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.

Bolt Action Civilian 1000Kg Dropside Truck

For Bolt Action I am in the process of painting some partisans to fight Simon’s Italians. I have been looking for some vehicles, my first choice was the Tamiya 1/48th scale Citroen. Though relatively easy to find online, it is a plastic kit, slightly larger scale-wise for Bolt Action scale models.

What I didn’t realise until recently was that Warlord Games actually make a fair few civilian models for Bolt Action.

Looking through the Bolt Action website I quite liked the look of the Civilian 1000Kg Dropside Truck.

Bolt Action Civilian 1000Kg Dropside Truck

The other civilian vehicles in the French range also look quite useful. In the main I will use them as scenery or as objectives.

Pre-order: Bolt Action Armies of France and the Allies

The other day I mentioned that Warlord Games had released a PDF for the Italians, what I said then was

Now he will have the rules, not sure about rules for my models though.

Well what I had missed was the announcement that the Bolt Action Armies of France and the Allies was aavailable to pre-order.
Bolt Action Armies of France and the Allies

World War II was truly a ‘world’ war, and many nations joined the fight against Germany and the Axis. This latest supplement for Bolt Action covers the armies of France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Holland and Belgium that stood against the German Blitzkrieg, as well as the resistance forces that sprung up in the aftermath of occupation.

I think I will use those rules for my partisan band.

Undercoating the Flames of War Renault FT-17

The Renault FT or Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917, inexactly known as the FT-17 or FT17, was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. France still had several thousand First World War Renault FT tanks in 1940. Over 500 of them were still in service in independent bataillons de chars de combat (BCC) tank battalions in the front lines. Although adequate for infantry support, they were totally outclassed by German tanks in a mobile battle.
Having constructed the tanks the next stage was a white undercoat.

Underneath the Flames of War French Hotchkiss H-39

Despite having been designed from 1933 as a rather slow but well-armoured light infantry support tank, the type was initially rejected by the French Infantry because it proved difficult to steer while driving cross-country, instead being adopted in 1936 by the French Cavalry. From 1938 an improved version was produced with a stronger engine, the Char léger modèle 1935 H modifié 39, that from 1940 was also fitted with a longer, more powerful 37 mm gun.
Having made up the models, and having given the models a white undercoat, the next stage was to basecoat the models. In order to add shadow I gave the underneath of all three models a spray of Warpaint German Armour.


See the workbench feature on the Flames of War French Hotchkiss H-39.

Flames of War Renault FT-17

The Renault FT or Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917, inexactly known as the FT-17 or FT17, was a French light tank; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history.
The FT was the first operational tank with an armament in a fully rotating turret, and its configuration with the turret on top, engine in the back and the driver in front became the conventional one, repeated in most tanks until today; at the time it was a revolutionary innovation.
France still had several thousand First World War Renault FT tanks in 1940. Over 500 of them were still in service in independent bataillons de chars de combat (BCC) tank battalions in the front lines. Although adequate for infantry support, they were totally outclassed by German tanks in a mobile battle.
It is one of my favourite tanks, I have always had a fondness for this little tank, probably as a result of making that Matchbox plastic kit of the Renault and the Char B1 when I was young. As I am creating an Early War French army I got some of these little tanks for Flames of War. I was pleased with the amount of detail in the model.
These were not in my opinion the simplest of models to put together. The model is not as easy as it looks, I had some trouble putting the tracks into the resin hull.

I like the fact you get two turret variants, one with a 37 mm gun or one with the 7.92 mm machine gun.

Undercoating the Flames of War French Hotchkiss H-39

Despite having been designed from 1933 as a rather slow but well-armoured light infantry support tank, the type was initially rejected by the French Infantry because it proved difficult to steer while driving cross-country, instead being adopted in 1936 by the French Cavalry. From 1938 an improved version was produced with a stronger engine, the Char léger modèle 1935 H modifié 39, that from 1940 was also fitted with a longer, more powerful 37 mm gun.
Having made up the models, the next stage was to give the models a white undercoat.




See the workbench feature on the Flames of War French Hotchkiss H-39.

Flames of War General de Gaulle

A veteran of World War I, in the 1920s and 1930s de Gaulle came to the fore as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions, which he considered would become central in modern warfare. During World War II, he reached the temporary rank of Brigadier General, leading one of the few successful armoured counter-attacks during the 1940 Fall of France, and then briefly served in the French government as France was falling.
Charles de Gaulle is available for Flames of War and comes with a Somau S35 objective. The blister contains the metal parts and resin objective.

The base for De Gaulle is quite simple, De Gaulle, a staff officer and a motorcycle combination. The most challenging part of this base is the motorcycle combination. At one point I did consider leaving it off entirely….

Has certainly put me off buying any French motorcycle combination platoons!
The Somau S35 objective was much easier to put together.




See the workbench feature on General de Gaulle.