Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Cursed Tale of a British Armoured Squadron

I'm fairly certain that my LW British tanks are cursed to never hit the battlefield. They have a long and arduous history leading up to this very day of things happening to stop them just short of actually rolling onto the table.

My Late-war British Armoured Squadron started life back in the days of Festung Europa. I decided that my Mid-war Sherman III company stood me in such good stead that I would carry on playing them in Late-war. I also wanted it to be special, so I spent a good deal of time detailing them with green-stuff stowage and such. However, my attempts at sculpting were so deplorable, that I threw them into a box in frustration and covered them up.



Then one day our local club decided to run a massive D-Day event, and I decided to brave my failures in sculpting to play my British tanks. I painted them up, despite what appeared to be slugs and tapeworms crawling all over them instead of the tarps and hessian camouflage they were meant to be. However, on the day I had a change of heart and hit the beach with my British 50th Division infantry instead. Back into the box went the tanks....

About 6 months later came the move to New Zealand. I didn't bother protecting the box so much as I knew how terrible they were. In fact I had repainted all of my Mid-war Sherman IIIs to match the Italian theatre, so I really didn't have a need for the NW Europe ones at all. Well, the trip handled them poorly, and they were by far the worst off of all my armies, no fault but mine here!

After getting inspired by the Market Garden books, I decided to bite the bullet and salvage what I could of my NW Europe British tanks... I stripped off the horrible green-stuff blobs and removed the original paint. Starting from scratch and getting some tips from the guys at work, I had another go at sculpting with greenstuff. The results weren't amazing, but I was happy with them for the time being. I once again painted them up, albeit about 3 months after the fervor for Market Garden had subsided. So once more they were tucked away until the fancy struck me to field British tanks...

About two years ago, my army boxes had a little mishap and one flopped end-for-end onto the floor. I peeled the lid back a little to peek in to see which army had taken the fall. You guessed it.... poor bastards. Back up they went, without a further damage assessment.

About two weeks ago I finished my pending Soviet projects and I found myself at odds as to what to start up next. All I knew is that I didn't want to start something new, so I began looking for something to finish or spice up. When I got to my British Armoured Squadron, I knew the time had come to get the damn thing sorted out, especially since I had a latent desire to play Grenadier Guards after working on the Market Garden comps last year.

Well, task one was to assess the damage, which wasn't as bad as I had thought. Several of the 75mm turrets' main guns were utterly destroyed, but I had some spare in my bits box. Many had bits of resin chipped, but once again these were not so bad and the ones that didn't actually look like glancing blows, I covered in stowage.

After assembly-lining the tanks I busted through them all and even added a Firefly VC to bring my total to four (remember these were organised under the old FE diagrams). They received a new coat of paint and markings.

The markings were hilarious. Originally designed to be A Troop, Irish Guards, I had the flash number 51 and yellow circle tactical symbols on the turrets. This haphazard arrangement was chosen purely on what decals were available at the time they were first assembled and what color of tactical symbol I though contrasted the best with the green color of the tanks. It took all of 30 seconds for Phil to set me straight on the markings when I first showed them off shortly after their arrival in country.

So this time around I decided to dedicate the tanks to the Grenadier Guards, based on the Waal River assault, one of my favourite actions of WWII. So I marked them with 51, and slapped some red Tac symbols on 'em. Funny how doing that made them finally have an identity after years of surprisingly being C Troop, Coldstream Guards (yellow circle tac symbol), the one Guards regiment I have never even considered!

After dressing up the tanks, I decided they needed some infantry support. I've got two British Rifle companies, one a MW 8th Army variant, and the second an Italian-theatre Canadian variant. I don't need a third, but I reached a moment of clarity that I should get rid of my Italian-theatre ones and build a generic one that would work for both NW Europe and, at a stretch, Italy.

So I pulled out a Rifle platoon and painted it up. The figures were pretty old, but I prefer them to the current LW British infantry, owing to the fact that the Guards didn't use the new style of helmet in Holland. Granted, historically speaking the infantry element of the Grenadiers were motorised, but I reasoned that if I do them up as a Rifle company, I'll have a multi-purpose unit that will cover both. I've got the platoon's M2 Half-tracks on the table at the moment to convert them.

To cap it off, I wanted to paint up some recon. I really want to field a 2nd Household Cavalry or Inns of Court Armoured Car Squadron someday so I decided to get that started as well. I bought, assembled, and painted up a platoon of armored cars for my Guards. Painting the tiny Dingos was extremely fun, I have no idea why!  

Anyway, that's where I'm at so far. I went to play a game on Friday with them, but ran out of time. Tried again last night to play against Patrick's Kampfgruppe von Swoboda, but that had to cancelled owing to a restless young man named Theo who failed his skill check to settle into bed for the night!

These poor tanks have been waiting to get a serious game in for nearly 6 years... I hope I can get them on the move soon!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about the epic tale of my cursed Armoured Squadron!

8 comments:

  1. I hope they get on the table soon! They look very nice. Sherman companies are fun to play with as they have serious weaknesses in some situations and require a bit of finesse against heavier tanks.

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  2. Very nice looking force and a wonderful saga to get to the table top!

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  3. That is an interesting story. Probably not untypical for many gamers in the 'projects I have started' files. They look great.
    cheers

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  4. Well, better late then never they say :). Nice looking Sherman company there mate!

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  5. Thats a lovely looking force - the little extra details on each tank really give it some character. Thanks for sharing

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  6. They're realy Brits, soldier on to the end!

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  7. Sweet! Any chance of getting a run down of the list?

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    1. Sure thing! Here's my BattlefrontPeople article on the list: Unflappable

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