Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Operation Brevity - May 1941 - Scenario / AAR

Happy 2016 Readers

This will be the last blog post of 2015, so I will take the opportunity to thank all my readers for their interest over the last year and wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year, here's hoping that 2016 will be gaming heaven.

Operation Brevity 15-16 May 1941

By way of background Brevity was a limited scale offensive conducted by the British in the Desert Campaign. It was intended to deal a blow against the allegedly weak Axis front line forces around Fort Capuzzo and that sector of the Libya / Eygpt border. The operation was a success for a very short space of time before German reinforcements were rushed to halt the Allied advance, the attack was called off by the British High Command after just one day.

Operation Brevity is one of the main areas of interest for our 28mm WW2 actions, with tech limited to stuff in theatre on 31-Dec-41, Brevity, Battleaxe and Crusader form the main focus of the games we will play.

Italian Recon burns early in the battle
I was looking to develop a game to include our rather large Italian forces along with some of the German units one of our regulars has just invested in, rather than go full out historical I decided on a game with a Brevity flavour based around a Fort Capuzzo style action. An Italian Force, lightly armed holding onto a defensive position around a fortified village being reinforced by German units against an initially stronger British Force.

I'm a big fan of variation in scenario set ups with variable arrival times and random reinforcements, most of the stuff we play could be repeated many times and the game would never be the same, not everyones cup of tea and it can lead to some one sided games, however rather that than a points system (uurgh I feel dirty even mentioning points systems !).

Set Up

Above is a map of our table set up, table size is 12 x 6 (each grid square is 2ft sq), fairly open with some ridge lines and areas of broken ground offering limited cover.

Note on rules

Regular readers will be well aware that commercially available sets of rules rarely survive contact with our group and WW2 is the same. Our rules are based mainly on the Iron Ivan Games WW2 set but with a TooFatLardies style card activation system, we also have a system of random event cards to spice things up. Scale is about 1 fig / veh = 4. Morale as standard for your rule set.

Italian Troops dive for cover whilst under Mortar Attack in the Fort.
Italian Forces

8th Bersagleri - 1 HQ with 2 figs armed with Pistol and SMG, 1 x 50mm Mortar with 2 crew, 3 Platoons each with 10 men containing 1 Leader with SMG, 1 LMG team of 2 men and 7 men with Rifles.

62nd Italian Infantry - 1 HQ as above, 1 x 50mm Mortar with 2 crew, 2 Rifle Platoons each with a Leader with SMG and 10 Riflemen and 2 LMG Platoons each with 1 Leader with SMG, 2 x LMG Teams with 3 men each and 2 Riflemen.

Support Weapons - 1 x 20mm Anti Tank Rifle with 2 crew, 2 x 47mm Anti Tank Guns with 3 crew and 1 x 81mm Mortar with 3 crew.

Recon Squadron with 1 x AB41 Autoblinda Armoured Car and 1 x AS42 armed with 2 x MG

Tank Squadron - 3 x M13/40 Tanks

N.B. During the write up of this post I have discovered that the AS42 entered service in Dec 1942 and therefore is illegal ! The person concerned will be dealt with (quite lightly though as it is rubbish !)

Italians can set up anywhere in within 2 ft of the right hand table edge, i.e the side with the fortified village. The AT guns are dug in and all Italian units start the game hidden.

 British Set Up

Three players took command of the Allied Troops and each had a similar force, each player had the following, all Allied units come on the table and are counted as spotted,

Infantry Company - 1 HQ with 3 figures, 1 x 2" Mortar with 2 crew, 1 x Boyes A/T Rifle with two crew and 3 Platoons of 1 Sgt with SMG, 1 Bren Gun Team of 2 men and 7 Riflemen.

Tank Sqn - 3 Tanks with a single Recon vehicle.

Player 1 set up in the top 4 ft of the table entering the table edge on their card activation, with an Infantry Co from the South African Royal Natal Carabiniers, 3 A13 Cruiser Tanks and a Marmon Herrington A/C

Player 2 in the centre 2 foot entering table with 1 Co of York and Lancaster Infantry, a mixed heavy tank Sqn of 2 Valentines and a Matilda with a Marmon Herrington as recon.

Player 3 in the lower 3 foot with another company of the Royal Natals, 3 x Crusader II tanks and a Mark VI Light Tank.

Objectives were straight forward the Allies were to attack and capture the fortified village, the Italians were to hold off the Brits until the Germans could arrive and drive off the Brits.

Everyones favourite tank the "Fat Badger"

Different rules have different systems so if you are having a go at this game you may need to adapt the following,

Our unit activation deck contains a card for each of the units involved plus 2 cards for the Events and a Tea Break card. For those unfamiliar with this type of game, each card drawn activates that unit which then completes its move / firing etc before moving onto the next unit and so on. When the Tea Break card is drawn the remaining units are restricted in their actions.

Added to that deck for this game are reinforcement cards one for each side. When that card is draw (before the Tea Break) it is removed from the deck and a d6 is rolled. Place one chit on that card per spot on the dice, each time the Tea Break card is drawn remove a chit from the card and when there are no chits left draw a random reinforcement card, placing the reinforcement card back in the game deck and so on. The first 3 reinforcements for the Axis will be German.

Italian 20mm AT Rifle
Available Reinforcements

German - 1 Sqn 3 PzIIIG, 1Sqn 2 PZ IVE, 1 Sqn 3 PZj I, Pz Recon (222 & 231), German Anti Tank (Towed 50mm), German Artillery (1 x Off Table 75mm) , 6 Platoons of PZ Gren

Italians - 2 Sqns of 3 M13/40, 1 Sqn of 3 CV35 Tankettes, 1 Tank HQ unit of 2 M13/40, 6 Platoons of Infantry

British - 1 Sqn of 3 A10 Cruiser Tanks, 1 Tank HQ of 1 x Honey and 1 x Crusader, British Artillery (1 x Off Table 25 pdr), 6 platoons of infantry

German Tank commander surveys his potential targets
How did we get on

More fun at YG HQ over a couple of gaming sessions on the build up to Xmas.

Each of our British players took a different course of action which lead to an interesting breakdown of action on the table. Ian in the North advanced rapidly with his A13 tanks leading the way, the Italian opposition on this side of the table was the weakest with a couple of units of Bersaglieri, the Italian Recon and an A/T gun dug in on the hill. There was a slight embarrassment when one of the A13 s was taken out by the Autoblinda but that was quickly put right as the remaining two made short work of the Italian "armour" on that side.

In the middle it was a case of slow and steady wins the race, Lon packed his infantry in behind the heavy tank Sqn and then had to move forward at the rate of the Fat Badger, which is very slow. Faced with the fortified village in front it wasn't a bad course of action.

In the south Malcolm was faced with the hardest task initially facing the Italian Tanks hull down behind a ridge line and the other A/T gun. The terrain wasn't the best for an infantry assault and the sector bogged down into a static slug fest. The Italians had the advantage as the Crusaders stopped in the open to take them on, whilst the Crusaders added to the Lead content of the hillside the M13/40s took out two of the British tanks, the third eventually retreating to a hull down position themselves.

South African Infantry taking cover
Steve was happy when his Germans took the table for the first time and the first card out was the three PzIIIs which changed the perspective of the game, having only played desert games against Italians before the PzIII was a bit of an eyeopener. They quickly took out one of the Valentines, it damaged the other which then promptly broke down of its own accord, the Matilda was hit a number of times but her heavy armour was a match for the Germans. The next German card was a unit of Pz Gren who quickly got into a prolonged long range firefight with the South Africans on the south side of the table.

The final German reinforcement was the Anti Tank Gun, a spectacular deadly weapon for the period, it set up in the village and managed to get a shot away, which for the Germans sadly missed, unfortunately it had set up too close to the British troops in the middle and was unsupported by any Italian Infantry. The crew were quickly put out of action by the surrounding British troops.

However the game was won in the North by the South African Infantry, the Allied reinforcements were nowhere near as exciting as the Axis ones, two lots of Infantry were first which supported the North and Centre followed by the Tank HQ which arrived too late to take part in the action.

The South African Infantry supported by the Marmon Herrington were able to clear the Italians from the northern ridge and from there attack the side of the village, supported by the York and Lancasters from the centre the British Infantry poured into the fortified area and the game was won.

South African Infantry capture the "Fort"
Armoured support on the edge of the "Fort" at the end of the game
So it was a Allied win but a close run thing, the PzIIIs were powerful but not able to stem the tide. Next up is our traditional Xmas WW1 Mesopotamia Game.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

X Wing - The Campaign - Game 21 - Shadow Squadron

Merry X-Mas One and All

Happy Holidays to all our readers old and new, just in case you don't know, this is a continuation of the X Wing Campaign, full explanation and details of Campaign rules are here. This set up page is updated on a regular basis.

Mission Briefing


A regular patrol today everyone, we are part of a team exploring an uncharted area of space looking for potential base locations.

As you jump into the sector you are contacted by another Rebel Sqn, you receive an open channel communication, "Glad you're here, we have just discovered a wounded Imperial Destroyer nearby follow us and together we can destroy it"

You spot the Rebel Sqn behind you in an asteroid field, but something, not sure what, but something is not quite right.

May the Force be with you (you might need it !)"

Team "Rebel Scum"

A good turn out this evening with 7 Rebel players, including one newbie, we even had enough for a third Imperial player !

Rick O'Shea PS 5 K6/B Wing (Qunit Ace)
Spike Sharpie PS 4 E Wing (Triple Ace)
WK Jnr PS3 X Wing
Pop Cicle PS 4 HWK-290 (Ace)
Crank Case PS4 Y Wing (Double Ace)
Captain Tangent PS3 A Wing
Obi Two PS1 Kihraxz Fighter

Team "Glorious Empire, Shadow Squadron"

A chance for our Imperial players to have a go in some rebel ships.

YT-1300 PS9 Captain Kagi
X Wing PS6 Backstabber
X Wing PS5 Night Beast
3 x X Wing PS 1
Y Wing PS7 Major Rhymer
2 x Y Wing PS2

Empire set up is unique to this game. Start with 1 X Wing and then add 1 further ship per Rebel player, start with a second X Wing then alternate with a Y Wing adding a YT-1300 for 4 or more players.

Pilots skills are random but remember these are Imperial Pilots who will retain their skill (if they have one) whilst flying the Rebel ship. Use Tie pilots for the X Wings, one named pilot per three and Tie Bomber Pilots for the Y Wings (again 1 random named per three) and a random pilot for the Falcon.

Load outs are as follows;

X Wings - R2 Unit (All 1 and 2 moves are green)
Y Wings - 1 x Proton Torp, Ion Cannon
YT-1300 - Engine Upgrade, Smuggler Addiction and Weapons Engineer.

Set Up

Game should be played on a 5 x 3 table.

Randomly set up 6 asteroids starting range 1 from the Imperial Table edge, maximum range 3 from that start location.

Rebel players set up range 3 from the furthest forward asteroid, each player rolls 1d6, 1 or 2 set up on the left, 3 or 4 in the middle, 5 or 6 on the right. All facing away from the Imperial table edge.

Imperial players roll 1d6 with the same results as the rebels however they also throw a second d6 with 5 or 6 setting up in the asteroid field closest to the rebels, 1 or 2 furthest and 3 or 4 in the middle. All facing the rebel players.

At the end of turn 6 roll a d6 and the game ends on a 5 or 6, it ends at the end of turn 7 on a 3-6 otherwise it will end at the end of turn 8.

Special Rules

It's a Trap ! - Rebel players at the start of turn 1 roll 1 attack die per level of pilot skill (min 3), count criticals as two points and hits as one point, if a player gets 4 points he sees through the deception of the shadow squadron and can move as normal, any failures will see their PS temporarily reduced to 1. Any failed pilots must roll again at the start of move two carrying forward any points from the last turn and stay at PS 1 until they pass.

Jump to Hyperspace  - To leave the table you need to declare your attempt and then try and gain 2 critical hits, hits from previous rolls carry forward. You cannot attempt to jump until after turn 4.

Turn 1. Roll 3 attack die
Turn 2. Roll 3 attack die + Pilot Skill / 2 (round up)
Turn 3. Automatically jump

Victory Conditions

Rebel Victory -  At the end of the game there are more Rebel ships in play than Imperial
Imperial Victory - At the end of the game there are more Imperial ships than Rebel in play.
Draw - Any other result.

How did we get on

A cracking turn out this evening, the last campaign game of 2015 saw 7 Rebels and 3 Imperial players, not bad for the 21st game of our series.

It was good fun for the Imperial Players to have a go in the Rebel ships with those shield thingies, the fragile Tie Fighters will seem even worse in our next game. All but one of the Rebel pilots spotted the Shadow Squadron deception on turn 1, so it was straight into a shoot out.

The Imperial pilots excelled in the much better (than normal) ships and it was a heavy night for the Rebels, 3 pilots were shot down, the biggest loss for them was Crank Cases' Y Wing which was fully tricked out. All the Rebels managed to successfully eject so live to fight another day.

Rick O'Shea bagged another couple of kills which takes him to 31, Spike got the other Rebel kill of the evening to take him to 17. With the loss of Crank Cases Y Wing, Ricks' ship is light years better than anything else on the table.

Captain Tangent yet again failed to shoot anything down so that's 10 missions without a kill ! He did managed to hit something though and actually left the table 2 Galactic Credits better off for a change.

Result (2 pts for a win, 1 for a draw)

Imperial Win

Campaign overall score is, Empire 19 pts, Rebels 23 pts

X Wing madness will return with game 22 on the 20th of January 2016. A mission which will see or intrepid band brought in to protect a Rebel CR90 Corvette as it re fuels and re arms, Starfighters, lasers, missiles and a fuel bowser, what could possibly go wrong !


Jim head mechanic in the Rebel Garage has cancelled Xmas leave for the rest of his crew, lots of damaged ships limped home and three new ships to prep.

Pilot upgrades prior to start of game 20

Pilot Pop Cicle added a Plasma Turret to his new HWK-290
Pilot WK Jnr increased to PS 3
Pilot Rick O'Shea added Reflective Coating and a Heavy Laser Cannon to his K6/B Wing

The K6/B Wing is a B Wing upgrade for the Campaign, it costs 15 GC. The B Wing exchanges its manoeuvre dial for an X Wing dial, gains 1 hull and may add a Heavy Laser Cannon as an upgrade, it is only available to pilots with a PS of 5 or above.

Rebel Pilot results below,

Pilot Rick O'Shea (PS5) - B Wing, survived, 2 kills, 4GC - Totals, Missions 21, 6 GC, 31 kills
Pilot Spike Sharpie - E Wing (PS4), survived, 1 kill, 1 GC - Totals, Missions 21, 12 GC, 17 kills
Pilot Ensign WK Jnr (PS3) - X Wing, shot down but survived, 0 kills, 0 GC - Totals Missions 6, 6 GC, 4 kills
Pilot Pop Cicle - HWK-290 (PS4) survived, 0 kills, 4 GC - Totals, Missions 14, 6 GC, 5 kills
Pilot Crank Case - Y Wing (PS4) survived but shot down, 0 kills, 0 GC - Totals, Missions 15, 2 GC 11 kills
Pilot Captain Tangent - A Wing (PS3), survived, 0 kills, 2GC  - Totals, Missions 10, 7 GC, 0 kills
Pilot Obi Two - Kihraxz Fighter(PS1), survived but shot dowm, 0 kills, 0 GC, Totals, Missions 1, 0 GC, 0 kills.

Not Present

Pilot Baby Brian - A Wing (1) not present - Totals Missions 1, 0 GC, 0 kills
Pilot Oi M'Groin - Y Wing (2) not present - Totals, Missions 4, 3 GC 0 kills
Pilot Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing (2), Not Present - Totals Missions 3, 7 GC, 2 kills
Pilot Twiki Bond - A Wing (1), Not Present - Totals Missions 1, 6 GC, 0 kills

Roll of Honour (At the going down of the twin suns, we will remember them)
Pilot Brian sadly lost after only 2 missions, RIP
Pilot Commander Wayne Kerr veteran of 7 Missions, RIP

Ship Zone

Uber geeks area for those who want to see what our intrepid pilots fly. A Kalidor Crescent is bought for 5 GC and adds a pilot skill slot.

Spike Sharpie, Kalidor Crescent - E Wing, unmodified
Pop Cicle - HWK-290 with Plasma Turret
Rick O'Shea, Kalidor Crescent - K6/B Wing 
WK Jnr - awaiting new ship
Crank Case, Kalidor Crescent with Barrel Roll - awaiting new ship
Captain Tangent - A Wing with Homing Missiles and Failsafe
Obi Two - awaiting new ship
Baby Brian - awaiting new ship
Oi Mi'Groin - Y Wing with R10 Astromech and Autoturret
Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing with R2-D2 and shield upgrade
Twiki Bond - A Wing unmodified

Previous Game Links

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Morris CS9 Armoured Car - 28mm WW2

Warlord Games Model in Desert Colours (My 100th Post !)

One of my favourite things about the early desert Campaign in WW2 is the variety of weird and wonderful vehicles that were kicking around at the time. These were quite rare birds indeed, the CS9 Armoured car was manufactured in low numbers with only 100 including the prototype being made.

I also realised that this is my 100th post on the blog, I am still very much enjoying writing and interacting with the people who visit here. Its also proved very useful as a record of what I have painted and well but most importantly how I painted it ! No more spending 2 hours working out what colours I used when I did the last batch of figures.

Most of these were destroyed in France in 1940 however 30 of them found their way to the desert and served exclusively with the 11th Hussars lasting in service through to 1943.

Reports from the Officers and Men who used the vehicle were favourable when it came to its ability to move over soft sand. It was a typical early war armoured car though in that it was very lightly armoured and armed with the ubiquitous (for the time) Boyes A/T Rifles and a Bren.

The models themselves are from Warlord Games, there was a couple of blemishes which needed cleaning up and a couple of holes which needed filling, a bit annoying when you are paying £17 a pop for them.

I have used my usual method for painting, finishing the vehicles in the caunter scheme. I recently did a tutorial on my method and colour choice for this look, which if you haven't seen you can catch up with HERE. Yes I know the blue wasn't an official colour but it was what the original colour faded to under strong sunlight.

I have added a couple of Tank Commander figures from Warlord to give them a bit more character. They should get on the table before we finish our current Desert Game so look out for them in that post when I do it.

I'm on a bit of a roll with the Desert stuff at the moment, I have finished off another Crusader Tank today and have 6 Bren Carriers primed and ready to go. Heres to the next 100 posts !

Monday, 14 December 2015

1/2400 WW1 Naval - WTJ Light Cruisers

British and German New Additions

Welcome Ladies and Gents to a short show off post for the latest additions to my British and German WW1 Collections. I placed a largish order with WTJ earlier in the year and the larger ships were part of a couple of posts you will find on the back issues of the blog.

Painting and basing is my usual method, we had a very interesting (and quite funny) discussion on TMP after the last post with someone saying my basing looked like "fridge magnets", horses for courses ! If you want the tutorial for the method to paint and make these you will find it HERE. You may also find it useful if you have a number of business cards or lists you need to stick to your cooler, I aim to please.

I painted up 5 British and 5 German Light Cruisers, here they are.

HMS Chatham
HMS Nottingham
All 5 British Ships

HMS Lowestoft
 And the Germans

The collection which was of course just a small skirmish game has now spread into 2 box files, oh well. I have got a large batch of destroyers from both sides on the brew so expect to see those before the new year.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

28mm A13 Cruiser Tank - From Box to Table

Blitzkrieg Miniatures Finest

There is nothing better than having a game to play to get the paint juices flowing and our current ongoing WW2 Desert game had that very effect, sufficient juice was squeezed to get these done.

I am a big fan of the Blitzkrieg Miniatures models, they are normally a very high standard and these early war A13s are no different, great detail with very little clean up work required. Since I last bought from Blitzkrieg they have moved onto turned metal barrels. They are much more sturdy and really look the part.

I have done this post in my usual Box to Table tutorial style mostly so when I come to paint some tanks next year I can remember what the hell I did with the last lot !

Starting with the model straight out of the box, in the picture below, you can see there isn't much to do construction wise. My modelling skills are minimal to say the least so this is my idea of a perfect kit ! I painted 3 models, enough for a squadron in our rules all together as a job lot.

So above we have the model completed and primed. My usual Matt Black Car Primer from Halfords (a UK Car Parts Store) completes the picture. You can see the background changing on the photographs as games come and go whilst I try and get these painted.

With a WW1 Naval Playtest going on in the background I have sprayed the model with Army Painter Desert Yellow to get a good flat coverage of paint to work on.

Next up is a spot of dry brushing on the base colour to add a bit of depth, the model in the distance has been given a heavy over brush of Vallejo Desert Yellow (70977) which is a slightly different colour to the spray paint and adds a bit of life to the model. Then in the middle I have dry brushed the whole model with Vallejo Dark Sand (70847) and finally closest to the camera I have added 50% white to the Dark Sand and used that to add a highlight on the edges of the vehicle.

You could leave the vehicle like it is and detail it as a purely dark sand vehicle however I am a big fan of the "caunter" camouflage scheme popular in the early part of the desert war ( we only play with kit that was in theatre in 1941). Above I have added a second colour to the tank, Vallejo Olive Drab 70889, on the right and highlighted it on the left.

My final caunter colour is Vallejo Dark Blue Grey 70904, which is shown above as a base and then with a highlight. I could off course block in each of the colours first and then dry brush the highlights but I find I get less cross over between the paints when I do it this way. A quick search of the Internet or a dip into a good book will give you a template of a scheme for your model.

I have not bothered using masking tape to get the lines between the colours, I have a reasonably steady hand and prefer the more natural look freehand painting gives. With regard to the colours I have used, you could debate them all day and in fact people on TMP have done so. I know the blue is not an official caunter colour however it is well documented in many veterans memoirs and was a colour that would occur as a reaction to the weather conditions on the original paint. It works for me.

Getting toward the end now, I have added a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone to the tank to bring out the detail. I used a complete wash on the wheels and I have painted the ink into the recesses on the rest of the tank, wiping off any excess. Also done at this stage are the tracks, I use a base of GW Tin Bitz and then highlight it with Vallejo Gunmetal Grey 70863.

Which brings us to the finished model. I have added the red and white stripes on the vehicle again by hand. I started with a base of Vallejo Silver Grey 70883 then sketched in the red bars using Vallejo Burnt Cad Red 70814, then tided up the white with Vallejo 70820 Off White before highlighting the red with GW Mechrite Red. To tone it down and weather the stripes I have dry brushed the area with Dark Sand and then put on a light wash of Army Painter Dark Tone on to bring out the rivets.

For additional details I have added some decals, supplied by the wonderful Doms Decals and a tank commander to two of the vehicles, I have a box of these guys hanging around, I think the pointing one is a Perry's figure whilst the other one is from Warlord.

Three shots of the finished article showing the various angles.

The finished Squadron
And then to finish off the post a picture of the unit in its first action, the eagle eyed will notice that one has already brewed up in the background, remarkably the other two haven't broken down yet. Its a great looking tank but sadly it doesn't work as good as it looks.