Category Archives: Western Desert

Pointless Conversion – M3 Honey Epilogue

IMG_7752 (2)

Both fans of my previous M5 to M3 Honey conversion* may be wondering how well it stands up. It is even more of a pointless conversion now that the kit it represents is available straight out of the box. At the  time I built it, I thought it was too bulky in the front glacis plate. I turns out that I was right, as the comparison shots show.

IMG_7751 (2)

My mid-production round-turreted M3s that are tricked out in olive paint can head off to the Soviet army now that their slots in the orbat are filled with PSC kits. The M5s are still waiting for me to sort out American troops for Tunisia.

Stuart M3s

Originally, about 170 M3s were sent to 7th Armoured Division, 4th Armoured Brigade in March – mid November 1941.  My 5 out of the box represent 150 scaled at 30:1 ….sorted. The PSC box gives enough spare parts to make another full kit from each sprue with a bit of bodging missing bits. It is worth noting that on the instruction sheet, the green and red coloured hulls have been marked the wrong way round. Do a trial fit first to see what I mean.

I think that the spare M4 Sherman forward hull casings might stand in with a bit of trimming. I shall have to check that.

Stuart M3s and an M5 face into the setting sun

*YesthatPhil, and me!

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51st Highland Division on Parade

51st-infdiv

51st Highland Division

Sometimes, the only way to check that everyone is in Barracks is to put them on Parade. 51st Highland Division looks as if it is ready for a fight … “see Youse Jimmy“*. 40th Light Anti-aircraft Regiment is further back down the line of communications in the photo above.

51st HD infantry Battalions

In Real Life®, my portfolio is in and marked – a pass! My Viva Voce and Ethical paper have both been taken and the final paper is tomorrow. Too soon to celebrate, but I need some playtime!

*A bored colleague of mine, who worked at the Ministry of Defence, used to pick up the phone on  a Friday and announce “War Office … want a fight?

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

Aussies – WIP

9th Australian Infantry Division

[A] batch of some 50 or 60 Australian prisoners were marched off close behind us—immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle.*
—Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel, Commander, German Afrika Korps, Battle of Tobruk, 1941.

I’ve made a start on  9th Australian Infantry division. I already had one brigade of more-or-less fully painted Piggies (so Veteran troops then), and have added another from the PSC late war British infantry. All that I have managed to do so far is base them up, undercoat them, and add some black for boots and rifles – so green troops for the time being**. Progress has been slow, as on the 1:1 scale front, the garage is turning into a Man Cave (The Den is much too nice now and I have to wear slippers in there).

9th Division contained all the original volunteers and was of very high quality. 10th Division had a proportion of jailbirds in it, with correspondingly lower performance (cannot remember where I read that).

Box 005 Oct 2016

Major General Leslie Morshead

Comd staff car (C3), Ammo Truck (L3), POL Truck (L3), Ambulance (L3), Workshop Truck (L3)

Petrol Company Group

M3 Stuart (Honey)

  • 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion (not modelled)

  • 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion

    • Truck (L3), Comd, 2 Pioneers (E3)
  • 2/7th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 2/8th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (As Above)

  • 2/12th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (As Above)

  • 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • Universal Carrier (S3), 6pdr (S3)

6pdr and Universal Carrier

  • 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • Morris Limber (s3), 40mm Bofors AA (s3) (or portee)

RHA

  • 2/3rd Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 2/7th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (As Above)

  • 2/13th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (As Above)

  • 2/4th Field Park Company, Royal Australian Engineers

    • Low loader (L3), D7 bulldozer (L3)
  • 9th Australian Division Signals

    • Signals truck (C3)
24th Australian Brigade

Brigadier Arthur H.L. Godfrey

Comd staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion, Western Australia (WA)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)

Australian Infantry Battalion

  • 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion, Victoria (Vic.)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/43rd Australian Infantry Battalion, South Australia (SA)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
26th Australian Brigade

Brigadier David A. Whitehead

Comd staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 2/23rd Australian Infantry Battalion, Vic.

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/24th Australian Infantry Battalion, Vic.

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/48th Australian Infantry Battalion, SA

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
20th Australian Brigade   (As Above)

Brigadier H. Wrigley

  • 2/13th Australian Infantry Battalion, New South Wales (NSW)

  • 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion, Queensland (Qld)

  • 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, NSW

* Miller, Ward (1986). The 9th Australian Division Versus the Africa Corps: An Infantry Division Against Tanks—Tobruk, Libya, 1941. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: US Army Command and Staff College. OCLC 14129655 Accessed in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Division_(Australia) [3 Nov 2016]

**The urge to add some captured Italian Bush Artillery and an M13 with Kangaroos on the side will prove irrisistable at some stage.

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

4th Indian Infantry Division

The 4th Indian Infantry Division were old desert hands by the time of the battles at EL ALAMEIN. Here they are, having fought through solidly since GAZALA:

4th-indian-div

4th Indian Infantry Division

Major-General Francis Tuker (known widely as “Gertie”)

Comd in India Patt Carrier or Jeep (C3)

4th-indian-divisional-recce-regiment

  • 1st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 11th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 32nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 149th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • India Patt or Universal Carrier (S3), 6pdr (S3)
  • 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • Morris Limber (s3), 40mm Bofors AA (s3) (or portee)
  • 2nd Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 4th Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 12th Field Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 11th Field Park Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Low Loader (L3), D7 bulldozer (L3)
  • 4th Indian Division Signals

    • Morris or Bedford Signals truck (C3)
5th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Dudley Russell

Comd in India Patt Carrier or Jeep (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 1/4th Battalion, Essex Regiment

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 4th (Outram’s) Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)

British Indian army Inf Bn

  • 3rd (Queen Mary’s Own) Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
7th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Arthur Holworthy

Comd in India Patt Carrier (C3), signals van (C3)

61st Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Francis E.C. Hughes

Comd India Patt Carrier (C3), signals van (C3)

Brit Inf Highland Bn WW2

argyll-and-sutherland-highlanders-tartan

By now, it will be obvious to even the most casual reader of this blog that I mix and match British desert infantry. A few turbans, Glengarries, Tam-o-Shanters and slouch hats mixed in with a lot of steel battle bowlers and berets make up the necessary numbers. I must get some of those splendid Kiwi scout hats to add to the mix.

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51st Highland Division

51st Highland Divisional Troops

Here is another iconic Western Desert division, if only for the seminal Airfix Universal Carrier and 6 pounder gun kit*  They arrived in time for the second battle of EL ALAMEIN

51st-infdiv

51st Highland Infantry Division

Major General Douglas Wimberley

Comd staff car (C3)

  • 126th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 127th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 128th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 61st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • Universal Carrier (S3), 6pdr (S3)

6pdr and Universal Carrier

  • 40th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • Bedford QLB Limber (s3), 40mm Bofors AA (s3)

Bedford QLB Artillery Tractor with Bofors 40mm AA Gun

  • 274th Field Company, Royal Engineers

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 275th Field Company, Royal Engineers

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 276th Field Company, Royal Engineers

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 239th Field Park Company, Royal Engineers

    • Low Loader (L3), D7 bulldozer (L3)
  • 51st Highland Division Signals

    • Signals Truck (C3)

51st Highland Division Infantry Brigades

152nd Infantry Brigade

Brigadier George Murray

Comd in staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 5th Battalion, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders**

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
153rd Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Douglas Graham

Comd in staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 5th Battalion, Black Watch

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 5th/7th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
154th Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Henry W. Houldsworth

  • Comd in staff car (C3), signals van (C3)
  • 1st Battalion, Black Watch

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 7th Battalion, Black Watch

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)

*My 15mm Not Quite Airfix version of the carrier and gun is in there. No need to put your hand up again Arthur, but I’m surprised that you’ve never modelled the South Africans 🙂

** In the late ’70s a Sandhurst cadet was in our (Alamein) company. Commissioned into the Cameron and Seaforth Highlanders, his uniform was replete with kilt, sporran, epaulettes, Skein Duhb, claymore and what-not. It took him twice as long to prepare and don his clobber, even without underpants,  as us simple Sapper chaps.

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7th Armoured Division

Hands up if you are a WW2 wargamer, who has not, at some time, painted something from 7th Armoured Division, (The Desert Rats).*7armd-div Here is the NQM version. It comprises an eclectic mix of Command Decision, Flames of War, the defunct MM Models, Plastic Soldier Company, Peter Pig, QRF,  Roco and the odd scratchbuild.

7armd-div-2

The full orbat can be seen on the 8th Army page.

Summary Orbat: 7th-armdiv-1st

Divisional troops:

1st Household Cavalry Regiment

11th Hussars

2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry

44th Reconnaissance Regiment

3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

4th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

65th (Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery

15th (Isle of Man) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

4th, 21st, Field Squadron, Royal Engineers

143rd Field Park Squadron, Royal Engineers

7th Armoured Division Signals

4th Lt Armd Bde

4th Light Armoured Brigade

Royal Scots Greys, 4th/8th Hussars, 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Truck Mounted Motor Battalion)

22nd_armoured_brigade

22nd Armoured Brigade

1st Royal Tank Regiment, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Motor Battalion)

Not shown is the under command:

1st Free French Brigade Group

 

*If you did put your hand up, take it down again if you have painted an Airfix Tiger Tank in desert camouflage  🙂

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33 and 3 Motorcycle Battalions DAK

33 Kradshutz Abteilung

Thirty third and third motorcycle battalions, belonging to 15 and 21 panzer divisions respectively, were attached to Panzer Armee Afrika. In NQM terms, each battalion should comprise 6 strength points as shown above.

They are most usefully employed as recce, in single strength point elements to cover the front on the move; but there is no reason why they should not be amalgamated into two 3R elements per battalion to fight with more endurance if desired. There is also no reason why they should all be mounted on motorcycles; the orbat included Kfz 11s and 18s (and probably 15s for all I know).

Most troops were mounted in sidecar combos,  single motorcycles appearing at headquarters. A company had about 11 motorcycles and 60 M/C combos at full strength, and they did not stay at full strength for long.

 

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, DAK, Motorcycles, Orbats, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

QRF 15mm Review – Motorcycle Combos

IMG_7777

These are actually my two favourite models, even though they display all the usual QRF faults, namely miscasted locating pins, excess flash and nothing quite fitting or square. It seems to matter less on these lively sculpts as they lurch across the wargames table, festooned with three crew, an MG and four panzerfausts! I can just live with the stupidly wide handlebars and too-short wheelbase. Peter Pig does it  better on this one, in my opinion, but QRF just pips it for composition. See also YesthatPhil’s review on his blog.

German Motorcycle Combos

QRF don’t specify the motorcycle. That’s fine, as I can’t tell from the sculpts, but £3.50 gives me two models for my recce and motorcycle battalions.

Zundapp KS750Zundapp KS750

I’m going with it being the BMW R75 on balance rather than the Zundapp KS750, as the Z’s distinctive ‘A’ frame is absent, even though the distinctive Beemers twin horizontally opposed cylinders are modelled as a single vague lump. I have fond memories of my old Beemer R75 tourer, and less fond ones of my Cossack Dnieper (I managed to burn holes in both piston heads, the metal was so poor!)

BMW R75 MotorcycleBMW R75

With this amount of detail (accurate or not) hitting the eye, the model hides its faults well, so I reserve my right to be inconsistent and to recommend this model, despite its flaws.

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QRF 15mm WWII Sale Review – British Artillery Limbers

Quick Reaction Force held a 15% Sale over Salute 2016. I wanted some of their logistic and command vehicles, so it was a good time to purchase. I have ordered QRF before and found their castings to be challenging to assemble, so what were the latest crop like?

BSV11 Bedford QLB Bofors tractor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My casting was nearly complete (missing a window strut, will be easily added buuut* …), was clean, square and had a minimum of mould lines, assembling easily except for the wheels, which needed propping as they dried to remain square. The crew were added by me. Nobody else makes a kit of this limber, so full marks, and recommended, being excellent value at £4.50

IMG_7760

BSV07 CMP Bofors Tractor

CMP-Bofors-tractor

This proved to be an older mould, needing a lot of cleaning up to obtain a presentable model. At £3.50 it is still excellent value for a metal kit if you are prepared to put the work in. Again, no-one else makes a model of it, so recommended if you have an hour to spare and are handy with a Dremel, metal file and set square.

QRF CMP Bofors Tractor

The catalogue picture cunningly does not show the cab front windscreen, which had a lot of gritty flash on my example. My painting has cunningly disguised it too. It is a heavy undercut. The picture does show the irritating mould lines that clean off reasonably easily. The wobbly wheels need resetting again. Drybrushing simply highlights any flash that has been missed in the clean-up. Recommended , with minor caveats.

*I’ve since found a photo of a limber that has no window strut on the right side of the crew cab:

bedford QLB

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