The Weapons and Equipment from the Novel

by Phil Johnson | April 4th, 2010

For those who would like to get a real feel for the period in the book, I would definitely recommend an outing to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, which is situated on the site of a former Battle of Britain RAF fighter base. The old RAF base was used as the backdrop in the world famous classic war film ‘The Battle of Britain’.

As well as housing an impressive collection of military and civil aircraft, there is an outstanding land warfare hangar containing mock-ups of soldiers in fighting order and a whole range of armoured vehicles, small arms and artillery pieces. I have visited the museum several times over the years, and visited again whilst conducting research for the novel. Below are some photographs I took on the trip that will illustrate several sections of the book nicely.

This pair of photographs neatly shows the uniform and equipment worn by British infantry during the 1940 campaigns. Of note is the long and very deadly looking sword-bayonet attached to the Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle, and the gas mask satchel strapped to the soldier’s chest. This is the soldier’s fighting order and the photos give you a good idea of how Sergeant Davey Jackson from the novel would have looked. Obviously, as a sergeant he would also sport three chevrons on his sleeve, and of course, being a good Coldstream Guardsman, his chin-strap would have been firmly under his chin, and not looped over the rim of his helmet!

Here are two photographs of the well known Universal, or ‘Bren Gun’ Carrier, which features heavily in the novel alongside the long suffering Lieutenant Dickie Smithson. The photo on the left is a real carrier in the land warfare hangar, and the one on the right is an excellent motorised scale model that was on display during my visit. Fast and versatile, the carrier was however, extremely vulnerable to heavy machine-gun and grenade attack. They remained a valuable asset to British units throughout the war and were especially suited to ammunition re-supply and casualty evacuation. The carrier will feature heavily in the prequel to Seelowe Nord which is being written even as this update goes live.

Finally for this update, we see a German Pak 36, a 37mm light anti-tank gun which was already proving ineffectual against heavy armour such as the British Matilda MkII and the French Char B in May 1940. It is a battery of these weapons that Jackson and his comrades become entangled with during the novel. These weapons also feature again when the SS flank protection force under Merkal, is overrun by the British counter-attack.

2 Responses to “The Weapons and Equipment from the Novel”

  1. I’ve shared you article on digg, well written

  2. Thank you – much obliged. Will be featuring more stuff along similar lines in due course.

Welcome!

Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.