Wednesday 10 April 2024

The Old World - Dark Elves

Hot on the heels of the High Elves, their black-hearted kin... and the second army for my planned TOW narrative campaign. The army was bought as two job lots off Ebay, and so it was more you 'get what you get' situation, vis units and the actual models. I have since added a few units that were missing, like the Cold One Knights, the Lord on his Black Dragon (wyvern, winged fell beast, whatever you want to call it - a design I much prefer to the old black dragon, and cooly, in flight) and the massive Hydra...

Painting work began on this army in 2020 as a pandemic project, as something to fight my high elves, but stalled out and all my painting time was given over entirely to Napoleonics. It was waited in the box for a few years, some units done, some mostly done, some still in bits or sprayed black, until the release of the Old World. This inspired me to dig them out and see what work still needed completing to get them into fighting shape, not too much it turned out. That's been the last six week's project ... finishing units and re-basing everything. It still isn't done. I have two more Sorceress' on order, one to mount a dark steed, and a Beastlord on Manticore being 3D printed (very very slowly). I also need some Shades... this army seriously lacks scouts and skirmishers... I'll get to them eventually, for now they are on the wish-list, and models is an issue.What to use?

The Army of Zar Nadun is about ready for some first engagements though. The 'Invasion of Tor Helethion' campaign is almost ready to begin... the mighty Black Arc has set sail for Ulthuan's shore... corsair vessels are about to unload their bloodthirsty crews onto the island's shores. First games will be a test/learn the rules deal... so we'll keep it small, maybe a border patrol clash at 500 pts, with scouts, fast cavalry, light infantry only... the first recce troops meeting before the main combat forces arrive and escalate the Dark Elf attacks...we'll see... one army left to complete, the daemonic allies.

Dreadlord on his, erm... 'black dragon'... he'll be the overall commander of the invasion force.

Other heroes, Sorceress, BSB, Noble (or alternative Dreadlord) and assassin.
More wizards required, and on the way...

An old model, but still good... the Throne of Blood and Hag Queen.
Mine will have to be immobile on the battlefield as a house rule.

Core units. 20 Spearmen. 

20 more Spears, might use them as one big block of 40....

12 Crossbows

10 Crossbows

10 more Crossbows... again, actual usage/deployment flexible.

6 Dark Riders, currently the army's only scouts... busy guys...

24 Witch Elves, banner is the mutilated corpse of a High Elf...

28 Corsairs, as light infantry, these will have to be in the vanguard of this invasion,
maybe in smaller units for harassing missions.

The heavy hitters, 9 Cold One Knights, full command.
One model (helmetless one) can be another Noble if required.

The support, first Cold One chariot.

Second Cold One chariot.

Hydra... got to have one, perhaps two...

Not technically in the army list, but who cares, I have one (and no rider for it), so
it'll be another war beast... Manticore and beastmaster... fits fine to me...
don't know why it ain't an obvious option.

Repeater bolt thrower battery.

Taken as Allies, 9 chaos warhounds, and two beastmasters to drive them on.
Expendable...very expendable... Back in the day, Dark Elves could take warhounds as part
of their menagerie. That menagerie of beast seems a bit limited these days...
more gribbly monsters!! Taking a Beastlord should unlock all manner of foul things from the deep places of the world...

A note on painting scheme here: These were done to be the opposite of my high elves. So where they are in clean sea colours of white, aqua blues, light blues and silver, these are: black, dark purples, dark blues, metallic black and metallic blue. I also like my dark elves' skin blue, just because its different to other elves... and all hair is white (unless you're a witch elf with snakes/tendrils for hair, which are green). Ruthless, cold-hearted evilness bleaches your hair...

Tuesday 2 April 2024

The Old World – High Elves

Work is complete on re-basing and reworking (and adding a couple of new units) to my Warhammer High Elf army. This is all in preparation for my planned narrative campaign, and one side of the two army collections is complete. Dark Elves are getting there... the invasion is coming...

I don't see this as a single army, it's a collection from which armies will be picked, and I plan to try and avoid just 2,000 points, line-up and fight games... but let the narrative generate the games and include various scenarios, like border patrols, ambushes, maybe even a siege assault if I can. This will give the game's part of a story that they are also creating. Heroes will have names, live and die, gain experience, etc. Here is the full collection, ready for action now.

I need to add a Phoenix (looking forward to painting that) and another mounted wizard (both ordered, but not arrived yet from Last Sword). They will come, but back to re-basing Dark Elves...

Prince on griffon

Dragon-Mage (on resin 3-D printed dragon)

Prince on (huge) dragon (old Macfarlane vinyl model)

Other various heroes, BSB and wizard

8 Silver Helms

28 Sea Guard

28 Sea Guard
28 more Sea Guard

8 Ellyrian Reavers

8 more Ellyrian Reavers

15 Shadow Warriors (adopted Middle-Earth rangers)

20 Swordmasters

20 more Swordmasters

Giant (sea) Eagles

Repeater Bolt Thrower battery

Thursday 28 March 2024

Action at Qadr El Dabah, '42, with Battlegroup:Torch

Part two of our desert trilogy series, 1942 and a Gazala Line game, British armour vs a DAK/Italian combo in a Flanking Force meeting engagement, at 750 points per side. We rolled a random tabletop (using the Tobruk book), with just 3 pieces of terrain: an small area of rocks, a low hillock and the tomb/mausoleum (ruined fortress replacement).

Here’s my force;

Brit Armour ’42

FHQ Dingo        20    3-r    senior off, mortar spotter
Dorchester        20    1-i    comms

M3 Grant Troop    130    9-r    officer
Crusader II Troop    93    9-r    officer
Crusader II        34    3-r    

Motor Rifle Platoon    85    9-r    6 men, 3 x 7 men + trucks

Forward Observer    20    1-r    artillery spotter, 2 men + bren
25 pdr             50    2-r    quad + loader team
25 pdr             50    2-r    quad + loader team
3” mortar battery    54    0    off-table

Humber II        33    1-r    scout, mortar spotter
Humber II        33    1-r    scout, mortar spotter
Rifle patrol        20    2-r    7 men + truck, scout
Sniper            10    1-v    sniper scout

Recovery truck    11    1-r    repair,recovery
Supply trucks x2    16    2-i    resupply

Portee 2 pdr        14    2-r

Counter-battery     10    0    3+
PRTP            20    0
Timed 4.5” barrage    25    0    4 x guns

The game opened with both sides getting on, as it always does in the meeting engagements, and the Brits were faster. Seizing three of the four objectives early, but with a Humber armoured car breaking down due to ‘Wear and Tear’… later the recovery truck (back, by popular demand - and overall usefulness) would get it rolling again (old Bob with his trusty spanner was busy again). The Germans (leading, Italian assault guns behind) tried to land their timed artillery strike at the tomb, but it was stopped by a counter-battery fire (hurrah!). First long shots exchanged, as usual, not much doing, a few pins but it was obvious the gun-power wasn’t a match for the armour here…a lot of glancing shots in this game (but I like that, extends the tank on tank duel).

The Brits moved their Crsuadesr up towards the rocks to meet the advancing German armour head-on, whilst the M3s supported with fire from the right and moved towards the last objective (low hill), held by a recce 8-rad, pinned by 75mm HE fire. If we could grab it, then it would be a quick win. But it didn’t work, one M3 was hit by 150mm IDF fire (a lurking Bison), and KO’d, the other broke down, immobilised (again)… so plan thwarted.

The main fighting ‘hot-spot’ built-up around the rocks, tanks firing away but both found their guns not up to the enemy armour (Semoventas proved tough for my 2 pdr guns, but also found the Crusaders tough back), so it would be extend fight, lots of pinning. My own timed strike was badly placed and hit open desert (one pinned SP gun was all it scored). A timed Stuka strike on the tomb also rolled very badly and missed, or failed to pin anything and resulted in zippo… so much for off-table IDF in this game.

In the centre my 25 pdr battery had deployed, like horse-artillery, and was unleashing a lot of suppressing HE… but found itself out ranged by the single K-18 100mm gun at the far table edde. It was firing back (loader team active too) and pinning my gunners at 68” range (it has 70”). Damn, there was little I could do about it, but get repeatedly shelled and pinned. My 25 pdrs were, for now, out of game.

Until, at turn 7, the dust cloud arrived. Suddenly all the ranges and long range fire was finished. We’d have to close in again (point of the rule really). The 25 pdr battery unpinned, limbered up, and rolled forward to redeploy, did so, and in a fusillade of fire instantly KO’d a Panzer II and a Panzer 1, both looking to take out the gun crews. In return, a Panzer III KO’d a Crusader (fluke) and then a Semoventa rolled 2 x 6s and KO’d another (massive fluke!). The tank battle was turning to the Axis… trouble.

But, my stalwart Matador recovery truck did amazing work (huge fluke), and got both running again, before being ruthlessly targeted as too annoying to live… and got shot-up (being a truck in the front lines is a short life expectancy). Two Semoventas were abandoned by their crews (pinned, then hit again), and the Panzer IIs retreated to rearm, covered by the clouds.

It was a stalemate, neither was doing much damage, the chit stacks building slowly (mostly from unpinning). It was a long game now… but we kept at it. I lost the centre objective when the infantry section holding it were machine gunned by Italian troops in the rocks, who in turn were hit by Humber BESA fire and cut-down. A Panzer III came back and took the objective for the Axis. The annoying Bison then scored another direct hit with its IDF and KO’d a 25 pdr gun, then a Humber AC was destroyed by tank fire (hanging around in tank fight wasn’t a great idea, should have pulled back). That was just enough to push the Brits to their breakpoint… we’d duked it out in a close(ish) game, but the DAK and allies were still securely within their BR total. A win for the Axis… for a while we both thought we just couldn’t do enough damage to actually end this game… so much firing, missing and glancing off armour. His Bison did sterling work as a single IDF gun (it had a dedicated spotter team and supply truck) and my MotM? The recovery truck, fixed an armoured car and 2 tanks… hero. Bob and his spanner will be back. Oh, and I totally forgot I had a PRTP, that might have helped vs the Bison and K-18's fire... command confusion in action...

Qadr Al Dabah, Brits advancing past the tomb towards the rocks. DAK form their lines and also push towards the rocks.

Initial deployment, with recce armoured cars on the flank.

First overwatch firing position

Arrival of the big guns...

M3s advance on the right, trading long range AP fire.

Deployed with loader teams, ready to hammer out HE suppression, the horse artillery...

DAK and Italian armour roll on, towards the rocks.

British infantry claim the central objective, but are wiped out by fire soon after.

Busy recovery truck gets to the immobilised Humber AC.

Crusaders face-up the Axis armour and trade ineffective fire.

Semoventa assault guns join the Pz IIIs in the duel with the Crusaders.

Direct hit from IDF from the Bison, 150mm shells KO's the first M3.

Dust cloud cover means the tanks have to close in to engage.

Recovery truck fixes the Crusader and it's rolling again.

DAK light tanks arrive in the centre, and take 25 pdr fire. Both would be KO'd by it. 

A desert oddity, trial Panzer Selbfahrlafette II (75mm SP gun on half track). 2 were made and lost in North Africa. Here, it's a proxy Marder, and was eventually KO'd by a 37mm AP round.


Wednesday 13 March 2024

Points 96 and 77 - Encounter at the Two Charlies, with Battlegroup: Tobruk

A rare game in the desert, which as shame as I really enjoy this theatre. This one was a 600 pt meeting engagement, Brit’s 7th Armoured Division vs Italian Ariete Division, in late ’41. The game would see a battle for two low desert hills, Points 96 and 77, Big and Little Charlie. Both had objectives on them, with two others, one close the Italian entry corner, and one close the British corner, so, the two hills were really the only ones to fight over.

Here is my Battlegroup:
FHQ+staff car    
Radio comms vehicle - Dorchester
Dispatch Rider

Motor rifle section - 7 men in light truck

A13 tank platoon
Crusader II tank platoon
Crusader II tank platoon
1 Captured M11/39

2 x 3” mortars (off-table)  

Motor infantry patrol - 7 men in light truck
Armoured car command - Daimler Dingo
Vickers light tank VI C    

Supply truck
Heavy repair truck
Carrier section     - 3 x 3 men in 3 Brens
Timed P-40 Tomahawk air strike
1 1st Target Priority Request

It began with the recce clash, both moving towards Little Charlie objective, the Italian motorcycle troops dismounting, the armoured car coming under BESA fire and pinned by the British light tank. That short fight would see the Italians claim the objective first, but then withdraw as the main British forces arrived from reserve and moved in their direction. The British could then reclaim Little Charlie and the initial turns of fighting here died down.

The main forces had started to arrive, at a glacial pace as neither side could roll well. As 1 and 2 units moved on, mortar fire was exchanged, resulting first in the unlucky loss of an A13 to a direct hit, then the Italian commander’s FIAT staff car went up in smoke, the commander himself lucky to escape unharmed. As both side’s traded medium mortar fire, the tanks moved on, with some infantry support, both moving against Big Charlie. The lead Crusader suffered an immediate Breakdown and was immobilised. The leader M13, climbing the hill’s slope, engine burst into flames and the crew abandoned it… ‘Wear and Tear’ rule in effect. Both sides continued their build-up and unleashed their timed air strikes, first a Tomahawk bombed the gap between the hills, only pinning an Italian MG team covering it. The Regia Aeronautica’s fighter bombed Little Charlie and pinned the recce infantry patrol… but both had forced a counter on the enemy – job done.

By turn 5 or 6 the British attack on Big Charlie was underway, infantry had dismounted into rocky cover and one tank reached the top to claim the objective, the others turned right to circumvent the hill, Bren carrier teams just behind, but another Crusader broke down, this time with an engine fire and was abandoned. In the centre, tanks were trading long range fire to the occasional glancing hit, and wasting their ammo. But, both had a supply truck on hand now anyway. The British radios had given up the ghost, with the Dorchester comms re-rolls failing for 3 turns on the trot… useless. No mortar fire then, but it would come back when the Dingo spotter changed position to get a better view, as the desert dust rule took effect. The Italians were building up behind the big hill, out of sight. The crucible of the battle would come here.

The main fight for Big Charlie saw the Crusaders come around the hill and meet the waiting 47mm anti-tank gun and infantry support. The Italians were short on other AT shots, and forced to send their tankettes forwards to meet the Crusaders on top of the hill, one with an anti-tank rifle, the other a flame-thrower. Both got off shots, pins, and then were hit and destroyed by return fire. The Italian infantry were trying to pin the Crusaders with area fire, but having no luck (and you need a lot). The Crusader’s co-ax machine guns kept the infantry pinned and the Bren teams joined them. Losing the 2” mortar team to rifle fire as it reached the hill’s summit. The Italian light mortar did sterling work in scoring pins on two Crusaders in 2 shots. The fighting got hot, and both sides were unpinning, but when the Italian anti-tank gun crew was machine gunned, the defence behind the hill was in a lot of trouble. The Crusaders could now turn their 2 pdr guns on the various Lancia, FIAT, etc trucks parked behind… and started destroying them with 2 pdr rounds through the engines.

Big Charlie all but lost, the Italians put in a brief second attack on Little Charlie, an M13 and more motorcycle troops racing (OK, no M13 races anywhere), up to try and take back the little hill top. But that attack floundered when an A13 KO’d the M13 with a side shot (the only tank KO’d by AP fire all game) and the infantry were pinned down by more BESA fire. That was it, the Ariete had shot their bolt and unpinning resulted in them breaking.

7th Armoured had claimed both high points and won a solid victory. 1 A13 lost to mortar fire, 2 Crusaders lost (breakdown and a mine-strike) and 2 more broken down, so the armour had taken the brunt of the fight. The Italians had 1 of their 3 tanks left, but out of ammo… and withdrawing to resupply

A fun desert fight, we’ve decided to play a few more desert-based games, one for each year, so as we did for the Eastern Front last year, we’ll play one game for ’41, ’42 and then ’43… a mini-series of three games. My guess is, the DAK turn up next for a Gazala fight for ’42.

Shots of the game.



Brits in blue, Italians in red, the fight for the two hill objectives.  Little Charlie bottom right.

Little Charlie sees the first recce clash and a mortar stonk.

Dingo spots for the mortars from the rear, until the dust cloud meant he had to move up.

Crusaders arrive, and the first one instantly breakdowns... it starts...

Tomahawk bombing run in the gap between the two hills.

Recce infantry section in cover behind Little Charlie.

Busiest unit on the field, recovery Matador.

A13 arrive and trade long range fire, to little effect. A stray mortar round KO'd one.

Their target... if you hit, you can't penetrate anyway.

The first Crusader rush, one immobilised, one on fire... not from enemy action.

Recce tank still doing good work with his 15mm BESA... handy firepower at Little Charlie.

Captured M13... too slow to keep up... it wasted most of its ammo.

Tanks reach the top of Big Charlie. The M13 then went up in flames.

Regia Aeronautica bomb Little Charlie... missing.

Italian motorised infantry arrive behind Big Charlie.

The British are moving around the right of the hill, Crusaders and Bren carrier teams.

A13 firing line across the centre.

Italian 75mm artillery hits the rear of Big Charlie, but no effect.

Brave tankette takes on the immobilised Crusader with its flamethrower, and pins it. It would then tactical co-ordinate, to unpin, and destroy the tankette at PB range.

Mine-strike KO's another tank on Big Charlie.

A13 gets a kill, M13 in the side at Little Charlie. Ending the Italian attack here.

Recce tankette's MG fire keeps heads down, the Brits just can't hit it. A nuisance all game.