Summer has truly set in over here in Athens, so I decided to continue with another project that is both Greek and summery; a Fallschirmjager battalion (later to be expanded to a complete regiment). I have not lost interest in my BEF project, but with the political and financial situation in Greece being what it is, I cannot find all the necessary components. I'm done with infantry and most of the arty, but vehicles are a problem for now, especially my Panzer companies.
Although we are spoiled for choice when it comes to late war Fallschirm, there are only two sets that are suitable for the early days of the war and some of the greatest moments of German paratroopers (Norway, Belgium and of course Crete): Airfix and Revell. Both are out of production but since there is a set of Airfix available, and a good one at that, there was really only one choice. I sourced three boxes and set to make my battalion. The Blitzkrieg Commander rule book gives a simplified TOE giving me 3 companies (9 platoons), 2 MG platoons, one mortar platoon, one assault engineer platoon and of course the command element.
The command element was a simple thing to put together. The main problem is that there is only on command figure (but two radios) per box, so I might need an extra box or two down the road. One commander, one radio operator and one wounder paratrooper and done.
The platoon stands include a variety of the lovely poses included in the set. This was one of Airfix's better efforts and together with the Mountain Troop set, one of my favorites.
The MG stands were a bit of a problem, since there are no suitable figures. The only ones that come close have the FG42, a weapon that was (obviously) not used in Crete. Not being able to scratchbuild a MG34, I did what I used to do back in the day; I simply ignored the fact. Yes, it's not historically accurate, but quite acceptable for me.
I scratch built an 80mm mortar and modified one of the figures to look as if it tossing a mortar bomb down the tube. Italeri has some mortars in their newest Fallschirm set, but the size and style looked off. Some sprue and plastic card, two pins and it was ready.
The assault engineer platoon was a bit more complicated as there was nothing that would even resemble a flamethrower in the set. Since this battalion was going to Crete, where there was little in the ways of mine removal and forcing troops out of concrete bunkers, I simply used 2 suitably energetic figs with Schmeissers.
There are other sundry elements in the TOE (a battery of 75mm infantry guns and a battery of 28mm antitank cannons) but I don't think these made it to Crete and either way I'd have to buy metal for these, defeating the spirit of the entire project.
That's all for now from sunny and hot Athens and the Greek Geek household.