Tag Archives: World War II

Concrete Sniffing in Vienna

Vienna was not intended to be concrete-sniffing holiday, but the  Die of Fate rolled and came up with a six. The lovely Mrs K (Suzanne) had booked us an apartment in a residential area between the Danube and the “Donau Kanal“, which meant that we were on a rather large island outside the old city walls, but near to the Augarten park and railway station. Our morning walk took us through the park and cafés into the city centre. We could have taken the tram, but then we would have missed this:

The Leittürme were smaller than the G-Türme!

Even Suzanne was impressed. We have both seen Flaktürme before in the Ruhr, and to find one looming unexpectedly over the trees in a park was a surprise. Then we walked around the corner and saw this:

It reminded me a little of the Emperor Dalek from the ’60s as it sat there with a squat malevolence that time had done nothing to diminish. Naturally, the locals had dialled it out of their mental landscape and only tourist such as ourselves gawked and photographed it.

 

This larger GefechtsTurm had come off second-best with time*, so part of the lower balcony had been removed post millenium, and steel cables girdled the structure, having pulled  the upper platform a good  metre or so out of alignment. The towers operated as a pair, with the L-Turm controlling fire for the G-Turm. Three such pairs protected Vienna in a triangle.

The Viennese, being pragmatic folk, have turned one Turm into a climbing wall, and another that sits rather inconveniently in the centre, into a Sealife Centre.

The rest of the holiday was filled with excellent Age of Enlightenment sights, food, and a concert in the Anna Kirche that need not concern us here, other than to say that Vienna is well worth a visit even without the concrete.

*And the attention of mischievous children,  who set fire to 2,000 flak rounds that still remained in the tower in 1946, the little scamps!

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The Soviet Winter Offensive Takes the SERPUKHOV to MOSCOW Line – Winter 1942/3

Knots of German Resistance

As the front around MOSCOW collapsed, the landscape filled with large and small  groups of Germans retreating to the west. Lacking heavy equipment, knots and pockets of resistance caused just enough delay to the advancing Soviets to keep a semblance of order and a front line, albeit one with rents kilometers wide.

NQM Delaying Action Winter 1942/3

 

Some resistance was more resolute than others, 12th Infantry Division, in particular, fighting hard to buy enough time for the front to reform.  Advancing against them were 38 and 57 Rifle Divisions.

38 and 57 Rifle Divisions Advance to Contact

For some of the hard-pressed Landser, it was easier to fight and die in position than to continue trudging through the snow. Iron-hard ground and lack of time to prepare reduced the effectiveness  of the German advanced defensive line.

12th Infantry Division Advance Defensive Line

Behind the forward troops, preparations proceeded as fast as the appalling conditions would allow.

Roads Provided Tenuous Lines of Communication

Anxious troops, with little time to rest, wearily awaited the Enemy. To their front, the forward defensive line is breached.

The Forward Line is Breached

Waves of advancing Soviets press forward to the main defensive line.

NQM Soviet Advance Winter 1942/3

The Divisional Railhead is a scene of frantic activity as the Enemy draws nearer.

NQM Divisional Railhead Winter 1942/3

Even a captured Soviet armoured train is pressed into service.

A Captured Soviet Armoured Train is Pressed into Service

But just as 12th Infantry Division, was at the limit of its endurance, the pressure began to ease. The Soviet advance had outpaced its own supply lines and come to a halt. at the end of this two-hour battle with YesthatPhil taking the Axis, and the Author playing the Soviets as a player-umpire (Plumpire). The Change in the map looked like this:

12 Inf Div holds the SERPUKHOV to MOSCOW line

12 Infantry Division holds the SERPUKHOV to MOSCOW line

The Soviet Winter Offensive Takes the SEPUKHOV to MOSCOW Line Winter 1942/3

The Soviet Winter Offensive Takes the SEPUKHOV to MOSCOW Line Winter 1942/3

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Axis War Diary, Eastern Front, Land Battles, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, Wehrmacht, WWII

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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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

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

Tyred Out

Marmon-Herrington Mk II

Tyres provide the modern wargamer with the equivalent of button painting. Every wheeled vehicle has at least four of them, often more, and don’t get me started on wheeled Wehrmacht Aufklärungs vehicles with eight wheels apiece, or panzers with rubber rims to their wheels!!

21PzTkRegt

there are some bright spots though: muddy tyres and tracks just need a wash or a dust over, and the 8th army were fond of roughly painting wheels to spill over onto the tyre itself. Excellent!

A range of options from “merely passable” to “If he’s paying attention to the tyres, he’s probably losing the battle” can be seen above and below.

Medium Tank Brigade (or an entire understrength tank coprs). Peter Pig and Old Glory UK

With its lend-lease transport and motorised AA, this must be a Guards Divisional HQI start by painting tyres black or charcoal grey. Some years later, they may get a drybrushed highlight in a lighter shade, or some mud or dust splashed over them. Visit Olicanalad or YesthatPhil to see properly painted tyres.

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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

On the Workbench – More Maultiers

PSC German Medium Trucks

The new Plastic Soldier Company German Medium Trucks box is an excellent offering – Five easy to build trucks straight out of the box, with options for an Opel Blitz, Mercedes L3000, or Maultier version of either. Five trucks for £17 pounds or so, roughly £3.40 a truck.

Why do I like plastic kits better than resin or metal? They build up into square models, and they are easy to convert. So looking at the sprues more carefully, there are not five trucks in the box, but ten! All that is absent, are five cab backs that cannot easily be seen, five sets of front wheels and five chasses. Any self-respecting bodger will have spare wheels in the spares box. The card from the box itself, with judicious use of cork or plasticard will do the rest. Call it £1.70 per truck – excellent!

PSC German Medium Trucks and Maultiers

Even after giving a sprue away, I rapidly assembled four Blitzes and four L3000s, making half of them into Maultiers. I was looking for photographic evidence of Maultiers in North Africa, but could only find them in Italy. Each sprue comes with a spare tyre, so these were made up into two sets of wheels for two of the trucks. En masse, any slight inaccuracies in the wheels should disappear.

In case anyone is wondering, The four trucks furthest away are complete kit builds and the Maultiers closest to the camera are the bodges. Soaring off into speculation, I think that PSC missed a trick by not offering the Chevrolet  cab and the office body on the box art; after all, everyone does a model of a Blitz.

I would have preferred the office body, rather than another cargo body version, but I suspect most wargamers don’t want as many logistic or HQ vehicles as me. Either way, the box is excellent value and is recommended.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Modelling, Trucks, 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