Monday 30 May 2016

Find the Halfling : preparation

Following a large VBCW battle at the weekend (just editing the photos so will post soon) the show at Rheged is now my next target, the 25th June sees the first really local show to Penrith. Check out their Facebook at Pheonix Lakeland Wargames Exhibition.

I have agreed to run a LOTR participation game with Dragon Rampant rules. We have tested the scenario a couple of times and it works pretty well. It is based on the battle which takes place at the end of film one at Amon Hen....hence the title of the game.

The boards will mainly be my normal table with an additional section providing a steeper hill, I am in the process of upgrading my old oak trees and I have all the figures, most just need a tidy up but I have bought a few extra orcs.
It is a small game with four units of 12 Orc Uruk scouts each so here they are waiting for their improved bases to dry.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Early war tanks : VBCW and Operation Sealion

While tidying up after our large VBCW battle this afternoon (will blog soonish) I thought it would be nice to capture a collective shot of my early war / VBCW tanks. So here they are all in one place .....this of course leads to the question what next ?

Thursday 26 May 2016

Prokhorovka (Battle Three) : 12th July 1943

Behind on blogs again...just too many things to do all the time. Anyway back with the plot we played the third and final scenario in our mini Kursk / Prokhorovka campaign. As the honours were so far even this would be the decider.

This scenario would see the German 2 SS Panzers of Das Reich division attempt to break through the II Guards Tank Corps to the south of Prokhorovka itself. Historically the Germans were fought to a standstill by the Russian Guards.

We played this as a slightly larger game than normal extending the battlefield to 8x4 feet with 5000 points with Blitzkrieg Commander rules. This gave each side five independent units under command, but the size of the battlefield gave the realistic option for manoeuvre rather than giving a static battle. (We also gave ourselves a bit more time knowing how frustrating it can be to not quite fight a battle to conclusion)

The overall battlefield, Prokhorovka is on the right (North from this viewpoint) the Germans have already made a very successful advance onto the field. The Russian guards unlike their historical counter parts were caught napping and are slow to get into position, they immediately come under fire as they come into range of the Tigers and PzIV's.
Although the majority of the battlefield is open ground we have broken it up with occasional small farms and trees, having looked at a lot of pictures of the real battlefield it wasn't just flat terrain but had a significant number of undulations.
On the German left flank grenadiers look to advance towards the town towing with them their own anti-tank guns. They are supported by an independent anti-tank unit as well but the Russians are not going to give up easily and have sited infantry and guns in the town and pushing forward with T70's supported by SU-76's.
As the battle develops both sides start to take casualties but the longer range German guns have the upper hand, and the Russians unlike previous battles are unable to close quickly enough to concentrate their fire adequately.
The Russian left flank is being hit really hard and ominously the German Panzers in the centre have taken out the large 85mm holding the Russian centre and they are starting to advance into the space which has opened in front of them.
A closer shot of the German right flank at this stage fairly intact ! Although two of the panzer IV's have been pinned down.
On the German left the grenadiers have made it to the cover provided by the field but further progress is likely to lead to serious casualties so they deploy waiting further orders.
Shot of the whole battlefield.......I have decided to make some more bases with out the dirt roads, but the nice thing with the 8 foot width means a greater element of movement so will try to play at this scale more in the future.
The Russians have finally woken up to the risks and started concentrating their fire more effectively, consequently the Germans are taking increasing losses. Even the usually invulnerable Tiger has been pinned down.
The Panzers in the German centre have now split looking for opportunities to out flank the Russians on both sides. Although not quite panicking the Russians are beginning to sweat !
Closer to the town, the Russian light tanks and mobile anti tank guns are effectively holding the Germans back but they are surprised when flanking fire starts to land amongst them as the German centre turns north to cross the railway
To the south things are getting desparate for the Russians as they are fighting on both flanks and are in danger of being completely over run.

Eventually the Russians just couldn't hold on any longer and reached breaking point and with such high losses they failed the required test, giving the field to the Germans.
A final shot of the devastated Russian left flank.....but they have made the Germans pay for their victory.
Another really great battle......the Russians really only lost due to some poor dice rolling early on. Particularly liked having a bit more space and we will play on the 8 foot table more often. The plan is now to finish basing up my British forces and try some battles in and around Caen and the attempted break out by the allies.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Matilda II and Spartan Generals

Just seem to be rushing around at the moment, as usual I am behind on blogs but am continuing to churn stuff out. First up a Matilda II tank destined for VBCW and Operation Sealion. I have checked out wiki and they can just fit into VBCW as long as I call it a prototype they didn't really go into production till about 1940.

Secondly I wanted a slightly more impressive Spartan general, so rebased a couple of figures together with the kneeling guy who hadn't really found a home till now.

Lots of other stuff in the pipeline.........

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Supporting Wargame shops ?

There are very few actual shops in the uk which stock true wargaming stock. When I visit a town or city where there is one I feel I need to do my little bit to support them. So as I am in Birmingham for a couple of days  I popped into Ian Allen's close to new street station if you don't know it. They have a fantastic collection of military books but also stock a small range of Wargame figures and rules etc. You can occasionally pick up a bargain, but sadly not today, but I did my bit and bought some crusader pilgrims, they will come in for saga and lion rampant at some stage.

The guy in the shop said the shop in Manchester was potentially closing so if you are anywhere near you might get a bargain.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

An ancient encounter : Kings of War

Paul had just returned from a sunny holiday in Greece and suggested I set up a suitable Peloponnesian battle which would also give me the chance to run him through the slightly adapted Kings of War rules I have been using and developing. So I set up a fairly small encounter between Sparta and Athens. They were pretty balanced forces but with some deliberate differences to are things interesting.

I didn't take many photos as we were busy playing and running through the rules as we went.

Battle lines drawn up, Athenians advance in formation whilst the Spartans throw forward their light troops, skirmishers and Peltasts (we may have over skilled these peltasts which is a lesson for next time).

View from behind the Athenian lines, Calvary mainly on the left flank, Phalanx shoulder to shoulder. This shot shows an important element of gaming in the ancient world beer for the generals !

Armies have now clashed and are locked in combat, light troops have mainly run, fled or withdrawn.

Initially the Athenians get the better of the combats and things are looking up, but the superior Spartan infantry gradually gets the better of it. The Athenian left flank crumbles and they are in danger of being outflanked, as they re-organise to defend the flank the Spartan light cavalry charges. In the end (a couple of turns after this last shot was taken) it was a clear the Spartans had the better of it and the small number of remaining Athenian troops pulled back.

Really nice to get the ancients on the table again but it has made me realise that I need a longer term campaign strategy which I can build individual battles and scenarios into. More of this in the future but I have a mind to start a circa 300 BC epic campaign. In order to facilitate this I have ordered a Ancient Greece more to follow.

Sunday 15 May 2016

88mm in 6mm : lovely but scary !

We are planning on some 1944 British vs German scenarios expanding our 6 mm Blitzkrieg Commander gaming to a different theatre. Suspect the confined Normandy environment will be very different feel to the relatively open battles we have been playing on the eastern front.

Anyway the Germans need some of these ! And we will need some hidden deployment house rules.

I now need to base up the British (which thanks to a mate are painted), make some more hedged fields and source some more Normandy style buildings.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Prokhorovka (Battle Two) 12th July 1943

Our second battle in our Prokhorovka mini-campaign covers the counter attack by the Russian 5th Guards under Zhadov against the 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf". It felt right to play this as a break through mission so the Russians significantly outnumbered the Germans . The Russian objective being to break through to the German deployment zone and the Germans to simply break the Russians.

The battlefield at set up looking from the south. After fighting for most of the 12th July Totenkopf are attacked by two Russian Corps. The Germans have moved onto the defensive with units in the trees and dug in around the small farm.

The Russians attack from the north, in the distance the village of Veselyy and in the foreground the vanguard of the Russian Guards Rifle Corps. The Russian tanks come under fire immediately they come onto the table.

Russian Tanks advance down the flank through Veselyy

An overview of the battlefield.

The Russians have made a decisive flanking movement down their left flank, putting the German units in the woods under pressure and in danger of being completely outflanked.

A furious close range fire fight breaks out with tanks being knocked out on both sides.

In the centre the Russians push forward and again supported by effective Katusha rocket artillery fire make a serious dent in the German centre, the Germans counter by moving to closer range to hold the T34's back.

On the far side the Russians have broken through but it's only two tanks so is not decisive, some of the Russian armour has failed to bridge the gap from the town and resolutely refuses to support the attack, I feel the Russian command will be sending some of them to Siberia !

At this stage in the battle it remains close, the Russian Guards Rifles are attempting to advance on the Russian Right but they lack adequate armour support and the infantry is too vulnerable to the German Panzers.

German Panzers re-deploy to counter the Guards Rifles.

German Anti tank unit continues to hold their right flank.

At this stage both sides were again close to breaking point the Russian had pushed through on their right but this was with limited strength and not decisive overall. The Russian Guards had been held back and the Russians had run out f options in the centre. At this point the Russians failed a break test giving a minor victory to the Germans.

The rockets had been slightly less effective than the previous battle, but had nearly knocked out the German centre in one accurate barrage. 

Another close run game with the Germans clinging on in the face of superior numbers. We are hoping to play a larger final battle...........

Sunday 8 May 2016

WW2 in Penrith ?

We were looking for a trip to take the aged mother in law out and discovered not so very far from where we live a WW2 was a hot day at Brougham Hall near Penrith but there was some nice stuff on display.

Although I only took a couple of photos, there were plenty more jeeps, and a couple of nice guys with  a wide range of British and American militaria. Interesting nearly all of them had Bren guns ? Nice cake and a cup of tea as well. Back to the painting now.........

Saturday 7 May 2016

Why I love charity shops ?

I am sure I'm not the only wargamer who wanders into charity shops ? But isn't it amazing how often you find something nice. Two finds interesting little book on wartime Cumbria, and two videos, I have watched them before but with a summer adventure in the states coming up I thought I should watch them again and here they were neatly, packaged for 2 quid including several special features 😀

Thursday 5 May 2016

Prokhorovka Battle One : Blitzkrieg Commander

The three battles we are planning for our mini Prokhorovka campaign are shown (rather crudely) on the sketch I have marked up below again taken from the excellent Osprey Book by Mark Healy.

So our first battle sees the 1SS Panzer Leibstandarte Adolf Hilter Division supported by a small element of the 3SS Totenkopf Division pushing directly forward towards the town of Prokhorovka itself. Tiger tanks lead the way supported by Panzer IV's and Panzer III's. These are facing the 5th Russian Guards under Rotmistrov. Although the Russians have numerical superiority the German tanks at this time July 1943 are still superior, especially in effective range. As the history goes the Russians to counter this rushed forward on the back of a ferocious artillery bombardment effectively getting in close to negate the superior German fire power. We played this scenario with equal forces (about 4500 points) and played as a simple encounter battle which in effect it was. Using our usual Blitzkrieg rules we agreed victory would be decided by the simple breaking of the enemy. With all these 6mm games we have to have a compromise between numbers of troops/rumour and re desire to get the game completed in a reasonable evening.

The overall battlefield at the start with the railway and the edge of the town on the right hand side. German divisions are on the left.

German LAH division move forward, but are hit immediately by artillery bombardment, the Russians have Katusha rockets close to the town. We have found these slightly unreliable in the past but they knocked out a German command unit and effectively eliminated the German Anti-tank unit in the first turn ! These can be seen already burning below.

Whilst we play these historical games in our usual competitive way it is not about winning, so it felt absolutely right for the Germans to drive on in an appropriate formation with Tigers leading the way. I tend to paint different Panzers in different colour schemes so you can tell at a distance what is what. The unpronounceable village of Bogoroditskoye in the distance where elements of Totenkopf are advancing.

I can't resist some more artistic shots. The Russian Tanks have surged forward (good play to the Russian commander for getting into the spirit of the battle) they are taking casualties but the Katusha rocket launchers in the foreground are continuing to cause problems.

A couloir shot of the Russian advance, mainly T34's T70's and the occasionally Churchill lend lease.

From the behind the German lines....the Russian onslaught.

Keen to get forward the Russians have made a strong flanking advance , catching Totenkopf slightly unawares with their tanks out of position.

In the centre of the battlefield the fight is hotting up with brewed up tanks on both sides, nothing can touch the Tigers at this stage but numerical superiority now the T34's are in range is starting to tell.

The flank attack close to 'Bog'

The Russians are simply throwing everything forward and although they are taking casualties so are the Germans.

A view along the railway line towards Prokhorovka, here the Germans are making some progress but it is tough going with every yard being hard fought.

Columns of smoke now rising above the battlefield 

By this stage both side were getting very close to break point. But in Blitzkrieg once you reach that break point the commanding unit can still hold things together depending on a dice roll.

The Germans reach the break point first but pass the test, morale still being high at this stage.

The Russians follow soon but also pass their test. Fightin for the Motherland clearly makes a difference. You can see in this shot the number of Russian tanks which have been taken out....but the Tigers are now looking isolated (not vulnerable though). However, with the next turn the Germans had to take a further test to stay in the game (a test is taken at the start of each turn when you have reached the breakpoint) and they duly failed cause them to withdraw from the field. We couldn't make it up but our game played as an almost accurate historical representation of the historical battle. The only difference being hte Russians just couldn't find a way to take out he Tiger Tanks....everything else but not the Tigers.

A couple more shots of the battlefield at the end as the Germans withdraw.

A really great game and fun to play. It has set up the next 2 battles really well.