Film: All Quiet on the Western Front

Quite by coincidence, whilst creating yet more CD scenery bases from the stack of freebies I was given, I came across a couple that I’ll keep, and after last week’s binge on the Martian Front, one was “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

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This is the 1979 film not the original 1930’s film, but as last week was the anniversdary of events leading to the largest slaughter in history I watched it, and found it was a good film (certainly as it was free!).

Most people will know the overall plot and tenor of the book and therefore the films. It made a good viewing and lead up to the disillusionment of the actual war experience.

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Interestingly, the film is set during the period the Germans were changing from the picklhaube (spiked) hemet that had proved pretty useless, and moving to the new more familiar coal scuttle or Stahlheim M1916 helmet. One scene in particular highlights the changing nature of war as the front line unit meets their reinforcemnents. the front line units have the pickelhaube, the new recruits the stahlheim.A quick search on the net and I found this was a common case – the Germans despite starting to investigate steel helemts for their troops first, were the last to actually deploy them with the British Brodie, and French Adrian pattern helmets reaching their armies beforehand.

I often comment that as wargamers, we are not celebrating war at all – more often than not having lovingly built, based, researched and painted our favoiurite units we plonk them on the table, and ourt opponents proceed to get lucky and slaughter them in seconds.Its a very sobering experience to think that in real life and commanders and generals often do exactly the same, only its flesh and blood being killed not chuncks of metal/plastic/resin.

A mystery photo from WW1

As we approach the centenary of WW1 one of my associates posted a picture that had been in his family archives.

As I had a herd of nerds on Saturday evening I printed it off and tossed it into their midst for identification.

I thought the central soldiers were Russians, and that the guys in service caps to the sides were Americans.

BUT when printing it off A4 size, you can see the service caps have tassles, which is not characteristic of Americans in WW1. The collective suggested they might be Greek or Belgian. The Osprey book “Armies in the Balkans 1914-18” p46 has a good likeness, with a picture of six troops from different nationalities shown.

A Belgian in an American Greatcoat which seems similar to the greatcoat worn in the original photo.

Belgian soldier with cap tassle.

BUT, the pictures I find for the Russian Expeditionary Force to the western front show them in Adrian helmets.

So could this still be a photo from Salonika where the Russians wore their own (national) uniforms, with Greek troops ?

Answers please !

Mark V Tank

First Mark V Tank (Male) painted as a British tank.

The colours on the horns are too big, and the second photo misses a lot of weathering which I have still not got right.

I have a tank park big enough for each of british, White and Red armies of Male, Female and hermaphrodite that will be built and assembled over time.

Models by Brigade Games/Company B.

BoB: Building a new army

You don’t often get to purposely build a new army, well I don’t.

On my list of stuff to sell was a rather randomly bought pile of WW1 Germans from Brigade and Great War Miniatures. Nothing wrong with them, I just bought them on whim and found I had no need or them really. Well up untiul I decided to do the Big Game for BoB this June.

So I sorted through them and found I needed to round it out (yes really).

So I could have three core infantry units plus a command unit and HMG.

I decided to add to that another HMG and an artillery piece.

The Germans didn’t use any tanks on the Eastern front at all, and had only a small amount of A/Cs, so if I was to field them they would have to be balanced out with more HMGs, and maybe a fourth infantry unit – the infantry not being armed heavily with LMGs or SMGs, and not trained as stormtroopers either !

So that’s about 4-5 units of 10 troops and a couple of HMGs, plus the artillery.

There you go, the full force, now all I need to do is paint ti by June for the Big Game

Now to dispose of the 40+ troops I cdon’t need.

Lewis Gun (LMG)

As per the banners and standards my interest in AVBCW and RCW has lead me to investigate the weaponry used between WW1 and WW2.

The Lewis Gun was one such weapon, and was pretty much the LMG of choice for most armies in WW1, RCW and onwards to the beginning of WW2 when it was replaced by several other LMGs (eg the Bren gun). It was a contemporary of the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), and like the BAR was really an early, clumsy form of an assault rifle.

It used the .303 bullet, same as the Lee Enfield (SMLE) rifle that was deployed from pre WW1 until Korea, and the Afghans used it against the Soviets in the 1980’s. Excellent stopping power.

An impressive piece of kit, it was reliable and portable. the British armed forces used it extensively in WW1, and their opponents the Germans liked it so much (well except when it was being fired at them), that they preferred it to the captured Danish Madsens (captured from the Russians) and their own LMGs. My Osprey book cover for Stormtrooper has a picture of German Stormtroopers marching by, equipped with Lewis guns.

The bipod was the usual equipment, the tripod the same as used by the Vickers HMG, and they were used in aeroplanes often dual mounted with double sized round magazines.

Not much fun.

Now 100 years old, it’s yours for £15k+…