29 December 2015

A New Scale: 18mm AB Napoleonics

As many of you know, I have recently put up my 28mm Napoleonic collection for sale. I had put a lot of work into the collection over the last 10 years, but three issues kept on coming up.....storage, transportability and playability. After a lot of thought and some preliminary feelers, I put all but my Anglo-Portuguese and the Brunswickers up for sale. It has been pretty successful, with just 14 units of French Infantry left to go, and I have made enough to replace the 28 mm armies with three Divisions each of French and Anglo-Portuguese as well as a Spanish brigade with money to spare. This includes several cavalry units as well as artillery and command. The new army will be all AB miniatures, based on metal stands of 6 bases per unit and are presently being painted in southern Europe and Asia. I have already accumulated a dozen units and more are on the way. A proportion of the funds are also been directed at a secret project that I will reveal soon, but the madness of a wargamer with funds to blow, knows no bounds.

I am not a slouch though, so I have decided to paint up several bases of artillery which I hope to complete by the end of the challenge. To get some practice, I have over the last couple of weeks painted up a British unit that I present here.

I must say that the 18mm figures are quite challenging to paint and I am happy that I have just a few to do. I am still looking for a flag vendor, the Flagdude has unfortunately become unresponsive again, but I will remain hopeful as really he has the best flags.

I plan to have a New Year post to discuss my 18mm OB, as well as to display the units I have already acquired.

28 December 2015

The Tong

Over the last 9 months, I really have done little painting, but it is this time of year that heralds the Analogue Hobbies Annual Painting Challenge. Time now to wash the brushes and paint some figures.
My first submission is some figures I had left over from last year's challenge; The Inscrutable Tong and his gang. These figures are from Westwind Productions and like the whole Empire of the Dead line are quite impressive. I really enjoyed painting them.

24 November 2015

More French for Sale: Cavalry and Artillery

My sell off has been pretty successful and all that is left are half of the French. Most of the first rate infantry is gone, what is left is some plastic Victrix and Perry as well as one regiment of Foundry legere. More about these later.

What I would like to sell now is the remaining 5 units of cavalry and one remaining battery of artillery. The cavalry are quite nice and I believe painted to a fairly well war-games standard. The artillery are some nice cannon but I believe the figures are Bicorne, a particularly nasty brand and thus are going for a song.

If someone comes along and buys all six units then 10% off and free shipping. Otherwise paypal only and shipping by USPS Priority Post. Shipping will vary from 6-12$ depending on the box size.

All on 40x45mm Litko bases. $8-9 per figure.

 4 unit battery of 3 cannon and 1 howitzer
10 line lancers by Foundry, somewhat early painting so priced accordingly.
14 Guard Chasseurs and Mameluks by Foundry, nicely painted
8 Plastic Dragoons from Perry, well painted.
8 Plastic Carabiniers from Perry, well painted.
12 Plastic Cuirassiers from Perry, well painted.

These are very well priced, the cost for all 6 units is $450 with Free Shipping.

21 November 2015

Closing the Gap: Panthers on the Prowl!

Major Currie's has now advanced his forces to the centre of St Lambert. He has taken some loses, almost 20% of his men and one of his Shermans. He now has to face some heavy armour.....the Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther.
This is a challenging scenario for the Canadians, they have to force the Germans to withdraw or suffer a massive Morale Failure. The Germans positions start at almost the the centre of the board, there is lots of hard cover. 
Here is our starting positions. Fortunately for the Canadians they get to throw a d6 for some free moves.
Luckily I get a 5, which allows me to lock down Germans almost immediately
Here we can see the 6 JOP's. The Canadians are within 6" of two houses and thus can deploy into both houses at the crossroads that give an excellent LOS on the German positions. German Morale is at 9 and Canadian Morale (had to take a -1 as the men's opinion was low) is at 8 at game start. 
Mike has taken a Sd.Kfz 250 HT with a JL and a LMG team in addition to the Panther, I take a Medium Mortar, a HMG Team, and Achilles (there is no other way I can attempt to take out the Panther). I also take a medic to protect my SL. Unlike our last game my dicing is pretty good and I can quickly place the FO with a infantry section and a SL in the stone house that controls the crossroads. I also plop down my 3rd section behind the wall. Mike places Squad 1 in the stone house. My Bren team behind the wall takes some shock, but fortunately no kills. My SL is the activated he calls up the mortar. The Canadian Section in the house fires at the German squad and scores a kill. Mike throws to check if the leader is hit, he fires a 1 and then tests to see what happens. He fires a 6, the JL is killed! A good start for the Canadians. Mike then places the Halftrack with the LMG team on the road but can not get a clear shot, he brings in a LMG team and fires at the Bren team behind the wall as does his leaderless 1st squad. The Bren team is now at significant shock. Time to move off the wall and retreat into the wood. Mortars are called. An aiming shot is off 100 yds. The HT now moves into position and fires at the Canadian section in the house. One man is killed. No other casualties. Back to the Canadians, more good command dice. The barrage lands and the German squad in the house take more casualties. The Panther is hit but suffers no damage. The HMG team in the the other house fires at the LMG team behind the house, they are all killed. The German morale is down to 7. Aside from the LMG team in the HT, the Germans are all under the barrage, the HT fires and misses. Back to the Canadians, the Barrage is again activated but is moved 100 yds. to the right, the HT takes damage and is now under the barrage. Back to the Germans, they decide to make a tactical withdrawal and leave the town centre to the Canadians................ game over. A Canadian Victory!
Well my men's opinion has gone up. Overall a good victory but the German morale on the campaign tracker is still quite high, it would have been nice to get a crack at the Panther and drop the German morale by another 2. 

15 November 2015

Closing the Gap: A New Chain of Command Campaign

St Lambert, 19 August 1944. The Canadian officer on the left holding the pistol is Major David Currie.  He commanded a combined force of armour (the South Alberta Regiment) and infantry (the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders). This was the last action in Operation Tractable which finally closed the Falaise Gap to prevent German forces retreating back to the Fatherland. For his heroism at St Lambert-sur-Dives, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
We had our second game in our August 1944 Falasie Gap campaign yesterday. Mike (the Germans) invited me to Rhode Island for the game and it was a nice drive on a beautiful morning. Mike has quite the gaming set up in his house and we had a great game. Additionally his wife put on a superb lunch that was much appreciated.

Scenario 1: The Road to St Lambert

We played the first game in the campaign about 3 weeks ago, I am afraid I took no photos. Mike sent me one a few days ago but it somehow or another got deleted. I had actually played this game once and presented it on Gamesday at the Hobby Bunker in August. The terrain was pretty well laid out as you can see. The game resulted in a Canadian Victory, although I foolishly took a lot of casualties which is not good in this campaign. Here is our campaign tracker after the first scenario.

Scenario 2: Entering the Town

In our second scenario, Major Currie makes his first attempt to enter St Lambert on the morning of August 19, 1944. The Germans are well positioned and they have some Panzer IV's ready for action. This is a difficult scenario for the Canadians as they have to cross the River Dives, which is quite deep and counts as a major obstacle in CoC. For victory, the Canadians needed to secure a JOP in the greyed German zone.

Well on to the game, I seldom remember to take photos during a game, but I did get some at the start.
Set up
Patrol Phase
Canadian JOP's
German JOP's with the target JOP in Blue
First advance by Canadians was doomed.
Canadian Plan and German Defenses
For supports, I took a UC section with a JL, Piat team as well as a Bren team. I also took a FO with an off-table medium mortar team. Mike took a HMG team. According to the campaign rules, I had a Sherman and Mike had a Panzer IV.

I had a pretty straight forward plan, and that was to secure victory in this scenario with my supporting troops and preserve my core platoon as I had foolish squandered half a section in my first game. I would have liked to have got a JOP across the river, but at least 2 of them were on the edge but in retrospect, I am not sure how well this served me. The game started off poorly for me with a 8 on my Morale throw with Mike getting an 11. The dice were tossed, and laid down my smallest section. On Mike's first throw he got a treble 6 and that was it for them with a JL killed. Horrible throws on the Morale table ended up with me going down to a 6 on the first turn of the game! Not looking good.

I still felt my plan was good and set it into place as you can see in the last photo above. I was able to deploy my FO fairly quickly with a 2" mortar section throwing out smoke rounds. I also deployed a full section and my Platoon Sergeant behind the hedge. With this position they had good LOS for both the medium and small mortars and quickly laid down smoke to obscure the German squad 1's LOS to my combined section/mortar teams. I was then able to quickly get out a full barrage on top the German first squad as well as the HMG team in the house. 

Time to advance the Sherman to take a shot at the Panzer if it appeared on the road. Mike throws another double 6 as well as completing a CoC Dice, he ends the turn and my Sherman is exposed to the Panzer and kaboom, it is taken out. At this point I have no real antitank weapons aside from 2 Piats! One get laid down in the hedge, but is too far away to shoot. I successfully call up another mortar barrage and again it is well placed and lands on the road reigning down further mayhem on the HMG team, German squad 1 and more importantly on the road. I bring on my UC section, as you can see the plan is to dash over the bridge and then advance on the German left flank which is poorly protected (the arrow on the photo above somewhat incorrect in that UC section has to cross the bridge and then verve to the left). I have a great throw and the section gets all the way to the bridge on their first move. Mike's turn, he throw yet another treble 6; the turn ends, the barrage and smoke again disappear, and he is now able to lay down suppressive fire on the UC section with the HMG team as well as fire the Panzer's cannon. The advance has been thwarted and Major Currie orders a tactical withdrawal. A German victory.

Well it was really a fun game the combination of Mike's excellent defensive tactics as well as some unlucky die rendered an outcome unfavorable to the Canadians. But my core platoon was kept essentially intact from the the first scenario and I will start the third scenario with the same number of men as the second. I was a little unlucky on the post game process and my Men's Opinion of my leadership has plunged and I am now -1 on my next force morale. Mike was also able to bring the campaign force morale tracker up to it's base of 10 with the victory and the destruction of the Sherman. Our next game is this coming Saturday, time to shine up the dice.

08 November 2015

Another GB-CoC Playtest: Barossa

Myself and Adam got another chance to test the General Bonaparte meets Chain of Command ruleset last Thursday. The playtest version is now at v2.4 and is really coming together. It had been 2-3 months since we played the rules so they were a little rusty in the first turn or 2, but then things came together and the game moved along. This game was based on the Battle of Barossa with some heavy substitution in the OB because of my figure collection but for those who are interested in an authentic OB set up for GB-CoC one can download a version here.

You can see that we got through several turns, it was a real back and forth game with cavalry, unusually playing a significant part. An excellent Action Report is on Adam's blog The Fencing Frog. We tried Adam's modified movement rules and they worked well. There was some discomfort with the range of the variable movement as now in the ruleset. For example, infantry battalions in column move 3d6, Adam has adjusted this to 2d6+4" thus adjusting the possible movement from 3"-18" to 6"-16". This played out well, we will have to see how the other play testers feel about this.

Overall, I am still enormously impressed by the rules. They play very well and the mechanisms are quite simple and the game moves smoothly. My main observation from this game is that it is very difficult to play a division per side game with 28mm figures on a 4x6' terrain. It really confirmed my choice to shift to 18mm Napoleonic gaming for this size terrain (I find this the most convenient size to transport and the club has mostly similarly sized tables).

Still some questions about ZOC and supports that we are hammering out in the play test group now. I have also put together an FAQ which one can download here. I will try to keep it updated. Finally a photo from the game showing the action.

For Sale
I have placed several French Units on TMP or Ebay. For readers of my blog however special pricing is available......just make an offer.
French Ligne Crusader Miniatures $175
French Legere Front Rank Miniatures $525 (SOLD)
French Guard Chasseurs and Mameluks Wargames Foundry $180
Anhalt-Dessau Line Perry Plastics $120
French Lanciers Wargames Foundry $120
French Vieux Garde Victrix Plastics $125