Saturday, February 27, 2021

430 grams of Soviets

I'm actually working to a plan.  I've gone through all the Russian Front scenarios on the wonderful Hexes and Miniatures site and worked out what Soviet forces I need for them.  I've got about 80% of what I need, closer to 90% if I could just bring myself to use some armoured cars (of which I have an abundance) as armoured assets rather than invest in lots more T26s and BT5s.  Anyway, with this installment completed, I have all the T34s I need (which is a whopping 12 - that's a lot for a Rommel game).

This flash guy is solid metal.
I think a Peter Pig brand T34/85.

Same dude, but natural light.

This guy is heavy as well and I need one more.

This is my second and final SU76.
I invested in more crew for these, but couldn't fit them in :-(

The final batch of T34s.
I had to pull some of these apart as the tracks were around the wrong way.
The fit is not good.

One suffers bad from broken mudguards - careless parking no doubt.
The logs were a home made addition by whoever built these models in the first place;
adds a bit of colour,
as do the crew figures.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Drive on Damascus - Campaign - Part 4

 Six turns to go and the race is on.  Can the Commonwealth get to Beirut?

A desperate attempt to break the southern Vichy defences.
Note: if you attack, all adjacent enemy units must be attacked.

To the north Habforce leaves a screen to cover Homs
and then heads for the coast.

Now the attacks come in from the east.

Habforce encounters a small roadblock.

Fighting through the mountains is hard work,
the fighting concentrates on capturing the road way.
Habforce have closed the northern flank.

Vichy make an opportunistic attack against Habforce.

With three turns to go and a solid front before them, 
no way can the Commonwealth make the five hexes to Beirut.
A success in combat (a fickle thing) will only get a one hex advance.

Penultimate turn and attacks are made all along the front.

So close and so much devastation.

End of game and the Commonwealth are two hexes, 
effectively two turns, 
short of capturing Beirut.

While similar to most WW2 boardgames, the CRT and terrain effects are different and produce some mind boggling/juggling.  Basically hard to predict results.

The scenario is a interesting mix of slog and manoeuvre and there are decisions to make about attacks (noting difficulty of knowing outcome and having to attack all adjacent units if you attack) as well as decisions about lines of attack (coast, valley, Damascus etc). 

Most importantly we can tick this one off our games list.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Drive on Damascus - Campaign - Part 3

Having driven to Damascus, our third session focused on the battle for Damascus and then sweeping into the Beqaa Valley.

Allied Turn 9 
The focus is on capturing Damascus, carefully

The Vichy are pulling back on the coast to shorten their lines.
But still find time to counterattack the relatively weak Commonwealth forces screening the siege of Damascus.

The Commonwealth get on with the battle for Damascus.

End of the Vichy Turn 10 and they have again pulled back,
but also launched counterattacks around Damascus.
The fickle CRT could see anything result!

The Commonwealth pursue the Vichy forces up the coast and in the Beqaa Valley.
Mopping up commences around Damascus.

Turn 12 
Final mopping up around Damascus.

Turn 13.
There was an uprising in Sidon as the Commonwealth forgot to garrison the place.  Duh!
Habforce has arrived and is racing north with the aim of getting into the top of the Beqaa Valley,
while other troops try and fight their way in.

A clash of armoured cars.

Turn 14 and the Commonwealth try a perilous attack on the coast road.
They have to get to Beirut in order to remove the Fascist menace to the Middle East.
The Vichy pull back to avoid being outflanked
and also to prepare for the defence of Beirut.

Turn 15 and the Commonwealth make a lucky attack on the coast
as well as keeping up the pressure on the retreating Vichy.

In the north Habforce attack another Vichy delaying force.

The big picture end of Turn 15.
There are six turns left.
It is not going to be easy for the Commonwealth to capture Beirut in that time, 
but we will try!

While Habforce can be brought in as an outflanking force, this doesn't seem necessary once Damascus has been captured and also incurs delays.  Much quicker to bring them in on the main road from Trans-Jordan.  As it is motorised it can not enter any of the mountain hexes that surround the approaches to Beirut so it is not going to be that useful, but we shall see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Rommel goes to Tinian

At the club's February games day Simon adapted the Rommel rule set to this Pacific battle.  It was more a test to see if the forces were balanced and the new ops charts appropriate.  The figures and terrain looked great.

First challenge was to get a photo of the whole island.

I ended up going for two shots, with the thought of trying to paste them together...
This is the northern end, Ushi Pt. and Mt Lasso.
The marines are already onshore.

The southern end, 
Tinian Town is just behind the beach.
Japanese supply points are located in the mountain squares (flagged).
Mountain sides that are grey are impassable, ones that have a khaki tinge are scaleable.

This long shot gives a good feel for the size of the gaming area 
and saves me the hassle of trying to splice the previous images
There are two beaches where additional US troops could land,
but as the game progressed we didn't take up that option.

The US forces had already established a beachhead.
I got off to a good start with some lucky rolls,
compared to Simon's (who was the defending Japanese) unlucky rolls.

The aim was for the US forces to wipe out the Japanese.
This meant the Japanese player was more focused on holding on 
(reorganizing forces, digging in and delaying).
Note Japanese armour going in for a counterattack.

With just 8 turns each trying to occupy the whole island would be a challenge.  As it was it took the US a week (24 July - 1 August 1944).  Which leads to the option of making this a multi day scenario.

Simon did all the work for this scenario, all the figures and terrain, the OOB and the variations and rules for island warfare and a Japanese ops chart. The main change was the provision of bunkers.  

As this was just the first play through, publication of the scenario will be some time off as yet :-) 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Drive on Damascus - Campaign - Part 2

The campaign continues.  The blurry images are my fault, the random orientation is probably also my fault, ably assisted by Blogger (however after a bit of effort and false starts I fixed the image orientation problem by going into the folder holding the image on my computer, right clicking the image and using the subsequent menu to rotate left or right as required).

The Commonwealth are busy mopping up in the south east
(bottom right hand corner in the above image)

With the mopping up almost complete, 
troops are starting to get ready to drive on Damascus.

The Commonwealth column advances on Damascus.

The Battle for Damascus commences.

The Commonwealth launch a series of successful attacks,
breaking through the Vichy defenses.

The Vichy launch a very successful counterattack,
using tanks and planes.

End of Turn 8.
Despite the counterattack, 
the Vichy defenders of Damascus look to be in a perilous state.

338 grams of Soviets

The build up continues. 

Very simple paint job,
only minor repairs attempted (straightening wobbly gun barrels)

A flock of T70s.

Putting them all together.
Reminds me of yachts towing dinghies.

Zvezda Katyusha

Another beautiful little model from Zvezda, if a bit on the fragile side (as in care is needed in pressing the pieces into place).  I did a way too simple paint job, but it will be perfect on the table top.

Just for the record, it comes in at 5 grams.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 13

 A quick turn that saw the Axis going west and south and the USSR going east, far east.


A New Year! The Axis win the initiative and without hesitation give it to the allies to go first, hoping that they will also end the turn and shift the init track to the +2, A fair call as the weather is going to be lousy anyway, as the last weather was a 11 so there is a +2 on the that roll. The weather roll is a very average 5 +2 for a 7, mostly snow, fine in the N Monsoon but storm in the Med – the CW celebrates with a little dance – no Axis Nav air this impulse. A reprieve for the British operating in the Med as the massed Axis air is now rendered inoperable by the storm.
The Allies 1st Impulse and a mandatory naval by the CW to escort its convs and tpt units to Egypt, some action in the Med as British CA’s go out on patrol and search for the Italian Convs, 1 success with the sinking of 2 convs off the Italian Coast. However, the important supply conv to the Egyptian Axis Exped Army is missed. Russia takes a combined and strats Zhukov to the Far East and there is some movement as Russian units vacate Eastern cities in preparation for new reinforcements and future strat moves. The US continues to reinforce Pearl and can now influence the tension rolls with sufficient CV and BS in the port. China shuffles a few more communist units into the front line. Impulse marker advances by 3 – this will be a short turn.
Axis 1st impulse and GERM aligns Bulgaria which upsets the US Senate, and they get a chit (rolled a 3) – why the interest in Bulgaria, we are not sure. Japan aligns Indochina and gives the US Senate another chit – Roosevelt smiles as he does the numbers. GERM takes a land and starts heading towards the Bordeaux region, having captured vast quantities of excellent French Red, they are off. They look like a long ‘snake’ stretched from Paris to Bordeaux as they negotiate the Vichy border. The finest GERM Arm (9.5) is strat moved to Sicily, an important unit for some time in the sun – Egypt or Greece? which, time will tell. Italy takes a naval action and goes conv hunting with their subs, but the bad weather and average search rolls result in not a single find for the Italian, but one Italian sub breaks the surface outside Gibraltar and is promptly sunk by the RN – extra rum ration all-round. The Italian heavy surface ships sail into the E Med to hunt the British CA, but they fail to find. The 2 x CA’s off the Italian Coast patrol the 4 box and search for the British CA, but instead it is the second search off the Italian coast, bold for the British, who finds the old BS Giulio Cesare in the 2 box and damages it with no loss, the Brits not wishing to push their luck too far abort back to Gibraltar. The Japanese oil shortage is hurting, OFOPS as they are forced to take a no-cost land and attempt to GS the Chinese, 1 Div inverted in the South, they keep their powder dry and start to move their Marines to the coast and rail Corps North to counter the Russian build up. The Impulse marker advances by another 3.
Allies 2nd Impulse and the weather gods obviously unimpressed with the CW’s weather dance of joy, cleared the skies of the Med, 2 rolled (3) – bugger, no more dancing. The British take a combined as the CA squadron in the E med has to abort, or they will be massacred by the Axis Nav air. In Canada a Canadian Tpt sails into the Pacific loaded with a handy 7.5 Can MOT Corps, destination Singapore or Suez. On the Suez front line, with clear weather and the Italian Heavy guns in the 4 box the CW land forces step away from the coast, inviting the Italian’s to advance Eastwards. Russia takes a no cost Comb and strats another ARM to the Far-East and shifts several units on the GERM/Russian line – just in case. China moves and reinverts several units in their front line, EOT advances by 2.
Axis 2nd impulse and GERM aligns Rumania which is ignored by the US Senate. They declare a Naval and sail their subs to be able to rebase later, and Lutjens sallies forth again into the N Sea with his two BC, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to try to emulate last month’s naval success, the raider Atlantis makes a successful break-out of the Atlantic. Disappointment for the Kriegsmarine as all GERM naval searches fail, worse one of the old coastal U Boats found and sunk by the RN with an X and D – with a defence of 9 it rolled a 10, saved the sink but now a 10 in defence with its hull integrity comprised its hull is crushed. Japan takes a no cost (oil) land and fires an Arty as GS and rolls a 1 for its first inversion of the year. Supported by the Yamamato HQ leading the attack against the single inverted MIL in rain and rolled well enough to exchange it 1/1 and took the hex – Japan can now see the inner plains of central China. More Japanese units head North to Manchuria. Italy takes a combined and sail a conv into the Italian Coast to replace the previously sunk conv now that the escorts are in place. In Egypt the Italians cross the Western tributaries of the Delta and enter the vacated Egyptian coastal hex, one hex closer to the Suez – no attack as the GERM took a Naval.
Allied 3rd impulse and the weather worsens with a 10 rolled. Blizzard in the Temp and Arctic, Snow in the Med. The CW take a combined to step back into the port of Suez before the Italian gets the jump, loaded tpts head to Africa and using CA’s search to find ADML Lutjens BC Squadron but fails to find in the appalling weather. Russia adjusts his line and empties several cities in the Far-east to welcome next turns reinforcements and China is unable to plug the hole that the Japanese has created as the weather stops movement and he prays that he can end the turn so the Chunking MIL that will be arriving can be placed adjacent to the Nationalist Capital. EOT Roll is a 1 – turn ends, the Axis planners are pleased as the init shift goes into the Axis +2 box. Partisan roll is a 1, again no Chinese partisans for the 4th turn in a row – all at home by the fires know doubt, but the Army Liberation Friends of Manchuria turn up – and occupy one of the iron ore mine, they won’t be there long as they are a PART 0.3, not really even armed. The US Senate announces that the CM may now, with their blessing, reinforce the Pacific but that creates some tension (1 chit) in Tokyo and they also announce the lending of resources to Russia which upsets the Reichstag as another chit moves to tension. The US has yet to gear up, but that is looking more now likely with tension rising in both pools.
End of session, with rebase, production and reinforcements and a new turn next week – a good turn for the Allies, the Axis naval elements failed to find any convoys or shipping thanks to the weather and very average rolls, there were no CW losses – much to the relief of the British, Suez is still in supply and Allied hands, and the US has finally achieved tension with a probable Gear Up M/A 1941. The Russian build up on the Manchurian borders continues drawing Japanese from China. GERM is building up in Egypt and it looks like the Suez will be closed, and a very large GERM Column is marching to Spain.