Sunday, 18 March 2018

“On to Richmond”

Finally I have pulled my finger out and started my Union Forces for the American Civil War. A simple job and I have kept this unit fairly generic although they have a New York volunteer standard. A couple more units to be done the same as these then I might start some variations ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Despite a busy week I have managed to build and finish off one of my purchases from the Dumfries show. With a view to the Germans moving inland across Kent as part of my Operation Sealion campaign I needed a couple of extra terrain pieces which are typical of Kent. First up a windmill. A simple MDF model although I have added quite a bit of detail and a different base.
There were several types of Mill across Kent, this being the simplest of the two, although rarer  as these are I think we’re slightly earlier in style. A few of these still exist so they were definately around in 1940. Next up a Malthouse ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Albanich 2018 : Battle for Sinyavino Heights 1942

Today was the Albanich Wargames Show 2018 in Dumfries. This is the third year we have put on a demonstration game. This year in keeping with the 20th Century theme and our current gaming interests we put on an Eastern Front game. Rather than give a long description I have included the info sheet which I had at the game. In brief the Battle in September 1942 sees the Germans counterattack against a Russian advance to bridge a gap to Leningrad. Whilst I suspect a relatively little know episode in the vast scale of WW2 it was particularly notable as the first time the Tiger Tank saw combat. Historically they had been rushed to the front too early in were exceptionally unreliable, we had some special rules to reflect this. Before my usual photo montage a big thanks to Martin and Steve who played the game (Steve also provided the lovely Russians) whilst I umpired, stopped them squabbling, and spoke to the public. We had a lot of interest which was great and many complementary comments ๐Ÿ™‚.

The set up in place and ready to go, things were a little last minute due to some other pressures but happy overall
BT7’s and KV1 of the 4th tank Brigade supporting the advance of the 2nd Shock Army 327th Rifle Division
Some divisional artillery a Zis 3 being towed into place
A second KV1 on the Russian right flank, they have broken through the first german lines and are now pushing towards the Sinyavino Heights 
On the Heights a single German pak36 dug in, visibility is poor due to the tree cover but reinforcements are being rushed forward
Having unloaded at Mga the first Tiger of the 502nd Heavy Tank Battalion has arrived, it is slightly unreliable though and suffers some minor mechanical issues early on....luckily the crew are able to fix them and it presses forward
Infantry of the 170th Infantry Division are rushed forward behind the Panzers of the 12th Panzer Division
Having cancelled their own planned offensive the Germans have diverted the 5th Mountain Division to help plug the Russian breakthrough
Russian tanks continue to advance with the central area heavily wooded both sides are looking to take the advantage
Following closely the infantry, plenty more where these guys came from
Whilst the german infantry await deployment orders the German armour assumes a very cinematic advance formation (bonus point for the German CO)
The Tigers unreliability means it is looking to stay on the dirt roads to avoid getting bogged down, the infantry can go no further in the truck so dismount
The Mountain troops have been ordered to seize the ‘Heights’
Overhead a Stuka is chased by a Russian Poloikarpov I-16
The German Stug is leading the advance down the road into the woods
The German armour appears to have stopped ?
But they were just lining up to drive into the woods, seeing the difficult conditions the Tiger remarkable still working fine decides to stay on the road
German Infantry start to infiltrate the woods
But they are faced by stiff opposition 
Then suddenly a breakthrough for the Germans in a matter of minutes both BT7’s are knocked out, the Russian advance on the left stalls
Strong german armour pushed forward into the tree line
A change of plan the Russians advance on the right
An early casualty the wreckage of the burning Stug
The Tiger gets off its first shot but is only able immobilise the Lee which can still fire both guns
The Russians are now advancing through the woods towards the Heights 
German Cavalry arrive (this was a non playing unit just for show๐Ÿ™‚)
A furious tank battle ensues in the difficult wooded terrain, the Pz35(t) is knocked out but the Russians simply can’t hit anything else
The tiger is now in a strong position looking down the road and the Germans definately have the advantage no chance for the Russian breakthrough now.....
In a desperate all in advance the remaining Russian armour is thrown forward down the road towards the German lines
 Arrrrrrrgh unbelievable, rolling a ridiculous number of consecutive 6’s the Lee manages to blow the Tiger Tank out of the battle
And then within minutes the Panzer III, slightly over eager, having advanced beyond the tree line is also knocked out by a lucky shot from the side 
The PzIV redeploys to cover the road but its lighter Howitzer isn’t powerful enough to knock out the advancing T34
Panic is starting to set in and German Infantry is ordered forward 
The veteran Gebirgsjager of the 5th Mountain are not so easily shaken though and having kept their heads down behind the Heights they surge forward to knock the advancing Russian infantry back, unfortunately their machine gun support and the anti-tank gun has already been wiped out, the Heights are a very hot place to be !
and then...........pushing its way through the trees the second Russian KV pushes onto the Heights, despite heroically assaulting this with grenades and everything they have the Gebirgsjager can’t knock it out
the final coup de grace the T34 nudges its way past the burning Tigar and Stug to deliver a point blank shot to the Panzer Jรคger 

A final shot of the Stuka streaming oil and heading back to base, at this point with the Russian army broken through and the Germans ability to effectively deal with this the Germans chose to pull back from the Heights and reform a new defensive line.

Historically the Russians got bogged down before they reached the Heights and although the pocket was held by significant troops from the 4th and 6th Guards Rifle Corps and the 2nd Shock Army it was eventually cut off and eliminated. As for the Tigers the 502nd put 4 into combat three breaking down, the fourth getting stuck, one of these was supposedly captured by the Russians who then used it to develop the additional fire power they would need later in the war.

So there it is ..... even though a lot of the stuff for the game was straight from the dungeon it did take a lot to put the game on, it was enjoyable and I plan to be back next year. The show did seem very quiet ? Not sure if this was due to weather last week, the reduced number of traders or what. I feel it important to showcase the hobby and support any local shows, I do make an effort to talk to people about the game etc. I purchased a couple of items to support the traders who attended but I fear a decline has set in and it will take some action to reverse the trend. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to see any of the other games I was just too busy with ours....๐Ÿ™‚

Monday, 5 March 2018

Eastern Front 1943 (Big Game)

Partly as preparation for our demo game next week at Dumfries but also as a chance to get lots of kit on the table we played a large Eastern Front Battle at the weekend. There was no real historical context to this but as you will see it is the largest bolt action game we have played. Broadly based in Autumn 1943 the Germans are attempting a counter-offensive against the onslaught of the RED STEAMROLLER. Not surprisingly I took too many photos but they tell the story better than words.

The overview of the battlefield, Germans enter from the two roads on the right and the Russians to two roads on the left, the main objective for the battle is to control the road junctions in the middle
German left flank mobile infantry in  251’s and trucks, supported by heavy infantry support armour and anti tank capability
A period shot of the german advance towards the farm complex
The Russian right flank infantry a SU 76 with several lend lease tanks !
The Russian left flank is armour heavy with 2 KV’s and a T34
Facing them on the far side is a company of Fallschirmjager supported by a lone Tiger tank and an outdated Panzer II
A Russian Howitzer and a sniper team take up residence in the burned out building
Unsure of the advance of the enemy the drivers of the Russian BA6  and the Lee have a heated discussion
The Germans have now deployed with commendable speed
The Fallschirmjager have started to advance towards the small Russian Chapel
A heavy weight battle as the Tiger takes on the Russian Heavy armour
A cautiou advance to the Chapel
Well you wouldn’t be able to see the sniper , but the German sniper in the farm gets the first hit knocking out the anti tank rifle, only to suffer the same fate himself 
Finally the tiger tastes first blood the Russians on this flank are very nervous
On the german left flank they are advancing in the face of the enemy with a view to knocking them back immediately 
, the Panzer IV and STug advance through the long grass
But the Lee and BA6 have somehow made it to the uproar junction, they come under tremendous fire but somehow survive, 4 pins on the Lee force it to remain stationary for several turns
The Russians also have a lend lease Sherman this is now pushed forward
Dug in in the ploughed field the infantry can’t make any headway
Around the Chapel things are still fairly quiet
...but somehow with time the Germans start to lose more and more equipment, the Panzer Jรคger takes a direct hit
The Panzer IV has flanked the advance but is fire is too ineffective and the Russians simply take cover
Sherman to the rescue !
The Fallschirmjager now with confidence high start to advance to take on the Russian infantry hand to hand
The Tiger having already weathered a number of hits has managed to put out the fire. Luckily with only one pin marker it should soon be back in action 
You have got to be joking !!!!!!! A blunder and the Tiger apparently wounded or suffering shock or simply manned by cowards chooses to turn tail and flee the battle.......german commander at this point put his head in his hands !
Anyway all is not lost quite yet the Stug is also advancing and a reserve unit of infantry is about to charge forward, but the Sherman is now pushing right into the german lines in the farm area.
Russian infantry have broken cover and are running to attack the farm
The PzII knocked out much earlier on can be seen in the background whilst the BA6 uses its machine guns to knock out the Pak 36 crew.
The Pz 35(t) still holds the road but it is under pressure from the Lee , whose crew have been rallied
Killer blow the Russians finally advance their newly designed and up gunned T34/85
The Fallschirmjager who had through a random event been sent running into the chapel looking for vodka trade shots with the infantry who have now dismounted from their tanks, later in the battle they make a heroic but desperate charge forward but infantry against tanks is never good.
With the gap left by the Tiger in the distance the rest of the Fallschirmjager are isolated and the Russian infantry charge forward with machine guns
In a moment of pure german desperation the Russian commissar gets too close to the german flame thrower.......not good but War is very brutal on occasions. 
The german infantry have now disembarked and are able to cut the Russians in the open down but their lines have been broken
This is the point pretty much where the Germans chose to pull back what remained of their forces the Russians have clearly captured both road junctions and broken the german lines
The german commander is already looking to pull back 
Russian infantry approaching the junction flags waving with the two T34’s advancing unhindered
A final period shot of the Chapel now back in the hand of the Russians but empty of vodka as the Germans have had it all ๐Ÿ˜€

Well it was pretty epic, tremendous fun and great to get so much stuff on the table. For those interested we had 24 units each sides and each turn of the game took about and hour to play. The table is roughly 8x4 with the 4 foot L extension. The beautiful Russians are all Steve’s. The best thing is we have more stuff only I am not sure how big a table we can go to and we will need some special rules to cope with the scale. The game lasted about 7 flew by and the Germans will be back.