Wednesday, 26 April 2017

20mm WW2 British infantry

I've been trying to find figures suitable for the British Commandos for the Vaagso raid in late 1941.  The contemporary photos show then in battle bowlers and looking like pretty standard infantry of the time, but noticeably without the gas mask case "at the ready".  This means that BEF figures aren't suitable and neither are any of the 8th Army/Mediterranean infantry types, as shirt sleeves and shorts were definitely not worn on the raid, more like gloves, scarves and balaclavas.  Looking at the SHQ 1943 and later British infantry, these seem to be just about perfect.  The only bit of kit the Commandos carried that isn't represented is a length of coiled toggle rope, but these are close enough for me to feel happy using them.

First up a 10 man section of three man bren team and seven man rifle team, plus one sten gun, including NCO on round base.  A Thompson SMG would have been better for Vaagso, but the Sten is good too.

Part of another section with NCO, bren and three riflemen advancing.

Platoon HQ with officer and 2 man 2" mortar team.

2" mortar team in more detail.

Running officer.

Company commander, consulting wrist watch, with NCO pointing and rifleman runner.

Engineers clearing mines with mine detector, lifting an identified mine with a bayonet and carrying up a box at the back.

Engineers (l-r) satchel charge, roll or fuse wire and clippers and a man pack flamethrower.

So, I've ordered enough of these figures to complete 2 troops/platoons for now, plus some Vickers MMG supports and 3" mortar teams.  They will also double up as true late war British infantry.  More on these as they are finished.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

20mm SS PAK 40

I've had a busy couple of weeks, with a US business trip to Houston and a holiday visiting family in Plymouth, as well as playing a big game (Crisis Point) over in Sheffield.  So, just beginning to get back to normality now.

Here are some pictures of a Britannia PAK 40 with SS crew, ready for winter.  I will be adding snow to the base and frosting the gun and crew when I start work on the Gebirgsjaeger basing.

I've spent this week assembling Pz IIIs from PSC and Italeri, plus Pz IVs from Armourfast, ready for my Battlegroup Tobruk DAK force.  More on this later.  I've also tested some SHQ British infantry with the intention of using them as commandos for the upcoming Vaagso game at Gauntlet and I'll post some pictures of the test figures shortly.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Crisis Point 2017

Crisis Point 2017, organised and umpired by Richard Crawley at the School Hall in Dungworth, near Sheffield, returned to Andreivia, the fictional Black Sea country, set in April 1918.  The Bolsheviks have just signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk and are evacuating the country, while White forces are keen to continue the fight.  British and Empire forces have managed to place a small military force in the capital Tcherbevan, ostensibly to guard the military stores unloaded there.  Andreivia has declared independence from both the Russian and Turkish empires and the fledgling state is attempting to maintain the front line in the Caucasus, secure the capital and ease the passage of British and Empire forces into the country to help stabilise the new country.  The Central Powers, especially Turkey under the Ottomans, are keen to see Andreivia return to the Empire, while the Germans are keen to support the Turks and keep as many British and Empire forces busy as possible.  Apart from the action in the museum, all actions are played out using the Arc of Fire rule set.

A British Ford Model T patrol sweeps ahead of the main force (Woosterforce) advancing into Andreivia from Mesopotamia.  

Meanwhile in Tcherbevan, the Museum of Antiquities is the scene of a struggle to obtain the Golden Fez of Andreivia, a potent symbol of Andreivian nationalism.  Andreivian police, the local Andreivian mafia and the famous jewel thief Arsene Lupin III all attempt to steal/liberate/protect the artefact in a Pulp Alley game.

The British commander, wearing the hat of initiative, apparently behind Arsene Lupin III's attempt on the Fez.

Arsene Lupin III's team peer into the room occupied by the Andreivian mafia (German-backed), while Andreivian police advance from the furthest room.

Andreivian mafia knocked down and out by the police sergeant in a brawl.

The game was heading for stale mate with each team securing a plot point, until in the last round of the game a police constable knocked down the mafia leader, securing his plot point, while Arsene Lupin III retired through  skylight, leaving the Fez to Andreivia.

Meanwhile, on the Caucasus front, the Turks (to the right) launch a major advance on the sparsely held Andreivian lines.

The Turks appear to have won the preliminary artillery duel and their troops advance out of the trenches in an extended line.

The Andreivians can only reply with rifle fire, having lost their MMG to artillery fire.

Meanwhile, behind the lines, a German gunboat descends on the coast to clear the way for a landing, interrogating the local Arabs and intercepting an arms carrying Dhow.  Having interrogated the crew and determining they are harassing the local Andreivians, the German captain allows the Arabs to get on with their business.

The most excellent gunboat was scratch built by Richard Crawley.

The captain calls in the first wave of troops, landing sailors on the coast.

Meanwhile, "White" Russian Cossack cavalry tries to interfere with the local Arabs, only to be completely overwhelmed in the close assault and routed.

Unfortunately for the Germans, as the barge advances on the coast, the gunboat runs down one of the barges, causing total loss of life to the troops on board the stricken vessel.

The Arab caravan, bearing a secret weapon, plods off in the direction of the interior.

The surviving German sailors reach the beach.

It's almost all over at the front as the Turks close with the Andreivian front line.

The German barge captain has spotted the missing submarine, beached in a creek on a recce mission, and goes in to retrieve it.

Towing it back out to sea.

The road to Tcherbevan, with villages garrisoned by Andreivians.

Including a most impressive lighthouse, built by Richard Phillips.

The British Woosterforce, in overnight laager on the road from Mesopotamia to Tcherbevan.

The Germans land their crack infantry, while the gunboat trades shots with an Andreivian armoured train.

The Germans bring up mountain guns.

And close assault the armoured train, which has a knocked out turret and another turret and engine neutralised and temporarily inoperative.

The mountain guns advance to take the bridge on the road to Tcherbevan under cover of their guns.  To the right, Turks have punched through the Andreivin lines and mopped up, with the few survivors in pell mell retreat towards the capital.  They will find their retreat cut off by German infantry and guns.

To the east, the British have dealt with the Turkish pursuers and rendered them ineffective and so the way to Tcherbevan is open.

The view of the British from the defeated Turks in the east.

Australian Light Horse scouting for the British as they resume the advance.

So, the game ended with British and Russian forces skirmishing with Turkish militia and each other in the capital.  In the east, a British force was free to advance on the capital.  In the west, a combined Turkish and German force was advancing on the capital.  The scene is set for a future game involving a substantial scrap between Britain and her Empire, supported by free Andreivian forces, with a combined Turkish and German force.  What role the White and Red Russian forces will play remains to be seen.

Thanks for looking.