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They continued in use in Scotland and were operated by the Home Guard until the last one was withdrawn in November 1944.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.
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.
I mentioned the armoured locomotive a week ago, well here is the rolling stock to go with my Flames of War German Armoured Train.
I got an Artillery Car and an Anti-Aircraft Car (or should that be a Flak Car?).
Like the locomotive the main parts of the model are resin with metal wheels and components.
I know I really should have gone for an Infantry Car, but to be honest the thought of trying to glue together the radio aerials put me off, so I didn’t.
After much consideration I did in the end get a German Armoured Train for Flames of War, well an armoured locomotive to begin with.
Though they were not used on the Western Front (as far as I am aware) it is my intention to use it against British (and American) tanks. Then again I might just get in a few Soviet tanks for a quick game.
As with most Battlefront models the kit contains resin with metal parts for the details. The engine and tender are two resin parts with the front, the funnel and the wheels in metal.
Next stage will be washing the resin, and cleaning the castings before constructing the engine.
Following on from my earlier post, we now have more details about the new Flames of War German Armoured Train.
There are four new models, the locomotive, an artillery wagon, an infantry wagon and a flak wagon.
I really do like this model and much prefer it over the Polish armoured train.
In this month’s Wargames Illustrated we get to see our first look at the German Armoured Train, which will be released on the 3rd March.
Unlike the Polish armoured train, the German Armoured Train is split between four/five boxed sets, one of which has already been released. We have already seen the Tank Hunter Cars that I quite like.
The four new releases are the Locomotive and Anti-aircraft car (pictured above) alongside an Artillery car and an Infantry car.
I have a bit of a thing about armoured trains, but did stop short of buying the Polish one when it was released.
However I am quite tempted by this one.
Of course most of my Flames of War models are based around the Normandy Campaign, don’t think the Germans used Armoured Trains in Normandy, but if you have any info on that would be pleased to hear it. Otherwise I will be out buying some T-34s.
Well here is the official announcement of a new edition of Flames of War.
Update: the video has been removed…
So there is going to be a third edition of Flames of War with a free (mini) copy for existing players, nice.
There are also some photographs of new models including a proper German Armoured Train which looks very nice.
Battlefront have released details about their plans for 2012 and one of the releases will be a German Armoured Train.
As you can see from the picture it is a “captured” Polish Armoured Train with extra German bits. Looks good, but I I don’t know about you, but I think I would prefer a “proper” German armoured train rather than the captured version.
Of course the other reason for not getting one, is that I don’t have forces from the Eastern Front and most of my collection is for D-Day and onwards.
Really enjoyed reading the article on a Russian Armoured Train on the Flames of War website.
The article has the historical background on how one of the Polish Armoured Trains was captured by the Soviet Union, re-painted and pressed into service. The article also shows how to paint the model.
I do like the look of the model and the green train with red stars is very effective, and as a model I much prefer it over the three colour camouflage of the Polish version.
Interestingly the train in question was later captured by the Germans and they used it.
Last month I blogged about the price of the new Flames of War Polish Armoured Train.
Back then when I thought the price was going to be £52 I initially said.
It’s a little more, well a lot more, than I thought it was going to be. To be honest I didn’t know or guess what it was going to be.
Upon reflection, I came to the conclusion that £52 wasn’t that bad.
I have come to the realisation that £52 is what I should have expected and prepared myself for.
The German Panther A boxed set with five Panthers has a list price of £41.
So to get four large resin models complete with extra turrets, £52 isn’t actually as bad as I made out it to be.
Well my source for the price of the Armoured Train, as it happens, was completely wrong and the actual list price is £90.
That is a lot more than I am willing to pay. Don’t get me wrong these are large resin models, probably with a fair bit of metal parts too. £90 is probably what I should be expecting to pay.
However for an army I don’t collect, it’s a luxury that I can’t afford. Pity really, maybe I should start a Polish army…
No, no, I need to finish the others first.
The latest issue of Wargames Illustrated #281 has a battle report involving the Polish Armoured Train. Well it is worth seeing how big that train is… the more I think about it the more I realise that £52 isn’t that bad for the model.
Anyway, as well as seeing the Renault Ft-17 light tanks in the battle report too, the interesting thing that was mentioned at the end of the article was that an A4 box of pre-painted railway track will be released on March 20th.
There are three good articles on the armoured train in the magazine, one describing the use of armoured trains by the Polish army, a battle report using the armoured train and a modelling and painting article for the armoured train.
Update: Photo of the new Renault FT-17 tank.