Knights Of The Skies – WWI
April 1915, a German 2 seater plane fell in flames before the guns of French Ace Roland Garros’s monoplane. This was the beginning of a new technique in aerial warfare. It was achieved by firing a machine gun between the blades of a spinning propellor. Although crude it was successful mainly due to small steel plates attached to the propellor blades. The bullets which did not pass between the blades were deflected by the plates without harming the propellor. A new degree of accuracy was made possible by aiming the entire airplane at the target.
The Morane-Saulnier N was one of the few operational monoplanes of WW1. It had an extremely sensitive elevator response and fast landing speed but was considerably more manouverable than its German opponents at the time. The Aileron control was achieved by wing warping.
In addition to the french, 2 British squadrons flew Morane-Saulnier N’s where it was nicknamed the “Bullet” due to th large spinner fitted on the nose.
A large metal “casserolle” spinner designed to streamline the aircraft caused the engines to overheat because the spinner deflected air away from the engine. In 1915, the spinner was removed from the design and no more overheating problems were found. The removal of the spinner caused very little loss in performance.
The Type N was not particularly successful. Only 49 aircraft were built and it was quickly rendered obsolete by the pace of aircraft development
WWI – French Army
The Renault FT, was a French light tank that was among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. The FT was the first production tank to have its armament within a fully rotating turret. The Renault FT’s configuration – crew compartment at the front, engine compartment at the back, and main armament in a revolving turret – became and remains the standard tank layout. Over 3,000 Renault FT tanks were manufactured by French industry, most of them during the year 1918.
Armoured warfare historian Steven Zaloga has called the Renault FT “the world’s first modern tank.”
- GWF-008H — Renault FT, “Berliet” Turret, Hotchkiss 8mm Machine Gun, 3rd Company, 2nd Platoon – Please note the doors on the Turret do not open.
- GWF-008P — Renault FT, “Berliet” Turret, Puteaux SA 18, 37mm GUN, 3rd Company, 2nd Platoon – Please note the doors on the Turret do not open.
- GWF-034 — French Infantry, Stretcher Party
The original one piece cast turret, had many problems, mainly in that it only permitted a Hotchkiss machine gun to be mounted. Research led to a second design of what was to be known as the “Omnibus”. This turret allowed for mounting either the Puteaux cannon or the Hotchkiss machine gun. This turret was assembled of flat steel plates screwed to a frame and was shaped like an octagonal prism that narrowed towards the top.
The third type of turret designed for the Renault FT, was produced by the Berliet factories, hence it became known as the “Berliet Turret”.
This turret was produced in 1918 and its objective was to improve the resistance of the armour. The turret was manufactured in 2 elements. A cast roof of 16mm thickness, and a forged turret ring in the shape of a flattened cone. The “Berliet Turret” had thicker armour and consequently was heavier than previous turrets. It was still moved manually by the commander/gunner of the tank.
The Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun chambered for the 8mm Lebel cartridge became the standard machine gun of the French Army during World War I. The Hotchkiss machine gun, a sturdy and reliable weapon, remained in active service with the French army until the early 1940s. By the end of 1918, 47,000 Hotchkiss machine guns had already been delivered to the French army alone. If one adds the international sales, the total number of Hotchkiss machine guns that were manufactured in various calibers is close to 100.000.
The Puteaux SA 18 was a French single-shot, breech-loading cannon, used from World War I onward, primarily mounted on combat vehicles.
It was a simple, reliable weapon with a high rate of fire made possible by a semi-automatic breech system . It was primarily intended to be used against infantry and machine-gun nests, due to its low muzzle velocity which proscribed anti-armour use. Though armour penetration was poor, even as late as 1939 it was sufficient to combat light armoured vehicles. The gun was operated by one soldier, and found easy to use with a low incidence of jamming. It was sighted on target with a separate scope attached to the left side of the weapon.
Battle of Gallipoli 1915
- GLA-004B — Anzac Casualties
- GLA-004W — Anzac Casualties
- GLA-009B — Anzac Casualties
- GLA-009W — Anzac Casualties
THE PROVINCIAL REGIMENTS
THE SOUTH CAROLINA PROVINCIAL REGIMENT
On July 6, 1757, the South Carolina Provincial Regiment was created by an act of the Assembly. The regiment was to be made up of 7 companies of 100 men each. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-colonel Probart Howarth. Howarth, a veteran of Braddock’s campaign, also held a commission as lieutenant in the Independent Companies.
”They have passed a Vote here for granting a Sum for raising 700 Men subject to the Orders & Disposal of Lord Loudoun, have put them on the same Establishment with our Troops, and have given your old Acquaintance Howarth the Command of Them, as Lieut. Colo. & Commandant of the So. Carolina Provincials.” (George Washington Papers (memory.loc.gov/), Captain George Mercer to George Washington, August 17, 1757.)
Each company was led by 1 captain , 2 lieutenants and 1 ensign. Each company also had 4 sergeants, 4 corporals and 2 drummers.
The regiment was also known as the Buffs, due to the facing colour of their uniforms. Men were only recruited with great difficulty, and by mid 1758 the regiment contained only about 550 privates. Attempts were made to fill up the regiment by enlisting vagrants.
- RRBSC-003 — The South Carolina Provincial Regiment, 2 Line Infantry At Attention
- RRBSC-003N — The South Carolina Provincial Regiment, 4 Line Infantry At Attention, Set #2
THE PENNSYLVANIAN PROVINCIAL REGIMENT
July 1755, after Braddock’s defeat in an ambush on the Monongahela, Pennsylvanians, who until then had no militia forces, started to organise a defence. The governor gave orders to build forts at Carlisle and Shippensburg and to organize 4 companies of volunteers. In October, the French and Canadiens with their Indian Allies began to launch raids on the border of Pennsylvania. On November 25, a “Militia Act” was passed in response to the border massacres perpetrated by the Susquehanah and Ohio Delawares. On November 27, the Assembly of Pennsylvania voted funds to build forts and to replace militia companies with a Provincial Regiment which was originally formed from pre-existing volunteers and militia around the Susquehanah River. Most men enlisted for less than six months.
In March 1756, the regiment was formally organised into two battalions: the one east of the river were commanded by Lieutenant-colonel Conrad Weiser, while the one to the west of the river was led by Colonel John Armstrong. Later, a third battalion was raised under Colonel William Clapham, to defend the area of Augusta, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, the Pennsylvania Provincials were reorganized into 2 regiments: the 1st (Augusta) regiment, formed of one battalion under Clapham, and the 2nd, comprising the other two battalions.
- RRBPEN-003 — The Pennsylvanian Provincial Regiment, 2 Line Infantry At Attention
- RRBPEN-003N — The Pennsylvanian Provincial Regiment, 4 Line Infantry At Attention, Set #2
THE CONNECTICUT PROVINCIAL REGIMENT
In August 1755, the first and second regiments of Connecticut Provincials (a total of about 850 men) took part in the expedition against Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point) led by William Johnson of New York. A fort initially known as Fort Lyman (soon renamed Fort Edward) was built on the Hudson River at the carrying place leading to Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George).
At the beginning of September, Johnson’s force resumed its advance and reached Lake Saint-Sacrement. On September 8, part of his force was ambushed by a French force under Dieskau. The Colonials were badly mauled and retired to Johnson’s camp. The French followed up but their attack on Johnson’s camp was repulsed, Dieskau being wounded and captured. Johnson did not organize any counteroffensive but built Fort William Henry on the shore of Lake Saint-Sacrement.
In September, Connecticut raised and sent about 1,400 militia to reinforce Johnson at Fort William Henry. On November 27, when Johnson retreated to the Hudson, he left contingents from each province to garrison Fort William Henry during the winter.
For the campaign of 1756, Connecticut raised 2,500 men.
For the campaign of 1757, Connecticut raised 1,400 men. In mid-August, after the fall of Fort William Henry, Connecticut assemble 5,000 militia who were sent to reinforce General Webb on the frontier.
On March 8 1758, a special assembly at New Haven resolved to raise 5,000 Connecticut Provincials for the incoming campaign. These were formed into 4 regiments, each consisting of 12 companies.
In July 1758, the 4 Provincial regiments from Connecticut took part in the expedition against Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga). On July 5, they embarked at the head of Lake George. On July 6 at daybreak, the British flotilla reached the narrow channel leading into Lake Champlain near Fort Carillon and disembarkation began at 9:00 a.m.. On July 8, they fought in the disastrous Battle of Carillon. At daybreak on July 9, the British army re-embarked and retreated to the head of the lake where it reoccupied the camp it had left a few days before.
On March 8 1759, a special assembly at Hartford resolved to raise 3,600 Connecticut Provincials for the campaign. They were formed into 4 regiments, each of 10 companies. On May 10, on General Amherst’s insistance, an additional 1,000 men were raised and integrated into the 4 existing regiments. The Connecticut Provincials, joined Amherst’s Army for a renewed attempt against Carillon.
- RRBC-003 — The Connecticut Provincial Regiment, 2 Line Infantry At Attention
- RRBC-003N — The Connecticut Provincial Regiment, 4 Line Infantry At Attention, Set #2
THE WARS OF THE ROSES 1455-1487
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic wars for the throne of England. They were fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet, the houses of Lancaster and York. They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, although there was related fighting before and after this period. The conflict resulted from social and financial troubles that followed the Hundred Years’ War, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of Henry VI, which revived interest in the alternative claim to the throne of Richard, Duke of York.
The final victory went to a claimant of the Lancastrian party, Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king, Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. After assuming the throne as Henry VII, Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter and heiress of Edward IV, thereby uniting the two claims. The House of Tudor ruled England and Wales until 1603.
THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH FIELD 1485
The Battle of Bosworth (or Bosworth Field) was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.
THE YORKIST ARMY
The Royalist Army was led by King Richard III.
Richard’s most loyal subject was John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk. The duke had served Richard’s brother for many years and was one of Edward IV’s closer confidantes, he was a military veteran, having fought in the Battle of Towton in 1461 and served as Hastings’ deputy at Calais in 1471.
Richard formed his army into three divisions or ‘battles”, The Vanguard or main “battle” was under the command of the Duke of Norfolk, the main body was led by Richard, and the rearguard under the command of the Earl of Northumberland
- YORK-027 — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Yorkist Billmen – Most infantry who were not archers, were armed with staff weapons, notably the bill. This was a weapon derived from an agricultural implement, and usually had a stabbing blade, a curved cutting surface down one side, and a hook, which was useful in pulling riders from their mounts.
- YORK-027N — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Yorkist Billmen (4 figures)
- YORK-030 — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Yorkist Archer – Archers were armed with the Longbow, and were often made of yew imported from Italy, or elm. Sheafs of 24 arrows were carried in a bag, archers carried these tucked in their belt, or stuck them in the ground for fast re-loading.
- YORK-030N — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Yorkist Archers (3 figures)
THE LANCASTRIAN ARMY
Having not fought in any battles, Henry Tudor was not regarded as much of a warrior. Chroniclers of the period found him more interested in commerce and finance. Having spent the first fourteen years of his life in Wales and the next fourteen in Brittany and France, Henry Tudor was therefore unfamiliar with the arts of war and a stranger to the land he was trying to conquer. But he was known as being strong and decisive.
Henry recruited several experienced veterans on whom he could rely for military advice and the command of his armies, most notably John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, who was Henry’s principal military commander.
Henry Tudor decided to commit most of his small force into one single large division or “battle” and place it under the command of the Earl of Oxford.
- LANC-027 — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Lancastrian Billmen
- LANC-027N — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Lancastrian Billmen (4 figures)
- LANC-030 — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Lancastrian Archer
- LANC-030N — The Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, Lancastrian Archers (3 figures)