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:
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.
A few more completed bases of the Danish Cavalry at Lund. All models from the Baccus Sun King range, link here.
1. Fynske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Kristof Otto Schack)
2. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Ditlev Rantzau)
1. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Maj-Gen F. Arenstorff)
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.
A few picture to get us in that Winter War mood! (miniatures from Battlefront).
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.
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:
Grey base coat, ink washed (diluted ink)
Paint face, hands, paddles, wood on rifle, and rope around rubber boat in Beige Brown (Vallejo 875)
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).
Paint helmet in Dark Green (Vallejo 979)
Paint Anti tank weapons with panzershrek and panzerfaust in Dunkelgelb (I have a MIG paint, called RAL 7028)
Let dry and wash with GW’s Agrax Earthshade – a dark brown wash. This give a nice dark shine to the model.
Detail skin with flesh (I used Vallejo Sunny Flesh 845) – let some of the brown shine through.
Highlight uniform and helmet with original colour used as per 3. and 4. above.
Webbing black, breadroll khaki, brown for waterbottle, various brown for shoes.
Highlight rifle and paddles with Light Brown (Vallejo 929)
Vallejo Air Silver for spade, mix with black for rifle, smg and lmg metal.
Paint the rubber part of boat in London Grey – leave some of the darker grey to shine through.
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.
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.
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.
Hope they are of some use, the file can be downloaded here.
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.
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.
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).
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!).
Appendix – conversions
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
So from this we know that the division had the following tanks:
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):
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.
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.
The same with the Rotbraun (reddish brown).
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.
For the Rotbrown stripes, use the colour again but mix in some dark brown (I used burnt umber). Again highlight the middle.
Let it dry
Wash the tank with a light brownish wash – I used Army Painter Quickshade – Soft Tone.
Let it dry
Drybrush with the Dunkelgelb
Do the details as appropriate.
Put on Decals (I used Plastic Soldier Company Decals for mine).
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.
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.
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)
..and the S35s (Peter Pig)
Then the standard German tanks, first out PzKpfw II.
Then the PzKpfw III.
So now we have some options, and good progress overall on the tank front.
PzKpfw II (done)
PzKpfw III (done)
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)
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.
You may recall that I did some work on a Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command last year. This is part of a What-if Project I have been working on for some Potential WW2 actions involving the Swedish Army. I have been working away slowly with this project in the background. The rules I am using are Too Fat Lardies Chain of Command, but if you are interested in this What-if then you should be able to get something out of this even if you use another rule set.
I will shortly do an update of the Swedish Platoon list for Chain of Command as there are a few errors in the support options.
One of the most iconic Swedish vehicles of the era was the Terrängbil m/42 KP (Off Road Vehicle), also known as the KP-bil. It was a domestic development and would allow the troops to keep up with the tanks and also offer some protection from artillery and small arms fire. The KP-bil was a APC basically developed from an army lorry with armour-plates. The first ones were delivered in 1944 but there were a produced in 1943 but rejected (due to weaknesses in the body). In the What-if scenarios I am developing with a German invasion of Sweden in 1943 these will be pressed into service earlier.
The KP-bil was finally de-commissioned from Swedish Military Service in 2004 and was baptised in fire during its service with the Swedish UN forces in Congo in the 1960s. It was sometimes referred to as the Coffin due to it shape and in Congo it was also known as the White Elephant. You can find more about this vehicle, in English, from these web pages:
In doing the research for this WW2 Swedish project I found that it is possible to buy the KP-bil in 1/100 scale from Shapeways (link here).
The first issue is in the fact that these come with Machine Gun Mountings that were not included as standard until the 1950s – I could have stretched the imagination a little bit in this what-if and said that perhaps when they were pressed into service the mounting were attached? I decided to take them away. I did this with a fine cutter and then applied two pieces of thin card to cover the whole, the round piece incidentially the same diameter as a normal hole punch hole – I covered them with PVA glue.
I then painted them in three colour scheme – I have used this for the Tanks I am working on too (future posting).
The looked ok, but as they do not cover with any passengers the look a little bit boring. I thought I add some, but wanted to be able to take them out to show whether they were occupied or not on the gaming table.
During a very long telephone conference I got an idea and doodled it down – not a very clever one but good enough to achieve what I needed to do. I thought I would just create a block of soldiers that could be put in and out the vehicle.
I got some Italian Flames of War models (the one I used for the base Platoon I made) and created four bases (that I made sure fitted into the vehicles) with soldiers glued together (I used Grip Fill) trying to create some interesting “going ons”.
The I painted them as I did the other Platoon I did (see link here to that blog post for what Colours I used).
Had to get them out on a test spin, I think it was worth it.