Monday, 27 February 2017

Roll Call! - 15th Panzer Division late 41

When I decided to concentrate on a particular theatre and period for a WW2 collection I decided on Operation Crusader November - December 1941. I chose it because the forces are fairly well balanced, it's big enough and complex enough to provide the basis of scenarios of every type, and in changing down a scale (from my usual 28mm to 15mm) I would not need too much new terrain (desert).

Although I eventually intend to have enough war game pieces to represent all of the combatant formations (though not fielded altogether, you understand) I decided to start by buying enough stuff to field the British and the Germans. I used Battlefront's Flames of War range for almost everything. I put in one big order and bought everything at once, obtaining a 40% trader discount in the process (the photo opposite shows about 70% of it).

As I plan on fighting battles with 'brigade group' sized battle groups, I decided to use the OOB, in Frank Chadwick's excellent Benghazi Handicap. This book scales the forces at roughly 1:5 - or one stand to a platoon / troop. This scale allows quite big all arms actions to be carried out on a good sized table. 

Looking at the breakdown of Afrika Korps, the obvious formation to use as the base for all of the forces was 15th Panzer Division. This formation can be converted into the major elements of 21st Panzer, or Afrika Division ZBV, quite easily. I still have a few pieces, to convert 15th Panzer Division into Afrika Division ZBV, to do (namely 605th PzJager Btn and some Anti Aircraft pieces) but otherwise, this is (less some basing to finish) the German collection completed. I'll never be able to use all of it at the same time but, I will be able to use big chunks of it at the same time. 

8th Panzer Regiment. 

Two battalions of three companies (two light, one medium); two battalion command elements and a regimental command element (round bases); an attached Luftwaffe heavy AA battery (8.8cm).
33rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

A company of armoured cars; a motorcycle company (mounted / dismounted); a support company; a battalion command element.

Dedicated transport is pictured.
115th Rifle Regiment.

Regimental command element and regimental support elements (AT and infantry gun); 2 infantry battalions each of: 3 companies of infantry; a support company; a battalion command element.

Dedicated transport is pictured.
200th Infantry Regiment.

Regimental command element and SP infantry gun company.

15th Motorcycle Battalion: 3 infantry companies; a support company; battalion command element.

2nd Machine Gun Battalion: 3 MMG companies; a support company; battalion command element.

Dedicated transport is pictured.

33rd Artillery Regiment: General Support battalion of 3 15cm howitzer batteries; 2 Direct Support battalions each of 3 10.5cm howitzer batteries; 3 forward artillery observer (FAO) elements.

33rd Artillery Battalion: 3 companies each of 2 3.7cm and 1 5cm AT gun.

Dedicated transport is pictured.

Note: There are no command elements as these guns were either generally attached to other formations or they can use their FAO element.

33rd Pioneer Battalion: 2 companies of infantry.

Dedicated transport is pictured.

Note: There is no command element as these companies were either generally attached to other formations. 

Non dedicated transport pieces: 24 Motor Transport stands.

My favourite AFV piece is the Sdkfz 121/122 self propelled 15cm infantry gun on Pz II chassis.

My favourite piece of artillery is the 8.8cm. I've liked the look of this powerful gun since childhood.
My favourite motor transport pieces are the motorcycle combinations - especially en masse. 
Each of my national forces will have an ambulance. To get them onto the table they will be used as command elements.
The most bizarre (pointless) piece is the enormous Sdkfz 9 tractor. It will be used as a transport piece just to get it on the table from time to time.

Speaking of 'pointless', I have omitted non-teeth arms from my order of battle. Not because I don't see why they were important but, rather because they have very little use on a wargame table.

Will I buy any more Germans? Yes, I still need two 2cm AA guns plus dedicated transport, half a dozen more Opel Blitz trucks and three SdKfz 7s for the 15cm hows. These were unavailable when I ordered all this stuff back in August 2010 - I'll get round to buying them eventually, probably with the Italian stuff I'll need.  

I'll be concentrating on the British next. Although I've made a very good start (50%?) on the British, I still have quite a lot of armour, infantry and artillery to paint. In fact, the stuff to paint for the British outweighs the Germans by a considerable amount. There are 25 tanks in the German force, there are over 100 in the British force - including Crusader I, A9, A10, A13, Honey, Matilda, Valentine and even some Vickers VI (for the infantry division's cavalry regiments).

Anyway, I hope you like the results of the very slow effort so far. For my part, I'm quite pleased with the way things have turned out and finishing a major part of any collection is always a spur to get the rest done. Thing is, this is my 'non-project' that I use as a change of menu when I get bored of painting 28mm; it may be some time before this particular cog turns again - especially as the next job is basing, uuuuurgh.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Spectacular! Wow... looking forward to seeing your British forces.. my favourite is the 2 and 6pdr portee's..

ColCampbell50 said...

Brilliant work!! Can't wait to see your progress on the British.


William Stewart said...

Beautiful collection! Will you be showing the 8th Army units soon?

David said...

Very impressive both in quality and in quantity.

Paul O'G said...

As one who is collecting 15mm DAK to dive into Battlegroup Tobruk when it released in a few months, I found this to be most inspiring. Outstanding work and thanks for sharing!

Eric McKenzie said...

They look fantastic. I love your basing work.

pancerni said...

Great work, from planning to execution. A wonderful theater to game, and using Bengazi Handicap book for OB is just plain smart!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...



Steve Williams said...

Fantastic work! Only this weekend I was mulling over the possibility of a 15mm desert war collection that could be used for Battlegroup Tobruk. I'd been idly skimming through the plastic soldier company website to price up a battalion of Panzer IIIs. Just last night, I'd downloaded a 15 Panzer Division ToE and thought to myself 'Well, 45 Panzer IIIs seems reasonable and it's only £150.'

I wake up this morning and see this picture in the blog roll of another blog I follow; I clicked the link and nearly fell off my chair. That's an impressive effort. Thank you for helping me see that dreams can come true - I'm now going to go back to the start of your blog and read everything.

Dan said...

Wow, very nicely done, very, very cool.

Rodger said...

Now that is impressive!

Phil said...

Superb...and very impressive!

Willie Anderson said...

Your a painting machine James don't know how you do it.
I've sent you an email re address let me know you have it.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Steven (Williams)... consider also the Minifgs N scale range (nominally 12mm but I've heard they fit with 10mm) I did my WWII desert stuff with them - big enough to see detail but small enough not to swamp the table... some pictures here..

Moiterei_1984 said...

That's quite an awesome collection you got there!