Wednesday 22 February 2012


Earlier this week it was my pleasure to run a small intro-game to help out a friend looking to learn the rules. So, I devised two 250 pts forces for a meeting engagement, somewhere on the road to Argentan, between a US Armoured Division battle group and a Panzer Division battle group (that would be me). I tried to include most of the elements of the game so he would get a good overview.

Having set-up a quick the table, we set to it, with the Germans taking the first turn and rolling up to the central farm, seizing the objective, but little else.

The Americans also boldly pushed forwards, on their left an M8, Sherman and tank riding infantry seized one objective, and an MMG team seizing the third farm building from wheer they could lay down suppressing fire, before the remaining two Shermans and tank riders pushed into the large wheat field, leading the attack.

Already the US command and control (4 with a re-roll) was having its effect over the German's mere 2 (and no re-roll). It would proof important throughout ( a good point to make to a newbie). 

Reinforcements arrived, in a the shape of my Panzer IV squadron, with one heading left to support the farm’s defenders, one heading right to lead the attack on the US-held building, and the third (command) remaining as my mobile reserve - just in case.

The US reserves also arrived en-masse, a frightening looking battery of 3 M7 Priests rolled into the fields, along with their supply truck and an M8 HMC.

Battle was joined for real as the US artillery bombardment opened up on the central farm, causing suppression but few losses (at first). On the German right my attack immediately faltered under suppression from US MG fire from the M8 and the infantry squad, whilst the Sherman and Pz IV traded shots, and neither could hit a barn-door! Still, my attack wasn’t making any headway.

The crux of the battle would be the central farm, and the US troops showed uncharacteristic boldness by dismounting from their two Shermans behind a curtain of tank MG fire (one tank wiped out an MMG team with 2 direct hits!).  As the infantry moved up, the artillery hammered down just ahead, and another MMG team was destroyed, and my own OP team suppressed. The farm suddenly looked under serious threat (and the third and final objective falling would cost me the battle), so my command Panzer IV revved-up and rolled out in the that direction. The lead Pz IV appeared hull down on a hillock, only to miss the Shermans, and then take 2 hits in return, but both deflected off – phew!

Just as it seemed the last 4 German infantry couldn’t hold the farm from 20 US infantry, a FW-190A swooped in – hurrah! It was the first aircraft I’ve had arrive in ages. It dropped its bomb and missed, but came around next turn (and subsequent turns) to strafe the cornfield and keep the threatening infantry squad suppressed. The second US infantry squad on their right moved up and wiped out another German infantry squad, leaving me very low on infantry indeed. 

My OP, at last unsuppressed,  finally got through to his 105 battery and they also hammered the cornfield, lucky destroying a Sherman with a direct hit! The US Priests kept up their fire too, and the farm was an unhealthy place to be, and my lurking Jgpanzer IV was suppressed. 

With the FW-190 out of ammo and returning to base, the US infantry pressed their assault and wiped out my infantry squad at close quarters, taking the outbuildings and leaving my OP team defending the farm alone (well the Jgpanzer IV was close-by, but it had no anti-infantry weaponry at all!).

 The set-up, US forces deploying in the bottom-right corner. Germans in top left.

Aerial recce shot of the the Germans deploying into the farm and moving right. Panzer IVs yet to arrive.

 The Shermans and tank riders moving on.
German infantry and Jgpanzer IV (completely wasted by me) reach the central farm.

 The Shermans move into the wheat field to begin their attack.

 Meanwhile the right flank team seize the other objective, and hold it.

 The US Captain controlling the battle from his jeep command post towards the rear.

The Shermans are engaged from a hillock by a distant Pz IV. 
Note the first infantry squad have reached the farm walls, where the FW-190 would keep them suppressed for the next few turns.

Things where still close, with the US just having the edge in morale, but then came the decisive turn. A P-47 streaked in! Eek, its first bomb run scored a direct hit on the Panzer IV on my right, blowing it to iddy-biddy bits! That lost me 6 morale and suddenly left me just 1 from breaking.

Another bad command roll (3!) left me in deepening trouble... my 20mm flak missed the P-47, which was circling around and lining it up. Then my Panzer IVs’ MGs failed to pin the US infantry, leaving it in bazooka range. The next US turn must be the last, and so it proved. The P-47s many blazing .50 cals tore the flak half-track apart and the bazooka team did their worst and my second tank exploded. That saw the end of the game, the Germans broken and routed, the Falaise gap one step closer to closing.

 US infantry close-up to the farm and prepare to clear it, as the P-47 arrives.

 Kaboom, the P-47 bombs my tank and signals the end of the battle.

Sunday 12 February 2012


Time, of late, has been something of problem. Work and family have been keeping me too busy, so time for modelling and painting have been severely cut back. I had hoped that, after completing my Russians in January, February would be the month for upgrading, tarting-up and general having a good work-over my German forces, principally my Fallschirmjäger battle group.

Well, I did the easy bit and bought the stuff required, and it sat gathering dust for few weeks. I know this is a paltry amount of time compared the vast hoards of lead some gamers have stored away, decades worth of painting and modelling, but I also know that I have to strike whilst the iron is hot. Enthusiasm for a project will quickly dissipate when faced with something else new, shiny and exciting, but over the years I have learn to squash the gaming butterfly inside me and focus on a single project. Doubly so with the knowledge that a new season of Viking re-enactment will soon be upon me, and most of my kit needs serious attention in the de-rusting department. But a mantra of 'one-thing at a time' has served me well. So, with a nagging draw towards doing some colonial skirmish gaming growing more persistent, I know I must crack on before the wind is entirely spilt from my sails and go seeking new shores, in the shape of men in khaki (or redcoats maybe).

I have managed a couple of brief evenings building and prepping models. A few additions to my German forces and a few re-paints over some very old models whose long service now requires a return to the workshop – namely my STuG batteries, which are looking chipped, broken and a bit bent in places (I'm thinking new metal gun barrels will help).

The models are unlikely to get finished this month, but I am aiming for the end of March, and the big KGN multi-player game in Ireland. It is useful to have a deadline. The best thing is that I’m not faced with a daunting amount to do, only stuff I want to, (so not 100 Russian infantry for example!). I shall re-visit most of my armies over this year and add a bit here and there and re-work a few tired paint jobs to get them up to standard.

Here are few shots of the WIP.

 The FAMO with basecoat. Also my HQ group's transport, the Schwimmwagen.

 From front to back, a German model railway company (name lost to failing memory) Mercedes truck, being hastily re-sprayed for military service. Armourfast STuH42 to support the STuGs, and SHQ radio van. Not that impressed with this kit, covered in flash, no parts fitted well, took forever to build and many problems will have to be hidden under stowage and camouflage.

 The Schwimmwagen needs Fallschirmjager crew, will have to give some thought to this. Any suggestions welcome!
 AB 20mm Flak and crew, plus two machine gun teams. Based on old
Lovefilm gift voucher cards. Kindly, they sent me free plasti-card in the post!

 Panhard 178. After reading that FJ Reconniassance Battalion 12 fielded these near Pont Herbert I had to have one as an oddity. 

 Not a great kit again, too much flash and poor instructions. I am no fan of building plastic-kits, except the fast-build type - god bless them!