FWD Model ‘B’ 4×4 truck

Imperial War Museum Duxford is a branch of the Imperial War Museum near Duxford in Cambridgeshire, and on a recent visit I was able to take a range of photographs of the aircraft and tanks on display.

In the Land Warfare Exhibit is a variety of vehicles and weapons from the Great War, including this FWD Model ‘B’ 4×4 truck.

FWD Model ‘B’ 4x4 truck

FWD was an American truck company. The FWD Model B was an American built four-wheel drive truck produced by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company that saw widespread service with American and British forces during the First World War.

Artillery at Duxford

There are quite a few artillery pieces on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in their Land Warfare exhibit.

This is a German 7.7cm Field Gun from World War One.

The gun on the right is a British 18 pounder quick firing field gun. The one on the left an American M1917 75mm field gun, based on the British 18 pounder.

This is a German 21cm Heavy Howitzer or Mortar.

The 21 cm Mörser 10 (21 cm Mrs 10) was a heavy howitzer used by Germany in World War I (although classified as a mortar (Mörser) by the German military).

As well as the guns there was also a trench train. Well a British MM15 War Department Light Railways Motor Rail 40hp ‘Simplex’ Petrol Tractor to be precise.

For use on the two foot War Department Light Railway.

The War Department Light Railways were a system of narrow gauge trench railways run by the British War Department in World War I. Light railways made an important contribution to the Allied war effort in the First World War, and were used for the supply of ammunition and stores, the transport of troops and the evacuation of the wounded.

Great War APC

The Mark IX tank was a British armoured fighting vehicle from the First World War. It was the world’s first specialised armoured personnel carrier (APC).

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During the first actions with tanks, it became clear that infantry often could not keep up with the tanks, It wasn’t that the soldiers were too slow, the early tanks themselves could only move at a walking pace, but because soldiers on foot remained vulnerable to enemy machine gun fire. In many actions, positions gained at great cost were immediately lost for lack of infantry to consolidate.

At the end of the Great War only three had been finished, out of a total ultimate production run of thirty-four, following an order for two hundred.

These metal monsters designed in an era when they didn’t really know what they were doing and there was a lot of trial and error. The Mark IX reminds us that the APC is as old as the tank.

Steaming in the desert

At the wargaming show at the Tank Museum I managed to get a pictures of the games on show, but to be honest was distracted by the tanks. One game which did catch my eye was this desert game in 20mm with a train.

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This was a very nice looking game.

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Didn’t really get the details on the sides in the game (and I think it was a World War One game).

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54mm World War One Tanks

54mm World War One Tank

The clunking behemoths of steel slowly trundled through the mud and despair of no-man’s land followed by apprehensive and scared men who had seen years of fighting and death.

54mm World War One Tank

These models were part of a 54mm World War One demonstration game at Warfare 2015 in Reading. Visually impressive, the table also had an extensive trench system terrain.

54mm World War One Tank

Variations on a Whippet

Whippet

As part of their releases for Flames of War The Great War, Battlefront have released a 15mm scale Whippet tank.

Though originally envisioned with a rotating turret, the production model had an armoured housing for three to four 303 Hotchkiss machine guns, which could be relocated between four gun ports. Approved in June 1917, roughly 200 vehicles were produced starting in October 1917.

Unlike the large crew of the Mark IV, the Whippet managed with a standard crew of three: a commander, driver and gunner. Given the gunner was responsible for manning both machineguns (which could point forward, left, right and rear), sometimes a second gunner was squeezed in.

It looks like a very nice model and well sculptured. Lots of detail and a good casting.

I do think that this model would make for a great base for vehicles for an alternative Great War. It could be converted into a turreted tank, or a self propelled gun. One other idea is to use the models for A Very British Civil War background. There are quite a few models in the Flames of War range that could be used for a 1920s or 1930s civil war within the United Kingdom.

Flames of War Great War

Flames of War Great War

This week sees the release of the Flames of War Great War supplement. You can either buy a boxed set which comes with the supplement, or you can buy the August issue of Wargames Illustrated, that comes bundled with the supplement for “free”. Alongside the rules there are various models, including two boxed starter sets.

I got my copy of Wargames Illustrated yesterday and spent some time reading the supplement and the plethora of articles in the magazine itself on the new supplement and the rules.

The models look really nice, this is the Mark IV Male.

Mark IV Male

You can compare that detailed model with the 15mm version I bought many years ago. This version is a lot more detailed, looks much better and really captures the feel of this, one of the first tanks. As well as tanks there are infantry and artillery. I really quite like the introductory boxed set available, Mitchell’s Marauders.

GBRAB1 Mitchell's Marauders

Your rifle company is well-equipped for assaulting and crushing the enemy. Prepare your assault with your Mark IV tanks. They will pulverize Jerry’s gun nests with high-explosives and rake his trenches with machine-gun fire. Then send in your highly-trained rifle platoons to clear out the trenches and breakthrough.

The box provides all you need for an introductory game, infantry, tanks and artillery.

There is also a German boxed set available. Though that boxed set has the A7V, you can of course use captured British tanks for your German forces.

captured British tank

I feel I can’t say too much on the rules, as I have not had a chance for a game with them…

The articles within Wargames Illustrated cover a range of issues, one of the interesting aspects is debunking the myth that the Great War was just about muddy trenches. Towards the end of the war there were more battles that were about movement and breakthroughs across new areas that hadn’t been torn apart from relentless artillery barrages.

With the 100th anniversary of the Great War this month, I can see these models proving popular. For the future I hope we can see some more models, notably missing are armoured cars, which though played little part in the trenches, were well utilised in other theatres of the war.