Saturday, 18 January 2020

Finished: GZG 15mm Sci Fi Drones (AHPCX)

Hi folks,

Some slight progress to report on the painting front, if unusual for me. A couple of Ground Zero Games 15mm Sci Fi 'grav' 'Wasp' drones.

I picked these up a while ago at a show, as GZG were present. They've been in the lead mountain for a while and I thought since I have been focusing on painting 10mm fantasy, I would give myself some 15mm military stuff to do as well.





I've painted these up in a 'corporate security' type scheme. I've an idea for my 15mm sci fi stuff that it will be based around the banning of research into 'true AI', which is being undertaken irregardless by corporate entities on far off backwater colony worlds. Forces I am painting include military/police strike teams, civilian rebels and security drones/forces/Mad AI controlled forces. These should let me do some low level skirmish games, rules to be decided.

I've a few other things in the works, just need to finish bits off and get them posted to the AHPC competition before I can post here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

AAR: 15mm Flames of War, D-Day+1 (Canadians vs 12th SS)

Hi folks,

With the new year, new effort has gone in to getting dates booked for regular gaming sessions at our local venue. Also known as attempting to herd cats when it comes to getting at least four gamers together on one day.

As such, to start things off we got ourselves sorted out for the first game of the year in Billingham at the new location of the dance studio we use. A much bigger room with adjoining space... which of course set us to wondering how many more tables we could get!

While I remember, Martin's report on this game can be found here.


We had a little discussion about games after our last meeting in Scruton in December, but in the end I decided to 'host' this one, as my FoW stuff hasn't been out the boxes much. Dave had offered to do something with his Americans. My recent reading has been about the Canadians in Normandy so I figured I would set up a game to reflect some of my reading.

I really had three major aims for this game:

1. Try to represent the situation in the days following D-day, when things were still in a state of flux and the German troops were being deployed into the fight with little coordination. The German units in Normandy, while having some experienced officers and NCO's, were just as prone to tactical mistakes.

2. Try to show the guys how the Commonwealth/British troops have to work in defence, as they have mainly only ever been attacking during our scenario games.

3. Try to show that tanks can't hold urban areas, and the importance of combined arms.

The tables were set up reasonably quickly. I provided the rough outline and the guys set to arranging bits.






The table was more than 12' by 6', but we used the ends for holding paperwork, models and drinks. The setup wasn't of any particular place, but representative of the Eastern side of the allied landings (north of Caen). Lots of large crop fields and a few orchards and farmsteads.

The guys all played the Canadians for this game, and had an understrength infantry company with a section of 2 x 6-Pdr A/T guns, a platoon of 4 x Vickers HMG's and 2 of the support companies 3" Mortars. They were tasked with holding the crossroads in the centre, and decided to hold the crossroads and each of the farms in order to prevent flanking. One platoon went to each location and one was held behind the hamlet in reserve. They also had a battery of 14th Field Regiment Priests (theoretically) and the guns of HMS Belfast (again, theoretically). Representing history, these would be unavailable until later in the game, though they did not know this when they set up.

The Germans were attacking the crossroads, were unaware of the exact allied positions and in a hurry to counter attack the beaches. I was running a very simple system for the Germans. Each turn I would roll for reserves (odds/evens = yes/no), composition of reserves, location of entry along my table edge and reaction of the on table Germans to the situation (again, will they do x, yes/no).

I wanted the attackers to be particularly armour heavy, to represent some of the early armoured counter attacks which were unsupported by infantry or had limited infantry, and how useless these were against troops in built up areas and Norman farm complexes. I also wanted to get my newly painted Panthers and Panzer IV's on the table!

Three Panthers opposite Ian

Two Panthers up the middle, along with a mounted Panzergren platoon. 

I do like Dave's trees. 

The Canadian central defences - not much to see. 

Dave's farm - the same, not much to see!

Panthers and some Panzergrens mounted in halftracks led the way. For this game we were using a simple 'what makes sense' system with regards to spotting. Units that had fired were visible (generally), or else on a successful skill check hidden units could be spotted (where we assume units are looking for the enemy). On the right, Dave's farm came under attack by a large platoon of mounted Panzergrens. These weathered a storm of Vickers .303 fire to unload close to the walls, while the troops inside assaulted into the building. A tense back and forth raged, before the attacking platoon was repulsed. The survivors took further casualties falling back over the field, before being picked up and whisked off to reorganise - and report the enemy's position.

In the centre, not much happened. The Panthers advanced to the crossroads but would not risk ambush from the buildings. The 251's took mortar fire which was ineffective, and smoke was fired at the lead Panther.

On the left, the panthers advanced cross country, encountering no enemy forces but being subject to a very heavy bombardment from HMS Belfast as the Naval OP had eventually fixed his radio (1 in 6 chance every turn).

Note: we play a bit fast and loose with the command rules and splitting of units. For the Canadian 6 Pdrs and Vickers, they effectively became part of the platoon to which they were attached, and had to be supported by infantry. I feel this better reflects how these support weapons were used.

Green marker is the ranged in marker for HMS Belfast. The Canadian infantry out in the open here soon scarpered into the safety of the farm buildings. 

Survivors of the failed assault on Dave's farm fall back - the red lego token means the unit is pinned. 

Smoke on the lead Panther, which only served to warn the Germans there was something ahead to worry about. 
There were a few minor moves from the Canadians, mainly shifting a 6-Pdr out of sight of the Panthers, and moving some Piat teams around to try and get flank shots on Panthers. Dave meanwhile re-jigged his defences to cover gaps caused by casualties.

Canadian side of the crossroads - lots of hiding units - the buildings were full as well. 

More German re-enforcements arrive - a platoon of Panzer IV's and two more platoons of Panzergrens. 

Orchards need basing...

Dave had no A/T guns on his end, and I think his Piat had been taken out early. Dave's platoon was by far the worst hit in the fighting. Probably an MC or DSO in the works for the platoon leader. 

Panthers move around to open up fields of fire, while the Panzergrens dismount and move into the orchard. 

Some Canadian re-enforcements arrive to try and stem the tide. Two more of the support companies 6-Pdrs. The first time these limbered models have seen the table I think?

Another view of towed 6-Pdrs

A couple of 17 Pdr armed M10's also arrive on the other flank, heading out to take on three Panthers. This shot shows the reserve platoon and Mortar postions at the rear of the crossroads.  

The Panthers close in on Ian's farm. A gutsy Piat team gives the Panther on the road a nasty shock and earache, but the 5+ firepower roll really makes it hard to kill stuff with it. 

The Panzergrens at the crossroads dismount and enter the orchard, where they get hit by 3" Mortar fire and small arms fire. This causes heavy casualties, pins the platoon and sends it back. 
As more Panzer IV's arrive in the centre, a platoon of StuGs turn up on the left, adding more pressure to Ian's flank. To help, a troop of two towed 17-Pdrs arrive, and were rushed over to Ian's flank to support the M10's.

The Panther on the right is bailed by a Piat shot, while the platoon 2" mortar puts down smoke to shield the Piat team. 

One of Martin's 6-Pdrs (hidden behind the far hedge between the buildings) takes a shot at the side armour of the Panther, but misses. The gun was then taken out by return fire. 

The 6-Pdr is a little more visible in this shot. You can also see the black marker representing the 3" Mortars ranged in spot. 

The full strength Panzergren platoon is hit hard, the orchard soon filling with bodies. 
It was around this time that 14th Field Regiment, RCA, finally got off the beaches and could lay down some fire. Immediately the SS infantry began to take a hammering - mainly those around Dave's farm who had been closing in on his dangerously depleted platoon. His troops had already fallen back further into the compound to avoid the fire from 5 Panzer IV's and the mortar bombardment of the previously occupied buildings (the Germans being unaware the troops had pegged it out the back door...).

Meanwhile, Ian's M10's work their way forward to get a shot. Unfortunately at this time the dice roll came up for the Panthers to move, and an M10 was lost. The other, returning fire, bailed a Panther. Thankfully the Canadians also received some tank support in the form of some Sherman DD's. These were shifted over to help Dave.

Having been bailed once by the M10, a Panther is hit by long ranged 17-Pdr fire from the hill to the rear. Another bailed result and a failed last stand check saw the crew head for the rear. 

The StuG's had arrived and poured fire into the farm buildings. A 3+ save and then a firepower roll to have to kill teams behind those stout walls really made then Canadian Infantry tough to shoot out of the buildings. Try as I might, the dice rolls were not coming up with any more German infantry. 

The Panzer IV's in the centre move up to support the Panthers. Martin attempts some 6-Pdr fire, which fails to hit. He then lays a smoke screen with his 3" Mortars (we did this in the wrong order, smoke bombardments are supposed to happen first). 

Artillery and small arms fire (those Vickers teams were helping) took out one Panzergren platoon as it advanced through the orchard. The other platoon (seen here on the far right) was also hit and moved behind the hill to lose LoS. Every time they moved forward, they were hit by artillery (including HMS Belfast's guns, hence the big craters)). Meanwhile the Panzer IV's worked their way into the orchard and continued to shoot up empty buildings. DD Shermans can be seen top of the image. 
With a lack of infantry, the German armour began to push forward themselves. This is where the guys carefully marshaled (other than Martins...) A/T assets began to prove their worth. As the German tanks moved into more open ground, they were hit by fire from deployed guns.

Dave's Sherman DD's move up to support his remaining infantry and try to flank the Panzer IV's. 

The 6-Pdrs wait... Martins gun on the right was soon to be knocked out as the Germans, replicating Eastern Front tactics, charged through the smoke screen. Shooting through two hedges is tricky by the rules, but I went with a 'skill check to see a target' and the target got concealment. 

Nice shot of the smoke and waiting 6-Pdr. You can also see here a German Recce platoon that had arrived but could not get through the hedgerow in their halftracks. 

Ian's two 17-Pdrs deployed on the crest of a hill.They would take out the second Panther (just to the right of the building) who was unclear where the shots came from. The third Panther kept passing it's last stand test, but backed up as it assumed there was enemy armour behind the farm. 

Bit of a gap in images there. Martin received two more M10's, which he carefully moved to be able to ambush advancing Panzer IV's. Two Panzer IV's were brewed by these, and another by Piat fire from the buildings. Ignore the armoured roof on the 3" M10's - they are modelled for a Op Totalize unit, and my 17-Pdr versions are still in the paint pile.  
No photo's, but in the centre another troop of three DD Shermans took out two Panzer IV's who had killed one of Martins infantry sections left in the woods. They pushed through the woods only to come face to face with the Shermans. An exchange of fire left both German tanks burning.

In the orchard, the two 6-Pdrs engage Panzer IV's - say what you like about their effectiveness vs big cats - versus these Panzer IV's. Dave's Shermans had moved up to get in on the act and killed the final one. 

Those are going to be some smokey apples. Dave's infantry were also re-occupying the buildings they had previously left, as the final German infantry platoon was being hammered by repeated bombardments. 
With no more German infantry in the offing and tank casualties mounting, the SS troops broke off and the battle ended. The Canadians held their objective (although there was a Panther parked on it for a while). A really good example of this being a period where the advantage lays with the defender, and how allied artillery is hugely effective against troops in the open advancing. For Dave especially just getting the pin on an advancing platoon was huge, and kept the pressure off his beleaguered platoon.

The final lay of the table at the end. The Germans were on the objective but could not hold it. Infantry moving into the building near them would have been too dangerous. Without their own infantry, the way to the beaches remains closed!

Ian's troops held out all game with few casualties versus 6 German tanks, one of which had a 10.5cm gun. You can also see here the other troop of Shermans and the Panzer IV's in the centre. 

While Dave fought off three Panzergren platoons and a troop of tanks, but took heavy casualties doing it. 
And that was it, another little dabble into the peculiarities of the Normandy campaign. I'm really looking forward to the British and SS books coming out for late war v4 in the next few months. I know I'll be left wanting more, but it will make these games a bit easier paperwork wise. Still really like the mechanics of the game, loved the look on the table (although as ever, it was set up in a hurry and is a portable set - more time to set the table would always be better and give a better finish). First time we did not run out of hedges, but more field material required to fill in some of the open spaces. The Hotz stuff is great for that, but I need some (bigger) area's of standing crops.

Orchard also needs based (I re-based these just before the game) and possibly needs extending as on a 12' by 6' I felt like I should have had a few.

As ever, mat provided by Dave, as were a lot of hedges. Models were mine aside from the German Halftracks, which were kindly loaned by Ian. Mine are still in the painting pile...

Next game set for the beginning of Feb, but no arrangements as to what. Possibly 10mm Fantasy - better get cracking on my painting.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Finished: AHPC entries 1 and 2

Hi folks,

I managed to get myself organised and finish off the first couple of models for 2020 and the first entries to this years Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I've set myself a bruising target of 1250 points this year, and these guys combined were worth less than 100 (including a bonus!). I better get a shift on!

First up a 15mm diorama I painted for Dave's collection (as my entry fee for this years challenge). Dave will have to complete the 'X marks the spot' challenge to qualify... I wanted to stick to my strengths and paint something WW2 related, so in the end went for an American command/signals post.






The truck, trailer and jeeps are all from Skytrex, while the infantry figures and passengers are all Battlefront metals. The base is a 'coaster' sized and shaped 2mm MDF base - the same as what I used for my Aid Post back in 2017.

I also submitted a couple of tanks I had painted for Martin - 15mm Plastic Soldier Company Fireflys to be precise. These were a donation to Martin's British armour collection following his purchase of the 'Hit the Beach' box. I decided to build and paint them for him as a thank you.




Very plain, limited decals, no bases and no weathering. I'll let Martin add what he likes to match these in with what he's doing.

Now, I just need to get on with the 10mm stuff on my desk...