Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Assault at Lodge House : Operation Sealion

After a long and difficult S-day the Wehrmacht having established a strong bridgehead are seeking to break out into the Kentish Countryside, blitzkrieg style. British forces have been busy over night and having advanced Northwest along the A20 the Germans have been halted. In this sector the German commander has swung the attack to the north to out flank the defended roadblock. His pioneer units have hastily constructed pontoon bridges across the streams which feed into the River Stour. In front of them the British have a thin defended line close to Lodge House. The Germans must break through to avoid further delays.

The main A20 road has been blocked at Smeeth the Germans have turned North to outflank the position
The battlefield, the objective for the Germans is to break through the defended line shown, vehicles can only cross the main river at the pontoon bridges. Lodge House to the bottom right, the British defenders (half their units) are at the blue locations. The red arrow shows the British unit who decided to turn tail and run due to the initial bombardment ! 
As we were playing the scenario straight from the rule book the Germans get the opportunity for an initial bombardment, this was duly rolled for and caused a number of minor pins on units already deployed. The British commander thought nothing of it until because of a single pin a morale check was required and Fubar the unit fled the field this left a massive hole in the defence line right from the start and was very concerning !
A view from the East side of the battlefield towards Lodge House itself
Not surprisingly the British have dug in here, the ambulance presumably indicating the House has been used as an aid station over night.
Having bridged the river the Germans begin their advance, supported by an Sd.kfz251 pioneer wagon armed with a light antitank gun. (Those with a very keen eye may spot the vehicle actually sports a panzerbusche 41 but…..)
They also have a new PzIII medium tank which is leading on their left supported by a pioneer unit.
The rest of the German infantry rush across the stream
The British antitank gun has no targets and the defence line in the distance is currently unmanned ! Hopefully the second wave will arrive soon
The Germans move slowly forward
British reinforcements all manage to arrive, a Vickers tank with 2pounder, infantry, home guard and a Bren Gun carrier
The German infantry’s supporting artillery opens up but has limited effect
The Germans focus on their left and the Bren gun carrier take repeated hits without blowing up
The British defence is looking a bit more organised, the Bren Carrier is taking a hull down supporting position in the small stream, but there is nothing on this side that will be able to spot the German armour if it charges forward
If it hadn’t been for the British having lost a unit in the first turn I might have felt sorry for the Germans at this point 😀
Random events caused liberal annoyance throughout the battle, here the Vickers has hit a land mine and is stalled for a turn
Things are hotting up and a decisive moment, against the odds the Vickers gets a shot off against the PzIII lucky or fate the shell hits home just below the turret and the tank is up in flames
This causes some dismay in the German ranks ! And you can see the German commanding officer rethinking his plans behind the SdKfz
British home guard from the Smeeth area have taken up a defensive position
But the rest of the defensive line is getting very thin and one good push and they may break through
The British defenders on their right have now been wiped out and the line is held only by the Vickers and the carrier, but the Germans are pinned down by the Hanomag
The British sailors stationed by the main house choose this opportunity (Random event ) to enter the house searching for alcohol. You will see the ambulance is now on fire again and earlier random event when a random bullet hit it causing it to explode killing a sialor in the process !
However, time has run out in this engagement for the Germans and with their infantry pinned down they can’t make headway
The British have little left and will have to fall back if the Germans regroup
The Vickers and the Bren carrier can pull back, leaving the PzIII in flames.

A slightly unexpected draw, the British have taken more casualties but the Germans haven’t broken through enough to claim a victory. I would like to say it was all due to the masterful organisation and strategy of the British but Phil managed to roll an unbelievable number of 1’s when rolling to hit with the PzIII and SdKfz. in fact with everything ! The Bren carrier by all rights should have been blown to pieces but somehow survived to the end battered but still able to withdraw hoorah !

Great fun to get back into the Sealion campaign more to come 👍

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Hessians, Russians and Landscapes

 After what seems like ages I have finished the AWI Hessians I was working on. Not sure why they didn’t inspire me to paint them, something about the slightly angular/sharp nature of the sculpting perhaps ? But they are done and they look ok. They will play as two regiments for Rebels and Patriots or one larger regiment in other games. At some point I think I will need to get a unit of Hessian Regulars in Tricorn hats ? But I have already started preparing a small unit of jägers.

Hessian grenadiers (Perry Miniatures)
I also rushed through a unit of Russians (Reds) for the game last Saturday so I thought I would give them their moment of fame on the blog
This Model T was also painted for the game 
and some landscapes the weather has been very nice in Northern England I don’t document all my walks but here are a couple. The shot above is in the Far Eastern Fells which even on busy days is very quiet
This is not the Lake District but the Fells around a village called Crosby Garrett. A photo can’t do it justice but from here you can see the Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales, the Howgills and the Eastern Lake District, almost 360 degrees of hills and mountains

Plenty of other stuff on the painting desk and more games being planned soon 😀 also had second jab 👍

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Battle of Manzikert 1915

With lockdown broadly coming to an end and the summer weather we have been able to plan some larger games in the garden gaming centre. The list of options for these games is getting longer and longer. They provide both a motivation to collect and paint and the opportunity to play the types of games we normally associate with shows. Anyway enough of this meandering….Martin has a good collection of Turks and with my growing collection of WW1 Russians this gave us the opportunity to game something different to our normal fair. I am not an expert on this period although putting on this game has improved that knowledge I will leave you to search the web for more info if you need it. Suffice to say the Caucasus Campaign saw Russia battling for several years against the Turks between about 1914 and the Revolution in 1917 when the Russians turned their attention to killing each other instead. The battle of Manzikert took place in 1915 in Armenia. The Russian forces had captured the Town of Manzikert north of Lake Van. 

“On July 10, 1915, Russian General Oganovski launched an offensive to capture the hills just west of Malazgirt. He believed that the Turkish forces in the area were weak. However, the Turkish forces contained several divisions numbering upwards of 40,000 men. On July 16, the Ottoman Army counter-attacked under Abdul Kerim Pasha. They outnumbered the Russians by a factor of 3-1. Oganovski was forced to retreat back to Malazgirt, and in the process the Turks captured his baggage train”

In Hollywood style our battle would be ‘based’ on this History rather than a detailed reconstruction.

A map showing the approximate location of Manzikert 
The battlefield, a lot of artistic licence, the outskirts of Manzikert at this end going away into rough hills in the distance. The objective for both sides was to capture the four distinct hills.
The Russians are a mix of troops, they will start from behind the small stream which is only a hinderance to vehicles
Outnumbered but they do have an armoured reconnaissance unit of early armoured cars
Keri Pahsa and the Turks have infantry, infantry and more infantry with a few artillery pieces no doubt captured from the Russians in a previous engagement
Russian infantry beginning the advance out of the town
The Russians have managed to bring up one of their ‘big’ guns to support the advance
The Turks are supported by Armenian Tribesmen, they will be hard to control as the Turkish commander doesn’t have enough order dice for all his units
Oh dear General Oganovski hasn’t done his recon very well !
First blood to the Turks as an artillery barrage knocks out one of the Lanchesters
The other vehicles move of down the road and the Russian artillery starts to deploy 
The first hill will be an easy capture
Turkish regular infantry advances form their start point into the valley
Some of the better Armenian troops are sent to secure the small farm on the left
The second ‘easy’ hill has been secured 
As the infantry slogs forward an artillery duel ensues which after several hours the Russians get the upper hand
Having taken the first two hills the Russian must now push on General Oganovski can be seen directing from the front from his staff car.
But what awaits them in the valley is not an encouraging sight !
On the right the Russians too are pushing to capture the small farm
We has a small subplot with a hidden Armenian Rebel Leader who was captured by the Turks in the building by the road junction
The final armoured car is blown by artillery fire
We weren’t sure if the numbers for the battle balanced so Russian cavalry reserves arrive from the town they may be too late ?
The Russians are getting the better of the fire fight but gaps just get filled by more Turkish infantry !
At least the Turks artillery is in flames 
Moving through the town it is becoming clear that the cavalry even at a gallop isn’t going to make the battle
Eventually the Russian units are being thinned out
Gen Oganovski has his staff blown up and in flames but he manages to jump free
The Turkish infantry surprisingly tough nut to crack dug into the rough ground
A final push by the Russians but they have no reserves to support
Armenian tribesmen having seen the battle swing the way of the Turks surge forward to support them !
Karin Pasha can been seen directing his forces by the road
Galloping across the bridge at least the cavalry might be able to provide a rear guard
At this point the Russian attack cam to a halt. 
They have made a big dent in the Turks and pushed bravely beyond the first two objective hills but they don’t have the numbers to seal a victory
In the final throws of the battle Russian infantry even assault into the rough ground clearing some of the defenders away but they always seem to be more of them.
Form the rear of the Turks position the Armenians can be seen running down the valley.

A splendid game we gave it to the Turks in the end, the Russian did well and were brave in their attacks but too outnumbered. With some more luck early on it might have worked and perhaps the reserves arriving early would have helped. It was never going to be an equal battle but that wasn’t the point. Great fun to get a big battle played and to catch up 👍 Hopefully some painted troops finished this week with some landscape shots for those interested ?