Monday 19 February 2024

JTFM trenches and first game using them

I finished painting the JTFM/Die Waffenkammer trenches.  I was so happy with the initial set that I bought several more pieces.  I now have well over five feet of trenches that can be set out in a variety of different configurations.

My collection of WWI Western Front terrain is now sufficient to start playing games, including trenches, shell holes, ruined buildings and more.

So I invited Craig, Doug and Gord over to have a go at WWI Chain of Command, aka Cocking Up the Mud and the Blood.  We played the first scenario from the Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers scenario pack, Training the Entente.  As it happens, I had Craig and Gord play a variant of this scenario in 2019 in my Imagi-Nation of Jhamjar.

As part of my planning for this play-through, I watched the Crusty Colonel's YouTube video of his own version of this scenario, which provided me with some inspiration for my playthrough.  Following the Colonel's example, the Germans, with only three active units (two squads of infantry and a medium machine gun), were limited to 4 command dice.  The full-strength Canadian platoon had the regular five command dice.

The Germans were able to set up in a hastily dug trench controlling a crossroads.  The area in front of the German position was heavily bombarded, leaving many shell holes that counted as rough terrain and light cover.  The trenches were classed as heavy cover, and also as rough terrain due to the awkwardness of moving in the narrow space with many changes of direction and also tripping hazards like boxes of stores and other impedimenta.

The Canadian objective was to capture the crossroads, while the Germans wanted to prevent this from happening.

The patrol phase ended up with the Canadian jumpoff points on the left side of the battlefield.  This forced the attack to come from that flank.  In this shot, the German JoPs are spread throughout the trench.  The Canadian JoPs are just out of shot on the right.

The Canadian attack develops with first the rifle grenade section deploying into a shellhole to suppress the defenders.  This had limited effect as the Germans deployed their MMG and a rifle section to return fire.  Soon after, the Lewis gun section also deployed, and there were several phases of action as the Germans and Canadians engaged in a firefight, trying to obtain the upper hand.

The Canadians had the benefit of two senior leaders, the lieutenant and the sergeant, who were able to keep their troops steady and rally off shock.  As the firefight progressed, the Canadians were finally able to pin the MMG.

Once the MMG was pinned, the Canadians lucked out with a double phase.  This allowed them to deploy the bomber section, which routed out the MMG, and ultimately this was too much for the Germans.  They broke, and allowed the Canadians to seize the crossroads.

Thanks to Craig, Doug and Gord for a great game.  Looking forward to some more WWI CoC!

Saturday 17 February 2024

Some characters (possibly NSFW)

 Taking a break from 20th Century armies, here are a few characters I plucked from my lead (and plastic) mountain.  There is no particular theme connecting these figures, I just picked the ones that caught my fancy.

First up, here is Calamity Jane, based on Robin Weigert's portrayal in HBO's magnificent series, Deadwood.

Here she is with Wild Bill Hickock, with whom she was reputed to be enamoured.

Here are a couple of old white men, the Colonel in his mess dress, and some fat bloke.  Also a random British-style postbox.

I've had these two versions of Pulp Figures' Volcano Queen for a long time, and now I've finally painted them!  The two versions are the NSFW one on the left, and the slightly more modestly clad one on the right.  

And finally, I just had fun with this lady wizard.  I was tired of painting the drab greys and khakis of 20th century armies, and the dull black of the Nazgul, so I had fun splashing some colour on her.

Next up, back to the mud of the WWI Western Front!

Saturday 10 February 2024

Dragon Rampant - Gondor vs Mordor

I am a proud papa! Last week at Bonsor, Arthur hosted a game:  He set up the scenario, and then refereed the game.  The scenario had a small force of Gondor spearmen and archers stranded in some ancient ruins, where they needed to defend themselves against a force of Mordor orcs led by the Nazgul.  Meanwhile, a relief force hurried to their rescue!

Arthur setting up the table

Initial disposition of the troops:  defenders in the ruins, and the orcs preparing to assault.

First moves:  a group of orcs advances to the ruins.  Unfortunately, the orcs failed their second activation, resulting in an end to their turn.  This was a recurring challenge for the orcs!

Arrival of the reinforcements.  They arrived by boat. The group of dwarves jumped onto the shore with ease, but Arthur determined that the cavalry would need a bit more time to get their horses ashore.

Meanwhile, the defenders of the ruins easily hold off the orc attackers.  It's almost as if they don't need to be reinforced!

The fighting Uruk-hai attack the dwarves!  The first skirmish sees the dwarves pushed back.  But then a disastrous attempt to rally (snake eyes) sees the dwarves scattered and depart the game!

Meanwhile, the defenders in the ruins are doing just fine; the orc attackers cannot get a foothold inside the ruined castle.

Boromir leads the Gondorian cavalry against the Nazgul, but is pushed back.

Instead, he turns his attention to the Uruk-hai and disperses them.

Finally, with all the orcs destroyed or dispersed, the witch-king flees the field, pursued by the remaining Gondorian horse!

The game went well.  Michael and Evan shared command of the forces of Gondor, both playing their first game of Dragon Rampant.  I lead the forces of Mordor to a predictable defeat.  I didn't take advantage of the Nazgul's special ability to cause fear - I should have had them support the orcs attacking the castle - they could cause fear on the defenders, then send in the orcs to easily defeat the defenders.  Instead, I used them to slow down the reinforcements - all too typical for me, I'm afraid, as I am far too prone to dividing my forces instead of concentrating them for victory.

Congrats to Arthur for successfully running a game at the club, and thanks to Michael and Evan for joining us for the game!

Sunday 28 January 2024

German officers and NCOs

I finished these up last night while watching Rogue One with Arthur.  I joked with him that I was painting Imperial soldiers, which was somewhat apt as Lucas et al were inspired by German uniforms.  But then we carried on to note that all the main powers in WWI were Empires, including German, but also British, Russian, Japanese, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman, and even the French Republic had imperial colonies, as did Italy!

Anyway, here are some officers and non-commissioned officers, plus a few other headquarters types for the late WWI Germans.  These are from Great War Miniatures.

I've put them on hex bases to help the leaders stand out from the rank and file troops.  These ones are more front line types, ready to lead the troops into action.

And this group are more of the HQ types, directing the action, managing communications and trying to keep up!  Many of these figures have Iron Crosses or ribbons, one even has the Blue Max.  I'm not thrilled with my painting of these medals, they are too small for me!  

Here is a comparison of a Wargames Atlantic plastic soldier with a Great War Miniatures metal figure.  The WGA has a more slender rifle, but for me the two fit well enough on the same battelfield.

And finally, I found this wee Wargames Foundry fellow in the lead mountain.  The Foundry WWI figures are noticeably smaller than WGA or GWM. I wouldn't recommend mixing them in the same force. 

Sunday 21 January 2024

CEF Supporting Arms

 Here are some supporting troops for my late WWI CEF - an 18-pdr, a Vickers MMG and some more signallers.  

By the later stages of WWI, most front line infantry were issued one or more Lewis guns per platoon.  With Lewis guns now issued to front line troops, the Vickers guns were mostly gathered into dedicated Machine Gun Companies.  This gun team has my attempt at the insignia of the 3rd Company of the 1st Canadian Machine Gun Battalion.  I assembled this gun out of pieces that were in my lead mountain. The front two legs of the tripod were missing, so I fabricated replacements from plastic rod.  Unlike the MMG team I prepared for the Germans, these are both fixed to the base.  

There is also an 18-pdr for the late war CEF.  I already have 5 early war 18-pdrs plus one more with winter kit - now the late war troops have their own.

For this gun team, only one gunner is fixed to the model.

 The rest of the crew are based individually for casualty removal or if a different number of crew members are required.

And to finish up here are some signallers (with the white over blue arm band), including one on a motorcycle, plus a trench raider and a couple of red-tabbed staff officers.