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 Partisans

Making some more progress with my Bolt Action Partisans, mainly painting the flesh tones.

Though my partisan band is suppose to be French, this one still looks a little too Soviet, probably because of the cap.

Bolt Action Partisan

This model though looks like it will be fine for a French setting.

Bolt Action Partisan

This though is my least favourite of the models. Not sure why, probably is the socks! Again maybe a little too Soviet in he look.

Bolt Action Partisan

Maybe if the model looks more like Simone Segouin then, possibly I would like it more.

18 year old French Résistance fighter, Simone Segouin, patrolling Paris, 1944

Using a borrowed helmet, this model would fit fine in Eastern Europe or in France.

Bolt Action Partisan

Bolt Action Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

In addition to the Bolt Action Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck I also bought a slightly bigger truck, the Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy.

Citroen made many of these trucks in the 1930s and 1940s.

Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

The pack contains a resin and metal kit, this is a nice clean casting.

Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

See more work in progress with this model.

Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck

I decided that my partisan band for Bolt Action might need some transport, so did I think about getting an armoured car, well I did think about getting a Char B1, but in the end I got the Warlord Games Bolt Action Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck.

Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck

The model comes in a blister pack and comprises a clean resin casting and some metal components.

Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck

As with many models I like to see what the original vehicle looked like and also what others have done with their models. The original Citroen truck was derived from a car.

Citroen B15

Citroen B15

Citroen B15

Citroen B15

Citroen B15

I have always found painting civiliian vehicles slightly troublesome, military vehicles are usually very drab, matt and weathered. Civillian trucks however are “colourful”.

So hoping some people have some useful ideas or methods they would like to share in the comments.

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 Partisans

Having based my Bolt Action Partisans I gave the models a white undercoat.
Bolt Action Partisans
These are very nice miniatures and there is a nice range of poses and characters within the band itself.
Bolt Action Partisans
Though there is a “Soviet” feel to the partisans, I have decided to go down a French Forces of the Interior (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) or FFI force. Though I think some of the figures could be used for some 1920s gangsters games, look at the bloke on the right of this lot.
Bolt Action Partisans
I am not too sure about the female partisan, as someone said to me, that bloke’s wearing a skirt!
Bolt Action Partisans
I have been thinking about “transport” and armour for them. Tamiya do a 1/48th scale Citroen Traction 11CV which would work really well I think. As for armour I am tempted by the Bolt Action Char B1 bis and paint it up in FFI colours.
Bolt Action Partisans
Bolt Action Partisans