Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Battlegroup Overlord - D Day set for April

with thanks to Piers Brand, The Guild

The next instalment of the Battlegroup Kursk set of rules will be Battlegroup Overlord. The book will be a similar edition to Kursk, but will contain 13 sets of Army lists, invasion scenarios and historical sets. It will be about 200 printed pages, with the expected crop of excellent photos showing off some serious quality painting. As far as the range of the book is concerned it will start with the Beachead, and end at the retreat of the German army over the Seine.
with thanks to Piers Brand, The Guild

The lists covered by the book are pretty comprehensive, and some of the more exotic forces involved in Normandy, will be able to be morphed out of the lists given, such as Free French, Commando, Polish and SS formations. Essentially these formations drew on either equipment from the given lists, or will be upgrades/choices in the lists.

The lists are...

British Infantry
British Armoured
British Airborne
British Beach Assault
US Infantry
US Armoured
US Airborne
US Beach Assault
German Atlantic Wall Defence
German Infantry
German Armoured
German Ersatz Panzer
Artwork from the illustrator - D Pentland that
will appear in BGO, courtesy of Piers Brand
US medic and US Infantry in action

The list is a comprehensive coverage of practically all that you could expect to fight with or against in Normandy, and with a little thought could stretch to other areas - Operation Dragoon for instance. Given the scope of the book, and its limitations on size ( about 200 pp ) there are plans to publish a smaller rule book set. This would be complementary to the intended Army List/Campaign books ( and of course BGK), which would have the individual armies in them, having subtle national army options. I mention options because although the Germans in Kursk have the Tank Ace available to them, as the Russians have the Political Officer, they have to pay for these options and do not get them for just being German, or Russian.... One interesting thing I have come across, is that the US have the option to upgrade their communications in BGO. Not an unreasonable option given the amount of SCR radios and field telephones. Again, it is an option that costs, and not an army feature for nothing. This I think starts to pull the armies onto a more even playing field.
For continuing updates and more information, here is a link.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Kampfgruppe Normandy game - Breville 7th June 1944

I had arranged a game this thursday, and having checked who was available, found out that I would have no Russians for a Battlegroup Kursk game. I had my US, and thought about generating stats etc to make up US opponents, but to be honest, as none of the guys playing have seen BGK yet and I would be changing things, it would be a recipe for disaster.
John had his Para's available, so the Orne Bridgehead and the operations by 6th Airborne Division in Normandy were a good fit. It also meant that I would be getting KGN out, and everyone playing was familiar with the rule mechanisms.
I had read quite a lot about the operations around the Orne and its significance to the drive on Caen, and what particularly caught my attention were the actions that 9th Parachute battalion fought in and around the Orne bridgehead. Not to dismiss in any way the actions of other units in 6th Airborne and 1st Special Service.
9th Para marched into its defensive positions at 1.30am on 7th June with 90 effectives, although its strength was slowly increasing as men made their way to the battalion after the drop and operations on the 6th June. The battalion dug in on the ridgeline southwest of Breville, protecting the north/northeast postion of 6th Airborne and the vital crossing of the Orne around Ranville. If the Germans were able to push through Ranville, they would have been able to directly attack the beach lodgements of the Allies and affect the whole of the Invasion. In any event, seizure of the ridgeline would allow domination of the Orne bridgehead, and the interior of 6th Airborne's positions.
Colonel Otway, officer commanding, gathered a scratch force of reserves and counterattacked the Germans who had secured positons on the ridgeline, throwing them off, back down to to Breville. The Germans suffered heavy losses during the attack, and counterattack. 
I produced 2 briefings for the 2 sides, listing an operational briefing, force structure, deployment and objectives. The Paras list was drawn from the published list in Wargames Illustrated, the Grenadiers list from the German Infantry list in KGN
9th Parachute Battalion Command (Battlegroup Command)
A company (reduced strength)
Company Command (platoon HQ squad command)
1st Platoon ( Inf squad )
2nd Platoon ( Inf squad )
B company ( reduced strength )
Company Command (platoon HQ squad command)
1st Platoon ( Inf squad )
2nd Platoon ( Inf squad )
2 x HMG teams
2 x Piat teams
1 x FAO
Dedicated off table artillery - x3 3inch mortars
2 x high priority requests
2 x low priority requests
6 x Foxholes ( each to provide hard cover for 1 squad or team )
4 x Barricades ( each to provide hard cover for 1 squad or team )
Off table reinforcements for game move 10
C company ( reduced strength )
Company Command (platoon HQ squad command without 2inch mortar)
1st Platoon ( Inf squad )
2nd Platoon ( Inf squad )

Morale 26 (36 when reinforcements are on table)

British objectives were to hold the ridgeline and so stop the Germans from winning, Germans were to get a Command group onto the ridgeline and/or occupy 50% or more of the Defences. The German Command group would need to call in an artillery  priority request, so would need to be unpinned for their turn. Aircraft morale chit markers are replaced and another morale chit marker drawn. 
857th Grenadier Regiment of the 346th Infantry Division
Company command (battle group command)
1st Platoon (HQ command squad)
1st Inf squad
2nd Inf squad
3rd Inf squad
3 x MMG teams
2nd Platoon (HQ command squad)
1st Inf squad
2nd Inf squad
3rd Inf squad
3 x MMG teams
StuGIIIF Squadron
StugIIIF (command)
2 x StuGIIIF
2 x HMG teams
2 x 80mm mortar teams
1 x FAO team
Dedicated off table artillery - x3 120mm mortars
4 x low priority requests

Morale 28

The terrain was laid out as follows. The woods to the left lead to Chateau le Come, and the 1st Canadians, the woods to the right are a feature between 9th Para, and 6 Commando from 1st Special Service. There were not enough Paras to deploy up to 6 Commando, and the defences on the ridgeline show this. The Paras are not allowed to deploy in the most lefthand side of the table - 12inches from edge. The British chose not to extend their defences into the lefthand wood.

The Paras deployed first, followed by the Germans. the Germans were allowed to deploy up to 24 inches from the table edge, with no restrictions. The hedges were visual cover, and obscured target for spotting, but were for representation only. They marked the edge of the woods,whilst the hedges on the roads would not affect things. The road running accross the table is the Breville to Amfreville road, and the buildings at the road junction, the edge of Breville village.
The Germans deployed their StuG's in the centre, supported by a platoon of Grenadiers, the FAO and mortars at the junction of the road and the northern woods, the other platoon of Grenadiers in the wood. The British deployed their 2 platoon groups in the defences running along the ridgeline, with a HMG on their far right and another placed in the middle next to the tree, between the 2 platoons.

The Germans moved forward, with some poor shooting by the StuG's, the Para's responded with a stonk of 2inch mortar fire onto a squad of Grenadiers behind the middle StuG. Time to get a tealight explosion marker out. There was not much response with the Paras as their action dice were appaling. The Grenadiers were suppressed.

The Germans get on moving on their right, the StuGs stop to engage the lefthand side of the Paras, this is where the Grenadiers will be aiming to break in, at the dogleg. The Germans also start to shoot in with their HMGs, firing from the edge of the northern wood. A high explosive round hits and wipes out the HMG Vickers team.

                                                       More British mortar fire is coming in, along with rifle fire from the Infantry squads.The Germans are hitting the Paras, but the Paras are surviving dueto the Foxholes. However, nearly everyone is shooting Direct Fire. More later on this. The Paras are giving the Grenadier platoon behind the StuGs a very hard time, with the HMG killing the entire squad behind the lefthand StuG, the centre squad pinned, and the righthand squad now under mortar fire. They pass their concealment rolls.

                                                                  The germans continue to fire at the line, pinning one of the sections of Paras with HMG fire, and hitting the adjacent section at the dogleg with direct fire HE. The ammo situation is getting quite low for the StuGs, 2 on 2 shots left, 1 on 3. They start off on 5 shots each of HE. The Germans also managed to get their off table mortars into action, doubly suppressing the section of Paras on the dogleg of the line.

The Germans have taken a few casualties off each Para platoon, but not enough to stop the fire coming in, or to suppress the observers bringing in the off table and on table mortar fire. The Paras  have 2 2inch mortars with their HQ squads. Mortar fire bracketts the righthand StuG, but the germans behind survive. The line of bullets mark the end of the suppressed squad of Grenadiers behind the StuG, who were taken out by the Paras surviving HMG

The Paras have also started to move up on their left, moving a squad out of their defences, onto the ridgeline, to defend the line against the Germans moving up through the woods. This will make them more vulnerable to mortar or artillery fire if it can be called down on them.
At the bottom of the picture is a german objective marker I made for BGK/BGN, a zeltbahn tent with large foxhole. WW2 whimsey!
                                                                                                                               A last gasp effort with their off table artillery, and 3 3inch mortars come crashing down on the StuGs. Hold on, did you roll 4, with the scatter dice pulling the target point back onto the Para line, and I rolled 13. Roll to suppress your troops. All 3 rolls were on the suppression table, and everyone passed concealment saves!

Well, all good things must come to an end, and as the clock had gone past ten, and snow was forecast, we decided to call it a night. Ilchester is lovely, but 19 miles of country lane, ice and snow madness were not what was wanted. The Brits had 5 total in morale counters against the German 4. A draw with a slight leaning to the Brits, although I think the Germans could have got their objectives, if we had played on, and were prepared to kip overnight at the club! Thanks to John ( German and supplier of the Paras ), Michael and Ian ( British ).


Flames of War game - 2 photos

Whilst playing a Kampfgruppe Normandy game, a Flames of War game was being played at the same time. I took 2 photo's of it, but didn't get any other info. It looked a nicely laid out game.
The next is a view 90' rotation, accross the width of the table.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

FoGR game at club - Covenanters vs Parliamentarians

I went to club this Thursday, to set up a KGN game for next Thursday. As there were only 5 of us there, and 4 of the other guys were playing a Field of Glory Renaissance game in 15mm, I sat at the end of the table taking pictures. The game was about 800points with Paul and Michael playing Covenanters, vs Ian and Keith playing Early Parliamentarian.

After deployment, the game started with a very effective artillery bombardment from the Scots as the Parliamentarians moved up on their left flank. The Horse were nearly all deployed on the right flank, against all the Scots Horse.
 As the Parliamentarians sent out dragoons, they had to manoevre around a marsh placed by themselves on the right. This constricted their line, compressing it in front of the whole of the Scots horse. The Scots line was pretty solid, with their poor foot on the right, sitting behind 3 pieces of heavy artillery waiting to exploit any weakness.
The Scots horse are moving up to engage the Parliamentarian horse. The Parliamentarian line is starting to unravel, and whilst their Horse look vulnerable, they prove to be the opposite. Armour and pistols will prove decisive. Meanwhile, appaling cohesion tests and depsicable death rolls mean that the Parliamentarian left flank is taking a severe pounding. The horse stretch the line out, holding the Scots poor foot, and their Dragoons move up to take the shot from the Scots guns.
The Scots are now moving up their Foot to support their Horse, and in the photo, the mess that the marsh has caused to the Parliamentarian Horse and their line can be seen
The Scots have moved up.
The Scots began to start firing into the Parliamentarian line. The Parlaimentarian cohesion tests and death rolls from the shooting were truly awful. Dropping levels and losing bases. The first of the Scots horse crash into the Parliamentarian horse. Up at impact, but will be down at melee.
The Scots are developing their attack, as the Parliamentarians push forward. The Dragoons are holding the Scots right flank, but their not doing anything anyway. The troops opposite the Scots line start to look pretty thin.
Detail of the action about to start in the centre and Scots left flank.
The Scots horse have hit the Parliamentarian horse, and though outnumbering them on dice and impact, score nothing, the parliamentrians beat them, and then win the melee. Bad news for the Scots.
The Scots pile on the pressure in the centre with their foot, and support the horse combat on their left.
After masking the Scots artillery, and shooting a gun off, this forces the poor Scots foot to come out. This was the only effective Parlimentary shooting in the game to this point.
Scots support crashes in, both sides having generals in combat, the Scots get murdered with truly bad die rolls. The Parliamentarians are unable to exploit this even though the Scots will rout.
The Scots horse rout, the Parliamentarian horse pursue and sit in front of 3 Scots units. Looks bad, but when the Scots charge in, the whole sorry mess of their inability to win in combat repeats. How, why?... Scot drops in cohesion from tests for routers, and even with twice the number of bases fighting, no POA's or hits. The Scottish foot are really beating the foot up, as the hits are forcing cohesion tests which are not being made, there is not enough foot to compete with the Scots, and the Scots are manoevring more foot to fire than the Parliamentarians can deal with. A unit of horse routs off after 2 turns of culminative drops, the general unable to halt them, and needed elswhere.
More of the Parliamentarian foot get to shoot, but totally ineffectively. Scots shooting is continuing to force more and more cohesion tests. The Scots horse prove to be totally ineffective, but their problems are not able to be exploited. Parliamentarian foot and a unit of armoured horse are unable to move forward to support the success of the horse.

The game ended at 10pm, and after 3 hours of play was a Scots marginal win at least. 30 minutes more, and it would have been a convincing Scots win.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Tealight smoke and explosion marker

A while ago I said that I would get round to making some of these, to basically improve the visual aspect of a game. Lots of flashing lights etc, with some smoke to mark the demise of an AFV or other vehicle. I saw some LED markers at Bovingdon, my apologies for not remembering the name of the company, but they were using them to show a musket line firing - they also had sound effects, and they looked pretty good. However, having spent my money at Grubby Tanks, Sgts Mess,some small trees and the Bring and Buy, I didn't have enough to indulge my wargaming habit.

Fortunately, being a bit tight, I decided to make some. I didn't want to make a lash-up and the main sticking point was how to get the smoke. The topic has come up on the Guild forum a few times, but cotton wool was too thick, it clots when painted. Foam rubber was not really practical, but I had an idea that synthetic kapok, the kind used for stuffing soft toys, pillows and cushions would work as it can be teased out into plumes. Cleaning out part of the shed located some kapok. A purchase of tealights from my prefered electronic supplier - the cheapest, and away we go.

Firstly, the tealight has the cover and led protector removed for painting

The base is then sprayed black. Use a good quality paint spray, as it will need a thick dark base. Don't forget to use the LED cover for the LED, or you will paint the LED. You can remove the cover later when it's dry.

Next,the kapok will need to be paintd with a light dusting of black spray paint, nothing to thick. It will also need to be teased into plumes for glueing to the base of the tealight. One that I tried earlier failed/shorted, as I had put too much glue on or damaged the wire connection.
With the kapok attached to the base, and dry, switch on and thats your marker done.
Here's one that's operational.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Frontline M26 Pershings - a review

I have finished the 3 Frontline M26 Pershings that I got for Christmass, which I received before, and painted over the Christmass period. I was able to finish them before New Year, but only now have had time to take a few photo's and sort them out.

I ordered the resin models online, paid via Paypal, from an email invoice that Tim sent me. There were a couple of days wait before I got the invoice, as he was casting up the models. Postage was quick after I had paid the invoice and the items were well packed and arrived intact. Overall, this was pretty good service, and consider myself a very satisfied customer. Frontline have a very wide range of resin vehicles and useful bits that other vendors don't have. They also have a price range that makes them very attractive compared to other resin manufacturers, and extremely competitive with plastic kits, even Armourfast/Hat special 2 model kits. I had been scanning the site for a long time, and though they don't have all the vehicles images posted up, was a little concerned able what I was going to receive. This concern was misplaced.

The models were crisp and clean, but no excess resin and required minimal cleaning up with a file. I do have a criticsm, which is the model could have benefited from having locators for the track/side assemblies. Perhaps I should have said I could have benefited from locators. The side stowage cage on the right of the turret could have been better, perhaps separate, but I was going to fill this with stowage anyway. Also, there was no 30 cal gun and mount for the turret.
After assembly and before painting, stowage was added, a 30 cal taken from my bit box ( a pack from Sgts Mess providing this) and an aerial drilled into the turret. I also added tow fittings for the front hull from bits of plasticard, these were glued on and then drilled to make the holes. Hull mounted 30 cal, drilled and cut from wire. Headlights were made from plastic rod, and a cage made from florist wire to go round it. Tarpaulins and bundles were made up from miliput, and hawsers made from florists wire.

The end result is 3 M26 Pershings for my US Armoured, evening out the odds against late war Germans, or maybe JS2's or JS3's for 1946 WW2.1.