This post is going to be a companion piece to my diorama post The Road to Singapore: Australian gunners defeat tanks of the Japanese Imperial Guards near Bakri 18th January 1942
That project is very much inspired by a series of images and first-hand accounts of an action that took place during the short but brutal Malayan Campaign which began with the Japanese invasion of the peninsula a day after the attack on Pearl Harbour and ended just over 2 months later with the surrender of the Singapore garrison.
Central to this action - and the diorama - is a 2 pounder anti-tank gun from the 2/4th Australian Anti-Tank Regiment. The image above shows one of the two guns deployed in the engagement, commanded by Sgt. Charlie Parsons (shown in the middle of the upper image and the left of the lower one).
As I explain in my other post, although Parson’s gun crew were immortalised in the photos taken soon after, it seems that the honour of destroying most of the Japanese tanks that day may belong to the forward gun commanded by Lance-Sergeant Clarrie Thornton… but that is not something which I will explore further here.
Before I began this project I must confess that I was only dimly aware of the 2 pounder gun at all. Then I began my research and started looking for the available options in 1/35 scale. And although I am certainly no expert, I thought it would be useful to share my experiences.
Although the reputation of this relatively small-calibre weapon has suffered by comparison with the 6 and 17-pounder variants that came along later in the war, the 2-pounder was, at least in its own time, quite adequate for the tasks for which it was designed: it was clearly more than a match for some of the Japanese tanks that advanced down the Malayan Peninsula. This highly versatile and manoeuvrable gun was used during the French Campaign and the Western Desert. It also provided the main armament for most British tanks for the first four years of the war - and would continue to do so for some tanks and most armoured cars until the end of the conflict.
Below are two images of the gun in use in the Western Desert…
Given its ubiquity during the first few years of the war, it is surprising that the 2-pounder has been so been so ill-served by model manufacturers. For many years the only game in town was the resin model made by Sovereign 2000.
Then a few years ago came the plastic version by Vulcan.
Both of these kits have ‘issues’ which I will address in this post.
Something not included in either kit - but clearly needed for the Malayan version that I am building - are the side shields. I have not found any other images of the 2-pounder being used in combat with this additional armament, yet every gun was clearly designed for their installation, because the front shield has hinges for their attachment.