Friday 23 November 2018

Fighter Duel Part II

A second try out with the Fighter Duel rules by Phil Sabin and I discovered that you will need 'quite a large board' area if you are going to use 1/144 model planes and get into a weaving and circling dogfight! Something the author admittedly had pointed out to me as he used small board game counters on a small-hexed large-gameboard-sheet rather than models. For me I needed the models [which I like making] for "a better sense of visualisation". I scripted a scenario where a veteran Me 109 tried to "bounce" two RAF "old hands" from behind (which should be a hard thing to do). The Me 109 managed to get one "poor chance shot off" but the Spitfires having survived the initial attack 'out-turned' the diving Me 109 and spun away. This seemed quite reasonable. Novice Spitfire pilots perhaps might have got themselves into a bit of bother. The game holds a lot of promise and I will continue experimenting (see below, the Me 109 curses the nimble Spits):

This is the scenario I am working up to an "early war" RAF Vic three formation and a Luftwaffe "Finger Four" head-to-head combat (see below):

Watch this space for more play-testing as I put two game mats together! Note, the blue below obviously implies they are fighting over "The Channel" ;)

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Still the BEST Free Set of Rules on the Web? Canvas Eagles!

Check out this link (and wander round the site):

With characters like this stalking the skies do you feel safe? (see below, 1/72 Fokker Eindecker EIII)

Still a great game after all these years! Myself and some friends shall be taking it for a whirl at the local Stockton Wargames Show Battleground 2018 this weekend!

Monday 19 November 2018

Next Up: Cavalry of the Sun King - Walloon Cavalry for Ramillies 1706.

The box has arrived and it's quite a big one!. The horses "sprues" look straight forward to put together but the cavalry troopers look quite complex as they are many variations allowed for, from normal French cavalryman to Bavarian Currassier (see below, November's job is to put them together and finish off painting the infantry - the tangerines in the background are a nice touch):

I definitely have the 28mm Plastic "buy anything bug". Too much quality about  .. too little restraint ;)

Sunday 18 November 2018

December 2018 issue of Wargames Illustrated with the Cruel Seas "Boat" Sprue

Sequence of actions: Big kid enters candy store, sees best candy ever, buys one (restrains himself from buying two but then orders the bigger "pre-order" Starter Set) and takes it home and immediately starts eating or rather making it (see below, the "candy" bar):

Said "big kid" puts together the "candy" and is one happy big kid [albeit no longer in the "candy shop"] knowing that at least the "candy" has been assembled is ready for the 'painting tray' (see below, or on closer inspection are they ready .. drum roll?):

I have a piece left over and it does not seem to go obviously anywhere! Have I missed a bit of a gun somewhere? It seemed to be parked where all the other gun bits were, but I don't want to go just sticking a bit on any old thing! Dilemma! (see below, middle left hand side - the mystery piece):

I did a Warlord Games S-Boat Google search but all the images seem to look like the S-Boats or E-Boats (take your pick) I have assembled. Sadly the "sprue" was considered so straightforward it came without instructions ... argh. Any help appreciated (and thanks in advance) .. they may be crew seats!

PS: I also notice that the "sprues" were a mixture of RN Vospers and KM E-Boats. They seem to be selling really fast! In fact no RN Vospers were left by the time I picked up my copy.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Both Of These Blogs Should Have More Followers

Looking around the Blogshpere and occasionally you come across Blogs that have just started and deserve a much large audience due to their content and quality. These two fit the category nicely: 

Lardistan and other Goodness:

Tomorrow When The Revolution Begins:

Take a look, I don't think you will regret it!

Friday 16 November 2018

Early World War I: Canvas Eagles Dawn Patrol (1/144)

Dawn over the Western Front. A photo reconnaissance Be2 is escorted by an early war Bristol Fighter  [not to be confused with a later war BrisFit]. The sky is a clear blue but the RFC flyers will have to contend with the rising sun, so "Beware the Hun from the sun!"(see below, please also note the early war "dirty dope" [Yellow] paint scheme):

A lone fighter from the Imperial German Air Service is prowling the skies in his Fokker Eindecker EIII (see below, the Kallista scenery is a natural fit for the Canvas Eagles rules, the trench-line/no-man's land being a bespoke additions. The "white poker markers" represent "Archie" positions and the "blue poker markers" represent 'areas of interest' that the High Command want to be photographed (see below):

The forces converge. Spoiler alert the planes fly past each other without any damage to each other. The German plane did let off a medium burst [Note: Wisely the pilot did not want to risk his guns jamming with a long burst] of machine gun fire to no effect. Then there was a knock at the door! As we were playing a "rolling game" this meant another German plane was about to enter the fray (see below, the German plane has a slight advantage in that it has the sun behind it):

There was a gasp as a sleek state of the German art killing machine appeared, the Albatross II. This was a nasty shock to the Entente! Immediately it dived into a head on attack with the Bristol Scout (see below, just in sight s the base of the EIII about to Immelman back into the combat zone):

Despite taking many valuable pictures the Be2 lingered far too long over the German lines and the slow lumbering "photo recon bus" paid a heavy price by mixing it with the deadly Albatross (see below, two "red hits" caused an unsustainable eight engine hits and the Be2 disintegrated):

The "rolling battle" meant that the player simply picked up a new plane and returned to the fray. This time a green painted RFC DH2. As the Entente were getting a bit of a pasting I also decided to step down from being an umpire and join the fray in a Nieuport (see below):

Rather than being a Nieuport 11 as per the model, I had picked up the stats for a Nieuport 10 which is a two-seater observation plane. No matter that seemed to be fairer so we just played on (see below, I was desperately angling myself away from the Albatross II, leading it rather unkindly onto the RFC fighter pair who were knocking pieces out of the German EIII):

The game ended with a tactical German win. The smoking EIII made it off table (just), although I had taken a photograph of an interesting trench-line, albeit from a very high altitude. What swung it to the Germans was the still burning wreck of the Be2 deep inside their lines.

Good fun was had by all and the plan is to take this game to the local Stockton Battleground Wargames Show on Saturday 24th November as a participation game. If you are there please feel free to stop by and say hello.

Thursday 15 November 2018

GMT Board Game: "A Distant Plain" Third Reprint

This one has been on the "bucket list" for some time now - alongside Matrix Games. "Out of Print" and at ridiculous eBay prices prohibited my earlier attempts at getting it. However after signing up on the GMT P500 reprint scheme (one year later) I am the proud owner of said game (see below, see Board Game Geek listing:

It is part of the Counter Insurgency (COIN) genre of games, asymmetrical warfare. It has also been promoted by various speakers over the years at the Connections UK Conference. More impressively it has been acknowledged as a respected and informed narrative on the dynamics of the conflict. The co-designers Brian Train and Volko Ruhnke alongside their keynote addresses at UK Connections 2018 gave de-construction insight to a military replay by active serving officers and governmental officials. So in the same vain that I "had to" get Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) because the 1st Royal Irish Commander Ivor Gardiner recommended it, this was a "bucket list" must for me! The hidden bonus is that it has "high" solitaire play (bots can run three of the sides) so there is no excuse in not getting it played over Xmas.

You Tube Videos explaining the game:

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Strange Bedfellows: Malburians and Tyranids/Necrons from Warhammer 40K - Painting Tray Update

In preparation for a replay of The Battle of Ramillies in January 2019 I am in the midst of preparing a unit of Spanish-Italian troops for the French Army in 28mm. Behind them lie my Tyranid and Necron foes strange bedfellows on the pairing table. It is a case of transfering the painting techniques in one period across to another (see below, Vallejo Paints and Wash greatly come to my aid):

Progress Update: The Malburians have their "shade" colours down, all that need to be done is lighten up the figures with a "light grey" base and follow with a "white highlight" on the tunics. The Malburian "fancy stuff" (laces, garters and stockings and cuffs) for this unit [Grimaldi] are mainly 'red'. I have instated the "factory production line" system getting little bits of the same thing done across the whole unit in one night!

Tuesday 13 November 2018

WWI - You Tube Series - Week by Week (5 Seasons) Amazing!

Timed nicely or rather fittingly to finish with the 100th. anniversary of the end of WWI.

I am going to have to start watching this! As I have Five Series to catch up .. !

Monday 12 November 2018

Holiday Arms Cache in 20mm

A recent visit to Edinburgh saw an opportunity to visit Wonderland and rampage through their 20mm figures selection (nothing beats having things physically in you hands creating budget dilemmas of all sorts). I simply could not resist these US Tank Riders from HaT. I did not "need them" for any particular "order of battle" or troop type but I could just see them enhancing the look and feel of any of the US kit I have with scruffy GI's lounging around (see below, they all have good character features and you get quite a lot too): 

Meanwhile I could not help noticing in the Italeri model section are rather large Italian cannon! Something I had seen before but hadn't picked up and later regretted it. It was a compulsory purchase. I so wished I had picked up a 1/144 scale F22 when I saw one years ago! That will be my HMS Repulse and KGV story all over again, waiting 10+ years for it to reappear (see below, this is part of my slow churn 20mm - 1/72 scale Western Desert force project): 

The figures look great, not much to the build and it looks slightly, dare I say it H.G. Wells "Little Wars"? All I seem to be missing from my Italians is a little transport (you did not walk anywhere in the desert),  a couple of Light Tanks [Fiat L6/40 and L3/33] an earlier Medium Tank [M11/39] and a large car/small truck with a gun in it called a Sahariana (see below, all will come with the passage of time):

Note to self: There is no definitive start/end dates to the above, more growing the collection. I also stocked up on a collection of 15mm WWII Zvezda models, but that is another story. I also noticed a collection of Strelets/Italeri Japanese Infantry kits that had to wait for another time ;)

Sunday 11 November 2018

Lest We Forget: 100 Years Ago Today: The War to "End All Wars" Stopped

Occasionally you turn a familiar corner in your familiar village or town but instead of something familiar you are stunned by a spectacular unfamiliar sight. One night I was brought to tears as unbeknown to me the grounds of the local church near its cenotaph had been turned into the most beautiful display of remembrance, a display of love and a display of loss. There were poppies, lots of poppies, but the poppies were special, they had been knitted by local woman, children and men of the community in remembrance of the fallen. They adorned the church grounds as a silent testimony to a past event of world shattering magnitude that left no family large or small untouched. It was a very personal tribute with the names of the men lost from village looking down on them (see below):

In daylight it is even more beautiful (see below):

The silhouettes of two Tommies with gun barrels facing down to the earth (see below):

It is an absolute tribute to the villagers that despite the display being up for over a week and in clear uninhibited touching distance to all; that is all ages, all creeds and all persons of the village have shown respect. It seems to have touched a special chord in all of us (see below):

I was heartened to know that we are capable of such simple genius. It filled me with hope (see below):

Please God never again need we remember such a waste, of such arrogance and be capable of such a scale of sin!

Saturday 10 November 2018

Better Paint the "Big Ones" Then (Warhammer 40K Tyranids)

Well it looks after the little play test in the friendly Games Workshop environment I need to think about painting up some bigger models to frighten the local neighbourhood Space Marines Primaris. The first candidate is a mean up-close and personal Hive Tyrant that has HUGE crab like rending claws as well as hideous looking Scythed Talons. That's not mentioning the spiked thing on its tail and spear-like barbs emanating from his/her/its chest. I built it at random just to look nasty (see below, I am going with a Green/Brown colour scheme from a base of Airfix Primer Grey (01) washed in Vallejo Sepia Brown - The interior green was Vallejo Game Colour Dark Green dry brushed over with Vallejo Sick Green):

I like the Shade and Base colouring but it does need a highligt which I will draw back to using standard "wet" brushes rather than the flat "dry" brush ones. Vallejo Game Colour Scorpion Green and White will be mixed in fro the highlights (see below, the rear of the armoured carapace - also note the adrenal gland I couldn't help myself adding in):

Less advanced on the 'painting station' (a motorway petrol station in comparison to the deluxe holiday hotel from David Crook's blog) is a "friendly" [not] Carniflex looking absolutely vile and hideous in the best tradition of the Tyranids (see below, here the matt black spray [Humbrol Acrylic I think] can had come out to give a very solid undercoat - to highlight features [as everything was very black] I "dry" brushed a light white highlighter to help define its features [I was also experimenting with the new Citadel "gel" paints]):

This guy is bad - I was partly regretting not making him a "close combat specialist" as well, being lured into the large phallic long gun! In wargaming terms I know this just means I will have to buy another one [someday]. I was planning to adopt the same colour scheme Green/Black but "brown washing" seems inappropriate until he gets a little more colour on his pallet (see below, long range weapons always come in useful!):

I am going to take my time over the above and enjoy the journey ;)

Friday 9 November 2018

A Walk on the Dark Side - A Warhammer 40K Tutorial (Adult Beginner)

Taking a leaf from a very respected ex-soldier who is avidly and earnestly promoting wargaming as a professional science to aid the military and political planners of the present and the future; when he said, "sneer at nothing!" I looked at the Warhammer 40K Core Rules, and in the same vein as the mouse in "The Gruffalo" - I looked at the rules and the rules looked good! So it was time for my Tyranids to fulfil their wargaming destiny against the deadly (and I mean deadly) Space marine Primaris of the Ultra Marines [the opposition provided by the GW shop, fresh from the demo table]. I took the opportunity of enlisting in an adults beginner's class which meant I took on the local shop's resident rule "doyen and GW Jedi Master" to me, playing the part of the novice "Padawan" (see below, my Tyranid Hormagaunts rush to seek cover behind some ruins [wargaming destiny fulfilled] - I was pleased to draw some very praiseworthy comments on my painting style from my Jedi 40K Master and we exchanged painting tips all night):

The enemy, these dudes are the "Space Marines Primaris" (SMP) [singleton figures of which are] currently being given away as an introductory offering to entice new blood (or in my case "old blood" lured back in a different direction) into the hobby. The thing to bear in mind is that the SMP are tough hombres taking two hits [traditional Space Marines only had one], shoot well and don't run away (see below, a sergeant and four troopers alongside a "hero" - Lieutenant [4 HPs]):

About that shooting! Six of my brood fall to a deadly hail of lead from the Space Marine Primaris' powerful bolters - despite my Gaunts being in cover. Well this looks like it is going to be a short introductory game - but I was informed much to my relief that the Tyranids are one of the 40K races that can ignore normal morale rolls due to in their case the 'hive mind' effect, that is until the 'mind node' (monster) is killed. This as an army or race of pure killing machines, which makes them very, very dangerous and respected by their opponents (see below, the "devastation" wrought on me and I had just been complemented for "not getting caught out in the open" by my Jedi master - then he rolled really good dice, still the show must go on):

Undaunted I charged out and just got enough distance to take it to the Lieutenant Tyranid fashion "tooth and [rending] claw" with my two surviving Hormagaunts [aka "grunts"] and my leader a pumped-up Tyranid Warrior acting as a Tyranid Prime. The attack seems to be successful as we hear the Lieutenant emit several painful grunting noises  (see below, the game seems already loaded with several satisfying player moments, even if I have a nagging sense of doom about what is coming next):

In pile the Space Marine Primaris to help their leader in his "hour of need" but mercifully "all the attacks" (and there were many a dice thrown) manage only "one hit" on my 6 HP Tyranid Prime (see below):

I "rend" back and rip the Lieutenant to pieces - "Man Down!" (I think I am getting into the mind set of the Tyranids nicely here) and earn myself a VP for the "first unit" kill [the "hero" counting as a unit]. Nevertheless the Space Marine Primaris' are throwing a lot of close combat dice again (see below, it is amazing to see that the lowly Hormagaunt is still alive):

Again those deadly "rending claws" show no mercy and this time a lowly Space Marine Primaris succumbs (see below, again the last Hormagaunt is frantically weaving and taunting the Space Marine Primaris Sergeant who is throwing a successive string of 1's an 2's which are just plain misses - too bad):

As the shop was about to close the game had to be called. The last Space Marine Primaris Sergeant attack kills my remaining Hormagaunt (boo hoo!), but I don't care as I am a Tyranid Prime [the local manifestation of the "Hive Mind"] and I am in the middle of eating a bunch of Space Marine Primaris and they taste good (see below):

I am down to half hit points [3] but think I would at least take another two Space Marine Primaris with me if the fight continued. I was awarded a respectable 2:1 win by my Jedi 40K Master, but more importantly, I was very pleased with "how" the rules played - although until you played them you don't know them. I thought on reading them I knew them but the run through highlighted some very important parts - some coming from the relative weighting effects of the troop stats. There were few (that I could see) opportunities for "wargaming cheesiness" and the fun element was coming through nicely. The pedigree of eight rule revisions shows. We ended the night in a discussion of where to take my armies next. It was very, very soft sell (I was fearing walking away with several more boxes of expensive models at a loss to explain why?) but rather the opposite I was encouraged to paint more of what I already had and come back for another lesson - which I will do! My next task is to try to explain the rules to the kids!


Wednesday 7 November 2018

The Portable Wargame Book WWII Eastern Front Battle (Part 4) - Re-Fight III "End Game Over-run"

Heartened by the destruction of the Panzer IV the Soviets regaled their T-34s to "super human patriotic efforts" and charge and break the German centre. Supported by artillery (it was deemed to be a fresh close combat as the PAK crews had just returned to the fray) and other units the PAK was destroyed. This left a Commander alone in the hex and the T34 mercilessly advanced, tank tracks squealing in "Cross of Iron" fashion (see below): 

We had a brief conversation regarding what to do with a solo command figure alone in close combat and we decided that it was an auto kill - alternatively it could have been roll a "6" for it to hit the T-34, but the latter auto kill seemed more fair (maybe it was getting late). The German Commander went to Valhalla (see below, the Germans are approaching their Exhaustion Limit having lost a Pz IV, a Pak 40 and a Commander - 3 towards their 4 limit, whereas the Russians despite losing three infantry and one tank - are only 4 towards their 7 limit):

The one remaining hope for the Germans was their Mountain Artillery piece, now firing over open sight could brew a T-34 but alas the T34's armour was too strong. Almost inevitably the German front ruptured; Soviet direct fire returned the complement to the German Mountain Artillery and a hit made it retreat (crew not the guns, just like the PAK). This effectively brought the German forces almost to the point of "Exhaustion" - no further movement for offensive action. However the rampant T-34s kept coming (see below, the German artillery crew can just be seen bottom left corner):

The close combat although not killing the Germans (still tenuously hanging above their exhaustion point) hurled them away from the safety of their fortifications and opened up the rearmost T-34 to perform exploitation right into "the enemies backfield" (see below):

The veteran T-34 (veteran as in "model", not as in quality of the unit, as it was painted last century in the 1990's was about to claim it's "wargaming moment") did not need to be asked twice and promptly 'overran' [again I can hear those tank tracks squealing - that remorseless metal on metal sound ] the retreating Mountain Artillery crew. Again after discussion we deemed the German crew were in no position to defend themselves (perhaps "6" to hit would the T-34 have been as appropriate - but what with?) This was sufficient to break the Germans or rather make them reach their Exhaustion Point (see below - no more offensive movement for the Germans from this point on):

With the Russian infantry moving up and two rampant T-34s in the German rear (not forgetting another positioning itself to charge from the front) it was 'game, set and match' to the Soviets. The only question now was, "Could the Germans could get anything off in good order?" or was it a complete rout. Answer: It became a rout as another German Infantry Platoon was eliminated and all the other units forced to retreat "pell-mell" off table (see below, the final position):

This certainly was a comprehensive Russian victory. The game was over in just over an hour, with plenty of time spent in interesting conversation to add to the enjoyment of the proceedings. In fact I have played much longer games of DBA, so it was a quick game for sure - with the previous "run through" and this game done in the same evening. Note: I definitely want to re-run the scenario using Step Points (SPs) instead of the "instant kill" option to see the difference it makes - I expect a prolonged resistance but a Soviet victory.

Thoughts on the rules: Noting we just played the 'basic version' from the Portable Wargames book, not the additional features from the Developing the Portable Wargame. We seemed to get "most" things right, but I think we allowed direct fire (as opposed to close assault) from adjacent hexes at certain points. The more I think about it I am more inclined to prohibit this and force the player to either stand back or go in close and dirty. I am also assuming initiating close combat is "optional in your turn" if you are adjacent to an enemy unit. Regarding weapons characteristics, both the T34 - Pz IV - Pak 40 were OK as they were evenly matched. Throw a Tiger or a JSII into the mix then I think some "relational" modifiers would be appropriate (medium gun versus heavy armour implies a six or the tank could get a saving throw). Likewise for this period of the war, infantry anti-tank weapons justify the danger in T34s or Pz IVs attempting to overrun infantry, early war that would not be teh case. Things I personally want to introduce would be (and these are borrowed from many board game other rule-sets):
  • "Pinned Status" for troops that are fired upon and go "hunkered down" [Bob has read my mind with this additional feature in the follow on book: Developing the Portable Wargame].
  • An "Over-watch" action [placed defensively on units that don't move/fire that allows them to shoot at enemy that move into LOS/range next turn].
  • Playing around with vehicle characteristics to be more historical without becoming a "rivet counter".
  • Armour (AFV) attacking infantry in the open - overrun, then moving on after a successful attack.
  • Period Adjustments - for example 1940's "tank fright", here the Panzer Leader, Squad Leader and other Avalon Hill/SPI games are fertile sources of rule inspiration.
  • Special one-off troop characteristics (Stalingrad Militia high morale for example) 
  • Soviet "Tank-Riders"
  • Ammunition shortages [probably best dealt with in a scenario briefing]
All-in-all a good rules run out and I look forward to many hours of enjoyment spent tinkering along with these rules. That's the beauty of Bob's system, he doesn't explicitly demand you 'kowtow' to him but rather get started in an interesting conversation and how it could work out. Personally I am particularly looking forward to replaying the Colonial scenario and exploring the Ancients. Bob has also published a naval variant and is currently working on a Napoleonic set.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

The Portable Wargame Book WWII Eastern Front Battle (Part 3) - Re-Fight II "Armoured Assault"

The Soviet Commander decided to risk all in an all-out armoured attack. The four active units of T-34s pushed as far forwards as they could. Two of the T-34s halted as they ended "woods" (which stops any further movement but laid down "suppression" fire) and a third T34 aggressively chose to attempt an overrun of the PAK position (see below, the fourth T34 wisely stands off leaving "retreat room" - just in case if the advanced units attack goes badly and they have to retreat (see below, also note the German infantry platoon that has taken up an advanced position in the wood ahead of the PzIV, bottom left): 

The first 'tank-v-tank' engagement of the game started, with the T-34s coming out slightly on top, making the (Elite) German Panzer IV retreat (see below, beaten but not 'worsted'):

The central T-34 close assault was ineffectual, much to the relief of the Soviet Commander as when the odds were calculated the T-34 was in a badly  disadvantaged position (Soviets needed a 6 to hit while the Germans [in a fortification with their commander] needed 4-6 to hit). The close combat would continue but the Russians had "dodged" a bullet this turn (see below, note the "smoke" was a visual just for effect and to signify a unit had fired):

A second round of combat ensued [and in fact I think I let the Russians perform multiple "direct-fires" rather than force them to a close assault again - which seemed fair as a close assault attempt had been attempted] with the result that a "retreat" result enforced on the German PAK . True the winning the Soviet player could  not advance, but that was OK as it would have put him in yet another "disadvantageous close combat, " this time with the German MG team from a 'flank' hex. The German Commander thus elected to stay "in situ" hoping the crew would return rather than rout away with them [we ruled that without a transport the PAK could not rightly be hauled away].

Note: A brief discussion ensued to decide whether the "Commander" was just a DRM or could hold a hex himself - certainly not manning a PAK but could he "close combat"? The mutually agreed  decision being that he was a figurehead and an organiser rather than a combat element (despite what you see in teh war movies).

The Soviet player at this point was more concerned with the 'Elite' German Panzer IVH on his flank (see below, looking promising but still fraught with danger for the Soviets):

The Soviet Commander regrets at not having supporting infantry up with the tanks to take advantage of the heroic T34 and its local success.

Note: Another rule question came about regarding firing at units while in a close assault. It was decided that supporting units could fire at the defenders in advance of the attacker going in (by virtue of firing other units first). However, once in a close combat then it was deemed another matter (confusion and intermingling) and the norm would be to refrain from firing because of the danger of a "blue-on-blue". I think there may be a need for a "locked in melee" close assault marker, to denote when both sides cannot shoot into a close combat hex!

The German PAK crew recovered their composure (automatically - not needing a morale roll) and returned to their PAK (but were deemed unable to fire this turn) and the Panzer IV made a heroic but  desperate counter-attack (see below):

Choosing the rearmost T-34 as the most dangerous (being stacked with a commander and thus gaining to hit benefits) and also the most visible (the two other T-34s were in cover and one dangerously close to the re-manning PAK unit) the Pz IV's main armament barked and a T-34 erupted into a column of fire and brimstone (see below, one of Stalin's best succumbed):

The Soviets were not going to take this tank duel lying down and a fusillade of 76mm AT shots from the two remaining T-34s  with a clear LOS (the other one was back in close combat) crashed into the side of the Panzer IV. This time the Elite Panzer status could not save the Panzer IV (see below, go tell Adolf about the death of another panzer tank): 

Now there was the small matter of a PAK and the fortification line to deal with. It has to be noted at this point that despite firing in every turn both sides artillery had been quite ineffective.

Monday 5 November 2018

The Portable Wargame Book WWII Eastern Front Battle (Part 2) - Re-Fight I "Opening Moves"

After a brief "commanders/generals" conversion discussing the merits of the quick 'exhibition game' (see previous post), we decided we were keen to move back to the IGOUGO system as we thought the random card mechanism a bit too random (capable of generating too many "flip-flops") for the moment. Likewise we did not favour the positioning of the German AT Pak 40 so we collectively moved it behind the fortifications with the commander, giving it the best offensive and defensive bonuses. Admittedly it would be more exposed to the expected phalanx of T-34s but it seemed teh better option to us (see below, the 'calm before the T-34 storm') :

Given the information gleaned from the last disastrous attack the Russian commander brought the phalanx of T-34s on and parked them menacingly outside of the range of the German Mountain Artillery and PAK unit. This was not going to be a piecemeal attack but a coordinated cut and thrust (see below, famous quote of "a plan not surviving contact with the enemy" comes to mind): 

The "cool-handed and cool-headed" Soviet commander (not me I hasten to add) was not to be rushed and brought in flanking companies of Soviet infantry to push forward either side of his precious T-34 Phalanx (see below, I like the terrain-vehicle-figures visual presentation): 

The German Commander was forced to play the 'waiting game' as the Soviet Commander ran his infantry up to but not into some cover (see below, the Germans now at least have targets to shoot at next go):

Whereas the attackers are hindered by the numbers of units activated (card selected - half to +/- 1 FV) and always making choices of what to move, the defender can pretty much always decide to shoot at "any targets of opportunity" and his artillery. Note: The "two reserve" German infantry platoons have moved up taking firing positions "in the front line" (see below, the three nearest Soviet infantry units are in the line of sight to one or more German "weapon systems"): 

The PAK 40 was the first to speak with a HE shell eliminating a Russian squad/platoon (I am still undecided at what level a basic "manoeuvre unit" is pitched at - platoon is my default assumption) in one fell blow (see below):

A second Soviet infantry platoon is eliminated in quick succession from accurate German Defensive fire by one of the German infantry platoons that had moved up from reserve (see below):

Adding insult to injury a German MG42 section barks and a third Soviet platoon is no more (see below, devastation in a matter of seconds - anybody remember that plan?):

A deep frown is now seen creasing the brow of the Soviet commander. Although his T-34s are still intact the 'first wave' of Soviet infantry has been devastated. After thinking long and hard he decides to act with extreme utility.