Dienstag, 25. September 2012

Operation Cobra, Normandy, late 1944, mission not accomplished

Last Saturday we met for another engagement with our self-made tabletop wargame. In over 10 years it was the first time that Christian aka "Chrissy Cro" and me united to play the Allied forces. On the other side stood Daniel and Niclas aka "Auld Nick" with their german troops.

Niclas and Christian designed a nice scenario with a historical touch for our match.

Part of the french village Marigny hold by the Panzer Lehr Division in late 1944, Normandy

Road to Marigny - concentration area for parts of the 1st Infantry Division and the 3rd Armoured Division

The scenario was divided in different acts:
1. The german side will occupy the crossroads with a small force (about 120 points).
2. The US boys will start with 150 points.
3. With the first gunfight all other Allied forces (450 points) will enter the battle while in each further turn german troops appear as reinforcements at a price of 100 points till the limit of 600 points will be reached.

Some impressions of the game in pictures:

Supported by a M3A1 Halftrack and a mortar two troops try to cross the forest to reach the first crossroad

The Krauts holding the crossroad with a StuG and a rifle group
After a short exchange of bullets with casualties on both sides the 3rd Armoured Division started the main attack with 2 Shermans and a M10 "Wolverine" Tank Destroyer

Suddenly a big "cat" appeared within the village. Immediately the US forces split to outflank the StuG and the Tiger

This poor Sherman went left and was hit by the Tiger a turn later. The crew survived the attack but was shocked. Another turn later a second hit knocked the tank off. The crew abandoned the tank and fled.
At first sight the right flank seemed to work as planned - The M10 TD destroyed the StuG with a pretty good hit. While Christian and me was giving high-five to each other three german 120mm mortars fired on the crowd of men and vehicles near the salad (did you notice this beautiful salad? *gg*). All three mortar granates didn´t hit the aimed point but scattered and caused the hell on earth. The M10 was useless because the main gun became damaged. The Haftrack and the Sherman blew up in flames. Some good men got lost.
The US attack had been stopped. Operation Cobra failed. As a result we stopped the game. Again it was a really good game. We tested some new rules and cement some old ones. Furthermore we invented new rules for scattering mortar granates. Most important: The next games are scheduled ;-)

Dienstag, 4. September 2012

Bridgehead and a weak flank: Red Army vs. German Army

Hey, second time we played "The Jaffa Tabletop" (our own ruleset for scale 1/72) within 2 weeks. We had a beautiful showdown between German and Russian Forces.

We tested some new rules and had a lot of fun. Instead of a normal battle our "master of terrain" Daniel generated a complex scenario.

1. Part: The Russians deploy their whole lineup with the mission to gather a bridgehead on the other side of the river. Fearing a strong attack in their flank they had to split the forces to protect the village and their backside. The Germans starts with an unknown part of their linup on the other side of the river to defend the bridge.

2. Part: After 1D6 rounds the rest of the Germans attacks the flank of the russian territory.

Like the battle report before I let pictures speak for themself:

View of a recon plane - the bridge with mission critical geographic points (red dices)

German mortars waiting for the russian attack over the bridge
A mighty 8,8cm FlaK is waiting for action
On the other side: A KV-1A and a ZiS-3 AT-Gun (PaK) - the beginning was full of action

After a short military exchange the FlaK and the KV-1 blew up in flames. The PaK moved to another position waiting for the german forces on the flank.
Supported by fire from the mortars a heroic russian infantry group tried to pass the bridge
Not a joke - the Germans had the same idea. A SdKfz 251 gave fire support.
That wasn´t a peaceful picnic. Some moments later the russian group had nothing to laugh about.
Meanwhile on the flank: The PaK and another heroic (what else?) russian troop held of a German StuG III.

LEGO-ruins in action (see blogpost before). Russian infantry waited for the attack. Later on the German troops succeeded in capturing the village. Because they got all mission critical points we stopped the game.

The bottom line: Playing "The Jaffa Tabletop" - priceless! ;-)

Samstag, 1. September 2012

A quick start for a german task force - Armour & Infantery

I will start a new project tonight. In our wargaming group we have a small problem. One of our guys build nearly all of our german troops. I know, WWII without the german army would have been a better time, but in case of our game we can´t play without the germans. Okay, sometimes I can play with my Italians against allied forces but they have not so much to choose for the lineup.

My idea now is to build up a german task force to have an alternative stock for german troops if needed.

I want to model these kits:

Why Armourfast? As I mentioned in a blogpost before. I´m not a good modeller and the most important fact is: I know it. :-)

Bought the three kits because StuG, Pz IV and Panther are units that fought in nearly every battle between 1941 and 1945. With this small collection of german tanks I can represent a wide variety of the german motor pool with look-a-likes.

Bought a pack of Italeri German Elite Troops to add those guys to my existing Revell German Infantry.

Hope I can show you the results soon...

*Update 02.09.2012 morning*

Result after 3,5 hours of building. That´s why it´s called ArmourFAST.

*Update 02.09.2012 afternoon*
First mission accomplished - 6 tanks ready for painting ;-)

Dienstag, 28. August 2012

Italian revenge: Big brother helped out

A long time ago, in a galaxy ... wait. Okay, okay, okay, our last game was a while ago, shame on us. A week ago we met all together and played another wonderful round of our self-made "Jaffa-Tabletop" wargame. For a quick look into history feel free to read some posts here at Montys place:
Italians vs. British Part I
Italians vs. British Part II

Last time the Italians had "technical" problems and went to the dogs. My job was to prevent another disaster in the next game.

This time we had a different constellation:
Italians (me)/Germans (Monty) vs. British/US American (Cro & Auld Nick)

My idea behind was to strengthen the Italians a bit with their big brothers (the Germans - at least in 1942).
With over 300 points of max. 600 points invested in three german Tiger H tanks our side overran the allied forces. Two factors influenced the game:
1. We played late 1942 and in this time the Tiger H was "king on the road".
2. Our opponents counted on max. one Tiger. Their two Shermans were gone in flames after the first rounds and the other armoured vehicles had no chance to penetrate a Tiger.
3. Only effective weapon on the field beside the Shermans were two mortars, but our opponents did not use them very well. 

At the moment we try to balance all units and weapons and that´s a hard job. Sometimes the historical conditions prefer a side like in our game.

Beside this uneven showdown and the fact that the Italians can only win with a little help (*gg*) it was a illuminating game. We tried out a new unit-activation-system and it worked.

Pictures, let´s speak for yourself!

The Shermans looking for a worthwhile target.

Big surprise! Three Tiger H - two of them prey on the Shermans.
Meanwhile in the village: A small delegation of US troops is crossing the main street...
...and stumbles right on the third Tiger H. Not fair, isn´t it?
Italian infantry securing the first houses of the village.
The US Boys got the church and the other half of the village - a tough fight started.
View of a Fieseler Stork Recon Aircraft ;-)

Sonntag, 12. August 2012

Just a (Lego®) brick in the wall? Kharkov is growing...

Wow, last post was 2 month ago. A long break with many events, e.g. I changed the company. Please forgive my quietness, this weekend was the first time where I could concentrate on my hobby.

So what do we have here?

If you read my post "The Red Army is rising" you remember the russian HQ in Kharkov.
Unfortunately "my" Kharkov is everything you can see on those pictures. Tiny, isn´t it?
Fortunately I found some old ruins build with Lego®-bricks. The bricks are perfect to build houses or ruins in the scale 1/72. I can´t remember who of our guys built them over 10 years ago. The ruins are incomplete, just the naked bricks for the moment.

First I went to a building center and bought some spattling compound and tried to "hide" the characteristic look of the Lego® bricks. My first try was a bad one. Bought a compound that becomes too sandy while drying.

Second attempt.

I went to the building center again *grrr* and bought another spattling compound (hoping for the best!). Now everthing went well as you can see here:

Lego® ruin second attempt

I sprinkled stones in the middle of the rooms to get some asperity.

In the end of this step there should be a ruin that changed from a toy to a basic wargaming accessoire:

Nearly finished step

So, what is missing? Color!
Started with "Erdfarbe" (No. 87, Aqua-Color, Revell) for the floors:

Floors: Earth-Color

Followed by "Staubgrau" (No. 77, Aqua-Color, Revell) for the walls and some parts of the ground:

Walls and parts of the ground: Dust-grey

"My" Kharkov will grow again and again within the next weeks - 3 ruins to go!

Anyway, the HQ of my Russian Army moved into a new position:


The Commander of the KV-2 gets new orders

KV-2 between a new Kharkov ruin (front) and a toy-ruin (background) - The Commander doesn´t seem to be happy with his orders *gg*

What do we learn? Collect the Lego®-bricks of your kids and build some lovely ruins for the scale 1/72!

I think about some wood, bushes or gras within the ruins. Any ideas in your mind?

Samstag, 16. Juni 2012

Ready for duty: Katyusha, T-26 and SU-76

I am sorry for Russia, they lost the crucial soccer game against Greece and have to go home. However, while watching the UEFA Euro 2012 some russian units (all scale 1/72) got final paintings.

First my beloved Katyusha. For a flashback to earlier phases or a photo of the master see this post.

Katyusha on Studebaker Truck

Second a tiny T-26 (the left one) - sweet but deadly ;-)

left: T-26; right: SU-76

Finally I have to present a good support for infantry - a SU-76. Russian nickname of this self-propelled gun is "Suka" that means "Bitch". Am I allowed to write such naughty things here? *gg*

SU-76 with Commander and Loader

Again I am not happy with the quality of the photos - but hey, at least you cannot see my painted mistakes. Always look on the bright side of life... *whistle*

Hope we can see these babies in action soon...

Samstag, 9. Juni 2012

Project T-34/85 - A front-line tank for the next game!

Some years ago I have build a Revell kit T-34/85 scale 1/72. I painted it standard russian green and pasted up some decals. Finally it ended in a box for relocation *narf*

Resorting my tabletop stuff I found this glorious russian tank. The T-34 was a tank of mass-production and the T-34/85 version got a better gun to penetrate tanks like the german Tiger.

Next time we play around Spring 1944 the german army will have a problem ;-)

my personal "out-of-the-box" T-34/85
got a hit into the right gas tank
Ready for the front-line

Let´s hunt some Huns...

Will post some pictures when it has seen some action :-)

Freitag, 8. Juni 2012

Activate units? Not fair! Not strategic! Boring, right?

I have found a rule-set called "FUBAR" recently (download: http://thegamesshed.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/fubar-one-page-sfmodern-rules/). And there is this rule: The active player can try to activate a unit. If he misses the probe initiative will change and the opponent could try to activate his units. Within a turn the right to act randomly changes.
I had to think about that for a longer moment.

As I mentioned before, we are playing a self-made tabletop game in our wargaming group and precisely this rule was discussed one year ago.
If I unstand the rule right, two things will happen:
  1. Not all units get activated in a turn (this can be quite frustrating!)
  2. It is not possible to plan a strategy (this can be more frustrating!)
Do you know the game "Don´t get angry!" (german: "Mensch ärgere Dich nicht!")? It is the same effect: You have to roll a 6 on a 1D6 to "activate" your meeple at the beginning. If your are not lucky, you cannot act in your turn. Meanwhile your opponents are playing - hey, don´t get angry! *gg*

Besides that it can be very frustrating to be not allowed to act because of a lack of fortune, it makes no sense to plan an attack or a long term strategy. At any point of the turn your plan is doomed for failure if the opponent has more luck than you. Is this fair? IMHO not! Is this a strategic wargame? IMHO not!

Maybe I should not demonize this rule, maybe "there´s more than meets the eye with you." Sorry, had to lend this quote by Sam Witwicky *bg*

What about a little justification?
New rule: The active player can try to activate a unit. He makes his turn until he will miss the activation probe. The second player gets his chance now. And so on. Main changement: A unit that could not be activated at first try, can be activated later. The unit is not lost in this turn. If one player used all of his troops the other player can act freely till the end of the turn.

What will happen?:
  • All units get used in one turn
  • You can plan a longer strategic proceeding but sometimes you have to react on things your opponent is doing.
Disadvantage: The rolls of dice for initiative cost too much time.

Maybe even better: Both players roll a dice (1D10 or 1D12). The result is the sum of the roll and their initiative value (INI). The more points one player is above the result of his opponent the more units he can use till the next initiative probe is needed.

Player A with INI=5 rolls his dice and the outcome is 9. Result: 14.
Player B with INI=3 rolls his dice and the outcome is 5. Result: 8.
Player A can act with 6 (14-8=6) of his units until the next initiative probe decides who will act next.

Hm, just thinking aloud *gg*
What do YOU mean?

In my imagination it could be worth to try this variation out.

Let´s do it! ;-)

Donnerstag, 7. Juni 2012

Project "Stalinorgel" - Katyuscha on Studebaker

Before we can start playing an amazing game of tabletop wargaming, God (respectively the seller) gave us a folding carton with our beloved model kit. Unfortunately we have to build and paint it - the game has to wait! As I said in one of the last postings I am not the modeller in our wargaming group. However, sometimes even I have to take a glue or a paint-brush to get new units on the field of glory.

This is the master:

Source: Photo taken at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, Russia, by Nick Lobeck
A beautiful Katyuscha (german: Stalinorgel) on a Studebaker chassis (for more Info see Wikipedia).

This is the status of the model kit (okay, some of you would not call 6 pieces a kit *gg*)

Katyuscha unpainted

I will keep you up-to-date about my "precious"...


After some hours of painting:
Katyuscha painted - without decals

Now I have to choose some decals, do some ageing and get it dirty :-)

*Update 2*

Ageing done. I have qualms to make it dirty. For my eyes it is okay this way:

Katyusha on Studebaker Truck