SOPCOM: Afrika Korps Platoon

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    Short version:
    I’ll be making an Afrika Korps Platoon for the ‘Army on Parade’ category. It’ll include 30 miniatures.

    Long version:
    I was gifted a box of Perry Afrika Korps in the spring, but haven’t really wanted to paint them. I already have a large Fallschirmjäger platoon for the mediterranean theatre and the Perry miniatures are a very different sculpting style.

    Now I’ll (try to) build and paint a playable platoon before the SOPCOM deadline.

    Order of battle:
    Veteran First Lieutenant
    Veteran 5 man team (NCO w/SMG)

    Veteran 5 man team (NCO w/SMG, LMG)
    Veteran 5 man team (LMG)

    Veteran 5 man team (NCO w/SMG, LMG)
    Veteran 5 man team (LMG)

    Veteran Light Mortar team
    Veteran Artillery Observer

    This should reflect pretty well the standard Afrika Korps Panzergrenadier platoon. The 10 man squads are split into halves to be able to take two machineguns and allow them to fire and maneuver. The officer would usually be accompanied by a second in command and several runners, these are taken as a seperate 5 man team. Finally the light mortar was quite a large team, but as they only need two models for BA, I’ve also squeezed in an artillery observer.

    The point cost leaves room for three Sdkfz 251/1 halftracks and should then come to 999 pts. If time permits I’ll also paint those, but the infantry figures are my main goal for the SOPCOM.

    I’ve attached a picture of a few of my fallschirmjägers to show my style of painting.


    The first 10 models are now built. I’m planning on having all 30 models assembled and hopefully basecoated by the end of this week, giving me two full weeks to paint.

    First two infantry teams


    Another two teams built along with the light mortar and observer team. Only the officer and his 5 man support team remains unbuilt 🙂

    More models


    All 30 models built!

    The officer is slightly right of the centre with his 2iC and the messengers just left. The remaining platoon is behind them.

    Up next is smoothing bases and undercoating the miniatures.
    Full platoon


    All prepping work is done and the painting has begun a little ahead of my schedule.

    Each model has had a base layer of skin, trouser and tunic painted. The uniforms are made in four different shades, as sun, sweat and local laundering have bleached them over time. The newest ones are green and the oldest have changed to a pale grey.

    First base layers painted

    Paul Goldstone

    PanzerGrenadier Platoons in the Africa Korps were organised in a rather unique way for desert fighting. A Platoon had three Squads, and each squad had 2 LMGs and its own ATk gun! A Platoon bristled with three ATk guns. The light mortars proved to be useless in the open desert and were quickly discarded.


    That is very interesting, I did not know about the ATk guns. Were these anti tank rifles like the pzb39 or something else entirely?

    invisible officer

    That Goldstone OOB is not correct for all DAK Panzergrenadier Units and not for all the time they fought in Africa.
    Worse, ATk gun would translate PAK / Panzerabwehrkanone. The Zug ever had only AT rifles / Panzerbüchsen.

    An example of very different OOB would be Panzergren. rgt (mot) 86 in late African war.
    The Zugtrupp had a Panzerbüchse 41 that is in fact a 2,8 cm gun on wheels. But rated as Panzerbüchse. Not Pak. Towed by a KFZ 15.

    Each of the three Gruppen (Squads) of the Zug had two KFZ 18. Each carried a Driver, two men for the LMG and 3 Riflemen. The LMG could be used mounted on vehicle on a staff AA mount or dismounted.

    But in that time the Gruppe had no longer the light Panzerbüchse 39. It was near to useless in that time.
    The Panzergren Battalion had a Heavy Company and that included a Panzerjäger Zug with three 5 cm Pak / AT guns.And another Zug with three 2,8 cm Panzerbüchsen.

    The heavy Company supported the other companies and so in action these had morefirepower than on OOB.
    Also a 7,5 cm infantry gun Zug.

    Paul Goldstone

    Initially, the German units in North Africa used the standard organisation for motorcylist/schutzen/motorised MG battalions. However, German infantry units on the Tobruk front in late-41 began to adopt a ‘stutzpunkt’ organisation of platoons with a very high proportion of MGs and ATk guns. The reason given for the extra ATk guns was that in North Africa more of the fighting was in mobile, small Kampfgruppen, often without tanks in support. Platoons would often find themselves out of support and needing an all-round defence against British armour.

    This was embodied after the Winter battles as KStN 1114 Afrika. Initially the organisation called for each platoon to have an ATk rifle and a ATk gun, but from 1942 this was increased to a ATk rifle and two ATk guns. The usual ATk guns were PaK38 5cm guns, but as 1942 went on large numbers of ex-Russian 7,62cm guns became available.

    Examples of the Africa Korps infantry organisation in 1942 are:

    invisible officer

    Yes. I just intended to state that the “PanzerGrenadier Platoons in the Africa Korps were organised in a rather unique way for desert fighting” was misleading. It changed over the time a lot.

    KStN 1114 Afrika was written in April 42 for a “Schützenkompanie b (mot) . Formalising a Kampfgruppen OOB. It gives the Zug a Panzerbüchse 41 and two 7,62 cm (r) guns. And a heavy mortar.
    1 officer, 7 NCO, 44 OR, 30 K98, 19 Pistols, 4 SMG., 6 lMG
    1 mortar, 8 four wheeled vehicles, 1 bike with sidecar.
    A detail is that this was officially Schützenkompanie b (mot) (Afrika). Not Panzergrenadiere like the other 1114 variants.

    It was not the OOB for all 1942 Panzergrenadiere in Africa.


    The actual front organisation of DAK was often far away from European Wehrmacht. There had been times with more British vehicles than German. The RN was very effective in blocking the supply lines. The Wüstenfüchse wore Bombay bloomers, plimsole “Wüstenschleicher” and a lot of other stuff supplied by HM Forces.

    A problem for 28 mm gamer are the softskin vehicles. Most Wehrmacht was marching on foot but in Africa it was 100% motorized. For true DAK feeling you need a lot of transport.

    A rarity in Africa was the Panzergrenrgt. 69 that was not mot but gep. with Schützenpanzer.
    Formed following Panzergrenadierkompanie a K.St.N.1114 (1.11.1941) in 1942.


    Excellent information! I had been looking for those platoon organisation charts but with no luck 😀

    For this platoon I’ll keep things simple until the painting competition is over, but you have certainly peeked my interest in AT support choices.

    The painting is coming along nicely and still ahead of schedule. If this keeps up, there is a good chance I’ll have time to do the halftracks as well.

    (I know the Sdkfz 251/1 were far from common, but they are quite iconic – and I have three of them just lying around).

    Painting well under way

    invisible officer

    For armored Panzegrenadiere:

    The Panzergrenadierzug (gep) of Panzergrenrgt. 69 in 42 had a Zugtrupp (HQ) of one SdKfz 251/10 Zugführerwagen and a single bike.
    1. , 2. and 3. Gruppe each had one SdKfz 251/1 (each a Driver, 4 MG Crew, 5 OR with K 98, 1 NCO with K98 and one with SMG

    The Company had 3 such Züge /platoons and a 4th heavy one.
    Zugtrupp 1 Sdfz 251/1 and 2 bikes (1 with sidecar)
    1st and 2nd Gruppe are SMG Heavs MG Gruppen, each with two 251 and 2 HMG bases. (Used dismounted with the two “LMG” of the vehicle)
    3rd Gruppe was a mortar one with two 251 with 8cm Mortar that could be used mounted or dismounted.
    The Zug had an Instandsetzngstrupp with a sidecar bike and a Kübelwagen for mechanics.

    The Zug had no towed PAK or Panzerbüchse.

    AT came from the Panzerabwehrzug of the Company and the Panzer of the Division. The SPW working close together with them.
    And a AT Gruppe of Company with three 250/11 that had the Panzerbüchse 41 mounted.


    The halftracks are now done. Almost at least. I have ordered a pak36 for the platoon leader’s vehicle, but I have no idea when it might be delivered. Probably not until after the deadline for the painting competition.



    And here’s a quick pic of the entire painted platoon. Better pictures to follow! 😀



    Here’s the painted platoon for the painting competition.
    Competition picture

    I’ve also taken a couple of mood pictures. I imagine a german outpost somewhere in the Western desert, a noise has alerted the garrisoned platoon and men are taking up positions to defend the camp.

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