Thursday 28 June 2018

20mm Atlantic Wall

Well, it's taken me over 6 months to finally match up the fortress 50mm AT guns, bunkers and crews to get a set of bunkers for the Atlantic wall.  All are from the Defence in Depth range from Grubby Tanks.  The resin castings were excellent, with no appreciable bubbles or casting flaws.  The fortress AT guns and crew are top drawer.

First up is a large beach Tobruk, mounted on a concrete personnel bunker.  The gunner comes with the bunker and I've mounted him on a card disc so I can spin him to face in any direction.

View from the seaward side.

From the landward side - large steel door for access to the Tobruk and personnel bunker.  I need to scratch build a section of trench behind the bunker that will link up with the Ironclad Miniatures trench system that I picked up recently in their sale.

Then this is the open beach emplacement for a fortress PAK38.  I've mounted the pedestal gun on a magnet, which attaches to another in the base, so the gun can swivel, although there isn't really enough room for the crew in most gun configurations.

Viewed from seaward.

And from the land side.

Last of the three is an R667 gun emplacement with another fortress PAK38.  The right enfilade wall is a little short to be fully effective at shielding the embrasure from direct naval gunfire support, but that can be remedied with a polystyrene block if needed.

The business end covered by the AT gun.

Rear aspect with steel door protected from direct fire by a concrete wall.

The interior with the roof removed.  I'm going to have to lower the gun a little as the gunner is scraping his helmet on the roof, taking the paint off.

So, with the Ironclad trench system and some assorted bunkers, I should have enough defences to play a 750 point beach assault scenario from Battlegroup Overlord.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday 24 June 2018

15mm German tank hunters and flame tank

Yet more of my 15mm bargains.  First up a Jagdpanzer IV L70.  The striped camo scheme is based on one from a newsreel film, I think taken during the Battle of the Bulge.  This chap and another already in the collection should make an effective double act combining good front armour with a useful weapon penetration.  The model comes with mesh schurzen, but I have left it off as the fit is too fiddly and the vehicle looks pretty good without.

Next up, a Flammpanzer III.  Probably too lightly armoured to be really effective as it needs to survive long enough to get in close, but if it does … whoosh!  In Battlegroup the enemy take a chit just for coming under flame attack, plus the chance of infantry, even in reinforced cover, surviving is minimal.

Finally, for now, a Marder IIIH with PAK40.  Pretty poor survivability, but as a mobile AT gun using hit and run tactics, it can pack a punch and then scoot and hide.  A hit on it is pretty likely to be a kill though.

The Jagdpanzer is in a late war tri-colour camo scheme, whereas the Flammpanzer and Marder are in mid-war sand-yellow and brown, so more useful for Russia, but they can have a place as atypical vehicles even in very late war games.

Thanks for looking.

Friday 15 June 2018

Battlegroup Nordwind

Will and I played out a game of Battlegroup at the club last night, using stats from the Overlord book.  Will had devised a scenario based on a Rapid-Fire game based on an action during Operation Nordwind in Alsace during very late 1944/early 1945.

I took the German side with an on-table SS panzergrenadier platoon, plus an additional squad, tripod MG34, 20mm AA, 2 artillery spotters and an FHQ.  Crucially, AT support came from a Stug IIIG, Jagdpanzer IV 70 and a PAK 40 AT gun.  I had to deploy half the platoon in woods on the German left and half in buildings in the village of Herrlisheim on the right, with a broad open snowscape between them.  The Stug hid behind the woods on the left (one objective), while the PAK40 was dug in at the back of the village (two objectives) and the Jagdpanzer IV was concealed in trees on the forward edge of the village.  In reserve, I had a platoon of Panthers, plus a Gepanzert Panzergrenadier platoon, which would be activated if an objective was taken by the Yanks.

Will's yankies included a Sherman FHQ and three Sherman platoons, plus 2 platoons of mechanised infantry, 2 mortar half tracks, a towed 57mm AT gun, an op in Sherman and 3 gun Priest battery.

Will started with a bunch of Shermans coming on table, although his reserves rolls were generally low and force build-up took a while.  My Stug initially on reserve move waited his time, while the PAK40 and Jagdpanzer IV traded shots with the Amis.  Both the PAK40 and Jagdpanzer IV quite quickly got put out of action by poor morale rolls.  Galling to say the least as the Jagdpanzer was forced to abandon when hit by a Sherman 76mm round.  At the range, the Sherman couldn't penetrate, but need a 12 to pin.  Having rolled double six and pinning it, the Jgdpzr rolled a 1 for morale so abandoned the vehicle (a 1:36 chance of the pin and a 1 in 6 chance of the abandoning result, so 1 in 216 chance of the outcome).  Fortunately, my veteran Stug saved the day.  It swung to the edge of the woods, unsighting half the yankee tanks and then took pot shots at the other half.  First a Sherman brewed up.  Then the Stug was pinned, but follow up fire hitting the Stug called a morale test and beyond the call of duty test, which passed and so another Sherman brewed up.  In his own turn, the Stug brewed up another Sherman, and was again pinned by return fire before taking a non-penetrating hit, another beyond the call of duty test passed and another burning Sherman.  The shot below shows the highlight of the Stugs activity with burning Shermans scattered downrange. 

Sadly, all too soon, a lucky shot from a Sherman did for the Stug, by which time Ami half tracks were disgorging a platoon of infantry in front of the woods.  Two Ami sections and a .30 call were KO'd, a third section and .30cal reduced to one man each, but neither were pinned so they skulked back into their half tracks for protection. 

A larger view of the table top.  Pintle MG fire from halftracks and 3 gun Priest battery strikes have done for the infantry in the woods and the Amis have secured the objective there, triggering the German reserves to stabilise the front.  Panzergrenadiers have rushed across the railway line in 251s, trying to close with the US infantry in the woods.  Off screen to the right, Panthers trade long range shots with Shermans trying for suppression.  On the right, Ami half tracks close with the village.

One of the Panthers is KO'd at the level crossing by a Priest artillery strike.  More 251s with infantry rush towards the village.

The village, looking deceptively tranquil, but each house is manned by panzergrenadiers armed to the teeth.

Oh for another Stug!!!

The battlefield littered with burning Shermans.

We played from c. 6pm until 11:30, but had to finish just short of a conclusion.  The plucky Jerries were 2 points off breaking, while the Amis had oodles of points left (around 30), so the Germans hadn't done too well.  The Germans had poor luck with their two timed Nebelwerfer strikes, which completely missed anything owing to Ami reluctance to get stuck in and close with the enemy.  Fortunately, the two pre-planned artillery points were much better placed, allowing off table 120mm mortars to pin lots of vehicles at crucial moments.  The poor morale rolls for the PAK40 and Jgdpnzr IV were also a blow as some flank shots would have kept the Amis more bottled up.  Historically, the Americans left the infantry to mop up the woods and drove the tanks into the village, with disastrous results from Panzerfausts at close range.  Afterwards, we discussed whether there needed to be a scenario rule requiring the Americans to split their force, or maybe the Germans get reserves from a particular turn (rather than when an objective s taken) and whether some form of hidden deployment should be used.

All in all, a great evenings entertainment.  Lots of heart in the mouth moments.  The commander of the Stug would have deserved an Iron Cross had he survived.

Thanks for looking.

Friday 8 June 2018

15mm Early English Civil War - somewhere in the southwest of England

Steve H and I played out a game of Pike and Shotte at the club last night.  All the troops are from Steve's most excellent collection of 15mm miniatures.  I took command of a gallant Parliamentary contingent, consisting of two battalia, each of two pike blocks and four sleeves of muskets, one with a medium gun and the other with both a medium gun and a small gun.  There was also a battalia with a unit of dragoons and two commanded shot, one large, and two wings of cavalry, one armed with carbines, the other with pistols, each of three companies.  Steve took command of the Royalists, with a battalia of two pike blocks and four musket sleeves plus a unit of commanded shot, and another battalia of four pike blocks with two musket sleeves, recruited from Cornwall.  Steve also took command of two wings of cavalry, each of three companies.

The disposition of our forces just as we got to grips is shown below, viewed from the rear of the Parliamentarian lines.  We went with a classic deployment with cavalry wings to our flanks.  I placed the commanded shot in the centre, flanked to either side by the pike and musket battalia.  I placed the unit of dragoons to the rear of the woods on the left so they could advance and dismount on the front edge of the woods and harass the cavalry on that flank.  Steve's Cornishmen form the pike block on the right of the photo, while his musket heavy battalia with a unit of commanded shot is in the centre.

View looking along the "deadly field" between the two armies.  Parliament on the left, Royalists on the right.

The dragoons have been doing their stuff and attempting to disrupt the Royalist cavalry on Parliaments left, making them reluctant to charge home with only two of their three units.

This tactic worked as long as I could keep rolling at least one 6 for firing.  So far so good.

Initial musketry on Parliaments right were largely ineffective, but the Cornish pike blocks were getting closer.

An early success for Parliament saw a unit of Cornish muskets break and flee the field.

On Parliaments right, the cavalry watch each other with suspicion, while there is much push of pike and wielding of muskets like clubs in the infantry ranks.

In the centre, Royalist infantry had caused some nuisance hits on the numerically superior Parliamentarians, but in response, the Parliamentarians much regretted allowing their powder to get damp as their fire was ineffective more or less all the way down the line.

Alas for democracy, on the left, the Royalist horse managed to charge and broke the Parliamentarian cavalry on that wing.

By the close of the game, on the right, and much against the odds, the Parliament horse managed to break the Royalist horse, although there would need to be a significant amount of rallying before they would be any use again.  One of the Parliament commanded shot units has wheeled right and taken the Cornishmen under fire from the flank.

In the centre, Royalist horse from the left flank charged in and broke the light gun and a unit of muskets, but pulled up short of the pikes, which had broken a sleeve of muskets in the Royalist line.  Another Royalist pike block had charged the commanded shot, but they were holding their own at least initially.

On the left, two units of horse were waiting their opportunity, while the third was resting shaken.

We agreed to call it a draw, although things were beginning to go the Royalists way.  We agreed that both commanders could report back to King and Parliament that there had been a bloody struggle with great loss of life and maiming, but with little to show for it.  Both sides could lick their wounds and enter another round of recruiting, ready to meet again on another field somewhere in the southwest of England.

This game was great fun to play.  For the first time I got to grips with the proximity rule which restricts what units can do when there is enemy close to their front.  Several other players stopped to say what a great looking table and Steve's troops did indeed look the business.  Thanks to Steve for laying this game on, I really must get on with my 10mm ECW army.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

15mm Kubelwagens

These are a pair of Forged in Battle Kubelwagens.  There are 4 in a pack and the other two are going to join an early war force decked out in Panzer grey.  These vehicles are for a late war force in dunkelgelb.  One crew is wearing a camo smock, the other a medium grey uniform.  They can provide transport for an infantry FHQ or an artillery observer team.

Nice models, one piece resin castings with a base.  No real assembly, other than fitting the crew, which was a bit of an issue as the rear passengers are too broad shoulders to fit in the rear seats side by side.

I paid close to full price for these at the Recon Show, back in December, but they filled a niche in the 15mm German forces for Battlegroup.

Thanks for looking.