Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Dfs 230 Assault Gliders

 Having got my Fallschirmjagers a Ju 52 to jump out of, I thought they also needed some gliders, otherwise how is poor Major Witzig going to land his engineers on top of Eban Emael?

Given how little use these were going to get, I didn't waste any time looking for 1/144th scale ones and just went for 1/300th. 

A Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Dfs 230. What a lovely little model, the legacy of the pre war Luftwaffe glider clubs is very obvious in the design, although this was a fair bit bigger than the two seater versions, even mounting an MG behind the cockpit. Did the Germans mount an MG on everything?

Being 1/300 th scale metal, it only had two parts - the fuselage and a seperate single piece wing. It hardly had any flash and the wing section fitted perfectly. As usual, once sticking it together I undercoated it grey. 

At first I thought these were far too small to look any good, but I was mislead by the size of the fuselage as the wings are enormous. I can't imagine how big a 1/144  scale one would be. 

These little planes were generally fairly plain, with just small crosses on the sides of fuselage and under the wings. They were often just plain green on the upper sides, but I found some photos of some with a basic splinter camouflage on the wings so I did that to make them a bit more interesting. They also sometimes had some disruptive patterns on the sides but that was a bit hard in 1/300th so I just left them plain sky blue.

I left the undersides quite plain, no point in highlighting the landing skid. I drilled a hole in the centre of gravity for a flight stand.

Here it has some friends, I am sure that will be plenty for whatever use I find for them.

That was fun, lovely little models and a joy to paint.

Sunday, 20 June 2021


 John put on another eighteenth century game using Brown Bess, this time went off to the Battle of Lobowitz in 1756. Frederick the Great faced off against General von Browne and the reformed Austrian army on the Elbe.

We were a bit light on numbers for this one, so myself and Mark took the Austrians, while Tim and Tim took the Prussians.

The battle was fought on a foggy morning in the Elbe valley as Fredericks army debouched from a mountain pass. He wasn't sure what was ahead, but decided it was an Austrian rearguard and attacked. Little did he know that von Browne had laid a trap...

This is what things looked like from the Prussian pov (Blue units). In fact there are a ton more Austrian  (red units) units lurking in the mist in the marshes and along the sunken road. We kept track of those secretly. Hard to see in the screen shot, but there is a brigade of elite Grenzers in the hills on the top right.

This is what the Austrians actually had around Lobositz. Four additional infantry units and a pair of Cuirassier units, all hidden from the Prussians!

The battle opened with a cannonade. This was fine from my pov as it gave a chance to push the two Austrian brigades with their backs to the Elbe forward and support the Grenzers. The odd hit the Prussians inflicted I could just rally off. I was also able to move some units to garrison the BUAs, which proved to be crucial.

Eventually Frederick got bored with this as he realised it wasn't having much effect, and moved to contact. This revealed a few more Austrians, and their defensive fire wreaked havoc. The Austrian artillery was particularly effective at close range.

Contact was made on the Austrian left. One of the Prussian infantry was routed by point blank cannister fire, but the elite Prussian cavalry engaged our horsemen in melee.

The Prussians rolled forwards in dribs and drabs. One of the Austrian cavalry was defeated, which just exposed the French to close range musket fire from the village. Meanwhile the Grenzers had managed to tie up two entire Prussian brigades.

A bloody point blank firefight raged, but our chaps were supported by close range artillery and defending buildings. The Austrians had the edge and the Prussian infantry began to disintegrate.

After a few turns pounding, there wasn't much left of Fredericks army. The Prussian cavalry found out the hard way that defended villages flanked by swamps are really hard to take.

The Austrian reserves now appeared, and Prussian morale plummeted. The Grenzers also turned out to be really tough in the mountainous terrain and shattered the Prussian infantry stalking them.

The Austrians began to close in on the remains of the Prussians, and realising he was now outnumbered 2:1, Frederick decided it was time to withdraw. The Battle of Lobositz was over. Ah well, in real life it was a close run thing too, and Frederick was still learning his trade but managed to pull a victory out of an unpromising situation. 

As someone who has played with Austrians a lot, it was very pleasant playing with some Austrians who had a degree of professional competence. Well done von Browne for reforming the army so effectively.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Zvezda BT-5

 I've got quite a few BTs in 6mm, but none in 15mm, and I thought it was time to boost my early war Soviet armour holdings as there were roughly equal numbers of T26 and BT available in 1941 (around 9000 of each) . Zvezda do some lovely cheap BT-5s, so I picked up a few of those.

Here they are roaring across the tabletop. Never mind the paper thin armour, what super little tanks, and with a very scary gun for 1937.

The front hull gives a real impression of speed. It was set up like that to allow for trackless, steering, but is has the dual benefit of being sensible from a ballistic point of view too.

These were very easy to put together with few parts, one piece track assemblies and almost no flash. The track plates even bear a resemblance to the real ones, which is unusual in Zvezda kits.

Lots of nice detail on the hull and engine. Quite finely moulded but easily sufficient to pick up a drybrush.

They look very racy from the side, but somehow seem to be lacking a wheel. I'm too used to T34s. You can see the good track detail including the widely spaced guide teeth. 

Here they all are from the front. I did them in a base of Vallejo Russian Green 894, then went over them with a heavy drybrush of VJ894 mixed with about a third of VJ Middlestone to produce that sort of horrible green colour that Soviet tanks fade to in the sun. As these were quite long in the tooth by 1941, I thought faded paint was more appropriate and they've ended up surprisingly close to the colour in Zalogas 'Eastern Front Armour and Camouflage'. 

Otherwise it was the usual mud and ink over the running gear, and a light tan drybrush overall to pick out the highlights.

Ive got a couple scenarios in mind which will feature these, so coming to a tabletop near you at some point in the future. 

Friday, 11 June 2021

Breaking the Crust, Market Garden, 1944

 After the Battle for Best, there seemed to be some general enthusiam for doing some sort of linked Market Garden campaign, so I rolled right back to the XXX Corps breakout from the Neerpelt bridgehead. I'd actually run this scenario before (see https://tgamesweplay.blogspot.com/2019/08/breaking-crust.html) but had always been slightly puzzled by the CD scenario setup. I finally realised it started after the XXX Corps preliminary bombardment, which was why the 6th Luftwaffe Penal Battalion and one of the of the 6th FJR battalions were missing.

I revised the OBs back to the correct historical ones (based on 'It Never Snows in September' by Kershaw) and added the poor speed bump battalions to Kampfgruppe Walther.

Jerry. John. Tom and Tim C took the Irish Guards Battlegroup, and Tim G, Simon and Pete KG Walther. Tom had expressed a particular interest in leading an armoured breakout, so commanded 2nd Irish Guards at the front of the column. John had 3rd Irish Guards, Tim had 2nd Devonshires and Jerry was in overall command as JOE Vandeleur, aka Micheal Caine. Not a lot of people know that.

For the Germans, Simon had HG Hoffman (1st FJR) along the road, Pete had 6th FJR holding the woods to the west and Tim had SS KG Heinke drawn from 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions holding the east. Tim was standing in for Walther as overall CO.

Battlefield from the south. Borkel to the east, Petter to the west and Valkenswaard just off the north edge of the map over the stream. The Neerpelt bridghead is just off the southern edge and the leading elements of Irish Guards Group are at Kolonie.

2 Irish Guards, 3 Irish Guards and 2 Devonshires packed into the assembly area, flanked by Guards Armoured Divisional Artillery. Directly facing them are III/6FJR and 6 Luftwaffe Penal Battalion strung out in a long 'speed bump'.

The rest of 6FJR around Petter. These troops had high morale but relatively poor training as they were padded out with new conscripts. This was the combat debut of my new PP Fallschirmjagers, a whole regiment of them!

SS Heinke around and south of Borkel. The main element was a pair of panzergrenadier companies  from 9th and 10th SS grouped under 19th SS PGR and what remained of 10th SS Panzerjager Abteiling with fifteen Jagdpanzer IVs. KG Hoffman (1st FJR) is holding the main road in depth backed up a company of 10th SS engineers at the bridge to Valkenswaard.

SS Jagdpanzer IVs in Borkel, motorised engineers at the bridge and Tims HQ.

The action opened at 1355 with the sky black with aircraft! Well, I had the models so.... 

Dakotas, Mitchells, Spitfires, Typhoons. Sadly my metal Mosquito was a bit to unsteady on its flight stand and I didn't want to risk carnage on the tabletop. 'If only I'd once had such resources at my disposal' as Kurt Student observed as the air armada flew overhead.

The Dakotas droned away, and at 1400 hours a 300 gun bombardment opened up, coupled with massed airstrikes from fighter bombers and medium bombers. I'd already warned the Germans what was going to happen so they weren't too depressed. The bombardment obliterated the German front line and suppressed everybody else.

The original CD scenario starts after the bombardment has been fired, but I thought it would be more fun to represent it as you don't get many chances to field a penal battalion, even if only for one turn!

The Irish Guards then motored on behind a rolling barrage fired by the entire divisional artillery. This was pre-programmed and lifted one hex row per turn. We've all seen that scene in the film. 'Driver advance!'

A slightly alarming view for the SS Panzergrenadiers.

2nd Irish Guards rolled up the road behind the barrage, the infantry dismounting from the back of the tanks when they entered the woods. 'This is the wide part' (JOE Vandeleur/Micheal Caine).  The Germans opened fire with their AT guns but they were suppressed by the barrage and the fire was ineffective.

3rd Irish Guards formed up and set off cross country in the direction of Borkel. The SS opened fire with mortars and inflicted some losses on the lorried infantry.

Rather than hang around trading shots with the Germans, 3IG just rolled right over their positions. The Germans fell back disorganised to the next ridge, but not before inflicting heavy losses on the British tankers from their entrenched positions with infantry AT weapons. Ouch. The SS were rated as veterans so very dangerous, but with fairly average morale.

Concerned by the prospect of the disorganised panzergrenadiers being overrun, the Jagdpanzers moved up in support.

The Devonshires moved on either side of Kolonie, while Jerry set up his HQ in the village.

Over in  the east, the Jagdpanzers got in the first shot and the remaining 3 IG Shermans went up in flames. The survivors fell back to reverse slope positions out of sight of the Germans. One group of Devonshires accompanied by a squadron of 15/19 Hussars moved up in support. 

Back on the main road, 2IG managed to knock out the AT guns with direct fire but were then appallingly unlucky and failed their morale test to assault the handful of surviving FJ. Meanwhile the barrage rolled on northwards over the rest of KG Hoffman.  

Heinke moved up and rallied the disorganised panzergrenadiers, covered by the Jagdpanzers who took up hull down positions. 

Over in the west, all was quiet on the 6th FJR front although the other group of Devonshires located minefields south of Petter. (the whole front between the woods was lightly mined)

Back on the main road, 2IG sorted themselves out, as as the barrage rolled away, the RAF put in an appearance as the first flight of Typhoons swooped down.

KG Hoffman suffered some losses from the air attack but remained in good order.

It was fairly obvious where the main allied effort was now, so 6th FJR began to redeploy. II/6FJR moved east from Petter, and I/6FJR side stepped to replace them.

2 Irish Guards now called down both 25 pdr Regiments and another airstrike on KG Hoffman, followed by an armour/infantry assault down the road. This spread death and destruction among the dug in German paras, but they  calmly stalked the Shermans with their Panzerfausts and knocked several tanks out. A bloody melee now raged over the road junction.

Further west, the Devonshires and II/6FJR bumped into each other in the woods and exchanged small arms fire to little effect.

2 IG finally mopped up the last of the FJ, but not before losing yet more tanks in close combat. Only one German unit between them and the road north though. 

The Devonshires had the worst of the firefight with the FJ and fell back in disorder. Jerry moved up to help rally them. Fortunately another two companies had moved up to plug the gap. I/6FJR fortified Petter, while II/6FJR assessed its chance to cut the main road.

With British tanks suddenly behind them, the Jagdpanzers turned about and rumbled off towards Borkel.

The Irish Guards turned right off the main road and met the Jagdpanzers in the fields outside Borkel in close range combat. The British tanks outpaced their infantry and a bloody close range tank battle ensued

To general hilarity, this resulted in the complete destruction of both sides. Ouch! Tim was now holding Borkel with just his HQ, while two angry companies of Irish Guards infantry eyed them up from the edge of the woods.

Back on the main road however, Jerry chivvied the Devonshires into shape. Two companies moved to block 6FJR, while the rest formed up to resume the advance, led off by 15/19 Hussars in their Cromwells.

Further north there was a loud bang as the SS engineers tried to demolish the bridge to Valkenswaard, just as another flight of Typhoons lined up on them.

The Devonshires column piled up the road, supported by the entire divisional artillery and the Typhoons. This was too much for the SS who fled, but not before knocking out some of the leading Cromwells with panzerfausts. The road to Eindhoven was iopen!

The Irish Guards infantry advanced cautiously towards Borkel, covered by more air strikes, but Heinke (Tim) held them off with a steely eye and his Luger.

As dusk fell, the Devonshires protecting the flank won the firefight with 6FJR and the disheartened paras fell back in disorder. There was just enough time for 15/19 Hussars to roll over the stream into Valkenswaard and settle down for the night.

Over in Borkel, with the main allied column well on its way and their armour lost, it was time for the SS to pack up into their lorries and head off the block the road again a bit further north.

While over the west, 6th FJR still held Petter in strength. Pete mounted his HQ up and moved forward, and there were various amusing exchanges about the ability of Kettenkrads to do wheelies.

So as night fell we'd achieved a spookily historical result. XXX Corps had just made it to Valkenswaard, but 19th SS PGR and 6th FJR were in good enough shape to block the road further north at Aalst and make the British do it all again tomorrow. At one point I thought it was all over for the British when 3 IG was crippled assaulting 19th SSPGR, but in the end massed artillery and airpower was just enough to tip the balance and they made it up the main road.