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Category Archives: Modern: German

Bundeswehr

Bundeswehr

All the posts showing off special forces over the past couple of days have led to some requests for pictures of the remaining NATO force I have miniatures for… the Bundeswehr. While I had planned to postpone this until I had the last vehicles finished (3 Transportpanzer Fuchs and a CH-53 still left to do) I am going to show them anyway. Fist up the vehicles:

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

This is the mainstay German MBT in current use. The A5 model is the result of the KWS II package (Kampfwertsteigerung II or combat upgrade program II) giving it stronger armour, better electronics and targeting systems. The main gun (120mm smoothbore) and targeting system see use in most other NATO MBTs as well.

Bundewswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

Bundeswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

The Flakpanzer Gepard is reputed to be the best cannon armed air defense tank world-wide. With its twin 35mm autocannon (ROF 550 rounds per minute) it is able to lay down a massive volume of fire both against air as well as ground targets. In 2000 it was decided that the German army no longer needed close air defense of this type and that these tanks would be phased out and mothballed in favour of the Patriot system until the year 2015. With the new reforms in 2010 the remaining 90 tanks were phased out completely though. Not that this matter since me games are set a couple of years before that!

Bundeswehr Marder A3

Bundeswehr Marder A3

These two IFV´s represent the latest version of the Schützenpanzer Marder with a turret mounted (dismount-able) Milan launcher on the turret. A Panzergrenadiergruppe (more on that later) will be spread out amongst these two tanks. The models are actually some cheap RC tanks. They required a lot of conversion work to get them here since they represented the A1 version. Which meant moving the roof mounted, rearward firing MG to the turret (co-ax) and the addition of the Milan launcher. Armoured boxes were added to the sides, spaced armour to the front and roof using plasticard.

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

This is a model of the ABC Spürpanzer (NBC detection tank) Fuchs. Some of these were lend to the US for Desert Storm since this is the most advanced vehicle for NBC detection available. Both the US and the UK have since bought vehicles using it under the English translation Fox. There is also a troop carrier version available and I still have three models in storage where I will have to modify the rear hatches to use them as troop carriers.

Bundeswehr Unimog

Bundeswehr Unimog

Last vehicle is a Unimog, serving as a light truck for my forces. This is a repainted die-cast model.

Up next are the infantry.

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

These are some Scharfschützen (Snipers) based on the old TO&E. The new organisation calls for two men teams armed with bolt action sniper rifles (G22) or an anti-material rifle (G82). The old organisation had two snipers with G3 rifles. These G3 were the most accurate assault rifles from a batch, remastered and equipped with scopes. They were accompanied by two men to provide them with security. These men were armed with machineguns, usually MG3s. In this case the man on the right has the newer MG4. Minis are from Devil Dog Designs and mostly converted.

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

This is my Fallschirmjägergruppe (minis from Devil Dog Designs). The Gruppe is the smallest tactical infantry element in the German Army, be it airbourne (like these) or Panzergrenadiere (below), Jäger, Infanterie and so on. A Gruppe consists of 12 men. One of them is a machinegunner, the rest are armed with G36 assault rifles, the Gruppenführer (section leader) usually has and underslung AG36 grenadelaucher. Special weapons like man pack anti-tank or anti-aircraft rocket launchers can be distributed as need be. [These Fallschirmjäger have now been sold and are on their way to a good new home in France.]

All the minis below are Eureka.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Now this first Gruppe is similar in organisation to the Fallschirmjäger above, except that two of the men also have the Milan launchers dismounted from the Marder along. They have often proven useful in games, especially one where the Russian tanks chased after the Marder tanks, missing the dismounted Grenadiere at the forests edge that hit them in the flank with their Milans.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

While these two Gruppen also represent Panzergrenadiere they have no Milans but one Panzerfaust 3 each instead. As I said the Marder were a hassle to convert and I was in no mood to do that 4 more times to get a full Zug (platoon). Now in some units only the first Zug is equipped with Marder, the rest rides Fuchs. I just decided to mix this within the Zug, assuming that the commander had distributed the Marder amongst his Züge to given them all an even punch.

Now a few more words on the machinegunner (for all types of Gruppen). A little over a decade ago it was decided that the MG3 would be phased out and replaced with the MG36 (essentially a G36 with heavier barrel and if lucky with a drum magazine). Just like the SA-80 LMG in the British Army this met little approval by the soldiers. They already felt weaker due to the reduced calibre of the G36 when compared to the old G3 and with just one LMG to 12 men (other NATO forces have one LMG per 4 men squad). So commanders found all kinds of excuses to store the MG3s they had and simply handed them out when troops were deployed. So a couple of years ago the MG4 was introduced, which solved the problem since it was at least a proper SAW type of weapon. I have decided to stick to the MG3, since it gives me the most firepower and my games fall into the transitionary period anyway.

Last are the force multipliers.

Bundeswehr forcemultipliers

Bundeswehr force multipliers

To the left is a medic with a MP7 PDW (you can also see this on some of the NCO´s and radiomen above). In the middle is a dog handler. Military dogs see more use in the Bundeswehr these days, especially for house clearing. To the right is a GMW 40 automatic grenade launcher. This is about all I need. I just hope Eureka releases a tri-pod mounted MG3 one day… otherwise I will have to do one from a WWII MG42 and convert some crew for it.

The big beauty with the German army is that soldiers wear no unit patches in the field and that the equipment is vastly similar. So I plan to use these men as Panzergrenadiere for the 21. Panzerbrigade, Fällschirmjäger for the Saarlandbrigade or Jäger for the Deutsch-Französische Brigade.

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SAS & KSK

SAS & KSK

OK, today I finally ran out of bad puns, so without much further ado… here are the SAS and KSK.

SAS:

The Special Air Service (SAS) or “The Regiment” are widely regarded as the oldest and most experienced SF unit world-wide. They were created in Juli 1941 to sabotage the supply routes of the German Afrika Korps. The British choose a name to confuse the Germans… L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade. The term air did not refer to any special mission of theirs and with just 66 men they were far too small for a brigade, but the name stuck. They caused havoc on the German lines and were expanded to 5 battalions during the war, with the third and fourth being made up of French and the fifth of Belgian nationals. These 3 foreign battalions were incorporated into their own nations forces after the war.

After the war they saw (controversial) use  in Northern Ireland, prepared the Falklands landings, hunted Scuds during Desert Storm and war criminals on the Balkans. They freed hostages in Sierra Leone, fulfilled all kinds of missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and acted as advisers and target designators in Libia last year. But still they are best known for their action during the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980.

Amongst the Special Forces they have a very special role, since they work in close conjunction with the UK´s police forces. In this role they do not only provide SWAT type teams or bomb disposal experts, but also advise, planning and surveillance, something that would be illegal for a military unit in many other western nations.

Today the SAS consists of three Regiments (one active, two reserve). The active 22nd Special Air Service Regiment consists of 4 Squadrons (A, B, D, and G), with 4 troops each. Each troop consisting of four four-men teams. Each troop has a speciality be it either as a Mountain Troop, Mobility Troop, Air Troop (HALO drops) or Boat Troop. All Squadrons rotate special training, so that all are kept on edge for any type of mission. Every six to nine month a different Squadron becomes CRW-Wing (Counter Revolutionary Warfare), essentially providing the counter terrorism forces.

Their abilities are underlined by the fact that other nations turn to them when they raise new special forces units. The US did so when it created Delta and Germany when it created the KSK.

SAS

SAS

The minis above all come from TAG´s SAS range. Again not the best minis, but about the best that were available when I painted them a couple of years ago. Back then I planned to wargame Afghanistan (an idea I have dropped since) so they are kitted out to represent a four men patrol in the mountains of the Hindukush. The wear Jungle DPM jackets and Desert DPM trousers. This could be seen a lot with British soldiers during the first months of operations in Afghanistan. I am not too sure why this was done, but I assume to better blend in with the terrain, which can be strange at times. Since my wargaming is just set in Europe these days, I have often contemplated repainting them, but can not get around to it. But maybe this troop has itself geared for a mission in the Lüneburger Heath were green over sand would be useful as well. 😉

KSK:

The German Kommando Specialkräfte (KSK) is maybe youngest of NATO´s special forces. For years logic had dictated that Germany did not need special forces of their kind. Due to the lessons learned during the 3rd Reich where the military had been used to suppress the population, German law absolutely forbids the use of the military in police actions on German soil. So the federal police fulfilled this role with the Grenzschutzsondergruppe 9 (GSG 9 / made famous by the storming of the Lufthansa jet “Landshut” in Mogadishu). Offensive operations by the German army were strictly forbidden by German law and for the purely defensive operations of the Cold War the existing Kampfschwimmer (roughly equivalent to the UDT´s) and the Fernspäher (long-range scouts) were deemed sufficient. Then came the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War and along with it more German effort worldwide and missions existing forces could not handle. This reached its climax in 1994 when Germany found it had no forces (the GSG 9 was too small and no German military forces had the training) to deploy to rescue German nationals from Rwanda and had to turn to Belgium to do that. The embarrassment was only made worse by the fact that 12 Belgian soldiers lost their life during the mission. In the same year the German High Court decided, that peace keeping and even offensive operations outside NATO boarders where legal under certain conditions. The road was clear for the creation of the KSK in 1996.

While members were recruited from all units of the Bundeswehr, the Fernspäherkompanien were dissolved and incorporated into the KSK. The initial training was heavily supported by the British SAS, after which the KSK was to be modelled. Formation was completed in 1997 and the first missions conducted the following year, when they began the hunt for warcriminals in the Balkans. The same year saw them expand to their current strength of around 1100 men. They saw action in Afghanistan when they conducted scouting missions and provided flank security during the assault on Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda. It has been estimated that at least 100 KSK men are on constant deployment in Afghanistan in since 2001. This also includes their highly controversial use in the Task Force 47.

The airmobile and special operations capable Saarlangbrigade is their dedicated combat support units much in the way the PARA´s are to the SAS or the Rangers to Delta.

KSK strike team

KSK strike team

KSK support team

KSK support team

The above minis are from Devil Dog Designs, both from the KSK pack as well as the normal Bundeswehr pack. Some of the minis (namely those sporting MP-5s and MG-3) were converted using 1:35 scale weapons. Back then these were the best minis one could get, but unfortunately they show some minor deficits when it comes to equipment details.

KSK sniper team

KSK sniper team

Now these minis are from Eureka miniatures and show the clear evolution modern miniatures have gone through over the last decade if you compare them to both the TAG and DDD minis above.

What is next… tomorrow will see their opposition… Russian Spetznav. So stay tuned!