Friday, 22 May 2015

Nach Moskau!

A rare sight in 1942 - the early war Tiger I.

As we return from a successfully concluded Lincon Gaming Convention with plenty of games for our 28mm Great Northern War participation scenario, I thought I might raise the curtain on what will be next on the painting desk. 

The Panzers rumble eastward under Operation Barbarossa.

The summer project will be setting a course straight East. Again the destination is Moscow, but this time its neither the French Grand Armée of 1812 or the “Karoliner” Swedes led by Charles XII, who we find intruding on the holy soil of Mother Russia. This time it’s a “guy with a red beard”

Frederic I of Hohenstaufen - Or Frederic Barbarossa.
Holy Roman Emperor and participant in two crusades.

Operation Barbarossa needs little introduction, but for the purpose of clarifying why I thought the project attractive, it will suffice to simply say – it was the largest land battle in all history. While the Eastern Front offers many interesting scenarios, my area of focus for this project will be from Barbarossa to Stalingrad.

A view of the rust weathering and scratches 
in the paint job from thrown up rocks and gravel.

In order to adequately play the historical variety of battles from 41 to early 43, I’ll need to paint up Blitz Krieg uniformed infantry along with early panzers, SdkfZ 222s, Zundapp MCs and one or two Stukas. For the Stalingrad and Moscow winter scenarios I’ll probably be painting up a collection on winter bases too. 

The Panzer Steam Roller gets bogged down 
outside Moscow in the autumn and winter of 41.

While I’ve got loads of Blitz Krieg infantry, Panzer IIIs and Opel Blitz waiting on my painting desk, I decided to start out the project with a personal favorite – the Tiger I. This hi-tech panzer really doesn’t belong in any scenarios before later 42, and it will probably only see action in a very limited number of scenarios for the period I've chosen. 

Germans examining a non-penetrating hit.

The Germans had their problems with Russian tanks, especially when the T-34s started appearing on the Eastern Front. In order to counter enemy weapons development, the Tiger I (Panzer VI), was equipped with a hard hitting 88mm gun. According to test carried out by the Waffenamt-Prüfwesen, this enabled the Tiger I to penetrate the front armor of a T-34 at 1.500 meter, while the Russian tank would need to sneak all the way up to 300-500 meter before it’s 85mm gun could penetrate the Tiger I.

An early Tiger I getting some much needed engine repair.
Source: Bundesarchiv

Naturally German High Command and the Führer were eager to see this hi-tech monster in action, and thus it was pressed into service on the Eastern Front as early as Sept. 1942. With many technical issued not quite resolved and poor time to train the crew, these early Tigers would suffer from overheated engines or torn transmissions.

An early Tiger I's on the prowl.
Source: Bundesarchiv

In an engagement near Leningrad in the autumn of 1942, one of the Tigers had engine problems, and had to be abandoned. This resulted in the undamaged vehicle getting captured by the Russians, and thus offering them a precious chance to start making countermeasures to this behemoth Panzer. 

A close up of the excellent PSC tank crew 
that comes with the Tiger I sprue.

With this historical background as inspiration, I’m thinking that this early Tiger I should be used in the game with a special “break down” rule, and give the Russian side some serious victory points if they manage to capture it for their engineers to study.

More Ostfront to come – Thank you very much for dropping by!

26 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing this project unfold:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve - 15mm has its charms, and there is so many good producers, so it really was easy to adopt this as an diversifying project among all the 28's in the lead-pile.

      Delete
  2. Very nice! Are you doing this in 20mm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Thomas, actually this particular kit and the collection will be from their 15mm range, which can be mixed in with the BattleFront stuff to create some interesting mixes.

      Delete
  3. Ah, this will be an interesting project to follow. At what game level are you planning to refight this campaign?
    Excellent background on the Tiger I.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jonathan, we'll be trying out Chain-of-Command to start with. I've also thought about Bolt Action for the future, but CoC offers some interesting pre-game dynamics that I'm eager to try out.

      Delete
  4. Excellent start on the new endeavor, Soren. As Thomas noted, this will be in 20mm - as the kit is 1/72nd?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dean - the plastic Tiger I kit is from PSC's excellent 15mm range (recommended), and I've added some Skytrex Blitz Krieg infantry, Zundapps and Opel Blitz to that, which seems to mix really well.

      Delete
  5. The mighty Tiger tank, the most iconic tank in history! I believe this tank created a disease amongst the allied forces called tiger fever!!!! Great paint job and weathering Soren.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tigers are bound to cause some morale problems within enemy ranks, and even if it's an early war project, I just couldn't let it be - love the design and the mythos!

      Delete
  6. What a menacing beauty. This will be a great project to follow I'm sure. /Mattias

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :0) I'll be mixing in Victrix Stukas during the project, which should be interesting to see in comparison with the PSC 15's!

      Delete
  7. Exellent paintwork Sören ! Please tell when to pley a game at the club,

    Best regards Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Micke - will be sure to give you a heads-up once it's time to roll some dice!

      Delete
  8. Great work Soren! They are the ultimate killer on the battlefield! I agree we should have some rules about vehicle breakdowns during the early war period. The enemy will have a hard time killing a platoon of the tigers unless there is some way to get on there flanks or they breakdown! I should have my first Tiger painted up this weekend as well.
    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mark - glad you liked the initial idea for a special "Early War Tiger I" rule - let's see what we can come up with, perhaps it could even be a scenario marker/victory condition. Looking forward to the results of your painting this weekend!

      Delete
    2. Hi Soren! Well I picked up an issue of TooFatLardies 2014 Summer special magazine and they have this rule for a Jagdpanzer IV 70A

      "The Jagdpanzer operating in Konigsberg suffered
      badly from engine malfunctions, something
      which made them an unpopular vehicle, albeit
      much needed to fend off Soviet armour. To
      reflect this, Any Jagdpanzer rolling two or more
      1’s for movement will break down and be
      immobile for the rest of the game."

      This could be a way of dealing with the Early Tigers?

      Have a good week.

      Delete
  9. That's some truly impressing work on this cat Sören! I'll certainly follow your progress with interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers M - there is something incredibly captivating about the Ostfront and this giant struggle of titans. Doing it in 15 has the promise of doing some really large land battles in the future of the project. Especially looking forward to the late 41 Moscow stuff. Think I'll be doing some Skytrex Germans in fox holes, those look great!

      Delete
  10. There are certain point in our life that we encounter failure but it doesn't mean you will lose hope and give up everything but it only means that every failure there's an exchange and that is new beginning. Well, thank you for sharing your article and keep on posting. Visit my site too for more information.

    triciajoy.com

    www.triciajoy.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrea, I can only agree! I think it was Moltke who said: "We are judged by our successes, but only learn from our failures" I have found that to be very true in life.

      Delete
  11. Superb painting and weathering on the Tiger Sören! Really looking forward to seeing this project unfold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Jonas, wanted to get that Panzer Grau right for the early war look. I'm thinking about doing a second version with the chemically thinned white wash look too. But up next in the project is probably going to be Zundapp MCs!

      Delete
  12. I really liked this part of the article, with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know... You need more publicize this so many people who know about it are rare for people to know this... Success for you.......!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. TIger I...a legend...a great post, beautiful photos and model...

    ReplyDelete
  14. There are things in our life that is not eternal thus we stand still and never show weaknesses. This only means that we are strong enough to face everything either it is big or small. Visit my site for more good vibes and inspirational thoughts. Good day!

    n8fan.net

    www.n8fan.net

    ReplyDelete