Sunday, July 31, 2016
15mm Congo Crisis Project
In the comments of a previous blog entry, I was asked what I would use for my 15mm 1960s Congo Crisis Project. So I am making this entry about that since it is rather lengthy. I am not going over the vehicles that I will be using, as I need to make up a complete list of vehicles need, but I know most of the vehicles are now available in 15mm with the exception of the Ford Armored Car and various civilian vehicles.
First off, for basing, I plan to use the Flames of War size bases, but with squared corners instead of the FoW rounded ones. I will be using the dice frames from Minibits in one corner and a placing a tag along the back for the base’s ID on the medium size bases, so the rounded corners will not work. This way I can use them for a FoW type game system (not my 1st choice, but a very popular system), or with TooFatLardies’ B’Maso (my 1st choice.) The dice frame is for keeping track of kills to the base for effectiveness.
I am mainly using the Peter Pig’s (PP) AK47 Republic line’s Militia with bolt action rifles, command, and weapon crews. As I mostly have the old out-of-print version of the Militia (all bare chested and almost no military kit), I prefer them versus the new versions for some of the figures. In 15mm, I am not worried about the proper rifles as long as they look close. I think I have some of the newer Militia with bolt action rifles that will mix in with the old. It is a shame that PP doesn’t have more versions of the Militia with bolt action rifles as they do with the AK47’s. Some of the old command and crew figures will be converted to be the palm leaf waving witchdoctors to change the enemy’s bullets to water. I have not decided how to have a mix of ex-ANC rebels with in the forces yet, but either will do some head swaps with PP’s separate head with British WWI BEF caps or WW2 US helmets. I plant to use the PP Military Dictator figure to be leader of the Simbas, but will modify the cap to have the monkey scalp on him to protect him from air attacks. Also have the old out-of-print PP machete armed mob from the Pirate line. These were all shirtless too and fit in better than the current version.
Basically, I plan to have the number of figures required for the TooFatLardies’ B’Maso’s Congo scenario, with the infantry being mounted 5 figures to a medium FoW base. That will be 24 stands, plus some leader stands, and a few weapons stands (mortar, cannon, and a MG). I might add a few more stands, but not much more if I do as pitch battles rarely occurred, so this should be plenty.
I plan to use the PP’s AK47’s civilians and mix in some other figures, probably some of the modern civilians from various manufacturer’s zombie lines, unarmed of course. I plan to only have about a dozen stands with 3 to 5 figures a stand. Again, I will be basing the number I need off of the B’Maso scenario.
Congolese Army (ANC):
I am torn using PP’s AK47 Regulars with the G3 rifles and swapping heads for US WW2 helmets. Basically the would look right, but I am thinking the G3 rifles might need to be altered too. I plan to only have two full platoons of ANC troops. I can mix these with the Katanga troops to increase their size if needed.
Katanga Army & white mercenaries:
I plan to use a mix of PP’s AK47 Regulars with the G3 rifles, their Professionals with the FN FAL, and maybe some WW2 British XIV Army, with head swaps with berets, US WW2 helmets, and jungle hats. I will do at least one Bazooka team, probably with PP WW2 Marines. In the autobiography, Mad Dog Killers, by Ivan Smith, there is engagement where the mercs had scramble around to find a Bazooka to knock out a Simba improved armored vehicle. I plan to have a platoon of white mercs and platoon of Katanga troops. This will be the most mobile force in the project with jeeps, trucks, and armored cars.
Either WW2 British paratroopers or PP AK47 Professionals with head swaps will be the bases for this force. I plan to have only two platoons.
UN Forces (ONU):
This force is going to be a mixed representation of the ONU in the 1960s. My main focus will be on the Irish with two platoons. Each of the other nations will only be one platoon (Ethiopia, Indian, and Sweden). The main reason for the Irish to get the “star” role for the ONU is to replay Jadotville and the Battle of the Tunnel, 1961. The Swedes are represented because they were fairly mobile columns for convoy games. While both the Indians and the Ethiopians get represented because they were in some of the biggest military operations during the crisis and they both were general targeted by the Katanga and their white mercenaries to be attacked over the Irish and Swedish troops. It also helps that the Ethiopians were attached to the Indian Brigade, so I call easily combined both of them in a game to increase the ONU to two platoons for a game.
The Irish will be WW2 British with various head swaps, a mix of WW1 BEF caps and US WW2 helmets. As I am focusing on the early years of the crisis, they were still equipped with the Enfield rifle and not the FN FAL. For the Swedes, I am going to use PP’s Regulars with the G3 rifles with head swaps for US WW2 helmets or berets. For the Indians, I plan to use the PP’s WW2 Indian troops for the Desert and some figures form the XIV army set. Finally, for the Ethiopians, I plan to use the PP’s WW2 Desert Rats with head swaps for US WW2 helmets as all of the pictures of them have them in shorts from what I can find.
For the Simbas, I am adding a Cuban advisor of the old devil himself, Che! It has been a while since I read parts of his diary about his time advising the Simba rebels, so I don’t know what he was armed with. But I have an old out-of-print PP SCW pack of Thompson gunners. One of the figures has one hand raised over his head and a beret. I green putty a beard on him and painted him up to be Che to support the Simbas, even though he didn’t think much of them during his time with them.
Next, I plan to have a US Army Special Forces team (squad or two) for possible random event for the “rescue the hostages” game. The US was very tempted to deploy a small force of SF troops near Stanleyville to rescue the US consult staff, but in the end they didn’t. There were however, SF forces in the Congo during the 1960s, but I have not had much information on their nature of operations during their stay. There is a book out there called, Slaver’s Wheel, by Sully de Fontaine & Jack Lawson, who was one of those SF men (de Fontaine) in the Congo during the Crisis. It is on my list to read.
Finally, another figure has no head walking and firing his Thompson from the hip, (IIRC, I got to dig him back up). I plan to add a PP skull to the base. But I will have to add some green putty for glasses and a cigarette for it too. It will get bonus attacks versus Swedish ONU and Simbas…and of course Van Owen. (How could I not have this figure for a Congo game!)