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Category Archives: Red Star Miniatures

Game report USMC Recon vs. Russians

For the first time in a very long time we played a modern scenario. Situations was this.

As part of a general attack on western Europe, Russia also decided to return the Baltic Republics to the fold. Not willing to let this happen NATO has decided to send an US Marine Expeditionary Corp to retake Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While the initial landings went well against the second and third level units used to garrison Russia’s “acquisitions”, the Marines ran into troubles after a few days when The Russians diverted front line reinforcements to the Baltic, together with a strong anti-aircraft screen.

Against this backdrop, a large USMC Recon patrol stumbles over two Russian T-90 tanks besides a small warehouse. Observations show that the tanks actually are the command tanks for a tank battalion operating in the area. Out of range of the ships heavy artillery and not wanting to risk any of the few fighter aircraft still at his disposal, the expeditionary force commander decides to order the Recon team to attack and take the tankers out before they leave for another attack. But to make matters worse, there is also a Russian infantry detachment to guard the tanks… not an easy nut to crack!

Table set-up [Minis no yet in their starting positions]

Table set-up
[Minis not yet in their starting positions]

This only being a small skirmish game, we only set up a small table. This was divided at roughly 1/3 of the depth by a raised railroad dam. There was also a road parallel to it. On the other side was a small fenced in warehouse compound with a few containers. The table also featured a small field and some woods. The Russians (eight infantry) set up with-in the compound. Both tank crews were still inside the warehouse where they had spent the night. They would only be allowed to leave it, once the Marines were either spotted or a firefight broke out.

Russian starting position

Russian starting position

The Marines split up into two five men teams that would try to sneak close on each flank. Only the M-60 machine gun would remain behind at the railroad crossing to provide covering fire if need be. At first things went quiet well, with the Marines silently crawling up on their target. But then, having gone roughly half way to their assault position, something went wrong with the team advancing through the woods.

USMC advance on the right flank

USMC advance on the right flank

Maybe someone broke a branch or it was the glitter of the sun on a weapon optic, but they were made out by the Russians, who instantly opened up with their LMG. Seeing that things were starting to go south, the M-60 gunner instantly opened up on his Russian counterpart and drove him to cover, but it was already too late… two of the right flank Marines had suffered wounds that turned them incapable to fight on. And now a general firefight broke out between the Marines on the right and the Russians who were starting to scramble to take up defensive positions. In this firefight the Corporal leading the Marines there was killed by a sniper bullet, before the SAW opened up and injured the sniper, taking him out of the fight.

Russians taking up defensive positions

Russians taking up defensive positions

While trying to crawl out from under the M-60s field of fire, one of the Russian NCO´s raised his head a bit too high and received a bullet to the head. At the same time the Russian LMG fired once more, killing another Marines on the right. Plus now the first Russian tankers were leaving the building as well, making for their tanks.

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Things were not going well! In this light the Marines on the left gave up their hide. Firing at the Russians closer to the warehouse, they managed to take out the LMG and injure the remaining Russian soldier hiding behind some crates behind by the warehouse. The M-60 ceased its fire and got ready to fire deeper into the compound where the second tank crew had left the building. The remainder of the team split up they. While the recon leader and another of one of his soldiers fired at targets of opportunity, two more soldiers sprinted forward to take the Russians in the flank.

Marines advancing on the left flank

Marines advancing on the left flank

Unfortunately, the first of them came under the sights of the Russians Sergeant who just happened to look around one of the containers. One snapshot and another Marines was down with severe injuries, before the Russian NCO got back behind cover of the containers. The other Marine who had just seen his buddy being felled, got down on his knee and fired his grenade launcher between the containers, eliminating the Russian Sergeant.

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Now the remaining Marine on the left flank (the SAW gunner) shifted its fire to the tankers to its front and together with the Marines from the other flank managed to injure or kill four of them. But only to be killed himself by one of the Russians. Now the firefight between the Marines and the three remaining Russians between the containers intensified. While one of the Russians was killed by a bullet, the others withdrew deeper between the containers, only popping around the corners for some snapshots. The devildogs tried their best to get them with more grenades, but had no luck. At the same time the M-60 had managed to take out all of three second tank crew except for one, who managed to get into his tank and close the hatches.

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Seeing that the firefight was getting them nowhere, the remaining three Marines charged. When the team leader ran into the first Russian, they got into a bitter hand to combat, which the Marine ended in his favor. Now the sole remaining Russian infantryman surrendered. At first the tanker refused to do the same but being shown the C4 that was about to be attached to his tank, he chose to surrender as well. After blowing up the T-90s, the Marines left with their two prisoners, dead and wounded… too high a price to pay, but still a victory.

 

More painted modern Russians

More painted modern Russians

This year I really want to finish my modern minis. There is not much more to do… paint a few Russians, US Army and Marines, do a few vehicles and I am done. Well at least until Eureka release some new minis or Imprint some new vehicles :-D. Anyway, I tackled the Russians two weeks ago and here they are.

First up are some Russian tankers from Red Star. I already had some from Mongrel Miniatures, but these are far nicer.

Russian Dismounted Tankers (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Dismounted Tankers
[Red Star Miniatures]

I kept these simple. No elaborate camo uniforms or anything. But many tankers I see in real life pictures do only wear simple one colour uniforms, so I let myself be inspired by these:

Russian Tankers

Russian Tankers

Up next are some Russians from Eureka. These come in NBC suits and would technically be most suited for the cold war era. But I fell in love with them, when I saw the first set at Historicon in 2005 and had to buy them, which also was the begining of a very good customer relationship with Eureka Miniatures. Since then I have mostly used them as lowly conscripts or troops for third line units. So these are the minis I already had (coming from the first and second releases):

Russian NBC troops (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC troops
[Eureka Miniatures]

And these are the ones I painted the other week to beef them up:

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun
[Eureka Miniatures]

The DShK 12,7mm machine gun is based on a 1938 Soviet machine gun and the equivalent to NATOs .50cal. This will give them some serious firepower. This one being mounted on an anti-aircraft tri-pod.

Russian NBC Mortars (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC Mortars
[Eureka Miniatures]

Now these mortars should give the Russians some serious firepower. Mortars are quiet effective both in real life and under the rules we use. When playing games versus my Brits (who already had mortar minis) they had to suffer… now they can fight back in style.

Russian DShK and AGS 17 (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian DShK and AGS 17
[Red Star Miniatures]

These minis are from Red Star, giving some heavy firepower to my other Russians. Another DShK, this time on a ground mount and an automatic grenade launcher.

Russian Kornet team (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team
[Red Star Miniatures]

Russian Kornet team top view (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team top view
[Red Star Miniatures]

And last but not least their Kornet AT team. I really like the Red Star minis for their animation, even though the face on the radioman is a bit flat. Recently read somewhere that the Chemins de feu (the club the owners of Red Star belong to) will be shifting to other periods, so maybe there will be no new Russian minis for a while. Would be a shame!

Before anyone asks the large bases for the heavy weapons and prone troops are from Fenris games.

 

Post Crisis AAR

As I said yesterday… we did a slight variation of a the Crisis game a few weeks later. We had to make some changes. While my table is quite large (2m x 3,5m at maximum expansion) it was not quite large enough to fit the whole Crisis table. So we traded the river for a railroad cut. The Russians were allowed to deploy far closer to the Recon/ANGLICO detachment. The Marine reinforcements had a longer way to go, but were allowed to deploy with their Abrams tanks on table. I deployed the Recon/ANGLICO Marines inside the railroad cut where they had good cover. My tanks started at full speed to reach them as fast as possible.

USMC Abrams and Amtracs charging

USMC Abrams and Amtracs charging

The Russians made a slow and meticulous advance, keeping the T-62´s behind providing covering fire for the rest of the troops, while they advanced.

Russian start line

Russian start line

Now this time the Recon/ANGLICO troops proved their worth. As elite troops they picked their targets carefully. Virtually every sniper, NCO or light machine gunner that came into sight, fell prey to their fire. All the while they were quite safe. Their position gave them good cover and their losses where extremely light. In the end this frustrated the Russians so much, that they charged their BRDM ahead trying to run them over. Fortunately most of them were able to jump out of the way. Before the BRDM could turn around for another run, one of the Marines fired an AP-grenade at the rear of the vehicle, hitting its engine and setting it on fire.The resulting disorder inside the railroad cut did not help, the Russians too much, since the LAV´s had reached the bridge to give their comrades the necessary support.

BRDM-2 trying to run over the Marines

BRDM-2 trying to run over the Marines

All the while the Russian tanks were paying a heavy price, too. The T-62´s were easy targets for the Abrams tanks. With their modern targeting systems the stationary T-62´s were sitting ducks and their weak armour provided no protection against their 120mm rounds. At the same time the TOW Hummer took care of the T-72 trying to block to bridge over the railroad cut.

Burning T-72

Burning T-72

By this time the Amtracs had reached the railroad cut as well and started discharging their troops. The Russians saw hat their time had run out and began to withdraw, which eventually ended the game.

Russian troops

Russian troops

American losses were minimal, so eventually this was a clear Marine victory.

LAV-25 Callsign "Scimitar", Imprint models with Mongrel Miniatures Crew

LAV-25 Callsign "Scimitar", Imprint Models with Mongrel Miniatures crew

Russian grenadier (TAG Miniatures)

Russian grenadier (TAG Miniatures)

 

Crisis 2010

I know it has been quite a hiatus lately, but life has been somewhat hectic. Nothing new to present from the painting front (painted less then one hour over the last two weeks) so I thought I should show you some pictures from the game we presented at Crisis in Antwerp last year.

We presented something from a period we like to play from time to time… hypothetical WWIII. Now I think this needs a few words to give you a perspective. I like (ultra) modern warfare, but I feel that wargaming things like Somalia, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq or Afghanistan is simply too close to home. So I felt that pitting Russia against NATO is a good alternative. The setting is somewhere in the earlier half to middle of this decade, with a Russia that is starting to prosper due to the rising prices of oil and gas and that has been able to rebuild its military. NATO has expanded to the east, taking former Warsaw Pact members up. But NATO is also committed on its missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nuclear arsenals have been reduced and neither side can hope take out the others arsenal with a nuclear strike.

In this situation someone sets up Russia and NATO against one another. Yes I know… Tom Clancy has had the same idea, but one can always borrow a good idea! So Russia decides to avenge itself and launches an attack at Central Europe, where forces are stretched thin due to the War on Terror. Poland and the Baltic Republics are the first to fall.

The only NATO nation that would be able to send forces to help Poland would be Germany, but the right-wing government on Warsaw fears a repeat of 1939 and refuses help. After having dealt with the Poles, the Russian forces push the German vanguard back to River Elbe, where they are stopped with the help of British, French and US Army forces.

The Baltic Republics had to fall, since Russia could not ignore a threat in its flank. Being isolated they did not have the forces necessary to put up resistance for long and were invaded.

With the Russian troops being stalled and in places being pushed back inside Germany, NATO decides to open a second front and sends II Marine Expeditionary Force to liberate the Baltic Republics.

And this is when this scenario takes place. A Force Recon unit together with an ANGLICO squad had infiltrated during the night to secure a bridge over a river until relief arrives from the beachhead. Shortly before this happens, they come under massive attack by a Russian force consisting of tanks and lots of infantry.

Now the Russian force 2nd or 3rd tier force dedicated to garrison duties. There is a high number of recruits amongst their infantry, they lack APC´s or IFV´s (the best they have is a BMP-1 and a BTR-80 and their tanks are outdated (T-62´s and T-72´s without major technological updates).

The Marine relief units consist of two scout LAV-25´s, two Amtracs and two Hummers (one with a .50cal, the other with a TOW). There are two Abrams that will arrive later, since these have been held up clearing some resistance along the route.

Our table Crisis 2010

Our table Crisis 2010 (viewed from the USMC side)

Now as you can see from the picture, we played this on a massive 4,5m x 2m table, with the river alone being almost 1 meter wide.

Victory conditions were quite bloody. One point for every soldier killed or incapacitated or vehicles put out of action. The Recon and ANGLICO soldiers were worth 3 points though. Even though players knew this and even though they were allowed to deploy them inside the buildings or on the rear of the river bank, the Recon/ANGLICO detachment was mostly deployed in the open, which meant they took a heavy toll from the very beginning.

The Russians tried to keep their force on the move to reach the river as fast as possible. They soon found out, that their T-62´s were no good at shooting on the move, so most of the firing was done by the T-72´s.

Part of the Russian force

Part of the Russian force

In the meantime the LAV´s sped across the bridge to give support to the troops on the other side, destroying the BTR-80 on the move. Unfortunately there was not that much they could do. Due to their poor position, most of the Recon/ANGLICO detachment had already been wiped out by the time the LAV´s rolled into the village.

Scout LAV-25´s

Scout LAV-25´s

All the while the Hummers had taken up position behind the bridge and the TOW armed of the two was exchanging shots with the T-72´s. It took out one of them, before it was destroyed itself. Meanwhile the Russian infantry suffered a lot from the Amtracs. These had entered the river on the left flank and were swimming over to the other side firing their .50cal / MK19 combinations on the move. A lot of the Russian infantry was crossing the ridge of the small hill at this time and were subjected to this fire.

Amtracks crossing the river

Amtracs crossing the river

After some skirmishing we got lost in talking to the players and eventually called the game a draw. While the Russians had lost more men and vehicles, the Marines had lost just too many men from their Recon/ANGLICO unit.

We played a variation of this game a few weeks later and I will try to get some shots up tomorrow.

 

Russian Mountain Troops

Nothing new in this post really. These are the modern Russians I showed you a while ago, but I finally got around to doing their bases. I also added some high gloss varnish to the goggles and lenses on the sights, but I am afraid, this does not really show on these pictures. As I said before… these minis are from Red Star Miniatures.

Russian Mountain Troops (I)

Russian Mountain Troops (I)

Russian Mountain Troops (II)

Russian Mountain Troops (II)

Now this will virtually be the last Russian infantry I will paint. I still have the heavy weapons from Red Star I need to paint and will probably buy me some of the mortars and AAA MG´s that Eureka recently released, but otherwise I think I have all the infantry I will need. And after all… I want to wrap up my moderns.

 

Modern WIP

Well this weekend saw another bank holiday weekend. Yes there are three of those in Germany this month (unfortunately I can only make use of one as I have most of the month off anyway). We spend this one with my better half´s relatives in Thuringia. Now I usually take some minis along, either cleaning them up or painting them, depending on how much we expect to be going on, on those visits. this time I opted to take some along to paint. While the 12te Schlesische Landwehr is still not finished, I could not take those along due to the way I mount my Napoleonic minis for painting. So I took moderns and WWI minis along. I did not get to those WWI minis, but the rest were tackled.

First up were a set of 8 modern Russians from Red Star. My initial idea had been to do them in the Russian version of woodlands, but then I searched a little on the internet and came across a new Russian “mountain” camo and went for that. Like the men on this photo, I wanted them to wear vests in a green digital pattern.

Men from the Russian 34th Mountain Brigade

Men from the Russian 34th Mountain Brigade (photo from http://www.militaryphotos.net)

Now the digital pattern is extremely sublime, as is on the original vests. I have read that you can see hardly any variation in colour in these, when they are issued. From what I have read, this is due to the poor quality of Russian dyes and that they are meant to show their real color variation after the first wash. Not sure if this is true, but I wanted to depict them unwashed.

Red Star Miniatures painted in Mountain camo

Red Star Miniatures painted in Mountain camo

Now the rest are a huge batch (29 minis) of modern US in ACU camo. The minis are a mix of the old Devil Dogs Designs and TAG from their SWAT range. These are meant to double as both infantry from a Stryker Brig. as well as an Airbourne Brig. when finished. I deliberately did not sculpt helmet covers onto those TAG minis, since I came across a lot of photos showing men without helmet covers recently (especially amongst jump qualified units). Now these are only partly finished so I am only showing two out of the 29 here. Left one is DDD, the right one TAG.

Partly finished ACU (left DDD, right TAG)

Partly finished ACU (left DDD, right TAG)

 
 
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