Tag Archives: Western Desert

2nd Alamein – NQM Squared – The South

44 Inf Div and 7Armd Div

44 Inf Div and 7Armd Div

Having walked through the northern third of 2nd Alamein to see if the real estate fitted (it did), I worked through the head-to-head infantry attack of 44th Infantry Division against Folgore.

Folgore Defence in Depth

Folgore Defence in Depth

The battle commenced with a divisional barrage that put serious disorganisation of 1/3 onto the dug in division (25pdrs M against dug-in infantry M). The infantry then followed this in, winning the firefight and evicting the first line of defences with 100% disorganisation in the close assault.

Ramke Falschirmjaeger Brigade

Ramke Falschirmjäger Brigade

 

I ruled that, being veteran, Folgore could immediately counterattack with its second line of defence, during the second close assault phase and pull its first line of defence out to reorganise. 44 Div were allowed to do the same in the third close assault phase, ending the turn. In future though, I shall restrict immediate counter attacks in the enemy’s turn to veteran troops.

Pavia and Folgore

Pavia and Folgore

This produced a very satisfying to-and-fro battle that left both sides’ infantry at about 50% casualties, with all artillery ammunition exhausted by the end of 4 rounds of fighting.

Folgore and Ramke from Allied Lines

Folgore and Ramke from Allied Lines

Other rulings were that:

Infantry could not pursue beyond their one square range.

Infantry could attack a diagonal square, but only if they were able to attack it orthogonally from the front or flank without interference from enemy on their own front or flank.

In other words, they could not ignore an enemy to their front in order to concentrate an attack on an enemy to their diagonal front, and they can only do this because the one free diagonal move per game turn that they are allowed places the square they wish to attack in reach.

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, DAK, Infantry, Italian Army, Italian Army, Land Battles, NQM Squared, The "Rules", Wargames, Western Desert, WWII

Minefields and Strongpoints

Minefields and Strongpoints

Minefields and Strongpoints

The Devils Gardens sown around ALAMEIN were complex and wide ranging. Even today, tourist guides advise not straying off tracks, and this despite massive postwar clearance efforts. I should state that I don’t like mine warfare, possibly because part of my job involved training to lay them and actually digging up other peoples mines.

They are however, a major part of the ALAMEIN battlefield, and they need to be modeled. Tradition dictates that a roll of wire wrapped around a Biro and stuck to a lollipop stick is the way to do it and Trebian takes this approach. I went for thin marine ply with sand PVA glued on top and sealed with acrylic paint in suitable shades. Some have mines and other items of interest on them. I went with 150mm (6″) strips to match the square sizes.

I also did a bit more work on the hills and strongpoints to help them blend in. the shot above is a work in progress. You can see that the top right strongpoint has had its top sliced off like a soft-boiled egg, and had an emplacement dropped into it

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Filed under Modelling, NQM Squared, Western Desert, WWII

First Siege of TOBRUK

I had planned to do a TOBRUK mini-campaign, but on closer examination, the following scenario problem seen at Phase V presented itself. I may work it up to a full game, but at present it does not hold enough operational interest to pursue before other projects:

Phase I: Operation Sonnenblume (6 February – 25 May 1941). The Germans drive the Allies east, isolate TOBRUK and on 10 April attack a largely Australian defence. The Australian infantry prove that a coherent infantry force behind well-sited concrete defences in three layers can contain a frontal armoured attack.

Phase II: Two unsuccessful allied relief attempts ensue, Operation Brevity (15–16 May), Operation Battleaxe (15–17 June), before Operation Crusader (18 November – 30 December) relieves TOBRUK on On 27 November 1941.

Phase III: Around TOBRUK itself, nothing happens for five months operationally. The Germans lack the strength to penetrate the defences and at the same time fight of the Allied counter-offensives.

Phase IV: After TOBRUK is relieved, the garrison is changed (see below).

Phase V: The Axis forces attack, and Tobruk falls in a matter of hours!

HQ 9th Australian Infantry  Division & Tobruk Fortress

HQ 3rd Armoured Bde (60 x tanks working; another 26 tanks in repair)

3rd Hussars/5 the Royal Tanks (Det 4 x light tanks and 18 x cruisers) 1 Crusader (CF3)
1st Royal Tank Regt (Det 15 x light tanks and 19 x cruisers) 1 Crusader (CF3)
1st Kings Dragoon Guards (30 x armoured cars) 3 Marmon Herrington @ (R1)
4th Royal Tank Regt (Troop of 4 x infantry tanks not modelled)

For local colour, substitute a Crusader for an M13 with a huge kangaroo painted on the side

18th Cavalry Regt (Indian)
HQ Royal Horse Artillery

 

1st RHA Regt 1 25-pounder (S2)+ tractor (L2)
3rd RHA (minus one bty) (16 x 2-pounder antitank guns) 2 2pdr Atk guns @ (S1)
104th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders) 1 25-pounder (S2)+ Quad tractor (L2)
107th RHA Regt (16 x 25-pounders) 1 25-pounder (S2)+ Quad tractor (L2)
51st Field Regt (12 x 18-pounders and 12 x 4.5 inch how) 1 4.5″ Howitzer (S2)+ tractor (L2)
2-3rd Aust Antitank Regt (Unkown no., type, Bofors
(minus one bty) 37-mm; Breda 47/32-mm; 2-pounders) 2  Atk guns @ (S1) (from the previous list)

 

HQ Royal Australian Engineers

 

2nd Aust Field Bn 3 Engr stands @ (E1)
2-4th Aust Field Park Company
2-1st Aust Pioneer Battalion 3 Pioneer stands @ (E1) –count as logistic when fighting

 

Signals 9th Aust Div
HQ 18th Aust Inf Bde 1 Comd stand (F3)
16th Aust Antitank Company 1 (C1) 2pdr Atk stand
2-9th Aust Inf Bn 1 Rifle stand (F3)
2-10th Aust Inf Bn 1 Rifle stand (F3)
2-12th Aust Inf Bn 1 Rifle stand (F3)

 

HQ 20th Aust Inf Bde (As 18th bde above)

20th Aust Antitank Company
2-13th Aust Inf Bn
2-15th Aust Inf Bn
2-17th Aust Inf Bn

 

HQ 24th Aust Inf Bde (-) (2-25th Inf Bn still in Australia) (As 18th bde above)

24th Aust Antitank Co
2-28th Aust Inf Bn
2-43d Aust Inf Bn

 

HQ 26th Aust Inf Bde (As 18th bde above)

26th Aust Antitank Coy
2-23rd Aust Inf Bn
2-24th Aust Inf Bn (as above)
2-48th Aust Inf Bn (as above)

1 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers 1 Machine Gun stand (S3)

9th Aust Div Supply Column
7th Aust Div Supply Column
2nd Aust Field Ambulance
9th Aust Div Provost Coy
9th Aust Div Protection Pl
9th Aust Div Empl Pl
9th Aust Salvage Unit

 

Fortress Troops
Royal Artillery
HQ 4th Antiaircraft (AA) Bde

 

13th Light AA Regt
14th Light AA Regt
51st Heavy AA Regt
3rd Aust Light AA Regt

 

Notts Yeomanry (coast defense)

Royal Engineers (under CRE, 9th Aust Div)

295th Field Coy Royal Engineers
551st Tps Coy Royal Engineers
4th Field Sqn Royal Engineers
143d Field Park Troops

Signals (under Comd Signals, 9th Aust Div)

K Base Section
27th Line Maintenance Section

 

Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)

309th Reserve Motor Coy
345th Reserve Motor Coy
550th Coy

Medical: 16th MAC

Royal Army Ordnance Corps [RAOC]

2nd Armoured Div Workshops RAOC
A Sect Ord Field Park AAOC

 

HQ Tobruk Subarea

1st Libyan Refugee Bn
2nd Libyan Refugee Bn
4th Libyan Refugee Bn
HQ 45th Group
1205-7th Indian Pioneer Coys

Admin units have been omitted and are represented by supply dumps.

Use the DAK orbat for Gazala for the Germans

 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Tobruk [Accessed 7.11.16]
  2. http://www.ww2f.com/topic/24891-orbat-tobruk-fortress-april-1941/ [Accessed 7.11.16]

 

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

11th Honourable Artillery Company RHA

These splendid chaps fought through the GAZALA battles with 25 pdrs in the KNIGHTSBRIDGE box with the Guards Brigade, before being re-equipped with Priest self-propelled guns for 2nd Alamein and fighting with 1st Armoured Division. I have chosen to model the company with a priest, because A, I have one, and B, it provides some variety from the hordes of 25 pdrs that I need to model. PSC carrier crews provided the gunners, with a Peter Pig seated driver furnishing the obligatory “Officer with Map”

I’m currently trying to build extra limbers and to find out if the priests towed them, or used Kangaroos as limbers, or trucks, as I have modelled.

After munching through a PSC box of nine Universal Carriers, and adding five Loyd Carriers* to the eight or so Piggie carriers that I already own, it is clear that I still need more; in particular, FOOs to bulk out my artillery regiments. There is photographic evidence of FOOs in Morris and CMP trucks, and Dingos, but the carriers are such good value, and perfect for the job. More Quads are on the cards too.

* As far as I know, no Loyd carriers made it to North Africa, but they will do as placeholders. (The temptation to write Lloyd is overwhelming)

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

1st Armoured Division at ALAMEIN

1st Armoured Division in Box 37 has been getting a bit of work done to it over the weekend. They had a reorganisation and all their divisional tactical signs added, as best I can judge. For amusement, have a close look at the divisional Rhinos. With a bit of imagination, you can see pigs, poodles and sheep pretending to be rhinos. It’s why I dont usually bother in this scale (I’m not fond of transfers either!). The whole exercise took longer than I thought, but was fun.

I came across this photo of 11th Honourable Artillery Company, and was surprised to see that the Div flash is on the wrong side – so I have reproduced it as seen.

The odd-looking 6pdr on a plastic hotwheels truck that is lurking in the top right of the photo above, is a placeholder for a Deacon.

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

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

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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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, DAK, Modelling, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, 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