Category Archives: Artillery

PSC Kickstarter 2 – CMP Tractors and 25 Pounders

4 Regiments of 25-pounders forming

The new CMP tractor sits nicely in size in between the Fow 1:120 and the Denzil Skinner 1:100 scale Morris Quads, so a crafty wargamer will place the Skinners closest, the CMPs in the table centre and the FoWs at the far end to give a false sense of perspective. John Sandars was a past master of this wheeze, except that he used 1/35th and 1/72nd models in his dioramas.

Manning the Guns

Here are the WIP photos. I was delighted to see that the British gunners look like people, and not Orkses. They are still a little short in the leg, but they fit in nicely with everyone elses’ caricatures. I should have gone in for fantasy gaming *sigh*

The Gun Line

I thought it would be fun to see if the kit could produce one of the cut-down narrow-wheelbase 25pdrs used in Burma. The nearest unfinished gun is a reasonable enough approximation. The cam net on the back of the CMP hides the fact that I struggled to get a close fit at the back of the tractor. It also frees up a spare wheel. I am going to need a total of 8 for the extra four 25 Pdrs that can be part assembled from the kit sprue, and will have to find four spare limbers from somewhere.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Modelling, WWII

More Tilting

Flatbeds are much more useful on the wargames table than trucks with covered canopies, but having overdosed on PSC 15mm Raupenschleppers the tinkerer in me thought,

“what would a tilt frame look like?”

Raupenschlepper Ost with Brass Wire Tilt

Here is the answer: For good measure, I added some canopy struts to one of the QRF  Bedford QLBs that had been assembled earlier. Now it is just crying out for a couple of scruffy gunners lounging in the back.

Bedford QLB with Brass Wire Tilt

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, Modelling, Trucks, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

Raupenschlepper Progress

I took a break from the massive heap of nowhere-near-finished British Desert Infantry to complete something achievable. It turned out to be a true-scale door (don’t ask) and this practically free Raupenschlepper Ost with the scratchbuilt tracks.

img_7752

It turns out that a creative bit of paintwork on the wheels can fool the eye into thinking that it is a proper model. I’ve grouped it with a Peter Pig Pak 38 to lend it some credibility, and because it is heading straight to one of my Neu Art German infantry divisions. Note the over-the-top superdetailing on the grenadier’s collar tabs. He is very proud of his new Waffenfarben.

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

Camouflage nets 3

Camouflaged Raupenschlepper 7.5cm PaKs

Camouflage nets come to the rescue on my Raupenschlepper bodges. Even though the Germans don’t need them for a (game) year or so, I dressed them and put the crews in place, because they were fun to do.

Raupenschlepper Scratchbuilt Tracks

One more ‘Schlepper was eked out of an einheits cab, tilt and side panels, with the track coming from a 1/200th approximately set of Panther tracks. These came from some models that (I think) Bob Cordery gave me some years ago. Another was built with a scratchbuilt set of tracks.

RSO Ost

This brings the theoretical number of models that can be made from the PSC box to twelve; not bad at all! This assumes that you are prepared to fill in the gaps with a lot of card and paper. Raupenschlepper from Rubbish

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

QRF Sale Review – GSV13 Mercedes Benz L4500R Maultier

LR 4500 MaultierL 4500R Maultier, courtesy of YesthatPhil

GSV13 Mercedes Benz L4500R Maultier

This is one of the better models that arrived in my sale order. It is an impressive chunk of metal for £4.50 and all the castings are clean, relatively square and free of miscasts. The late war Einheitsfahrerhaus version is modelled. Some 1,500 of these were built, in response to delays in the Schwere Wermachts Schlepper programme; most were used as artillery tractors or platforms for Flak. As is usual with QRF; the track casting is double sided with no lugs to give a positive fit to the vehicle.

The front wheel axle is a vague approximation of the real thing – I had a look at a few online images of L4500R chasses and still was not entirely sure  which way the casting should be stuck on. I’m not complaining as you can hardly see it on the finished article. All in all, a nice wargames model that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Modelling, Trucks, Wehrmacht

QRF 15mm Sale Review – GSV07 Sd Kfz 7

This  casting simultaneously displays all that is good and bad about QRF models:

SdKfz 7

GSV07 Sd Kfz 7, 8 tonne tractor with 8 man crew

For £4.50, you buy a huge hunk of metal that sits solidly on the table with square tracks and wheels, in contrast to some of the other models that I bought.

Headlamps are absent. The detail around the back of the body is awful, with simultaneous excess flash, and shrinkage of the mould. the right rear side of the body is narrower than the middle seat. The front mudguards are not square to the body.

QRF Sd Kfz 7 with Crew

After much filing, all the original detail had been filed flat and there were still shrinkage pits and mould lines in the body.  Cam nets – every bodger’s friend – may be needed to rescue this casting. One of my tracks should not have passed quality control, but then neither should the body. I have given the model a rubbish undercoat-quality paint job just to get it onto the wargames table.

The eight crew are a nice bonus; they sit properly on the bench seats without extensive podiatric surgery to make them fit. Although nicely detailed and proportioned, they are too narrow across the shoulders. I can live with that.

QRF Sd Kfz 7

Unlike previous reviews, other firms make better ‘7s. My favourite is the Forged in Battle resin ‘K Seven, which exhibits superior detail in every respect. Go with Skytrex if you want a better metal model, albeit at nearly twice the price. It does not demand two hours of fiddling about to produce an acceptable sculpt ready for painting. The Flames of War cast is disqualified as it is actually an Sd Kfz 6. I would still buy it in preference to the QRF one if I wanted another ‘six’.

Sd Kfz7 Flak Rangefinder

In summary, I cannot recommend this model at all until QRF renew the master and bring it to the same standard as their postwar stuff. If, however, you are planning to convert an Sd Kfz 7 Flak Mess Truppen Kraftwagen (Flak rangefinding tractor), which is the one with the big box body at the back, then this is a good cheap chassis to start with.

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

Humble Pie is Delicious!

Having ranted about the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 6 pdr in my last post, I put the model together and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong! Next to a Peter Pig (PP) 6 pdr, the PSC offering actually looks slightly smaller, wider and thinner. Next to a 1/76 model it is obviously 1/100.

IMG_7760 (2)

From top to bottom: Airfix PP, PSC 6 pdrs

A correctly-scaled standing figure should be able to rest his shirt pocket on the top of the gun shield and crouch down to see through the gunsight, but as the PSC gunshield is 14mm off the ground, and the PP is 13mm neither is possible. However, as the PSC gunner is 11mm to his eye when kneeling, he must be a Guardsman, making the gun look smaller than it really is! Others have already commented that Flames of War models are exaggerated in the vertical axis to compensate for the thickness of the figure base, as common FoW practice is not to base tanks. Olicanalad’s excellent basing shows why this should not be an issue.

6 Pdrs

I fished my Airfix 6pdr out, and it is noticibly larger than the PSC 15mm jobbie, but here’s the thing; the PP overscale barrel looks more like the picture below to my eyes than the PSC offering, which is visually a little thin but is probably to scale (I don’t have a micrometer handy)*.

Desert6Pdr

With the 3.7cm Pak, the situation is reversed. Here, the PSC offering is visibly higher (15mm) and longer than PP (12mm). (The gun is listed as 1.17m tall).

37mm Pak 36

In appearance however, the PP 3.7cm Pak 36 looks too small, but this is due to the thickness of the figure bases, as I was too lazy to do what YesthatPhil does, which is to shim the gun up. I looked more closely at the crew figures on the PSC sprues to find a visible difference in height and bulk between different figures on the same sprue – so I’m still not entirely happy. At least I can use the PSC 6 pdrs! Previously, I never really cared about this sort of stuff; must be getting old.

37mm Pak 36 (2)

*We’ve been here before.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, DAK, Modelling, Western Desert, WWII

On the Workbench – Scratchbuilt searchlight

Searchlight - Unpainted

Sometimes a project starts with a rummage through the bits box; this was one such. Having transcribed the ALAMEIN orbat, I needed something to represent 27th (London Electrical Engineers) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery.

German 60cm Searchlight

The core was a German ROCO searchlight/radar body, with extra gubbins added to make it look more British.

Searchlight German 60cm

British Searchlight 150cm.

Its not every day that a regiment has engineers and artillery in its title. I well remember a demonstration at Chatham of the TA searchlight troop, as a young Sapper subaltern, back in the late ’70s. Credit went to the Troop Commander for being able to keep a straight face when shouting the command “Expose!” in front of the assembled audience. Very illuminating that was!

Undercoated 150cm Searchlight

The model is pretty generic as I want to be able to use it for various nationalities, so it has no figures on the stand and will probably appear at 8th Army HQ or an airstrip as extra clutter.

 

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, Modelling, Western Desert, WWII

On the Workbench – 3.7cm Pak 36s

45mm

These two Pak 36s surfaced from one of the bits boxes last night. They came with a Command Decision Sdkfz 251 pack, if I remember correctly. That just left me with wheels and a trail to find. A Soviet 85mm AA gun from Flames of War provided the wheels, and aluminium tube with scrap balsa did the rest.

As I need Soviet 45mm guns more than German 36s at the moment, I painted them green prior to sticking Soviet crews on the bases. They will probably join the Tank Corps as captured 3.7cm Pak 36s, as they are a little undersized for 1937 (53-K) sorokopyatka” (forty fivers). The PSC offerings, of which there are 5 in a pack, are noticeably larger but come with the cut-down vehicle shield.

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, Soviet Army

Big Numbers on the Ostfront

German Panzer Battalion from the author's collection. Each model represents approximately 30 tanks

German Panzer Battalion from the author’s collection. Each model represents about 30 tanks

One of the pleasures of operational gaming is ruminating on the relative numbers overall of various equipment. Authors are fond of telling histories in terms of events, with the odd number thrown in here and there for key equipment, but they rarely give information in a consistent form.

Wargamers love using the best kit, so sometimes you are left wondering if the Premier Division team that they have picked for the club night is really a good representation of what went on. I enjoy the battles in the corners: The ones that happen when a Panzerarmee is nowhere to be seen, but a divisional staff officer is left scraping cooks and drivers together to prevent a breakthrough that may be on its last legs.

2nd Tank Corps Break Into the Northern Advanced Line

Consequently, I am often left wondering if I have the proportions of tanks to antitank guns, or of aircraft to anti-aircraft correct. John Ellis is usually reliable in this respect, so his orbats and ToEs (Tables of Equipment), scaled by the odd figure that is thrown in by a unit history and rounded for NQM, work well.

Here is a previous guesstimate of equipment at GAZALA. When I applied the same reasoning to the eastern front for the 1943 Soviet summer offensive, Ziemke (1968) gives us on page 144:

German troop strength = 3,064,000 + 150-200,000 allies

German Tanks = 2,088

German Anti-tank guns = 8,063

Soviet troop strength = 5,755,000

Soviet Tanks = 7,855

Soviet Anti-tank guns = 21,050

These admitted German estimates give the Germans a 1:4 Tank Anti-tank ratio (actually 3.86) , and the Soviets nearly a nearly 1:3 ratio (actually 2.68).

Comparatively this gives a Soviet vs Axis superiority of:

Troops = 2:1 (actually 1.79:1)

Tanks = 4:1 (actually 3.76:1)

Anti-tank = 3:1 (actually 2.61:1)

This compares well with Zaloga and Grandsen’s (1984) table on page 223 of Stalingrad to Berlin of 9,200 Soviet AFVs vs 2,374 German AFVs in March 1943 on the Ostfront, a ratio of 3.88 :1. The same source tells us on page 222 that the German proportions of tanks to self-propelled guns to troop carriers was in roughly even proportions (1:1:1). By contrast, the Soviet production was 2 tanks to every assault gun and no significant production of armoured troop carriers.

Even allowing for all the usual provisos of serviceability, tactics and quality, this tells me that I should be allowing the Soviets 3+ tanks for every German AFV.

A separate, and interesting question, is “do all the anti tank weapon totals include anti tank rifles?” I suspect not, as the German ratio is higher, and the Soviets hung onto their anti-tank rifles for longer. A quick NQM ToE check gives the following numbers:

German panzer division5 Tanks, 2 Anti-tank guns (numbers fluctuated)

German infantry division = 0 Tanks, 3 Anti-tank guns

Soviet tank corps6 Tanks, 2 Anti-tank guns (for 1943, the numbers fluctuated)

Soviet infantry division0 Tanks,  3 Anti-tank guns (allowing the 76mm divisional gun an antitank role and counting the 3 regimental 47mm guns as one Sp3 gun.

If we estimate the tank to infantry division ratio on the Ostfront as:

German = 67 Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions versus 331 infantry divisions, (Just under 1:5). (I have taken the German army as a whole but ignored allies giving 335 NQM tanks to 1127 anti-tank guns, or 1 to 3.4.

Soviet = 60 tank and mechanised corps vs 413 rifle divisions (just under 1:7 giving 1 NQM tank to 3.8 anti-tank) from Ellis (1993)38, then these ratios seem reasonable without having to count anti-tank rifles. I do however, need to make sure that the Soviet armour is fielded at full strength or tone down the anti-tank to keep the ratio about right at 3:1. Likewise, the German tank strength needs a lid keeping on it to prevent it creeping too high.

Here is a picture of a Ratte to console the German players :

ratte

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Eastern Front, Land Battles, tank, Trucks, WWII