19 April 2011

Early War Polish - Army taking shape

Finished painting my first platoon today, it was with a sigh of relief but also joy I put the brush aside. 14 stands worth of infantry had been painted, the anti tank rifle stand I had painted as one of the first models over a month ago.

That's a massive platoon, 2 more to go though. And in the meantime, while painting up troops so that I can play the Infantry Battalion, these infantrymen will be used as a support company for my Tank Company force. I put all my painted Polish stuff on the table for some group pictures. Not everything on the picture is compatible. The Ft-17 tanks cannot be used in a Tank Company force, neither can the Polish command and 2 mortars. Looking at the force from a Infantry Battalion point of view that force can only include one single platoon of tanks. That won't be a problem when I have all 3 platoons, scout and cavalry platoons painted though.

The pictures are a bit larger than usual this time around:



All the infantry for the Polish command, HMG platoon and infantry platoon (except for the Anti tank rifles) are Forged in Battle miniatures.

....
As a little bonus I thought I would include this video of a Polish army marching song accompanied by some nice footage of an army parade from 1937. The title is a bit hard to translate but a rough translation would be "Grey Infantry", grey in the sense of not being adorned by any glorious colors - being regular grunts and riflemen. The lyrics are patriotic and upbeat, attributed to the time the song originated from.

Translation of the full song (could not find any video with English lyrics on youtube):

"They wear not stripes and grey is their uniform,
They wear neither silver nor gold,
But in the front rank they go into battle,
Infantry, that grey infantry"

(Chorus)
Marching riflemen, marching
Rifles shining, grey uniform
And before them the trees salute
Because for our Poland they go into battle

Walking, steel reflects the sun
Girls watching from over the fences
And their eyes proud fixed far away
Infantry, that grey infantry

(Chorus)

No trumpets for them, nither horns
And death is thrown at their feet
But in the first column going to war
Infantry that grey infantry

(Chorus)
...........

The infantry in the video wear their greatcoats - rarely seen on Early War miniatures but they were part of the standard equipment of a Polish soldier in September 1939. On some pictures, mainly of Polish POW being led into captivity during late September/early October, you can see soldiers wearing the greatcoat. Battlefront has their Polish commanders modeled with the greatcoat

Another interesting thing appearing in the video at 1.02 minutes are the Polish mountain troops of the Carpathian region, the "Podhale Rifles". They are distinguished by their traditional soft hats (made out of felt) used by the people in that region. All regiments of the Podhale rifles had a Swastika symbol on their unit badges that pre-dated the German use of Swastikas. That may be a surprise for quite a few, but lots of military units (not only in Poland) used the Swastika symbol which was seen as the symbol of power in most slavic countries dating back to the medieval times.

You can read more about the Podhale Rifles here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podhale_Rifles

And use of the Swastika among slavic people here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika#Slavic

The unit colors that they carry resemble those of the Polish army during the Napleonic wars as well as the ones carried during the Polish-Bolshevik War.

My plan is to  gather lots of historical information in my upcoming PDF file on the Early war Polish army as I feel very little is known about this particular subject (Early War on the whole is greatly overlooked). Battlefront has included some bits of history in the Blitzkrieg book but they still only leave the casual reader with a sketchy idea of Polish army. I do however thank them for including information about the cavalry myth and its origins.


Anwyays, the cavalry will be the next unit I paint for Flames of War so stay tuned for that. In the meantime I will sneak in a bit of commission painting again as I received a few more "Black Scorpion Miniatures" models today.

2 comments:

  1. Nice! Almost there- it's been coming together so quickly!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If not for some heavy schoolwork at the moment with dull papers I would have set up a sweatshop and painted the remaining stuff while listening to Eye of the Tiger on repeat and eating vitamin pills LOL!

    ReplyDelete

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