Sunday, October 13, 2019

Canadian Infantry: Dieppe Part 2

I can't remember the last time I got stuck into such a pile of toy soldiers before - there's over 100 of them which make up my two battalions. I painted them in three major batches to mix up flesh tones and uniform colours as khaki battledress for Commonwealth units varied significantly. The bases remain unpainted and the mortar and ammo containers are likewise waiting for the bases to be finished before completion - when I get back to Australia.

When addressing flesh tones I found myself wondering if there were any black soldiers serving in Canadian infantry regiments in WWII but particularly who may have served in time for Dieppe (1942). I strive for accuracy and it would also have made a change to have been able to mix it up a little. After some time researching on line I could find very little positive evidence and given the times and attitudes of our societies in that period - I'm thinking not. Whilst I could speculate that there might have been a few in either of my regiments I found no evidence to support the supposition and no 'black' or obviously darker faces appear in any of the photos I could find surrounding this campaign.

It's funny where a simple curiosity can take a line of enquiry. When it comes to race or ethnicity in Canada more generally there seems to be divergent appreciations of the make-up of even today's population given that census data refers to nationality and not ethnicity: so black (African) people may refer to themselves as British or otherwise and depending upon the routes and circumstances of entry into Canada. Migrant populations have divergent ways of referring to themselves depending on their histories. In any event, the black populations of Canada is smaller than the first nations people from what I can gather. Given the results at Dieppe I shudder to think of a non-white soldiers treatment as a POW by the Germans in WWII.

Okay , so a very long story short - my Canadian infantry for Dieppe look homogeneous but I have included a browner base for some of them to break up the masses of 'pink' faced troops. It's probably the sort of detail I go to which makes not a lick of difference at this scale.
I've used two types of aggregate base material - one for each regiment. Curiously one of them is a clay-based product and the other a light mineral product. I glued both using PVA then once set, coated with a diluted PVA solution. Frustratingly the mineral based couldn't break the surface tension of the diluted PVA application - it just beaded and then ran off. It then occurred to me to brush on white vinegar as cooks use it to break water surface tension. Well it worked a treat but they smelt good enough to eat for some time.
Organized for Rapid Fire rules (naturally), these 1942 infantry battalions retain the anti-tank rifles which were later replaced by the 6 pdr anti-tank gun. I've included the Vickers and crew but at Dieppe they deployed MG Battalion support elements from the landing craft. I'm also sourcing some Bren teams with anti-aircraft tripods which will complete infantry for White Beach.
In the meantime they are ready for packing. I'm near to completing my Dragon 1/72 scale MkIII Churchill and Daimler Dingos.


  1. The Canadians did have some First Nation people in their OB but not too many. As for people of African descent, there must have been a few but after reading several dozean books on Canada in WWII, I can honestly say that I do not remember any specific reference to too many minorities serving.

    1. Yes I found the same - looking for but finding no evidence. There are a few similarities between the Canadian and Australian national experience over the 20th century.