Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Zvezda Jagdpanthers

My love affair with Zvezda continues as I thought it would be good to add to my ever increasing collection of German tank destroyers with some Jagdpanthers. It was prompted partly by my recently
acquired Jagpanzer IV/70(V), as Jagdpanthers were used in a similar role - to equip panzerjaeger battalions, but also as ersatz tanks as supplies of Panthers ran low. Panzer Lehr in particular had a large complement of Jagdpanthers in the Reichswald, as did 12th SS Panzer in the Bulge (widely misreported as Tigers, naturally).

For some odd reason some of my favourite Churchill units (9th RTR and 107th RAC) had a series of unfortunate encounters with Jagdpanthers in their journey across Northwest Europe, so they also give me a chance to recreate Thomas Tomneys feat of knocking one out at 1000m range near the town of Nispen in Holland. He won the MM for that, and I'm not surprised.

I thought it best not to be greedy and just bought two. Here they are advancing across the dining table.

These are lovely models, even nicer than the Ferdinands, and they look very business like from this angle. They are a bit simpler to assemble than Panthers as they have fewer, larger pieces, but there are still separate parts for every major bit of armour plate on the upper hull. In the end they went together very cleanly though. 

The only slightly fiddly bit was fitting the plate on the rear of the fighting compartment as it slots in behind the engine deck, but if you put both bits on together, it works fine. From this angle there is lots of nice detail and hard edges to pick up a drybrush.

They look really sleek and deadly from the side. I did them both in just plain green and dunkelgelb camo, inspired by the example in the Imperial War Museum. As usual I did the running gear and tracks in mud, gave the whole thing an inkwash and finished it off with a light drybrush.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Amphipolis 422BC

As we hadn't had an Ancients outing for a while, Tim revisited the Peleponnesian Wars once more.

This time the Spartan General Brasidas had been ravaging bits of Greece in a somewhat out of control manner and managed to annoy the Athenians so much they sent an Army under Cleon to stop him. Brasidas sat in Amphipolis behind the city wall and after a while Cleon decided to head for home, at which point the Spartans poured out of the city and attacked them in the flank.

John and Tim C took the Athenians while Diego and I took the Spartans.

View from behind the mighty (resin) walls of Amphipolis.

Spartan left.  A whole bunch of Spartan hoplites, plus some auxiliaries and medium cavalry.

And the Spartan right, yet more Spartans, supported by auxiliaris and light cavalry. This lot led by Brasidas himself. The Spartans in red on the right of the line are Tims very first 25mm metal wargames figures, so veterans in every sense of the word.

The Athenian right, more hoplites. Cleon is with the medium cavalry unit.

The  Spartans had a decent mix of command cards. We had an option to engage in skirmishing with our light troops, but given that the Athenians were trying to escape, we opted for an immediate attack on our left.

First blood to us, albeit not without losses.

Over on the right, the Athenians tried to slip off the table (the red blobs are exit hexes), so Brasidas led his wing forward, supported by the cavalry.

It was all very messy and horrible, but after a few turns pushing and shoving, to everyones amazement, the Spartans managed to destroy the required six units for victory. Despite monumental losses on individual units (see above) the Spartans only lost one.

Well, that was probably the fastest CnC Ancients game we've ever played. Not quite sure what happened there, but the Spartans managed to get stuck in very quickly while the Athenians didn't seem sure whether to fight or try to withdraw.  Oh well, home early at any rate.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Pegasus Bridge, June 5th 2019

John put on his long planned Pegasus Bridge game on the 75th anniversary exactly, 5th June 2019 (although we didn't stay up until midnight for the correct jump off time!) . It was my first trip to the new club venue and I was pleasantly surprised by the spacious venue.

John had put loads of effort into the briefings, issuing copies of both the original orders given to Major Howard in March 1944, and then the revised intelligence briefings issed in May 1944. They were somewhat alarming, I hadn't realised there were quite so many tanks from 21st Panzer so close in nearby Benouville!

The table was laid out as the immediate area around Pegasus Bridge at a scale of 6" to 100 yards, with the Orne (and the bridge at Ranville) forming the far edge.

John had scratchbuilt some terrain especially for the game, including Pegasus Bridge itself. The external layout of the German defences was well known from air photography. In this case three trench systems, a concrete pillbox housing the demolition control gear and a static 50mm gun.

He'd also built this model of the nearby chateau (which will feature later in the engagement).

We'd all made an effort to source suitable hats, Tim had his Pay Corps beret.

Jerry was in a complete maroon outfit and Para beret.

While I had my trusty South Staffs Air Landing beret.

John did the initial briefing. We had 25 minutes to plan both the attack to take both bridges, and then to hold them until relieved. This included the loading plan, task allocation and building our own gliders. The latter also involved a few test flights into the target LZs (marked by pipe cleaners).

One we were sorted, off we went. No 1 platoon with Major Howard went in first, and managed to land smack up against the German wire as intended.

Tim also managed a decent landing, albeit a bit too close to the trees. 

Eventually we all got down, 4 Platoon vanished somewhere in the direction of the Dives and wasn't seen until the next day, and my Six Platoon narrowly avoided crashing into the Orne.

1 Platoon was ideally placed to storm the bridge. This photo also gives a really good view of Johns scratchbuilt 50mm beach gun.

We all piled out of our planes. To cope with the overloading we'd left the 2" mortars and all non-essential kit behind. To allow for possible losses in the landing, we'd also split the sapper platoon between all the gliders, so every platoon had a few people who knew something about explosives. The also had some folding assault boats. 

Richards No 3 Platoon included the MO.

My platoon was tasked with taking the bridge at Ranville, so we set off down the road and put up an all round defence at the river bank having driven off the sentries and cleared it of explosives. Mission accomplished!

Back at Pegasus, Jerry, Tim and Richard stormed the defences. The East bank was cleared easily, but a sentry firing a flare pistol alerted the defenders on the west bank.

Many of the defenders sloped off at this point (Ostruppen), but their German NCOs were made of sterner stuff and manned a pair of MG42s.

Tims platoon stormed the AT gun and found it to be undamaged.

Jerry (and Major Howard) made short work of the MG42s.

My chaps meanwhile intercepted a German staff car contained Major Schmidt, the garrison commander. He was very put out, and I sent a detachment to escort him to Company HQ for interrogation.

There was a certain degree of excitement when a pair of Pz IVs cautiously approached the bridge. One of our two working PIATs managed to knock one out, a good job as we'd left the Gammon Bombs behind at the last minute. The other withdrew. We captured one of the crew and it turned out they were from a local repair workshop and manned by repair crews. 

Tim C had meanwhile been patrolling to the south and came across some Italian prisoners erecting anti-glider obstacles. The words horse and bolted come to mind. The prisoners were sent away.

The destruction of the tank seemed to have put the Germans off a bit, although annoying sniper fire was coming from the south. We managed to get the AT gun working and started shelling suspicious looking spots. 

The Chateau came in for a good deal of fire, as did the water tower nearby. It didn't stop the snipers though.

Various Germans naval efforts appeared, including this gun boat (scratch built specially for the game). 

We managed to disable it with a PIAT and captured the crew. It was followed up by an attack by frogmen, who we drove off with rifle fire.

Tim Cs platoon pushed across the river to link up with Churchills pushing down from the north, as well as Lovats Commandos who marched to join us from the east.

The final German effort was a boatload of infantry from the south, who were driven off with the AT gun. The Germans certainly put together a rapid response to our attack. irl the entire 22nd Panzer Regiment was assembled to obliterate 6th Airborne, but was then hastily diverted west of the Orne to attack Sword beach instead. So, good news for us.

At game end we were firmly in control of the bridges and losses had been pretty light considering the amount of fighting. 

A view of the other side of Johns chateau.

That was a great game and a fitting tribute to the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. Fairly light on rules, fairly heavy on umpire interaction so it really rattled along. Making us build our own gliders was a brilliant touch and the 'test flights' were suitably hilarious.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Zvezda 1/200th Ju-52

Another plane kit off the Bring and Buy was this Zvezda JU-52, in the rather eccentric scale of 1/200th. Zvezda do this for all their bigger planes, and in some way it is a blessing as 1/144th scale bomber and transport planes are really, really big.

Here it is waiting for takeoff. I did it in early war splinter as per the box art.

I painted over the canopy and picked out all the windows too. That was a labour of love... I did the cowlings in the bright yellow Crete scheme to brighten it up a bit.

Underside was just light blue with yellow wingtip flashes. As usual I didn't bother with the decals.

Aunty Ju off to drop some supplies or paratroops somewhere. Broadsword calling Danny Boy...

Another nice model. I'm not sure if/when I'll use it, but I expect it will come in handy for something.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Edgehill (again)

Our new member, Diego, indicated he had an interest in the ECW so John put on a game using his 'Pike and Shot' rules which date from the late 1980s.  The battle chosen was Edgehill, which avid readers may recall we have already visited using both Neil Thomas Pike & Shot rules as well as Marsten Less. The general situation was therefore very familiar to the players.

Tim C and myself took the wicked Royalists, while Diego and Jerry took the defenders of parliament and demcracy. We played it with Johns very old 15mm figures.

The view from the Royalist side. Massed Royalist infantry in the centre, horse on the flanks with the right wing led by Rupert.

In this scenario, the Royalists have tired of waiting and have already advanced through their guns. I usually let them bang away a few ineffective shots first. The Royalsist are bunched into sort of mini-Tercios. I'm sure that will work well.

The rebellious parliamentarians in the distance. Their chaps seem to have rather more muskets than ours. Oh well.

Over on the right, some dragoons cover Ruperts flank.

As ever, the game was a chance to get out some hats. Tim had this rather grand cavaliers floppy hat.

And Jerry had this magnificent felted Monmouth Cap with a brim. My own offering of a wool Montero cap bore a suspicious resemblance ot a WW2 US Jeep Cap.

Our cavalry soon got stuck in, but the rebels turned an fled before crossing steel.

Meanwhile our foot pushed up in the centre.

Providing close support to our outnumbered horse on the left.

As our cavalry on the left engaged, the infantry managed to shoot up some rebels

And in the centre, one rebel infantry regiment disintegrated and ran away. Hurrah!

Astonishingly Rupert managed to restrain the cavalry from pursuing.

They hovered around a bit....

Then decided to have a go at the nearest rebel infantry. Sadly this proved to be a catastrophic mistake as their morale was rather high and they also proved to be excellent shots, felling Rupert with their musketry and breaking the cavalry. Ouch.

Over on the left flank the cavalry slog continued with both sides amassing lots of hits.

After the rout of Ruperts cavalry, the Royalist infantry were left engaged, but sadly these Parliamentarians were somewhat higher quality.

The pursuing Parlimentary cavalry were getting dangerously close to Edgehill by now, but over on the far left the battle was going the Kings way.

In the town itself the Gentlemen Pensioners had spent most of the day drinking and swapping jokes with the somewhat unemployed gunners (as most of the time they'd been masked by their own troops).

We drew hostilities to a close as an honourable draw. For a set of rules penned in the late 1980s, they gave a very reasonable and (and fairly modern) type of game and it was nice to see Johns old 15mm ECW troops which hadn't been out for some time.