Monday, 14 July 2014

Something new

We had an interesting foray recently into a period I have played very little, the English Civil War. I have literally played two ECW games before in my entire life. Like the WSS, a period I am vaguely interested in but haven't summoned the energy to do in a serious way.

This was a tryout for the rules Mark has been working on them for a while, and he brought a selection of his beautifully painted 28mm figures along to play with.

Mark and I were the staunch defenders of liberty and parliament, while John and Kayte were the foppish monarchist absolutists. Photos all taken from the Parliamentarian side.

Parliamentary infantry deployed in very modern order with independant wings of shot.

Brave parliamentary cavalry. Hurrah!

Artillery and cuirassiers. Hurrah!

Wicked Royalist infantry deployed in unimaginative clumps.

Our brave chaps advance and get a bit shot up. The Royalist cavalry also take some casualties from artillery fire.

We press on in the centre.

Royalist dragoons open up from behind the hedgerows on our cavalry.

The remains of our cavalry take on Royalist musketeers.

Getting to grips in the centre.

On the right our infantry form a sort of vaguely square-ish formation.

Much to everyones amazement, our cavalry manage to rout the Royalist infantry regiment, even though they have been all but wiped out.

Our cuirassiers get stuck into the Royalist fops.

In the centre another Royalist infantry regiment routs, and it is pretty much game over  at that point.

This was a lot of fun, the game move along at a fair pace and we reached what seemed to be a reasonable conclusion in a sensible manner. We gave Mark some feedback about layout and presentation, but generally the rules seemed very sound and it would be nice to try them out again.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

BF Stalinets

More Triples purchases were this brace of BF Stalinets tractors, very useful for pulling guns and suchlike around. These are all-in-one resin models with moulded on bases and at two to a pack are not bad value at all. No assembly required, just a bit of cleaning up, what could be better! Unlike the SU-85s, I managed not to drop these and break any bits off.

The Stalinets clank across the dining table.

Diminutive little vehicles which look quite businesslike.

The panel lines etc show up very nicely.

Plenty of space in the back.
These couldn't have been easier to do, as usual finished in Vallejo 894 over a black base then a heavy drybrush of 894 lightened with ochre and a final drybrush of mud around the running gear and a final highlight of very pale tan. I did the windows as glazed because they stand out a bit more on the tabletop, even though many photos only show the two front panes as glass.

Monday, 7 July 2014


Well having whinged earlier about never getting a chance to wear my WW2 gear I managed do get along to a WW2 game run at the Gunman Eversley site near Reading in March. This covered the fighting around Foy during the Battle of the Bulge, but this time the other Foy on the Meuse where 2nd Panzer Division rode to its doom, not the Band of Brothers one.

The German players for this organised themselves into platoons centered around particular uniform variations, the dearth of games meant we had weeks to sort out who was wearing what. I ended up with the Assault Pioneers, which took the real kit challenge of lugging as much stuff as possible to extremes.

The well dressed Assault Pioneer, note the pioneer backpack stuffed with not only all the personal kit, but also numerous heavy explody things. The assault shovel strapped to the side of the pack is a particularly unwieldy item.

A better view of the shovel, the shovel head clips to your belt and the haft to the pack, which makes it really hard to take off... I seem to have been promoted to Obergfreiter for this, well I've been doing it long enough.

Along with all the engineer kit, our zug of 12 had two MG42s and a 50mm mortar to carry. The ammo box is full of mortar bombs.

Not to be outdone, the US brought this extremely heavy .30 cal 'light' machinegun.

The SS contingent had a hand cart, clearly a typical late 1944 panzer division.

The 'panzer division' in action.

Plucky Brits from the Rifle Brigade mingle with various Germans and Americans at the briefing.

Pioneers are briefed by the CO.

Our illustrious leader, Oberfeldwebel Steiner.

Hanging around eating.

More hanging around eating.

Sadly helmets off reveals the age of many of the participants!

Luftwaffe Field Div.

Mine clearance. There were lots of mines to clear all over the site. I managed not to blow myself up this time.

Period-ised photo.


Hanging around in b/w

Pioneers patrolling.

Pioneers hanging around.

Lurking with an MP44.

Just to show it wasn't all Germans! US Infantry.

A platoon of US troops.
Another jolly weekend trudging around the woods, notable partly for the huge quantity of beer we got through on Friday night and also for the discovery that years of applying dubbin have rendered my low boots into virtual wellingtons of waterproof-ness. Unfortunately when you've filled them with swamp water from misjudging water depths, this keeps the water inside... 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

BF SU-85s

Along with the IS-IIs I picked up a couple of Battlefront SU-85s at Triples, also needed for a scenario I had in mind. These were fairly eye wateringly expensive in comparison to the PSC offerings,  but hunting around the stands at Triples I managed to find a couple for less than nine pounds apiece (!). I carefully checked the blisters before parting with my hard earned cash to make sure they actually had gun barrels and pairs of tracks rather than to sets of left hand ones or whatever and eventually found some which looked complete.

They went together as well as BF models normally do, although the general crudeness of the castings was very evident compared to the PSC offerings. In trying to get the metal tracks to stick to the resin hull, one of the hulls flew from my grasp and was retrieved from the floor minus most of its mudguards, which was a little annoying. Oh well, battle damage I guess..

They don't look to bad once assembled and painted. As ever, advancing across the dining table.

They look quite imposing from the front.

This is the damaged one, shows up the detail on the tracks very well though.

Side/rear view.
As I said above, the finished vehicles are OK. At some point I'll get some SU-76s,  but I'll wait for the PSC ones rather than struggling with more badly cast and overpriced BF models. I tried the new track painting technique on these as well as the IS-IIs and I think it looks OK so I shall presevere with it on some new projects. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Capturing the crossing

The second scenario in the Operation Epsom sub-campaign of the Memoir 44 Normandy Campaign. This features a battle we've been to a few times before, Cheux on the front of 15th Scottish Div.  In this intsance a fair portion of the front encompassing 15th Div, 34th Tank Brigade and bits of 11th Armoured Div on the British side against the left flank of 12th SS Panzer Div supported by elements of 21st Panzer and Tigers from the 101st SS Tiger Bn. The German artillery is still located on the heights around Rauray after the last battle.

Tim and Mark took the Germans, John and Kayte the British. All photos taken from the German left/British right.

As a continuing campaign battle, both sides had the opportunity to inflict minor losses on the enemy (throw two battle dice plus one for each previous battle won for losses), and both sides rolled a reserve unit too, which they elected to keep in a staging area offtable.

The German left, guns on the heights covered by infantry and tanks, Cheux in the distance with Tigers and Panthers across the Odon.

Infantry defences around Cheux, some of these were equipped with mortars.

Churchills of 34th Tank Brigade and 15th Div infantry. Infantry tanks can only move 2 hexes but take four hits.

More British infantry and some Shermans from 11th AD.

The British left flank comes under artillery fire from Rauray.

The Panther suffered a hit during the game setup sequence and moved up to support the German left.

Tanks and infantry exchange fire in the centre as the Tigers cross the Odon.

The Tiger takes numerous hits and is driven back by massed gunfire as British infantry overrun the outskirts of Cheux.

They press on to impudently threaten the river crossing (a British objective).

On the left the Luftwaffe makes a suprise appearance, damaging both the Shermans and Achilles.

On the German right the Churchills and British infantry are thinned out as Stugs counterattack.

12th SS Panzer IVs make a foray towards the British left, supported by artillery.

Churchills press foward behind artillery fire as the Panthers move up.

The Panthers make a death ride against the weakened British centre.

Another British infantry unit makes a dash for the bridge and makes it this time.

The SS Mark IVs crush a British infantry unit under their tracks, ending the game.
This was a much closer battle than last time, the scores being four: six (Allied: Axis). Overall campaign totals now being nine:seven with the Allies still ahead and importanly having captured the bridge at Cheux which affects the next scenario. The game mechanisms worked better in this, with combat being more attritional as I had hoped and both players making considered moves with good use of combined arms, the German artillery at Rauray was particularly effective.

So, on to the next one, Hill 112!