Saturday, 14 April 2018

Rommel in 3mm: First Battalion

Having been toying with tackling Rommel in 6mm, after a discussion on The Wargames Website about the various beneficiaries of the scale, I was pointed in the direction of 3mm. Wait! What! That's madness! I hear you say. And I thought so to until I stumped up a few pounds for some of Oddzial Osmy's tanks. When they arrived I was flabbergasted by the amount of detail packed onto what are such small vehicles. Plus for the price, they were unbeatable at about £3.00 for 15 vehicles.

I got them in the UK through Fighting 15s, but they seem to be no longer running the line, so Magister Militum will be my next port of call for more.

Another plus for 3mm is that they can be painted very quickly. A lot of detail can be missed out given their tiny size. So I started on my first unit, a Battalion of Panthers from 3rd Panzer Division. 

I chose 3rd Panzer Division as they were at Kursk and were a pretty standard Panzer Division. I mounted them on 2" by 2" bases so you can easily fit three in a 6"x6" square and left a quarter of the base to put the unit label on (the label has been laminated so it can be marked with dry wipe pens in a game).

I was more than happy with how they turned out and the speed in which I completed the unit. Another bonus is that 3rd Panzer Division had 22 Panthers in the Summer 1943 TO&Es, so this unit of 15 is almost a complete battalion minus a few that would be in workshops or not on front line duty. All for the princley sum of £3.00! 

You may or may not be interested to know that I have also designed a few humourous and historic gaming shirts, available through Redbubble, click the links below to see more and also have a look at the bigger portfolio on there:

503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion 

24th Panzer Division

Meeples are People


Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Battle of the Lys 1918, AAR

Last weekend was the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Lys, known by the Germans as Operation Georgette. It was part of the wider German 1918 Spring Offences more commonly known as the Kaiserschlacht. Overall the operations achieved great results very early, but the logistical organisation of the German army was not up to the task and they quickly ran out of steam, helped by the stopping power of the British and French armies. Also, strategically the operations were aimless, it really was a last desperate gamble by the German army to win the war and it didn't work.  

The Battle of the Lys opened with a two day barrage on the Portuguese army who were holding part of the Allied line. Tired and demoralised the Germans cut through their defences initially. The Square Bashing scenario we were playing was based on this attack. Ninjasaurus Rex took the German attackers and I had the British (Portuguese) defenders.

The German attackers consisted of:

1 x HQ
2 x Professional Infantry Battalions
6 x Regular Infatry Battalions
4 x MGs
3 x Field Guns
2 x Stormtroopers
1 x Heavy Tank

The British faced them with:

1 x HQ
8 x Regular Infantry Battalions
4 x MGs
4 x Field Guns

There were four objectives that the Germans were aiming for: the crossroads, two urban areas and a wood. I figured that my defences wouldn't be strog enough to hold all four, so I packed out the two urban areas and the wood with infantry and MGs. After depeletions my line looked even weaker...

Looking across the field the German army looked very strong...

The German Stormtroopers were set up after the defenders had organised their line, and they faced off against the depleeted British battalion in the woods objective.

The first move was opened by the Stormtrooper attack, they charged across the ruined villages and attacked both the woods and the MG based in the ruins.

Despite their extra five dice in the attack they failed to penetrate the British defences and my men stood firm!

A German Point Effect Barrage landed on target and disrupted the British rear where the HQ and field guns were positioned.

Meanwhile the main German assault began with the battalions streaming around the broken ground.

In my first turn, I held fast and all my attempts to bring in support failed! Next, a German aircraft appeared to threaten the soldiers in the village ruins objective.

The German troops got into position to assault the objective:

I had brought in reinforcements on my left flank to bolster the defence of the woods, meanwhile the German attacks were trying to break the line, only damaging the MG in the ruins.

An unrelenting  German artillery opened up again and a rolling barrage landed on my defenders, further disrupting my defence efforts. 

On my extreme left, a new arrived reinforcement battalion took a heavy hit from the artillery, causing two casualties!

Meanwhile, a German Beutepanzer was making it's way slowly across the field.

Heavy fighting in the village objective on the British right flank was causing casualties amongst the defenders.

Finally, my messages got through to the artillery and a suppression barrage halted the German progress on my right flank.

It didn't help though as the German attack forced the British out of the objective by attacking in the flank.

On the left flank more Germans crowded into the ruins to attack the woods. The defenders there were still holding out though.

It wasn't going well, with the crossroads quickly falling to the German attack, they now held two of the four objectives.

And quickly afterwards, the woods fell to repeated German assaults!

I did get help from a circling Bristol Fighter, but I feared wasn't going to swing the battle.

The British defenders in the final objective steeled themselves for more assaults, and held off the attacks.

Bringing up reinforcements, I was able to add an MG to the right flank, but they wouldn't be great if I was to get the village objective back.

Another German attack saw them gain more casualties and fail their morale to fall back away from the assault lines! A breather for the defenders!

It wasn't for long though as more Germans fileld in the gaps in their lines, also attacking from the flank.

In desperation I attacked the village objective on my right flank, the outcome was more casualties for the British though.

Then it was all over, the countdown timer was reached and the game ended. The Germans held three of the four objectives, so it was a German victory!

Normally, Square Bashing favours the defender, but this can be weighted by overpowering numbers. In this case, Ninja's Germans hit their targets with overwhelming numbers to capture them. It wasn't easy, but a couple of blows was enough to dislodge the defence. Once a defender has been thrown out of a position, it is very difficult to take it back, unless you are able to gather enough reinforcements. 

Another great game of SB and thanks for reading!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

8th Brigade of 5th Allied Division in 6mm

I got back on the horse with the Waterloo project after buying the Allied Reserve Corps from Baccus. I had already done the Nassau (reserve) Brigade from this Corps, so I tackled the first British brigade, namely 8th Brigade under Major-General Sir James Kempt. This is the first unit I have completed with a Scottish battalion in, the 1/79th. These soldiers have kilts so it was a nice to change to paint green instead of grey on their legs! I wasn't going to do the indivual stripes that make up the kilt patterns though...

Along with the 79th, this unit has the 1/28th, 1/32nd and the famous 95th Rifles in its composition. I used the rifles as some of the skirmishers at the front of the battalions, but the rest of the battalion is in formation at the front.

This is a very typical British brigde, with 6 Elan and the Steady and Skirmisher traits. Kempt was wounded during the Battle of Waterloo and the 5th Division took heavy casualties from the French grand battery as it was spread thinly over nearly a mile on the left centre of the Allied line.

The reserve Corps is a bit smaller than the other units so far, so it may not take very long to complete.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Battle of Jarama 1937 AAR

The Battle of Jarama was an action fought during the Spanish Civil War east of Madrid when Franco's Fascists tried to dislodge the republican forces resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. Dean has been working towards putting the scenario together for a while, his blog on the subject can be found by clicking HERE. On Monday, Ninjasaurus Rex and I met up at Dean's house to refight the action. 

Dean had set the board up when we arrived and had gone old school with the terrain: books underneath a green cloth, very Featherstone. The rules were the Osprey Publishing A World Aflame inter-war (but SCW heavy) specific. The battle took place over three days, each of these days was six turns in game turns, with whoever held the sunken lane (running diagonal in the picture below) on the third day being the winner. Each turn was preceded by drawing an event card that may or may not be beneficial for one side or the other.

The attacking Fascists (Dean and Ninjasaurus) had a mix of Spanish Foreign Legion and Moroccan forces versus the defending International Brigade with some militia reinforcements. There was also some elements of the Condor Legion with HMGs to bolster the Fascist attack. The initial set up had the International Brigade's three units face to face with the Foreign Legion around the Casa Blanca (house with the red roof):

In the woods, just behind the sunken road was the IB's HQ, including transports in the shape of a truck and donkey carts...

The opening move saw a Fascist artillery barrage miss the target of the IB HQ with gun fire around the Casa Blanca causing casualties immediately.

The International Brigade's soldiers were out in the open but rained fire on the Foreign Legion and Moroccans.

Meanwhile, I dispatched the truck to go ad pick up supplies that were stored towards the rear. 

Despite overwhelming odds the International Brigade were causing casualties and holding the fascists back... for now...

Seeing a disintegrating Republican line the Moroccan troops began advancing down the road towards the sunken lane.

However, fate smiled on me and my next event card brought a T-26 tank on as a reinforcement!

Along with a sniper, who was hunkered down in the woods, waiting for targets.

The right flank of the International Brigade was destroyed under fire from the Foreign Legion, the top of the hill was clear of defenders and the Moroccans pushed forwards.

The remainder of the International Brigade made for the cover of the Casa Blanca, taking casualties as they went.

Sensing that disaster was not far away, I urged the T-26 forward as the truck carried the supplies back to the HQ. Meanwhile my sniper was making himself known by shooting at the Moroccans. 

A handful of IB men were holding out in the Casa Blanca and their presence was stopping the Condor Legion HMGs arriving on the table. Despite heavy casualties, they were doing their job!

It wouldn't last though and the Fascists swarmed up the hill to the building that was almost cleared of defenders.

My T-26 was in a position to fire on the Moroccan HQ and wasted no time in doing so!

One tank and a single sniper would never be enough to hold back the attackers as they closed in on the sunken road and threatened the IB HQ. A Nationalist aeroplane dove down from the clouds and attacked the HQ, killing both the commander and the commissar! I was without command!

A lone LMG gunner was giving the Foreign Legion grief back at the Casa Blanca and still causing casualties.

With only runners and other non-combatants gathered around the sunken lane the Moroccans were able to take the objective easily.

I had put up a stiff defence around the Casa Blanca, but the amount of soldiers of the Nationalists were always going to overwhelm my defenders.

The T-26 and sniper were still causing casualties by the sunken road.

Then on the final turn of the first day Harry Fry's HMGs arrived at my reinforcement point, but too far away from the fighting to make any impression on the battle.

With the end of Day One we were able to reorganise our forces as we liked. The Nationalists were in control of the sunken road and I set up opposite them in the wooded area. I also had another unit of the International Brigade to bolster my meagre defences. The T-26 disappeared off the board, so I was down in that respect.

I also had two barrages of artillery and two aircraft to attack the Fascists, both of which proved to be very effective and made mincemeat of the Foreign Legion.

The closeness of the front lines really thinned out the troops on both after a round of rifle and HMG fire.

At this point, the Fascists almost wiped out the International Brigade to a man!

The Nationalists held their positions after their own heavy casualties.

Another T-26 arrived as a reinforcement and threatened the Fascists with LMG fire. This ended the second day of the battle and the Nationalists were still holding the objective.

Overnight more reinforcements arrived, two units of Militia and a single unit of the International Brigade. This time the T-26 remained on board, so it was a bit of stronger defence than day two.

However, the Nationalists also gained reinforcements and their line looked even stronger than before, especially as they moved the Moroccans out of the front line and replaced them with the Foreign Legion.

Even more alarming was the arrival of three Fascist tanks, a T-26 and two Condor Legion Panzer Is. My T-26 was ready and waiting for their advance though.

The strong Fascist line was able to lay down a heavy rifle fire on my front line and destroyed it almost to a man!

I then pulled out the next event card and it was the arrival of my Great Uncle Tommy James! Dean had made this card specially for me and kept it secret, so it was a brilliant surprise! Tommy James fought in the SCW as a Commissar and was a life long opponent of fascism, at one time chasing Oswald Mosely's Blackshirts out of Rotherham.

Unfortunately Tommy's speech wasn't enough to hold the Republican line and failing my morale roll meant the remaining infantry fell back from the sunken lane.

On the other side of the hill, two tank hunters appeared next to the Nationalist T-26 and tried to disable it, but with no effect.

Meanwhile, my T-26 brewed up one of the Panzer Is, but came under fire from the Nationalist tank on the hill.

It didn't last much longer, my T-26 took a hit and brewed up, disintegrating my last chance of defence.

And with that, I called it a defeat. The Nationalists held the sunken lane and what remained of my forces were fleeing to the rear as quickly as they could.

It was always going to be a difficult defence, especially with the amount of Nationalist soldiers on the table, but I didn't think it would be such a complete collapse of the defenders. The point was really to see how long the Republicans could hold on, and I got to about halfway through day three before the position was completely untenable. 

It was also our first time using A World Aflame, it was a good game, but very old school in its approach. This wasn't an issue, but it probably could do with a bit more polishing here and there, like being more definite about the different phases within each turn. The firing rules caused very heavy casualties, which was surprising to players used to saving rolls for casualties. However, none of the criticisms of the rules made the game a boring one and we all enjoyed our parts in the fight. Dean has also written an AAR from his persepctive which can be found HERE.

I'm looking forward to the next SCW bash!

Thanks for reading!
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