Archive for March, 2014

John Jenkins – April Releases

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

The Gun Carrier Mark I was the first piece of self-propelled artillery ever to be produced.

During 1916 it became clear that in case of a breakthrough, the very purpose of the first tank, the Mark I, artillery would have great trouble following the advancing troops. Any successful offensive would therefore be in danger of stalling immediately. To solve this problem Major Gregg, an engineer working for the main tank producing company Metropolitan, Carriage, Wagon and Finance, proposed to build special mechanised artillery, using parts of the Mark I. The production of a prototype was approved on 5 June 1916; the actual design began in July. The first prototype was ready to participate in the Tank Trials Day at Oldbury on 3 March 1917. An order of fifty vehicles was given to Kitson & Co. in Leeds. Deliveries to the army started in June and ended in July.

The vehicle bore little resemblance to the Mark I. The tracks weren’t tall but low, almost flat. At the back a rectangular superstructure covered the Daimler 105 hp engine together with the transmission of the Mark I, the latter now in a reversed position. Sharing it were the vehicle commander, a mechanic and two gearsmen. The original double tail wheel of the Mark I, intended to aid steering and attached to the rear of the vehicle, was retained. The front was an open area with either a 60-pounder (5-inch) field gun or a 6-inch howitzer.

For transporting the gun only the wheels had to be removed from the gun carriage – these were attached to the side of the carrier until needed again. In theory, the field gun could be fired from the vehicle; in reality only the howitzer could be so used. Alternatively the guns could be unloaded through a pivoting cradle assisted by two winding drums driven by the engine. Above the front of the track frame at each side was an armoured cab for the driver on the left and the brakesman on the right. In the prototype these driving positions were directly in front of the superstructure; moving them forward improved visibility, but made communication very difficult – a problem as, in the Mark I, four men (including the gearsmen) had to cooperate to steer the tank.

In July 1917 two Gun Carrier Companies were formed of 24 vehicles each. Probably none of them ever fired a shot in anger


THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918 – French Army

The French army was manned by conscription , and every 20 year old male was liable for three years’ service. Most men would go into the infantry, and these were men primarily from an agricultural background, with those who had worked on railways, public works, shipyards and telecommunications going into the artillery.

Infantry Regiments were created on a local basis, similar to the British Pals battalions.

The peacetime army had a strength of 817,000 men, augmented on mobilization to 2,944,000.

During the war 7,800,000 men served with the “colours”, about 80% of the population of men eligible to fight.

Water was scarce in the front line, and the growing of facial hair led to the nickname “Poilu” (hairy one). The traditional nickname of the infantry was “Les Biffins” (the rag and bone men), initially to each other they were “Les bonhommes” (the lads), or as the war drew out, “Les pauvres cons du front” PCDF, (the poor bastards at the front).

Great War 1918

John Jenkins – April Releases Annoucement 2

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014


Raid on Saint Francis, 1759

Battle of the Plains of Abraham

During the reign of Queen Anne of Great Britain the English Army had become very disorganized and undisciplined. The Hanoverians (George I) who succeeded Queen Anne in 1714 reorganized the English Army, requiring the troops to march in step to proper military music. Thus fife & drum music was adopted by the British military (except for the Scottish regiments).

A company of about 100 men would have one or two fifers, and one or two drummers. When 8 or 10 companies were gathered together to form a regiment, their fifers and drummers were “banded” to form a regimental band.

The musicians provided music for the army on the march. As Napoleon would prove, music would be very effective in motivating an army to march long distances. The musicians were also used to broadcast various signals. Military camp life required a succession of daily signals: time to get up, breakfast call, sick call, assembly, lunch, duty calls, dinner, evening retreat, lights-out (curfew).

The “Tattoo” comes from the Dutch die den tap toe which was a signal for the beer sellers to “turn off the taps” so that the soldiers could finish their beers and report back to camp. This signal consisted of the fifes and drums marching up and down the streets of the garrison town or camp, playing as they marched – at the end, they would stop marching, and conclude with a hymn.
While the army was encamped (or billeted in a city) the “officer of the day” (supervising at that moment) would always have a drummer with him to give impromptu and emergency signals: to sound “alarm” at an imminent attack or to call for a conference of the officers.

Contrary to common opinion, signals generally were NOT given during battles, excepting “cease fire” and related signals. The battlefield was too noisy and confusing, and, as the French discovered when they experimented with the idea in the 1750’s, the enemy can hear your signals.

The Regiment de Bearne saw much action under Montcalm, and was present at all major engagements of the war.

Battle of the Plains of Abraham

Jacobite Rebellion 1745

The 2nd Battalion of Lord Ogilvy’s Forfarshire Regiment was present at the Battle of Culloden. When the battle ended, the defeated regiment retreated south to Glen Clova, where it was disbanded.

All the Jacobite flags captured by the Hanoverian troops at Culloden were taken to Edinburgh and burnt.

Legend had it that Captain John Kinloch, who carried the flag at Culloden, hid the banner at Logie House, near Kirriemuir.

The flag survived and is now on display at the McManus Gallery in Dundee.

The Latin words on the flag translate into the old Scottish motto: ‘No one provokes me with impunity’.

The emblem on the flag is the Scottish thistle, rather than a symbol or a coat of arms associated with the deposed Stewart dynasty. However, it is believed that the Scottish thistle was the crest used by Lord Ogilvy’s Jacobite regiment.


Jacobite Rebellion 1745

Peninsular War 1807-1814

**Please note there are 3 variations of the advancing sets**

Peninsular War 1807-1814

First Legion – New Releases Expected April 2014!

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

American Civil War – Union 2nd Wisconsin

The 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry consists of sets ACW070-ACW087 and are a solid mix of advancing and firing depicting their counterattack at McPherson’s Ridge where they beat back Archer’s Brigade. After several hours of fierce fighting against an ever increasing number of Rebels, the 2nd Wisconsin took 77% casualties and retreated back to Culps Hill. Certainly one of the most iconic regiments of the Civil War, these figures are a must have for any serious Civil War Toy Soldier collection! We’ve also included with this release set ACW087 John Burns. Though Burns fought primarily with the 7th Wisconsin and 24th Michigan, we felt that any release covering the actions of the Iron Brigade during Day 1 of Gettysburg should include the heroic citizen turned soldier. Burns fought valiantly and was wounded several times and was eventually captured and treated by the Confederates, convincing them that he hadn’t taken part in the fighting, but merely been caught up in it. A close call indeed!

Union 2nd Wisconsin

Samurai – Takeda Staff

Age of the Samurai