Desert War 1940–1943

The North African campaign, also known as la guerra nel deserto in Italian or Afrikafeldzug in German, was one of the major “side shows” of the Second World War. Initiated by an Italian invasion of British-controlled Egypt in 1940 the conflict soon became a struggle for unchallenged dominance of North Africa and the Near East between Axis and Allies. The Desert War saw the deployment of the famous German Afrikakorps in 1941, sent in both to support the wavering Italian forces as well as to draw off British attention from mainland Europe. Geographical and climatic conditions required and allowed for quite different approaches to warfare – and not the least therefore the North African campaign gave rise to such dazzling personalities as Erwin Rommel or Bernard Montgomery. When the United States were finally convinced to enter the war in Africa in late 1942 Axis forces were driven back to Libya and, ultimately, Tunisia. Since there was no plan to evacuate the German-Italian army they had to surrender to the advancing Allies in early 1943 – the blithe “Safari” as the Germans called it had come to a devastating end. Only a few months later Commonwealth and US forces landed in Sicily in order to gain their first foothold in continental Europe.

PARTICIPANTS

SittD2

Doc Remington’s British 8th Army

DR: I grew up in Greece a half-German and half-Greek. My respective families experienced the WW2 conflict on more than one side; from the rebels of the Greek mountainsides in northern Greece to the Resistance in Germany and the Wehrmacht. Growing up in Greece, WW2 was something that we learned about in school but mainly that we watched on the silver or the small screen. For me, while the reality of this conflict never leaves the back of my head, it was films like “Playing dirty” and the 1967 “Tobruk” that made it appear more like an adventure (I am not that old; for still developing Greek TV in the 80s it was probably cheaper to show all these old films instead of new ones).
When the Perry brothers brought the British box out, I didn’t admit to it but I knew that I wanted to paint some. My two co-bloggers didn’t have to spend a lot of time convincing me. And it had to be the British because on the one side they are a bit more versatile than the DAK and because these could easily be depicting Greeks in North Africa!
My troops haven’t seen any action yet, but hopefully soon we will be able to get them onto the table and see what they’re made of… Well, mostly plastic.

Infantry Platoon

(Please click on the links BELOW the photos to be forwarded to the respective entry.)

Italian

Lt. Hazelorov’s Bersaglieri

LH: The Second World War is a delicate affair for us Germans. The sheer horrors of crimes committed by our forefathers are not forgotten yet, and hopefully will never be!
For me as a wargamer, though, the WW2 setting offers a great variety of theatres and nations involved. I was fascinated by the “Afrikafeldzug” tales that my Grandpa’s best friend told me when I was a child. He was the one who pushed me into this whole miniatures thing with a Tobruk boxed set in 1/72. So when the Perrys started their Desert War range, how could I resist?
I first considered waiting for the DAK box to be released. Then I had a closer look at the Italians. Boy, I immediately fell in love with these uniforms: Italians know how to dress! The most flamboyant of them were the Bersaglieri – you cannot beat the cockerel feather plumes, can you? An order was placed, arrived, grey stuff rolled, and a spray can of desert yellow later I was speedpainting Bersaglieri. And they’ve already proven their bravery on the table top!

Plotone dell’ Infanteria e Sostegno

(Please click on the links BELOW the photos to be forwarded to the respective entry.)

British2

Sire Godefroy’s British 8th Army

SG: World War 2 was never of great interest for me. Overshadowed by the horrible crimes committed by my German compatriots back then for me it simply isn’t a very comfortable setting to game in. However, probably the best way to deal with such feelings is to face them at some point. In my case that’s been greatly helped by being introduced to the Too Fat Lardies rulesets. These allow for a serious yet fun approach to wargaming while focussing on the human side of things. Added to that, with the appearance of Perry plastics WW2 gaming – in my preferred scale covered by my preferred sculptors! – became very affordable. So, here I am, having painted frantically a platoon of British infantry and already eyeing the upcoming German Afrikakorps. Yes, I’ve been officially sucked in!

Infantry Platoon & Supports

(Please click on the links BELOW the photos to be forwarded to the respective entry.)

DAK2Sire Godefroy’s Deutsches Afrikakorps

SG: Arguably the uneasiest faction for a conscious German wargamer to choose are German troops of WW2. A few adopt them for dubious reasons, most cannot be bothered. For me it’s an incentive to actively grapple with the topic, to read and learn about the motives and perspectives of my grandparents’ generation; people I’m directly related to, I’ve known personally and who got involved, in some way or the other, from upright Nazi to covert dissident. The sheer absurdity of the African adventure in particular is characteristic of that whole period of German megalomania. And this part of the project may be a reminder.
In gaming terms WW2 Germans are an obvious option: the archetypal opponent of almost anyone else. Hence figures are readily available, nowadays even in inexpensive plastic kits. That’s a considerable bonus if you want to prepare matched forces for introductory or pick-up games.

Unterstützter Infanteriezug

(Please click on the links BELOW the photos to be forwarded to the respective entry.)

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