Tuesday, December 19, 2023

King Tigers last stand in France

 King Tigers last stand in France 

316 & 302 Funklenk-Panzerkompanie, France 1944


Borgward IV 

As always I like to research units before I build them, many people are unaware Tiger II seen combat against Americans in France in 1944.

The Funklenk-panzerkompanie 316 fought in Normandy with tiger I, StuG and the Borgward IV, leaving the 3rd company of Tiger II behind in Saint Denis. The 3rd company Tiger II reformed as Funklenk-panzerkompanie 302 in Eure de Loir. American troops advancing east after the collapse of the front after Pattons 3rd Army breakout and collapse of the 7th Army met the Tiger II on advance to Orleans and Chartres at Chateaudun. 

 I plan to build both units this coming year as I have spare StuG, Tiger I and Tiger II kits not assigned to units currently and I have a Borgward IV B also. 

Genesis

The 6th Company /Panzer-Versuchs-und-Ersatz-Abteilung 300 (Fkl) was raised April 1st 1943 with Field Post no. 56041. According to order no. 6039/43 of OrgAbt. I OKH/GenstdH on July 13, 1943, the company was renamed Panzerkompanie (Fkl) 316. The original equipment was to consist of 36 Borgward BIV and 10 StuGs. On September 21 it was transferred to Fallingbostel, where the unit was assigned to Panzer Lehr Regimental training grounds. This was followed by exercises and trials in the regimental context at the military training area there. 

On September 30th the PzLhrRgt. Received three Tigers I , and received eight more Tigers on October 8th
These were transferred to the PzKp. ( Fkl ) 316 , which used it to test the Tiger I in the lead control vehicle detonation role.

In mid-January 1944, the order came that the 316th should be equipped with Tiger II as an experimental company, it was renamed the 1st Heavy Tank Company (Fkl) . At the end of February 1944 it was transferred to Panzer Ersatz Abteilung 500 in Paderborn for training on the new tank. Since the Panzer Jager Lehr Regiment 130 had not yet received a PzJg IV, the company had to them hand over their 10 StuGs to them from the third company. On March 14th the five Tiger II arrived, on March 22nd the personnel sent to Paderborn for training returned to the unit. 

A status report from April 2, 1944 states the following vehicles: 

5 Tiger II 
3 Tiger Ie
51 SdKfz. 301 Ausf B and Ausf C borgward IV
4 3t tractors
1 1-ton tractor 
9 heavy trucks 
3 light trucks 
1 medium-sized truck 
3 staff cars 
6 sidecar motorcycles 
2 light motorcycles 

At the end of April 1944, the Panzer Lehr Division received the order to relocate to France and remain available there as an operational reserve, 316 FKL also moved by rail, the the HQ and radio control company moved into quarters at Saint Denis-les-Ponts, next to Chateaudun. 

On May 18th, the divisional HQ ordered that the 3./PzJgLhrAbt. 130 had to return the ten StuGs. As the 5 Tiger II were hardly operational due to technical problems.

When the Allied invasion began on June 6, 1944, the Tiger IIs of III coy was left at Saint Denis for ongoing repairs and also to be part of the operations reserve for the airfield at Chateaudun from airborne attack. The I and II company’s moved to Normandy attached to Panzer Lehr.  

Combat in Normandy  

On June 8th the StuGs supported panzer Lehr grenadier regiment 902 during a counterattack, it is unknown if the Tiger Is were involved in this counterattack.

On June 11, the company proved its worth as a radio control unit, repelling a heavy British attack in several counterattacks. In the days that followed, the StuGs were mainly used to support the counter attacks with the Panzer Grenadier Lehr Regiment 902, there were only a few attacks using the Borgward units driven in the radio control process. 

On June 19, the Kp. was involved in heavy fighting around Tilly-sur-Seulles , almost all StuGs in the unit were damaged, and one was a total loss. Company commander Meinhardt was killed, as was the leader of the 2nd platoon, Lt. Fisherman.

On June 22 the unit was no longer operational, the remaining vehicles three Tiger I and 4 remaining StuG and 40 PzIV Borgward units withdrawn to Reims for refitting and placed back in reserve. The AHA (Staff I (1)) issued the order No. 27220/44, according to which the first company was renamed as Panzerabteilung FKL 302 and remain in Chateaudun with 7th Armee reserve. The company of Tiger I, remaining II company of StuG control, Borgward IV and Headquarters deployed in Reims and remained as Panzerabteilung FKL 316. On August 19- 24th 316 is withdrawn and redeployed East to Warsaw for the uprising. 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Wehrmacht Fuel Drums

 Fuel drums 

About to paint some bits on my desk and come across this reference so I thought I would post it 


The most common was a galvanized drum and the backend diesel drum,   but as the war dragged on by 43 painted drums started to appear, dunkelgelb, civilian versions and captured stock. 

On the top the drums various markings from Wehrmacht, Kreigsmarine, Waffen SS and Luftwaffe. 

Cheers
Matt

Monday, December 4, 2023

Yom Kippur War Moroccan history and order of battle


Yom Kippur War Moroccan Army 

Syrian T55 crewed by Moroccans dug in on the Golan, note the white identification cross on the turret and mixed uniforms of the moroccan troops.

Moroccan Army organisation 

The Moroccan army was very different to its fellow Arab nations coming with western style professionally trained and officered by men who had attended the French Military schools and colleges, many of the senior Officers and Ncos had fought in the French army in the Congo, French Indochina, Algeria, and Western Sahara campaigns and then after independence constant border wars with Algeria and the conquest of Spanish Morocco. 

The Moroccan army at this time followed the French “Javelot” divisional doctrine developed in the 50s. The infantry Brigade consisted of four or five regiments of Infantry with attached artillery and if motorised light armour, as required by the task. The infantry Regiment consisted of four to six companies with support elements with enough regimental HQ officers to form small or large subordinate combat sized/battalion teams as required. Each regiment consisted on paper of 812 officers and men and was commanded by a chef de battalion, the regimental support element had two sections of mortars, two sections of heavy machine guns and two sections of light recoilless rifles. Each combat team/battalion as assigned was commanded by a captain. Each platoon was commanded by a 1st lieutenant and sous lieutenant, it had two light 60mm mortars, two MMG teams, two manhandled anti tank weapon teams, and three rifle grenade teams, then typically broken into two fire and movement teams lead by Sergeants. Motorised and airborne regiments had an attached Armoured car or light tank regiment, a motorised anti tank and motorised recoilless rifle platoon plus vehicles to carry the motorised infantry this bought the strength up to 1271 officers and men. Administration and Supply elements were only attached at the brigade level. 

The French Javelot structure was developed originally for nuclear war in Europe but proved its value in the 56 suez crisis, shocking the English with it combat teams approach. It was further developed by the French fighting experience in Indochina, Congo and Algeria and served its purpose for the frontier type fighting of the Moroccan army, during the 60s and 70s. 


Uniforms and equipment 

The infantry deployed for the war were equipped with French uniforms, rank structure and unit structure. The uniform was either medium green or lizard camouflage, the French M51 (American m1) helmet, and French 1950s TAP infantry webbing equipment. 

Personal weapons were very mixed and included the MAS-36  (MAS-36 LG48 and MAS-36/51) and the rifle-grenade capable variants, the MAS-49/56 (airborne & infantry) , FN FAL rifles, AK-47 and the MAT-49 sub machine gun (Officers and Ncos). Squad automatic weapons included the French  AA-52 NF1, MAC 24/29 and the FN Mag-58 were also in service. Heavy machine guns include the American browning 30 cal and the M50 50 caliber HMG. Mortars were Brandt 60mm and the Brandt 27/31 81mm mortar. 

Troops arriving in Syria 


Moroccan Armour and vehicles

The armour available to the Moroccan army in 1973 was 40 Russian T-54B D10 TG 100mm and 80 Czechoslovakian T-54B built models with the latest 100mm D10T2S stabilised gun, included in the Czech order included ten T-54AR and Ten T54 AK command tanks. American equipment was on order and started to arrive in early October 1973, the first delivery of twenty six M48a3 MBTs formed the first tank regiment vehicles by March 1974. A lot of light tanks made up the remainder one hundred and twenty French AMX 13 light tanks (4 AMX CD recovery)m and some Sherman’s were still in reserve. 

Moroccan operated T55s



For the anti tank support role was twenty five Czech built SU-100 SP guns, fifty American M56 scorpion 90mm Self propelled Anti tank guns, (I have not found any record of them being deployed in Syria). Armoured cars were predominantly French, thirty six panhard EBR 75 and one hundred and ninety  Panhard AML 90, thirty AML60-7, forty M8 Armoured cars. Armoured personnel carriers consisted of ninety five Czech OT 64 and forty American M5 and M3 halftracks (ex French stock) and fifty Panard M3 VTT APCs. 

Soft skins in the majority was ex American ww2 stocks. The jeeps were hotchkiss M201(French made - American ww2 Jeep), American mutt jeeps, series II and series III Land Rover Santana (Spanish built) and even some J40 Toyota landcruisers, along with mini Mokes armed with recoiless M20 75mm! 

Moroccan paratrooper mini moke with recoilless rifle and 30 cal. 


Trucks included the Romanian Bucegi SR11 3t, Berliet GBD (6x6), American general M813a1 (6x6) and French ACMAT TPK 425 (4x4) and the TPK 640 (6x6) trucks and I have seen some Simca Marmon also in a parade but nothing in export documents. Mack F900 heavy transport trucks for tank transport.

Anti armour consisted of the hand held M20 super bazooka and the RPG-7, the recoilless rifles  M20 75mm and the M40a1 106mm, towed D44 85mm AT gun and the five hundred MGM 32A Entac missiles. 

Artillery 

Towed systems included twenty American M2A1 (now a M101A1) Thirty eight HM-2 105mm howitzers ( model 1924), eighteen soviet M-46 122mm, and twenty M114 155mm howitzers. Self propelled systems included ninety eight Amx53 155mm sp howitzer, thirty self propelled AMX mk61 105mm howitzer, twenty self propelled M44 155mm howitzer. Thirty six BM-21 122mm rocket launchers 

Anti aircraft equipment 

Information for this part is taken from export lists, but also includes captured equipment. I have more research to do here, but I have types as follows.  Towed systems ninety ZPU-2 14.5mm, nineteen  ZPU-4 14.5mm, ninety Zu 23-2 W23mm, thirty 50 cal M45 Qaud, sixty AZP S60 57mm,  and the missile systems SA-7 Grail, French Hawksystem (cannot locate source for this but have a image of one deployed for the Algerian war in 73) and I am not sure if the MIM-72 Chaparral launchers were available in time for the war. 

Deployment 

 The exact number of soldiers sent by the kingdom to the war remains unknown this day, with two different primary sources conflicting in numbers 5000 and 11000 being noted. Although there was two fronts the second brigade not deploying completely in Egypt time for the ceasefire which may account for the two primary reference confusion to the number of men deployed. 

Moroccan Expedition for the Defense of the Arab Homeland (EMDPA)

Expedition Syria Brigade structure 

Commander Major General Abdel Salam Sefroui

Moroccan Expeditionary Force commander for Syria was Major General Abdel Salam Sefroui, he had a long career and held several positions, including governor of the cities of Agadir, Jeddah, and Al-Bayda, commander of the Light Security Brigade, then director of the Military Academy, then commander of the Royal Guard, ending his career in the diplomatic corps as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the Netherlands. He was the closest general during the reign of Hassan II, where he defended the king in the Skhirat coup until he was injured. He was wounded by a bullet in his knee, as he was wounded 8 times in the Indochina War. 

Chief of staff Lt -Colonel Mohammed Bernichi

Armoured Regiment, Colonel Naji El Mekki 

30 x T55 supplied by Syria (images seem to be green and camo with white cross air recognition on the turret)
10 AMX-13 tanks ( again mixed Moroccan sources not sure if Syrian front , 4 were destroyed, the remainder were shipped back?) 
9 AML90 Armoured cars again this is from a Moroccan source, but does not mention which front, but Syria is likely but not confirmed. . 
Unknown numbers of OT64 if it two supporting regiments of infantry at least 48 if following French doctrine. They are mentioned in Israeli sources in the fighting of the Golan heights villages and strongpoints and are in photos.

Infantry Brigade 2500 men 

Again mixed sources, most sources only mention one regiment on the line, another two regiments, one source mentions that they were reorganised along soviet structure to match the Syrians which could explain the confusion. Syrian and Moroccan bravery commendations were issued to the three regimental commanders for the war, and one regimental commander was killed during the fighting (and the chief of staff replacing him possibly). 

2nd infantry regiment lt Colonel Mohamed Belhaj motorised 

Born August 24, 1936 in Fez, came from Saint Cyr Military School, “Mohamed V” promotion. Appointed second lieutenant on August 1, 1957, was assigned to the infantry, Lieutenant: August 1, 1959, Captain: August 1, 1963, Commander: March 3, 1967, Lt-Colonel: March 3, 1971, Colonel: March 3, 1976, Colonel Major: March 3, 1989, Brigadier General: July 12, 1994, Major General: July 30, 2001 
Decoration and Citations National: Officer of the Order of the Throne: May 14, 1965, Commander of the Order of the Throne: March 3, 1992, Military Merit, Knight rank: April 27, 1976, Citation to the order of the army with war star (crown) April 27, 1976, Volunteer medal (Syria), Moroccan commemorative (Expedition to Syria).
Foreign decorations: Ouissam Al Harbi: 1st category (Syria): November 16, 1973. Ouissam Achajaâ (Syria), Commemorative (Syria), Commander of the French National Order of Merit (1995), National Order (Tunisia): commander rank, National Order (Iran): officer rank.
Service records: Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Battalion in Taza (August 1, 1957), commanded the 14th company in Aknoul. Then the 12th company to: Saka, Benslimane, Skhirat, Khanfouf (Ifni enclave) and Meknes. Transferred to the ARM (at his request) on September 26, assumes the functions of section head of officer cadets and instructor of Arabic, translation, history and geography of Morocco. Transferred to the BQG (June 16, 1964), served as chief of staff to the General, Major General of the FAR from July 15, 1964 to September 1, 1968. Designated to take command of the Royal Military School (Ribat Al Kheir ) from September 1, 1971 to August 30, 1972. Assume the functions of the delegated Arms Commander of the place of Kenitra from September 1, 1972 (1st Company of Kenitra HQ). Part of the EMDPA in Syria, designated by His Majesty the King to command the 2nd Front Infantry Regiment (April 5, 1973, July 15, 1974).
The regiment is mentioned in the fighting on Mont Hebron, had attached thirty Syrian T55 tanks crewed by Morrocans taking part in the first day one of the invasion.  

3rd infantry Regiment Abdelkader Al-Alem motorised

He studied at Ibn Taoumarte college in Sidi Kacem then at Moulay Youssef high school in Rabat . In 1945, he joined the military academy in Meknes where he spent 4 years. In 1950 , he received training for a year in Bordeaux , France . In 1953 on the return of King Mohammed V from exile, he was present among those welcoming him. In 1963 he was promoted to the rank of colonel by Hassan II and decorated. In 1971 , he was injured during the failed coup d' état in Skhirat. In 1973 he leads the 3rd regiment and is killed in the fighting. He was buried in the Damascus cemetery and later returned to Morocco. 

Parachute Commando 
Mentioned attached commando to Syrian units on Mount Hermon, not sure how large this combat unit was, it could of been a section or larger.

Anti tank elements
Motorised Anti tank assets are mentioned attached to the brigade jeeps with recoiless rifles, only photos with no numbers but a section was two vehicles, with three sections to a platoon attached to a brigade. Towed anti tank, no reference of towed antitank being deployed 



Artillery battalion

I cannot find a list of towed or self propelled weapons deployed in the war, however self propelled guns are mentioned supporting the assaults and then defence of the position on the Golan. I also expect the 120mm mortars are along with 81mm mortars within the infantry division. 

Captured Israeli Defa 921 90mm AT gun, looks like a 57mm carriage. 


Moroccan Air Force

I cannot confirm completely that the air force fought in any combat sorties, however reports of fourteen Mig 17 and twelve Moroccan Air Force Northrop F-5A joined the Egyptian 69 Squadron at Tanta on 19 October 1973. Flying missions over the Nile delta after the ceasefire. . 

Fighting in the Golan heights 

The first Moroccan troops arrived by aircraft and then following equipment and men arrived via ship in the July of 1973, training along side the Syrians, the relationship was tense, with the promised armour for the whole regiment only amounting to 30 T55 tanks, rather than 45 (30 does match the Syrian Soviet Doctrine though). 

The brigade is attached to the Syrian 7th Infantry Division. Assigned to the eastern side of the assault on Mont Hermon. The brigade advanced on the 6th of October with the objectives of Hellas-Ovana-Al Qalaa and had one of the first contacts in the vicinity of Tel Sharta fighting against the Israeli 74th Saar tank battalion (7th Armoured div). The Israeli Sho’t Kal outgunned the T55s, however the Moroccans reached their objectives around 1600 southwest of Sahita point and the outskirts of Rouissat-Abi-Ramid. One company surrounding Israelis in the police station at Sahita support point, two other companies occupied two blocks around it, the rest of the forces occupy points around Rouissat. They halted awaiting further instructions, where they were ordered to hold position. On the 7th to the 9th the Moroccans held their position while the 121st Syrian division passed through to continue the assault, where they were badly mauled by the Israelis. 

At 8:40 on October 10, enemy aircraft bombed the positions of the Moroccan forces, focusing their bombing on the Al-Kasha site, height 1480, and Dahrat Al-Hadab. At 11:15, an enemy armored convoy, numbering a tank battalion, advanced from the direction of Masada-Sahita, and Moroccan artillery opened fire on it. At 11:40, a tank company and a mechanized infantry company deployed in front of Sahita and began opening fire on the Moroccan forces, which responded to the fire in kind and stopped the enemy forces on this line. Close to 1:10 p.m., the enemy pushed a group of its tanks to the outskirts of Jubata al-Khashab, threatening the left side of the Moroccan forces. The Moroccan 3rd infantry regiment units, stationed at Heights 1480, Dahrat al-Hadab and the Marj al-Jamous area, were subjected to severe air and artillery bombardment. The Moroccan forces clashed with the enemy infantry forces, then withdrew to the Beit Jinn farm. 

On October 11, the unit faced the Israeli 77th Tank Battalion. Here again, the fighting is fierce. The withdrawal commences east and they find their flank open to counterattack (the Syrian unit had fled). On October 20, it was attached to the 9th Syrian Infantry Division. Device which is organized to launch a counterattack in the Sassa salient. Scheduled for October 25, the operation should make it possible to regain the initiative against the Israelis who are now threatening Damascus, after having restored a situation that was nevertheless desperate on October 6. However, Hafez el-Assad fully realizes that the military situation has become catastrophic. As a result of which he accepted a ceasefire which took effect on October 23, 1973, at midnight... The counter-offensive therefore did not take place and there the fighting of the Moroccan motorized infantry brigade stopped. Despite very tough confrontations, it retained its cohesion throughout the war. In all, 5,500 men were sent to the Golan and Egypt.

The Betrayal of Moroccan troops  

During the withdrawal on the 10th-11th one of the more interesting accounts during the war was the betrayal of Moroccan troops by a Syrian commander. The positions of the Moroccan troops was betrayed to the Israeli troops opposite, according to one source, Mohammed Loma, “Moroccan soldiers were tricked by the Syrian brigade headed by Halawa, a druze commander, who collaborated with the Israelis”. The Syrian army was able to deal with the situation, and executed on the following day commander Major Raik Halawa, who was considered a traitor. The Moroccan martyrs were also mentioned by Sasa Post. 

Expedition Brigade Egypt Colonel Major Hassan Al-Hatmee 5500 men

A second brigade was assembled to assist on the Egyptian front but arrived to late to participate in the fighting. When they arrived they were positioned around the town of Suez, and built defensive positions along the Bir Azeib, a strategic location defending access to the two roads leading to Cairo. 

Moroccan troops finally returned from Egypt and Syria in April 1974. 170 Morrocan died during the war and 6 were captured. 

References 

Websites
Moroccan army history forum

YouTube


Books 
After The Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle EastBy Anthony H. Cordesman
Foss, Christopher F. (1974) [1972]. Jane's Pocket Book of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. Collier Books.
Osprey Arab armies Yom Kippur war
MIG productions Arab Armies volume 3
Estes, Kenneth W (2016). M50 Ontos and M56 Scorpion 1956–70: US Tank Destroyers of the Vietnam War

Details on the betrayal by the Syrian commander 


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Egyptian SPG T122mm + review1/72 Blackdog conversion set

 Egyptian T122mm SPG



Another purchase being assembled for the Analogue Hobbies Winter Challenge. While picking up a few bits from my Favourite French hobby supplier during the Black Friday deals I picked up the 1/72 Blackdog conversion set for the Egyptian T34/122 self propelled howitzer, it may of been used during the 6 day war, but did serve during the Yom Kippur War. 

This beast was based on a T34 chassis, in the majority T34/85 had T54 road wheels added also. Two batterys of T122 of 18 guns each did see action in the Yom Kippur. I do note that Syria also done a similar modification of the old T34 chassis. 

The Blackdog kit has the turret, gun and wheels, barrel, baffles, and barrel rest, and finally two boxes. Really nicely cast, although some fine bits that will get damaged from wargaming (the equipment rings on the rear for example). Overall though quite easy to remove from the resin sprue, quite a bit of cleanup on the wheels though to clean out the holes and shape the pear, with two of mine have bad deformity flash from mold wear I suspect and I was supplied one incorrect wheel, although it could be easily modified. With a bit of patience everything cleaned up well and assembly was straight forward. The barrel baffles also need some flash clean up, but not too bad, be careful with the barrel alignment and the baffle assembly to ensure it is square.

T122 Egyptian kit

 The kit recommends the dragon T34/85 or the Italeri. I did note that some people have used the zvesda kit also. My kit was a Italeri and upon dry fitting I needed to sand more off the bottom of the rear of the turret to get it to fit correctly. I also removed my front guards as per the surviving example in Israel. 

Overall a great addition for anyone wanting to do something different or wanting like me to add it to your Egyptian army for 67 or 73 wars. 

Overall a simple addition armour build, scoring a nine out of ten. 

Plan to get some paint on it soon, when I do my next batch of Egyptians. 

Cheers
Matt 

Friday, November 24, 2023

volvo c303 pansarvarnspjasterrangbil -Gecko 1/72 Kit review

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil



As I start preparing for the Analogue painting challenge I have been focusing on building kits for our “Whisky on the Rocks” Cold War Wargames Holiday from the 3rd to the 7th of May 2024. My Swedes need quite a bit of anti armour to deal with the Soviet VDV division that will oppose them. The 

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil 1/72 Gecko Resin kit

Another kit review of Gecko Heavy Industries 1/76th scale resin kit. The Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil 90mm recoiless anti tank gun. The only model of this kit that I am aware of for 20mm wargaming, I needed to purchase this for my Swedes for our Cold War event “Whisky on the Rocks” at French Wargame Holidays from 3rd to 7th May 2024. 

The kit is resin with four options for the build, a complete clear resin cabin with stowed gun,  a half cabin with stowed gun, a windscreen with roll cage mounted or a firing version with folded down screen and roll frame. 
The resin spruces were simple to remove, do take care though with assembly as the instructions are not that clear, and you will require a few images from the web to fully assemble it correctly, particularly the gun mount. The roll cage will need some work if you are to get close to an actual vehicle, so I opted to fold mine down in the firing version. The clear parts are not that great and I think I will scratch a new windscreen(which will be folded down anyway…. The front seats were also incorrect from what I could see, so I trimmed the kit pieces to suit. Overall a 8.5 out of 10. 

The kit was €22 from panzerfux and worth the price I think as it is such a rare beast. Looking forward to getting some paint on it and I will possibly convert some S&S miniatures Swedish crew. 

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil Layed out




Cheers
Matt


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Yom Kippur War Jordanian Order of Battle


Yom Kippur War Jordanian order of battle

Photos from the Jordanian tank museum 

The least enthusiastic participant in the October fighting was probably Jordan. After the Arab offensive began Jordan commenced calling up reserves on the 10th of October. The 40th Armored Brigade was sent to the North eastern front in Syria the threaten the Israeli border and protect the flanks of the Syrian counter attacks. 

The 40th Armoured Brigade crossed the border on the 12th and arrived in position on the 13th and were then attached to the 3rd Iraqi Armoured division. On the 14th the division was assigned to the southern flank of the counter attack. The assault occurred between Jubata al Khashab and Khan Arinbeh, with the goal of forcing a front to highway 98, near Al Qunaitra and the high ground. This ground was not very suited to Armoured formations as it consisted of volcanic rocks, small ridges, gullies and outcrops, with a number of villages, plus overlooked by high ground that could be defended easily by the Israelis.

 The 40th were placed on the left flank of the Iraqi division, the attack began at dawn on the 16th after a preliminary bombardment of Jordanian, Iraqi and Syrian artillery. The assault began successfully until at 4000m the first centurions were lost to TOW missiles, however the creeping barrage by the Jordanian artillery forced the Israeli infantry to retire and the centurions possibly being mistaken as Israeli armour penetrated the line, in the confusion the Jordanians claimed 20 Israeli tanks, 9 TOWs and three jeeps destroyed or captured for the loss of 14 tanks destroyed, forcing the Israeli troops to withdraw. On the 17th and 18th damaged vehicles were refitted for a renewed assault on Israeli positions on dawn of the 19th, however the assault went in piecemeal and the Jordanians lost a further 4 tanks destroyed, but the Iraqis in the centre were badly mauled. A further assault was planned on the 23rd of October, but never went forward due to the ceasefire. The Jordanians suffered 28 killed and 49 wounded, with the loss of 33 tanks, 18 destroyed and 9 damaged but recovered, and 6 captured by Israel and 2 APCs damaged. 

A good indication of the Jordanian camouflage, medical M113 of the 40th division, the photo I believe is from 1970 during Black September. 


40th Jordanian Armoured Brigade Khalid Hajhouj al-Majali 

Brigade HQ 
Signal Company
Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II 1st Armored Infantry Battalion M113
2nd Royal Tank Battalion  45 Mk7 105mm Centurions
Prince Ali bin Al Hussein 4th Tank Battalion 45 Mk5 105mm and Mk7 105mm centurions
Services Companies
Medical Company
Brigade Maintenance Workshop Centurion ARV
Field reconnaissance battalion 9 x FV-701 Ferret 

Photos from the Jordanian Armour museum


Division Artillery HQ
2nd SP Artillery Battalion 10? M110 howitzer
7th SP Artillery Battalion 10 M52 105mm self propelled howitzer
23rd SP Artillery Battalion 8 M52 105mm self propelled howitzer
18 × M-42 Duster 40mm SP AA 


Jordanian M42 duster, photo from the Jordanian Tank Museum 

References

Historical encyclopedia of the Jordanian armed forces
https://www.jaf.mil.jo/Assets/File/hestoryPdfEn.pdf




Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Volvo c303 Tbg11 - Gecko Kit Review

 Volvo c303 Tbg11 - Gecko Kit Review 

Gecko Heavy Industries Volvo C303 TGB11


I purchased this beast earlier in the year when I started formulating a plan to conduct a Cold War wargaming event at French Wargame Holidays, this lead to our “Whisky on the Rocks” event being organized for October 3-7th 2024. 


This also means I need to build some Swedish Army vehicles for my Cold War Collection. Soft skins are a bit of a challenge, particularly the Volvo series of vehicles. So whilst perusing the web I stumbled upon the Gecko offering and duly purchased it along with a few other Swedish specific pieces. 

On first glance the kit is well cast in soft grey resin with two parts in clear resin. Removal from the sprue was done with ease for the grey parts however the clear was a tough job and I had to use my saw blade to remove the sprue from the main body, this was a challenge as the clear plastic was tough…. 

Assembly required hot water to straighten some pieces, the frame and suspension required quite a bit of work to straighten before I glued the frame. The clear resin is very disappointing and I cannot in anyway say that it is satisfactory, I think I shall paint the entire vehicle then add glass effect rather than mask it up and hope that it is translucent. 

Positives the kit looks like the vehicle but lacks fine detail for such a pricey kit €22 from Panzerfux. The instructions are basic with no images, but simple enough to work out. 
Negatives
Annoying small bubbles on the cabin and the solid clear resin body was problematic fitting and cutting, taking more than an hour of clean up fully. I do note that this was Gecko Industries earliest model and the later kits have separate clear parts. 

Overall a 7 out of ten kit. I plan to get some paint on it next week. 

The kit removed from sprue, note the alignment on the chassis 


Note the huge sprue knob on the clear cast resin 

Piece removed, then wet and dry to smooth to level, a good hour of work 

Cheers
Matt 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Praga 53/59/70 30mm Anti Aircraft gun - NB models kit review


Praga 53/59/70 30mm AA Lizard

History Praga 53/59


The Praga M53/59 was developed post ww2 and entered service in 1959, mounted on a armoured cabin, the cabin armour was quite thin 10mm on the front and 6mm on the sides making it small arms fire proof only. The vehicle was the Czech V3S 6 wheel drive truck chassis. The chassis, engine and electronic components were upgraded and improved in 1970, these vehicles became the M53/70. Further electronic additions were added in the eighties so electronic air tracking was available via connection to a battery command vehicle using the M85 Zirafa radar allowing it to remain in service for some time in the Czechoslovakian army until 2003. A large number of both models were exported during the Cold War and quite a number still remain in a number of armies today. 

The 30mm cannon was originally designed by Bruno for the kreigsmarine during ww2 as a submarine anti aircraft design. The Czechoslovak designation was the 30mm PLDvk viz.53. The top mounted magazines for the gun held 50 rounds, however weighed a hefty 85 kilos when fully loaded. The guns had a practicable rate of fire of 150-200 rounds per minute, AA effective range was 3500m and on ground targets 2000m. The gunner had optical sights only and manual trigger and hydraulic assisted traverse and elevation, until the 1980s when the upgraded system appeared for targeting. The twin guns could also be dis-mounted from the chassis into a fixed ground position. The vehicle had a crew of five, Commander, driver, two loaders and a gunner, and normally operated in a division of 6 vehicles, plus a command vehicle for the battery of two divisions. 

The Praga had the nickname the lizard due to its code name during its development and was widely used in the ground role during the Yom Kippur war and the Yugoslavian wars, where Praga became the nickname for all anti aircraft SP cannons. 

Review NB models Praga 53/59

A superb offering of the Praga 53/59 30mm SP AA gun by NB models. This is the 1/72 version, there is also a 1/35th scale available too. 

A very crisp 3d print with very little clean up, a bit of light filing and sanding where the supports were, predominately on the underside of the pieces and on the back of the Gun. A little sanding and it was ready to assemble. Assembly was simple and straight forward and  every thing nicely together with no problems, I used super glue gel for assembly giving me time to square up wheels and the gun assembly.

My only critiques are, I would of liked the tyre treads on the wheels to be more detailed, a posable gun for the deployed AA role with removable and spare ammunition drums plus the racks and finally the crew compartment to be open so I could add crew, a gunner and loaders. 

I will mount this on a base to prevent it being knocked about whilst it is on the game table as I can see the mirrors and rear steps becoming detached quickly.  I also left off the clear canopy for painting as it can easily be placed after painting. One will join my Egyptians the other my Iraqis, and I will possibly get them painted before Christmas! 

The Praga 53/59 NB models kit fully laid out, a very crisp kit


Cabin detail is excellent, a few delicate parts…. A few bits to clean up but overall great


The NB models Praga 53/59 Guns and cabin front, the light mounts and mirrors are superb


NB models Praga cabin side, the tools are superb, as are the lights, handles and mirror


The Armoured glass cupola and gun sight…. 

Cheers

Matt 
References 
AK interactive- vol III Arab revolutions and border wars. 
You tube training clip of the Praga 53/59 
Praga 53/59 walk around 
Yugoslavian wars use 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Terrain Tuesday - Desert terrain part two

 Desert terrain 

Last week as the Yom Kippur War bug continues to bite I completed some desert shrub foliage cover pieces that could be used for both 20mm and 28mm. Simple mdf base with coir hair mat and, home made tufts and some noch shrub. Quite effective and happy with the result, 30 odd more to come once I make some new tufts in the coming week or so. 

Desert tufts 


Cheers
Matt

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Ville Mayenne bombing 1944 Part 1

 Ville Mayenne 1944

As I commence my Ville Mayenne build I wanted to look at the buildings that were destroyed by allied bombing during the preparation and during the landings so I could add them to my build. The archives here have a number of useful photos I thought I would add. Also some before and after shots of the area I want to build. This post is more of an overview, the follow post will more in detail to the Ville. 


Ville Mayenne, at the top is the German barracks and the route to Oisseau and the radar station 


A close up of the two road bridges, on the left is the Basilica bridge, on the right is the bridge in front of The Grand Hotel now known as the McCracken bridge.

Bombing in June 1944 on the south east bank of the river,the absolutely hammered section is the railway station and stock yards 


Looking from McCracken bridge towards the renaissance bridge in the foreground and the railway viaduct in the background. Both were demolished by the Germans after the breakout occurred at Avaranches on the 2nd of August.


This photo really shows the depth of the embankment looking at the basilica of Norte Dame in the background, just to the left was the renaissance bridge and too the right about 100m is the McCracken bridge. 


Facing southeast the bridge to the right is the McCracken bridge, in the foreground are the lavoir and former water Mill, in the background is the edge of the Military hospital. The bridge had 6 500lb bombs strapped under the arches by the Germans in preparation to destruction. 

The Hospice, further upstream from the McCracken bridge, the former Moulin was full of refugees at the time of the bombing of the city by American aircraft in June. 


The Railway Viaduct, designed by Gustavo Eiffel, destroyed by the Germans in August 44, below this you can see the weir. Opposite are the gate keepers house and a Floch Maison behind had a German garrison, which was captured on the 5th of August by members of the 90th inf division.  

The Basilica of Notre Dame des Miracles, many of the medieval buildings were damaged or destroyed by the bombing in June, to the left is the chateau, the forked road to the left goes up to the marketplace 


The Carolingian Chateau of Mayenne, it was being used as a transit prison for German forced labour, to the right is the Basilica 

A photo from the 60’s, however a good view of the south east bank staging area for the linen barges 


Photos of the damaged Basilica from the June 44 bombing



The damaged church at the hospital, the hospital and hospice had more than 300 casualties from the bombing in June 44

The damaged railway Viaduct, looking back towards the city side of the river 

The flattened railway switch yards 

The route to Aaron, much of the fighting between the 5th and 13th of August occurred in the southeastern part of the city 

Another view of the switch yards, the line to the right went over the viaduct 

A view back towards McCracken bridge North toward the Barracks and the route to Oisseau, Ernée, Fougeres after the city was taken, three 88mm guns defended the south eastern side of the river along with two flak 20mm.

Next installment will be the city streets and some more photos from the fighting. 

Cheers
Matt