2e Cuirassiers, finally!
Some years ago, 2005 I think, my wife bought me a French tank company for Christmas. She did a great job of it, secretly talking to my buddy Mike about what I would want, what tanks to order, how many, etc. She was justifiably proud of herself since she totally surprised me – how often to we get wargaming presents we have not picked out ourselves.
Unfortunately, I have always felt that I let her down a bit because that tank company has sat about in the unpainted bin for years. Shortly after that Christmas , I and many of my gaming buddies got busy trying to finish our dissertations and then we had a baby (Beth and I, not my gaming buddies) and moved to Knoxville, so the French were pushed aside in favor of things the other locals were playing. Eventually Andy and I started talking about actually doing some early war games and I got the motivation to actually finish up those French tanks, only 4 years or so after I got them.
When I first had them and started to paint up the first units, I scoured the internet and came up with a couple of possible paint schemes: the three-color horizontal band pattern common on French armor and an ochre and green lobed pattern. Since Beth had purchased them, I let her choose and she chose the lobed pattern – which of course was a lot more work to paint :).
Some more digging revealed a number of photos in this pattern attributed to the 2e Cuirassiers, one of the two regiments of the 3e Division Légère Méchanique, or Light Mechanized Division, which fought in the first major tank battle of the war at Hannut, Belgium. When I got around to the Panhard armored cars, it was fairly easy to locate some nice photos of the 12e Cuirassier, which formed the reconnaissance regiment of the 3e DLM. These were in a nice simple overall green.
The French tanks carried playing card emblems to designate the different platoons in the company, with different colors for each company. Blue was for the first company and the playing card symbols were used in bridge trump order, so the 1st platoon is marked with a spade.
Armored Car Platoon – I configured the radio aerial on the command car in the traveling configuration and think it turned out very nice.
I really like the look of this formation and can’t wait to get them onto the table. I’d have liked to have gotten the numerals on the turrets a bit more elongated, but they look pretty good for hand painted numbers. The models are all from Quality Castings. The hulls on the S-35’s might be a tad short, but they are still very nice models, as are most Quality castings tanks IMO. The Panhards are very nice models. The tank company was originally purchased as a 1500 point tank company using the Early War lists for version 1 of Flames of War. Since that time, Flames of War has gone to version 2 and the draft Early War PDFs have been revised a time or two. The latest iteration places this at about 1350 points, which is fine by me. I’ll end up using it in some sort of mulitplayer game anyway where we typically have more, smaller forces than the “standard” Flames of War players. Battlefront is supposedly releasing an official supplement for Early War (initially covering Poland and France) this summer, so it will be very interesting to see how that turns out. These guys will also be doing double duty for playing Piquet: Field of Battle, WWII. That rules set is a much larger scale, with each stand representing a company. We plan to base everything for FOW and then devise some clever sabot bases to use with FOB:WWII. The scale and command mechanisms of FOB:WWII should allow us to nicely replicate the differences between the Germans and French that allowed the French success on the tactical level, but defeat at the operational level.