Sunday, December 18, 2022

Friday, December 16, 2022

British Parachute Brigade additions

 British Parachute Brigade additions




Another project this winter analogue painting challenge is to complete my Dday/Arnhem British parachute brigade kit. I want add all of the ancillary bits, supply, proper foldable airborne AT guns, motorbikes,  tractor towed AT guns, tractor  towed artillery, Ops command centre. Plus complete all my British gliders. 
  1. Airborne supply dump, a small dio I have in mind. 
  2. Replace my 6pdrs with foldable airborne AT guns (replace the airfix plastic 6pdrs )
  3. Airborne motorbikes, just need to paint them!
  4. Morris cut down gun tractors with towed 17 per AT guns and mounted crews
  5. Morris cut down truck deployed
  6. Jeeps more jeeps and crews!
  7. Ops command centre
  8. Three horsa gliders especially marked for Pegasus bridge with the landed versions as close as I can get them to the pictures. 
  9. Another 3 Horsa for Dday/Arnhem
  10. Build and complete my Hamilcar
  11. Paint my Light Tank Mk VII (A17), also known as the Tetrarch
This will give me a total of 10 gliders I can put on my table.


Cheers
Matt

Friday, November 4, 2022

Vozdushno-Desantnye voyska Rossii - VDV Russian Airborne part 2

VDV Russian Airborne part 2

VDV airborne badge

Another item to complete for the analogue painting challenge are my soviet airborne brigade, with that in mind I have prepared my Able Archer organisation. The VDV battalions had a lot of support weapons so it is difficult to portray this so I have added a support coy with a mortar coy as per soviet doctrine.

Airborne Parachute Regiment (530 men in each battalion)

Regiment Command company 
CO + 5 figs sniper, First aid and communications, UAZ 469, GAZ66 truck,
  • Recon coy 6 figs 1 x BDRM2 1 x UAZ 469
  • Air defence coy 1 x UAZ 469 with 1x AA ZU23-2 3 figs  1 x  (9 Strela-3 / Igla MANPADS) 2 figs UAZ 469, 1 x BDRM SA9 
  • anti tank battery 1 x ATGM 9K111 Fagot 2 figs, 1 x SPG-9MD recoilless 3 figs 

1st Battalion

OC + 5 sniper, 2 x RPG, first aid and communications mounted in BMD1
 
1st Company to 3rd Company

 assault company 6figs PK LMG Mounted in BMD1 

assault company 6 figs PK LMG mounted in BMD1

assault company 6 figs PK LMG mounted in BMD1


 
support company

AGS launcher 2 figs, spigot ATGM 2 figs

 mortar coy 

Observor 2 figs, 1 x 82mm mortar 3 figs, 1 x PM38 2B11 120mm mortar 3 figs

 

2nd Battalion
OC + 3 sniper, first aid and communications
 
1st Company to 3rd Company

assault company 7 figs RPG-16, PK LMG 

assault company 7 figs RPG-16, PK LMG 

assault company 7 figs RPG-16, PK LMG 

anti tank battery 
1 x ATGM 9K111 Fagot 2 figs, 1 x SPG-9MD recoilless 3 figs
 
support company

AGS launcher 2 figs, spigot ATGM 3 figs

 mortar coy 

 Observer 2 figs, 1 x 82mm mortar 3 figs, 1 x PM38 2B11 120mm mortar 3 figs


3rd Battalion air assault 3 x Mi8 Hips

OC + 5 sniper, RPG x2, first aid and communications

 

 
1st Company to 3rd Company

 assault company 7 figs PK LMG 

assault company 7 figs PK LMG 

assault company 7 figs PK LMG 

anti tank battery 
1 x ATGM 9K111 Fagot 2 figs, 1 x SPG-9MD recoilless 3 figs
 
support company

AGS launcher 2 figs, spigot ATGM 3 figs 
 
mortar coy 

Observer 2 figs, 1 x 82mm mortar 3 figs, 1 x PM38 2B11 120mm mortar 3 figs


ASU 85 x 2  (withdrawn from service in 1993)

I have ordered the extra pieces in metal from S&S models to make up the  plastic battalions short fall of heavy weapons.

cheers

Matt

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

57ths Fustung Regiment April 1945

57th Festung Regiment

Winter is almost upon us so I am planning my painting for the Analogue painting challenge. High on my list this winter are my 20mm collections. One of these is my fall of Berlin German forces. So I have gathered as much information as I can to build my Volkssturm troops. I have based my units on the 57th Festung Regiment who were at the brunt of the breakthrough assault in the north east, I have given numbers involved where possible for conversion to other rule sets. My battalions are set up for Rapid Fire Rules.



The 57th Defended Sector Anton- Biesdorf, Kaulsdorf, Mahlsdorf, Hellesdorfer farm (advance position).

57th Festungs Regiment Known locations

Sector Anton, Formed in October 1944 under the command of Olt Bärenfanger - two Volkssturm battalions, 1 police battalion and various units Luftwaffe AA crews manning AA batteries around the train stations, plus Festung MG coy, SP AT company and Festungs artillery battery.

20th April Von Trockels marschgruppe who had been pulled back from the Seelow heights (around the 19th April), and another Volkssturm unit was added to the Festung on the 21st of April.

21st April soviet assault begins on the outer positions

22 April The regiment defended positions between the Kaulsdorf and Mahlsdorf railway stations, the Hellersdorf farm complex was the picket position for the Siemens battalion. The left flank was defended by Trockels Wehrmacht Marschgruppe and right flank was the Warnholz police battalion at the Kaulsdorf Barnhof.23-24th moved to defend the central cattle market

25th April moved to Friedrichsfelde Ost S-bahn station.

27th April, moved to Löwen-Böhmisch Brewery (overlooking Volkspark Frederichshain)

28th April

Surrendered 12th May

I plan to build the regiment over the next 12 months mostly with Simons Soldiers, Blitz/battlefield, FAA and CP models. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Civilian 1930s car

 

I like to add civilian pieces to my tables and often will have a look in the charity shops for suitable pieces, this is late 20s early 1930s car for my ww2 table. I am thinking of adding luggage etc as though it is a refugee vehicle, but may just leave it to park next to terrain. This piece has been on my painting table for some time so I thought I would just complete it yesterday. Quite happy with the results. 





Cheers
Matt


Monday, October 24, 2022

French 75mm Artillery piece

 

 French 75mm Artillery

Work on the renovations of the house is coming along nicely but hogging all of my time at the moment as we rush towards Christmas. We are up to the final plumbing and painting stage so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on the top floor although finishing touches will possibly not be complete until mid January. I can then move all of my figures and books back into my storage room in preparation for my winter painting offensive! 

This week I finally managed to sit down and get some time on the painting table to complete some pieces and catch up on some painting projects. First off was to take off the drop sheets protecting everything then dust everything off before commencement (as the bathroom renovation is directly above my current painting room). then I decided to complete part of a ancients commission order before taking a break from 28mm and painting of my 20mm ww2 figs. 


Nice detail in the HAT caisson

Really nice piece for composition, now I need to revisit my other guns



This 75mm artillery miniature is from the 1/72 HAT soft plastic range, two come in the set both with caissons and can be open or closed. The crew are from Battlefield /Blitz range (currently unavailable). They will join one of my French infantry regiments at this stage, I also need to complete the horse limber and other plastic artillery miniature as a towed set. 

I plan to complete another 1940 Infantry regiment this year also, as I have picked up some of Simons Soldiers to complete the HQ and add some support weapons. I also picked up some Foundry bits while I was in the UK.

more coming this week, but for my Dutch. 

cheers
Matt

Volkssturm - the last ditch Army

Volkssturm
Germanys Most Precious Resource


“Why is the is the Volkssturm Germanys most precious resource, because its members have silver in their hair, gold in their mouths and lead in their bones”


In the last year of The Reich the creation of the volkssturm really was Hitlers last desperate hope to stop Germany being overrun by the allies. I have picked up quite a few battlefield and Simon’s soldiers plus a smattering of other bits from battlefield/blitz, SHQ and FAA ranges and other random plastic pieces to make up my Volkssturm Kampfgruppe. Next year I plan to complete enough for a good sized fall of Berlin type game.

History

In October 1944, all males aged 16 to 60 were required to join the Volkssturm, or Home Guard. The recruits were usually either very young or old enough to be veterans of the First World War. These units were often trained and commanded by high ranking Hitler Youth members. One such leader who was 17 at the time remarked about his troops, "I stood in front of a platoon of the Volkssturm. Of the 45 men, only 10 were Hitler Youth members; the others were in their 40's and 50's. Herr Wolff, whose son had fallen as a sergeant in the Waffen-SS, was 65. I eyed them with some apprehension: undisciplined, over-aged, unfit civilians wearing black-red armbands with the inscription Deutsche Wehrmacht. I felt very self-conscious as their leader. Some were the fathers of my schoolfriend."

The Hitler Youth members were the backbone of the Volkssturm since they had been receiving military training for ten years. The most effective weapon they used was the Panzerfaust, Their training was such that Reichsjugendfuhrer Axmann stated in a memorandum that, "from the Hitler Youth has emerged a movement of young tank busters. There is only victory or annihilation." Hitler Youth units would regularly ambush American infantry units. If they were cornered, they would fight to the last child. An American Lieutenant-Colonel said of an artillery unit whose oldest member was 12, "rather than surrender, the boys fought until killed." In April 1945, 5,000 Hitler Youths were detailed to defend the Havel River in Berlin. Their mission was to hold the bridgehead until Wenck's army could relieve them. Unfortunately, Wenck's army existed only in Hitler's mind. After 5 days of fighting there were only 500 boys who were physically capable of fighting. Children were being thrown into the cauldron all over Germany to fight in a war that was good as lost.
 
The Volkssturm were under NSDAP administration rather than under Army control, regional units were under Nazi party functionaries rather than the German military district. Each Gaulitier controlled a region, then each Kris (political division) then organised the battalion, each company was organised and commanded by a Orstgruppe NSDAP chapter, the Platoons were then formed around a local region and the groups (sections) to the street or village level, so each member knew each other.

Structure
 

1st Levy: 1,200,000 men in 1,850 battalions of which 4,00 were in frontier districts. All physically fit men between the ages of 20-60 without essential war work exemption, assigned to frontline battalions, quartered in military barracks and liable for service outside their home districts. This levy included all NSDAP, Political officials,
Allgemeine-SS, SA, NSFK and NSKK.

2nd Levy: 2,800,000 men in 4,860 battalions of which 1,050 were in frontier districts. All physically fit men between the ages of 20-60 with essential war work exemption. Quartered at home and liable for service in their home districts.

3rd Levy: 600,000 16-19 year olds, plus some 15 year old volunteers in approx 1,040 battalions: mainly 16 year old HJ trained in the HJ-Wehrertuchtigungslager (toughening up camps).

4th Levy: 1,400,000 20-60 year olds unfit for active service, plus volunteers over 60, in approx 2,430 battalions, for guard duty, including concentration and POW camps.


Each of Germany's 42 districts formed a Volkssturmabschnitt (Volkssturm District) under a NSDAP Gauleiter assisted by an SA general or senior NSDAP official. A district contained on average 21 Kreise (counties), each under a NSDAP Kreisleiter assisted by a Kreisstabsfuhrer, and required to raise about 12 battalions. Berger and Friedrichs achieved a good working relationship, but Bormann and Himmler frequently clashed for control of the Volkssturm, a situation exacerbated by a confused chain of command, leaving NSDAP officials and SA officers resentful of the SS' upper hand.

Organisation

1st Levy Battalion
649-man  battalion had a 27-man staff; three companies numbered 1—3, each with three or four platoons, containing three or four ten-man sections; and a 4th infantry howitzer company. 

Other levy battalions had 576 men. Each company was supposed to have three five-man Panzernahbekampfungstrupps (Tank Close Combat Squads), each with ten Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons, often manned by HJ volunteers. Each battalion received a consecutive number within its district. For example. Bataillon 25/97 = 97th Battalion (HQ Konigsberg) in District 25 (East Prussia).    

During 1945, Volkssturm units helped form army Gneisenau formations within the Replacement Army. In January, 26 'Baden' battalions joined Upper Rhine Infantry Regiments 1—15, later grouped into the 805th and 905th Divisions and 1005th Brigade of the 19th Army — named the '19th Volkssturm Army'. The 303rd, 309th, 324th, 325th and 328th and 'Banvalde' Divisions contained Volkssturm battalions, as did the Volksgrenadierdivisionen established by Himmler. Other Volkssturm recipients included 16 grenadier regiments and SS-Grenadier Regiment 'Becker , later part of the Waffen-SS 30.Jatmar Division. Also in 1945, the army formed Fortress (Festungs) units from Volkssturm companies with army staffs, with the unforgiving job of manning defensive lines in the East.

The Volkssturm's final, epic defence was in the German capital itself. The final Soviet offensive began on 16 April 1945. The Oder Line was breached, and by the 25th Berlin defenders included 24,000 Volkssturm (18,000 of whom were 'Clausewitz Levy' troops of the 2nd Levy, on six hours' standby). The fighting was desperate. Those Volkssturm who could find the courage - bolstered by the threat of SS police squads hanging them for cowardice — would assault Soviet tanks at close range with Panzerfaust. utilising their knowledge of the city's layout. Nevertheless, many individual Volkssturm rose to the occasion, and defended their city with a passion. In the battle for Berlin, and that of Breslau (with 45,000 defenders including 25,000 Volkssturm in 38 battalions) Battalion 21/41 and two Hitler Youth 3rd Levy battalions distinguished themselves in the fighting.

On 8 February 1945, the Western Allies, in three army groups, began their advance into western Germany. On the 12th the local Volkssturm was mobilised and sent to man the Westwall, but they showed none of the desperate determination of their comrades in the East. Many ignored the call-up; others surrendered at the first opportunity, or threw away their armbands and hid in the woods or returned home. The Westwall was quickly breached and on 7 May the Western Allies met Soviet forces in central Germany.

Uniform 

All Volkssturm soldiers, regardless of rank, were compelled to provide for their individual uniforms and equipment. The consequence was a wide variety of Wehrmacht uniforms, worn especially by retired officers, of uniforms of all branches, etc., of the Party, and of civilian garments. Common insignia for all Volkssturm soldiers was an armband bearing the inscription "Deutscher Volkssturm-Wehrmacht," which was to be issued by the Reichsfuehrer-SS, to be worn when performing duty as a member of the Volkssturm.

The Volkssturm Medical service was regulated by order No. 393/44 of the Party Chancellory, dated 9 November 1944. All members of the medical service had to wear the army-style red cross armband on the left upper sleeves.

Equipment was restricted to "the most necessary items." As minimum equipment possession of a rucksack or backpack, blanket, field bag, mess kit, canteen, and cup ... 

HEADGEAR
The Volkssturm was to strive for unity in headdress; caps in the style of those worn by the army and political visorless garrison caps (Einsatzmuetze der NSDAP) similar to those worn by the SA-Wehrmannschaften and NSKK were most often used. A national emblem was worn on the front of the headdress. According to photographic evidence of Volkssturm personnel, the most common caps in use were the Army Mountain Troops caps that are commonly and loosely referred to as the "M-43" by collectors. Hitler Youth, Luftwaffe, Organization Todt, various Party organisations, and even civilian versions of the Mountain Troop's cap were used as well. A combination of Army and Luftwaffe cloth and metal cap insignia were utilised. Even NSDAP insignia consisting of the Party eagle and cockade were used from the Political Leader's visored dress caps and found on the "M-43" style and overseas caps. Volkssturm officers also used the "M-43" style caps as well as surplus Army officer's visored field (M-34 "crusher style") and dress caps. Pre-, Early-, and Late-war styles of the Army and Luftwaffe overseas cap were found to be extensively used as well. It is also important to note that not all "M-43" style caps and other headdress necessarily have had to have insignia, for many Volkssturm members were photographed without any insignia!

Helmets utilised by the Volkssturm came in all shapes and sizes. The most common were the Wehrmacht steel helmets from the M35 to M42 series, however, those from the Great War were used as well, such as the M1916 and M1918 steel helmets. Helmets from the civilian and civil organisations were used as well. These ranged from the Luftschutz "Gladiator Style" to fire and police helmets. Early on in the War the Luftschutz (Air Raid Warning Service) began utilising captured enemy helmets, the most common being the French "Adrian" style and the Soviet M1936 and M1940 helmets. By the latter part of 1944 these captured stocks of the Luftschutz were later transferred to the Volkssturm to compensate for the dwindling supply of Wehrmacht steel helmets Many helmets didn't bear any insignia except those previously used by another organisation, such as the Luftschutz, fire/police, and Wehrmacht. Some Volkssturm formations had their unit designations painted directly onto their helmets. The shortages of war deemed that an enormous variety of headdress was worn by the Volkssturm. It can be literally said that anything was possible regarding what sort of uniform was worn.

Ranks 

Rank insignia were introduced by order No. 318/44. Rank insignia of the Wehrmacht pattern were substituted by an entirely different system of rank identification modelled after the rank system utilised by the branches of the Party. The collar insignia, identical to those in use by the SS and NSKK, took the form of a black rhomboid measuring 5x6 cm in size, bearing one to four aluminium coloured pips according to the rank appointment, and sewn onto both corners of the collar of the tunic and greatcoat. For want of collar patches (or collar tabs), the pips were sometimes affixed directly onto the collar in the same pattern as prescribed for the collar patch. Collar patches have been observed piped with a twist aluminium cord or unpiped.

The rank insignia were as follows: Volkssturmmann = no pips; Gruppenfuehrer = one pip centered; Zugfuehrer, Waffenmeister (Ordnance master) and Zahlmeister (Paymaster) = two pips diagonally near the forward lower and rear upper corners; Kompaniefuehrer, Ordonnanceoffizier and Adjutant = 3 pips diagonally as above; Bataillonsfuehrer = four pips positioned in each corner. The collar insignia were worn in a mirror image.

Medical personnel ranks were established in accordance with order No. 393/44 dated 9 November 1944 as follows: Sanitaetsdienstgrad (Medical Sergeant) = 1 pip; Bataillonsarzt (Battalion Medical Officer) = 3 pips and a caduceus of white metal to the rear of the patches.

ARMBANDS

A large variety of armbands used to identify members of the Volkssturm have been identified in photographs. A black/white/red armband was the most common pattern, and probably the official one. Many different patterns were placed into actual service, probably due to supply shortages of the official pattern, and were often of local production. The usual manner of the left lower sleeve. Locally produced armbands varied in colour and measurements, and were in all cases the printed variety.

Other variations existed. A variety of materials were used such as rayon, silk, cotton, and even linen tablecloth! Even the "Deutsche Wehrmacht" in black on a yellow field (and variants) as prescribed for wear by civilian Wehrmacht employees was also worn.

GORGETS

Gorget "PANZERWARNDIENST" (Tank Warning Service) was a special gorget bearing the inscription "PANZERWARNDIENST" stenciled in luminous paint on a breast plate in the form of the standard Feldgendarmerie (Military Police), and with a political national emblem at the top has been attributed to Warning Organization" during the closing months of the war. The existence of western frontier of the Reich) and a specimen of the gorget found in Prague would tend to verify such an organization.

COLOURS

By order No. 358/44 of the Party Chancellory, dated 30 October 1944, all Volksturm battalions received colours. As the colours had to be supplied by the Party, they were of the basic Party form, i.e., black swastika on a white circular field on a red field. "With regard of local traditions" and by decision of the Kreisleiter, colours of the various branches and institutions of the Party were to be bestowed, not only the colours of the local branches.

All battalion colours had to bear the black patch on the lower inner corners, displaying the number of the respective region of the battalion, e.g. "14/115," of the district, with letters measuring 6 cm high, done in machine embroidery. The patches with the name of the local branch and respective number which were positioned at the upper inner corners of all Party colours were retained.

Training 

Training was not very extensive, but included drill and weapons training, however not a lot of field training for fire and movement was undertaken, however many of the members were ww1 veterans and many may of handed on their knowledge to the members.

Weapons

Only the 1st and 2nd levy were issued German weapons in the majority, the 3rd was supplied with foreign equipment and 4th were expected to bring their own weapons, hunting rifles shotguns etc. Note that the 4th Levy were never sent into combat. In the few recorded instances were this happened the local Wehrmacht Kampfkommanduer disbanded the units before they could fight.


The standard rifles were the Gwehr 98 and Gwehr 71 with some issues of Steyr-Manlicker 1888 for the 1st and 2nd levy. For the 3rd levy the source was captured weapons French, Polish, British, Italian and Russian weapons. This of course caused logistics issues for ammunition and spares.

The Nazi party also tried to produce cheap weapons for the Volksturm, this produced a series of weapons known as the Gustloff VolkssturmGwehr. About 10000 VolkssturmGwehr were produced. Another production weapon was the MP008 about 10000 of these were also manufactured. Light and heavy machine guns were in short supply for the support company's along with ammunition, many units being issued foreign captured weapons. 

The panzerfaust was issued to all units and made up the majority of the anti armour component. Mortars were in short supply, but some units did receive mortars mostly static ww1 vintage weapons or foreign captured stocks.


PRIMARY SOURCES
Anordnung 277/44. "Ausfuehrungbestimmungen ueber die Bildung des deutschen Volkssturmes," 27 September 1944.

Anordnung 318/44. "2: Ausfuehrungbestimmungen," 12 October 1944.

DUZ. Nr. 12, December 1944.

"Erlass des Fuehrers." 25 September 1944.

RECOMMENDED READING
Angolia, John R. and Adolf Schlicht. Uniforms & Traditions of the German Army, 1933-1945, Volume Two. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing, 1986.

Davis, Brian Leigh. Badges & Insignia of the Third Reich. Poole, UK: Blandford Press, 1983.

Davis, Brian Leigh. German Army Uniforms and Insignia, 1933-1945. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1992.

Davis, Brian Leigh. German Uniforms of the Third Reich, 1933-1945. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1980.

Davis, Franklin M. World War II: Across The Rhine. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1980.

Dollinger, Hans. The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. New York: Bonanza Books, 1967.

Halcomb, Jill and Wilhelm P.B.R. Saris. Headgear of Hitler's Germany, Volume 1: Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing, 1989.

Heck, A. 1985. A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika. Frederick, CO: Renaissance House.

Kissel, Oberst Hans. Der Deutscher Volkssturm 1944/45. Franfurt, Germany: 1962.

Le Tissier, Tony Death Was Our Companion: The Final Days of the Third Reich?

Newton, John, Series Editor. The Third Reich: Descent into Nightmare. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1992.

Ryan, Cornelius. The Last Battle. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Simons, Gerald. World War II: Victory in Europe. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1982.

Thomas, Nigel and Carlos Caballero Jurado. Wehrmacht Auxiliary Forces. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1992.

Whiting, Charles. Siegfried: The Nazis' Last Stand. New York: Stein and Day, 1982.

Whiting, Charles. World War II: The Home Front: Germany. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1982.


Cheers
Matt

Monday, September 19, 2022

Duxford IWM part 3

 Part three of our visit was to the small airborne museum, as a ex Aussie Para it is always of interest! 


Most interesting were the maps of the diorama from the dday landing zones.



A number of photos will join my para equipment articles also





















Cheers

Matt

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Duxford IWM part 2

 The jet fighters and modern aircraft pics from our visit to Duxford. 












Airborne museum next 

Cheers

Matt

Duxford IWM part 1

 IWM Duxford

In the UK for a short holiday and the wife and we visited a bucket list destination for both of us,  Duxford IWM for the day. 

A fabulous museum that any aircraft nut should visit. We also paid an extra £10 each for the Lancaster experience and lecture which was a highlight for both of us as the Lancaster is my wife’s favorite aircraft of ww2. 

 The second highlight was the watch the flight of the twin seater spitfire experience 45 min ride around Cambridgeshire. 




A great collection of ww1, mid war, ww2 and modern aircraft were on display but split over several hangers and not in any particular order, we also visited the ops room, the American air museum plus we visited the small airborne museum also, but failed to make the East Anglian regiment museum and the land component museum. 

First up some ww2 aircraft photos, then next post modern 

















Cheers 
Matt