Wednesday, April 17, 2013

British Forces at Villers-Bocage, Part Two: B Squadron, 4th County of London Yeomanry (4 CLY)

     The Belle of the Ball at Villers-Bocage is truly the 4th CLY.  The tankers were valiantly trying to redeem themselves after a disastrous morning outing at Point 213 just east of the town where A Squadron had been destroyed by some of Wittman's trusted subordinates.  If you like British Cruisers with over sized rivets it is hard not to like this Cromwell equipped unit.  While they are reluctant, they are also veterans so they should put up a pretty good showing in the narrow streets.  When you consider that the British have a full armoured squadron plus a full infantry company plus a couple of other assets, the sheer density of the force makes it unlikely that the Germans can bull their way and attain the objectives.  We'll see soon. 

     First up is the Company HQ with two Cromwell IVs and two Cromwell VI Close Support tanks.  The pictures here also shows the Crusader AA tanks which is not in the scenario, but look neat.  LTC Lord Cranley is there as well as a higher headquarters team, not having been picked up as a POW yet.
The company ARV is there too to look neat, though it isn't in the scenario either. 

B Squadron HQ with a couple of additions that won't be in the battle.

Another view of the HQ and Lord Cranley.

Lord Cranley wishes he was in the scenario as well.

Squadron CO and 2iC Command Cromwell IV tanks.

And again . . .

A Crusader AA tank with twin 40mm Bofors guns.  This would easily shred any German halftrack but wouldn't survive any encounter with ANY German tank. 

The company Cromwell ARV. 

Another view of the ARV.
Next up are several pictures of the four armoured Troops (1-4), each with 3 Cromwell IVsand a Sherman Firefly with an impressive 17 pdr gun.  This last tank is the main threat to the Tigers, so I expect them to be targeted early and often by everything the Germans have.  Since the Firefly has a standard Sherman armour ((6 front, 4 side), these crews may not last long. 
1 Troop, B Squadron.

Troop leader in a Command Cromwell IV.

Another view.  Love those rivets!

2 Troop, B Squadron overhead view. 
Cromwell IVs are nice, but Fireflys are the real Tiger threat. 

The 17 pdr is pretty pronounced on a standard Sherman hull.

A side view of the Firefly.

3 Troop, B Squadron.

4 Troop, B Squadron.

Lastly, the British have a Recce Patrol with three Stuart V tanks.  These look very cute, but probably won't last much longer than the German motorcycle teams.  When the Tigers go out to hunt, the Stuarts should stay behind a powerful AT gun screen.  Perhaps they can guard the Sextons?  Perhaps . . .
Stuart Vs look cute, but with a 37mm pop gun, can't do much against Panzer Mk IV Hs or Tigers.

Stuarts in all around defense.

The troop leader wonders how many turns his troop will last. 

Even a wrecked Tiger is more threatening than a Stuart V. 
     This really is a lot of tanks in a relatively small space.  I don't want to have a wheel-to-wheel broadside by each side against the other, but it may end up that way. 

A traffic jam in Villers-Bocage.  Not all of the 4th CLY tanks will fit on the one road.  Let alone the Sextons and Stuarts and . . . well, what about the Germans?  Ouch!
Troops wait their turn on the side roads.

Lord Cranely wonders if he really wants to advance out of the town before tea. 

We are ready now!  Let the battle begin!
    That's it for the forces for now.  I may have to put the town away for a bit to work on other projects until the British Commander gets home from college, but it's ready to go.  Finally!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

British Forces at Villers-Bocage, Part One: B Company, 1/7th Queen's Regiment

On to the Queen of the Battle, the Poor British Infantry.  The Brits have a full infantry company to man the houses of Viller-Bocage but don't really have an awful lot of PIATs to scare the Germans.  I think that at most they will be able to chew up the relatively weak German infantry and assault any bailed out German tanks.  That might be enough, as well as to contest any objective.  Once in the houses, the Brits will be hard to dig out.  The British infantry company has three full platoons.  I painted these for my British 3rd Infantry Division force, but as this is a Lorried Rifle Company, they should do the trick. 
A complete Lorried Infantry Company, minus the trucks.  No room really and trucks are boring anyway. 

A platoon of Tommies moves up through the hedgerows.  Each platoon has 6 Rifle/MG teams, a Light Mortar team with a 2"mortar, a PIAT stand and a command Rifle/MG stand. 

Another of the infantry platoons with an enthusiastic subaltern. 

An overhead view of the last infantry platoon. 

The Company Commander and 2iC Command Rifle teams. 

Stray British shots.  How long will they survive the Panzer onslaught? 

The Brits also have a Lorried Anti-tank platoon , (5 Anti-tank platoon) with four 6 pdr guns AND Sargent Ton Stanley, a fictional warrior of sorts.  With a ROF of 3, 6 pdr AT guns are not to be sneezed at, especially if you are a Panzer Mk IV H.  Tigers are sterner stuff, but the others need to be careful.  On the other had, there just aren't a lot of places to put the guns, even in ambush.  My son painted these guns. 
The full Anti-tank platoon moves into the town, probably looking anxiously for stray Tiger tanks. 

A battery of four 6 pdr guns might spell trouble IF the Brits can deploy them. 

A frontal shot of the intrepid British gunners. 

A rear view of the guns. 

I don't think the Bren gun carrier will add much to the defense of the town.  Still, there should be at least one Bren gun carrier to blow up. 

A Lloyd carrier at rest.  These are boring too and will probably stay safe and sound in the British shelf. 

Yawn. . .
Lastly, the British have Battery B, 5th Royal Horse Artillery Regiment with four Sexton self-propelled guns and an Observation Post Sherman.  I currently find this unit's utility to be a bit ambiguous.  Perhaps they can smoke the Tigers to keep the Cromwells alive a bit longer, or even shred the exposed German motorcycle troops.  I think they might have some trouble surviving if the German panzers get in close.  This unit was painted by my son. 

A half battery of Sextons could be nasty.  The 25 pdr isn't a great weapon for either bombardments or direct fire, but they should be able to do something. 

The battery comes with battery commanders, staff and a Sherman OP tank. 
British artillery staff request a fire mission from the Division.

A standard Sexton.

The Sherman OP Tank.

Sextons take up a firing position to pummel the Jerries. 

Staff members wish the full battery was present. 

So far, so good.  Next up is the special guest victim of Villers-Bocage, the 4th CLY. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

German Forces at Villers-Bocage, Part Two: 101. Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung

Here's the next batch of German forces ready to bash into the Brits at Villers-Bocage, the 1. Kompanie, 101 Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung.  What is the Villers-Bocage battle without Tiger tanks?  Even if Oberststurmfuhrer Wittman wasn't here for the main attack on the afternoon of the 12th of June, enough of his Fearless Veteran friends were to make this a memorable engaement.  First off, here are the five Tigers of 1. Kompanie, ready for action. 

1. Kompanie has five Tigers, a Commander and two zugs with two Tigers apiece.  The Tigers were certainly fearsome in battle, but the march to Villers-Bocage left many of them broken down and so only a few were available. 

Herr Oberststurmfuhrer ready for action.

1st zug.
2nd zug.

Another view of the commander. 
Tigers on the move. 
Road space is severely limited.  Even without burning Cromwells.
 Attached to the Tigers is an Aufklarungszug with seven Sd Kfz 251/1C halftracks.  The platoon has a Command MG stand and six other MG stands.  The HQ doesn't have a panzerfaust, though mine is modeled with one for generic Normandy forces.  Like the motorcycles, I don't see how the halftracks will survive for long with as many tanks clogging up the roads.  It may be smarter to just use the infantry with the halftracks as long range MG platforms.  Or targets to suck up stray six pounder AT gun fire. 
The full Aufklarungszug

A MG stand.  The SS panzergrenadiers are among the best of Battlefront's German infantry in marked contrast to the Panzer Lehr ones. 

Command MG stand with panzerfaust. 

A couple more of the FV SS MG stands. 

A Sd Kfz 251/1C halftrack.  I was somewhat surprised that the zug had these instead of the more common Sd Kfz 251/1D halftrack.  I suppose they had survived and were available. 

Elements of 101. Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung wind there way through the mean streets of Villers-Bocage.

Another view. 
Having just put out the German forces for show, I know I need to make the road ways wider, whether by sidewalks or just moving the houses back a bit.  I might have to remove on of the houses on the cross roads to do this, but it is definitely possible.  Next up, the famed Desert Rats of the 7th Armoured Division. 
"Make sure you take a lot of pictures for der Signal!"