Friday 28 June 2013

7th Armoured Division for Operation Crusader (1:5 scale ish)

I have finalised the organisation of 7th Armoured Division, November 1941. It is a large formation and, for Operation Crusader, it had several attached assets from outside the division (including an armoured brigade! The 22nd). Consequently, I have decided to base my organisation on the four Brigade Groups (including 7th Support Group) that were the division's manoeuvre elements for the operation.

I know of only one significant fudge. I have separated the carrier recon platoons from the companies of the Motor Battalions and formed them into a separate company that is deployed by the bulk of the battalion (note that 7th Support Group has detached a motor company from its two motor battalions to 22nd and 7th Brigade Groups).

I have checked the British lead pile and I will be able to field any of the three armoured Brigade Groups. I will be able to field 7th Support Group. I will be able to field any of the Armoured Brigade Groups with 7th Support Group. I will be able to field 4th Brigade Group with 22nd Brigade Group, 4th Brigade Group with 7th Brigade Group, but unable to field 22nd Brigade Group with 7th Brigade group (because they share the same A15 Crusader models - at least, presently).

Anyway, here are my organisational diagrams for all four groups. Perhaps they will be useful to someone.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

15th Panzer Division 1941 1:5 scale

This lunchtime I checked my unpainted German lead pile to make sure that I have everything I need for 15th Panzer Division at the start of Operation Crusader in November 1941. Refighting Operation Crusader as a campaign is the ultimate aim of this collection, and units from this formation will provide the bulk of the German units needed. I will probably field one or two Regimental battlegroups on table at the same time.

I have fudged one or two issues so that the units are better suited to the rules I'm using. The most important organisational change is the extra Pz II company. My companies shoot as units, not as individual tanks, and count as a single target; this means that the tactical flank protection role of the Pz II platoons is rather lost. By organising them as a separate unit (stripping them out of the Pz III and Pz IV companies) their tactical function becomes relevant again - though they provide it to the whole battalion rather than their company. It is companies playing at platoon scale. The number of tanks is right overall.

Splitting the armoured cars for the Aufklarungs Battalion into 3 rather than 5 platoons is neither here nor there to me. The armoured car screen generally operated in widely spaced adhoc groups of cars with attached assets from the battalion. The whole organisation seems to have been quite fluid. 

Likewise, creating a separate company of Sdkfz 251 mounted MMGs rather than having 1 Sdkfz 251 per company also makes sense. The unit has the right number of companies and the number of MMG stands remains unchanged. This unit contains the only hole in the inventory - I am 3 deployed MMGs short, but I can't imagine player's taking them out of their Sdkfz 251 anyway (we shall see!).

I've also neglected to include many logistical and administration elements - I did this to lessen the cost (especially in lorries) and keep the table, in what will be quite large actions, uncluttered.

Anyway, MMGs and one or two battalion command stands (which will not be required in practise) aside, I have everything to field all of 15th Panzer at the same time - though I might need a bigger table (and a bigger house to put it in!).

Here is my Divisional organisation. It generally follows the OOB found in Command Decision's Benghazi Handicap by Frank Chadwick. 

Tuesday 25 June 2013

25pdr Regiment

I have just finished four British 25pdr gun howitzers to complete the first field artillery regiment of two (my collection is scaled at 1:5 approx.).

The regiment comprises three batteries of two guns each (each gun actually representing 4). A FOO stand (carrier bourne), and a regimental command stand. There should, of course, be several other vehicles carrying ammunition, admin staff, etc. However, these are of little worth and would just clutter and 'confuse' the table so I have decided to keep units (of all types) stripped to the essentials.

All vehicles, except for the Bedford with office body, are Battlefront Miniatures (FoW). The Bedford, from memory, is Peter Pig. I have painted them using Humbrol enamels and acrylic ink.

 Command stand - note a large volume of 'The King's Regs.' on the table.
 One of the guns from the back....
 ........and from the front.
Quad tractor.

Next up, 2pdr AT guns on portees and a couple of 15cm howitzers.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Looking Foxy

This past week, I've taken time away from painting my 28mm stuff. I have decided to paint some bits and pieces from my 15mm World War Two lead pile. It is in need of some serious brush attention. I have painted virtually no German infantry up to now, and Rommel has been perched, unpainted on that armoured command vehicle for over a year.

Aswell as my 'German High Level Command Stand' I plumbed for painting up 200th Schutzen Regiment for 15th Panzer Division. Most of it still needs basing.

200th Schutzen comprises 15th Kradschutzen (motorcycle) Battalion, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, and two Regimental elements. There are two fudges.

The first is a collection wide compromise: Instead of having three trucks to move infantry elements I have decided to use just two (when the collection is finished I will have over 80 trucks painted and will be able to 'upgrade', but until then......).  

The second compromise is organisational. 2nd MG should have three companies of MGs each with one platoon in SdKfz 251. This does not really work at the level I play my games, so I have reorganised the three SdKfz 251s into their own company.
Regimental HQ stand and the regimental artillery - a Sig33 representing 707th IG Coy. This SPG is one of my all time favourite vehicles: It is a pity that only 12 were ever built; it is fortunate they all went to Africa. 
 The heavy company (5cm PaK38 and a medium mortar) and command stand for 2nd MG Btn.
 Two companies of truck bourne medium machine guns.
One company of medium machine guns in SdKfz 251. I might add three dismounted MGs and crew at some point in the future.
 15th Kradschutzen Btn. command stand and heavy company (3.7cm PaK36 and a 7.5cm IG).
 One of three motorcycle companies each comprising seven motorcycle combinations and fifteen dismounted panzergrenadiers well equipped with light machine guns.
 There's that man again. The Mammoth's paint scheme was taken from Tank Power vol. 295 Rommel's Tanks. Although the main text is in Polish, the one hundred and one superb plate captions are in English and Polish (recommended). Note that I have added an open roof hatch for the radio operator.
Some of Rommel's staff discuss dinner. Note that I have added an open side door.

Next up - I have a 25pdr regiment and some 2pdr portees to finish.

Thursday 13 June 2013

I was having a Bir last night........

Last night Peter and I stayed in the arid regions of the world, but shifted time to late 1941. The Game was a simple attack scenario: Elements of 7th Armoured Vs elements of 15th Panzer.

The Germans, comprising 33rd Aufklarungs Battalion reinforced by the armoured engineer company of 33rd Pioneers and an anti tank company of 33rd Panzerjager, had laagered around a Bir next to a large, steep sided, depression. Somewhere to their rear lay 1st Battalion of 8th Panzer Regiment with a towed battery of 88s of 33rd Flak. Also in support, and somewhere 'out in the blue' were three batteries of 10.5cm of 33rd Artillery.

The British, with orders to take the Bir and the southern entrances to the depression, comprised 3rd and 4th Regiments County of London Yeomanry, a squadron from 11th Hussars (armoured cars), 1st Battalion The King's Royal Rifle Corps, and a battery of 25pdrs from 4th Royal Horse Artillery.

The attack was scheduled for dawn but even the best laid British plans are often shaken to bits by the vagueries of the Piquet initiative system. Before the Brits had left their start lines 1st Btn of 8th Panzer Regt had arrived (Randomly, it arrived at the far end of the depression) and moved up almost unopposed. Only the guns of 4th RHA, sighted on the lip of the depression, caused any harm before it was almost destroyed by the accurate shooting of the German PzIVE company. Even the RAF missed a golden opportunity.

As the Germans reached the southern exits of the depression, all hell broke loose with 4th CLY. The British 2pdrs, manned by men new to their tasks, were no matchfor the men of the 8th. The 3rd CLY, after having come under sustained attack from AT guns, eventually managed to get onto the flank of 33rd Aufklarungs, but their bolt was shot and their spirit broken. The British withdrew and the Germans halted to replenish.

Anyway, that is kind of how it went. Here are some shots (BTW, if you think it crammed for a desert action, the ground scale is 50m to the inch - the table is 7.2 km / 4.5 miles wide. Figure scale is roughly 1:5):