26 July 2010

Two Game AARs and a lot of pictures!

Gane 1: A FFT AAR, Germany, 1987.

The game was a Czech and a Soviet Tank Regiment against a US Army Armored Cav Squadron. The game didn't last too long, even with Hinds in support (they were remarkably ineffective, one being shot down and the other doing little more than killing a Brad with an AT-6 shot).

The Soviets and Czechs advanced on a broad front on either side of the road running the length of the table (we played on a 4 x 4 ft space, it was the only table Jage and I could get at E and E that day). The Soviets did well initially, losing a battalion in exchange for killing most of a US Cav troop. A early T-80 does have a shot of killing an M1 front on. Not a great chance, but better than nothing.

The Czechs on the other hand? They basically melted away. Their T-72s were little more than target practice for the US M1s. Most of the Czech platoons ran away from failed QCs rather than dying outright, by the time the regiment tested, there was barely a battalion's worth of T-72s left.

The Russians kept on, and tried to flank the US position in the center, but lateral movement by the Americans on my flanks pretty much put paid to the Soviet advance. The game was over in three turns.

Here are some pics. Yes, Virginia, the Soviets need artillery. They really shouldn't leave home without it.


A really bad pic of the hapless Czechs!


A pregame pic of the Soviets


The Hind after it ate a Stinger (Hey, it's semi-historical!)

Game two was an FoF game set loosely in East Prussia in late 1944/early 1945. I let Jage use his newly painted Handschar (I said they were a late personnel draft that never got to the division). They were part of a weak platoon rearguard along with two understrength squads of regulars, and a small anti-tank team from the Volkssturm.

They faced a Soviet force of 7 T-34s (Mix of 76 and 85, I know it's not historical but I couldn't get all my 85's done in time!) Also, they were backed up by a platoon of Tank Riders, and some scouts in a Scout Car and on horse (I never used the latter, they'd have been cut down, as you'll see later).

I was playing the Soviets against my Stepfather Lou, and Jage again. Needless to say, I made a crucial mistake early, I played the Soviets cautious. To be fair, I was running the game more than I was playing tactical, but they beat me good. But let's describe the game. I moved up a T-34/76 on my left, and lost it to Panzerfaust fire from the Volkssturm, who promptly got the heck out of there. I didn't blame them with what was to come.

I brought in another T-34 and more Panzerfaust fire killed the crew. Two T-34s down and I tried a new tack, bringing in the scout car on the right, using some elevation to gain some cover. I forced the Handachar back with some machine gun fire and brought in the rest of the T-34s.

Here's where I made my mistake. Instead of rolling the T-34s right up on the woods and debussing next turn, accepting the risk, I debarked as soon as I got the vehicles into the woodline, and advanced the infantry over a bit of open space. I decreed all the Soviets had SMGs...and they paid for it...with the Germans cutting them down at ranges the Soviets couldn't do a thing about. Morale rolls began to tell, and soon the attack bogged down.

By this point, I'd gotten a few "1s" on my reaction rolls, and one FoW card I pulled was a very lucky "Fire, Fire" card. I used to promptly set the stone ruins on fire in the center. I began to get hope again and tried to get the infantry moving again, but the Handchar returned, and they cut down the remaining Soviets. To make matters worse? The Germans panzerfausted ANOTHER T-34. They only needed to kill one more and I was toast. Needless to say, this is when their reinforcements, a Mk IV and a JgPz IV showed up...and roasted another T-34. Game over. It was hard fought, and though the Germans took light casualties, they didn't get off scott free.

We had a lot of fun, and my stepfather had some good ideas for my storage sitrep and seemed to be interested in the hobby.

Anyhow, that's it for now. Here are some pics, Jage took some more, and those can be seen here


The Soviet high water mark


A shot of the Soviets before the game


The German VS anti-tank team.

22 July 2010

T-34s, more books and some figures!

Well, my Syr Hobbes order came last week, lots of US and Brit SF, and some Russian half figures for my vehicles..this will be fun! And I split a second hand consignment of Battlefield 20mm with Jage. He got the Russians, the Handachar and Jungwitz Cossacks and half the FJ. I took the other half of the FJ, the misc packs (lots of half figures for tanks there!) and the winter SS for Bulge stuff.

I sprayed up using the FoW Soviet Tank Color (it's done by Army Painter and doubles as a primer coat, what can I say, it's expensive, but not bad as a time saver) some T-34/85s that had been sitting forlornly from when I purchased them as a set from somebody on TMP.

I did miss some spots, you always do when you spray in my experience. So, I asked about on TMP, the Guild and the AAG forums, and Piers was nice enough to tell me to try the Vallejo Russian Green, but also that the shades on it tend to differ a bit. No worries, the Soviet Army's paint stocks always had a bit of "play" in them, and once they're properly detailed and weathered, and then chipped? You won't notice a damned thing!

I also have some pics of another modern micro-armor game we ran. Americans v. Soviets. Soviets lost again, but they did pretty much bag most of a US Armored Cav troop for the loss of a battalion of T-80s. Yeah, the Soviets would consider that a fair exchange. The Czech Tank battalion with T-72s, well, they simply died like dogs, with the survivors (most of the regiment, surprisingly!) ran for the hills.

I like FFT, it's damned fast and well thought out, I really wish Ty would get 3 out before I am old enough to collect SSI! I am looking forward to the game I've got planned on Saturday, now I've just got to plan the actual scenario...It will be a bit bigger than stuff we've run before, but I think all will appreciate it!

As for book reading, finally finished Generation Kill, I liked it but it was a bit long on "We killed a lot of civilians", and short on "what the battalion was actually doing". Not saying it isn't a good bit of work, but I liked Not a Good Day to Die better. Also finished Tonight We Die as Men. Fine bit of work there. Ian Gardner did himself proud with the book, and the bit of research he did on the Douve river bridges on D-Day has corrected a long-standing error. I like that Mark Bando was involved in the book. He's also done a lot with the 101st and really showing the division was more than one company (again, no offense intended to the members of E/2/506th).

I also gave Jage my extra 2300 stuff and my older HS books. Hope he finds them useful. I sure did!

Well, that's all for now, pictures soon!

13 July 2010

A birthday, a lot of lead and some new books

It's been a busy, though not very productive time since the last blog post. Haven't gotten much in the way of painting done, but I did get a test scheme of one of the Caliph's troopers for Djazlah done. I may highlight some of it a bit...but other than that, I am pretty happy with it and am going to use my new portable photo studio to snap some shots of it. Who says Ebay hasn't got anything useful anymore?

Also, I am very happy with the recent acquisitions I've made, a large Libmins order (probably the last one for a while), and a Battlefield miniatures lot I got second hand I'm splitting with Jage. Battlefield has some unique subjects, and I'm looking forward to my half of the figures. Hell, even the negotiations will be a blast.

Jage also told me he got the first of the 6mm he's painting for me at cost done. I am eager to see and photograph them. Future War Commander may happen sooner than we think?

My main addiction these days is Silent Hunter 4. Yes, that's right, I am happily sinking lots of the Japanese Navy and Merchant Marine. I'm running a campaign with an old S boat and I've already sunk:

At least a half dozen freighters (including one I had to shoot with a third torpedo, two didn't even slow him down...the third broke him in half!)
2 Tankers
God only knows how many Sampans and Fishing Boats
And the feather in my cap? 1 Takao Class Heavy Cruiser (ironic since three of the four in this class were sunk by US Submarines historically, I just did one in two years earlier)

The game's got some small frustrating factors, like a propensity to crash at times, (Save often) but it's pretty good, and there's nothing tenser than sneaking past the escorts at 3-4kts trying for that one good shot on a convoy.

Also received for my turning 36...yeah, I'm that old...was some books from Amazon. Not all have arrived, but I am working my way through Achtung Schweinhund!, and honestly, I really don't know why in the hell I didn't read this sooner. It's hysterically funny and poignant at the same time, though my collapse into near hysterics on the Metro probably scared some of my fellow commuters. My seeming lack of decorum was in response to the one scene where the young author tries to "bayonet" his grandfather in the groin. It's just priceless. His description of Airfix charades and the "Reich/Spice Girls" comment is comedy gold for wargamers. Not to mention his description of teenage model builders and their exposure to various solvents and other chemicals makes you wonder if we're all a bit addicted to what's IN the glue?

I've got the more serious work Tonight We Die as Men which reminds us, there was more than one company and one battalion in the 101st, no offense to Dick Winters and the rest of Easy Company. I am expecting a quality product from Osprey and I don't think they'll disappoint.

Well, that's all for now.