07 January 2017

6th Panzer Division Winter 1941-42

The last few weeks have been quite busy for me with Xmas, work etc etc and aside from a few games I have had very little time for painting. I have repainted and painted some armour for Stalingrad project to add to my Panzergrenadier force. I was quite keen to do some vehicles with Panzer Grey.

My vehicle selection is based on the support list from the Winterstorm campaign from TFL written for Chain of Command. More German vehicles for mid-war were added to the arsenal in the most recent TFL Xmas Special. They are all 1/72 Plastic Soldier Company aside from the StuG which is Armourfast.

I went with vehicle markings for the 6th Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht. This unit fought through the war mostly on the Eastern Front, and was heavily involved in Kursk and the attempt to lift the siege on Stalingrad.

The vehicles were airbrushed with VMC Panzer Grey and then highlighted with a second airbrush of 2/3 Panzer Grey with white. The details were painted after some stowage was added. I then painted them with Army Painter and the decals were applied. To seal the decals I added another coat of Army Painter then added the dirt and rust effects and finally sprayed them with matt varnish. I thought about doing some snow effects but decided against it as it limits their utility. I will sprinkle some snow on at game time.
Traveling through the forest

Sd.Kfz. 250/9 List 4

Marder III (Sd.Kfz. 139) List 6

StuG III Ausf.G (Sd.Kfz 142/1) List 8

Pz III Ausf. J (Sd.Kfz.141) List 5

Pz IV Ausf. F2 (Sd.Kfz. 161) List 7
I am quite pleased how they came out and they are a nice addition to my force. I am hoping no-one will be too offended (I suspect some will but that was not my intention for sure) by the swastika aerial identification flags but they certainly add to the model. 

2016 in Review

I have really enjoyed reading all the review posts on your blogs. 

It was really an enormous year for me in respect to the fact that I got rid of all my 28mm Napoleonics and successfully acquired a replacement 18 mm AB miniatures for an Allied and French Army. I have 3 divisions for each as well as a Spanish Division. I got in quite a lot of campaigning with CoC finishing off the Falaise Gap campaign and getting the Operation  Martlet campaign started. It says a lot for gamers in that my opponent for CoC lives in the state of Rhode Island but despite that, we have both been able to commute between the Massachusetts and RI to keep these campaigns going. Thank you Mike, you are a great gamer and a real gentleman. I suspect we will have more CoC gaming and I know Mike is just chomping at the bit to start a Sharpe Practice 2 campaign.

I also got in quite a lot of SAGA, especially in the second half of the year. This is really a great game and a lot of fun to play. I have been playing SAGA plus some other games with another great gamer Adam, with whom I have a fairly regular Thursday evening session. Another real gentlemen and there is nothing that he does not know about gaming in general. I sometimes wonder if he is acquainted with every ruleset known to man!

Gaming in Montreal has unfortunately slowed down although I must of spend at least 2 months there in 2016. We did get some gaming in July which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately many of my trips back and forth are during the week rather than the weekend which makes it a little difficult to set up games. But I am sure myself and Iannick will get together in the near future. I bought a portable gaming system (table and mat) from the Czech Republic a couple of months ago, I am hoping to convince my kids to take it up in their car when they return home to Montreal tomorrow. This will hopefully increase the options for gaming.

My biggest disappointment for the year was the failure of the Napoleonic variant of CoC to get off the ground. I invested quite a lot of time in this ruleset and although it needed a little work, I thought it was a great set of rules with excellent mechanisms of movement, firing and combat. It did need more work on Command and Control, I felt it was quite close but it appears the designer has chosen to pack it in.

Plans for 2017

I am sure I will continue more CoC gaming and hope to get some both some Winter and Jungle terrain gaming in. I have very nice Finnish, Soviet and German forces for the winter and I have commissioned an American force which I hope to see in the next couple of months. I also have a nice Japanese force and pretty well have completed a USMC force for the jungle. If I get the opportunity, I plan to start an Australian force to add to this WWII theatre.

Next up, is to become acquainted with Sharp Practice 2 ruleset, and maybe start a campaign. I have French and British Napoleonic forces in 28 mm all set to go as well as a pretty comprehensive British force for the French Indian Wars.

I am looking forward to David Brown's new ruleset for Napoleonics that should be out soon, I am just hoping that it has a good command and control core with simple mechanisms, this would make up for my disappointment with GBCoC. If I was a conspiracy theorist I think I might believe that the demise of GBCoC and this new Napoleonic set from TFL publishing was some how linked. I am also hoping to have a look at his ACW set that was just published, Pickett's Charge.

I would like to start another campaign for Thursday evenings, hint hint Adam! We had a great ACW campaign with Longstreet and a even better Dark Ages campaign with Dux Britaniarum.

And I suppose I should stop waxing poetic and go paint some figures for the Analogue Hobbies Challenge! I do have some figures partially painted but having great difficulty getting to the painting table.

14 December 2016

French Recruits

A couple of days ago I received the latest recruits for my French Napoleonic force. These were painted by Big Battalions in Thailand. They really do an excellent job and I can recommend them without reservation. With this addition I have completed my core force for the French. Although we see most units in pre-bardin uniform the OB is from Salamanca 1812. I have also had the opportunity to obtain Flagdude standards for the force.

Old Guard Grenadiers, Chasseurs and 3/13e legere.
French Cavalry and Infantry Colonels
A unit of French Horse Artillery
1,2 27e ligne
1,2,3 50e ligne
I was missing a few figures for my British Peninsular force, so I got these painted as well.
12th Portuguese Caçadores
British Cavalry Colonels
As you can see Big Battalions do a nice job right down to the bases, all the figures are on metal bases so they are stored in magnetized drawers. I am very pleased.

My French force, 30 battalions with command stands and 2 artillery batteries, I still have some work to do on my cavalry force basing so I will post those separately
Foy's 1e Division with the 6e legere, and the 69e ligne in Chemineau's brigade and the 39e ligne and 76 ligne in Desgravier's brigade. Colonels for each regiments as well as a ADC for Foy. 
Clausel's 2e Division with the 25e legere as well 27e ligne in Berlier's brigade. Barber's Brigade has the 50e and 59e  ligne
An 1810 Guard force with 2 units of Old Guard and 3 units of Young Guard
Four Regiments Etranger as well as the 13e legere
I think that will do it for now with the French, I may add some Germans and Swiss but that will be in the distant future, if at all (I did get some Flagdude standards just in case!)

12 December 2016

Martlet: Pushing On

We played our 4th game in the Marlet campaign this past Saturday, again at the Hobby Bunker. This was scenario 3 (Attack and Defend) from the book and scenario 2 in the campaign. This is quite a different game from the first scenario as there is no specific objective and the terrain was quite busy with very little clear LOS and a lot of cover.

British approach in the far ground, the only direct LOS is down the asphalt road. The forests block LOS even from the second story windows of the houses.
Final position of the Patrol Markers, you can see my new dice.
Position of the JOPs. I believe I should have been a little more aggressive in my push forward, as you can see the German JOPs are barely in front of the their start line.
Game 4:
Mike got 10 and I got 8 on Force Morale. This is low starting FM for the British has been a continued handicap. Mike is +3 on his FM throw and I am -1, so it will continue.

British Supports (16):
2" Mortar
German Supports (8):
Forward Observer
Rifle Team

We both started this game with depleted platoons, I was missing 8 men and Mike 2. We had gone 4 games and I was just starting on table 2, this is going to be a tough campaign for me to win. To get a marginal victory, I have to take  6 tables by turn 11 (we added a turn on the first day due to errors that favoured the Germans).  So I have 1 table at turn 4! I decided to not take an extra infantry and more to rely on Armour. I thought Mike might take an extra Panzer IV, guessed wrong. Mike decided to buttress his panzergrenadier squads with riflemen.

My new dice served me relatively well in this game, but unfortunately at the wrong times. I got 6 free moves with my patrol markers, I think I could have been a little more aggressive with my push forward but I wanted my advance to be on a broad front.

In the first several throws of the Command Dice, I got 3 double sixes, but unfortunately this was of little value in this Attack and Defend game as Mike had a lot of difficulty getting his troops on the table because of the British Artillery Barrage. Lots of moves but to where, there were no German units to attack. I probably could of captured a JOP but this was of little value early in the game as I did not have a Chain of Command dice. All the German JOP's were in exposed positions and close together which would have made them hard to hold on to.

Notwithstanding this, I advanced one section up the road under the cover of smoke and easily captured the central compound. I also deployed my Bren team with a JL in the barn which had the JOP in it. There was one slit which allowed a clear LOS up the dirt road to the forest where I suspect Mike would deploy his troops.

Mike deployed his Panzer IV on his left flank, so I deployed my Firefly. Twelve d6 vs 6d6 (should be a piece of cake), I had 3 shots at the Panzer IV, hit it each time and the best I could do was equal hits!  Mike fires back at the Firefly, kaboom, down 2 FM. I bring on my Sherman, again I hit it twice, again no damage. The Panzer fires back, and hits the damn thing twice, Shock forces the crew to abandon the tank and now my FM is down to 5.

Mike has now advanced his FO and one panzergrenadier squad through the forest on his right flank, I manage to cause some shock and wound a JL, we fire back and forth, my section is the first to get pinned, as he now gets some double 6's on his command throws. He also gets of his off table mortar which envelopes two of my JOP's. I have one section in reserve and he has 2 squads in reserve.

Decision time...........I use my one Chain of Command dice to end the turn and withdraw my troops successfully. I have only lost 3 men and Mike one, but I can see that I am not going to be able to force the Germans off the table. Another German victory. 
Section 1 deploys..........
..........and gamely advances up the road under cover of smoke
Panzergrenadiers advancing with FO
The section gets stuck in but get pinned first by the PGs.
This Panzer IV was indestructible
First time the Firefly has seen a game and up it goes.
The German off table mortar closes off the centre of the table.
Mike played a great game and really stymied my advance. I could whine about losing both tanks but that is how it is, I do not think my plan was bad. If I took out the Panzer IV I would have been able to advance both tanks up my right flank. We are hoping to get our next game in the first week of January, I really need to get off table 2 and only have 7 more turns left to move through 5 tables! Mike's +4 throw on the FM is going to continue to be a real killer.

26 November 2016

Martlet: Onwards to Fontenay

We got our next game of Operation Martlet in today, again played at the Hobby Bunker in Malden. My dicing was abysmal again but we did move off table 1 to table 2.
New table lay out with added road
Patrol Phase
British JOP's
German JOP's
How it looked on the terrain map, not really successful as the first 3 games. Not having a JOP in the house at the bottom was a significant handicap, as I could not deploy to the right of the house.
Game 3:
Mike got 11 and I got 8 on Force Morale. This is starting to be a real drag as well.

British Supports (17):
2" Mortar
Regular Infantry Section
2 Jeeps
Churchill AVRE
German Supports (7):
Panzer IVH

The Germans have won the first 3 games, but they had a significant advantage because of the error in respect to the size of the Panzergrenadier teams. Because of this the Germans went into this game with a significant advantage in their Force Morale throw and an extra support point. I had 9 men already permanently lost from the campaign, so I had to make a decision to bring on replacements or not. I decided to do so and added 10 men so I started this game almost with a full complement of troops. 

Although I had 3 free moves in the Patrol phase, my JOP's were in slightly worse position than the first 3 games. I got a section in the crop filed in the upper left of the terrain and put them on tactical. I got another squad in the house on the second floor and put both 2 teams on overwatch. Looking good so far, Mike makes his first command throw, gets 3 sixes! Turn ended two PG squads placed on the terrain. With two back to back turns with a British section in light cover in the crop field and 64 d6 being fired in the 2 phases, they had very little chance. Within 3-4 phases this section had routed with my FM down to 5. Not only did the Germans get a double phase on the first turn but they also avoided the artillery barrage with the -1 modifier.

At this point I was in big trouble in respect to FM but still having a significant advantage in firepower, I had to push on. My troops in the house were able to weaken the Germans in the stone house across the terrain. I added another section of infantry in the house and brought on the Churchill AVRE. The Churchill mortar has a significant range restriction so I could not fire when I deployed on the table. The two infantry squads in the house however were able to take out the German squad in the stone house and drop the German FM to 10. 

We broke for lunch. Mike had lost 8 men and I had lost 11, I think at this point Mike was saying to himself that although I was down to 4 on my FM, he had been quite successful so far in campaign and maybe it would be a good time to withdraw to preserve his force. I suspect he was also just as bored of scenario 1 as I was! So a British Victory, maybe unearned but also maybe deserved because of the failed artillery barrage. Maybe it was also the fact that although I was down to 4 command dice, on my first throw got a double 6.
Section being chewed up by 64 d6.
Tank duel Churchill AVRE vs 2 Panzer IVH's, never got to play it out.
on to scenario 2

23 November 2016

Some Transport for Marlet

In our first go at Martlet a couple of weekends ago, I had to substitute Universal Carriers for jeeps. I found a very inexpensive kit from Italeri that contained 2 jeeps so I put in an order and they showed up last Saturday. These are nice little kits, 11 pieces and easy to assemble. Troops came from a PSC kit, they were chopped up to fit in, but no big deal as I was going to leave the jeeps with their canvas cover on.

They have 5 men in each, the JL is easily recognizable has he has a radio transmitter in his hand
I understand that most soft skins late in the war did use vehicle identification markings so they would be recognized from the air. I am not sure about the yellow circle
The decals were a bit of a challenge as they were a little big.
I forgot to paint the headlights