Since I returned from my trip to Normandy in March, I’ve wanted to recreate a little bit of what I saw in model form.
Initially I had in mind to recreate an entire strongpoint in 2/3mm scale, but as reality dawned I realized this was not really practical as it would be too large to store even at that scale.
Plan B saw me scouring the net in search of suitable bunker models in 15mm scale that I might be able to use on the wargames table.
Surprisingly there are very few authentic models, many being nothing more than stylized imaginary constructions.
Then I stumbled on the 15mm historical scenery range manufactured by Antenocitis Workshop.
This range included two different 50mm emplacements and a 88mm casemate of the types found in Normandy. They also make a radar post and a Westwall bunker amongst other pieces. Sadly they don’t include (Big Hint here!) my personal favourite bunker – the “Tobruk” which are so common along the D-Day coast you loose count.
Anyhow that was me convinced – I sent off for the two 50mm emplacements on Sunday and they arrived, well packaged, on Wednesday. Excellent service!
The first emplacement is the Vk600e, an open hexagonal concrete pit that was armed with a 50mm Kwk 39 or 40 pedestal mounted gun.
These emplacements are evident on just about every landing beach. The guns were obsolete antitank & tank guns from the 1940-42 period as mounted in Pzkfw III. They have a newly designed, spaced armour shield and 360’ field of fire. “Tobruks” aside, these were the most common weapon station on the beaches and were intended to target landing craft and infantry.
As they were somewhat exposed positions it was common practice to create a supporting frame from steel reinforcing bars and then covering the pit with a large camouflage net. To increase protection, there are documented examples of sandbag walls being placed between the pit and the sea.
|Vk600e position at Merville - note the frame supporting cam net|
The second emplacement was the Vk600sk as seen on Juno Beach in St. Aubin-sur-Mer. This was a Parapet style mounting, often built into the sea walls and was intended to provide enfilade fire up and down the beach while protected from naval bombardment by the 3.5metre concrete glacis and overhead protection facing the sea.
|Note the zig-zag "camouflage"|
Many of these bunkers (and others) had an attempt at camouflage built into the concrete by adding random planks to the inside of the shuttering before the liquid concrete was poured. This left a zig-zag pattern along the edge of the overhead protection which supposedly would break up the outline of the bunker. There is no record of how effective this may have been!
Vk = Verstarkfeldmassig = reinforced field position
Sk = Sanderkonstruktion = special design
The two guns went together easily (again with superglue). There were two handwheels provided with each model but I am pretty certain there is only one required which goes in the hole cast into the pedestal base - see the photo reference I used below (taken on Utah Beach)
|The vertical adjustment handwheel (on the right of the mount) is cast in place on the model, the handwheel to be added is the horizontal adjustment wheel shown bottom right.|
Last job for now was to texture the bases with Vallejo pumice. It would not have been incorrect to mount the pit emplacement flush with ground level, but I thought it was a shame to hide all the wonderful shuttering detail on the sides and opted to just lightly cover the base.
The eagle eyed amongst you will spot that I have represented the steel loops for cam nets with very thin plastic rod glued into the provided holes with superglue.
These now need to dry overnight before they can be primed prior to painting etc.