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

18 November 2016

Spanish Recruits

I thought I would post some photos of some recent acquisitions for my 18mm Napoleonic armies. Here are some more Spanish, I believe this may close it off for the Spanish. This makes up a nice little force with 8 infantry battalions, two cavalry regiments and a artillery battery. I may need another colonel and one more stand of artillery ( I subsequently found out that many Spanish artillery batteries were 8 guns rather than 6). These were all painted by Pep.
The Spanish force as it now stands
Regimento Irlandia, lovely blue coats
A regiment of Cazadores Voluntaries de España, light cavalry. 
Vountarios Distinguidos de Cadiz, how is that for a name?
Well that is all for now, I am expecting several battalions of French from the painter in Thailand in the next month or so, this should finish off my French forces.

15 November 2016

Operation Martlet: Probe into Fontenay

I started my 4th Chain of Command campaign yesterday: Operation Martlet. This is the second campaign I have played with Mike P, we usually get to play every one to two months although there have been longer gaps. We met at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, MA.

Martlet started on June 25, 1944 and was part of the British plan to protect the right flank of the main allied attack in Operation Epsom. In our campaign we follow the part of the operation that is an attempt to take Fontenay-Le-Pesnel first; the initial attack is to be carried out by a platoon from the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers, and then a platoon from the 7th Duke of Wellington's is to carry on south to take Rauray. Defending are the 12th SS Panzerdivision: Hitler Jugend. I am taking the side of the British and Mike the Germans.

Historically the attack failed and unfortunately yesterday my initial attempt also failed. We actually played 3 campaign turns and Fontenay-Le-Pesnel is still in German hands. Here is the terrain map from the campaign.
There are some nuances to this campaign, the Germans are under a constant artillery barrage so have to dice to see if there units will arrive on the table and on the 5 game turns of day 1, this is with a -1 modifier. So essentially the Germans had to get a 5 or 6 in the first turn of each game we played. The British equally are handicapped by a heavy morning mist, having to get a 4, 5 or 6 for each unit they try to bring on in the game turns 1 and 2. Each unit caught in the mist has a second chance to get out, however if they fail a second time they are lost for good in that game turn. This is scenario 2 from the main rulebook.

So the game started, my first roll of the dice was for the number of free Patrol Marker moves I was to get, this was a grim harbinger of things to come....... I got a 1! Here is where the JOP points ended up, quite unsatisfactory for the British. The tricky bit though was that these were the JOP's were fixed for the next 2 campaign turns if I failed to get off table one.
Game 1a:
We both diced and got 8 on Force Morale.
British Supports (13):
2" Mortar
Regular Infantry Section
HMG Team
2 Jeeps
Piat Team
German Supports (6):
Entrenchment for AFV
This game was a brief affair lasting less then 30 minutes. Although the Germans had some difficulty getting on table because of the Artillery Barrage, the British were completely stymied by the mist with 75% of the units being lost or permanently lost. I believe all I got on was a 2" Mortar team. I decided to withdraw, a quick German victory. My dice rolls in this game were a harbinger of things to come for the whole day.

Game 1b:
I believe we again both diced 8 on Force Morale.
British Supports (14):
2" Mortar
Regular Infantry Section
2 Jeeps
German Supports (6):
Again a brief game, although I got a few more units on the terrain, but the mist still caused loss. Dicing was quite poor and while Mike was quite successful in getting his troops on the table. I lost my 2" Mortar team pretty quickly as well a my Sherman. By the time Mike had more than half his units on the table and his Panzer IV hull down at the crossroads, I figured out it was futile. I had hardly any units on the table and Mike had control of the terrain. So in order to preserve my troops I withdrew a second time. We had lunch.

Game 2:
Mike got 11 and I got 8 on Force Morale, another great start!
British Supports (15):
Regular Infantry Section
2 Jeeps
2x 2" Mortars
German Supports (6):
By this time, I had figured out my tactics were not working, I really had to get the troops on the table and attack in multiple directions. At least the mist had lifted. I was still troubled my poor dice and Mike's multiple double phases. I got 2 double phases, one with 4x6's, with a 5 followed immediately by a 3x6's with a 5 and a 1. This was followed by a 5,2,2,1,1; just unbelievable. I will let the photos tell the rest of the story.
The JOP's for all 3 games.
Getting ready to take a run for it. The fence is a major obstacle so requires a phase to cross.
A Sherman and two jeeps ( I had to substitute some UC's). The Sherman immediately took a hit from the Panzer IV at the other end of the table. I forgot that wheeled vehicles get an immediate move much to my detriment.
Very slow indeed. The section in the field to the left deployed and then never got activated for the rest of the game. I also got a section in the second floor of the house to the right, they were able to lay down some covering fire but not enough.
Mike has a squad in the barn, to stop the Brits when they make a run for it. He also has a PG squad in the house to the left as well as the one behind the fence in the centre. Quite impregnable all in hard cover all firing 20+d6 each time they were activated which was frequently.
Getting a little closer but as you can see the unit behind the fence is done for with just a SL, wounded JL and Bren Gunner left.
Up goes one jeep, by now the attrition was adding up, I got the second jeep just across the road but the jeep was blown up my the PG squad in the barn. By then my morale was down to 4, time to withdraw, with a loss of 16 men and a dead JL.
Well that was it, a tough outing, I am not in good shape for this campaign as you can see by the tracker below, but I was taught to soldier on, hopefully our next game in 2 weeks. 
updated 11-16-16
So it goes I suppose!

08 November 2016

Some Warlords, a Medic and a Shaman

Over the last couple of days, I have painted up some figures for Sharp Practice and SAGA. They look quite good on the tabletop, but the close-ups are a little rough. They have yet to be varnished which does smooth things out a bit.

A Bronze Age Miniature female Viking who will be Freydís Eriksdóttir, a Hero of the Viking Age in my SAGA Adventures. She costs one point and is good at getting her followers to extend themselves. 

Skraeling Chief from Footsore Miniatures, very close in style to the original Gripping Beast figures

A Medic for Sharp Practice from Westfalia Miniatures

A Skraeling Female Shaman (that should be obvious) from Paizo Pathfinder Fantasy line

05 November 2016

Tarting up some Roads

Slowly working through a backlog of terrain projects. I bought some flexible roads from Novus Design about 6 months ago, they are prepainted but really in the most rudimentary fashion. I have planned to dry brush them to improve their look and finally got to it today. Took less then an hour and i used juste 3 colours.

As you can see from the top piece the only prep done by the company was to paint some free patches  and to put a dark wash around the stones. My first step was to dry brush the whole piece Mocha trying to avoid the green patches only.
The next step was to dry brush the green with a very bright yellow and the stones with a unbleached titanium
This is about half of what I did in an hour
Some closeups
I think they came out OK and are a definite improvement. I could have gone with a dark and light grey on the larger stones and may do so some day but they are good for now. I have maybe 20ft of road that is good for my usual 6x4 tabletop. I have seen a lot of roads and have bought a few these are the best I have come across so far.

01 November 2016

Winter is Coming.............Finally

I know, very trite. But it is coming, and it is my favourite time of year. I got these models painted by Gunner in the spring of 2015 but have just got around to basing them recently. There is not much doubt that they are the highlight of my WWII collection. They are from the superb TQD line of CP Models. They are just brilliant.

When I got these painted I envisioned them as opponents for my Soviets in some Stalingrad gaming. Since then I have decided that they would also be handy for some late war winter wargaming, aka Battle of the Bulge. All I need now is to get some Americans painted, unfortunately there are a not a lot of models of winter uniformed GI's miniatures out there in 1/72. But I am looking.

1942 Panzergrenadier Organization: 1 SL and 3 LMG teams, each with a JL, two 2 man LMG teams, one with 3 riflemen and 1 with 2 riflemen. Regular Force Rating +1.

Senior Leader with MP40
Two man LMG team

Rifleman with K98

Armed with MP 40's and StG 44's

Pak 40 for the Ardennes
Pak 38 for Stalingrad
Tripod mounted MMG Team
8cm Mortar with FO

Sniper Team
Panzerschreck Teams

Pioneers, a pioneer squad would be made up of 6 men and a JL
Flamethrower Team
Panzerjäger Team
I was also able to juggle the figures to come up with 2 different Volksgrenadier squads for Chain of Command. This was the typical German organization for the Ardennes offensive post November 1944. Each Volksgrenadier company was made up of 2 Assault platoons and 1 Rifle platoon.

1944 Volksgrenadier Assault Platoon, made up of a 4 man HQ team with 2 assault squads armed with MP40 and StG44 and LMG Squad. The HQ team has an Senior Leader and 3 riflemen armed with grenade launchers. The assault squads have a JL and 7 men with MP40's or StG44's. Thus armed, a regular squad would be +1 force rating (I have substituted 6 riflemen in because of lack of correct figures and this would be a 0 Force rating in CoC). The LMG squad has two  MG 42 LMG's as well as a JL and 3 men armed with machine pistols or assault rifles. Each squad has 2 panzerfausts.
1944 Volksgrenadier Rifle Platoon. Like the Assault Platoon there is a 4 man HQ team with a SL and 3 riflemen.  Each of the 3 squads has a MG42 LMG, 4 riflemen, 1 man armed with a MP40 and 2 panzerfausts. This platoon if regular would be rated as -1 for CoC.