Sunday 29 March 2020

The Dice Have Fallen Silent

A sad day here at Yarkshire Gamer - The Dice Have Fallen Silent.

Now don't get me wrong this is a small thing in the grand scheme but today is the first day when a scheduled game day has been cancelled here at Yarkshire Gamer.

I think for many of us the social aspect of gaming is very important, the people who come to game here are all friends that I have known for over 30 years, it's a great break from the drudgery of everyday life and with work looming again tomorrow it would be a nice mental diversion.

Our Battle of Brandywine will stay set up waiting for the Will of the Gods (or science) to make this crisis pass and I look forward to the day when everyone returns and even more importantly the Chippy opens its doors "One of each and a breadcake, please !"

Friday 27 March 2020

28mm Tankfest 2020 (AHPC X)


Each year I take part in a "Painting Competition", the Analogue Hobbies Winter Paint Challenge, this year is the tenth time it's been run.

The challenge runs through the winter months (21st Dec to the 21st March) and the photo above shows off what I have finished during that time,  the odd vehicle has featured on here before (The Italians had their own Troops on Parade feature here recently) but a lot are new to the viewing public at Yarkshire Gamer.

Last years "theme" was my Italian Wars Project which went down quite well ! This year I decided to get the large box of 28mm Tanks for the Desert I had lying around finished. Sadly I had some issues with flaking early on in the Challenge so my output is probably at least a third down, there are a bunch of early war Panzers in a box waiting to be done.

I only managed one none tank unit, some independent shot for my Italian Wars Project with a solitary Landsknecht who is my entry fee for the Challenge and will be off to his new owner soon.

The Italian contingent, as seen in the TOP post. One of the things I love about this challenge is that it's not about "judging" people's painting ability, it's about encouragement to fellow painters during the Winter Months, it exposes me to a lot of Pulp and Sci Fi stuff that I don't do myself and I find that really interested.

A group of six, plain Crusader Tanks. Plain because they landed towards the end of the Caunter Scheme (1941) and photos of them with the scheme are very rare.

The Caunter Scheme odds and sods, 3 x Mk VI Light Tanks, 4 x A13s, a single Matilda and a Warlord Crusader.

And finally a Regiment of M3 Honeys.

The challenge is carrying on in a more informal manner during the Covid crisis, a great way to keep in contact with gaming mates all over the world.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Troops on Parade - 28mm Italian Desert Force

It's time for another episode of the occasional "Troops on Parade" feature here at Yarkshire Gamer in which I look at one of the various collections of figures here at YG HQ. This week it is the turn of my 28mm Desert Italians who have been a regular feature in the ongoing Op Compass Campaign reports posted here.

I've just completed a final batch of vehicles for the army and (stop laughing at the back) I think the army is finished, so what better time to do a review than now. In fact with no expense spared below is a hard hitting YouTube documentary where I drone on for 20 minutes about stuff.

For those of you without super fast broadband  😉 to download the video below is a more leisurely stroll through the various units involved.

First up are some Bersaglieri, instantly recognisable from their helmet plumage (which is beautiful). A random purchase from the local Recon show a few years back when I couldn't find anything else to buy, there are 3 Squads of 10 men plus some command.

Followed by a big chunk of regular Italian Infantry, all metal from Perrys Miniatures, the Infantry had a strange organisation 1 squad of a Sgt and 11 Rifles and another of 9 men with two 3 Man LMG teams, I have 8 squads plus some spares for use as snipers etc.

The final Infantry type, the Giovanni Facisti, a home conversion with Perrys plastic Afrika Korps as the base. Heads from the plastic ACW plastic box set , a total of 6 squads and command in the collection.

The dismounted support weapon includes 3 47mm Anti Tank Guns, a couple of 20mm Anti Tank Rifles, 2 HMGs and a Mortar. I'd like some 65mm Infantry Guns but no one makes them.

Artillery support comes from 2 x 75mm Field Guns from Perrys and a 100mm Gun from Warlord.

A motorcycle Bersaglieri Squad, love these figures, avaliable from Dog Tag Miniatures.

Command of the army comes from this rather swift Italian Command Car avaliable from Perrys.

Soft Skin transports are a bit of a cheat, these are metal "collectors" miniatures from a Company called Days Gone By. They are a bit small but can be bought on eBay for a couple of quid each, which is a lot better than 20 or so for a 28mm truck (If you can find an Italian Truck), so this lot was 15 to 20 pound instead of £140, that's the tight Yarkshire Man !

The models come with company logos on etc but nothing that a light sanding and some black primer won't sort out. I have just painted them as normal and added an Italian Divisional symbol to the doors and there you go.

The type of truck I have used is a Fordson as the front grill resembles a Fiat 626.

There is a bit of a beast lurking around at the back of the group, a 90mm Breda Anti Aircraft gun mounted on a lorry with crew. Used in an anti tank role similar to the German 88, it's an old model which has yet to see action on our table. The model is from Company B which used to be imported into the UK by The Wargames Command Post, I'm not sure if they have a current UK distributor.

Moving onto the "armour" starting with the tiny L3 Tankettes, 6 of them. 5 have standard armour and 1 with a 20mm Anti Tank Rifle. Sold by the Perrys, having stood next to one in the Tank Museum I have no idea how two blokes got in one.

A couple of odds, a flamethrower version of the Tankette from Empress Miniatures, seriously who would get in one of these, not only are you cramped into one of the smallest poorly armoured vehicles of all time, you're towing a bomb !

Being that is a 47mm Semovente Tank Destroyer, a bit after our time frame but a nice model from Perrys.

A pair of Italian self propelled 75mm Semovente, they arrived in North Africa in Dec 1941 (just within our cut off point) but didn't see action until 1942. These are the Warlord Games version.

Proper armour next, on the right is the M11/39 tank, the first proper tank for the Italians, a twin MG turret with a 37mm gun in a pivot mount in the hull, great for colonial warfare not so great against British Tanks. They had their first outing on the table recently, report coming soon.

I have 7 of the 11/39 tanks, 6 Blitzkrieg Miniatures 1/56 versions and one from Company B, the latter is considerably bigger and is closer to the Warlord Games 28mm scale.

Final tanks are the more modern M13/40 tanks, 10 in all, all from Blitzkrieg.

So this is a project that started out as a "box of plastic" and a couple of Tanks and this is just the Italians, let this be a warning to you all 😂

Monday 16 March 2020

28mm Honey Tanks for the Desert

I've continued with my recent drive to get the "to do" box of early war 28mm Desert Armour to the point where the box can be recycled. The latest addition to the "painted" pile are these 3 lovely Blitzkrieg Miniatures M3 Honey Tanks.

With the addition of a Perrys Miniatures Tank Commander (this is one of the standing figures that i have cropped in half to use as a tank crewman) and some decals from various sources these have turned out not half bad.

As the Caunter Scheme Paints were out from the Mk VI Light Tanks I finished last week I just kept rolling with the Official colours.

These are the second batch of tanks I've used the decal names on, they were a nightmare to get anything like straight on these but I do prefer them to trying to hand paint letters on the turrets.

For our Desert games these tanks are the pinnacle of British Armour (our end date is 31st Dec 1941) and when we get to use them on the table it will be a nice change to have a gun that isn't a two pounder!

Thursday 12 March 2020

Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad 1916 - The Action

A few weeks ago I set up the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad with a post on the back ground of the fight along with some details on how we planned to refight the action. The actual battle took place over two days, on the second the numbers were virtually equal so my scenario is designed to reflect the action on the first day when the British and Empire Forces had a reasonable chance of success.

The dip in numbers visiting the site when I post about WW1 Mesopotamia is massive, these posts get a third of the traffic a similar WW2 or Napoleonic post would attract. Which is a real shame as this area of conflict is so much more interesting than the Western Front. Please see the link below for the previous post.

As with previous AARs I will let the pictures do the talking, above we see the Highlanders moving off from their start positions toward the as yet unseen Turkish lines. Figures 28mm, table 12 x 6, rules If the Lord Spares Us by toofatlardies.

Indian Troops advance forward and start to come under fire from Turkish Artillery and Machine guns, the small black marker representing one point of suppression.

The first proper action happened on the far right of the British Lines as the British Cavalry pushed forward towards the Marsh Arabs who had decamelled (got off) and were furtively skulking around a patch of rough ground, no doubt up to no good.

It led to our first ever WW1 Cavalry charge, onwards the Cheshire Yeomanry !

The irregular Arabs were no match for the Cheshiremen and were wiped out in the attack, the British Cavalry held the ground after the melee but the unit of Turkish Lancers were looking very interested in the smaller British squadron.

Meanwhile one of the Indian Battalions in the middle of the table had pushed forward to within close range of the Turkish trenches, the Turkish figures were placed on the table and the combat began in earnest.

Attacking trenches is never easy and it's even worse when there is no cover.

The Highlanders are plodding on steadily but they are a move behind their Indian Allies.

What looks like a lot of figures at the start begins to thin out, the Buffs, closest to the camera are already a long way behind the main attack.

There is no subtlety in the centre as the Turkish defenders fire everything they can at the attacking Empire Force.

Hopefully no one will notice the hole in the Turkish defences.

On the left bank the Indian Troops had set up a pair of Machine Guns to support the attack.

Missed a few photos actually playing the game, but the MG support helped the 56th Punjabi Regt get a foothold in the front trench on the Empire left bank, but the Punjabis and supporting Sikh unit have taken some damage on the way in.

In the centre the Highlanders make their bid for the trench.

It's a tough battle but the Scots are in the trench line.

Further down the line the Buffs are still under heavy fire and struggling to advance.

As the Highlander attack goes in the Dogras try their luck in the centre only to be shot off by the Turkish defenders.

But the Highlanders in the front line trenches didn't hàve it easy, both sides threw company after company of troops into the fray and casualties where high on both sides.

A general view down the trench line, in the foreground the Buffs have closed on the Turkish positions but they have plenty of suppression and are unsupported on their flanks. A Turkish reserve Battalion is approaching the lines to make things worse for them.

But that open flank was going to be a bit of a problem, whilst they were concentrating on the lines ahead the Marsh Arabs have reupped and are snorting towards the suppressed Brits.

Meanwhile the fight between the Highlanders and the Turkish Infantry goes on...

Oh Matron, I've been cameled in the flank  !

Still fighting in the trenches.

And a second company of Buffs get the hump !

I realise that I don't have many photos of the fight on the Empire left, the units on that side of the table managed to capture the front line trenches with some heavy casualties, but they were brought to a halt by a fresh Turkish Battalion in the second line supported by Machine Guns and Artillery.

In the centre the Highlanders broke through the lines with their last company, casualties were very high on bothe sides. The attack on the Empire right had stalled with the Buffs unable to advance.

The Turkish Commander in a spot of bother.

We had set a time limit for the game (2 of our very lazy game days) representing the first day of the Battle. The Empire troops had done slightly better than in real life having gained foothold in trenches on both sides of the river.

In the actual battle the Empire forces withdrew from the Trenches over night and attacked again the next day, attacking in fog the Empire left broke through the Turkish defences forcing the troops on the other bank to retire also.

Losses were high for the Empire, over 4000 (around 1/3 of the troops engaged), the Turks lost 1200, very illustrative of the danger of attacking in WW1.

That's the Mesopotamia collection away again for the year, see you in 2021 for the Battle of the Wadi.