Category Archives: May 40

WW2 Dutch ‘PAG-trekker’ light artillery tractor

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May ’40 Miniatures are currently working on a new model for their range of 28mm WW2 Dutch vehicles: the PAG-trekker light artillery tractor.

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In the 1938-1940 period the Dutch Army ordered a large number of light artillery tractors or Anti-tank gun tractors from DAF (Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagenfabriek) in Eindhoven. In Dutch these were called PAG-trekkers, PAG meaning “pantserafweergeschut”.

DAF built these on both Ford and Chevrolet chassis by converting them to four wheel drive and adding specialised bodywork with three rows of seats for six crew-members, as well as ammo storage in the back.

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They were used to tow the Dutch Boehler 47mm anti-tank guns, and there are also reports of the vehicles being used as staff-cars or personnel vehicles.

When May ’40 Miniatures come out with their range of WW2 Dutch vehicles and artillery, which besides the PAG-trekker will also include the Landsverk armoured car and a couple of different anti-tank guns, I can see a purchase coming on!

Source of above info about the PAG-trekker: The Overvalwagen Forum

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WW2 Dutch ‘Black Devils’

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The last of the infantry for my 28mm WW2 Dutch army is a section of ‘Korps Mariniers’, or Marines, known as the ‘Black Devils’. As with the rest of my army, these figures are produced by Dutch company, May ’40 Miniatures.

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Marines were professional soldiers – the only all-professional branch in the Dutch armed forces – and without any doubt the best the Dutch could field. They had a strong tradition that went back to the year 1665, when the Korps Mariniers found its roots.

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Marines wore a distinctive dark blue (blackish) uniform tunic or great coat, rather than the olive-green of the regular army.  They were armed like regular army soldiers, but were much better trained to use them. They were additionally equipped with a so-called ‘storm-dagger’. The basic weapons used in Rotterdam were the Steyr M.95 rifle, the Lewis light machine-gun and the storm-dagger.

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There were about 450 Marines in Rotterdam, the home town of the Korps Mariniers, when the German invasion occurred on 10 May 1940. About half were in basic training, and the others were either staff, operational marines or attending NCO courses.

The Marines successfully defended the bridges across the River Maas for four days, preventing German paratroopers in the city centre from rendezvousing with the other German forces. The Germans ended the stalemate by bombing Rotterdam.

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The story goes that when the surrender was declared and the Dutch soldiers came out of their positions, the German commander was expecting a full battalion of men, but was stunned to see only a few Marines emerge in their dark uniforms. He ordered his men to salute them out of respect for their bravery and determination, and labeled them ‘Black Devils’.

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As always when I try to take photos of blue uniforms, my pictures have turned out much lighter than the actual figures.  The blue tunics and greatcoats are actually quite dark on my models.

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Historical information in this posting came from the War Over Holland website. 

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Forthcoming new WW2 Dutch releases

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May ’40 Miniatures have released pictures of some of their forthcoming WW2 Dutch models, including two anti-tank guns, an armoured car, and a massive building.

The first model is the Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun (above). Böhler guns would prove effective during the intensive fighting in 1940. The 9th Panzer Division lost about 25 tanks, including Pz.III and Pz.IV medium tanks, due to Dutch anti-tank guns at Rotterdam and Dordrecht. 2

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Next is the Solothurn S18-1000 20mm anti-tank rifle (above). It was a variant of the Solothurn S-18/100, featuring a larger cartridge and higher muzzle velocity for better armour penetration. Its firepower was adequate against light tanks and other soft-skinned vehicles when it was first introduced, but it was insufficient to deal with newer and heavier tanks by 1940.

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In collaboration with Paul Deeming from WOW Buildings comes the National Life Insurance building in Rotterdam.

During the attack on Rotterdam in May 1940 this building was occupied by 40-50 Germans who had become isolated from the rest of the German forces. All Dutch attempts to seize the building failed, but so did all German attempts to resupply or reinforce the occupants.

The model measures 27x17x40 centimetres, not including the chimneys. So, as Trump would say, it’s huge!

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Finally, there is the Landsverk armoured car, which I’ve described more fully in this previous posting. I understand that Mad Bob Miniatures will be moulding the resin parts and doing the initial casting run.

Sources for info in this article: War Over Holland and ASL BattleSchool SitRep.

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My WW2 Dutch army in 28mm

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“Klaar voor actie!” After a several weeks of painting, my small WW2 Dutch army is finally ready for action!

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These 28mm figures are all produced by Dutch company May ’40 Miniatures, whilst the Carden-Loyd tankette is by Reiver Castings.

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The small force is organised for the Bolt Action wargaming rules, and consists of three infantry sections, and a three-man HQ group. They’re supported by a machine gun and a mortar, and have a medical team with them. There’s also a dinky little Carden-Loyd tankette (click on the picture for a closer look).

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The three infantry sections consist of twelve men each, including an NCO. Each section also includes a two-man Lewis machine gun team. The Dutch introduced the Lewis light machine gun  in 1920, and designated it as the machine gun M.20.

My painting style is quite impressionistic, using lots of dry-brushing and ink washes. Whilst the result won’t win any painting competitions, from the distance they are viewed at on the table the figures look perfectly serviceable.

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My force has one three-man Schwarzlose M.08 machine gun team. The gun is complete with its hose and drain bucket. The Schwarzlose was produced in the Netherlands under licence from Austria. In May 1940 the Schwarzlose machinegun was quite outdated. Still the machine guns proved to be highly reliable and robust, and the number of break-downs was extremely low.

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My infantry are supported by an 81mm mortar. They are quite lucky to have it, as the Dutch army was in fact very poorly equipped with infantry support weapons, including the availability of mortars in front-line units.

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Whilst the medic has a role in the Bolt Action rules, I’m not sure how much use the stretcher-bearer team will be. But they look good – and knowing my generalship skills, will probably be in high demand by my little lead Dutchmen …

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I’ve painted one of the miniatures to represent my late father, who was a medic in the Dutch army in 1940 (read my father’s story here). He joins another family member who has also been memorialised in miniature, my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Pierre van Dooren, trumpeter in Napoleon’s 12th Dragoons (read Pierre’s story here).

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So there we have it, my Dutch army … for now, anyway. There are further plans afoot: I have a section of Marines (the famous ‘Black Devils’) to paint. And I am waiting for the forthcoming models of the Landsverk armoured car and the Bohler antitank gun.

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Work-in-progress on WW2 Dutch

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On the morning of 10 May 1940 the Dutch awoke to the sound of aircraft engines roaring in the sky. Germany’s invasion of the neutral Netherlands had begun. Seventy-seven years later my friend Sander van der Ster, owner of May ’40 Miniatures, was part of a reenactment group commemorating the invasion.

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At the same time, I was busy on the other side of the world painting a batch of Sander’s 28mm WW2 Dutch figures, as shown in this ‘work-in-progress’ picture. The group includes a couple of sections of infantry, a mortar crew, and the gunners for a medium machine gun. There are also a medic and a couple of stretcher bearers.

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Although I’ve been detouring into Japanese samurai terrain, my Dutch project has continued steadily. I’ve been slowly working through the remainder of my figures to join the first dozen I’d already painted.

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In the above picture, the previously completed figures are shown on the left, and some of the current work-in-progress batch on the right. So far I’ve completed their uniforms and flesh, and started blocking in the weapons and equipment.

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Once the rest of the painting is completed, there’ll still be some ink washes to make the details stand out. These examples from my  previous batch show what the finished figures will look like.

So far the only armour is the kooky little Carden-Loyd tankette (made by Reiver Castings). But hopefully soon I’ll be adding a Landsverk armoured car, which is in its final stage of production by May ’40 Miniatures.

Maybe not the most fearsome of Bolt Action armies, but it certainly will be unusual …

 

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Painted 28mm WW2 Dutch figures

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May 1940: a squad of Dutch infantry cautiously follow a Carden Loyd tankette into a war-torn village.

Yep, I’ve finally started painting my May ’40 Miniatures WW2 Dutch infantry at last!  (The Reiver Castings tankette, by the way, was covered in a previous posting).

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As I always find when photographing anything painted blue, the uniform colour in some of these pictures has come out a lot brighter than it is in reality.  The figures are actually a blueish-greenish-grey, rather than the bright light blue they appear in the photos above. The picture below is the most life-like depiction of the actual colour I painted them, though the photo itself is a little dull.

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The miniatures were sculpted by Michael Percy for Sander van der Ster, the owner of May ’40 Miniatures. Michael has made a good job of capturing the somewhat old-fashioned appearance of the Dutch infantry of this period. The figures are festooned with equipment, and wear the distinctive Dutch helmets.

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Posing is generally good, with all the sorts of stances you need for a ‘Bolt Action’ wargame. I glued the figures onto 25mm washers, and as you can see, the fit is good.

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I particularly like this Lewis gun crew (seen below). I wouldn’t fancy being the guy holding the stand, with the gun yammering away just beside my ear!

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So far I’ve painted just one section of 12 men and their NCO. I have two more sections to paint, along with a heavy machine gun team and a mortar. I also have one section of Dutch Marines, who will look distinctive in their dark blue jackets. And of course not to forget my medical team, who I’ll be painting up in memory of my father.

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Following that, once May ’40 Miniatures launches their Landsverk armoured car and Böhler anti-tank gun, I’ll be adding these to my army of course. And, then, who knows – motorcycle-mounted machine guns, cyclists???

If you are interested to know more about May ’40 Miniatures, check out their website or their FaceBook page.

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What I did on my holiday

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This blog has been quiet over the last five or six weeks because I’ve been away overseas on holiday.  For the most part, our trip to England, Scotland, the Netherlands and Italy was a non-hobby related holiday that readers will probably not be too interested in –  but there were a couple of moments of wargaming interest.

The first such moment was an overnight stop in the centre of the UK’s (if not the world’s) wargaming industry: the city of Nottingham. There we met up with Alan and Michael Perry, whom I had last worked with in New Zealand on the massive Chunuk Bair diorama project.

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We were able to visit Alan’s wargaming room, with its magnificently terrained table, overflowing display cases, gorgeous battle paintings, and antique militaria.

I even sat on the couch where much of their prolific sculpting is done!  To my readers’ probable disappointment, I was so star-struck at finding myself at the very epicentre of our hobby that I forgot to take many photographs – what you see above is all that we took!

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We were honoured with a sneak peek at the Perrys’ latest project, TravelBattle (a complete wargame in a box). They showed us the original one-off prototype of this game that they had made many years ago (sorry, once again I was too flabbergasted to take a photo!), and which they were now designing as an innovative new product in their range.

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There were a couple of sociable meals with the Perry twins – the first at their local watering hole, the very atmospheric and old ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’ pub; and the other at a French restaurant with the two Mrs Perrys.

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The other (sort of) wargaming moment was to almost meet Sander van der Ster of May ’40 Miniatures in the Netherlands. My wife and I hadn’t scheduled to visit the Netherlands on our holiday, but the sudden passing of two elderly aunts in Holland meant a quick re-jig of our plans so that I could attend the funerals. This put me within range of a possible meeting with Sander.

However, whilst I ended up only a town or two away from Sander, there were just too many family commitments for me to get sufficient time to travel the final few kilometres to have that face-to-face meeting.

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But Sander did manage to post my order of  his first release of WW2 Dutch figures to where I was staying in the Netherlands, thus saving me a lot of postage costs to get it to the other side of the world. I’ll report more on these figures in a future posting, after I have got over my jet-lag sufficiently to really examine them closely!

Finally, a curiosity (non-wargaming related) from our trip: take a look what happened to the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I photographed it!

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