Steven’s Caçadores for the Portuguese Colonial War

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.

Caçadores Combat Group 1 - Close Up

Caçadores Combat Group 1 – Close Up


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
  • Reckless

See my Portuguese Order of Battle and Fogo Cruzado Order of Battle for more details.

Caçadores Combat Group 1 - Orbat

Caçadores Combat Group 1 – Orbat


Figures

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.

Painting

I painted them all. I use the Black Undercoat Method of painting and used my painting guide for the Portuguese Colonial War. The basing style involves Sand, Flat Earth paint, and Dry Brushing.

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.

Caçadores - Combat Group 1

Caçadores – Combat Group 1


Command Team

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.

Caçadores - Command Team

Caçadores – Command Team

The radio is just some green stuff roughly shaped and put on a rifleman’s back.

Caçadores - Command Team - Back

Caçadores – Command Team – 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.

Caçadores - Section 1-1

Caçadores – Section 1-1

Caçadores - Section 1-1 - Back

Caçadores – Section 1-1 – Back

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.

Caçadores - Section 1-2

Caçadores – Section 1-2

Caçadores - Section 1-2 - Back

Caçadores – Section 1-2 – Back

Four figures from the 3rd Section are also conversions. A Peter Pig MG team and a couple of riflemen from QRF.

Caçadores - Section 1-3

Caçadores – Section 1-3

Caçadores - Section 1-3 - Back

Caçadores – Section 1-3 – Back


Bazooka Team

Bazookas of one kind or another accompanied the Portuguese into the African bush. In this case a converted US team.

Caçadores - Bazooka Team 1-B - Back

Caçadores – Bazooka Team 1-B – Back

Caçadores - Bazooka Team 1-B

Caçadores – Bazooka Team 1-B


Mortar Team

More converted US guys form the mortar team.

Caçadores - Mortar Team 60-1

Caçadores – Mortar Team 60-1

Caçadores - Mortar Team 60-2 - Back

Caçadores – Mortar Team 60-2 – Back


Scout or Sentry

I’ve included a small stand to use for scouts or sentries. These are normal Peter Pig riflemen.

Caçadores - Sentry or Scout 1-S

Caçadores – Sentry or Scout 1-S

Caçadores - Sentry or Scout 1-S - Back

Caçadores – Sentry or Scout 1-S – Back

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