RAF Regiment Scorpion

RAF Regiment Scorpion

On a recent visit to RAF Cosford Museum I took some more photographs of the RAF Regiment Scorpion that was on display in the Cold War exhibition.

RAF Regiment Scorpion

The RAF Regiment’s mission is protection of RAF bases from ground attack, and patrolling a large area around main operating bases abroad, in order to defend aircraft on ingress and egress from surface to air attack.

It was in November 1981, the RAF Regiment took delivery of its first Scorpions.

RAF Regiment Scorpion

The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. It was the lead vehicle and the fire support type in the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), family of seven armoured vehicles. Manufactured by Alvis, it was introduced into service with the British Army in 1973 and served until 1994.

In 1989 No. 1 Squadron RAF Regiment was based at RAF Laarbruch. It had 15x Spartan and 6x Scorpion. No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, at RAF Bruggen, also had 15x Spartan and 6x Scorpion.

RAF Bruggen was situated next to the village of Elmpt, approximately 43 kilometres (27 mi) west of Düsseldorf near the Dutch-German border.

RAF Laarbruch was also located in Germany, however it on its border with the Netherlands.

The role of the RAF Regiment would have been to defend the airfields from Warsaw Pact attack.

You can imagine in the world of Team Yankee (and Iron Maiden) that the RAF Regiment would be involved in fighting Warsaw Pact forces, though much of it would probably have been Spetsnaz, Soviet Special Forces. This is more appropriate to a 20mm or 25mm skirmish type game rather than the 15mm tank versus tank battles of Team Yankee.

Soviet Airborne forces made use of the BMD1 and BMD2 and these were air-portable.

BMD2
http://vitalykuzmin.net via https://commons.wikimedia.org CC BY-SA 4.0

These could be the ideal opposition for the RAF Regiment Scorpion tanks.

Though once the Cold War turned hot would the Soviets be able to push airborne troops that far west through contested airspace?

Maybe take an alternate perspective and use my own British Civil War background and have them as supporting Royalist forces, or as the Republican opposition.

I have some Team Yankee Scorpions, they are currently in the process of being painted as BAOR versions.

Then and Now

I’ve always found the comparative photographs showing photographs from the 1940s and how those same locations look today. In the past you would have needed to physically go the locations to take those comparative photographs, however with tools such as Google Street View you can now find the same locations online.

The harbours of Weymouth and Portland were one of the biggest departure points for US troops with over 500,000 military personnel, including support staff, and 144,000 vehicles.

This is a circa late May or early June 1944 photograph of U.S. Rangers marching through Weymouth in Dorset, en route to board landing ships for the invasion of France.

Weymouth in 1944

Using Google Street View you can get a similar contemporary view of Weymouth.

contemporary view of Weymouth

You can actually see very little has changed since 1944, the hotel has changed its name and the buildings have been repainted, but the substance of the buildings have changed very little.

I just need to make a call…

So you are trying to set the scene for Operational Sea Lion games for Bolt Action.

One of the challenges has been finding British scenery. If you were playing in 20mm then there was a whole model railway scene for an English landscape. However if you went down the 15mm (or the 28mm) road then alas there was very little available.

With the release of the Sea Lion campaign books from Warlord Games for Bolt Action, it’s nice to see that they are also releasing some nice scenery pieces to go with the campaign.

Fill your battlefields with iconic British objects – the Police, Telephone and Pillar boxes. An absolute must have for any British battlefield, providing key communication hubs for your local defence volunteers.

Of course I am probably not alone thinking, hmmm blue Police Box, I wonder who uses that!

So as well as Operation Sea Lion, you could also the scenery for Doctor Who games (pity the nice new Warlord Games Doctor Who miniatures are 32mm and not 28mm).

Also I can see these scenic items proving useful for a Very British Civil War games, as well as many of the Operation Sealion releases from Warlord Games. I do like their LDV volunteers for example.

I wonder if there are any other releases on the horizon?

Eine kleine Maus

Panzer VIII Maus

The Maus was a German World War Two super heavy tank that was completed in late 1944. Five were ordered, but only two hulls and one turret were completed before the testing grounds were captured by advancing Soviet forces.

It is the heaviest fully enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever built at 188 metric tons. It was armed with a 128mm gun and a coaxial 75mm gun.

The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy defences in the manner of an immense “breakthrough tank”, whilst taking almost no damage to any components.

Panzer VIII Maus

I’ve always been impressed with the 1/100th scale models from Zvezda as well as being good quality plastic miniatures they are also reasonably priced. My only real complaint is that the other types of models in the range are designed to fit the box, not the same scale of the vehicles. So the infantry figures and artillery pieces, are 1/72nd, some aircraft are 1/144th and even 1/200th. I have even seen 1/350th boats in the range. This is a pity. The1/100th scale vehicles though fit well with my other 15mm models.

I was intrigued the other day to see that my local model shop had the German super heavy tank Maus in their range of Zvezda kits.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus

I think it might have been priced wrongly at £3.50 as similar boxes (i.e. the bigger boxes) were £7.00. So I bought two for potential objectives or models for alternate history games set at the end of World War Two.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus

The model comprises two plastic sprues and look detailed and I think it will capture the feel of this monstrous tank.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus sprue

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus sprue

The next stage will be to construct the models, even though it says snap-fit, I think I will glue the model together. I will also add some weight to the model too, so give it some heft and ballast. I think a super heavy tank, even at 1/100th scale, should be “super heavy”.

I wonder if Zvezda will produce any other models similar to this? If they did what would you want to see?

Somerset Pillbox

Went for a walk along Sand Bay (near to Weston super Mare). I find it interesting that there is a pillbox on the beach, as you wouldn’t have thought that this coastline was under threat of German invasion back in 1940.

Somerset Pillbox

However doing some research about the pillbox, I came to realise that the British in 1940 did believe that invasion may come from the South West.

The Taunton Stop Line was a defensive line in south west England. It was designed “to stop an enemy’s advance from the west and in particular a rapid advance supported by armoured fighting vehicles (up to the size of a German medium tank) which may have broken through the forward defences.

The Taunton Stop Line ran north-south for nearly 50 miles through Somerset, Dorset and Devon, roughly from Axminster to Chard along the River Axe, then along the Great Western Railway to Ilminster, the railway and Chard Canal to Taunton, the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to Bridgwater, and the River Parrett to the coast near Highbridge.

A beach battery at Portished, was built to protect the entrance to Avonmouth Docks. It was the first such installation to be become operational in the area, the battery containing two 6″ guns. Similarily the Severn Fixed Defences were designed to protect the Bristol Channel with batteries established at Brian Down and on Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

In October 1940 it was announced that the Severn Fixed Defences, a string of gun batteries, designed to protect the mouth of the Severn, would be established at Brean Down, on both Steep and Flat Holm, and on the Glamorgan coast at Lavernock Point.

Just like Brean Down further south along the coast, weapons were tested at Sand Point (next to Sand Bay) during the Second World War. Some were so strange that they were never seen after their initial trials.

Somerset Pillbox

With the release of the Bolt Action Sealion Campaign book it got me thinking about all the possibilities of a German invasion of Somerset… okay probably would have been impossible, but even so….