21 September 2014

Chain Of Command: Scenario 4

Myself and Mike had our 3rd game in 4 weeks of CoC. Like our last game, we set up the terrain and then diced for the scenario. Scenario 4 came up this time: A Delaying Action. We then diced for sides, I won and picked a British Infantry Platoon, Mike took the German Grenadiers. Diced again for Attacker/Defender, I won and chose to be the attacker. We then diced for Morale, I ended up with 9 and Mike 10. Finally we diced for supports, I rolled a 7, Mike as the defender got half a 3. Our supports were blinded, but I picked a Paratroop section (6) and 1 entrenchment (1). I know Mike picked a 5cm mortar (2), I am not sure what his choice was from list 1.

So the game started with the patrol phase, I think Mike got the better of me here. I was hoping to advance my markers on my left flank. The scenario runs the long edge of the terrain. My set up was in the far ground of the below photo and Mikes was in the foreground. Mike had 3 patrol markers all placed outside of 6" of his short edge of the table, and placed with 6" of each other as his starting position. I placed 4 patrol markers on one spot on my short edge ( I selected the dead centre). My objective in the game was to capture the German JOP marked with the red x in the photo and hold it until turn end. I will now let the photos do the talking.

German JOP's in yellow and British in blue. The crops to the right are broken ground but do not block LOS, they do not provide cover. The cornfield on the left of the road in the foreground is broken ground, provides light cover and blocks LOS. The road is lined by bocage with some gaps. It is a major obstacle.The stone wall around the house is hard cover but is low and does not block LOS. It is a medium obstacle. The trees are heavy going and block LOS and provide light cover. The house is two story with at least 2 windows on each side. I have ordered some roads which I hope will so arrive, I am hoping they will improve the look of my terrain.

Mike very quickly set a squad in the upper story of the stone house.

I started off well by laying down smoke.

Mike rapidly moves his second squad to the bocage as a defense on his right flank.

I rapidly advance my first section along the bocage to provide cover, the German line up their LMG in the cornfield edge.

Mike throws four D6 and a mortar barrage fall right on the section where my main advance is taking place, few loses are suffered but both the German and British units are pinned.

I aggressively advance my second section up the road along the edge of the bocage and my 3rd infantry section through the crop fields, the advance seems to be going well.

Meanwhile Mike has placed his 3rd squad along the stone wall. It is not obvious in the photo, but I elected to advance my airborne section along my right flank. This ended in disaster. Mike through 2D6 and was able to hammer the unit with his well fortified squad. They broke and the JL was wounded and they were thrown back. I was able to rally them with the SL Master Sergeant but thew very poorly on the morale table and dropped to a morale of 5. I really misplaced my entrenchment at the start of the game, it should have been placed in the tree line so my advance was blocked by the trees.

As usual when the action got heated I forgot to take any photos. Suffice to say despite rallying the paratroopers, they were weakened significantly, they advanced with their sergeant and were able to engage in combat and defeat a German squad but their JL got killed and they lost 2 more morale points ( every time I had to dice the morale table I threw a 6)! I was down to a morale of 4 and now had only 4 Command Dice. I was able to advance my first section across the road and combat the German squad, I again was able to win but at significant cost . Again my dice on the Morale table failed me and I dropped to a Morale of 1.......Game over, a German victory. Mike played well he was careful with his troops, I burned off troops rapidly and it cost me. Really played the British incorrectly. Next time I have to remember lay down smoke, advance carefully, use the Bren team to lay down fire. Only combat when the enemy is weakened.

14 September 2014

Chain of Command Scenario 3

Myself and Mike had a quick game of CoC at the Hobby Bunker today. I got Mike to set up the terrain and we then diced for the scenario. Scenario #3 came up. We then subsequently diced for choice of platoon, Attacker/Defender choice, Morale and finally support. Mike won the first two and selected a Canadian Infantry platoon, I picked the Germans, he also selected to be the defender. We then dice for morale, I ended up with 8 and Mike ended up with 11! Finally since I was the Attacker, I threw 2D6 for support and got a six. So I ended up with 6 supports and Mike 3.

Basically I had to push the Canadians into a retreat, or defeat them by morale. I could not drop below a morale of 4 or I was done. On to the patrol phase.
The Canadian jump off points. As you can see there was a variety some trees, bocage, low crops, a hill and a two story house. The crops and hills were broken ground, while the trees were heavy going.

The German jump off points. The hills and trees blocked LOS, as of course did the bocage. We actually played the crops as blocking LOS, a mistake. The trees offered light cover at 4".

Mike uses his 3 supports on barbed wire to block my left flank approach, my supports were an adjutant and a squad of Panzergrenadiers. I think I did a little better out of my choices.

I played a pretty aggressive game, and brought two squads of grenadiers on immediately as well as my Panzerschreck. Mike brought on a couple of sections of Canadians as well as a 2" Mortar. The barbed wire on my left flank limited my advance to up the centre or to my right.

As usual I forgot to take photos, but here we can see a squad of grenadiers advancing, I really focused on splitting my squads in sections with my LMG teams covering the rifle team advance.

I could not resist using Handgranaten, as I had wanted to for sometime but I usually play the British. Here we see my rifle team with their JL, throwing their grenades (scored two shock) and engaging a full Candian section. I think the Canadians had twice the dice as I, but I did manage to kill the Bren team and their JL, as well as taking down most of the rifle team and causing them to be pinned. I lost my whole team and JL. This almost caused me to almost lose the game as very poor throws on the Morale table caused my Morale to drop to 4 thus losing a Command Dice.

I bounced back though when I brought on my PanzerGrenadiers. Their massive firepower wiped out the other Canadian section. Mike then had a very bad throw of the Command dice and was really unable to mount any effective moves. I then threw three 3's with my 4D6, and finished off the game. It was very quick maybe just around 2 hours and we finished in the first turn. Certainly the game flowed well. Looking forward to my next game already!

10 September 2014

Allied Armour

With the publication of Big Chain of Command, I thought I would get my allied armour in order. This update allows the addition of extra infantry and armoured platoons while using the same basic mechanic as the platoon based game. It is pretty simple and really just delineates some changes in the terrain size, how the patrol phase and order of play is modified. There is also some modification to the morale table. With my 20mm army I, think I will be fine with the addition of an armoured platoon or infantry platoon in respect to my 6x4' playing surface.

For my initial forces, I bought several boxes of PSC AFV's but generally painted just one vehicle or tank from each box. The update for CoC also gives an outline of basic platoon structure for several nations, so I thought I would start going through what I had and get the glue out. The recent addition of an Iwata airbrush that actually works made things easy.

First up I thought I would do the British/Canadian platoons. These were my weakest forces in respect to armour, and were far out done by the Soviets and the Germans. I had a box of 76mm Shermans as well as some Universal Carriers and had just bought a box of Churchills.

Here we have some Canadian troops in a Universal Carrier Section. This is post 1943 organization, with a sergeant in command of 11 troops. They have 3 Carriers, 3 Bren guns, a Piat and are all armed with rifles. There is 2 Mk2 versions and one Mk1 version ( the lighter shade). Main difference is front fender and headlights.
Vehicle marking indicate that they are in the 1st Canadian Division who saw service in the Netherlands late in the war. I am sure my chaps will see service in Normandy as well. Slight colour variation, I had previously used BF Late War British Armour, the newer vehicles have been initially airbrushed with Vallejo Russian Green. They are a List 8 support. 
They of course are from one of the most famous Canadian regiments the Royal 22nd colloquially known as Vandoos and officially now known as Royal 22é Régiment. They are third in order of precedence in the Canadian Army. 
Next up we have a couple of Churchills. I have gone with the MkVII version, as these tanks are for Normandy. They have thicker armour then previous versions but have the the same 75mm gun. 
A close up of my latest method for doing rust, it is a little too thick here. Essentially I paint on some diluted PVA. I then apply a liberal coating of Secret Weapon Dark Earth pigment, followed by a dash of their Terracotta pigment. This is followed by Citadel Necron Metal Dry paint applied carefully on the tracks.
These two monsters belong to the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, in the 34th Independent Tank Brigade. They have a support rating of -1 in the Big CoC lists with just 2 tanks.
Lots of extra stowage from Value Gear. I am hoping all the markings are correct. Generally the British had 3 tanks in each Heavy Tank Platoon, so this is slightly understrength, I suspect I will be adding a tank.
Last up is a platoon of Shermans, again they are understrength, I will be adding a Firefly. They are presently +1 Supports. The markings are for the Trois Rivieres, 12é ATR They landed in Normandy as part of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and fought through out Northwest Europe until the end of the war.
Again some variation in colour. I suspect the individual tank names are wrong for a Quebec regiment!  
Again more stowage added. These are very nice tanks. The decals are from Aleran.
Slightly better effect here
These three units all served in the 1st Canadian Army, with the R22éR and the 12é ATR in the II Canadian Corps with the 4th RTR under the XXX Corps. The 1st Canadian Army was the largest army ever commanded by a Canadian General with around 450,000 soldiers, a little more the half Canadian with the rest being British, Belgic and Polish troops.

So it is going to be very tempting to bring these 2 platoons up to strength. I think PSC sells sprues which would be good as I need only one Churchill and one Firefly. I suspect I will add a platoon of anti-tank vehicles, those Achilles from Armourfast look very nice. But next up I hope to post my Soviet armour, of which I have quite a lot.

23 August 2014

Dux Britainniarum: Playtest 2

We had our second play test of the DuxBrit at the Hobby Bunker last Thursday night. We played the Border Tower Raid. Although, I thought we had the rules down pretty well, many questions again arose which I will go over at the end of the photos. The combat and movement all went well, there is a very simple engine to the game that is easily remembered.

It is a straight forward raid with a British Noble and 2 units out on a recon mission. The Angles have to capture the Noble to have a successful raid. Below you can see the basic terrain with the Border Tower in the farground. A river runs almost the full length of the terrain. This was placed before the game started. Otherwise 4 pieces of terrain was placed by each of us in alternate fashion with the Angle player going first. We then through a D6 to place the tower, as well as D6's to decide each of our starting positions. Adam additionally threw a D6 to see how many units he got to start with.  
Here si looking towards the tower, the rivers are from Wargamers Terrain, a local Massachusetts  concern run by Joe Linares. He was excellent to deal and really provides a first class service and product. I can highly recommend him. These are his FlexRivers Delux. They come in green, blue or brown water, I picked brown in a 3" width. I am enormously pleased. You can also see one of his swamps below. 
The river was a major obstacle, the swamp and trees medium obstacles and the hills a minor obstacle.   The fence around the hovel is a linear obstacle. The Angles started mid way up the board on the far side of the rivers. They had 2 groups to start. The Britons were also mid way up the terrain but on the near side of the river. The Briton noble had two groups of warriors with him. If I remember correctly the Angles started with their lord and two unit of elites.
The Britons started the rest of their troops within 6" of the tower.  This included their elite unit, 3 i=units of levy and their slingers. The Angles brought on their other units in the second turn as their cards were drawn.
The Briton Noble and his two units of warriors
The Angle Lord and his champion with two elite units.
The Briton levies advance to protect their right flank, while the slingers advance to cover the retreat of the recon group. The British elite group advances through the swamp to meet the Angles. 

The action heats up, it was very difficult for the Angles to the far left to cross the river. The penalty for a major  obstacle is -3 pips on each D6. Since 3D6 is movement you need at least a toss of 10 to even move 1"
The Briton warriors elect to enter the walled compound. Stupid!
The Angles decide to all head toward the escaping Britons, the levy move to counter the move .
Two groups of Angles combat the Briton elites.
The British warriors attempt to escape the rapidly approaching Angle elites. Step Forth cards are thrown about.
The battle turns against the Britons, their elites as well as one unit of warriors  have lost their Amphora
In a show of Bravado, the British Lord and his champion with the escaping Noble  turn around an attack the Angle  war party, they are thrown back but the Angles fail to overwhelm the British Nobles and they withdraw.

The Angles fail to capture the Noble, thus fail in their quest. We did not use morale in this game , I think that I lost 10 figures and Adam lost 6. I had three units lose their amphora and I think Adam had two units in rout. So it was a closely fought game with a marginal victory to myself.

So on to the points of confusion that arose in this game, again the TFL Forum was instrumental in clarifying things.
  • Card Sequence: Cards are only played on activation of a Noble, not at any other time. If a card is played in response by the non-phasing player, then that activation may take precedence (the example being the Step Forth card being played in response to a possible attack). The phasing player can change his initial plan and does not lose his cards if already played.
  • Unattached Nobles Movement in Varying Terrain: No clear rule, will go with the same modification as harassing troops.
  • Attaching and Detaching Nobles: Is at no cost and can be carried out twice in a single activation. What I missed is that an attached Noble does not suffer the reduction in command range to 3" if he is NOT engaged in combat.
  • Missile Kills on Formations of Units: Per firing player, may select one unit in a formation.
  • ZoC: If an attacking group fails to engage in combat because of failure of movement, the ZoC does not stop the attacking group at 4".
  • Movement through Varying Terrain: No hard and fast rule but Rich Clarke suggests the following; Imagine the obstacle is some boggy ground which reduces movement by one pip per dice. That ground is 5" away from your unit. You roll 4, 2 and 6. I'd let you move 4" with the first dice as you can move that full distance without getting into the bog, but then the 2 and the 6 are both reduced. The truth is, you can use any system you like for this, so long as you're consistent in a game. But that's the one I prefer. 

By the way Adam has some excellent photos on his blog the Fencing Frog.

21 August 2014

Winter War: Soviet Vehicles

T-26 and BT7
I finally got these vehicles finished. I really found the Winter War camouflage scheme a bit of a challenge and I can see from the photos that I still need to do some work.

All the vehicles were primed with Vallejo Russian Green Primer, they were then drybrushed and some details were painted. I then did a wash using the Citadel Shade Athonian Camoshade. This is a great product for any WWII military project. I then applied some Vallejo orange rust effects. The models were then gloss varnished and allowed to dry. I used the hairspray method for the Winter Camouflage. Two applications, allow to dry and then they were airbrushed in spots with white. I probably could of applied more but I tried to make it translucent rather than opaque. Maybe a mistake. Most of the delay was because I had a shitty cheap Master Airbrush which kept on screwing up (mostly my fault I presume). however last week I got an Iwata Revolution CR, like night and day for sure. Anyway so I used a q-tip to chip off the white and then applied some Secret Weapon rust effects on the tracks, as well as some Citadel Dry Necron Compound. Finally some snow flock was applied to different areas. I think I need to clean off the rust and the snow a little more as noted above. I think they could have come out a little better but they will work.

I tried to get a good selection of early Soviet vehicles and most of them should be useful also for the excellent TFL supplement that just came out for Chain of Command, Operation Winter Storm: The Drive for Stalingrad, December 1942. This looks really good. I already have purchased some mid war Soviets Tanks, including some T-34's, SU-76's and an SU-122. Just have to finish off the rest of those CP Soviets figures.
Some Zis-5 trucks, the main transport for the Soviet army through out the war. These are metals from  Shellhole Scenics. They were nice models, but a little smaller then 1:72 PSC.

All the decals are from Aleran Miniatures.

One of the trucks as a Quad Maxim HMG.

I was curious about S-Model miniatures, they have an expanding range of 1:72 vehicles. I ordered them directly from China, I was shocked at how quickly they were delivered, within 1 week.

They are nice builds, the stowage is excess from PSC and from an Italeri box of battlefields accessories. 

It took me a little bit of time to figure how to put them together I found the tracks challenging initially but once figured out they were fine. The turret was a little difficult to assemble, it would have been nicer with less pieces. They supply you with brass cannon though which is a nice touch for a plastic assembly.

Here we have KhT-26, a variation of the T-26 with a flamethrower. This is from Shellhole Scenics as well. It os certainly a little smaller then the S-Models, but I am OK with it. It is a metal build.

Here we have a T-28 from Shellhole Scenics. It is a monster tank with 3 turrets. The body is resin with the tracks and turret being metal. I think they are planning to convert all their vehicles to this combination.

Very nice model.
Here we have two BT-7's from Pegasus Models plastic range, these are very well priced and all though quite simplistic in their construction are well suited for wargaming.

Alos from Pegasus is these two armoured cars, they are sold as BA-6's but I am sure you could use them as a BA-10. Again very simple, but a cheap useful model.