Tuesday, October 20, 2020

French 9th Mitrailleuse Battery, 15th Loire Corps Artillery

During the Republican period (post Sedan and Metz) of the Franco-German War (1870-1871), the French forces were obtaining weapons from whatever source they could to replace all the ones lost when almost all of the Imperial Army surrendered.  One of the weapons they obtained was the American Gatling gun.

Having several extra Ral Partha Victorian Gatlings laying around, I decided to make my corps artillery Mitrailleuse battery with the Gatlings.

The 9th Mitrailleuse Battery, 15th Loire Corps Artillery

The guns are Ral Partha while the figures are, I believe, either Frontier or Falcon.  I obtained them from various sources over the years.  While the uniform may not be quite right, for the Republican period they are sufficient.

This has been my "break" from painting WW2 Germans, which I'll start again with the heavy weapons support for my kampfgruppe -- an MG-42 on a sustained firing mount and a medium mortar.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Another German Gruppe Completed

I've finally completed the last of my German gruppen (squads) for my ad hoc kampfgruppe.  These are a batch of 28mm Black Tree Design (edited- thanks "Big Red") German Army figures.

 The 10-man gruppe has a sergeant with an MP-40 and nine riflemen, two of whom are carrying panzerfausts.  There is no light machinegun team with this gruppe, although if I can acquire one I'll add it and transfer two of the riflemen to the kampfgruppe headquarters.

I still have the tripod mounted MG-42 and crew, the mortar team, and a motorcycle with sidecar team to add before my Germans are completed.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Some "Rugged Adventures" Painting

Over the past several weeks I've been painting some "fun" figures.

First up is one of Bob Murch's excellent Pulp Figures sculpts.  She is part of the "Dangerous Dames 2" pack (PHP 19).  Bob calls her Bernadette of la Resistance, but I'll probably refer to her as Joanie, after St. Joan d'Arc.  One of my former co-workers who studied in Paris told me that there were mounted statues of St. Joan all over France.  She and some of her less-reverent friends referred to them as "Joanie on a Pony."

Armed with a German MP-40 and wearing her best necklace and lipstick, she brings a certain 'dignity' to what otherwise would be a vulgar brawl.

And here's what she would look like in a "period" picture.

 The next figure is a medic for my "mercenary" White Russian detachment which was featured in the previous post.

He's also a Brigade Games sculpt from their 'Storm in the East' Russian Command I pack.

And finally, I completed painting my small collection of Bob Murch's "Movember" miniatures.  I have six of the seven Bob has released since 2013.  The seventh and latest didn't appeal to me as I don't collect Wild West figures any more.  Here are my interpretations of them.

From left -- Lord Lippinbrush (2013), Stash Gable (2014), and Captain Krustache (2015)

Pasha Moustasha (2016), Muff McGillicutty (2017), Barnabus Tash (2018)

They will all be used in one way or another in my various Back of Beyond, Very British Civil War, and Rugged Adventures games.

And now back to the mundane of painting more WW2 German infantry.  But once I finish them, my planned painting queue involves more White Russians, British 1930s/1940s naval landing party, and a goodly selection of Bob Murch's figures.

Y'all stay safe!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Back to Painting in the "Back of Beyond"

After an almost two month painting hiatus, I knocked off some additional figures for my forces in the "Back of Beyond" China in the 1920s/1930s.

The first batch are two Cannon Fodder (no longer in production) Chinese I picked up from the collection of my late wargaming buddy Mark "Doc Ord" Stevens.  These two will reinforce an already painted unit of ten warlord Chinese.  I still have to terrain the bases.

The second batch were also picked up from Mark's collection.  They are a disparate group of Russian Civil War infantry that will constitute a unit of mercenary White Russians living in China after being chased out of "Mother Russia" by the Communists.

The soldier and officer to the camera left of the banner bearer are Brigade Games RCW figures while the remaining four are from unknown manufacturers.  The banner bearer and the rifleman on the far right are from the same sculptor.  The banner is patterned after the flags carried by the White forces in Siberia.  These bases will also get a terrain treatment in the near future.

They will be joined by a medic and a group of twelve White "shock" troops, also Brigade Games figures.

I'm happy to be able to get back to the painting table after so long!


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Turks, Indians, Spaniards, and a Flight around the World

Not much painting these past several weeks as I've been completing my presentation for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History streaming "History Is Lunch" program.  The department has been doing these programs for about ten years or so.  I finally let the program manager talk me into preparing one.

Here's the introduction he prepared:

Jim Pitts will present “Turks, Indians, Spaniards, and a Flight around the World: The Lives and Military Careers of Four Mississippians.”

In the course of his work with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Pitts became intrigued by the distinguished military service of Captain Henry Metcalfe, Major James Watson, Lieutenant Reuben Turman, and Lieutenant Henry Ogden. Between them they had been awarded three Silver Stars for heroic actions in the Spanish American War, one Distinguished Service Medal for a 1924 “Around the World Flight,” and the Turkish Order of Osmani for service to the Turkish Army by a foreign national.

“Their stories are as diverse as the four soldiers,” said Pitts. “Two were graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, one had attended West Point and later received his commission through a competitive examination, and the fourth was directly commissioned as a result of his service.”

The impacts they made on the U.S. Army were also varied. “Two were awarded their medals posthumously, one of them from wounds received in battle,” said Pitts. “They were inventors and innovators—one is remembered as an expert in cost accounting, one was an aviation pioneer, another is memorialized with a sea coast defense battery.”

Jackson native Jim Pitts earned his BA in history from Mississippi State University. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served for twenty years. After retiring as a major, Pitts worked with MDAH for twenty-two years, first as a librarian and then as government records archivist.

I presented the program at noon, CDT, on Wednesday, July 29.  I thought it went rather well.  At least I didn't embarrass myself too much.  ­čśë

It has been uploaded on the Department's YouTube channel and you can watch it if you desire.  I hope that you enjoy it and, as I say in the conclusion, learn a little about these four less well known Mississippians.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

British Forces, Part 2

Now the rest of my currently on-hand WW2 British forces are complete.  These will get me started although I'm planning on getting at least another two sections of riflemen and some PIAT teams soon.

Please click on picture for a larger image.

First my rifle platoon commander and his senior sergeant.  I'd prefer to have the subaltern armed with a rifle, bu that will have to happen later.  As you can see, these two leaders are on round bases.  I've decided to remount all my leaders from section/squad sergeants and up like this.  It will make them stand out better in the "chaos" of the table top game.  These are Warlord figures that came with separate heads.  I had to scrounge additional helmeted heads since I have a "thing" about front-line combat troops wearing helmets (unless of course the figure has the head already cast on the body).

Each British platoon has a 2-inch mortar team to provide close range fire support.  Of course the 2-inch explosive shell was just a big rifle grenade so the British commonly used it for smoke missions.  I purposefully cut the angled base so the loader would be dropping the shell into the muzzle.  I'll eventually add a third mortar man as each team had a lance-corporal and two privates.

Additional heavy fire support is being provided by a .303 Vickers medium machine gun team.  Again the base has been purposefully cut so the loader's belt matches with the side chamber.  This team comes from the divisional machine gun battalion.

And to call in the really heavy fire support is a forward observer team of a subaltern and his radioman who can call in fires from the divisional artillery.

A look at all of the final additions.

Up next will be a fourth German infantry gruppe (squad), a few additional kampfgruppe headquarters figures, a MG 42 "heavy" machine gun team, and a 81mm mortar team, plus (I hope) a reconnaissance motorcycle with sidecar armed with a MG 42.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

British Forces, Part 1

I've completed the second British rifle section.  It joins some earlier painted British.

Please click on the pictures for a larger image.

Warlord Figures
This section consists of a sergeant (left center of picture), a corporal and four privates in a maneuver element (right side of picture), and a corporal and three-man Bren gun team in a fire support element (left side of picture).

The other British that I have completed are a few senior command figures, a rifle section, and a heavy mortar section.

The senior command figures are Captain Campbell (center) armed with a Sten gun, Color Sergeant Gilmore (right), and an aidman (left) from the battalion support group.

The First Section is similar in composition to the Second, with a sergeant (center), a five man maneuver section (right), and a four-man fire support element (left).

Immediate fire support is provided by a ML 3-inch mortar with its three-man crew.  The mortar was actually 3.209-inch (81mm) and by 1943 was comparable to the German 81mm mortar.

I'm still working on a platoon commander and his sergeant, a 2" mortar team (2 figures), a .303 Vickers machinegun team (3 figures), and a spotter.  After I get them completed, I'll go back to the Germans to complete their heavy MG 42 machinegun team and 81mm mortar team.