The scenario was Breakthrough, where the attacker attempts to break through the defender’s defenses and exit via one part of the board. So, Peter and I decided to recreate the breakouts the pockets of Russians tried to make after Operation Barbarossa and before the end of 1941. Here’s the board for the night:   and from the other end:  .

TURN 1: A Russian armoured car company (BA-6’s, from memory) comes onto the table:   . Two Russian152mm artillery batteries rain down fire on two map references,  indicating where the Russians were hoping to exit from. Platoon 1 of the defending German infantry company were in the radius of the explosions, and a Section was lost straight away. Morale held, though. Having seen the armoured cars, a PaK 38 got a shot off at them  but missed.

TURN 2: The armoured cars advance. All three PaKs open up on them  and one is knocked out. The Russians pass their Morale test, so they keep coming. German artillery doesn’t kill any of my entrenched infantry. TURN 3: The PaK platoon claim two more kills and a Stun result: . The cowardly armoured car commander flees!  (Poor Morale test result). My infantry keep their heads down as the artillery continues to rain down.

TURN 4: Russian FAOs try to shift one battery’s artillery fire down onto the PaKs – but fail. The cowardly Ivan armoured car reaches the edge of the board and is removed from the game. The other artillery battery now kills Section 3 of Platoon 1. I test Morale – I roll 7, which is modified down to 2.We are are shaken for…I roll a 1…one turn and must withdraw if any Russians come too close.

TURN 5: The FAOs can’t get the fire to kill my PaKs  . My infantry suffer no losses to artillery. Russian tanks are on the move   but the Germans can’t see them.

TURN 6: 2 companies of BT-7s burst out of the woods, moving at full speed!  The PaK 38s swivel so they can fire at them.

TURN 7: 152mm artillery shells begin to fall onto the German anti-tank gun positions as the anti-tank guns fire on the BT-7s. One BT-7 is hit and brews up. The artillery kills the middle PaK, the platoon commander, so it’s time for a Morale test. I roll a 5 but then a -8 modifier is applied, the outcome being that the remaining gun crews flee. I now have to test the whole Company’s Morale. This is where I normally lose games. I roll a 7…that gets modified to 4 – that’s fine. I thought I’d break and run, with the game ending then and there. Now I felt that battle was really joined – I was in with a chance to win. After all, the Ivans only have a few more Turns to get 50% of their stuff off the board…

Some BT-7s are close enough to my infantry to use their anti-tank rifle grenades against them  . The two teams in the white hut fire and both hit the same tank. One grenade penetrates but only produces a Stun result…the other hits the tracks and the tank is Tracked. This is too much for the crew who test their Morale, fail, and bail out.

TURN 8: The BT-7s grind on to their Breakthrough point, which is behind the little village  . 2 T-26s run into a minefield my troops had laid earlier  – this is the first time I’ve used landmines and I’m keen to see what they can do, since Peter has used them against me a few times with deadly results. I need to roll a 7 on 3d6 for each tank (I have chosen a medium density minefield only) – I roll a 10 and a 13 – no good, the tanks are safe. Back at the village, a BT-7 drives right over my entrenched troops! 2 anti-tank rifle grenades hit it, one of them Stunning the vehicle for two turns (hence the blue die showing “2” next to it, in this German aerial photo:  ). The Tank Desant (Ivan tank-riders) on the back are shot up by the German platoon HQ  – one of two Ivan teams are killed, the other surrenders to the Germans.

TURN 9: More BT-7s move, some getting safely off the board at their Breakthrough point. The Russian FAOs attempt to shift artillery fire again, but fail. The Stunned BT-7 is finished off by the nearby German infantry (their prisoners having been made secure)  but that doesn’t affect Russian Morale at all.

TURN 10: One artillery battery now brings down fire on Platoon 2 and in the process, finishes off the remaining non-HQ teams of Platoon 1. Platoon 1’s Morale roll of 6 is modified to 0, so Platoon 1 (now just comprised of the HQ team and the HQ Rifle support team) begin to flee  .

Now Peter and I stop to assess where the game is at. It’s a 12 turn game (Breakthroughs normally an’t be achieved in a 10 turn game). Peter can see the rest of his stuff can’t get to the Breakthrough point in time  , being all T-26s with lousy Cross-Country speeds. Peter has 1499 PV of Armour to get off the board (we excluded the BA armoured cars as we were uncertain as to whether they would count or not). Peter managed to get 736 PV off the board – he needed to get 749.5 PV off the board to win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By gum, I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

A rare occasion for me.

The lesson learned in this game for me – landmines are AWESOME, but remember, you are rolling 3d6 for them to hit, not 2d6. I bought medium density minefields because I thought I only needed to roll a 7 on 2d6 to hit with them. Peter’s advice was to buy dense density, because then you need to roll 9 on 3d6 to hit, which is a 50% chance.

 

Aren’t Peter’s tanks great? Some are his father’s work, some are his own. The T-26’s have great-looking mud splattering and weathering on them.

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In real life, I don’t think land mines are awesome at all. I am a supporter of MAG, the Mines Advisory Group, who do fantastic work getting rid of landmines, bombs, cluster bombs, other unexploded ordinances and live ammunition so that ordinary people can try to live ordinary lives once battles and wars have gone.

As per the previous post, Peter and I decided to explore another time and place two fridays back…the time being Spring 1940 and the place being France for our second “Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist” game of the year. Only a brief description follows of what transpired – in fact, if you want it to be really brief, Peter (as the French) won a close victory.

The board was of a French country house or manor or large farmhouse situated in the middle of a large farm:   .

The Germans attempted a central and Northern thrust using Panzers and motorised infantry:  but French armour, beautifully camouflaged, burst from the woods across the small stream and upset the German plan:   .

The centre platoon of Panzers continued forwards towards its objective whilst a flanking platoon was forced to halt and return fire  but they were surprised by dug-in, very determined and well-aged French tanks whom forced them to stop for three turns (as per the purple die you see on the table).  German mortars were so disorganised that, even though on the table for nine turns, they never actually lobbed over a single shell:  and as Panzers were slowed knocked out one by one the French actually advanced and forced their opponents to retreat:   . The game ended with the motorised infantry failing to reach the centre of the table as French machinegun fire slowli inflicted increasing casualties and broke the German morale:  . I blame my troops’ loss on all the wine and cheese they had been pigging out on the night before. If only they stuck to beer and schnitzels…

It was an extremely close game, going right up till 11.30 at night. We tried out an airstrike by a Stuka (which was successful) and had both infantry and armour on the table. Fun! Next game is going to be Operation Barbarossa.

Many of the “other” things I’ve been working on the side for some time are now being completed. The Trumpeter StuG III C/D is a quite detailed yet simple kit to assemble. I was getting along with it so quickly that I stopped myself occasionally to make sure I wasn’t missing steps or pieces! The only real problem I had with it was the rubber tracks. They are one piece and have holes on one end and pins on the other, wich you press together and glue. The pins on my kit were perhaps two milimetres long and far too thin…they certainly weren’t going to stay in place under their own power while waiting for the glue to harden. I snipped them off, used cyanoacrylate and clothes pegs with bits of broken chopstick to get the tracks into position and stay in place.

I improvised a gun aiming telescope sticking out of the molded-open roof hatch by using a cut-off piece from a Hasegawa kit glued onto some leftover sprue. From more than a couple of feet distance it looks great.

It then received a Dunkelgrau paint job and rather than just Operation Barbarossa dust drybrushing, it got dust and then ink and paint to represent splashed-up puddles and the Autumn mud. Here it is:

I also had three other things on the go on the side:

You’ve seen the Horch resin kits before…I did four of them previously…I decided a couple of months back to do the remaining two on the side while waiting for all those StuG Gs to harden or dry. I tried a slightly different way of painting the reflection on the windscreen with these two. I like it better than what I did previously, but it’s still got a long way to go yet.

The log building is from Pegasus Hobbies, but I’m not sure which box or production/kit number it is, because I got it loose in an eBay job lot. It’s not the “Russian Farm Houses” (#7702) or “Russian Log House – Two Story (Large Karilian region izba)” because I’ve already got those. If you know, could you please let me know? They are great to paint as they have good, clean, well-detailed detail so you can really bring out highlights and shades.

I played a game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist on friday with Peter, but it wasn’t an Ostfront game. Photos but minimal report to come (as it wasn’t Ostfront).

Best link of 2010

December 20, 2010

There have been some great discoveries and resources that I’ve linked to over the year. With Christmas almost upon us and my hobby-work time almost entirely on hold until Boxing Day and the few days off that I have between Christmas and New Year, I thought that I’d write a brief review of some of the best things I’ve linked to over the year.

There were eight links that I felt were good finds or great resources this year. They are as follows:

Italeri’s poll for feedback about what model kits they should make;

The Ultimate Model Paint Conversion Chart;

Tim’s Wargaming Stuff blog post on how to base trees that come with no bases;

On the Volkhov – a blog with German & Russian soldier reminiscences of action on the Volkhov front;

HistoryNet’s Operation Barbarossa: Albano Castelletto Recalls His Time with the Voloire Regiment on the Russian Front webpage;

Gary Kennedy’s Battalion Organisation during the Second World War website where I was able to learn about German reconaissance forces;

British Pathe’s website where you can see newsreels and film footage from the time; and lastly

Paul’s “Plastic Warriors” blog posts where he instructs how to model figures in trenches & foxholes.

While I’m strongly tempted to give the award for best overall link to British Pathe (who nicely commented on this blog and thanked me for using their content in a novel way), I’m actually going to give it to Skoblin’s On the Volkhov blog. As well as translations of reminiscences he also provides suitable photos when he can get them. It was very useful for understanding the terrain of the area and led to strengthening the detail I applied to a game this year. He wrote to me and said there will be more content someday, too.

Still, please have a look through all the others – there may be something there that you find particularly brilliant too.

If I don’t write another post between now and Christmas, I’d like to wish you all the wargamer’s Christmas blessing: “Peace on Earth, war on the table”.

While doing various searches for information to recreate scenarios for games of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist, I’ve been extremely fortunate to stumble across British Pathe’s film archives.

Four films of footage recorded by German cameramen during Operation Barbarossa have lots of great material for both wargamers and modellers. Here they are, with my notes:

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.02 –  Great footage of towns, bridges, rivers as the Germans fight forward or advance forward. Plenty of town shots, both of outskirts and inside them too. The Horch heavy car! Panzer IIIs and a Panzer IV short-barrel.

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.03 – towards the end you can see PaK 36’s, IG-18’s and Flak 88’s all being used against ground targets.

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.04 – StuG IIICs or some other early models in action! Converted AA flak trucks engaging ground targets! Infantry flamethrowers! German psychological warfare infantry team with portable AV equipment calling for Russians to surrender from the buildings they are defending!

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID:  3259.07 – Camouflaged 88mms in action; 50mm infantry mortars in action; field artillery (not sure of what they are) ,  SdKfz 11 towing Leichte Feldhaubitze Mundungbremse 18 artillery piece (105mm artillery piece).

Some have sound, some don’t.

In the words of Fred Moriarity from “The Goon Show”, “There’s more where that came from!”

So this post is the first of a series.

Victory! – explained

March 4, 2010

As promised, here is the battle report from last friday.

The setting was Operation Barbarossa or just after, so it was Summer to early Autumn 1941, somewhere on the northern part of the Eastern Front. There was a light Westerly wind, no precipitation.

The scenario was Attack/Defense, with my Germans defending a town they had recently “liberated”. The objective for the Russians was the major two storey (Italeri) Country House with Porch.

The map for the night:

Detail of the town centre:

Turn One: My concealed and dug-in 50mm mortars hit part of a Platoon.   Peter was playing Soviet forces whom were Poor Conscripts – normally he plays troops who are Reliable Conscripts. He tested the rest of the Company’s Morale for this loss of 6-8 men…and with a low roll and brutal Morale system, found the whole Company retreating immediately! Wow!

Everywhere else he was able to advance.

My two MMG teams now let rip from the vegetable patch.

They hit another Company and inflicted some casualties, but their Morale test was fine. In return, they attracted mortar fire. Then Peter’s offboard artillery landed on the edge of a dug-in Platoon but no-one was hurt. End of Turn. Gasps! I’m doing well.

Turn Two: My mortars failed to have any effect. His mortars fail to upset my MMGs. In reply, the MMGs kill another Squad – again Peter’s Morale test is fine.

The offboard artillery again fail to uproot my defenders.

Amazingly, Peter concedes at this point. I offered to keep going, but he explained why he wished to concede:

  • his troops can only advance, not advance and shoot, each turn ;
  • my MMGs chew up a Squad each turn;
  • he’s already lost an Infantry Company, one of two;
  • he’s only got 2/3 of an Infantry Company left and two field gun Companies, which won’t be enough to get to the objective.

We shake hands on this and then we prepare for a rematch, but with Reliable Conscript Soviets coming at me instead.

For once, I had a “proper” victory.

I lost the second game, though ^_^

I’m hoping that as you’ve looked at the photos accompanying the description of actions, you’ve been able to see my customised battlemat in action, which I wrote about here. I think the customising has helped it – the darker green suggests where there are different grasses/crops/weeds/possibly boggy ground and also gets rid of the uniform ground colour which really stands out when you place terrain/scenery pieces on it or based figs where much love has been put into ‘sculpting’ the ground for each base.

Back in October last year I wrote about how I made my own smoke puffs and smoke clouds for wargaming, here and here. Well, during the second game Peter laid down a smokescreen to cover his advancing Russians – here’s a photo of my smoke clouds doing their duty on the table:

They look great, if I do say so myself.

Victory!

March 1, 2010

Peter and I met last Friday for a game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist. It was an Attack/Defense scenario, set in the first few weeks of Operation Barbarossa. I had a 1046 PV army, being a dug-in German infantry company.

Peter had four Soviet companies, including a field gun company. Normally, his Soviet forces are Reliable Conscripts…but because of the period we were playing he was only Poor Conscripts.

I won. My first proper game opposing him.

I placed my troops well and although Peter rained down artillery on them, they held and they fired on the advancing infantry effectively.

Photos and full report to come.

Still 4 weeks of Spring left, but today is the second day of over 30 degrees…in fact, looking at the MelbinYewni real time temperature graph, today got to just over 34! This means it’s time to think about doing lots of wargames terrain / wargames scenery, as there will be the heat to cure and dry everything thoroughly and promptly.

I’ve made a start: the three telegraph posts from an old ESCI Diorama Accessories set have been assembled, based and given some lumpy earth around their bases…ready now for painting.

I finished off a platoon of PaK 36 anti-tank guns with crews, plus that ICM Krupp truck, so that they wouldn’t bother me and so that “Operation Barbarossa” next year will be a reality. The PaK 36s are from Fujimi, the crews are the one worthwhile figure from the Fujimi set the gun comes in, a chap from the  Revell  Fallschirmjägers and one of the two ESCI / Italeri Sd. Kfz. 251/1 crew. Photos: PaK 36 teams & truck PaK 36 gun & truck .

Some more comments about the ICM Krupp L2H143 Kfz 70 kit…it turns out pretty well and looks great painted. I opted to have the MG 34 on a pintle mount in the rear tray option, to fit in with the Kubelwagen Type 82 which also had pintle-mounted MG34. I don’t like the decals that ICM provided for this kit, though. There is too much excess clear decal surrounding the rear number plate, and even drybrushing with Kommando Khaki as a coat of dust didn’t help…in fact it made it worse and drew attention to the excess. There was also far too much excess on the front number plate – which is meant to wrap around a front bumper bar which is probably only a milimetre wide. Stupid! It wrapped but wouldn’t glue. I know some modellers add a special glue under any decal they apply, but I don’t have that glue and don’t think it should be necessary. The front number plate decal’s glue didn’t hold and so the whole thing popped off during drybrushing. A shame. Sorry ICM, sorry Roden, but I’m not having much luck with your decals.

Now, Fujimi’s product is meant to be 1/76 scale, but it isn’t. Let me clarify…the house probably is, but the figures and PaK gun supplied with it are definitely 1/72 scale or even larger…possibly even 1/70 scale! Anyway, only one figure from that product is worth using with the anti-tank gun because the others are even worsely sculpted and moulded than the figures Hasegawa provide with their WWII AFVs. Hence why each PaK 36 base I’ve done has figures from other manufacturers to make up the two-man crews that Panzerfaust: Armored Fist requires.

Lastly – a couple of Battlefield Accessories wall sections (enough to make two simple houses) have been assembled and are being painted, along with a Faller German, Austrian or Swiss log cabin that I bought at a model railroad shop.

Oh, and there’s a Wespe and that other Kubelwagen still in Tankoberg…but I’m feeling the time is nigh to make a caulk creek / stream following the laws laid down by Nikolas Lloyd.

 

 

…3 of Hasegawa’s 251/9 ‘Stummels’ and a vintage ESCI ‘Wespe’. The ‘Stummels” are continuing the fine detail and mostly easy-to-follow instructions of their other kits I’ve completed (except this time I forgot to drill some fine holes into the floor – I’ll rectify this by cutting off the pins on the relevenat pieces and glueing them flush to the floor, which ishow they would sit, anyway).

The ‘Wespe’ has old vinyl tracks (which it seems Italeri are oddly continuing to re-use in their re-releases, even when link-and-length tracks are better!) which has meant a lot of cyanoacrylate glue (and a bit of a headpin from the fumes), miniature clamps and clothes pegs to held everything in place during assembly. This certainly has dampened my interest in buying two of their Panzer II Ausf. Fs to complete a platoon of 5 with the three vintage ESCI ones I’ve acquired at Swap&Sells and get them all ready for a New Year 2010 ‘Operation Barbarossa’ game…I certainly won’t be hurrying to buy the re-released (by Italeri) Wespe to make up a platoon of 6…why can’t Italeri use the nice vinyl tracks Hasegawa has in their Sd. Kfz. 251 range of kits?

Still, everything is progressing well, all tracks glued well, with the Hasegawa ones even having some nice track sag (thanks to clever use of clothes pegs to hold them during the glueing).

 

Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…