Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Work In Progress......

Been a while, and truth be told not a tremendous amount of work has been done any particular project especially quickly, but slowly, slowly something has happened.
  • Firstly on the English Civil War front; the box of Warlord horse that I purchased for my Royalists have been built, and now sit happily on my table, blissfully unaware that they are far from even being spray painted.  However they do appear to blend in ok with the Renegade horse (which is, as everyone knows, superhuman sized), so they nicely complete my plans for the Royalists.
  • Secondly on the Flames of War front; no news, although with the arrival of Vers. 3 of the rules, and having played a couple of games recently I may get round to some work on that late war armour.  Or not.
  • Thirdly on the Napoleonic front; no news whatsoever.
  • Fourthly on the Roman front; good news!  I decided to start painting the slingers, and have now finished all 16 of them, all three bolt throwers (Scorpians), six (50% of) my cavalry and my other Tribune character.  The last two bolt throwers being finished this evening.  All now await the dip process, followed by the flock process and the varnish process.
  • Fifthly on the transport front; Having grown sick and tired of my FOW troops being mashed by my carry case, and being too afraid to try and take my painted Romans or ECW troops anywhere, I’ve decided to invest some savings in a Figures in Comfort carry case.  I’ve also ordered a bunch of additional foam trays so I can just swap in and out the models I need each time and not have to pack/unpack troops each time I want to move them.  In theory I should have enough foam to move either the Romans, or ECW or FOW at a moments notice.  Never thought I’d get genuinely excited about foam, but I’m really looking forward to its arrival this week.  Just hope I’ve got the measurements right or its going to be a very expensive disaster……
  • Sixthly and finally on the job front; I handed my keys in and departed EH and Beeston today quite happily, leaving it in the hands of a man who makes me feel (and look) clever, poor soul.  Enough sympathy, he’s a useless idiot.  So it’s on to job hunting, with just one ‘pot’ in the fire so far, but it’s a long shot so I’m not broadcasting it.  There is a side benefit to being made redundant, apart from the pay-off, and that’s the present I was given, pictures below, it is genuinely genius!  Makes me want to design 20mm wargames rules to match airfix models….  

Signing off, pictures when the Romans are done, and another game of FOW coming tomorrow night.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

FOW - Mid War Panzerkompanie Vs. American Tank Company - Battle Reports

A late change of venue from the RGMB to Wrexham was followed by the bio-titian throwing a fit ( for the second week running) at Luke and his Yanks and refusing to be in the same room as them.  This did at least mean the models and table were out of danger, and the game(s) were uninterrupted.  

We had chosen 3,000pts in Mid-war, and then both chosen tank companies which provided two quick games, and fairly entertaining gung-ho ones as well.  Lukes company was the same as the previous week; dominated by Shermans, Stuarts, tank hunters and armoured recon.  My own made use of my 12 Panzer IV's (ignoring the Panthers on the basis that it wouldn’t be historically accurate and downright unfair on someone fielding Shermans), who were backed up by two platoons (one armoured) of infantry, and plenty of 8-rad armoured cars and some Panzer II F’s.

First Battle:

We rolled randomly, and ‘Encounter’ came out of the hat.  Hardly a new experience, but with the new rules we thought we’d keep it and play it safe.  I defended and Luke attacked, and having won the first turn I wasted it sitting back and shooting at the tank hunters recon jeeps.  Luke doesn’t do subtlety or softly, softly with his armour, and came barrelling forward.  My right flank was held by four Panzer IV’s who did well to wipe out the Tank Hunters lurking on the edge of a field, however the light Stuart (or M5 thingys) swiftly got amongst them, and a closing in platoon of Shermans sealed their fate with little further loss to the Yanks.

On my left air attack helped the other platoon of Shermans outnumber and overwhelm my other Panzer IV platoon, who stayed in the fight by their finger tips and a couple of fortunate motivation rolls.  It all looked fairly bad however, with only my pioneers (safely camped out in a wood guarding an objective) untouched, and after the Stuarts had hounded my company CO off the field the Shermans turned upon the last Panzer IV on my left and his destruction brought the inevitable company motivation check which I failed.

Analysis:  My Panzer IV’s were outnumbered at the start by their armoured foes - 8 Panzer IV’s to 10 Shermans, 5 Stuarts and 4 Tank Hunters - and this made me cautious.  Luke had no such concerns and charged headlong, losing a few vehicles but not enough to stop him.  We made it to turn 5 I think, but no re-enforcements had arrived for either side, and I lost 3 out of my 4 starting platoons, Luke only lost the tank hunters who failed dismally to cause any damage, and were then shown to be very vulnerable when their targets shot back.  Score 1 to Luke and his aggressive tactics and army selection.

Starting blocks.

Rare German success as the Tank Hunters go up in flames.

Back to service as usual; the USAF bombing my Panzer IV's.

Second Battle:

With my defeat only taking around an hour (including setup) we moved onto a second game.  Once again I was defending, and this time it was ‘breakthrough’.  Initially it looked a very one sided mission, Luke received all of his army, bar a couple of recon platoons sent to do the outflanking, while I got any platoon that wasn’t motorised, and one that was - so that was the pioneers (on foot) and one bunch of Panzer IV’s.  The command HQ warrior Panzer IV's joined them, and Lukes armour kicked off once more by piling forward towards the objectives.

My Panzer IV platoon reacted to this movement by either bursting into flames or running away, while my pioneers and warrior/command Panzer IV’s scurried towards the objectives and the cover the surrounding buildings offered.  They were soon surrounded by the armoured wave, but I’d picked well, and the pioneers were safe and secure in their buildings, and while contesting one of the objectives they lost a total of two teams during the whole game - truly the immovable object.  The command panzer IV’s hid and took potshots, and, although the 2ic bought it swiftly, some forgetfulness on Lukes part meant the CO lasted an age and was key in foiling the enemy plans.

German re-enforcements arrived, with the other two platoons of Panzer IV’s taking their toll on the enemy by wiping out the Stuarts and a Sherman platoon before being in turn dealt with by the Tank Hunters.  Then it was the Tank Hunters turn to come a cropper, as, with victory seemingly far away, I threw my AA guns and a couple of 8-rad armoured cars at them in a fit of pique.  Despite losing the AA guns, the combined volume of 2cm guns was enough to wipe out the Tank Hunters at close range leaving my taste for revenge satisfied.

Back amongst the buildings and an American infantry charge had failed, as had many, many .50cal bullets from the surrounding armoured cars, and more German 8-rads and a few Panzer II's popped up to make them pay, wiping out two platoons and the American CO!  This remarkable and lucky turn around brought the Americans to breaking point, and suddenly all attention was on the weary Yank infantry.  Surrounded by German light armour they had the good grace to perish swiftly, and the rest of the company retreated, giving me an unlikely victory!

It truly looked bleak at the beginning, with my biggest tank platoon biting the dust, and even when the rest of the Panzer IV’s arrived and were wiped out they still left a full Sherman platoon active - something my pathetic 2cm guns couldn’t scratch (I knew how the brits in their crusaders felt!).  However some extremely unlucky rolls by Luke lost him several lighter platoons in quick succession.  Small things helped his downfall; a mistake in throwing his CO forward into the village brought his demise, while the German CO Panzer IV should have been gone earlier but the Stuarts hadn’t moved.  Finally too much time and effort was spent trying to push my pioneers out of buildings they were never going to leave.  When we first read the scenario Luke suggested that it was going to prove too tough for my troops and wouldn't provide a fair game - 3k of Yanks starting on the field againsts around 500pts of Jerries, but I decided to press on anyway, and once again was gratified to find Battlefront have done their homework and it all balanced out nicely.

The Americans ready for the off, and fielding enough tanks to give the Russians a run for their money.

The few Panzer IV's look hopeful, and then burst into flames.

The pioneers make the buildings just in time, while the warrior Panzer IV's keep backing away from the charging American armour.

The pioneers now surrounded, but finally German support is arriving and the M5 Stuarts have just caught a hunk of metal from the back.

The AA guns give the Tank Hunters a headache.

Last moments.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Flames of War - Battle Report - Rules Version 3

Flames of War once again, and a games convened primarily because Version 3 of the FOW rules was released in the last couple of weeks, and with the general opinion being that it was ‘a good thing’ we wanted to get a game in ASAP.  I suggested mine on a Thursday evening, and was met with ‘yes’, ‘probably’ and ‘possibly’ as the answers we were decided.

A side note, and piece of praise echoed in many hallowed halls at this point; the decision by Battlefront to give free copies of the Vers.3 rules set to those owners of the big book of Vers.2 (including me) is very, very welcome, and a breath of fresh air to someone used to having to buy a new GW rulebook, followed by a codex, every time a page has been subtlety changed.  Although we have yet to play this (writing as I am prior to the game tonight) it would appear a combination of the core rules, and only a selection of significant improvements are to be seen in Vers.3, no major overhaul - not broken so not fixed!  Round of applause all round, and now back to the game.

We chose 1,500pts, and I (with the new vehicle rules sounding interesting) went for a panzer grenadier kompanie with no StuG’s, Tigers or Panzers in sight!  Three panzer grenadier platoons (one armoured the rest truck mounted) were to be backed up by AT support in the form of 3 Marder III H’s and 2 PaK38’s.  Anti personal support was available in the shape of a large mortar platoon, and some HMG’s, and finally a pioneer platoon.  Chosen from the Tunisia part of North Africa I was sadly unable to field flamethrowers in their latest form, nor Brumbarrs, but the army was overall a fair size for the limited number of points, and packed a significant number of MG’s which could give me the edge against the expect Yank Para’s.  The other two looked like they would be Brits, and light-tank/carrier heavy at that so hopefully any ‘ally’ available will have an AT gun or two.

The Battle

Once the bio-titan had been distracted from his wholesale attempts at destroying my tree collection (mostly buy firstly Luke appearing scary, and then by Red appearing terrifying - massed tears and wailing doing Red’s confidence with children no good whatsoever) we set up a game.  Aidan had been taken ill due to excessive thumb use by his future wife, so to mix things up we decided to go with 3k of Yanks (Luke of course) against my 1500pts of Panzergrenadiers and Reds 1500pts of desert camo British.  

The unholy alliance faced two immediate problems; firstly Luke had chosen an American mid-war tank company when I had virtually no AT whatsoever (Red was unimpressed, I could tell), and secondly Reds troops stood out like a sore thumb in their bright camo - no hiding for us this game!  And so to war. We rolled up a random scenario and the new one ‘Pincer’ was chosen, which appeared to mean 50% of the Unhold Alliance troops started in reserve.  This was fine with me because they were all useless, while in the event no reserves turned up at all for Red either.

The battle was fought at a brisk pace, with numerous checks of the rules to make sure we were getting it right.  In a nutshell Luke sent his army in like a hammer blow down the centre, and although it took him a fair time, and a lot of casualties to break down the British artillery unit defying them he did eventually.  He would have claimed the objective at that point, but the artillery had followed much of the rest of Red’s army off the board, including his tank-bound CO once more, and Red’s company retreated to leave the Yanks with the victory.  My lot, being so useless against tanks, lost 2 teams (one gun, one gun command), and my sole contribution was to shoot up some recon troops and a squadron of Shermans with the Marders.

 Luke goes for subtlety, while the Germans hide in buildings and woods and the Brits look nervous.

 Subtlety has its price, but the Shermans were able to exact revenge moments later.

 The Germans sole contribution - an inconclusive slugging match with the Shermans on the left flank, hardly my most glorious hour.

Analysis: Firstly the battle - brave and aggressive tactics from Luke (foxhole Norman nowhere in sight) gave him victory, bludgeoning his way through with his heavier armour.  If he’d have sat back the 25pdrs and Marders would have caused some damage while the rest of the Brits tanks could have arrived and then he would have had a stiff fight on his hands.  He was assisted by my army selection, which was based on the expectation of trying out truck-mounted infantry, and fighting other infantry!  Major disaster, must do better.

Secondly the rules - Not a lot to say, we played, we enjoyed, its just as good as before, and all the alterations we came across make sense and are an improvement.  How disappointingly none-controversial!

With some time left Red and Luke played out a second game, with Red defending again in a Fighting Withdrawal.  Once more Lukes aggressive play was rewarded with victory, and British burning tanks littered the surround.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Declaring for the King - Part 3

A quick nod towards my Royalists and an update on my plans for them.  This is brought about by my purchase of a box of warlord horse, which I hope to use to bring my number of horse regiments up to 3 standard and 1 small.

Reorganisation - During the final battle of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ campaign I fielded just my infantry, with a total of 4 regiments of foot and two artillery pieces being lead by Lord Flasheart.  This often lead to my troops moving little or not at all once I’d failed my first command roll, however, using such big regiments felt true to the whole Blackpowder rules set, and I heartily enjoyed it!  This is compared to the usual 2 regiments and a cannon per brigade.

As such I’ve decided to scale down my middle-management (ironic when that’s the reason I’m soon to be unemployed) and field two brigades in games.  The first will be of my four foot regiments and two artillery pieces (plus possibly the forlorn hope), and the second of the 3-4 horse regiments.  This will leave me with a spare officer who could prove useful for scenario purposes.

Future modelling plans - With the extra horsemen in the fold I’ve decided to limit my army to the models already purchased, and aim to complete that in terms of painting.  Only the new horsemen need making, but only two regiments of foot and the artillery are painted.  Given the current focus on job hunting and Romans it could be a while before I begin painting again.  Might even have the ECW Blackpowder book by then!

Total models:  197
Painted:  74

Work In Progress....

I spent some of my gains from selling models (chaos space marines so it's acceptable) on a Warlord box of royalist ECW horse today. The £18 they cost leaves me with £20 remaining and a free listing weekend on eBay coming up. It also gave me the moral high ground of supporting my 'local' store at Brimstage while I also picked up the FOW 3rd Ed set of rules for free (unbelievable to someone whose been buying GW for years!).

These 12 worthies will finish my horse wing of my royalist army, which I've decided to split neatly into two, with 4 horse units in one brigade, and 4 foot units in the other. Added to the 4 brumbarrs and extra auxiliary horseman I was given last week and the purchased vs painted today looks as below:

Purchased - 106
Painted - 180

So still quite good, and with 20 Romans of various guises nearly finished base painting its looking ok.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Work In Progress....

A work in progress update, although that should perhaps be a lack of work in progress this time.

My current aim is to complete my remaining 16 slingers for my roman army, along with a mounted officer and a scorpion catapult. A lack of time and enthusiasm has slowed work to a crawl however, and tonight is the first time ive managed to put some time and effort into them, although they all remain unfinished. All are undercoated in brown, and most have skin and some other extra bits done.

In other news a very generous friend has given me the mounted auxiliary to make my general more impressive, as well as a platoon of four FOW brumbarrs. I've also managed to make an extra £38 for use modelling by selling chaos marines on eBay. Finally the 3rd ed FOW book should be available this week, and I'm hoping to pick it up on Friday, and may follow this up with a purchase of Grey Wolf; the late war lists for the Axis.

That's all folks.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Flames of War Late War Battle Report - Total War

A battle that snowballed in size until it was three Germans (me, Laurent and Alex) against an American (Luke) and a Russian (Red), with 6,000pts a side on a 6ft wide and 8ft long battlefield.  The Russians provided 4,000pts of the Allied side, while the Germans were split evenly, and because of the size of game we used the basis of the Total War scenario.  Frustratingly many of the pictures didn’t come out well, so it’s a brief narrative account, followed by some holiday shots.

The Allies picked a side, set up first and went first, with the river running the width of the board providing a marker for where the American troops ended and the Russian started.  The Americans were an entirely infantry force, almost 100% para’s with some artillery and AT backup.  They faced Alex’s panzer company with a few Panthers, but mainly made up of panzer IV’s, and backed up by some of my infantry - pioneers.  The Russians fielded a mixture or infantry and tanks; two large companies of infantry being backed up by two large artillery batteries, with both flanks guarded by SU-85’s, and a big armoured centre of 20 T-34’s (with the full 50% ratio of T34/85’s in the mix).  They faced the heavier panzer company of Laurent on the German right; Panthers, Tigers and armoured half tracks, plus some StuG’s supporting the centrally located grenadiers - the bulk of my forces with their HMG’s, PaK40’s and 88’s.  My own Tigers joined Laurents for the push forwards.

The Initial Movements
The Allies, having gained first turn, swiftly took the central objective in the village using the T-34 companies, while the Americans moved towards the; slightly further away, other no mans land objective.  The Germans responded aggressively on their left; Alex sending his Panzers straight into the attack, and backed up by the pioneers and a working goliath they sent the remains of the two lead para platoons reeling backwards.  

The German right wing moved swiftly but less dramatically forward, the Panthers looking to keep the SU-85’s under control, while the Tigers and supporting 88’s started to shell the T-34’s in the village.  Alex’s panzers and motorised infantry (on motorbike and sidecar combo’s) having secured the no-mans-land objective on the German left, I delegated the pioneers to him, and they moved up in support into the cornfield.  The Russians had claimed the other no-mans-land objective even earlier, and it was very even.

Tiger Village
Weighing up the balance of the battle, the Germans decided that the left flank was secure, and if we were able to break the Russian grip on either of the objectives they held on the right/centre we would find victory.  To that end the Panthers outflanked the wood and wiped out the SU-85’s, while the Tigers (reduced from 4 to 3 after an excellent T34/85 shot) moved directly towards the village to mix it up.  Their armour would protect them from every shot thrown out, although the supporting StuG’s were not so lucky, being wiped out, while the half tracks charged into the lead Russian infantry company, and were wiped out, although not before inflicting heavy casualties.

On the German left the Americans offensive power appeared broken in the face of the German armour, which in turn was unable to press its advantage before it destroyed the heavy AT that supported the Yanks.

Aggression and Dismemberment 
The lead Tiger stormed into the village, pushing past ruined T34’s to contest the objective, covered by its two companions, although not by the 88‘sm, which had at last succumbed to the Russian artillery and air force.  The Panthers also turned towards the village, but sensing an opportunity they heading to its right and attacked the weakened Russian infantry surrounding the other Allied objective on that side.  Pulling off a coup they lost one Panther, but broke away to get into a position to contest their targeted objective, and the lead tank even survived the hail of fire directed into their flanks afterwards.  A Russian infantry company tried a raid down the banks of the river, but sustained German HMG fire halted their progress after they had overrun the grenadier platoon there.

On the German left more Allied AT had come into play however, as the other platoon of  SU-85’s joined the American guns, and Alex’s panzers started to take a hell of a battering, swiftly losing the Panthers, then most of the panzers and his CO.  His final panzers burned as the last of the motorised infantry quit the field, and his army was gone, leaving my pioneers safely holding the objective the panzers had won.

The T-34’s and Tigers continued to slug it at point blank range in the village, but much to the Russians frustration they were unable to destroy a single one, while the Germans also rued some poor luck with firepower tests, although over half of the T34’s were eventually burning hulks.  With time virtually up, and victory out of reach the Allies conceded, was a final score of 13 to 11 in favour of the Germans.

The Allies gained the initial advantage of being able to pick their side and go first, but their opening artillery shots did not assist them, while the Para’s simply found themselves out in the open when the panzers counter charged.  They had to set up first as well, and this added to the sheer number of Russian models to give their Germans opponents an advantage; Red was unable to form a battle plan and better deployment in the short time available, although he did quite well regardless, while his opponents; me and Laurent, could plan out attack.

Time turned out to be more against the Allied army with its more models throughout, as they pushed the 15minute turn limit to the wire most times (6 turns in total I  believe), while the smaller, elite, German armour didn’t struggle at all.

In terms of tactics, having played Total War before I had given instructions to Alex to prosecute the attack aggressively on our left, having decided it offered our best chance of success, and this he did beyond my expectations - I thought the para’s would be a harder nut to crack, but the bazookas didn’t do enough initially.  On our right the SU85’s had to be dealt with before the Panthers could move inwards, which they did, and then they caught a piece of luck when their opportunistic attack on the Russian infantry gave them the chance to contest the objective.  The Tigers performed amazingly; thrusting into the village, and taking everything that was thrown at them.

The Allies in turn, having claimed one objective using the T-34’s, but lost the other to Alex’s Panzers, seemed to have mostly settled for a draw against the gung-ho German attack, but the Tigers contesting the village unbalanced the points totals, and added to the panzers success gave us victory.