FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) Char B1 for Bolt Action

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

After thinking about Bolt Action for a while and reflecting on the rules I finally decided on which force I was going to build. My regular opponent Simon was going Italian, so I actually had quite a wide choice of potential foes, from Early War French, British Desert Rats, Anzio which would mean regular British Infantry and US forces, Russians and even Germans towards the end of the war. I did initially think about Greek, they used regular British equipment so would be quite easy to model. I did consider Late War Germans, so I could get a JagdTiger in 28mm…. but in the end I decided that I would go totally irregular and go with Partisans, so just infantry, or maybe a car or truck or two.

I have a few civilian vehicles, a Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck.

Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck

And the slightly bigger truck, the Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy.

Bolt Action Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

I have been slowly painting the models, and was quite clear to myself that I wouldn’t buy any more models for this force until I had most of the existing models painted.

However…

On a recent visit to the Warlord Games Store in Nottingham I was tempted by the boxed model of the French Char B1.

Bolt Action Char B1 bis

The French Char B1 is one of my favourite tanks, probably as a result of making that Matchbox plastic kit of the Char B1 and the Renault FT17 when I was young. 

The Matchbox and Airfix Influence

I already have a few in 15mm for Flames of War on the workbench too.

Flames of War French Char B1 bis

So it was probably a no brainer to get one of these for my French partisan band.

The Char B1 was a specialised break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a “battle tank” fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm.

Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France, captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers, Munitionspanzer, or mechanised artillery.

What I had discovered in my research about the FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) was that they had re-captured many of the German Char B1s and used them against the Germans. 

Captured Char B1 bis FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) Panzerkampfwagen B-1 740(f) recaptured by Free France forces in 1944 and used in the liberation of Paris.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

This B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons was used in La Rochelle in May 1945.

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons - La Rochelle, May 1945

So once the model is made I have two choices about which paint scheme to use.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons – La Rochelle, May 1945

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons - La Rochelle, May 1945

Of course there is a slight reality issue in that by 1944 the Italians had already surrendered and changed sides.

The model is a plastic kit and comes in a nice box.

The first stage will be to make the model kit.

Call out the Home Guard

As I start to reflect on possible forces for Operation Sea Lion games I have been looking around to see what is available, there have been some useful articles in the mainstream wargaming press on this subject too.
In a previous blog post I discussed my new Royal Navy Section which I will be using for Operation Sealion games. I already have on the workbench some Bolt Action partisans, which though designed for the Eastern Front will work just as well for games of Operation Sea Lion. I also have the Dad’s Army boxed set, which means I have some Home Guard already and extra civilians.
I had expressed how I liked the British LDV Section from Warlord Games and was pleased to pick up a box on discount from Firestorm Games on a recent visit.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games

On 14 May 1940, Britain’s Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden made a broadcast calling for men between the ages of 17 and 65 to enrol in a new force, the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) to defend the country against the expected German invasion of Britain. By July, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled – far outreaching the 150,000 the Government expected to volunteer.

Beginning life as a rag-tag militia, the LDV initially had to make do without uniforms, wearing a simple armband bearing the organisations initials. The LDV similarly struggled for modern weaponry – shotguns and improvised weapons such as golf clubs, crowbars and industrial tools were not uncommon. The LDV evolved into the Home Guard, becoming a well-equipped and well-drilled force.

Disparagingly referred to as ‘Look, Duck & Vanish’, the LDV were renamed to the more inspiring Home Guard. Although the German invasion of their country didn’t materialise this proud people’s army – the original ‘Dad’s Army’ continued to stand until it was disbanded in late 1945.

The box set contains a ten man section equipped with various improvised weaponry, with additional firearms and Molotov cocktails.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
This is the rear view of the models.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
There has been lots of discussion about how effective the LDV would be against elite German Fallschirmjäger or even regular Wehrmacht forces. Trained soldiers generally will easily overcome irregulars in a straight firefight, one question though would British LDVs become the resistance?
These models could also be used as British Auxiliaries which were trained in irregular combat and were expected to fight on after invasion and occupation.
Of course, these models will also be suitable (as will my other Sea Lion British forces) for games set in the realm of the Very British Civil War.
So what units are you mustering to defeat the Germans as launch Operation Sea Lion?

It’s the Navy!

As I start to reflect on possible forces for Operation Sea Lion games I have been looking around to see what is available, there have been some useful articles in the mainstream wargaming press on this subject too.

I already have on the workbench some Bolt Action partisans, which though designed for the Eastern Front will work just as well for games of Operation Sea Lion. I also have the Dad’s Army boxed set, which means I have Home Guard and civilians.

I quite like the look of the new LDV from Warlord Games, but one unit that was recently released caught my attention. The Royal Navy section looked really interesting.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

Armed primarily with the reliable Lee Enfield rifle and often supported by a Lewis machine gun, sections of highly disciplined and well-equipped naval ratings with considerable experience of close combat fighting are a fearsome opponent.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

Clad in their dark blue uniforms and 1908 pattern webbing these Jack Tars will provide a dash of colour to an otherwise khaki British force.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

As the war progressed, it was Royal Navy Commandos or Royal Marines who would lead shore parties rather than Navy sailors. However in the realms of Operation Sea Lion you can easily imagine German Fallschirmjäger attacking a British Navy base to secure it to defuse any opposition. The only thing they weren’t expecting was some sailors to fight back.

Another idea would be, following a German invasion and the establishment of a successful beachhead with troops moving inland, the British command send in a Royal Navy shore party secretly to rescue a key scientist who has been left behind the lines in a seaside resort. The shore party need to find the scientist, whilst avoiding Wehrmacht patrols. They may have the support of local defence volunteers, potentially even members of an Auxiliary Unit.

Of course these Naval forces will also be suitable (as will my other Sea Lion British forces) for games set in the ream of the Very British Civil War.

You can see how in the turmoil of a British internal conflict, local militia attempting to secure weapons from a naval base, find that it wasn’t going to be as easy as they thought. They did bring a hastily improvised armoured civilian truck, however then the Molotov cocktails started to rain down on them.

The rules for the Royal Navy section can be found in the Bolt Action Campaign Sea Lion expansion. When I first read this campaign book, I didn’t expect that Warlord Games would release “obscure” units such as this for the game, however I have been pleasantly surprised by the variety and number of releases for the expansion. I am probably thinking in the past of rule publications that “talk the talk” but due to a range of issues didn’t “walk the walk”. Part of this was probably down to the fact that there were companies who made miniatures and then there were companies who published rules. There were a few who did both, but not many. Warlord Games are one of those companies who do both, and do both well; you can tell their Games Workshop heritage in their business practices.

The boxed set contains ten models. A petty officer leading the squad armed with SMG. There is a two man Lewis Gun LMG team, which will provide much needed fire support against an Fallschirmjäger attack.

There are seven unique sailors all with rifles and three have Molotov cocktails. Well that Lee Enfield isn’t going to be much use against those Jerry Panzers!

So what units are you mustering to defeat the Germans as launch Operation Sea Lion?

I just need to make a call…

So you are trying to set the scene for Operational Sea Lion games for Bolt Action.

One of the challenges has been finding British scenery. If you were playing in 20mm then there was a whole model railway scene for an English landscape. However if you went down the 15mm (or the 28mm) road then alas there was very little available.

With the release of the Sea Lion campaign books from Warlord Games for Bolt Action, it’s nice to see that they are also releasing some nice scenery pieces to go with the campaign.

Fill your battlefields with iconic British objects – the Police, Telephone and Pillar boxes. An absolute must have for any British battlefield, providing key communication hubs for your local defence volunteers.

Of course I am probably not alone thinking, hmmm blue Police Box, I wonder who uses that!

So as well as Operation Sea Lion, you could also the scenery for Doctor Who games (pity the nice new Warlord Games Doctor Who miniatures are 32mm and not 28mm).

Also I can see these scenic items proving useful for a Very British Civil War games, as well as many of the Operation Sealion releases from Warlord Games. I do like their LDV volunteers for example.

I wonder if there are any other releases on the horizon?

More of the LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

I have started working on my Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action. The LVT-4 is a 1/56th scale 28mm resin and metal kit. Having given the model a white undercoat I then gave the model a base coat of British Armour Green.

Here are some more photographs of the model.

Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action

This is a well detailed model.

Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action

Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action

Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action

Thinking I might need to get some jeeps for my commandos.

Painting the LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

I have started working on my Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action. The LVT-4 is a 1/56th scale 28mm resin and metal kit.

Having cleaned the model it was a relatively simple process of putting the kit together, well apart from the issue with the rear mudguards.

Having given the model a white undercoat I then gave the model a base coat of British Armour Green.

There were lots of undercuts which meant careful spraying.

Overall I was quite pleased with the initial results, and the next stage will be adding the British markings.

Building the LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

There aren’t too many parts to this model, so I thought it would be a simple build, but in the end I made a mistake which meant having to start again.

The problem arose when adding the tracks to the main hull. Unlike when building Flames of War resin models which include notches for the tracks, the LVT-4 Buffalo tracks had no way of indicating where they were placed on the hull.

Doing a dry run I thought I had it right, but when I came to place the rear mudguards I realised I had them on too far back! So I had to remove the tracks, then attach the rear mudguards before replacing the tracks.

Apart from that, the rest of the model went together really easily.

The next step will be a white undercoat.

Cleaning the LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

I have started working on my Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action. The LVT-4 is a 1/56th scale 28mm resin and metal kit and comes in a box with a picture of the completed model on the front.

Bolt Action Commando LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) is an amphibious warfare vehicle and amphibious landing craft, introduced by the United States Navy. The Marine Corps and Army used several LVT models during World War II. Five hundred were provided to the British Army. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles.

The model comprises four resin parts, the hull, two tracks and the rear ramp.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

There are metal components for the mudguards, benches and machine guns.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

The resin pieces were nice clean castings with virtually no flash and minimal casting “plugs” that needed to be removed. I did very little cleaning, and as I went over the castings I was impressed with the quality of the castings.

I washed the resin in warm soapy water to remove any remaining mould lubricant.

Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)

The next stage will be glueing the pieces together.

I am in the process of building a Commando team to fight alongside my partisans for games of Bolt Action. The force is taking its time to put together, but now I have transport for them.

As well as this model, the Commandos plastic boxed set I also have a couple of blisters, a Mortar Team and the Vickers MMG Team.

Bolt Action Commando LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

I was pleased to get for a present the Warlord LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac for Bolt Action.

Bolt Action Commando LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

The LVT-4 is a 1/56th scale 28mm resin and metal kit and comes in a box with a picture of the completed model on the front.

I am in the process of building a Commando team to fight alongside my partisans for games of Bolt Action. The force is taking its time to put together, but now I have transport for them.

I am also going to use these models as UNIT troops for some Doctor Who scenarios that I have been thinking about, the LVT will probably not be used for these games.

As well as this model, the Commandos plastic boxed set I also have a couple of blisters, a Mortar Team and the Vickers MMG Team.

Commando LVT-4 Buffalo Amtrac

The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) is an amphibious warfare vehicle and amphibious landing craft, introduced by the United States Navy. The Marine Corps and Army used several LVT models during World War II. Five hundred were provided to the British Army. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles.

Bolt Action Partisans

Making some more progress with my Bolt Action Partisans, mainly painting the flesh tones.

Though my partisan band is suppose to be French, this one still looks a little too Soviet, probably because of the cap.

Bolt Action Partisan

This model though looks like it will be fine for a French setting.

Bolt Action Partisan

This though is my least favourite of the models. Not sure why, probably is the socks! Again maybe a little too Soviet in he look.

Bolt Action Partisan

Maybe if the model looks more like Simone Segouin then, possibly I would like it more.

18 year old French Résistance fighter, Simone Segouin, patrolling Paris, 1944

Using a borrowed helmet, this model would fit fine in Eastern Europe or in France.

Bolt Action Partisan