British V Deutsche Afrika Korp – Engagement

The Easter long weekend and my mate Tom was keen to catch up, so what better time to (finally) play some more Flames of War?

Mission and Table

I rolled up engagement for the mission. Tom won the roll off and was the attacker. Objectives were placed more or less opposite each other. My side (the one with the two ridges) had one behind the rough terrain on my left flank, and the other just behind the ridge in the centre. Tom has one just over the hill and the other I placed near the road on the other side of the field.

Forces

We just ran with everything we had (only my force fits an organisation chart).

German:

HQ with two Panzer III Ls

Two Panzer platoons – 1st with two Panzer IV F2s, two Panzer III Ls and a Panzer III N, 2nd with one Panzer IV F2, two Panzer III Ls and one Panzer III N

Heavy anti-aircraft battery with two Flak 88s with extra crew (so rate of fire 3)

Priority air support from Ju87G Stukas

 

British

HQ and two heavy armoured platoons with three shermans a piece

Light armour platoon with three honey stuarts

Kingforce armour platoon with three Churchill IIIs – this platoon wasn’t actually part of the force organisation chart, but we were doing a fun “use everything” battle, so it came under the company’s command

Sporadic air support from Hurricane IIICs

 

Order of Battle

I deployed my Flak 88s on the objective on my left flank and my second Panzer platoon behind the ridge in the centre. Tom positioned a platoon of Shermans in the centre of the field and the Churchills on the road.

19 - British Advance

I had first turn and did a big fat load of nothing. Meeting Engagement meant I couldn’t call in air support. Reserves were on delay. I didn’t want to sneak my Panzers out yet, and I made the call that the Flak 88s couldn’t fire (everything for me was supposed to count as having moved, Flak 88s are immobile. So I considered they’d been towed on and set up). Tom similarly did little, moving up his Shermans and Churchills. The Shermans opened fire on the Flak 88s, but were in effective.

Turn 2 and I kept my Panzers still again. My Stukas came in and wrecked two Churchills, while my Flak 88s bust open a single Sherman. Tom’s turn and the lone Churchill stuck around and moved up. The Shermans returned fire on the Flak 88s, but again were ineffective.

Turn 3 and there were no reserves to be seen. With two of the Churchills dead and the third showing me side armour, I moved out my Panzers. The Flak 88s wrecked the remaining two Shermans, but my Panzers couldn’t penetrate the Churchill’s armour. Toms turn and his Churchill turned to take on my Panzers, and his Hurricanes showed up to strafe my Flaks. The Hurricanes managed to take out a Flak, but the Churchill’s shots were ineffective.

Turn 4 and I still had no reserves. My Stukas came in again as I moved my Panzers up. The Churchill took a hit from the Stukas, but somehow wasn’t knocked out. The Churchill failed to remount, and the Hurricanes didn’t show up either.

Turn 5 and finally my first Panzer platoon showed up, driving in on the centre of the field. My Stukas were back as my Panzers continued their advance. Once more I just couldn’t crack the Churchill. British reinforcements also arrived in the form of two Sherman platoons (including the HQ). They came in from the corner opposite the Flak 88 though, which was not ideal. The Churchill remounted and decided to advance, opening fire and scoring one kill on the second Panzer platoon. Unfortunately the Shermans were out of range.

Turn 6 and my Panzers made it onto the objective, if I started next turn with them on it I’d end the battle. My final lot of reserves, the command platoon, showed up in the centre of the field. Meanwhile, my Stukas again tried to knock out the last Churchill but failed. The second Panzer platoon moved up to engage it but were likewise ineffective. Meanwhile my Flak bailed a single Sherman. The Sherman failed to remount while the others moved up. Unfortunately for me the Honey Stuarts not only showed up, but arrived right in front of my Panzers. The Hurricanes also came back for another strafe. The dice were not in Tom’s favour though and by the end of the shooting phase, only a single Panzer from the first platoon was destroyed.

Turn 7 and I turned everything in the centre towards the Shermans on the left. My Stukas were back, this time on the Shermans. When the guns stopped firing, one of the Sherman platoons and the Honey Stuarts were all smoking wrecks. The battle was all but over, but Tom shifted up his Shermans (the bailed one remounted) anyway. The Shermans failed to do anything, but the Churchill took out two more Panzers and the last Panzer from the first platoon quit the field.

 

Turn 8 and my second platoon was on the far right objective uncontested. Victory to Germany! It was a good battle, though the dice were definitely in my favour. Tom was a big fan of snake eyes, and he really could have used one of the Sherman platoons on the other flank.

Next Time

I’ve a game of Bolt Action, and hopefully some SAGA too, teed up for next Saturday. In addition, Thursday night is Guild Ball. Finally, I finished Kraken yesterday and Veteran Siren today. Unfortunately Sakana’s blister was baseless, so I’ll need to solve that problem before I can do any work on him.

Happy wargaming!

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El Alamein Mini-Campaign 3 – Assault on Tel El Aqqaqir

We played the third and final game in our El Alamein mini-campaign last night. The campaign had already gone the way of the Allies with two crushing defeats inflicted on the Deutsche Afrika Korp, so I was really hoping for a win to avoid a clean sweep.

Background

2 November 1942 and Operation Supercharge begins. The 2nd New Zealand Division is tasked with carrying out the initial thrust, the objective being the capture of Tel El Aqqaqir (the base of Axis operations). The division had suffered significant losses in July (1,405 men in three days of fighting) and the toll of the battle so far had seen it further worn down. To reinforce the division, several brigades and battalions were brought under its command – including the 9th Armoured Brigade. As a result of the depleted manpower, the 9th Armoured Brigade was tasked with leading the assault – headlong into dug in German anti-tank gun positions, including Flak 88 guns.

Table and Mission

I selected Hold the Line for this mission. The Allies would be assaulting along the road heading towards the village with the hill off to the left. The objectives were the hill and the far house (back and right of the road).

The Forces

I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of the forces for this battle.

German:

HQ with two Panzer III Ls

Two Panzer platoons – 1st with two Panzer IV F2s, two Panzer III Ls and a Panzer III N, 2nd with one Panzer IV F2, two Panzer III Ls and one Panzer III N

Heavy anti-aircraft battery with two Flak 88s with extra crew (so rate of fire 3)

Priority air support from Ju87G Stukas

British

HQ and two heavy armoured platoons with three shermans a piece

Light armour platoon with three honey stuarts

Kingforce armour platoon with three Churchill IIIs – this platoon wasn’t actually part of the force organisation chart, but we were doing a fun “use everything” battle, so it came under the company’s command

Sporadic air support from Hurricane IIICs

Order of Battle

I positioned my Flak 88s to cover my right flank and held my 1st Panzer platoon in ambush (with the intention to appear them on my right flank). My mate deployed his two Sherman platoons on his left and right flanks, Honey Stuarts centre left and Churchills centre right. His HQ was positioned at the rear behind the ridge.

Turn one and three Hurricanes would have come roaring in had Axis fighter aces not shot down two of them – already a good start for me. The entire British force moved up save the HQ and all opened up on the Flak 88s – scoring very few hits, all of which were saved. The lone Hurricane dropped its payload, but the Flak made its save with ease. Things only got better for me in my turn. I sprung my ambush on the right flank and opened up on the Shermans opposite, although I only knocked out one and bailed the other two. On my left flank however my Flak 88s decimated the Shermans that had moved up to take them on. I also managed to call two Stukas in which failed to score any kills on the Churchills.

Turn two and more Hurricanes came roaring in, two planes this time and my interceptors failed to shoot any down. All British tanks remounted, the Churchills moved up to take on the Flak 88s and the two Shermans on the left pivoted to engage my Panzers. The Honey Stuarts moved up the centre and turned left to also engage my Panzers. The HQ moved from behind the ridge to the back centre of the British line. The Stuarts failed to do anything, but the Shermans knocked out both my Panzer IV F2s. Meanwhile the Churchills silenced a Flak 88 while the Hurricanes did nothing. My turn and my reserves were still delayed, but two Stukas came in on the enemy HQ. I kept everything put and in shooting took out two Churchills with my Flak 88, with the third failing its motivation check and quitting the field. My Panzers bailed two Honey Stuarts, but otherwise were ineffective. My Stukas managed to knock out the enemy command tank though.

Turn three and the Hurricanes were back and again I wasted another air support die on trying to intercept. All tanks remounted, the Stuarts repositioned further into the centre and turned to take on the Panzers. HQ shermans, now commanded by the 2iC moved up to assist the remaining Sherman platoon. Shooting saw the Panzer III N obliterated but the remaining to Ls kept their cool. The Hurricanes failed to inflict damage again. In my turn reserves again failed to materialise, but my Stukas were back on the British HQ. My Flak 88 took out one from the Sherman platoon, but the remaining tank held. My Panzers bailed all three Honey Stuarts, which I was most unimpressed with. My Stukas failed to inflict any further casualties.

Turn four and the skies were as silent as the Honey Stuarts’ engines, with all three tanks failing to remount. The Shermans remounted and opened up on the two Panzer III Ls obliterating the both of them. My turn and I still had no reserves and no Stukas this turn too. My Flak 88 took out the last Sherman in the platoon, but the British passed their company morale check.

35 - Stuarts Take Hill

Turn five and no Hurricanes again. Two of the Stuarts remounted and took the hill that was a mess of burning Panzer wrecks. The command tanks moved up and turned right to deal with the Flak 88. My turn and it was all down to  my reserves roll: fail and have the British snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; pass and have my Panzers move up to contest the hill. I scored two fives and was able to bring both my 2nd Platoon and command platoon on. They bailed both the Stuarts on the hill, which wasn’t particularly fantastic, but good enough because I was contesting the objective.

37 - End Game

At the start of turn six we decided to call it a win for the Germans. We did movement and shooting with the Shermans and they took out the Flak 88 command team, with the gun failing its platoon morale check so my mate could have the satisfaction of seeing it off, but the battle had already been decided.

Aftermath

In the real world the 9th Armoured Brigade suffered heavy losses, but silenced close to all of the German guns, including the Flak 88s. It was another fine battle last night and it was good to finally do some real damage. Again the visual impact of the battle was fantastic and the scene of tanks trundling across the desert and the board slowly filling with wrecks really is quite powerful. That’ll be it from North Africa for some months though. We’ll probably return later in the year, but next up is Operation Barbarossa played out in Bolt Action. That won’t start still late April when my mate returns from his holiday to the US. Until then, I might post some other content, perhaps of my Ariadna and of the terrain I’m working on for Infinity. Happy wargaming.

 

 

El Alamein Mini-Campaign 2 – Push for “Woodcock”

We played our second battle in our El Alamein Flames of War mini-campaign last night. We have brought forward the last battle to next week on account of my mate being interstate for a work conference.

Background

On the night of 26 October 1942 elements of the 2nd Armoured Brigade was ordered to circle north around an area of resistance known as “Woodcock”. They would then strike south while the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps would also attack the point. The units were moved forward under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately the lack of light made going slow and units lost their position. By daylight, however, Commonwealth forces continued with their orders to take the point and regroup.

Battlefield and Mission

I selected the mission Breakthrough for the scenario. The objective would be the large hill opposite the canyon through which the road leads. My mate (the attacker) would deploy in the quarter with the canyon and I (the defender) in the other two quarters without the objective.

The Forces

01 - German Force

German (all proxy again, except the Panzer III Ns)

HQ with two Panzer III Js (late)

Three panzer platoons with three Panzer III Js (late), except for the two Panzer III Ns (one a piece in two of the platoons)

One Flak 88 with extra crew.

06 - 1st Armoured Division

British (yes this is the image from last time, just imagine a Hurricane IIC is also in it)

HQ and two heavy armour platoons each with three Shermans

Light armour platoon with three Honey Stuarts

Hurricane IIC limited air support

Order of Battle

I deployed the Flak in one quarter near the central line on the long edge and one platoon of Panzers behind the building and scrub in the other quarter, the rest of my force had to be kept in reserve. My mate put down two platoons of Shermans, including his HQ, and his Honey Stuarts in the canyon, the last platoon of Shermans was kept in reserve.

The battle began at dawn and under the cover of darkness only movement occurred. One platoon of Shermans moved up the road while the others swung around the cliffs. The Honey Stuarts stayed put, likewise the immobile Flak 88. My Panzers moved up ready to strike.

Turn two and day broke and with the sun’s rise so came the roar of Hurricane engines as a full sortie was successfully called in on my Flak 88. Thankfully no reserves showed up for the British. The Shermans moved up again and the command platoon took out the Flak 88 before the air strike hit. The other Sherman platoon knocked out one Panzer III. My Flak’s command team survived the bombing run and I just kept his head down. I also scored no reserves, much to my dismay. My Panzers opened up on the Shermans and actually managed several hits, but all were saved with ease. I stormtroopered them back to lead the Shermans on.

Turn three and still no British reserves, but the Hurricanes returned, this time swooping for my Panzers. The Shermans continued to move up and the command platoon opened up its machine guns on my Flak command team to no effect. The Sherman’s shooting was equally ineffective and I thought I’d get out of the turn ok, but then the (single) Hurricane blew up one of my Panzers and the final tank lost his nerve and reversed out of there. In my turn I managed to score some reserves and I decided to come in to swoop at the side of the Sherman platoon that’d emerged from the canyon. I scored a single hit which managed to bail a Sherman. Not good.

Turn four and the Hurricanes stayed away, but the final Sherman platoon arrived and drove straight onto the objective, which was to be expected. The Shermans and Honey Stuarts moved up across the field. My mate ignored the Flak command team this time, but the Sherman platoon that had just pivoted opened up on my Panzers – knocking out two of them. The Stuarts, unsurprisingly, did nothing. My turn and some more Panzers arrived, but by now it was too little too late. I couldn’t get in range and what little shooting I put into the Shermans in the centre of the field missed its mark.

Turn five and the British had secured the objective. Another crushing defeat for Axis forces in North Africa.

Aftermath

It was an even worse showing than the last battle for the Axis, having only managed to bail a single tank in two separate turns. My force distribution was quite poor and I really should have run two larger Panzer platoons, rather than three small ones. I think fielding my air support would also have been a better choice than the Flak – I’d have interceptor capability and good tank knock out power (especially because my mate tends to group his tanks closer than I do). Still, it was a good game if for no other reason than it was visually awesome. I really do love my desert board and the view of tanks rolling across the desert and flaming wrecks exploding is really quite fantastic.

Next Time

Next time the points go up again, but we’ll be running “just everything” lists. This means my mate will have four Churchills which don’t actually fit into the Heavy Armoured Company force organisation chart, but hey, it’s for fun and he’s already won the campaign anyway! I’ll have to give more careful consideration to what to field, but I might see about cracking open the box of Plastic Soldier Tigers I picked up last weekend…

 

Our next battle is next Wednesday (2 March 2016), but then it’ll be a drought till late April because my mate is off to the US for a holiday. I’ll be busy painting things though, so you might see some of that, otherwise look forward to the next mini-campaign which I plan to be three games of Bolt Action set during Operation Barbarossa! Happy wargaming!

 

 

El Alamein Mini-Campaign 1 – Counterattack from Hill 28

Welcome to the first of three battles in a Flames of War mini-campaign my mate and I are doing. It will be an escalation campaign with force size increasing in each battle. Our theatre of operation is North Africa with our battles set during the Second Battle of El Alamein, which took play in late October and November of 1942. The battles will be loosely historical based, by which I mean I’ve selected mission types and objectives that are in line with the order of battle, but no attempt has been made to ensure terrain and force composition is accurate. And please excuse some of the photos, quality wasn’t so great this time round.

Background

24 October 1942, the previous night the Allies initiated Operation Lightfoot – the first stage of the Second Battle of El Alamein. Infantry were sent forward first under the cover of darkness to clear laneways through extensive Axis minefields through which the armoured divisions would attack. Over the course of the day this operation continued, but mine clearing was taking longer than expected and significant resistance was encountered. At dusk the 15th Panzer Division and Italian “Littorio” division mounted a counter attack from a feature known to the Axis as Hill 28 and engaged the 1st Armoured Division in the first major tank battle of the Second Battle of El Alamein.

Battlefield and Mission

I selected the Counterattack mission from the Flames of War rulebook for this battle. This mission calls for deployment in opposing table quarters along the long table edges, with the defenders reserves entering the battlefield from the long table edge of the table quarter diagonally opposite the defenders deployment zone (so the one adjacent the attackers deployment zone). The 15th Panzer Division’s objectives are either of the two ridges on the opposite side of the battlefield.

Forces

05 - 15th Panzer Division

15th Panzer Division (everything bar the Panzer III Ns are proxies)

HQ comprised of two Panzer III Js (late)

Three Panzer platoons comprised of:

1st – Three Panzer III Js (Late)

2nd – Two Panzer III Js (Late) and a Panzer III N

3rd – Two Panzer III Js (Late) and a Panzer III N

06 - 1st Armoured Division

1st Armoured Division

HQ comprised of thee Sherman IIIs

Two heavy armoured platoons comprised of three Sherman IIIs each

One light armoured platoon comprised of three Honey Stuarts.

Order of Battle

The 1st Armoured Division deployed one platoon of Shermans at the back and centre of their line and the second platoon on their right concealed behind the ridge. The Sherman command platoon and Honey Stuarts were held in reserve. The 15th Panzer division positioned one Panzer platoon front and left (next to the scrub), the second back and right (behind the hill) and the third front and centre the with command platoon behind it.

 

We, or rather I, made a fantastic mistake right off the bat. Probably because of how much Infinity I’ve played (where the player setting up first is almost always going first), my mate (the defender) went first when it should have been me (the attacker). Whoops! I’ll say more about this mistake in the aftermath, but I don’t think it really would have altered the outcome of things everything else remaining more or less as it was. The battle taking place at dusk, my mate rolled for night and the light held. The Sherman command platoon rolled on from reserve while the other two platoons shifted forward. The command platoon fired on the Panzers on the German right flank, knocking two out and seeing the other one reverse and high tail it home. Then on the left two more Panzers were knocked out, but this time the third stayed put. Meanwhile in the centre, two Panzers bailed but nothing went boom. Not a good start for me!

In the German turn, only one bailed Panzer remounted (but I forgot protected ammo, which likely would’ve seen the other remounted). I then rolled for night and the darkness descended on the battlefield. I was hopeful that I would be able to use the cover of night to advance more cautiously and force my mate to come to me. My Panzer crew’s night vision was, however, as bad as the shooting of those who actually could see. I did manage to bail a couple of Shermans in the centre, but it wasn’t much consolation for a brutal turn one. I Stormtrooper my command platoon up, but have the rest hold.

British turn two and the Command platoon moves up to set up a nasty pincer move. The Shermans on the British right stay put but the ones in the centre remount and move up a little. Thankfully the cover of darkness, poor shooting and Krupp steel saw my remaining Panzers through the turn safely. I decided to pull my one Panzer on the left back with the intention of repositioning to the centre. My other Panzers moved forward, with all tanks now remounted – I was aware of the danger of the pincer, but figured the aggressive move was worth the risk. Unfortunately my bad run of luck continued. My command platoon couldn’t see past the end of their main gun while the other platoon hit what Paddy shot at.

Turn three and the Stuarts showed up. They were wholly irrelevant however and made their way towards the unguarded objective, which is all that needs said on their behalf. The Command platoon moved up and the platoon on the British right swung toward the centre too – the Bulldog’s jaw was now poised to bite down on my Panzers hard. In the centre things went pearshaped with the Shermans blowing apart my command platoon, the other platoon remained intact though. The other Shermans failed to spot any targets.

In my turn I pulled what was probably an illegitimate move, but hey, all my stuff was going boom and the day was clearly ended badly for Germany so it didn’t bother us. I moved my Panzers in the centre in and through the Shermans in the centre to open up rear armour shots for two of my tanks. The lone Panzer moved towards the centre through the scrub. My Panzers in the centre opened up and managed to destroy a single Sherman. Germany: 1, Britain: 7 – oh dear.

Turn four and the Bulldog’s jaw closed. On the British right the lone Panzer is blown sky high after I forgot to Stormtrooper him the turn before. In the centre the Command platoon helps out the centre platoon by taking out one Panzer while the central platoon out the final two Panzers.

24 - End game

Aftermath

In the actual counterattack that took place on 24 October 1942 some 100 tanks were deployed by the Axis and by the end of the attack over half were destroyed with no ground gained. Our battle most certainly replicated that!

While we did make some errors, notably me having the Defender go first, my rolling was pretty atrocious throughout the game. I also kept forgetting to Stormtrooper things, which is something I’ll have to remember for next time.

That said, however, we both enjoyed the battle immensely. I think the best part was probably the visual spectacle of it all. I am really pleased with how the board turned out and the scene of wrecked tanks littering the desert was just fantastic.

Our second game is in two week’s time and will see the 2nd Armoured Division engaging the 15th Panzer Division while circling the point known as “Woodcock” in a breakthrough mission. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this AAR and look forward to the next one. Happy wargaming!

 

Desert Board

My mate and I are kicking off a three game El Alamein Flames of War mini-campaign this Wednesday. I’ve got myself into gear to do up some desert roads and an 1800mmx1200mm desert board.

Simple stuff: sheet of 1800×1200 MDF (I think it is 6mm thick, I forget). Glue on sand and sealed with watered down PVA. Wasn’t the greatest idea sealing it because it warped fairly significantly. When I painted it, however, it dewarped quite a bit. I used a base of chocolate brown interior house paint and made sure the coat was pretty comprehensive. The second coat is a desert yellow colour that was mixed to match Tallarn Yellow (I think that was what it was called, an old GW paint). The second coat isn’t comprehensive and is deliberately patchy to let some brown show through. Both the first and second coat were done with a small roller. The last coat was a bone white colour (again, all the paint used is interior house paint because it’s much cheaper than craft paint) drybrushed on.

End result looks great and my terrain blends in well with it – although it isn’t quite perfect because the brown I’ve used in my terrain is noticeably redder.

Although the painting process saw it dewarp quite a bit, I still need to flatten it out completely. To do so it is facedown in my garage (my garage has been converted into a room so there are carpet tiles). I’ve gone over the back with a damp mop over which we’ve placed towels. Then on top of the towels are sheets of MDF (600×1200 x3 so the whole thing is covered), then an upside down table then a rather weighty amplifier. Hopefully that should flatten it out sufficiently over the next couple of days.

Look forward to the El Alamein AARs in the coming weeks. It will be my DAK (Panzer company) against an 8th army heavy armoured company.

 

AAR – Flames of War – Mid War – Hungarians V Soviets – A Hill Too Far

As promised,here is the After Action Report for the Flames of War battle I had back in August. Given the amount of time that has passed, I’m a bit sketchy on the detail, but there are plenty of pictures and I recall enough to give a general outline of the order of the engagement.

The Forces

Both forces were 1000pts (from memory)

The Hungarian force consisted of:

HQ

Three Puskas platoons with three sections each – although I can’t recall if I made them Rifle/MG teams

A weapons platoons with three HMGs and two light mortar teams

Two MG platoons with three HMGs

A mortar platoon with four mortars and an observer team

Puskas anti-tank platoon with four 40mm guns

Artillery platoon with four 149mm howitzers and observer team.

A tank platoon with five Panzer T-38Gs.

 

SAMSUNG

The Soviet force consisted of:

A HQ with two obr1942 45mm anti-tank guns

Three strelokovy companies, each with two platoons, a Maxim HMG and light mortar team

A mortar platoon with three squads and observer team

A light tankovy company with 10 T70 light tanks (T60 models used in proxy)

SAMSUNG

The Battlefield

Completely treeless and using two of the three hills I had finished at that point, the Soviets would be attacking from the farm side of the field, moving up the road, over the rail line and across the open ground with the objective of capturing one (or both) of the two hills.

Beer

Unfortunately my mate was a little under the weather from the night before, so abstained. So I got to enjoy an excellently poured poured beer on my own.

Deployment

I deployed my weapons platoon with HMGs and light mortars on the western hill, the AT guns in the centre of my line on the road and another HMG platoon on the eastern hill. The observer team was on the outside edge of that hill, spotting for the howitzers at the very back of the field. The rest of my force was in reserve, I placed the Panzers in ambush. The soviets were deployed in a massive horde at the southern end of the field. Western flank held the T70s, then the strelokovy stretched the rest of the line, with the mortars back behind.

Order of Battle

The Soviets, being the attacker, had first turn and moved everything up. What little shooting there was caused no casualties, although my HMGs on the western hill became pinned (if I recall correctly).

In response my 40mm guns took out a single T70 to draw first blood.

In turn two the Soviets continued their advance while their shooting remained as fruitless as the first turn. The issue was that the Hungarian forces were in prepared positions and the Soviets lacked the fire power to clear any teams out. The MGs and AT guns were pinned, but promptly unpinned and in response took out another couple of T70s. Also on the western flank the Panzers sprung their ambush from the back of the hill, knocking out another T70. Meanwhile on the eastern flank the strelokovy were pinned by MG and artillery fire, though casualities were limited.

Turn three was the turn mistakes were made – both of the error of judgement kind and the error of rules (possibly) kind. The strelokovy on the eastern flank failed to unpin (even with the Commissar’s “encouragement”) but the rest of the forces moved up. Shooting took out a single AT gun after which my mate decided he would assault the T70s up the western hill into the MGs in an attempt to dislodge them. At this point I conducted defensive fire, however it only occurred to me after that tanks might not be able to use main guns in defensive fire. I’ve not actually doubled checked this, but if it is the case, then the assault would not have been the disaster it turned out to be. Or at least more T70s would have made it in to base contact and the odds would be far more favourable than they turned out to be. In the end the charge was a disaster: a number or T70s were taken out when they gunned their engines into the MGs. The lone T70 that made it through was eventually overwhelmed and promptly surrendered.

That mistake (either on my part or his) really made it an impossible task to take the western hill. The strelokovy on that flank were gunned down over the next two turns. Meanwhile on the eastern flank the lead strelokovy company was whittled down and, if I recall correctly, pulled back to the rear rather than destroyed. The company that followed suffered the same sorts of debhilitating losses as it crossed the rail line and so we decided to call it there.

The image above goes a long way to detailing the Soviet’s failures, but a different outcome for the T70 assault would likely made for a much closer game – my reserves didn’t start showing till turn 4!

That all said, the game did actually make for some nice images I think. I really need to get some Zis-3s for my Soviets or other heavier firepower to deal with dug in units. I think next time if we do a defensive mission I’ll make sure the T34s and Panzer IV F2s are fielded to give an assaulting Soviet force a more significant punch.

Victory to the Hungarians!

I’m not sure when our next game will be, but I’m very much hoping we can play on a more regular basis and probably rotate through Flames of War, Bolt Action and SAGA – when forces for the latter two are ready. I’ve finished off my Anglo-Danes and hope to post up images this weekend. I’m also on the home stretch with my next 10 28mm trees so they’ll not be far away either. I’m not sure if I will get stuck into my Welsh or continue with the German infantry I started getting together last week next, or maybe do something completely different… Until next time, happy wargaming.

Wargaming Hills

It’s ok, I’m not dead. Just resting. Life has been pretty busy the past couple of months. Things have taken longer than I thought to complete as a result, however I’ve got a few things near completion, pictures and posting about. In my last post I also promised an After Action Report. Well I can gladly report that that battle did take place, however it was a bit of a cop out on account of it being quite a one sided affair. As a result, at the time I decided not to post about it (two months ago). I downloaded the images for it today, however, and going through them I thought they all looked pretty cool. So at some point I will post the AAR as originally intended. Today, however: hills.

Wargaming Hills

I finally got around to finishing my grassy hills and ridges.

I made four hills and two ridges. Materials used are very simple: 5mm MDF for the bases (cut out with a jigsaw); XPS (from Bunnings, they sell it for about $12 a 1200x600x30mm – from memory – you can also get it in 50mm thick, but that costs more. I carved it up with a hot wire cutter); then the usual things, paint, PVA glue etc.

02 - Ridge 2 2 03 - Ridge 2 04 - Ridge 1

Carve out the XPS (hot wire cutter makes this easy, although you can use a knife). Glue it to your MDF board. Paint that with PVA and cover with sand. Seal the sand with watered down PVA. Paint brown. Paint lighter brown. Paint rock areas a dark grey. Dry brush the rocky areas with a lighter grey. Paint with PVA and apply flock. Seal with watered down PVA. Easy stuff.

As you can see from the above images of the ridges, they are low ridges/hills at 28mm scale. They’ll hide infantry that are completely behind them, but vehicles will still be visible. For 15mm scale, however, they will conceal vehicles and infantry.

05 - Hill 2 06 - Hill 1 07 - Hill 1 08 - Hill 2 09 - Hill 3 10 - Hill 4

And here is a bunch of random images of them up close and a couple of other angle shots. Our loyal defenders of the Fatherland are crossing over one the hills and it all looks very nice. Having now completed these, however, I have decided I would like another few that are higher so that they conceal vehicles at 28mm too. So at some point I intend to head to Bunnings to grab a sheet of 50mm thick XPS (and more MDF, and more PVA…). From that I will make two hills and one ridge.

Next Time

That’s all for now, just a quick post to show that I am alive and showcase the results of my hill making. Currently I am very close to finishing my 4pt Anglo-Dane force for SAGA. They look nice. I’ve also started on my next 20 Heer/Heer Grenadier infantry for Bolt Action (the first five models of which are in the images above). Terrainwise I am working on another 10 trees for 28mm use. They’ll be the next things to feature here, along with that AAR when I get around to it. For now, I shall try to contain all the ideas running around my head. Happy wargaming!

More North Africa Terrain

My first week of leave has been a productive one. I have finished the two ridges and the hill for my North Africa terrain set, painted some Anglo-Danes (four hearth guard with Dane axes, one with spear) and three of the grassy hills are almost done.

North Africa Table

I set up all the North Africa terrain I now have on my 1200mm square desert board to check it all out. It’s probably a little much for such a small battlefield, but that only means I won’t have to make as much more to fill out an 1800x1200mm table.

When I finished the hills I realised that the desert board I had (as in the physical MDF board all the terrain is on in these images) was probably a little brown and it shows in these pictures. I might lighten it up with more Unbleached Titanium, but I might also just do up another few boards instead.

Here we have the front and rear of the first ridge.

The hill from two angles.

And the second ridge front and back. I am really pleased with how they all turned out – actually that’s a bit of an understatement, I think they’re some of the best terrain pieces I’ve ever made. The ridge faces came up great, likewise the scree piles. The grassy hills I have on my table to put the finishing touches on aren’t bad, but these desert hills blow them away in my opinion. I’ll post up pictures of the grassy hills later and you can be the judge though.

Next Up

A mate is coming around today for Flames of War, his 8th Army force not being ready we’ll be hitting the eastern front. I’ll make sure to take plenty of images and get an AAR up sometime this week. I’m planning to use at least one of my new hills, so that’ll be the first sneak peak of them. Then in the coming week I want to finish off my Anglo-Danes (currently there are 20 models still to paint, not an insignificant task, but very doable), so I’ll probably take the whole week to finish the two grassy ridges and last grass hill. Beyond that, I have a Welsh force to do, 10 more trees to get cracking on, two or three buildings I want to make for SAGA (they’ll be a few weeks out) and then there are plenty of other things to paint – like the SU-76s and PTRD teams that have been sitting on my shelf for three years…

Until next time.

North Africa Terrain

Over the past week I finally got around to finishing off some North Africa terrain for Flames of War. I also painted up a couple more Panzer IIIs that I had laying around.

Buildings and Scrub

I started getting my North Africa terrain together a little after I finished painting my current forces, but I put it on the backburner and so it has been a long time coming. My plan was to have four buildings, three patches of scrub, a couple of ridges and a hill. So far I’ve finished the buildings and two scrub patches, I also have the MDF base for the third scrub patch done. The ridges and hill are carved out, but I still have to cut the MDF  bases out to glue them to. It’s been freezing cold (for here) and raining frequently so I haven’t had the chance to get outside and cut out the bases this week, but I’m hoping to get them done soon.

The buildings are made out of foamcore with MDF floors. I put a strip of cardstock around the bottom of the roof to conceal the cut. The rooves are removable. The stairs at the back are also foamcore, but I covered them with wood putty to make them more uniform (conceal the joins and such). The brick areas are created by taking off patches of the paper in between which the foam is sandwiched. They’re painted Unbleached Titanium with the brickwork being Terracotta. I felt they looked a little bland being completely Unbleached Titanium, so I added cardstock windowsills that I also painted Terracotta. Each building has a popstick door painted Raw Umber.

The scrub is torn up bits of foam from foam pieces that have been taken out pick and pluck foam trays. I rip them up to a nice size and try to make them clumpy looking. I then dumped the whole lot in some very watered down green acrylic paint (the foam is blue) and kneaded them with my fingers. Squeezing out the excess liquid, I left them on a bit of Glad Wrap to dry. The bases are 25mm Renedra bases with sand on. The MDF is 3mm thick, though I probably would use 5mm thick MDF going forward. After sand was added, I painted them Burnt Sienna, then a moderate coat of Yellow Oxide, then a light coat of Unbleached Titanium. I think the result is nice. The scrub conceals infantry, but confers no benefit for vehicles and counts as difficult ground for them.

I’m pleased with the results and am looking forward to getting my ridges and hill done so I can get a small battlefield together for a game. Other things I’d like to add are some walls, a large building and an air field.

All the Leave

I am on six weeks leave from work (I’ve not taken annual leave since Sept 2013) and have decided to complete a SAGA project in that time – and probably more besides. Last week I picked up the SAGA rulebook and two of the Gripping Beast 4pt starter armies: one Welsh, the other Anglo-Dane. I’m not sure how long they will take me to get done, but you can expect posts in the future about that project. I’ve also carved out some hills and ridges (in addition to those mentioned about) and will get more trees done. So that’s what you can expect me to post about over the next month or two – though I’m sure there’ll be other things besides.

AAR – Flames of War – Mid War – Hungarians V Soviets

Yesterday I was able to take advantage of the public holiday to enjoy a game of Flames of War with a mate. He took command of my Hungarians while I commanded the Soviets. We rolled [MISSION] and he beat me in the roll off to be declared the attacker. The Soviet force being smaller in terms of company numbers, I took advantage of the +1 to my roll to secure the first turn. I didn’t take precise notes, so I know my recount is not 100% accurate, but read on for a rough order of battle.

 The Lists

 Hungary

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1090 points

Company HQ, two rifle platoons with three squads each (all with rifle/MG teams), weapons platoon with three MGs, 149mm howitzer battery (two guns and observer) and three Panzer IV F2s.

Soviet

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1090 points

Battalion HQ with two 45mm Obr 1939 AT guns, two strelokovy companies with two platoons, Maxim MG and commisar team, strelokovy mortar company with three sections and commisar team, six T-34 1942 medium tanks (no cupolas).

The Battlefield

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The image above is of our deployments from the southern end of the field. Our Objectives are mirrored: the Hungarians are going for the road on the south flank and edge of the field on the north flank, while the Soviets aimed to secure either the edge of the field (behind the barn) on the south flank) or road on the north flank.

Order of Battle

The first turn was pretty uneventful for both sides. I moved my forces straight up, my line spanning the entire battlefield, except my mortars (which would stay stationary and unharmed for the entire battle. My mortars pinned the MGs on the north flank, but failed to inflict any casualties. The MGs failed to unpin (this was the theme of the battle, a lot of things getting pinned and crawling around on the ground while slowly being picked off). Hungarian shooting was similarly uneventful, with the howitzers pinning the strelokovy on the southern flank, but MGs and AT guns (which had moved up) failing to cause any damage.

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The Hungarian AT guns covered their centre. The spotter is just to the right.

The first casualty of the battle was inflicted when the commissar for the southern company attempted to motivate the men after they opted to stay pinned following the artillery barrage the turn before. He was unsuccessful (also a running theme) but the men managed dig in. Meanwhile the northern company moved further up the field and managed to pick off one of the Hungarian teams in the buildings opposite them. My mortars picked off an MG (I think?) while my T34s poured machine gun fire onto the AT guns, pinning them but causing no casualties. The AT guns and MGs both failed to unpin in the Hungarian turn. The PIVs repositioned in an attempt to set up a trap for my T34s. The northern rifle platoon moved up and the shooting from them and the MGs took out a couple of squads from my northern company. Artillery fire bailed on of my T34s also.

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Soviet infantry advancing on the north flank.

My southern company failed to unpin, but did manage to dig in this time (I decided not to try motivate them). Opening up on the rifle platoon opposite on the north flank I caused some casualties, but more importantly I managed to pin them. My AT guns fired on the Hungarian AT guns for nil result, and I took out another MG with mortar fire. My T34s moved up and opened up with machine guns on the southern rifle platoon, causing significant casualties. In response the PIVs moved up and took out a T34 and bailed some others, the rest of the Hungarian forces stayed put with their heads down. A few more of my northern company were picked off with rifle, MG and AT gun fire.

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The south flank, Hungarians moving up to assault.

My south flank unpinned and moved up next turn but didn’t cause any damage. My T34s all remounted and took out one PIV (the central one, breaking their chain of command) and bailed both the others. On the north flank I moved up and shot some more of the Hungarians opposite. The remaining two PIVs remounted and opened up on the T34s with devastating effect, taking out three of the remaining five. The tanks held firm though and didn’t quit the field. The MGs and AT guns stayed pinned, along with the northern rifle platoon. The southern Hungarian platoon unpinned, however, moved up, shot and assaulted my southern company. In the assault that followed the Hungarians were killed to a man, but the Soviet conscripts lost their nerve and broke off, despite the best efforts of the commissar to motivate them to fight on. In response the victorious platoon consolidated back out of sight to (hopefully) be withdrawn from the field next turn.

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On the left, the panzers and T-34s face off, on the right the conscripts flee from the lone hungarian rifle team.

Next turn my whole force moved up, my remaining two T34s made a beeline for the southern-most PIV but only managed to bail it. My AT guns managed to bail the other PIV. It was this turn that saw the Hungarian AT guns silenced, and the last MG team die too. Both their command teams held firm though and did not quit the field. The north flank saw concentrated mortar fire and rifle fire inflict little damage on the Hungarian rifles, followed by an aborted assault when the remaining five Hungarian teams all hit my conscripts. The Hungarian turn netted another T34 kill, but little more damage was done by anything – though my southern company was again pinned by artillery fire. The remains of the southern Hungarian rifle platoon, AT guns and MGs were withdrawn from the battlefield to deny the Soviets the chance to completely destroy them.

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The assault is stopped in its tracks.

By this stage we were both pretty bloodied. My north company was at 5 squads (out of the 21 it started with), I only had a single T34 and lost over a quarter of my other strelokovy company. In response I’d seen off three Hungarian platoons (though they had not been destroyed). The Hungarians were in no position at this stage to push forward and take an objective, except with their remaining tanks. My north company, however, was able to move up and onto my north objective. I bailed the remaining two PIVs and, luckily for me, both failed to remount. The remaining riflemen on the north flank made a last ditched attempt to clear the Soviets off their objective. Another two squads were killed, and in response the remaining three (or perhaps four according to the image below) achieved nothing. The nerve of the Hungarians broke, however, and they fell back while I consolidated my three teams onto the Objective.

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The Soviets consolidated on the objective.

And so it was that the Soviets secured victory! Having not lost an entire company, the victory would be a stunning, 6:1 victory – however it was far from such a feat. We both agreed that it was far more appropriate to consider it a 1:1 victory to the Soviets (i.e. working things out as though the game were a draw) given the high cost paid to secure the Objective (I had about 14 rifle teams left out of the 42 I began with, only a single T34, one AT gun, my HQ teams, plus the unharmed mortar company plus spotter. The Hungarians had two PIVs, unharmed artillery and spotter, their command teams and five rifle teams out of the 20 they began with. So really, both of us were at about 25-30% strength at the game’s end).

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Some end games shots. The remaining T-34 facing the (bailed out) Panzer, and Soviet infantry pinned down in the centre of the field.

It was a good battle though and much closer than our first engagement. We both agreed we looked forward to being able to meet in the North African desert in the future!