Friday 21 February 2020

Even more French

Artillery crews

Gun crews all photographed with the same Hat Industrie `75
Senegalese crew 1

 Close-ups of the minor conversions, the guy with the helmet has been given a larger caliber shell, the guy in the Chechia fez was the No2 of the VB launcher team, I cut down his rifle and shaped it creating a shell
Senegalese crew 2

Again close-ups of the minor conversions - again the gunner got a new shell, the second guy was the VB gunner, I cut don his rifle and shaped/painted it into a shell
Mixed crew

Conversions - kneeling gunner with new shell, the standing figure is a Raventhorpe British gunner with an EWM Adrian helmet head
Free French crew

Another gunner with new shell plus two Raventhorpe British gunners

And finally a command element for my Senegalese infantry
Raventhorpe telephone op (with Elheim head) + Raventhorpe German engineer officer converted to a French one  

So that is 69 infantry, a field gun, a French water tower and a gun truck all since February 4th 

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Conus Gun

Conus Gun

A bit of history

Whilst adapting the French Mle1897 75mm to fire from the back of a truck wasn`t a new idea. Captains Maurice Bayrou and Yves Belan had already built a simple vehicle by piecing a moon shaped hole in the trucks deck into which the end of the guns trail sat.
 Lieutenant Adrien Conus (1900-1947), a Moskow-born civil engineer working in the Colonies before he joined the FFL. He served as master sergeant with 2nd Battalion de Marche and had already adapted several Bren carriers to carry French 25mm AT guns which took part in the defence of Bir-Hakeim, where he was injured. 
Conus mounted the legendary 75mm Mle 1897 on Ford and Chevrolet 4x4 trucks, I`m not sure how many were built? Numbers vary in sources from a single squadron of 1st Moroccan Spahis to a couple of companies! 

At least one became a casualty

Raventhorpe model

Tuesday 18 February 2020

3rd batch of Senegalese

3rd batch of Senegalese

On a roll, a third groupe de combate

Again i head-swapped the squad leader, this time giving him a calot side-cap 

FM24/29 team both with head-swaps

VB team, I used one of the gunners as an alternate No2 and head-swapped both

All twelve together

Frank Brangwyn

Frank Brangwyn

Debbie and I took an hour off on Saturday to enjoy a guided tour of the Brangwyn Hall (literally 2mins walk just behind our B&B). A truly wonderful deco building designed and built in the 1930s with some amazing features including a walnut festooned council chamber! The tour was capped off in the main concert hall where you can gaze in amazement at the spectacular huge coloured wall panels designed and painted by the war artist Frank Brangwyn originally commissioned for the House of Lords in London to commemorate and celebrate the commonwealth and the end of WW1!

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium where his father, William Curtis Brangwyn, moved after winning a competition organised by the Belgian Guild of St Thomas and St Luke to design a parish church
Although Brangwyn produced more than 80 poster designs during the First World War, he was not an official war artist. He donated most of these poster designs to charities such as the Red Cross, the Belgian and Allied Aid League, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and L'Orphelinat des Armees, an American charity supporting a French orphanage. His grim poster of a Tommy bayoneting an enemy soldier (Put Strength in the Final Blow: Buy War Bonds) caused deep offence in both Britain and Germany. The Kaiser himself is said to have put a price on Brangwyn’s head after seeing the image. In 1917 Brangwyn produced six lithographs under the title Making Sailors and one entitled The Freedom of the Seas for the Ministry of Information, Britain's Efforts and Ideals portfolio of images which were exhibited in Britain and abroad and were also sold as prints to raise money for the war effort. Brangwyn was the Chairman of the English Committee for Dixmude. Dixmude, near Ostend, that had been the site of heavy fighting throughout the war. To aid its reconstruction, Brangwyn donated a series of woodcuts to the town on the theme of the Tragedy of Dixmude. During the war Brangwyn created a number of propaganda images highlighting atrocities committed against Belgium and the suffering endured by the country. Among the latter were his oil painting of 1915, Mater Dolorosa Belgica.

Friday 14 February 2020

More Senegalese

2nd batch of Senegalese

Another 12 infantry
Two head-swaps - a Raventhorpe Kepi head creates a veteran white NCO 
and I used his Adrian helmet head on the LMG gunner