Wednesday 30 August 2017

28mm Crusades Project - Kerr-nig-ettes in red.

The Crusades Project continues to move with all the speed of a stunned mollusc.

A couple of weeks holiday saw me finish off the horses which had been lying around with the horse flesh done in oils months ago. I think the thought of painting these is considerably more daunting than the actual task itself, once I get started it was easy, it was the getting started that was the problem !

The figures themselves are from Fireforge games and are the Teutonic Knights set, they were purchased by one of our regulars here at YG, Andy as an impulse prior to the real start (by start I mean stumble) of the Crusades Project and were kindly donated to the cause.

Our aim is 3rd Crusade, who can resist a bit of King Richard vs Saladin action, two of the greatest Generals of history squaring off against each other, what's not to like  !

Of course the 3rd Crusade occurred around 1190 whilst the Teutonic Knights, although formed on that date were much more active outside the Middle East in the 13th to 15th Century so the figures are a bit outside our stated timeframe.

However my adopted Yarkshire status has led me to be a bit of a "tight bugger" and "nowt goes t'waste tha knows" so I was not going to chuck out the figs rather I would mould them into a unit of sorts.

First thing was in the build, I ignored all the winged helms etc and tried to use those which would have been around if slightly "ultra modern" in the 1190s.

Next decision was which unit ? Again the decision was made for me. I ordered some fantastic Decals from Battle Flag for the units I was planning. However when they arrived I had been sent the wrong Hospitaller set, the later red set rather than 3rd Crusade black set. Adopting full on "waste nowt" mode I thought "I know where I can use those". Battle Flag did send me the correct ones btw.

So my later knights adopted the later (1259) Hospitaller red, a bit of a rogue unit but better that than not using the figures.

I have another unit of Knights on the go (St Lazarus) and two more units of Muslim Cavalry are going through horse painting process. A game before Christmas, yeah right !

Thursday 17 August 2017

"Awesome" Early WW2 Desert Italian Armour

My last post covered my recent additions to my 28mm early war British Forces, also hiding in my Box of Earthly Delights were these little chaps for their opponents.

First up is this CV33 Lanciafiamme sold by Empress Miniatures, a really nicely detailed model made all in metal. I normally don't base my vehicles but couldn't see a way forward with this two part "tank" so I opted for the added strength of an mdf base to keep the tank and fuel trailer together.

How they got anyone to go in one of these I have no idea, not only are you in one of the worst tanks of WW2, just to add to the excitement there is 110 gallons of explosive juice a few feet behind you. Brave boys.

Next up is this M11/39 which I picked up from the Wargames Command Post eBay fire sale for near enough half price. A fairly poor tank even by Italian standards but compared to the CV33 and CV35 it was a big improvement.

The model itself is from Company B made from Resin with metal parts. The Commander is from the Perrys. The camo on the tank is a fairly bright green but all the references to the vehicle show it that way.

Fairly common in Op Compass they remained around in the Desert for a while as Command Tanks perfect for our Compass to Crusader time line.

And finally is this little Blitzkrieg Miniatures beauty, a Semovente 47/32 which was purchased by one of our group as a birthday present from the York show earlier this year. It kind of fits in our time period in that the first ones were built in 1941 however it doesn't look as if they arrived in North Africa until Feb 43 (therefore therefore outside our gaming time frame).

It would have been a reasonable vehicle in 41 but by 43 it would have struggled to be effective. I have added a couple of figs to the vehicle to bring it to life. So there we have the Italian reinforcements, I can hear the British quivering in fear already !

On the paint table at the moment are the last of my Hanoverian Cavalry for Minden who are being based and 2 units of Knights for the Crusades Project who have the horses being done.

Thursday 10 August 2017

3 A10 Cruisers, 2 Caunter Monkeys and a nice little Perry's Portee

To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas  !

Prior to the start of our latest WW2 North Africa game I had a bit of a "mad minute" clearing out all of my unpainted 28mm Desert stuff in one go. The to do box remained empty right up to the point that Blitzkrieg Miniatures started their half price tanks on Monday offer (1 different per week). The box is now overflowing with 4 Matildas, 5 Honeys and 6 PzIII. I now spend each Monday praying that the offer that week is one I don't "need".

So the first three models off the production line are these 3 A10 Cruisers. The tanks themselves are from Warlord Games as is the Tank Commander on your right, the other is a Perry Figure. These have appeared on the blog before in their sand basecoat, it's taken a couple of years to get round to doing the Caunter and decals.

You can argue all day (you can, I'm happy with my choices) about the colours used for the scheme and people on the internet will. I know all about official colours, locally sourced colours, sun fade etc, etc. Having a family member (sadly no longer with us) who was an engineer in North Africa helped my choices.

Next up are the Monkeys (Marmon Herringtons), I have owned one of these since the start of the Desert Project, purchased from Wargames Command Post. The models are Company B and with the dollar pound exchange have become quite expensive so I haven't bothered adding to the collection.

It was therefore with great joy that I stumbled across a Company B fire sale on eBay and managed to pick the two new models shown. I have added two Perry's Commander figures, I particularly like the one leaning back firing his pistol which was a standing figure I cut in half.

Next up in the 12 days is the Perry Miniatures Portee, what a great model this is, when I first opened the box I thought "what the...." however it actually goes together really well, so long as you put the bits in, in the right order, that is.

Most of these are already in action in the current game, next post will cover some Italian reinforcements.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Battle of Jarama 1937 - Scenario / AAR

Casa Blanca under attack
The plan with this game was to run it earlier in the year to mark the 80 th anniversary of the Battle, however our Naval Campaign and an outbreak of Ewok Fever put the gaming schedule back a few months.

So last month we got to run my scenario of the small section of the Battle of Jarama which included the now legendary actions of the British Battalion of the International Brigades. I would really like to get some better references on the actions of other units but being English the story of the British Battalion is the easiest to find and recreate on the tabletop.

Moors cautiously advance
Historical Background.

In November 1936 Franco and his Nationalist Forces had tried and failed to take Madrid in a lighting advance and attack. In fact in 2016 we did part of that battle with a recreation of the attack on the University City, still one of my favourite games. You can see that Battle on the following link

The Brigadista await the attack
Franco's next big move against the Capital came in February the following year, using the experienced Moor and Legion troops who had followed him from Africa the grand plan was to break through the Republican Forces along the River Jarama and cut the communication between Madrid and the temporary Capital of the Republic, Valencia.

Casa Blanca before the game begins
So our action concentrates on the small part of the Republican line which was held by the British Battalion, it makes for a good scenario because the forces are relatively small (for us) and the fighting was in a compact area, such that we only used 8 ft x 6 ft of our table.

Set Up

Above is our terrain map for the game, each square representing 2ft sq of table, the main features of the Battlefield are the three hills, the long undulating ridge, christened by the soldiers as "Suicide Hill" containing the Casa Blanca building. Conical Hill on the right and a long Plateau behind those two features.

You can see the table set up above, there is a wooded area to the rear left of the Republican line, and random areas of scrub spread out across the playing surface.

A Word on Rules

The following scenario / notes are for our home brew rule set of rules which are a mix of Iron Ivans WW2 set, with a bit of toofatlardies card activation, event cards, ammunition rules (ammo was so often a factor in the SCW) and Spanish Currency to buy reinforcements.

There are no set reinforcements, each player rolls each turn for money which they use to buy new troops from a list.

Hopefully not to difficult to adapt to your own rule set. If it doesn't compute just ask and I will try and provide more information.

I designed the game to last two of our "day" gaming sessions.

Player Briefing British Battalion.

Your Mission is straight forward, stop the Nationalist Forces breaking through your lines.

Set Up as follows,

Coy 1 (on Conical Hill) and Coy 2 on rear plateau (dug in)
Morale Soldier 6, Sgt 8, Officer 10 Shoot 5 Fight 4

Coy 3 and 4 (Suicide Hill, Casa Blanca)
Morale Soldier 5, Sgt 8, Officer 10, Shoot 4 Fight 4

Each Coy is represented by a HQ section of 4 figures and 3 Sections of 8 figures each armed as the model (mostly old rifles, the odd Chauchat LMG etc).

Company 2 is augmented by 4 Maxim Mgs.

Nationalist Air Power makes a rare appearance.
The Maxims have NO Ammo at the start of the game. When Ammo arrives at the gun roll 1d6 per ammo chit, 1 to 2 the Ammo is the wrong type ( it can be delivered elsewhere), 3 to 5 the Ammo is loose and needs to be hand fed into belts, 6 its good to go. Instead of firing a gun team can try and load a section of belt, roll a d6 for each chit, 5 or 6 and ready to fire.

Banco de Espania de Republica
5 psts D4 Ammo
10 psts 5 Ammo
10 psts Barricade
15 psts Donkey (Carries Ammo)
20 psts Dynamontaroes
50 psts Mortar
70 psts Artillery
70 psts Tank (1 available only but not on day 1)

Money Rolls - 4d10 turn 1, 3 d10 each turn after, 6 to 10 earns 10 psts

Aircraft appear on a 9 or 10 on a d10 when air support card drawn.

Man the Barricades


You are unable to purchase any standard Infantry reinforcements, what you have on table is what you have.

However the British Battalion was very resilient over the battle and wounded troops returned to the fray on many occasions.

Put your losses in a separate area, at any time you may bring back half of your loss stash at a cost of 25 psts per 8 man section or 4 man HQ. The troops are classed as Coy 1 for stats, as above regardless of where they came from, they can only be bought in sections of 8 and are armed as the figs however you may not have more than 1 LMG per unit. The remaining troops in the loss area at that time are now lost permanently.

Nationalist Player Briefing.

Your Mission is straight forward, break through the Republican Lines and drive on to Madrid and Victory. Each unit moves on table anywhere on the top edge of the table when that units card is first drawn.

Your Initial Force consists of one 3 Company Battalion of Moroccan Regulares.

Battalion HQ 4 figures

Each Company, 1 4 Fig HQ section and 3 x 8 figure Sections, each of which has 1 Sgt with SMG, 1 x LMG and 6 Riflemen.

Morale, Soldier 7, Sgt 8, Officer 10 Shoot 4 Fight 5, count cover as -1 to max of minis 3

Legion (when purchased)

Morale, Soldier 7, Sgt 9, Officer 11, Shoot 5 Fight 4

You must buy the remaining Moors units (we had two more companies) before you can buy the Legion.

Banco de Espania de Nationalista
5 psts D4 Ammo
10 psts 5 Ammo
15 psts Donkey
20 psts Dynamontaroes / Transport
25 psts per section, including HQ
50 psts Mortar or HMG
70 psts Artillery
70 psts Tank or AC (available after day 1, No T26)

Money Rolls - 4d10 turn 1, 4d10 each turn after, 6 to 10 earns 10 psts

Aircraft appear on a 10 on a d10 when the Air Support card is drawn

Normal rules apply, they arrive turn after purchase anywhere on the base line.

Moors Advance
How did we get on  ?

Another cracking SCW game here at YG, there really is something about the way our rules work that makes me really enjoy our Spanish Adventures. Wish I had more time and scenarios to game the period.

You really don't want this card if all you troops are Brigade !
The Nationalist plan was to mass every thing against Suicide Hill initially and capture that first. Leaving Conical Hill untouched apart from a couple of air attacks meant the odd casualty from enfilading fire but that didn't slow the Moroccan Regulares down at all.

The Republican cause was assisted much when their first round of artillery fire landed in the middle of a Brigade Section taking half the unit out in one hit, not so friendly fire.

The fighting around Suicide Hill was fierce, taking advantage of the height difference one Brigade Section threw dynamite down on the advancing Moors causing heavy casualties.

Casa Blanca as in the real battle was the scene of some vicious hand to hand fighting.

But even air support couldn't hold back the Nationalist tide.

The Moors were too strong and at the end of the first day the Nationalist Forces had control of Suicide Hill.

Quote of the day was "I'll drive straight ahead, you Donkey left and right"

For those unfamiliar we use the Donkeys to ferry Ammo around, the Republicans had gone all posh and bought a truck to carry the ammo a bit quicker.

Day two proved to be a more cagey affair, the Republican MGs now had some ammo, although the Nationalist Commanders didn't know how much. Franco's boys had spent most of their money on Infantry, the whole of the Moroccan Regulares were now on the table along with a good dose of Legion.

The Nationalists got this lovely Event Card which they gladly awarded to one of the Brigadista units.

On the first day the Republican money had been spent on ammo and an Artillery Unit which did more harm than good but on day 2 the money had to be spent on the Tiger Tank of the day, the one available T26. The Plateau was now even more secure.

The last gamble for the attackers was to spend all their available wealth on 2 Panzer Is. No match for the T26 but if the combined 10 dice of machine gun fire could cause enough casualties on the British Battalion on the Plateau to allow a final infantry assault before the T26 took them out, it just might work.

But it wasn't to be the very turn the Panzer I got in a firing position the Republican commander drew the Air Support card and the I-15 took out the lead tank. Nationalist hopes were crushed and the game ended with a Republican Victory holding on to the Plateau with their last few remaining troops, as they did in the actual battle.

Another great SCW game. It will most likely be 2018 before the collection is back on the table. Should be able to come up with a Scenario by then.