Thursday 19 May 2022

German Support Weapons

Before I get onto the models, this Sunday 22nd May is the Partizan show in Newark, where I am very much looking forward to catching up with old pals, as well as delivering two artillery master models to Michael Perry. If any of you whom I haven't previously met are going and would like to pick my brain about a project of your own or just say hello, I would be delighted to see you: please get in touch via the email facility and  we can arrange a time and spot.

Anyway, today it's the turn of the German 1940 army, in particular their infantry support weapons. The manufacturers supply us a lot better here for figures and at least some of the equipment. So the Landser here are from half a dozen firms and didn't need as much conversion as with the French.

First model today is the ubiquitous 3.7cm Pak 35/36, a model I actually didn't have to scratch-build myself, although I'm afraid I've forgotten which manufacturer produces this crisp model. The gun was typical of 1930's infantry anti-tank guns: quite capable of dealing with all but the heaviest tanks of 1940, it later became known as the "army door knocker". I did make the unusually-shaped ammo boxes.

Here's the standard infantry radio, formally known as the Torn.Fu.D2 -"pack radio D2". Like the French equivalent it comprised a heavy radio and an equally heavy battery box, which you see here underneath the set. On the march the radio man carried the battery box, wired up to the set which was carried on his assistant's back, where it could be operated in motion, with a bit of luck. To be fair it was a more robust and better-engineered set than its French equivalent the ER40, although surprisingly it was much less widely in use, at least amongst the "line infantry".

German medics were attached at platoon level and trained to apply first aid themselves rather than just try to get the wounded man back to the aid post as in other armies of the time. This Sani carries the M34 medical pack containing the tools of his trade. In an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Geneva Convention they also carried pistols...

Typically for the time, each German platoon had a 50mm mortar with a team of three men. It was unnecessarily heavy and elaborately-featured for its modest fire effect. You don't see them much from about 1941.  

Contrary to what most wargamers think, antitank rifles were not standard in most armies at the start of WWII. The Poles made good use of them in 1939, which prompted the Germans to start producing the Pz.B 39 seen here. The numbers produced by May 1940 were insufficient to supply most units. Paratroopers had them, most motorised rifles, but few of the "line infantry". By 1941 they were fully supplied, but by 1941 they weren't much use...

Here is the highly efficient MG34 on its tripod mount. I scratch-built the mount, the ammo boxes and the rangefinder. In 1940 this MG was far from universal in in infantry divisions. In rough terms perhaps a third or a half at most of "leg-infantry" divisions had the MG34 in the sustained fire role, the rest using the old Maxim 08 and some captured Czech MG's. It was a little more widespread in the squad LMG role. In particular, First Wave divisions had reorganised their platoons as four squads of ten men and an MG34, rather than three squads of 13 men as during the Polish campaign. Many of the motorised rifle (later Panzergrenadier) units had three squads, but with two LMG's each.


  1. Lovely work once again John:). I've always loved the Pak 35/36 ever since seeing the Tamiya model many years ago when it first came out.

    Have a nice show at Partizan and if you can, take a few photos of stuff that attracts your interest, as I can't make the show this year.

  2. Thanks as ever, fellers. Have got too much meeting and hob-nobbing to do at Partizan to allow for any photography, Steve, but the organisers usually arrange for plenty of photos anyway. I have got another gun master to hand over to Michael Perry: 1870 Prussian 6-pounder. So aiming to get that photographed before it leaves the house and then will post it on here soon.

    I did do a posting on the Two Lardies Chain of Command forum, as I thought people there might be interested to see these 1940 things specifically done to go with those rules. Some certainly did appreciate what's here, and I'm supposed to be meeting one gamer at Partizan whose acquaintance I have not previously had the pleasure of making, so that's rather nice.

  3. Very nice work on display here John....I do believe your painting skills are up there with your modelling skills, these German troops are excellent work!

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