Sunday, November 20, 2016

French Expeditionary Corps - Italy 1943-1944

I completed my early war (1940-1942) French forces for Northern Africa.  I wanted to expand my Bolt Action Collection and decided that I would continue the French theme.  I have completed most of the vehicles for the force and I painted up the first couple of infantry squads and supports.  Here are the first photos of the force.  These are primarily French Foreign Legion troops which represent infantry from the Regiment de Marche Legion Etranger (RMLE) and Recon units from the 1ere Regiment Etranger Cavalrie (1 REC).

Here are the photos with explanation for each.  First the infantry of the RMLE:

Infantry squad of French Foreign Legion infantry in uniforms supplied by the United States.  The French were fond of wearing Adrian helmets or French tri-colors on US helmets.  It is said that they wanted to make sure that the Germans knew that they were facing French forces.

Another view of the French infantry.  The Foreign Legion usually kept their 'Kepi Blancs' for parades, but I decided that I wanted players on the Axis side to know that they were facing my best troops when the FFL is on the board!  All of the figures are plastic Warlord US Infantry with head conversions in metal from the Woodbine Design Company in Adrian Helmets and Kepis.

I couldn't resist putting an Adrian helmet on the bazooka man!

Here are the vehicles from the 1 REC - First the Recon elements:

A Reece Jeep with the section leader calling in a SITREP.  This is a Warlord resin vehicle crewed by figures from the Old Glory "Berlin or Bust" range.  I preferred these figures to the two man crew from Warlord with the ridiculous driver holding an M-1 carbine in a soft cap!

The Jeep not only provides the brigade commander with important intelligence reports, it also sports a Heavy Machine Gun so it can provide the platoon leader with critical firepower to help win the tactical fight.

The M3A1 Stuart Light Tank is the armored portion of the 1 REC.  The Stuart was not able to take on main battle tanks, however, it could easily handle other light tanks and armored cars.  And its three Medium Machine Guns is devastating when engaging enemy infantry.  Note that the 'White Clubs" and Roundel tactical markings is from the early war French markings sheet, but I thought they looked pretty cool so I went with them.

The tank bears the name of one of my favorite foods (Eclaire).

And here is some fire support for the Reece:

This is the M8 Scott Gun Motor Carriage (GMC).  Built on the M3A1 Stuart Light Tank, the M8 has a 75mm Light Howitzer as well as a pintle mounted Heavy Machine Gun.  This is a resin and metal model from the Old Glory "Berlin or Bust" range.  The model is on the slightly small size, but I think it is a good representation of the vehicle.

The crowded crew compartment of the M8 as the crew feverishly services the howitzer to get rounds down range.

Along with the M8 GMC, the French forces include a T-12 Halftrack GMC with a French 75mm dual purpose gun.  This vehicle provides not only Light Howitzer fire support, it also can provide medium Anti-tank gun support.  Here French gunners from the Regiment de Fusilier Marins man one of the halftrack guns.

I'm not sure that the French used this version of the M3 halftrack, but I do know that it was used by the British in Italy and the French probably had some also, so here they are.  It is just a really cool vehicle to have on the game table.  This is a Mad Bob model with crew, only change was a head swap to put on the Sailor hat on the Fusilier Marin.

Finally, here is a command vehicle for the company team:

An M3 White Scout Car set up as a recce vehicle from the 1 REC, but notice the officer in the rear of the vehicle.   This is a Warlord Games resin model with metal crew.  The heads are also from Gripping Beast WWI Adrian helmet and Zouave options.

An aerial view of the crew compartment.  Note this vehicle has an HMG and an MMG.  This makes this vehicle a potent combatant.  When it is not serving as a headquarters, this can be a troop transport for up to six troopers in the 1 REC. 

That officer in the Scout Car is not from the Foreign Legion, but what unit does he command?  Guess you will have to check back and find out when I get photos of newly painted troops up on the blog.