Sunday, 13 August 2017

163 Brigade Staff, Gaza, 1917.

Brigadier General T Ward, Officer Commanding 163 Brigade, watches on with his Brigade Major as the two Mark I tanks in support of his brigade slowly rumble forward towards the Turkish positions that would later become known as Tank Redoubt following the Second Battle of Gaza. The tanks attracted the fire of every Turkish gun in the sector. Well sited Turkish machine gun positions took a heavy toll on his Brigade with the 1/4 and 1/5 Norfolks taking 75% casualties. The supporting battalion, 1/8 Hampshires could do little to help particularly as the artillery fire on the two tanks caused the Hampshires difficulty and heavy casualties among their ranks. 1/5 Suffolks in reserve could only watch on as the attack was abandoned once HMLS Nutty was hit and destroyed as it reached the Turkish trenches. Brigadier Ward as not impressed with the Tank as a new weapon.
Figures by Woodbine Designs, Mutton Chop and Footsore Miniatures. All have had their original heads replaced with Woodbine heads wearing Wolseley helmets. All have a little greenstuff added to create brassards.

Friday, 11 August 2017

1/5th Norfolk Regiment (TF), 1/5th Suffolk Regiment (TF) and 163 Trench Mortar Battery.

163 Brigade nears completion.

The 1/5th Norfolks are all Footsore Miniatures with Woodbine heads.

163 Trench Mortar Battery being a GWM 2 inch Stokes mortar, a GWM figure from the lead pile and a Woodbine "Woody" figure, both of which have had a head-swap.

1/5th Suffolks being mostly Footsore Miniatues with a couple of Woodbines to make up the numbers. Again, all with Woodbine heads.

I wait for a delivery and then we shall have a Brigade HQ and signal section.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

1/4 Norfolk Regiment (TF) and 163 Machine Gun Company 1917

Here are the four outstanding figures needed to complete the 1/4 Norfolks (TF). Three Woodbines and a Footsore Miniatures figure.

A picture of the completed unit.

As part of the project to build 163 Brigade for the Second Battle of Gaza, we need to have the Brigade's Machine Gun Company. Here is 163 Machine Gun Company.. 

A couple of weeks ago I was able to read 163 M G Coy's War  Diary  at the National Archives. A great deal of information can be gleaned from this document starting with the formation of the Company in April 1916 with the amalgamation of the eight brass jacketed Vickers-Maxims from 1/8 Hampshires, 1/4 Norfolks, 1/5 Norfolks and 1/5 Suffolks and their problems in attempting to increase the number of guns in the company to sixteen. Personnel were a problem too. It seems that right up until the Third Battle of Gaza in November 1917, the ranks were filled by very few new men of the Machine Gun Corps being brought in from the UK. The diary indicates that many men were "on attachment" from the battalions of 163 Brigade with groups of men being rotated in and out of the MG Company. Hence these figures all wear different patches on their helmets and a purely conjectural yellow patch on the sleeve to denote being attached to 163 M. G. Coy.

The title page for the month of October 1916 before the Company became a company of 54 Battalion Machine Gun Corps in April 1918.

 So here we have the Company CO, Captain Taylor and his CSM with a scratchbuilt rangefinder....

... and the battery itself.

All these figures are either Mutton Chops  or Footsore Miniatures all with Woodbine headswaps.

Here is a page from the diary that mentions the support given by eight of the Company's guns to a raid on "Beach Post" made by a group of 1/8 Hampshires on 14th October, 1917 a couple of weeks before Third Gaza. 16000 rounds of ammunition were fired in a "barrage" before the Hampshires attacked. By this time the Company was equipped with sixteen Vickers guns shipped in from the UK. The Diary of 1/8 Hampshires has a very detailed description of this raid.... but that is for another visit to the National Archives.

On October 27th, 1917, Captain Taylor writes thus:

Oct 27 GAZA FRONT 202696 Pte. Johnson P.C., 1/5th Suffolks attached, ammunition carrier, was wounded in the head by a premature burst of one of our own shells. His steel helmet was pierced but broke the force of the splinter and undoubtedly saved his life. This was the first parade on which the steel helemets had been worn.

That answers a question of mine.... when did steel helmets reach Palestine?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Final elements to the Asia Corps

First up, Brigade Games' Asia Corps Lewis Gun teams.

Next, a unit of ten Jaeger. Four battalions of Jaeger were assigned to the Asia Corps, three battalions of the 146th Jaeger Regiment  and the 11th Reserve Jaeger Battalion. In reality, they probably looked just like the rest of the figures in this project being equipped with the sun helmet or soft visored cap. For variety these figures have retained their distinctive shako and badger skin backpack. Perhaps not historically accurate, but an interesting diversion. The Officer, bugler and kneeling NCO come from Great War Miniatures and the remaining seven figures are from Mutton Chop.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Asia Corps Cavalry

I didn't have a lot to go on when I was tasked to create figures to represent the single squadron of German cavalry that served with the Asia Corps in Palestine in 1917-18. All there was was a single grainy photograph showing a few lance armed troopers.

So, taking the Crusader Miniatures WW2 German Cavalry as a base the snips, scalple, drill, greenstuff  and Woodbine heads in soft caps were pressed into use.

Once painted we get this.

Add a few more and I have to say I am very pleased with the end result.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Asia Corps Guns

Crew from Brigade Games and the guns are the GWM 77mm FK96 with a lengthened barrel to make them look like FK16s. The Brigade Games FK16 model that came with the crew just looked too small to my eyes.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Czech Legion Train 2

Some more Czech legionaries for Rodger's train. They are in the post. See what I did there? The Czechs are in the post? Thank you! I'm here all week.

For the most part these are Copplestones with couple of Forgotten Front figures thrown in. Instructions were to paint them up in a "hotch-potch of uniform."

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Czech Legion Train 1918

Now that the latest July edition of "Wargames Illustrated" has hit the shelves I can make a post on a long term project that I had to keep under wraps as it was to feature in the article "The Train Now Standing at Platform Four is the 19:18 To Vladivostok".

The whole train was based on an engine, rolling stock and track from Sarissa Precision and it took inspiration from a number of images of such Czech Legion trains that are found easily online.

A train on the move.

Accommodation wagon.

Machine Gun Wagon

Flatbed carrying armoured car.

75mm Russian Naval guns in open wagons.

The Naval Guns.

These were made from styrene tubes, manilla card, a bit of bent brass wire 
and caviar beads for rivets.

The wagon is a low aggregate wagon built inside out so the timber forms the inside lining to what is meant to be a steel wagon. Caviar beads again form rivets on the outside.

The base coat of paint (burnt sienna).

Followed by an ink wash and some highlights. A little chipping has been applied using Dark Rust paint on a little bit of foam sponge.

Finally some weathering pigment.

The Machine Gun Wagon.

Again a low aggregate wagon forms the basis for this model with a fair amount of additions.  

Internal platforms for guns, two styrene "H" Beams to support the roof, and a sill formed from a  length of wooden coffee stirrer were added along with some ammunition boxes made from greensuff and other materials that I replicated using "Instant Mold".

 Milliput sandbags were added.

 The painting begins as the roof goes on. The roof is a layer of planks, each a double thickness of wooden coffee stirrers. I drank a fair bit of coffee at my local independent coffee shop to "liberate" the necessary quantity of wood.

The Flatbed Wagon.

A simple build of wooden planks on a chassis. More coffee had to be consumed.

The Accomodation Wagon.

The only addition to this build of a Goods Wagon was a styrene tube to make a chimney for the stove inside. Homemede transfers provide the decoration and a little freehand painting was required. The names on the wagon have been copied from photos.

The Engine.

No attitions, just a black paint job, some transfers and a suitable name.

Of course, troops were required

Once delivered to Rodger, we set it up and took some photos. Note the Austin armoured car now on the flatbed wagon.

As Ivor the Engine once said, "Poop, poop!"