Saturday, December 31, 2022

144 grams of Soviet artillery

I've had these almost finished for a good while, but they are done now.  Excess to what I need, but fits in nicely with what I want.  Crews are Battlefront, although maybe a few Command Decision figures have crept in.  I would have liked some extra figures to add to the bases, but three will have to do (and if I did have more crew they would be best on a separate base hauling ammo).

76mm Divisional Gun M1942

Exactly what these are is a bit in doubt.
Could be 122mm Gun M1931
152mm Gun M1910/34
something completely different,
I like the figure at the middle of the centre gun:
He's looking puzzled.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Barbarossa - Third turn and some of the fourth turn

This is  a big game.  You focus on one area, turn away, look back and it takes a while to find where you were looking at previously!

But we are getting there.

AGN on the road to Riga (south west approach)

AGN driving north

AGC on the northern road to Minsk (bottom right)

On the southern road to Minsk
This is a critical route as it has the promise of a good supply line.

But AGC still has some mopping up to do

Critical attacks by the massed Panzer formations of AGS,
the aim is to open the road to Kiev (center right hand side)

Attacks designed to cut off Lvov from the north.

Attacks to get to Lvov from the west

AGN end Turn 3

The rest of AGN but mostly AGC
Soviets are retreating on Minsk

AGS ready to exploit its very successful set of attacks

Turn 4

AGN - still in the process of moving/determining attacks

AGC fast outstripping its supply lines as it starts to approach Minsk,
from north and south

AGS showing determined attacks.
Pincers will start to close on Lvov
while a breakthrough just south of the Pripet marshes is imminent,
which will open the road to Kiev.

Game Turn six will see the Rumanian front activate and really test our reach!


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

DHsK and Maxim HMGs

My Soviets were missing some HMG stands.   I had an opportunity to get some Command Decision figures which came with a firing or moving option, but only one set of guns.  Without doing any research I arranged for a couple of 3D printed HMGs.  The difference is striking.  I now know why, they are two different weapons.  Doh!



Monday, December 26, 2022

Don't Mention The War - Part 28, 29 and 30 via Facebook

J/A 1943 The Allies get the Jump and win the initiative – ominous signs for the Axis.
Long Report – three sessions.
This session, we had the pleasure of hosting Del Elson, an old gaming buddy, from Vietnam holidaying back in Perth who came along for the night – he jumped in to play the Italian at the invitation of the Japanese/Italian player. Having won the initiative, the Allies went first getting the ‘double tap’. The weather roll is a 5, fine everywhere but storm in the N Monsoon – no air in that zone, so the pilots go to their messes for more beers – some things never change.
Allied 1st impulse– Allied priority W Europe the US take a Naval/Land spending 11 O-Points, CW a Combined, Russia and China Land actions. The CW port strike two Italian Subs in La Rochel before they get a chance to sail, a lucky 1 by the CW gives a handy split sinks 1 sub and aborts the second. The CW Home fleet sails into the N Sea to provide SB and embark US and CW land units from Denmark, Norway and UK. US naval units sail into the N Sea and Bay of Biscay to do the same. The land phase sees successful GS on some of the defenders and a US led Blitz attack against the defenders East of the Brest peninsular. TOTT rolls allow Allied exploitation of ARM/MECH further inland. Nantes is assaulted and cleared of defenders, acft are rebased. France takes a NCC and transports a newly built 7 Factor Ftr Europe. China's GS are ineffective no attacks.
Russia also took the opportunity to launch multiple attacks. A spread of 5 ground strikes including 3 Arty strikes had poor results with only a single ARM Corps and a MOT Div inverted. The hex NW of Krivoy Rog was blitzed as 2 of the 3 Russian stacks were already across the river, led by Zhukov. German defensive air support was cleared through and an average roll of 10 resulted in a 19 rolled - 1 loss to the Russian and half invert for a B. The defenders are sent to Berlin for reorg, another hole in the German front line and a GBA despite losing a valuable 7.7 MECH Corps. In the Crimea the Rumanian MTN Corps and the 2 factor Eng were also blitzed, again defensive air support was cleared through, bringing the defence to 10 and another poor Russian roll (5) resulted in a half invert for a retreat. A Russian ARM Div was GBA'd and the retreating units forced into the Crimean peninsula SW of Nikolayev, OOS they are able to be overrun. Disappointingly for Stalin, it’s only the first impulse of a likely long turn and half his HQ's are already flipped.
Axis 1st Impulse, The German takes a Land and commences a strategic withdrawal of AGS to straighten the front line in Ukraine leaving a single inverted 2 factor MOT Div in Krivoy Rog and an 8 factor ARM SE of the city. Little activity in the North with AGN holding the line. In the West, the reinforcements from Germany drive West to the River Seine and Eastern France, establishing blocking positions in an attempt to delay the advancing Allies. An ATR flies and re-inverts the 2 factor ENG thus stopping the free Russian overrun. Italy takes a NCC with a focus on the Western Front – units are railed, and the isolated Italian HQ withdraws East, more importantly Italian Ftrs arrive on the front to spt LANDOPS. Japan adopts a defensive posture and takes a Naval securing its important Sea lanes, The Sea of Japan, S China and China Sea and waits for the US to act.
Allied 2nd Impulse weather – 2, fine everywhere, and rain N Monsoon. The US priority switches to the Pacific as they take another duel Naval/Land action, another 11 O-Points spent, CW, Russia and China all go Land. In the Pacific the US sails into the Marianas with Marines and an invasion force that invade the Bonin Northern Island. A massed battle in the air for air support from both sides sees Japan and the US both lose acft and an average roll takes the unoccupied Island for a full US invert. The US rebases a long range Ftr to the newly taken airfield.
In Europe the CW expand their bridgehead and assist in the destruction of German defenders. In France, a 3-factor partisan attempted to destroy a 3 factor SS Corps which was defending an inverted plane SE of Metz. The Italians flew the long Rng Piaggio bomber and reduced the attack to +0.7 – the Partisan roll was an abysmal, 5 Rolled, a higher roll could have seen an airfield disaster for the German but lady luck looked after the German SS and Acft.
Russia’s land strategy is to mop up the German defenders that they had left behind. Russian GSs again fail with the Luftwaffe shooting down 2 x bombers and as usual, with their pilots – this acft/pilot loss has been a common and expensive trend for the Russian player – maybe they should issue parachutes? Russia declares three attacks but again the Russian Airforce is found wanting as critical German defensive air support was cleared through to support the single Germ ARM – from an 8 to a 12 in defence, and the isolated and inverted Rumanian Mtn Corps and German Eng were also doubled from 3 to 6 factors. Stalin rolled badly again - again a trend for 1943 with rolls of 8 and another 5! The +11.8 blitz on the ARM ended up being 16, Russia lost a MECH Corps - no GBA. The +9.8 blitz on the MTN/ENG became a 19 - 1 loss/half invert and with no retreat path both the Rumanian MTN and ENG were eliminated, just the Black Sea at their backs. The assault on Krivoy Rog was automatic as the German Div was eliminated against overwhelming odds – Russian gained a GBA. With two more half inverts rolled, all of the Russian HQs in Ukraine are now inverted. Slow progress which has been mainly due to well below average die rolls. Whilst none of the attack rolls were disastrous, the best roll over 2 turns by the Russian has been a 12.
Axis 2nd Impulse, Germany took a Land and continued the orderly withdrawal and consolidation of AGS. Again, no change with AGN content to defend unmolested. On the Western Front the River Seine is defended in strength and acft are rebased to that front to protect the defenders from Allied air. Japan and Italy both take combined actions. Italy spends oil and sails the Secondo Fleet into the W Med to challenge the CW air – supported by air they sink and find the CW convoy in the W Med. In the Baltic, a long-range Italian NAV hunts for the Allied navy but again fail to find. Japan reinforces it sea areas, especially the China Sea and two land units are disembarked onto Iwo Jima – the US Marine will have a contested landing if they want this rock. Acft from Malaya and Burma are rebased to Hong Kong.
Allied 3rd Impulse – CW take a Naval in order to establish its Convoy protection and transport CW and US land units into France to continue the build-up of the Second Front.The US conducts a blitz attack on the SE outskirts of Paris and roll a very ordinary 5 losing a 2.7 Mech div for a full invert – defenders are blitzed to the spiral – they will be back, but this poor roll shuts the US land options down. In the Pacific US Combined sees the US Pacific Fleet elect to take offensive action and sail into the China Sea off the coast of Japan – and search for the Japanese Strike Fleet – rolling a 10! No find for either side. J/A 43, Russia spends 4 O-Points to re-invert an ARM HQ due to the German point hex West of Krivoy Rog having an ARM and AT gun and a total defence of 22. Russia had only 2 ARM and needed the ARM HQ to declare a blitz. Ground strikes on the point hex typically fail but succeeded against the Guderian HQ shutting down the HQ Support. A Blitz attack was declared on the hex west of Nikolayev as 2 units attacking across the straights can join with the beleaguered units in Odessa to Blitz a couple of weaker units with a defence of only 6. Three points of air supported each defence due to a lack of Russian fighters. Surprisingly, two above average rolls (17 & 14) by Russia results in a TOTT West of Krivoy Rog and a 19 West of Nikolayev, clearing both hexes but costing a Corps in the South. GBA gained in the North. The Arm HQ was involved in the Northern attack but did not use the HQ support allowing the Russian to re-invert two ARM GBA’s. Russians eliminate the Finish Partisan supported by air and naval shore bombardment for no loss.
Axis 3rd Impulse, Italy and Germany takes a land and collapse Vichy as they are concerned that Paris will be liberated by the advancing W Allies and need to secure the 22 accumulated Vichy BPs. Vichy is collapsed with several Vichy ships captured by the German forces, but the majority escape to the FF African colonies, including the Tpt and CAs – the FF finally have a navy. German and Italian units are railed into the ex-Vichy French cities and the defensive positions in the Southern mountains and forests are occupied. With few reinforcements left, the Western front remains vulnerable as more US units arrive in the UK and France. In Russia the withdrawal by one hex is continued in good order and consolidation of their front-line. Rommel arrives in AGS to re-invert some of the front-line units and a bomber. More Luftwaffe Acft were rebased from the North to support AGS as there are few upright Russian acft left active. Without acft available to ground strike the German ARM/ATG stacks or contest their bombers the Russian will struggle to gain reasonable odds. No change AGN.
Japan’s Combined sees her reinforce the South China and China Sea, and the Japanese Strike Fleet off the coast of Japan –most of Japan’s fleet has sailed. Japan’s long rang NAV patrolling the Japanese Coast find the BS New Mexico with a 1 and the US BS is totally surprised handing over 10 points (5 shifts) – the Mavis NAV takes its 5 Nav factors up 5 for a Double X – massive explosions as the New Mexico evaporates in a wall of flame – no survivors.
Allied 4th Impulse – The CW and Russia take land actions and the US a Combined. The US advances units to the Eastern flank of Paris and from the French Ports on the East Coast. Acft attempt to GS Axis defenders with some success, but the recently arrived Black Widow is shot down on its first flight. The CW assault Rouen with 15-inch SB and roll well to take the city with no loss, a MTN unit is rebased to reinforce the City – the Seine River line is now unhinged. The British Lancaster Strat bombs the oil fields – no fighter intercepts so with a +1 with 8 factors and rolls a 1. A US B17 from Greece attempts to bomb Ploiesti but again rolls a miss. Russia continues to grind away at the German on the new point hex as their 6 x ARM/MECH Corps still allowed a decent blitz. As expected, Germ flew 3 x bombers however Russian AA gun turned one away. 10 points of support are cleared through with an overall +7.8 blitz. An average roll of 10, for an 18 – half invert for the attacker for a retreat for the defender. Bonus GBA as a MOT Div is upgraded, but another half invert sees only 4 Corps remain upright. No EOT Roll – 1 needed, Allies breathed a sigh of relief.
Axis 4th Impulse, Germany takes a Land and Japan a Naval, Italy a NCC. Desperate to roll EOT Germany advances a 1.1 GAR from Lille to secure the supply lines to the beleaguered Paris Garrison and the two inverted MECH on the banks of the Seine River. Western Front units are moved to maximise their defensive position. On the Russian Front some minor adjustments as both sides appeared to have culminated with no active HQs or Acft, and many units inverted. Japan took a Naval and went after the Pacific Fleet in the China Sea, they sailed the last of their navy incl the Res Kito Butai Fleet and promptly rolled a 10 on the search, the US found with 3 and get three shifts in their favour - the US Admirals were quietly confident – to minimise damage they took the Japanese air2air down 3 shifts as the two powers diced off the first major naval sea battle of the game – Japan at -2 and the US at -1 on the A2A table. Then it all got ugly the US rolled multiple average dice with 10 rolls 12/12/14/10/13/9/15/17/15/9 clearing bombers and bouncing US Acft and the lucky, lucky Japanese rolled 5/12/11/5/13/18/16/15/17. A win for the Japanese in their first Major fleet action with the US, although the US were also lucky with their damage control saving both an X and a D on the Essex CV – they build them strong. Having lost the first major air battle the Pacific Fleet, tail between its legs, the Pacific fleet is aborted back to Rabaul to fight again another day. The Axis fail to roll EOT – 2 needed, advances by 1.

Allied 5th Impulse weather roll is a 9 – fine everywhere, but storm still in the N Monsoon. CW take a Land and the US and Russia Combined. US subs hunt convoys with some success in the S China Sea cutting off much of the Far East oil to Japan. US Acft are rebased into the Pacific. In the West, the CW land units assault the 1.1 GAR unit cutting supply to Paris and advance in Southern France capturing Marseilles and Bordeaux. The US launches a Blitz against the two German, inverted and OOS Mech units over the River Seine and destroy both as there is no retreat path, but lose their ENG – Paris is now surrounded. Allied Strat bombers target German factories shutting down two. Russia, exhausted, takes a Combined and sails its CA’s into the Baltic to deter German shipping and trigger another search for the Italian Nav – no find. A number of units advance in Ukraine and in the Far East, a single Blitz attack by the Russian rolls well eliminating the two German units leaving a hole in the German line. Russia ends the turn on a 2, the Axis delighted, the Allies not so, initiative marker moves to +1 Axis – no reroll for the Allies and the Axis will win ties. No Partisans.
The Allies are now targeting the German oil with Strat Bombers as that is a critical vulnerability – but luck has been with the Germans here as all bombers have been either aborted or rolled low – no oil lost this turn, the German/Italian breathed a sigh of relief. German builds are under pressure as they have lost the 3 x Swedish, 3 x Russian, 1 Spanish and 3 x French resources AND the Allies Strat bombing of undefended factories is taking its toll. The Japanese have been extremely lucky both in searches and their air2air combats – beating consistently the Allied air. This is keeping the hopes of the Axis alive in this game as progress in the Pacific has been slow and Japanese losses minimal. Next session, Allies get a bonus 5thimpulse as the Axis failed to roll EOT – Japan and Italy may well pass next impulse as Germany’s position in W Europe is becoming dire and the German massed reinforcements that have been ‘Blitzed’ to the spiral plus the 22 Vichy BPs are desperately needed to stem the tide of Western Allies – and there is of course the promise of S/O bad weather and short turns – but you cannot bank promises.
S/O 1943 – The majority of German reinforcements, both air and land are placed in Western Germany to reinforce the Western Front. Initiative, and Russia and Germany both roll 9’s for the hotly contested initiative – Axis winning ties, take the initiative, huge sigh of relief by the German player as he can now establish a front line in W Europe and fill the holes in Ukraine/AGS front.
Axis 1st Impulse, Weather a 7 Rain everywhere, fine in the Med, turn advances by 2, nice roll for the Axis – short bad weather turns are needed if they want to hamper the Allies advance and minimise losses in territory and units. Germany and Italy go Land, Japan a Naval. Japan commits very early to guarding the China and S China Sea to deter any US intervention and escort their convoys and essential resources to Japan. The Strike fleet sails into the S China Sea and the Advance Fleet into the China Sea, both into the 3 box and both under the cover of 7/8 factor land-based air. Their subs screen the Pacific tasked with intercepting the US reinforcing naval units and Tpts. The Aikoku Maru (CX) finds a British Convoy in the Azania Sea but alert lookouts spot the raider and both sides roll 1’s for a Conv abort. German reinforces the Western Front entering Belgium and Eastern France and rails a single 6.6 MECH to Ukraine, their front line in AGS steps back a hex and reinforces the point hex, no change AGN.
Allied 1st Impulse, US takes a Naval and Russia takes an air, and the CW a Land, China a NCL. The US Naval sees the US reinforcing the Pacific with shipping and air, and their transports and Amphs delivering more US reinforcements to Europe and France. US CA’s assisted by CW Air enter the W Med to hunt for the Italian CA but no finds as both roll 8’s. Russia’s air sees the bulk of their air force redeployed to the frontline, the first Russian Ftr arrives by train to Siberia. A Strat bombing run against the Ploiesti oil field is ably defended by the Rumanian air force – aborting the escorting Russian Ftr, but these bombing runs are now being escorted by the first long range (10) Russian Ftr. The CW land sees units exploit S France and enter Marseille and push single units forward to capture resources and pressure the German. France takes a Naval and starts to move its recently ex-Vichy fleet from its African ports to assist the British with escorting Convoys and challenging the Italian Navy.
Axis 2nd Impulse, Weather roll a 2, fine everywhere NOT what the Axis wanted, another bad weather turn would have been ideal. Germany and Italy go Land Japan a Combined. Japan again reinforces the sea areas with air further deterring the US as Japan now has several 7 and 8 factor Acft in each sea zone. They embark and land a GAR Div into Manila to bolster up the defenders as rumoured invasion by the US persist. Germany uses the clear weather to commence a significant withdrawal in Ukraine back to the Rumanian border and hinging on the last Ukraine city, its capitol Kiev. This is a clever move as it almost makes the Russian’s last air move to bring up its Acft to the front line redundant. It does however concede a swag of territory back to the Russians, who may well now ‘liberate’ Ukraine a lot earlier than anticipated. An attempt by a Stuka to invert a GBA ARM stack cost the Luftwaffe the Stuka. On the Western Front excitement as the reinforcing German ARM/MECH Army (5 Corps) launch a massed CATK against a single 8.4 British INF on the Belgium border at +14. Emboldened, the Italians are galvanised into action by a lucky GS against an isolated and OOS black print British MECH on the W Med coast and attack at +9.6. Both attacks are strongly defended by Allied air support converting the 8 defence to a 16 and the OOS Brit MECH becomes a 3 as a US CA provide Defensive SB and a L/Rng bomber is also cleared through – Italy, the US and CW all lose escorting Ftrs in the air battles. Alas for the Axis the dice Gods even the ledger of low dice rolls as both rolls are 5’s – the British 8.4 Inf is blitzed back to London, half invert for the German attackers and in the South worse as all the Italians are inverted, and they lose a 6.3 INF Corps, and the OOS black print MECH is retreated into the sanctuary of Marseilles. Rough luck and a gift to the Allies who will be quick to exploit the now inverted Axis units in this bonus, fine weather impulse.
Allied 2nd impulse and possibly last for A/S 43 as the EOT roll is a 1 on the Axis impulse, and a 2 if both Japan and Italy pass – will the dice gods be cruel or kind to the hard-pressed Axis – next week – post Christmas, we will see.
· ACFT – Aircraft
· LOC – Line of Communications
· NCC - No Cost Combined – no oil used
· TOTT – Top of the table a 23 or more
· AGN/AGS German Army Group North and South
The Second Front truly opened as the Axis struggle to contain the advance - 
S/O fine weather has not helped,

CW advances are reflected in the smiles of their warriors

The Western Front J/A Front Line

British Inf start reading up about Paris and the delights the city has to offer

Paris surrounded - Lille 3 inverted units, fine weather 
and the Allies look to exploit success

US forces exploit success in France

The 1943 S/O German Russian Front

The Russian Front AGS 43 J/A Line

AGS - the German withdrawal to the Rumanian border

AGN - Situation no change as the focus is on AGS

The Far East

Sino Russian front - Garrison limits being tested

China - very little activity as Mao bides his time

The Pacific still in the Balance - but the noose is tightening

Akau Maru - Japanese CX still harassing CW convoys in the Far East

The Pacific - Truk remains isolated and less relevant as the US push past the Island

43 j/a Losses

43 S/O Losses after two impulses - mostly air

Air losses continue to mount on both sides

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Roman Christmas

Eh, I mean Saturnalia.

Velites - all I did with these guys was give em a wash and a rebase

Auxiliares - all my own work

My attempt at a boar

Legionaries (Hastati) - another just a wash and rebase job

When I showed these to my daughter she remarked that I had painted them in Xmas colours!

The velites and legionaries are repurposed from a DBA army, Essex figures.  The auxiliares were a rescue job (spare figures no longer required, manufacturer unknown).