August 2013
M4A2 Sherman Tanks
Rafale C 

Rafale C

Link to Website Index: Index

PoppySelected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:

Between 2009 and 2015, I have set myself a general modelling theme that marks selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.

Henschel Hs293 air-launched anti-ship Missile at the RAF Cosford museum. This weapons system was first used successfully during August 1943, when a missile was launched from a Do-217, resulting in the loss of HMS EGRET and 198 of her crew.

1 Aug - Operation Tidal Wave - A force of 177 USAAF B-24 Liberator bombers flying from Libyan bases conducts a long range strike against the Romanian oilfields that provide most of the Axis' fuel supplies. The attacks are successful, but casualties are very high and disruption to oil production is short-lived.

3 Aug - The Red Army begins an all-out assault to recover the city of Kharkov from the Germans.

14 Aug - The Italian government declare Rome an open city in light of Allied bombing raids and offer to remove all defences under Allied supervision.

17 Aug - General Patton's US 7th Army joins up with the British 8th Army in Messina, completing the invasion and occupation of Sicily.

18 Aug  - The RAF conduct major bombing raids against the German missile factory at Peenemunde.

23 Aug - The Soviets recapture Kharkov, the last major Nazi base in the south of the USSR

27 Aug - HMS EGRET is sunk in the Bay of Biscay by a Henschel Hs293 air launched anti-ship guided missile, in the first ever successful attack of its kind.

29 Aug - The German occupation administration dissolves the Danish government and declares martial law.  Danish Naval workers scuttle the Danish fleet to prevent its use by the Germans - The cruiser Niels Juel is sunk by the Luftwaffe whilst trying to escape to Sweden, but several patrol boats make it safely to Malmo.

31 Aug - The Grumman F6F Hellcat is used in combat for the first time. An evolution of the Wildcat, it will quickly prove to be the most successful and important carrier-borne fighter of the war.

M4A2 Sherman Tank
2nd Lothians & Borders Horse Yeomanry, 26th Armd Brigade, 6th Armd Div, 1st Army

Battle of Hammam-Lif, Tunisia, 8th May 1943.

Armourfast 1/72 - with Bison decals.

This is a project I had intended to do in May to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hamman-Lif, but some basic research as I started quickly identified that the Sherman variants in my stash were not the right type.  The Mk III sherman (M4A2) was fitted with a twin diesel engine, resulting in a very differnet after deck and rear than other variants.  It has taken me until now to obtain suitable replacements, using one of the marvellous Amourfast quick-build kits.  Decals come largely from Bison, albeit with a few changes for the later Italian campaign tank.

As WW2 in North Africa drew to a close, Allied forces advanced on the city of Tunis to finish off the Afrika Korps.  As it quickly became apparent that Tunis had fallen to the British 1st Army and that the US 1st Armd Div had successfully captured the key Tunisian port of Bizerta to the North, General Alexander redirected the British 6th Armoured Division to move north-east and cut off the German's retreat toward the Cap Bon peninsula, thereby trapping them in front of Montgomery's 8th Army, which was advancing westward along the mediterranean coast.

Between the 6th and the coast road lay Hammam-Lif, a smart Tunisian coastal spa town on a narrow defile between the sea and a steep 750 ft rise to the Tunisian hills above.  The town was held by two elite battalions of the DAK Herman Goering Div & Ramcke Regiment of the 90th Light division, firmly dug in with artillery and anti tank weapons, pillboxes & minefields.

Hammam-Lif:  a town of many attractions!

On the 8th May 1943 , the infantry of the 3rd Welsh Guards led the attack, followed by the tanks of the Lothians & Borders Horse, the 10th Rifle Bgde (the Green Jackets) and the guns of the Ayrshire Yeomanry.  After the initial assault, the Coldstream Guards moved through the Welsh Guards and into the outskirts of the town. C Sqn of the Lothians & Borders Horse and the Grenadier Guards then made a number of frontal attack across the open ground under heavy anti tank fire, but became bogged down in narrow streets.

B Sqn of the Lothians & Borders Horse were then directed to attack the town from the west, via the railway yard and toward the beach promenade. In a move described as "A scene without parallel in the history of armoured warfare", the Sherman tanks of  B Sqn 3 Troop, led by Lt Allan Waterston, undertook a spectacular outflanking maneouvre by driving at high speed along the beach, hull down in the surf to avoid the continuous heavy fire of the German 88mm guns, then turned right into the town. 

The beach front at Hammam-Lif, 8 years after the battle.

Tanks of the 17/21 Lancers quickly followed the L&B into the surf.  A Sqn of the Lothians & Borders Horse then joined with C Sqn and the Grenadier Guards to clear the town.  Twelve 88mm guns, 6x50mm and 16x20mm were captured. During the battle the Lothians & Borders Horse lost 2 officers and 6 men, as well as 12 Sherman tanks. 

By 13th May the war in Tunisia was over as the last Axis forces in N Africa surrendered unconditionally.  Over 250,000 Axis troops were taken prisoner, ranking alongside Stalingrad in Allied victories.

Link to more WW2 AFVs on my  Dark Side Pages

M4A2 Sherman Tank
2nd Lothians & Borders Horse Yeomanry, 26th Armd Brigade, 6th Armd Div, 8th Army

Monte Cassino to the Gothic Line, River Tiber, Highway 3, Italy, May 1944 - Oct 1944.

Armourfast 1/72 - with Bison decals.

Since Armourfast provide 2 tanks in each box, I have cobbled together a 2nd L&BHY tank, this time from the Italian campaign in 1944. 

The Allied campaign in Italy was slow and tortuous, but by 6 June 1944 the 8th Army had passed Monte Cassino and was advancing up the River Tiber toward the German strongpoints of the Gothic Line.  The tanks of the 2nd Lothians & Borders Horse Yeomanry led the 6th Armd Div up Highway 3 in pursuit of Kesselring's forces.


Dassault Rafale C,

EC 1/3 Provence, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base, 2010.

HobbyBoss, 1/72.

The Rafale (Squall) is effectively the French equivalent of the Eurofighter Typhoon, and indeed grew from the same original requirement.

The French Air Force originally ordered single seat "C" (Chasse) fighter variants of the Rafale, but have since determined that the second seat is needed for effective ground attack operations and have therefore revised the balance of their order so that most operational land-based French Rafales will be the B model.

I thoroughly enjoyed building the 2 seater Rafale 18 months back, so when I found this one going very cheaply at the IPMS Gloucester model show, I jumped at the opportunity to complete my Rafale set. Built last month to mark Bastille Day (La Fete National - Quatorze Juillet), as is normal with HobbyBoss,it builds very well and looks good when complete.

Link to more French Aircraft on my Friends & Allies Pages

Link to Website Index: Index

Link to previous month Link to Next Month

Background Image: Jet Provost Trainer of the RAF