Peter and I were due for our second game last night but it had to be postponed, so I was left with an ’empty’ evening. I’ve been busy every friday night for a while now, and could have gone along to NWA regardless of having a game or not, to say hello to colleagues and see what was going on. I realised, though, that if I stayed home I could actually get some serious hobby work done…as lately I’ve not had much time for my Germans or my Russians. So I worked on prepping the sIG 33 crews and some Pegasus Russian farm houses.

Guests were due this afternoon but didn’t eventuate, so I’ve been able to get a good 4 hours over the last 24. The sIG 33s got a coat of Panzer Grey and the crews had their uniforms and boots done. The Russian farm houses had all undercoating done.

A Hasegawa 251/9 was washed and undercoated…I’ll be assembling it whilst waiting for the paint to dry on all these other things. Then the SU-85s (СУ-85)will come.

This game was a little unusual in that there were four platoons per side. This was because when we were going to play this game back in January, it was going to be two players per side. On the night it was just Peter and me with a lot of vehicles and a lot of firepower on the table. Peter was playing the Americans for a change; I was playing Germans.

The scenario was a second trial of a reconnaissance encounter. A medium-sized village somewhere near Germany in the late Autumn of 1944. A gale-force wind was blowing. Both forces are trying to see if the train station and railyard are clear…since that is where most cover for armour would be. Here are some photos of the table:   and here are three close-ups, going from right side to left:    . As you can see, there was plenty of terrain to block LOS and provide hiding spots as well as slow up any gallant cavalry charges.

So to the game! Turn One was plain movement. Each player moved one platoon and then their opponent moved a platoon until all platoons had been ordered to do something. \Such is the way of resolving movement with an Encounter scenario in Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist. Here you can see some M8s coming on board:  .

Turn 2: more movement. Peter’s M8s and a platoon of Chaffees are making the most of no hostile fire:  .

Turn 3: I choose to move full and get some of my men into optimal positions. Sadly, as they do so they sight enemy armour –  – they see Chaffees trying to conceal themselves by sticking as close as possible to a small brick house past the railyards  . Now, as I’d moved full movement that turn, I couldn’t shoot. However, Peter could and did. His Chaffees open up on a 234/3 and knock it out. They also try to hit a 234/2 but miss – it had only just come into view and they hadn’t properly trained their guns on it. I have to make a Morale Test for my 234/3s – I roll a 10 – they are fine.

Turn 4 is when it got hot. Both forces are fully aware of each other. I have to make a desperate gamble to save my Panzer II Lynxes from the very powerful guns of a second platoon of Chaffees. I bring around my platoon of 251/9 Stummels to do so. It is at this juncture that Peter asks me if I have purchased HEAT ammo for all my guns, which I have neglected to do…damn!

My forces try to manoeuvre into good firing positions while using as little Movement to do so and Peter does the same, boldly racing his M8s down the road to flank me.

A 234/2 Puma gets a good shot off and tracks a Chaffee  and in retaliation a platoon-mate of the stricken Chaffee shoots and hits a 251/22, destroying it completely:  . True to my luck, or form, or character, call it what you will! – that 251/22 wasn’t just any 251/22 but my Company’s Command Vehicle. This was bad. To ease my concerns slightly another 251/22 knocks the gun out of action on a Chaffee and the Chaffee crew bail, but regardless it still means I have to make a Morale Test for the whole company and the there is a good chance the game will end right then and there. I roll a 7…after extensive modifications it is a 2, which means the whole company is Shaken. I roll a single D6 to see how many turns they are Shaken and get 2. Not so bad. Across the table a 251/9 is hit and brews up – the armour they have is no defence at all to a Chaffee gun. A 234/3 who had turned 90 degrees is able to knock out an M8  , even though it was racing along the road. End of a tumultuous turn for me.

Turn 5. Due to so many enemy AFVs being within 400 metres (40cm) of my forces and my forces currently being Shaken, my troops must all withdraw. Peter checks the rules and realises that there is no discussion of what speed my men must withdraw at, so I can withdraw as slowly as possible. Two more 251/9s are destroyed  and the Morale Test gets a flee result. I then have to test the remainders of the Company and they too fail Morale, so my bloodied and battered troops flee the scene. Just as well, as at the rail yard the Americans had massed for a big push:  .

This game was played with 1/72 and 1/76 scale forces. Most of my forces were plastic, but the Lynxes were resin and some of Peter’s were resin.

I lose again and once again my badly placed commander dies too early. I don’t know how I can fix that situation apart from play ‘out of character’ and put my Commander at the back of the force.

I commenced work on those Revell Panthers a couple of weekends back because I’d finished those three Hasegawa 251/9 ‘Stummels’ – they had just been sitting around on my hobby table waiting for me to stop running around so busily and take a couple of piccies of them. The one time I was ready to photograph them, the weather wasn’t – heavy rain pounded down all morning. My photos are all taken using morning sunlight, but in the shade and without flash. That way, the lighting and colouring looks as natural as possible. With pounding rain, the possibility of photographing the 251/9s was thwarted.

These are similar to the 234/3 ‘Stummel’ that I did two months ago – the 75mm L24, its gun laying mechanism & gun bed are all identical. Assembling the kit was very straightfoward. I elected not to put any crew figures in – the Italeri chap I put in with the 251/22 was a bit too big for the vehicle (ie. his scale was not 1/72…possibly 1/70) and I didn’t want the same odd look with these…but since I have a surplus of crew figures from the Hasegawa 234/2 Puma kits, I might use one of those figures in the future, as they are to scale with their vehicle.

How many more to do? The Panzerfaust army list for Panzergrenadier companies gives me a pair of 251/9’s as a heavy weapons cannon section for s standard company.  A Panzergrenadier heavy weapons company has a cannon company, comprised of three sections with each section having two 251/9s.

I’ve done my standard heavy weapons cannon section (numbered 241 & 242) and one of the heavy weapons company vehicles (numbered 251). Here  are 241 & 242:

Now all three: 

and here’s a view from above: .

If I was to go completely silly, I have five more to go. Only if I can get them on a big discount or at a swap & sell…

Now, some extra resources I found online for this project were:

  1. colour and b&w photos by The 9th Reenactment Society of their own ‘Stummel’,
  2. a walkaround with colour photographs of the 251/9 museum piece from the Deutsches Panzermuseum in  Munster on a site called “The Panzer Tank Walkaround or Panzer Photo Gallery” (there are other Panzers there to look at, too!); and lastly
  3. the same as #2. immediately above but taken by a different photographer. Also with more photos.

I really like the green cammo scheme on the Munster 251/9…I might try to use it on the Panthers when they are ready.

***

Through the superior firepower (well, superior CNC & milling tools of a colleague) I have been able to get an identical replacement part for the MAC Distribution Horch 108 (Kfz. 70) & 20mm Flak 30 that I shelved back in the first half of the year due to losing a critical piece of the gun bed. I have nearly finished assembly and will do a similar camouflage scheme but with Dark Angels Green instead of Goblin Green.

I figured with all these fumes from assembling 7 Panthers, what harm was one more kit going to do?

It’s not been easy to assemble, either (just like the first time). I’m not looking forward to working on the four MAC Horch 108 passenger cars I’ve got!

…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).