Category Archives: WWII: Poland

Polish tanks for 1939

Polish tanks for 1939

A few days ago I was replying to a comment on my Polish infantry, when it dawned on me, that I never posted pictures of their armour, even though I finished those nearly two years ago. So here we go.

Years and years ago I was planning to do a 1940 French army (no longer necessary, since my mate Martin owns a very substantial one now) and I bought six Renault FT (also called FT-17) tanks from Trenchworks. Now the Trenchworks models are on the expensive side, but to be fair, these are some of the nicest resin models I have worked with. Extremely detailed and extra clean, bubble free castings. All the turrets sport holes for magnets and change of main weapon (both magnets and weapon options are provided). So it would have been a shame if I had to sell them on at a loss. Fortunately the FT seems to have been the tank virtually everyone bought from the French in the interwar period and the Poles were no different. So this gave me a chance to use them with my Polish army. The Poles actually did some modernisation on the FT before the German invasion so the tracks are not 100% correct and they used a different turret, but I guess without me mentioning it, hardly anyone would have noticed.

Polish Renault FT tanks with machine gun turrets

While I wanted my Polish tanks to feature the soft edged rectangles camouflage pattern, I quickly realised that this would be a nightmare to airbrush with the very angled frontal armour and the forward return roller assembly protruding out front. So I went with the wavy line pattern for the FT tanks.

Polish Renault FT tanks with 37mm cannons

Everything from here on (both tanks and crews) are by Warlord Games. The vehicles are all very nice, but one can really notice the difference compared to the Trenchworks. The Warlord models all have very, very tiny air bubbles which do at times really show after the weathering was applied.

Up first are the TKS tankettes. I have two with machine guns and one with the 20mm cannon. I always liked their looks, so these were a must. But I have to admit… I would not want to imagine going to war in one of these. Granted, their profile was extremely small, but their armour was so weak that I guess you could just as well have gone into combat as part of a machine gun team, with an even smaller profile.

Polish TKS tankettes

Now on to something heavier, the 7TP tanks. The name is somewhat ironic, since it refers to them being “7 ton Polish” versions of the Vickers 6 ton Mark E produced under license, but by the time the went into production, they actually weighted in at 9 tons. I have two 37mm anti tank gun versions and one twin turret machine gun version. Since the Battlegroup Blitzkrieg rules call for different numbers, I am sure that I will add another AT version sometime in the future.

Polish 7TP with 37mm gun

Polish twin turret TP7

And last the Samochód pancerny wz. 29 “Ursus” armoured car. Which is actually quite big, heavy and well armed for an armoured car. I went with the wavy type camouflage on this on. All eight vehicles that saw combat were part of 11th Cavalry Brigade and all photos that I could find showed them with this type of camouflage.

Ursus armoured car
Ursus armoured car

Polish Army 1939

Polish Army 1939

As I have indicated before, I am currently working on a big project and that is building a Polish force for 1939. Our club always attends Crisis in Antwerp and our plans for the next six years is to host a game based on an 80th anniversary from the Second World War. So this year it will be Fall Weiß, the invasion of Poland.

So for the last six or seven weeks, I have been working on the infantry component for my Polish army. All the minis are from Warlord games. Some still sculpted by Paul Hicks for Bolt Action Miniatures (mostly those soldiers in normal uniforms) some by different sculptors after Warlord bought the range (those in greatcoats, guns and support weapons). I have to say I enjoyed painting the Paul Hocks sculpts the most. They are not as refined as his current work, especially the faces. But the newer models often have weaker details and some suffer from a huge scale creep. All in all they are all good models though and the army has been fun to paint. All that being said, I only have time to paint during the weekends, so I went for a quick paint job on these minis. Before I get started on the minis themselves… yes I intentionally put white and red flowers on the bases. I felt they are a fitting decoration for Poles.

So, up first the regimental command team.

They are being followed by the regimental communication teams. A wire team and a radio team. I will later do a radio truck as well. BTW, I have no idea what kind of breed the dog pulling the wire spool is supposed to be, but he seemed closest to a wolfhound, so that is the way I painted it.

So let’s go for something heavier. The artillery. The only guns available on the market [Edit 07.06.2021: At the time when i wrote this post] are WZ 1897-17 75mm Howitzers. I shuffled some of the crew around between these and the Bofors 37mm AT gun. The loader for the Bofors was simply holding the shell too high to look realistic. The artillery spotter team are simply two normal infantrymen, one of them with binoculars. Nothing to special, but none of the other minis really looked like a spotters either or were more useful somewhere else.

Last for the support elements is a sniper team.

Up next is the infantry platoon. The platoon command actually packs a good punch. One of the men carries an AT rifle anyway and since I painted one soldier armed with a LMG too many, I allocated him to this team.

Next are the company support elements… medic, mortar team, HMG team, AT rifle tram and a Bofors 37mm AT gun. The later required some tricks. As I said before, the leader did not quite fit the gun and was transferred to the howitzers. To make up for the missing crewmember I added a kneeling rifleman covering the gun crew. The other problem is that the gun shield comes in two parts. Mine was a poor cast where the two parts meet, but I only noticed that problem when I was close to painting it. Some that was covered up by some camp netting. Which is a real shame, since the weathering on the shield turned out quite nicely.

The infantry platoon itself is made up of three ten men rifle section and three nine men support sections. The later include a LMG each. I am not going to bore you by showing you three virtually indentical teams each, so here is one each.

All in all, there are almost 100 minis in total here. Quite happy with my output. Ironically I finished these today, on the 80s anniversary of the invasion of Poland. So I thought I should share these with you today.

Hope you enjoyed these. Now I will have to tackle around 20 vehicles. Not sure I am looking forward to that, but they will get done.