26 August, 2012

Attack on Hill 207.5 opens

I'm going to split up the rest of the game report into several parts, to make it easier for me to write and for you to read.

On the German left the initial armoured surge is led by a repainted T-34, we imagine that the crew are very nervous and are more likely to be killed by friendly fire than anything else!

German T-34 leads the way

On the German right, a scouting Puma pokes it nose out from behind a copse of trees, the local Soviet commanders begin to suspect that it's calling in some heavy bombardments on the defensive lines

Puma pokes its nose out

At the outer limits of the Russian defences a small squad of Razvedchiki are lying up in the central wooded area calling in mortars and everything else they can connect with! The German response is fierce (some one say an inappropriate reaction!) and a battery of 150mm guns is called down on their heads

Russian Scouts get pummelled

This tiny Panzer rides the coat-tails of its larger cousin

Aww - Cuteness

A Soviet Il-2 Sturmovik arrives on the scene and tries to knock out a Tiger with its 23mm cannon, but just suppressing the crew


It seems like its going to be a field day for ground attack aircraft on both sides when a Stuka swoops in to pick on a parked SU-152, but the efficient Soviet anti-air guns in this area of the battlefield drive the Stuka away


On the German left the mass infantry begin what must be a daunting long-range advance on foot, they can't be relishing the machine gun nests or heavy mortars lined up against them

Infantry advances on foot.JPG

A well-timed pre-planned Sturmovik attack picks out some German scouts, including an artillery observer team, but is driven off by the anti-air guns nearby

Timed IL-2 Strike.JPG

On the other flank, some heavy mortar fire (called in by the PO-2 droning overhead) hits two halftracks, knocking them out and causing serious casualties amongst the Panzer Grenadiers aboard

Mortar fire causes headaches.JPG

A heavy bombardment of Katyushas hits the massed German infantry, suppressing the guts of two platoons in one feel swoop - thankfully for the Germans the medic isn't overworked by the casualties

Medic may have a lot of work to do.JPG

The first of several 150mm bombardments hits the Russian defences on the German right flank, but the reinforced earthworks protect their charges from harm

First heavy bombardment.JPG

This refitted T-70 with a 20mm cannon is doing sterling work on the German left flank to ward off air attacks

German Anti-Air.JPG

The German communications team are hard at work - ensuring that the Kamfgruppe commanders are able to call on Corps-level artillery (several successful requests are made on the heaviest of Nebelwerfers behind the front)

German Comms Team.JPG

As the heavy Tigers and Ferdinands advance along the rail line on the German left flank, several Soviet tank killers lurk in the village

Soviet Tank Killers lurk.JPG

The emplaced Zis-3 on the hilltop anchoring the Russian left-flank spots the oncoming armour come over the hill off the road, but holds its fire for now

Gun spots tanks coming through wheatfield.JPG

More heavy artillery targets the guns - the Soviet local commander has had enough of this messing around...

More artillery hits Zis-3.JPG

Calling the Sturmovik in from harassing the heavy tanks, it picks on the armoured car (possibly) holding the artillery spotter

Sturmovik picks on artillery spotter.JPG

The strike has an instant effect on the frequency of artillery strikes in this area of the battlefield

Puma destroyed.JPG

Tigers pass the new Train Station, little do they know they've entered a well-prepared zone of Soviet defence (with generous dashings of Maskirovka!)

Tigers pass New Train Station.JPG

Previously unseen Borgwards are given their marching orders, these infernal machines give the Soviet officers pause for thought

Bogwards ready to go.JPG

These Marders, still bearing the early war grey of the campaign in France advance behind some Panzer IVs and infantry

Blast from the Past.JPG

The advance on the German left is developing well, though it seems like the Germans will be attempting to cross the anti-tank ditch anchoring the Russian's right flank...

German left flank on the move.JPG

As yet, the two armies have been only fencing with each other, relying on artillery and long-range pot-shots. Soviet resolve has been maintained, but can they retain their discipline while spotting any opportunity for an attack?

21 August, 2012

Planning the Defence of Hill 207.5

Given the honour of commanding the defence of Hill 207.5 against the onslaught of the fascist viper, I quickly put my initial thoughts together and consulted with my local commanders, drawing on the technical advice of Colonel Glantz.

With very little idea of what was going to hit us, our air recon has shown large numbers of German artillery deploying to your front and heavy concentrations of enemy armour.


Putting huge efforts in preparing defensive works, our stalwart Soviet soldiers dug trenches, gun pits and anti-tank ditches. Laying minefields and barbed wire to funnel the enemy advance into the sights of our artillery. We zero'ed in some likely avenues of advance, as well as two of the outlying towns.

The Windmill

On our right flank was an enormous concentration of defences - a large anti-tank ditch, with a large minefiel surrounding it and backed up with two machine-gun bunkers extended to the large wood alongside the main road. At that bend in the road lay another small minefield and a registered target point for artillery.

MG Bunkers

Out intention was to deny any meaningful advance through those open fields to our right and funnel the attacking German armour into this killing zone - hopefully our artillery would be able to hammer them in the traffic jam!

203mm Gun

We would utilise those classic Russian virtues: be stoic and patient behind our defensive positions. Using well-timed counterattacks once the time was right, or if they looked like breaking through. No reckless charges would be allowed (bitter experience has taught us those lessons).
On our right, we placed all three of our armoured formations, along with some of our infantry holding the defensive line.

Soviet Armour Reserve

On the other side of the river, we essentially refused the flank. Both remaining infantry groups held a strong defensive line, backed up with emplaced heavy guns and some tanks in reserve.

The Bridge

As German scouts entered the board their worry grew apparent, clearly the Soviet dispositions had disconcerted them - despite the fact that their air reconnaisance would have shown them our defensive works.

German Scouts

On our left flank, serious amounts of heavy armour trundled into view - Ferdinands and Tigers led the charge, though at this range no one would be opening fire for some time - though the presence of a PO-2 scout aircraft (seeming for now like a mere nuisance) would cause them plenty of trouble as they advanced.

Heavy Metal

On the Soviet far left lay a small outlying pocket of resistance. A lone Zis-3 on the hill, backed up by some infantry and our secret weapon: two tank killers lurked behind the village, a SU-122 and a SU-152 would give the German armour some pause

Emplaced Zis-3

In the rear-most line lay that flank's HQ and the heavy mortars which would aim to exact a heavy toll on the advancing forces of fascism!

HQ and Heavy Mortars

With both sides resolved the victory would surely go to the steadfast Soviets!

17 August, 2012

Clash at Kursk

An enemy offensive is imminent! The Fascist Viper is coiling to strike at the Motherland!

I'm heading down to Kildare to play a big game of BattleGroup Kursk. I've pre-ordered the game, but this will be my first chance to play it. A good few of the guys based around Kildare will be playing, but there will be some special visitors from the UK and The Netherlands...

Here's a quick sample of what you might see when I get back on Sunday:

Piers created this fortified hill for the Germans to take (I think he's feeling sheepish with this sterling work now, given he's on the German side!).
In fact, if you visit Piers' site now, you'll see the table is set up already...

WarwickMove to Contact 
Warwick's been showing off some of his work recently and I just love these motorised infantry 

Johan's been shamelessly putting T-34s to work for the wrong side! I think you'll agree that they do look rather splendid and it'll be a shame to destroy them!
For some reason yours truly has been nominated the overall Soviet commander, so no doubt I'll be back (hungover and rather worse for wear) with a handful of excuses for a dismal performance!

14 August, 2012

The Lost Treasure of Annobón

An ancient and powerful relic, long reputed to have been lost, has been discovered once again. A hardy group of adventurers have excavated it from the mysterious ruins on the Moroccan coast...

A hand-picked group of Marines and Sailors hunts these dangerous vagabonds from their trusty Gunboat Visayas, led by the newly promoted Lt. Commander Newbolt.

A race to escape to the waiting ship with the artefact, a search for the shipwrecked vessel and a daring night-time raid on a port await you in this Pulp campaign I'll be running at Gaelcon.

10 August, 2012

Solo November?

I think Solo November was organised as a one-off last year (the whole 11-11-11 thing).

Well, I had a lot of fun last time so I'm going to do something similar again come this year.

Some options jump out at me:

  1. Play a series of Special Ops missions
    Using a selection of my 20mm moderns with Force on Force
  2. Play Napoleon's struggle against Austria
    Using my 6mm French and Austrians (from Baccus) with C&C Napoleonics
  3. Play a Cold War Gone Hot campaign
    Using my 6mm miniatures for either Cold War Commander or Memoir '84 (hat-tip to Oisin for his Cold War variant of '44) if I can't get my head around CWC for solo
  4. Pit the Mob against the Marines in a Caribbean Port
    Using my 28mm collection for Perilous Trail
  5. Continue the high medieval First War of Ruritanian Succession
    Using my 28mm Bretonnians, probably for Dux Britanniarum (just arrived in the post on Wednesday)
  6. Storm the beaches of Saipan, 1944
    Using my 6mm Marines & Japanese (from Irregular) Memoir '44
So polling is open on the top-right corner of the blog. I've left the voting a multiple choice so if more than one takes your fancy feel free to click them.


07 August, 2012

Inspiring this Gazebo Hunter, #2

The second issue of the all things to all gamers e-zine for the UK & Ireland The Gazebo was published last week and I'm really impressed with the improvements our design people have made since the last time.
You can view and/or print it from here but if you want to download it instead you'll need an account (pretty quick sign-up though).

I've always been interested in what inspires gamers to break new ground and start another project. This series of articles is a brief overview of things which caught my eye over the last few months - some have already prompted me to try something new, some may lurk in the long grass until their time has come. I hope that something here grabs your attention and calls you to action!

Dougie’s Wargaming Blog is a relative newcomer, but all of his stuff is top-notch. In this post on ‘Irrigation Ditches’ Dougie shows us the finished product for some really nice ‘Green Zone’ terrain for his Afghanistan games – look back into some of the archives for a step-by-step guide in case you’re interested in take a stab at this simple but highly effective wargaming terrain.
If you like that, check out this three-part BBC documentary ‘Our War’ – uses helmet-mounted cameras along with candid interviews to give a close-in view of the Afghan War. The episodes show very different slices of the experience, not just action, but also the impact felt by the local population.  Available on DVD, but you should be able to get a flavour from the site.

6 Inch Move has been closely following Hawk Wargames new sci-fi line ‘DropZone Commander’ and the photos of the 10mm miniatures have been breath-taking. Have a look. All of the factions have obviously-different design philosophies and that’s always nice to see in a game. If you’re wondering, the Post-Human Republic stuff is catching my eye!

If you like modern wargaming, then Elheim release consistently great sculpts in 20mm. They increased their modern British range in April with some additional NCOs and a command team. As well as realistic poses, their inclusion of kneeling figures and specifically equipped soldiers for command (not just guys pointing!) is great for wargamers.

Non-Fiction Book
The Revenge of the 47 Ronin by Stephen Turnbull tells the famous tale of revenge in 18th century Japan.  Turnbull dissects the historical events and looks at how this classic tale of Samurai values has spawned countless versions on stage and screen. As befits an Osprey publication in their Raid series, photographs and illustrations as well as useful maps add flavour and detail. I’ve already started work moving this to a modern setting for a short series of wargaming scenarios …

I should recommend James Clavell’s Shogun, but if you are after for a dutiful path of violence, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai is worth a look. Forest Whitaker gives a superb performance as a hitman who lives by the code of the samurai in service to a mob boss. , Jim Jarmusch’s film is almost entirely character driven, even when there’s an action sequence it’s all about tone.

Fiction Book
The Fort by Bernard Cornwell – poles apart from Cornwell’s usual fare, this multi-faceted tale of an obscure siege of the American Revolutionary War eschews a hero-led narrative. What’s compelling about the story is that we get to see both sides’ flawed thinking and how costly their mistakes are. I’ve previously described siege warfare as the ugly sister to wargamers’ Cinderella, field battles; but if you’re at all inclined to give sieges a go, try reading this one to help you off the fence.

If you like that sort of thing, locate a copy of A Gallant Defense: the Siege of Charleston, 1780 by Carl P. Borick – a strong piece of writing which covers all the bases of the complexities of the campaign and siege operations while maintaining a clear narrative. 

After a long day of wargaming recently, we sat down to The Losers, the film based on the comic series of the same name. Made to follow the first storyline of the series, there’s nothing hugely original or breathtaking about this, just an enjoyable action movie with lots of nice set pieces and one-liners.

Discussing it afterwards, while we could see parallels in the main characters to gaming group’s behaviours we struggled to identify a good system (either for roleplaying or wargaming) which would encourage this kind of dynamic…

Random Site
The Grimsby Wargames Society run a thriving club and they obviously have a load of talented people involved. They run games across the widest of interests and I’m always interested to click through to their latest gallery of battles played. Most recently they ran the Battle of Breslau 1757 but it’s their Chechen game from a few months back which won them plaudits all round. 

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