Bolt Action: Campaign: Italy: Tough Gut is out in the UK, and here's our second historical inspirations blog to get you started painting your troops...
Now Tough Gut is available, there's no better time to get gluing, basing and painting your figures to use for its new units and scenarios. We've already put out a blog with some inspiration for Italian forces, so this week we're looking at playing US armies. We wanted to spotlight Warlord Games' US 92nd Infantry Division set, pictured below.
For historical inspiration and as a painting reference, here's an illustration of the 92nd by Johnny Shumate and caption from Osprey Publishing's The Browning Automatic Rifle.
"During World War II two-man teams consisting of the gunner and his ammunition carrier brought the BAR onto the battlefield. One of the greatest problems facing the teams, other than the inevitable battle casualties, was that the carrier often had trouble keeping up with his gunner on the move, often leaving the gunner low on ammunition. Additionally, two men moving too close together presented a greater target for enemy troops.
BAR men were often called upon to eliminate an enemy sniper when in range like this BAR man attempting to dispatch a German sniper in the bell-tower. The M1918A2 depicted here with members of the 92nd “Buffalo” Division in Italy is a “modernized” World War I-era M1918.
John Browning's original BAR weighed 15.5lb (7kg) unloaded, and the hinged butt plate, magazine guides, bipod, and later the carry handle added nearly 5lb (2.3kg) to the weapon's weight. Another “modernization” carried out by Ordnance involved cutting off the top section of the walnut wood forearm to allow for faster barrel cooling. This improvement potentially exposed the gunner's fingertips and thumb to contact with the extremely hot barrel.
The brand new M1918A2s, which first saw production in 1943, featured a shorter, lower forearm with a more ergonomic grip similar to the ones found on Colt's commercial models. During the war GIs often discarded the bipod, butt plate, and even the new flash hider but usually kept the magazine guides in place. Sometimes BAR men left their bipods with the mess crew who would later rejoin the combat forces once the battle lines were stabilized.
The BAR men of World War II typically wore the M1937 BAR ammunition belt, which featured three pouches per side, altogether holding 12 BAR magazines containing a combined total of 240 rounds. The 20-round magazine load often included a tracer at every fifth round for targetsighting purposes. The BAR men tried to save their empty magazines, which were not always easy to replace in combat. They could and did reload their empties with unused rifle clips taken from comrades in the company or from casualties. The BAR man seen here has stuffed an empty magazine into the right bottom pocket of his jacket for later use."
- Robert R. Hodges Jr., author of The Browning Automatic Rifle
Bolt Action: Campaign: Italy: Tough Gut is out now in the UK
and is out October in the US.