Saturday, 24 September 2016

Armoured Car : VBCW

We have another VBCW battle planned in (hopefully) a few weeks just need to sort a date. We have planned the 'Battle of Alston Moor'. The Anglian league from the North East will confront the Alston People's Alliance. The Alliance are a mixture of Miners, farm workers, disaffected workers of all types who have taken the opportunity of the Civil war to fight for themselves rather than the wealthy classes. They have been infiltrated by more radical left wing and communist elements as well.
Their problem is they lack any national funding at this stage so are poor on weapons and kit. A typical example of this is the recently converted armoured car above. The miners have cut up spoil wagons from the pit and simply riveted them onto an existing vehicle. At least they left a hatch on top to shoot out of..........

Friday, 23 September 2016

Yeomanry Cavalry : WIP next stage

A bit more work on the cavalry last night and finally they are under coated. Changed a couple of the hats a bit more and removed the slouch hat which didn't look right. Am posting this as they look great at the moment and I am just about to spoil them by painting πŸ˜€

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Yeomanry Cavalry : VBCW Work in progress

I don't normally show WIP projects but the conversion of the Yeomanry cavalry has been a bit of a challenge. They are Black Tree boers and although all I am really doing is head swops and some extra kit bags etc as metal figures it has been a pain to cut, file and replace. The reason for the post is I am close to being able to start painting πŸ˜€
Only one has kept his slouch type hat, the rest are converted to caps etc.... They will get their bases this evening before I hopefully crack on with painting. I do have a lot tot do (in my head to complete at the moment) I am confident they will look much better when painted up in appropriate tweeds etc.


Monday, 19 September 2016

The Battle for Hythe : Operation Sealion July 1940

Having carried out the necessary planning Hilter and the German War machine have chosen 14th July 1940 as S day or invasion day of the British Isles. Weather conditions have proved adequate and only minor loses have occurred during the complex and dangerous crossings. The British have been caught napping and the advantage they had in Naval power will not help them now the Germans have landed. The target landing zones for the bulk of the first wave of the invasion are the shingle and sandy beaches between Hythe and New Romney in SE Kent. The ground forces are supported by Fallschirmjager (paratroopers) who have landed inland to capture key bridges, defence installations, gun emplacements and secure the bridgehead from expected counterattacks.

 
This map from Kenneth Macksey's excellent book

Having secured the Napoleonic Royal Military Canal, infantry of the 55th Infantry Regiment, part of the 17th Infantry Division have pushed into the small seaside town of Hythe.  Supported by paratroopers of the 20th Parachute Regiment they are sweeping out any resistance to ensure the bridgehead is secure before more troops and heavy support units are landed later in the day. The town though is still held by forward elements of the 2nd London Brigade, this is acting as a rear guard as survivors from the landings stream back to reform in the Elham Valley. Despite government advice there are also strong elements of the home guard from Hythe and Seabrook who having 'fought them on the beaches' have now pulled back into the town to support the regular troops. The defenders are low on ammunition but not courage and the Germans have not at this early stage been able to land more than a few armoured vehicles and Tanks.

The British have set up rudimentary road blocks around the church and are hoping to hold the advance at least to buy time along the main high street. The Germans objective is to sweep them out of the town.
A view of the main high street and church. Germans are advancing from the south.
The 55th Infantry Regiment, supported by two units of Fallschirmjager, two MG34 
and the first armour to get ashore, a 35(t) in the distance a Panzer II and an armoured Reccon vehicle Sdkfz 222
The Seabrook and Hythe Home guard advance through allotments,
 they haven't even had time to get into uniform.
The Parachutists push forward towards the buildings whilst the MG34 starts to lay down covering fire. But it is not all plain sailing the unit which has made it to the hedge have run straight into a hail of bullets and are seriously pinned down.
The veteran Fallschirmjager use cover and move forward supported by regular infantry all to plan !
A shot captured on the day by Nazi propoganda ministry
At the far west of the Main Street the British have dug in around a pill box, so the Germans have sent the armour they do have to push through
A shot from behind the church shows the British infantry rather than hiding are running across the street, but surely the are already beaten ?  The first signs of concern started to show on the German commanders face ! He was under orders to clear the town quickly and things aren't going to plan.☹️
Even the Seabrook home guard are advancing, Shop keepers looking to out flank the Wehrmacht !
.........and then the unthinkable veteran Fallschirmjager having thrown grenades into the occupied building refuse to charge in ! Worse than that they panic and pull back. (ED. no you can't make this stuff up ! What is the German for FubarπŸ˜€)
Emboldened by the apparent lack of drive by the German Parachutists the Seabrook Homeguard move cautiously around the church to attempt to outflank the German lines. Safe to say this was not a wise move and they were ruthlessly cut down. The Germans believing them terrorists out of uniform no prisoners taken here.
The German commanding officer was luckily on hand to halt the retreat and bring back some sense of order.
With time pressing before the main invasion fleet hits the beaches the infantry who had occupied the post-office have been ordered to attack across the street to subdue the fire coming from the town hall. This they bravely did, but rushing across in the open without adequate support was always going to be a risk. They suffered and were wiped out. The two tanks began a duel across the street
Things were at this stage balanced, although it clearly wasn't going to be a quick victory the Germans were confident.........then the Panzer II was damaged by accurate artillery fire. It could still fire but it's track had been blown off.
.....and then the 35 t Panzer was hit by a direct strike by the Matilda II and it exploded in flames.
To add insult to injury the Panzer II was then hit again and it too exploded showering the crew of the nearby armoured car with debris. The Germans had lost both main tanks in one turn !
With much of their infantry either dead or casualties the Germans now had little chance to take the town. They had managed to inflict considerable damage on the defenders  but had come off worse.
The remaining Germans carefully push forward but they would have to await significant extra support before they could take the town. The captain was dreading having to report back to Regimental command he had failed to take what had looked like an easy day one objective. His superiors would be unforgiving.......but most of all he was concerned that if this was the type of fight the Wehrmacht were going to face in Great Britain then it was not going to be the easy defeat they had been encouraged to hope for.

An excellent first battle in what I hope will be a very long running campaign. I have many more ideas for battles and loads more stuff to collect, build and paintπŸ˜€


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

VBCW / Operation Sealion Cavalry

As part of my ongoing projects I have a number of cheapish books about the home guard. One particular photograph which really attracts me is the one below of the mid Devon hunt. These would obviously be replicated in Cumbria for our VBCW battles and my Operation Sealion project.
I have been looking for a while for something close to these. Martin helpfully put me on to the possibilities of Blacktree Design Boer Cavalry as a possible option.
They were a bit slow coming through but they arrived today. Horses are great and look to my eye very much like standard hunting saddles. Clothing and weapons are fine. I just need to manage the heads/ hats. The great thing is they are all wearing waistcoats πŸ˜€ Tally Ho !

1940 Fallschirmjager : Operation Sealion

These Fallschirmjager have been hard work but I have sometimes found you just have to dig in to get stuff finished. I had started them when I was on holiday and finally got them done. They are warlord metal figures which are great. Technically though they are later then 1940 as the set includes a couple of assault rifles, an MG42 and I think the caps are later too. However, I have painted them all in 1940's uniforms and will use them in Operation Sealion as well as other later periods.
We have two squads, an NCO, a medic, a LMG, a mortar team. The Anti tank gun PAK 36 I think is a crusader minatures figure.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Battle for Cambes en Plaine : June 1944

The second in our Battle for Caen Campaign. Later on the 7th June (I have seen several different dates for this ?) the 12th SS Hitlerjugend had captured the village of Cambes en Plaine. The 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles were tasked with re-taking the village as part of a wider counterattack by the 9th Canadian Division. The Rifles were supported by tanks of the East Riding Yeomanry, Divisonal artillery support, Naval artillery from HMS Danae and Royal Engineers.

This was going to be a tough scenario for the Allies with the Panzer grenadiers dug in in the village and supported by a strong battery of 88mm guns.

The start of the allied advance, the Royal Ulster Rifles entering form the North (right) through village of Anisy, their challenge is to get across the relatively open ground to Cambes en Plaine where the SS are dug in. For our scenario the Royal engineers, who according to the accounts I have read fought more like an armoured unit, have been formed into a separate independent battalion and have moved to cover the right flank of the attack. They have various armoured cars and a couple of Cromwells. The Germans have set up a strong mortar presence behind the village and can fire straight down the road at any advancing units.
The Canadian division is supporting the attack with an anti-tank unit who have moved to a position to give covering fire form the left flank. This proved far to vulnerable to attack and they should have taken the extra time to move into the fields where they would have benefitted from over.
A closer view of Cambes en Plaine, the main village is behind the road, in front of the road are a series of isolated buildings and small wooded areas. We allowed the 12th SS to set up, up to the road and to dig in all the 88's, making them very hard to hit.
After a couple of very poor command rolls early on the Royal Ulster Rifles finally get in gear, they are split into two units supported with heavy machine guns, mortars, some Bren gun carriers and a couple of Churchill infantry tanks for support.
Anything on the road immediately comes under fire and two of the East Riding Yeomanry are brewed up. The tanks immediate drive off the road to the west.
Having set up half the German force we allowed Pnazer Meyer to bring the rest of his force on as reserves, excellent German leadership brought them on straight away, more Panzer Grenadiers are being sent down the German Right flank, towing even more anti-tank guns, in this case 75mm Pak 40's I think.
In the far distance Panzer IV's have pushed onto the battlefield, the Rifles are continuing to double time down the road, but are paying a high price to the mortars which proved very effective, somehow they were able to target the heavy machine gun units !

A shot from behind the village (above) the Yeomanry outgunned by the Panzer IV's has pulled back towards the village, whilst the Royal Engineers hugely outgunned take up a covering position in the distance, hoping if nothing else to delay the Panzers from completely outflanking the attack.
Looking North East the smoke in the distance is the remains of the Canadian antitank unit they proved far too exposed.
Another view from behind Cambes the 88's can far right through the village, no armour is able to stand for long on the road !
At this point the Ulster Rifles have made it to the near wood and have taken the first part of the village with the Sherman's of the yeomanry in the further copse, the casualty count is however completely unbalanced with something like 15 units knocked out against only 2 of the Germans !
Having knocked out the anti tank unit the fresh Panzer grenadiers remount and start to move in towards the allies left flank, despite coming under fire for allied mortars close to the road it is an ominous sight.
This was pretty much the high point for the allies, although they hadn't failed their break test they were now at breaking point. They are clinging onto the first parts of the village and the woods, the remained of the Royal Ulster Rifles are in a position to push into the village but they are looking over both shoulders with the risk of being outflanked on both sides. At this point the allies chose to call it a day and pull back......this is surprisingly not too different to what happen historically. But the SS also then pulled back to create a more coherent defensive front.
A really enjoyable but difficult game for the allies, I had several poor leadership rolls which hampered them from the start. I also miss calculated the naval artillery support and this put them at a big disadvantage. They will learn for next time......
Next up for Normandy at least........Operation Goodwood