• Pardon the dust while the boys rebuild the site.

    The board will be in a state of disarray as I get things sorted out, for a little while at least.

    The new incarnation is using Xenforo as the system software. It is much like what we are used to, with a few differences. I will see about making a FAQ to help point out the differences for the members.

     

    One IMPORTANT difference for all of us old timers is that the 'mail' system is replaced with what are called 'conversations'/

    There is no 'Inbox' or 'Out box' or 'Sent' folders anymore.

    Think of Conversations as private 'threads' or topics that don't exist in a forum, that you start with another member. NOTE: Conversations can include more than one member if you or someone else in the conversaion, likes.
    Takes a little getting used to but I am sure you all can get a hang of it.

     

    Only a slightly modified default default Xenforo style is available for now. Once the new SAG style is ready it will be available.

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    If anyone has difficulties logging in please contact me at sixthvanguard@gmail.com.

     

    Thank you for your support and patience. I know it has been a loooong road.

Project - 'D-Day spearhead'

'DOG GREEN' Sector of Omaha assault area was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 116th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) of the 29th Infantry Division which consisted of six assault boat teams (ABT) of 30 men apiece plus a command boat team (company HQ). The concept of these ABTs stemmed from the intensive training in England at the Assault Training Centre and was largely driven by the fact that the standard Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) that would deliver them to the beaches could only hold (taking into account the wherewithal of what they carried into battle) 30 men (the average U.S. infantry platoon then consisted of 41 men).

Given the nature of the German defences to be encountered the idea was that any ABT could perform a wide-range of demolition/assault tasks with a degree of autonomy though some company and battalion commanders weren't too keen on the idea with the natural view that it broke down the cohesion of a standard platoon; which the ABTs would reform into once beyond the beaches. Such is the narrative for this the biggest scene of my D-Day dioramas this year. The calm before the storm.
 

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Each ABT (noting the British and Canadians has different configurations based on their weaponry and on that fact they relied more so on specialised armour for their breaching tasks). consisted of a what was essentially a platoon (-) though more heavily armed - a boat team leader (normally a lieutenant), a five-man rifle team (one equipped with a grenade launcher) which would provide covering fire for the 4-man wire cutting and 4-man demolition teams, a 2-man flamethrower team and a 4-man 60mm mortar team. For heavier punch 2 x bazooka and 2 x BAR teams also formed part of the ABT and finally an assistant ABT leader (of staff or technical sergeant rank) rounds-out the 30-man outfit.

Records indicate that at least three ABTs traded in one bazooka and one BAR team for a four-man LMG team for added covering fire given the limitations of the BAR which was fed by 20-round magazines, in this case the M1919 provided the sustained fire role whilst the BAR from the second team was given to augment the firepower of the rifle team. The storm arrives.
 

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Upon the ramp going down the ABT would exit and then fan out though controversially it was the ABT leader who would exit first (which explains the high officer casualty rate that morning). He would go up the middle with the rifle team whilst the bazookas and BARs would go the flanks (for covering fire) with the other teams remaining well-spaced but central. The sergeant would be last off ensuring the team has exited entirely and no specialised equipment (bangalores, flamethrower, demolition charge poles and such were left behind.

Of course we all know that the landing at Omaha was initially a catastrophe given the aerial assault did not crater the beach (to provide ready-made fox holes for the assault troops) nor take out the defences (dropping their bombs further beyond the beach head fearing of hitting their own men), the short preliminary naval gunfire support ineffective also in that it missed targets due to smoke from grassfires obscuring offshore view (the idea of a surprise assault negated a prolonged naval bombardment) and the tanks which were to land first and provide vital support fires were largely lagging behind due to the rough waters or, in some cases, swamped and sank having been launched too far from shore. As such the ABTs went into a storm of defensive fire with nothing but the grace of god and the illusion of comparative safety behind the beach obstacles for safety.
 

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Whilst the diorama is largely set-up on such a way to illustrate an ABT in its entirety it's worth noting (and I will point out via the information panels that I'll put together and place to the front of the scene along that stretch of white) that Company A was pretty much obliterated during the landings. Much of the heavy gear was actually discarded long before they got to the hedgehogs but I've included it to show what they carried. The M1A1 flamethrowers, unlike that shown in 'Saving Private Ryan' doesn't even get a mention of use in the accounts I've read and out of the 150 employed that day the majority were picked--up off the beaches later.

Most of the men who were lucky to get this far were exhausted having been in the main seasick and weighed-down with their combat load it was not uncommon to see soldiers cowering behind the obstacles void of helmet, rifle and load carriage equipment; once again i've opted for all the figures fully assembled in order to demonstrate a complete fit-out. The necessary lack of gore which I was keen to represent (by several 'broken' figures in my stash) is hopefully made up by a sense of intensity and chaos by facial expression and pose given it will be on display in a family-friendly environment of a model show but I'm hoping there's enough realism to get the point across.
 

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Using two large folding tables with an appropriately-sized painters drop sheet, it took around 40kg of 'play' sand to form the base. Over all it took me an hour and twenty minutes to configure and less than half of that time to pack-up (I always do test set-ups to provide me an appreciation of time for these model shows). Points of improvement noted includes widening the scene by the addition of sand and one more 'hedgehog' in order to space out the figures slightly (hence perhaps some re-positioning) which I'll sort for the day of the model show. 'Wet' effects, spend casings and such I'll apply on the day of the model show and I'm thinking I might download some appropriate battle sound (there's a great soundbite mix on Youtube) to place under the table in order to give that added realism.

Other than that, and any suggestions you may have which are more than welcome, I am more than happy with how this scene turned out (the biggest single scene with the most figures I've done since Project - 'Blitzkrieg' back in 2015)...onto the Rangers at Point du Hoc which will only be a two figure vignette. Enjoy Steve.
 

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That is a lot of work and looks fantastic. They actually carried a stretcher onto the beach.
One suggestion I can think of would be to add some dead fish on the beach.
Looking forward to more.
 
Cheers muchly Kapernakis, the idea of dead fish is a good one that I had thought to include based on written accounts but the reason why I haven't (noting my arm is always capable of being bent back to suit) is because I only have one in the scale and it sought of looked out of place despite my desire to include such 'easter eggs' ('til I can find someone to 3d print a few perhaps?). As for the stretcher, another in-two-minds addition which was cemented by a picture in a H&C book titled 'Spearheading D-Day' which shows one amongst a bunch of other stores strapped with life preservers (for buonancy) and there's a suggestion that aside from casualty clearance that it may've been included also to assist in crossing narrow ditches (though no accounts I've read to-date have told of such actual use required during the landings). Medics were not a part of every ABT but were dispersed amongst the companies and I thought one should be included to depict the heroics of their role under combat conditions. Thanks for the suggestions though, they are much appreciated. Steve
 
Wow! What a fantastic setup. I would not want to be anywhere near the guy with the flamethrower. There's a lot to take in here. You've done an excellent job of displaying the variety of kit that one of these units carried.

Thanks so much for sharing.
 
Thanks very muchly Squidley. It was the variety in terms of equipment carried by an ABT and the poses necessary to convey the intensity and chaos that kept this build fresh for me in terms of figure assemblage though there was the tedium of uniform/shoe and legging fitting and matching of combat load carriage items to suit the varying eyelet lengths based on manufacturer. I've been inspired to add, thanks to Kapernakis, several dead fish which are inbound courtesy of Ebay and I'm looking to widen the frontage by one more hedgehog which may entail some slightly different figure poses to suit. Currently on to the Rangers which consists of four figures - two for Point du Hoc (including a Hasbro G.I. Joe grappling hook and launcher) and two for Omaha but more on those later. Then onto several more American figures before I take a break from the Allied side and put together a German scene saving the Brits/Canadians 'til last...such is the plan. Cheers again, Steve
 
G'day all,

Been a few weeks with a bit of figure build here and there in terms of the specialist units that supported the U.S. landings of Omaha and Utah as well as the Ranger battalions (2nd and 5th), I'll be posting them throughout the week but here's a couple of pics of a mine-clearing engineer from one of Engineer Specialist Brigades (ESBs) which had battalions at both American beaches whose aim it was to provide all the necessaries in allowing reinforcement to land without impediment and move inland with the wherewithal to keep them going. This entailed clearing the exits and inland areas nearest the beaches of the extensive minefield belts. This composite figure (which I based off an image in H&C's grand book 'Spearheading D-Day' is based on a DML body and operating a repainted/detailed 'Hasbro' SCR-625 mine detector. The hand-painted helmet bears clear insignia of the ESB with the curved white stripe and the emblem based off the British combined operations (but instead of red on black which the British employed is yellow on blue). The 'MINEN' sign I got from Veegostore and I've simply repainted and detailed it but instead of using the sticker provided removed the emblem and used that as a stencil trace which I then sprayed matt black to provide more realism.

The minefields (Rommel's 'Devil's Garden') contained all manner of deadly ordnance but mainly the famous Tellermine but other types were found including the "Bouncing Betty" and the diobolical "Shoe mine" which came in a wooden case and was thus harder to detect. I've decided to illustrate each type on the side there for educational purposes for the inquisitive visitor.

Finally, and expanding on Kapernakis' suggestion regarding the dead fish which many accounts by the assault troops alludes to, I've got several fish in the scale which will be positioned at the water's edge denoting the fast incoming tide. The waters edge I'm trialling (and will feature along the entire rear of the 'Omaha beach' scene) is simply clear plastic card with clear-setting craft glue shaped upon with certain areas dabbed with 'AK Interactive' brand water foam. This is placed above the sand in narrow strips to provide ample effect. More to follow...

Enjoy, Steve
 

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Cheers muchly 'Sixth', now onto the Provisional Ranger Group consisting of the 2nd and 5th Ranger battalions which were modelled on the British commandoes in terms of training and effect though these models are largely DML with a few add-ons by 'Facepool' and 'DiD'. Two of the scenes centre on their famous D-Day action securing Point du Hoc and for this I also turned to the famous ye olde 'Hasbro' for the G.I Joe sectional scaling ladder and J-Projector grapnel hook (sourcing an additional rope box in order to set it up complete as the figure only comes with one and these had to be repainted and detailed as they were just too 'plasticy'). For the rock wall section I relied on a grey fish tank accessory which I repainted and detailed. The land-based J-Projectors succeeded largely because the wooden rope boxes were covered whereas those aboard the British LCAs weren't thus the rope became sodden and the 2in rocket unable to carry the additional weight to the top of the cliff which meant the grapnels fell short and back to the ground.

Unlike the Rangers who landed to the west of the 'Blue and Grey' 29th at Omaha, those that were assigned the Pointe du Hoc went in with light fighting order, just enough to see the job through with their packs and such to be brought in on later lifts. The captain adjusting his gear for the ladder climb is based off CAPT Edward Luther (Coy D) whilst the PFC 'snaking' and 'flaking' the rope prior to firing (to ensure it is snag free) wear belt order for his M1 Garand. Despite popular impressions, Rangers were not fans of the fan-dangled assault jacket as it was found to restrict movement and was heavy when water-sodden thus (and after checking lots of imagery of the initial assault) I've found none wearing the jacket though did so for some that hit Omaha with the Rangers noted for donning a darker green variant than the light OD worn by some of the infantrymen.

In order to showcase the assault jacket, I've posed two Rangers wearing it - one from the 5th and the other from the 2nd Battalion. This also helps to illustrate my narrative on the lesser-known Ranger assault on Pointe de la Percee ('Charlie' sector to the right of the 29th Inf Div sectors). I won't go into too much of that story as it's quite a long story in itself but I do recommend those that haven't heard much about it go read further as the break through the Vierville Draw was largely made possible by the Rangers.

With the Rangers sorted it's now onto the 'Big Red One' and the 'Ivy' divisions with two figures dedicated to each. Enjoy, Steve
 

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Yes, I wasn't too sure either until reading further into the H&C book 'Spearheading D-Day' which covers the Projector in fine detail. The grapnel, launcher and rope box were the best bits of Hasbro's 2001 D-Day release - U.S. Ranger circa Pointe du Hoc in terms of detail. Still relatively easy to find on Ebay and such though, as stated, I did have to source a second rope box in order to replicate the set-up described in the book. Cheers, Steve
 
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