Sunday, 17 April 2011


The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in southwestern Russia.
The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943[and was among the largest on the Eastern Front, and was marked by its brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was amongst the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million deaths. irregular 20mm
In the defeat, the crippling losses suffered by Germany's military proved to be insurmountable for the war. The battle was a turning point in the war, making a German victory in the East impossible.
The German offensive to capture Stalingrad commenced in late summer 1942, supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing which reduced much of the city to rubble.
jons painting service
The German offensive eventually bogged down in house-to-house fighting and despite controlling over 90% of the city at times, the Wehrmacht was unable to dislodge the last Soviet defenders clinging tenaciously to the west bank of the Volga River.
In November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus; a two-pronged attack specifically targeted at the inferior Romanian and Italian forces protecting the German 6th Army flanks. The success of these attacks caused the weakly held flanks to collapse and the 6th Army to be cut off and surrounded inside Stalingrad. As the Russian winter set in, the 6th Army weakened rapidly from cold, starvation and ongoing Soviet attacks. Command ambiguity coupled with Adolf Hitler's resolute belief in the "power of the will" and the value of "standing fast" further compounded the German predicament. Eventually, the failure to break the encirclement by relieving German forces, coupled with the failure of re-supply by air, caused the final collapse. By early February 1943, German resistance in Stalingrad had ceased and the remaining elements of the surrounded 6th Army had either surrendered or had been destroyed.

ndBy spring 1942, the Germans had stabilized their new front in a line running roughly from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south.
There were a number of salients in the line where Soviet offensives had pushed the Germans back, notably to the northwest of Moscow and south of Kharkov, but neither was particularly threatening. In the far south, the Germans were in control of most of Ukraine and much of the Crimea, although Sevastopol remained in Soviet hands along with a small portion of the Kerch Peninsula.
The Germans were confident they could master the Red Army after the winter of 1941. There was some substance to this belief: while the German Army Group Centre (Heeresgruppe Mitte) had suffered heavy punishment, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged during the winter fighting, and had been rested and reequipped; and Army Groups North and South had not been particularly hard pressed over the winter.

The capture of Stalingrad was important to Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini, for two primary reasons. First, the city was an important base on the transportation route provided by the Volga River between the Caspian Sea and northern Russia. Consequently a German capture of the city would effectively sever the Soviet river link to the north. Second, its capture would secure the western flank of the German armies as they advanced into the oil-rich city of Baku—with the strategic aim of cutting off fuel from Stalin's war machine. The fact that the city bore the name of the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture an ideological and propaganda coup.
The Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to defend the city.At this stage of the war, the Red Army was less capable of highly mobile operations than the German Army. However, combat in large urban areas tends to be dominated by small arms weaponry rather than armored and mechanized units. This would lessen any Soviet disadvantage because the Red Army was specially trained for close-quarters urban combat, whereas the Wehrmacht was principally trained for fast moving open-field opererations
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Partisans - 35p each
PA1 Male Partisan with Molotov Cocktail
PA2 Female Partisan with Sten Gun
PA3 Male Partizan with Rifle
PA4 Female Partizan Rifle slung over shoulder
German (Paratroops) - 35p each
GR2 Infantryman Advancing
GR3 Radioman kneeling with Radio
GR4 Grenade Thrower
GR5 Rifleman firing, lying down
GR6 Panzerfaust/Schreck, lying down
GR7 Panzerfaust/Schreck loader, lying down
GR8 Machine Gunner, lying down
GR9 Machine Gunner loader, lying down
GR10 Mortar & 2 Crew - 70p
GR11 Infantryman in Greatcoat (Sentry)
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RU 1 Infantryman throwing grenade
RU 2 Infantryman greatcoat, helmet
RU 3 Infantryman kneeling, LMG, cap
RU 4 Infantryman advancing, firing SMG, fur hat, padded coat
RU 5 Infantryman advancing with anti-tank rifle, helmet
RU 6 Infantryman sniper, prone, cape
RU 7 Infantryman officer
RU 8 Infantryman walking
RU 9 Partizan, padded jacket, advancing
RU 10 Infantryman standing firing, helmet
RU 11 Infantryman advancing, SMG, camo jacket, cap
RU 12 Infantryman, greatcoat, marching
RU 13 Marine ‘Black Death’ advancing
RU 15 Infantryman advancing, side cap
RU 16 Cavalry charging (70p)
RU 17 N.V.K. Officer in trench waving on
RU 18 Infantryman sidecap, SMG
RU 19 Marine/Sailor SMG
RU 20 Marine/Sailor officer
RU 21 Infantryman greatcoat, advancing
RU 22 Infantryman, dead

Friday, 8 April 2011

brentford white riot

The English Civil War officially began when Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham on 22 August 1642. A number of small skirmishes were to take place over the next few months, most notably at Powick Bridge, before the two opposing armies faced each other at Edgehill on 23 October. Although this battle was inconclusive, Charles was given a tactical victory when the Earl of Essex, leader of the Parliamentarians, left the field and headed north to Warwick, leaving the road to London open for the King. This road was to lead to Brentford, a small town with about 280 houses. It was of great strategic importance because of the stone bridge over the River Brent which itself was a natural defensive position.
It has been argued that if the King had taken the advice of his nephew, Prince Rupert, and sent a ‘lightening’ force of cavalry to London, the war would have been won..  dixon
Instead the King advanced gradually to the capital via Banbury, Oxford, Reading and Windsor, before arriving at Colnbrook, on the edge of Hounslow Heath, on 9/10 November.
boozer one of the oldest  near hounslow heath
The advance of the Royalist army led to great alarm in London. Rumours were rife that the King had given Prince Rupert permission to pillage the City as he had done at Broughton Castle.broughton castle
 Parliament ordered all the gates to be shut and a defensive ring dug around the City. Parliament also voted to open peace negotiations with the King.hounslow heath
On 10 November the Earl of Essex brought the Parliamentary army back to the capital. Although it had been depleted by death, sickness and desertion, this was good news for Parliament.
 In Essex’s absence the Earl of Warwick had been busy recruiting more men for the army and Sir Philip Skippon had called out the London Trained Bands. (The Trained Bands were the 17th century equivalent of today’s Territorial Army. However, apart from the troops in London, the Trained Bands were not trained).edgehill
On either 10 or 11 November Parliament sent commissioners, led by the Earl of Northumberland, to Colnbrook to talk with the King. Initially the King refused to meet them as he considered one of the party, Sir John Evelyn, a traitor. This stance angered Parliament which voted the King’s action as a refusal to treat. After discussion in both Houses of Parliament, it was agreed to withdraw Sir John Evelyn and the party left for Colnbrook. During the discussions the King ‘agreed to reside at our own castle at Windsor… till committees may have time to attend us’. He also said ‘Do your duty we will not be wanting in ours’. The events of the next 48 hours were to prove these words false.

During the morning of 11 November, two regiments of foot and a company of horse arrived in Brentford from London. These were the red-coated regiment of Denzil Holles MP and the purple-coated regiment of Lord Brookes. Both regiments had fought at Edgehill and were under strength. Holles’s regiment, under the command of James Quarles, was estimated at 700 to 800 men. This number was made up of ‘London apprentices and those that so valiantly suthered [suffered] at Keynton [Edgehill]‘. Brookes’ regiment, under the command of either Colonel Edward Peto or Mainwarring had 580 men in the town. This would give a total of 1,300 foot.
london road
The company of horse was under the command of Robert Viviers. The Parliamentarian troops were also short of arms and ammunition and had been promised that ‘it would be sent upon arrival’. The troops in the town were at ease as they knew that peace negotiations were taking place and they saw the Earl of Northumberland pass through Brentford with what he believed to be a basis for peace. renegade
He presented the document before Parliament, who realised that the King had agreed to discuss peace but had not agreed to a cessation of arms. Parliament immediately sent Sir Peter Killigrew to the King ‘to know the King’s pleasure regarding a cessation of arms during this time of treaty’. Sir Peter never reached the King – he got as far as the outskirts of Brentford ‘where he found the King’s forces fighting some regiments of the Lord General’s’.dixon
Battle commences
Under the cover of an early morning mist Prince Rupert attacked Brentford with approximately 2,000 men from the regiments of Thomas Salusbury, a Welsh regiment that had run away at Edgehill, Prince of Wales regiment of horse and Prince Rupert’s own cavalry regiment. They charged along the London Road hoping to smash into the town and surprise the Parliamentary troops. They encountered stiff resistance from some troops of Denzil Holles’ regiment which had established an outpost in and around Sir Richard Wynne’s house along London Road (this was on the site of the present Lion Gate of Syon House). After taking the full force of the Royalist attack and managing to hold them back, Holles’ men started to fall back along the London Road until they reached the bridge. Here the Parliamentarian line held. The bridge and banks of the River Brent had been barricaded and the rest of the Parliamentarian troops were waiting behind the barricades.
salusbury and family
The Prince of Wales’ regiment of horse attempted to storm the bridge but had to fall back due to heavy fire from concealed cannon. Foot regiments then attempted to take the bridge but again fell back. The Royalists then brought reinforcements into the battle. Regiments of foot again stormed the bridge, firing one round of musket shot. The bridge was finally taken and the Parliamentarians fell back to ‘Baricoed [barricaded] ….. narrow avenues’ where they had ‘cast up some little breastworks at most convenient places’. More Royalist troops were brought into the battle and the Parliamentarians started to fall back ‘from the one Brainford to the other, and from thence to the open field’.
Heavy fighting continued and by late afternoon the Parliamentarians had suffered severe losses. The ‘brave young red-coats [Holles' men] fighting most furiously, showing selves notable and brave fire-men and valiant sprats and giving the treacherous Cavaliers [Royalists] as hot entertainment as ever they felt in their lives’. John Lilburne, the political activist, wrote in the third person that he fought ‘Many long houres with inconsiderable party of men.. .holds all the enemies forces at bay and enforces them to a standstill’. Captain Lilburne is said to have rallied the remnants of the troops and counter attacked. They continued to fight on ‘front and flank’, although they were short of match powder and shot.
Finally the overwhelming odds began to tell and the Parliamentarians broke. Some fled into the Thames and drowned; others fled back towards London. Their retreat was covered by troops from John Hampden’ s regiment which had arrived late in the day. Without their arrival the Parliamentarians might have been completely wiped out.
The aftermath
With the town in the hands of the victorious Royalists, Prince Rupert ordered it to be sacked ‘as a punishment for having attached itself to the side of the rebels without consideration for its duty of loyalty to the Prince’. The Royalists ransacked the town, carrying away bed-linen, pewter, pots, food and animals. Boats were burned and beer and wine poured into the streets. The damage was estimated at £4,000.
The pillaging of Brentford caused a public outcry and money was raised to give relief to the town. This was still being paid in 1654 when the town petitioned Cromwell for a continuation of the £60 a year. Widows of soldiers killed in the battle were paid a pension; the wounded were taken to the ‘Savoye’ where they were looked after by the master and wardens of the Surgeons Company. Other were cared for in Brentford; St Lawrence’s church was paid to tend the wounded who could not be moved (some soldiers didn’t die until December 1642).warrior
The captured Parliamentarian soldiers were taken away by the Royalist army. Some like Captains Lilburne and Viviers were removed to Oxford and sentenced to death for high treason, only to be released when Parliament threatened to hang Royalists in retaliation. Other soldiers (the majority) were stripped of their uniforms and taken to Reading where they were placed in pig-pens. The Royalists threatened to brand them unless they changed sides – most are said to have offered their faces for branding rather than join the Royalists. The men were eventually released and handed over to Colonel Fanes’ regiment which was ordered to look after the freed prisoners.

Members of Parliament started a fund to help ‘the poor Maymed souldiers of Parliament taken at Brayntford’. It was also hoped for ‘much money gathered by way of a collection for the souldiers that were hurt and maimed in this conflict, both for their present reliefe, as also to encourage others to shew themselves forward and faithful in these services for the cause of God and their countries good’.
We don’t know the number of men who died in the battle; the parish registers of St Lawrence state only that six officers were buried in the church and ‘divers others’; one Royalist only is mentioned in the registers. Estimates of the casualties range from 60 to 2,000. After the battle both sides published accounts of the action at Brentford. The King claimed that he had to advance into Brentford as he was encircled by the Parliamentarian army (Parliamentarian troops were at Windsor, Uxbridge, Kingston and Brentford). The King said that the advance of the Parliamentarians into Brentford was not in ‘good faith’, and he ‘Had no intention to Master the City by so advancing’. Parliament said that the battle was ‘A strange introduction to Peace’ and that the King’s troops were ‘thirsting after blood’. The battle saw the end of Denzil Holles’ regiment; those that did survive were transferred to Sir Philip Skippon’s regiment. Lord Brooke’s regiment was sent to Kingston after the battle and finally to Litchfield where it went into garrison. It was disbanded after the death of its Colonel-in-Chief in 1643.
Queen Henrietta Maria was hoping that the victory in Brentford would mean her court could go straight to London. This was not to be; the King’s army was checked the next day at Turnham Green and retreated to Oxford. The campaign of 1642 was over and London was safe.
boston manor house
Little remains of 17th century Brentford. The Butts, where the Parliamentarian cavalry was stationed, is now surrounded by houses. St Lawrence’s church has been rebuilt, apart from the tower, and the bridge replaced twice since. Boston Manor House is the only building to remain from Civil War days. According to local legend, it was from here that King Charles watched the battle. He may also have been in the house during the stand-off at Turnham Green; he is known to have offered peace talks in Brentford during that day and Boston Manor House would have been the most likely setting.
When he wrote this article, Neil Chippendale was the Local History Librarian at Hounslow Library. He has made a special study of the Civil War in Brentford and Chiswick and written a book, The Battle of Brentford, published in 1992. He has also written The Life of Colonel John Okey and his Regiment, 1642-1662, published in 1994.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

murder on the marne

The Battle of the Marne (French: 1re Bataille de la Marne) (also known as the Miracle of the Marne) was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger.all figures are renegade
 The battle effectively ended the monthlong German offensive that opened the war and had reached the outskirts of Paris. The counterattack of six French field armies and one British army along the Marne River forced the German Imperial Army to abandon its push on Paris and retreat northeast, setting the stage for four years of trench warfare on the  Causes
Map of the battleThe first month of the First World War had resulted in a series of victories by German forces in France and Belgium. By the end of August 1914, the whole Allied army on the Western Front had been forced into a general retreat back towards Paris.
 Meanwhile, the two main German armies that had just conquered Belgium continued to advance through France. It seemed that Paris would be taken as both the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force fell back towards the Marne River.
British troops had suffered heavy casualties during the German attack into France. Field Marshal Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), blamed his heavy losses on French vacillation and uncoordinated French withdrawals.
 In particular, he blamed French General Lanrezac, commander of the French Fifth Army, for Lanrezac’s failure to fight and unannounced pullbacks, though these had effectively saved the French Fifth Army from defeat. Lanrezac, in turn, was furious with Field Marshal French for his refusal to support the Fifth Army at Guise-St. Quentin.
Relations between the British commander and the French commanders suffered greatly. Field Marshal French made plans to move all British troops back from the front along their lines of communication for rest and reorganization. French Commander-In-Chief Joseph Joffre persuaded the British War Secretary, Herbert Kitchener, to intervene, and Kitchener met personally with Field Marshal French. Kitchener told Field Marshal French that a withdrawal by the British would be disastrous for both the French and British. Field Marshal French agreed to keep British troops on the front line as long as their flanks were not exposed by French withdrawals.

 1914.As the German First and Second Armies approached Paris, they began to swerve to the southeast away from Paris in an attempt to envelop the retreating French armies, exposing their right flank to the allies. By 3 September, Joffre had become aware of the German armies’ tactical error.
On 4 September, he made plans to halt the French and British withdrawal and attack the Germans all along the front with the French Sixth Army (150,000 men) and the aid of the British Expeditionary Force (70,000 men) under the command of Sir John French (who was prompted to join this attack by the British war minister, Lord Kitchener).
 The attack was set to begin on the morning of 6 September. However, General Alexander von Kluck, the commander of the German First Army, detected the approach of the Allied forces on 5 September and, too late, began to wheel his Army to face the west.
In the morning of 5 September, battle commenced when the advancing French Sixth Army came into contact with cavalry patrols from General Hans H. K. Gronau’s IV Reserve Corps on the right flank of the German First Army near the Ourcq River.600pix Seizing the initiative in the early afternoon, Gronau’s two divisions attacked with light artillery and infantry into the gathering Sixth Army and pushed it back into a defensive posture before the planned allied assault for the following day, but the threat to the French offensive by Kluck’s wheeled First Army in this preliminary Battle of the Ourcq (French: Bataille de l'Ourcq) ignored the allied forces advancing against his right flank, and was later reduced both by the arrival of the taxicab reinforcements from Paris and orders for Kluck to retreat to the Aisne River, delivered by Moltke’s staff officer, Oberstleutnant Richard Hentsch.
Von Kluck, in turning to meet the potential for attack on his right flank, opened up a 30 mi (48 km)-wide gap in the German lines between his First Army and the German Second Army, commanded by the cautious General Karl von Bülow, which was located to the left of the First Army.
Allied reconnaissance planes discovered the gap and reported it to commanders on the ground.
The Allies were prompt in exploiting the break in the German lines, dispatching troops from the BEF to join the French Fifth Army pouring in.on 3 September, the seemingly hopeless Allied situation suddenly changed.  The Military Governor of Paris, General Galliéni — while reviewing the results of newly-obtained aerial reconnaissance was the man who discovered that the German advance had veered east of Paris, exposing the lengthening flank of the German right wing to an Allied counterattack.
 Despite initial skepticism on the part of Marshal Joffre, General Galliéni was persistent and persuasive. On 4 September, six hundred Paris taxis were commandeered by the Military Governor to help transport a fresh division across the ‘City of Light’.
These troops were desperately needed to reinforce General Maunoury’s Sixth Army as it began a major counterattack against the exposed German flank. By 6 September, General von Kluck’s First German Army had been forced to fall back in the face of the increasing French pressure; this, in turn, had opened up a thirty mile gap in the German front. Surprised by the unexpected Allied counteroffensive, and increasingly worried about false rumors of Allied amphibious landings along the Belgian Coast to their rear, the German High Command ordered General von Bülow’s Second Army to fall back and reestablish contact with von Kluck’s First Army. The German drive had been turned back.