Category Archives: Artillery

Sd Kfz 11 and 3.7cm Flak 36/37

Luftwaffe Sd Kfz 11 and 3.7 Flak 36/37 R

The Skytrex 3.7cm Flak 36/37 and Syborg 3D Sd Kfz 11 have been sitting around undercoated for a while now. I finally married them up on a single base and added a bit of colour. There is not much pictorial evidence around of prime movers for the Flak 36/37. I found pictures of an Opel Blitz and a captured French Citroen online, but have no idea whether they are representative  or not. Going to the Milicast site, suggests that heavy field cars, trucks both armoured and unarmoured, were pressed into service as self-propelled mounts. I generally reckon that Milicast are pretty accurate in their choice of models and information, having strong links to MAFVA.

At 1,550Kg combat weight, The Flak 36/37 is well within the limits for an ’11, as it also towed the zwillingen twin barrelled version of the Flak 43 (according to Wiki). Mine is painted up in a simple desert scheme of sand with grey showing through. I improved the texture of the canopy by the simple expedient of sticking tissue paper to it, to hide the contour lines that are endemic to FDM printed models.

Flakpanzer IV RoCo "Ostwind"

There is no shortage of pictures of self-propelled mounts on Sd Kfz 7/2s, (about a thousand produced) or Flakpanzer IVs (240 Möbelwagen 3.7cm and 43-46 Ostwind 3.7cm) etc., however I think that the majority of these guns would probably have been towed by wheeled transport in the Luftwaffe, with half-tracked tows reserved for the Luftwaffe field divisions.

Luftwaffe Sd Kfz 11 and 3.7 Flak 36/37

Crews should be painted as Luftwaffe, or army. If army, they may either have white infantry piping if Flabatallion with 2cm and 3.7cm guns, all on self-propelled ,mounts; or red piping if artillery in mechanised mixed Heeresflak Batallions in Corps orbats, with three 8.8cm Flak companies and two 2cm/3.7cm companies. the crews in black below are not Panzer troops, they are still in their undercoats!

Sd Kfz 10/4 mit 2cm FlaK 30 FiB

For NQM, I simplify orbats to show Heeresflak Batallions as artillery with SP 8.8cm and Flabatallions as infantry with SP 2cm and 3.7cm. If it’s self propelled, then it’s army, but if towed then Luftwaffe. Nierhorster confirms this, showing 135 Flak Regiment as having four Luftwaffe mixed battalions attached to DAK. Army Flak also had machine guns. YesthatPhil has a superb scratch-build of a horse-drawn version  here.

For anyone modelling below corps scale, searchlights were spread out amongst the Flak battalions.  Andrew Bruce’s blog in the sidebar to the right, is very helpful with this source: Special Series 10. German Antiaircraft artillery (1943) Military Intelligence Service, War Department [https://drive.google.com/file/d/11vE6fYDGCm1rCPyU9gBn1baCOW3MI-jv/view] Accessed 14/2/21

Lone Sentry also has this useful intelligence brief on tactical employment.

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

Review – Paint and Glue Miniatures STZ-5 Artillery Tractor and 122 mm M1931 (A-19)

P&GM STZ-5 with 122mm M1931 two part print

P&GM STZ-5 with 122mm M1931 two part print – note spoked wheels

The Paint and Glue Miniatures STZ-5 Artillery Tractor and 122 mm M1931 (A-19) are reviewed here as they were commonly seen together. The STZ-5 is a beautifully-printed model, with excellent detail and the deep undercuts that only printed models can produce.

P&GM STZ-5 and 122mm Gun (1)

P&GM STZ-5 and 122mm M1930 rear and metal M1931/37 front with PP Crew

 

9,900 examples were produced, making this the commonest artillery tractor in the Soviet arsenal. By comparison, 2000 Kominterns, 1,123 Voroshilovets, an unknown (to me) number of Ya-12s and 13s, 1,275 Stalinets S-2s were built.

P&GM STZ-5 with 122mm M1931single piece print

P&GM STZ-5 with 122mm M1931 single piece print – note solid wheels and thinner recuperators

Garry at P&GM also sent me one of his early  single piece 122mm M1931 (A-19) prints with solid wheels before he decided to split the print by using the Deweycat version for better detail and add spoked wheels. They all have separate wheels for better detail, and they compare favourably with metal moulds, being superior in the area of symmetry (The comparison shown is the later M1931/37 with the sloped gun shield and recuperators) . Both metal and plastic guns sit well with the STZ – 5, seen here with Peter Pig Russian Civil War artillerymen, chosen for their Budunovka caps.

One area in which the metal guns have superior detail is in the rear earth spades. The metal versions actually look as if they would stop the recoil, and you can see what might be earth pickets hammered in. I have been unable to find any references to the A-19 having such, but am happy to be corrected or informed.

PGM STZ-5 and 122mm M1931 (L) and 1931/37 (R)

PGM STZ-5 and 122mm M1931 (L) and metal 1931/37 (R)

Sources:

  1. Engines of the Red Army – see Reference Sidebar on right.
  2. https://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/soviet-artillery-in-proportion/ ibid

 

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

Review – Paint and Glue Miniatures T-20 Komsomolets Artillery Tractor

P&GM T-20 Komsololets with PP 45mm Anti Tank gun

The Paint and Glue Miniatures T-20 Komsomolets artillery Tractor is a handy little model that comes with separate tracks and a finely detailed MG that is quite fragile. The tracks glue on squarely with good detail, and the gun is easily replaced by drilling it out and adding a brass or stretched sprue replacement. Originally produced as an armoured tractor for towing 45mm antitank guns, 120mm mortars and 76mm regimental guns, the Komsomolets was neither fast nor well armoured, but it did the job.

100 examples were produced as the ZIS-30 with a 57mm antitank gun mounted on the back. As the tractor was smaller than the universal carrier, which itself struggled with a 2pdr on the back, firing was a lively affair for the crew. Nevertheless it gave useful service around LENINGRAD, and the T-20 soldiered on with 6,700 entering the war, and about 1,668 surviving until 1942. 1048 units were still around in Jan 1943, staying in service in dwindling numbers until the end of the war.

Mine will go to the Rifle Corps as prime movers for antitank and mortars.

Sources:

  1. https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/t-20.htm
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komsomolets_armored_tractor

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Logistics, Modelling, Soviet Army, Trucks, Wargames, WWII

Review – Paint and Glue Miniatures SU-76i

 

Paint and Glue Miniatures produce this rather nice SU-76i in 15mm on request at 40% of the cost of their 28mm example. The lines that plague most 3D designs are not especially noticeable on this print. Painting was simple, with a coat of black, dark green then Humbrol enamel Green 80. mud will go on once an ink wash has been completed.

The Soviets manufactured about 200 of these self-propelled guns  (180 SPGs and 20 Command SPGs) that served from autumn 1943 to early 1944 before the surviving 10-15 were withdrawn for training. The opportunity came from large numbers of  Pz IIIs that were captured at STALINGRAD, and the need came from early transmission defects in the SU-76 that put most of the fleet off the road. The 76is plugged a hole in the orbat from Sep ’43 to Feb ’44, until they were replaced by the SU-76 when those initial faults and mechanical problems were resolved, and it became easier and cheaper to build new SU-76s than refurbish ’76is.

I have gleaned the following from trawling the net in my usual haphazard fashion:

16 were attached to 5th Guards (Division?), 4 Breakthrough Artillery Corps, 13th Army on the Central Front

Su-76is later appeared  in actions at OREL, southern Russia and northern Ukraine.

The following units used 76is:

1901 and 1903 SPG Regiments in the BELGOROD-KHARKOV offensive,

1902 SPG Regiment in 5 Guard Army (Steppe Military District) – 15 SU-76i SPGs

1938 SPG Regiment in 7 Guard Army (VORONEZH Front) – up to 33 SPGs.

177 Tank Regiment, 64th Mechanised Brigade – 44 SPGs were issued instead of tanks, being used as tanks.

58th Tank Regiment – up to 33 SPGs.

Sources include the usual 5 minutes on the net.

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/soviet/soviet-su-76i.php

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/su-76i.htm

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Logistics, Modelling, Soviet Army, Wargames, WWII

SdKfz 11 and Le FH 18 10.5cm

The Le FH 18 10.5cm was intended to be the mainstay of Wehrmacht divisional artillery, supplemented by heavier 15cm batteries, and remained so, with updates until the end of the war. Command Decision make a rather nice one in both towed and limbered versions, seen here being towed by a Syborg 3D Printing Sd Kfz 11, with a mix of one Command Decision and four PSC crew.

Look closely, the driver is a very crude printed figure that is part of the vehicle print, and who blends in nicely at three feet away. He is not as obtrusive as the disparity in sizes between the older,smaller and newer, bigger PSC crew. Happily, I just think “that loader at the back is a big farm-bred lad!”

The prime limber of the ’18 was intended to be the Sd Kfz 6 (Wikepedia gives 3,500 as having been built), but the ’11 could also tow the piece perfectly well and saw widespread service (9000, compared to 15,252 SdKfz 251s of all variants – again Wiki).  So it is probably three times as likely that the FH 18 would be towed by an ’11 as a ‘6.

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

Soviet Antitank and AA Guns in Proportion

I missed posting pictures of my antitank guns (14 45mm) and AA guns (3 76/85mm and a 20mm Airfix Bofors stand-in) in the earlier post. It is worth noting though, that the 45mm antitank gun was produced in almost equal numbers to the 120mm mortar, and that for both, production was effectively finished by 1944, Their continued use until the end of the war was owed to the fact that they were relatively light and easily transportable, and provided useful short range close support fire to the infantry divisions.

Soviet Anti-tank Battalion and Regimental Headquarters

 

Soviet 45mm Atk Guns L to R: PSC, PP, Command Decision ripped off a Sd Kfz 251, PP. All crews PP including the Japanese and Dutch pretending to be Soviets.

Zaloga (1998) gives the following on p.221 of the Red Army Handbook (units in thousands, divided by 600 to match my previous posts):

1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
AT Guns
45mm 4 34 36 1 1 75
57mm 1 0 3 4 1 9
Subtotal 5 34 39 5 2 85
Field Arty  
76mm gun 11 39 28 29 8 115
100/107mm 0 0 0 1 1 2
122mm gun 1 1 1 0 0 3
122mm how 3 8 6 5 0 22
152mm gun 2 3 2 1 0 7
152mm how 1 0 0 1 0 2
203mm+ * 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal 18 51 37 37 9 151
AA guns  
25mm 1 0 3 4 1 8
37mm 2 6 12 15 3 38
76/85mm 3 5 6 3 1 18
Subtotal 6 11 20 22 5 65
Mortars  
50mm 39 174 29 0 0 242
82mm 28 168 56 1 2 254
107/120mm 4 42 28 2 1 78
160mm 0 0 0 1 1 2
Subtotal 71 384 113 4 4 576
Rockets  
BM-8 1 2 1 1 0 4
BM-13 1 4 5 2 0 12
BM-31-12 0 0 0 2 1 3
Subtotal 2 6 6 5 1 19
  • 100 Total for the whole war, built by 1941

The odd subtotal may be out due to rounding up of ratios. My artillery park is under-represented by divisional field pieces and overrepresented at heavy very artillery level, but is otherwise not too bad..

 

Soviet 76/85mm AA

 

 

True North YAG10 mounting an M1931 76.2mm Anti-Aircraft Gun

Soviet YAG 10 76mm AA

Sources:

Zaloga, S. and Ness, L. (1998). Red Army Handbook 1939-1945. Bridgend, Sutton Publishing.

German versus Soviet Artillery at Kursk 

TACTICS & FIRE CONTROL OF RUSSIAN ARTILLERY IN ATTACK AND DEFENSE DURING 1941, 1942, and 1944 AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT IN RECENT TIMES BY OBERST (I.G) HANS-GEORG RICHERT

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Eastern Front, Soviet Army, WWII

Soviet Artillery in Proportion

Soviet Artillery Park

The NQM Soviet Artillery Park

Historians have a keen interest in telling us how many tanks, aircraft and men were ranged against each other on the Eastern front. I have found less information on artillery.

Zaloga (1998) gives the following on p.221 of the Red Army Handbook (units in thousands, divided by 600 to match my previous posts):

1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
AT Guns
45mm 4 34 36 1 1 75
57mm 1 0 3 4 1 9
Subtotal 5 34 39 5 2 85
Field Arty  
76mm gun 11 39 28 29 8 115
100/107mm 0 0 0 1 1 2
122mm gun 1 1 1 0 0 3
122mm how 3 8 6 5 0 22
152mm gun 2 3 2 1 0 7
152mm how 1 0 0 1 0 2
203mm+ * 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal 18 51 37 37 9 151
AA guns  
25mm 1 0 3 4 1 8
37mm 2 6 12 15 3 38
76/85mm 3 5 6 3 1 18
Subtotal 6 11 20 22 5 65
Mortars  
50mm 39 174 29 0 0 242
82mm 28 168 56 1 2 254
107/120mm 4 42 28 2 1 78
160mm 0 0 0 1 1 2
Subtotal 71 384 113 4 4 576
Rockets  
BM-8 1 2 1 1 0 4
BM-13 1 4 5 2 0 12
BM-31-12 0 0 0 2 1 3
Subtotal 2 6 6 5 1 19
  • 100 Total for the whole war, built by 1941

The odd subtotal may be out due to rounding up of ratios. My artillery park is under-represented by divisional field pieces and overrepresented at heavy very artillery level, but 1s otherwise not too bad..

76mm divisional artillery Zis-3s

76mm divisional artillery Zis-3s (7)

Beyond Zaloga, ratios for a particular operation can sometimes be deduced from such snippets as

“… the Red Army launched a follow-up campaign in northern Ukraine, the Lwow-Sandomierz offensive, employing more than 1 million men, 1,600 tanks and assault guns, 14,000 artillery pieces and mortars, and 2,800 combat aircraft.”

This article quoted above was written by Jonathan W. Jordan and originally appeared in the July/August 2006 issue of World War II magazine.

76mm regimental guns - 76mm obsolete artillery and 100-107mm guns

76mm regimental guns from Japanese 20mm (2), 76mm obsolete artillery from WW1 (1), 20mm Krupps with- PSC 18pdr shields (2),  Really Useful guns 100-107mm piece (1)

A further complication is that the number of tubes can be less significant than the tonnage of ammunition available to drop onto the target. The Dupuy Institute makes this point for for the opposing artillery forces at KURSK :

“In the cases of the Germans, it is estimated that they fired a total of 51,083 tons of ammunition during the course of the battle. It is estimated that 49% by weight of the ammunition consumed was from the gun artillery.

In the case of the Soviet forces of the Voronezh Front and the two reinforcing Steppe Front armies, they consumed a total of 21,867 tons of ammunition during the course of the battle. It is estimated that 36% by weight was from the gun artillery….”

120mm Mortars

120mm Mortars, mostly Peter Pig (15). It is worth noting that roughly equal numbers of 76.2mm divisional guns and 120mm mortars were produced in 1943.

“while the Soviet forces outnumbered the Germans forces 1.8 to 1 according to tube count, they in fact were out shot according to weight of fire calculations, 2.34 to 1. This is a significant difference and certainly so, with artillery usually responsible for 50 to 70% of the killing on the battlefield. “

120mm mortars with integral tows

120mm mortars with integral tows – a converted STZ-5, captured Raupenschlepper and various dodgy limbers

The point is further reinforced below:

“the Soviet Union made 29 times more artillery pieces in World War II than were produced in the Russian Empire during World War I but they only produced 8.2 times as many artillery shells than they delivered to the army in the Russian Empire during World War I.”

Katyushas BM-8

Katyushas BM-8 (4)

I make no apologies for quoting the following paragraph in full, as I have not seen this analysis made elsewhere:

“This shortfall really affected the usefulness of the Katyushas. The Voronezh Front ended up with 13 independent guards’ mortar regiments, which usually had 24 Katyushas. This is a total of around 312 such eight-tube launchers. The potential weight of fire for these weapons is very high. Instead, what we see from them are very low volumes of fire. The Soviets during Kursk fired an estimated 2,422 tons of ammo from all of its Katyushas (both those in the guards mortar regiments and those in the units). With a total of 331 Katyushas, this comes out to 7.32 tons of fire per rocket launcher; or 93.50 pounds per round, an average of 20 8-shot volleys per Kayusha. In contract, the Germans with their 324 nebelwerfers and 16 Wurfrahmen, consumed 5,916 tons of ammunition. This made the German nebelwerfer a considerably more fearsome weapons than the legendary Katyusha.”

I have particularly noticed this effect in the NQM campaign. Where the Soviets have plentiful ammunition, they prevail, and when  not, they don’t.

Long serving 122mm Artillery

Long serving 122mm Artillery with Peter Pig Crew

Massive over representation of super heavy Soviet artillery

Massive over representation of super-heavy Soviet artillery – Hinchcliffe 20mm Roco 1/87, True North and Syborg3Dprinting

Sources:

Zaloga, S. and Ness, L. (1998). Red Army Handbook 1939-1945. Bridgend, Sutton Publishing.

German versus Soviet Artillery at Kursk 

TACTICS & FIRE CONTROL OF RUSSIAN ARTILLERY IN ATTACK AND DEFENSE DURING 1941, 1942, and 1944 AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT IN RECENT TIMES BY OBERST (I.G) HANS-GEORG RICHERT

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Eastern Front, Soviet Army, WWII

Karrier KT4 Spider FAT

Every time that I think there is nothing new to learn about WWII, the net proves me wrong. 4th Indian Division used the Karrier KT4 Spider FAT as its Field Artillery Tractor, to tow 25pdrs. I have amended various orbats accordingly.

I am currently using assorted Quads and CMPs but should be able to bodge something from PSC quads. 

Kudos to the Society of Gentleman Gamers. They have actually printed a Limited run of Spiders, alas, in 1/76th scale.

This week’s post is delivered in the “new” wordpress blocks. I hate it’s “simplicity” and lack of functionality (e.g. no shift+alt+J to justify a block of text).

I hate the way that every new update forces you to go through an imposed learning cycle with no perceivable benefit. It is publishing for the lolz generation. 5/10, average 😦

 

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

Bishop SPG -Just Needs Varnish

 

Bishop SPG Left Front Threequarter View

Two light coats of emulsion were enough to cover the Bishop, after a generous sprinkling of stowage boxes, jerricans and fuel tanks.

Bishop SPG Left Rear Threequarter View

Flashes for 121st Regiment, Royal Artillery were hand painted. The painted rivets look pretty ragged in the photo. I didn’t bother with the troop flashes on the sand shields. There is some debate as to whether Chocolate brown or thinned black paint was used, I have hedged my bets on different models and used both.

Bishop SPG Right Front Threequarter View

 

All in all, I’m happy with how it turned out.

Bishop SPG Right Rear Threequarter View

 

The Bishops were used to support the Valentine Army Tank Regiments at ALAMEIN. Despite the title, as an homage to John JNV, I will give it a spray of Windsor and Newton Matt Varnish once it dries out.

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Pointless Conversion – Bishop SPG

Bishop Turret floor and Roof

I began a pointless conversion¹ of a Bishop Self-propelled Gun. Why? Because I need one for my ALAMEIN Orbat, for 121st Regiment, Royal Artillery, and because I have a surfeit of Valentine Hulls. The first stage was to build the base and top of the gun casemate. Next, the sides were added on. The front and gun were the last to be built, with filing to finish off before the details such as hatches , were added. I went with sand shields, as first issued, rather than the later stripped sides for Sicily and Italy, and didn’t worry too much about roof vents and the like.

Bishop Turret Sides in Place

Of course, being out of practice with this sort of thing, I made the turret too wide (another pointless fat head) and had to cut a fillet out to bring it down to size. I had no excuse this time, having resized a web plan to 1:100; cheating, I know!

Bishop Turret Details and gun in Place

Bishops were the first British attempt to make a self-propelled artillery piece, if  you discount the Birch Gun. They were soon superceded by the M7 Priest 105mm (90 sent to North Africa), then the Sexton 25pdr (of which 2,062 were built), but they soldiered on through Tunisia, Sicily and Italy, with 130 being built eventually.

  1. Coined by Phil Steele. It describes converting something that is readily available as a kit, because you happen to have a kit that will provide the base for the conversion, and you don’t need another model of the kit that you have.

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