Friday, 28 February 2014

Roland CII

And here it it finally is! After several months of building the Roland CII is based (I also repainted the wheels grey as the black was too striking) and finished with the addition of two crew men, discussing aerial combat tactics. For those that are interested they are the  from Czech Master Kits, which I bought from Hannants. I have spent a great deal of time talking about this model, so I'll shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves:

'No Fritz, you fly OUT of the sun, not INTO it!'

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Roland CII WIP Pt.5

Finally the Roland was built and painted, but this was only the first step of finishing off. It still needed weathering and varnishing. Here it is before the final stages:

I had a minor disaster with the varnishing. I used some gloss spray varnish and the original coat of Mr Hobby paint started to blister below the later layers of Humbrol. It looked like six months of work was going down the drain in seconds.

However, I left the plane to dry overnight and by morning the worst of the damage seemed to have passed, I'm not sure how but the paint seemed to settle back down. I did repaint the upper surfaces of the top and tail wings though, just to get rid of the slightly blistered effect left behind. I decided that I had had one close shave enough and left the underside of the aircraft unvarnished and just went onto the weathering instead...

I gave the entire model a wash in very thinned down black acrylic paint which was also wiped off with some cotton buds where it had gathered too thickly. I dragged the paint to the rear of the wings where dirt would naturally gather. I was happy with the result and it looked, to my eye at least, as thought it had been flying in rain.

I didn't want to tempt fate any further, so I left it at that and turned my attention to the base. I already had a wooden base from Wooden Bases from when I built the Pfalz, which had been earmarked for this build. I added a square of grassed paper to the base then added Woodland Scenic static grass with the help of some PVA glue. I also added a few grass tufts to break up the shape some more and it was ready.

Back to the plane, I removed the masks on the fuselage windows and added the windscreen to the front of the cockpit. Underneath, I realised that I had lost the tail skid somewhere along the build, so I carved a new one out of plasticard, added it and painted it. It's not very detailed but it won't be seen and holds the tail up in a realistic manner.

So that's it for now, I just have the two crew members to paint and to mount the whole thing on its base and this seemingly never ending project is finished! 

Monday, 24 February 2014

M5 Stuarts

As I mentioned in a previous post I got hold of some Plastic Soldier Company's M5 Stuarts, but they remained on my workbench whilst I awaited some American decals from Dom's Decals. These arrived just the other day so I was able to finish off this group of tanks. 

The tanks were easy to put together and dead easy to paint. I used Brown Violet as the base colour with Khaki drybrushed for weathering.

They were covered in stowage from Command Decision and the decals from Dom.

All in all a nice little kit and they will go well alongside my recent American battalion.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Battle of Jitra 11-13th December 1941 AAR

After the defeat of the Gurkhas at Asun, the Japanese Saeki Detachment continued their unopposed advance down the main road towards the strategically important town of Jitra. Here the British had begun building defences north of the town before the Japanese invasion of Malaya, but these were incomplete when the 11th Indian Division moved back to the position on the 8th of December. It was still in an uncompleted state when the Japanese force attacked in the early evening of the 11th. This attack was initially blunted, but a renewed assault early on the 12th started the battle proper which lasted until the British forces were given permission to withdraw further south to Gurun on the night of 12/13th December.

Previously the Japanese forces controlled by Dean had already defeated a small British force at both Changlun and Asun, however at Jitra they faced a larger defence of three battalions, namely: 1st Leicesters, 2/9th Jats and the 2nd East Surreys. There was also support from two 25lbers that were firing from off board positions. The 2/9th Jats held my right flank from the road to the eastern high ground. To the west and holding the east of the village of Maggoi were the 1st Leicesters and on my extreme western flank were the 2nd East Surreys. All were placed  in defences and behind barbed wire. 

The remaining troops of the Japanese Saeki Detachment were joined by a fresh battalion of soldiers, which considerably bolstered the force which had suffered quite heavily at the previous engagement at Asun. The conditions for victory remained the same, the Japanese had to plough through the British lines and reach the southern board edge within eight turns. The British defenders had to stop them by any means possible.

The initial set-up looking from the west (above) and the east (below).

In a change of tactic, the Japanese units decided to use their heavy firepower to shift the British defenders by dropping knee mortars rounds and rifle fire on the defence line. They took a few casualties themselves as the British returned fire.

The 2/9th Jats on the west took heavy casualties from a combination of mortar, rifle and tank fired high explosive, but remained in their positions.

Then came the British turn to use high explosive as the battery of 25lbers opened up and dropped shells on the Japanese positions.

Meanwhile, the Japanese held back on the west and continued firing at the Indian positions, the headquarters was soon wiped out, taking with it the Boys AT Rifle and battalion mortar!

The 1st Leicesters were also suffering a similar fate with their defence line crumbling under the withering Japanese fire.

More 25lber fire landed on the Japanese command, but had little effect.

And finally the tanks moved off their starting positions with a slow rumbling advance towards the dug-in Indians.

I could see that my entire defence line was in jeopardy and there would be nothing to be gained from sitting on the defensive in the current positions, so the 2nd East Surreys fell back from the village of Manggoi towards Jitra itself.

The tanks came on unopposed and caused more casualties on the Indian soldiers, who clung on to their positions desperately.

With the destruction of the British defence outside Manggoi the Japanese infantry also joined the advance and over ran the British lines.

The situation north of Manggoi was dire from the British point of view.

The Surreys continued their desperate rush to get to better defence positions at Jitra, but it seemed so far away.

The Japanese soldiers charged down the road joining Manggoi and Jitra and some rifle fire was exchanged between them and the British troops further down the road.

Japanese were also swarming down the main road towards their objectives.

Meanwhile, the tanks overran the Indian positions on the east.

My forces were being squeezed to the south by the Japanese juggernaut.

The leading elements of the 1st Leicesters reached the outskirts of Jitra and headed for the comparative safety of the buildings. The remainder of the battalion rushed to reach the south of the village.

Continuing the advance the Japanese tanks pushed on further and further beyond the British lines. It was only a matter of time now and all i could hope was that the river would slow their advance.

The race to Jitra was still being hotly contested as a large amount of Japanese soldiers rushed down the north-south road.

Firing as they went, the Leicesters continued to exchange rifle fire with the pursuing Japanese.

The remaining Jats were finished off by machine-gun fire from the Japanese tanks, firing their rear facing machine guns.

A British company took up positions in the buildings in the village of Jitra, whilst the headquarters and other companies exchanged more fire with the Japanese. Again, the Japanese turned to grenades to try to shift the defenders from the buildings.

The final rounds of 25lber fire were called in and landed on target, right on top of the Japanese infantry, smashing them heavily.

But it wasn't enough to stop the tanks on the east, who had forded the river to reach the southern base line right on the last turn of the game.

It was all over, the Japanese had crushed the British opposition and pushed through and beyond Jitra. They seemed unstoppable at this stage.

So, the end result was a total Japanese victory, even though the British defence had been tenacious. I think in hindsight I should have moved the Leicesters to a better position earlier, but it didn't really occur to me to do so and I lost the chance to defend Jitra better. I guess this was down to the short-sighted idea that they were already in prepared defences. 

The Japanese units were an incredibly difficult force to contend with, both their firepower and assaults are formidable and it was interesting to see them used in different ways in each game. Dean and I both learned a lot over the three initial games and this may change how we play as the campaign progresses. The next engagement took place at Gurun on the 14/15th of December and that is the next game, but for now, thanks for reading!

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Battle of Asun 11th December 1941 AAR

Following the defeat of the Punjabs at Changlun, the Japanese continued their drive towards Jitra, which they assumed would be the next defended position. However, they quickly ran into a battalion of the 2/1st Gurkhas, outside the village of Asun, who had been sent north from Jitra to further delay the Japanese advance. The Gurkhas had wired the bridge north of the village for demolition but the rain had dampened the charges and it remained intact when the Japanese tanks arrived on the field. 

This was the situation at the beginning of our second battle in the Malayan campaign. Following on from the defeat at Changlun, it was up to a single battalion of Gurkhas to try to hold the Japanese. Unfortunately the only anti-tank capabilities they possessed was the Boys AT Rifle attached to the headquarters company. I placed this at the front of my defence line, so I could at least get a few shots at the Japanese armour and hopefully take some out. We set the game counter to eight runs again and the victory conditions remained the same; the Japanese have to reach the southern base of the board before the counter runs out; the British forces have to hold them.

Dean's Japanese force was the same as in the previous encounter with the loss of a single tank, so the odds were against me straight away. However, there was a river to cross and this would slow the Japanese advance and may give me a bit of chance to hold them until the game turns ran out.

I spread my handful of units across the plantations surrounding Asun, I used the protection of the treeline to keep my forces out of the sight of the enemy.

The headquarters company was brought to the northern edge of the trees with the Boys AT rifle.

The Japanese soldiers began their mass swarm down the main road, using the tanks as a covering screen.

The bridge created a natural bottleneck for the attacking force.

My Boys rifle opened up on the tanks and my luck was in! I hit and destroyed a Type 95!

As the Japanese poured across the bridge, I scored a second hit and kill on another Type 95! The Gurkhas were making their mark!

However, it wasn't all going my way, the headquarters were soaking up casualties from the tanks and infantry crossing the bridge. The Gurkhas responded with mortar fire, which also caused casualties amongst the Jap infantry.

My defence wouldn't last for long as a company of Japanese broke off to close assault the headquarters.

In response to the hordes of Japanese, I started moving one of my other companies into a better position in the village of Asun, and held the treeline along the road edge.

It was looking overwhelming from the British lines.

The Gurkha headquarters was quickly overrun and destroyed to a man with the Japanese victors swarming their positions.

This was the overall situation about half way through, the Japanese were over the bridge and charging down the main road!

I got two companies into position, one in Asun and the other in the treeline.

At the same time the Japanese infantry attacked my northern-most Gurkha company with their bayonets.

More Japanese soldiers attacked the village buildings, using grenades to try to shift the defenders, but the rains must have affected the fuses as well, as there was no casualties caused.

The Gurhkas in the trees were quickly ejected from the trees and pushed back south, whilst the defenders in the village remained strong with Japanese grenades raining down on them!

More Jap infantry joined the grenade attack with support from four tanks, it was looking grim for me, but the Gurkhas kept up their rifle fire and still caused casualties.

The Japanese infantry pursued the defeated Gurkhas and engaged them in close assault again.

The remains of this company was destroyed to a man and the grenades were taking their toll in the village on my beleaguered defenders.

The men in Asun were now surrounded and under attack from grenades and tanks, but still they clung on!

More Japanese close assaults allowed them to penetrate the treeline where the last of my Gurkhas were standing.

The grenades finally did their job and the Asun garrison was totally wiped out. Further south the final Gurkha company was assaulted from their positions and fled from the field.

That was it, it was all over, the Gurkhas retreated south back towards Jitra, shattered and less than half strength. another very similar outcome to the real encounter, when only 200 Gurkhas survived the battle. The Japanese held the field before the counter ran out and their advance looked unstoppable at this stage. I had caused many more casualties on Dean's forces than the previous game, but it still wasn't enough to stem the tide. 

The next game would be the final encounter in this part of the campaign, the climactic Battle at Jitra.
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