Sunday, 28 February 2016

89. Infanteriedivision - a new army!

Hi folks. With my painting currently continuing to focus on the British and Canadian vehicles I had posted about last week, I have been spending a bit of time thinking about my German force.

Having received a great starting point from 'Lee, I've been looking at researching the opposition for my 51st HD Totalize force. I had long ago settled on a Heer list, with the obvious option being 89. Infanterie Division.

"Known as the "Horseshoe Division" from its unit symbol, this division was created in Troop Manoeuvre Area Berger (near Celle) on January 15, 1944, from personnel in the reinforced infantry regiments of the Replacement Army/ (Reinforced infantry regiments usually had an organic artillery battalion, in addition to their three infantry battalions). It training in Norway from March to June 1944, and returned to the European mainland about the time of the D-day invasion. Initially posted with the 15th Army in the Rouen-La Harve area, it was ordered to Normandy in June and immediately suffered heavy losses. At the same time, however, it added the 189th Fusilier Battalion, the 189th Field Replacement Battalion and a fourth artillery battalion. Near Falaise on August 8, it collapsed under the pressure of heavy British air and ground attacks and had to be taken out of line. It was encircled at Falaise (along with the bulk of 5th Panzer and 7th Armies) and broke out, but with heavy losses. Both its grenadier regiments were destroyed. The remnants of the division were withdrawn to the Netherlands."

The above text comes from "German Order of Battle, Volume One: 1st - 290th Infantry Divisions in WW2" by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.

From what I know of the division, this information isn't strictly true. Other sources state that the Division was activated on 31 July 1944 for transfer from Rouen-Le Havre sector to the Bretteville area, south of Caen. This was due to 84. Infanteriedivision being diverted to try and help stop the American breakout. In reacting to Operation Bluecoat and Cobra, and in attempting to re-establish a connection to 2. Fallshmijaegerkorps, 89. Infanteriedivision was placed in the line to allow 1. SS-Panzerdivisionen to be pulled back. Initially 1. SS-Panzer was to be used to help counter the Bluecoat and Cobra breakthroughs, but then came the great idea of the Mortain.

It should be noted that at the time the Totlaize operation was planned, the enemy divisions to be attacked were 12. SS-Panzer and 1. SS-Panzer.  These units had been replaced in the line by 89. Infanterie and 272. Infanterie divisions, and 12. SS-Panzer was established as 1. SS-Panzerkorps reserve. Allied intelligence therefor believed that the 2 SS-Panzer Divisions had been pulled back to form a 2nd line of defence - hence the belief that a 2nd wave of bombers would be required after the initial 'night attack' break in battle.

At the time they were deployed to the front on a line May-Sur-Orne to La Hogue (including the famous village of Tilly-la-Campagne, 89. Infanterie was a green division which had not seen any combat. Unfortunately 36 hours before the Totalize Operation, this division had just deployed across a front to be assaulted by 2nd Canadian, 51st Highland, 33 Armoured Brigade and 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade - along with several AGRAs, a major RAF night bombing raid and various other Corps level assets.

"No Holding Back" has the OOB on 7 August 1944 as:

Commander: Generalleutnant Konrad Heinrich

Grenadierregiment 1055
Commander: Oberst Rossman

I. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
II. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
III. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
13. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1055
14. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1055

Grenadierregiment 1056
Commander: Karl Roesler

I. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
II. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
III. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
13. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1056
14. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1056

Artillerieregiment 189
I. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (two batteries)
II. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (two batteries)
III. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (two batteries)

Panzerjagerabteilung 189

Fusilierbataillon 189

Pionierbataillon 189 (two companies)


Sturmpanzerabteilung 217 (13 Sturmpanzer IV 150mm self-propelled howitzers)
Artillerieabteilung 1151 (12 Russian 122mm Howitzers)
Artillerieabteilung 1193 (12 Italian 149mm Howitzers)
Werferbrigade 7
- Wereferregiment 83 (two bataillon 150mm, one bataillon 210mm)
- Wereferregiment 84 (two bataillon 150mm, one bataillon 300mm)"

And the text of the book itself mentions the following units were also supporting supporting:

III. Flakkorps (20mm, 37mm and 88mm anti-aircraft guns)
Sturmgeschutzabteilung 1344. (StuG III)

As can be seen, the OOB shows that the division had only two regiments of three battalions, rather than the usual 3 regiments with 2 battalions. I've also seen text which states that the StuG's were present, with several being destroyed in Tilly during the 'mopping up' fighting. 

In addition to all this, after some internet digging I found some additional info on the division - in German. A German speaking friend kindly translated for me (thanks Ed!). Tying this info together gives:

89. Infanterie Division 
- Command/division staff with cartography office & military police unit
- Intelligence battalion with 2 companies (reduced) 
- Field reserve battalion with 5 companies 
- Supply troops

Grenadierregiment 1055

Staff Company with:
- Communications, Pioneer and Bicycle platoon
I. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
II. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
III. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1055
 - Each Battalion with 3 rifle companies each. Every rifle company with 13 light machine guns, 1 company with 6 light machine guns and 4 medium mortars.

13. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1055
- Infantry gun company with 2 heavy (15cm) and 6 light (7,5cm) infantry guns
14. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1055
- Anti-tank company with 3 pak40 and 36 'Stovepipes' (Panzershreks)

Grenadierregiment 1056

Staff Company with:- Communications, Pioneer and Bicycle platoon
I. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
II. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
III. Bataillon Grenadierregiment 1056
 - Each Battalion with 3 rifle companies each. Every rifle company with 13 light machine guns, 1 company with 6 light machine guns and 4 medium mortars.

13. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1056
- Infantry gun company with 2 heavy (15cm) and 6 light (7,5cm) infantry guns
14. Kompanie Grenadierregiment 1056
- Anti-tank company with 3 Pak40 and 36 'Stovepipes' (Panzershreks)
Artillerieregiment 189
- Artillery Staff company 
I. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (two batteries)
Each with 6 light field howitzers (LeFH 10,5cm)
II. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (two batteries)
Each with 6 light field howitzers (LeFH 10,5cm)
III. Bataillon Artillerieregiment 189 (three batteries)
89 and 91 divisions had 8.8cm anti-tank guns/anti-air guns equipped (Possibly Flak36, possibly Pak 43/41, possibly a mix of types).

Panzerjagerabteilung 189
- 12 heavy anti-tank guns, motorised. Probably Pak40's but possibly Pak43/41 88mm guns. Definitely no StuGs!

Fusilierbataillon 189
 - same setup as the Grenadier Battalions - troops may have been equipped with bicycles

Pionierbataillon 189 
- Two/Three companies. Sources vary on this number.

The presence of those larger anti-tank guns (the Pak43/41's) might be indicated by one of the battlefield pictures that's quite famous:

For my own army I will be focusing on the forces involved during the night attack of 7/8 August 1944 and the daytime battle and German counter attacks on 8 August.

As the III. Bataillon/1055 Grenadier Regiment was the one immediately opposing the 7th Argyle and Sutherland/144 RAC Column, I will be focusing on these guys - along with support. Below is the Divisions deployment prior to Totalize - the box denotes the artillery target for the night attack.

Map from "No Holding Back" - used without permission
And along side that, the 51st Highland Divisions columns and objectives.

Map from "No Holding Back" - used without permission
As well as this, if I'm considering the fighting on the following day that means that forces from 12. SS-Panzerdivision would also be involved. I'm not keen on having SS units or armies - which is something I have discussed quite a bit on various paint and chats. I don't regard the SS units with any sort of great esteem. Generally they are over represented in wargaming circles (and historically) and their fighting qualities are way over rated. In Normandy they were forced back, and back, and back again by 'normal' units such as the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions and the various British Infantry Divisions - even when provided with a much larger pool of support units and artillery support than that found on the Eastern front. However the gift of German units from Lee included two Tiger Tanks - which I may as well use. It also included a couple of single vehicles which I could expand upon to increase my German army should I desire. The following shows some of the units that were involved in the German counter attacks on the 8th of August - which included 'Whitman's last charge'.

Map from "No Holding Back" - used without permission
 Army wise, the following is what I have come up with:

This army list is based on a number of factors. What was (or could have been) present, what were the 'trademark' German weapons in Normandy, What was included in the models I was given and what would give a good game against my Highlanders.

As of yesterday I have all the various assets on order or sitting in my 'to be completed' tray. An old copy of Open Fire provided me with 2 Stugs. Lee provided the Company Command and HQ mortars along with one Grenadier Platoon, HMG Platoon and 2 x Tigers. The York wargames show provided the figures for the other two infantry platoons (£10 spent). Ebay has provided a Mortar Platoon, Tank Hunters blister (for the HQ A/T section), Pak40's, the 3rd StuG and Nebelwerfers. Unfortunately I had to turn to Wayland Games (sigh) for the Flak36's, Pioneers and a pack of Snipers - hopefully they will turn up some time this year...

Left to get are the mine fields (I'm thinking of doing my own via 'warbases' or something) and HMG nests, which I can do myself.

So between the Nebs, Snipers, Mortars and artillery capable 88mm guns I should have lots to pin those Reluctant Veteran Highlanders. Lots of Anti Tank capability for fighting my Armoured Squadron and still a lot of the flavour of the German unit I'm trying to represent. There are also options to expand with Pak43/41 guns, Panzer IV H's, Jagdpanzers and Sturmpanzers (both of which I have a tank each of, thanks to Lee).

Thoughts, comments, suggestions or other sources on info on this unit would be more than welcome!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Post Gunuary!

Hi folks,

So with my artillery wrapped up for now, I have moved on to something that does not involve painting infantry figures! So I moved back to tanks (and technically, self-propelled guns).

First up some work in progress shots of the M10C's. They have been block painted and washed - awaiting highlights, foliage, varnish, decals, basing, etc, etc, etc.

Then we have a Churchill Crocodile - number 6 and the final addition.

And then two Sherman I's.

Still a bit to do on these vehicles, but nice progress aided by the Paint and Chat's I've been attending and hosting. Again, a lot of work still to do - but I'm getting there. Also working on two of the trucks I had which will go towards (surprise surprise) artillery unit transport.

That's all for now! Hopefully not too long before I get finished pics up. The M10C's and Churchill will finish off two units, with the Shermans being 50% of another.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Gunuary Roundup + Christmas loot

Hi folks,

With us now being into the 2nd week of February I think I'm about ready to call it for my Gunuary themed month. I feel like it's been productive and I've got a lot done - although I'm feeling a little burnt out currently. Especially as I finished off all the various units last night and my Christmas models from Battlefront (ordered in November) arrived today. Including more guns...

Anyway, here's what I had as my initial working list:

- Getting the bases of all artillery and mortar units up to date (flowers, tufts, etc)
- Building, painting and basing all 8 outstanding 25 pdrs
- Finishing all outstanding 25 pdr crew figures
- Sorting out the replacement figures for my 4.2" mortar platoon
- Building, painting and basing my 2 Battlefront 40mm Bofors (and finishing the whole unit off)
- Building, painting and basing my 5.5" guns (on the assumption the whole unit arrives in January - a tearful Amy informed me last night that despite the order being placed with Battlefront in November during the sale, none of the models ordered for my Christmas have arrived)
- Paint my Auster AOP model

So, from that list I completed everything  other than the 5.5" battery - the last two guns of which only arrived today. I posted pictures previously of my finished guns (although none yet of the updated 1st battery).

This week I finished the updated crew for the 4.2" Mortars and a highlight and base update for my 3" Mortar platoon. The 3" Mortars were some of the first units I painted so they really benefited from the update.

The work on the large Mortars consisted of swapping out some of the crew figures for the older scultps - mainly the ones holding their hands over their ears. I then fixed the damage done to the basing.

Returning home tonight I found a parcel waiting for me. At last, my Christmas presents!

These units add quite substantially to my force - and basically mean that the lead mountain is back to the level it was before Gunuary! I'll need to think about getting the 5.5" guns and command units done soon, in order to finish off the artillery. But for now I am going to switch to trying to finish off my M10Cs and a couple of Shermans. I'll also have to think about the transport options and getting them all painted as well. I still need one more 15 CWT truck and one more jeep as well as 4 Quads and 6 of the AA tow vehicles in order to finish off all the transports for the artillery units - which is a lot of £££ value for not many points on the table.

Anyway, thats all for now. Thanks to the guys on Tabletop Commanders for helping to keep me motivated and for all the enthusiasm!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

York Show - Loot!

Hi folks,

A trip over to York today for the York Wargames show (Vapnartak). I was just on my lonesome, but did get to meet up with Steve one of my Tabletop Commanders paint and chat friends, and Roy.

Being on my lonesome did have some advantages - like no one there to talk me out of doing silly things.

Such as buying two Battlefleet Gothic fleets.

The usual story, Bring and Buy, high price, lots of visits back to the stall and the price kept dropping. Eventually the Imperial fleet was down from £200 to £75. So I grabbed it. The Chaos fleet was from £200 to £100, but I wasn't happy paying that, so I made the chap an offer and got that for £85.

Ouch! But still a good reduction.

The Imperial fleet has:

1 Battleship (£70+(?) on ebay)
1 x Grand Cruiser (Rare ship - £50+)
6 x Cruisers (£60 ish)
2 Sword Frigates (£15?)
4 Cobra Destroyers (£20?)
6 Fighter stands (£30?)
9 Bomber stands (£40?)

While the Chaos fleet:


1 x Terminus Est (Rare Chaos special Battleship - £80?)
1 x Grand Cruiser (Rare ship - £50+)
8 x Cruisers (£80?)
5 x Infidel raiders (£40?)
3 x Idolater raiders (£20?)
6 x Bomber stands (£30?)
6 x fighter stands (£30?)

So with all that I'm pretty sure I could sell some of the ships on ebay and make my money back. They will go into my painting pile - hopefully GW won't release new models any time soon and make the whole thing a pointless and valueless purchase.

I also bought a 2nd hand pack of German late war WW2 infantry. 83 figures (so enough for two more platoons?) - £10. Another good buy.

The rest of my spending was on terrain.

These are 15mm earthworks that looked pretty smart. They need to be assembled and then some sort of filler used to fill the gap. But they will do for flames of war. 

More tufts!

More small hedges - these will be used for around the town I have now acquired. I had hoped to get some sort of Church at the show, but no luck. Maybe next month!

Two small hills. These are smaller than the ones I bought last year, and should be useful for breaking up lines of sight. 

Another set of smaller hills. These are smaller than the ones above. More like ridge lines and the likes. 

Some random bases to use as the bases for forests, once I get my trees sorted. 

Cobbled surfaces - to use around town. 

Bases for my trees and some neat little plaster of paris gardens. There will be used once I start basing up my houses and such - I thought they would look really smart in gardens and the likes. I also got a pack of 15mm haystacks from the same supplier (timecast, I think).

So yeah, a good show and a good haul! The show itself was very busy but easy to find and on several levels. I'll definitely try to get back and maybe get some of the Scottish guys down (once I have my own place to put them up). I did have my eye on a couple of books, but they can wait.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Gunuary - HQ's, staff teams, observation teams and dispatch rider

Hi folks,

While Gunuary has now officially passed, my work continues on completing and updating my FoW British Artillery.

This week I have been on quite a few paint and chats - figuring that if I am sitting painting, I might as well have company. This has helped me keep up the same pace. Last weekend I took the time to lay out all my batteries and figure out what teams I needed. This helped a lot as I was struggling to visualise the units and identify what I needed to finish them all off.

I also took the opportunity to update the basing on one of my staff teams, shifting from the circular base I had originally used to the standard FoW medium base. I also used the second table from this base as part of the staff team for my 2nd 25 Pounder Battery. Having the extra 4 guns also means I need another Jeep and three more trucks - an awkward number of both!

Still, I've got all the missing teams done, now I am just on to updating the old ones.

One of the 'New' staff teams, with my Battlegroup dispatch rider. The scales are all over the place here, believe it or not these are all Battlefront models! The dispatch rider is a conversion from a early war British Motorcyclist (provided a long time ago by Dai). There was also a sidecar, which I did not add. The head of the rider was swapped with the dispatch rider from the 25 Pounder Boxed Set - meaning it is a little small as well. His arm was twisted and straightened, as was one of his legs - so that he is leaning on the ball of his foot.

Next up we have some command teams - again, all Battlefront models (some slightly blurry pics here, sorry).

My second staff team - a slightly similar to the first one. Again all Battlefront with the exception of the range finder and chair (Peter Pig addition's).

Then my Observation teams. The standing up radio operator is a Peter Pig model while the others are Battlefont. A shame that the teams are identical, but otherwise I am happy with them. I may need some sort of marking on them to tell which battery they belong to.

And a random bailed out marker/tank crew.

So, onto updating my old guns and infantry figures. Off to York Wargames show this weekend, hopefully!