Monday, 31 August 2015

Smuggling Vodka : IHMN

One of  Justice Blackborough's (AKA the Mask) illegal operations is the smuggling of alcohol without the full payment of due government taxes. A crime he frequently punishes others for quite harshly in the Carlisle Courts. His supply is through a Russian Sailor called Valdimir, reputedly a distant cousin of Smirnov. The goods come to the west coast on Russian fishing ships and are then smuggled through the cliffs. On this occasion the Peelers have had a tip off and hope to catch the gang in the caves and tunnels red handed.

(Note : The scenario required the Ruffian gang to carry three barrels of elicit Vodka from the foreshore to the top of the cliffs using the various underground tunnels and caves. The majority of doors were locked and required a simple D6 to open them. Shooting was not permitted from one level of the caves system to another, we randomised the entry points for both sides, all other barrels ie not Vodka were designated as explosive)

The scene is set with the Ruffians entering the cave system from the foreshore, luckily in previous excursions the gang have left boxes and crates to enable them to climb between the cave levels.

 The Carlisle Peelers make their way into the caves from the road.

 The Chief Inspector is escorted by his good friend the Doctor.

Although we didn't arrange it for this game it would seem sensible to have a system of hidden movement and deployment. The Ruffians have a new recruit to the gang and Irish man Mad Michael, high level of pluck as he carried with him a good sized collection of explosives strapped around his chest. This he can use as grenades but there is always a danger he just blows up !

 The Mask leading his gang into the caves, spreading out seemed a good option to try and slip through unmolested ?

During a scuffle one of the Ruffians foolishly uses his pistol missing the Bobby but hitting the nearby explosives.

The Chief inspector found himself slightly blocked in but wary of Mad Mike sends one of his constables forward to clear the way.

Charlie Hickmen the well known street boxer is always up for a fight

But even he may struggle when the Police call in more support. As this is Valdimir's first adventure we weren't sure if he would have what it takes to join the ruffians full time ?

One of the Ruffians jumps in to help Mad Mike !

The ever dependable Sgt Burne seeks to reprimand the gang but he is out numbered and foolishly has left his support behind.

Numbers have told and the Peelers have finally knocked Charlie to the ground. They are probably slightly rougher than legally required but its dark and nobody is going to complain. In the distance the chief Inspector, who had once won the north of England Police marksman award let off a shot at Smirnov who had foolishly stood still. He was down !!!

With no end to the scuffle Scarlet decides to join in.

But the inevitable happens Mad Michael finally manages to strike a match ! unlucky for him, but at least Scarlet survived.

The Police are now acting in force but are slightly out of position when the remaining gang members make a break for freedom. The heroic Sgt Burne having tackled 2 or 3 Ruffians came up against his nemesis the Mask, a very sad day for the Constabulary, hopefully he will recover from his wounds.

The final gang members make a break for the cliff top,  despite a constable attempting to stop him on the ladder the first Barrel of Vodka was out. The Mask blocks the way !

The game was now almost up, with only two final twists, Scarlet once more using her abundant talents fools the Doctor bringing him down with her Poisoned blade, and although the light was fading and I didn't manage to get a photo she went on in the final turn of the game to dish out a similar fatal blow to the Chief Constable. The moral being never trust a woman in  red wearing a mask.

Once more an excellent battle/game lots of twists and turns, and another run out for the new terrain. More adventures are in the pipeline.........

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Once more to Normandy...... Flames of War

Still catching up on Blogs..... a couple of weeks ago we continued our FoW Normandy theme. Our forces remained very similar as by necessity I don't have enough troop choices without including the 'points' heavy tanks. So back to the 4th Infantry Division supported by Shermans up against a very heavily armoured panzer group. We had a fairly simple scenario with two objectives each but random reserves. From the previous battle the 4th Infantry have struggled against the armoured panzers so this time they brought some additional artillery.

Stugs push forward around the village
The whole of the far end of the battlefield was raised up as a significant hill, this is the first time we have played the table like this and I was pleasantly pleased with the effect which gives a whole new feel to the table.

American armour in strength supported by antitank guns and
heavy artillery in the background.
Note to self teddy bear fur looks great !

On the other American flank a second Sherman platoon
advances supported by 105mm Sherman artillery

76mm Shermans hold to the cover of the fields

Stugs supported by a Tiger tank take up a blocking position
The American objective was to get through into the village but this is where the Germans had concentrated their armour. A tense tank duel ensued. Whilst in the background the American infantry is pushing forward

Furious tank duel starts to take its toll
Concentrated firepower once again managed to knock out the lone Tiger but it cost the Shermans almost all their armour.

Two more Stugs advance ! on the flank
Eventually the German armour got he better of the duel and the command Stug and the 2ic started to sweep around the American left flank. The American infantry attempted to rush in but failed and were easily wiped out
American GI's fall back in the face of German armour
With the American left flank now exposed it looked like the game was up ! The remaining stugs pushed forward towards the central objective.
American left flank in trouble
Missed a picture here in the excitement, the German command became over confident and the American infantry unit dug in in the corn field were able to surprise attack them swiftly dropping grenades into the hatch of the command tank. In the centre American anti-tank guns opened up on the three central stugs knocking one out and forcing the remaining two to flee the field.

American infantry advance to the village
The American infantry were able to get across the village but without support they were too weak to mount a proper attack for the objective.

On the far right flank Panzer IV's advance
So the battle would be decided on the American right flank. Here the heavy artillery had held a platoon of Panzer IV's back as they were unwilling to risk breaking cover. But the ever accurate German heavy Artillery (hardly ever shown as they aren't painted !) were gradually reducing the American firepower. After a short duel with the remaining Sherman 76's they began their advance.

We called it a game here as the Americans didn't really have anything left that could deal with the Panzer IV's. So a marginal win for the Germans in another very close and enjoyable encounter.

I hate shopping but........

I suspect I am not alone in the anti shopping front. But every now and then you come across stuff, the local second hand book shop has had a flood of military books recently and I picked these two up. They weren't the cheapest but with the Border Regiment featuring in both my IHMN and VBCW battles. The 'Invasion' appears to be an excellent and quite detailed reworking of the other books I have and not one I have seen before. The map Penrith and Keswick 1925 was a steal reduced at the Works for £3. It will provide an excellent base map for a more detailed sub campaign for VBCW. As the West Cumbrian Socialist Alliance already controls much of west Cumberland a detailed campaign is an obvious choice with a concentrated drive through from Cockermouth to Keswick and then pushing towards Penrith currently held by the Fascists. Amazing how one map can spark so many ideas in my head ........

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Penrith Union of Fascists Reserve Brigade : VBCW

Well behind on blogs ! In the interim here is the second Reserve unit of Penrith Fascists.

They are a more varied unit to the first, reflecting their status as reserves and the availability of front line uniforms although still pretty well kitted out. I have tried to keep a fairly consistent colour theme with the previous unit. The cuffs being a late addition when I realised I couldn't find anything blue to paint on some figures.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Flags and Standards : VBCW

Having played our first VBCW battle (not blogged yet) I wanted to add some colour and flags and standards seem the order of the day. I have been fiddling on the computer and here are a couple of results. Compared to the Fascist flag in previous post I am clearly getting better.

Whilst the constabulary standard is obviously fixed the the militia/volunteer force flag can be cleverly swopped out so the figure can be used in a range of different factions.

No such thing as a free tank !

Well anybody who gets Wargames Illustrated by subscription will know they often do re-subscription deals, as mine was coming up soonish I took the plunge. I still think it is a great magazine so would probably get it anyway.

The deal this time was a box of FoW tanks, having toyed with getting more Shermans or even collecting some british Comets, in the end I went for M26 Pershings, a bit of added fire power to help my late war Americans invade Germany.

They may not get made for a while but technically they were free !

Sunday, 23 August 2015

In a little village in Normandy : FoW

A bit behind on blogging so some more FoW in the dungeon from a couple of weeks ago. Having randomly chosen a scenario we find the American 4th infantry again supported by a couple of independent tanks platoons facing a fierce armoured assault on a small village in Normandy.

Americans dug in, whilst the Germans come on from the far side
The two objectives are between the military looking huts and just to the left of the copse this side of the village.
STUG's look to force a way round the village but are held back by Shermans
First Sherman platoon has taken up station at the back of the village, the scenario also give the American defenders a unit in ambush the antitank guns platoon on the right has just revealed itself and opened fire taking out one of the advancing Stugs.

Shermans get the better of the engagement but a dreaded Tiger apporaches
A second Stug is knocked out by the shermans in the village, but the danger with so much German armour is once they break through the infantry support will not be able to hold them. Oh yes the Germans have  Tiger as well !

Shermans hold this side of the village but they need support
Desperate tank action in the village itself with the shermans trying to block all the exits !

Just in time a platoon of 76mm Shermans arrives
Re-enforcements arrive in the form of a platoon of powerful76mm Shermans, but the front line is starting to break and the Tiger has made its way into the village.

Tiger forces the first platoon back and engages with the reserves
German infantry is now in the village
Although massively powerful the Tigers can be defeated by concentrating firepower, outnumbered the Tiger bursts into flames.

Concentrated fire power knocks out the Tiger, anti- tanks guns have now
been brought forward but eventually German panzers push past the village
to take the objective.
Not sure why but I didn't get any photos after this stage. the German panzer IV's forced their way round the left of the village. American rangers pushed into the village forcing the German infantry to withdraw. But the Americans had run out of effective anti-tank weapons and the Pz's took the objective. A  very close and hard fought battle. The Americans still don't have an answer to the German heavy artillery !

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Very British Civil War 1938

I have been collecting and developing ideas around the Very British Civil War for a while, posting a few pictures of some of my completed units on the blog. We have now reached the start point for what I plan to be a long term project. Whilst we have clearly relied heavily on the widely available source material I don't want to be overly constrained....this is our own VBCW set around where we live.

To set the scene I have drawn up a base map from where the campaign will develop.

Cumberland and Borders 1938
The Areas on the map 'under control' can be considered to be reasonably well defined, major roads would have check points and patrols controlling them, but not all borders would be protected, Cumberland being a very sparsely populated Area. Some key locations protected by Gun emplacements etc.... Areas 'outside of the controlled' zones are either independent, or not properly defined. It seems likely that many of these areas and communities will have some allegiance to one or other faction but this may not yet be understood.

The Royalists and Fascists whilst closely aligned may not always be comfortable bedfellows and internal factional fighting may be possible in the future.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Penrith Union of Fascist's : VBCW

We are one step closer to embarking on our own Very British Civil War. I will blog later on more of the background details. But at this stage we have had some thoughts about faction locations and alliances, (whilst it in no way reflects my own views) I wanted to have some fascist troops to support the wider Royalists forces. After some thought we came to the conclusion regrettably for me anyway, that they would be best placed in Penrith. So the Penrith Union of Fascist's have been born. There was me hoping to paint some nice colourful agricultural militia !
Penrith Union of Fascist's
I don't anticipate this being a huge force but who knows ? They are a mix of Russian and German warlord figures with a pretty rough and ready flag which I ran up on the printer. These will probably be the better troops with others less well equipped.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Traffic Jam ?

Having completed the Infantry I wanted something different to paint and had a number of vehicles in the to do list. The armoured car is polish and will be used by the Germans invading England, it might also find its way in to VBCW I wonder who the Polish would be supporting ? .The others are a German staff car and a collection of militarised trucks, essentially the same as the previous version but from eBay. They have all been left plain to give me some flexibility, the black truck would obviously look great with a BUF flag or symbol but this would rather limit it in other theatres.

I do now feel I need some other vehicles, I need to do some scale checking for some old metal stuff I have hidden away. More later.....

Soldiers in Silloth

Few days off work so had a trip out to the West Coast amongst other things we visited Soldiers in Silloth. I had picked up the leaflet ages ago and it was about time we popped in. It was great and even my daughter enjoyed it. Huge collection of 54mm figures which many of us will have played with in our youth some rare some not. Quite a nostalgic experience ! I recommend a visit but check the opening times on their web site.

To round off the nostalgic trip down memory lane they were selling a few old magazines for 50p each and I picked up some old copies of Battle from the 1970's. Great fun reading these and May blog some further snippets sometime.