Wednesday 21 July 2021

Scenario posted

 New Scenario posted online

A short skirmish scenario I wrote has been published online by the SOTCW.

The scenario concerns the famed Spanish Blue Division in Russia

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Airfix gun Emplacment

 Airfix gun Emplacment

Now I had none of the bunkers or the gun, so had to build some.

I built a sandbagged entrance to the ammunition bunker
I had to build the other two bunkers
The smaller bunker was just given a roof

I built the larger Hex bunker out of cardboard (a bit scruffy i admit)

A few photos with infantry and a manned `88

Refurbished Airfix bunker

 Refurbished Airfix Bunker

Once part of the huge Coastal gun battery, I based it, filled in gaps with plasticard and turned it into a Siegfried Line/Gothic Line/Coastal bunker - note the ex-Jeff Spain Ft17 turret  

Thursday 8 July 2021

Forward Outpost

 Forward Outpost

This has taken about two weeks all told, with a break for the Warhawk during drying time.

Roughly a 14" x 14" square, the central construction was one of those vac-u-form bases you used to get in battle-sets from Esci (El Alamein in this case). I plastered up the edges and did any repairs required, then rough painted with cheap acrylics, added some sand bags and log barricades and lots of various flock and foliage. One thing I have learned is I need to buy a better spray glue - d`oh!

Not a masterpiece but functional.

A few images with the outpost manned by my Volksgrenadiers


Tuesday 6 July 2021

P40 Warhawk

P40 Warhawk

Cheap model from Mister Craft, not brilliant but OK (my model making and painting isn`t the best either)

The decals were awful, I managed to salvage enough to make do.

The aircraft represents one from 64th Fighter Squadron which served over Tunisia and Sicily after being flown into NA from carriers during Operation Torch

Thursday 1 July 2021

The Churchill Na75

The Churchill NA75

A older version of this article first appeared within the Journal of the SOTCW


During the fighting in Tunisia the Churchill MKIV had proved a useful and sound tank. There were some area where improvements were needed, the Churchill was badly under gunned with its 6pdr that had a AP range of only 800yrds and due to the size of the shell any HE round would only have limited effect. Also the gun was mounted inside the turret and upon elevating left a hole (well a gap in the turret armour) which although protected from machinegun fire or shell splinters this area was vulnerable to German AT fire. There was also the added problem that in the North African light conditions, upon the gun elevating a dark shadow formed giving the German gunners an aiming point! (It should be noted that during the advance through the Medjerda valley 60% of Churchill casualties were hit on or around the gun mantlet.)


This problem deeply worried Captain P.H. Morrell who was at the time attached to 16 Base Workshop REME employed scrapping wrecks after the fall of Tunis. He noticed that Sherman tank wrecks rarely had damaged guns and wondered whether the 75mm could be salvaged and used to up-gun a Churchill. After much thought Morrell put his proposal forward and an evaluation of the project was carried out and found to be possible. Morrell was then given a brand new MKIV and told to fit a 75mm (under the code name Operation Whitehot, there were several major problems: the crew of a Sherman sit opposite to the crew in a Churchill, so the breach mechanism had to he turn 180 degrees. Periscopes and extraction ports had to be changed. They also had to adjust the co-axial Browning to stop it grounding by limiting the machine guns elevating. After ten days the prototype was ready and the tank was taken to the RAC training depot for trials, this was only to evaluate the gun. The gunnery instructor Major Whittington conducted the trial and found the 75mm accurate with HE at 8,000 – 8,500yrds; he also noted that the Churchill proved a far more stable gun platform than the original Sherman. The trial was successful and 665 Tank Troop Workshop were immediately put to work converting MKIV Churchills to the new variant designated MKIV NA75 (NA75 = North Africa with 75mm). Over the next three months until June 1944 around 190 conversions were done.

Capt. P. H. Morell

 Combat deployment

Upon arrival in Italy the 21st and 25th Tank Brigades were re-structured to include two troops (i.e. 18) of Shermans in each Squadron. When the NA75s became available they essentially replaced the Shermans (only 3 or so retained). Within 25th Tank Brigade the North Irish Horse appear to have been the first to receive NA75s - receiving a full complement of 18 in July 1944. The other two regiments in the brigade received theirs a few weeks later. At this time Vauxhalls were producing MkVIs and MkVIIs Churchills mounting the new QF 75mm, however priority for these vehicles was given to the new front in northwest Europe. The NA75 soldiered on even after MKVIIs reached Italy and in 15th Army Group AFV Situation Report 7 April 1945 there are still 77 in service mostly (46) with 21 Brigade but a few with 7 Brigade. 


As you all know by now Bill Krieg was kind enough to send me a box of part-built, semi scrap and broken kits.

Well among them was a venerable Airfix Churchill, among other issues was a lack of gun mantlet, I decided this was a opportunity to try and build a Churchill NA75. Now the Airfix Churchill hull/tracks is OK, and after some major stripping and rebuilding looked passable, but every image I`ve seen of an NA75 has had parts of the track covers removed (I guess to allow for quicker maintenance in the muddy conditions of Italy). So rather than taken a razor-saw to what was already a patched up plastic hull, I came up the idea of switching hulls/turrets with a Britannia Mk IV (which is modelled with the track guards removed).

Now scale/size between the two models may have been an issue, but on closer inspection - they were pretty close.

I  decided to use the Airfix hull as a Mk IV (with the Britannia turret) and the britannia hull as the NA75 with the Airfix turret. This meant i needed to remove the plug from the underside of the Britannia turret and plug the hole in the Britannia hull

Next i need a Sherman 75 mantlet and luckily enough had a Matchbox Firefly turret in the spares box. To make life simpler I used a razor-saw and took off the entire turret front + mantlet and then fitted it to the Airfix turret 9after some fiddling and filling)

I then stowed up the Airfix hull and NA75 turret, added a commander who used to command the Airfix Bofors too and here they are after undercoat awaiting final painting.

The finished NA75

she won`t win any modeling awards, but I`m quite pleased with it