Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank

I got this Warlord Games Bolt Action Mark IV (male) British WWI tank model for Christmas.

Bolt Action Mark IV Male Tanks

It consists of mainly resin parts with some metal components.

I have a 15mm Home Guard Mark IV Male, but as I am in the process of building a Bolt Action 28mm Home Guard force, I did want to add some armour to them with a Mark IV Male World War One tank put into service, even if it was merely as a mobile pillbox.

I mentioned this idea in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

Well just shows a little historical research never hurt anyone, as the Bovington Tank Museum has on display a Mark IV Male tank that was used just in this way. It was used in World War One and then presented to the Navy. When war broke out in September 1939, the Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324 was refurbished for Home Guard duties; according to the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy’s Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.)

This photograph is from HMS Excellent in 1940.

Mark IV at HMS Excellent
Mark IV at HMS Excellent

One thing clear from this photograph is the disruptive camouflage they have used on the tank.

Another view of the Mark IV at speed.

So though I thought my idea was probably if Operation Sealion had happened, I didn’t think and didn’t realise that it had in fact happened despite the fact that the Germans hadn’t invaded.

So as I also have the Royal Navy Section this gives me an excuse to use this model.

So onto building the model.

The first step will be to give the resin parts a wash in soapy water and clean up the metal components.

Canal Defence Light (CDL)

The Canal Defence Light (CDL) was a British “secret weapon” of the Second World War, based upon the use of a powerful carbon-arc searchlight mounted on a tank. It was intended to be used during night-time attacks, when the light would allow enemy positions to be targeted. A secondary use of the light would be to dazzle and disorient enemy troops, making it harder for them to return fire accurately. The name Canal Defence Light was used to conceal the device’s true purpose.

The only surviving CDL-equipped Matilda tank is in the collection of the Royal Armoured Corps at The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, in Britain.

Home Guard Thornycroft Bison

The Bison was an extemporised armoured fighting vehicle frequently characterised as a mobile pillbox. Bisons were produced in Britain during the invasion crisis of 1940-1941. Based on a number of different lorry chassis, it featured a fighting compartment protected by a layer of concrete. Bisons were used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) to protect aerodromes and by the Home Guard. They acquired the generic name “Bison” from their main manufacturer.

This Home Guard Thornycroft Bison was on display at Bovington.

It’s a good illustration of the desperate state of the defence of the United Kingsom in 1940. Take a lorry and add some concrete to turn it into an armoured vehicle. They were really no more than mobile pillboxes.

I have been thinking about converting a lorry for my Home Guard forces.

Cruiser Ram and Ram Kangaroo

The Tank, Cruiser, Ram was a cruiser tank designed and built by Canada in the Second World War, based on the U.S. M3 Medium tank chassis. Due to standardization on the American Sherman tank for frontline units, it was used exclusively for training purposes and was never used in combat as a gun tank.

This Ram tank was at Bovington.

The chassis was used for several other combat roles however, such as a flamethrower tank, observation post, and armoured personnel carrier. There was a Ram Kangaroo at the museum as well.

I remember buying some of Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Ram Kangaroos back in the 1980s for my Late War British army.

British Armoured Train

Twelve armoured trains were formed in Britain in 1940 as part of the preparations to face a German invasion; these were initially armed with QF 6 pounder 6 cwt Hotchkiss guns and six Bren Guns. They were operated by Royal Engineer crews and manned by Royal Armoured Corps troops. In late 1940 preparations began to hand the trains over to the Polish Army in the West, who operated them until 1942.

They continued in use in Scotland and were operated by the Home Guard until the last one was withdrawn in November 1944. 

A 6-pounder wagon from one of these trains is preserved at the Tank Museum.

British Armoured Train

I’ve liked the idea of a British Armoured Train for some Operation Sealion games, however the challenge has been one of scale.

I have been painting and building Home Guard forces in 15mm and 28mm, however this makes it challenging to build a British Armoured Train. Yes you can get track from Battlefront for 15mm, but trains you would need to go down the TT gauge route for models, which are mainly kits and difficult to get hold of. With 28mm Bolt Action scale models you could go down the O gauge route for track and rolling stock, but again cost can be prohibitive.

The obvious route with OO gauge works fine if you play 20mm games as they are the same scale. However I don’t want to go down the road of another scale!

I think it will have to remain a pipe dream. 

Back in 2005 I blogged some ideas about an Operation Sealion German Armoured Train.

The German occupation forces would use armoured trains to protect the rail network from English terrorists (partizans) and important trains (carrying the ReichsMarshal of Great Britain for example).

Normally it would push a flat wagon with 40mm AT weapon on it and other wagons would include Flak wagons and heavy machine guns.

Would the Germans have shipped over a captured Polish Armoured Train or use their own armoured trains (as they did on the Eastern Front). In this instance the Flames of War 15mm models could be used.

Hmmm.

Coventry Armoured Car

The Coventry armoured car was a British four wheel drive (4 × 4) armoured fighting vehicle developed at the end of the Second World War as a potential replacement for the lighter Humber and Daimler armoured cars.

This Coventry Armoured Car was on display at Bovington.

The Coventry was an advanced design and featured a similar layout to the more compact Daimler, but with a more conventional suspension and drive system. It included duplicate driving controls to allow rapid disengagement in combat.

Some Coventry Armoured Cars were sold to France and later saw action against the Viet Minh during Indochina War.

S-Tank

S-Tank at the tank museum at Bovington with anti-HEAT slat armor on the front.

Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103)

The Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103),  also known as the S-Tank, is a Swedish post-World War II main battle tank, designed and manufactured in Sweden.[3] It was developed in the 1950s and was the first main battle tank to use a turbine engine and the only mass-produced tank since World War II to dispense with a turret. It has an unconventional design with a unique gun laying process: it is turretless with a fixed gun traversed by engaging the tracks and elevated by adjusting the hull suspension. The result was a very low-profile design with an emphasis on survivability and heightened crew protection level. Strv 103s formed a major portion of the Swedish armoured forces from the 1960s to the 1990s, when it was replaced by the Leopard 2 variants Stridsvagn 121 and 122.

QinetiQ Plastic ‘Tank’ Advanced Composite Armoured Vehicle Platform ACAVP

The QinetiQ Plastic ‘Tank’ Advanced Composite Armoured Vehicle Platform on display at Bovington.

QinetiQ

As well as many tanks from the First World War and the Second World War there are also some experimental and prototype tanks at the museum as well, like this QinetiQ.

Light Tank M5A1 Stuart Mark VI

The M3 Stuart, officially Light Tank, M3, was an American light tank of World War II. An improved version entered service as M5. It was supplied to British and other Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Thereafter, it was used by U.S. and Allied forces until the end of the war.

This Light Tank M5A1 Stuart Mark VI is at the Tank Museum at Bovington.