Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Comets are Coming

As proof that my miniature collection is not 100% German, I present the last British cruiser tank of the Second World War (discounting the Centurion's appearance barely beyond the prototype stage) the "Comet" packing a welcome punch with its shortened 17 pounder for the British tankers..

In technical references the gun was noted as a 77mm calibre weapon even though it was actually only 75mm. The ammunition was special and non-interchangeable with standard 75mm so they had to make it different for warehouse/logistics purposes. (Stalin did a similar this for his rocket weapons, the "Stalin Organ" was initially 150mm but designated as 152mm to avoid the wrong types of artillery rounds being delivered to troops at the front.)

Never really fought in large tank versus tank actions and by the time Korea can round the Centurion had made its mark.

I have decided that I am running one tank short for a Command Decision representation of a 1945 British tank squadron. The 1944/45 orbat stood at three Shermans or Cromwells plus a Sherman Firefly hence I will get myself another Comet to keep the numbers/punch up to a strength of four.

Hope you like them NZ Al/Paul, I have gone for a disruptive green and black camouflage pattern which the British Army was experimenting with in late 1944/45. No decals as yet, (which should not really come as a complete surprise), I am debating whether to use the Scottish or English regiment.


Al said...

They look brilliant Geordie. I have never seen that pattern camo before. Thanks for listening to your friends Down Under. Could you tell us what colour numbers you used mate? I feel a Comet making session coming on...!

GEM Team said...

I have 2 from matchbox yet to build. You got me on the mood. Cheers

Paul said...

Very Nice work. The search for the fourth Comet must go on! I like the DPM, really good shots with your background.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Camo pattern is my extrapolation. The British Army (combat experience generated) were blocking black and green for a level of disruption late '44 and '45.

Other Comets were definitely just Khaki Green all over.

I will post a note to myself on how I painted them soon :)

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

PS Glad you liked them ;)

Pablo J. Álvarez said...

I don´t know why the british tank continue show vertical wall in front of the hull, at these time of the war.
About the kit I must said look an original camo an realistic finished.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Hello Pablo,

Good point. To be fair I think the designers knew they were in the wrong for the vertical plate, but the re-tooling issues back at the factory would have meant even longer delays in getting a half decent tank to the troops.

It was the gun they wanted more than anything, as any German tank gun (75's and 88's) could knock out an Allied tank at combat ranges, they wanted the 17pdr that could do the same back to the German tanks. That is, in every tank not just the Firefly in the troop.

As it was the Comet really missed out on the Second World War with respect to fighting large formations of German tanks. The British units in the Battle of the Bulge were about to re-equip with Comets but had to get their Shermans back out of mothballs from the tank depot.

The Centurion not under the "war rush" had that slanted armour :)

Pablo J. Álvarez said...

I'm agree, other of the 17pdr important user, was the Achilles and finally the Avenger but how tankdestroyer are weak in armour. The british see some lights with the tower of the Crusader tank but soon forget it, probably because the front of the tower are vertical.

My favourite british tank is the Churchill NA75 used in Italy. His crew loved it, and the infantry need it how the water or food.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

It is interesting how much ad-hoc 17pdr development was rushed into in 1944/45. I agree the Achilles was probably next best.

The strangest British 17pdr variant to me was the Archer SPG firing out of "the back of" an old Valentine. Designed perhaps with "scoot and shoot" in mind.

The Churchill Black Prince 17pdr project produced a decent tank (six prototypes I think) but created a logistical nightmare as the widened tank needed special transportation.

The Avenger (a light steel roof on an open topped Challenger) got the 17pdr gun but they couldn't fit a tank around it. Too high to be inconspicuous and too long to be nimble or mechanically reliable.

All interesting stuff :)

Pablo J. Álvarez said...

Yes, and I'am sure the Achilles was the best M-10.
A friend of mine built a Priest with a 17pdr, but his beautifull profile never was made.

Tim Gow said...

I always like the MB kit of the Comet. I think it was one of their earlier releases. What a great tank it would have 1943...

All of this reminds me that I've not painted any new 20mm stuff fo ages. Hmmm.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

I agree Tim

Yes in 1943 the Comet would have been a world beater, even the Cromwell in 1942 would have made its mark

The fact that the Sherman was around in 1942+ was a life-saver for the Western Allies. The Crusader upgrades had run out steam by then

It was even because of the Sherman the Churchill got its upgrade to 75mm gun via a battlefield contingency/upgrade/cannibalisation of Sherman turrets (see Pablo's comments)

Arquinsiel said...

You've entirely forgotten the Challenger in your list of 17lber armed tanks (and by extension, the TOG 2, which had a Challenger turret). They were assigned in place of Fireflies to Cromwell Armoured Recce units in extremely limited numbers, such as the Welsh Guards in XXX Corps. Apparently they were pretty dire though.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers Arquinsel,

In my defence I did give a slight nod to the Challenger and its Avenger offspring/hybrid, but you are right it's the next likely 17pdr carriage to appear on a tabletop ;)

I guess they just had to do something once they had got a lot of them. Watch this space for my 1944 Cromwell Squadron with Challenger fire power for that very same Armoured Recce unit :)

The Welsh Guards in XXX Corp would be a nice warging unit to do, probably in 1/300 or 1/200

I've actually seen/touched the TOG2 at Bovington and it did feel as if the designers ("The Old Gang" from WWI) were best left to their own devices away from the WW2 battlefield!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks Paul,

It does not take much of an excuse for me to get another model in under the Radar ;)

A fourth Comet would be the final straw for any 1945 anti-tank gunner deciding whether or not to make a final stand

My Cromwell Squadron is catching my interest now :)

Arquinsiel said...

My research leads me to believe that this is the only Challenger on the merket that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I'll be ordering one soon for my Welsh Guards and I'll blog about how it is as a kit when I get it started.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Very interesting Arquinsiel!

I am trying to remember who made mine. I picked it up at a 'random' traders stall at a local wargame show about six years ago. It was resin but also cast fixed to a base terrain. The turret does not turn, or rather it would be madness not to glue is on. I think it was about £7 to £9 then, even with "inflation" puts £12.50 high for my liking.

But us wargamers are a cornered market when we want something!

Arquinsiel said...

The sad thing is, all the others I could find were fromn far less reputable dealers, required brass-etched details to be bought seperately and apart from that cost at least tree times as much. £12.50 (or €14.50 to me) is damn expensive for a single tank, but it's a big tank and I only need one. The Sextons are another matter....

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

The mind seems to linger over "silly" vehicles like that. I am trying to resist the desire for M5 Stuarts at the moment saying armoured cars are just as good.

How's Hell's Highway (aka Arnhem) coming on?

Arquinsiel said...

I've been fiddling with the Revell German Artillery box to try get two deployed guns out of each and it works rather well with a small amount of effort. The only problem then is I have too few crew, so I may have to try casting some up to crew them or just buy more boxes.