Way back last year I read an alt history book, A Kill in the Morning, which had a rather compelling timeline (with absolutely no alien space bats). Historical games haven’t really ever been my thing, but that was my in to making models of the period.
Following Dunkirk, Rudolph Hess’ doomed flight manages to succeed, and with it the British Empire exits the war, ending the conflict in Europe. For the next decade the Soviets fight alone on the Eastern Front, as the world enters a Cold War between the super powers.
The book doesn’t go into the mechanics of the war, rather it focuses on a James Bond style character on a globetrotting frolic to stop Reinhard Heydrich, the now de
-facto leader of the Nazi party, and get revenge. This premise of a Germany which would have had the resources to produce its wonder weapons, instead of continuing on from the failed state it was in 1945 like most alt-history fiction uses as a starting point, seemed like just the excuse to make some toy soldiers…
So, here, look at these messes, excuse the fluff where it becomes too nonsensical.
The poor damn infantry, Heer Grenadiers:
The Soviet Front was becoming a forever war. What men went there, other than those used in the flashy propaganda reels, became largely forgotten. Those who had been there long enough were armed with a mish-mash of gear, some dating from the early days of Operation Barbarossa. In order to combat the proliferation of automatic weapons various attempts were made to increase the survivability of the average soldier. These may wear a number of models, including captured Soviet ones, of plate vest. Unsuited for wear, and often incapable of stopping anything more than a ricochet, many were abandoned, sans for the Panzer Grenadiers who had a cushy Katzchen APC to ride in.
These guys are a mix of Wargames Factory and Warlord Games plastics, Dust German and Soviet torsos , West Wind heads, and a hell of a lot of greenstuff for all the gaps and winter clothing. I have a commander for them in a WIP
state as well.
In the real world the Soviets did make use of body armour, with there apparently being instances of their use in German service. The SS
may have tested using WWI era German armour as well, but I can’t find any sources to back that up. As for the weaponry, the StG-45 is an anachronism here, but it fits in with their bedraggled look. Rather the Gerat-06 (both in full auto and semi-auto forms) was to be the standardised AR of the Reich (however the prototypes largely wound up sitting unused in a train in the Alps at the end of the war). Post-war the Gerat became the CETME rifle, which led onto the G3.
Speaking of Katzchens…
The Katzchen had been developed as part of a program to deliver a fully tracked armoured personnel carrier for the Heer. A number of designs were proposed, though one which re-used they now obsolete Panzer 38 (t) chassis was ultimately chosen. Able to carry 8 men (including crew), they were issued widely to the Heer and other combat forces, which after the Opel Blitz truck had become the most widely used transport for the German military. By the late 40s however, they were largely obsolete, their thin armour and exposed crew compartments (remedied with a later model) making them just too susceptible enemy fire.
Each of these started as a Rubicon Hetzer kit. That company’s kits are just superb, with the conversion being relatively simple (just plasticard slapped on top of the existing hull). You could even make two of these per kit if you’re willing to use the spare set of tracks and rebuilt the inner track assembly (which I did, but I’m getting ahead of myself here).
The Katzchen was a real vehicle, which did see service in very (as in a handful) numbers. When the Allies captured them they thought they were ammunition carriers, till documentation was found later on (the crew benches were perhaps a giveaway for their purpose). Post-war the Swedes made their own APC based on the same chassis, though it didn’t see any combat service and was later replaced.
As the war progressed the inadequacy of the Katzchen had become apparent, thus earlier plans for a larger APC were taken out. The Panther, whilst more than a match for the Soviet T-34, had great difficulty in beating the latest generation of the Soviet tanks. This led to a modernization process, but still many were fast being relegated to the scrap yards. The Griffon was an attempt to re-use these older hulls as an APC, capable of transporting 12 men and their equipment. A run of Puma turrets were made to provide the vehicle with a simple armament, though the Griffon wasn’t intended as more than a “battle bus”.
A Warlord Games Panther tank with the engine moved to the front and a platicard passenger compartment added to the rear. The turret was my early attempt at a Puma’s, though I have spare ones laying about now which I probably aught to go back and use.
Historically the Germans had put forth a number of prospective tanks for their APC program, though the 38(t) was ultimately chosen (with the final model being cited by the Allies as having a very Panther like appearance). This has more in line with the Bradley IFV though.
An Armoured Opel Blitz
Despite leaps in technology, for a time most of the German military was still armed to its early war standard. As troops road into battle inside heavy APCs with Assault Rifles and body armour, at their sides were guns being drawn on horse limbers and men in trucks. Improvisation was the name of the game. The Opel Blitz was the workhorse (…barring the actual horses) of the German army, with this example having some ad-hoc plates welded onto it for extra protection.
A Rubicon Opel Blitz with some plasticard slapped on.
The Soviets made use of armoured trucks as their counter to the Sd.Kfz 250/251, though I don’t think I’ve seen any German armoured trucks which were so elaborate. This one’s based on a Luftwaffe armoured conversion of the Opel Blitz which mounted an AA gun, just with an armoured rear compartment added rather than the open deck.
Not all the APCs used by the Reich were quite so …standardised. This example is an in-field conversion which mated multiple obsolete Panzer III hulls (destined to become emplacements) with Sd.Kfz 251s bodies. The end result was a vehicle more capable of dealing with the Eastern Front’s harsh conditions, and less prone to break downs as a result of the 251’s original road wheel system. Later on an enclosed roof was added, both for protection …and the climate.
A mix of a Rubicon Sd.Kfz 251 and their Panzer III. Its actually based on an APC I saw concept art for from a Japanese game Valkyria Chronicles, just using WWII vehicle parts
Again, somewhat based in reality. The Germans would stick obsolete tank tracks onto their tracks to make them better handle the rough terrain. Post-war the Soviets did mount various trucks onto tank chassis for use as engineer vehicles, though not as APCs
Sd.Kfz 234/5 “Mammut”
The “Mammut “was the Luftwaffe’s attempt at creating a light APC for its ground and paratrooper forces. The Sd.Kfz 234 chassis were chosen as a basis for this conversion, with the potential for the final vehicle to be used in a similar recce role. Overall the “Mammut” filled this role admirably …barring when it began to saw service on the Eastern Front, where they quickly became bogged down on the muddy roads. Ultimately most were issued to those units due to operate in the Middle East, or to anti-partisan forces in Europe.
Where the other half of that 251 went… I stuck the rear cab of that onto a Puma chassis (with the tracks reversed) along with a Panzer II Luchs turret. …and a lot of gap filler.
Now, onto the fun stuff…
Panzer IV Ausf. K
By 1946 the Panzer IV had been largely marked for re-assignment to second line duties or were being scrapped. Attempts however were made to make the vehicle somewhat competitive in secondary theatres. A new, high velocity gun replaced the original, with the whole hull being also redesigned to include sloped armour and elements from the Panzer III/IV project. Unfortunately the K would see combat against modern Soviet tanks more often than not, which it was wholly incapable of fighting, which resulted in most being re-issued to Germany’s foreign allies.
A Rubicon Panzer IV with plasticard armour, and extended at the back with some Panther exhausts. The main gun’s a Tamiya 1/48th lamppost and the barrel off of a Forgeworld autocannon.
The Ausf.K’s entirely fictional, dreamt up by modellers. The Panzer IV just wouldn’t have been viable, even if they stuck a 75mm on it (which was proposed, though quickly shot down as the chassis was already overstrained). A guy can dream…
With the inception of the Entwichlung-series, the Panzer III/IV, along with the Panzer 38 (t) were envisaged as a method for re-using older proven design – largely not as front line tanks, but as more specialised vehicles. This Jagd III/IV is an example of one such use, and an odd beast at that. Originally intended to mount an 88mm gun (thus the unusual casement), this was downsized for production, with only a short run of vehicles being built after it was quickly realized that their role was already fulfilled by other standardized E-series assault guns.
A Warlord Panzer IV with a Panther gun, and plasticard casement and engine deck.
The Panzer III/IV was a real thing, seeking to mate the internal running gear and other components of the Panzer III with the Panzer IV for efeciency in production. A couple of vehicles, like the Nashorn used it as a basis. This odd duck though, is a cross between that, and a proposed design for a StuG III mounting an 88mm gun, though that was determined to be a very silly idea, and only existed as a wooden mockup.
Kugelblitz 38 (t)
Used to provide AA support to infantry formations, the Kugelblitz was a widely used turret, mounted from everything from light tanks to armoured railway carriages. The standard pattern issued to the military was the mount in its 38(t) (and later 38(d) and E-25 guise). A relatively light chassis unsuited for front line combat, but more than capable of the much smaller bore AA guns the mount included.
And well, what to do with those spare Hetzer tracks from earlier… This is largely plasticard, with a Kugelblitz Turret by Heer 46.
The Kugelblitz was a real thing, with a few produced (and one reportedly being down by the US in combat) in the last days of the war. These were prototypes mounted on the Panzer IV chassis however, whilst the production model was supposed to use the 38 (t) (my mention of the 38 (d) there is in reference to a simplified, larger, German successor to the original Czech inter-war tank).
And with the funny little tanks now squared away, time to move onto some of the larger stuff…
During the early war the Panther had been largely unopposed by all but the heaviest of Soviet armour. This superiority had quickly been usurped, with German designers being pushed into developing a more capable beast. The Panther II was the result. The Panther II fitted with a new smaller Schmalturm turret, a gas turbine engine and using heavier Tiger II tracks to resolve earlier weight issues, along with a full set of Infra-red gear. This particular example also boasts a complete set of spaced addon armour, which saw issue through the tank’s life cycle to withstand larger Soviet guns and shaped charge weapons.
A Rubicon Panther with Heer 46 turret and Warlord Tiger II tracks, plus the requisite plasticard. A hell of a beast…
The Panther II was a real thing. Only one was built, before German command demanded a less radical upgrade for the Panther. It didn’t include a gas turbine engine or the turret, those were late war proposals, but feasible I suppose in this alternative timeline. The addon armour’s all me.
Czech Panther II
With the success of the Panther II proposals were made for production to be outsourced to Germany’s “allied” states. Czechoslovakia was a prominent arms producer, with many of its vehicles (particular the 38(t)) seeing service in the German army. With the Czech design for simplifications were made to the original model, particular the inclusion of a cast hull; which the Czechs were adept at. Ultimately however, the project was a failure. Corruption led to quality issues, as did the inception of the E-series make tanks other than the E-50/75 obsolete.
And things are becoming weirder… This started with me wanting to make a cast hull Panther, then thinking that wouldn’t suit the period, so I stuck some Tiger II tracks on it. Its another Rubicon Panther, this time with a milliput hull and turret and Warlord Tiger II tracks again. Oh, and the Tamiya lamppost makes another appearance as a barrel.
There were no plans for a cast hull Panther, but it’s a cool idea, and would have increased production of that tank had it been outsourced. Obviously there would have been even worse quality control issues with foreign factories than German ones though.
A missing link in the development of the Tiger II…?
Not going to lie, this was just an excuse for me to use a spare Warlord Tiger kit I have and slap some spaced armour on it. I didn’t even bother thinking up any fluff, it’s a dumb idea.
The original Tiger came after the T-34, which had sloped armour. They didn’t include any on the Tiger though for presumably a few reasons (smaller crew space/ the armour being considered thick enough), but would later revise that idea with the Tiger II.
A heavier revision of the original Jagdtiger. The II featured thicker armour and a larger superstructure (which protected the exposed engine from enemy aircraft and artillery). The result was intended as for long range support out on the flat Russian steppe, which was its eventual role …as more often than not due to its slow speed and rather weak front torsion bar, they were mostly abandoned in static positions.
A Warlord Tiger II plus a hell of a lot of plasticard. Oh and a Dust muzzle break. The camo’s entirely fictional, but I’m dubbing it the Christmas Tree …I mean pine forest pattern.
There was no Jagdtiger II, even on paper. This concept of mounting the gun straight at the front was proposed, but went up in flames when the designers discovered the thing would crush the already mimetically bad front torsion bar of the Tiger II chassis. Meh, looks cool though.
And now onto the final spiel of this long ass post….
The party had envisioned the SS
as their premier fighting force. What it became was a bedraggled mess of non-uniformly equipped soldiers, and host to a multitude of non-party aligned international troops.
Butchhunde was intended as the pilot for a restructuring of the party’s armed wing, in tandem with a similar effort being made with the Heer. The unit was thrown into the Eastern front, and served …as expected, before ultimately being routed. In its tenure they hosted a plethora of equipment which didn’t see standard use, including reported the first action of the Panzermensch.
These are Mantic Games Colonial Troopers (or whatever they call them, they’re OOP
now), with a mix of Wargames Factory and Dust heads, plus a load of greenstuff. Their guns are fictional, made from: AR15 stocks and magazines, MP
-40 bodies, and PPsH-41 barrels.
A bad bastard. Nuff said.
He’s a Wargames Factory American GI with a coat sculpted on, and a head and pistol from their German kit. Originally he was an Enclave officer for my Fallout stuff, I just gave him a repaint.
The Reich was always fond of its wonder waffens, though few ever worked out as planned (rather my sheer stint of the occasional one which worked at all were the Germans capable of maintaining their stalemate with the Soviets). The history of these armoured suits is mired in folklore, but reports indicate there limited use at Stalingrad (deployed from a large Tiger based APC) and on occasion by British agents operating within German Heavy Water Plants. No concrete evidence was ever produced however.
A Konflikt 47 German Heavy Infantryman. This doesn’t fit explicitly in the world I’m making most of my models for, though the book I’m basing all of this one does have hints of stuff like this going on in the background. I have a whole squad of them to paint, ah, but seeing as they’d see limited use I haven’t quite been around to it quite yet.
There’s other bits and pieces in my gallery, along with WIPs
of other projects for this. I’ll save posting that junk here as well …because this is probably enough of an image dump already.