20 February 2018

Second 1941 Desert action

Yesterday saw another swirling Battlegroup Tobruk clash between John's and my combined Axis force and Alan's British. The Axis force included some lighter DAK elements and a column of John's lovely Italian M13 tankettes.  We used the Flank Attack scenario and all of these units have been painted in the past fortnight by all 3 players, which is rather remarkable!
Opening moves - Axis advice from the bottom and right hand side against light Allied recon elements
Detachment from 5th Leicht Division lead the advance with motorcycle borne Bersaglieri mortarmen 
...while Armoured cars scout out the right flank
With the setting sun in the enemy eyes, the Axis forces advance!
LRDG lurkers behind the lines (this one was painted by Patch)
First blood to the Germans as a 222's Autocannon finds the range on a Universal Carrier!
Laagered up to capture the objective, but heavier British Armour is threatening!
Italian tankettes arrive and swirling mayhem ensues!

British Humber in defile position opens up...

...but is flamed by a 222 in return!
The Crusaders advance...
...under the careful scrutiny of their Commander!
Looking a little grim for the Germans. The 8rad on the right was particularly resilient against repeated Crusader salvoes to hold the position and the objective
Well sighted and timed British 25 pdrs and mortars find the range,  distrusting the Axis rear and punching through the soft turret armour of the M13s
The LRDG patrol beat a hasty retreat from a menacing and all powerful advance of a Panzer I !
But nothing can escape! One for the history books - a Pz I kill!
At this point (and with playing time running out) I jumped the 222s onto the last objective to claim the "all objectives held" victory. It was a little gamey to be honest but at least it gave our scrap a conclusive ending. Another turn or two and I think Alan's heavier tanks would have rolled us off the table rather conclusively. It did, however, show the utility of light and agile forces flexible employed across a big area and able to reinforce one another.
Alan bows before the might of the Ariete Division's tankettes!
The scenario also showed the flexibility and relative lethality of autocannons in the early war period where much is lightly armoured and tank main guns are modest (typically well under 50mm).

18 February 2018

First Battlegroup Tobruk clash

After much anticipation (and model building), last week saw our first run out of Battlegroup Tobruk with Alan pitting his new 8th Army Armoured force against John's Ariete Division. It was awesome to get the new toys onto the table and fight in a new theatre of operations.
Alan's fantastic Crusader II cruiser tanks

The battle was a swirling melee in which the Italian tankettes performed beyond all expectation (assisted greatly by some appalling British dice results) - predominantly this was by firing to pin and then taking the stationary target under aimed fire.  Penetration was rare but even a glaring shot caused a morale check and Alan's propensity for rolling low saw a number of crews abandon their vehicles.
The Generals prepare for battle!
Of interest was our experiment with rules for direct fire smoke - a common tactic of CS tanks which would fire smoke onto a target to enable friendly forces to advance.  We did this as area fire, the result of which only allows the target to conduct area fire in return.  Quick, uncomplex and worked well.
In the end, the brave little trio of M13s were dispatched by Alan's last (!) pair of Crusaders cunningly using a reaction move over a hill crest and then taking under fire at close range. At this stage the game was called as the infantry heavy Italians had no residual AT capability and were forced to withdraw from their defensive position.

It was a fun first foray into the Western Desert and very inspiring for m to get my DAK in a playable position, which I have done and am off this afternoon for their first tabletop appearance!

15 February 2018

Painting Challenge - DAK Light Forces and and Orc Drummer

Its been a busy few weeks with work travel etc so my pace of AHPC8 submissions has slowed.  Nice to get a few in this week after a bit of a dry spell.  Here they are:

15mm DAK

Last week Alan unveiled the start of his 8th Army project for Battlegroup Tobruk with some fantastic Crusader II tanks - some of his best work in 15mm IMHO (and I've seen most of it at some point).  This week I present the start of my corresponding DAK project:

Appropriately leading this modelling push are the Recon and Light elements of the Army.  While my full army is a mix of manufacturers, these are all Battlefront models and I've enjoyed personalising each of them.  Unfortunately, I also painted them like I would 28mm vehicles with a silly number of washes and layers.  Accordingly, they took way too long to finish but I do love their veteran, desert worn look.

Leading this week's submission is a quartet of iconic Sd Kfz 222s, and I have done some alternate turrets for them as well to enable all the force options.

For heavier Recon tasks is this pair of 8 rads:

My Light Panzer element is a reinforced platoon of four Pz IIs and a Pz I (so cute!):
Forgot to do the Platoon Commander figure! One for next week's batch

And finally, a cracking little PzJg I which adds some modest AT firepower to this screening force.  Not a monster killer but it will keep Alan's Daimler Dingos and Universal Carriers pause for thought.

My next DAK focus will heavier Pz IIIs but for now that's twelve 15mm vehicles (and a couple of extra turrets) for 72 points. 

Challenge entry is here: From Paul OG: Africa Korps Recon and Light Panzers (72 points)

'Music/Musician' Bonus Round

My entry went through a range of challenges from missing models to me mucking up an order and not getting the figure I wanted  Then Marty from the club gave me this...

This Orc War drummer was produced by a small Australian company called Inquisition miniatures in the mid 80s.  In those pre-internet days they didn't get out of the Aussie market much and once GW found out about their imitative sculpting style the IP alarms went off. Inquisition no longer trades and hasn't done for a long time.

Anyway, I bought this figure as a young teenager and half painted it. It was then one of those minis I would seem to find everywhere, feel guilty about not finishing and then loose it again only to be haunted by it again a week or two later. This continued until it was lost to antiquity when I moved out of home several years later.  My gaming club mate Marty was offloading some old figs recently and gave me this, which I immediately recognised.  So here, a couple of decades late, is my completed Inquisition Miniatures Orc Drummer!

See the entry here: 


We are now well past the half way mark of AHPC 8 and these entries take me almost to my target of point 500 target.  I have more work travel coming but will stretch my goal to 600.

11 February 2018

Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign - Counterattack at Rozrazh

Last week saw the first battle of what is looking like a brutal Day 3 in our BG Barbarossa campaign.  The first engagement would be a Russian counterattack on the German force at Rozrazh - this was a blocking force to protect the rear of the German bridging effort. This was the first the first time the Russians had taken the offensive in our campaign and they would attack with a 2:1 advantage in numbers!

For this game I took a mixed approach with two platoons of infantry (no transport is allowed under the 1941 Rifle Division lists), two platoons of light tanks, my favourite T-26 heavy tank, two heavy mortar batteries and a timed artillery barrage to try and pin the defenders while the Red Tide closed their defensive positions.  The extra mortars, while effective from a Psyops perspective against Alan, were a dull selection and I never had the orders to use them even if Alan hadn't been hunting down my observers with emplaced MMGs (which was very effective BTW).

Looking at the terrain, I decided to focus the main effort of the attack up the right flank with a secondary armoured effort in the centre to stop the Germans from adjusting their defences.
My lead infantry platoon pushes hard against the German AT gun in the house, taking flanking fire from the hill
They make it and destroy the gun crew in a close assault
With the AT defences in this side KOed, the first tank Platoon moves up and starts to supress the Germans on the Hill 
And in the centre the tank reinforcement start to neutralise the enemy




27 January 2018

Australia Day and AHPC entries

Couple of small terrain entries this week.  For the second year in a row I have set aside the figures carefully prepped before the challenge in order to follow (willingly, it must be said) Alan into another project of opportunity :-) So just a few small terrain offerings from me this week in the interim while I build a prep the new models.

First up is this 28mm Stone Bridge by Warlord. A nice plastic model with lots of lovely detail and useful for pretty much any period.  Very happy with how it came out.

Secondly, a 15mm desert building. Found it in my spares box, manufacturer unknown. Offered here as a hint of the project to come...

Together these models fill most of a "terrain cube" (the AHPC patent pending unit of measurement) so 20 points the total.


And for all my antipodean brothers and sisters: Happy Australia Day - I hope you had a great one, whatever you did!
Aussie essentials - Champagne & Orange, lamington cakes, big hat, flag and great views of Sydney Harbour!

23 January 2018

AHPC 8: "BFG" Bonus round - FIW 12 pounder

My entry for the BFG round is an emplaced Royal Artillery field piece to support my British FIW army that I painted in AHPC VII.  Now Alan's French and Canadiens will have to contend with bombardment, ball and shot while my ranks of Redcoats advance with cold steel!

I know what you're thinking - 'nice, but is it really "Big" for a BFG Bonus round?' Well big is a relative term and in the FIW campaigns along the frontier, there wasnt a lot of artillery.  Most were emplaced in fortifications or brought up for specific sieges but in general, columns didn't have guns attached.  So dropping a 12 pounder onto the table makes it a BFG indeed!

Figs are by Front Rank and I have used a large sabot base from Charlie Foxtrot models, which gave me the space to do a nice dioramic front with the gabions.    The crew of 5 is for Sharpe Practice - our FIW rules of choice. Front Rank also impressed by providing alternate barrels for the gun carriage.  In the pics above the larger 12 pounder barrel is shown.  Here is the smaller alternative they provide in the pack, allowing me to field it as a 9 or even a 6 pounder.

After time away from painting Lace Wars era uniforms, I found these a bit of a struggle - not sure how I managed 50+ of them last challenge!

Notes to self on colours used:
Gun Carriage - GW Blue Grey
Uniform: Blue- Vallejo Prussian Blue with GW Asurmen Blue wash; Red-  GW Scarlet with Army Painter Red Tone wash; Coat d'arms Sunburnt Flesh

In toto thats one field gun (10 points), 5 crew (25 points at 5 points each) and the 50 bonus points for a total of 85.  That takes me to 305 points and past the halfway point!

AHPC entry is here:

UPDATE: Pleased to announce that after voting my FIW artillery got a Runner Up position! 
Thats two such results during AHPC 8 - WoW!

So one month down and my progress rate compared to previous years is up there, but that will drop off shortly as I start some significant travel with work (thus my 500 point target).

18 January 2018

AHPC 8 - Week 3 Terrain submission

This week I have laboured to complete the Ukrainian village of Ostrog for the Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign that Alan and I are enjoying:  3 more small houses (1 damaged) plus a wonderful partly destroyed church.
The fruits of my labours this week
Like the two buildings from last week, these are lovely resin models by Mk IV Miniatures. Wonderfully crisp sculpts with no bubbles or flash, they are a delight to paint.  The battle damage is particularly good - not overly done but still quite evident both inside and out.  The interior detailing is also lovely (all roofs are removable) though took quite a bit of extra time to do justice to it with the brush.

Its been great to finish off the total of six buildings from a standing start i.e. when a mate comes over, tells you your painting table priorities are all wrong, informs you we need a new 15mm village finished ASAP for our games, and points to the buildings in the lead pile looking all forlorn in their packets...  

That said, I bought them at Fall-In in 2015 (where I met Miles) so its good to finally give them the attention they deserve.

Next up are 4 MG bunkers - resin Battlefront models. 3 have Maxim barrels and 1 has MG 34/42. These were fun to paint up.

Overall, the 3 houses and the larger church are three 6inch terrain cubes, totalling 60 points. For the MG bunkers I suggest the same as a 15mm infantry figure, 2 points, for 8 more; a total of 68 points for this submission. Now to get back to some figures!

The village of Ostrog, which I have completed in the last fortnight

Altogether, that inches me 68 points closer to my goal and my total now stands at 220