16 September 2017

Winter Supports for the Ardennes Campaign

Not a whole lot of posts recently, I left my MacAir in Montreal on my last trip and just got it back. I have been quite busy on the gaming front though. A couple of weeks ago I finished some US and German supports for the Ardennes campaign. I have also have started a totally new project which I will talk about in my next post. These are supports for the CoC Bloody Bucket campaign. I still need to do a US Sherman and I made an order error for one weapon as you will see below.

German leIG.18 Infantry Support Gun (List 4)- I had some difficulty finding this gun in 1/72. I finally found a First to Fight model. Very nice model but not really for wargaming. A lot of fiddly bits, and the 3 soldiers that cam with it were quite hard to clean. To bring the model up to 5 men I added a couple of PSC troops. I should have got the Zvezda model
US 75mm M8 HMC (List 5)-I was actually supposed to obtain a M8 Light Armored Car, but got a little confused in the ordering process. This is a SHQ model, quite nice. I added in a figure Dan Dunbar painted from I believe the PSC US Heavy Weapons set. I need to put on some decals.

US Bofors M1 40mm Gun (List 4)- Again from First to Fight, very fiddly to assemble, I left out a lot of small bits which were meaningless to me. Nice gun though, again supplemented by Dan Dunbar troops. 

US 57mm Anti-Tank Gun (List 5)-Also from SHQ with some Dan Dunbar figures.
That is pretty well it for the Bloody Bucket campaign, now let's see if I can find someone to play!


21 August 2017

Hauptkampflinie Gebrochen


Yesterday myself and Mike had the next game in our Martlet campaign, this was our 7th game and my second attempt the to overcome the German line of resistance north of St Nicholas farm. By now the Scots Fusiliers had done what they could and the remnants of their platoon were withdrawn. A platoon from the Duke of Wellington's Own, who were advancing from the right, were sent in to take out the panzergrenadiers of the Hitler Jugend.

Again as in our last game, this was an attack and defend scenario as below, this time both sides had increased their supports by one point.

I should note that the German Platoon Leader was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class at the beginning of this turn for his actions in the previous turn.
He is looking a little frazzled though!

British (Morale 9)
2 SL's
Piat Team
2" Mortar Team
Rifle Section 1: 10 men
Rifle Section 2: 10 men
Rifle Section 3: 10 men
Supports (21)
Piat Team
2" Mortar Team
Sherman
Churchill AVRE

Germans (Morale 11)
1 SL
3 Panzerfaust 30
PG Squad 1: 7 men/2 LMG
PG Squad 2: 6 men/2 LMG
PG Squad 3: 6 men/2 LMG
Panzer IVH
Supports (9)
Senior Leader
Rifle team
8 cm Mortar with FO

Some Terrain Photos:

Two Italeri Houses


Houses from 4-Ground
Patrol Phase and JOP's:
Patrol Markers
3 British JOP's
3 German JOP's
The Battle(or lack there of):
German Panzergrenadiers
The ever present German Barrage
Finally they missed
British 2" Mortars
Pesky German FO
This was a do or die game for me. I have to admit that I thought Mike was going to bring out 2 Panzers rather than another FO. I prepared myself with 2 Piats, a Sherman and the AVRE. Antitank guns are not an option in this scenario when you are the attacker.

To test the waters, I brought out my support section first and brought them up my right flank attempting not to get caught in a mortar barrage if there was one. Well there was one and I was able to keep out of it twice. Mike sequentially brought on all his squads and at the end of the game he had only not deployed his Panzer IV and his Platoon Leader. I brought on two 2" mortars and they started to deploy smoke. I also brought on a SL as well as a Piat team. I was able to advance up my right flank to the crossroads and on a double6 CD roll, I attempted to cross the road. Unfortunately, I missed that Mike had both LMG teams of one of his squads on overwatch and of course they got chopped up losing 6 men before they could pull back into the woods. I also brought on my AVRE on my right flank and advanced it in order to bombard the stone houses where 2 of the German squads were deployed. In response, Mike started to redeploy his troops.

Having learned my lesson in the last game, my advance was quite cautious as I wanted to build up my CoC Dice before I tucked into the assault. After 3 turns, I had almost 3 CoC in reserve and my AVRE was ready to start the bombardment. Mike decided to withdraw his troops, he had no loses and knowing his troops morale was quite high he decided to maintain this. I still had a Sl, a Piat, 3 infantry sections as well as a Sherman not deployed.

The Campaign Tracker:

As you can see at turn 8 with only 4 games to go I have to win the next 3 games to get to table 6 and win a marginal victory, the opportunity for an outright victory has been missed. This is going to be quite tough even though I have a full platoon. The German's now have +4 on all Morale rolls, +2 on Supports and a SL with 4 CI as well a 12" command range. The Brits have a -1 on Morale rolls, +1 on supports and a Platoon leader rapidly falling in his Men's Opinion. Mike's tactical withdrawal was clearly a very clever strategy to win the campaign.

18 August 2017

SP2: FIW

This past Sunday, myself and Iannick had a game of Sharp Practice 2 set in the French Indian War. Since it was the first time we had played for more than a year we somewhat macerated the ruleset but did get on with the game: Lesson, read the FAQ before the game rather then after! We played scenario 3: Defense in Depth. I played the British and was the attacker.

British OB (FM 11)
Status II Leader
Status I Leader
2 units of British Infantry (Regulars)
Status II Leader
1 unit of Colonial Rangers (Light Infantry)
Status II Leader
1 unit of Indians (Tribe)
Supports
1 unit of Provincial Rangers (Skirmishers)
Holy Man

French OB (FM10)
Status II Leader
1 unit of Milice Canadiene (Skirmishers)
Status II Leader
1 unit of Coureurers de Bois (Light Infantry)
Status II Leader
1 unit of Indians (Tribe)
Supports
Status I Leader
1 unit of Indians (Tribe)
Holy Man
Fixed Defense


The Terrain


The British Line of Attack
The French Line of Defense
The Troops
British Infantry
Colonial and Provincial Rangers (inappropriately in formation)
Les Coureurers de Bois
French Algonquin Allies
 The Action
The British Line stands!
The Algonquin are thrown back and their leader falls
2nd unit of Algonquin enter the fray
Roger's Rangers thrown back by the CdB while Dank's Rangers look pretty shaky
The CdB throw back Dank's Rangers but are subsequently ambushed by the Iroquois and then rout. The French withdraw. 
It was good to get in a game of SP2, I like playing this ruleset during the FIW. I find it works well with non formed troops which is what I suppose is emblematic of most skirmishes during this struggle. As mentioned above we made a lot of mistakes playing the game, but aside from briefly allowing the Colonial and Provincial Rangers to go in formation I do not believe it affected the game.

The rules maybe a little tougher for players unacquainted with TFL, and I know Iannick found them a little over complicated. They do require some investment in time but after 4-5 games (this was my third as a player) I believe they would play quickly.

Iannick and certainly others on the TFL forum have mentioned that the treatment of Indians as a Tribe is not representative of their style of fighting. I am no expert so I brought up the question on the TFL forum (I find the Yahoo Group a somewhat of a confusing place) and an interesting discussion ensued. I came to the conclusion that it would also be quite reasonable to treat Indians during the FIW as Skirmishers if the player so chose. It also appears that most players do not differentiate between allied French and British Indians so Poor Shoots is not put into play. An alternate playing card for FIW Indians follows.

Tribes
Skirmishers



11 August 2017

GI's for the Ardennes Campaign

Aside from Australia, the United States was the only major country I had not obtained troops for playing Chain of Command. I suspect that Australian troops will evidentially get done as I have some in the lead pile for a while and I certainly have lots of jungle terrain.

The US however presented a challenge as I wanted to do them in winter uniform, as I needed someone to confront my winter uniformed Volksgrenadiers/Panzergrenadiers. In 20mm/1/72 winter uniformed US miniatures hardly exist aside from a very limited range from TQD. Turning to plastics was the only option, both Italeri and Revell have troops in winter uniform but the Revell miniatures just did not fit with the TQD. Fortunately for me, I had arranged for Dan Dunbar to paint the the figures and he is quite good with conversions as well as painting. Thankfully he was able to produce what I needed from the Italeri box as well as using some miniatures from the PSC Heavy Weapons box. The only real problem left was the lack of any miniatures with BAR's but Dan was able to hack up some ESCI figures and somehow another graft them on the Italeri. The man is a genius.

I received the troops several months ago but I hate basing so it took a while to get to them. Last week I said enough was enough and just did them. I use Elmer's Wood Putty coloured with raw umber as the base followed when wet with some sand. I then washed the bases with VMC black wash and then dry brushed this with Celestra Grey. This gave me exactly that brown-grey tone that I wanted. I then used Woodland Scenics Snow mixed with PVA glue for the snow. I wanted a white thick snow so there mixture was quite thick, the more glue you use the more the snow will look like ice rather then snow. The trick here is to paint the part of the base where you plan to apply the snow mixture white, or it will look grey. I probably will add some winter tufts from Army Painter.

I put together 2 different types of platoons as well as numerous supports. I have yet to paint up any motorized transport, AFV's or Guns. Dan did paint up some gun crews for me so they are all ready.

Rifle Platoon (+1)
The Complete Platoon
Headquarters with Carbine armed Lieutenant as well as a SMG armed Sergeant with a Bazooka Team
Squad One with an SMG armed Corporal as we as a 3 man BAR Team as well as a 8 man  Rifle team
The BAR team is made up of a 2 men, one firing as well as a loader and 1 rifleman
All the Riflemen are equipped with M1 Garands
Infantry Supports
Up front is a Medic and an Adjutant both list 1
2 man Bazooka Team (list 2)
2 man Sniper Team (list 3)
FO with off table 81mm Mortar (list 4)
0.30 MMG Team with 5 crew
60 mm Mortar Team with 5 crew (list 3)
0.50 HMG with 5 crew (list 5)

Armored Rifle Platoon (+4)

This is a platoon with integrated Heavy Weapons teams
Lieutenant and Sergeant both armed with carbines as well Headquarters Squad made up of M1 Garand  armed Sergeant as well as 7 rifleman.
Squads 1 and 2 with Sergeant and 10 riflemen all armed with M1's as well a  GI with a SMG
Machine Gun Squad with two 5 crew MMG teams with a M1 armed Sergeant
60 mm Mortar Team with 5 crew
More Supports
Regular Infantry Squad (list 4)
I am looking forward to getting them on the table.