Sunday, 14 May 2017

10mm Pendraken ACW Confederate Cavalry - Finished!

Hi folks,

So this week I've been working on finishing off my Confederate cavalry unit - and tonight I managed to get it all wrapped up!

This is the first 10mm Cavalry unit I've painted and the first horses I've ever painted at any scale. I've still to base up the standing horses for my horse holder stands, which I'll hopefully get done once the dismounted cavalry figures are painted.

I'm happy with how these look, but not too happy with how they look in the photos! Zooming in obviously isn't doing me favours, as they start to look really scruffy. So I've kept the images small!

Since I was painting the horses, I also got my infantry brigade commander done. As a Brigadier of a South Carolina brigade, I've given him the state flag on his base.

The next batch of models will be a new platoon of WW2 British infantry, and updating one of my older platoons. Then back to ACW I think!

Monday, 8 May 2017

10mm ACW: Confederate Cavalry and Command WiP + Other projects

Hi Folks,

Just a quick update from me. While I'm still working on my 15mm WW2 terrain - specifically working through my pile of cut up door mat/wheat fields, I have also started working on my 10mm ACW again, along with sorting out some 15mm WW2 bits.

I'd gotten all my infantry done previously, but hadn't based them due to a cunning plan involving using casualty figures to pad out the basing a little. I've still the casualties to paint, but moved on to one of the things that had been daunting me a bit - the cavalry.

I've never painted a horse in any scale. But I figured if I could paint a Lion, how hard could some horses be...

Anyway, I've been making some progress over the last few days, with some base coated and washed figures to show for it:

Washed and highlighted standing horses - for my horse holder/dismounted cavalry makers

Figures on the left are awaiting highlight/varnish - I'm still working on the ones on the right. 

Close up of the WiP minis
WW2 wise, I am going to be working with two aims. Firstly, to get some more infantry painted. Secondly, to revisit the painting on my original infantry models, and update the basing. After much soul searching I have also decided to switch from 5 man teams to 4 man teams, to better reflect the squad sizes during Totalize and also make my available infantry go a little further.

I have also prepared some of my 'other' 15mm FoW infantry teams - including mine sweeping Royal Engineers and medic teams to be based and finished. Some of this only requires a quick highlight and ultra matt varnishing, along with basing. Unfortunately later batches will involve a lot more painting from scratch!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Team Yankee - Red Thunder news

Hi Folks,

Saw this posted on Facebook, so thought it would be worth repeating. Coming in July and August 2017 apparently, we have:

- Red Thunder Briefing Book (Early July)

This contains, according to the Battlefront website:

The Soviet Union’s most powerful forces are stationed in East Germany and Czechoslovakia poised on the border with West Germany ready to strike at a moment’s notice. They are equipped with the very best Soviet industry has to offer, from sophisticated missile firing T-64 tanks and powerful T-72 tanks to versatile BMP infantry fighting vehicles, as well as plentiful BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers.

Supported by elite Afgansty Air Assault troops, powerful self-propelled artillery, and effective and numerous antitank and anti-aircraft weapons, there will be little that the corrupt capitalist armies of NATO can do to stop them. Soon the western workers will be free and the dawn of a new socialist age will begin.

• Background on the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, 94th Guards Motor Rifle Division, 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division, and Yuri Volkov’s Tank Battalion.
• Instructions on how to build a T-64 Tank Battalion, BTR-60 Motor Rifle Battalion, BMP Motor Rifle Battalion, T-72 Tank Battalion, or Afgantsy Air Assault Battalion.
• Three Scenarios to test your skills with your Soviet force.

• A detailed painting guide to help you prepare your Soviets for combat.

- Yuri's Wolves Starter Army (Early July, 5 x T-64's and 2 x BMP-2's + rules)

Potecknov's Bears (Early July, revised original Russian starter set with 5 T-72's and 2 Hinds + rules). 
- T-64 Tankovy Company (Early August, Plastic)
- BTR-60 Company (Late August, Plastic)
- 2S3 Acacia 152mm Heavy Battery (Late August)
- SA-8 Gecko SAM Platoon (Early August)
- Storm Anti-Tank Platoon (Early August)
- Motor Rifle Company (Late July, Plastic)
- Motor Rifle Platoon (Late July, Plastic)
- Motor Rifle Heavy Weapons (Late July, Plastic)
- Afghantsy Heavy Weapons (Plastic - not mentioned on Battlefront website)

Along with some pictures of the kits (better images taken from the pre-order section of the Battlefront website - use to show whats available, the pictures are not mine!):

Monday, 1 May 2017

FoW AAR v4: The Battle for Noyers, Phase II

Hi Folks,

Two weeks ago, I posted about a game I had played using the 4th Edition Flames of War rules (with a few home made bolt-ons) to re-fight a Normandy battle (first post here). The first game had been a bit of a test, and the idea was run something as an introduction to Flames of War for the guys at the club. StiG and Stu were my test subjects, and the game had gone pretty well. So now it was time for the main event - Phase II of the battle and a multi player game for 6 players...

The player handout briefing document can be found here. Martin's blog post on the battle, with more pics, can be found here.

Now, I want to highlight that I did add some stuff to the game - but that had I been playing Flames of War version 3, nothing I added would have changed. I would have had to do exactly the same work as I did under v4. There is no hidden deployment or movement in Flames of War aside from the Ambush rules. There is no 'normal' off table artillery, or random events tables. No matter what version of the game I played, even if I was playing Battlegroup or any other rules set I am aware of, I would have had to add many of these things myself.

One major change was the way I deployed the Germans - to fit the history of the battle, they were deployed in a way I viewed would be more appropriate, rather than being clustered together. Otherwise they followed the same morale rules as the book.

What I can tell you about v4 of Flames of War from my experience of running these two game is that the games flow smoothly, the new players (who had never played FoW) picked it up really quickly, it gave outcomes that a lot of the gamers round the table found to be "what you would expect to happen", it was fast (for a 6 player game...), smooth and in more than 12 turns of my second game I had to consult the rule book only once. And that would about how the recce and scout rules interacted.

Now, I'm not saying I got the rules perfectly correct, but I was happy with how everything went. Accepting that no game is perfect, I'm of the opinion that this is a really nice set of rules. It can most definitely be used to play 'traditional' historical games. Hopefully our game on Sunday proved that to some of the guys!

Anyway, on with the show.

The table was 11' by 5' (I think) and a mix of peoples terrain was used. 

The first allied 'phase line' was the capture of point 126 - the small cluster of buildings in the centre of this picture. The second 'phase line' was the railway station, seen on the left. 

The town of Noyers Bocage lay at the far end of the table - the rather ambitious 3rd phase line. 

The whole setup, with the allies starting to arrive in the bottom right. 

We played on a 11' by 5' table, and with contributions from other club members we managed to get a reasonably dense table. I was a bit concerned with the amount of players and the number of units that things would get a bit 'busy' - and I think at times things did look a bit bunched, but the railway line and the forests also contributed to that. Playing width wise would have given more room, but less depth to the German defences, so I'm not sure what the answer to that would have been.

The allies entered on the right of the photo above. With a nice, long, empty table in front of them.

They had a preparatory bombardment of 2 artillery templates to use at the start, which they places and I noted (in secret) the results from. These also left ranged in markers for future artillery calls. Objectives were the first cluster of small buildings (Point126), the railway station and then the town of Noyers.

I had adapted the artillery system from the last game. Now, the random events were triggered by allied units being within 6" of a counter. There were a couple of entries which effected the artillery options, but the actual artillery availability was dealt with separately. Once a green counter had been used, it switched to a black one. The formation Artillery Spotter could pick these up by moving over them. The player controlling him could then 'spend' a token to roll on an artillery table. There were 8 options on this random table, with 5 Allied and 3 German types of bombardment.

The system worked pretty well, but I think I will adapt it some more for the next time!

The allies advance - 4 players had one platoon of infantry and one troop of Shermans (3 x 75mm, 1 x 17 pdr). One player had the 'funnies' - a Flail troop, AVRE troop and Crocodile troop. The last player had the infantry command, with commanders, OP, MG's and Mortars. 

First blood went to StiGs tanks, I believe. I used the same random event system as last time, which resulted in the StuG being spotted early on. Once the green event markers were activated, they turned to black ones which could be collected by the OP and cashed in to roll on the artillery table. 

The German forward line of defence is slowly whittled down and driven back. It took a little while to learn that the way to get rid of dug in infantry is to assault. Shooting just won't do it!

The assault about to go in! These troops had been too far away to assault, but had gotten a 'lost' event which moved them 2d6 in a random direction - which put them within assault range!

The South Staffs clear out the German recce platoon. 

A couple of close assaults later and the area is cleared up to the railway line... spot the Panther behind the train station!
Once things got moving, they moved quite quickly, with the players working together to overcome the tactical puzzle they had been set. The Panther proved to be a huge nuisance, not being destroyed to the end of the game as it kept falling back and slowing everything up. I found out this evening I had the front armour rating wrong, so it shouldn't have been such a big deal. However, the error actually made for a really great story and I thing the Panthers escapades will live on for some time. As will the 'bypassed' PaK40 that the players kept parking vehicles near...

Encountering HMG's, this beat up platoon decides the cornfields are a better place to wait while armour support is brought up. In the background, a StuG and Panther slow the armour down. 

Panther eye view... the Panther was StiGs and was a lovely model. 

Allied infantry get ready to attack the next objective. 

The Panther starts to get swamped... but keeps being missed (and bouncing shots... oops)

Elsewhere the allies surge forward. Special mention goes to StiG for his aggressive use of his infantry, which must have assaulted over half the German units on the board, and kept getting smaller and smaller as a result!
Allied armour moves up - the terrain funnelling them and the Panthers presence slowing them down. 

The German counter attack begins - 4 x Panzer IV's (with hidden support) start to advance. The Panther holds the gap...

Some of StiGs lovely Panzer IV's. 

Eventually, a plucky move by one of StiGs Shermans gets a flank shot on the Pather, and it is 'brewed up'. A great cheer went up from all the players at this! In the background StiGs infantry platoon moved over a minefield and assaulted/knocked out a Pak40!
Allied materiel advantage making itself known, while the infantry starts to get thin on the ground. Half of the infantry platoons were at half strength or worse. A/T assets were moving forward to dig and and help protect the gains against the inevitable German counter attack... Note also the breached minefields!

Another shot - there had been a '88' and some HMGs defending this hedge line. 

Looking down the table towards the starting table edge. 

A StuG and Grenadiers in the tree line. This was the high water mark and the point we called the game. 

Reinforcements move past the detritus of war...
Lessons learnt from this game included that fact that the events table worked really well. I changed it up from last time, making a lot of the 'negative' entries have options - basically for a lot of them the triggering player could chose a friendly unit to effect. The feedback from the players was overwhelmingly positive - they enjoyed the impact the events had and actively sought to trigger the events - which in turn helped keep them moving up the table. I think, due to the way the deployment went, some of the players didn't trigger any themselves, but all of them interacted with the results.

I learnt that I need more terrain! Especially for tables this size. I've a few more buildings to do, but the whole town concept needs a lot more work. I need to paint up some more infantry, especially for this size of games. Although historically this was a infantry company and armoured squadron attack! I think one of the lessons from Normandy was the lack of infantry assets, and the players were very aware of this, especially as they started to take losses in their 'first wave' of platoons. They became a resource to carefully husband - while the availability of armour led to tactics which favoured the tanks 'bashing on' - just as my reading of the WW2 material on this battle suggests was the actual attitude of many infantry commanders.

Changes for next time will be to increase the options on the artillery table. As controller of the German forces, I felt it was unfair for me to have direct control of the German artillery. So it was on the same table as the British artillery. This also added a consideration to the allies - risk spending a counter in order to get friendly arty, and you might get enemy arty incoming. Next time I'm going to go to a D12 rather than a D8 and have some options where both allied AND German fires arrive. That should keep things a bit interesting. Otherwise, I am also going to allow unit commanders to pick up the artillery counters - but delay the use of counters picked up this way for a turn.

I really enjoyed umpiring this game. It helped that the guys approached it seriously as the tactical problem it was, and they were planning and talking and interacting. Not to say we didn't all have a laugh, but it was nice that they kept it 'real' and didn't try any silly tactics in order to game the scenario.

There is already talk of following up with a Phase III game some time this year. The defence against the incoming German counter attack and then the assault on the town. I'm up for that!

Battle for Noyers Phase II player briefing document

Operation Pomegranate 

Origins (History) 
Operation Pomegranate (also known as the Second Battle of the Odon) was a series of operations fought by the British Army in World War II in mid-July 1944 against Panzergruppe West as part of the Battle of Normandy. Operation Pomegranate were intended to draw German attention away from the upcoming assault from the Orne bridgehead, codenamed Operation Goodwood. After four German infantry divisions arrived in Normandy, the objective was to prevent them from replacing German Panzer divisions deployed opposite the British Second Army for operations against the First US Army. 

Strategic Plan 
XXX Corps launched Operation Pomegranate on 16 July. The objective of 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division on the right is to capture Vendes and the surrounding area, in the centre the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division is to capture the villages of Noyers-BocageHaut des Forges and Landelle and on the left the 53 (Welsh) Division is to attack, ready for the corps to advance towards the high ground north-east of Villers Bocage. 33rd Armoured Brigade is to support the efforts of 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.  

Tactical Plan – 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division, Phase II 

Phase I of the attack began at 5:30 a.m. this morning with units of 177th Brigade supported by 33rd Armoured Brigade clearing their start lines and advancing on their objectives. 

On the right, despite encountering stronger than expected resistance which saw the leading units taking heavy casualties,  1/6th South Staffords supported by B Squadron 144RAC have successfully captured their objective. With the hamlet of Brettevillette in Allied hands, 1/6th South Staffs have switched to the defensive to allow the Phase 2 forces to pass through 

On the left 5th South Staffs, supported by C Squadron 144RAC, advanced to capture Les NouillonsThis attack ran into several unmarked friendly minefields, but achieved it's objectives.  

Phase II of the operation will begin at 1pm, with Coy 2/6th South Staffs and A Squadron of 144RAC passing through Brettevillette to capture Pt 126 and Noyers Railway Station before pushing through to attack Noyers village. At the same time C Coy 2/6th South Staffs, supported by available tanks from B and C Squadron 144RACwill advance from Les Nouillons and attack Noyers village.  


The area around Brettevillette and Noyers consists of large crop fields bounded by tall hedgerows. Orchards and sunken lanes are prevalent. The railway line provides an obvious obstruction, but should be passable for tanks 

Known Enemy Forces 

Infantry from the newly arrived 277th Infantry Division are confirmed to have taken up prepared defensive positions in the Noyers area. This Division has newly arrived in Normandy, and is believed to have been transferred from coastal defence duties in Southern France. This mornings fighting has shown that they are heavily supported by dug in and concealed anti-tank guns - dug in infantry and machine gun positions offered heavier than expected resistance to Phase I forces. The enemy is believed to have deployed minefields as part of his defensive network.  Enemy Self Propelled A/T guns were engaged during the fighting in Brettevillette. Further enemy armoured units are expected to be in the area, including tanks from 9th SS Panzer Division.  

Points of Note 

  • Preparatory bombardment will be available to support the attack. Follow on bombardments will be available at the crossing of each phase line.  
  • Phase I forces encountered enemy anti-tank guns and HMG's firing from concealed positions. Sniper activity was also reported as being heavy. A combined arms approach is essential.  
  • Prisoners interrogations have revealed that a force of infantry and 9th SS Panzer armoured units are held as a division reserve for the 277th. Recent enemy tactics has been to launch an immediate counter attack to retake lost positions.  

Phase II Objectives 

2/6th South Staffs is to advance and secure Noyers railway station, supported by A Squadron 144RAC. Securing this objective quickly will allow for a continuation of the attack into Noyers itself while the enemy is on the back foot. Speed is of the essence, an enemy counter attack is expected later this afternoon, possibly with tank support. However, a combined arms approach is required in the face of an integrated and prepared enemy defence 

As such, objectives will be: 

  • Securing of Point 126. (Phase Line 1)  
  • The capture of Noyers railway station, and the clearing of enemy forces to the NORTH of the railway line. (Phase line 2) 
  • The securing of Noyers Village. (Phase line 3). 
  • Preparation to receive expected enemy counter attack by late PM.