Monday, April 24, 2017

A New Project

I know I said no new projects for 2017 but guess what, I started one. I know what you are thinking, but as a gamer waiting until 3 months and 24 days into the new year before starting a new project is pretty good. The reason for this new project does not involve reading a new book, a gaming convention or even a new rules set.

The reason was I worked out a new way I wanted to base my miniatures so I could keep the infantry separate from the leaders and specialists. And what better way to try it out than by starting a new army/force. So here is the deal, I will blog on occasion about what I am doing with hints and I will offer a prize (not sure what but it will be game related) to the first person that can guess the army/unit and period/war. Extra points for guessing sooner than latter and for what rules.

So the first hint is I placed an order with Litko for 100 20mm bases, 25 25mm bases and 25 30mm bases. Ok so not a great hint but I will post often and you can always ask questions (one question per blog post) via the blog and social media. Good Luck.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Flying the Friendly Skies

No this is not a United rant but my reintroduction to the Wings of Glory/War system. I played this from the book days and than latter when the first miniatures came out. As a system for WWI it had a good feel but here I was an all grownup wargamer and I need complicated rules and flight profiles. Or did I.

Well recently I was reintroduced to the WWI and WWII systems and it both was fun and felt right so what was I to do went caught between two very different gaming ideals. Well I did what any self respecting gamer would do, I went out and bought the rules and more aircraft for Battle of Britain.

What can I say I am a sucker for the Me-110. I am sure it turns like a pig but it does look cool. Oh and there will also be Hurricanes and Gladiators. More soon on the first game.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

End of March - A Gamers Report

Well I have ended March and the first Quarter and I think this is a good time to see how my gaming life is going. As already talked about personally I have had lost a friend and that has tainted my gaming experience, but as Al was a true gamer I am able to connect to him through the memories of gaming with him, and there are many memories.

I am pleased to say that so far this year I have painted 72 infantry and 12 vehicles in 15mm. All told I have spent over 26 hours painting. Less than my targeted goal but has set a good base line to reach 1,000 points on the Vis Lardica score card. If you are not familiar with it check it out, it has helped motivate many of us to paint more.

My purchases have been minor,  two Forged in Battle packs and I purchased Rob Avery's September Campaign as I do love the early war period and I have Polish figures painted up. Before you think that the campaign is to one sided (I get that a lot in the club) any reading of the company and platoon show good competitive actions. If interested in 1939 Poland or early World War II take a look.


I even got in  a couple of games, the latest was as a Soviet commander of a platoon taking part in an assault against Finnish lines, and the Russians almost pulled it off. The Russians have the advantage of numbers but their moral did not hold up in the end.

We will also be starting the von Luck campaign in the next month. I find the club very responsive to Chain of Command and TOOFATLardies.


And what is in store for the second quarter? Well I look to finish off the BEF support troops, and start the British Paras (I so love painting denison smocks in 15mm) and more Polish and Germans for 1939. Add in book and game reviews, after action reports and the continuing story of Osiak's War and it is busy as always. Let me know what you think and if you want to hear anything specific. All the best.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Loss of a Gaming Buddy



Last week sucked, no other way of putting it. It is Sunday, the start of a new week and I hope it is better. Late last week I received multiple messages on Facebook dealing with the loss of a member of my gaming club. As he was younger than I, I was shocked and surprised, more so when I found out he took his own life. I cannot judge him for this action but I was sorry, as his loss will be felt from the community.

Last night we pieced together the puzzle last night over beers and sushi it was like the conclusion of an Agatha Christie mystery. Looking for clues and reason. Many members of the club had a few small pieces not enough to complete the full picture, but a glimpse. There was a comment here, a message; some strange nothing so out of character. But there were questions of what we could and should do. No one had any real answers.

What I learned was that many of the people we call friends we do not know as well as we could or should. It is important to take the time to get to know people better. When we asking someone how are they doing, listen to the answer and if asked, fine is sometime not the right answer. Other times we may need silence but if the quiet goes on for too long, that is not good either.

I have been touched by suicide on several occasions and it shocks me how common this really is, if we look. Take the time to get to know your friends and mates. They may be in need of a friend.

Good bye Al, you are missed.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The September War

It does not matter to me if we are talking about the Battle for Warsaw 1939, Poles crashing back with the Soviets on the Eastern Front or those that flew with the 303 Squadron over Britain, the Polish armed forces are a great interest to me in my studies and gaming. These are stories over men fighting for their country and honor. A Poland many would never see again.

It was a great surprise when I received the email from Mr Avery that the first of two supplements would be coming out the next day covering the German/Soviet Invasion of Poland. Well I was reading this the next day over breakfast and I thought through the purchase carefully and immediately payed the sum of $12 for The September War this 240 page reference material. It covers in detail the history, Big Men  stories and so many scenarios with several for my beloved Black Brigade.

Rules are for IABSM but this will be useful for any company level game (not sure why anyone plays with anything else :-) or even Chain of Command. While I have only read through half of the scenarios these would be interesting to play as designer or for any of the early war powers as many of the weapons were similar.

My only problem is I need to buy more Poles and Germans figures. No problem there, I see an order to Peter Pig and Forged in Battle in my future.  Lucky for me I recently purchased a few TK and TKS and an odd armoured car. The painting table will be getting a bit more crowded. After Action Reports soon to show up.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Osiak's Story 9/39


Senior Private Osiak was proud of his rkm wz. 1928. This light machine gun looked and was powerful. While he knew it was a copy of the more famous Browning BAR he cared little, it was his. He was good with it and in a small way made him feel strong like the gangsters in the local movie theaters. But for his corporal Osiak was an efficient soldier, his equipment always clean and well maintained rarely getting caught with an infraction during parade.

When he was called from his garrison to a defensive position in early September 1939, he was concerned for his squad and his family. He was going to do his duty to protect them both. As he was to young to see anything of the fighting against the Soviets in 1921, he was uncertain how well he was going to do against the Germans, a perpetual enemy of his Poland. His Sergeant laughed at his concern and told him, “You will do your duty, if not the corporal would kick his ass. “

His platoon reached the farms near the boarder shortly after the war had started. Set up along the farm road in shallow trenches, the Sergeant came along the line checking the men, their equipment and positions. If any of the troops seemed unsteady he pointed to the anti-tank gun that was being put into position at the left end of their line. He and the Lieutenant were happy for the added support. The only other anti-tank weapon was the newly arrivied wz.35 an anti tank rifle. The section that received that instead of their Browning would fire it for the first time today. It was going to be a long day…

As the morning moved along the troops kept near their guns waiting. They knew the time for battle was fast approaching as they could hear artillery in the distance and it was getting closer. Around mid-morning one of the scouts returned saying that a German infantry column was approaching, and they had tanks.

The private soon saw the Germans approaching across the fields deploying, as they must have seen movement in the fields and along the tree line. There was not going to be an ambush today.

The Germans came on the Polish line quickly with troops crossing both fields and armoured cars coming down the path. Luckily no tanks so far, but there were a lot of infantry. Senior Private Osiak watched a German section advance on the anti-tank gun but his Corporal hit his helmet and yelled, watch your front here come the Germans. While he could hear gunfire to his left he watched the approaching Germans.

“Steady” was the order and he held his fire and then the entire section opened up. The Germans halted and deployed the rifle team to their left and the mg34 opened up on his well-entrenched team. Bullets flew overhead as the Germans advanced. Two quick rounds from the anti-tank gun and one armoured car was a flaming wreck and another was reversing away from the Poles.

And then it happened; the Germans came at the Polish position on the run. Both sides fired as quickly as possible and than it was shovels, bayonets and rifle buts swinging. When he ran out on ammo for his Browning he picked up a shovel and went at the German that just killed one of the comrades. It was loud and bloody. It was also quick. The section to his left was taking the Germans in a cross fire and they broke and ran. Senior Private Osiak made it through his first fight with only a few bruises. His section was not so lucky.

His platoon sergeant ran to his position now that the Germans on both sides of the road were pulling back. The medic checked the members of the section; two needed to be patched up at the aid station and two needed the priest. “Osiak are you OK”, called out the Sergeant, “I’m good” came the reply. “You did good Aleksy. You may even get a medal if we survive this war.” And than the Sergeant headed to the next position. Aleksy only wanted water and a chance to see his village. One he would receive sooner than the other.

Monday, March 6, 2017

10. Brygada Kawalerii v. LSSAH


Along the Carpathian Mountains elements of the German Army pushed Polish forces away from the boarder hopping to isolate and destroy the boarder units.  These German forces included the LSSAH regiment of the SS. Facing them was a screen thrown out by the Black Brigade, the 10. Brygada Kawalerii. This motorized cavalry unit was both well trained and motivated for the contest along the roads and fields of southern Poland in 1939.

A Nice Shot
This Chain of Command scenario tests two very unlikely units from World War II. The Polish 10th Cavalry Brigade was motorized and trained to the highest standards of any similar unit in the inter-war period. Facing off in a quasi-historical scenario is the LSSAH regiment of the SS, attached to an infantry division. The LSSAH was not up to the level of training found in 1944 but was motived nonetheless.

In this Chain of Command scenario we have a platoon on both sides with the Germans having a pre-game barrage and four armoured cars (2 of Sdkfz.222 and 2 Sdkfz.13) and the Poles an anti-tank gun. While the Germans do have numbers on their side the Poles had quality.

Was it worth it?
The Germans advanced on a wide front sending the armoured cars down the road with two sections on the right and one on the left to protect the flank. One note, the table was set up for the first von Luck scenario. A distant firefight happened with the Germans losing three men from their two sections causing only shock to the Poles.

The Poles deployed two of their sections on their right putting pressure on the two German jump off markers. The use of the Polish copied BAR in a march step was found to be effective on the advance and in a withdrawal. At this point the Germans tried to capture one of the Polish jump off markers on the Polish left. After a furious fight in the country fields, including a close assault that the Poles beat back, the German held on their right and tried to turn the Poles advancing on the German jump off markers.

Getting ready for the charge.
With armoured cars in support the Germans attacked across the fields for the loss of a Sdkfz.222 and one disabled and a rifle section routed the German looked at their current moral, only a 2 compared to the Polish 5 and decided they needed to regroup. I think a wise move. Infantry losses were heavy on the German side 17 to 10 but both sides lost a high proportion of their junior leaders.

Now I was playing the part with the Germans as an SS unit so tanks were not allowed. I will give this another go with a different selection of support options. It was fun and look forward to putting the table to use real soon.

 
Fritz - next time we need to bring tanks.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10. Brygada Kawalerii

Also know as the Black Brigade. While I am waiting on the von Luck campaign to kick off I figured I would put the 10. Brygada Kawalerii against 1939 German forces.

10. Brygada Kawalerii in the wheat field
Now to say that this is my favorite Polish unit may get a few snickers, but think there are many famous Polish units fighting in North Africa, Poland 1939 and 44, the East Front, France 1940 and 44 and defending Scotland from the Germans so there is a lot to choose from.

The Chain of Command force list that I am using is awesome. Then I found out how hard it is for the Germans to hit anything as the 10th is an elite unit. I know they are better than regular but I am not sure if they are elite and there is nothing in between.

Half way through the game the Poles are doing better than most would think, with the Germans losing an armoured car and three soldiers.

I will have an after action report soon-ish.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What a Tanker

This latest game from TOOFATLardies is in development and I look forward to its release. It has me thinking what a great game for all of the one off vehicles we have on the back shelf. You know the ones, the vehicle you had to have but never had the right game to bring it out.




While it would be possible to play this game with a Sherman a Panzer IV or a Stug that may be too vanilla. There is also Panthers, Tigers and the Russian standard, T34/85.

After that it gets weird.






Do you have an Elefant, why not use it? How about a Maus, inquiring minds do want to know.


Is that a Brummbar on the shelf? Lets get that on the table.


I also have an IS-2 or could it be JS-II (if I go retro), a King Tiger, and an ISU-152 to dust off. I am so looking forward to getting these rules. They look to be well thought out and a great way to have little used armour on the table.

Thank you Rich and Company.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Home Guard Platoon

After way to long, I have finished off this platoon, being a project almost three years in the making based on other blog posts and receipts I have found in my books dealing with Operation Sea Lion.

For some background, when I started I was looking at Mick Yarrow's 15mm line. They looked good against some of the Flames of War figures I was contemplating and I purchased a platoon. Does anyone know why Flames of War never got around to designing a Home Guard line of miniatures? As I worked on these healthy looking figures,  I found that I really wanted to stay with Peter Pig so that I why I have a company with two platoons, one of big healthy farmers and a second of towns folks of slightly svelter proportions. These will be used with either IABSM or Chain of Command.

So without any further delay here is my latest platoon.

HQ Team

First Section

Second Section

Third Section


Two additional patrols or a single section with two many Officers and NCOs

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Carrier Battles

Carriers Force by SSI was one of my first and a game I still have found memories of from my early days on a computer. At the time a C64. It was a glorified text based game covering the battles in the Solomon Islands and the always needed Battle for Midway. It had great replay value and was also editable so I could up the Japanese coming at me. AI was OK for the time so playing was always fun with creating what-ifs.

Fast forward 30 years and it is surprising how few good or even fair carrier wargames were out there. While some of this may be my personal nostalgia, I have had a problem matching the feeling I had playing that on my C64. But recently I found Carrier Battles for Guadalcanal. It is for my iPad and I am pleased with the UI and has been a joy to play. It is for a one player and you have to play the Americans but it does have many strengths I am looking for.

Scenario list is broad and it appears they will offer more with in app purchases. You can also buy what-if options for $.99 which is fun.

Command moral has the Japanese pulling back instead of fighting to the bitter end. Not that we as players ever do that.

The company forum allows for input and notices of updates so they are in tune with their customers.

Now the down sides;

Games last only three days so you have little time for finesse on the initial set up.

Ship to ship combat is brutal, the Japanese always seem to get a chance to fire their Long Lance torpedoes and one hit will sink DD and CL and on occasion a carrier.

Ships all appear to fire at the same range so a BB against a flotilla of DDs will all get shots off on one another. We need a bit more granularity based on speed of the ships and ranges on the guns.

Over all I give it an 8 on a scale of 10, getting there but not yet my Carriers Force on the C64.

Post Script
Review and notes on Board Game Geek

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Bests (IMHO) for 2016

As 2017 is a month old, I have had time to reflect on 2016 as a gaming year. While I know I did not play or paint as much as I would have wanted, I did accomplish some painting and gaming and met great gaming partners. This happens to include both face-to-face players and others on Social Media. The US President is not the only one to enjoy Twitter. Social Media in particular and the Internet in general have done a great deal to add new life into our hobby. So I want to give recognition to those that made 2016 a good gaming year for me, so in no particular order...

Guy playing What a Tanker!
For Best Friend of the Hobby, no gamer or reader could find any better friend of the hobby than Guy Bowers. I have never met Guy, but have corresponded through emails, Social Media and blogs dealing with historical sources and Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, the magazine he is editor of. He is always quick with a response to inquiries and always a kind word. He is the top of any list of agents that have assisted me to spend more money than I expected on books, rules or miniatures. I guess I could just blames WSS. :-)

Wargames Soliders & Strategy is not a house publication so Guy and his team works hard in gathering material from all time periods and rule sets. I can always find something of interest in every issue.

Best New Podcast was tough as he have had a couple enter the market but Jay Arnold hit the ground running with  The Veteran Wargamer. In the four months since he has started Jay has produced nine episode covering game design, etiquette, fantasy, gaming style as well as a year in review. He is also helpful in asking for and responding to feedback. An asset to our gaming community and a pleasure to listen to.

The next two are related, first Best New (for me) Company. I met Craig and Gaming Models through a fellow blogger Chris Stoesen when I was looking for an unusual early early war German armoured car, the Kfz. 13 The Bathtub. While Craig did not have one he put it on his list of vehicles to design and I now have two new models added to my 1939 German forces. 

Gaming Models continues to add to there resin line that includes AFVs, soft-skins, gliders, terrain and artillery. Craig has even added to the line with steam-punk vehicles. He listens to gamers and will work with you to create the best gaming experience.

As I said the last two were related, my fourth is Best New Model. This year it was the M-51 IDF Sherman conversion with the French 105 from Gaming Models. Craig's model was good in detail and the only thing it was lacking was heft, it is resin after all. But what made it special to me is it got me interested again in the IDF and actions in 1973 and 1982. We will be seeing the M-51 on the Golan soon.

So I end by saying 2016 was a good year and I am looking forward to making 2017 even better. 

Thank you.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

If War Should Come

I will often buy a book for a project, the project gets side tracked and the book ends up on the shelf or in one of my banker storage boxes in the down stairs closet waiting for it to be pulled off and put to use. This one of those books. Bought when I was working on a Sea Lion Project 2015 it was put on the shelf with other 1940's Sea Lion books and at the end of last year I was determined to get some Chain of Command gaming using newly purchased but not painted figures. Well this month I finished off painting the Mick Yarrow figures, very healthy for 15mm and a platoon plus of Peter Pig figures. I do have to remind myself not to stray to far from Peter Pig. So I was ready for some reading.

But about this book, it says on the tin that it covers the last years of peace and that is not completely correct. It looks at the defenses of the South Coast going back to Napoleon and The Great War. While the detail on this is light, he has offered sources that will easily add a dozen books to my library on The Great War and Sea Lion that I do not own as of today.

The author goes into detail about war preparation dealing with gas attacks, air raids and food. He also shows how overwhelmed local government were when they were tasked with setting up shelters, food distribution and firefighting services. It is easy today in 2017 to forget that a village or town may not had any fire fighting equipment in 1938.

The plans that he looks at were often designed in 1917 and barely dusted off. There was always the expectation that the next war would not occur without a decades amount of warning. Instead of 10 years the British had only from Oct 1938 to Sep 1939 to complete the preparations, which were often not even started yet.

Lastly he goes into a great deal of detail of how the British primary plans were always to just "muddle through".  It is uncertain if government agencies just thought war was never going to happen, or if if they thought is was someone else's job to start and finish the projects. That changed with Munich. It was for the best, that plans were given some time to complete before September 1939 and even into the winter of the Phony War. Without that time there would not have been either Chain Home Radar Stations or the Hurricane and Spitfire. Just think of the Battle of Britain with the Hawker Hart and the Gloucester Gladiator.

As for a recommendation, I give this book five stars if you are interested in Sea Lion or inter-war military history. As it covers no battles and ends with the start of the war, it has very little action other than buearacratic and great great what-ifs. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Do Not Give Up On The Game

In a recent podcast on the Veteran Wargamer, one of my favorite podcasts, the discussion came up on gamer etiquette. An important subject for both club and convention games.

Now I have taken part in several lost causes over the years, my favorite was portraying General Reynolds at Gettysburg holding up in town waiting on the arrival of the rest of the Army of the Potomac. Festung-Gettysburg. Troops on both sides were brittle after a day of heavy combat but General Meade did not know this and decided to cut his losses and refuse battle, with my troops escaping to the east with the coming of night fall, I so wanted to lay a dope slap on the rest of the Union forces. But the group I was playing with saw no reason to continue the fight. As this happened over 20 years ago I guess it left a mark.

The best example, in a good way, for me was a HMGS game back in 2012 where Mark Kinsey and I were running an IABSM engagement on the Golan just before the IDF counter attack was to get underway. One one side was a single Centurion (and LtC Yossi Amir), a couple of jeeps and a couple of rump platoons of Super Shermans. Not alot. On the Syrian side was 30 T-55s and a company of BTR mounted infantry. The Syrians made short work of the Super Shermans but they and the jeeps delayed and disrupted the Syrians allowing the Centurion with its Ace Tanker to take out the T-55s one at a time. If he saw them, he could kill them.

Now the Syrians were played by a gamer my age, read old, and a young man looking to play a game. Half way in, the more mature gamer threw up his hands and said in no uncertain terms that the game was unwinnable and quit.

Now Mark and I played it through many times both historical and as games, we know our audience. We played the IDF because in many play tests the IDF was down to only a single tank by the end of the game and that we thought would be demoralizing.

Our Hero

So Mark and I did the only thing we could, I became Syrian, and explained how to use realistic bounding tactics to obtain some cover but was eventually able to break the IDF tank the hill position and win the game. Also Mark did concentrate on destroying the tanks I was moving. But the win belonged to the young man with no name.

In the last hour of the game we had a nice crowd, including the boys father, and others cheering him on. It was my best convention experience. Only wish I could of shared that with the man who dropped out.

I would like to think we helped win over a historical gamer. I think so. So yes, do not give up the game.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Renault FT-17 - Oh so Cute

Yes a tank can be cute, or at least that is what my first wife said of the Italian and French tanks down in Aberdeen Maryland. She laughed when I told here some were made by Renault and Fiat. :-)

A friend to the entire hobby community, Craig of Gaming Models  has now released my favorite tank of all time, but the Cromwell/Comet/Centurion line is a close second, the Renault FT-17.

This is a tank that was designed in 1917 and saw combat in 1918 and has seen action often ever since, with copies found in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

From the plains of China in the 1920s and 30s, France in 1940 or the streets of Washington in 1932 this was a versatile yet slow tank. Easy to operate and maintain, great for a national army or a local warlord. See your local arms dealer, or Craig, to get yours. Even MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton were endorsers, or at least users of the FT-17 during there wartime and peacetime careers.

As for the arms dealer comment, there is a lot of truth in this.  If you have cash or better yet gold you to could become an armoured power. Useful to test out, and copy (see Soviet T-18), or use to put down brigands in Manchuria or Spanish Morocco.

For me it is in World War II that interests me the most, from German use of captured tanks for air field defense, anti-partisan actions and coastal positions the Germans kept these museum pieces in action at the same time they were using Tigers and Panthers.

In 1939 Poland had a significant number of FT-17s to use in Operation Case White. From PIBWL Poland had the following tanks in service, more or less.
  • 112 light tanks Renault FT-17 (numbers: 1001-1112)
  • 6 radio tanks Renault TSF (numbers: 2001-2006)
  • 27 training tanks Renault FT-17 CWS (nos:3001-3027)
  • 5 tanks Renault M26/27
  • 24 tanks Renault NC-27 (in fact, 1 tank, the rest might be FT-17s)
  • 174 tanks in total
So I can see a platoon of these for Poland and maybe a couple for some Imagination based in Central Asia where I can use my Ottomans, British and Arabs. May even need to look at the Ottomans from Peter Pig. So many options here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Early Morning Village

Here are a couple of pictures of my English village in progress.

 I took these this morning with the only light in the basement being the plant light, looking to simulate dawn. I need to work on some of the MDF buildings and the roads, but in general I am pleased how well it is coming out. Waiting on additional walls from Gaming Models, first time trying Craig's terrain. I also have a couple dozen trees to add to the village. Also waiting on the new releases by Sarissa Precision. A great time to be working on the village at this time.






Lastly I have move wheat fields that I can add to the mix. I might be getting close to going for a 8 by 6 table but that may be getting ahead of myself. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hello 2017

Well, we are a little less than two weeks in I am off and running. I have painted up three tanks (more on this latter and four 28mm Pulp Figures. But what is truly impressive, or ambitious, or maybe stupid is what is on my painting bench.

Dozens of AeroNefs, two platoons of 15mm infantry, British 1944 infantry and 1940 Home Guard (120 figures), and a dozen plus tanks. Yes I may have taken a big bite.

The British infantry are from PSC and I am very pleased with these hard plastic figures. The Home Guard are Peter Pig, also very good. The tanks are from Gaming Models and look great as always. I even have an American half-track for my movie Germans.  All of this kit will be used with TOOFATLardies Chain of Command.
The AeroNefs are from Brigade Models and will be used with my Imperial Skies rules. What I am waiting on here is to place an order with CoreSec Engineering for all of the basing bits for the airships.

I am not certain who wrote about his New Year's being to do 365 hours of painting in 2017 but I like it and I am following it. So far I have about five hours in, not to bad. Oh and I am also building up my village so 2017 will be busy.