The Portuguese Light Infantry (Caçadores) were the mainstay of the government forces in the Portuguese Colonial War. Unfortunately their quality varied enormously with the ability of the officers largely influencing the quality of the troops. Both infantry and artillery were organised into temporary Caçadore battalions for service in Africa. Must have been a shock for the specialists who suddenly became riflemen. So far I have a single combat group (i.e. platoon) of Caçadores. More will come.
Order of Battle
I’m intending to build up a full Caçadores company of four combat groups. I’ve only got one combat group so far.
Light Infantry (Caçadores) Company
- 1 x Company Command Team (+1)
- 4 x Combat Groups
- 1 x Combat Group Command Team (+1)
- 1 x Combat Group Support Section
- 0 or 1 x Bazooka Team
- 0 or 1 x MMG Team
- 0 or 1 x 60mm Mortar Team
- 0 or 1 x 57mm Recoilless Rifle often mounted on a truck
- 3 x Rifle Sections
- 1 x Battle Rifle Team
- 1 x Battle Rifle + LMG Team
- Morale: Green or Regular
- Command and Control: Poor or OK
I needed the Portuguese deer stalkers cap in combination with the appropriate weapon, usually the G3 rifle and/or the MG42-59. The basis are the specialist figures from Peter Pig Range 17 AK47 Republic:
- PP17-24 R officers (cap)
- PP17-11. R /P G3/SLRs Cap
- PP17-8. R RPG – only the guy with the cap makes a good Caçadores
Unfortunately there are only three poses in the “Regulars with Cap” pack and I only need so many command figures. So I supplemented with other ranges, converting where I needed to. That meant I needed Heads:
- PP6-16. African modern cap – this is the Portuguese deer stalker cap
The machine gunners are WW2 German guys from Peter Pig with the pack, gas mask etc trimmed off and a Portuguese head replacement. I particularly like the advancing figures. They are chunky compared to the AK47 figures, which is appropriate for a machine gunner.
- 449. LW German LMGs lying
- 450. LW German LMG advancing
QRF do a range of post-war German infantry armed with G3 and MG3 (aka the Portuguese MG42-59). I had to trim off their Y-braces and replace the helmeted head with a Portuguese head with cap. I’m not a fan of these figures. The men are a bit mis-shapen to my eyes. None-the-less they provide welcome variety amongst the Peter Pig figures.
- QRF-PGI01 Postwar Germans with G3 advancing
- QRF-PGI02 Postwar Germans with G3 firing
- QRF-PGI04 Postwar Germans with MG3
- QRF-PGI05 Postwar Germans Command with G3
For the next combat group I’m exploring using:
- Plastic Soldier Company machine gunners because the conversion will be easier.
- Flames of War Germans from the Team Yankee range. They have the G3 and MG42-59 and are nicer figures than QRF.
From Aug 1961 all regular troops fought in camouflage uniform without a helmet. I’ve painted my guys in the ‘French’ pattern of green and brown patches on a light green base, although the Portuguese used vertical stripes and the French horizontal. These were the first figures I’ve ever painted in camo and it wasn’t too difficult.
As usual the command team has an officer, radio operator, medic and runner. All with G3. The kneeling guy is converted from a QRF post-war German; it just took some trimming with a craft knife and a new head.
The radio is just some green stuff roughly shaped and put on a rifleman’s back.
Battle Rifle Sections
The combat group has three sections armed with the G3 battle rifle. Each section has two fire teams, one of which has the MG42-59. Many of the figures are conversions.
The only conversion in the 1st Section is the machine gunner. He is at the front right of the photo below. The base figure is a Late WW2 German from Peter Pig. I trimmed off his pack etc and gave him a Portuguese head.
Four of the 2nd Section are conversions. The machine gun team are Late WW2 Germans from Peter Pig. The kneeling figure next to the MG team and the centre figure of the other fire team are both conversions from QRF Post War Germans.
Four figures from the 3rd Section are also conversions. A Peter Pig MG team and a couple of riflemen from QRF.
Bazookas of one kind or another accompanied the Portuguese into the African bush. In this case a converted US team.
More converted US guys form the mortar team.
Scout or Sentry
I’ve included a small stand to use for scouts or sentries. These are normal Peter Pig riflemen.