Friday, 24 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Basque Auxiliary Navy

As the Basque part of Republican Spain was separated from the rest, it had to extemporize its own navy with which to protect its coast. Most of the vessels were ex-trawlers that were armed with whatever weapons were available.

The ships of the Basque Auxiliary Navy included:

Araba
  • Displacement: 1,190 tons
  • Armament: 1 x 4” (102mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 8mm Machine Guns (2 x 1)
  • Complement: 50

Bizkaya

  • Displacement: 1,190 tons
  • Armament: 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 2 x 8mm Machine Guns (2 x 1)
  • Complement: 50
Donostia

Donostia.
Donostia's main armament ... a 3" (76mm) gun.
  • Displacement: 287 tons
  • Armament: 1 x 3” (76mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 4 pdr (47mm); 2 x 8mm Machine Guns (2 x 1)
  • Complement: 30
Gipuzkoa
  • Displacement: 1,251 tons
  • Armament: 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1), 2 x 8mm Machine Guns (2 x 1)
  • Complement: 50
Goizeko Izarra
  • Displacement: 136 tons
  • Armament: 1 x 6 pdr (57mm) (1 x 1)
  • Complement: 18
Iparreko Izarra

Iparreko Izarra.
  • Displacement: 136 tons
  • Armament: 1 x 6 pdr (57mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 8mm Machine Gun (1 x 1)
  • Complement: 18
Nabarra

Nabarra before her conversion from a trawler.
Nabarra.
Nabarra.
  • Displacement: 1,204 tons
  • Armament: 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 2 x 8mm Machine Guns (2 x 1)
  • Complement: 50

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Yesterday's incident in Westminster

I wish I wasn't having to write this blog entry today ... but I felt that I could not ignore what happened yesterday in Westminster. If that offends any of my regular blog readers, please accept my apology and I hope that you will return and read future blog entries.

I have lived in London for most of my life. In fact I was born in the General Lying In Hospital, which is very close to the southern end of Westminster Bridge and only a few hundred yards from the location of yesterday's incident.

As a result of living in the capital, I have been close to several terrorist attacks.
  • On 7th November 1974 I was visiting my then girlfriend (who is now my wife) when the PIRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) bombed the 'King's Arms' public house just a few hundred yards from where she lived. Two people were killed and twenty eight injured.
  • On 14th May 1990 I was in my office at Eltham Green School when I felt – and then heard – the bomb planted by the PIRA at the headquarters of the Royal Army Education Corps in Eltham Palace. Four people were injured.
  • On 22nd May 2013 I was at home on Shooters Hill when Fusilier Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich, less than a mile from where I live. I had planned to go to Woolwich on that day and at approximately the time that Lee was killed to visit the local branch of the NatWest Bank, but changed my mind before leaving home.
I have never let the fact that I was near to these incidents affect the way I have lived my life. Like everyone else, I carried on as normal in the knowledge that life was for living, and not to be spent cowering in a corner in a state of perpetual fear.

Yesterday was not the first time that the Houses of Parliament have been the scene of such an attack.
  • On 11th May 1812 the Prime Minister – Spencer Perceval – was assassinated inside the lobby of the House of Commons by John Bellingham, a merchant who had been imprisoned in Russia and who thought that he was entitled to some form of compensation from the government. He killed Perceval when his petitions for that compensation had been rejected.
  • On 17th June 1974 the PIRA planted a bomb that did extensive damage to part of the building and caused injuries to eleven people.
  • On 30th March 1979 the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) planted a bomb under Airey Neave's car whilst it was in the Houses of Parliament's underground car park, as a result of which he was killed as he drove up the exit ramp. At the time Airey Neave was the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and a prominent supporter of Margaret Thatcher, the then leader of the Opposition.
Despite all of these attacks, life in London went on as it had before. People were vigilant – and probably more than a little anxious – but not cowed. The majority accepted that if they stopped trying to live a normal life, they were showing that the attackers had not won ... and would not and will not win.


Today I feel very strongly that we should be thinking about those who were affected by yesterday's attack, especially the families of those who died (including PC Keith Palmer, who – despite being unarmed – tried to stop the attacker), those who were injured, those who dealt with the injured, and those who were in the Westminster area and who saw what happened.

I certainly am thinking of all of them ... and today I will try to carry on doing what I planned to do regardless of the fact that there was a terrorist attack in London yesterday.

Yesterday was also the first anniversary of the bomb attacks in Brussels that resulted in the deaths of thirty two innocent civilians and the three bombers, and caused injuries to over three hundred people. I do hope that yesterday's attack in London was not someone's distorted and perverted idea of marking that anniversary.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

We've been away again!

Yesterday Sue and I returned from a short (two-week) but interesting cruise that took in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and Morocco, and later this week I will be writing a detailed blog entry about what we saw and did.


We had visited some of the places before, but Morocco was our first venture to Africa ... and it was somewhat different from what we had expected. Bad weather prevent us from getting into Cartagena, and we had to make two unscheduled stops in La Coruña – one on the way out and one on the way back – due to medical emergencies.

During the cruise I actually began to write my next PORTABLE WARGAME book and with luck this should be finished in three or four month's time. I also did some reading (not as much as expected), went to some interesting lectures, and saw quite a few warships ... about which I will write blog entries in due course.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Vive l'Empereur! Some Napoleonic French Veteran Infantry

I have finally finished my last batch of Napoleonic French Infantry. They are from the Del Prado RELIVE AUSTERLITZ! range, and I am using them to represent Veteran Infantry of the sort that would be used to garrison important fortresses or to guard supply depots.



I will probably now take a short break before moving on to renovate, varnish, and base the Napoleonic French Artillery figures that I have left to do.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Armed Merchant Cruisers (Part 4)

Mallorca

Mallorca.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 2352 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 311’ 8” (95m)
    • Beam: 38’ 9” (11.8m)
    • Draught: 27’ 6” (8.4m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4” (102mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 3” (76mm) (1 x 1)
Rey Jamie I

Rey Jamie I.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 2320 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 316’ 11” (96.6m)
    • Beam: 37’ 9” (11.5m)
    • Draught: 28’ 6” (8.7m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4" (102mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 3” (76mm) (1 x 1)
Rey Jamie II

Rey Jamie II.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1548 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 262’ 6” (80m)
    • Beam: 34’ 5” (10.5m)
    • Draught: 21’ 4” (6.5m)
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4" (102mm) (2 x 1)
Captured by the Nationalist Cruiser Canarias on 18th September 1937 and converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser.

Vicente Puchol

Vicente Puchol.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1005 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 383’ 5” (86.4m)
    • Beam: 38’ (11.6m)
    • Draught: 22’ 8” (6.9m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4” (102mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 3” (76mm) (2 x 1); 1 x 6 pdr (57mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 4 pdr (47mm) (1 x 1)
Initially used as an Auxiliary Minelayer, she was later converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser. She captured the 1,743-ton steamer Pomaron on 21st February 1938.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Armed Merchant Cruisers (Part 3)

Galerna

Galerna.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1,204 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 230’ 8” (70.3m)
    • Beam: 34’ 1” (10.4m)
    • Draught: -
  • Speed: 10 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 2 x 3 pdr (47mm) (2 x 1)
J J Sister

J J Sister.
One of the guns carried by J J Sister whilst she operated as an Armed Merchant Cruiser.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1,554 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 283’ 6” (86.4m)
    • Beam: 38’ (11.6m)
    • Draught: 22’ 8” (6.9m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4" (102mm) (2 x 1)
Captured by the Nationalist Cruiser Canarias on 18th September 1937 and converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser.

Malaspina

Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 998 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 224’ (68.3m)
    • Beam: 35’ 1” (10.7m)
    • Draught: -
  • Speed: 12.5 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4" (102mm) (2 x 1); 1 x 6 pdr (57mm) (1 x 1)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Armed Merchant Cruisers (Part 2)

Ciudad de Palma

Ciudad de Palma.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 4,085 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 332’ 4” (101.3m)
    • Beam: 48’ 10” (14.9m)
    • Draught: 21’ 4” (6.5m)
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4.7” (120mm) (2 x 1); 2 x 3” (76mm) (2 x 1)
Converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser in Italy in 1936. She assisted the minelayer Jupiter in the capture of the British cargo ship Candlestone Castle in the Bay of Biscay on 17th July 1937.

Ciudad de Valencia

Ciudad de Valencia.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 2,496 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 266 ’9” (81.3m)
    • Beam: 40’ 8” (12.4m)
    • Draught: 8’ 2” (2.5m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4.7” (120mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 4.1” (105mm) (2 x 1); 2 x 1.8” (47mm) (2 x 1)
After conversion she operated in the North Sea, where she sank the Republican merchantman SS Cantabria off Cromer, Norfolk, on 2nd November 1938.

Domine

Domine.
Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 6915 tons
    • Dimensions:
    • Length: 408’ 2” (124.4m)
    • Beam: 53’ 9” (16.4m)
    • Draught: -
  • Speed:16 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 4” (102mm) (4 x 1)
She was used as an Armed Merchant Cruiser in the Bay of Biscay from September to December 1936. She was then converted into a fast transport and later used as supply ship.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Armed Merchant Cruisers (Part 1)

Along with the Mar Cantabrico and Mar Negro, the Nationalists also converted a number of merchant ships into Armed Merchant Cruisers. Included amongst the ships converted were:

Antonio Lázaro


Antonio Lázaro.
Ship's characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1514 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 283’ 5” (86.4m)
    • Beam: 38’ (11.6m)
    • Draught: 22’ 8” (6.9m)
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4.7” (120mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 1 x 6 pdr (57mm) (1 x 1), 2 x 4 pdr (47mm) (2 x 1)
Initially used as an Auxiliary Minelayer, she was later converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser.

Ciudad de Alicante

Ciudad de Alicante.
Ship's characteristics:
  • Displacement: 2434 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 226’ 9” (81.3m)
    • Beam: 40’ 8” (12.4m)
    • Draught: -
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 4.7” (120mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 1 x 4 pdr (47mm) (1 x 1)
She operated with the Ciudad de Valencia in the North Sea, where she assisted in the capture of the Republican steamers Sil and Río Miera.

Ciudad de Mahon

Ciudad de Mahon.
Ship's characteristics:
  • Displacement: 1,551 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 235’ 10” (71.9m)
    • Beam: 36’ (11.0m)
    • Draught: -
  • Speed: 14 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 4” (102mm) (2 x 1); 1 x 3" (76mm) (1 x 1)
She sank the Republican steamer Fernando Po in the Bight of Biafra on 14th October 1936.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Mar-Class Armed Merchant Cruisers

Both Mar Cantabrico and Mar Negro were freighters that were used by the Republicans to try to break the Nationalist blockade. The Mar Cantabrico was captured on 8th March 1937, and the Mar Negro was taken on the 1st September 1937. They were then extensively reconstructed at El Ferrol to become Armed Merchant Cruisers that were taken into service by the Nationalist Navy.

The Mar Cantabrico as a merchant ship.
The Mar Negro after conversion into an Armed Merchant Cruiser.
Ships' characteristics:
  • Displacement: 6,632 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 421’ 7” (128.5m)
    • Beam: 53’ 10” (16.4m)
    • Draught: 34’ 2” (10.4m)
  • Maximum Speed : 15 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 5.9" (150mm) (4 x 1); 4 x 3.5" (88mm) (4 x 1); 2 x 2.25" (57 mm) (2 x 1) [Mar Cantabrico only]; 4 x 3" (76mm) (4 x 1) [Mar Negro only]; 3 x 0.79" (20mm) (3 x 1) [Mar Negro only]
  • Complement: Unknown
Mar Cantabrico survived the Civil War and was re-converted to a freighter after the war. She was lost as a result of a fire in 1962.
Mar Negro survived the Civil War and was re-converted to a freighter after the war. Her fate after 1973 is unclear.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Falange (LT 11)/S2-Class Motor Torpedo Boats

S2, S3, S4, and S5 were all built in 1932 for the German Kriegsmarine, and were transferred to the Nationalist Navy in 1936. They were all renamed and renumbered as follows:
  • S2: Falange (LT 11)
  • S3: Oviedo (LT 12)
  • S4: Requete (LT 13)
  • S5: Toledo (LT 14)
Ships’ characteristics:
  • Displacement: 46.5 ton standard; 58 tons deep load
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 91' 8" (26.8m)
    • Beam: 13 '9" (4.2m)
    • Draught: 3' 6" (1.06m)
  • Maximum Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 0.79" (20mm) (1 x 1); 2 x 19.7" (500 mm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 18
Falange (LT 11 ex-S2) sank on 18th June 1937.
Oviedo (LT 12 ex-S3) survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken up in the 1940's.
Requete (LT 13 ex-S4) survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken up in the 1940's.
Toledo (LT 14 ex-S5) survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken up in the 1940's.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Vive l'Empereur! Even more additional Infantry for my Napoleonic French Army

I have finally finished the two remaining units of Militia/Garrison troops for my Napoleonic French Army.



The final batch of French Infantry figures that I have to renovate, varnish, and base are all from the Del Prado RELIVE AUSTERLITZ! range, and are wearing bicorne hats and a slightly older style of uniform. I therefore intend to use them to represent Invalid/Veteran troops which can also be used to garrison towns and fortresses or to guard lines-of-communication.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Javier Quiroga (LT 16)/MAS430-Class Motor Torpedo Boats

MAS 435 and MAS 436 were built between 1929 and 1934 for the Royal Italian Navy, and were transferred to the Nationalist Navy on 10th March 1937. MAS 435 was renumbered LT 15 and MAS 436 was renamed Javier Quiroga and given the number LT 16.

Ships’ characteristics:
  • Displacement: 14 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 52' 6" (16m)
    • Beam: 10' 8" (3.25m)
    • Draught: 4’ 1" (1.25m)
  • Maximum Speed: 40 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 0.25" (6.5 mm) Machine Guns (2 x 1); 4 x 17.7" (450 mm) Torpedo Launchers
  • Complement: 13
LT 15 (ex-MAS 435) survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken-up in the early 1940's.
Javier Quiroga (LT 16 ex-MAS436) sank off Gibraltar on 7th May 1937.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Sicilia (LT 18)/MAS 223 Motor Torpedo Boat

MAS 223 was built in 1918 for the Royal Italian Navy, and was transferred to the Nationalist Navy on 26th April 1937. She was renamed Sicilia and given the number LT 18.

Ship's characteristics:
  • Displacement: 12.9 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 53' 10" (16.4m)
    • Beam: 9' 6" (2.8m)
    • Draught: 4' 7" (1.3m)
  • Maximum Speed: 28 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 2.2" (57 mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 0.25" (6.5 mm) Machine Gun (1 x 1); 2 x 17.7" (450 mm) Torpedo Launchers
  • Complement: 8
She survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken-up in March 1941.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Some newly acquired old books

Back in the early 1970s I was first a poor students and then an even poorer teacher. My income barely stretched to paying my rent, feeding myself, and keeping clothes on my back. There was no surplus, and as a result quite a few books that were published around then – and which I would loved to have bought – remained out of my reach ... until now!

During a recent visit to Falconwood Transport and Military Bookshop in nearby Welling, I found two books from that time that I have long coveted but never owned. They are Martin Windrow and Gerry Embleton’s MILITARY DRESS OF THE PENINSULAR WAR (published in1974 by Hippocrene Books [ISBN 0 88254 273 7]) ...


... and René North’s REGIMENTS AT WATERLOO (published in 1971 by Almark Publishing [ISBN 0 85524 024 5]).


I really could have done with these books when I set out on my Napoleonic project, but now that I own them I am sure that I am going to get lots of use out of them.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: Napoli (LT 17)/MAS 100 Motor Torpedo Boat

MAS 100 was built in 1918 for the Royal Italian Navy, and was transferred to the Nationalist Navy on 26th April 1937. She was renamed Napoli and given the number LT 17

Ship’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 13.5 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 52' 10" (16.1m)
    • Beam: 9' 2" (2.8m)
    • Draught: 4' 3" (1.3m)
  • Maximum Speed: 29.5 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 1.85" (47mm) (1 x 1); 1 x 0.25" (6.5 mm) Machine Gun (1 x 1); 2 x 17.7" (450 mm) Torpedo Launchers
  • Complement: 8
She survived the Civil War, and was stricken and broken-up in 1941

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 8th – 18th March 1937

THE BATTLE OF GUADALAJARA

The Nationalist forces threatening Madrid were ordered to attack around the north-east of the city in an attempt to cut it off from the rest of the Republic. Two Nationalist armies advanced towards Guadalajara, which is 34 miles from Madrid, and pushed back the inexperienced Republican troops that faced them. The right-hand (or western) army, which was commanded by General Jose Moscardo, had little trouble in forcing the opposing Republican troops back, but the left-hand (or eastern) army, which was composed of Italian "volunteers" and led by General Mario Roatta, experienced stiffening resistance after their capture of Brihuega on 10th March.

General Roatta halted his advance on 15th March to re-group and the Republicans used this break in the battle to mount a counter-attack. Two divisions, assisted by Russian tanks and aircraft and led by Colonel Enrique Jurado, fell on the leading Italian units on 18th March. The ferocity of the counter-attack surprised the Italians and their retreat rapidly became a rout. Moscardo's army was forced to fall back because of the Italian collapse and the Republic recaptured Brihuega. Although the Nationalist attack had gained some ground when the battle finally ended, it had failed to achieve the decisive result that had been hoped for.

Spain at the end of March 1937. The red areas are under Republican control whilst the blue areas are under Nationalist control.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Some more Airfix memories

Whilst looking through some old magazine clippings, I came across the following:

Click on the image to enlarge it.
I can remember buying and making all of these kits ... and 'kit bashing' quite a few of them as well!

The one kit that I felt did not give me value for money in terms of what it contained was the Buffalo Amphibian. I needed lots of Jeeps ... not very many amphibious vehicles! Most of the Amphibians ended up in the 'bits' box ... and were still there until I had a serious clear out a few years back.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Vive l'Empereur! Some additional Infantry for my Napoleonic French Army

Amongst the odds and ends of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm Napoleonic French figures that I had in storage, I also had a number that were depicted loading their muskets. As I had already decided to use the equivalent British and Prussian figures as Militia/Garrison troops, I thought that I could use these figures to form Militia/Garrison troops for my French Army.

So far I have completed two units of these figures ...



... and I have enough figures that remain to be renovated, varnished, and based to form two more such units in due course.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Possible Bren Gun carrier conversions

Looking through my copy of MAKING TRACKS: BRITISH CARRIER STORY 1914 TO 1972 (written by Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, and published by Profile Publications in 1973 [ISBN 0 85383 0886]) ...


...and UNIVERSAL CARRIER 1936-48: THE 'BREN GUN CARRIER' STORY (written by David Fletcher, illustrated by Tony Bryan, and published by Osprey Publishing in 2005 as No.110 in their 'New Vanguard' series [ISBN 1 84176 813 8]) ...


... I came across numerous conversion opportunities for the Airfix Bren Gun Carrier.

Britain
Before and during the Second World War the British and Empire forces used a variety of light tracked vehicles that had similar chassis to the Universal (or Bren Gun) Carrier. These included:
  • Light Dragon Mk.III: 69 were built pre-war. They were used to tow light artillery pieces.
  • Carrier, Machine Gun, No.1, Mk.I: Small batch built pre-war.
  • Carrier, Machine Gun, No.2, Mk.I: Similar to the No.1 Mk.I. Small batch built pre-war.
  • Carrier, Bren, No.2, Mks.I and II: Improved versions of the Carrier, Machine Gun, No.2 Mk.I, modified to carry the Bren Gun. Issued on a scale of ten per Infantry Battalions many were lost during the fighting in Belgium and France in 1940.
  • Carrier, Scout, Mk.I: Similar to the Carrier, Bren, No.2, Mks.I and II. Issued to Cavalry Regiments to act as scout vehicles alongside their Light Tanks. Many were lost during the fighting in Belgium and France in 1940.
  • Carrier, Cavalry, Mk.I: Designed to be used to carry the dismounted personnel of Cavalry Regiments. They had seats for six (three each side) plus a driver and machine gunner. Many were lost during the fighting in Belgium and France in 1940.
  • Cavalry, Armoured, OP, No.1, Mk.I: A modified version of the Carrier, Scout, Mk.I for use by the Royal Artillery. Many were lost during the fighting in Belgium and France in 1940.
In most cases converting the original model into these vehicles requires very few alterations to be made, and usually involve changes to the superstructure.

Germany
The Germans captured large numbers of British Carriers during the early years of the Second World War, and put them to a variety of different uses. These included:
  • Gepanzerter MG Trage Br 731 (e): Standard Bren Gun Carrier.
  • Gepanzerter MG Trage Br 732 (e): Standard Scout Carrier.
  • Mun Schl Bren (e) (Munition Schlepper): Standard Carrier adapted for use as an ammunition or supply tractor.
  • Mun Schl Bren fuer MG 08 (e): Standard Carrier fitted with a Maxim Model '08 machine gun. Used for airfield defence by the Luftwaffe.
  • Le Felad Tr Bren (e): Standard Carrier converted into a remote control explosive carrier. Most of the superstructure was removed.
  • Scneeschaufel auf Bren (e): Standard Carrier fitted with a snow plough by the Luftwaffe and used to clear runways. Most of the superstructure was removed.
  • 2cm Flak38 auf Fahrgestell Bren(e): Conversion of Universal Carriers into self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. A Flak38 20mm Anti-Aircraft Gun was mounted atop the vehicle's engine cover.
  • 3.7cm Pak auf Fahrgestall Bren (e): Conversion of Universal Carriers into self-propelled anti-tank guns. A Pak36 37mm Anti-Tank Gun was mounted atop the vehicle's engine cover.
  • Panzerjager, Bren: Universal Carriers that were modified for use as Tank Hunters. They were equipped with Panzerfausts and Raketen Panzerbuches.
Italy
The Italians captured and re-used various models of Bren and Universal Carrier, and were so impressed by it that Fiat built a copy (with one extra road wheel per side) called the Cingoletta Fiat 2800.

Japan
The Japanese captured a number of Carriers, and at least one was converted into a light tank.

Denmark
Post-war the Danes fitted several Universal Carriers with 106mm Recoiless Rifles. These were mounted atop the armoured engine housing.

There would appear to be lots of scope for all sorts of different conversions of the Bren Gun Carrier ... and I am sure that there are many more that I have missed off my list.

One such conversion is shown in the following photograph.


It appears to show a Bren or Universal Carrier that has been converted by the Germans into a self-propelled gun armed with a French 75mm M1897 Field Gun. Other than the photograph, I cannot find out any further information.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

There is no longer something odd going on

The recent surge in 'hits' registered by my Amazing Counters 'hit' counter has finally been explained.

Yesterday the following announcement appeared on the Amazing Counters website:


As I had half suspected, there was a programming 'glitch' which has now been solved.

The corrected statistics look like this:



So everything is back to normal again ... I hope!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Probably my favourite Airfix military vehicle kit

Just before Christmas a small model shop opened less than two miles from where I live, and since then I have paid it several visits. Today I bought three Airfix Bren Gun Carrier and 6-pdr Anti-Tank Gun kits ...


... which is probably my favourite Airfix military vehicle kit of all time.

The kit has been about for many years, and formed the basis of the first every 'kit bash' that I did. This was the result of an article that appeared in an issue of AIRFIX MAGAZINE that showed how to convert a Bren Gun Carrier into a Pzkpfw IA ...


... and even into a Panzerjäger I.


In the latter case the 6-pdr anti-tank gun formed the basis of the Czech 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38 anti-tank gun.


The barrel was cut down and inverted, and although it was not 100% accurate, it certainly passed muster on the tabletop.

The models that I made back then have long since gone, but I remember them very well, and they did great service whilst they lasted.

One 'kit bash' that I also did was to convert the Bren Gun Carrier and 6-pdr Anti-Tank Gun into a Russian ASU-57 airborne anti-tank gun.


This was quite a simple 'conversion' and served my Soviet force faithfully and efficiently until it too became 'lost'.

Friday, 3 March 2017

A simple but insightful idea

One of the problems that I have always had with using a grid of offset squares rather than standard grids of squares or hexes is the fact that they did not seem to feel right, even though they are easier to draw than hexed grids whilst retaining many of the advantages of a hexed grid.

Yesterday David Crook made a very simple suggestion to me via an email. It made me realise that what was making grids of offset squares feel wrong was my perception of how units moved on them because of the way in which I had the grid orientated. He proposed using the grid with the rows running horizontally (or landscape) for battles where linear formations were the norm (i.e. up to the beginning of the twentieth century) ...


... and vertical (i.e. portrait) for battles where linear formations were not the norm.


This set me thinking. Almost all hex grids seem to be orientated vertically, thus ...


... and very rarely horizontally.


For some reason, we seem to find the former grid orientation preferable to the latter, possibly for the same reasons that we tend to prefer horizontal grids of offset squares rather than vertical ones.

The more I thought about this, the more I realised that David had raised a very interesting point. My next step should be to do some experiments with both grids of offset squares and horizontally orientated hexed grids, but in the meantime it seems to me that David's simple idea is actually very insightful, and certainly challenges our perception of the way in which grids can be used on the tabletop.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

There is something odd going on

Over the past week my blog seems to have been experiencing a rather larger number of 'hits' than usual. The daily 'hit' counter for today is currently registering over 2,600 'hits' ... and yet when I look at the statistics provided by Blogger, this doesn't seem to be the case.

The statistics from Blogger for the last week look like this:



The statistics from Amazing Counters look like this:



I know that the Amazing Counters 'hit' counter that I added to my blog not long after I started back in 2009 works on a different daily start time from that used by Blogger, but even so this doesn't seem to account for the differences. The single statistic that does surprise me is the huge number of 'hits' my blog had in the last week from the United States. Usually it is about the same as the number of 'hits' I get from the United Kingdom, but over the last week it appears to have been larger by over 600%!

The only other time that I have experienced something like this was when I wrote an obituary for Edwards Woodward in November 2009. This was picked up by someone at FLAMES OF WAR, who provided a link to that particular blog entry with the result that I had nearly 1,500 'hits' in a single day.