Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

20 September 2014

FoW: Operation Barbarossa: A sneak Peak and Sale

Flames of War: Operation Barbarossa: Russia Invaded - 

A sneak Peak and Sale

All the Flames of War fans out there: Battlefront miniatures have made a sneak peak available on their Operation Barbarossa book, soon to be released. (Oct 2014) 

Preview Of Barbarossa

The Barbarossa book promises the 3rd Reich rampant:
  • History of the German invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1941,
  • Battle for Moscow and the Soviet counter-strikel.
  • It appears Stalingrad is left out (?) Probably material for a next book.
  • Options for German tank companies: 
    • Leichte Panzerkompanie, Mittlere Panzerkompanie, and Czech Panzerkompanie. 
    • Mobile infantry with a Panzersch├╝tzenkompanie, Sch├╝tzenkompanie, and Kradsch├╝tzenkompanie.
    • Motorised and foot infantry with a Heer or SS Infanteriekompanie.
  •  Options for Soviet Army: 
    • T-34 tank equipped Tankovy Batalon, 
    • Lend-lease tanks with Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon
    • Motor infantry with a Motostrelkovy Batalon
    • Infantry: Strelkovy Batalon with three different ratings options.
More info on their website (Clicky below)

So, great news for early war fans. Even better news: They have a limited time special on all their early war goodies!

Early-war Sale!

Check things out on their website: Buy two get one free!
(Now wouldn't it be great if Games Workshop took a page out of BF's book -never in a month of Sundays!)

New model releases include:
 New sculpt  Pz III G/H and J, and Pz IV E and F 1/2
• New  range of German infantry with greatcoats Early and Mid War.
•  ZIS-30 - a Zis-2 57mm gun mounted on a Komsomolyets
• Plastic and resin early model T-34.
• Updated sculpts for KV tank series.
• BM-8 Katyusha option included with the BM-13 Katyusha box

Q and A from their site:

Q: When will we be charged for the orders?
A: Just like the Vietnam sale, orders will be charged once they are downloaded from the website. 

Q: Will the new Barbarossa book and releases be included in the sale?
A: Barbarossa is released after the conclusion of the sale. However this is a great opportunity to get your supporting units and figures in preparation for the release of this book.

Q: How is the discount calculated?
A: We will sort your purchases in descending price order and change every third sale item to $0. So if you ordered 2 BR702 BEF Rifle Platoons ($18 USD each), 1 BR310 Daimler Dingo ($14.50 USD) and 3 BR052 Matilda IIs ($13 USD each), you would get the blister of Daimler Dingos and 1 of the Matilda II blisters for free.

Q: Do books count towards the Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal?
A: Yes. If you add any of the four books to your order they will count towards the buying 2 and getting 1 free (at the discounted prices obviously). So if you buy 1 book and 2 other products you will get 1 of them for free.

Q: Will there be stock?
A: Yes, although if demand is higher than our stock levels we will get it made as soon as possible and have orders completely fulfilled in the same order that they came through the webstore. Orders will be fulfilled in the order that they are received so get in early to avoid disappointment.

Q: Will the webstore show the correct discounted prices and freight
A: Yes! Our gnomes have been busy over the past week reprogramming the store so it should correctly determine which products will be free and apply the correct maximum freight charge.

Q: How long does the sale last?
A: The sale starts on 19 September 2014 and ends 6 October. The front page of the website will be updated once the store has the sale pricing.

29 July 2014

WW1 28 July 1918 A Century on since the first shots fell

WW1: A World at war. The Great War, the War to end all wars. Have we learnt anything?

Concise history from Wiki:

World War I (WWI or WW1), the First World War, was a 'global' war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I. In America, it was initially called the European War. More than 9 million combatants were killed, a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.


The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.


Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.


On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia. As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917.


Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915, Romania in 1916, and the United States in 1917.

The war approached a resolution after the Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.


By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The maps of Europe and Southwest Asia were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created.Colonies in Africa and the east were divided amongst the victors.The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim, however, failed with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the German feeling of humiliation contributing to the rise of fascism. All of these conditions eventually led to World War II.

Some food for thought (Albeit Anglo-centric)
"Much of what we think we know about the 1914-18 conflict is wrong": 
(BBC report, Historian Dan Snow)

No war in history attracts more controversy and myth than World War One.
For the soldiers who fought it was in some ways better than previous conflicts, and in some ways worse.

By setting it apart as uniquely awful we are blinding ourselves to the reality of not just WW1 but war in general. We are also in danger of belittling the experience of soldiers and civilians caught up in countless other appalling conflicts throughout history and the present day.

1. It was the bloodiest war in history to that point
Fifty years before WW1 broke out, southern China was torn apart by an even bloodier conflict. Conservative estimates of the dead in the 14-year Taiping rebellion start at between 20 million and 30 million. Around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed during WW1.

Although more Britons died in WW1 than any other conflict, the bloodiest war in their history relative to population size is the Civil War, which raged in the mid-17th Century. A far higher proportion of the population of the British Isles were killed than the less than 2% who died in WW1. By contrast, around 4% of the population of England and Wales, and considerably more than that in Scotland and Ireland, are thought to have been killed in the Civil War.

2. Most soldiers died
In the UK around six million men were mobilised, and of those just over 700,000 were killed. That's around 11.5%. In fact, as a British soldier you were more likely to die during the Crimean War (1853-56) than in WW1.


3. Men lived in the trenches for years on end
Front-line trenches could be a terribly hostile place to live. Units, often wet, cold and exposed to the enemy, would quickly lose their morale if they spent too much time in the trenches.

As a result, the British army rotated men in and out continuously. Between battles, a unit spent perhaps 10 days a month in the trench system and, of those, rarely more than three days right up on the front line. It was not unusual to be out of the line for a month. During moments of crisis, such as big offensives, the British could occasionally spend up to seven days on the front line but were far more often rotated out after just a day or two.

4. The upper class got off lightly
Although the great majority of casualties in WW1 were from the working class, the social and political elite were hit disproportionately hard by WW1. Their sons provided the junior officers whose job it was to lead the way over the top and expose themselves to the greatest danger as an example to their men.

Some 12% of the British army's ordinary soldiers were killed during the war, compared with 17% of its officers. Eton alone lost more than 1,000 former pupils - 20% of those who served. UK wartime Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son, while future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law lost two. Anthony Eden lost two brothers, another brother of his was terribly wounded, and an uncle was captured.

5. 'Lions led by donkeys'
This saying was supposed to have come from senior German commanders describing brave British soldiers led by incompetent old toffs from their chateaux. In fact the incident was made up by historian Alan Clark.

British commanders were thrust into a massive industrial struggle unlike anything the Army had ever seen
During the war more than 200 generals were killed, wounded or captured. Most visited the front lines every day. In battle they were considerably closer to the action than generals are today. Naturally, some generals were not up to the job, but others were brilliant, such as Arthur Currie, a middle-class Canadian failed insurance broker and property developer. Rarely in history have commanders had to adapt to a more radically different technological environment.

British commanders had been trained to fight small colonial wars; now they were thrust into a massive industrial struggle unlike anything the British army had ever seen. Despite this, within three years the British had effectively invented a method of warfare still recognisable today. By the summer of 1918 the British army was probably at its best ever and it inflicted crushing defeats on the Germans.


6. Gallipoli was fought by Australians and New Zealanders
Far more British soldiers fought on the Gallipoli peninsula than Australians and New Zealanders put together.

The UK lost four or five times as many men in the brutal campaign as its imperial Anzac contingents. The French also lost more men than the Australians. The Aussies and Kiwis commemorate Gallipoli ardently, and understandably so, as their casualties do represent terrible losses both as a proportion of their forces committed and of their small populations.

7. Tactics on the Western Front remained unchanged despite repeated failure
Never have tactics and technology changed so radically in four years of fighting. It was a time of extraordinary innovation. In 1914 generals on horseback galloped across battlefields as men in cloth caps charged the enemy without the necessary covering fire. Both sides were overwhelmingly armed with rifles. Four years later, steel-helmeted combat teams dashed forward protected by a curtain of artillery shells.


They were now armed with flame throwers, portable machine-guns and grenades fired from rifles. Above, planes, which in 1914 would have appeared unimaginably sophisticated, duelled in the skies, some carrying experimental wireless radio sets, reporting real-time reconnaissance.

Huge artillery pieces fired with pinpoint accuracy - using only aerial photos and maths they could score a hit on the first shot. Tanks had gone from the drawing board to the battlefield in just two years, also changing war for ever.

8. No-one won
Swathes of Europe lay wasted, millions were dead or wounded. Survivors lived on with severe mental trauma. The UK was broke. It is odd to talk about winning. However, in a narrow military sense, the UK and its allies convincingly won. Germany's battleships had been bottled up by the Royal Navy until their crews mutinied rather than make a suicidal attack against the British fleet. Germany's army collapsed as a series of mighty allied blows scythed through supposedly impregnable defences.

By late September 1918 the German emperor and his military mastermind Erich Ludendorff admitted that there was no hope and Germany must beg for peace. The 11 November Armistice was essentially a German surrender. Unlike Hitler in 1945, the German government did not insist on a hopeless, pointless struggle until the allies were in Berlin - a decision that saved countless lives, but was seized upon later to claim Germany never really lost.

9. The Treaty of Versailles was extremely harsh
The Treaty of Versailles confiscated 10% of Germany's territory but left it the largest, richest nation in central Europe. It was largely unoccupied and financial reparations were linked to its ability to pay, which mostly went unenforced anyway.

The treaty was notably less harsh than treaties that ended the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and World War Two. The German victors in the former annexed large chunks of two rich French provinces, part of France for between 200 and 300 years, and home to most of French iron ore production, as well as presenting France with a massive bill for immediate payment.

After WW2 Germany was occupied, split up, its factory machinery smashed or stolen and millions of prisoners forced to stay with their captors and work as slave labourers. Germany lost all the territory it had gained after WW1 and another giant slice on top of that.

Versailles was not as harsh as it was portrayed later by Hitler, who sought to create a tidal wave of anti-Versailles sentiment on which he could then ride into power.

10. Everyone hated it
Like any war, it all comes down to luck. You may witness unimaginable horrors that leave you mentally and physically incapacitated for life, or you might get away without a scrape. It could be the best of times, or the worst of times. Many soldiers enjoyed WW1. If they were lucky they would avoid a big offensive, and much of the time conditions might be better than at home.


For the British soldier  there was meat every day - a rare luxury back home - cigarettes, tea and rum, part of a daily diet of more than 4,000 calories. Remarkably, absentee rates due to sickness, an important barometer of a unit's morale, were hardly above those of peacetime. Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain.

3 March 2014

Sabres in the Crimea (again?)

So the Sabres are rattling in the Crimea again:

Vladimir Putin has decided that it would be good idea to take back Sebastopol and the Crimea from The Ukraine. The Crimea has been a hotbed of contention for centuries, holding a key position on the Black Sea.
The retoric smacks of Adolf Hitler though: " Lets reunite all the German (read Russian in this context) speaking people of this area." -  Sounds a little like Rhineland, Austria or Sudetenland, doesn't it? 



So I've had a little look at the history of the area:

Crimea is an eastern Ukrainian peninsula (click to map) located on the Black Sea. It’s connected to the rest of the country by a small strip of land. Out of its 2 million residents, about 60 percent identify as Russian. That’s the highest concentration of Russian speakers in Ukraine. Although the territory belongs to Ukraine, Russia stationed part of its Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol as part of a pre-existing agreement between the two countries.

 Crimea hasn’t always been part of Ukraine. Here’s a summary of what’s happened in the region since the Ottoman Empire used the peninsula as a hub for slave trade.


1783: Russia annexed Crimea.

1853: The Crimean War began, lasting three years. Russia lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. Crimea remained part of Russia. Charge of the Light Brigade, ouch:
( Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery, a task well suited to light cavalry. Due to mis-communication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire.Although the Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire and scattered some of the gunners, the badly-mauled brigade was forced to retreat immediately. Thus, the assault ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains.)

1917: Crimea briefly became a sovereign state before becoming a base for the White Army of anti-Bolshevik forces in the Russian War.

1921: The peninsula, now called the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, became part of the Soviet Union.


1942: Nazi Germany took control of Crimea:
The Crimea Campaign was an eight-month long campaign by Axis forces to conquer the Crimea peninsula, and was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles on the Eastern Front during World War II. The German, Romanian, and defending Soviet troops suffered heavy casualties as the Axis forces tried to advance through the Isthmus of Perekop linking the Crimean peninsula to the mainland at Perekop, from summer of 1941 through to the first half of 1942.

From the 26 September 1941 the German 11th Army and troops from the Romanian Third Army and Fourth Army were involved in the fighting, opposed by the Red Army's 51st Army and elements of the Black Sea Fleet. After the campaign, the peninsula was occupied by Army Group A with the 17th Army as its major subordinate formation.

Once the Axis (German and Romanian troops) broke through, they occupied most of Crimea, with the exception of the city of Sevastopol, which was given the title of Hero City for its resistance, and Kerch, which was recaptured by the Soviets during an amphibious operation near the end of 1941 and then taken once again by the Germans during Operation Bustard Hunt on 8 May. The Siege of Sevastopol lasted 250 days from 30 October 1941 until 4 July 1942, when the Axis finally captured the city.
Sevastapol, the main object of the campaign, was surrounded by German forces and assaulted on 30 October 1941. German troops were repulsed by a Soviet counterattack. Later, many troops evacuated from Odessa contributed to the defense of Sevastopol. The Germans then began an encirclement of the city.

Other attacks on 11 November and 30 November, in the eastern and southern sections of the city, failed.German forces were then reinforced by several artillery regiments, one of which included the railway gun Schwerer Gustav. Another attack on 17 December was repulsed at the last moment with the help of reinforcements, and Soviet troops landed on the Kerch peninsula the day after Christmas, to relieve Sevastopol. The Soviet forces remained on the peninsula until a 9 April German counterattack. They held on for another month before being eliminated on 18 May. With the distraction removed, German forces renewed their assault on Sevastopol, penetrating the inner defensive lines on 29 June. Soviet commanders had been flown out or evacuated by submarine towards the end of the siege, and the city surrendered on 4 July 1942, although some Soviet troops held out in caves outside of the city until the 9th.

In 1944, the Crimea was recaptured by troops of the 4th Ukrainian Front during the Crimean Offensive (8 April 1944 – 12 May 1944) and its three sub-operations:
  • Kerch–Eltigen Operation (31 October 1943 – 11 December 1943)
  • Perekop–Sevastopol Offensive Operation (8 April 1944 – 12 May 1944)
  • Kerch–Sevastopol Offensive Operation (11 April 1944 – 12 May 1944)

1944: Joseph Stalin forcibly deported all Muslim Tatars, a group of 300,000 who had lived on the peninsula for centuries, due to members’ alleged cooperation with Germany during World War II. Many returned to Crimea in the 1980s and 1990s.

1945: After World War II, the autonomous Soviet republic was dissolved and Crimea became a province of the Soviet Union called the Crimean Oblast.

1954: Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine. It’s often reported that it was a gesture of goodwill from Khrushchev, who had Ukrainian roots.

1991: The Soviet Union collapsed. Many expected President Boris Yeltsin, the new president of the Russian Federation, to take Crimea for Russia. But he didn’t bring it up during negotiations with Ukraine.

1997: Ukraine and Russia signed a treaty that allowed Russia to keep its fleet in Sevastopol. The agreement’s since been extended, so the fleet is set to remain there until at least 2042.

Though Khrushchev’s gesture had unclear motives, it didn’t seem like a problem for Russia at the time, only garnering a one-sentence write-up in the official Soviet newspaper. It became a bigger issue in the region once the Soviet Union collapsed decades later.

So the story of the Crimean Peninsula is long and complicated, to say the least. 

And there could be more news to come as war threatens Eastern Europe. Today, Crimea’s residents are divided on the issue of Russia’s military intervention. Generally speaking, ethnic Russians support Russia’s involvement in the region, while Tatars and Ukrainians express pro-Ukrainian sentiments.

 About 60 percent of people living in Crimea identify themselves as Russian. 

4 June 2013

Wunderwaffen: Hitler's flying wing. Horten Ho 229: The first stealth fighter?

Wunderwaffen: Hitler's flying wing: The Horten Ho 229


The interesting history of the Horten Ho 229. 
Possibly the world's first stealth fighter and inspiration for the B2 Spirit Bomber ?




Check the full story on my Aeroplane blog: http://aircraftnut.blogspot.co.nz/