Friday, August 9, 2019

THE APPROACH TO WALCHEREN: MODIFIED IRON CROSS WWII GAME

Bob advancing his Royal Engineers under the eye of the British High Command (Charlie).  AJ, host and game master, shares the German's sense of concern over developments. 

In this post, dear readers, I will render a supplemental battle report on a recent game held at club member and friend AJ's place.  This was a hypothetical WWII game set in the lead up to the Battle of Walcheren, 1944, pitting the British against the Germans.  I say that this is a "supplemental" battle report because AJ has an excellent report on his blog that outlines the scenario, forces, victory conditions, and flow of the game.  Thus,  I refer you there at this point for this information rather than repeating it all here. I'll wait...
...welcome back. Let's begin. We drew lots for sides.  (Above Left) The (mostly) hirsute British Players: left to right, Bob, Byron, Jeff, and Charlie.  (Above Right) My German Komrades, Ralph (at the top of the picture) who would hold down the German right, and Rob, who would hold down the German left. Upon drawing out a German marker, I cut loose with some nonsense "GI German"--as a reward for which I was elected (drafted) as the German commander by Ralph and Rob (note to self: don't do that!).  Thus, I took up the HQ elements and the center of the line.  And was responsible for our brilliant plan.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this report.
There were three German mixed platoons, plus some HQ assetts (See AJ's report for details).  We had three crossing points to guard, and other than knowing that any British armor or vehicles would have to come in via the road that ran off the table our left, we did not know where the British reinforcements would be arriving. Thus, we used a balanced deployment to cover the area, with each of the three German platoons/players covering one of the crossings: Rob on our left, Ralph on the right, and I in the center.  As far as special elements, I put one emplacement right at the end of the bridge in the center, tying it in with the stone walls and creating a strongpoint and roadblock.  Two of our other emplacements went to cover our Flak gun and the ford on our left, figuring that we could see a quick push supported by armor on this flank and would need the cover if so.  Ralph (on the right) positioned a machine gun in the pillbox and his infantry to the right of that.  I spotted the AT gun and the infantry gun with long diagonal fields of fire, with our mortar ensconced behind the town. My Luftwaffe infantry squad I put in the roadblock and my Ostruppen squad was under cover behind walls on the other side of the town.  Our HQ platoon element, which was another Luftwaffe infantry squad, was in reserve in the town.
The view from my German infantry gun (which was actually attached to my platoon, and not one of the HQ elements).  These jolly lads spent most of the game lobbing direct and indirect HE at the British Commandos and Royal Engineers who were pressing in from the British left.  Not much damage, but the effect was to chase them out of positions--and to help make Ralph (who was hard pressed) feel like someone cared...
My anti tank gun, positioned with a magnificent field of fire on allied vehicular approach. This made life figuratively uncomfortable for the allied armor, if not materially so...
 ...my AT gun fired at each British vehicle as it entered, hitting nothing (and so it went for the rest of the game with the AT: "Plunk: miss; Plunk: miss...repeat."  As can gleaned by the steely gaze over his spectacles, Byron, the British Armor commander, was not amused.  
The British Armor as seen from the road block in the town.  The British Armor wound up standing off and firing with results not unlike those achieved by my crew served weapons: let's just say that there wasn't much chance for sweeping armored warfare in this situation. 

The British Commandos were already on the table at start in the farm complex opposite Ralph on our right. Early on, we thought to take them out since they were exposed, and threw everything we had at them. Being elite, they shrugged it off and kept on going...
...so I masterfully shifted the mortar fire off of the house (now empty) and inflicted 33 percent casualties on this lot (Hey, when it's 1944 and you're leading a mixed lot of German leftovers you take what you can get!).  
Ralph forward deployed his Ostruppen squad, which wound up getting the thumping we had expected to deliver to the forward deployed British Commandos.  These fellows would pull back to pull some hits. 
The British basically brought everything in on their left, leaving Ralph (on our right) to fend off the assault. He masterfully used his Luftwaffe squad (above) in "peekaboo" fashion, advancing to fire and then falling back behind cover to pull hits. This single squad, facing a good part of the British force, was still in action at the end of the game. 
Top, the British High Command charting the main effort against the ford on our right. (Immediately Above Left) Bob's Royal Engineers detonate charges and take out the dragon's teeth (and by refusing to back off themselves, take a hit in the bargain).  (Immediately Above Right) The British flow across the ford and into the German right.
The British penetrate to within satchel charge and flamethrower distance of the pillbox (note that you can see Ralph's "peekaboo" platoon still floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee from behind the hill on the right). But as they get closer, they encounter more and more concentrated fire from the troops supporting the center
My Ostruppen on the edge of the town engaging the approaching British (I was fortunate that I was able to not need these reluctant troops to do much more than this)...
My Luftwaffe squad holding down the road block fires in support of the pillbox. You may notice something familiar about the second figure from the right. Hint: the reason he may have his rifle slung is because, "He sees nothing!"
High anticipation and low expectations await the roll of the dice resolving another round of fire from the British Armor (it was that sort of game for the "big guns" on both sides).
Although the action was happening on our right, Rob (on our left), was not idle. Once it was clear that the effort was concentrated there, he moved his infantry across the river and up towards the road (you can see them in the distance in the above picture). The threat of close range antitank weapons from these forced the British Armor to stand back, and Rob was able to bring a squad across just in time to help thwart the assault on the pillbox at the end of the game. Although they hadn't taken out the pillbox and seized the bridge, the British had gained a foothold over the ford on our right, and so the decision went to them in the end. A good time was had by all, though.

Thanks to our convivial host and game master, AJ!

Excelsior!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

GET YOUR MONGOL ON: FIREFORGE TSUBODAI AND CAMEL DRUMMER

My Newest Addition: Fireforge Mongol Camel Drummer and Tsubodai

And now, for something completely different...SAGA fever has caught on in my gaming circle.  Originally, I was simply a mildly interested bystander to these SAGA goings on.  Upon further investigation, though, I realized that the low SAGA figure count meant that I had among my Smalle Warre Tartar contingent more than enough figs to represent a 6 point Mongol Saga Warband. So, with no investment in new figures or painting time, it was an easy leap to give SAGA a try--and with the dreaded Mongols, no less. Given that our club will be having a SAGA Game Day in October, I decided that I should upgrade my Mongol specialty figures, namely the Warlord and Mongol Camel Drummer.  Hence this post.  After casting about for options, I settled  on Fireforge figures.    
 Heavy Metal: Fender Washers for Heft

Now, Fireforge figures are plastics, and I'm a metal figure guy.  I decided to put this preference aside, though, given that this was only going to be two figures and they were so dynamic compared to other options.  To compensate for their lack of heft, however, I put a fender washer on each base. This trick has worked out well, and the figures have a nice, substantial feel to them about the same as if they were metals.  I have to say, though, that the overall experience of working with these two plastics/resin figures has not made me a convert.  My next SAGA project will be to upgrade my Mongol Hearthguard heavy cavalry, and I'm going to do those with metals.  I don't intend to knock Fireforge figures with this observation--metals have their own challenges, to be sure.  It's just that after all these years, I'm just wired for dealing with metals (just like I'm still using Enamel paints: they go together in that way).  But enough of that.  In this post, dear readers, I present a study of how I did these figures.  For those with an interest in the nitty gritty, you'll find an itemized account of the paints and processes at the end of this post.  But now, on to the eye candy.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.


MONGOL CAMEL DRUMMER
Although I used the Fireforge model as an example, I did other research and reinterpreted the figure in my own way. To keep him from looking like he was wearing a giant pancake on his head, I painted the fur lining of the Mongol cap, even though this detail is not in the sculpt.  This was also my first attempt at rendering chain mail: I'm tempted to try a few other medievals based on the result. Here are a few more angles:
To seat the rider, I found that I had to bend the scabbard to the point where it cracked in order to get it around the two bags to the rider's left rear.

TSUBODAI
I reinterpreted this figure as well compared to the Fireforge example. The major difference was in the horse armor. Based on examples of colorful Mongol horse armor, I decided to jazz it up and do it in alternating metallics (bands of brass/gold and steel). I also did the shoulder scales as armored as opposed to what appears to be leather in the Fireforge example. A few other color choices are different, but those are mainly superficial. The horse took slightly longer to do than the rider (a first). Here are few more viewing angles to complete the study:
The confluence of plastic where the reins met on the horse's mane was quite wide.  Given the rider's hand position, I needed to trim this in order to seat the figure. Fortunately, this was quite easy to do and didn't impact the look or lines of the figure.

The figs as seen more from tabletop distance.

PAINTING GUIDE:
GENERAL NOTES
All colors are flat or matte (except for MM Gold). 
All paints are Enamels: Humbrols, Testors Model Master (abbreviated "MM" below), and Testors ¼ ounce bottles  (abbreviated "Testors").
Black Wash: Vallejo Black Wash (Dipping Formula Immersion)—used as wash, not dipped.

Black Wash Technique: Black wash (thin or regular), then gone over again in either the original color to highlight and clean up the "dirty" look left behind by the wash or a lighter color to add effects. For brevity, if the description just says “black wash," then it was also highlighted in the original color.

PRIMER:  I primed the figures in white (I'm a white primer guy).  

BOTH RIDERS
Face & Hands: Humbrol 61 Matt Flesh with thin Black Wash
Eyes: MM Light Gray
CAMEL DRUMMER
CAMEL
Camel Torso: Base: MM Military Brown Black Washed then Highlighted with MM Dark Tan Camel Cords: Underpainted Black then painted with Humbrol 62 Leather 
Camel Bit: Underpainted Black then painted with Testors Flat Steel 
Saddle Blanket: Humbrol 80 Grass Green then then Black Wash 
Saddle Pad: MM Leather 
Leather Pouches: MM Leather then Black Washed 
Other Bags: MM Flat Light Gray then Black Washed and Highlighted MM Flat White 
Rolled thingy: MM Dark Tan with Black Straps then Black Washed 
Drums: Humbrol 100 Red Brown with thin Black Wash 
Drum Heads: Humbrol 103 Cream with thin Black Wash, Highlighted with MM Light Gray 
Drum Cords: Underpainted black then painted MM Light Gray—brushed with MM Flat White 

RIDER
Sleeves: Humbrol 74 Linen Yellow then thin Black Wash & Highlighted with Humbrol 81 Pale Yellow 
Chainmail: Underpainted Flat Black then brushed with Testors Flat Steel 
Felt Coat (small bit showing between chainmail and sleeves): Humbrol 113 Rust 
Trousers: Humbrol 157 Matte Azure Blue Highlighted with Humbrol 89 Middle Blue 
Boots: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather Black Washed 
Hat and Earflaps: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather Black Washed 
Hat Lining: MM Light Gray, Black Washed, Highlighted with MM Sea Gray & Dappled with MM Flat White. 
Drumsticks: MM Italian Dark Brown 
Scabbard: MM Leather
Scabbard Ornaments: Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold and Outlined in Flat Black. 

Sword handle: Black grip with knob in Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold 

TSUBODAI
HORSE
Legs & Head: Underpainted MM Burnt Umber then Brushed with MM Burnt Sienna 
Tail and Mane: Flat Black Brushed with MM Gunship Gray 
Blanket (showing under armor): MM Sand, Black Washed and Highlighted with Humbrol 81 Pale Yellow 
Scale Armor: Underpainted Black then brushed with alternating lines of Testors Flat Steel and Testor’s Flat Brass, the latter  highlighted with a light brush of MM Gold. 
Head Armor: Testors Flat Brass brushed with MM Gold. 
Head Ornament: Underpainted black then Brushed with Testors Flat Brass and Highlighted with MM Gold. Black lined at joint of face armor. 
Armor Edging: MM Insignia Red Brushed over with Testors Flat Red 
Harness: Humbrol 62 Matt Leather 
Reins: MM Leather 
Saddle Rear: MM Natural Wood & Humbrol 113 Rust--edged with Testors Flat Brass. 
Saddle Front: Humbrol 113 Rust. 
Whatsit? Cylinder on Right Side: MM Leather with Testors Flat Brass Brushed with MM Gold, outlined in flat black. 
Quiver: MM Leather with ornaments in Testors Flat Steel outlined in flat black. 
Arrows: Underpainted Flat Black then brushed with MM Light Gray and Highlighted with MM Flat White 

RIDER
Scale Armor, and Helmet: Underpainted black then brushed with Testors Flat Steel 
Horsehair Plume: Flat Black Highlighted with MM Gunship Gray 
Armor Edge (Lower Front and Bottom): Underpainted black then in Testors Flat Brass  Highlighted with MM Gold 
Inlays on Shoulder Scales, Helmet Spike, Visor & Edges: Underpainted black then Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold. 
Chest Straps: Humbrol 62 Leather 
Arm Hole Lining : MM Leather 
Scabbard and Bow Holster: MM Leather with Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold ornaments underpainted/outined in Flat Black 
Bow: MM Natural Wood; Tip in Testors Flat Brass Highlighted with Testor’s Gold; 
Bow Inlays and Ornaments: Black Bands with Testor’s Flat Brass Highlighted with MM Gold. 
Undercoat: MM Bright Blue with thin Black Wash & Highlighted with Humbrol 89 Middle Blue Trousers: Humbrol 80 Grass Green with thin Black Wash 
Boots: Humbrol 62 Leather Black Washed 
Sash: MM Insignia Red Brushed with Testors Flat Red
Belt: Humbrol 62 Leather. Buckle underpainted Flat Black & then Testors Flat Brass touched with MM Gold. 
Stirrups: Testors Flat Steel 
Sword: Blade, Testors Flat Steel; Guard, Testor’s Flat Brass brushed with MM Gold. Black Washed.  
Sword Lanyard: Testor’s Flat Red 

 Excelsior!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

19TH CENTURY RULES PAGE UPDATE

 Feldmutzkopf is pleased.

This is just a brief post delivering news on an update I had mentioned was coming.  I have updated the Volley and Bayonet Post Napoleonic Variant files on the 19th Century Rules Page.  These are slightly evolved from the  Battle of Hatvan game rules--so if you downloaded the reference sheet from that battle report, this one is different: a few tweaks to the half battalions (a more streamlined version than in the Hatvan player reference).  


To find the latest files, scroll down to the Volley and Bayonet area on the 19thC Rules content page until you get to the "Current Notes and Reference For Post Napoleonic VnB Variant." You'll find links to an updated set of notes and information along with player reference sheet, terrain effects chart, and an 1866 supplement (not yet tried).  The Battle of Hatvan OOBs are there as well to provide an example of the system in use.  
 
 Excelsior!

 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

POLISH LEGION OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLT


The latest: Steve Barber Polish Legion Advancing (and Officer)

This brief post, dear readers, is a delayed update on the recent completion of a contingent in my Hungarian Revolt forces: the Polish Legion (infantry).  These fellows actually marched onto the table with the Hungarian flanking force in the Battle of Hatvan game, but did not see any action.
Earlier Polish Legion (Converted Murawski Napoleonic Poles)
.
Long time readers of this blog may recall that prior to these figures being available in the Steve Barber Hungarian Revolt line, I had done this unit by converting Murawski Napoleonic Poles. Although I was happy with that conversion, I could not resist adding the actual Polish Legion figs to the force once they became available.  The proportions of the SB are more consistent with the remainder of my Hungarians (and I'll admit, because I liked the look of them). As usual, in this post you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
These were fairly straightforward figures and uniforms: very business like and utilitarian...
...except for the splendid low-form red czapka, of course, which makes the unit really stand out on the table.  After much research, I decided to not embellish the czapka top with the usual crossed white lines.  References indicate that the artillerists had a black "box" on the czapka top, but there are no specific references to any embellishment of the infantry czapka. From what I gleaned from images, none of which explicitly detail the top of the headgear,  there is little or no indication of anything that would stand out.  So I decided that the plain caps work well with the overall look of the uniform, with the unadorned red rectangular shape still giving quite an impression. 
 The early Polish Legion White Uniform (Figure at left) 
 

 Polish Legion in Later Blue Uniform from The Honved Army 1848-49 Gyozo Smogyi

In response to such appearances, someone in our group will usually quip, "They look pretty, but can they fight?"  I think the below excerpts about facing the Poles from Scenes Of The Civil War in Hungary in 1848 and 1849: Personal Adventures of an Austrian Officer answer that question:
Excelsior!
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