Sunday, September 25, 2016

Some possible US vehicle choices

Prewar US vehicles in 15mm? They are very scarce to say the least! In fact, for years if it wasn't something that saw use during WWII or WWI then it really didn't exist in the scale, or it was a short run made by some obscure model maker.

Shapeways has sort of changed that. Here's a brief run down on some of the toys Shapeways has for a War Plan Red US player.

M2 Medium

Here's a rare bird. The M2 saw very limited production to say the least.

Here's what Wikipedia says about this machine.

Only 112 were ever made and none of them saw action during WWII. However they would have made up at least a battalion or two of any US invasion force that would have seen action in Canada in 1940.  The medium was armed with a 37mm main gun, a battery of 7 .30 M1919 MGs, and was protected by about 32mm of frontal armor. It's top speed was about 26mph with a range of 130 miles. It weighed in at about 19 tons and required a crew of 6, two of whom were gunners!

A rather ungainly beast. Sort of like a M3 Light on steroids! These tanks never saw action in WWII because they were overtook by better designs. However the basic design would be reworked into the M3 Medium (Grant/Lee).

On paper it would compare rather well to the early cruisers the British fielded in 1940 which had similar weapons and slightly less armor and speed, although the A13 was a bit faster. The M2 Medium would have been seriously outclassed by the Matilda II though.

The model on Shapeways looks good and it has the battery of MGs. However it costs a small fortune for a 15mm tank: $23.50 a vehicle. That's as much as two WWII 15mm vehicles. Ouch.

You can find it here.

The M2 Light Tank

Now here's a pre-war design that actually saw some action. The M2 would actually see combat with the USMC during the Guadalcanal Campaign where it helped the gyrenes mop-up the Ichiki Detachment during the Battle of the Tenaru. The vehicle was designed during the mid-30's with the M2A2 and M2A4 being the most common. The M2A4 was an up-armored and up-gunned version that had about 25mm of armor and a 37mm gun. The M2 Light was a pretty fast tank for the time with a top speed of 36mph and a 200 mile range. The light would be quickly be superseded by the M3 and M5 Lights. The Wikipedia article can give you the rest of the details.

The Shapeway actually has both the M2A2 (Mae West) and the M2A4 in 15mm.. The M2A2 is armed with twin MG turrets while the M2A4  is a more traditionally gun armed tank with the M5 37mm gun. It does look an awful lot like the M3 to me! The M2A2 weighs in at $18,00 while the M2A4 will set you back $19.50.

M1 Combat Car

The M1 has an interesting history. During the 1920's the powers that be decided that only the infantry branch could design and field tanks, thus leaving the cavalry branch out in the cold. The cavalry could see the writing on the wall and knew that mechanization was the furture so they designed a light tank of them own but gave it a fancy name to prove that it wasn't really a tank: Combat Car!

The M1 Combat Car was a fully tracked light tank that was in many ways similar to the British light tanks of the time. It carried 16mm of armor and was armed with .50 and .30 machineguns mounted in a single turret.

Over 100 were built and were assigned to the cavalry regiments of the time. By 1940 the US Armored Force was established so the Combat Car designation was eliminated and the vehicle was simply called the M1A1 Light Tank. It's slightly improved sister, the M2 Combat Car became the M1A2 Light Tank.

The Shapeway's model is simply called the M1 Combat Car. It probably can do double duty as the M2.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Osprey to do a book on inter-war US armor

Looks like an interesting book!

There's been a lot of ink shed on the WWII warmachines: The M4 Medium, the M3/M5 Light, and so on. However there was a whole generation of afvs that would lead up to the vehicles that would soldier against the Axis powers.

Should be a fun read!

Early US Armor

US Airforce naval assault???

Here's a neat period picture. It's 1942 and US troops are hitting a foreign shore. However this is the Philippines and the troops are Army Airforce! This picture is from the excellent Osprey Publishing book: Fall of the Philippines.

What's truly weird is that the USAFFE had the 4th Marines sitting on Corregidor. These were fully trained infantry who would have been way more useful than USAAF personnel in an infantry battle. It is really odd that that marines, troops who were trained for this type of action, sat out this fight

Friday, April 22, 2016

Rules for War Plan Red and miniatures for the British

So after a long break away from WPR I've decided to come back to that project!  I've finally gotten around to getting some rules for the game and grabbing up miniatures for the British.

Let's start with the rules.

I've heard a lot of good things about "Went Well the Day?" which is a platoon scaled game for fighting Very British Civil War actions.  War Plan Red is set in the same time period using the same technology and equipment.  Also, I get the feeling that the forces involved in this War of 1812, part 2 have the possibility of having the same quirkiness that VBCW forces have.  Plus the rules just sound fun to play!  Here's a video review of the rules.

Next let's look at the infantry that I'll be using for the British forces.  There are a lot of possibilities out there ranging from WWI Tommies to WWII BEF.  So after much hemming and hawing I've decided to go with the Battlefront BEF troopers, but with some reservations.

I've seen these guys up close and they do look good painted up.  However I'm a little put off by the length of the Enfield rifles.  Those rifles carried by the BEF models look too short to me.  But looking at other pictures make me wonder...

Anyway, at less than $20, including shipping, I was able to get a full platoon with three rifle sections, a 2' mortar, and a Boys anti-tank rifle.  Not a bad deal really!  It's a full "force" for WWtD and has a nice and accurate mix of weapons.  Now I just need some Universal/Bren carriers and perhaps a I-tank or so and my British force is ready to be painted and fielded.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The 16th Infantry Takes to the Field!

AP Wire- Date Line Ft. Drum, NY.  March 20 1940

This morning the doughboys of New York's own 16th Infantry Regiment completed several days of field training exercises at Ft. Drum, NY, just a few miles south of the US-Canada border.  These field training exercises, known as FTXs to our doughboys, only seem to highlight the growing tensions between the United States of America and the British Empire.  

Doughboys from A Company, 16th Infantry
train with the newest tanks in America's arsenal.

The 16th Infantry Regiment, a component regiment of the 1st Infantry Division, normally stationed at Ft. Jay on Governors Island, was moved to Ft. Drum two weeks ago for additional training and to ensure that New York's borders are safe from any British or Canadian incursions.  

Doughboys of B Company rush a defended ruin while their
squad mates lay down suppressing fire!

Only months ago the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, like every other unit in the US Army, was just a skeleton of a unit having only four platoons organized into two small companies.  However with the possibility of war growing daily the US has drafted hundreds of thousands of young American men for national service.    Now the old hands of the 16th, in the tradition of their regiment's motto: Semper Paratus (Always Ready), have set about working to prepare the raw recruits for war, if it happens.

A MG squad operate their weapon under
the watchful eye of their commander, Lt. Colonel William Ekert.

Among the tactics that our young soldiers are learning is how to work with the newest engines of modern warfare:  the tank!  Many experts say that the tank is going to be a permanent fixture of the battlefields of the future, and that the infantry have little choice but to learn how to work with these armored behemoths if they wish to prevale.  Now the doughboys of the 16th are getting their chance to work with latest tank in America's arsenal: the M3 Light Tank.  

Team work!  M3 Light tanks and infantry in action

"The thing is," says Colonel William Ekert of Billings, Montana, "that we have so many new guys in the outfit and a lot of new weapons and gear to break in.  Hell, many of the old boys who were in the World War have never seen a real tank up close, let alone train with one. We NEED all the training time we can get! God only knows when, or even if, the balloon will go up.  Regardless, we HAVE to be ready no matter what!"

Fire and maneuver!  C Company practices
assault drills in the fields of Ft. Drum.

When asked how the men are reacting to all this extra training time Colonel Ekert said, "There is a real sense of urgency in these exercises.  In years past FTXs were seen as an annoying break-up of the normal barracks life to a lot of the men.  But this is different and the boys know it!  War can come at any time! And this war won't be in some god-forsaken field in Europe.  It's gonna be right here in our own backyards.  They call us (the 16th Infantry Regiment) "New York's Own" and it really could be up to us to keep the good folks of The Empire State safe."

While everyone here at Ft. Drum prays that the diplomats will come to a peaceful solution to the crisis between the two nations it's quite clear that all have resigned themselves to the possibility, no matter how remote, that war could be just around the corner.  

In the next article of our series we leave Ft. Drum and join the bluejackets on board the battleship USS Arizona as they ward our nation's shores.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Just for the record!

Just for the record and before I start getting hate mail I just want to make one thing very clear!  I'm actually quite the Anglophile!  My family originally hailed from Sussex in the UK, I work (as a teacher) with a British national (who I adore!), and honestly I holiday in the UK every chance I get.  I love Britain and I greatly admire the British people.  Heck, I dated a London girl in my college days.

One of the great things about this project is that I don't have to collect a force that I don't like, or want, just so I can play.  I can quite happily collect forces from both sides without dealing with the "ick" factor that sometimes comes from gathering real world forces.  I can quite happily assemble forces from such great units like the 16th US Infantry and 3rd Cavalry and pit them against some of my favorite British units like the Parachute Regiment, the KOSBs, and DLIs and I don't have to paint a single Nazi or SS trooper, or worse still... I don't have to collect a bevy of Tigers and Panthers!  In this war the Matilda is the queen of the battlefield and the 37mm is more than a pop gun!  Even more enjoyable is that I get to try out such what if classic matches like what would happen if Patton's 2nd Armor ever met Montgomery's 3rd Division in the field?

The "gravy" for the whole project is that I get to look at the forces of the Commonwealth too!  I now have an excuse to build an AIF battalion without needing to gather a force of Germans or Japanese to face them.  I also get look a our neighbor to the north, Canada, and use some of her famous regiments like Princess Patricia's Light Infantry or The Black Watch of Canada.  Even better still is that we are now at the beginning of the bicentennial of the War of 1812!  That works out great because I can use some of the battles of that war as templates and I can try them out with 1940s technology... and I don't have to collect a single Napoleonic miniature either!  

This blog is just for wargaming fun and nothing else.  So grab a pint, look around, and enjoy the show.  Feel free to toss in your $.02 worth or to let me know about some cool resources that are out there.

See you on the field!

Friday, August 24, 2012

3rd Cavalry Regiment

AP Wire- Date line Ft. Drum, NY.  March 10 1940.

With war clouds looming, the United States has been forced launch the first peace time draft in its history.  Over the last several months thousands of young Americans have been called up for national service.  These young men have flooded into existing Regular Army formations.  Even the elite cavalry regiments have been saturated with green recruits.

Last week elements of the United States Army's 3rd Cavalry Regiment (The Brave Rifles), at Ft. Drum New York, took to the field to bring their fresh faced youths "up to speed" on the weapons and tactics of the modern cavalry.

Here elements of Apache Troop, 3rd Cavalry Regiment learn the basics horsemanship and mounted combat:

Meanwhile, further along the line, troopers from Captain David York's machine gun troop conduct live fire exercises with their modern Browning machine guns (M1917). These young gunners aren't just getting some target practice in though, they are also firing their guns so that the cavalrymen and their horses can get use to the frightening sounds of gun fire.  

The cavalry isn't just horses any more either!  Joining York's troopers are some of the Army's newest armored cars: the M3A1 White Scout Car.

When asked if his troopers were ready if war were to come Machine Gun Troop commander Captain David York (pictured in the foreground), of Huntsville Alabama, said, "These are good boys.  They've worked hard and they've trained hard.  They know their duty and I reckon they'll give a good account of themselves if push comes to shove."

In our next article we will meet the doughboys of the fighting 16th Infantry.