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Perfect Storm

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Perfect Storm

Post by granatwerfer on Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:36 am

Perfect Storm

The Dyle plan meets Fall Gelb      



Sedan, France      May 13, 1940



After enduring horrific destruction in the “war to end all wars”, France determined that the best way to fight the next war was not to fight it within her boarders. The Dyle plan, in effect, called for France to meet German aggression in Belgium at the barrier of the Dyle River. By assuming that his eastern boarder was unassailable under the protection of the Maginot line, Army Commander in Chief Maurice Gamelin sent his best divisions and strategic reserve, in the form of the French 7th Army and the British Expeditionary Force to meet up with the Belgian and Dutch armies to the north.

Hitler, upon hearing of the Allied advance to the Dyle stated” I could have wept for joy; they had fallen into the trap”. Indeed, Gamelin had fallen for the ruse of Fall Gelb’s northen diversions and had all but ignored the “impassible” Ardennes at the termination of the Maginot line.

The French had positioned its 2nd army in this area as a static defensive barrier along the Meuse to defend the flank of the Maginot Line and to act as a hinge for Army Group 1 which was in the process of rushing to the north. The French 2nd Army, lead by General Charles Huntziger, was anything but a well trained capable force. Because of the difficult/ near impassible terrain to its front, the 2nd Army was given a very low priority in units and equipment. At the time of the German invasion, of the 5 divisions in its makeup one was North African, one was Senegalese, and 2 were class B consisting of older, less fit, under trained reservists.  As it prepared for an inevitable conflict the 2nd Army s time was torn between a desperate need for training and an urgent requirement for more field fortifications and obstacles.

In October 1939 it fell to the 55th Infantry Division, comprised of the 331st Infantry Rgt , the 295th Infantry Rgt. and the 147th Fortress Rgt., to defend a 17km stretch of the Meuse that included Sedan. This B series division was not even classified “for battle” – only 4% of its officers were regular army and most of its ranks were reservists who had seen their military service up to 20 years prior. As war loomed on the horizon, the 55th spent its days frantically constructing bunkers and training in infantry tactics. And it was this division on May 13, 1940 that held the fate of France in its hands.

While the French turned a blind eye to the Ardennes, Guderian’s XIXth Panzer corps had successfully negotiated the treacherous terrain and was fast approaching the Meuse. As fate would have it, while originally ordered to cross the Meuse farther to the west, Guderian chose to cross at Sedan in order to consolidate his dispersed forces. His forces of the 1st Panzer Division,2nd Panzer Division, 10 Panzer Division, and the attached Grossdeutschland Regiment converged at the Sedan area  early May 13 and under the protection of overwhelming air cover began multiple river crossings by afternoon.

“The first obstacles are overcome in a rapid advance, and the first bunkers rolled up. Despite this French resistance comes back to life. Enemy artillery begins to shoot at the crossing point. The crews in the bunkers desperately defend against the advancing infantrymen. One bunker after another, anti tank guns, machine guns, and field fortifications are taken in individual combat. Anti tank and antiaircraft weapons also play a tremendous role in the reduction of the enemy, and they destroy the French in relentless actions, sometimes at point blank range”

Some bunkers and units fight heroically but as the advancing German forces developed a toe hold on the southern bank and began flanking more and more fortifications the rout commenced. By evening XIX Panzer Corps held a firm bridgehead across the Meuse and was starting to turn the flank of the French line. It was the beginning of the end.

My diorama shows the struggle for one of the many blockhouses in the Sedan area. These older reservists of the 147th Fortress Regiment manning this position, under fire, are trying to do their best to try to stop the German advance.

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The Figures: These figures carry the equipment of a class B division. Their leather gear, canteen, and haversack are all 1934-35 modification while their personal armament consists of the outdated WWI vintage Lebel.

Sergent Faroux

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Helmet …Tony Barton

Uniform …Battlegear Toys

Uniform insignia… Custom

Boots …DML modified

Leather gear model 1934…Battlegear modified

1877 Canteen… DID modified

Mussette Bag model 1892…Sideshow modified

Lebel model 1916 Musketoon & bayonet… Weylan modified

Grenade DF 1937… DID modified



Caporal de Burne

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Helmet…Tony Barton

Helmet Insignia...Battlegear Toys

Uniform…Battlegear Toys

Uniform insignia…Custom

Boots…DML modified

Leather gear model 1934… Battlegear modified

1877 modified 1934 canteen… DID modified

Mussette bag model 1935…Sideshow modified

Lebel model 1916 Musketoon and bayonet…Weylan modified

Hotchkiss model 1914… Frasmet modified and detailed



Soldat de 1ere Classe  Taburet

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Helmet …Tony Barton

Uniform…Battlegear toys

Boots…DML modified

Leather gear model 1934…Battlegear modified

1877 modified 1934 canteen… DID modified

Mussette bag model 1934…Sideshow modified

Lebel model 1916 Musketoon and bayonet…Weylan modified

Hotchkiss ammo boxes… Frasmet modified

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Gas Mask Model 1937 (hanging on wall)…. CalTek modified




Thanks for looking,




Phil

granatwerfer

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Re: Perfect Storm

Post by T.H.A.W. on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:14 am

Outstanding dio!
Great details in everyway...
Thanks for posting

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Re: Perfect Storm

Post by Halftrack1 on Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:14 pm

Magnificent. You just gave me an idea of what to do with this 75 mm gun I have. your bunker is exceptional work. as for the figures Well a pic is worth a thousand words
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Re: Perfect Storm

Post by dti62 on Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:15 pm

Brillant creation..!!
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Re: Perfect Storm

Post by Hammer's Africaners on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:56 pm

Fantastic work

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Re: Perfect Storm

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