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They continued in use in Scotland and were operated by the Home Guard until the last one was withdrawn in November 1944.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