Sunday, December 29, 2019

Name the Cafe....20mm building boom part five

So also nearly completed this piece....what should I name the cafe though, I want something that will suit for Normandy, Brittany and Pays de la Loire, so it need some to be able to fit in where fighting occurred also!

Any thoughts lads, I am digging through my 1939 copy of the Normandy Blue guide to see what strikes my interest. If you have a thought please pop it down below.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Ww2 20mm Building boom part 4

Chipping way at completing the 20mm buildings, this bombed out building has been in the painting stash for at least 3 years, very happy with my result, thoughts people. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your families.

A special merry Christmas to al our guests who have joined us at French Wargame Holidays at L'Hotel de Hercé this year from China, United States of America, Canada, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and France.

It has been a pleasure to welcome the partners to stay and enjoy our historic 18th century Maison particular-  L'Hotel de Hercé, and to experience western France, the real France where people can walk in the footsteps of history.

Matt and Nessa

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Building Boom part three

More construction progress, particularly on the part ruined and the ruined building.

On the part ruined building additions complete, roof sections scratchbuilt from plastic Wills roofing and plastic card and roof completed, and extra destroyed bits of building from cat litter in the yard plus sandbags in the doorway.

Destroyed building completed including the varnish

More work to complete on the large hotel and the shop

Thursday, December 19, 2019

20mm building boom part two

Some work today and added some extra bits too one of the pieces. I added extra sand bags increasing the height to better suit a defensive position inside a ruined building. Will add washes, then some Mig pigments. More pics to tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

20mm Building boom!

I decided to this week change it up a bit from painting 28mm and finish of some buildings from the 20mm stash, a mix of 20mm resin and plastic HO/OO train buildings. Work in progress photos now, completed later in their own post.

The resin shop is very nice and will be quite straight forward, I think it is a Raventhorpe, I will also add some French signage too and tart up the garden. A typical French looking shop, will be made use of in my Normandy and Pays de Loire games.

The bombed out building should be a simple build, as only a few bricks and ruined bits need to be highlighted, not sure of the maker though. A useful bombed out ruin for any smashed city section.

 The part ruined bombed out building needed quite a bit of work, it was broken when I purchased it, so a new plastic card base, I scratchbuilt a new roof section made up from Wills plastic roof tiles and I also added some plastic card structure and beams, in the garden extra rubble, and wall repair. I will be able to use this for any ruins, which makes it quite useful, painted it in French render beige.

The plastic building is from one of the german model railway firms, it looks a little german, but it will probably get used on my Arnhem or Nijmegen city tables. I need to remove the airbrush paint from the windows, take off the roof as I like to place figures inside all of my buildings, add removable floors, place it onto a base and add a courtyard garden and outbuildings.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cotentin 1940 book review

I am always wandering through bookshops here in France and every now and then I find something of interest written in French that I have never seen covered in English.

This week I picked up this book for €3 and when I returned home read the first 3 chapters quite quickly, it certainly covers a lot of ground I have never read about really, the raising and training of units during the phoney war, the preparations of the ports in the peninsula especially Cherbourg, and the units assigned to its defence. I am looking forward to ploughing through more of it this week and perhaps write a few scenarios for my upcoming wargames book.

I will do a follow up here and change the text once completed.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

1944 Sicherung Regiments in Normandy, Brittany & Pays de Loire

I have been researching the 325th Sicherung Division, more commonly referred as the Brehmer division. Commanded by General Walter Brehmer (involved in the plot to kill Hitler) the divsion then becomes part of the 1st Army group under Generalleutenant Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld.

units include

  • 1st Sicherungs Regiment
  • 5th Sicherungs Regiment
  • 6th Sicherungs regiment
  • 190th Sicherungs Regiment
  • 325th Artillery Regiment
  • 325th Fusilier company
  • 325th pak abteilung
  • 325th Pionier abteilung
  • 325th Nachricten  Abteilung 
Units were rushed to the frontline in August 1944 from Paris to plug gaps after the breakout  of the 7th and 15th corps through Brittany and upper Pays de Loire (Pattons breakout). These police divisions were essentially for regional maintaining the peace and essentially rounding up French resistance, deportees, escaped prisoners, awol soldiers and downed Allied airmen.

German bus destroyed near Le Mans

They were armed with a mixture of equipment, French trucks, cars and buses and armoured cars, Czechoslovakian MG26(t) and mixed french and Czech rifles, mortars, russian and german AT  guns.

Sicherung Regiment 1

Charged with the defence of Paris, were moved to Mayenne and Sarthe region (Pays deLoire) on the 4-5th of August, the regiment were issued cycles, however they were motorised for the trip to Pays de Loire using requisitioned Paris Buses and used the Sicherung Divisions transport bus Poole.

The regiment organisation upon arrival in Pays de Loire consisted of three battalions, plus two support companies.
Each battalion had four companies, the first eleven companies each armed with 12 Czechoslovakian MG30(T) and six light  LeGrW36 5cm mortar in the premier company of each battalion.  The 12th company were armed with six LeGrW34 8cm mortars and eight tri-pod mounted MG34s motorised in requisitioned civilian trucks.
13th heavy company were armed with twelve Pak36  3.7cm AT guns motorised with military Skoda trucks.
The 14th company were armed with twelve Panard armoured cars sdkfz 178 armed with 25mm canon.

The first and second battalions seemed to of kept their Paris Buses, the third battalion were then on their bicycles.

The HQ was posted to Coulans-sur-Gee, Sarthe, Pays de Loire, on the main east/west road from Laval to Le Mans, with orders to hold the line between Loue, Saint Suzanne, Evron to Aaron. The  1st and 2nd  battalions seemed to have been split up into company groups to reinforce positions of the 708th Infantry Division, the third battalion was subordinated to Panzer Lehr and posted to Aaron, west of ville Mayenne. (The primary movement bridge of the American thrust over the Mayenne captured by Pattons troops on the 5th of August)

Combat 5th August to 16th August
3rd battalion
5th August moved to holding line position L'Aaron river with elements of the 708th regiment, American units force a crossing seizing the only major heavy vehicle bridge across the Mayenne river at Mayenne.
6th August under constant bombardment from american artillery, and aircraft along with the failure to pressure the American units streaming south to Laval and south east towards Evron, at Ville Mayenne recon elements of the 5th Us Armoured division probe north towards Ambrières-les-Vallées, and the Alençon road, Pré-en-Pail and south east of the hold line towards Evron - LeMans road.
7th August 3rd Battalion counter attack Mayenne, along with elements the 728th Grenadier infantry regiment, supported by Panzer Lehr armour. The dug in American troops defend the outskirts of ville Mayenne and south around the  Moulay bridge across the L'Aaron river. This was the last effort to re-take the important river crossing across the river Mayenne.
8th August 3rd Battalion retired North west to Pre-en-pail. Performing the interface between Panzer Lehr Division and 728th grenadier regt of the 708th Infantry Division.
10th August after American troops try to cut them off a retreat is ordered to Alençon.
11th fighting south of Alençon retreat towards Alençon.
12th retreat north west with remnants of the 9th Panzer and 708th divsions, hold the Ecouché -Argentan line
13-17th destroyed in the fighting around Argentan
17th surrender to American troops

2nd Battalion
5th battalion in blocking position In Evron
7th August recon elements of the US 90th Infantry division probe the outskirts.
7th August units ordered to retreat, elements fall back to Sille-le-Guillame region with 708th Infantry division and remnants of the 17th SS recon battalion.
8th retreat to hold a line at Fresnay-sur-sarthe, help supply elements in the forest retreat
9th-11th fighting with 708th  Division south of Alençon.
12th retreat north west with remnants of the 9th Panzer and 708th divisions, hold the Ecouché -Argentan line
13-17th destroyed in the fighting around Argentan
17th surrender to American troops

1st Battalion & HQ Kamfgruppe Von Krawel
Kampfgruppe von Krawel, (Commander of the 1st regiment) formed 5th August were to defend the Laval - Le Man roads heading east to Paris. The Kampfgruppe consisted of  first and second  btn, with attached 17th SS recon and armour elements, Luftwaffe AA units from Laval airbase and broken units from 5th Parachute regiment, and Sturm Btn AOK7. The American armour thrust break the line on the 6th in three locations and the units retreat towards  north east of Le Mans to take up new positions south of the newly arrived 9th panzer division, and some elements North of Chartres between La Loup and Courville. After heavy fighting Retiring to Nogent le Roi position on the 11th.

Kampfgruppe Mucke formed from elements of  9th Panzer aufklarungs 9, two companies of 5th Fallshirmjager regt and three companies and remainder of first Sch regiment mortar  company and   Support  elements, defend Nogent le Roi.

Remainders assigned to 352nd inf division,  defending the Eure river at La Loup, on the 15th August breakthrough retired to Le Boullay-Thiery, elements of the  341 stug brigade attached 9 vehicles, at 8pm on the 16th of August the survivors of the regiment surrendered to American troops.

13th Company partially destroyed on the 8th, losing all AT units in fighting north east of Saint Suzanne, remainders retreated north east to Sille-de-Guillaume, then mustered further east with the remainders of 1st and second battalion.

14th company Armed with Panard sdkfz 178 acted as recon south of the Mayenne -Evron-Le Mans line, mostly patrolling the Main N road from Le Mans to Laval
5th August in position at Coulans-sur-Gee
6th report recon elements report large US concentration of armour at Laval, retire towards Le Mans
7th August Panard registration WH 669 217 destroyed at Arnage south of Le Mans.
8th August two Panards destroyed south of Le mans at Guécélard.
9th August retire to Le Mans
10th August Remaining Panards attached to Radfahr Battalion, retreat northwest towards Chartres and defend Chartres, unit completely destroyed north of Chartres.

I plan to build the 1st regiment and the supporting Armoured car company. 


Monday, June 17, 2019


A little piece off the desk, a Raventhorpe checkpoint, quite happy with the colours. Will be useful for many games I think.


Ardenne Abbey, Normandy

Working on my unpainted building pile and I decided to paint my Ardenne Abbey after visiting in May. I purchased the 20mm Raventhorpe Model some time ago and have never really got around to building it. I plan to build the main buildings surrounding the abbbey in 20mm so a lot to cram onto a 600 x 600 terrain board. The main features are the tithe barn, the grand gate and the port gate, along with the gardens. As the piece will only feature on some games I thought that the only permanent pieces will be the hedges and fences, and the gardens, so I can swap out for a chateau or something else on the tile also.
A feature around the property is a 2.5 to 3m stone fence, I have purchased a random stone roller to make them, stay tuned


DDay Normandy 2019

This year we had Canadian guests for DDay tours from the 4th to the 8th of June. On the fifth on June we attended the commemorations at Carentan and Sainte Mère Église. We elected to visit both camp Arizona at Carentan and Geronimo at Sainte Mère Église, plus the museum.
The crowds were big as expected, but we entered Carentan from the south west so we could park at the stock yards, and have a short walk to the events. At Sainte Mère Église we managed to get a car park  near the tourist info centre, 40m from the church!