quarta-feira, 8 de agosto de 2018

Daimyo set of Rules in 20mm - Japan's Sengoku period/Sekigahara 1600: Otani Yoshitsugu clan

Otani Yoshitsugu was a very famous general of the period and a close friend to Ishida Mitsunari. He tryed to convince Ishida on not going to war against Tokugawa Ieyasu but as a true and loyal friend he fought at Sekigahara were its tactical skills were showed once again. He had a small army as its son was in charge of a much bigger one. Otani Yoshitsugu was also suffering from leprosy and its health was deteriorating forcing him to be transported in a palanquin. At the end of the battle he committed seppuku  and instructed that his head would be cut off and buried. Even today it couldn't be found.

The palanquin were Otani seats is made of plastic card. The Otani figure is the Zvezda General of the Samurai Army Headquarters. The head was worked with putty in order to make the white headdress that covered his sickness. The seated Ashigaru are conversions from the same box with new heads. All other figures are a mixture of Zvezda and RedBox as usual.

Next: Sturm-Panzer Abteilung 217 for Normandy 1944. 

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2018

Rapid Fire! Late WW2 Germans: 88mm KwK43 SPG's.

As I told you before the idea of having all Mortain units was to have the ability to wargame any of the big campaigns in the West and even in the East. Before the Mortain series of posts I already had showed  a number of full units that had the Goodwood operation as background like the 21st PD, the 16th LFD, the Tiger Tank Abt.503, or the British 7th AD, a Sherman based Division or a Churchill Tank Brigade. Having the 21st PD in particular, which had over 100 Pz IV (20 + in RF! terms) allows you to have enough Pz IV to distribute along the Germans divisions at Mortain (21st PD was not at Mortain) or any group of divisions for many other campaigns of late WW2. 

But Normandy is not over with Goodwood and Mortain. And if you want to be able to play all late war possible scenarios you need a few more things. Today I'll show you my German units for other sectors of the Normandy front and a few for late 1944. 

The s.Pz.Jag.Abt. 654 was equipped with one of the most deadly SPG's of WW2, the Jagdpanther, and became famous both in the Eastern and Western fronts. In the latter its first action was against British Churchills in Normandy which could do little against the terrifying 88mm KwK 43. The battalion never acted as a full force so I'm representing it with two companies of 2 models each with a Befehlspanzer Panther as the command vehicle of the unit. 

The models are a mixture of Esci (L) and repainted Altaya (R). Both are 1/72nd scale and the only visible small difference between the two brands is the length of the main gun that is slightly longer in the Esci version. 

Another interesting characteristic of this unit is the German AFV cross painted at the front. I'm not sure if it was used in Normandy but it shows up in pictures of this battalion later in the war. 

The Befehlspanzer Panther is an Hasegawa model with a new scratch built star antenna. 

These two Nashorn are Britannia. The Nashorn was the first solution the Germans used to place the 88mm Kwk 43 in the chassis of a tank. Used at Kursk for the first time it was built up to the end of the war due to its success as a Tank-killer.  This SPG was not used in Normandy but Italy, Eastern Front and Western Front closer to Germany's border are all possible scenarios for these models. 

Just based and crewed and slightly weathered this Altaya Nashorn is ready for Winter war against both T-34 and Sherman or even against late Pershing tanks like the one destroyed at close range in March 1945 close to Cologne...

The gun barrel of the Britannia model is much shorter and thicker than the one from Altaya. The Britannia model is typical of the brand with a model that captures the main characteristics of the real thing and then uses sturdy details almost indestructibles on the table. On the other hand the Altaya version is all about accuracy and elegance. 

Next: a return to Sekigahara 1600 before more late Panzers. 

sábado, 4 de agosto de 2018

Rapid Fire! Operation Lüttich (Mortain Counterattack) 1944 in 20mm, Part 6 and last - Panzer Lehr

This series is finishing in the beginning of August, about the time of the Mortain battles just by mere luck not on purpose. Here you have the two Kampfgruppe in which Panzer Lehr was divided after Operation Cobra, KG Von Hauser and KG Ritgen. The CO of Pz Lehr. Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein reported catastrophic casualties from the carpet bombing of Cobra and the following assault by two US tank divisions. But it seems they were exaggerated as other officers from the division reported much smaller casualties. Apparently Bayerlein was trying to save the division from further damage. Thus the two KG of the division played only a small role at Mortain with Von Hauser behind the main assault and Ritgen  much to the rear. 

In the top picture the two KG are forming. The Panther battalion is reduced to 3 (RF!) tanks, same with the PzIV battalion as the Lehr tanks were only a bit more than 30 around the 5th of August. On the right you have the AA assets of FlakAbt. 130 close to the remnants of the Pioneer battalion. In line at the rear the Recce bat.130 has its eight wheeled vehicles ready for action. To the left the SP's are providing some fire support while the AA half-tracks of the Pz.Gren. regiments are waiting on the side of an hedgerow. The Fallschirmjäger of II Corps gives the necessary infantry and PAK for this advance with Pz Lehr being subordinated to this Corps during the Mortain actions. 

This Nitto/Fujimi Panther has its big white and red number painted over the turret protective track pieces. Another typical characteristic of Pz Lehr Panthers were the white painted front mudguards. A PSC crewman was the only addition to the model. 

Now this one is a work of art. It was gift from my friend Jorge Faria, the 2nd biggest wargamer and model maker of this country. He carefully used a hot steel to carve the Zimmerit on this Matchbox model, something that many of us thought about but few had the ability to do. I only repainted it in order to have the same tones of colour in all models. 

The PzIV are Esci built straight from the box with the usual add-ons.

The Pz28t are Altaya with plastic crews.

This Bergepanzer III is a conversion from the Matchbox Pz III. 

Two Hasegawa Sdkfz 7/1 and 2 from the Flak Abt.311.

Probably Pz Lehr still had some of the 25 Sdkfz 234/2 'Puma' of Panzeraufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung 130. I used three to represent approximately half of 4th company still  in existence a number probably exaggerated as the reconnaissance units of WW2 had the higher percentage of casualties.   

Another asset of the Recce battalion is this Britannia Sdkfz 233 with SHQ crew. 

Two more Britannia Sdkfz 10/4 makes the Flak for the 901 and 902 Pz Gren. regiments. One day I will make this figures from the available ones in the Valiant box. 

Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130 still has these two matchbox Wespe.

General Bayerlein watches the direction of the attack he thinks being a total mistake. But its Hitler's orders so its better to do something about it. The light car and Stoewer are Frontline Wargaming. 

The FJ manning this Airfix Pak40 are also old Airfix and Preiser. 

The main body of the two battalions of  FJ are Esci with a few Valiant conversions. 

The MMG are Armourfast with Airfix heads. The Radio stand is Revell. 

Now for some bibliography used in this series. To the right you have the Victory at Mortain book from M.J. Reardon. For me its the best account of the battles of the Mortain counteroffensive even if lacking detail on the German OB's. To the right  R. Weiss Fire Mission book centers its text on the 'lost Battalion' actions around hill 314. 

The 1947 Michelin map of Mortain is a very useful guide for the terrain were everything happened. I used this one I found in the internet. When all pages are placed like this and wrapped with tape it measures around 70cm X 40cm.

A quick map of the actions make you understand you need a table around 8 meters X 4 meters to cope with all units involved. 

Along the years I built these helpful charts to keep a registration of all details I could find of the six big German units present at Mortain. Also wrapped in tape it was essential to add constant changes in numbers and weapons to the German lists as I was finding more references on this difficult matter and far from conclusion.

Next: More German units for late WW2. 

sábado, 28 de julho de 2018

Rapid Fire! Sdkfz 263 conversion from the Airfix Sdkfz 234

This post happens after a massive entering of requests for me to show how I made the Sdkfz 263 of last post (thanks Macota for asking...).
The basis is the quite strange Airfix 243 without the long mudguards of the later version. As you have a relatively useless vehicle you can use the 75mm PAK and scratchbuild the true version on a surplus Matchbox hull or try a Sdkfz 263 (or both...).
The general idea is simple: you start from the bottom of the hull piling up plasticard vertical small structures in the turret area (the one that really matters) until you are satisfied.
Then you add details:  on the original mudguards, on the turret, etc, up to the level you want. I always prefer thicker and sturdier details than flimsy if more accurate ones.
The turret should have been some two millimeters thinner at the top. The pick and shovels, lights and Mg are scratchbuilt.
The extra wheel is Atlantic and the main antenna is Matchbox coming from the Sdkfz 261. The star antenna is scratchbuilt.
The end result is good enough for me. As a one go model you can built it easily and correct some faults in the process. Hope it helps, Macota.
Next: Pz Lehr for Mortain as I told you before.

sexta-feira, 27 de julho de 2018

Rapid Fire! Operation Lüttich (Mortain Counterattack) 1944 in 20mm, Part 5 - 17th Pz Gren. Div. Götz von Berlichingen

The 17th Pz Grenadier Division was a shadow of itself in the begginning of August 1944 with its forces gathered in Kampfgruppe Fick. Only ten of the StugIV of SS Panzerabteilung 17 remained from the original 42 and all units within the division were as depleted.
As I have 7 StugIV for this division, that I showed you in an older post, I used 6 of them (equals to 30 in RF! terms) to give a bit more colour to this faded group that ended in Mortain under the orders of Pz SS 'Das Reich' division.
The StugIV are Revell with one Altaya in the middle.
Another anti tank asset of this division was the 17th PzjägerAbt. I found conflicting references to the kind of Marder in this unit, wether Marder I or Marder III. I ended up by alocating these two Marder III from Altaya with plastic crew to this also depleted unit.
 This division still had a battery of IG18 at Mortain. The models are Britannia. The 120mm mortar must still have existed by then also.
 The 17th SS Flak Abt. had 88mm guns and Sdkfz 7/1's. The 88mm and crew are SHQ.
And the Sdkfz 7/1 is Hasegawa with crew from Atlantic.
The Rocket battery had three sections of Nebelwerfer NW41 and NW42.
The Nebelwerfer models are old Esci and one Altaya. The tow is an Esci Sdkfz 11 with Hasegawa and Atlantic crew.
I equipped the leftovers of the artillery with ex-Russian 122mm model 1936 as this division had some in replacement of the FH105mm. The 17th Pz Gren. Div. didn't have SPG's in its artillery.  Crew and guns are Irregular Miniatures.
The much depleted SS Pz Aufkl.Abt 17 is represented here by a Skytrex Sdkfz 231, a Britannia Sdkfz 250/1 and a converted Sdkfz 263 based on the strange Airfix Sdkfz 234. Not sure if this one was in this division though.
No SS infantry as I'm finished with it for the moment. Instead a battalion of Fallschirmjäger Reg.14 (from 5th FJ. Div.) is supporting the SS troops as it happened in Mortain.
 The figures are mostly Esci with a few Revell. I converted a few in order to have LMG's and Panzerschreck teams. The arms holding the Panzerschreck are Valiant.

Finally a deadly SS Sniper from Britannia is lurking in the middle of the bocage... but no problem as you are seeing it.
Next: The end of this series with the remnants of the once mighty Panzer Lehr.

domingo, 22 de julho de 2018

Rapid Fire! Operation Lüttich (Mortain Counterattack) 1944 in 20mm, Part 4- 1st LSSAH.

The 1st LSSAH still had some very powerful teeth at the beginning  of August 44. Its main problem were the youth of its soldiers and lack of good NCO's after dreadful casualties in the Eastern front and the lack of trucks, a typical problem of the German late army war. This division was also famous for its war crimes in Russia, Italy, France and Belgium and for its notable genocidals like Joachim Peiper.  
The 1st SS Pz Reg. 1 was still very powerful with its usual Panthers and Pz IV. The models are  Hasegawa, Altaya and Esci for the Panthers and Armour and Altaya for the Pz IV. The
This camouflage of this Hasegawa Panther is one of the best known of the Leibstandarte division.
Another Hasegawa Panther is the battalion's leader with the famous 1.4 meters universal antenna.
This is my sole Esci model the survivor of a group destroyed by the anti-tank batteries of a dog I had called Breque.
Two Pz IV from Altaya in different camouflage styles as they are from two separate collections. Only the basing and bushes are my intervention.
Another pair of Die-casts this time from Armour.

These Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind are Armour and Altaya Die-casts  with plastic crews.
More Flak protection in the form of these Britannia Sdkfz 10/4.
In the Mortain Counterattack the LSSAH had a company of engineers represented here by an Sdkfz 251/ 7.
The SP Art.Reg. with the usual Esci Wespe and Hummel. The second Wespe is Matchbox as I'm finished of 1/72nd scale Wespes. The OP Kubelwagen is Hasegawa with the regular Atlantic crew.
The LSSAH Flak Abt. had the Sdkfz 7/1 and 2, models from Altaya, and also the 88mm, gun and tow from Hasegawa.
This Altaya model has a quadruple 20mm gun from Esci with PSC crew.
The SS Aufklärungabteilung 1 with Schwimmwagens from Hasegawa with crews from all available hard plastics, Sdkfz 234/2's (later called Puma) from Altaya, Sdfkz 222 from Britannia, Sdkfz 250/9 from Esci and Sdkfz 231's from Frontline Wargaming.
An SS Mechanized Infantry Battalion with transport from the usual Hasegawa, Altaya, Matchbox and Frontline Wargaming. The Bison is Britannia.
A few conversions made in the infantry that you probably will recognize.  
The other Battalion is Valiant. They may be big but I love these guys!!
The SS Sturmgeschütz  Abt. with its leftovers, two Stug III, one Altaya one Esci.
Generalmajor of the SS Theodor Wisch and its sucesssor, SS Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke in a Frontline Wargaming staff car. The figures are Atlantic and Hasegawa.
Next: 17th Pz.Gren. Div. Götz Von Berlichingen.