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Category Archives: HLBS

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)

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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.

 

Black Watch Battlegroup

When I posted pictures of my Napoleonic Black Watch last week, the mention of my modern version created some requests on various boards. So I think I shall deliver.

The troops painted are meant to depict A Company, 3rd Platoon, “The Black Watch” around 2003. By that time the Regiment was still an independent entity. On the 28th of March 2006 they became the 3rd Btln. of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. IMHO this was a very sad amalgamation, even though necessary from a financial point of view. The Black Watch was founded in 1725, but it´s historical roots date back well before that, to the Clans of the Campbells, Grants, Frasers, Munros. It fought at Fontenoy, Ticonderoga, the American War of Independence, Alexandria, The Peninsular, Quatre Bras, Waterloo, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the Frontier and Boer Wars, both World Wars, Korea and the Invasion of Iraq. Over this period 14 Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the Regiment.

The amalgamation at the very least saw this heritage damaged. The component units were no longer to wear their old badges, tartan patterns, distinctive headgear or hackles. In the end they were at least allowed to keep their headgear and hackles. Since all the Regiments will wear Government pattern Tartans, this will mean no change for the Black Watch.  But all in all, this still does not feel right to me.

Anyway… back to the minis in question. The unit depicted by me consists of a whole armoured platoon. This means 4 Warrior IFV´s, a command section consisting of a LTD, the platoon SGT, a radioman and a sniper, as well two 8 men sections. Now each section is subdivided in two. One half being led by a CPL, the other by a L-CPL. Each section has two Grenadiers (already armed with an SA-80 with GL-36 grenade launcher), two riflemen (one with a LAW 80 rocket launcher) and two LMG´s as well. Since this was meant to be an interim TO&E I decided to leave one of the old SA-80 LSW´s per section and only grant them one Minimi LMG.

As additional assets there is a medic and a bagpiper, that can be attached to the command section, as well as a support section, mortar section and a HMG team.

Command Section

Command Section

1st Section

1st Section

2nd Section

2nd Section

3rd Section

3rd Section

Most of the minis shown above, are converted to a certain degree. With the exception of the sniper they are all Devil Dogs Design, from both their first and second releases. The first release was wearing parkas, while the second was not, so all minis from the later had to be converted. Same goes for the SA-80´s with underslung grenadelauncher and the LAW 80´s. Since no minis with either were available, these had to be scratch build. The first section got burlap straps sculpted onto their helmets, the second got Tam´s, while the 3rd were allowed to retain their helmets.The medic was sculpted from scratch with the exception of the head / helmet. The additional assets below are TAG minis.

Support section

Support Section (2x GPMG, 2x Minimi)

Mortar Section

Mortar Section

HMG Team

HMG Team

What really surprised me, when I took these out of the box this week to take some photos, is their looks. I painted these eight or nine years ago and could have bet, that my painting had not changed too much, but it really has.

Is this it? No! Obviously a mechanized unit requires some rides and these come in the form of 4 Imprint models Warrior IFV´s.

Warrior IFVs

Warrior IFVs

Now, unfortunately the British Army decided to fit the command Warriors with different doors, so I had to convert one of them (# 30).

Rear door comparison

Rear door comparison

Now the British Army has one problem, when it comes to its mechanized infantry, when compared to other NATO nations. The IFV´s feature only autocannons and lack ATGM´s. On the tabletop (as well as in real life) this makes combined arms operations absolutely necessary. So I could not leave it at this. When the Black Watch was stationed in Germany it was meant to form a battlegroup (which would be called the Black Watch Battlegroup) with the Scots Dragoon Guards and the 9th/12th Lancers. It actually did so, when when it supported the USMC near Bagdad, although the 9/12 L were left in Germany and Royal Marines took their part.

So my battlegroup also got two Challenger IIs from the HQ section of the Scots DG´s as well as a Striker and a Scimitar from the 9/12L. the former two are Imprint models, the later are from HLBS.

Scot´s Dragoon Guards Challanger II´s

Scot´s Dragoon Guards Challenger II´s

9th/12th Lancers

9th/12th Lancers

 

I do not know what you did last weekend, but…

… but this is what I did.

As those of you who have followed my previous posts might have noticed… I have been painting an awful lot of Napoleonic minis this year. A total of 13 riders, 8 horses (mind you, most of the horses for the 12th Cuirassiers were painted last year), 139 infantry- and artillerymen and 4 artillery pieces. Not bad for a little over 5 month. Anyway… I needed a break last weekend. So I finished the bases of my 3/13th Silesian Landwehr (pictures to follow soon) and turned to some modern stuff.

Moderns will be my extra project for this year. I usually try to finish something small every year, to make some progress outside my main projects. So some time in January this year, I could not decided which one to go for… either finish my modern project or my WWII British Paras. So I asked my better half and she said “Moderns”. So I finally sat down and assembled resin models and converted some of them to my gusto. Please beware, that all photos in this post are WIP. Which means I still need to add greenstuff to fill gaps from my conversions and that stowage will be added after the first painting phase!

I began with a Russian MTLB from HLBS. Now I had seen a number of photos from Chechnya and South Ossetia, where the Russians welded a ZSU-23 A³ gun to the top of an MTLB. I wanted that kind of extra firepower for mine, too. Since I also had a Sloppy Jaloppy ZSU lying around this seemed like the perfect match.

MTLB with ZSU-23

MTLB with ZSU-23

On the other hand I want to use the APC without the gun and I have at least one scenario in mind where I need a seperate gun.

MTLB with seperate ZSZ-23

MTLB with seperate ZSZ-23

So what´s the solution… buy everything twice? In the end I came up with a simple and cheap solution. I have started to attach the turrets of my resin tanks to the hulls using neodym magnets. The ones I use are only 1mm thick and 1cm in diameter. So I drilled a hole into the rear hull of the MTLB, put one magnet into it flush with the hull and put another one underneath the gun. I had to add some plasticard to the underside of the gun, to bring the magnets closer together without touching each other (I do not want any paint to scratch off on top the hull magnet). When I get to the greenstuff phase, the edge between the hull and magnet will be filled and you will not see the magnet anymore when painted.

Magnets

The magnets

Next up were two BMP-1´s and two BMP-2´s from HLBS and three Striker IFV´s and one Striker MGS from Imprint. Those were build straight out of the box and I will not bore you with pictures of them right now.

But the interesting part came next… 5 Hummers. One of them (the one cast in light grey resin on the photo) will go to my Marines. Now as with the other Hummers I already build for my Marines, they are meant to be simple models. So all I did was raise the air-intake snorkel, add a sidepipe exhaust, a cowbar cannibalized from a Maisto toy and a gunshield for the MK19 autogrenadelauncher.

The other 4 (white resin from a batch I bought a couple of years ago) will go to my US Army troops. I am playing a hypothetical WWIII set in Europe around 2003 to 2004. These are meant to represent vehicles from units stationed in Germany suddenly called to the front. In that sense they are supposed to look field modified, just like the ones we saw early on in Iraq or Afghanistan. So in addition to the normal gunshields, I added field improvised armour to the gunner positions of the .50cal and MK19 Hummers and armour shielding to the doors.One also got a cowbar, another one a push-bumber and an antennae array (this will most likely become the command vehicle).

But I have to say… I am still not satisfied with their looks. I started on cutting some armour plating for the lower hull, but cutting one piece out was no fun and I can not imagine doing so for 4 vehicles. So at best I will do the one of them that way. I have some smoke dischargers lying around so one or two of them will get those. Most likely another push-bumper and maybe a towing assembly. Lets see how these turn out in the end. If you have any suggestions… they are more than welcome!

Hummers

Hummers (left to right): Army TOW, MK19, TOW, .50cal, USMC MK19

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in HLBS, Imprint Models, Modern, USArmy, USMC, Vehicles