Saturday, January 30, 2016

Panther Power! Modelling the 107th Panzer Brigade during Operation Market Garden.


     It is no lie that I love to model Operation Market Garden. There are so many various issues that the Allied Forces had to face during this operation. From fast planning to under estimating the enemy, the failure of Market Garden stands at a historic "what if's" of history. It has been gamed multiply times in various rules systems. Will the gamer succeed where the Allies failed? Or will the Germans prove the idea was just a fast-paced failed plan.
    For those who do not know the history behind Market Garden, the Germans at the point of planning where on the run. After the defeat of German forces in late August of 1944 in Normandy, the Allied forces seemed unstoppable. The Germans were in full retreat on multiple fronts. The only real field problem for the Allies were the resources. Supplies for the Allies ran dangerously thin for all operations. Most of this was due to the lack of ports to sustain the flow of supplies to the troops through the various front lines. In most cases, the Allies ran on supplies from the "Red Ball Express". But even with the dedication of such supply troops, the further the front line extended, the harder the job became. The Allies needed a new plan. Dwight Eisenhower wanted a broad front to pressure the Germans to defeat. However, without the capture of a deep water port, supplies would have been a strain. With the capture of Antwerp on Sept. 4th, 1944, the issue could have been resolved, but the Germans still held a strong position on the other side of the Sheldt Estuary making such a capture useless.
    Thus came a new operation to end the war! To end the war in 1944, the Allied generals needed a way to knock out the Germans in the war. A plan was set up by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery for a large thrust through Holland to cross over the Rhine River into Germany to threaten the Ruhr, Germany's industrial region, thus shutting down Germany's war machine. The plan was to launch an airborne operation to capture key bridges called Market, with the ground troops and armor speeding up the road to get to the main objective of Arnhem. This was the Garden part.
  From here, we can get the jest of the plans and there are tons of resources about this operation. Operation Market Garden was a failure for multiple reasons. For my wife and I, we find this period of the war interesting. For one, this could have gone both ways in the sense of issues the Allies and Axis powers had. Imagine the radios working for the British Airborne? Imagine the 9th SS Recon stayed at Arnhem Bridge instead of going to Nijmegen Bridge that evening of the first day? What if Son Bridge was not destroyed? These things we can play.
    Since my wife is usually the Allied player, she tends to run XXX Corp, of the British. She seems to mention having a Cromwell problem for the Welsh Guards. Though, she is working on the Irish Guards at this point. This will never really end until we have it all. I am aware of this. This is the problem of having a wife that is into what your into!
  Anyway, to list what we got for Market Garden: Welsh Guards, Irish Guards, Grenadier Guards Infantry, The 6th British Airborne and the American 82nd Airborne. That is my wife's stuff. I have the 6th Fallshirmjager, 9th SS Hohenstaufen Panzer Division, the 107th Panzer Brigade, the 559th Schwere Jadgpanzer Brigade, the 280th Stumgeschutz Brigade, Kampfe Groupe Hummel, and the 59th Grenadiers. We also have some Dutch Resistance and Kriegsmarines.
    So, the point of this post is painting historic accuracy.  I know that there are lot of war gamers who could care less. I am aware of this until I came across the Earl Grey Collections of German Armor. The artistic side of me saw so many possibilities. Why go with a generic paint style, when you can go historically themed? This can be especially hard for the armor that is not listed for basic research. Let us take for example my project of the 107th Panzer Brigade. Below is what I used in a convention game.

Now, despite being an awesome picture, this is not accurate for the 107th Panzer Brigade. For one, the numbers would have been black numbers with white outline. Two, they would have been driving a Panther G model, not Panther A's.

The same goes with the statement above.

However, with the Jadgpanzer IV L70 (V), I did have this right.
  Now, for research purposes, the Earl Grey Collection did not have what I was looking for. Also, as a note for all of those using his stuff as the say all is Panzer designs, one must realize that the commanders of such groups changed the camouflage of each platoon of during every season. In a sense, you could say that you can't really go wrong. I wish that were true when it comes from other opinions. There is always someone out there to challenge such artwork. Hence, this article.
    There is always that one person judging the historic aspect of our miniatures. Even if you have several sources saying that it is so, there will always be some one out there to challenge it. I once saw a posting on a Facebook Bolt Action page about whether there was a time in WW2 that the Soviets used camouflage for their tanks other than winter. I posted the following picture.
This was listed in several sites as a T-34/85 with camouflage during the Ukrainian Front during the Summer of 44.
   However, some person mentioned on how that was not possible due to the cupola and some other thing I forgot about. It was a while back. Now, I could be one of those people that discourage artistic freedoms, but I chose not to. And I could be one of those people to argue against the guy. I am sure there is no way he could back up the whole 1960's statement for this picture, when I had some pictures showing the same tank next to burning German Panzer IV's. If I can remember, I will get these other pictures off my other computer that currently has a screen out. I am sure if I really wanted to, I can find them on the internet.
     So back to Panther tanks of the 107th. I mentioned about historical accuracy that I am aiming for. Personally, I am not really that worried about judgment on the job I do. And I also encourage anyone else that this is all artwork! It is part of the fun of this hobby. After doing lots of photo referencing, I came to my most recent color scheme for my armor. I will mention that there is a picture of a Panther G from the 107th preserved at the Overloon Museum, NL. This one was knocked out by the 2nd battalion of the East Yorkshire regiment with a PIAT while fighting in Overloon. Below is the pictures of that one.


   As you can see, the paint job is not all that stellar, and that this has Zimmert coating over the whole tank. This may had to have been repainted, since there was a good chance that the Overloon version slightly burned up. During the battle, the British troops reported to have killed the crew while bailing out. It is also noted that the German high command had a standing rule about crews bailing out of their tanks. The tank required to be on fire before abandoning it. Whether they followed this rule or not is all speculation. In either case, I went with other sources.
      The Panther G models I am using for my 28mm are the resin Warlord Games one that does not come with Zimmert. I could use green stuff to model the coating, but it really is not that big of a deal to me. However, I went with other photo references to use for the three-color paint scheme. So mine is different from the Overloon one and they were still applying Zimmerit at the factory. As another note, if this was the original paint scheme for the brigade, they had change the camouflage between September and October of 44. Here are my replacement Panthers.

This was the original paint scheme of the 107th. If this is not one of the originals, it is the closest to the black and white knocked out picture taking during Market Garden.
     Other than the photo just above, I used various sources on pictures of knocked out Panthers during the actions around Veghel on September 20th, 1944. Though, I did not scan the pictures onto this computer, the paint scheme came from these photos. Since they were all in black and white, I found a nice painting reference for German armor in late 44-45. If you love to paint late war armor I would suggest this book. It is called Camouflage Profile Guide 1945 German Colors by AK Interactive.
    Anyway, I hope you all enjoy! I have some more Panthers to paint!

No comments:

Post a Comment