Sunday, March 30, 2014

Go To It! - British Parachute Platoon for Chain of Command

Well, it's been a busy few months since the last update. Full time teaching is rather full on. Besides being exhausting, it's also rather enjoyable though, and at the moment I'm teaching Year 9 all about the First World War. They all seem rather engaged, and we've been having some rather stimulating discussions about the nature and experience of the war, and the way it is seen in popular culture. The introduction of the new national curriculum has allowed a much more global, less parochial view of the conflict. We celebrated 'harmony day' last week by examining the roles of a variety of cultures and nations in the war. The kids were very interested, and often surprised. Investigating the Indian commitment to the war, and the war in East Africa in particular provoked a lot of discussion.

I'm still aiming to introduce some kind of gaming group in the school, and there are a number of students who are rather keen. I think I'll wait till after report time though.

Anyway, i've been cracking on with the painting in the odd spare moments, and have managed to get some bits and pieces painted up. The new airbrush does tend to speed things up a bit, particularly with the intricate 1940 French and late war German vehicle camo patterns.

Anyway, I'm thinking that the best way to get images of these up on the blog is in a series of posts, each 'parading' one of the force's i've been working on.

So, for this update the focus will be on my British Parachute platoon, and accompanying support units, all for Chain of Command. I've managed to get a few Chain of Command: At The Sharp End campaign games in with these guys (AARs to come, I promise!), and they are very interesting, flexible and potent force to play with. I've based my force around the 6th Airborne Division in Normandy, but they could easily be used for 1st Airborne at Arnhem or 6th bouncing the Rhine in 1945.

The figures are all '20mm', so somewhere around 1/72 scale. They are mostly the superbly sculpted and realistically animated Battlefield/Blitz figures, with a leavening of Britannia. I think that despite the differing sculpting styles they fit together rather well. I've included the background info generated using At The Sharp End for the command figures. The platoon is based on one from the 12th Parachute Battalion.

Platoon Command
This consists of the platoon commander, platoon sergeant, one two man PIAT team, a sniper, and one two man 2" mortar team.

Lt Rawlinson
Lt. Edward Rawlinson is the platoon commander. A former factory worker from Northampton in the Midlands, Rawlinson enlisted in 1940 as a private. He saw action in the Mediterranean and Sicily, where his practicality, capability and bravery saw him rise through the ranks. 27 years old, and of average stature, Rawlinson jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for the Airborne.

Sgt Threepwood
Sgt Reginald 'Lofty' Threepwood is the platoon sergeant. A bohemian from a wealthy family near Tonbridge, the intellectual looking 27 year old studied the classics at Trinity college, Oxford before moving to London and living the good life off family money. During the blitz, his favourite club was destroyed by bombs. Threepwood was injured badly, and his many of his friends and his fiancee were killed in the explosion. Since that night his joie de vivre has been replaced by a burning hatred of all things German. Following his recovery, he signed up for service. Posted to a training unit near Bristol due to his injuries, he was promoted quickly. He jumped at the chance to volunteer for the airborne and so finally take his revenge on the enemy. 

No.1 Section 

Sgt McReedie
Parachute sections follow the standard British infantry model of Section commander, three man Bren light machinegun team, and six man rifle team. The difference is that the Section commander is a Sergeant rather than a Corporal, and Sten (or even looted MP40) submachine guns are more prevalent. 

No.1 section is commanded by Sgt Douglas McReedie. 25 year old ‘Dougie’ McReedie was formerly apprenticed to the sole mechanic in the small North Ayrshire village of Glengarnock before jumping at the chance to enlist in the regulars in ’40. He fought with the 51st Division in North Africa, before transferring to the Airborne. McReedie is short in stature, a real bantam.

No.2 Section

Sgt Hitchens
No.2 section is commanded by Sgt. James Hitchens. An Irishman born in the outskirts of Ulster, Hitchens fudged his age to join up in 1933, since then the army has been his true home. He’s served in many campaigns, from the Northwestern Frontier and East Africa to Narvik, North Africa and Italy. He was one of the first to volunteer for the Airborne. 27 years of age, he is a strapping six-footer.

No.3 Section

Sgt Ballantyne
This section is 'beefed up' with an extra Bren gun, making it a potent force to provide a base of fire. This section comprises two fire teams, one of five and one of four men, each based around a Bren light machine gun.

No.3 section is commanded by Sgt. John Ballantyne, a farmer’s son from the North. He worked on the family farm near Ripon on the Yorkshire Dales before volunteering in ’39. He saw some action in North Africa before volunteering to the Airborne. He is 27 years of age, and physically an average sort.

Support Options:

Vickers heavy machine gun team. All Britannia

6 pounder anti-tank gun and crew. All Britannia, excepting one Battlefield crewman

FOO team. Britannia.

Medic. Britannia

Recce Jeep. Britannia

Recce Carrier. Britannia

Tetrarch light tank. Milicast.

Horsa Glider. Not really a support option, but thought I should include it. It is from Italeri.

So there you have it. The only items which I have to add to this unit are a flamethrower team and some engineers.

Next up, I'll be covering my 21st Panzer forces. I've just begun working on Dux Britanniarum forces, as I want to get the remainder of my Romano-British and Saxons finished off so I can get some games in.

Thanks for reading!


  1. The campaign rules for CoC make the whole gaming experience so much more fun. Superb painting, I look forward to seeing how these boys progress and the addition of your Panzer forces.

    1. Thanks mate, i'm glad you like them. I must say that your blog is always a source of inspiration!
      I agree about the campaign supplement, the character generation bit does make it loads more immersive. I actually used an adapted version at school to help kids build up background info for an assignment which requires them to write a WWI diary from the point of view of soldiers. Went down a treat, though I've lost count of how many dice went missing. :)

  2. Excellent brushwork, love the different units, especially Lt Rawlinson and the Medic...

    1. Thanks Phil, glad you like them. Those Britannia figures are choc full of character, aren't they.

    2. Hello, i have seen your minis and they look amazing. Would you mind selling one of them to me? Please email me to to talk about.

  3. I was rather proud of my British Airborne - but these take it to a whole new level. They are beautifully painted

    1. Thanks mate. I must say that your superbly painted paras were actually the inspiration for this project!

  4. Blimey Ben, these are real beauts! I've just realised I haven't painted my Airborne for our game at Salute! I must order them tomorrow. We're doing the fighting in Le Port. The Paras fight their way in in during the morning and Lord Lovat comes to the rescue in the afternoon. Glad the teaching is going well for you mate.

    1. Cheers mate. That sounds fantastic. Along with my Jerry stuff is a Marder I which I got specifically to be able to play the night attack on Benouville. Have you had a chance to try out commandos yet? How do they play?
      I've got my troop, complete with Lovatt and Bill Milin character figures, in the painting queue. But I've just gotten back into working on my Dux Brit stuff anyway :)

    2. Well, I used your list for commandos and much fun they are. Especially if you back them up with a Centaur for close support. You don't need a PIAT. In Le Port when you have one of them!

  5. Cracking painting there Ben, well done!

  6. Your paras are a real eyecandy! You realy hit the nail with the denisons.

  7. Excellent painting here!

    Cheers, Ross

  8. Great painting on the Paras, I did a whole lot commission around 15 years ago in 20mm and yours look so much better. Now I have mine in 15mm. It is great you are doing WW1 from a more whole world perspective, my sons could not believe me when I said that Indians and French fought at Gallipolli let alone had more troops there than us! Well at least thats whay I ahve read.

  9. Really well done, I thought these were 28s!

    I've caught the bug myself, having played the British Paras in CoC just recently. Excellent blog as well...following.