Saturday, 20 February 2016

Flames of War: Polish Motorcycle Reconnaissance Platoon

... of course one area that the Poles did actually have troops that were geared towards reconnaissance was the motorcycle mounted elements of the various regiments and brigades that they were a part of!

Yet another spangly troop type to kit out my army with... well I just had to have it!

A complete Polish motorcycle platoon

Polish motorcycle troops were equipped with the Sokol 1000 (otherwise known as CWS M111). It was the heaviest of the Polish pre war home manufactured models and was designed by the PZInz works for both civilian and military uses.

A Ckm wz.30 mounted on a Sokol 1000 sidecar with handle and sights adapted for Anti Aircraft Use

The original M55 attempt were designed specifically to replace the consumption of Harley Davidson motorcycles in the Polish market and production ran from 1933 right up to the outbreak of the war. The bike itself was based upon the Harley Davidson whilst the engine was almost a direct copy of the Indian, although less reliable.

PZInz stepped in and decided to do a revamp which it duly did, although the creation was extremely heavy for a bike of this class and restrictively expensive, with one costing almost as much as a family car. However, negatives aside, the reliability and durability in adverse conditions were second to none. 

Despite what this photo might look like, these aren't German Kradschutzen but the Polish semi elite 10th Motorised Brigade in their Reconnaissance Company

This durability proved to be a major advantage and the Sokol 1000 was much faster off road than many of the previously used American bikes, with one of the major innovations being a soft mounting for a sidecar facilitating much faster off road speeds and easier handling.

A Polish Motorcycle Section
These miniatures are mainly Battlefront, and whilst the miniatures for the men themselves are absolutely appalling (as per normal) the sidecars for the bikes are very accurate to the Polish design. Also, financially speaking, the packs in which you buy them are organised around a proper platoon structure so it makes sense to buy them.

Actually for use with my Renault FT-17 company as one of the command elements
There will come a point however when you decide you actually need more motorcycle mounted troops than you actually have access to but don't want to spend out on another complete company when all you need is one or two bases... in this case you want to head over to True North Miniatures.

Another command element for those Polish forces with a high percentage of motorcycle troops.

So the quality of the soldiers is far higher than Battlefront, anatomically speaking the proportions of the figures are a lot more convincing and the bikes are definitely nicer with a 'sans sidecar' option being available as well... the only downsides are that the sidecar is completely wrong. Im not even sure where they came up with the idea from as I cannot find ANY photos where the bike troops have a square nosed sidecar... and the pack structure that you buy these in means you get too many dispatch riders per pack and not enough sidecar packs... meaning the net cost over Battlefront is a LOT more expensive...otherwise I would have had these ones as my motorcycle choice in a heartbeat.

Oh yeah... and one other problem. These True North Miniatures are all Polish cavalry uniforms. The only problem being that in an entire Cavalry Brigade there would only be one motorcycle allocated to the Brigade... everybody else riding around on, well... horses! Which means of course that the motorcycle and sidecar are totally useless and you would only ever need one dispatch rider at best! They become a bit pointless really! Still, nice models though...

So, there we have it, I can now also field as much reconnaissance possibilities as its possible to have with a Polish army as well... Go Me! Poland Forever!