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Omaha Beach – IABSM with the Little One

 

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On Saturday the Little One and I had a real treat as we were invited to Mike Whittaker’s Mill Studios (@TaTM_blog on twitter) to play the eminent Omaha Beach game that we had missed to play at Salute this year (see link here). The Little One, Andy (who built the terrain but never played the scenario) and I played the American Side, we were being skillfully empired by Mike who also played the Germans. We

The scenario is from the excellent IABSM scenario book called “Where have you been boys” and can be bought from the Too Fat Lardies website here.

Where the Hell Have You Been Boys?
21 Scenarios for £7.80 – that is a good deal! Whether you are using IABSM or not it is an excellent source and contains a lot of varied scenarios.

This is scenario Six and in the book and promises “The game will be nasty, bloody and gritty, it shouldn’t be anything else”.  It takes place at the eastern end of Omaha beach (Colleville-Sur-Mer) and  involves the US 1st Infantry Division – the Big Red One.  This is very much the scenes from Saving Private Ryan stuff. The scenario shows the difficulties on the day and for this kind of operation in general. The Germans have relative little Firepower but are in very good protected position whilst the Americans are mainly in the open up to the shingles of the beach, then protected by the cliffs before having to be in the open again trying to get through the wires and mine fields.

The US forces, just like on the day come in waves, and basically first wave took a lot of damage, so did the second but managed to clear some wires and take out some of the nests form a distance, then the final and third wave started to turn the balance.  It was a different wargame in that most of the time, from our American side, was spent hoping that the next barrage of artillery, HE guns, sniper fire and MG would not wipe the whole section out and that some of the men who survive and get to the shingles and momentarily be safe.  The two Sherman tanks who had made it to the beach did provide some initial fire power but they were soon taken out. It was very sobering and certainly kept to the promise in the scenario book, as it was indeed “nasty, bloody and gritty” and leaves you with a lot of reflection on the terrors facing the men on that day.   We had to leave just as the third wave had arrived, but at this time it looked like the first part of the job was done, at least on the side of the beach I was not responsible for (luckily Andy and the Little One had cleared a lot of wire on their side of the board).

Mike had added a few features like General Norman “Dutch” Cota, coming as part of the second wave, who was useful in rallying and getting some moving on where needed and also Robert Capa who took some iconic photos.

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The Famous Capa Photo
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The one take during the game (actually when leaving rather than arriving) – taken by Mike

A few other memorable moments was the first shot from the Sherman leading to one of the guns in the bunker getting out of action and the off–table German 88 being taken out by some Royal Navy guns very early.  In addition the effect of artillery and the way it works is really effectful and realistic (as is the use of HE weapons) leading to units becoming pinned and stopped in their tracks – not based on casualties in itself – I really like this (keeping your head down). Some of my units arrived without leaders and it was difficult to get these men up to beach to do their job – the unit with the leaders fared better but I was let down by some bad dice rolling (rolling ones, who would have believed that!).

What follows are a lot of pictures from the day.  I believe that Mike will be doing a write up of his thoughts from having played the scenario a number of times in the upcoming Lard Magazine that will be out later in the year.

All the miniatures were from Battlefront!, except for a few Peter Pig casualty markers.

As for the Little One and I? I think we both would be tempted to do something similar perhaps in 6mm?, one day!

It was a great day indeed, thanks for having us Mike.

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Prepping with Chocolate and an Osprey
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Preparation is everything
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The calm before the storm, just a few engineers on the beach.
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Initial rolls for what is coming and a where? – will the boats come with medic of big men, will they arrive in time and will they have taken casualties and in which sector will they arrive?
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Two tanks had made it to the beach!
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Mike had a very effective and clever management system for getting the waves organised
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First boats incoming, one taking damage.
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First shot of the Game a Sherman knocking out one of the Bunker guns.

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One of the first wave boats deploys
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Robert Capa being onboard

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One of the Shermans quickly gets take out of action
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More boats arrive

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Movements then starts up the beach – slow and deadly!

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The Germans have easy targets
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It is a long way to go

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Some of the teams manage to get to the shingles relatively early – safety can be found here for a while.

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Engineers getting up the slopes trying to get rid of the Wires
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Mike doing some Capa shots!

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General Cota is inspiring the men but a lot of kills and pins are being delivered by the German continuous firing!

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Build up on the beach!

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Artillery was scaring and kept pinning and draining men!
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They are not having rest Corporal!

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Some early wires being dealt with!

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Guess who!

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Constantly pinned down – it was difficult to get forward.

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A bazooka team is getting closer with the objective of taking out the other bunker with the Gun (eventually they would be successful).

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At this point we had to leave, we had been playing from around 10am to 6pm, with a break for Lunch.  Finally we had broken through the wire in Section 3 and the third way were just starting to come in.

 

/ Hope that was of some interest!

Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

I based the two German Platoons I made last week for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season (this being the What-if German Invasion of Sweden in 1943) on Sunday evening. These are the Skytrex 15mm ones that form part of the first part of the Campaign – the Northern Approach through Dalecarlia. This part of the Campaign will be infantry vs infantry with limited options for heavier support (perhaps an armoured car for the Germans, etc). I have a few ideas that I think will work well in a setting like this. Anyway here they are:

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Focus of the two Planned Campaigns

On Saturday I was invited to play a game of Chain of Command in Dulwich by Iain Fuller. This was one of the South London Warlords Saturday game days – they run these on the second Saturday every month – on this occasion a few Too Fat Lardies games were played. It was a really good game and although I lost I had the best of times.  It was tense and hang in the balance more than once, more than a few bad rolls but then again a few good ones too.  Chain of Command is a very enjoyable game! Below a few pictures from the day. it was nice to meet up with Iain Fuller and his chums, seeing Dave Brown again and having a chat with Rich Clarke.  I may have a solution for playtesting the Swedish Campaign stuff thanks to Iain and Des – I will get back to you shortly.

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The table for the Day – I and Iain were playing the Germans – we had a Panzergrenadier Platoon with three squads with 2 No. MG-42 each, we also had a Panzershrek team and Tripod MG-42 team as well as a Pz IV tank. We played against Dan and Glenn who had an American Platoon and a Sherman tank for Support. We were defending.
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The Americans quickly got a squad into the forest threatening the defensive position. A squad of Germans were sitting on the first floor with their LMGs aimed at the forest – a dash would be daring and deadly.
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Then came the tank
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The MMG was set up in one of the houses covering the approach road.
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All the Germans deployed in buildings at this moment
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The Americans sent out a scout platoon provoking an activation of another squad.

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A fierce fire fight broke out between two sections over the field.

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In spite of overwhelming fire power the rolls did not favour the Germans this time and they ended up withdrawing to the forest to recover some Shock.

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Glenn rolled really well at times! 5 and 6 to hit!

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I rolled less well!

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My favourite moments was the Pz IV shot…

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….that made the Sherman smoke
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What is superior firepower worth when you roll like this?

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Americans advancing down the road towards the objective of their success.

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Overwhelmed, unlucky the Germans slowly weakend!

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Seconds before the Americans overran the Jump Off point and ended the turn! – game over.
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IABSM
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General D’Armee
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Playtesting of the upcoming O-Group rules!

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 4 – Danish Cavalry and some Aerosans

A few more completed bases of the Danish Cavalry at Lund. All models from the Baccus Sun King range, link here.

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1. Fynske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Kristof Otto Schack)

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2. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Ditlev Rantzau)

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1. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Maj-Gen F. Arenstorff)

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Soon 80 years ago the Winter War started

In other news it is soon 80 years ago the Winter War between Soviet and Finland started (30th November 1939). The 30th November this year is on a Saturday so the Little One and I plan on running a Winter War battle on that day.  I am not sure we will need these excellent 15mm Aerosans from QRF (link here). They are excellent little models and I have had them on the soon to be finished shelf for far too long.

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A few picture to get us in that Winter War mood! (miniatures from Battlefront).

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/Hope that was of some interest

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German Infantry Platoon(s) for the What-if attack of Sweden in 1943

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As you may be aware I want to start playing a few scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell (that of course never happened). Part of this plan had two of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here – the first campaign will follow a mechanised infantry division and the other a Panzer division.

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The Dalarna (Dalecarlia) county in Sweden showing the two advances – Obere and Untere Armbrustschraube.

I only had early war Germans in 15mm so I needed to find some miniatures to build two regular infantry Platoons and some to do two Panzergrenader platoon.  I will discuss the regular infantry in this post.

One of the scenarios will be focusing on a river crossing and for this I needed to have some rubber boats.   Looking around I could only find one producer that make rubber boats with crew in 15mm and it was the Command Decision range from Skytrex (link here, I think these are sold by Old Glory in the US).   I also got enough squads for two platoons and some extra sections, some machine guns, mortars and stretcher bearers.

I painted them as follows (use alternatives as almost all manufacturers have had a go at some of the German colours) with normal Roll a One approach – splash rather than finesee:

  1. Grey base coat, ink washed (diluted ink)
  2.  Paint face, hands, paddles, wood on rifle, and rope around rubber boat in Beige Brown (Vallejo 875)
  3. Paint uniform jacket and trousers in German Field Grey (Vallejo 830, it feels more green than grey), leave some of the blackened recesses shine through – I painted about half of the trousers with a normal grey colour (London Grey 836).
  4. Paint helmet in Dark Green (Vallejo 979)
  5. Paint Anti tank weapons with panzershrek and panzerfaust in Dunkelgelb (I have a MIG paint, called RAL 7028)
  6.  Let dry and wash with GW’s Agrax Earthshade – a dark brown wash. This give a nice dark shine to the model.
  7. Detail skin with flesh (I used Vallejo Sunny Flesh 845) – let some of the brown shine through.
  8. Highlight uniform and helmet with original colour used as per 3. and 4. above.
  9. Webbing black, breadroll khaki, brown for waterbottle, various brown for shoes.
  10.  Highlight rifle and paddles with Light Brown (Vallejo 929)
  11.  Vallejo Air Silver for spade, mix with black for rifle, smg and lmg metal.
  12.  Paint the rubber part of boat in London Grey – leave some of the darker grey to shine through.
  13.  Let dry
  14.  Give it all a wash of Army Painter Soft Tone

Here is how they came out, although this is an old range I think there is a lot of character in these and I am very tempted to give their Afrika Korps miniatures a go just for fun.

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First Platoon in Rubber Boats
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Some classical poses
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HMG team
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Love these models – full of character.
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Some casualties
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Second Platoon in Rubberboats
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A wounded comrade is carried away but the fight must go on!
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Some 5cm Mortars, a prone LMG team, a Panzershrek team and a lying rifleman (that will be used as a Sniper).
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Done! Very happy, next the Panzergrenadier Platoons that I will be using some Battlefront models to build.

/ Hope that was of some interest

Featured

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Updated List

This contains an updated file to that one presented in a previous blog post (see here), some corrections and information for both Rifle Platoon (Skyttepluton) and Ranger Platoon (Jägarpluton).

POST NOTE: The Mortar team in the support option states 3 crew, it should be a crew of 2. Also the KP-bil was not equipped with a MG during the WW2 era, so is probably more a list One or Two option.

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During the hostilities of WW2 the Royal Swedish Army was undergoing a lot of changes and the most significant at the Platoon level was the change introduced in 1943 (the so called 43M organisation). This introduced more power for the Rifle Platoon by equipping the NCOs with SMGs, adding 2 No. Semi-Automatic rifles to each section. Further firepower was also provided by the introduction of a fifth specialist team with a 47mm Mortar Section and an Anti-tank rifleman to each Platoon. In addition a rifleman per section was a designated Sharpshooter and had a scoped rifle.

These changes were gradual and we suggest that the player can choose to play either the 1940 to 1943 or the 1943 to 1945 Rifle Platoon for the 1943 campaign. As an example the number of sub-machine guns and semi-automatic rifles would be aspirational in 1943.

These list allows you to field a normal Rifle Platoon (Skyttepluton) or a Ranger Platoon (Jägarpluton). The latter was more than often be used to do specific recon missions and to distress the enemy. These platoons would most often march onto to the battlefield, with a platoon cart and a horse. Some platoons may be equipped with bikes and some may even be driven to the battlefield in a truck.

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Some may even have been riding in the KP-bil (see more here)

Hope they are of some use, the file can be downloaded here.

PDF Swedish Infantry Platoon v3

Word File Swedish Infantry Platoon v3

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/ Hope that was of some use/interest.

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

 

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I have had the strawman of this blog post in my draft folder for a long time as I have stalled this part of the Swedish 1943 Invasion project until I sort out some decals etc. I have been working on the opposition though (here is a link to the last blog post on them). I do get the more than occasional question on what tanks to use for this project and what proxies are available.  Therefore with an apology in advance for the tanks presented here being 80% complete lacking the final wash, drybrush, decal and weathering. The stripy painting will be subdued by this process – I promise and hope, but looks good at the right distance as it creates some depth. The final garage will be presented in a Part 2 together with some Swedish Armoured Cars, it may even contain a little mini campaign for what a Tanker in the What-if Swedish 1943 Invasion context.

More on this project in previous blogs here (links below):

I am doing this project in 15mm and have not explored what options exists in other scales.

In essence we need 4 different tanks for Sweden in WW2, here they are (the two first models would be available in an earlier war campaign, my focus is Summer 1943 when all these models are available/in service. Each links to the relevant Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them):

Strv m/37 (available from the start of WW2) – This was the AH-IV Tankette the Swedish Army in the inter war years bought from the Czech company ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk) company, it was produced under licence in Sweden.

The tankette was strongly modified, including the suppression of original driver’s machine gun, this variant was heavier and larger, than the AH-IV. On the turret, was placed two Swedish-made machine guns, the 8mm Ksp m/36 Strv and a commander cupola.

– Wikipedia entry “Stridsvagn m/37”

To achieve something looking similar to the Swedish version I had to do a rough conversion of a Battlefront / Flames of War model (how I did it is included in the Appendix below, with the code reference RO005) of the Romanian R1 Tankette.  I just made one of these, but they came in pack of 3, so I may do a few more of them.

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Strv m/38-39-40, generally known as the L-60 series (available from the start of WW2) – This was a Swedish tank developed in 1934, a few were exported and one of the versions is the Hungarian Toldi tank . My version is a 3D printed Toldi. They can be bought from Butlers Printed Models (BPM) in the UK – I got mine from a friend. They are a little bit of rough models, compared to other manufacturers.  You could buy a Toldi in 15mm from Battlefront as well. I did no modification on these.

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Strv m/41 (available from Dec 1942) – Licence built 38(t) a common early war tank used by the Germans. I got some Plastic Solider company (PSC) 38(t)s and did some minor but I think effectful modifications (included in the Appendix below).

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Strv m/42 (Available from April 1943) – The mighty m/42 with a 75 mm L/34 gun. I bought one from Shapeways, it was bloody excellent.  I think I will buy two more of this one (PV112B Stridsvagn m/42 (1/100) is the Shapeway reference, they cost £25 each – ouch!).

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Appendix – conversions

Stridsvagn m/37 

This was a Swedish-built version of the Czechoslovakian CKD AH-IV Tankette, it was also sold to Romania.  Battlefront does a model of this version (R1 Cavalry Light Tank Romanian, code RO005), however there are a lot of notable differences between the versions.  The Green model in the picture below is the Battlefront model whilst the black and white photos are the actual Strv m/37.

Key differences:

  • Machine Gun on the right-hand side (did not exist on the Swedish model, so I did not install it)
  • The detail on top of the tracked wheels in front is different, there is a smaller box on the Swedish version (I reshaped this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had two MGs in the front, not one barrel (I re-did this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had a cupola in the hatch (I added one on my version – see below)

This is how I did the conversion, a quick job as usual looking for something impressionistic and that looks more like the Swedish than the Romanian versions.

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First I hacked away a little bit of the front part (shown on the second model) ….
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…so I could shape a little box instead as seen in the picture.
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Then I removed the cannon and sanded the front of the turret flat.
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Got a piece of plastic
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Drilled two holes in it (as shown in the picture below)
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Put in two pieces of a paper clip to represent the 8mm MGs and glued a part of a plastic sprue on to of the turret to represent the commander cupola.
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Wrong order – but you get the idea.
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Piece of blue tac – I suppose you ought to use something more sturdy like green stuff – but this is Roll a One modelling – no finesse.
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Stick it on top – conversion done. The Cupola is too tall but you get the idea. I am redo this later.

 

Strv m/41

I more or less used these as they came in the box from Plastic Solider Company, however I wanted to add some spare wheels, because it looks very iconic on the n/41 and also the  hatch opened forward.

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First I cut out a wheel from the track section
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Trimmed it as good as I could
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I used instant mould – it is a plastic that goes soft in warm water and you can use it to make simple moulds – like this one.
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I pressed the plastic on the shape
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Then I used some cheap 2 part epoxy resin and put it in the mould – you do not need a lot.
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Reasonable result
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Changed my mind and drilled a whole in the original and made a new mould
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Looking better
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To reverse the hatch direction I just cut of the front and the back bit on the cupola and glued them on in the opposite way.
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Job done, looking more Swedish

/ Hope that was of some interest.

 

 

 

Featured

25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Some time ago I fancied doing some Swedish WW2 era soldiers for fun, originally thinking I would do some kind of border skirmish scenario or something similar. It grew in scope somewhat, I have recorded the progress so far in a number of blog posts (here, here and here).

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From the Book “The German Northern Theatre of Operations 1940-1945” by E. F. Ziemke, you can download an excellent copy of the book here. For this particular project it in the pages 252 to 264.

Current I am planning a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell. Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. So having some units for the Swedish side I really needed some suitable Germans and decided to start by doing some tanks representing the 25th Panzer Division as it was in the Summer 1943 when it was stationed in Norway.

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From the book reference above, page 262.

So from this we know that the division had the following tanks:

  • PzKpfw II
  • PzKpfw III
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (captured French tank)
  • Suoma S35 (captured French tank)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

As the Swedes on the other side did not have a very strong tank force and anti-tank capability at the time, this list is still challenging but not as devastating as a list with Tigers and Panthers for example.

In addition the division would have a number of other supporting units like Panzer grenadiers, scouts/recon, artillery etc. I will get to these later, however as this is a Chain of Command project, I am not interested in some of the heavier stuff and/or supporting companies, but it would be fun to include some scout types as I read somewhere that they were mainly on Motorcycles and did not have armoured cars, etc.

However back to the focus of today – the tanks.

First I had to decide on how to paint them, my initial idea was to just make them Panzer Grey but since the directive was to paint them in dunkelgelb  was issued earlier in the year, I asked people on twitter for some advice and got may helpful hints, like this one from Petri Niemenien (thank you):

To be specific, Feb 1943: Dunkelgelb RAL 7028 base coat + Rotbraun RAL 8017 and Olivgrün RAL 6003 stripes 😉

So, and I noted this down mainly for myself, this is the process I used (it creates some reasonable and quick results, it works for my table):

  1. I used Plastic Soldiers Tank Spray Dunkelgelb (link here) cans – awesome product to be honest, saved me a lot of time. But you could of course use a brush.
  2. Then I dabbed/stipple (use a thin wasted brush) on the Olive Green mixed with the Dunkelgelb paint (4:1 mix to tone it down) forming some 2-3mm stripes – I used the paints in the picture below, but anyone will do. The MIG paints are a little bit runny and work great for this, if you use other paints water them down somewhat, I want to have some of the primer shining through.
  3. The same with the Rotbraun (reddish brown).
  4. Then I highlighted the green stripes with the Oliver Green unmixed, tried to do a line in the middle kind of – do not paint stipple it on.
  5. For the Rotbrown stripes, use the colour again but mix in some dark brown (I used burnt umber).  Again highlight the middle.
  6. Let it dry
  7. Wash the tank with a light brownish wash – I used Army Painter Quickshade – Soft Tone.
  8. Let it dry
  9. Drybrush with the Dunkelgelb
  10. Do the details as appropriate.
  11. Put on Decals (I used Plastic Soldier Company Decals for mine).
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(I) Army Painter Quickshade Soft Tone, (ii) Vallejo burnt Umber 941, (iii) Mig RAL 7028 DUNKELGELB AUS ’44 DG III (for highlighting, this is paler than the mid-war version, so get one of those if you are not using the army painter spray), (iv) MIG RAL 6003 OLIVGRÜN OPT.2 and (v) MIG Red Brown Shadow.

I will do some further weathering but will perhaps add some division insignia decals (I will do these myself later) and decide what time of the year the actual invasion “happens” so will wait with that and do it when all is completed.

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Divisional Insignia, 25th Panzeer

I really fancied the idea of including some of the French captured tanks – as they are rarely seen on a wargames table unless it is depicting France in 1940. I went to the Tank Museum in Saumur in 2016 and really enjoyed the French tanks in the collection.

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Wonder if the other ones in the Platoon were called Athos, Porthos and Aramis?
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This is the Somua S35
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This is the Hotchkiss H39

 

I bought three each of these French tanks from Peter Pig (link here) and they are brilliant metal models with limited parts, just ensure you use either 2 part epoxy glue or some milliput or equivalent when you assemble them to ensure strength and durability.

The French tank had cupolas instead of hatches on top and in many cases the Germans added hatches on top.  I did not modify the H39s but on the S35 a used a modelling knife and did a cut in the middle of the cupola to represent a hatch on two of them and a tank commander with some improvised hatches (I cut some plastic Sherman hatches roughly from a Plastic Soldier Company sprue the Little One had not used).

Here are the H39s (Peter Pig)

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..and the S35s (Peter Pig)

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Note the cut on top of the Cupola, creates the illusion of a double hatch, also the DIY hatches on the one with the visible commander.

Then the standard German tanks, first out PzKpfw II.

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Then the PzKpfw III.

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So now we have some options, and good progress overall on the tank front.

  • PzKpfw II (done)
  • PzKpfw III (done)
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (done)
  • Suoma S35 (done)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

I guess next I will do some PzKpfw IVs and StuGs but fancy including some early other Self Propelled Guns as well – but that will be the next binge batch some other time.

By the way I also did some Hanomags and command vehicles… (all from Peter Pig, except the Befehlswagen that is from Skytrex, this is the last vehicle in the second Picture)

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If you have any information about the 25th Panzer Division that could be relevant up to them leaving Norway in 1943 I would be more than interested. Also any books that may include some coverage of the Division or the individual regiments/battalions that formed it, etc.

  • Panzer Regiment 9
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 146
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 147
  • Panzer Artillery Regiment 91(undersized)
  • Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 25
  • Motorcycle Battalion 8
  • Panzerjäger Battalion 87(Tank Destroyer Battalion)
  • Panzer Engineer Battalion 87
  • Panzer Signal Battalion 87
  • Panzer Pioneer Battalion 87
  • Feldersatz Battalion (Field Replacement Battalion)

 

/ Hope that was of some interest