HQ 1st (British) Corps in the field c.1971 - 1:300 scale

You may well have seen this within the Campaign piece on Command & Control; I’ve moved it into a separate thread as I thought that I was a bit adrift continuing to place progress in what is now, a closed campaign.

To those who haven’t seen it, it represents HQ 1st (British) Corps in the field ie on exercise c.1971. The complex was known as “Corps Main”. Again, I must stress that the distances are rather artificial even in this scale although are depicted as they are, as I wished to emphasize the various component Staff branches. Distances should be doubled or even trebled, so squint a bit and suspend a fair bit of disbelief.

I’ve made considerable progress with completing the wiring-in of the “Diamonds” (as the individual complexes were called). I’ve one Diamond left to do and that will be on the bottom front right of the base. So, still a fair bit to do but on the home run now – I think(!)

You may, or may not, be impressed with the German road marker posts at the edge of the road - a touch punishing on the eyes(!)

With a few more trees it becomes to come to life I think.

And lastly, I’ve experimented with a backdrop picture; we deployed somewhere in the shadow of the feature known as the Teutoburger Wald, (to be honest, back then I never knew where we were) and the “Arminius” monument was never far away - more properly known as Hermannsdenkmal.

Anyway, merely an update; thanks to all for the interest and support shown so far.


It came out looking great. Lots of excellent work on some really small models.

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Superb work Brian, a monumental effort very well executed. Outstanding.

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Thanks gents - very encouraging.

By way of complete whimsy, it struck me that the overhead shot is sort of what an attacking Su-7 Fitter might see(!)

apart from the fact that everything was camouflaged to within an inch of its life - another obvious artificiality but otherwise I’d have no model.


I love it! You’ve done a great job recreating the Corps HQ. What was used for the perimeter fencing? They look effective enough to keep foot traffic out, but not much for those intent on doing harm or damage. (I recall being labeled as a hooligan for a late night FTX raid on a battalion TOC with some scouts)


Carlos, if you’re asking what I used on the model it’s just fuse-wire, coiled around a lemgth of brass rod and spray painted (and a laborious process it was too!); the real thing was barbed wire, known as “Dannert” wire in the Brit Army back then. It was just that - not razor wire, which came a bit later. Racking my brains - it was a long time ago - it may have been double or even triple stacked, especially around Diamond 2, where the Commander was located.

The whole was patrolled by memebers of the Mixerd Services Organsiation (MSO), a collection of post WW2 Displaced Persons, including Yugoslavs, Greeks, Portuguese, and God knows what other ethnicitiies. The ever practical Brits saw the DPs as a useful source of labour and they were utilised for all sorts of tasks, grouped into what must have been roughly, company-sized units. There was even a complete tank transporter squadron at one time. At HQ 1st (British) Corps they provided labour and security; they set up the wire, secured the area, did all the shi**y jobs at the cookhouse, managed the latrines, in fact just about every menial task there was, and all were quite cheerful in their work.

To me, back then, they were unintellgible (so many languages), reeked of garlic (not that I even knew what garlic was back then, I was just aware of the stink), but seemed to do all the heavy lifting, so were a real blessing. They wore dark blue battledress and berets, sported a cap badge, that funnily enough was emblazoned with “MSO”, used 37 pat webbing (as did we), and were armed with Sub Machine Guns, Self-Loading Rifles, and possibly even Light Machine Guns; I can’t quite remember.

The MSO always seemed quite cheerful in their work, but then, it was probably better than being under the Soviet yoke - they were at least, alive.

Each Diamond would be manned at the entrance by one of these - not yet shown on the model - and everyone who needed access was issued a special pass. Other members of the MSO patrolled around the complex.

Further security measures were coordinated by the Corps Security Section, a mere 2 x SNCOs of the Intelligence Corps, and the Corps Provost Company (Royal Military Police). They were all kept quite busy as on every exercise we were often under technical attack by Soviet bloc agents, and subject to scrutiny by the Soviet Military Mission.

I believe that in time of war (ie for real) a Territorial Army unit - either Infantry or Yeomanry (think light armoured) would be assigned for Corps HQ protection.


The monument was believed at the time to have been erected somewhere near the site of the 9 A.D. Varian disaster (Clades Variana). The site of the battle was actually some 100km north west, but this was not discovered until 1987, by a British army officer (Tony Clunn) stationed at Osnabruck. He was metal detecting in an area suggested by a local German archaeologist, based on the theories of the eminent 19th Century academic Theodor Mommsen. Excavations at Kalkrieser Berg started soon after, and still continue.




It is probably not generally known that Dennis Wheatley (a prolific British author) when a member of the London Controlling Section (a strategic deception and planning organization) during the Second World War, identified Hermannsdenkmal as a target to be bombed and destroyed, in order to affect morale.

I suspect this was due to the monument being included in part of the nationalistic propaganda efforts during the First World War.

In any case, to me, during the time of my first posting, it always seemed to loom amidst the murk ot the forest and villages whenever we deployed. I never got to actually visit it until much later during a Divisional HQ posting in the early 90s, and by then I was boringly domesticated; it was of course, massive and hugely impressive, but the sheer enchantment of seeing it all those years ago in the 70s, as I glimpsed it from the back of a sodden Land Rover, seemed to have gone.


What a great work! The pointy end of the spear usually gets most of the attention, and perhaps rightly so, but it’s the work of all those staff sections which ensures that the pointy end “points” in the right direction, at the right time, and is in fact even “pointy” at all.

Well done!!!

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Thanks Tom! I wondered if you’d stumble across this - I’m very pleased that you did.I hope you approve of the US contingent in MASSTER (though in this scale I’m afraid I didn’t follow any of the prescribed patterns).

Coincidentally, the formation sign of 1st (British) Corps was in fact, a spearhead, viz:

As worn on my combat jacket, which for some perverse reason, I still have. Also note the diamond shape of the overall badge, which is why, I’m pretty sure now, is why the complexes were referred to as such.


Well of course since all the vehicles in the MASSTER scheme (at least initially at any rate) were painted by hand using a paper diagram showing where the patterns SHOULD go, and “Joe Snuffy” in the motor pool was doing it, adherence to an prescribed pattern is sketchy at best.

However, given that MASSTER wasn’t initiated until July or so of 1973, that should probably alter your time frame a bit if that’s possible.

Great work!!! I’ve always loved that scale.

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Well, regarding the time frame, even if it was say, 72, not 71 as I’ve depicted, the US guys definitely turned up in MASSTER finished vehicles. It was that very fact that made me notice them so much. Perhaps a pre-emptive attempt at a/the camo colour scheme?

That’s not to die in a ditch over it all; it was some 52 years ago when I reported there and God knows my memory is far from perfect!

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Given that these were vehicles attached to a British Corps, they no doubt were from a high level US unit. It’s entirely possible that they were test vehicles from USAREUR (or 7A) and were an initial sample to check suitability of the pattern for roll out to the rest of UASREUR.

This only deepens they mystery of the missing documentation on the program. Hard to believe that nobody seems to have any copies of those regs which I KNOW were issued and kicked off the program across all of USAREUR.

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Thanks Tom!

Well, first off I’ve been racking my brains and now realise that it must have been 1972; I arrived in FRG in the September of 71, but work-wise, had to cut my teeth in what was called Receipt & Despatch - a registry if you like. This was to give me an understanding of the structure of the HQ etc and all novice clerks had to do this. Now, even if I was fast-tracked into a Staff branch (one normally did around 6 months in R & D) which I think I was, it’s still unlikely to have been Ex Winter Sales 71 (all domestic 1st Corps exercises were code-named “Sales”), so my attendance to Corps Main proper is more likely to have been either Spring Sales in 72 (if we had one - we didn’t always) or more likely, Summer Sales. That said, it could have been an Able Archer if there were any that year. So, I’m going firm on 1972; I will of course, have to get the nameplate for my model changed, but that’s not a problem.

Secondly, I share your pain regarding lost documentation; I could kick myself or the number of times I’ve come across something really interesting or of great historic value (well, in my view) – relating to the Cold War organisations etc – and have just let it go by. Just the ORBATs of the various Formation HQs I was in would be fascinating these days. Of course, some of this was due to the normal young soldier distractions, and the prevalence of testosterone, (ahem) but do so wish I’d had my more sensible head on then. I do have a few copies of the outstandingly useful “Staff Officers Handbook”, issued to all students, funnily enough, on the Staff course, and they are worth their weight in gold, but I do kick myself for not snaffling the scenarios for some of the serious exercises I was involved in, as they were incredibly and realistically detailed. Mind you they were also highly classified so I shouldn’t perhaps grieve too much; procuring those would have been nigh on impossible.

I also wish I’d bothered to get myself a camera earlier on in my career, although my chances of snapping away in an HQ were probably remote. So, it’s all back to Mk 1 memory, and that is far from accurate these days!


Converting in this tiny scale is more of a problem than I first thought. However, you might be interested in this effort: it’s the Heroic & Ros Brit Airportable Land Rover converted – just – to a Belgian Minerva Land Rover, representing the Belgian Liaison Officer’s ride, which I plan to depict just entering the forest track off the main road. Not a brilliant conversion (all I could manage really) – the rear wheel arches should be curved, but in this scale it might just do:


If I didn’t know you or know any better I’d be checking which military museum’s missing a display :grin: You’ve used that scale perfectly, the only practical way to get this much into a diorama. Bravo :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Thanks Tim! Mind you, I can’t quite envisage any museum wishing to illustrate HQs – they’re just too boring, and to be honest, a load of office trucks probably is.

Mind you, it was the very nature of the Command & Control campaign that ignited my interest; my mistake was in thinking that in this scale it would be an easy fix – how wrong I was – hence my failure in meeting the campaign deadline.

Anyway, should be finished by the end of the week, or mostly so; I can then take it to a show I’m attending next Sunday. I can hear the modelling public now “Office trucks?!”


That’s an amazing looking set up Brian and a credit to both your memory and patience in being able to create such a representation. Well done!

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Thanks Terry - 'bit worried about the memory though(!)


Final Diamond ready to be populated - or rather “vehicled”: