New John Jenkins – December Releases!

First World War – French

This was the appearance of the Saint-Chamond Tank after its first upgrade. It was armed with the 75 Tir Rapide (TR) Model 12 Cannon. The vehicle featured four roof turrets, two observation turrets forward, one on either side, with one between them for venting the gunsmoke after the firing of the cannon. The fourth turret was at the rear on the left hand side, and was used by the driver whilst driving backwards. The turrets were in fact weak spots of the tank’s structure, and it was quite common that machine gun fire would shoot away the turrets. The observation turrets were therefore removed for the later version.

The next round of French Infantry are in production! These will include more casualties, and 2 German prisoners.

The Chauchat, named after its main contributor Colonel Louis Chauchat, was the standard machine rifle or light machine gun of the French Army during World War I (1914–18). Its official designation was “Fusil Mitrailleur Modele 1915 CSRG” ( in English: “Machine Rifle Model 1915 CSRG” ). It was mass manufactured during World War I by two reconverted civilian plants: “Gladiator” and “Sidarme” . Beginning in June 1916, it was placed into regular service with French infantry where the troops called it the FM Chauchat. The Chauchat machine rifle in 8mm Lebel was also extensively used in 1917-1918 by the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F) where it was officially designated as the “Automatic Rifle, Model 1915 (Chauchat)”. The armies of eight other nations, notably: Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia and Serbia, also used the Chauchat machine rifle in fairly large numbers during and after World War

A total of 262,000 Chauchat machine rifles were manufactured between December 1915 and November 1918, including 244,000 chambered for the 8mm Lebel service cartridge, making it the most widely-manufactured automatic weapon of World War I.

The Chauchat machine rifle was one of the first light, automatic rifle caliber weapons designed to be carried and fired by a single operator and an assistant, without a heavy tripod or a team of gunners. It set a precedent for several subsequent 20th century firearm projects, being a portable yet full power automatic weapon built inexpensively and in very large numbers. The Chauchat combined a pistol grip, an in-line stock, a detachable magazine, and a selective fire capability in a compact package of manageable weight (20 pounds) for a single soldier. Furthermore, it could be routinely fired from the hip and while walking (marching fire).

French Army

First World War – British

The Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) was an arm of the Royal Artillery that was originally tasked with manning the guns of the British Empire’s forts and fortresses, including coastal artillery batteries, the heavy gun batteries attached to each infantry division, and the guns of the siege artillery.

In the quagmire of trench warfare, it was finally realised that it was not the place for the artillery to be in the infantry line.

Henceforth the artillery would be positioned well behind the infantry battle line, firing at unseen targets, at co-ordinates on a map calculated with geometry and mathematics. As the war developed, the heavy artillery and the techniques of long-range artillery were massively developed. The RGA was often supported by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) who had devised a system where pilots could use wireless telegraphy to help the artillery hit specific targets.

From 1914 the RGA grew into a very large component of the British forces on the battlefield, being armed with heavy, large-calibre guns and howitzers that were positioned some way behind the front line and had immense destructive power. The corps name was discontinued in 1924, when the RGA was re-amalgamated into the Royal Artillery

Ammunition supply to the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) and other field artillery units was normally the role of the Royal Artillery: that part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery which retained the Royal Artillery (RA) shoulder badges. However during the war the RGA, which had large numbers of men idling in fortified batteries around the World with little chance of seeing action, provided a draft of sub-units to the Western Front to assist with ammunition supply in the field, and the operation of supply dumps

**PLEASE NOTE, Several of these Artillery crew sets, can also be used with the Supply tank and Trucks.**

The British did not have a separate Corps of Signals in the Great War: it was agreed that an independent unit would be formed in 1918, but for various administrative reasons it was delayed until 1920.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914 all the British Armies signalling/ intercommunication requirements were met by the Royal Engineers Signal Services (RESS) that was formed in 1908. Previously, in 1870, the responsibility for all military communications was officially given to the Telegraph Troop, of the Royal Engineers.

**Please Note, more figures with pigeons are on the workbench, together with a pair of horses for the Pigeon Wagon.**

Whilst rather primitive and cumbersome wireless sets were available using, Morse Code, the British Army could not find any practical application for wireless at the early stage of the War and it was not until the final months of war in 1918 that wireless sets became widely deployed at the battalion level.

The inter-communications situation grew worse in early 1915 as the tempo of war increased and enemy activity and the winter weather wrought damage to the existing military communication systems. Many telegraph lines and (as they expanded, telephone lines) were either strung out in the open on ad hoc supports or buried in shallow trenches. The passage of men and material wreaked serious damage on the system, as did the incessant shelling in certain sectors. At that time the high explosive shell fuses only exploded when the round had penetrated quite deeply into the ground and was thus, potentially, in close proximity to the buried telephone lines.

Increasing recourse was had to pigeons carrying coded messages from the Front Line to the battalion HQ and beyond. Originally the British Army on the Western Front did not have any messenger pigeons. But in September 1914, the French provided a nucleus aviary of 15 pigeons from which was developed a bird strength of thousands: 12,000 pigeons were deployed at the First Battle of the Somme in 1916, and by 1918, 20,000 birds were available for duty.

Messenger dogs (Liaison dogs) were introduced for night work with mixed results. They tended to be spoiled as regimental pets and were much more susceptible to toxic gas and battle stress than the pigeons.

British Forces


Leutenant Hans Weiss was a World War I flying ace credited with 16 aerial victories

Weiss scored his first victory on the 17th August 1917, and was commissioned a leutenant in October 1917. He then went on a streak as a balloon buster, downing four observation balloons in a row. Weiss followed that with four triumphs over enemy aircraft, the last of which, his tenth win, occurred on 13 March 1918. He was transferred to Royal Prussian Jasta 10, which was part of Manfred von Richthofen’s Flying Circus. He scored a single victory there, on 28 March 1918, before being transferred to another Flying Circus unit, Royal Prussian Jasta 10, as a Flight Leader. He scored his first win in his new unit on 2 April 1918.

Six days later, he was selected to temporarily command Jasta 11, and did so until his death in action on 2 May 1918.

On that day, Weiss was flying his Fokker Triplane; although Richthofen’s Jagdgruppe used scarlet as their identifying color, Weiss’s plane was largely or entirely “Weiss” (white). Weiss died of a bullet through the head from the guns of No. 209 Squadron’s Lt. Merrill Samuel Taylor’s Sopwith Camel while attacking another Camel from Taylor’s unit.

Knights Of The Skies – WWI


Raid on Saint Francis, 1759


Battle of the Plains of Abraham


Peninsular War 1807-1814

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