Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fiddling About: French Armour Organization

I like to make some attempt at organising my AFVs into believable units, although not completely authentic. For example, if a complete British tank squadron appears on the table, the proportions of A13s, A9s, A10s (and maybe even Scout Cars and Bren carriers) will be realistic enough for my purposes.

Most units up to squadron level had a mixture of AFVs: PzIs or PzIIs teamed up with PzIIIs or PzIVs or the Czech based tanks depending on the Panzer Division for the Germans; the French recce battalions drew from Panhards, Lafflys, H39s, P16 half tracks and AMR33 & 35s depending on availability. As I mostly recreate typical battles, reasonable justification is needed to use certain vehicle types within hypothetical units and I do not concern myself whether the 6th Panzer Division was actually in combat with 3rd Division Leger Mechanique.

Various sources can be summarized by looking at David Lehman's Tank Numbers treatise and Niehorster's OOBs.

Let's have a look at my French armour first:

Awaiting weathering & decals
3rd DLM: slight weighting towards Somua S35s although in reality had H39s in equal numbers (this simply because of the numbers of miniatures in my possession and have quite enough without buying more! Same reason why my gaming tank squadrons may have 3 troops instead of 4). H35s instead of H39s in 1st or 2nd DLM.
2nd & 3rd DCC: one with slightly more Char B1, the other with the proportions in favour of H39s
4th DCC: a mixture of D2s, B1s and R35s. Charles de Gaulle's unit.
Recconnaisance: I had bought all manner of armoured cars and so on. Compacting them into representative units gave me a recce unit from a DLM of AMR33s, S35s & P178s; one GRDI recce company of Laffly 50s and Schneider P16s and two of differing proprtions of Panhards & AMR35s.
503rd Groupement BCC: FCM36s & R35s.
Groupement Organique: R35s, R40s & FCM36s. This is really some 'penny packets' lumped together.
11th & 51st BCC: Char 2Cs & FT17s, although the 2Cs, due to their crew size, was a standalone unit, or would have been if it had got into action.
As a nod to the French 'tactic' of using their tanks in 'penny packets', any troop could easily be found on its own in a support role.
To view: left click, right click & 'view image' then click + to zoom in
Photos to follow once properly weathered and decals applied.
British, Belgian & German to be summarized shortly...