Thursday, 22 October 2015

Flames of War... and FINALLY! Another blog post... Polish Infantry

So, I have been snowed under with mountains of work combined with travel AND a new modelling project which bit deep into my focus.

When this happens to me I struggle to put my head above the parapets to see whats going on in the world and I will generally go neck deep into a painting regime and won't come up for air for a couple of months... and a Flames of War Polish army which I had sitting in a cupboard for about 4 years finally grabbed me by the throat and shook me like a British Nanny!

I have now finally come up for air and looking behind me I have a LOT of Polish elements for a Flames of War Early War game complete.

I decided early on that I would hammer a Piechoty Battalion hard (thats Polish Infantry, as opposed to  motorised or cavalry) and whilst I have completed a lot of stuff I will focus this particular blog on the infantry side of things.

The Polish nation that gained its independence from Russia (and the Soviet Union) in 1921 following the end of World War 1 and the Miracle on the Vistula was, under Marshall Pilsudski essentially an armed camp with about 20% of the Gross Domestic Produce earmarked for military expenditure.

Sadly by 1936 Pilsudski was dead, the military hierarchy was riven with internal factions and friction and a highly incapable demagogue was hailed as the national saviour. Edward Rydz-Smigly was, as Pilsudki put it, a tenacious and stubborn army commander who collected accolades by the bucket BUT demonstrated very little that indicated an ability to think strategically at a national level... and of course the Polish defensive plan that fell apart so comprehensively in the first three days of September 1939 demonstrated this.

The Polish armed forces however, were a hell of a lot more competent than a lot of their commanding officers at senior levels.

The Polish infantry in particular was a tough breed who knew that their countries very existence depended on them fighting to the limit and past any edges!

A person that I once knew, who also collected a Polish army (at 20mm) put it very succinctly that the Polish army was never out fought, only out manoeuvred.

Because of these underrated troops performances I decided that I would start my Polish adventure with the Infantry.

All of the infantry so far. Two full companies (and one with a platoon of naval infantry) and each with a HMG platoon, a Battalion Commander and attached Pioneers and Sappers

A vista view across all of them

A close look at the platoons 

...and on to a closer look:

Battalion Commanders of Infantry would march to battle and be accompanied by the Battalion allocation of 81mm Mortars as displayed here.

Each  Piechoty company would have the option to have a platoon of HMG's attached to it. Three Heavy machine guns were old and heavy BUT provided some much needed fire support to the infantry when they launched one of their attacks.

Polish Infantry Platoons were large and unwieldy but one of the things it did have in its favour was a lot of screaming madmen who were fanatical about their country's survival!

Shown here is a full Polish Piechoty platoon of three sections of 19 men each, with one NCO and one LMG operator, a platoon commander accompanied by a 40mm Mortar team and a 2 man Anti tank rifle team.

Each infantry platoon (as shown in the two photos above)  would also have the option to be accompanied by a 2 man 40mm knee mortar and an anti tank rifle as well as the platoon commander.

The standard Light Machine Gun of the Polish army in 1939 was the American Browning Automatic Rifle (of BAR for short). Heavy and with limited capacity box ammunition it was nonetheless sturdy and reliable.

A polish anti tank rifle. Developed in strict secrecy before the war began, these rifles used squeezed Tungsten core ammunition which came out of the barrel at such a high velocity that almost no German armour was proof against it, other than the PzKpfw IV... of which there were very few around!

One of my personal bug bears with the Polish army of 1939 is the reproduction of colours of the uniforms... and I have seen all sorts. It took me a while to sort out a colouration that I was satisfied with BUT I did manage it so Ive put the instructions here for any of you who may wish to paint Polish:

Undercoat:        Primer
Basecoat:           Matt Black

                                Basecoat                             Highlight                          Extra(?)
Uniform           Brown Violet (887)           Green Brown (879)        Filter for NATO vehicles(AK076)
Helmet/ Tin      Russian Green (894)        50/50 +Brown Violet (879)
Webbing           German Field Grey (830) Green Grey (886)
Puttees              Graveyard Earth (GW)     Kommando Khaki (GW)
Boots                Chocolate Brown (872)    Flat Earth (983)
Pouches            Chocolate Brown (872)    Flat Earth (983)
Canvas Packs   English Uniform (921)     Khaki (988)
Bedroll             Scorched Brown (GW)     Flat Earth (983)
Rifle Body       Scorched Brown (GW)      Vermin Brown (GW)
Metal Bits        Gunmetal Grey (863)
Collar Tabs       Intense Blue (925)
Flesh                 Beige Red (804)               Light Flesh (928)