Category Archives: tank

Zvezda 1:100 (15mm) T-60

Aww Idda Lidduw Cyoote Tankie

This finely-modelled offering makes its successor, the T-70, look like a hunky, over-engineered brute! It falls under Kemp’s law: If you can see over the top of a tank, standing up – it doesn’t count; so not a suitable tank to go Rommelling in.

The model can be seen next to a T-70 in the pictures below, and  the chap standing next to it is one of the PSC 25pdr gun crew. He would be able to see over the top if the sculptor had put the correct anatomical length into the knees and abdomen, but as it is, he is the same height as the crouching loader, who is standing next to him on his left.

Three years ago, I would have needed lots more of these little tanks, but as the campaign is now entering 1943, the T-70 is more prevalent. You don’t last very long if you go to war in a biscuit tin.

The plan view shows the tiny size of the T-60. The lovely Mrs K. wandered past and made noises to the effect of “Awww look adda cyuute lidduw tank”. She has a point.

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

Things to do in a Tank

rommeling-in-a-tankRommel – obviously.

Of all the things to do in a tank, the top thing must surely be to stand in the turret , like Rommel. This is known as Rommelling or “doing a Rommel”. The size of your tank matters. A King Tiger is a suitable mount in which to do a Rommel; a CV33 is not.

Romelling in a CV33Note the ironic grin of the driver on the right of the picture. He knows that his commander is not cutting the mustard.

Coming in as a close second, is Holding Binos in a Tank – if you are half out of the turret, it counts as a half-Monty*. here is Monty doing it:

bernard_law_montgomery_1942

Pay attention to the chap behind him (probably the actual tank commander), who scores extra cool points for Wearing Tank Goggles. He has wisely opted for slinging them around his neck, as wearing them like shades is a bit Italian or girly. Being girly in a tank is only cool if you are Tank Girl:

tank-girl

Russians are encouraged to lounge on the outside of the tank.

WallmanskiHere are some wargamers pretending to be Russians.

This has the added benefit of being suicidal if the tank is moving. Russians seem to prefer this, and have nailed the Heroic Advance Look, especially after consuming toxic quantities of vodka that would pickle a frog, or a normal liver.

desantny

Germans always look as if they are retreating, and Brits just look as if they are picnicking or having a smoke break.

german-grenadiers-on-sturmgeschutz

british_tank-riders_on_a_comet_in_early_1945

Aiming a machine gun is another top activity for commanders. WH4oK Commisars take this to a whole new level by waving chainswords and pistols from the commander’s hatch.

Baneblade CommanderHere is a wargamer pretending to be a Commisar.

Finally, we come to pointing. This is a difficult look to pull off and the two examples below illustrate this perfectly:

rommel-pointingHere is Rommel pretending to be a wargamer

presidents-new-tankRelease the chimps!

As a rule, only officers point. NCOs realise that pointing attracts Enemy Interest in a way that shouting does not. For the record, pointing the way that you are going is generally held to be better for morale than pointing back the way that you came from.

*A full Monty is completely different

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Filed under Off Topic, tank

Midwinter Reflection

2 Guards Mechanised Form Upo For the Attack in three columns2 Guards Mechanised form up for the attack in three columns of march

The fall of MOSCOW airfield marked the end of Phil’s visit to the games table. He left his Boxfiles behind as he plans to come back before New Year’s Eve. Naturally, I took the opportunity to photograph some of the contents and slot pictures into the orbats in place of some of my dodgier place-markers. A bit of rounding off happened too, during which the northern thrust around Moscow finally broke through the exhausted defenders. A hasty counterattack took back the airfield and southern defences, though not the eastern side of the riverbank. Flying into MOSCOW was going to be a precarious enterprise from now on, as the eastern end of the field would be under fire from across the River MOSKVA.

Over the past 30 years, head-on armoured battles have been a bit of a rarity (as you might expect from rules titled Not Quite Mechanised). During the course of the day I had been reflecting on the last time that armoured forces clashed at GAZALA. The comment then had been that something more formal was needed to cover the gaps. Phil is developing NQMsquared (or Megablitzsquared) and I’m happy that he is troubling to do the work on a system of squares that I enjoy playing, but don’t want to develop myself.

1 Shock Army is about to run head on into 7 Panzer Division in a mini PROKHOROVKA, so the battle rules will run like this:

As the lead elements of mobile forces run into each other, there will be an initial point contact as one or more bases touch each other at the head or front rank of the column. Resolve each combat in the normal way for winning the firefight.

When mobile stands fight enemy stands of different armour value in this way, everyone at the point of contact may choose which stand to direct their fire onto.*

The winner may:

  • Advance in contact (if mobility = or better than enemy mobility).
  • Hold fast.
  • Break off combat (if mobility is better than enemy mobility, or the enemy does not wish to remain in combat) to make contact with a command or logistic stand, where they can reorganise pins away as long as they are out of contact with enemy bases and not under fire from artillery. This takes a whole move.
  • Reinforce the combat with any other troops that are mobile enough to enter the combat.

The loser may:

  • Fall back in contact with the winner, if the loser is mobile enough (otherwise the loser can be bypassed if the winner chooses, and be engaged by follow-on forces who so choose).
    • If the enemy does not wish to advance, the loser may remain in combat for another round, morale permitting.
    • If the enemy wishes to remain in contact with the loser, and is mobile enough, he may do so.
  • Break off contact (if loser’s mobility is better than enemy mobility).
  • Fall back behind unengaged friendly troops, who will halt the enemy and engage him.
  • Mobile logistic stands can fight, but must fall back to their maximum limit in the face of the enemy as they attempt to fight.
  • If logistic stands are in prepared defences, they can halt a mobile enemy and fight, but can only halt non-armoured troops.
    • This means that armoured troops can choose to pass through logistic units without fighting them.
    • If logistic troops lose a combat from a defensive position, they must fall back in the normal way.
    • If they are passed through as described they may remain in position.
  • Fall back out of combat, into contact with a command or logistic stand, where they can reorganise pins away as long as they are out of contact with enemy bases and not under fire from artillery. This takes a whole move.

Example 1:

  • A PzIII stand (M armour, M gun) contacts a T-70 (L armour, L gun). The PzIII puts a pin onto the T-70 which elects to fall back.
  • The PzIII is joined by a SdKfz stand (L armour, L gun) from the second rank of the advancing column, as it advances to maintain contact. On the second round of combat the T-70 takes two pins and chooses to fire at the (L) Sdkfz causing one pin.
  • The T-70 falls back again to find a logistic stand but the Fascists advance to keep it in contact and are joined in the front rank by a command stand. On the third round of combat the T-70 takes no pins and chooses to fire at the unarmoured command stand, treating it as a (M) gun firing at a (L) target** causing one pin.

It can be seen in the picture at the top of the page that 2 Guards Mechanised Division is formed up in three columns of attack. Each column has armour at the head, followed by supporting infantry, then support (S), command (C) and logistic (L) stands.

*British commanders in the Western Desert complained on occasion that their anti-tank gunners shot up softskins in preference to armour, as it was easier to ‘brew them up’

** Remember that all armour and gun values are relative to each other. We reason that 45mm guns firing armour piercing (AP) at medium tanks would have a light effect, but the same guns firing AP or HE at unarmoured targets would have a medium effect.

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Rules Examples, tank, Wargames, WWII

Bergepanzer III and IV

Enough Sheddery, and trucking about; here are some proper tanks! The Bergepanzer III is a conversion of an overscale Austrian 1/87 jobbie that has been in my collection for ever, but will look fine next to some of my big trucks. The Bergepanzer IV is an old RoCo that did brief service in my AK47 collection. They bring some much-needed endurance to the Wehrmacht.

Bergepanzer III and IV WIPA simple card box on the III, a card plate on the IV, some bits, and that’s about it.

Bergepanzer II and IV undercoatTrue-scale undercoat on the unpainted bits, including the commander of the III.

Bergepanzer III and IV frontView from the front.

Bergepanzer III and IV threequarter view… and the side. Ready to roll.

Apparently, Inland Revenue has an app now, for scouring the internet to expose hidden income. For the books, here is an example of my rock-and-roll lifestyle:

Waking up after a night on the tilesThe morning after a night on the tiles!

Power Tools and BeerPower tools and beer – ideal companions!

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Logistics, Modelling, Off Topic, tank, The Den, Wehrmacht, WWII

The Thingy

Karma has patted me gently on the back – I pontificate about rubbish Munchkin tanks and get one as a birthday present! The only way to respond to such gentle winds of fate is to superdetail my splendid gift, so that I have another Munchkin to annoy Trebian with*.

Pointing With StyleThe Titan Terror Tank MkII runs out of fuel outside the gates of an oil refinery.

The development history of the “Mammut” super heavy tank built for the Bokassan Navy is short, fictitious and complex: Originally built in 1936 as a failed prototype for a wheel- track convertible super heavy tank by Vickers, the “Jumbo” was taken into service by the Bokassan Navy to provide inland fire support beyond the range of the navy’s two monitors. the Navy hoped that this step-jump in size from the “Titan Terror Tank Mk1” would give it a clear lead against the Army of Dog.

Early attempts to use the tank “as is” (see picture above) convinced the Admiralty Board that a wheel-track 300 ton convertible tank with a pull cord for motive power had no future in a country with few all-weather roads. It was sent to the Munchkin workshops, where such defects as no frontal hull or rear armour were rectified. The dummy wooden prototype gun was replaced by an 8″ naval gun and a 105mm anti aircraft gun in the main turret. A further 40mm Bofors was added to the turret roof, and two Rheinmetall 20mm AA guns and machine guns were set into flying bridge wings on the turret. Because of this, Bokassan infantry are wont to call the tank “Dumbo” on the basis that it will never fly.

Titan Terror Tank Mk IIATowering against the evening sky of the Velt, the Titan Terror Tank Mk IIA’s sky camouflage is fooling no-one.

Two panzer III engines powering electric drive trains ensured that the tank would struggle with all but the gentlest of inclines. Each tank has a crew of 30** and a supporting battalion of mechanics, protecting infantry, and logisticians to keep it running. Cooling louvres were added to the formerly excellent side armour of the hull, in order to reduce the excess heat generated by the motors to merely paint-blistering.

At the time of writing, the tank has yet to cover more than 1km without overheating or bogging in, and has never made it to a battlefield before the action has ended on move six.

AK47munchkinWith a side profile that only a mother could love, the square Munchkin fits the minimum legal base profile for Old School AK47

*He described the 40mm square Munchkin as an “abomination”; he’s going to love this one 🙂

** Including the Commadore’s batman.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, AK47, Modelling, Off Topic, tank

On the Workbench – Stuart M5 Tanks

On the Workbench - 4

The Plastic Soldier Company M5 Stuart box is excellent value, as it comes with not just 5 tanks, but also 5 free hulls and sets of tracks to make artillery tractors, and recce Stuarts with the turrets removed. The card to fabricate the hulls is even provided by the box. I won’t need the tractors until the Italian campaign starts, but they can stand in for T-70 limbers until then.

Left-handed scissor work is getting easier after 3 days practice, even if it is half speed.

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Filed under Modelling, tank

On The Workbench – Trucks

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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Filed under Modelling, tank, Trucks, WWII

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

NQM 21st Panzer Division Orbat

I haven’t been entirely idle since the last post*. Here is the new sleek orbat for 21st Panzer division:

21PzHQ

21st Panzer Division (Generalmajor Johann von Ravenstein until 29 November (prisoner of war), then Generalmajor Karl Böttcher) Comd car (C3), Signals Sdkfz 222 [or captured Dorchester or SdKfz 263](C3), 20mm Flak Truck (S3), Engineer truck (L3), 2 Engineer stands (F2), Ammo Truck (L3), POL Truck (L3),  Ambulance Sdkfz 251 (L3).

21PzTkRegt

5th Panzer Regiment Comd PzII or PzIII (F3), 3 PzIII** (F3), 1 PzIV (F3)

21PzGren2

  • 104th Infantry Regiment  Comd Sdkfz 250, 251 or 263 (CF3), 2 Comd car (1 may be an Sdkfz 250 or 251) (CF3), 37mm Pak (S3) + Limber (L3), 2 Sdkfz 251 (F3), 2 Truck (F3)./80

21PzArty

  • 155th Artillery Regiment Comd car (C3), FOO (C1), Sdkfz 11 Limber (L3), 105mm Gun [or  SiG 33 or Lorraine Schlepper  15cm] (S3), Sdkfz 10 Limber (L3), 50mm Pak (S3)

Essentially, all that I have done is remove the infantry stands from the panzer grenadier companies, and made the SdKfz an (F3) stand in the same way that a tank model is. The orphaned infantry have all gone to swell the ranks of the infantry divisions.

See Also 15 Panzer Division

*For those wondering what I fritter my spare time away with at work, “Advanced Podiatry” is not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It mostly involves learning which bits of the foot to poke, to find out where it hurts. A Surgeon will then chop bits out and fix the rest with screws until it doesn’t.

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Filed under Artillery, DAK, Infantry, Modelling, Orbats, tank, Trucks, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

I Have Seen the Future …

… and it is multi-turreted, with an unfeasably long narrow track base for crossing trenches.

T-35_02

The T-35 was not the most successful Soviet design ever, but they looked superb  on parade following a painted white line, had difficulty with rough terrain such as lawns, and would throw a track in preference to turning a corner. Wikipedia quotes a 90% loss rate to non-battle causes, but I’m sure that is just vile Capitalist propaganda. Here is a T-35 managing to keep up with ski troops in a straight line!

Some 61 were built* which means that my purchase of two Zvezda models gives me the entire Soviet tank fleet at 1:30. For the record, this makes me a historical gamer, not an armour-crazed meglomaniac like Tim Gow, or Don Maddox 🙂 If you want to paddle up Insanity Creek, then you need to go here, or here.

T-35_01

This multi-turreted type of beast proved wanting in combat, and the more mobile single-turreted tank designs with a good balance of mobility, protection and firepower soon superseded it, to the dismay of  arms manufacturers, tank-fanciers and military modellers everywhere. These  two T-35s will live in my Naval Infantry Division box, for no better reason than that there is space, and they look like a pair of battleships!

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-35

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