Sunday, 12 July 2020

German AB41 Armoured Car (stolen from the Italians!)

For the Germans in Italy, here is an armoured car, the Autoblinda 41.  It's an Italian armoured car, with a proud history of service in North Africa and Tunisia, often praised as the best Italian armoured car of the war.  It's not quite correct for German service on Sicily, though.  As long as Italy was in the war as an ally of Germany, the AB41 stayed in Italian service, but when the Italians sued for a separate peace in September 1943, the Germans captured hundreds of these vehicles and pressed them into their own service.  So while there were plenty of AB41s in German service after September '43, I've jumped the gun a bit by giving them to the Germans for Operation Husky.

This car is made by Blitzkrieg Models, which I purchased from Perry Miniatures.

The tank commander was converted from the Perry Miniatures Afrika Korps.

Most of the images I was able to find of the AB41 in German service, especially in Tunisia and Italy, show complex camouflage patterns.  I decided to keep it simple, though, and went with my version of dunkelgelb.  

The model comes with two different turrets, nominally one for the AB41 and one for the AB43.  The difference is in the shape and number of the hatches; both turrets have the 20mm cannon, so no difference in game terms.

The turrets can be swapped back and forth at need.

The commander is on a magnet, so can be removed as needed.

Peter Dennis' take on Little Wars

I recently purchased Peter Dennis' latest Paperboys Book, which is a reprint of H.G.Wells' Little Wars, the great-great-granddaddy of wargaming rules (not counting dreary Prussian Kriegsspiel stuff).  

The rules are quite light and fun, and focussed on knocking down toy soldiers with a toy cannon.  And in addition to the rules, which were written with the intention of playing with toy soldiers such as those made by W. Britain.  This being a Peter Dennis book, the bulk of the book consists of paper soldiers to cut out and assemble.

Unlike the soldiers in the previous Paperboys books, these paper soldiers are each individually based, and are much larger.  They are nominally 54 mm, but as I print them out on 8 1/2 x 11" sheets rather than A4, I have photoreduced them to 92%, so I guess these are 50 mm soldiers.

There are two armies, identified as "Red" and "Blue", but of course the Red Army is British, and Blue Army is French, both in presented in the uniforms of the late 19th Century.



There are multiple troop types, including;

Red Grenadier Guards

Blue Regular Infantry
 Red Highlanders
 Red Indian Infantry
 Red Scots Guards
 Blue Zouaves
 Blue Lancers
 Blue Turcos
 Blue Sailors
 Blue Light Cavalry
 "Red" Hussars (despite the coat colours...)
 Red Dragoons

There are many other troop types that I haven't built yet.  In addition, Peter Dennis sells German-inspired troops as a download on his website, as well as paper buildings.  

Little Wars includes a sheet of civilians:

There is also a cannon and even a Martian tripod (inspired by another of H. G. Wells' works, the War of the Worlds).  I haven't yet made them, as they are quite tricky to build.  I've yet to decide if they are worth the bother!

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Dangerous Dames 5

Three more Dangerous Dames!  A martial artist, a gangster and a possibly Scottish lady.

I wanted this martial artist to be brighter and more colourful than my usual fare.  She turned out a bit less bright than I hoped.  Maybe I need to add a few more bright colours into my paint selection.

Dark colours for this gangster, though!  I was tempted to add pinstripes, but realised that there was no hope that I'd get any sort of consistency so allowed discretion to be the better part of valour.

And finally the Scottish lady with a rifle.  Perhaps she is the owner of an estate in the Highlands, and has that rifle to deal with any trouble that might intrude, whether on 4 legs or 2.  She's also a bit of an experiment with tartans and dicing, as I have an upcoming project involving both of those painting challenges ;-)

Sunday, 28 June 2020

CoC AAR - attack on the farm

Doug and I managed another game of Chain of Command on the weekend.  This time, a platoon of the Hasty Pees was assigned to capture a small farm compound that was being held by a panzergrenadier zug of the Hermann Goering Division (although they managed to show up primarily wearing fallschirmjager uniforms).

 The game was the Attack on an Objective scenario.  Canadians enjoyed 11 points of support, plus an extra 4 points due to the difference in force rating.  That allowed me to bring on an extra infantry section, a forward observer for the off-table 3" mortar battery, and a 6-pdr anti-tank gun.  I also took the preliminary bombardment, as that had been so effective for me in the last game.

Doug's Germans also took the preliminary bombardment, as he was eager to give me a taste of the frustration that he'd experienced last game!  He also took some barbed wire and a roadblock, mostly because he'd just made them and wanted to put them on the table ;-)  (actually, he had expected me to bring some vehicles and wanted to inconvenience me).

As a change from previous games, the Canadians started on the wide table edge. I rolled well, and got to take three bonus moves before the patrol phase started.  I took the option of only having three patrol markers, as I really wanted to get across the board into the orchard to the right of the farm compound.  I zipped across the board and got a foothold just where I wanted it!  Playing the short way across the table made a big difference.

The patrol phase went very quickly, and my three markers were locked down.  I was able to place my markers close to the farm, and mostly managed to keep the Germans from setting up any markers outside the immediate area of the compound.

Here I am carefully setting my jump off point (JOP) by creating a triangle from my patrol marker and Doug's two closest PM.

Meanwhile, here is Doug setting out the space where he can put his own JOP.

 My three JOP are visible in this shot, one in the orchard on the hill, one just to the right of the PM at the road intersection, and the last one where the dirt road crosses the Canadian board edge.  

Here are Doug's JOP:  one in the centre of the farm compound, one to the left outside the wall, and another outside the wall just on the German board edge.

Doug has now placed his road block and the barbed wire.  I nodded sagely as he did this, as I didn't want him to know that I had absolutely NO intention of sending my troops anywhere near that part of the battlefield!

Early deployments.  Canadians have two sections deployed in the orchard, where I hoped they'd be able to dash across the open ground to hit the German squad in the farmyard.  A third section is deployed at the corner of the road, where it can either lay down fire or prep to assault the farm.  The FOO and his radioman are on a small hill crest, trying to get the mortars to range in on the aiming point (the yellow cube on the roof of the stable).  As it turned out, it took three ranging shots before I decided the mortar barrage was close enough to fire for effect.

One of the interesting aspects of playing with Doug is his extraordinary ability to summon 'ones' when rolling dice.  This is what happened when his troops opened fire.  Despite rolling 22 dice, 11 of them turned up ones!  I don't feel too sorry for him, though, as later in the game he managed to earn three phases in a row (by rolling a pair of sixes on his command dice).

The mortar barrage is now on target and firing for effect.  Aiming point was the yellow cube, but the actual centre of the barrage was between the two buildings.  The barrage covers a huge area, a square 18" on each side.  This ended up covering most of the farmyard, which prevented Doug's remaining squads from using it as long as the mortar barrage was maintained.  The animals in the image below are used to indicate shock, and I'm a little chuffed with the 'pinned' marker, a stick pin!  Any troops under a barrage automatically count as pinned.  You can also see that Doug has deployed his AT rifle team just outside of the farmyard to bring some more fire onto the Canadians.

With the Germans now pinned, the Canadian 1 Section moves forward in anticipation of assaulting the farmyard.  This turned out to be a mistake...

Doug deployed his second squad outside the farmyard, and moved them up to cover the open ground.

Here is what was left of 1 Section after they discovered that, even when pinned, a squad of Germans with two MG42s can still lay down a shitload of firepower!

Doug and I amicably discussing how far 6" from the JOP works out to be, as he deploys his 3rd squad.

A subject very close to my heart, as the Canadian 3 Section was moving up the road to attack from the flank!

So, the German 3rd squad needed to move a couple of times before they could shoot up 3 Section!

Well, there goes 3 Section!  And the fourth section is now deploying...

A glamour shot of German 3rd Squad, advancing along the road in the company of their livestock (aka shock markers!).

Here, 3 Section routed through 2 Section.  2 Section was relatively fresh, but was so badly disordered by all the excess shock that 3 Section was carrying, that 2 Section ended up pinned themselves, with a total of 12 shock (had to move to using a d20, as there was not enough room for all the regular shock markers I'd need to use!)

Meanwhile, the fourth Canadian section was busy saving the day by shooting up German 3rd squad.

After being hammered all game, by the mortar barrage, by the 6-pdr, by small arms fire, German 1st squad is finally wiped out, leaving only the squad leader (junior leader) and the zug's senior leader, the Leutnant.  That mortar barrage endured for a long time, but there were many turns I wasn't able to activate it as I didn't get the ones that I needed.  Doug slowly built up his CoC dice, and triumphantly ended the first turn, but I trumped him by playing my own CoC dice to keep the barrage going.

3rd Squad is broken and routs back to cover.  That led to the final 'Bad Things Happen' roll that brought Doug's Force Morale to zero. And that ended up finishing the game.  It was a damn near run thing, as my own FM was at one, and we were in a race to force BTH rolls to finally break the other!

This was a particularly bloody game.  All the figures in this photo were casualties by game end.  And this doesn't include the figures that routed!

This game was a continuation of my training in CoC.  I learnt a few things 
- even when pinned , belt-fed LMGs are deadly.
- an extra squad of infantry is often going to be a better investment than a 6-pdr.  
- I should probably have used my mortar barrage to lay smoke, and used that to cover my advance.  The mortar barrage was good to deny the farmyard to the Germans, but it still didn't allow me to get close enough to assault the position.