This was a return to infantry vs. infantry, but with one side being mobile…in this case, Peter’s Soviets were a Guards company and they were riding in Lend-lease U.S. M3 Halftracks.

Here’s the map, looking from East to West: Map – a kolkhoz on the very edge of the Soviet Union or a hamlet somewhere on the Eastern Front,as the Germans slowly withdrew back to Germany. Date: 1944. Nine buildings, with the roofless building with white walls (and black floor – a terrain item still being painted) being the objective for the Soviets.

A 6 was rolled for winds – Gale force winds! No smokescreens today, then. The winds were heading to the East (direction was diced for using a purpose-made polyhedron).

TURN ONE: The Guards Company came onto the board from the Northeast and immediately began deploying some artillery. Those Guards riding in halftracks quickly sighted Germans: Guards sight the enemy early

This was my Third Platoon, who had a 81mm mortar section attached to it. I needed 8’s to hit the Soviet artillery with the mortars 81mm mortar section killing some Guard artillery – I rolled a 9, a 15 and an 8 – one of four artillery guns was thus wiped out. Peter tested Morale, but was fine.

TURN TWO: The closest halftracks raced in, Moving into CQC trying to get into close-quarters combat (CQC).  The others advanced. Third Platoon got to shoot as the Soviet forces approach.

Each section in the platoon could fire a Panzerfaust 100 each turn. At point-blank range a 10 is needed, modified to 11 because my troops are Veterans. Only one of three hit; for damage, a 13 was rolled – an Immobilizing result (if I’d rolled 14, it’d be destroyed!) Panzerfaust hits! . The halftrack’s crew and passengers roll low for Morale and so bail out – the rest of the Soviets’ Morale is fine.

The Guards now returned fire Guards begin to open fire . 5 LMG bases and 8 SMG bases is a total of 58 fire factors. Peter then rolls a 4. The Germans are prone but not in cover. 4 German teams are lost.

Overall, the Germans lost 5 teams and the Soviets lost 4 teams.

The surviving squads of 3rd Platoon now test Morale – one is Shaken for 6 turns, the other is Shaken for 4 turns. The whole platoon is then tested and the result is that the whole platoon is Shaken for 1 turn, but that doesn’t over-ride the individual squads’ tests. This means the troops who count most are pinned down for a long time while the rest of the platoon is only temporarily hitting the dirt.

All Soviet Morale is fine (as is usual).

Both my mortars and his artillery fail to add to the carnage. Here’s what Third Platoon now looked like on the board: Bitter CQC severely weakens 2rd Platoon . A few individual teams plus the mortar section.

TURN THREE: I mused aloud my strategy for this new turn – Peter kindly reminded me that the M3’s had HMGs (heavy machine-guns) on them – thus I decided that Platoons 1 and 2 would stay put and wait for the Soviets to come to them…they wouldn’t leave their positions to try to assist the remnants of 3rd Platoon. 3rd Platoon commenced its forced Withdraw 3rd platoon are forced to withdraw but more teams are gunned down, including one of the two mortar teams.

I had to test Morale again for these latest deaths and it was going to be even more important I succeed, because a whole platoon of mine had now been  destroyed. I roll a 4 – the whole company is Shaken. Normally, I would botch this more dramatically – but Peter confirmed that once his AFVs come within 40cm of my troops, they would Flee. Since that would be next turn, it was Game Over at the end of Turn Three.

I did better this time – but should’ve purchased a FAO for my mortar section prior to the game. Silly oversight on my part. Overall, I’m improving.

Terrain, Tigers and troops

September 29, 2008

Today was both invigorating and fulfilling, as I was able to get a lot of things done and commence a new project entirely.

  • My work on the Tigers continued, with the Doug Chaltry track technique rolling on – doing highlighting of the bare metal using Boltgun Metal.
  • The panzerfaust-wielders’ bases came another step closer to completion and use in-game.
  • A lot of collected research, kit assembly instructions and helpful photos was arranged, put into clear plastic sleeves, sleeves put into a large folder and the folder stashed in the Hobby Room for immediate consultation.

This is in fact becoming bit of a conundrum…I have some shelves of history books and wargaming books in the Study (as well as information stored on my PC hard drive), but also need reference materials in the Hobby Room. The Hobby Room is already crowded and room for more shelves in there is not going to eventuate, so I’m trying to think of other ways to keep the vital stuff at hand.

  • I also prepared and undercoated some 15mm figures for another (non-WW2) wargame. They take Citadel paints very well and will be worked on while I press on through all the shorter stages of painting or assembly of the Panzerfaust: Iron fist miniatures (such as the multi-stage track painting).

The reason for the invigoration mentioned at the start of this post is due to starting something I’ve read about four years ago and have been meaning to do ever since – making wargaming terrain using acrylic sealant caulk. When I started casual reference work, I came across Nikolas Lloyd’s excellent website whilst searching for wargaming information and he made an excellent, persuasive case for using caulk for making your own terrain. At that time, I’d been wanting to make my own rivers and roads because a local supplier of excellent wargaming roads and rivers (made using rubber) had shut up shop. Mr Lloyd’s article was something I kept reading over and over and worked towards commencing, collecting bits and pieces here and there, up to a point in February this year when I made a test run with my collected materials to see if I could replicate his results. I was successful, but being a wargamer, was distracted with other wargaming modelling until now.

I had previously cut a shape from my supply of sheet styrene for a pond. I decided today to try making it, using Mr Lloyd’s methods and techniques. This was to be a pond suitable for a village pond or a duckpond. In the future, I want to try a lake and a set of swamps.

With the styrene shape, Fuller’s Caulk in Colours, a caulking gun, some wooden ice-cream sticks to shape the caulk and a boxtop to rest the shape on , I began.

Step One was to lay down the first layer of caulk, to get an idea of how much I would need in order to form a good bank / pond edge:

It was pretty obvious that to make a clearly distinguishable pond bank, I would need another layer, so Step Two was to apply a second layer inside the first:

The second layer seemed to be enough, so I put down the caulk gun and picked up an ice-cream stick and began to shape and smooth the outside of the caulk:

Mr Lloyd said that once out of the tube and beginning to be worked, that this acrylic caulk would be very soft and wet…he was correct, I found. Next time, I’ll let it set a little – maybe leave it alone for 15 minutes or so before shaping it. You can see that I haven’t shaped the inside yet: . This is because it needs a steep bank, so it had to be shaped using a new ice-cream stick, using different shaping motions and on different angles.

The end result is this: and now I need to leave it for a whole week before fixing it up or correcting errors, then undercoating, applying water and final paint. I dare not even touch it to see if it’s drying/hardening, as when I did that during my test run earlier in the year, I left quite big finger marks in the caulk that couldn’t be undone.

The bases of teams with panzerfausts for that Infantry company are now up to the basing and flocking stage. I spent a fair bit of time and inconclusive researching trying to determine what was the factory colour for panzerfausts. The photo evidence of panzerfausts delivered by the Wehrmacht but unused showed them to either be a green that I had not previously sighted anywhere in use, or a sort of off-white / beige. I decided to select Citadel’s Cammo Green for my panzerfausts, feeling that it was distinct enough and not wanting to try to make a blend to match a colour photo taken with a weak flash in a dark room. So, my panzerfaust teams will look like this:

That’s good enough.

The first of my StuG III’s by Italeri have come off the assembly line and are complete.

I’m doing some minor kitbashing to modify and enhance them.  Have a look at this photo:

On the back, I used leftover parts from the Roden Opel Maultiers and Opel Blitzes to make an equipment frame for the crew’s gear. This was a common field modification and some were even added in the factory. Panzer Grenadiers also found them useful as handholds when riding on the back. They were simple bits of metal welded into a crude frame.

Using leftover brass wire from the ACE PaK 38’s and my fine hand screwdriver, I added the aerial. I also wanted the vehicle to look battle-hardened, so I used my scalpels and files to remove the first plate of the left-hand-side schurzen. Schurzen plates were often lost from enemy fire or were snagged and ripped off when moving through rough scrub and rough terrain.

Lastly, I didn’t want this vehicle to have an autumn of spring look (mud everywhere), so I went for a high summer look and liberally coated it with dust. The effect is quite good. Careful observers will notice I painted in some sides of the track links being used as extra armour…again, another field modification by some crews.

I like this Italeri kit. Yes, it’s been simplified and doesn’t allow much modification but turns into a fine kit with a little extra work and love.