1st Painted Squad – US 1st Army Infantry Squad

I have been a bit stuck in a hobby funk for the past month. Much of which has to do with bulk painting, which is something I am far out of practice on. Finding some real motivation, I was able to finish up my first squad of US Infantry for Bolt Action. While this squad is just a 5 man squad I feel like I have reached a big milestone on this project.

1st Test Model

The Inspiration

I have had a fascination with the early part of WW2 ever since I started playing Bolt Action. The equipment wasn’t quite as advanced and there was more that the soldier had to do with less.

For my US project I started to research US military actions in Sicily, Italy in 1943. After doing some Internet research, I settled on the US Army 1st Infantry Division. Their involvement in Operation Husky on the shores of Gela, Sicily.

With all of this in mind, I started doing some playing with paint and trying to work out a paint scheme.

Paint Scheme

I use Reaper paints for almost all of the painting I do. Determining equivalent colors for a 1943 US Infantry soldiers uniform was a challenge. After some more research I had some great images of uniforms to work from.

After looking over a number of images, I was able to make some decisions on the base colors to use. For the pants, I used 09127 Uniform Brown as the base tone. The jackets were painted with 09159 Worn Olive. The green on the straps and helmet were base colored with 09176 Military Green.

With the paint scheme sorted, I need to work on the basing.

Basing the Infantry

A better look at the base. Test model the BAR was painted slightly incorrectly

I have never been to Italy, let alone Sicily. Looking at the pictures of modern day Sicily though makes me excited to some day visit. Gela has beautiful, sandy beaches that turn into rocky and grassy stretches. Scattered throughout the beaches is taller grasses, shrubs, stones, and all sorts of interesting bits.

To capture that feel I started with a base of PVA and play ground sand glued to the base. There are great bits of larger stones in play ground sand I would pick out one or two of those and glue it in place to recreate some of the larger stones I see in the pictures of the area.

For most of the models, I want them to feel as if they are advancing from beach to the grassy area, so I paint a beach yellow color of 09030 Leather Brown and a brown color of 09245 Basic Dirt. The basic dirt is covered with blended turf flock from Woodland Scenics. Finally, I add a few grass tufts using Army Painter Winter Tufts or some green Woodland Scenics clump foliage for shrubs.

Overall, I really like the look of the basing, though the grasses I have seen in the pictures look a bit more yellowed then the final result. I am happy taking a bit of artistic liberty here and calling it good.

Now that I had a few models painted, it was time to start working towards and actual army list.

Building an Army List

I want to try to stick to a more traditional, early war, this is how the units should be fielded. Unit strengths were likely at or near full strength at the time of the invasion of Sicily. This means I want to build full units of 12 infantryman. These units would be armed mostly with rifles and a single BAR. The US army wasn’t as experienced at this point in the war, and though I am working with the US 1st Infantry Division I felt that the units should mostly be rated regular.

  • Regular First Lt – 85 points
    • Armed with a rifle
    • 1 Support Infantryman armed with a rifle
  • Regular Artillery Forward Observer
    • 1 Support Infantryman armed with a rifle
  • 3 Early/Mid Regular Infantry – 125 points each
    • NCO with a rifle
    • 10 Infantryman with rifles
    • One Infantryman upgraded with a BAR
  • 2 Early/Mid Regular Infantry – 118 points each
    • NCO with a SMG
    • 9 Infantryman with rifles
    • One Infantryman upgraded with a BAR
  • 2 Regular Medium Machine Gun Teams
  • Dodge 3/4 Ton Truck (Regular)
  • DUKW Amphibious Truck (Regular)
    • Pintle Mounted MMG

The list has 11 order dice and comes in at a total of 996 points. It’s an impressive 70 models including two transport vehicles. The army should be able to advance the table, take up positions and hold them fairly effectively. Just the thing that an infantry army would be doing while artillery softens positions and the armor presses the advance.

Getting to the Finish Line

There’s a lot of work to go before I have 70 models painted and ready for the table. I feel like this is an ambitious project for me as I haven’t done an army of models in a long time. I am really looking forward to being able to put the army on the table in the next few months and seeing how it works out. Maybe I will just be able to find some German early war or Italian armies that are willing to take it on.