Monthly Archives: November 2015

Fall In 2015 – Encounter at St Joost – January 1945

Don Hogge
This is the second Battleground WWII game:

Encounter at St Joost – January 1945

The scenario: The British 8th Hussars had the task of breaking out towards the River Roer. In their path, lay the village of St. Joost with an unfordable stream and one bridge across it. St. Joost was thought to be held by a unit of second-line Germans reservists. Looks like a cake walk. Can the Germans prevent the British from breaking out towards the Roer River?



Rules:  Battleground WWII

This was a slightly modified scenario from Squad Leader – Cold Crocodiles.  Another member of the HAWKs ran the same scenario earlier in the day using the same terrain and figures but showcasing the new Combat Patrol rule set.



The German defenders used hidden map set-up and movement to make things more interesting.

The British cautiously advance into the village.  A view of the British attack as they entered the village with the infantry supporting the Cromwell’s advance. 

One squad with a Cromwell enters the village

A building is captured

Another view of the British advance; in the bottom right corner you can see the Vickers MMG set-up to cover the street crossing.


Another view of the British advance

This British artillery barrage scattered a bit too close to the British Cromwell and infantry behind the wall.  It had no effect on the German defenders.  In fact, the British artillery was not very effective at all during the game.  Even the smoke barrages hindered the British as much as the Germans.

Danger close – no kidding

The Pak-43 claims its only victim of the evening – a Cromwell IV.  The Pak-43 then received a barrage of small arms fire that kept it out of action for the remainder of the game until the Crocodile moved into the village square and finished it off with a burst of flame.

A Cromwell is brewed up

A supporting Churchill Crocodile finally enters the fray. 

A Churchill Crocodile lumbers into the village

The hidden map movement and set-up didn’t slow things down too much.  But because they couldn’t “see” anything, the British advanced very slowly and were not able to capture enough of the village to claim a victory.

As usual, I failed to take enough pictures throughout the course of the battle.

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Fall In 2015 – The Assault on Villers La Bonne Eau

Don Hogge
 The Assault on Villers La Bonne Eau

The scenario:  During the later stages of the Battle of the Bulge, the 137th Infantry was deployed near Villers-la-Bonne-Eau.  On the night of the 29 December 1944, Companies K and L forced their way into the village.  They radioed back that they had taken the village but needed bazooka ammunition.  They settled in and waited for the inevitable counterattack.  The following day, the Germans attacked.

Rules:  Battleground WWII

This scenario was the first of five games that would be played using the village terrain over the course of the weekend.

A top view of the village square.

A top down view

A few views of the village from various sides.




A view from the North side
A view from the West side
A view from the East side

A view down one alley showing American GIs slowly maneuvering forward to engage the Germans.

GIs advance…..slowly

A squad of German infantry dismounts and prepares to assault into a building containing American GIs.  The GIs laid out the welcome mat with grenades and BAR fire.  A misthrown German grenade landed on their own flamethrower operator, killed him, caused the fuel tank to explode which then took out two German riflemen.

Panzergrenadiers prepare to assault a building
Panthers in the square

After several bazooka shots failed to hit, Panthers claim control of the village square.  It was a good close fight but the Germans failed to capture enough buildings to control the village.

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Andre Durand: Figure 182 of 265

Chris Palmer

    I finally had the time to finish up the Chronoscope set this week by painting the Andre Durand figure.   This set now joins the list of completed sets over on the right.
      I’ve been in such a state of disorganization lately, that I forgot to take a “before” shot of the figure. So I will have to rely on this one from the Reaper website.

      I prepped the figure in the usual way; soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish- soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued the washer-mounted figure to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of the Elmer’s glue.
     I began by painting his face and right hand with Americana “Shading Flesh”.   I then painted his shirt with Folk Art “Deep Tomato Red”, and his pants with Cermacoat “Territorial Beige”. After these, I painted his coat with Crafter’s Acrylic “Cinnamon Brown”.

          Next, I painted his boots, belt, and holster with Americana “Charcoal Grey”. I painted his hair with Americana “Sable Brown”, and the stock of the gun in the holster with Folk Art “Dark Brown”. The stone platform he’s standing on I painted Americana “Neutral Grey”.  When all these colors had had a chance to dry, I gave the figure a wash with Winsor Newton “Peat Brown” Ink using a wet brush.  When the wash was dry, I painted the gun in his right hand, and his goggles with Black.

      When the Black had dried, I drybrushed the gun with Folk Art “Settlers Blue”.  I then painted his powerfist, the metal parts of the holstered gun, and the bits on his belt, with Folk Art “Gunmetal Gray”.  I then did the trim on the powerfist,  the center of the round object hanging on his belt, and the buttons on his shirt and the lapels of his coat,with Ceramcoat “14K Gold”.   I did the trim on his right-hand coat cuff with Apple Barrel “Yellow”, and then painted the lens of his goggles with Crafter’s Acrylic “Christmas Red”.
   I then drybrushed the platform he’s standing on with Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”, followed by Folk Art “Porcelain White”.

       Next, I drybrushed his hair with Americana “Khaki Tan”, and then painted his eyes.  I followed this with highlighting his face and hand with the base “Shading Flesh”.  I then highlighted his shirt with Americana “Burnt Orange”, and his pants with the base “Territorial Beige”.   I highlighted his coat with Crafter’s Edition “Spice Brown”, and his boots, holster, and belt with Americana “Mississippi Mud”.   I then highlighted his powerfist and the metal bits of the other gun with Folk Art “Silver Sterling”. Lastly, I painted the lens of his goggles with DecoArt Metallics “Festive Red”.
         When everything had overnight to dry, I gave the figure a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”.  Then, that evening, I applied white glue around the figure’s platform base and sprinkled a sand and grit mixture on it.  The next day, I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote.

     I’m happy to finally have had time to finish a regular figure rather than another Familiar. 🙂    I’m generally pleased with how he turned out, though it looks like I didn’t wait long enough for the Dullcote to dry, before taking the final photo. 

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Treant Familiar: Figure 181 of 265

Chris Palmer

   Once again I found myself short of time, so this weekend I grabbed the Treant familiar from the Familiars set, and prepped that to paint.
      I prepped the figure in the usual way; soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish- soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed ¾" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued the washer-mounted figure to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of the Elmer’s glue.

       I began by painting the entire figure with Cermacoat “Territorial Beige”.  I then gave it a wash with GW “Agrax Earthshade” wash.  When the wash was dry, I drybrushed the figure with Folk Art “Barn Wood”.  I then painted the mossy/leafy areas with Crafters Acrylic “Forest Green”, and gave the figure two eyes with Crafter’s Acrylic “Daffodil Yellow”.  This was such a quick paint that I had almost finished before I remembered to take a progress shot!

     Next, I highlighted the mossy/leafy areas with  Crafters Acrylic “Citrus Green”, and then gave each eye a Black pupil.
       After the figure had overnight to dry, I gave it a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish” in the morning.  Later that morning I flocked the base, and that evening I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote.

     A nice quick little figure to paint, and I’m very happy with the results.   Let me take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving.  Hopefully over the holiday weekend I will have some time to paint!

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10mm Graham Farish building kits

Buck

A street of 10mm (N Scale) Graham Farish kits

A street of 10mm (N Scale) Graham Farish kits

At Barrage 2015 I picked up three Graham Farish 10mm (N scale) railroad building kits.  This weekend I finally took the time to assemble them.  While my assembly wasn’t perfect, I think the final outcome is passable.  With more practice, I think I could do a better job.

The box for one of the Graham Farish kits

The box for one of the Graham Farish kits

This is what the kits look like in the box.  There were apparently many different kits at one time.  I got these in a flea market, and I have not looked to see if they are still available.

The building blocks as they come out of the box

The building blocks as they come out of the box

When you pull them out of the box you get a bunch of these building blocks that have to be cut from the sprues and trimmed.  You get some instructions, and you get several sheets of facades to be applied to the building blocks.  I suspect these kits were quite old, but the gummy backs on the facades was still quite strong.  They are not die cut, so you trim the backs from the sheets, peel off the wax-paper backing, and stick them to the building blocks.

Another view of the building blocks

Another view of the building blocks

The various gummy-backed facades

The various gummy-backed facades

They assembled quite easily.  You almost don’t need the instructions.   There are some extra facades, so you can do a bit of customization.  The facades are meant to be photo realistic, and look pretty good once assembled.

A finished building

A finished building

There were even a couple of extra bits so that I could make these small sheds / garages.

On the whole, while a little large, I think the effect is good.  I really like the middle kit in the top picture that had the three stores.  The buildings will look okay in 10mm games and also some 10mm near future / science fiction games.

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Frostgrave day

Rob Dean

Chris Palmer hosted a Frostgrave day yesterday, so several of us gather to build scenery for the morning, and then play a quick game of Frostgrave.  This isn’t the time for a full review, but Frostgrave is a fairly simple fantasy skirmish game along the lines of Song of Blades and Heroes, involving treasure hunters in a ruined city.  It’s published by Osprey.


Just for fun, I put together a warband of the various vintage figures I’ve been working on the past few months.  They looked a little hobbit-sized compared to the mostly Bones in the other warbands, but i enjoyed seeing them out anyway.  

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Memorial Game of The Sword and the Flame

Buck

To mark the recent death of Larry Brom, author of the seminal and influential rules, the HAWKs ran a game of The Sword and the Flame last night.  It was fun to pull out those venerable rules and play the game.  TSAF was the second set of rules I ever owned.   Below are some pictures from the evening’s events.  The basic scenario involved the Pathans holding a hostage, young Wee Willie Winkie (the Shirley Temple version, depicted by a 15mm highlander in an otherwise 25mm game).  While a column of British and Indians moved to rescue her, additional Pathans were arriving as reinforcements.

Setting up the game

Setting up the game

Getting started

Getting started

The British force, including three platoons of infantry and one of Indian cavalry

The British force, including three platoons of infantry and one of Indian cavalry

Pathan relief force advances

The Pathan fort. Winkie is in the tower

Another view of the British advance

Another view of the British advance

The Pathan relief force musters

The Pathan relief force musters

The Pathan fort. Winkie is in the tower

The Pathan fort. Winkie is in the tower

The British advancing toward the fort

The British advancing toward the fort

A British platoon arrayed in a gap getting ready to blaze away at the Pathans

A British platoon arrayed in a gap getting ready to blaze away at the Pathans

Some Pathans defending the entrance to the fort

Some Pathans defending the entrance to the fort

The view from the Pathan fort at the advancing British

The view from the Pathan fort at the advancing British

The game ended when the defenders of the fort took enough casualties that they routed.  Then a group of Pathans charged to try to clear the way for the routing troops to take Winkie with them, but the were destroyed in a combination of rifle fire and melee.  The game was a resounding British victory.

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HAWKs Run Memorial “The Sword and The Flame Game”

Chris Palmer     Friday night, and their regular meeting, the HAWKs ran a memorial “The Sword and the Flame” game to commemorate the passing earlier this month of the rules’ author, Larry Brom.   Many of the club members had not played the rules in over a decade, and for some of the younger members, this was their first exposure to the rules.  

      GMs Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer chose to use the “Revision 1” version of the rules.  The scenario involved a British column sent to capture a Pathan fort where “Wee Willie Winkie” was being held.

     The game seemed to be a close one until the unit defending the fort failed their Critical Morale at 50% casualties, and decided to “abandon ship”.   After that, things fell apart pretty quickly for the Pathans.

      Everybody had a great time, and for this old wargamer it was a lot of fun to dust off this old set and run it again.  Many of my formative wargaming years was spend playing these rules, and this was a nice trip down memory lane.

          Hopefully another decade wont pass again before we break out these timeless rules for another game.

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HAWKs getting ready to run a memorial TSAF game.

HAWKs getting ready to run a memorial TSAF game.

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Gamer Designer’s Corner: More Thoughts on Volley Fire

Buck

In my last post, I talked about how I thought the firing mechanic in The Sword and the Flame did a nice job of representing volley fire — that felt like volley fire.  I want to talk about volley fire form a different perspective in this post.

I was reading one of the Wally Simon game design books that are being published by On Military Matters.  In one of the articles, Wally talks about a mechanic he envisioned in which reaction to volley fire is incorporated.  His thoughts dovetail with discussions in Brent Noseworthy’s books on the Seven Years War and Napoleonic Wars.  In Anatomy of Victory, Noseworthy discusses how difficult it is to get troops moving again once they begin a firefight.  There is an inertia created when lines begin to fire.  This may be due to the noise and smoke, the fear of the bayonet, etc.  But he makes the claim that when a charging unit fails to close and instead begins to fire that it is very difficult to get them to move again.  I actually incorporated this idea into Wellington Rules as an optional rule but left it out of Fate of Battle as being just a bit too detailed for those rules.

Back to Wally’s mechanic.  His thought was that when a unit fired, the target should immediately make a reaction test, which ranged from “remain under control” through “return fire” to “retreat.”  So a unit that is the target of the charge might discharge a volley.  The charging unit would immediately make a reaction test.  The most likely result would be stop and return fire.  Then the defending unit would make a reaction test, most likely returning fire.  Then the formerly charging unit, and so on.  The idea is that these units would begin blazing away at each other until one or the other broke or a commander on one side or the other was able to get his unit to close with the enemy.  It’s an interesting mechanic that has some appeal to it — particularly in an IGO-UGO activation scheme in which all the chargers are declared and everyone moves before fire is resolved.

In another article Wally talks about not counting casualties so much as disruption.  Of course, removing figures form the table does not always represent real casualties but some notion of disruption, stragglers, etc.  In Santa Anna Rules and Wellington Rules, I borrowed a mechanic I first saw almost 30 years ago in Ron Prillaman’s penny rules.  In those rules stragglers are represented explicitly.  Some hits remove stragglers and some remove casualties.  Stragglers can be recovered through rally-like actions by the unit’s leaders.  Casualties can never be recovered.  With this mechanic I was able to eliminate the need for morale checks.  When a unit had more stragglers than effectives, the unit routed.

So the idea is percolating in my head that combining these mechanics might make a really nice way to represent black powder era linear warfare in a novel and intuitive way.   Unit A fires, and unit B picks up some number of stragglers and casualties.  Unit B makes an immediate reaction test based on stragglers, casualties, remaining effectives, table situation, etc.  The response is often quite out of the leaders’ hands as the two lines of soldiers blaze away.  This goes back and forth until one side breaks or charges.

Right now, I am busy trying to promote Combat Patrol and and working on additional optional rules that I’ll make available as .pdf downloads, so these ideas are on the back burner.  One never knows when they’ll leap to the forefront and find themselves in a draft set of rules.

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