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Fishwelding

Cold War in Central Europe: AFVs among civilians

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Here's one for our Cold War and artillery veterans:  I'd like to build an M109A3 and M548 paired in road march, EUSAREUR, 1980s.  When rolling along with the guns, what did M548s typically haul?  Ammunition (per the AFV club kit), other gear, or crew?  Or a combination these?

 

Edited by Fishwelding

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Depends on where you’re headed. USAREUR is obviously not in a combat zone so it’s entirely possible to be headed to a simulated fire excercise in which case it’s gear. Usually ammo is brought to the range (no matter how long) by a 3rd party as ammunition (live or training) is strictly controlled in a peacetime environment, ESPECIALLY on a road march.  

 

Best bet would be loaded up with gear for 4 weeks in a field environment.

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To add to the above, the gear would usually only be for the M548 crew/ammo team.  This ammo team is usually 4 guys, with the other 4  and their gear on the gun.  Each gun section (howitzer and ammo carrier) was 8 guys.

 

For the road march, the vehicles would be at least 50 meters apart.  This is pretty hard to model in 1/35 as it would be 56 inches in scale.  It may be better to do them pulled up next to each other on the firing point.

Edited by HeavyArty

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Piggybacking off Arty, if they’re at the firing position (and close) then load it on up full of ammo!

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18 hours ago, HeavyArty said:

To add to the above, the gear would usually only be for the M548 crew/ammo team.  This ammo team is usually 4 guys, with the other 4  and their gear on the gun.  Each gun section (howitzer and ammo carrier) was 8 guys.

 

For the road march, the vehicles would be at least 50 meters apart.  This is pretty hard to model in 1/35 as it would be 56 inches in scale.  It may be better to do them pulled up next to each other on the firing point.

 

Actually, it's worth me probably asking about a possible diorama idea: stuck in traffic.  I'd like to depict a gun section stopped in a narrow section of road because presumably traffic stopped moving.  I might have a retaining wall or structures (town) on one side, and perhaps a canal on the other.  Takom and Diopark now make period-appropriate civilian vehicles for this.  I'd like to have the M548 driver's door open, with the driver standing up on the frame to see down the road.  Perhaps a gunner board the howitzer is looking back at him, shrugging.  German motorists might also be peering out their side windows.  A local van is carefully threading his way between the vehicles and the curb, adding to the sense of congestion.  This is part of a series of dioramas I'd like to do telling the story of NATO trying to train for war in West Germany, amidst a heavily motorized but (in parts) old-world civilian infrastructure.  

 

I realize there might be things I don't know that makes this scenario unlikely, so I'm interested to hear what veterans have to say.  In one of the Tankograd volumes, Walter Böhm mentions that by the 1980s, bypass roads were built in a lot of places that enabled mechanized units to avoid the congested centers of towns and villages.  I noted these myself while in Germany, recently.  But his photos indicate this must have been incomplete, and there's some great photos of tanks, howitzers, and other AFVs rumbling through spots that look ideal for traffic bottlenecks.  I imagine commanders at all levels tried hard to avoid units getting bogged down in civilian traffic and avoid notorious routes, but traffic everywhere is unpredictable, and I can imagine various reasons why a unit might attempt a detour through a less-ideal path. 

 

As I describe it, I'm beginning to think the above idea might be even more dramatic with an M60 tank!   But I need to burn up some old Italeri howitzer kits, and dioramas are great places for older kits.

 

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Yes, very accurate idea.  The same would happen in ROK (S. Korea) on road marches.  I was last stationed there in 2000 and getting to the training area was always an adventure.

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4 hours ago, HeavyArty said:

Yes, very accurate idea.  The same would happen in ROK (S. Korea) on road marches.  I was last stationed there in 2000 and getting to the training area was always an adventure.

 

Another location where troops are compelled to train among a dense or clustered and heavily motorized economy.  Accidents happen, I'm sure, but looking at photographs and increasingly, old videos that make it to YouTube, it's pretty amazing how troops are able to operate war machines delicately and politely enough not to cause major economic damage in these societies, or political damage in alliances.  

 

Using war-era beetles and some of the newer German truck kits, I'd like to create a similar scene with an M47 or M48 set in the '50s.  

 

Incidentally, for anyone else interested in similar scenes, Diopark's "'70s German Made Civilian Car" comes with German police markings, which is really helpful for dioramas in the late Cold War.  That kit isn't cheap at all, but it's nice to even have available.  

Edited by Fishwelding

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7 hours ago, Fishwelding said:

 

Another location where troops are compelled to train among a dense or clustered and heavily motorized economy.  Accidents happen, I'm sure, but looking at photographs and increasingly, old videos that make it to YouTube, it's pretty amazing how troops are able to operate war machines delicately and politely enough not to cause major economic damage in these societies, or political damage in alliances.  

 

Using war-era beetles and some of the newer German truck kits, I'd like to create a similar scene with an M47 or M48 set in the '50s.  

 

Incidentally, for anyone else interested in similar scenes, Diopark's "'70s German Made Civilian Car" comes with German police markings, which is really helpful for dioramas in the late Cold War.  That kit isn't cheap at all, but it's nice to even have available.  

You should see the “finesse” we use overseas.  I can’t tell you how many walls I knocked down or cars a plowed into. 

 

In NATO countries though, yes we’re pretty good about not hitting stuff

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