Switch Theme:

6mm WW2 - Red Cross - Armed forces support and Aux corps and beyond.  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Hi folks. Something a bit different from me this time.
Some of you may know from following my ever expanding collection of WW2 aircraft that I'm very much more of a collector than a gamer. The likelihood of anything in my collection hitting a gaming table for any kind of battle is so low that I figure I'm in a perfect position to do something a little different. Something that doesn't really belong on a tabletop battlefield and so is rarely seen in our collections. But they were everywhere on the European front throughout the war and after. It's the Red Cross!



Like my aircraft they are all 6mm scale. I could see some of these being used in some very interesting objective based scenarios. Either as objectives of some kind themselves, escort the convoy or something or just as "try not to illegally destroy these by accident" pieces.
It'd be a fun exercise to try and work rules into any game in which these would be playable in some way. That said I don't actually have rules handy for a 6mm ground based ww2 game so... these are all the more useless for that. But that's just how I roll.

So first up lets briefly look at what was going on in the European theatre with the Red Cross.
Before the war the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had presented the Geneva Conventions governing the conduct and treatment of wounded soldiers and POWs during conflict which many nations had signed up to. (Significantly Laws concerning civilians had yet to be ratified) In a combat zone context, as during the First World War army medical ambulances and other Red Cross marked vehicles benefited from this legal mandate which demanded a strict duty of care and protection from belligerent forces.



Vehicles showing Red Cross markings could not be targeted and fired upon although accidents did happen. It was also strictly forbidden for them to carry weapons or do reconnaissance while so marked.

But the Red Cross did much, much more, far beyond the specific legal remit of their organisation. Some of those activities and some of the people who made them possible I am bringing to the tabletop in tiny 1:300 scale for your delight and enjoyment (I hope)

National Red Cross organisations (such as the British Red Cross, or the American Red Cross, etc) took on the task of supplying food and essentials from the governments of captured servicemen to the POW camps where they were held. They also oversaw the official registering of prisoners and ensured the observation of those legally protected rights afforded them. The Red Cross organised the production and distribution of tens of thousands of care parcels and letters to POW's from families all over the world.



It is strange to think that there was a more or less constant and direct line of communication across the front lines as Red Cross delegates, parcels and letters collected all over the world were sent, often by ship and by train across enemy lines into enemy territory to be received and distributed by the Red Cross there in all confidence.



Towards the end of the war however when the rail networks were badly damaged and parcels could not be sent by train the American Red Cross borrowed American army trucks to make the run themselves.



Trusting to a hasty application of white paint they drove these convoys of American vehicles right into German held territory and amazingly were allowed to drive right up alongside lines of marching prisoners being evacuated from the shrinking German front lines. So powerful was the adherence to the conventions that not a shot was fired at these American trucks who were permitted to hand out their parcels to prisoners at the roadside without interference.


Red Cross volunteer ambulance crews many of them women provided an essential service to the sick and the wounded, both on the home front and abroad. They transported the wounded servicemen returning to airfields. When planes bringing back the wounded landed, ambulances drew up next to them ready to treat and rush the wounded to nearby hospitals.


But Red Cross Volunteers did more than just drive ambulances. They stretchered people away from buildings that had been hit by bombs. They also ran first aid posts in air raid shelters and gave out essential items such as food, medical supplies, blankets and clothing.


The German Red Cross was rolled into the SA Medical Corps in 1933 so it was no longer a non-military organisation. German Red Cross Volunteers found themselves under the command of military officers and fully integrated into the wider army medical operation.


The American Red Cross entered the war in 1939, two years before the US officially declared war on the Axis Powers. Operating with 6 million volunteers, the American Red Cross was on the front lines all over the world. They operated initiatives for the collection of aid bundles, the provision of American ambulances abroad and critically they operated a widespread blood donation service in the states.


35 blood donor centres were established across the states in major population centres each operating a number of mobile units with a range of about 75 mile radius of the main centres. These travelling units massively increased the range and access of the blood donation programme setting up in local schools and town halls reaching 60% of the total US population. Between 1941 and 1945 American blood donations reached in excess of 13 million units; a massive contribution to the work of saving lives.

One American Red Cross initiative over in the UK was the operation of Service Clubs that soon went mobile running converted busses out to air fields and other armed forces facilities. The Clubmobiles were a big hit and when the allies went on the offensive over to France a new weapon of inestimable value was designed.


Built around a GMC 6x6 army truck the American Red Cross Clubmoblie accommodated a crew of 3 highly skilled volunteers (sometimes referred to as Doughnut Dollies!), a stove for boiling water for coffee, a doughnut frier and a portable loud speaker victrola with a full compliment of swing records. These dedicated services advanced along with the troops through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, until V-E Day, May 7, 1945. The morale boost among the troops when one of these party wagons rolled up was probably what won the war.


Another major role of the national Red Cross organisations was the manning, supply and maintenance of field hospitals in their territory whose mandate it was to treat all injured personnel of both sides without prejudice. These might be set up in any suitable building or as a field of tents and were often marked out with large Red Cross signs to be highly visible to aircraft who might otherwise mistake them for military camps.

In actual fact there was a far greater death-toll and unmitigated suffering among civilian populations than military casualties during the course of the war. The ICRC made efforts to address issues in some of the worst hit populations but without a signed legal mandate to act in cases of civilian crisis it was slow going. None the less every effort was made that could be and political and logistical solutions were found where possible. Some of which I am happy to be able to present.

In 1942 the situation in Greece was desperate. The continued Allied blockade of foodstuffs into occupied Axis territories was having a devastating effect on an already war-ravaged and starving population. Through the tireless efforts of key Swiss, Swedish and Turkish Diplomats and Red Cross delegates the political, logistical and financial means we're secured to provide aid to starving Greece. Thousands of tonnes of Canadian wheat was shipped over to Turkey from where it could be sent to Greek ports.



This massive effort was the beginning of the Red Cross shipping fleet which by the end of the war was a huge logistical operation and was instrumental in post war humanitarian aid efforts across the world.


As the tide of the war was turning the Swedish Red Cross saw an opportunity to negotiate with the German state to allow them to recover Scandinavians held in German prison camps.

After some tense negotiations the Swedish convoy (including many Danish Red Cross volunteers and vehicles under Sweedish flags) were allowed in under careful supervision of the gestapo.


As the allied armies approached and forward prison camps were being evacuated the Swedish delegation had to help ferry prisoners between camps where their people were held and the Danish contingent recovered them to Sweden. In all aprox 300 volunteers saved 15,345 prisoners from the concentration camps; of these 7,795 were Scandinavian and 7,550 were non-Scandinavian (Polish, French, etc.)

National Red Cross organisations often acted very much as an extension of their government. As such their focus and concerns tended to be in line with their national regime although they were forbidden by law to be part of the nation's military. The Deutsches Rotes Kreuz however was a fully Nazified organisation and was significantly politicised acting hand in glove with the Nazi government and armed forces.
The ICRC had a difficult time holding the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz to account especially with regard to civilian prison camps where inspections and reports were fabricated and deliberately misleading. The Nazi led DRK collaborated with some of the worst of war crimes in this regard. In April 1945 as the Allied advance was closing in tight the German government finally agreed to allow ICRC delegates into some of the most notorious camps including Turckheim, Dachau and Mauthausen (provided that the delegates remain there until the end of the war.) The ICRC delegate in Mauthausen, Louis Haefliger, learned from his roommate SS Obersturmführer Reiner about the Nazi plan to blow-up the underground aviation factory at Gusen (which was part of the camp) together with the 40,000 or so detainees who worked in it. Haefliger decided he had to do more than hand out aid. (Which the SS running the camp wouldn't let him do anyway) and he convinced Reiner to help him.


With a borrowed Opel painted up to look like a Red Cross vehicle they went out into the combat zone to find the advancing Americans. They met an advance unit of the 11th Army group who they convinced to accompany them back to the camp and accept the surrender of the guards before the planned blasting of the camp.


Despite undoubtably saving the lives of over 40,000 prisoners Louis Haefliger's actions were condemned by the ICRC at the time because they were deemed as acting unduly on his own authority and risking the ICRC's neutrality. Only in 1990 was his reputation finally rehabilitated by ICRC president Cornelio Sommaruga.

Both the Soviet Union and Imperial Japan refused to ratify the Geneva Conventions prior to the outbreak of war with tragic consequences. The horrific treatment of prisoners on the eastern front and in the Far East give some indication of what might have been occurring in the rest of Europe had not the Red Cross been an active force for humanitarian treatment and aid.

After the war, the ICRC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for it actions in the period between 1939-1945

Well that's it for now. Hope the historicals weren't too much. I aim to be back again here soon with a follow up looking at some of the other civilian volunteer organisations as well auxiliary corps and other supporting military corps, hopefully soon. So if you enjoyed this keep an eye out for the second part, or bounce over to my 6mm World War 2 Aircraft Gallery to see more historical miniatures and their histories. There's lots to see and I have lots more still to research and paint up.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/04 00:47:14


   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





UK

Lovely collection of models and an excellent bit of information on the Red Cross in ww2.

Old warriors die hard

https://themodelwarrior.wordpress.com
 
   
Made in nz
[MOD]
Villanous Scum






Good stuff as always mate.

On parle toujours mal quand on n'a rien à dire.
Keeping the flame of Babylon 5 A Call to Arms alive, check it out;
Babylon 5 ACTA campaign log
Babylon 5 ACTA Painting log
Backfire wrote:
Nobody kills his dad and participates in genocide just for cosplay.
 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Thanks to you both. Glad you enjoyed the collection. I thought it was something a bit different anyway.

I'm still working away on my follow up set for this little project (lots more things to look at- not just Red Cross this time) but while I'm busy a those here's some WIP shots of the green stuffed ones to give you an idea of how they were done.

First up its the clubmobile.

A serious amount of green stuff went on top of a standard GMC 6x6 took a good few sittings to build it up to this and gave me a newfound respect for the frankly incredible sculpting skills of anyone who produces 6mm scale vehicles like these. Hat is off.

Another sculptorama of green stuff was the mobile blood unit. Which as you can see is mostly made of green.

It's actually built around a fairly poor casting of an ambulance that I used as a base for it. And as you can see it's a bit blobby and crude. Not a particularly sharp sculpting job but I'm happy enough with the end result.

A good few of my ambulances needed a bit of a sculpt up.

The German Horch KFZ 31

This was originally a Horch KFZ 15 Staff car.

And the American WC 54

This was a standard Dodge Weapons Carrier fitted out for an ambulance. My British K2 Ambulance is a similarly bulked out Austin Tilly which is why it's maybe not as big as it should be next to the Tilly on the same base.

Then lastly there was Louis Haefliger's Citroen.

I wasn't sure what kind it should be but I took a Scotia Belgian staff car and fixed it up to look like a Citroen Olympus. Very happy with the end result on this one.

You can also see the rubble on the base in some of these before it got painted up. Mostly just sand and bits of chopped up rubber and paper.

Hope to be back soon with more to show. Thanks for looking.


   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

So that was the Red Cross. But what about the regular Army Medical corps? What about all the other combat support arms, engineers, signals, transport? What about the myriad auxiliary forces and volunteer organisations that made up a vast part of the mobilised population? Well I'm glad you asked because here we go again.

Combat Medics.
Persons marked with the Red Cross, just like vehicles were not permitted to carry weapons or actively engage the enemy. Army combat medics were in the thick of the fitting alongside their fellow infantrymen but they faced the indiscriminate shells and machine gun fire unarmed. There was a convention against targeting them but it wasn't always adhered to.

Assuming they survived, their task was to tend to the wounded and try to stabilise anyone who had a chance of survival before stretcher teams would carry them off the battlefield, either to a triage area or to an ambulance that would get them to a hospital for proper treatment.

But it wasn't all combat medics, stretcher teams and ambulance drivers. As well as the Medical Corps there was also the Dental Corps, Veterinary Corps, Sanitary Corps, Pharmacy Corps, Medical Administrative Corps, and Army Nurse Corps. Plenty of scope for the conscientious objector to roll up his sleeves and get stuck into.

The GMC 6x6 was a highly versatile truck adapted for all kinds of uses by mobilised specialist corps. This GMC is based on an army medical optical repair truck. Many such box conversions served all over as mobile medical surgeries for optical repair, dentistry, blood units and even mobile X-Ray units.

These rolling specialist medical services travelled in the rear echelon of the advancing armies saving lives and easing suffering wherever they were needed.


This airborne division jeep ambulance is carrying wounded men to safety but although there were Army Medical combat medics attached to the Airborne division the fella riding shotgun isn't a medic. There was another kind of support amongst them who I wanted to shine a light on. I tried to give his (pin head small) helmet a white cross to mark him out as a chaplain, sometimes called a padre.

These guys took their ministry on tour with the troops. Often tending to the wounded, conducting funerals and other religious meetings and generally keeping up morale. But it wasn't all "more tea vicar" while the lads were out in the muck. Regimental Padres jumped in with the airborne troops and saw their boys through hell and back. They were a beacon of faith and hope in a time when it must have seemed like the whole world was lost in madness.

Infrastructure demolished by years of warfare? Need to get 25 troopers, an artillery piece or 5,000 pounds of general cargo over the Rhine without a bridge? No problem, just use any one of about 20,000 DUKW amphibious transports!

It's actually another GMC 6x6 in disguise (like the clubmobile and the optical repair truck, only I didn't build this DUKW conversion with greenstuff. Credit for this great little vehicle goes to H&R)
DUKWs were used by the infantry, engineers, rangers, artillery, and service support units, ferrying weapons and ammunition, troops and supplies to the beach landings or across rivers.
u
I've painted my DUKW with Red Cross banners. It is acting as an ambulance ferrying the wounded safely over the water back to the Allied held territory.

Of course not everything can be transported over the water like this, if you're looking to cross with an armoured brigade or two the best solution is to call on the engineers.

Often at the forefront of the advance Combat engineers were tasked with a variety of jobs such as breaching obstacles, destroying enemy strongpoints, clearing minefields and unexploded ordinance, bulldozing roads and constructing bridges, all potentially under fire in active combat zones. These highly skilled and resourceful units were on hand with the tools required to do whatever it took to keep the advancing armies moving forward.

This little piece is the ubiquitous Dodge WC 51, the American engineer's utility vehicle of choice. (Also, check out the huge mold line I left on this thing! Criminal negligence right there.)

Royal Corps of Signals.
In a time when "loose lips sank ships" and fifth columnists lurked in every switchboard you couldn't just pick up the phone and ask to be connected to Whitehall. So how did the top secret messages get around? By dispatch rider.

These riders braved rain hail and air raid to deliver their messages by hand, and German bombardiers didn't much care for the old adage "don't shoot the messenger."

The Royal Corps of Signals was tasked with all kinds of communications support for British forces both home and abroad. This kind of combat support role was critical and often they were the guys bailing wires under sniper fire and getting it in the neck when the radios didn't work.
Incidentally, these are the guys who until recently had a squad of stunt riders who mounted human pyramids on motorcycles at festivals and shows. Now THAT might have been a fun piece to make in 6mm scale!

Another role of the signals and communications units was cryptology. In December of 1944 a couple of American SIGABA operators at the Signal company message centre in Wiltz Luxembourg Harry Stuts and Richard Brookins decided to get out of the office and took the lead on an initiative that would have a lasting impact on the people of Wiltz for generations to come.

On the eve of St Nicolas day they arranged a big event for the local children. Brookins, dressed up in borrowed priests robes and mitre, beard and staff as jolly St Nick was driven about in an army jeep visiting schools and handing out treats for the kids. The GI's put on a show in the castle square. They sang songs and played games. The nuns made hot chocolate and it was even captured on film by a couple of combat cameramen who happened to be passing through.

In 1977 Brookins learned that the people of Wiltz had continued to commemorate the event every year since and he was invited to return to play the role of the American St Nick again which he was delighted to do. In 2016 he was awarded the Military Medal of Luxembourg, their highest military honour. Brookins died at the grand old age of 96 in October 2018 and will be fondly remembered in Luxembourg for his simple act of kindness in a time of horrible oppression that left a lasting legacy of goodwill.

So that was the military support units. Keeping the fellas with guns healthy, supplied with food and ammo, on the road and heading the right direction. But who supported the support? The Auxiliary and voluntary services of course.

The war effort required as many men as possible to train and ship out and fight. And so there were formed Women's auxiliary services for the Army, Navy and Airforce to staff non-combat roles allowing more men to be released to fight. All unmarried women between the ages of 19 and 42 (50 for WW1 veterans) were required to either work in the factories producing war materiel or join one of the Auxiliary services.

Auxiliary Territorial Service -ATS

Princess Elizabeth Windsor Austin 4x2 light utility vehicle (Tilly) and an Austin k2 (Katy) ambulance.
The King's eldest daughter and the Heir to the Throne Princess Elizabeth Windsor saw it as her duty to do her part for the war effort. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the ATS) and trained as a mechanic and driver for the British Army.

The ATS also trained women in a variety of other roles such as radar operators, anti-aircraft gun crews and spotters, military police, communications personnel, munitions inspectors as well as cooks, clerks, storekeepers and many more no less vital roles.

Another of these roles was operating searchlights during air raids. The crews would be out all night in often very remote locations scanning the skies for enemy aircraft.

Women's Auxiliary Air Force- WAAF
The RAF too had the Womens Auxiliary Air Force. Many women served in roles back home allowing men to be released to the fighting front. The WAAF's served in various administrative, intelligence and communication roles including the iconic control room plotters. Not all WAAFs however spent their wartime service entirely at home.

Immediately following the invasion of Normandy the first RAF transports, C-47 Dakotas carrying supplies and ammunition to the embattled expeditionary forces also carried WAAF nursing orderlies. They flew into the battle zone tasked with tending to the wounded who were being flown back to England.

Dubbed the Flying Nightingales by the press these women bravely volunteered to go (without the protection of Red Cross markings as the planes carried weapons and ammo on their outbound flight) into harms way accepting the challenge of whatever they might face crossing the channel into occupied France.

Women's Royal Naval Service - WRNS

Like in the ATS and WAAF the women of the WRNS served in all kinds of administrative, intelligence, support and engineering roles from medical assessments to code breaking, signalling and operational planning, including the D-day landings. They served in Naval bases on the Homefront as well as overseas. After the war the WRNS became a permanent service and in 1993 were fully assimilated into the main body of the Royal Navy.

So that's the armed forces support groups. (ie any non-civilian in uniform that did something other than carry a gun and shoot at the enemy.) But that's not the end of it. There are many many Government run civilian organisations that were equally vital to the defence and protection of the nation. You might note that I'm mostly talking about Great Britain here. In Germany they had organisations like the Reichsluftschutzbund (RLB) (National Air Raid Protection League) and the People's Welfare but they were operated very differently and I'm not really getting into that whole history. I'm sure the US and France and Italy many others had their own similar organisations. But anyway, on with the jolly old British civvies.

Civil Defence and ARP
Air Raid Precautions (ARP) was set up by the Home Office early in the war to establish air raid shelters and train wardens and the civilian population in the best practices to keep safe during air raids.

It grew to become the Civil Defence Service which encompassed many more emergency response roles such as Auxiliary Fire Service, first aid posts and rescue and stretcher teams.

Another feature of my ARP warden piece is Rip the dog. Rip was found by an air raid warden in Poplar London in 1940 and became the ARP's first search and rescue dog. Rip received the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945 in recognition of his service in rescuing over 100 people during the bombing of London. The colour stripes on the edging of the base are the colours of the Dickin Medal service ribbon.

Royal Observer Corp

Another massive effort of civilian organisation in Britain was the Observer Corps. Keeping a watch on Britain's skies for incoming enemy aircraft these eagle eyed observers covered the coast and countryside for miles in all directions with binoculars, post plotting Instruments and aircraft identification charts, 24-7, standing by to phone in the number, position and type of any aircraft that moved inland past the coastal radar stations.

Once enemy raiders were over British soil the Royal Observer Corps became the cornerstone of the British air defence. As their moto "Forewarned is Forearmed" suggests their ability to spot incoming enemy planes and send word back in good time to activate air raid warning systems and alert RAF control to scramble a fighter defence made all the difference. From the Battle of Britain on through the D-day invasion and the fight against Hitler's V-1 buzzbombs the men and women of the ROC made an invaluable contribution to the safety and defence of the nation.

ATA
The Air Transport Auxiliary was a civilian organisation set up to ferry aircraft and personnel around Britain as required. They took civilian pilots unfit or unsuited for military service. Injured veterans sometimes joked the ATA stood for Ancient and Tattered Airmen, while their women pilots were sometimes referred to as Attagirls.

They flew almost anything the RAF used delivering everything from Hurricanes to Lancasters to wherever they were required. Initially in accordance with Geneva conventions these civilian pilots flew unarmed but after encounters with enemy aircraft they delivered their aircraft fully loaded, prepared to fight if necessary.

Women's Land Army
With much of Europe under Nazi control and U-boats prowling the Atlantic task of feeding the UK without regular and reliable food imports was going to be a tall order. The best help would be to cultivate more land for crops and produce more food at home. But labourers were needed and with so many men training for war the call went out for volunteers for the Women's Land Army.

City girls from 17 and up were drafted as farm labourers, clearing land for agriculture, harvesting crops and tending livestock. Another branch of the WLA was the Women's Timber Corps who worked in the forestry industry. Its members were colloquially known as "Lumber Jills". Numbers in excess of 80,000 women and girls worked for the WLA not only during the war but for many years after hostilities ceased while rationing and food shortages continued.

Berlin Rubble Women

When the dust settled on occupied Berlin its residents were left with a ruinous hellscape of rubble, twisted metal, bodies and unexploded bombs. The women of the city who had lived through it all, whose men had not returned, whose lives had to go on did what had to be done. They did it for extra rations, to feed their families, to clear the streets to begin to set their lives in order.


Well folks, that's most definitely it for this collection. One last shot of the whole lot, I think.


I hope you've enjoyed something a bit different that you maybe don't see everyday on the gaming table. I've certainly enjoyed looking into the history and celebrating the hard work dedication and everyday heroics of all of these folks. Do let me know what you think. I'm sure there's so much more worthy of note and discussion on the subject.

   
Made in nz
[MOD]
Villanous Scum






More awesome stuff mate, nice dioramas and interesting history. Its not something that I think many people give much thought to other than the shooty stuff! Do you have any plans on further projects like this?

On parle toujours mal quand on n'a rien à dire.
Keeping the flame of Babylon 5 A Call to Arms alive, check it out;
Babylon 5 ACTA campaign log
Babylon 5 ACTA Painting log
Backfire wrote:
Nobody kills his dad and participates in genocide just for cosplay.
 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa






Northern Ireland

Thanks ingtaer. No, I've exhausted my ideas for these and honestly I bit off a little more than I intended to chew on this project and I'm a little bit burned out on these so I was glad to get them all done.

But that's not to say I wouldn't do something similar again if the inspiration struck. I'm back to aircraft for now which is a seemingly inexhaustible source of inspiration and enthusiasm for me. Looking into anything that flew and floated.

Some day I might do a few anti-aircraft batteries, supply convoys, trains and maybe even shipping convoys for ground targets etc. in aircraft games. I'm unlikely I think to bother collecting a tank force or anything much on the shooty end of the spectrum. Maybe, you never know.

Thanks for your support. Let me know if you have any ideas you think would work in tiny 6mm format.

   
 
Forum Index » Historical Miniature Games: WW1 to Modern
Go to: