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2Oct/190

Cruel Seas M-Class Minesweeper

After the decision fell towards the Flower Class Corvette as the large ship of the Royal Navy fleet, I was looking for a fitting counterpart for the German Kriegsmarine. My choice went towards the German M-Class Minesweeper.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

The Minesweeper was in competition with the Marinefährprahm (basically a landing ship) and the Vorpostenboot. The landing ship would be something to keep in mind, if I wanted to extend the Operation Sealion / Gigant towards Cruel Seas. The Vorpostenboot is an armed civil ship, similar to the armed trawler of the British and looked a bit to improvised to counter the proud British Corvette. So the decision was clear, it must be the Minesweeper, Minensuchboot M1940.

The Minensuchboot M1940 / M-Class Minesweeper was the standard ship for that purpose of the Kriegsmarine and were the primary vessels of the harbor defense forces. This M-Class ship is the M1940 variant, of which 127 were build between 1941 and 1944, and around half of them were sunk during the war. The M1940  was introduced as a successor to the M1935 vessel, but a simplified design, less complex and expensive to build.

Similar to the Flower-Class Corvette these were used beside mine sweeping to counter submarine attacks. The M1940 saw action in the North European waters from the Atlantic Coast, North Sea and the Norwegian Sea to the Baltic Sea. The M1940 were build with coal-fired boilers because of oil shortages. After the war the remaining vessels were still used for minesweeping by the Deutsche Minenräumdienst (German Mine Sweeping Administration).

Warlord Games offers the M-Class Minesweeper as a 1:300th scale kit, made from resin and metal parts. It comes in the large reinforcements packaging (that looks like an ammo crate), and the price is set at 27,50 GBP. The ship comes without instructions, you will need to take the product pictures from the shop as a guide for the assembly. Unfortunately compared to the other products, these are limited to one.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

Inside the box, the hull of the ship is packed in bubble wrap with the metal parts included in a separate small zip lock bag. The M-Class Minesweeper comes with a sheet of flags of the Kriegsmarine, a stat card, a wake marker and small sheet for the chits. Compared to the fact, that you would only need a few, as this is a single ship in this box, the supply is plenty.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

The main hull is casted from a solid piece of resin. It has connection pieces below that you will need to sand down and slight warpage, that I fixed with hot water. Resin needs to be prepared before further use. It is highly recommended to give it a luke warm wash in soap water to remove any left-over release agent. In case your ship should not align with the surface, drop it briefly in hot water and align it in cold water to correct any possible warpage. Usually Warlord Games has a small leaflet covering the instructions on handling resin kits and it would be helpful for the players to have those at hand in this case.

Again lots and lost of detail on the deck, I really like the small additions they gave to the ship, makes it very lifelike.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper
Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

Make sure to do a dry fit on the pieces before you glue them, in case you need to drill the sockets or sand down the parts that go into the sockets. Assembly of some pieces was a bit tricky, as the product picture only shows the port side of the ship. That made it a bit tricky to add the "crane" for the dinghi, or to figure it out what it was due to the angle. But I hope the picture helps you with your build. I added one of the crew strips to the bridge upfront.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

Similar to the Flower Class Corvette, the M-Class Minesweeper comes with two flags and three crew strips, of which I used one.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

The size comparison of the M1940 compared with the tanker and Corvette. Please note the Corvette is 1:350 and would be 2 cm longer and a bit broader in the same scale. The proportions are similar to the ones of the E-boat, a slim but long ship.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

And the long vessel from different angles.

Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper Crues Seas - M-Class Minesweeper

Conclusion
As explained in the review of the Flower-Class Corvette, I was surprised by the price tag. Especially if you compare them with the double packs like the R-Boat or Fairmiles, but these are incredibly huge game pieces. I like the quality of the cast, resin is crisp and quite clean. Assembly instructions would be helpful or at least more product pictures to guide you.

The size is something to keep in mind. If you really want to focus more on the coastal battles and use a smaller gaming table, these might not be the right choice for you, as they need a lot of space on the table to operate. So going for a double blister of R-23 boats might suite your needs better. Still, such a "flag ship" makes for an interesting piece of your naval collection and might be more of a bigger model for your sideboard, that you put into service for the bigger battles. Because with its length it is 1/6 of a regular 4 by 4 gaming table.

Yet in Cruel Seas this unit has a whooping 105 hull points and counts as a large vessel, making it a (easy) target for torpedos and concentrated fire. But don't underestimate the Minesweeper, it is even more dangerous once it passed the enemy units and the fire arcs of  the 20mm, 37mm and 3" guns combine / overlap.

For further information on coastal forces of the Kriegsmarine, I recommend the Osprey book New Vanguard #151.

Cruel Seas is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

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