A rare sight in 1942 - the early war Tiger I.
Model from Plastic Soldier Company.
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.
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.
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!