A bit of candy for Christmas never did any harm.
Just updating a project I have managed to grab a few minutes for (everyone needs a chance to relax at this time of year), I have done more of the train. Just a few components, and only up to the ‘test paint’ stage (detailing, hatches, rivets etc. still to come …)…
I am looking at constructing some components of a BP 43 train. I say ‘some’ as the main purpose is for use in operational games, and I would no more expect to lay out an entire train (4 artillery cars, 4 security cars, 2 AA cars etc.) than to lay out all the vehicles in a Panzer formation.
Armoured Trains in NQM or Megablitz: Armoured Train units were often ‘battalion’ sized, consisting of HQ and Support units, Recce and 2 combat trains. The two trains would deploy 8 artillery cars (in the case of the BP 43, T34 turrets), 8 medium AA guns, and 2 Katyusha multiple launchers. The units and the trains themselves employed a large allocation of Machine guns, plus several companies of infantry (who could be delivered into battle riding on the Security Cars). The following link has an entertaining mix of Orbat fragments and ripping yarns … Russian Armoured Trains
Scaled for Megablitz, I would represent that as an Admin/Transport stand (the loco), SP 1, which is the tractor/tow for the unit; an artillery car (T34), SP 2; an AA car, SP 1/AA1; and a Security Car, say, EP 1, Cap (1 infantry stand) … plus 1 Recce stand (say, a BA20, R) and a foot stand SP 1 (that can travel with the train on the Security Car) … This represents the whole formation including the back up train, at full strength. Obviously a single train would be half that SP. Trains move on railway tracks. The infantry and EPs should be sufficient to build or repair sections of track to keep the train mobile. Trains carried plenty of ammunition, and sufficient fuel ish for 100 mile round trips. Generally, they resupply by returning to their base for LOG.
For PBI: basically each carriage is what it is … the Train is an armoured tow, the T34 car is pretty much a T34, the AA cars are guns. Armour on trains like the BP 43 was in the region of 45mm. They are big, easy, targets, but were very durable (you’d have to render the carriage beyond towing, or critically hit the loco, which is a very big lump). If you take out the loco, the other carriages won’t move, but fight normally as individual AFVs. I will trial it at some point, with the overall durability interpreted as Armour 8. We will see if that is tough enough (there are stories of them duelling successfully with platoons of Panzer IVs!).
PBI is great for the movement rules: you should define if the train is one or two squares in length (usually one), then not worry about it overhanging. It can go backwards or forwards through any squares on the line. Count all directions as side armour. Dice for movement for the loco, dice for shooting for the carriages (they could and did shoot on the move). It will be interesting. Look for the AARs here!
The raw materials for my train are some cheap (Ertl) Thomas the Tank Engine clearance items that are, round about, 1:100 scale. Basically the method is to strip them down into components, and then rebuild in panelled fashion (a fair bit of the new fabrication is from MDF base off cuts – as described in the Garford build story) …
The artillery cars are armoured platforms for T34 turrets. Regular visitors might recall I culled a T34 turret by converting a BF tank into an SU 122 for this project. Nice when a plan comes together …
Security cars are essentially flat cars used for tools, spare track etc, but mainly there to protect the principal carriages from mined sections of track. Troops can ride on them as mentioned previously.
There is finishing and basing to come (a whole extra story), and some working of concepts into rules before we are done. However, I thought people might enjoy some progress pics.