Saturday, April 25, 2020

Bare Under Wash

Trying to work out what detail exists on some shiny metal figures is hard work.  An undercoat doesn't help much, but the addition of a black wash...

Ukraine'43 First Edition - Turns Four and Five

The Soviets continue the offensive.

 Attacks everywhere!

 The line holds, although a bulge appears to the south east of Kharkov (centre of image).
Two Panzer Corps can be seen heading to this sector.

 Another set of attacks.
With one exception most were disappointing for the Soviets.
However Kharkov has fallen so the risk of an automatic Axis victory has been averted
(it is worth 3 VPs and if there is a difference of six or more based on historical achievements,
it's game over for whichever side is behind).

The Panzer corps have made some restorative work to the east and west of Kharkov.
There was a potential breakthrough that could have seen 48th Pz Corps head to Kursk.  
That would have been interesting. 
 If I had been playing on Vassal I might have seen how it played out, 
using the saved game to continue on otherwise.

In the east, in a series of 2 to 1 attacks, the Soviets repeatedly threw 1s, taking losses but no gains.  Have they crippled their offensive ability in this sector?
It is where the bulk of the immediate VPs are to be found...

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Normandy'44 via Vassal

Nothing better than one of these GMT games played on Vassal to keep one occupied during lock-down.

The Allies lost a total of 23 steps getting ashore.  Or to put it another way, only 13 units arrived without loss.  The US airborne and Canadians suffered the most.

The Germans made five attacks.  Against the US airborne they forced retreats.  The rangers are defeated at Pointe du Hoc.  The 21st Pz Div attack against the 6th Airborne was not very successful.

The Allies make twelve attacks trying to secure their beachheads.  They have success, particularly Omaha, but again take losses, particularly the British and Canadians.

The Germans make two attacks.  The 82nd Airborne were forced to retreat from St Mere Eglise. The 21st Pz Div took losses fighting the 6th Airborne.  Good news for the Allies is that they can start building their Mulberries.

The Allies make seven attacks.  They meet with modest success.

The Germans had used seven Strategic Movement Markers.  They are only allowed three!  Easily fixed at this stage.

The weather on the 8th of June is clear.  Will this save the Canadians from the onslaught of the recently arrived 12th SS Pz Div?  The 12th SS make two attacks against the Canadians.  They are both successful, even after the intervention of Allied fighter bombers.

The US make five attacks, the Commonwealth two.  All attacks were successful.

The weather remains clear.  The 12th SS makes another two attacks, but the Allied fighter bombers nullified the attacks.

The US make five attacks again and the Commonwealth two. Bayeux is captured.  All attacks are successful.

The weather is overcast.  The Germans launch one attack against the 6th Airborne.  It is a success.

Again seven attacks are made.  There is no air support.  However the attacks are largely a success with Carentan captured and part of the 12th SS Pz Div surrounded.

The weather is still overcast.  The Germans make no attacks as they concentrate on repairing their lines.  12th SS Pz Div escapes.

The US again make five attacks, but the Commonwealth launch a massive six attacks in an attempt to break into Caen.  The US attacks are going in at 3 to 1 while the Commonwealth's are at 2 to 1.  Some progress is made, but at cost.  Again the 12 SS Pz Div is in trouble.

The weather remains overcast.  The Allies remain without air support.  The Germans make one attack, it is an impressive 6 to 1 by the 12 SS Pz Div as it attempts to breakout from the Canadian grip.  The beat up Shermans are no match for two battalions of Panther tanks.  However losses are sustained by both sides.

The US again make five attacks.  The Commonwealth two.  It is very much a war of attrition.  Special Services troops performed their last action, but a foothold was achieved in Caen when the German determined defence failed.

Clear weather, just a hint of cloud.  The newly arrived 17th SS move up to attack with the 12th SS on reserve.  The 17th are successful despite Allied fighter bombers, but the 12th SS fail miserably, losing valuable panther tanks in a futile follow up attack.

The US make seven attacks as they race across to close off the peninsula.  The Commonwealth make one attack against Caen, which just produces a lot of casualties.  The US are more successful and  Cherbourg is now cutoff.

The weather is again clear with a hint of cloud. The Germans rush 2nd Pz Div to the west coast to stop the US breakthrough.  The SS Pz Divisions wait their time.

The US make four attacks, wearing down the German defenders on the peninsula.  The British 6th Airborne start to make attacks to the east of Caen.

Storms! The German panzers launch three attacks against the Commonwealth forces to the west of Caen.  The Germans drive the invaders back, inflicting losses, particularly to the 7th Armoured, but lose valuable elite tanks in the process.  They don't have the strength to follow up. In the west some German units are now trapped and out of supply, while remaining units head for Cherbourg.

I realise at this stage that I haven't been reducing the movement rate for German mechanised units during clear weather.  I don't think it has had too much impact.

The US make three attacks, clearing the way to Cherbourg and attempting to break into the perimeter.  The British 6th Airborne make an attack to the east. All attacks force the Germans to retreat.

The weather returns to being overcast.  The Germans make five attacks.  One in an attempt to reestablish the Cherbourg perimeter, one trying to straighten the line in the west and three from the panzer concentration to the west of Caen.

The US make four attacks, two of which are mopping up.  The Commonwealth makes one attack to the east of Caen.  Mostly successful.  The pressure is mounting for the Germans to reinforce east of Caen.

The game is now at the halfway point.

More US Forces - Infantry

The question in the following text I posted to the Facebook WW2 Smallscale Modelling & Wargaming Group.

"Finally finished these 15mm PSC US Infantry figures. Only when I started to look at the photos did I see I probably should have done a better job removing mould lines. But they are quiet fine (as in slender) figures so not an easy job to hold and file (never mind to actually see the mould line if it is not highlighted in some way).
More bizarrely, there has been either a reaction or pooling caused by the matt varnish (VJ which otherwise has been perfect for me - I am on my second spray can). If you look at the centre stand, right hand figure, you can see an unintended white mark on the rim of his helmet.
Anyone experienced anything like this?"

On the table the figures will look fine, so I am not going to try any kind of repair.

They are constructed for use with Rommel and Crossfire as well as Blitzkrieg Commander and I expect some other rules.  What I am missing is HMG and mortar stands.  I can't justify buying the PSC Heavy Weapons box just for one HMG and one mortar.  I should advertise as I am sure someone will have a spare they can swap, sell, or donate.

For Crossfire I've marked the platoons by different type and or quantity of shrubbery.

Turns out the white effect was caused by high humidity.  Living in what is effectively a desert, this is some what of a novelty.  But it had been raining in the night and there was enough moisture in the air to interfere with the varnish/solvent.  I am lucky that the problem is so minor.  In the past I have suffered a dust like effect when spraying when it is too hot (varnish effectively dries as it flies and lands as dust).  More commonly matt varnish has been anything but matt, but with the VJ varnish that hasn't been a problem.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ukraine'43 First Edition - Turns Two and Three

The offensive continues.

 The Soviets launch multiple attacks, 
picking on the weakest points in the Axis lines, 
trying to breakthrough.

The Luftwaffe are trying hard to support the army.
In this edition the air support is not just column shifts,
but also can add to defense strength (which is how terrain benefits are largely factored)

 This time I remember to take the photo showing the Soviet attacks, marked by their combat ratio.
As can be seen there are attacks everywhere!

The Panzer Corps are concentrated on the very ends of the lines.
The rest of the line is fragile, but holding.
Belgorod (north east of Kharkov) has been surrounded.  
The two divisions trapped there are fine, so long as they don't get a retreat result as there is no determined/desperate defence in the 1st Edition.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ukraine'43 First Edition - Turn One

In these times of reduced gatherings, a near neighbour suggested potentially playing a boardgame.  This would be after Easter.  He mentioned a few games, but I knew he had Ukraine'43 and said I'd be keen to play that.  That was agreed and we promptly prepared.  I read the rules (available online at GMT's website) to make sure I was up to speed with the slight variances that GMT have between their WW2 operational boardgames.

I knew my opponent wasn't as familiar with the system as I was.  What I wasn't prepared for was that the copy, in fact two copies, of the game he had was the First Edition!


So it was a strange learning exercise for both of us.  So much so that it took the whole day to complete set up and play the first turn (understandable as this is the most involved turn of the game, and my opponent was going Soviet while I went Axis).

 The dice indicate the odds ratio of the attacks.
5 to 1 is the highest on the table.  1.5 to 1 is also on the chart (and represented by two dice).
Nine attacks in all.  
The Soviets averaged about 2 on their die rolls and while breaking the line, took a lot of casualties.

The SS Pz Corps repaired the centre break 
with multiple attacks until it had used up all its Tiger tanks.
On its first attack it I threw a double six in stark constrast to the Soviet die rolls.
48th Pz Corps has started to work on sealing the more dangerous break through in the north 
(bottom left hand corner)

Very enjoyable, but challenging.  No determined defense.  No tactical movement. More options for the use of air power.  Different terrain combat effects. Secondary combat dice to determine additional casualties in big battles.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Grenze Infantry Regiment #9 (Peterwardeiner)

I pinched the uniform details from, specifically

 While not my favourite pose,
they look good deployed in line.

 Very happy how the red turned out.
The light blue might be a bit bright,
but seems fine in these natural light photos.

These were all done with a grey undercoat and then a black wash,
as against my usual black undercoat. 

 I'm just thinking maybe I should have painted the mustaches.

And amazingly they can form column.

Monday, April 13, 2020

A Pair of M19 "Covids"

Well actually another M10 Wolverine and an M36B1 Jackson.

 The M10 is the plastic kit that they sell as Tanks!
The crew figure is from the Flames of War M10.  
Crews for Tanks! I believe are sold seperate.
Went together well, but as always getting the transfers to play nice is a challenge.

 This has a big gun.
I also went to some trouble to use a magnet to affix the turret.
The first time I had attempted this.
After some messing about, I used the head of an iron cleat nail in the hull,
with a little magnet glued to the bottom of the turret.
It's a perfect fit, but a little stiff to freely rotate.

I think I'm done now for US tank destroyers.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Austrian Hussars

Or to give them their proper title Hussar Regiment No. 3 Erzherzog Ferdinand Carl d'Este or, as I like to think of them, the 19th Covid Hussars.

These figures have been in my possession since the 1990s.  My Napoleonics used to be Airfix 20mm, drifting into a few Minifig and Hinchcliffe 25mm until I started a 6mm Russian army.  Sadly 6mm didn't allow me to do the detail I wanted and I sold them to Albert Nazarczuk.  With the proceeds I bought a French 15mm army from David Williams (238 Foot 36 Mounted 9 Guns 3 Wagons 8 Limbers for $A150 on 27 September 1993).

I've surprised myself and gone and looked at my expenditure records.  In the following six months I bought a large number of Prussian and British Essex figures from Alan Traves that I think he was planning for a Waterloo army.  These Essex Hussars were part of that and were either going to be Prussian or Dutch Belgian.  It had always been my intention to paint them as Austrians.  There were some Essex Austrian infantry as well but I have already painted them (two units) and posted about them as well.