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Category Archives: WWII: British

Pegasus Bridge, a Horsa Glider and other things

Pegasus Bridge, a Horsa Glider and other things

As you may know, we wanted to host Pegasus Bridge at Crisis in Antwerp this year (and eventually we did so). Between the three of us we already had a lot of buildings, hedges and so on. But this still required some more terrain.

Not many buildings for the vicinity of the bridge were required, but I wanted some more variation. Since I still had the château from Sarissa Precission around, so that seemed like the natural option. It had been a nice kit to assemble and was a nice kit to paint. If I was to do it again though, I would probably leave the first floor windows and shutters off for easier painting.

French Chateau

French Château

French Chateau

French Château

But we also needed a Horsa Glider for the game. Martin had a model by Grand Manner around. Martin was unsure if he could give it due credit, so I painted it up. I Ieft the landing gear off to me the model fit the scenario since the Gliders used for the attack on Pegasus Bridge all had rough landings and ripped their landing gears off. It was nice enough to airbrush up, but I think the dimensions are somewhat off. The lower hull and underside of the wings were painted in a dark green, the top in camouflage. So I started by doing the camo and then taped the edge off. Which is when I realised that something was amiss. For example I used the forward doors and tail wings as a guide, but under the main wings the lines ended up too low. But I felt this was acceptable, since people could hardly see this spot. So the lower half of the glider was painted in dark green and filters and washes applied. Now I taped off the invasion stripes and again, I noticed that something was not quite right, for there was too little space on tail. In the end the RAF roundels on the tail ended up overlapping the invasion stripes for that reason. To finish things off, I placed chalk markings on the flank saying “Lady Irene” to make it match the glider Major Howard landed in.

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

Horsa Glider

And up last, the most importer building for the game… the bridge itself. Again this was a Sarissa kit. I had been too lazy to assemble the model, so I bought a model that had already been build and sold my kit on. In retrospect, this did not make things that much easier, since it had not been assembled as clean as I would have done, so I had to do a lot of sanding and so on.

I wanted to keep it in the very light grey of the original, but in the end, this seemed a little bleak to me. So I added rust marks to the model, which gave it a lot more character.

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge

If you want to see some more detail shots of the bridge, those can be found in my post about the British Paras.

In the, it turned out to be quite a nice game. We used the Battlegroup Overlord rules and they worked very well even at this small size. It was especially interesting to see how different tactics played out. If the British went for a defense in depth, it usually went well for the Germans, since they could usually wipe out the British first line of defense (after stumbling into it) and then using the superior range of their SP gun(s) (,depending on how many survived the PIAT,) to destroy the rest. If the British went for a strong first line of defense, the Germans were too weak to protect their SP guns sufficiently and took too many loses to take the bridge. It will be interesting to see how future games play out.

So I am leaving you with a (very) few pictures from the game at Crisis.

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge table

Pegasus Bridge game

Pegasus Bridge game

Pegasus Bridge game

Pegasus Bridge game

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge table

 

 

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

“Wait?” you will shout… “Christmas game… it is only October!” And rightly so! But, as I have had to say so many times this year, I seem to have huge problems keeping this blog up to date. So, here it is, almost 10 months late:

Between Christmas and New Years last year Julian, Martin and I met up for a little game of Battlegroup Fall of the Reich. Please do not ask for the exact composition of the forces… it has been a while. But if I remember correctly, the Americans had a mix of truck and jeep mounted infantry, M10´s, Shermans and Greyhounds (the burning Stuart was scenery). The Germans were a rag-tag bunch of Panzergrenadiere, a Volkssturm platoon, two Hetzer, a Hornisse, a Luchs, a SdKfz. 251/22 and a SdKfz. 250/9. Both sides had some off-board artillery.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the American side

We rolled to see who would play which side and Martin got the Americans and Julian and I the Germans. We were playing the Road Block scenario and the Americans were allowed to set up the majority of their forces as far as the river. Martin put the armoured command car on he bridge with the M10s, some of the truck mounted infantry and a Dozer Sherman behind them. The Greyhounds were allowed to deploy on the German side of the bridge.

The German Volkssturm was dispersed throughout the village and one of the fields on the flank. The Panzergrenadiere and Hetzer were hiding inside the village, while the Hornisse was waiting at the edge of the village with the bridge in sight. We took a slight risk as the German players, by not putting any scout units on the table, which meant we would start the game by drawing a chit. In retrospect this was the best decision we could make, since we drew a breakdown counter, which we played on the armoured command car on the bridge, which got an immobilized result. So Martin had to start shuffling vehicles around to get the Dozer in position.

Things are about to get tough

Things are about to get tough

But while he was doing so, the Germans called in some artillery on the bridge, which took out the command car for good and set the M10 ablaze. So when the Dozer arrived, it had to start by pushing the tank destroyer aside.

American starting positions

Getting the other vehicles out of the way for the dozer

Getting the M10 out of the way

Getting the M10 out of the way

But this was not the only problem for the Americans. when it was clear, that the bridge would be blocked for the foreseeable future, the Greyhounds chose to dash into the village to hide. Which proved to be a bad decision, since the lead Greyhound drove past one of the buildings where the Volkssturm was hiding. A Panzerfaust into the rear was a reward, after which it blew up.

American armour burning

American armour burning

First moves inside the village

First moves inside the village

All in all it took the dozer three turns to even get into position to try to clear the command car off the bridge. During that time the came under constant German artillery fire. To minimise their losses, the American infantry dismounted to disperse and get across the bridge.

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

But while doing so, the American infantry became pinned by fire from the Volkssturm in the fields.

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

And to make matters worse, by now the remaining German armour had arrived on the table and were taking up positions to counter any American moves off the bridge.

German halftracks staging inside the village

German halftracks staging inside the village

Getting into position

Getting into position

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

With the bridge cleared, the Americans finally managed to get their own spotters to a place where they could actually call in effective artillery fire on the German spotters killing them, but it was too little, too late. By now the Germans were in positions where they could target anything moving across the bridge from three sides.

Hetzer moving to the front

Hetzer moving to the front

By now the American force was close to breaking to breaking anyway. And when the Dozer started to push the command car, i was hit by an eighty-eight shell from the Hornisse.

Turkey shoot

Turkey shoot

At this point no coordinated push would have been possible anymore and the Americans withdrew.

 

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

Part of the reason things were this quiet lately are these minis. Earlier this year we decided to do the “counterattack” at Pegasus Bridge for Crisis in Antwerp. Everything seemed quite fine. I had done the bridge earlier this year (pictures to follow when I finish the banks of the canal after my holidays), we had vitally all the Normandy terrain we would need and I had enough minis. So it was all easy-going. Well that was until we did a test set-up late August and I realised that I only had support weapons, heavy weapons and officers done for the Paras, but virtually no grunts. So that had to be remedied and here they are.

All the miniatures are from Bolt Action, sculpted by Paul Hicks. And I have to say I really love them. Amongst all the great minis he has been doing in recent years these have always been my absolute favourites since they have so much character. So it was a pure joy to paint them.

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

British WWII Paras

This last guy is no Para, but a commando. Due to the similar clothing on the mini I decided to paint him up while I was on it anyway.

British WWII Commando

British WWII Commando

 

WWII British Stuart / Honey Troop

WWII British Stuart / Honey Troop

So, ten days after Crisis in Antwerp and I can finally try to catch up with life (so expect a few more posts in coming days).

Up first is a troop of Stuart Honeys for WWII. Just like the Shermans I did a couple of months ago, these Stuarts carry the markings of Irish Guards. Since the Shermans will be my strongest British tank force, it made the most sense, to depict the Stuarts as being from the same unit. The models used are M5A1 Stuarts from Company B which I bought for this purpose about a decade ago! The tanker is from Warlord Games. Since the Company B models usually do not come with open turret hatched, i had to drill and cut this one open and build a replacement hatch from plasticard.

It is pretty hard to find definitive info on which models the Irish Guards actually used. I think it might have been the M5 model, but personally I can live with M5A1s! Why am I calling these Honeys? Officially only the M3 models were called Honeys, but most Commonwealth soldiers just stuck with calling the later models Honeys as well, so I am doing the same.

Stuart Honey troop (front)

Stuart Honey troop (front)

Stuart Honey (front)

Stuart Honey (front)

Stuart Honey (back)

Stuart Honey troop (side)

Stuart Honey troop (side)

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in WWII, WWII: British

 

Crisis 2014 – Our game

Crisis 2014 – Our game

OK, now that things have settled in a little bit more, here are some pictures from our very own game at Crisis too.

We did run a demo for Battlegroup: Overlord. All in all the game was quite uneventful. A British unit consisting of two Troops of Shermans, a Troop of Honeys, three sections of Motorized Infantry and the usual support up against German ad hoc defenders from a Wehmacht unit with a few Panzer IV, a Panzer V, a 5cm and 8,8cm PaK each, Infantry and Panzerwerfer. The Brits had to expel the Germans and if possible destroy them. In the end both sides traded shots over the river. The Germans seemed unable to hit the broad side of a barn and the Brits were able to hit, but their shots simply bounced off the German armour (and not just the Panthers armour). All the while the British off-board artillery did a good job at pinning German troops, which in turn did a good job at recovering. In the end the only casualties were a Firefly (which took a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer rocket) and a Sherman taken out on the bridge by a Panzer IV.

Before I give you the pictures, I would like to say thank you, to the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp for running another fabulous show. As usual I am really looking forward to next year. I would also like to thank Julian for being my partner in crime this weekend. Also thanks to all those who stopped by to ask about the game and the nice comments! Also all the friends (not going to mention any names, since there would be more than two dozen and I would not want to miss anyone) who came by or into whom I ran at the show. It was just great chatting to you guys!!!

Crisis 2014 - The whole of the table

Crisis 2014 – The whole of the table

Crisis 2014 - Sherman troop on the move

Crisis 2014 – Sherman troop on the move

Crisis 2014 - Panzerwerfer firing

Crisis 2014 – Panzerwerfer firing

Crisis 2014 - Firefly taken out be a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer

Crisis 2014 – Firefly taken out be a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer

Crisis 2014 - Panzer in defensive positions

Crisis 2014 – Panzer in defensive positions

Crisis 2014 - British Shermans driving up to the bridge passing the burning Firefly

Crisis 2014 – British Shermans driving up to the bridge passing the burning Firefly

Crisis 2014 - Moving up to engage

Crisis 2014 – Moving up to engage

Crisis 2014 - A bridge too far for this Sherman

Crisis 2014 – A bridge too far for this Sherman

 

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich AAR (somewhere in Germany)

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich AAR (somewhere in Germany)

Friday I finally wanted to give my newly painted British an outing, so Julian, Martin, his son Max and I met for a game of Battlegroup: Fall of the Reich.

Martin and Max played the British (decided by the roll of a die). Their troops consisted of a forward headquarters on foot, a forward observer team and a scout team, each in a Bren Carrier, a veteran infantry platoon on foot (consisting of a command squad, three rifle sections, a 2″ mortar team and a combat medic) as well a troop of Shermans (two regular ones and two Fireflys) and a supply truck. The forward observers had access to a two-gun battery of 25pdr. guns and a medium priority artillery request up the chain of command.

Julian and I played the German defenders. They had a forward headquarters team and a forward observer team in a Kübelwagen each, a sniper, a grenadier platoon on foot (consisting of a command squad, three grenadiers squads, a combat medic, an HMG team with extra ammo carriers and a 7,5cm PaK40 with extra ammo carriers) and a PzKw IV H platoon with three tanks and a supply truck. The forward observers had access to a two-gun battery of 8.8cm guns and the whole force  benefitted from two special abilities which raided their battle group rating (for those not familiar with the rules… the point where the whole battle group breaks).

The Germans were defending a small village somewhere in the west of Germany. The village was overlooked by a large hillside on the British table edge and surrounded by woods, an orchard and some yet unplowed fields. There was also the wreck of a Tiger tank left from previous fighting. We played the delaying action scenario, which meant that either side had to bring the others battle group rating down to zero to win. If neither side had managed to do so by the end of round 9, it would be a German win, since they had managed to hold up the allies long enough. For those not familiar with the rules: each time one side looses a unit (or something just as traumatic happens) or if the other side takes an objective, it has to draw a random chit. While some indicate random events, most carry a value used to reduce the battle group rating. For completeness sake, we had four objectives on the table, but these had little importance on the game since each side took the two closest ones.

The British started with just their scout team deployed on the road leading down the hill, but would get continuous reinforcements every turn. The Germans had to roll for starting forces and did badly. So the only troops on the table were a squad of infantry, minus their LMG element hiding in one of the ruins with and objective marker, the observer team hiding in the upper floor of one of the intact houses (leaving their Kübelwagen in the front garden) and the sniper hiding under the roof of yet another house. One of the PzKw IV started on the table as well, but kept behind the row of houses not wanting to present a good target to the tons of British tanks that might come onto the table in the first round.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

The British automatically got initiative on the first round, but rolled badly for their reinforcements (just two units and they picked one of the Fireflys and the forward observer team). So the scouts just raced forward to the woods on their right flank, while the observers in the other Bren carrier raced forward to a hedge to hide there and claim their first objective marker. The Sherman just rumbled forward on the road. There was not much for the Germans to do, except for the infantry to claim to objective marker by their ruins and for the Panzer to drive towards the left flank, to get a bearing on the Firefly, while hopefully being in a position where other British tanks would not be able to get a shot at it once they arrived on table. The forward observers though called for an artillery strike on their British counterparts which was not right on spot, but close enough to pin the British observers and rattle the crew of the Firefly.

PzKw IV in firing position

PzKw IV in firing position

The next round the Brits had the initiative (actually we just forgot to roll for it and just handed it to them). Again they rolled poorly for reinforcements and only got the forward HQ on table (with the intention of quickly unpinning the observers) and some infantry. All the British units advanced, with the exception of the scout, who just stayed put. The observers were unpinned. Now things were handed over to the Germans. They only had a 33% chance for reinforcements every turn from this the second onwards, but they got some on the first try and even 5 units at that. So onto the table came the other two PzKw IV with the supply truck as well as the PaK and HMG teams. All these advanced towards the front, with the Panzer that had already been on the table loosening off a shot at the Firefly, but missing it. Again the German observers called in their artillery and this time it was true on target blowing the Bren carrier with the observer team up and killing two of the soldiers in the British forward HQ. This meant that the British would be unable to call for artillery of their own for the rest of the game.

PzKW IV

PzKW IV

The next round was actually quiet uneventful. The Germans just kept on advancing and the Panzer on the left flank and inside the village fired at the Sherman but found their shots just bouncing off or missing. For once during the whole game the German observers were unable to contact their off-board artillery which gave the British some respite. The German HMG team took the other objective while moving forward and that was about it. The British rolled good for reinforcements and got another infantry squad, the two regular Shermans and the supply truck on the table. The forward Firefly shot back at its assailants, but missed both its shots. Otherwise the rest of the troops just advanced.

Sherman firefly

Sherman firefly

Holy cow... the British are advancing

Holy cow… the British are advancing

The next round was actually quiet with the two PzKw IV trading shots once more with the Firefly with similar results. The Panzer on the right flank advanced and began to fire at the scout team. The German artillery tried to take out the supply truck, but only managed to kick up some dirt. Again, the troops on both sides just kept advancing, with the British infantry taking another objective as well. Also the Germans moved the supply truck forward (they had previously parked it outside of view behind a row of houses) in anticipation of ammo running low on the two tanks that had seen firing for some time now.

Truck moving into position to resupply one of the PzKw IV [photo had to be edited to conform with German law]

Truck moving into position to resupply one of the PzKw IV
[photo had to be edited to comply with German law]

British lines

British lines

As usual, the next round began with the Germans taking initiative and again the Panzer traded shots with their targets, with the usual nonexistent results. The one on the left flank, which had started the game on table revered to take up ammo at the supply truck. The HMG team set up position in the middle of the village and the PaK moved forward for the final time on the right flank. And again the German forward observers called in artillery to take out the British supply truck. The fire only managed to shower the supply truck and the forward Firefly with dirt, but one shell landed directly on the rear Firefly, setting it on fire. The British also got their final reinforcements on table.

View from the village towards the British

View from the village towards the British

That is why the Germans called it the "Tommie Toaster"

That is why the Germans called it the “Tommie Toaster”

On the British side the infantry and regular Shermans advanced, the later to finally get within firing range. The remaining Firefly got off one shot before it ran out of ammo. And this shot hit the freshly reloaded Panzer, punched through and exploded it, too. The British were happy that they finally had been able to destroy a German target, but it was short-lived, when we drew an Air Attack counter instead of one that would reduce the German battle group rating. But no German plane showed up, so at least no insult was added to injury.

British advance

British advance

The next round saw the Brits actually win initiative the only time during this game. They rolled poor on orders and so there was only a limited advance. The Firefly was resupplied, while the lead Sherman fired at the PzKw IV in the village and set it on fire, too. Again Martin and Max rejoiced the fact that the Germans had to draw a chit, but this time insult was indeed added to injure, since Julian drew a Breakdown counter, which resulted in the remaining Firefly to run out of fuel, being immobilized for the rest of the game.

Shermans advancing on the village

Shermans advancing on the village

With initiative shifting over to the Germans, the artillery now started concentrating on the poor bloody infantry, wiping out half a squad on the British left in the process. The PaK finally opened up as well, but missed all three shots directed at the lead Sherman. The remaining Panzer fired at the Sherman as well, but failed to hit. But as an icing on the cake, the Germans finally got further reinforcements, too. So now the forwards HQ, one more infantry section and all three infantry sections LMG teams entered the table as well.

PaK 40

PaK 40

During the eighth round we saw more of what we had seen before… tanks and AT guns fringe at one another, but hitting nothing. Again the German artillery shifted targets to the scout team still hiding in the woods. This time their fire scattered badly, but landed virtually directly on the 2″ mortar team which had been sneaking up through the woods, wiping it out. With only one round to go and hardly any chance to bring the Germans to breaking point, the British decided to call it a day. Which was probably a good idea, since the German battle group rating was only down to 31 (from 37), while the British was down to 8 (from 32).

Shermans in the orchard

Shermans in the orchard

It was a bit sad, that on the German side the only damage was dealt out by the artillery and on the British side only by the tanks. But this was mostly down to the dice luck. Another deficit (and this was entirely my fault), was to give the British infantry no transports, which kept them out of firing range for the game, once we Germans were happy to stay inside the village. I guess i must really tackle some Kangaroo models or another M5 soon so we can use a whole mobile platoon for late war games soon.

PzKw IV in the village

PzKw IV in the village

But I think, that it still was a fun and taxing game. Had the British managed to keep their observers in the game (or even fired at ours), this could have turned around easily and Julian and I certainly felt that spectre hanging over heads.

 

 

 

 

The thin red… err brown line

The thin red… err brown line

As some might remember, I decided to build my WWII British forces this year. Essentially this meant starting from nothing and ending the year with at least the Infantry platoon, two Sherman and a Churchill troop, Bren carriers, AT guns and some Recce elements. If everything went fine also some Funnies and Cromwells, but I do not want to push things too far.

With the armour progressing well (only the Churchills and Recce tanks missing) it was time to finish off the infantry. Having finished all the support, command, NCO and squad based heavy weapons already, it was time for the riflemen now. And that was not the most entertaining work, so doing 40 poor bloody infantry in one go proved a stupid idea. Even though I decided them into two batches, I still felt my interest drifting to other topics all the time. So essentially while these were started in April before our holiday, I only finished them this week. But I am happy I am done with them, since the only things missing now are the bicycle messenger, some extra AT crews and a three men having a brew diorama.

But now on to the minis. They are a wild mix of Victory Force Miniatures, vintage (=pre-Warlord) Bolt Action Miniatures and Artizan Miniatures. Again all painted to represent the South Lancs. Here are the infantry sections. The SGTs and Bren teams were painted earlier on, but I felt it would be stupid to show them without. Please note that the squad composition is not definitive, I just assembled them at random yesterday.

British Infantry (1st Section)

British Infantry (1st Section)

British Infantry (2nd Section)

British Infantry (2nd Section)

British Infantry (3rd Section)

British Infantry (3rd Section)

British Infantry (4th Section)

British Infantry (4th Section)

British Infantry (5th Section)

British Infantry (5th Section)

There are also more riflemen and the 2″ mortar (one was still on the TO&E late war and usually attached to platoon HQ). I have to say, that I am not sure what I painted all these extra riflemen for, since they sure cannot all be part of the HQ element. A couple of years ago I spend an afternoon in the Imperial War Museums library researching this and I am sure these are needed to bring the platoon to strength, but the information is safely written down in a notebook that my better half safely put away over the winter… but cannot remember where. :-/ So until I find that notebook or can remember what I painted these for, these are just the extras.

British Infantry (the extras)

British Infantry (the extras)

And then there are also a few Sappers to round things off. These minis are all from Warlord Games and I have to say, I am happy they do without those stupid cartoon faces they use for the German with the metal Brits!

British Sappers

British Sappers

And last here is a group shot of all the infantry (minus the Mortar and AT teams).

British Infantry group shot

British Infantry group shot

So this is it for today. I started work on the prize minis yesterday and hope to have them done by the end of this weekend or early next week when I will post pictures of them before they go in the mail. After that it is going to be those Murawski Poles and after that… well no idea yet! 😀

 

Two troops of Irish Guards Shermans… yes in 28mm

Two troops of Irish Guards Shermans… yes in 28mm

Those who saw the ongoing coverage of my adventures during the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will know, that I narrowly missed adding some eight Shermans to my total. I finally managed to sit down on Tuesday (well I wanted to have some time off painting after the mad rush towards the end and there were social events as well) and finished them. so here they are!

Now you all know (at least I hope so ;-)) that my infantry is based on the South Lancs. So a some time in February I decided to tackle my Shermans (which I had built some 5+ years ago) and was in for a surprise. They were supported by 27th Armoured Brigade which was useless for my needs. Now they operated mainly Duplex Drive Shermans and no Firefly. Another problem with them was, that they got disbanded and their men and tanks got distributed to other units in the summer of 1944, so there was not much mileage to be had from them. So I looked for another unit and one that would give me mileage. So an obvious choice seemed to be the Guards Armoured Division. They saw their fair share of fighting all through the war and obviously there is their big role in Market Garden. And Market Garden also dictated my choice of sub-unit since these are the Irish Guards. Why… well they were in lead when the tanks started rolling so they seemed like a natural choice. Also this will mean, that I will have a unit from all four countries that make up the United Kingdom in my British WWII forces in the end.

Shermans lined up in bocage field

Shermans lined up in bocage field

But this also gave me some problems. The Irish Guards actually used Sherman V models (aka M4A4) while these are M4 models. As I said, I build these more than half a decade ago and stuffed them with stowage, so I was in no mood to go and get myself different models really, so these will have to do and I hope I can be forgiven! The other problem was decals. I thought I had enough for two troops of Shermans, but I did not, so some had to be ordered. Easy enough since Dom´s Decals had almost all I needed. [If you need some for your 1:48th or 1:56th scale British tanks go and drop by Dom´s online shop since he has a nice selection that is getting far too little love from customers as far as I know!] Why almost… well the Guards used to fill their tactical markings in black. After some eMailing around, I found someone to do me custom blue tactical markings filled with black. Why blue? Blue is the color for the junior regiment in a Division, which the Irish Guards were. In this case I picked the triangle to show that these tanks belong to A Squadron. While I found no photographic evidence, that the Irish Guards painted the tank number into the markings like some units did, I still did so (freehand) to make sure the tanks could be distinguished on the tabletop.

So on to the models itself. All are 1:48th scale Tamiya models, with the exception of the troops leader for 1 troop, which is a Hobby Boss. They all come with a wide selection of stowage from at least three different aftermarket companies, Tamiya, Hobby Boss and some scratch build. The stowage boxes on the tanks are from Chieftain models. Initially I scratch build them from plasticard, but I was able to talk Crouchie from Chieftain into giving me eight separate boxes. Those who know how long Chieftain has been out of business will know how long these tanks have been sitting around, waiting to be painted! The tankers are by Warlord.

1 Troops comes mostly with additional improvised armor in shape of Sherman tracks welded to the hull and turrets, as can be seen on some contemporary photos. Most of these are by Tamiya as well. I send the good people at Tamiya Germany an eMail asking for a separate sprue of tracks, which they send me. Although it turned out, at a hilarious price. I think I could have gotten almost a complete kit off eBay for that price. :-/

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , rear)

The Firefly got a scratch build stowage rack in the rear. I am really in love with that piece. Especially since it makes the tank appear much larger, so it looks like a real beast on the table!

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , rear)

Now 2 Troop does without the extra track links for protection. The only extra protection is the hessian tape netting on the troop leaders turret. For ages I had planned to use paper punch outs from my comb binding machine. I glued those on last week and frankly was quiet unhappy with the results. But since time was running out on the Challenge I painted them up anyway and would probably even have kept them. But after time had run out, I decided to go back to it. I glued gauze dyed green over the whole mess, cut some punch outs in half, soaked them in white glue, placed them on the netting, gave them another coat of white glue and painted them. And now I am even happy with it all! So a good thing I ran out of time!

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly crew

Sherman Firefly crew

And now to leave you with two “aerial” photos to show all the stowage.

Sherman troops (top view, front)

Sherman troops (top view, front)

Sherman troops (top view, rear)

Sherman troops (top view, rear)

 

 

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WWII British M5 half-tracks (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #13)

To complete my ever expanding British forces, here are some more rides for my poor bloody infantry. This time something heavier than those Universal Carriers, namely some M5 half-tracks. Now the M5 was created when the usual manufacturers like Autocar, Diamond T and White could not keep up with the demand. Additional models were produced by the International Harvester Company. But since they had different machinery from the others, changes had to be made to the design. Most of all a different type of steel was used for the armor, which made the vehicle heavier and made the armour was slightly less effective against small AP rounds but reduced the chances of shrapnel. This lead to the use of different axles and a strengthened hull. But the only outward difference between the M5 and M3 models were that the rear corners were rounded, while the mudguards had right angeles ends. Anyway, the US government saw these features as shortcomings and as a result the M5 became an export (lend-ease) version. Which is why I picked it for my Brits.

M5 Halftracks (group shot - front)

M5 Halftracks (group shot – front)

The halftrack model itself is by Warlord (I thought they were now OOP, but last weekend I saw one in their online store again). I had initially thought about using Corgi models for my Brits like I did with my Americans, but decided against it on the grounds, that I wanted M5 for them. Plus the good people at Warlord gave me its dimensions before ordering and I found that it was the same size. Well that is until the models arrived and I found that it actually was smaller. I decided not to care since chances of US and British infantry operating side by side on the tabletop are about the same as finding a snowball in hell. When I finally cleaned the models up this Christmas I regretted that decision, since I spend more than two hours on each of them just cleaning them up.
M5 Halftrack (group shot - rear)

M5 Halftrack (group shot – rear)

Now looking at the markings, you will find, that these are not for 3rd (British) Infantry Division like all my infantry and carriers, but for the Guards Armoured Division. Now I had a bit of a problem finding out if 3rd Infantry Division actually had these or not. What I found seemed to indicate their use as ambulances or for HQ´s but I remained constantly unsure if they were used as a troop carrier. On the other hand, they were used as such with the Armoured Divisions so this seemed like a natural choice. Why the Guards? Well as you know I am modeling my infantry on the South Lancs from 3rd Infantry Division. Now on D-Day and in Normandy they were supported by the 27th Armoured Brigade. Unfortunately the 27th were disbanded late summer 1944 and distributed to other units so I would not get much milage from them. And they were using a lot of  DD Shermans, but no Fireflys so they would not have fit my needs anyway. So I chose the Irish Guards for my tank formations. In that sense, I painted the halftracks to fit.
M5 Halftrack (front)

M5 Halftrack (front)

Now the passengers are by Victory Force Miniatures. I only bought enough for one carrier, since these were designed to it into a Corgi halftrack and I wanted to make sure they would fit this on first. Since they do fit like a charm, I will have to get myself two more sets of passengers from them in due time, as well as drivers and a passenger for the gunners position.
M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

While we are talking about the gunners position. The M5 was supplied to the British with a full complement of .50cal and .30cal machine guns. Most British formations chose to remove these and did not use them. I chose to do the same here, so these are unarmed.
 

WWII British mortars and guns (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #11)

So now it is time to continue with my British Infantry platoon. Or in this case rather some ”very” heavy weapons for them.
Lets start off with the lightest of them all, a pair of 3” mortars. Medium mortars were a very essential of the lower level (company or handed down to platoons) support weapons, giving the soldiers on the ground limited artillery support without the need to go through higher level commands. I know many people just use only one in skirmish gaming, but my previous experience has taught me, that one simply does not make much of an impact on the game, while two do without becoming a game breaker. The minis are old vintage Bolt Action. Unfortunately this means that both crews are exactly the same, but maybe I will get me a Warlord Games team one day to give them more variety.
British 3" mortars [BA]

British 3″ mortars [BAM]

Now if 3” mortars are on the light end of the ”artillery” support a platoon can call upon, here is the heavy end… a 25pdr. artillery gun. I bought this well over half a decade ago, back when no one was producing any AT guns with the idea that this could give at least some heavy fire power to the poor bloody infantry. Not sure what I was thinking. I only ever read about the 25pdr. used for direct fire in North Africa and I only intend to war-game Europe. Anyway the whole set is by Artizan and actually quiet nice, even though it comes with their old style of faces, which I do not like too much. The only grief for me was that I found the limber to be missing one of the doors. Now after more than half a decade I did not want to approach the good people at Artizan for a replacement, so I scratch build one from plasticard and wire.
British 25pdr. [ART]

British 25pdr. [Art]

So do you care for some real AT guns? Well here we go. This is a 6pdr. gun. This time by Warlord games. Now you may find that this one (and the 17pdr. in the later pictures) have quiet a large crew. Now I bought the para version from Warlord some time ago but it arrived with a regular infantry crew. I got a proper replacement crew, but in the end it meant I had more crew than usual, which is nice. I had originally planned to do a cloud camo on the gun, but decided against it. The 6pdr.s were used by the US Army as well and I plan to use the gun for them, too. I know the Americans used it without the muzzle break and the green is wrong, but I guess most people will not notice. But I think everyone will notice a camo that was not used by the Armericans so I did without.
British 6pdr. [WG]

British 6pdr. [WG]
“Those skirts are not going to help you here!”

British 6pdr. [WG]

British 6pdr. [WG]

So now something heavier, a 17pdr.. Again the model is by Warlord Games with a little extra crew from their hic up. Not much to say, except that this one got the cloud camo since it was only used by the British. I was a bit afraid how this would come out with the weathering technique used on the British vehicles and guns (as described on the Universal Carrier post), but it really comes out well. I personally believe, that this is due to the fact that I did not use black for the camo, but a very dark slate grey.

British 17pdr. [WG]

British 17pdr. [WG]

British 17pdr. [WG]

British 17pdr. [WG]

So while I was busy painting guns, I decided to tackle some guns for the paras I had around as well. These are a 6pdr. (para version without the enfilade gun shield and collapsable legs) and a pack howitzer. Before anyone asks… the crews for these were painted some 3 ½ years ago and are just there as scenery and did not count for points in the Challenge. Those who have followed my painting adventures will notice that their eyes lack the black outlines I switched for in 2012, but with the the heavier shading of the skin I have used since 2010, so that is a good telltale sign of their age.
British Para pack howitzer [WG]

British Para pack howitzer [WG]

British Para 6pdr. [WG]

British Para 6pdr. [WG]

So this is it. As indicated before these were weathered the same way as my other British vehicles with a Modelmates weathering  washes and pigments from MIG. The crews all wear shoulder flashes from the 3rd Infantry Div, to make sure they match my other infantry. While painting these, I felt that a little more firepower might be due, especially one capable of taking on some big cats, so in due time these will see the addition of another 6pdr. and another 17pdr.. With this in mind I leave you with a group shot of this entry:
British Guns

British Guns

Coming up next… British M5 halftracks.