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LION RAMPANT & CHARGING BULL
               (OPERATION BLUECOAT)

 

Depicted in this Diorama are two units of 8th Corps, namely 7th battalion Seaforth Highlanders, 46th Highland Infantry Brigade, 15th Scottish Division and 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Yeomanry (armoured recce regiment) 11th Armoured Division. It is the late morning of the 29th July 1944 on the road just outside of the village of Lingevre situated six miles north east of Caumont I'Evente, these units are marching to the start line of operation Bluecoat in a scene typical of a cramped bridgehead, one big traffic jam. Indeed Bluecoat was a logistical nightmare - moving two whole corps from one end of theatre to the other a distance of some thirty miles crossing a further three corps logistical support. It's thanks to the traffic control of the corps of military police and the royal corps of signals that this massive undertaking was pulled off. Especially so, considering several units didn't get their marching orders until late evening of the 28th and the early hours of the 29th July.

 

Approach to Lingevre this photo taken around the middle of June l944 and was the inspiration for this diorama. Incidentally these two Panthers were to stay in situ a further two years. (IWM)

 
     
  The sub-title of this piece is (Operation Bluecoat). Bluecoat had three primary objectives 1;- tying down the bulk of the German armour & keeping it to the east in the British sector. 2;- if possible achieve a breakout and 3;- protect the American left flank as they tried to breakout during Operation Cobra.

The British succeeded in tying down 7 panzer divisions (five of them elite S.S.units) in what was to become a titanic struggle lasting six days. History seems to have forgotten that during Bluecoat the British saw some of the most difficult, heaviest and bloody battles of the whole North West European campaign, in Bluecoat 15th Scottish alone would suffer a massive 5,300 casualties. What had occurred over these 6 days is best summed up with these few words from Captain Woolcombe a company commander of the 6th battalion K.O.S.B. he wrote of the enemy," With tight -lipped, bitter verve they fought....Above all we saw the dark face of the Waffen S.S. And this we broke in Normandy".

Operation Bluecoat wasn't a total success for the British they didn't achieve a breakout but it most certainly allowed the Americans to do so!

Montgomery had taken a lot of flak about his conduct of the Normandy campaign, some of it deserved but the strategy of containing and the eventual systematic destruction of the German armour by keeping it fully engaged in the British sector had worked.

Models used;- 2x Pz. Mk.V.Ausf. A. (Early) by Dragon.
                      2x Cromwell Mk. IV. A27M. by Tamiya.
                      1x Cromwell Mk. VI. A27L. by Tamiya.
                      3x Willys MB. 4 X 4 Jeep by Tamiya.
                      1x Daimler Dingo scout car by Tamiya
                      1x MI A3 heavy scout car by Italeri.
                      1x Trialer by Heller.

The dimensions of the diorama are 91cm.x 60.5cm. Mounted on an 8mm. MDF base attached to a 95mm. x 45mm Irroco softwood frame. The groundwork was made utilising foam insulation board with a Sculptamold & Hydrocal top coat. This was overlaid with a grass matting product by Noch.Trees & hedges were made using scatters & twigs from Woodland Scenic's & rubberised horsehair from 4D Models. Shrubs & bushes made using Lichen (Woodland Scenic's ) & natural mosses from my garden. The Ivy is a beautiful little product from Hudson & Allen Studio. Various photo etched plants are from Aber, Eduard and SMA. The bridge was scratch built using heavy gauge plasticard, trusses & pipes from Plastruct. The retaining walls were made using the excellent 1/35 scale bricks from Hansa Systems. The small rocks and pebbles are yet again from Woodland Scenic's

The figures used (51) are from a number of manufacturer's - Airfix, Andrea, Dragon, Hornet, Nemrod, Resicast, SMA, Tamiya, Ultracast, Wolf and Verlinden. Practically every Brit.figure (that I could find) in a non fighting pose on the market. Some have been modified by giving them new heads and the re-posing of others to fit the required stance.

The diorama also comes with a glass case made of toughened safety glass with a built in U.V. protective layer to prevent fading if  placed in direct sunlight.

In all well over 600 hours work involved in the researching, composition, painting and construction of this diorama.

 

                                                                                                      
Div. Insignia of 15th. Scottish Division.                                                                    Div. Insignia of 11th. Armoured Division.

                     

 

 

 

                     

 

 


Photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum.