Friday, 20 November 2015

Flames of War: Polish Naval Infantry

When Nazi Germany finally pounced on Poland and struck across the Polish corridor it became apparent to Major Dabek, who was the officer in charge of the defence of Gdansk and Gdynia that the troops that he has available to him were going to be insufficient for the task at hand.

As the Polish Navy had already dispatched their small navy to the United Kingdom it was decided to mobilise all remaining naval troops into a collection of Ad Hoc infantry battalions with a small amount of attached artillery.

These riflemen gave sterling service fighting tooth and nail until the capitulation of the last Polish forces in the area on the Kepa Oksywskie on 17th September leaving only the few troops bottled up on the Hel Peninsular as the last remaining Polish troops in the field in the North of Poland.

There are no manufacturers who produce Polish naval troops and few alternatives out there for what remains.

It is an obvious choice to go for the Soviet Black Death; the naval battalions of the Black Sea Fleet but there are differences between these troops and the Polish naval troops of 1939. The Soviet sailors are festooned with rifle ammunition bandoliers and whilst I wouldn't rule out the possibility of some of the Polish sailors having access to them judging by what photographic evidence there is I would say that they would be the exception rather than the rule. The Soviet sailor caps have two ribbons hanging down their backs and the miniatures that are out there have quite a high proportion of SMG's and LMG's of which the Polish only had a few BAR's.

This meant that in order to keep a healthy amount of diversity in the troops a fair bit of sculpting, dicing and slicing needs to take place. I opted to leave the ammo bandoliers as there were so many of them on the Battlefront miniatures and I didn't want to ditch all of the miniatures that had them. All of the ribbons were cut away and the shoulder flap on the uniform of the Polish naval troops was trimmed back into place. The SMG's were resculpted back into a parody of a rifle (admittedly a little short) and the LMG's were adjusted to parody the BAR's. The final step, in order to make them a little more Polish was a series of head swaps where I replaced the Soviet heads with US GI heads. The beauty of these Peter Pig heads is that the sculpts are a little ambiguous and with some very slight trimming they provide a very good imitation of the Polish issue helmet of 1939.

The official Polish uniforms navy cap was white, as shown by the uniform in the Warsaw military museum but looking at the photographs of the prisoners taken ALL of them are wearing a dark blue/ black cap and as much as I would have appreciated the colour contrast I decided to go with the authenticity as far as I was able and decided to paint the dark cap instead!

Without further ado...

So how did I paint these individual parcels of loveliness? Well they were a bit of a ball ache! Well actually a lot of  a ball ache.. because I just couldn't get the blue right. It took me a couple of attempts but here is the process:

Undercoat:           Primer
Basecoat:             Matt Black

                                        Basecoat                            Highlight                                     Extra
Uniform and Cap      Mordian Blue (GW)         Prussian Blue (965)              Badab Black Wash (GW)
                                  & Badab Black (GW)
Helmet                      Russian Green (894)         50/50 +Violet Brown (879)
Pouches                    Chocolate Brown (872)     Flat Earth (983)
Bandoliers                English Uniform (921)      Khaki (988)
Putees                       Graveyard Earth (GW)     Off-white (820)
Boots                        Black(950)                        German Grey (995)
Rifle Body                Scorched Brown (GW)    Vermin Brown (GW)
Metal Bits                Gunmetal Grey (863)
Flap Lining              Off-white (820)
Polish Cap Eagle     Offwhite (820)
Cap Embroidery     Yellow Ochre (913)