Thursday, November 9, 2017

14e Chasseurs à Cheval - elite company

As a break from French infantry, I pulled some lovely Front Rank miniatures from the lead mountain and got to work.  This unit represents the elite company of the 14e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval, with their peculiar orange facings. Although I find painting cavalry a hard slog, as soon as I had started these figures, I jumped onto the Front Rank site and immediately ordered enough figures for another 8-figure standard company/squadron of chasseurs to go with these first figures. They have already arrived (in less than 10 days, order to delivery, UK to Canada!) and have entered the prep and priming stage. This will give me two light cavalry groups (+ two Big Men) for our Sharp Practice games.

 I realize some may say the green used is not dark enough but I paint for the 3+ foot viewing rule. From a distance, the colours darken; thus the lighter tones from a closer perspective.

Elite company officer, awaiting some grass tufts for the base to tart 'im up!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Winter '44: project complete

With the addition of some new German support teams (see here), the figure portion of my Winter '44 project is complete! While at the Trenton Gaming Emporium over the weekend, I took some time to put out the whole collection on the table and take some photos (admittedly, poor shots with inadequate lighting).

1944 winter Germans
(mix of Artizan and Warlord figures and AGNM and Warlord vehicles)

1944 winter Americans
(mix of Artizan and Warlord figures and AGNM, Rubicon, and Warlord vehicles)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Winter '44: German support teams

I have reached the end of the German 1944 lead pile (and, in fact, the entire WWII 28mm pile) with the addition of some extra German high explosive capability. Michael and I are experimenting with support sections, rather than individual teams such as two infantry guns or two mortars with a junior leader (as in the present case). These types of weapons (and medium machine guns, as another example) were more likely to have been parcelled out and deployed as sections rather than individual weapons, thus the two-weapon sections below. We haven't yet played with these support sections but the theory is sound. 

75mm infantry gun section, with Junior Leader. 
The guns are from AGNM and Warlord Games and the crews are a mix of Warlord Games and Artizan.

81mm mortar section, with Junior Leader.
These are a mix of Warlord games and Artizan figures. In-the-know Chain of Command players will know that 81mm mortarrs are never deployed on the table, rules as written. We have scrapped the use of the off-board mortar bombardments, as per the rules, and  experimenting with medium mortars as an on-table asset (albeit with a fairly hefty minimum range). 

Comabt Engineer section.
These are a mix of Warlord Games and Artizan figures, with useful bits from TAG (mines, magazine pouches, multi-grenades, etc). The flamethrower figure is a spare Black Tree Designs Soviet with a head swap and flared trousers filed down. Yes, it's a Soviet flamethrower... I know!

Finally, a start on my 2017 plans...

Back at the turn of 2016/2017, I outlined a plan to start on a French Napoleonic army for Sharp Practice. I had taken advantage of a couple of sales at Warlord Games to add to my lead/plastic pile, giving myself enough figures for a sizeable force. But as with most well-laid hobby plans, other shiny stuff caught my eye. Thus, it's taken me until late 2017 to start on my January plans. This can be largely attributed to a recent French v British Sharp Practice game hosted by Vidal few weeks ago. He knows full well what he's doing when he flashes shiny toys in front of me. Many times in the past he's incentivized my hobby... should we talk about the Carlist Wars?

So, some shots from the painting desk....

French Légère, elite company (carabiners)
(Warlord Games, plastic)

Addition of the first company (chasseurs) with green shako discs.
(Warlord Games, plastic)

And a further addition of the voltigeur company.
(Warlord Games, metal)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fallschirmjägers: A Last Hurrah!

Captain Dan has opted (in accordance with family tradition) to part ways with his beautiful late war fallschirmjäger collection. You can see his ebay auctions here: link

Over the weekend in the Oromocto Gaming Emporium, a Last Hurrah! with the fallschirmjägers took place. You can see an excellent report here: link

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Konigsberg 1945: Scenario Two

Scenario Two – Flank attack on the Girls School

The most notable feature of this table is the large drainage ditch at the South‐Eastern corner of the table (represented by two parallel stone walls and providing hard cover). The small building with a red roof next to this is a small pump house. The main grey roofed buildings are two storey in height. The ground to the west is water meadow and is slightly lover lying than the bulk of the table. The Germans use the Northern and Eastern table edges as their friendly edges.

To win a victory, the attacker (in this case, the Germans) must force the defender to withdraw from the table, either voluntarily or due to a reduction in his Force Morale, but keeping his own Force Morale at 3 or more. If he fails, the defender will win.

The Soviet JoPs ended up restricted to the south west corner of the battlefield and the German JoPs along both base edges for the flank attack.Unfortunately for the German commander (me), the Soviets had deployed two minefields in the drainage ditch, nullifying most of the potential deployment advantages for the Germans there (dastardly Soviets!).

And off to the races! A German section deploys from the drainage ditch and starts to move towards the pump-house.

The Soviets counter by moving a section to counter the German run.

A Pzkpfw IV appears (prematurely, as it turns out) to rake the advancing Soviet section with HE and MGs.

Next phase sees a Soviet 45mm AT gun unveil itself and fire on the German armour (this was the first fielding of this new Soviet support unit and its first ever die rolls).

And the result of the AT gun's first ever shot!! As the German commander, only I can take responsibility for deploying the Pz IV without supporting infantry and/or threatening the Soviet JoPs first.

Back to the left flank... the Soviets have withdrawn form the race to the pump-house and the German section begins looking for suitable targets (unfortunately, the cowardly Soviets are hiding in their buildings). Unseen here (for obvious reasons), the Germans begin taking fire from a hidden Soviet sniper.

Belatedly, a German section deploys and begins working its was along the low-lying marsh toward the Soviet AT gun.

Another belated German move... an assault on the central building. The photo above shows the result after the Germans had chucked in some grenades and engaged the TWO  Soviet sections inside the hard cover building: pushed back, decimated, pinned, and wounded leaders.

After this last failed assault, the German commander decided to withdraw and try again later. As noted, as the German commander, only I can take responsibility for the disjointed attacks and lack of coordinated movements. I'll chalk that up to playing two games in one day and being tired (yes, that's it... i'll stick with that). On Michael's side, this wasn't a difficult battle for the Soviets. They simply sat back and watched the Germans blow up their own chances.

The German platoon will go into the next battle (on the same battlefield) eight men down and the men's opinion of their commander continues to slip, and rightly so (such that they will receive a -1 Force Morale modifier moving forward).

Konigsberg 1945: Scenario 1

We recently played the first scenario in the Konigsberg 1945 mini-campaign (to be found in the TFL 2014 Summer Special). The campaign briefing can be found here: link

Scenario One ‐ Probe at Moditten

The Germans use the eastern table edge as their friendly baseline. The table has a sandpit at the north‐eastern corner (in the photo below as a wheat field in the top right corner) with a small hamlet around the crossroads. The red‐roofed buildings are residential with two stories; the grey roofed buildings are agricultural or industrial with just one storey. The building nearest the centre of the table has a barbed wire fence around its garden (represented by a stone wall on the table). This offers no cover but is a low obstacle.

The game was played as a Probe scenario from the main Chain of Command rules. The attacker’s objective is to move one Team to the enemy base line. If this is achieved then the game ends as a victory for the attacker. Any other result is a victory for the defender. 

The Germans field a standard infantry platoon (see briefing here), as do the Soviets. The German commander is a worried man, not surprising given the strategic situation and his mission to break thought the Soviet lines. The Soviet force and commander, on the other hand, are quite happy to be where they are, seemingly in control of the strategic situation.

As the German commander, I was able to work some Jump Off Points around the right flank, with the hope of using them to make a rush to the Soviet baseline along that shorter route. Michael, as the Soviet commander, placed his JoPs amongst the buildings around the crossroads.

The German commander had two basic options to move to the Soviet baseline. The shorter route along the right flank seemed promising. I had been able to get two JoPs placed to facilitate this. The longer left hook would take my force through a long stretch of open ground and seemed to be the least inviting option. Unfortunately, the Soviet commander had cleverly placed two minefields forward of his left flank and severely limited the German right flank option, as there were no engineer minefield-clearing teams with the German force. Thus it was that I chose the more dangerous second option.

To help with the long open ground traverse, the German commander placed his MMG support option to throw covering fire onto the hamlet. The plan was also, at some point, to move the adjacent JoP forward and deploy a section to make an end run to the baseline (see blue arrow above... the kubelwagen represents the JoP).

Meanwhile on the right flank. the German commander decided to keep the Soviets honest and at the very least threaten that flank. A section duly deployed and began moving tactically toward the crossroads. There was no real intention of moving too far forward as this would have taken the section into the killing zone amongst the buildings. Although they were severely mauled (and the section leader wounded), they did succeed somewhat in diverting some attention from the real assault on the left flank.

With the help of some lucky double phases and some poor Soviet dice rolls, a German section was able to move along the left flank and eventually throw a team to the baseline and win the game.

This is not my favourite scenario from the rule book (Probe) for a variety of reasons but I, as the German commander, received some luck from the Dice Gods. Michael's Soviet deployment was textbook and it seemed for much of the game that I would not be able to get anywhere near the baseline. The Soviets had placed the minefields perfectly to force any German right flank effort directly into the killing zone amongst the buildings around the crossroads. The left flank push across the open ground seemed, at first glance, to be rather suicidal. Sometimes, things just work out (or not, depending on the perspective).

The German platoon will move into the next scenario five men down and the men's opinion of the platoon commander has dropped somewhat (probably because he made them make that almost suicidal run across the open ground). This lack of confidence in his leadership has made the platoon commander irritable (is that better or worse than worried?).

The Soviet platoon will go into Scenario 2 down only two men and they and their platoon commander remain content, despite losing the first battle.