Tuesday 28 June 2022

Cold War Commanders game at The Unit

 Some of the Cold War Commanders ventured into deepest, darkest Staffordshire, to Richard Phillips new gaming venue at Stone, the Unit, situated in a converted barn.

The scenario involved NATO covering forces trying to hold up a Warsaw Pact advance, NATO being allowed a reinforced recce battalion per player and the pact a tank or motor rifle regiment.  All terrain courtesy of Mr Phillips and in 6mm as usual.

My playing area with squadrons of scimitars and scorpions in the fields next to the power plant (centre left), which was garrisoned by my recce infantry platoons in Spartans held in ambush.  Another squadron of scorpions and scimitars is lining the wall around the airport perimeter, as too is a reinforced squadron of Chieftain Mk10s.  A third scimitar/scorpion squadron is lurking in the woods near right, along with the CO and all of the squadrons Strikers.  My opponent, Mark J is bringing his first battalion of BTR-60s with attached T-55s on at the far end.

The whole table, must be 24ft+x5ft.  The Cold War Commanders author, Mark F in blue shirt sitting at the far end on the left.

Turn 3 - my Strikers have somewhat surprised Mark Js first MR batt, taking up firing positions behind the railway embankment and firing as many times as orders permitted, although his third battalion is advancing - behind his hands and rule book, so I'm moving the Chieftains up in support, having lost a Striker to artillery fire.

On the left, Mark's second battalion has made fast progress, so a mixed scorpion and scimitar squadron has moved up to support the other on the edge of the field.

An inquisitive West German recce troop has moved up (right hand edge) to see what all the gun and ATGM fire is about.

Turn 5 and the Chieftains have left the Strikers to deal with Mark's second battalion using long range ATGM fire, while a mixed Scorpion/Scimitar squadron is moving up to mop up the remains of his first battalion.

The Chieftains still have a long way to go to influence the fight on the left flank.  Over on the far left, the ambush was sprung by Chris's T-64s moving on Alan's Belgians and a salvo of IATW scratched two tank platoons.  At the edge of the field, Mark's second batt is trying a combined arms attack and the defending recce squadrons have popped smoke in preparation for a hasty pull back.

Sadly, we had reached the end of the day, with NATOs left flank pulling back in disarray as the Dutch and Belgian contingents were unable to hold.  With the Belgian contingent pulling back, my left flank would have been in trouble as they were already falling back on the airfield perimeter.  Only the West Germans on the right, plus the somewhat devastating Strikers, were still holding out.  This at least in part due to Ian S, the West German opponent, rolling more than his share of 11s as command rolls early on in the game.

Lots of fun and a good try out of Cold War Commander 2.  I'm still not a fan of aircraft hitting on 6s, which makes them rather ineffective for all the trouble they go through to deliver their ordnance and the points cost.  Dedicated ATGM are now well worth the points, particularly when in defence, although the low save and hits mean they are brittle.  Popping smoke as an opportunity reaction to movement or fire was certainly useful as well, both for the defender and, if used well, for the attacker.

Thanks to Richard P for organising the venue and laying on the fish and chips lunch - went down very well.  Thanks to all the players, I think everyone had a good time, I certainly enjoyed myself.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Thursday 23 June 2022

20mm Rapid-Fire Arras scenario

 At the last club gaming Saturday, Will and I played out the Crisis at Wailly scenario from Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg Battlegames, using Will's 20mm collection and Rapid Fire! Reloaded.

Turn 3 or 4, view from Berneville in the foreground.  7th RTR is fanning out towards the south and the village of Wailly in the centre of the board, which is about to be hastily garrisoned by Will's infantry.

View to the northwest.  The German motorized infantry column on the road top right, with vanguard units deploying in the centre around Wailly.

As the British player and newbie to Rapid Fire! Reloaded, I made some basic mistakes.  The Brits lost their superior recce advantage by moving and firing at the vulnerable German towed guns, I should have stopped at the board edge and blasted away at full effect - that way I could have moved on Wailly earlier and prevented the German infantry getting too great a hold.  Secondly, I realised too late that to knock out artillery crews, it is necessary to knock out all the crew (3 or 4 figures) in a single bout of fire, rather than being able to whittle them down.  Coordinating artillery with vehicle and infantry attacks might have worked better.

Even so, the 7th RTR bypassed Wailly, around the right flank, while providing supporting fire to the infantry, also moving up that flank.  Eventually, the game came down to trying to get 2 vehicles off the German end of the table, resulting in Matilda 1s and IIs racing at a snail's pace down the right flank, getting picked off by 88mm and 105mm long range fire.  Two Matilda 1s made it to Blairville, only to encounter a light AA gun on reserve fire, which promptly damaged one of the Matildas, leaving it in full view of the rest of the German guns next turn.

An interesting scenario and one I'd play quite differently given another opportunity.  Lots of fun and a big thanks to Will for providing everything bar dice and a tape measure.

Saturday 18 June 2022

15mm assorted Desert and NW Europe Brit 3D prints

Last year, I acquired the 15mm desert war British collection of a former club member, Mike Yates, who had sadly passed away.  With 3D printing opening up the possibility of adding lots of additional kit, I have added a pair of Bishop self propelled 25lbr guns, painted in the dark sand and black grey scheme of relatively late vehicles in North Africa.  I washed them in Agrax earthshade to dirty them up and then dry brushed Iraqi sand to simulate dust - I may move to deck tan for dust effects on desert vehicles in future (or at least give it a try).

I also realised Mike hadn't had chance to add any Dingos to his force, so I remedied that with these three little models, crewed by FoW British tank crew half figures (courtesy of Ian).

The Stuart M3 "Honeys" were also not well represented, so I printed a three tank platoon finished in dark sand, washed in Agrax earthshade and dry brushed Iraqi sand (same as the Dingos).

I wasn't too pleased with the way the rear stowage box and tools strapped to the box had printed out, but managed to pick out enough detail to make up for the deficiencies with paint.

I also wanted some Comets for BG Fall of the Reich, so printed off these.  I've added some 3D printed canvas rolls/tarps. 

All the models need decals, but they are table-ready as needed.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Saturday 11 June 2022

15mm assorted German and US vehicles

To beef up late war US armor, I've added an M18 Hellcat to go with my Battlefront version.  Crew are cut down FoW US SPG crew (courtesy of Ian). 

I also printed an M36B1 Jackson tank destroyer, a 90mm turret mounted on an M4A3 Sherman hull - crew figures as before.

US armor is painted in brown violet, dry brushed Iraqi sand, black grey for rubber on wheels and metal tools, MGs, etc.  Beige brown for wooden tool handles.

A platoon of 3 M4A3E8s for late war.  I have one more open hatched model curing, ready to command a second platoon of vehicles.

A beute Renault Chenillette UE half track, one of Becker's transformations with the addition of a lightly armoured rear cabin for artillery spotters - in this case it will spot for a pair of 150mm Lorraine SPGs which I have yet to print.  Just realised, I need to add a couple of spots of blue or silver onto the range finder lenses.

Finally for now, a Famo repair and recovery half track.  I have some 15mm mechanic figures somewhere so here is the chance to make use of them on the tabletop.

The printer continues to print, so until the FEP wears out, I'll try and make the best use of it to fill in more gaps or items from my wish list.  Current focus in my grasshopper mind seems to be vehicles for the Middle East and Africa, the latter for AK-47.

Thanks for looking.

Monday 6 June 2022

Early 21st Cent action in the Middle East

Thursday was a Jubilee open day at the local community centre where we normally play club games on a Thursday evening.  The centre invited us to put on all day games for visitors to watch, so Dave, Paul, Mick, Nathan, Tom, Ian and I did an early 21st Cent ME game based on a US probe into the outskirts of, let's say, Fallujah (no idea if the forces involved are in any way historical).  A US battlegroup with recce squads in Bradleys, supported by various infantry squads in M113s and Hummers, with 4 M1s, met up with Republican Guard recce screen in BMP-2s, supported by a pair of T-64As, with follow up waves of T-64As and Fedayeen infantry in technicals.  All terrain and troops from Dave's collection.

The calm before the storm with US deployment 24 inches on from the far table edge and Iraqi deployment from the near table edge (Iraqis were allowed to occupy the buildings on the far side of the road just over 24 inches on).

One of the US objectives was to place special forces adjacent to what appeared on satellite to be a WMD - of course, the Iraqis knew there were no WMDs and this was just an innocent length of drill pipe.

Iraqi left flank.

The killing ground - but who for?

Iraqi right flank.  Bradleys in the distance waiting to be deployed.

Dry wadi crossing the centre of the battlefield - good cover for infantry.

Three turns in and the Iraqi recce screen (vehicles in camo green) have been overtaken by the waves of T-64As on the left flank.

On the Iraqi right T-64As also advance rapidly, followed by Fedayeen technicals swarming with irregulars. 

The Republican Guard AT-4 team in a sand bagged emplacement in the apartments with blue balconies has done a sterling job in dissuading US vehicles from breaking cover, despite its poor strike rate.

The empty battlefield - the US have pushed a Hummer forward on the Iraqi left.

Towards the end, the Iraqis have their danders up and are surging forwards trying to close the range with those M1s.  There is, however, only one operational T-64A on the left flank, but even one of the BMP-2s has come forward to try and pin the troublesome LAW and TOW teams that have made it to the wadi.

Burning T-64As (T-80s proxying for recce T-64As).

The moment of truth, swarms of Fedayeen unleash salvos of RPGs, taking out M113s and an M1.  The last T-64A on this flank also despatches an M1.  Not photographed, but US special forces dash out of a building and attempt to identify the load on the truck (just to the right of the apartment block), only to be pinned by a recce infantry squad that had been on ambush fire the whole game.  I'd like to claim this was due to my superb generalship, but was in reality a hangover from the first turn when all they could do was go on ambush and a lack of orders meant that I could never get them to do anything once reserves arrived.  A desperately unlucky casualty check roll of 1 meant the special forces team were wiped out to a man and the contents of the truck remained unresolved.  The Republican Guard ensured the drill pipe was delivered to a nearby oil field as quickly as possible.

There were some minor distractions for the US troops.  A concealed sniper in the wadi on the Iraqi right flank occasionally pinned down US infantry trying to push forwards, while two innocent lads on motorcycles heading home from work and a lady driving an SUV caused some heavy handed US actions involving cable ties, car crushing and I think double taps to the head were also mentioned, possibly in front of the worlds news networks, with Al Jazeera running the clips every 15 minutes!

A fun game, played using most of the Battlegroup Northag stats and rules mechanics, minus pulling chits, with a roll for the US for helicopter support, which, fortunately for the Iraqis locally, was in use elsewhere on the day and not available.  Great looking 20mm forces and terrain from Dave, although several of those playing could have fielded both US and British troops suitable for the theatre.  Playing this meant I had a search through my stash for some 15mm Old Glory ME and insurgent infantry, which are now on the painting table, while the 3D printer is generating some BMP-2s and I'm searching for Toyota Hilux pickup stl files for the insurgents.

Thanks to Dave for laying the game on and my sporting and gallant allies and opponents - it was a lot of fun.  Thanks for looking.