The Web team’s RichC has been planning a small Bolt Action force based on our lovely plastic Fallschirmjӓger and looks at the idea & planning behind building a Kampfgruppe.
RichC: It’s been a short while since the release of our new plastic Fallschirmjӓger and after reading Mark Barbers article Rules: Fallschirmjager Army Lists I couldn’t really resist. As I always like to follow a theme, I wanted to see if there were any units that survived from the early days of their formation through to the end of the war. A quick Wiki search was the starting point to get an idea to work from, then I delved deeper for more information in my library:
‘The élite 7th Flieger Division was again frequently to be used in Company and Battalion-strength units, patching up battle lines whenever the German defenders started to waver against Soviet attacks. This experience led the Paratroopers to name themselves “The Führer’s Firemen”.’
This unit would go on to rest in Europe before being turned in to the 1st Fallschirmjäger, Parachute Division and sent to Sicily in response to the Allied landings. They would fight to the end of the war as they retreated through Italy.
Sounds like a good starting point for my force.
I love tanks – there you go, I’ve admitted it… and with this project I want to include some of my favourite vehicles – there’s no better way to do this than to build a Kampfgruppe. Page 11 of Tank War provides the Armoured Platoon selector you need to build your one of these ad hoc units. Again a quick Wiki search will do but there are many more resources available once you start digging:
‘The Kampfgruppe was an ad hoc combined arms formation, usually employing a combination of tanks, infantry, and artillery (including anti-tank) elements, generally organised for a particular task or operation. Kampfgruppen were generally referred to by either their commanding officer’s name or the parent division.’
Two good cornerstones to collecting… Tanks and a background to work from! On to my army:
So what am I going to collect? Well at this point I’m not going to worry about a specific game points value. I want a force that has a selection based on my favourite vehicles from which I can make a variety of pointed force choices of around 2000pts to deal with various opponents and their style of play/armies. I’m starting out with the 1st Fallschirmjäger Div. as their history gives me options from early Russia through to late Italy and a lot of equipment gets to be used. So my first block is:
- Fallschirmjäger plastic box 1 squad of 10 (3x FG42, 15cm Panzerfaust, 2x MP40, 2x MG42)
- Transport of 1 SdKFz251/1 Ausf D
- Tank Destroyer choice of 1 SdKFz251/22 Pakwagen
I’ll then follow this with:
- A command vehicle of a Panther
- Armoured Car choice of a Puma
- A Tank Destroyer choice of a StuG III G
Getting started couldn’t be simpler:
- Enough plastic and metal components to make 30 Fallschirmjӓger, including a host of different weapon and equipment options.
- Weapons include: FG42, 15cm Panzerfaust, MP40, MG42, Mauser Kar 98k, bandoliers and hand grenades
- 25mm round plastic bases
Well the Fallschirmjäger certainly come tooled up for any situation and on opening the box I’ve got 5 plastic frames, the smallest contains the bases and additional kit, the larger frame your infantry and their weapons. I spent a bit of time looking over these to familiarise myself with the parts, I find it’s not a good idea to cut any parts out just yet as I like planning my infantry poses.
Next – get building! I start by gluing the 6 bodies from 1 frame to their bases and leave them to dry. Then move on to the weapon arms
Working on one soldier at a time, I glue on a weapon arm and a corresponding arm. The Left and Right arms are grouped together on the plastic frame so its a good idea to cut them off as you need them. Once I’m more familiar with how they fit I start playing with combinations and modifying with a sharp knife.
I add the head and equipment last, you’ll be able to angle the head to match the pose and really create a dynamic ‘soldier in action!’ look.
Here’s my first squad made from the first 2 frames:
Finishing touches with painting can come later once I’ve got my vehicles and crew ready. I’ve also copied some ideas here from Andy Singleton’s article on Converting Fallschirmjӓger and his previous article on Painting and Converting Fallschirmjӓger with the NCO raising his hand for Attention! Next I’m adding a vehicle so I can get into action, and that’ll have to be the iconic halftrack.
The Hanomag Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf D box set:
As I’m planing to build an army from the Armoured Platoon selector in Tank War I’ll have to make sure each unit of infantry has its own transport and this half track will be perfect for that job.
The Hanomag Sd.Kfz 251/22 7.5cm Pakwagen:
This is a great looking piece of kit, ok… not many were made and it only saw service in 1945, but as a stop gap to get mobility for your big Anti Tank weapons it’s great! At only 160 points (regular) its also cheaper than a StuG.
So, I’m off to get these vehicles built and painting underway for the weekend.
I’ve always found working on larger projects that temptation to move onto something else can get very strong halfway through. To combat this I group what I work on at any one time so I can step away and do something different, such as a diorama, before coming back to the main project e.g. 1 unit of infantry, their transport, and tank. This way I can get mini sections of an entire army done without being daunted by the overall volume.