Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of the Big Push

As 2014 comes to an end I am trying to clean up the painting table. Here is a look at the table and what is left. Still have two battalions for ITLSU, eleven 1/600 aircraft for 1940 and a mix of miscellaneous small projects.

As part of the Big Push, I completed six figures for the Command stands for my Arab troops for TOOFATLardies ITLSU.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Big Push

Like all Big Pushes, this one is running out of steam. I have an Arab and British battalion that I am trying to finish up this year but they may come out after the New Year. Also working on some French and Italian aircraft for 1940.

But I have finished up two Battalions of Arab infantry based and ready to take on the British in Mesopotamia.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Big Push

Over the last three weeks with the holidays coming up I have been slowing down on my Big Push Project. That said over the last two and a half weeks I have finished up two buildings, five tanks and a truck.

Before the end of the year I will be working on eleven 1940 French and Italian aircraft and two battalions of WWI Middle Eastern troops.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fao Landing Part II

The battle is over and the British have started their long march north towards Baghdad, or they will once orders are released from the India and Colonial offices.

For now the reports show the Ottomans were tenacious trying to get through the Indian troops and escape to Basra. Losses were heavy for the Turks with half of the force dispersed and the rest captured.

This was an interesting scenario getting me back into the If the Lord Spares Us, rule set. Artillery was limited with the HMS Espiegle involved in a friendly fire incident. Machine guns were not used as was done historically. I am working on rules addenda that will include reinforcements and recovery for the campaign.

What is known in this 2014 study is the British have landed their Brigade north and west of Fao to reorganize for the advance on Basra. Leaving their mountain guns on the transports. Limited intelligence will be a major influence for the campaign. From the Brigade two companies were dispatched to protect the oil facilities around Mohammerah and an additional company acting as porters and guarding Fao. With a fifth of the companies on other duties Brig-General W. S. Delamain Indian Expeditionary Force 'D’ is already diluting his attack force.

I am finding this to be a slow but educational study on the campaign.

Up next, Johnny Turk strikes back.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The landing has finally taken place at Fao.

Brigadier General Delamain has launched the long awaited landing in the upper Persian Gulf having taken place a month late. The British landing was conducted at the telegraph station of Fao instead of the beaches around the fort. This allowed the Indian Army to get a jump on the Ottomans.

British and Indian units have secured the telegraph station causing the Ottomans to be out of communication with Basra. The troops are now advancing against the fort attempting to disperse the Turks with fire from the HMS Espiegle. Unfortunately the Turks were not aware of the plan as they continued on to the village little slowed.

More to come from the field shortly.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Push Continues

The Big Push is on. As of last night I have completed the TOOFATLardies blinds, twenty15mm figures, telegraph pools and two buildings. I have another 20 or so figures to strip and repaint, fifty or so figures to prime and nine tanks that I am assembling. Mental note on the last, need to pick you glue. I also has a dozen or so aircraft to finish detailing but at 1/1250 scale not sure how to do Soviet red stars.

The buildings have been the most interesting. They are paper mache and I plan on using them with the rest of my Aqaba buildings. While I am not a fan of my abilities of cutting and building paper structures paper mache is something I can work with.

Close Up. It looks like I have to touch up the tree trunks.
I will be on the look out for roof clutter.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - The Big Push

I will be sans computer tomorrow so here is my Paint Table Saturday.

This week I finished 16 Arab towns folk and 4 Ottoman WWI artillerymen along side sixteen signposts and telegraph poles.

Easiest way to show this is with a simple town scene.

On the bench now are four M-51s, a Whippet, two A7Vs and two Mark IVs. I am please with the size in comparison with my existing WWI tanks. My current M-51s may be sold soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - The Big Push

With the year coming to an end I am trying to clean up a few projects and at the same time clear off the painting and gaming table. I want to end 2014 the same way I began on the Vis Lardica website, with a bang. As you can see in this picture I have my work cut out for myself.

While I have new World War I tanks to work on (as well as four Ishermans) I will work on the projects that are needed and or quick. This means Turkish troops for Fao, aircraft for the North Atlantic Harpoon scenarios and blinds for my TOOFATLardy’s games.

After that I have a battalion of British for the Middle East and East Africa, the tanks that I just got and what ever else is on the table that needs to be taken care of. I look to be very busy.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Paint Table Saturday

It has been too long since my last Paint Table Post. That is because I have not been doing a lot of painting.

The Table - Not a lot of action.

Village of Fao.

The Battlefield slowly coming together.
A Pontoon Bridge that will be useful for this campaign. I may need to change out the pontoons.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Future Wargaming Project

I have started drafting from my an outline for an article or possibly a stand alone supplement. After an evening of writing I am up to 415 words and four different story lines. Some involving not only French, but American and Italian aviators. So many gaming possibilities in 1940 France.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On to Baghdad - Line Up of Battles

I have worked through the first set of battles for the campaign. They will start with the Landing at Fao and go through taking and holding Qurna (Battle of Eden). For the Indian Army, they need to continue to win. At worst they need to ensure they do not lose.

The reasons are simple. The Royal Navy can offer some protection in covering a defeated Indian force, yet if the loss is significant; there is limited naval transport to remove a defeated army. Without the facilities at Basra the British are looking to retire to one of the Persian Gulf islands, possible without all of their army. Surrender would be devastating and could give strength to anti-British feelings among the Arabs, Indians and Afghans.

For now we will assume that the Indian Army will be victorious against the Ottomans. Why of course they will be. This line up sounds more like a football lineup than a list of battles.

  • Landing at Fao
  • Sanniya – Possible Counter Attack
  • Saihan – Reconnaissance in Force
  • Sahil – Attacking a fortified Objective
  • Basra – Saving the City from Looters
  • Qurna – Securing Basra from the North

Next up, were do the British land. A very good question.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Harpoon 87 in the South Atlantic

We had a naval day at the club and was well attended with four players and three games going on. Thank you all for playing.

It was a sad day for submarine sailors. I ran two different submarine simulations with trying result for the submarine captains. The players did well in both cases with situations not their own entire making.

The first was Sink the Belgrano from the Falklands. In this one Captain Tony was trying to get past the destroyer escorts to go after the ARA Belgrano. Captain Chal ran an effective interference. So much so that his destroyer was sunk after firing off two ASW torpedoes at the HMS Conqueror. The lose of the ARA Hipolito Bouchard allowed the Belgrano to leave with Captain Mark covering her. The Conqueror would eventually catch the retreating ships but not before aircraft would arrive.

The Argentinians had issues with their sonar with at one point a ghostly image appeared near were they that the submarine was located. This caused the Argentines to be suspect of the real location of the submarine.

This battle can be found to be a success for both sides as Argentinian losses were smaller than historical and I am certain after this event that the Belgrano was going to stay in port. Which was what the Royal Navy was trying to do.

The second was a semi historical scenario with the ARA Salta was trying to get past two anti-aircraft escorts working with two Sea Kings. Captain Mark plan was to go deep and pass the patrols. Unfortunately a Sea King drops its dipping sonar less than a half a nautical mile away.

Ping, PIng, PINg, PING, PING! found you. The Salta was quickly found and a second Sea King dropped two Mk 46 torpedoes on her and it was over in less than 60 seconds.

I would like to run this again (Tony) with a longer approach. I am still uncertain that the ARA Salta can get through, but a lucky shot could cause a British destroyer to limp back to the repair facilities at Ascension Island. A big success for Argentina.

How well does a rule set that is 27 years old hold up? I have to say rather well, in my opinion. I may have to rewrite the play aid but I still prefer Harpoon 87 to Shipwreck or the current version of Harpoon. Your results may very.

Friday, October 17, 2014

New at Baccus 6mm

If you are a gamer you already know about the quality of the miniatures from Baccus. There 6mm Napoleonic and American Civil War are stunning. When in column or battalion squares these packed figures look how we think those battle should appear.

Over the last few months they have been releasing Great War figures for the Western Front starting with 1914 and the battle of maneuver and they are equally brilliant figures. I have been working on building the British and Germans for the Battle of Nery and with their most recent releases this has become very do able.

Baccus most recent releases include divisional packs for Great War Spearhead, as well as offering the rules. While I will continue to tinker with TOOFATLardies If the Lord Spares Us in 6mm I am glad to see such alliances between rule designers and miniature manufactures.

Why? For me (and I am sure other gamers) we end up having bags of un-needed figures while basing up my forces for a rule system. You buy what you need based on the rules. And in a perfect world they will even be sold at a discount.

I do not mind seeing rules designers working with miniature manufactures and it is a win for the hobby. While I do not play Flames of War I am glad to have access to their toys. They have some of the best Japanese tanks out there in 15mm. Flames of War moving into 1917-18 World War I is another win for the hobby.

What are your thoughts, should rules writers work closely with figure manufactures?

One last comment on these recent releases, I do not know how I am going to get to use them, but I need to add the Pioneers to my next order. They are just such great sculps. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drilling at Fao

The Ottoman troops are drilling in and around the Fao fortifications. They are ready to fight for Allah and the Ottoman Empire. At least until the HMS Ocean shows up. OK while I would love to add in a pre-dreadnought, we will have to settle for the Cadmus-class sloops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back in the USSR

A funny thing has happened recently with my Blogger account. I am getting more traffic from the old Soviet Union and Warsaw Pac countries than ever before. This part of the world as well as China is difficult for westerners to generate interest in blogs and other Social Media. Yet Russia, Ukraine and Poland has generated a great deal of traffic for me with Russia being in the top five most days.

The reason appears to be the Russian Internet company. While I do not read Russian I am impressed in the look and feel of their site. Very clean and easy (I assume) to navigate. With 60% penetration in Russia and operating in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Turkey this is a search engine bloggers and SEO professionals should not discount. The company has also opened an office called Yandex Labs in the San Francisco Bay area.

While I have not received any comments from my eastern European readers I appreciate the traffic and look forward to hearing from them. My recent On to Baghdad project may spur some interest as the Russians will make an appearance I am certain in Persian. But that is for another blog after I paint up the troops.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Armies by the Numbers

One of the biggest issues with running any historical campaign is working out the numbers of troops fielded by both sides and making that work with the rules you are playing with. If a rule set calls for each figure to represent 20 real troops, does that include officers and NCOs. What about the followers still found in early 20th century armies.

And then there is the battle with intelligence itself. How many troops are really there. Looking at the four battalions in General Delamain’s force in November 1914 it is easy to figure how many stands I will need.

Other Ranks
Other Ranks
2nd Dorsetshire

20th Punjabis

104th Rifles

117th Mahrattas


This comes from the Official History.

Yet my rules call for smaller stands. I can live with this as units will have troops detached and conducting other duties. This will give the Indian Regiments 12 stands and the 2nd Dorsetshire 16 stands which is in line with the rules, If the Lord Spares Us.

And then on to the Ottomans. Here there are a few intelligence issues here. The Indian Army was lacking good coobarated intelligence on the ground with most information coming from Arab forces looking to curry favor with both the British and Ottomans. Often at the same time.

This is what is known in the Basra to Kuwait area from September 1914 on ward to the landing at Fao in November.
  • September 1914 – 8,000 rifles, 500 sabres, 58 guns and 6 machine guns in and around Basra.
  • It is latter reported that there are two regiments between Fao and Kuwait.
  • A further report showed 3,600 infantry, 1,000 gendarmerie and two batteries of guns in the Basra - Kuwait area.
  • The Shaikh of Mohammerah is able to bring 5-10,000 rifles to the fight (presuming on the British side.
  • The Shaikh Kuwait was able to bring an additional 16,000.
  • 38th Division and gendarmerie were known to be the only troops between Baghdad and Basra once troops were redeployed towards the Caucasus Front when the Ottomans entered the war.
  • Major Radcliffe from Kuwait sources had the Fao area holding 400 troops and seven to eight guns.
  • The Shaikh Kuwait reported that mines were received for the waters off of Fao.
  • Lastly there are the Turkish sources. Fao had 110 rifles, four guns and no machine guns.

These are assumed to be a mix of local Arabs and Ottoman troops.

For the Ottomans I will go with small companies of three stands each compared to the British four and Indian three. The number of companies is undetermined.

So how do we run this? I think very carefully. General Delamain knows he has over whelming superiority and has the Royal Navy to assist. But in any good game there has to be a certain level of uncertainty. Do the Ottomans have machine guns? Will the warships be able to bring in a barrage prior to the landing? Are the Ottomans trained or just a rabble?

In the end I am going with a random events/forces chart (to be seen in the next Lardies Christmas Special) for the beginning of this campaign. Will General Delamain win? I think so as it will be hard to stop the British from advancing on Basra and possibly Qurna. Hard, but not impossible.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On to Baghdad - The Teams

Here we have the players. Each has its weaknesses and even a few strengths. It will be a long hard slough but I am sure the British will be in Baghdad by Christmas, just not sure which year.

Indian Army 
This is the basis of the British forces in the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia. The Indian Army was responsible for this area as well as east Africa, yet it does not appear they have a plan on what to do. Most of the army plans dealt with the Northwest Frontier. This army up until the siege of Kut Al Amara operated on a shoe string logistical budget. At one point it was thought that all that was needed to take Baghdad was two divisions, one on the offensive and a second defending the supply lines. They were wrong by several factors.

Ottoman Empire
The Sick Man of Europe, but in the words of John Young in the Holy Grail, I’m not dead (yet). The Ottomans and their army were fighting well above their class, doing respectably against the Russians, British and French on four fronts. Good on the defensive, the Allies should be wary of these troops.

The Persian Army was an army in name only. They had trouble maintaining their frontiers from Russian and British forces as well as internal brigands. This was a land of intrigue were German and British spies operated in the open. Easily fodder for another game. Easy to throw together a border force for Through the Mud and the Blood but I see little likelihood of a larger force being put on the table. Than again…

Russian Empire
They have a strong interest in Persia and the Ottoman border areas. Easy enough to add a Cossack unit or two to the mix. FYI, the Cossacks were used as part of the police force in Persia. Like the Persians, not a main player, but there are possibilities.

Wild Card Forces, There are so many here…and a few that could be a surprise.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Naval Battles for the Tabletop

As I am going over the forces for my two Falkland’s battles Mark brought up a point I hear often in running naval games in general and submarine actions in particular. That is “that Submarine Battles are the most boring things ever.” OK Mark, we have you on record stating this. And looking at the big picture he is correct. Naval actions are quick and nasty engagements. Forces have little time to react once weapons are away. Crew training and luck are what allows a ship or submarine to return to port.

Looking at modern engagement we have:

1973 Yom Kippur
  • War Battle of Baltim 3 engagements lasting less than an hour and a half 
  • Battle of Latakia 4 engagements lasting less than two hours 

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 
Two Type 14 (Blackwood-class) frigate of the Indian Navy against a Pakistani Daphne class submarine. (I do have a soft spot for the Blackwood Class). Indians had no knowledge of the presence of the submarine until the torpedo was fired. Unfortunately for the Pakistanis the torpedo failed to explode. A second was fired and the engagement was over in less than 30 minutes (possibly closer to 15 minutes).

Falkland War
Most of the fights were short, once both sides were engaged. This does not include time to set up the best possible solution.

So are these enjoyable to put on the table, I think so. Naval tactics in the Cold War era was based on finding, tracking and if necessary eliminating the target. Submarines trained in attack and counter measures. Even once a torpedo is in the water, the defending submarine can still launch what is called a “snap-shot” were they fire a torpedo down the path of the oncoming torpedo. This can disrupt the wire guidance of the attacker and if your luck is holding you may get a kill.

On the gaming table, modern naval actions will take longer to play out than it was to actually fight them. I am ok with that. I do not have a Fire Control Party to help me run my simulations. You learn why things were done historically.

Let me know what you think.

Royal Navy Toast for a Friday 
"A Willing Foe and Sea-Room"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Heading North

For those interested, and if you are reading this I assume you are, On to Baghdad is a historical campaign that I will be running over the next few months. It will be using 15mm miniatures from my collection and hopefully others that I can bring along with this insanity.

My figures are a mix of Mini Figs and Peter Pig. I know there are a few others but they were bought on a lark and I forget the companies. We will also see small craft and some trucks and cars as they were used in Mesopotamia at the time.

Terrain is easy as the campaign is fought mostly in a flood plain and I have buildings from doing Aqaba. Rules will be a mix of the Lardies’ Through the Mud and the Blood, and If the Lord Spares Us.

Please follow along for battle reports, how to build river craft and most important how we do against the history.

Next up, the Fort at Fao.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On to Baghdad

As the Germans advanced deeper into France the British Empire was unifying to assist the home islands. The Indian Army while looking to support operations in east Africa and in France also looked at protecting the oil refineries in Mohammerah for the Royal Navy.
The Persian Gulf for decades was considered the domain of the Royal Navy and the Indian Army. It surprised no one when the HMS Espiegle and HMS Dalhousie arrived in the Shatt-al-Arab protecting British interests.
While the Ottomans were concerned at this intrusion in what they considered their territorial waters they lacked a navy to enforce their claims.
On the 5th of November the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’ arrived to protect the facilities and the next day landed at the old fort at Fao.
This blog will follow the advance north to Baghdad in real time using historical sources, period media and miniatures. Lots of miniatures. Together we will fight the battles as the Indian Army advances On to Baghdad.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Music and War Tourism

Today we talk about a strange new industry called war tourism. This is where westerns go off to ISIS controlled Syria and Iraq and fight for what I can only assume to be their beliefs. While the term is new men and women have often gone off to fight in causes they believed in.

When I first heard about this on the BBC I thought of Hemingway and the Lincoln Brigade fighting in Spain during their Civil War.  Is there much of a difference. While I have read about and listened to interviews of the soldiers that fought against Franco I have not heard from similar tourists going off to Syria.

Will we treat these current day warriors the same way? Many that went off to fight in Spain were able to use their training in fighting the Germany in WWII. Unfortunately their home countries (US and Britain come to mind) not only forgot about them, but also persecuted them as Reds and Communists in the post WWII era.

As an unrepentant cold warrior I get it. It was not right but it is important to see the period in the eyes of those that were there.

With all this news on ISIS I come to read this week that the Smithsonian has released folk tune from the Spanish Civil War.  Songs heard by the 2,500 that went off to fight from the US as well as friends and family at home. I look forward to listening to these and think about men (and women) willing to leave their country and go and fight for their beliefs.

Are you able to do this?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Haze Gray and Underway

 My fleets for my up coming submarine games are now ready including aircraft.

The more famous fight is the HMS Conqueror against TF 79.3. In this action the Conqueror fired four torpedoes and hit two targets. While the ARA General Belgrano was hit by two torpedoes one of her escorts was lucky and was hit by a dud.

In this fight we have:

HMS Conqueror – Churchill Class SSN

ARA General Belgrano – Phoenix Class Light Cruiser
ARA Piedra Buena – Sumner Class Destroyer
ARA HipĆ³lito Bouchard – Sumner Class Destroyer

The Belgrano was carrying an Alouette III but I am uncertain if it was used as a utility helicopter or as an ASW asset.  As I can find no record of the Argentines using the Alouette for ASW operations I will not use it in this game.
(Image is from Wikipedia)

In the next battle we have a more balanced ASW operation.

Here we have the ARA Salta trying to get closer to the British carriers.

ARA Salta – Type 209

HMS Brilliant – Type  22 Frigate
HMS Yarmouth – Type 12 Frigate
3 Sea King Helicopters No.820/826 Squadrons

It is reported that the Salta fired six torpedoes but they all misfired. While a blessing to the British it was a sad event for the Argentine.

Now I need to find a couple of able body sailors to take them to sea.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Painting Table

My paint table is finally opening up as the last of the summer and fall plants have left the basement and not a moment to soon.

Modern warships are coming together for two submarine games I will be running in October. While both are historical one is a little shaky as it involves the ARA Salta in its attack on the British.

For World War I have British naval infantry, early war cavalry and Ottomans for the Mesopotamia Campaign.

A little farther back, the Dark Ages, I have Picts and Normans in the queue. Image is from Splintered Light's website. The Normans are for their campaign in southern Italy a conflict I was unaware of. With luck there will be new rules from TOOFATLardies latter this year.

I have also been looking at the Lardies rules for naval combat in the Age of Nelson called Kiss Me Hardy (love Richard’s titles). That means I will be looking at some 1/2400 scale ships. I will probably start out with a handful of ships from Tumbling Dice. Thank you Chris for the article in the Lardy on setting up a campaign. Love those 6th rates and sloops.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Osprey Latest Poll.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Osprey Publishing is looking to re-release or create fresh titles for their New Vanguard Series of vehicles covered in the past. Their list on the poll was I thought vanilla. We had the standards for modern tanks the T72, M1, and the Challenger 2. For IFV (battle taxis) there is the BMP and to round out the list was the late WWII stalwart the Churchill.

For me it was a moment of one of these things is not like the others. When 80% of your list is modern and you are going to offer a WWII vehicle the Churchill does not normally come to mind. But think again, I had a co-worker who was British and he had served in the Army post war (national service?) He was assigned to an engineer unit and they had Churchills. While I am not sure of the variant I want to lean towards the Kangaroo as he talked of it more as a taxi/truck than a specialized piece of engineering equipment.

As of today the vote is close with the M-1 @ 25% followed by BMP (24%), Churchill (19%), T-72 (18%), and the Challenger 2 @14%. Take the time to let Osprey know what you want to see next by go to their home page. Remember those WWII gems severed on for a long time afterwards and have a place in many a Cold War army.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

One Crowed Hour

A good time was had by all last night as members of the York and Lancaster clubs got together to take part in the RPG classic, Traveler.

It was the scenario One Crowed Hour and it did take an hour longer than was expected. Than again the players were not cooperating much.

We were on a star liner that came out of jump and were heading towards a gas giant. That we found out latter. Several of us worked on the launch (with only one member of the party able to get on it), repaired the controls (sort of) and helped control the rowdier members of the passengers and crew.  In the end I won, sorry Jayson, as I rescued the girl and rode the liner down to a crash landing.

It was a hoot and hope to do something like this again. Thank you Mark.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Falklands 1982 - Submarine Action

I have always been a big fan on the second edition of Harpoon by GDW. It was a great mix between game and simulation. You can as a game master work at making the scenarios fair. At least to a point. I feel that the later editions by Clash of Arms have made Harpoon more of a simulation than a game.

So when the idea went out for a naval day at the club I jumped at the idea of doing a Harpoon game based on the Cold War. While I first thought of doing a Third World War naval battle in the North Sea. After running through the games a number of times I found that I was going to need more time than a normal game day. I also needed players familiar with modern naval games. This we will have to work on.

So instead of a convoy battle in the North Sea (I will revisit this in the future) I headed south to the Falklands. Chal has me looking again to the Falklands War 1982 so I will be running a battle that might have occurred on May 1-2 1982 were an Argentinian submarine was engaged with the British. I say might, as the information is still sketchy.

So I will be looking for three to four players to command the ships, air assets and the submarine. If you are attending on September 13th please let me know if you are interested in one of the commands. Knowledge of Harpoon is nice but not required.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In the Name of Roma

Fellow Lardy Chris Stoesen wrote In the Name of Roma as a supplement for I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, Troops Weapons and Tactics and Chain of Command. All I can say is this is so much more than a wargaming supplement. It tells the early campaign history of the Italian forces in Russia in great detail. While I have read a much about the Russian Front the Italians part in the campaign is an area that I knew little of outside of the Stalingrad campaign. This supplement fills a large gap in my knowledge of the campaign and has me looking for more. Thank fully Chris offers that "more".

This eBook is broken down into several blocks. There is one that covers the history of the 1941 campaign for the Italians in general and the 80o Roma Infantry Regiment in particular. Order of Battle and gaming materials are next followed by the six campaigns and 30 scenarios. While this is a TOOFATLardy supplement, it is easily used for any platoon or company level game system.

Chris Stoesen covers the units and the order of battle in great detail. We read of the L3/33 being used successfully against Soviet infantry and their T37 tankettes. There are games were the Italians are using their Legion (CCNN), Bersaglieri or Esploratori platoons. All interesting and colorful units in both the history and for the table top.

There is the struggle on the Italian side of using their limited transport capabilities (often civilian vehicles) to move their battalions around. Logistics being almost more of an obstacle for the Italian Corps in Russia (CSIR) than the Soviet troops. These troops were promised both a short campaign and logistics from the Germans. They received neither.

With six campaigns and game aids any arm chair historian or wargamer will find this meaningful reading. At 285 pages there is a lot of meat here. The bibliography alone is worth the price of this eBook. I hope Chris Stoesen will continue to write such insightful supplements.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pimping My Ride

One of my biggest issues with painting and weathering vehicles is the fiddly bits such as national ensigns and markings. I often see the names and wonder how I am going to do that with a 15mm tank?

So I was happy to see these from Flames of War for their World War I German A7Vs. I am sure we will see similar ones for the British but my current German tanks are about to get an upgrade.

Link to the Flames of War page on how to use them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Missile Corvettes

While I have been working on my backlog of unpainted lead and resign miniatures I felt I was missing an important element in my micro-naval fleets. I was lacking in Soviet missile boats (also know in my club as targets). This is not an issue if playing in 1/1250 or 1/600, but my navies are in the 1/6000 scale at the small end up to 1/2400 scale. At these sizes we are taking about small boats with no miniature company willing to spend the time make them.

Along comes Shapeways were gifted armatures design these missing vessels. So I ordered a pack of eight Osa and eight Nanuchka class boats. I was surprised at the quality. I have based the Nanuchka class boats and you can make at the detail showing that they are what they are.  In the past white metal miniatures could just look like a blob.

Armed with the SS-N-2 or latter the SS-N-9 these are dangerous boats if used properly. Their track record has not been outstanding as they are often forced into situations were they do not have proper air cover. An example being the Libayan Ain Zaquit was sunk in the Gulf of Sidra by an A-6E on the 24th of March 1986. I hope my boats will do better.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Flames of War - 1918

I was glad to see Flames of War entering the gaming environment of World War I. They are the 800 pound gorilla and by them entering I can only hope that more manufactures will also join in and add to the wealth of 15/18mm figures and vehicles out there.

With a little surprise on my part I see they skipped the battle of maneuver in 1914 and the trenches of 1915-17 straight to the breakout offensives of 1918. Well Flames of War is in the business of selling tanks as Mark says so it makes sense. I do think they missed the boat in selling the infantry and cavalry for 1914. That is a colorful period, perfect for their rulebooks and trade publications.

They also went with German on British actions so we are missing the US Doughboy and French Poilu. Funny they already have the FT-17 already made.

And than I received in my mail box the email of their new releases. This is for the German forces…

Assembling Biltz's Battlegroup
with Blake Coster

Years of combat have made your infantry a tough fighting force. The cutting edge of your attack is the imposing A7V panzer and Stoss (shock) platoons. This tank is superior to British tanks in practically every way. Mass them against a weak point in the enemy line and use its overwhelming firepower to tear open a gap in Tommy’s trenches.


I am glad to see the Germans have a team of two tanks per company. There were only 20 A7V built so that is enough for two battalions.  I also did not realize so that they were superior to anything the British had.  Well the A7V was a big target with poor armor and poor off road speed. Its one strength is on road movement and most battles in 1918 did not happen on the road.

This is only a problem if people playing the game do not know their history. Gaming can come with a certain level of disbelief but this is historical gaming I thought. It is a concern to me a both as a gamer and historian. Do I own an A7V? Yes I have two. But if they are on the table the Germans are looking forward to a hard time. Either that or it is VBCW, but that is another story.

The German Shock Platoons will be useful for any 1917-18 battles and should be the strength of the unit. I guess it is all about the tanks.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fleet Additions

I have added seven ships to my micro-naval fleets. These are in 1/6000 scale adding four Charlie class, two Knox and a Farragut.

While they are planned for a North Atlantic Cold War battle I am sure I can get a lot of use out of them.

Painting 1/6000 scale ships is relatively easy. It is the basing and naming that has been the most difficult. I have tried a number of ways for naming the warships; ship name, class name and project number. While I liked the idea of using the project number for the Soviets most gamers are not aware of the nuances of the Soviet naming conventions. So back to NATO class names for now.

Also applying the names to the ships has been hard. I have tried label makers and MS Excel tags. I ended up going with the Excel tags and white glue. The glue works better than the tape less of a shine. Live and learn.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Oil Platforms

Today Britain stands tall in my wargaming universe with these latest acquisitions. We now have two oil/gas platforms to be based in the North Sea. Why you ask? Every country and navy needs secure access to Petroleum, Oil and other Lubricants (POL). We now have the means of getting it out of the North Sea. That also means we will need to defend it.

These were a recent purchase from Shapeways. For those not familiar with Shapeways, they work with 3D designers in creating interesting products that until recently required access to molds and casting tools. Now you can create in plastics, ceramics and metals. A simple search based on scale will reveal miniatures that can help fill out the missing slots in your collections. That is what happened to me, I was looking for “X” and found it, but also found I needed to buy “Y” as well. Happens all the time.

These will be used mostly as scenery and objectives on the table. Normally there is not a big call for scenery for naval games. While purchased for North Sea games these may make an appearance in both the South China Sea and Persian Gulf. Can you say Fast Attack Craft (FAC) gentlemen?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cricket and the War

While I have often seen the special characters that miniature manufactures love to bring out I rarely take a second glance at them. While a prestigious officer or runner may get my attention, the soccer ball kicking or carousing soldiers have little use to me and my gaming. Or so I thought. Yes there were the Foundry figures that looked strangely like the Marx Brothers but I took a pass at them.

Than there is the cricket players found in many World War I packets. Never thought too much about them until this week when a strange juxtaposition of events brought them to mind and my blogs.

I started a new job this week and the person training me has two company trophies in his cubical for playing cricket. Now this is an international company so I saw not surprised to see trophies for this, although at first I thought it was for baseball. Later in the week I received from one of my World War I feeds a link to two cricket players that died in the war. Two of many I am sad to say. It is interesting piece of video from a sports channel. I hope we see more pieces like this.

I hope you will take the time to watch this. Please let me know if you have any local sports legends that were lost in the war. Also I may have to take a second look at those special characters. And thank you Sunil.

Video from Skysports

Monday, July 28, 2014

WWI Games

I have played a lot of games. And while not all of them have dealt with The Great War many (if not most) have.

This is my start on a top 10ish list of best games of The Great War. While everyone's list will be different I would love to hear about your favorites. Please comment here or on the appropriate Social Media channel.

The list includes both board games and miniature rules.

Great War at Sea - Mediterranean  by Avalanche Press
Great War at Sea: Cruiser Warfare by Avalanche Press
Jutland - Avalon Hill
The Far Seas S&T

If the Lord Spares Us by TOOFATLadries
Through the Mud and the Blood by TOOFATLadries
Trenchfoot - GDW  and Frank Chadwicw

Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series
Algernon Pulls It Off by TOOFATLadries
Dawn Patrol - TSR
Wings - Yaquinto

The Guns of August - Avalon Hill
Pursuit of Glory - GMT
Lawrence of Arabia - 3W

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Games Day July 12th

I attended the Gamers Day for Delaware County Gamers and it was very well attended. I do not know if it had anything to do with Historicon being the following weekend, or possibly coming off of the energy from the last meet up on the USS Olympia.

These photographs are from a Blitzkrieg Commander game I played in. My German assault guns did not have a very good day as they were trying to protect the flanks of two Kampfgruppes that kept moving away from each other. I will give the rules another try but will play in my preferred 3mm or 6mm for micro armor. Playing in 15mm made it play too much like Flames of War.

And lastly the remains of the day. My two battalions was reduced to a company more or less. Each stand is a platoon.