On The Workbench – 2

Rooting through my storage boxes unearthed two Matadors and three Zis-5s that been waiting since spring to be assembled; a T-70 that will probably end up, minus its turret, as an artillery tractor; and a Poundland truck. The Poundland jobbie responded to a bit of cork on the front to make a radiator, with a cut down RoCo rear body. It looks vaguely Italian now.

On The Workbench 002

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On the Workbench

Stuff that has been lying around for a while had a reshuffle and some work as 90th Light (Afrika) Division* is assembled. Some familiar pieces of equipment are standing in until the correct models are purchased. A trawl of my spare infantry boxes by General Heldenkleber raised enough grenadiers to fill a softskin-mounted regiment, but a few more trucks are needed – can’t have too many of them y’know. The last two 250s have been cobbled together for the gepanzert battalion**

On the Workbench 001

Yesthatphil has pimped the surplus Steyr Kfz70*** that I gave him, which prompted me to fill mine with a few PSC seated infantry and a spare tank commander who should probably be standing on the rear parcel shelf to get that extra bit of height in the desert. Phil’s Italian crew have decided that their mount would look better with a Breda cannon, racing stripes and cool shades for the crew – that sort of thing. My HQ staff have just added some clutter and spread themselves around on the back seats a bit.

90th Light Afrika Division WIPInevitably, with the changing orbat of this division that only lasted for 2 years in the desert, my orbat is a composite.

*90th Light Afrika Motorized Division (Nafziger, 2001):

288th Sonderverband Panzer Grenadier Regiment
155th Motorised Infantry Regiment
580th Reconnaissance Company
606th Army Light AA Battalion
361st Afrika Artillery Battalion, with 3 Batteries of 4 – 105mm Howitzers each
1 AA Battery with (12 – 20mm AA Guns)
Fallschirmjäger (Parachute) Lehr Battalion (700 – 1,200 men in Martuba, 360 present on 1/6/42)
90th Light Afrika Motorized Division (Feldgrau, 2015):
155th Rifle Regiment
200th Motorized Infantry Regiment
361st Africa (Infantry) Regiment
361st Artillery Battalion
190th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Motorised Recce Company 580
Motorised Signals Company 190
Heavy Infantry Gun Company 707
Heavy Infantry Gun Company 708
Nafziger G., (2001) The Afrika Korps: an Organizational History 1941-1943, Nafziger Collection.
Pipes, J. (n.d.) 90.leichte-Afrika-Division http://www.feldgrau.com/leInfDivAfk.php?ID=1  [Accessed 21 July 2015]
**288th Sonderverband Panzer Grenadier Regiment had no armoured transport. These guys are just standing in on their way to Russia until more trucks arrive.
*** Phil can tell a Steyr from a Horsch, even if I can’t.

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Panzer Marsch!

15th and 21st Panzer DivisionsIt is some time since 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions shook out into march formation on the desert sands. Here is progress to date as they form up ready to attack:

15th Panzer Division - 1

New additions to 15th Panzer Division include a new SdKfz 10/4 at bottom right protecting the divisional headquarters and an SdKfz 11 towing the 7.62cm PaK 38 (r) at top left. My SdKfz 250/10 is now in the gepanzert grenadier battalion at middle left.

21st Panzer Division - 1

Similarly,  21st Panzer Division sports a new SdKfz 10/4 at bottom right  and an SdKfz 11 towing the 7.62cm PaK 38 (r) at top left. The gepanzert grenadier battalion at middle left has a new SdKfz 250/11, with a 250/3 for the regimental commander.

15th Panzer Division - 2

3 Chenillettes are still standing in for limbers and an ambulance.

21st Panzer Division - 2

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Sd Kfz 250 “Alte Art” replaces “Neu”

SdKfz 250/3 Afrika Korps DAK

PSC Sd Kfz 250 AlteIn common with the entire WW2 wargaming world, I too am sticking “250 Alte” together and enjoying the plethora of extra bits. The five mortars were chopped down and went straight into Gebirgsjäjer and Landser battalions. Adding deployed trails for the SdKfz 250/11 sporting a sPzB 41 was an inspired touch by PSC, as are the total of 8 crew. No complaints there*. The ’41s should really go into Gross Deutschland, but for the time being the example I have flung together can sit in DAK

PSC Sd KFZ Alte Mortar

The lack of a radio frame antennae on the sprue was expected, as they have no use in FoW and other Taccie games, so I made my own. It has been bent a bit by the crew using it as a handrail for jumping in and out  when they are in too much of a hurry to use the back door. A few extra crew crowded in, which is just as well because it hides their unnaturally proportioned lower bodies. As usual, they are in too much of a hurry to go to war, and are tearing off to DAK in their undercoats. Another box may well come in handy for ambulances and limbers, as I only  need a couple more 250s for the grenadier battalions.

Russland, Schützenpanzer »Div. Großdeutschland«

The two displaced 250 Neue will continue to do sterling service in one of my Eastern Front divisions. They will be in plenty of time to put their “retreat gaiters” on.

PSC Sd Kfz 250 Alte

*My only complaint is that the front axle cannot fit into its socket if the wheels are to fit under the mudguards. Oops PSC, someone measured that one badly.

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8th Army Tanks at Alamein

Pay attention meglomaniacs! I wondered how many 8th Army tanks I would need to fight the whole of 2nd ALAMEIN in NQM 1:30 scale if they were all on the table at once. Not as many as I thought as it turns out. As the oddly formatted table below (thanks WordPress) shows, about 36.

I know a nice man with a big table, and who doesn’t have  this many tanks when he pools them with his chums,  so this seems do-able? There are a few gaps in the table below, but it seems about right.

Trebian at GAZALAGeneralissimo Trebian lines up his brave troops to give BIR HAKIEM a good kicking

Sherman Crusader Lee/Grant Stuart M3 Matilda Valentine Scorpion
  8 8 6 3 1 8
8th Army  
1 Army Tk Bde 4 (2)
XXX Corps   6
9 Armd Bde 1 2 1
XIII Corps   1 2
7 Armd Div
4 Lt Armd Bde 1 2
22 Armd Bde 2 2 1
X Corps  
1 Armd Div
2 Armd Bde 3 2
10 Armd Div
8 Armd Bde 1 1 2
24 Armd Bde 3 1

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The One True Scale – Garden Wargaming

Shed du Soleil

15mm is my preferred gaming scale, but I have always hankered after Garden Wargaming in the One True Scale. For a couple of weeks, I have been painting a 1:1 terrain piece in my garden, built with spares from my bits box*. The pros and cons of wargaming in the One True Scale are briefly as follows:

Pros

  •  Any DIY shop stocks authentic colours . They have nicer names: Misty Dawn replaces Rotting Flesh.
  • Any figure that you put in your buildings will be correctly anatomically proportioned and have realistic flesh tones.
  • Buildings weather naturally without the need for filters or washes.

Cons

  • I only have space for one garage and one shed in my collection.
  • Figures in your collection demand to be fed and taken shopping at regular intervals.
  • Collecting sword-wielding scantily-clad fantasy babes in this scale will almost certainly cause domestic strife!

Heavy Lifting Stuff

Here we see the lovely Mrs K doing some heavy work on the fascia boards. The colour scheme internally was dictated by my spare tester pots and was declared to be Magic Roundabout meets Cirque du Soleil. The shed also sports a posh designer chandelier, generously donated by a friend, and an oak door recycled from the house front door. Drinks cabinet to follow :-)

Cirque du Soleil

Meets Magic Roundabout

* The roof was made from 3 old internal doors. Internal panelling came from a salvaged sauna and floor tiles picked up from display boards from the DIY shop next door to my old business.

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NQM Soviet Air Army Order of Battle circa 1943

It seems reasonable that the air army and army headquarters would probably be co-located or close by each other (I have no evidence for this yet).

Soviet VVS Air Corps (Box 007 May 2015)

Air Army HQ

Night bomber division: 5 regiments = 5 Po-2

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-7B

Sturmovik division: 3 regiments = 3 IL-2

Sturmovik division (from GKO Reserve) : 2 regiments = 2 IL-2

Fighter Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-9

Fighter division: 2 regiments = 2 LaGG-5

Bomber Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Bomber division: 3 regiments = 3 Pe-2

Bomber division: 2 regiments = 2 Pe-2

Air Elements at Sub-divisional Level

Transport regiment = Li-2?

Recce regiment = R-10? (I am using a lend-lease Kittyhawk)

Artillery spotting regiment = Po-2?

HQ elements including communication, training and ambulance

 Quoted from table on p. 185 with author’s guesses marked by “?”

Boyd, A., (1977), The Soviet Airforce Since 1918. Macdonald and James, London.

 

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Cataloguing the NQM Collection

Regular, and even casual perusers of this blog, will have worked out that there is a huge gulf between the orbat pages and the reality of the toyboxes, seen here on the Queen’s unofficial  birthday parade.

Parade 012

Trebian is fond of remarking that if you do not have a catalogue for your collection, then it is just a heap of stuff. The ever-changing catalogue for my famously disorganised heap of wargames toys is now visible on the sidebar. The sole purpose of the page is to be a photo archive of my NQM boxes. You have been warned :-)

Showing an interest may earn you your Crossed Palms d’Or to the  Meritorious Order of the Anorak. To be an Ordinary Member, all you have to do is be an Anorak. Reading this page, for example, would qualify you as an Anorak by default. To be a Meritorious Member, you do actually have to own an anorak*.

Whilst worthy garments in their own right , furry parkas are for Junior Acolytes only and waterproof walking coats are the proud dress for smart occasions of an English Ordinary Member.

* Anyone who has met John Armatys knows that a DPM combat jacket counts too!

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More Big Numbers on the Ostfront Nov 42- Jul 43

1943 was an increasingly desperate year for Axis forces on the Ostfront. STALINGRAD and KURSK spring readily to mind as examples. Some of the numbers tell their own story*.

The Key Rail Junction

The quality of Soviet infantry had been steadily dropping as the most able recruits were drafted into the technical arms and services (Keimke, 1968, p147), compared to the 5 Soviet Tank armies, each of 2 tank and 1 mechanised corps; the best troops generally being found in guards units. German infantry had fought without pause for well over a year, and their generals had commented on the lack of staying power that some divisions were now exhibiting.

The Soviets had been ruthlessly concentrating on production, only innovating if it did not cut volume, or if there was a clear need, so the quantity of tanks available to them does not tell the whole story. This excellent summary gives almost half of the Soviet inventory available at the front as light tanks in November 1942 and roughly a third  in Jul 1943. The numbers are almost constant at about 3,500 tanks, What changed in 1943 is that an influx of nearly 3,000 medium tanks reached the front. In other words, the battles in ’42/3 were as likely to be between Pz IIIs and T-60/70s as T-34s.

In the air, by summer 1943, the PVO outnumbered the Luftwaffe by 2.5:1, so that in November 1942 the Germans, facing some 3,200 aircraft with 4,000 or so machines of their own, found the numbers against them swelling to 8,300 by July. This was triple the size of the PVO in May 1942, and moreover, the new aircraft coming off the production lines were of the latest types.

Balkankreuze2

13th Air Army faced Luftflotte I on the VOLKHOV front with 40-50% extra allocated to the air army as occasion demanded from GKO reserves. In addition the air army had a regiment each of transport (GVF), recce and artillery spotting aircraft:

13th Air Army (formed on 25 November 1942)

  • 275th Fighter Aviation Division “Pushkinskaya Krasnoznamennaya
  • 276th Bomber Aviation Division “Gatchinskaya twice Red Banner orders of Suvurov and Kutuzov
    • 3 Pe-2? (@s3)
  • 277th Assault Aviation Div “Krasnoselskaya Red Banner orders of Suvurov and Kutuzov
      • 15th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment – Il-2 Sturmovik (s3)
      • 566th Assault Aviation Regiment – Il-2 Sturmovik (s3)
      • 943rd Assault Aviation Regiment – Il-2 Sturmovik (s3)
      • 999th Assault Aviation Regiment – Il-2 Sturmovik (s3)

Luftflotte I

  • Kampfgeschwader 1 –  2 Bombers (@s3)  [Ju 88A]
  •  KG1-2“Hindenburg”
  • Kampfgeschwader 76 –  3 Bombers (@s3) [Ju 88A]
  • KG76
  • Kampfgeschwader 77 –  3 Bombers (@s3) [Ju 88A]
  • KG77-1
  • Jagdgeschwader 54 – 3 Fighters (@s3) [Bf 109F]
  • JG54-1 “Grunherz”
  • Jagdeschwader 53 (-) – 1 Fighter (@s3) [Bf 109F]
  • JG53-1 “Pik As”

Subordinated/Attached Units

  • Transport squadron (Ju 52) – Ju 52 transport (L1)
  • five liaison squadrons (Fi 156) – 5 Fi 156 recce (@R1)
  • IV.Flakkorps (anti-aircraft artillery)
    • 2. Flak-Division (Mot)** – Commander (C3) [in Radio truck]
      • Stab/Flak-Regiment 41 – 8.8cm Flak (S3) + Limber (L3) Sdkfz 7
        Stab/Flak-Regiment 151 – 2.0cm Flak (S3) + Limber (L3) Sdkfz 10Stab/Flak-Regiment 164 – 2.0cm Flak (S3) + Limber (L3) Sdkfz 7
      • Flak-Abteilung 517
    • 6. Flak-Division – Commander (C3) [in Radio truck]
      • Stab/Flak-Regiment 43 – 8.8cm Flak (S3) + Limber (L3) Sdkfz 7Stab/Flak-Regiment 164 – 2.0cm Flak (S3) + Limber (L3) Sdkfz 7

leichte Heimat-Batterie 6./I – accounted for in the numbers above

* I have drawn confidence from my last post on numbers that  followers have not just halved. It couldn’t have been the picture of the Ratte could it?

** All the 8.8cm Flak is separated into Regiments 41 and 43. In reality there were approximately 12 guns per regiment.

Sources:

  1. http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tank-strength-and-losses-eastern-front.html
  2. Stalingrad to Berlin by Ziemke (1968)
  3. Boyd A. (1977) The Soviet Airforce since 1918. Macdonald and Jame’s – London.
  4. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luftflotte_1
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_army_%28Soviet_Union%29
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76th_Air_Army
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Air_Forces_Order_of_Battle_1_May_1945
  8. http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/inhaltsverzeichnisgliederungLw.htm

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Highland Fling

Wild Camp near Sanquahar

More frolicking around when I should really be putting paint onto the little wee chaps. A week in Scotland around the western highlands took in the site of the Glen Coe massacre and the Commando memorial. The rest of the time was spent being wild and disreputable in kayaks, with no discernible wargames content, as the following pictures evidence.

Rivers paddled:

Sunday. The Nith, followed by carousing in “a mens’ pub” in Sanquahar and a wild camp in the glens. The picture is of the climber’s bar in the King’s House, a fortified inn built to provide succour to decent folk venturing into the wild west. The Hobbit thrones are much later additions.

The King's House Cairn Gorm

Monday. The Tay at Grandtully rapids. The England slalom kayak squad were there making it look easy. One of them thought the river was “stonking”. I was delighted to be able to tell them that it was much higher three weeks earlier, but omitted to mention that I had been in a raft at the time.

Upper Spean on two pipes

Tuesday. The Upper Spean, on which I had a massive swim down the final gorge section, followed by the Middle Roy in glorious sunshine. Because of the time of day, the last section was done almost blind as the sun shone directly into our faces along the line of the river.

Upper Spean Swimming the GorgeI am told that the gorge is much easier if you are still actually in your boat.

Triple Falls on the River Etive, shooting the first drop

Wednesday. The Etive, shooting Triple Falls. We gathered quite a crowd, as apparently, sensible kayakers mostly walk round this bit.

River Etive Triple Falls Nailing the Line on the Second Drop

As I soared off the final 20 foot drop, feeling like a celebrity paddler, I discovered why! My previous pasting on the Spean had prepared me for the thirty seconds or so of being recirculated upside down in the huge boily plunge pool at the bottom of the drop. Us star athletes are used to that sort of thing!

River Etive Triple Falls Final Drop

Friday. The Garry.Reputed to be the best grade 3 river in Scotland. I’m just passing a bit of time surfing over to the left of the river , where it isn’t quite so lumpy. This time, I am still in my boat.

River Garry Final Surf Wave

No shipwrecks and nobody drownded, there were nuthin’ to laff at at all.

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