Monday, 25 March 2019

AHPC Roundup - or 'what I've been doing with my spare time for 3 months'

Hi folks,

I had posted this over on the AHPC blog, but thought I would also share here for completeness. With the Challenge finishing last week, I managed to achieve my target of 750 points worth of miniatures painted (using the challenge scoring system).

As usual, my focus has been on my 15mm Normandy collection, and these models have all been posted on this blog already - however, it's nice to see the whole lot together so I am sharing again:

The large LCT I had finished previously, but I did do these guys during the challenge:

January is traditionally 'Gunuary' for me, where I focus my efforts on all things artillery related. This means I got my towed 6 Pdrs done, but also a load of Tractor vehicles for various gun batteries:

My D-day efforts were also significantly boosted by the completion of the DD tanks and LCA's, while the troops who make the shore will be boosted by the inclusion of another D7 Bulldozer... and a NAAFI truck. While my Polish Armoured forces have had some AA tanks added.

In the next few weeks, I should be able to mop up the remains of what I had planned, in the form of Polish M5 Stuarts, 40mm SP Bofors and the final batch of Quad tractors for my Jock artillery.

Still lots to be getting on with, and a renewed focus going into the rest of the year with a big Utah beach game planned for June and a Juno or Sword beach game planned for later this year - both, hopefully, on a 17' by 6' table.

Monday, 18 March 2019

AAR: 15mm Franco Prussian War - Battle of Frœschwiller

Hi folks,

Sunday saw a club meet with a game arranged by John using his large collection of (possibly older than me?) 15mm Franco Prussian War figures.

We would be refighting a battle I'd never heard of (the Battle of Frœschwiller) with myself and Pete playing the Prussians against a French defence lead by Martin and Dave. Dave's pictures of the game can be found here. My opponent would be Martin for much of the game.

We were joined by a local chap who is a bit of an expert on the time period. He'd never actually seen a wargame before and was properly fascinated. I'm not sure that he didn't find our non-historical attack a little off putting though!

The table was a mix of John and Dave's terrain. The above picture doesn't show it very well, but the French positions (on the right hand side of the picture and around the villages in the centre right) were on pretty high ground. Our objectives were to destroy the French Corps, while capturing the two villages in the centre and the circular forest on the far end of the picture.

To do this, myself and Pete has a Corps each of Prussains and a couple of divisions of allied troops. My Barvarians were much maligned by John, but did sterling service during the battle.

After a quick recce of the table, myself and Pete came up with a simple plan.

We would use our initial forces to cross the river, with Pete screening my left flank from Dave, while my Barvarians out on the right made for the centre to help with the crossing and disrupt Martin's defence. In this battle the French had a lot of elite units who's rifles had double the range of ours. While our artillery was better, closing quickly would be key.

My follow up forces would reinforce my attack up the centre, while Pete's would help screen the flank and free up troops to assault the other end of the ridge line.

My Barvarians:

A better view from my right flank. You can just about see French units on the slopes of the hill beneath the villages, and on the right. From this angle, it looked like the Barvarian Division would be able to out flank a chunk of Martin's defence if I could clear them from the woods opposite the river crossing.

We started out, with the usual issues caused by command dice. We were using Black Powder so there were a few turns where things didn't move or blundered. I was lucky as for both of my blunders, the random result actually helped me, much to Martin's disgust.

John had instigated a couple of changes to the rules - so shooting came before movement, etc. This stopped units making massive moves without taking damage. John had also changed the rice rolls needed to get multiple moves, making it much harder to get three moves from one command check.

View from the French side:

As we played through, I got some decent command rolls that put my Barvarians into the woods, pushing back the French units there. While the fighting went on for some time, it did help purely from the damage it did to Martin's morale!

More pictures of game start:

French defences to my front, including the Corps artillery battery dug in on the ridge. 

Things start moving slowly...

A few turns later:

My Barvarians are in the woods, and threatening the flank of the hill defences, although there are still some stubborn French units holding me up!

A few turns later, I have one Division on the hill, heavily engaged, while my second crosses the river. Red counters for casualties, yellow for disorder. Most of my units were, thankfully, large... so could sustain 4 hits before worrying about morale. 

Pete is also over the river. Dave had moved some cavalry to threaten Pete's flank, when Petes other army arrived behind them...

View from the French side. 
The battle rolled on into the afternoon, with my Barvarians took a bit of a battering, with a few of their units running, while one got involved in a very personal battle with a French unit which saw it chase them almost to the rear of the board and capture a (non-objective) village.

Pete's flanking force arriving, and Dave's Cavalry finding itself in a bad position. This force allowed Pete to start diverting units to assault the central ridge, as it tied up Dave's remaining forces on this flank. 

My first wave of assault columns, which reached the village before the two lead units faltered a broke. However, I still had a fresh division and 7 batteries of guns to pound away with...

Shortly later, my troops were on the ridge line ready to take the village, while Pete was in a similar position on my left. 

Another Prussian division moving up. 

Things were looking bleak for the French. At this point, they threw in the towel and headed back to Paris. 

Prussians hold the forward slopes!
All in all, a good game. I think it would have been very tough for the French to win this (they didn't historically) especially as the French units were deployed at the start of the game and Martin and David could do little to change this. A reverse slope defence might have worked better, but would have left the objectives vulnerable. All in all, despite having better troops they were outnumbered and outgunned. I personally think the Black Powder handles unit size and ability rather poorly, but that's just my own experience.

The table looked great, and was a fantastic example of how 15mm games can just look stunning!

Friday, 15 March 2019

Finished!: 15mm Battlefront LCA Passengers (part 2!), 15mm Ward LaFrance Wrecker

Hi folks,

Just getting around to posting up my recently finished entries for the AHPC!

First up, the remainder of the 15mm LCA passengers, and some shots of the whole lot:

A little project I am very glad to have gotten done, as the passenger figures were filling me with dread and seemed like an impossible task all those weeks ago. But breaking them into two groups and just doing a bit at a time got them done. Hopefully we'll get a game later this year with all the D-Day stuff out and it will look suitable cool.

I also finished an MMM Models 15mm Ward LaFrance Wrecker truck. This has been marked up as part of the Light Aid Detachement of 33 Armoured Brigade:

This couple of entries got me to my target of 750 'points' for the challenge (15mm infantry count as 2 points per figure, 15mm vehicles 8 points and bonus round entries get an extra 50 points).

I've got a few more vehicles on my desk from what I set out to paint at the start of the challenge. If I can get these done before the 20th that would be fantastic, but time will tell!

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Finished!: 15mm Crusader AA, 15mm Quad Tractors, 15mm LCA Passengers (pt1)

Hi folks,

As I've continued with my AHPC entries, I thought I should get caught up here with what I've finished recently.

First up, a couple of Battlefront 15mm Crusader AA tanks for my Polish 24th Lancers:

These are the second pair of these I have painted, with my 144RAC squadron having a couple as well. As with my Lancers, I've made use of the yellow recognition panels on these chaps.

Next up, some 15mm Battlefront Morris Commercial C8 FAT (Field Artillery Tractor) - commonly known as 'Quads'. These are marked up as part of 128 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. This unit was one of the three 25 Pdr equipped artillery regiments of 51st Highland Division. The guns for these were done a while ago, so this is just me shaving the lead mountain and finishing off part of the unit.

And then lastly, half of the Canadian passenger figures for my LCA's. These were entered in the Saturday 'Fellowship' competition round, but as 'normal' figures I was painting anyway, I don't expect them to score highly.

I've the rest of these chaps for my other 3 LCA's to finish this week (onto the highlighting stage currently) and at the moment one vehicle to enter for next Tuesday, which will put me 20 or so points short of my target, with under two weeks to go! At this stage, I doubt I will get all the vehicles I had prepped done by the end of the challenge, but shouldn't have many left over.