Monday 29 January 2018

Sparta v Argos (Re-Run Take III): Clash of Spears (Part 2)

The Spartans rolled for their Command PiPs and got a ... (see below):

I strained hard not to smile but it is hard even for a veteran player like myself. Explaining the options [or rather 'option'] open to the Spartan Phalanx (stand still and expand one base width or go forward) he decided (see below):

"Spartans go forward" was the simple reply and he did straight into my face, a typical Spartan tactic, he must have been reading some background information (see below, a brave move as the Argives could cause the Spartans big trouble if they roll high PiPs):

They look pretty tough dudes these Spartans (see below):

My plan however was simple, to win on the hill on the left of the Argive line with the help of my Psiloi friends from behind the Spartan line of battle. I should also add, before I got crushed on my Argive right by superior Spartan numbers (see below):

All I had to do was .. not ...

Not throw a 1 .... "Arrrgh". I didn't hide that emotion very well either! All I could do (after my head had bounced off the table in despair) was expand out on my weaker right hand flank to cause the Spartans more PiPs before they destroy it (maybe I should have just bounced forwards in retrospect). I had thought it best to bring my Psiloi into play but I had grossly miscalculated the command radius . The Psiloi were over the crest of the hill (The command range dropped to four bases widths [160mm], halved from the normal eight [320mm] because of the LOS obstruction of the crest of the hill. The very hill that was so integral to my "cunning plan") and now required 2 PiPs that I didn't have to move. Curses. No combat was initiated by the Argives this turn but not so with the Spartans on their next turn as they came bowling over, in that same old Spartan fashion. I was feeling like the novice now. This was going to hurt, if not immediately then it would set up the Spartan attack on the Argive right flank where the Spartan numbers [of pointy spears] would decisively tell (see below):

The clash of bronze on bronze rung through the hills of Sparta. I worked through teh mechanics of combat with the "novice" and he picked them up very quickly, in fact almost intuitively he got teh hang of things rather well. No immediate deaths but what resulted was rather an uneven and ragged battle line. To my Argive horror I noticed I had a very vulnerable looking isolated hoplite stand on my right but on teh otehr hand I had bounced the Spartan middle back in a very interesting fashion. If I pushed forwards next turn there could be interesting results. However I was feeling very queasy about not having any of my Psilio to hand, or rather to the back of the Spartans (see below):

So with the opening maneuvering rounds over and the two hoplite lines "going at each other like rabbits" it was only a matter of time before something gave way in true DBA fashion.

Next: Your Best Friends are always at Your Enemies Back

Davco 1/3000 Scale Ships

Note to self: Davco 1/3000 Models (and other stuff) are available from:

Information from:

Sunday 28 January 2018

Sparta v Argos (Re-Run Take III): Setting Up (Part 1)

I had a modern Chain of Command game lined up but "flu" called away the critical players so I had to rustle up something at the last second. So in my box of tricks I thought I heard my "Greeks" summoning me ;)

Call it a Greek tragedy if you like but I feel compelled to play and keep playing DBA Version 3.0 with various wargaming friends to inculcate the principle of a 'quick wargame' in an hour or so [or quicker is something goes terribly wrong/right]. DBA is the perfect vehicle for this, simple but offering elegant, emergent complexity and that sense of frustration when (not if, always when) you roll a "1" at a critical time. I also note that Phil Barker has produced a Marlburian+ DBA styled sort of game to take the concept through to the early 20th Century. Meanwhile in another field in Greece Argos has rolled to be the 'aggressor' and marches upon the city state of Sparta. Given the Version 3 rule changes the double ranks of spears [4Sp] are no longer needed so a long single line of hoplites is the order of the day. Sadly (or rather - unhistorical) they cannot line out in the DBA deployment zone so they start in a "U" shape to expand out at the flanks (see below, I am introducing the Spartan King to DBA, he possesses the 12x4ps [one of which is a General-King] v the Argive (myself) 10x4p [one of which is a General] and two Psilio, 2x2Ps):

As Sparta was the nominated  'defender', they chose the terrain. As Argos was the attacker they chose the base edge to come on from and I rotated the board as above. Top left a cluster of three terrain hexes that represent "ploughed fields" (aka rough going [meaning individual element moves]). There is a gentle hill middle left and another gentle hill bottom middle (same terrain just different styles of terrain pieces. From my innate "wargaming sense" I just knew we would end up with 4Sp sliding down these terrain pieces (and I was correct in this assumption [many time], as you will see later). Argos has the slight advantage in that its 2xPs can deploy outside the central deployment zone. Thus Argos has a deployment advantage in that it has a nine base width deployment against Sparta's seven bases. Trouble is Sparta by far has the advantage in heavy infantry, but the Argive General has a "cunning plan" and Argos has not yet lost a DBA Version 3 battle against Sparta! The Argive General views the deadly Spartans from the slopes of the gentle hill (see below, note the Argives are all from Irregular Miniatures, although some would say dated they paint up really well): 

The Spartan King looks on (see below, the normal hoplites are from Chariot, the most useful of which are the rear rank with raised spears which fit anywhere on a battlefield, whereas the front rank with leveled spears always seem to bounce awkwardly into the opposition figures. Also note in DBA Version 3 there is no real need to worry about two spears being used as a front and back unit giving a supporting +1. As a final point, the Spartan King/General was donated to me in naked metal form to paint up by Renko, so sadly I cannot remember the manufacturer. Any takers?):

My (Argive) "cunning plan" goes awry from the start. Reassuring as ever, no plan every remains intact after contact with the enemy! The "plan" is not the key but "planning is" [Patton]. The Spartan is the defender, so he can move first. Instead of taking several turns to disentangle themselves from the ploughed fields, the Spartans do it in one single bound. Call it 'beginners luck' or 'never ask your opponent to do what you want" the Spartan King rolled of the first of his many 6's on the night (he even had a spare PiP he couldn't or didn't need to use). I explained he could expand out an additional two bases and he did so (see below, "The Mighty Spartan Phalanx" approaches):

In response to this typical aggressive Spartan behaviour the Argive General revealed his cunning "first turn Psilio fast double move". Especially since he too rolled a 6 PiPs. Using 4 of these PiPs he scoots his two 2Ps Psilio over the hill and onto the flank of the Spartan flank. With the remaining two he advances the hoplite battle line and expands one base. The Spartans now have the advantage of a nine versus eight heavy infantry frontage. Looking at the pictures below I see that we [Argive and Sparta] got our lefts and rights mixed up - the Spartan King is on his left and my Argive General on his left .. my bad I probably confused things babbling on about ancient history and things (see below, the Argive right flank looks punt compared to the Spartans, while on the other side we are evenly matched in heavy infantry but I have those "cunning" Psilio):

"Eyes on the Prize!" The Argive Psilio try to look inconspicuous as they look lovingly on the rear portion of the Spartan Phalanx. "If" is a big word, pregnant with many haunting and hanging possibilities but if the Argive hoplite spears can pin the Spartans frontally then they could be in for a big surprise with Psilio in teh rear and nowhere to run (see below):

Critically the Argive General knows he cannot hang about. The Spartan left (unhistorical but again I think that was down to me getting my lefts and right mixed up) is far superior than his own right and hoplite stands will definitely will die, but the question is can the Spartan right be killed off first? The faster Psilio speed should be of great assistance assistance here, but you can certainly not expect the Spartans to do what you want!

Next: Clash of the Battle Lines!

Wednesday 24 January 2018

ASL if it is good enough for the "1st Royal Irish" it's good enough for me

I thought long and hard about this one, but in the end I felt I just had to get it, if only because of this UK Connections 2014 presentation by the then CO of the 1st Royal Irish (see links below):

Through the post today this arrived. Not the dreaded "ring binder infantry and tank and artillery and air and paratrooper" manual of death I remember from last century, but a slim line "ASL Starter Kit#1" (see below):

I was a fan of the original SL (Squad Leader) series, having all four modules but could not face the relearning or re-education that ASL implied in the 1990's. I did have the opportunity to bulk buy a collection [Beyond Valor et al] from my friend (something I did not ever regret until perhaps this point) but did not have the inkling or space. I hope to make it to the end of the first six modules ;) with a little help from some wargaming friends.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

New Russian Threat?

Better get my moderns down from the loft (see BBC News link below):

Monday 22 January 2018

Al Stewart - Roads to Moscow (WWII Themed Song for the upcoming Chain of Command Stalingrad Campaign)

From "The Year of the Cat" to "Roads to Moscow" (sung from a Russian soldier's perspective) Al Stewart plays them all:

You Tube:

I particularly like this verse from the middle of the song ..
... Two broken Tigers on fire in the night. Flicker their souls to the wind. We wait in the lines for the final approach to begin. It's been almost four years that I've carried a gun. At home it will almost be spring. The flames of the Tigers are lighting the road to Berlin. Ah, quickly we move through the ruins that bow to the ground. The old men and children they send out to face us, they can't slow us down. And all that I ever. Was able to see. The eyes of the city are opening. Now it's the end of the dream ...
While I am talking about WWII Eastern Front you have got to check out Service Rations Distribution posts on his Kursk and Stalingrad games:


General WW2 Stuff from SRB

Re: Song - I am just showing my age! It also demonstrates the power of the Internet and Google's search engine as I could not remember the title of the song. So I type in "Al Stewart General Guderian". Al Stewart is fair enough but the reference to General Guderian comes from a line in another verse, but it came back with a decent match.

Saturday 20 January 2018

New Year Wargaming Targets:

Rather than make a host of rash New Years Resolutions I have eased myself into 2018 and decided some First Quarter Goals (as in American Football it is always good to put some points on the board early on in the first quarter of the game):
  • Simulating War, Fire and Movement Game: 1/200 Scale
  • Play a "Skype" Game with a Distant Friend (tbc)
  • Portable Wargame: Replay the WWII Scenario from the Book with my 20mm WWII Kit
  • Paint a Platoon of Stalingrad Soviet Infantry Figures (28mm) for WWII Chain of Command
  • Paint a Platoon of Stalingrad Soviet Infantry Figures (20mm) for WWII Chain of Command
  • Play a Game of Star Gruntz (15mm Sci-Fi)
  • Play a Game of Modern Chain of Command (28mm: Other People's Figures)
Note: Line through means "Done" before deadline (see below)
All of the above by the end of March (31st March 2018)

Friday 19 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 6) Freedom or Death?

Yet another similar looking Russian photo of the "enraged" cruiser action (the lighter ships do seem to get hurt when they get hit). A this point the Japanese cruisers seem to have the upper hand. The Russian battleships seem to have a fairly straightforward run off table (see below):

A vicious round of gunfire sees a damaged Japanese battleship (red hit) top left, in the middle of the battle line, but in return a pounding of the Russian flagship causing a critical hit, a steering jam pointing her to the side of the table (away from the target bottom edge) and a morale failure which hurts even further the thought/chance of getting off table [insert Japanese smile "emoji"]. Meanwhile another "silenced" Russian protected cruiser but a huge crippling explosion on the lead Japanese protected cruiser ("silenced and dead in the water"). Additionally the Mikasa is majestically leading the two damaged armoured cruisers is leading the ad-hoc formation (the armoured cruisers are actually using their own command dice) back into the fray (see below):

Not caught on camera was the escape of the battered Russian protected cruisers to Vladivostok via courtesy of the of the world/table edge "fog bank". The Russian battleships were in chaos as despite fixing the steering the Russian flagship could not fix its morale as quickly. So as they headed for the wrong edge of the table the remaining (one had sunk) Japanese protected cruisers sallied forth in a "do or die" torpedo attack on the meandering Russian First Battleship Division. They took severe damage from the Russian battleships but also managed to silence the last remaining Russian cruiser [the Rurik I think] in the run in (see below):

A lot of action was missed but this photograph helps in a way fill in the missing gaps. In the top of the picture (middle) the old (obsolete) Japanese battleships are departing along with the Japanese protected cruisers. For all their valor they (the protected cruisers) scored no hits with their torpedoes. They did however delay the Russian battleships to allow the Japanese (modern) battleships and armoured cruisers to close to effective range. The Second Russian Battleship Division is seen middle right. It has to be said the Japanese obsolete battleships still managed to deliver telling blows on each Russian battleship, as all the Russians carry a red permanent damage marker. Honour, praise and respect for their courageous commander (aka we all thought he would get sunk). Down at the bottom of the picture the First Russian Battleship Division is making its bid for freedom. However the Japanese Battleship Squadron is "peppering" their tail vigorously. The Japanese armoured cruisers are once again in the fray in a supporting fire role [the lead two ships on the left], but trying not to block "line of sight" from the bigger more deadly battleship calibre guns (see below): 

The Russians are in the home stretch, they can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then "kazam!" there is a huge explosion from the last in line Russian battleship [First Division], as she goes from "damaged", to "silenced", to then "crippled" (aka dead in the water). To remove the crippled status it would take too many "Command Points" so the Russian Admiral pragmatically knows she is doomed. Lightning then strikes twicw. "Kaboom!" In the background the Second Russian Battleship Division's rear ship also suffers a critical hit leaving her chugging along at half speed. Not what you wanted when you were two "full speed" turns from exiting! (see below):

Another "almost duplicate" Russian photograph. The only thing to add was that the unfortunate half-speed Russian battleship also became silenced (see below, well actually she is the one Russian ship you cannot see is off table top left silenced):

End Game: 

The game as it ended (there was a family keen to sit down and eat their supper) as night fell. Where have all the Russians gone? All off to Vladivostok I suspect apart from one crippled stationary battleship and one critically damaged half speed battleship (their names sadly escaped me) that the Japanese have eyes on sinking. A third lingers top right but will depart into the "end of the world" fog bank with her next move and there is nothing the Japanese can do about it (see below):

The verdict?

Well most of the Russian Fleet is off table heading to a friendly port (albeit some perhaps looking a bit like a battered colander). However they are shell torn (certainly the cruisers) and battle worn (battleship wise) but are free from imprisonment. The Japanese Admiral was keen to claim the two Russian "limpers" as sunk or captured. That would mean an even 4:4 ratio in battleships, but Tojo also has a squadron of armoured cruisers. Yes he did lose a couple of protected cruisers (and a few more damaged) but it was the battleships he was after. A tactical win! Now strategically the Russian can feel more happy. As he knows the Second Pacific Squadron (along with the Third Pacific Battle Squadron) is en route (if they can get past the Hull fishing fleet that is). So when they turn up instead on a breakthrough to Vladivostok Operation Mark II, Togo is facing a potential "pincer movement" and a fight for his life well outnumbered in modern battleships (the Russin "Borodino" class to be exact).

Tactical: Japanese

Strategic: Russian Advantage

The rules: Simple and brilliant, highly recommended, all I have to do is now go away and read them! As it was a "spontaneous game" we had just thrown a mat down without consideration about the "table edge end of the world" syndrome. Not a great matter here but something to consider for more meaningful campaign games .. where results from one game get pushed into another. The sum of little things counting!

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 5) Tooth and Claw

The Russian Admiral seemed to like to take very similar "pairs" of photographs. Perhaps Russian intelligence has developed a stereoscopic 3D image viewer? Anyway, top left you can see a pesky Russian destroyer flotilla have laid a defensive smokescreen to cunningly shield the main squadron of Japanese battleships from hitting the First Russian Battleship Squadron. Over to top right, the reverse situation is in play where a Japanese destroyer flotilla shield the Japanese Obsolete Battleship Squadron from Russian battleships. Meanwhile the two squadrons of protected cruisers (one Japanese and one Russian) fight it out at the bottom of the picture. One Russian protected cruiser has received critical rudder damage and it sailing in the "wrong direction". To the left hand side the Mikasa and the two Japanese armoured cruisers have reformed from their disorder and are attempting to reenter the battle. The Russians are hoping to vigorously "punch through" (see below):

The same scene from a slightly different angle. The Russian heavy forces look like they might just have enough momentum to push on through, if the Japanese Protected Cruiser Squadron can be disposed of (see below):

The smokescreens dissipate and a maelstrom of battleship gunfire erupts. Although it is within effective range the renewed opening bout of salvos are strangely bloodless. The Russian destroyer flotilla (now without torpedoes) which has strayed too close to the Japanese Battleship Squadron is however "damaged" for its troubles. The major conflict here is between the protected cruisers at the bottom of the picture  (see below):

Spot the difference? A missing orange tape measure? Note the Mikasa bottom left, taking "a pop" at the protected cruisers (see below):

Again the Russian Admiral was keen to take "composite" shots of the scene from various slightly different angles. Nice photographic composition (see below):

Note: The edge of the table seen [right] below is no good as the Russian Fleet has to escape to the bottom of the table, past the Japanese protected cruisers.

Panning out you can just see the "exit table edge" to the right hand side and the orange Japanese tape measure on the left hand side (see below, bottom right):

The cruiser action up close. In the initial exchange the Japanese were besting the Russians as all the Russian ships were carrying permanent "red damage" markers. It is just the question as to whether the Japanese can get in a killing blow. A second hit is "silenced", but a third would be "crippled". The only thing to add is that the Russian battleship van is also "carrying damage" with two out of three of the battleships carrying a "red" hit (see below):

The battle is approaching its climax!

Next: The Final Push

Saturday 13 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 4) A Crisis Point in the Breakout Battle

The battle has formed as the Japanese Admiral Togo wants it. He it heavily engaged with a portion of the Russian battle fleet (thus having a slight numerical 4:3 advantage) and is trading blows to his advantage. Also by threatening to cross the Russian "tee" they are changing course, The old obsolete Japanese battle squadron (made of captured ex-Chinese battleships) is catching up and his protected cruisers are on course to intercept the Russian protected cruisers. Tojo is much more interested in stopping the Russian battleships from escaping than anything else (see below):

A close up of the battleship action sees that the Japanese have traded two 'red damage' hits given to one taken. At this point it is critical they follow up and cripple the engaged Russian battleship squadron by pressing home and taking the initiative (see below):

However the Japanese Admiral faces a dilemma as at the rear of his battle line, where the armoured cruisers are stationed in a separate division, they have been worsted by the Russian protected cruisers and long range battleship gunnery from the second Russian battleship squadron. The lead armoured cruiser is silenced with critical steering damage, swinging out of line of battle (see below):

Suddenly all is chaos. There is a profusion of destroyers laying defensive smoke screens (using the ever so useful 'belly button fluff' from the tumble dryer). A Russian destroyer flotilla shielding herself from the long range fire of Japanese obsolete battleships (see below, top left), a Japanese destroyer flotilla shielding the obsolete Japanese battleships from the Russian second battleship squadron (see below top right) and finally retreating armoured cruisers from the Russian protected cruisers and long range Russian battleship fire (see below, bottom right). Confused? That's how the battle was. Very confusing! In addition to all the smoke the Mikasa had suffered a second red hit silencing her and in addition took a critical steering hit. This deluge of damage demanded a morale test which Togo failed (in a very untimely and uncharacteristic way) and the Mikasa sadly limped out of line (see below bottom left above the Japanese protected cruiser squadron). The three remaining Japanese battleships still managed to maintain contact with the Russian first battleship squadron, keeping the contest "hot" (see below):

The Russian Admiral senses a chance to achieve his "breakout". He is over half-way down the table [two thirds if you look at the lead Russian protected cruiser squadron -see below bottom/middle right] and the Japanese barrier of impenetrable (mostly British made Vickers Armstrong) steel has been broken into three parts. The obsolete Japanese battleships are engaging the Russian second battleship squadron to their disadvantage, the three Japanese battleships are crossing the reverse "tee" of the Russian first battleship squadron and Mikasa has been recovered (spending lots of command points to remove the second red damage marker indicating "silenced") and has formed a composite battle squadron (see below, middle/bottom left) with the disengaged Japanese armoured cruisers. Finally the Japanese protected cruisers have positioned themselves in a good place to cross the Russian protected cruisers "tee" (see below):

The Japanese commander has command and control headaches. Togo needs to bring the disparate elements of his battle squadron together and attack the Russian battle squadron before they "turn the corner". This may mean sacrificing the obsolete battleships (well fully committing them .. to almost assured destruction ) and bringing the Mikasa back into the action as soon as possible. The down side is that the Russian Admiral, with an uncharacteristic national attribute (for a 1904-05 Russian Admiral), has been astute, resolute and has managed to coordinate and concentrate his forces effectively.

Note: At this point the Japanese Admirals camera phone "ran out of power". Fear not, the Russian Admiral took over and has supplied photographs from the "Russian perspective" of the second half of the battle. The "race to the edge of the table/world".

Thursday 11 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 3) Fire All Guns that bear at the Bear!

The Russian destroyers sweep past their Japanese counterparts unabashed and bravely face the "obsolete Japanese battleship's secondary armament" which proves to still have teeth as well as ornate paintwork. One Russian destroyer flotilla is "dispersed" (some sunk, some damaged and some morale broken) and takes no further part in the battle. The second Russian destroyer flotilla conducts a torpedo attack but is unsuccessful (see below, red shell splashes indicate where the first Russian destroyer flotilla used to be):

From the "viewpoint of the gods". The Russian Fleet is steaming down the middle of the table, bar the destroyer attack on the top right of the photograph. The objective of the Russian Admiral is to breakout to Vladivostok with as much as his fleet as possible. The Japanese have him hemmed in on three sides (see below, Togo and the battle fleet to the bottom, protected cruisers to the left and obsolete battleships to the right):

The Japanese main battle line find the range of the leading Russian battleships. The Japanese Admiral chose (unwisely) to engage opposites and thus spread damage along the enemy battle line, whereas the Russian Admiral chose to concentrate his fire on the Mikasa (and Admiral Togo) and try and take him out of the battle (see below):

The IJN Mikasa bears the brunt of the Russian fire but sails majestically on (see below):

Meanwhile the Russian "protected cruisers" come into range of the two Japanese "armoured cruisers" trailing the main Japanese battle line and score a damaging hit on the leading Russian ship (see below):

Good shooting by the Russians "returns the compliment" and the IJN Nishin is rather unexpectedly damaged in the exchange of fire. At this juncture the Russians are in danger of having their "tee" crossed but paradoxically they need to surge through the enemy lines at all costs (see below):

Telling blows are being landed at this point. The Russians and Japanese are committing their battleships to a "slugging dual". The end of the table is an artificial "end of the world" and represents either a fuel limit or fog bank that saves/hides any ship that enters.

Next: Forcing the Gate (or not)

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 2) Action Stations

On patrol outside of Port Arthur, aboard the flagship Mikasa, Admiral Togo sees the unmistakable form of the Russian Fleet in battle order steaming directly at him. He sets in motion the signals to concentrate all the Japanese battle squadrons which are currently in three separate formations: The main battle squadron, a squadron of protected cruisers and a third squadron of obsolete old battleships (see below, "The Russian First Pacific Fleet" in a condensed sailing formation trying to bust the Japanese encirclement):

Sensing an opportunity to strike first the Russian commander orders his destroyers to concentrate on the obsolete Japanese battleship squadron (see below, in the top part of the picture two Russian destroyers head towards the Japanese battle line). If nothing else this desperate attack should delay their  arrival in the main theatre of action and increase the odds for the Russian breakout to be successful. As a countermeasure the Japanese Vice Admiral detaches his destroyer formation for protection (see below):   

Meanwhile the Japanese third force appears on the horizon. A squadron of four protected cruisers with another destroyer flotilla. Note: They are armed with small relatively calibre guns but carry torpedoes with are a greater threat (see below):

The Japanese destroyers trade blows with their Russian counterparts, however given the 2:1 odds some Russian destroyers are bound to get through. The Japanese obsolete battleships main their secondary armament in anticipation of a fierce battle to come (see below):

Away from the destroyer action the main contest begins at long range. The Japanese expertise in gunnery shows (or was it just the dice) as the Retvizan suffers the first serious damage of the contest. First blood to the Imperial Japanese Navy. Note: The significance of this is that it is permanent damage and cannot be repaired. This means the Russian ship has a negative Dice Roll Modifier (DRM) in its attack rolls (see below):

The van of the Imperial Russian First Pacific Battle Squadron (First Division) is surrounded in long range shell splashes. At this point it in teh proceedings it becomes apparent that the odds are 4:3 in the Japanese favour, as four Japanes battleships are firing to the three Russian Battleships. A small tactical advantage the Japanese wants to use, particularly as there are three Russian battleships lurking yet to be engaged (as in the The Imperial Russian First Pacific Battle Squadron, Second Division). Unbeknownst to the Russians the Japanese have actually lost two battleships that were struck by mines and floundered outside Port Arthur. To supplement their depleted battle line and make it back up to a round "six" Tojo has pulled in two armoured cruisers to "strengthen the line". However it is a very mute point as to whether or not these armoured cruisers really want to go toe-to-toe with a battleship, even if it is a Russian battleship. Currently they are sight seeing events at the back of the battle line (see below, the armoured cruisers are out of the picture but following on bottom right, a friendly squadron of Japanese destroyers can also be seen bottom right):     

Next: Time to Trade Big Blows

Tuesday 9 January 2018

28mm Soviet Project - Chain of Command: Stalingrad Campaign (Order of Battle)

Reading history is interesting, reading rules can be a "rewarding" chore (there is always some pain involved) being part maths and part logic, but then sometimes something as strange as the evolution of an Order of Battle provides more curious insights, reflecting on "what happened" over time.

Consider the Chain of Command WWII Soviet Rifle Platoon Order of Battle ... imagine you are a Soviet NCO junior section leader. When war broke out (Barbarossa 1941) you commanded eight rifleman and a LMG pair (and there were four sections to a platoon commanded by a Senior Lt Leader). By end of July 1942, in each section, two of those rifleman had been killed and not replaced [25% down on a full pre-War complement]. Then comes along a cauldron like Stalingrad. My forces (a full Soviet Rifle Platoon) start on the "friendly" Russian bank of the Volga looking across the river into the fiery maelstrom that is now Stalingrad. The campaign starts with 3d6 casualties from this "daylight" crossing: I roll a 6, 6 and a 1 which equals 13 dead, MIA or wounded. Urggh not a great start (see below, black shaded area indicate pre-Stalingrad "wear and tear" on Soviet formations up to this point, the scored through circles casualties because of 'enemy fire' on the Volga crossing, obviously a barge or two took a direct hit!):

There were "thirteen" casualties (horrendous in other words), spread across four sections, which  means taking away  3, 3, 3, 4 soldiers respectfully. I deplete each section's riflemen accordingly, leaving the LMG teams and Junior SMG leader intact. Boy does this look "fragile"! I then decide to disband one "fragile" section to "pump-up" the others. The first section gets the LMG team and two rifle troops, the second section gets a rifleman  and the third section gets the demoted Junior Leader - probably now wielding a rifle (see below):

The battle damage to the platoon means it is probably 'en route' to the later Stalingrad Order of Battle where sections start to reduce rifles and bump up their LMG content to two where possible!

Monday 8 January 2018

WWII 20mm Soviet "Shadow" Project

As you may know from what I have already posted in 2017/2018 I am engaged with one new "active" wargaming project, i.e. collaboration with a group of "like minded wargaming individuals" to put on a 'mini' Chain of Command campaign in early spring 2018 , the twist being it is in 28mm. Hence the "I am gonna do this thing" 28mm painting posts to jump start my efforts. You may also recall  my wargaming world view is that 20mm is "the one true [certainly in Skirmish "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) and possibly higher level (MegaBlitz probably "yes", but Command Decision a "maybe" or "no" [if there are lots of tanks flying about]) aka the Operational Art of War level] WWII wargaming scale". All other scales are whims and fancies, the dragon's teeth thrown down by the necromancer in Jason and the Argonauts! OK. I think I had an early, formative Airfix experience when I was young, my older brothers gave me lots of Airfix "presents". Hence as I descend into this 28mm madness I have hatched a cunning 20mm "escape plan". I will replicate my 28mm OrdBat in 'fresh' 20mm as well. Mirroring the Warlord Soviet 28mm Winter Infantry is the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 20mm-1/72 Summer Russian Infantry Platoon (see below):

I immediately noticed one 20mm advantage, there are "more of them" per box. That means one PSC 20mm Russian Infantry box contains more than enough infantry to complete the full Russian Stalingrad platoon OrdBat I am after without the annoying need to supplement 'gaps' with expensive metals or begging unwanted LMGs from other people's plastic sprues, or buy another expensive 28mm "box" of figures. Besides that I literally have hundreds of other plastic (even metal) Russian figures I could pull in at a stretch to fill in any of those "silly gaps" + required support options, seriously NO PROBLEM. I am not going to purchase a 28mm Soviet Tank! Additionally I really like the PSC Soviet Infantry as I think they have plenty of character and are nicely posed. Therefore this is a "win-win" scenario for me (see below):

Hence the first Stalingrad Chain of Command (CoC) Platoon has now been primed in my preferred Airfix Acrylic (01) Grey. I hope to shadow the 28mm in 20mm as it progresses along (Note: Madness would mean I should also paint the 15mm PSC Soviet Infantry I have .. but I don't think I'll go there just yet)!

Note to self: This mean I am slightly updating my 20mm Russian WWII Infantry Painting Guide

Painting Prep Phase:

  • Step 1: Fix washed plastic soldier to a base via UHU glue
  • Step 2: Apply Airfix Acrylic Grey Primer (01)
  • Step 3: (Next) Wash figures in Vallejo Brown Wash