All in all painting him set me a little on edge. I knew that the base would contain lots of white. Now with the show camo suits I wanted for him and the other Venusian Rangers I had to make sure that he did not look too cold with that grey armour. On the other hand I want to paint the Hussars (= the rank and file) in the standard blue uniforms, so i had to make sure the grey for the armor would fit that, too. So far I am happy with my decision. Especially since I think that the brown gloves and tan boots break it up a little as well.
Yes, these are actually four different carriers (plus the Wasp) as can be seen by their T-numbers and the placement of the passengers. But just to prove, here is a group shot:
Now after a very, very long hiatus we got back to our SkirmishCampaigns Grossdeutschland at Kursk campaign earlier this month. Now this was the 9th game over all or in other words the panultimate one in the book. It was named Steel Confrontation and honestly, it lived up to its name. The terrain was mostly open, with the a few hills and even fewer light woods. And that was it. there was the option for dust clouds to drift across the table, but only one materialized right at the beginning of the game and virtually lingered where it had started due to some very low dice rolling. If you see a row of dust markers on the table in some photos… that is it.
The Germans (played by me) had two Marder III (I substituted one with a Marder II), PzKw III, PzKW IV and PzKw VI “Tiger” each. There was a 5cm Pak towed by truck and and a small infantry Platoon HQ in a Kübelwagen.
The Soviets (played by Alexander) on the other hand had three units of three T34´s, one unit of three T-70´s one lone command T34 and a motorized Rifle Squad to field.
The Panzer III and command T34 would enter on a randomly determined round between round one and four. In case of the Germans this meant right from the beginning of the game and in case of the Soviets round four.
Entry was also random as well. In case of the Germans this could either be the South-West corner or via a small section of the western board edge, in case of the Soviets either the North-West corner or a small patch on the eastern board edge. Now the Bolsheviks all rolled the eastern edge (how appropriate) which made that little stretch of the table look like a car park at the beginning of the game. With the Germans the Marder and PzKw III entered via the table edge and all the rest via the corner.
Victory conditions for the Germans were to have both Tiger tanks operational on the southern third of the table, the Russians either had to destroy, immobilize or push them of the table. The game would run for twelve turns at most, by which time either one of the sides would have had to accomplish their goal.
Now the battle turned into a swirling mass of tanks, just like some of the real tank battles during Kursk and writing this up, I felt it was nearly impossible to do a coherent report that would give a real good idea of the battle. So I am trying to do this by following the German units through the battle, because frankly… with all those T34´s I lost track of which of them did what and when.
So lets start with the PzKw III. They decided to push through the dust cloud and along the western board edge to try to outflank the Soviets. The Russians did their best to prevent them from doing so and dispatched three T34´s and two T70´s to intercept them. All their other units were heading towards the southern edge of the table.
Since the Panzer saw their best chance for survival in speed, they chose not to fire at their interceptors, since they were going at high speeds as well and this would have made hits highly unlikely. The lead tank did manage to get a shot off into the rear of one of the T34s who were heading South but only caused minor damage. The other PzKW III hit one of the other T-34s heading South in the flank and set off its fuel. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards the lead Panzer III was taken out while moving through the woods. So his compatriot had to steer to the side not to crash into the wreck and had for a short moment to turn its rear towards its interceptors, two of which stopped and killed it with shots into his weak rear.
Now the PzKw IV lead quiet an uneventful life. One of them decided to take its chances and fired its main gun at the approaching T34´s even though both were going at full speed. Chances for a hit were extremely low, but still it struck gold on its first shot and managed to explode the ammo in the T34 it had fired upon.
But its next few shots all missed and in the end it was taken out by a similar chance shot from one of the T34´s while still advancing. The other T34 managed to kill all of the crew, except for the bow machine gunner on one of the T34 (this man would move to the commanders position, but did only get to fire off a single shot before the game ended, which missed). Shortly afterwards it was taken out by a hit which exploded its ammo while scaling a hillside.
The German truck towing the AT gun and the Kübelwagen had charged forward and stopped behind the ridge of a hill. The PaK with the intention to set up a firing position, the infantry trying to cover it. Before the AT crew could even unlimber the gun, they were taken under fire by the Soviet DP machine gun from the Rifle Squad which had sped forward in its own truck to the other side of the hill. None of them were injured, but the trucks engine took a number of hits. The German infantry had a hard time protecting their compatriots, since they were still getting out of their Kübelwagen and were coming under fire from the Russian riflemen. So one of the Tiger, lacking tank targets at the moment loaded HE ammo and fired at the Soviet infantry. Most of the squad went unharmed, but the DP gunner was ripped to pieces. So his mates withdrew into the cover of the hills lee side. The crew would then set up its PaK and after a short wait, managed to take out a T34 with a hit to its front. They waited patiently for further targets, but soon their field of fire was blocked by T34 wrecks and they chose not to relocate for fear of becoming a prominent target.
Now the Marder III moved forward a little bit before going into a hull down position behind a hill. From there it managed to score two hits on a T34, the first doing some damage, the other one setting it aflame. But soon after, its superstructure was hit and all of the crew but the driver were killed. After recovering his nerves, he climbed up to the gun compartment to man it, but until the end of the game, its view was blocked by burning tanks as well.
Now the other Marder led a rather eventful live. for lack of better positions, if crossed the battlefield from the West to the East, firing the odd shot without much success. One of the T34´s tried to ram it, but it evaded at the last moment. This brought it close to the Russian Infantry. So it charged into the foot soldiers dispersing them and killing two in the process.
And it was gone before the Soviets recovered and tried to throw hand grenades into its open top. It would then turn back north towards towards the centre and damage one of the T34s which was then taken out by one of the Tiger tanks. It would soon end up hiding between some Russian wrecks in the centre and actually managed to destroy one of the T-34´s which had turned around from their successful Panzer III hunt.
By this time the command T-34 had entered the table and seeming the Marder boxed in decided to ram it. Now that one did not turn out as the Russian commander had planned. While it did massive damage to the Marder tracks and wheels it did not render it in operational. On the other hand, it managed to smash its own main gun seriously damaging the commander. When the T34 reversed, the Marder turned and took it out, which actually was the last kill of the game.
Now the Tiger tanks did what they were designed for. They went up a hill (killing some infantry in the process as mentioned before), pointed their thick armor towards the enemy and firing at targets.
In the beginning this was pretty few, since most were either out of view or had been dispatched by other vehicles already. But things got better, once the Russians who had been pursuing the PzKw III turned around.
In the end they had managed to take out all the T70s and whatever T34´s they could lay their Acht-Achter upon. At the same time all the Russian shots seemed to bounce off without doing much harm. There were a few interesting moments though. Since they had taken up positions close to the Russian infantry, said infantry chose to close assault them. And they actually managed to cause the only real damage, by placing grenades on the tracks, but only enough to slow one of them down. Seeing this the German infantry charged forward to defend the tanks, which they managed killing all but one, but at a high price since all but one riflemen perished while doing so. By the time they had done so, one of the T70s had charged up the hill to get into the Tigers rear. The remaining Soldat tried to close assault it as well, but failed to do any damage. But by the time the T70 was imposition to fire, the rear Tiger had turned its turret and took it out point blank.
In the end, the game ended with all but one Russian tank killed and that one only had one living crew member and was immobilized. Of the Soviet infantry only one soldier had survived.
On the German side the Marder II and both Tiger tanks were operational (although one slightly slower due to track damage) and the PaK team was there as well. The Marder III was badly damaged and only had one living crew me member as well.
In the end it was a German victory since they still had 6 ½ rounds to move the Tiger tanks forward and there was opposition left. But the price ha been high and the result had been bloody.
So this is my entry for the next fortnight theme. I have long had these minis and for a long time I wanted to turn them into a casualty marker for my Napoleonic games. The minis are from Warlord Games small Napoleonic Prussian range. While the plastics are an absolute pain in the behind due to their soft detail and undercuts these casualties are just brilliant… characterful faces, crisp detail and great interaction between the minis. The only change I made was replacing the banner to be carried by the wounded soldier with a musket (from a Victrix French Guard set). Warlord means these minis to be used as part of the unit, where a banner would be fine, but I felt that on a casualty marker this would just draw too much attention, so I did without. The minis were painted up to act as a casualty marker for a unit of silesian Landwehr or more specifically the 3tes Battalion, 13te Schlesische Landwehr, as denoted by their yellow shoulder boards.
But there are also some more casualties. I initially planned to do these as part of the fortnight theme, but after not doing so well on the last two rounds and since it seems I am unable to take proper photos this year (even if my life depended on it), I decided to stick to just one base of minis for the theme round and here is the rest. I painted a awful lot of Napoleonic French and Prussian units over the past 2 ½ years and one thing that is missing are casualty markers for them. As as part of the Challenge I decided to paint a few more up, to beef up their meagre ranks. The French are from Perry Miniatures (metal). Virtully all my French are wearing greatcoats and to my knowledge these are the only two French casualties in greatcoats around, so I simply had to use these.
The other is a Prussian Regular by Calpe Miniatures. The brick-red collar and cuffs denote him to hail from a Brandenburgian unit.
All of them are mounted on octagonal bases, each numbered through (by my better half… my hand writing is rubbish). While this is not really a fabulous new idea, I do not like the bases with the integrated casualty wheel (too thick for my taste). They are placed behind the unit that took casualties, with the side that matches the number of casualties facing front. They are placed left or right behind the unit depending on the moral state they are in. The clever bunnies amongst you will realise, that some units may take more than eight casualties. In that case the counter os moved one base towards the centre of the unit, with each base it is being moved denoting a +8. But I already explained this in more detail in an earlier post for those interested.
And one more shot. When taking these photos, I did not realize, that the shutter was still still open on the camera when removing the mini. This created a somewhat ghostlike shot that I wanted to share with you.
And as usual… here is the link to the special page Curt set up for you to see (and cast your vote) on all the entries.
Well I knew I said the next entry would be WWII British but in the end it is Germans… but still for WWII.
Last year I saw to it, that I got the entry fee for the Analogue Painting Challenge off my chest pretty fast, but this year I was a bit undecided what to do, so it took me a bit longer. Now the Peckinpah theme gave me some headaches from the start. Last summer I had asked Curt if he already had an idea what the theme for the 4th Challenge would be and based on his answer, I picked a nice mini to paint up for it. Unfortunately Curt decided to go for something different and while he offered me that I could still enter that mini, I felt this would be wrong. I felt pretty sure, that I did not want to to paint something for the Wild Bunch / Western theme, but since Curt said a mini from any Peckinpah movie would do, I decided that Cross of Iron would be a nice option. I assumed everyone going that route would be painting Germans or Russians, so I decide that Americans from Cross of Iron II would be a nice choice. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to check the credits for the movie and found that not only had the actors changed, but so had the director, so this was no option anymore. Thinking about the characters from the movie I felt that Stranski would be a nice choice. Looking through my lead pile, I found a virtual look alike from Artizan Miniatures and decided that I would paint him up… only to find out a few days later that someone had beaten me to it. I guess you can all see a theme of one step forward, two steps back developing here, can you! So I sat down with the DVD and watched the movie again. It is funny that what stuck with me the most was not one of the main characters, but the tripod mounted MG42 firing in defense of the trenches during the Soviet attack, so I decided that this would be it. Looking through my lead pile again I found that I still had a very nice MG42 team from Victory Force and so this was finally painted up. According to Curt’s preferences based as a team on a slim base. While a trench would have been a fitting base according to the movie, I went for more open ground, to give it more of an universal use. The minis are now on their way to the wilds of Canada and I hope they arrive safe and sound. Sorry for the poor photos… they look much better IRL. Hope Curt enjoys them!
Now on to the Rifles themselves. The unit was created in January 1800 as the “Experimental Corps of Riflemen” to provide sharpshooters, scouts and skirmishers. They were renamed the “95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles)” in 1803 (in between they were also renamed “The Rifle Corps”). In 1805 and 1806 they were sent to Germany to liberate Hannover from France. Five companies had a brief stint in South America where they were surrendered by their commanding officer, but after negotiations they were allowed to leave. At the same time the rest of the Regiment accompanied Athur Welsley (the later Duke Wellington) to Denmark. They were also send to Schweden, but never left their vessels.
Their real rise to fame began during the Peninsular Campaign. Here they fought in every major engagement and served right from the landings at Mondego Bay till the advance into France. As part of the Light Brigade they were always in the thick of battle. One of their most heroic feats (here we come full circle with the fortnight theme) was the battle of Battle of San Marcial where a company under the command of Captain Daniel Cadoux held off an entire French division at Vera before withdrawing. They inflicted 231 casualties and suffering just 14 killed, unfortunately including Cadoux.
After Napoleons first abdication, they returned to England for R&R and indeed many men who saw their enlistments end, left the regiment. But with Napoleons return to power, many of them returned to the unit and the unit returned to Europe to fight again, seeing action at boy Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
For those who want to get some idea of their exploits during the Napoleonic era (and not only from a TV series starring Sean Bean [I like him as an actor and always did, but I simply do not believe in Bernhard Cornwell or Hollywood teaching history]) there is a very good book by Mark Urban simply called “Rifles”.
OK, enough of that and on to the minis, shall we! All of these minis are Perry Miniatures (two of them plastic, the other metal). There is twenty of them in total, which under the Republic to Empire rules (1:20 ratio) will allow me to field them at full strength for Quatre Bras or if I remove a few minis, for Waterloo as well. I did this with my Black Watch and I am going this with all my Napoleonic British, since I do not play the Peninsular and this will allow me to replay either battle.
Again they were based on half bases (except for the command stand) to allow me to use them in full skirmish deployment as well, just like what I described with my other light troops.
Those who follow the Painting Challenge know that it is primarily about numbers. While I am unwilling to sacrifice quality for numbers I am already seriously trailing my target of a thousand points, so I needed something to push me forward. Especially since the next item I will paint will be the 95th Rifles for the 100 Days and a Napoleonic unit always means slower going than the more modern themes. So I thought that vehicles would be a good choice, since they give 15 points as opposed to just 5 for infantry. Looking through my cabinet of unpainted tanks I saw a number of early war German tanks which should do nicely. Single color, limited stowage. And it proved me right, since I did these in just one evening. All are repainted New Millennium toys repaints.
All in all it was pretty simple. I found that my homegrown Panzergrau was exactly the same shade as the one they came in. So I masked off the parts of the turret numbers I wanted to keep, resprayed the rest, completed the turret numbers making sure I got consecutive numbering (decals in case of the PzKw IV and freehand on the PzKw 38(t)), added dust and rust to the exhausts and I was done. This was only helped by the fact that these came with there turret hatches cast shut, so I did not have to worry about commander figures either.
So what do we have? Well first up are a Zug of PzKw IV Ausführung F1. Now early in the war this was the heavy tank of the German Panzerforces. It was originally designed as an infantry support tank and its role was to take out AT guns and emplacements. The tank fighting role, actually belonged to its smaller cousin the PzKw III. But this changed once the T-34 was encountered. It was simply impossible to up-gun and up-armour the PzKw III enough to keep up with real combat tanks so it was the PzKw IV that was continuously upgraded and served in that role as the main workhorse of the German army right until the end of the war.
Now this PzKw IV will give me lots of milage. While the 7,5cm gun displayed here was only introduced after Operation Barbarossa, the 5cm guns used on the earlier models are nearly indistinguishable in this scale and therefore these models can see service anywhere from the invasion of Poland or France up until the Invasion of Russia.
Up next is the PzKw 38(t). One thing the German army was fighting with right from the start was too few tanks. Annexing Czechoslovakia solved this problem in part since huge numbers of LT vz. 38 tanks became German property and were pressed into use. Back then it was at least en par with most other medium tank designs and outclassed the German PzKw I´s and II´s. But when it came up against newer medium and heavy tank designs it proved inferior. Once German armored forces faced an abundance of T34´s it became clear that the design was outdated and production was ceased in 1942 (although some were still given to other Axis nations late in the war). But the chassis was used for a number of other designs which included the Flakpanzer 38(t), Aufklärungspanzer 38(t) and most notably the Marder III and Hetzer vehicles. In the end the 38(t) chassis was one of the most widely used of all German vehicles.
Ruperts on the way to the Rhine and other WWII British (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #5.1)
Next we have a radio operator [WG] and the remaining NCO [VFM].
To complete the rifle companies heavy fire power, here are the PIAT teams. The first one is from BAM.Up next the first in firing pose from VFM. And last another one in firing pose from BAM. One of the few sets in the old range that had decent faces. The German Panzer in the photo was not painted as part of the Challenge and is just there for the atmosphere. Now we have some serious firepower. While not part of the company level assets, a scenario can always require you to have a Vickers or two and looks wise, this has always been one of my favorites machine guns of WWII, So I could not do without. The first one is BAM. The gunner does not look as nice as he could, but I still had it lying around and if you want two Vickers, more variety looks better on the table. The loader for this one gave me no joy. When I was doing the sand on the bases (always do that after painting and varnish) he slipped my fingers and dropped into the open can with brown paint. I pulled him out before he could go under and put him under running water, but the damage had been done and I had to paint him once more. :-( The other Vickers is by WG. All around a lovely set and maybe my favorite from their whole British range. Now some of you may have spotted some should flashes in the previous photos. All these men are meant to be from the 1st South Lancashires. 3rd (British) Infantry Division was an easy choice for me, since they landed on D-Day and saw action in many of the major operations of the war. So there is a lot of milage in them. The Regiments are distinguished by the bars under the flash (one in case of the 1st South Lancs) so they can easily pass as one of the other regiments on the tabletop. And I can live with patches for the wrong unit in case I want to replay something where troops from a different Division took part. The choice for the 1st South Lancs is actually a little more obscure. There are some things about the D-Day landings I absolutely want to replay and one of them is Sword Beach: Queen White (Brèche d´Hermanville) and this was their landing beach. If you want to know more about the Regiment, you can find a very good summary of their actions on the website of the Lancashire Infantry Museum.
So to give an idea of them all, here is a group shot. 28 minis in total.
Up in the next post there will be some German armor, although from the early war period. So stay tuned!
The other week we finally got to give the Battle of Möckern another try. Before I start with the AAR I shall show you the force compositions, so know which forces faced one another:
Deployment was quiet straight forward. The French Troops under Lagrange were deployed inside the village of Möckern, with the Légère being deployed behind it as reserves. They could only be released after the first Prussian assault on the village itself. The troops under Buquet were deployed on the fields east of the village. The French artillery was positioned in between these two formations.
The Prussians under Klüx were deployed opposite the village, with the Leibgrenadierbattalion being kept back as reserves. They could only be released after the first unsuccessful assault on Möckern. The Second Detachment was deployed on the fields east of Möckern opposite the French lines. The Prussian 6pdr. batteries were deployed between the two formations with the cavalry behind them. Th horsemen would stay in reserve until von Yorck saw the moment fit to unleash them. At the earliest this could happen on the fourth round (they would be released on a roll of 6+ on a D10 with each previous attempt giving them a +1). The 12pdrs. were not deployed on table but off table and would start firing on the fourth round.
The Prussians won the first initiative (they would actually did so each round) and began a general advance. On their right the Gardejäger had deployed the whole unit as skirmishers and it was behind them that the Landwehr advanced, with the Ostpreußisches Infanterieregiment to their left, both in line. On the fields Two regular and the reserve battalions were at the front deployed in Collums of Attack with the Landwehr battalions advanced behind them in line. The artillery opened up on the closest French infantry on the fields, without doing much damage.
Initiative passed over to the French. While the troops inside Möckern naturally stayed put and those in the fields advanced slowly in line. The two French batteries split their fire between the Westpreußisches Grenadierbattalion on the fields and the Ostpreußen near Möckern. They too only inflicted moderate damage.
Now it was the Prussians turn once more. The troops opposite Möckern continued their advance with the Gardejäger opening fire at the defenders doing the first damage. On the fields there was a further advance with the 12te Reserveinfanterie preparing to charge. But before they could do so it was the artilleries turn. The left battery had to shift its fire to the French artillery on account that part of the Prussian lines now obscured the French and managed to put the crew for two of the French guns out of action, while their companions still created more damage for the infantry. Now the reservists charged the French to their front. The French fired a defensive volley at point blank range, but still they went on. Both sides already inflicted heavy casualties on the other, but not enough to send one running. But after continued heavy hand to hand combat the French broke and ran, never to return. But at a heavy price with the reservists having lost more than half their number. But still they stood fast.
On their next turn the French in Möckern still just held their ground. The troops on the fields contented with just firing at the Prussians to their front without doing much damage or with sending some infantry to re-crew the French guns. Only the French battalions from the second line (now front) opposite the 12th Reserveinfanterie charged them. The Prussians were still disordered from their own attack and while they managed to get some defensive fire off they were unable to break the French impetus and after short combat broke themselves. They would still be retiring at the end of the game. Again the French artillery fired at both the Grenadierbattalion on the fields and the Ostpreußen near Möckern inflicting more damage, having found their range.
Back to the Prussians the action went. Near Möckern they advanced further, but the Ostpreußen now decided to deploy as skirmishers to lessen the effects of the incoming artillery, which would work out, but at the same time meant they would be less effective assaulting the village.
On the fields the 14te Schlesische Landwehr got into position to charge the French who had just broken the reservists, but faild to get their morale up for the charge. Unfortunately the same happened to the Brandenburgisches Infanterieregiment. The Grenadierbattalion decided to fire at the regiment to their front, since the second artillery battery could now longer fire at the french infantry either. And their fire proved effective enough. With the second Prussin artillery battery now shifting its fire to the French artillery as well, they caused impressive damage, killing all the infantry replacements for the crew plus the crews for another 4 guns!
Now the French defender inside Möckern remembered that they could fire back, which they did causing minimal damage ion the Gardejäger.
On the fields most of the French proved happy firing at the Prussians with moderate effect and sending yet more infantry to help redrew the French guns. The French who had previously dispatched the reservists now decided to charge the Landwehr in position to charge them. Their superior numbers and quality proved decisive and after heavy losses of both sides the Landwehr pulled back.. The French artillery virtually did nothing this turn. One battery was in no state to cause much damage and the other failed to make an impression on the dispersed skirmishers of the Ostpreußen.
On their next turn the Prussians did extremely well. Both the line Regiments on the fields charged their French opposites causing both to break and run. Together with the previous losses and those troops send to help the artillery this only left a nucleus of French on the fields. While the Gardejäger caused some further damage on the French defenders of Möckern the real star was the artillery. One of the Prussian batteries shifted their fire to the next French battery taking out the crew for one gun. But the other one annihilated the mauled French battery taking out the remaining crew and damaging the guns before the French infantry even got a chance to redrew them. To make matters worse for the French the next round would also see the Prussian cavalry released. At this point the French player decided to call it a day.
All in all one very entreating game and we more than happy to pal it out this time without too much discussing of rules. Having read them again before the game really helped there!
I always love painting some jewel effects on lenses and so on, so I took the opportunity to do that with the visors on the pilots helmets. Unfortunately it does not really show against the green helmets.