Friday, 26 May 2017

20mm Fallschirmjaeger heavy infantry weapons

With Battlegroup Tobruk including rules and organisations for the Fallschirmjaeger on Crete, it gave me the incentive I needed to get all the packs of infantry heavy weapons completed that I bought from SHQ a few years ago at the Derby show.

First up, three tripod mounted sustained fire MG32 teams.

Three 81mm mortar teams.

Not sure of the manufacturer, I bought these from Paul at the Defenders club, but a 120mm mortar team - not developed until 1942, so too late for Crete.

A command team pack, again bought from Paul.  Front right is a mortar/artillery spotter team, front left and wire laying communications team and rear right another spotter team, possibly an air liaison team.

Two three-man packs of SHQ engineers carrying mines, demo charges and flamethrowers.

Another purchase from Paul, an MG32 team on the move.

This gives me enough figures to equip a Rapid-Fire regiment or a Battlegroup company.  I need to add a couple of 75mm recoilless rifles to round out the unit and maybe a pair of PAK 36s.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, 22 May 2017

20mm Winter Russians

I'd completely forgotten about these winter Russian figures.  I painted up a sprue of Italeri Russian Infantry (Winter Uniform) last year in case they were needed for the Korsun Pocket game, although it turned out we had plenty of Russians..

Nice, detailed figures.  I did have to cut the bipod off the Degtyarov LMG and reattach it in the correct orientation, but other than that there was very little excess plastic to remove and they took the paint really well.

At Gauntlet, I also bought a single sprue of Orion Soviet Assault Group 1945, depicting assault engineers in their Amoeba camouflage suits.  These guys were relatively easy to clean up, although one or two had quite a bit of flash to remove, but this came away cleanly with a sharp blade.  I've left the bases as bare sand, so I can use them with my winter and summer troops.

Still got lots of Italeri and Pegasus winter Russians to paint and all those cheap diecast Russian tanks from The Works that need weathering and frosting.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

More 20mm WW2 Winter Germans

To add a bit of variety to all the desert kit I've been working on for Battlegroup Tobruk and by way of a complete contrast, here are various bits and bobs of winter gear I've been working on for about 18 months now.

First up, some samples of German ski troops from Lancashire Games.  These are basic sculpts, with very little flash or venting and only required a minimal clean up.  The ski sticks are a little fragile and required quite a bit of straightening, with one of the pair of free standing sticks (figure in helmet on left) breaking off before I could stabilise it.  Once painted, they look pretty cool and appear to represent the subject well.  There are 20 figures in a pack and, if multi-buy packs pre-ordered at shows, work out at less than 50p/figure.

Next up is a single sprue of Strelets' German Army in Stalingrad.  I picked these up from Will at Gauntlet last year.  They look a bit chunky before painting, but have some nice raised detail which takes paint well and have a real "rag tag" look to them which matches period photos nicely.

A more recent addition is this PAK 40 with SS crew from Britannia Miniatures.  I posted earlier ( on the painted model, but here it is with snow effects added.

Then this is a Zvezda PAK 36 with liberal dusting of frost, crewed by figures in winter camo smocks.

And finally, a white metal IG75 with crew that I bought, again from Will, at the Gauntlet show last year.

So, those are the last of my winter diversions for now.  I have a Panther, Tiger I and Panzer IV earmarked for winter, as well as a troop of Stug IIIs and some Sdkfz 251s, but these will have to wait in the queue while I finish the desert project.  So far, I have two platoons of desert British and a platoon of DAK, plus another one on the way.  Then I have a troop of Matilda IIs, two of Panzer IIIs and some assorted Crusaders, Mk VIs, Panzer IVs and some odds and ends.  The plan is to get some transport for both, fill out a troop of Crusaders and add some infantry heavy weapons and artillery.  So much to do and so little time/money.  Hey ho!

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Waltzing Matildas - Battlegroup Tobruk scenario

Last night Will McNally and I played out the Waltzing Matildas scenario from Battlegroup Tobruk.  The scenario represents the outskirts of the village of Pervolia on Crete, which is defended by a platoon of Fallschirmjaeger, plus supports, against an attack from Australian infantry supported by Matilda II tanks.

Pervolia is to the left in the image below, while the attackers come on, on the right hand table edge.

A Stuka's view of Pervolia.

Olive-lined roads, groves of oranges or lemons and vineyards form the terrain across which the attackers advance.  Plenty of concealment, but very little cover.

The Fallschirmjaeger platoon is supported by a 75mm recoilless rifle and 2 MG34 in the sustained fire mode, all with additional loading teams, plus a 2 tube battery of 80mm mortars and observer team, a roadblock and minefield.  Both houses adjacent to the road on the edge of town are considered heavy stone-built and therefore fortified.

The attackers comprise 2 platoons of infantry, one in bush hats.

The other in tin hats, supported by two Matildas with make-shift inexperienced crews.

Turn 1 and the Aussies come on in an extended line in the far distance.

Turn 2 and the Aussies continue to advance on both flanks.  Jerry has put a section with MG32 forward on the left adjacent to the stone wall, with another section further back on the right, again behind a stone wall.  Both fortified buildings house the sustained fire MG32s, the other buildings housing the command group and third section as a back stop.

On the far right, the 75mm recoilless rifle waits dug into a prepared position.  The Aussies on the German right are trading shots with the 75mm gun.

On the left, Jerry and Digger face each other across the open space, trying to win the firefight.

More Aussies moving up on Jerry's right.

In turn 4, a timed mortar strike hits the 75mm recoilless rifle, with stunning lack of effect.  Shortly, the regular Aussie mortar support ran out of ammo and the mortar tubes fell silent.

The Matildas move up using their MGs to try and suppress the plucky Jerrys, but the section on the left, plus some mortar support, mangle large numbers of Aussies behind the stone wall keeping up a steady attrition.  When Jerry switches his mortars to the right, the Aussie platoon is pinned in the vineyard.

The Fallschirmjaeger squad on Jerry's right wait for their moment.

More mortar fire rains down on the Aussies on the German right.

On the left flank, the Aussies break cover and push towards the village supported by the two Matildas and 2" mortars from both platoons.  Despite some pinning hits and the loss of the squad in the forward position behind the stone wall, when the two Fallschirmjaeger sustained fire MG32s open fire, they destroy the attacking infantry.

On the German right, the remnants of the Aussie section in the woods finally manage to knock out the 75mm gun crews, leaving 1 man standing.

At this stage, we ran out of time and Will, the Aussie player, offered a draw.  The German player, me, grudgingly accepted.  Having agreed the draw, we revealed that I had taken 19 out of a possible 20 break points, while Will had only taken around 14 of a possible 27.  One more loss for Jerry and he'd probably have been running.  This was an enjoyable game and with some nice challenges for both players.  It was quite enjoyable watching the Aussie commander debating whether to try a rush across open ground or sit tight and shoot it out.  While the Matildas were virtually impossible to kill, they were pretty ineffective in pinning, although they were getting more effective as they got to real close range.  I had a little bit of bad luck drawing break point chits, as I managed to take 3s and 4s in just about each selection, mostly driven by removal of pinning.  Both players used sound WW2 tactics and it would be fun to try this again to see how it works out in another iteration.

All of the figures and scenery are from Will's collection and looks truly spectacular on the table.  I'm sure my camera phone doesn't do it justice.

Thanks for looking.