Little Mehmet

Mehmetçik- Little Mehmet was an affectionate nickname Turkish people used to refer to their soldiers during the first world war. Analogous to Digger for the Australian or New Zealand soldiers at the time. When the Soviet forces massed on the Georgian border in 1947 (at least, according to Clockwork Goblin in the world of Konflikt 47), Turkish citizens once again looked to Mehmetçik to defend their homeland.

Konflikt 47 and its close cousin Bolt Action is at heart a game of infantry combat. So representing Turkish soldiers will be key to making my home brew K-47 Turkish force a success.

My view is that elite units will have been trained and armed by German liaison units. Modelling wise, using Germans as the base will be the easiest way to reflect this, which is lucky because I have a K-47 starter box in the cupboard, so I think it is time to bust it out.

37500263_2114720725442388_4834906562701033472_nAn obvious thing to do would be to add fezzes. While this might be fun, I also think it could be quite anachronistic as fezzes became to be seen as a symbol of the Ottoman empire and in 1925 were even banned! However, the ban was for the iconic red hat, which the military never really wore. Fezzes were worn, but they tended to be khaki or black. They also came in a startling array of shapes, although this might be because of the ad hoc nature of the Republican army in the early 1920s.

Anyway, all of this gives me a lot of room for artistic license for my fictional  Turkish army, which is good because I friend gave me bag full of Handschar heads (from the Warlord SS plastic set) that I will be able to use. I think officers and maybe NCO can have the more formal fezzes.

30176567_2048344248746703_1904449405_o

I also have some metal world war one Turks about somewhere. I think these older uniforms will be able to be put to use as second line, garrison troops.

Turkey was involved in the lend lease program. I see no reason in K-47 to overlook this, as both sides courted Turkey,. No British or US tanks were purchased under the scheme (there will be more on Turkish armour in a future post), but they did receive among other items British style helmets. A mix of tommy-dishes might be another way to distinguish the regular and in-experienced troops.

My last thought is that cavalry should be included somehow, and I reckon this box of Perry American civil war cavalry might be just the thing (along with some Warlord second world war bits yet to be determined).

37401937_2114720842109043_3376805302178414592_n

 

So, just a lot of ideas today. But I wanted to share some of my thinking.

D.

Advertisements

The cruel weird war in Anatolia

While I have been working on a small US force for Konflikt 47 (and Bolt Action), I have simultaneously thinking about how to represent Turkey within the game. In the 1947 history created by Clockwork Goblin, Turkey joins the Axis powers and is subsequently invaded by the Soviet Union. German troops are deployed to eastern Turkey, but there is not much information about this front and nothing has been published on how to field a Turkish force.

37298490_2111868389060955_20629406527520768_n

Here is the beginning of my home-brew list:

Turkey was not a willing entrant into the Second World War. When the threat from the Soviet Union and parsimony of the western Allies finally pushed the government of Inonu into declaring for the Axis, the Turkish military was far from prepared.

While the cadre of the army was built around a professional officer class, including some with experience from the first world war and war of liberation, much of their equipment was hopelessly out of date and inadequate. Training was also often outdated, a situation that is being rectified by the presence of German observers and training units. Consequently, the quality of Turkish forces varies widely, from unmotivated garrison troops to elite Republican Guard battalions.

Germany is only selectively willing to provide rift technology to their new ally. However, the threat posed by the Soviet Union from Georgia has seen Germany send an expeditionary force, Operation Red Hat (Unternehmen roter Hut), into eastern Anatolia to bolster the Turkish land forces. This force is currently small and so far, has been used as a mobile reserve, leaving Turkish units to defend the front line.

There are several useful pieces to build a plausible Turkish Army. The Bulgarian and Romanian army lists in Armies of Italy and Axis have lists are a good inspiration, with local troops and older hardware supplemented by German weapons and vehicles. Both nations also have cavalry. All of this feels like a Turkish army would be similar.

From the Konflikt 47 supplements, Resurgence and the new Defiance, there are Finland, and two Italian lists. More inspiration. Each shows different ways to create interesting armies from belligerent nations without direct access to rift-tech.

I have also done a little reading about the Turkish military, particularly the post-Ottoman Turkish army after the first world war. There is not much about in English, so it didn’t take very long. The achievements of the new Turkish Republic in 1919-1922 are impressive. This conflict is of particular interest as it took place in Turkey (similar to the Konflikt 47 invasion story), and covers the period of the demise of the Ottoman empire and the beginnings of the modern Turkish Republic.

There is a lot to come on Turkey in K47: list creation, list building, and perhaps the most fun of all, modelling. I figure my blog is a good as place as any to record some this.

I’d better get to work.

 

That’s cool, I wonder how to do that?

Gamers are pretty imaginative lot and there are lots of things and people that inspire our gaming lives. It is one of the genuine pleasures of our hobby. Other gamers inspire us at clubs, conventions or tournaments.  A metric-butt load of inspiration appears online, on facebook and blogs and beyond. Gaming companies produce more cool new toys and supplements than any budget can deal with. And there are books.

heer09

I love books, both novels and non-fiction and find gaming inspiration in both, in sometimes in unexpected ways.  For example, my Cassino themed 28mm Bolt Action Germans came about because I was reading about Tobruk for some 15mm Flames of War Australians (a whole other post)!  Having read a bunch of stuff on the Western Dessert campaign, including a nice volume from the Australian War Memorial (a series well worth checking out – the Vietnam is a corker), I wanted to understand a bit more the wider situation of the fighting in North Africa.

I found this one in a second-hand shop: Hitler’s Mediterranean Gamble  It is quite long, so unless you are right into WWII strategy I suggest it may not be your (well researched) cup of tea, but it led me across the Mediterranean and up the Italian peninsula to the Gustav Line. I had heard of Monte Cassino but I didn’t realise just what a convoluted, drawn out basket case of an affair it was. I already had some straight up German Army dudes and a Stug III, so while the most famous of the German defenders were the elite Fallschirmjager, I went for a Heer regiment. A bit of google-fu and the 94th Infantry Division emerged as my Landser PBI.

But I haven’t finished with Monte Cassino and at 750 points, I haven’t finished with these Germans either. Two things happened over the summer, Black Tree Design had a sale and I did some more reading.  To extend the army and to dial-up the Monte Cassino flavour I bought some Fallschirmjager (plus some A/T and some snipers). For  reading I borrowed these two books (I love libraries): Monte Cassino Ten Armies in Hell and  The Battle for Monte Cassio The first one is a better history for a wargamer with more information on the many battles around Cassino and the armies that participated. The second book follows several themes that provides some interesting depth but makes the book less useful if you don’t already know the story.

The upshot of this is that out of reading about Tobruk, I have ended gaining a deeper knowledge of Monte Cassino and created a strongly themed Bolt Action list (winning a Hanoswag prize for theme at both tournaments I have attended!)  As I add to the points I want to keep the theme going, hence the paratroopers with the ultimate goal of building a competitive list even as I retain a strong theme.

All this reading has led to another project, of course. Opposite the Germans was a large coalition of nations. And I don’t have any WWII US forces yet.  Do you see where this is going?

For more on fighting at Monte Cassino using Bolt Action you might like to try out the Ghost Army Podcast, particularly episodes three and four

toodle pip!

heer05