All posts by Russ Phillips

Book cover: England's Last War Against France

England’s Last War Against France by Colin Smith

England’s Last War Against France charts the story of the undeclared war between Britain and Vichy France, between 1940 and 1942.

The book is divided into four parts, each of several chapters.

Part one starts before the Second World War, covering the background and Anglo-French relations during the First World War and inter-war years.

Smith describes how relations between the two countries soured as the Germans advanced into France. It covers the diplomatic efforts to keep France in the war, and how and why France felt they had been abandoned by their ally.

This part also covers the fate of the French fleet, including the infamous action at Mers-el-Kébir.

Part two covers the campaigns in Africa and the Middle East. This includes actions to take over French Imperial colonies in Africa, Syria, and Iraq.

Part three describes the campaign to conquer the island of Madagascar, and part four covers Operation Torch.

Overall, it’s an interesting book, written in an easy to read style.

Review by Russell Phillips.

Britannia Miniatures KH-ITA02 Three Italian paratroopers

All wear paratrooper bone sack and Italian paratrooper helmet. Advance at a crouch with Beretta SMG, his chest and back has several SMG magazine pouches plus there is a water-bottle and poncho on his belt. Standing firing Beretta SMG, standing upright firing from the shoulder, as above has chest and back are laden with magazine pouches, he also has cartridge pouches on his belt, but no other kit visible. The last figure is the classic grenade thrower, left arm raised about to hurl a stick-grenade with his right, he has a rifle slung across his back; his belt carries a water-bottle, cartridge pouches and a bayonet. Nice interesting figures could be used as Marines with careful pruning – some quite bad flash however.

Review by Richard B.

Britannia Miniatures KH-ITAP01 Italian Paratrooper command

Two figures both wearing paratrooper bone sacks. The officer wears a soft peaked fatigue cap, he holds binoculars in his right and a map in his left, he has a map case and pistol holster on his belt. The kneeling radio OP is bear-headed, he holds his earphones in place with his left hand. His only visible kit is a water-bottle on his belt. Nice interesting figures with good details, lots of flash however.

Review by Richard B.

Grubby Tanks KH-ITA20 20mm Breda cannon and crew

The gun is actually smaller and nicer than the Britannia one and I wish I`d known this a few months back when I bought the Britannia gun for a modelling project! 6-piece gun: Carriage, 2-wheels, gun, sighting gear, seat/trail; a nice level of detail. The crew all wear Italian Army uniform, the gunners are both in helmet, the seated one has no kit visible his kneeling loader has a haversack and water-bottle. The NCO is in field cap, kneeling with binoculars in his right hand, no kit visible. Nice poses, great gun, lots of flash on the figures.

Review by Richard B.

Sgt’s Mess I9 Italian 81mm mortar team

Three figures as above, standing dropping bomb into tube, kneeling with bomb at the ready and running with bomb carrier pack and rifle; as above separate heads are provided. All comments about these figures are as in the review of I5 Italian Breda LMG teams, except a couple of major quality control issues.

  1. I ordered pack I7 (Brixa 50mm mortar team) and whilst this pack is clearly marked I7; it is certainly NOT;
  2. there was no 81mm mortar in this pack just the figures and heads!

Review by Richard B.