sapper-style" showel - treated as a last-resort slashing weapon.
- Field cauldron, usually signed to counter possible theft. Often more effective for identification than the capsule, which does not last sixty years if stuck underground.