This last week or so I've been rushing to finish off my Polish M4A4 Shermans. As I mentioned on my last post, this was due to the Analogue Painting Challenge starting on the 20th and my upcoming house move on the 17th.
I'm please to say I managed to finish off these tanks, and got a few hurried pics before they were packed away. I've still a few little snagging things to fix, but I'm happy enough with them.
My final tally for this batch was 10 Sherman V's (M4A4's) and 1 Sherman II (M4A1).
Looking back, I can see I started this Polish project back in August. This means in 5 months I managed to get the whole lot done. That doesn't sound impressive, but for me it's fairly good going - especially considering the amount of work they took to even get to the painting stage and the fact the whole of November was given over to my Novelty November Challenge. And included in that time was a wedding and honeymoon!
These models were all purchased built, and were the original Open Fire plastic Shermans. Those people who have built these kits will know that they are, to use a word from my home land, "Pish". They are a real nuisance to build properly, even for someone who is used to them. Whoever put mine together the first time didn't do too great a job - which is understandable given how rubbish the kits are. Varying thickness of plastic, off square edges, parts that just don't fit together properly.
I had resolved to make use of what I had, as what I had I had picked up for a decent price.
I literally took these models apart with a scalpel. Removed all the haphazard stowage, cleaned them up and put them back together again.
In addition to the 19 hulls above, I also finished off my 144 RAC collection. A total of 26 Shermans!
Of course, I still have the AA tanks, ARV and Stuarts to finish...
These tanks represent the vehicles of No. 1 Squadron, 24 Pulk Ulanow Im. Hemana Zolkiewkeigo - commonly referred to at the 24th Polish Lancers or 24th Polish Uhlans. This squadron was part of 4 making up the regiment, which itself was part of 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, 1st Polish Armoured Division (10 Brygada Kawalerii Pancernej, 1 Pulk Pancerny). This unit was a pre war Polish Regiment that fought with distinction during the battle for Poland. The remnants of the unit managed to escape to France, where they again formed to fight the Germans. After the fall of France the unit reformed in the UK as part of the Free Polish Forces. Polish forces fighting in Europe made up the 4th largest army, with Poland being the only Free forces to contribute more than 1 Corps worth of troops. This particular regiment fought it's first battle in 1944 as part of Operation Totalise, forming the '2nd wave' attack on the afternoon of 8th August.
The Polish lists in Flames of War are rather scattered and don't get the recognition they deserve for their contribution to the allied war effort. My own list is based on this booklet. As such, the main fighting component is:
HQ troop with 1IC, 2IC, 1 x 75mm Sherman V, 1 x Sherman Firefly
1st Troop: 3 x 75mm Sherman V's, 1 x Firefly
2nd Troop: as 1st troop
3rd Troop: as 1st troop
This means the list should have 16 Shermans, rather than the usual 18 for a British list (I painted two spare!).
I have used an early war reference for Polish cavalry pennants to add small radio aerial pennants to my command tanks.
The 1IC, seen above, has a command figure in the turret and two flags. One is the Polish national flag while the other is the pennant of the 24th Polish Lancers. These are not historically accurate I think - although I know that Polish vehicles did use/display pennants. But 'rule of cool' applies and I liked the idea.
The 2IC tank has a closed hatch, and only one pennant. This pennant is the pennant for the 1st Squadron.
My other troop, which will be my 3rd troop, has the 4th troop flag on the command vehicle (the 3rd troop flag was largely white, so I went for the darker one).
All 11 tanks - Sandbags were used to cover damage to the hulls from the previous poor build.
Apologies for the lighting and pics, they were taken in a hurry before I packed up. I'll try to get pictures of the whole unit together as part of my new year blog post. However, I will be without regular internet access for a few weeks, so expect things to be a bit quiet!
Thanks as usual to the MMM Paint and Chat crew, and also the Paint and Chat guys in the Analogue Painting Challenge group for putting up with my table full of Shermans for oh so long!