Friday, 28 March 2014

Bolt Action: US Parachute Rifle Platoon 1942-44.

As a lead on from my last post, here is the organisation of a US Airborne Parachute Rifle Platoon as would be found operating in Tunisia.

Copyright Osprey Publishing. Used without permission.

Although they're not listed in the official T/O&E, in December 1942 a special order was issued supplying four bazooka's to each Parachute Rife Company. These were normally distributed one per rifle platoon, with the fourth going to the Company HQ. No dedicated operators were ever added to the rifle platoon T/O&E for the Bazooka. Much like the two platoon HQ LMG's, it was assigned to members of the platoon HQ  or one of the squads as needed.

Note the complete absence of BAR's from this T/O&E. Something I'll have to remember when it comes to ordering miniatures for my platoon. Instead, I'll model two man .30 cal teams as my squad LMG's (in bolt action, squad LMG's have just two crew). The three man LMG teams from the Platoon HQ and Mortar Squad will count as MMG's.

Bolt Action Parachute Infantry Platoon:

In Bolt Action terms, I would use the following force selections to depict my Parachute Rifle Platoon:

Platoon HQ 
1st Lt and 1 additional SMG (Platoon Leader plus Platoon Sgt)
FAO and 1 rifleman with SMG (Asst Platoon Leader plus Radio Operator)
MMG Team (Radio and Code Corporal plus two Messengers)

1st Rifle Squad:
9 Men - 1x Sgt, 1xSMG, 2 man LMG (I'll use a .30 as I would for a MMG but give it just two crew), 5 Riflemen,

2nd Rifle Squad:
As Above

Mortar Squad:
Medium Mortar Team (3 men)
MMG Team (3 men)

Bazooka Team:
2 Men (1 from each Rifle Squad)

Once these building blocks have been purchased, I'll add Pioneer Squads to represent members of the Battalion Demolitions Platoon plus a Medic and (possibly) some vehicles in support.

Bolt Action on my Mind

I've been focussing over much on painting and 40K since last I posted on this blog some six months ago now, but that's about to change. I'm suffering from an acute case of Bolt Action Fever. The plan is to make use of my existing terrain collection as much as possible, so I'll be concentrating my efforts in the North African theatre. Specifically, I'm planning on making use of the Tunisian theatre.

Why? Because Tunisia is a little under-used in wargaming circles. Which is a shame considering that it was a very active and varied theatre for wargaming purposes. Gaming in Tunisia will allow me to field Commonwealth, French, German, Italian and American infantry platoons, not to mention the US Airborne, Fallschirmjaeger, British Airborne, French Foreign Legion,  LRDG and SAS units.

I'm planning on making this my main effort for the next few years, given that I'm bored to hell of 40K and haven't played WWII "straight" (as opposed to "Weird") for at least a decade. I'll keep you posted, but I plan on assembling four platoons this year for a bit of variety. I doubt any of my regular opponents can be induced into collecting their own WWII Platoons, but I have no doubt they'll be willing to take part in a few games if I can provide all the minis'.

I'm looking to assemble:
  • A  late 1942/early 43 DAK "T Battalion" ( a hodgepodge of troops from various replacement pools thrown together as combat formations to counter the allied landings in Operation Torch).
  • A late 1942/early 43 8th Battalion Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders platoon from the 78th Infantry Division.
  • A platoon of US Airborne from the 2nd (and only) Battalion of the 509th Paraachute Infantry Battalion.
  • A platoon of Fallschirmjaeger from the Ramcke Brigade.
I'll be starting off with a box of Perry Miniatures WWII plastics. Either the DAK box or the 8th Army Box. Not sure which yet. Probably the DAK box as the Argyle and Sutherlands landed in Tunisia in the middle of winter -they'd have been wearing normal battle dress rather than the famous 8th army shorts.