Home Forums WWII Question for Big Jemima!

This topic contains 23 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Ivan Sorensen Ivan Sorensen 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #107042

    Etranger
    Participant

    Hi Mark, the carrier platoons in British & Canadian infantry battalions in NW Europe added/replaced standard UCs with a section of 3 wasp flamethrowers as they became available in mid-late 1944. Did the same apply to carrier platoons in the motor battalions? If so, were they additional vehicles or did they replace 1 vehicle per section?

    The information I’ve been able to come up with is scanty although this site https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/vehicles/flamethrowers/wasp.htm suggests 8 per Motor Bn (?Canadian only).  If so, how do 8 wasps get divided up between the 3 scout platoons in the Bn? Or were they in the support company?

    (I’m using the Niehorster/Kennedy 06/06/44 OOB http://www.niehorster.org/017_britain/44_org/armoured%20brigs/ab_motor-bn.html

    Also, are you aware of any British motorcyclists in 15mm? I’ve got the sidecar combinations & the para Welbikes, but I’m after single riders. Otherwise I might be decaptiating a few Jerries…

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    #107046
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    If you have to decapitate jerrie MCs, just stretch fencing wire across the road at head height. You can even drop it onto the ground for regular traffic. Clean, quick effective, no need for your damn Dremel either.

    #107048
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    Hi Etranger,

    Yes, some Motor Bns definitely did incorporate some Wasps, but unfortunately I can’t now remember who or how they achieved it.  The Lake Superior Regiment by the end of the war certainly included a separate Flamethrower Platoon with 4x Ram Badgers, so perhaps those with Wasps followed that pattern and grouped them as a separate platoon?  As you say, 8 into 3 doesn’t go, which does suggest a separate platoon…

    Another bit of speculation is that perhaps the Motor Battalion you’re looking at got hold of the divisional Wasp Platoon (8x Wasps) that was meant to have been added to the divisional MG Company?  It’s also not unknown for attached sub-units to have been counted as part of a unit when compiling periodic strength returns.

    No, I’ve never found any British motorcyclists in 15mm, which is a shame as I’d like some for my 6 AARR Blitz Platoon.  Not that I’ve looked recently, mind you…

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107049

    Etranger
    Participant

    Thanks. It’s nominally for 8RB, one of whose carrier sections is now occupying the modelling desk, with 11 UC so far and counting. To finish off the second box , I’m going to add an AOP carrier, a couple of MMG carriers and either a brace of wasps, or a pair of mortar carriers, although the WE above doesn’t seem to have any 3″ mortars.

    As far as motor cycles go I’ve remembered that Eureka do parked motor cycles in their Italian range, so the CSM might be upgraded to a Moto-guzzi, perhaps pinched from North Africa. A transplanted para head for the rider might work. It shouldn’t be too hard to fudge the exhaust pipe on the BSA.

    BSA M20 c WWII

    1945 Moto-guzzi.

    This guy looks like he might be compensating for something!

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Etranger.
    #107055
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    It was almost always the case that where a unit adopted a non-standard organisation, the personnel and vehicles came from somewhere else in the unit, as they simply weren’t entitled to any more men or vehicles on strength.  So it’s possible that the 3-inch mortar blokes became Wasp blokes.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107056
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Was there an AA element on the TOE?

    #107057

    Etranger
    Participant

    Not at the infantry battalion level, although there were an awful lot of LMGs around. Each Armoured Regt had an  AA troop of 6(?) Crusader AA (2 X 20mm), which mostly got disbanded due to lack of use. IIRC the ARR also had the AA troop. Armoured Car Regiments also had an AA troop, again little used.

    Plenty of LAA at divisional level. For 11AD 58 LAA Regt RA (54 Bofors, including some SP mounts)  & similar in other divisions. Then additional units at Corps and Army level including HAA, sometimes used as artillery due to lack of German aerial activity.

    #107058
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    If I had AA elements and I could score some wasps, I’d put the AA gear in the park and man the wasps. But 8 carriers is a lot of personnel. You’d have thought normal issue from the division was one pair per infantry Bn. Of course, if one was going in with the bayonet, they might get to pinch everyone else’s.

    8 Wasps would really ruin dug in infantry’s day.

    #107072
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    Yes, those TOEs that had AA platoons did exactly that.  A few TOEs for Burma had an AA Platoon that got turned into a Bren-heavy Bn Defence Platoon, while some motor transport echelons got turned into Scout Platoons and the like.

    IIRC, an early/mid-war TOE for Motor Bns had an AA Platoon and this was retained by the Dutch and Belgian ‘Brigades’ in NW Europe, as they roughly followed the mid-war Motor Bn TOE.

    5 DCLI in NW Europe somehow managed to establish a Scout Platoon in addition to their Carrier Platoon and kept it right through the war, though I’ve no idea where they managed to find the men.

    In the case of armoured AA Troops; they were invariably disbanded to free the men up to allow more rotation of crews in front-line tanks, rather than to create new sub-units (the exception being some Canadian armoured regiments in 1945, which created Badger Troops, as mentioned above).  In most cases though 1 or 2 AA tanks were retained as part of the RHQ – they do still appear in photos long after the AA Troops were disbanded.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Jemima Fawr Jemima Fawr.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107076
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    In the case of Infantry Battalions with Wasps; 3, 4 or 6 were typical numbers of Wasps.  Where there were 4 Wasps, they replaced 1 UC in each Section of the Carrier Platoon.  Where there were 3 or 6 they generally replaced entire Sections.  Many units received Wasps roughly August-October 1944 and had to make up their own organisation and tactics.  One specific reference I’ve got is various war diaries and op orders for 53 (Welsh) Division in October 1944, where it is very clear that each Carrier Platoon in the division had 6 Wasps (type unspecified) and that they had replaced two Sections in each Carrier Platoon (i.e. 6 out of the 13 Carriers in a Platoon).  There are also orders for some brigades to group all Wasps in the brigade for specific tasks (e.g. 158 Brigade was ordered to group its 18 Wasps as an ad hoc Flamethrower Company and place them under command of a Kangaroo-mounted infantry battalion battlegroup for the assault on ‘s-Hertogenbosch).  So they were clearly very flexible and innovative in how they employed these new weapons.

    Those units lucky enough to receive Canadian-designed Wasp Mk IIC (with the flame-fuel tank mounted externally) often retained the full complement of personnel of weaponry, simply down to the fact that the vehicles had as much internal carrying capacity as a normal UC.  Those with earlier type of Wasp weren’t so lucky, as the fuel tanks completely filled the rear compartments.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107093

    Fredd Bloggs
    Participant

    In other words, the same as every thing else British, it was standard apart from the exceptions…

    #107115
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    In other words, the same as every thing else British, it was standard apart from the exceptions…

    Indeed! 🙂

    That said, I’m sure the blokes at the front were glad to get the new kit (Fireflies, Wasps, Challengers, SP 17pdrs) etc, as soon as it became available, without having to wait for the War Establishment-writers to catch up with the new kit before issuing it to the troops. 🙂

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107122
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Any accounts of those AA Crusaders firing on ground targets, either by order or in an emergency? How far could they depress their guns?

    An AA troop being over-run could make for a potentially fun scenario with some unusual kit.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #107123
    NTM
    NTM
    Participant

    The AA tanks of 6th Guards Tank Brigade were used against ground targets during Operation Bluecoat. It was a deliberate tactic as part of the attack plan.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by NTM NTM.
    #107125
    NTM
    NTM
    Participant

    No, I’ve never found any British motorcyclists in 15mm, which is a shame as I’d like some for my 6 AARR Blitz Platoon. Not that I’ve looked recently, mind you…

     

    BF do an Airborne Assault Squad pack

    https://flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=3932

    #107126
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    The AA tanks of 6th Guards Tank Brigade were used against ground targets during Operation Bluecoat. It was a deliberate tactic as part of the attack plan.

    Interesting, thanks!

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #107144
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    Any accounts of those AA Crusaders firing on ground targets, either by order or in an emergency? How far could they depress their guns? An AA troop being over-run could make for a potentially fun scenario with some unusual kit.

    As NTM says, they were frequently used as part of ‘pepperpot’ barrages.  The only emergency use that I can recall is that of the 1st & 2nd Polish Armoured Regiments’s AA Troops at Mont Ormel, who were rushed forward, over the crest of the escarpment, to mow down the panzergrenadiers who were threatening to overrun the position.  This they did with enormous success and was primarily because most of the Shermans thereabouts were either knocked out, out of fuel or out of ammo.

    The Canadian Fort Garry Horse in 1945 also used their one and only Skink AA tank to great effect in the anti-infantry role.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Jemima Fawr Jemima Fawr.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107145
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    No, I’ve never found any British motorcyclists in 15mm, which is a shame as I’d like some for my 6 AARR Blitz Platoon. Not that I’ve looked recently, mind you…

    BF do an Airborne Assault Squad pack https://flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=3932

    Fantastic!  They sneaked those out while I wasn’t looking! 🙂

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107147
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    Oh and don’t forget the troop of truck-mounted SP Bofors Guns that was used for close infantry support during the street fighting in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (again due to the tank support and RA 25pdrs running out of ammo).

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107149

    Fredd Bloggs
    Participant

    The Bofors were used that way in the Seine Bridging and crossing I believe as well.

    #107172
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Phenomenal. Definitely won’t feel bad about including them in a scenario then!

    I suppose it may also come down to the fact that they are there, have plenty of ammo and there’s not much in the way of Luftwaffe to shoot at, so why not? 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #107178
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    The Bofors were used that way in the Seine Bridging and crossing I believe as well.

    Yes, at Vernon (which is well worth a visit – I managed to get my wife to stop there under false pretences ‘for lunch’ when having a ‘break from battlefields’.  She had no idea that Monet’s house at Giverny is on a battlefield… 😀 )

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107180
    Jemima Fawr
    Jemima Fawr
    Participant

    Phenomenal. Definitely won’t feel bad about including them in a scenario then! I suppose it may also come down to the fact that they are there, have plenty of ammo and there’s not much in the way of Luftwaffe to shoot at, so why not?

    Indeed.  Though the Luftwaffe did put a surprisingly large number of sorties up over Normandy – almost all of them in the form of low-level dawn-raids and high-altitude photo recce flights.  The 6th Airborne Light AA Regt in particular were kept very busy by the Luftwaffe east of the Orne and the RAF Regt had some considerable successes against some quite large raids on tactical airfields.  Quite a number of personal accounts mention the ‘daily dawn-raiders’ and how much of a pain in the arse they were.  However, they were just pin-pricks and were in the main ineffective – the Luftwaffe couldn’t hope to maintain large formations of aircraft over the battlefield for close air support, so they were just fleeting attacks against known positions such as bridges, beachheads, villages and airfields or targets of opportunity.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #107181
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    The Bofors were used that way in the Seine Bridging and crossing I believe as well.

    Yes, at Vernon (which is well worth a visit – I managed to get my wife to stop there under false pretences ‘for lunch’ when having a ‘break from battlefields’. She had no idea that Monet’s house at Giverny is on a battlefield… 😀 )

    You scoundrel 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

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