Thursday, 9 November 2017

20mm LRDG raid on Barce

Last Thursday at the club, we played a game using Will McNally's most excellent 20mm WW2 collection.  Will based the scenario on the Barce raid from the first Rapid Fire book.  Ian and I were the plucky Empire troops, Ian took the Guards patrol plus one of the command team jeeps, while I took the |New Zealand troop plus the other command jeep.

My patrol stealthily moved across the table from the road entry point towards the airfield perimeter crash gate and was somewhat bemused to find Ian charging ahead with the Guards at top speed down the main road.  The following turn, an alert Italian sentry dropped his Salami and hit the alarm klaxon, rousing the garrison.  I diverted the command jeep to take up an overwatch position on some hills overlooking the village and Italian HQ, while Ian shot up the village.  The Kiwi troop headed for the crash gates at full speed.  The Italians poured out of the barracks and headed for Ian's patrol, mostly ignoring the airfield.  This triggered a long slugging match between Ian and Phil's Italians, resulting in a lot of Italian infantry casualties but also the loss of most of the Guards transports.

The Kiwis headed for the gates, shooting at Italian sections in defences by the gate and in the control tower, as well as a dug in MMG and an MMG firing from the village (which the command jeep on the hill dealt with.  Mike's Italians were eventually overwhelmed, but at a cost of 1 jeep and the two Chevrolets.  My demolition team made it to the first aircraft and set their charge, lit the blue touch paper and retired.  Kaboom and the first Italian aircraft disintegrated in a ball of fire!  The nearest Italian infantry section was trudging towards the explosion, covered by the guns of my remaining jeep.  We agreed at this point that the LRDG patrols had achieved their objectives, virtually wiping out the Italian garrison (all bar some tankettes which were proving very troubling).  My surviving troopers would all fit in the command jeep and last patrol jeep, while the Guards patrol would have to retire on foot to the rendezvous.

We played the game using Battlegroup rules and agreed that the softskins were a little too vulnerable, being easy to spot, hit and with no save, knock out.  Next time, we'll experiment with making moving vehicles even harder to hit in this type of scenario, representing fast moving, unlit vehicles at night proving hard to hit.

Some random pictures of the game below, taken at the end.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Landjut 1989 NATO counter attack

This Saturday, a small group of the Cold War Commanders met at the Deeside Defenders Club in Broughton near Chester.  We had planned to fight a NATO counterattack around the Danish towns of Kropp and Owschlag.  Andy T fielded a West German panzergrenadier force, while Mike opted for a British mechanised force.  I kept to my Polish marine infantry, this time minus their transports, while Ian opted for a Soviet Motorized Rifle Brigade in MTLBs.  We each took around 7000 points or so.  I started the game with three marine infantry battalions on table with hasty defences, which left me with an improved T-55 battalion in reserve and Ian with a battalion of improved T-55s, plus three regiments of infantry in MTLBs.  NATO brought all their gear on on the first turn using mobile deployment.

I allocated Ian one of the Polish infantry batts to his left flank and he deployed them along the highway west of, and woods south of Kropp.  I deployed an infantry battalion in the woods southeast and east of Kropp and in the ruins of Owschlag.  The Warpact used mines to close the open spaces west of Kropp, and west and north east of Owschlag, covered by fire from T-12s and AT-4s.  Dug in infantry with RPG-7s covered the various minefields.  Soviet and Warpact reserves were diced for per battalion, needing a 6 on turn 1, 5+ on turn 2, 4+ on turn 3 and so on.

This account covers the eastern flank, where I was facing Mike and part of Andy T's forces.  Andy T's account of the western flank in more detail can be found here; .  The first turn saw Mike advancing on the Warpact left, rather reluctantly, with one command failing command from the HQ and CO.  His scouts were active, but one Scimitar was brewed up by concealed T-12 fire east out of Owschlag.  In Mike's 2nd turn, he used scouts to reveal two of my infantry units in Owschlag, targeting them with some ineffective long range canon fire from the Chieftains and single squadron of Challengers that he was allowed.  His Phantom air strike ended in disaster, as it flew into a hail of SA-7 and close-in air defence fire from my local HQs.  Strike one Phantom.

The NATO advance failed to concentrate.  One mechanised battalion occupied the fields (on right) and shot up Owschlag along with raining artillery barrages, with limited kills, although a few suppressions.

A second mechanised battalion strung out in line used the field systems to shield themselves from Owschlag and the woods to the west, fearin g the AT-4s covering that line of approach.

The mixed Chieftain and Challenger mechanised battalion, which made it onto the table.  Andy T's Leo 1s and Marders can be seen in the distance closing in on the woods northeast of Kropp.

These same Leo 1s and the last sighting of the Marder companies.  The plan seemed to be to suppress the dug in Poles with Leo 1 fire and then close assault with the Marders and their infantry.  Unfortunately, suppressions were in short supply and the Marders suffered almost 50% losses to RPG-7 fire.  Their infantry debussed, but then ran out of orders.  In the following Warpact turn, infantry and HMG fire KO'd or suppressed all the dismounts.

On the right, Leo 1s and Marders show appropriate elan in charging the Poles.

In an astonishing display of European co-operation (pre-Brexit), Mike called in an airstrike in support of Andy T's Marders, which deviated onto the Marders instead.  Polish troops cheered in their trenches as more West German Marders burned and were suppressed (this was the most damaging British air attack of the day).

Turn 4 saw the Soviet MR battalion assigned to my sector arrive and I pushed them forward towards the fields on my far right.  By turn 5, the MR batt occupied the fields, but remained buttoned up due to the threat of artillery.  Meanwhile, the Polish T-55 battalion was also on and moving up east of Owschlag to trade shots with Mikes Chieftains.

The T-55s did manage a blunder, which cost them one troop of tanks.

In the following turn, long range BRDM-3 fire, T-55 canon fire and T-12 fire (including a double order (double 1) despatched a company of Chieftains by concentrating fire on one troop at a time, overwhelming their armour.

Artillery strikes were also quite effective in suppressing the British mechanised battalion attempting to breach the mines north of Owschlag, although the mine clearing engineers lead a charmed life.

By this time, the Soviets on the left had pushed their mechanised units into Kropp and had tanks and infantry pushing forwards having pushed the West Germans past their breakpoint.  This drove Mike to reconsider his advance and pull back, thereby ending the game, with the Soviets and Poles claiming a victory.
This was a fun game, played in a really good spirit.  Lots of action.  Thanks to Andy T (who suggested the game and came up with the scenario), Mike and Ian for a great way to spend a Saturday.  Thanks to Richard P for the map.
Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

On the workbench - October Derby/Bruntingthorpe Purchases

Spent rather a lot at the Worlds show this year, mainly filling gaps in various collections.  Fortunately, quite a few of them were Bring and Buy or Tabletop Sale bargains.  I've spent most of the spare time this week assembling, cleaning and mounting this little lot.

At the back left, some 15mm British truck from Plastic Soldier, picked up on a table top sale for a fiver.  Next to them a couple of 15mm Sdkfz 231s for the DAK and a 20mm Opel Maultier to tow a 50mm or 75mm PAK AT gun for my late war recce platoon.  In front of the British trucks are a Zvezda Jagdtiger and a Sturmtiger - sometimes the Allies need a good scare.  Beside them are some Britannia German engineers with NCO.  In front are a Britannia SS MG42 on tripod, Panzershreck team and spotter team, plus two PAK 40s and a PAK 38, with a prone sniper.

At the back, next to the Maultier are a Britannia Sdkfz 251/16, a 251/7 and a 250/8, the last two destined to provide support to my late war German recce platoon.  Next to them is a Command Panzer I and Panzerjaeger 1, both from Early War Miniatures, and then some Italeri motorcycles, all for my 20mm DAK force.  In front of them on the right is an Italian tank from the miscast box at Early War Miniatures (the Humber scout car in front is also from them).  Next to the Italian tank is a Britannia Opel Blitz radio truck and command Horch staff car and a Feldpolitz motorcycle combination, all from Britannia.  In front of them, an officer and NCO plus 4 teams of 4 based around an MG42 gunner; these will be forming the core of the recce platoon, along with some Sdkfz 251/1s that I have yet to assemble.

These should keep me out of mischief for a few weeks.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 15 September 2017

More 28mm Colonials

These colonial-era British are for me.  I think they are from the Wargames Foundry Boer War range, but will be suitable for any colonial action of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  I think these will be great patrolling the NW Frontier of India, when they aren't in action in Africa.

Please excuse the cluttered background to the photos - I've snapped them on the painting table as I've only just finished the basing.

Continuing the 28mm theme, I'm planning on running an after school club at our local junior school, for 9-11 year olds and Frostgrave seems to offer a possible quick and easy game for the youngsters to pick up and hopefully enjoy.  Here are Northstar Miniatures figures with (L-R) a wizards apprentice, a thaumateurge wizard, a knight and a Templar.  I have a Saga Anglo Danish warband which can supply various warriors.  So, some more wizards, monsters and terrain needed now.

A pair of female African villagers.

A Zulu-themed Amazon.

I have the first 5 Northstar Gnoll figures on the painting table and the rest of the box waiting for assembly.  I also dug out a very old Monk figure, plus a knight in armour and a noble lady, that were all free gifts some years ago with Wargames Illustrated IIRC.  I'm sure I will find uses for them in the Frostgrave world.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 8 September 2017

28mm Darkest Africa

Having played a couple of games of Pulp Alley using Steve's largely Wargames Foundry armies for Darkest Africa, he asked me if I would paint up some colonial British Sikh infantry, in exchange for some colonial British infantry.

Here are the basic infantry types, two NCOs and nine rankers.  Steve supplied them based on 2pence coins and they were already black undercoated.  Here they have a base coat of khaki grey - paint is still wet.

For the officer, Steve picked the chappie on the right with sword arm and we agreed he'd use the levelled pistol for his other arm.

Next they had a heavy dry brush of khaki.

Then a lighter dry brush of khaki with a little Iraqi sand.

Leather boots and webbing, khaki grey puttees, Iraqi sand straps for water bottle and haversack, black-grey rifle barrels and mahogany rifle woodwork.

Faces in sunny skintone washed with Reikland flesh wash.  Beards flat brown dry brushed in beige brown or dark then light grey with touches of white.

Washed with Agrax Earthshade diluted 50% with airbrush flow improver.

Gloss varnish.

Matt varnish.

The finished product.  Steve is going to detail the bases, so I'll take a photo when I see them at the club.

There were also Tarzan- and Jane-style figures in the box he passed to me, so they are done in light brown skin dry brushed with flat flesh and washed with Reikland flesh wash.  Thongs and bikini are leather, hair light brown dry brushed dark sand and Iraqi sand, toe nails ivory.

Gloss varnish.

Matt varnish.

I passed these over to Steve last night and he seemed pretty happy with them.  I now have units of Zulu Wars British and Boer Wars British infantry to paint up, plus I'm going to paint up two units of colonial Scottish infantry, one for him and one for me.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

To wash or not to wash ....

No, not my dear old mum's advice to always wash behind my ears.  Frighteningly, I find myself saying the same thing to my 9 year old son every morning.

It's taken me a while, but I've finally taken the plunge and tried an enamel wash.  I picked up a bottle of AK Interactive enamel wash for DAK vehicles.  Following various internet methods, it seemed that the idea was to paint the vehicles with acrylics, add an enamel filter if needed and then acrylic gloss varnish the whole vehicle.  Once the varnish is thoroughly dry, pin wash the seams, rivets, folds, creases, etc with the enamel wash.  Once the wash has hardened, excess can be removed with a white spirit dampened brush, wiped off on kitchen paper.  Once the desired effect is reached, the whole lot is left to dry and then matt varnished in acrylic.

The photos below show pairs of vehicles which have been gloss varnished, with the model on the right washed and the model on the left untouched.  I think the effects speak for themselves in terms of the greater depth and detail shown by the detail washed vehicles.

Britannia Miniatures 8th Army light trucks.

Armourfast Panzer IVDs.

The sad thing is it now shows up the shortcomings of the vehicles that I've not washed, so there could well be a program of retrospectively washing some of those most in need of detailing.  So, now to try out some other techniques that I've found on the web, such as chipping, streaking, etc.

These also give an idea of some of the projects I have on the go at the moment, which include 8th Army and DAK in 20mm, additions to my 15mm DAK and NW Europe US forces, and some ventures into 28mm Darkest Africa!  I've just invested in a Harder and Steinbeck airbrush, which has been well worth the expense, making it really quick to undercoat and basecoat figures and vehicles.  I still need to develop some subtlety in covering smaller areas for cammo patterns etc.  It's all in the trigger action,so I'm told.

As ever, thanks for looking.