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Category Archives: Victory Force Miniatures [VFM]

Late War Fallschirmjäger army

Late War Fallschirmjäger army

Even by the standards of this blog, my output seems to have been low for some months now. Well it is not that. As some might know, last year I decided to tackle an old project of mine. A mid to late war Fallschirmjäger army for the eastern and western fronts (Italy will see a seperate one). So I started of with some artillery and a PaK 40 as well as some support weapons, mortars.

Around New Years I began the project in earnest with everything you will in this post. As I said this had been a long time coming, since with the exception of 15 minis all of these had been cleaned and primed 15+ years ago. So it was long overdue to get them table ready.

Before anyone asks, with the exception of a few minis I will point out, all of these are by Victory Force Miniatures. Which might seem like a problem, since their range is only about a maximum of 20 different models strong. But as I said these are meant I represent a 1943 or 1944 and later force. By that time many units had seen a huge influx of new recruits trained and equipped at different times. So while some men still had old one colour Knochensäcke and helmet covers, others had Splittermuster (which came in distinctly different shades depending an manufacturer and batch) or Sumpftarnmuster. So that allowed for a lot of variety. Some went for painted metal items (helmets, canteen cups,…), trousers and ammo bandoliers. All in all these led to a very colourful force and I am happy to say… there are no two minis that share the same pose and colour scheme.

For the time being, these are based in the Fallschirmjäger list from Battlegroup Overlord, which will also work for the eastern front or later periods like Market Garden. If other lists for that period get published in later books, I will mostly likely tweak this force.

So up first is the battlegroup HQ.

Fallschirmjäger Battlegroup HQ

Up next are the spotters for all that artillery they have. The officer with the Scherenfernrohr is by Offensive Miniatures, the soldier with the map is from Warlord Games

Fallschirmjäger artillery spotter team

To make sure that these guys can actually reach the artillery, there is also a radio team (standing in for a wire team under the rules).

Fallschirmjäger radio team

The prone sniper is a converted Heer sniper by VFM, the sniper / spotter team is from Warlords plastic range (although I think I needed to convert the rifle to be scoped).

Fallschirmjäger snipers

There are two scout foot patrols. I rather like them, since they pack quite some punch with their FG-42s. As some will notice, the second team comes with G43s, but those will serve as stand-ins for the FG-42s.

Fallschirmjäger foot scout patrol
Fallschirmjäger foot scout patrol

On to the infantry platoon HQ.

Fallschirmjäger infantry platoon HQ

Plus those platoon support options not done last year. Writing this, it dawned on me, that I am still missing the medic for this force. So I think there will be one more mini to paint.

Fallschirmjäger MG-42 HMG team
Fallschirmjäger Panzerschreck team

Now all three Trupps, with the exception of one NCO and one LMG assistant, feature the same minis. But as I said above, I think the variation in clothing / equipment colours and a few head swaps really makes them all look different.

1st Fallschirmjäger Trupp
2nd Fallschirmjäger Trupp
3rd Fallschirmjäger Trupp

The rules give the option to swap one of the regular riflemen for a secong LMG or two equip up tomtwommen with Panzerfäuste. So I build those options as well. All these are Warlord plastics (with the exception of the first and forth from the right with a Panzerfaust).

Fallschirmjäger LMG options
Fallschirmjäger Panzerfaust options

So what is left now. Well some anti aircraft and heavy anti-tank firepower.

For the anti-aircraft option I went for a 2cm FlaK 38. Essentially I see this as a light force and felt that a manhandled single barrel FlaK made more sense than a Flakvierling.

The model is a 1:48th scale plastic kit and the crew are converted Warlord plastics. I felt that since the kit gave me the option to depict the gun in any state I wanted, it would be nice to show it in the process of being limbered up, hanging half in the air.

Fallschirmjäger FlaK 38
Fallschirmjäger FlaK 38
Fallschirmjäger FlaK 38
Fallschirmjäger FlaK 38

And for the heavy anti-tank option I went for an Acht-Achter. I felt this was needed, since the Fallschirmjägerlist gives them StuG III or PzKw IV support at most.

The model itself is an old 1:48th scale FlaK 18 by Bandai that I have had for ages. I felt it would fit this force well, so it received some weathering and was given a Warlord plastics crew.

Fallschirmjäger FlaK 18
Fallschirmjäger FlaK 18
Fallschirmjäger FlaK 18

So this is it. All in all 96 minis, most of them in camouflage clothing. While I really, really like the result, I am really fed up painting Splittermuster and Sumpftarnmuster, especially all the „raindrops“. So I guess it will be at least 2023 before I start on the Volksgrenadiere (or so I say today).

Full Fallschirmjäger force
 

More Fallschirmjäger support weapons

More Fallschirmjäger support weapons

Before we left for Scotland in September I wanted to start on something small, that could possibly be finished fast after our return.

It turned out I actually managed to finish them, including the basing, in under four days (including two days on the day job). Not actually sure how, since Splittermuster camo is not exactly a fast subject.

Up first is the 8,8cm Racketenwerfer 43 Püppchen rocket launcher. The launcher, as well as the loader and gunner are from Westwind. Not sure if it is still the same, but back when I bought it the minis came with those terrible cartoonish heads. So those were replaced with Fallschirmjäger heads from Westwind.

Fallschirmjäger 8,8cm Racketenwerfer 43 Püppchen

Now when I had finished the Team, I felt it looked extremely bare on the base and if I remember correctly the Püppchen team is three men in Battlegroup Overlord. So I added a NCO from Victory Force Miniatures. Usually I would say that VFM look too large next to Warlord, but with the head swap on the other minis, they blend quite well.

Fallschirmjäger 8,8cm Racketenwerfer 43 Püppchen
Fallschirmjäger 8,8cm Racketenwerfer 43 Püppchen

Up next is the 2,8cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41. Unfortunately there is no official slot for them in Battlegroup Overlord, but I always loved the looks of this gun, so I could not do without it. And since there are stats for the Panzerbüchse itself, one can always come up with a price for the team.

Fallschirmjäger 2,8cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41

As with the Püppchen, this one is a Warlord set and again, I replaced the heads with Westwind ones.

Fallschirmjäger 2,8cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41
Fallschirmjäger 2,8cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41
Fallschirmjäger 2,8cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41

Up last are two 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortars. Again these are by Warlord. In this case they even retained their heads. The faces are not cartoonish and some have their hands moulded to their heads, so it would have been a lot of effort to remove them anyway. But I replaced the mortars with mortars from Victory Force, which I still had lying around from a few conversions I did ages ago. The Warlord ones looked too tiny for my taste.

Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortars
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortars
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortar
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortar
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortar
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortar
Fallschirmjäger 8cm Granatwerfer 34 mortar

This is it for today. Looking at these photos though, I think I will have to put more effort into my photos again in the future. These were taken on my iPad, as I have done for months now. I think I need to switch back to my DSLR.

 

Rounding off my Americans

Rounding off my Americans

I recently realised, that my WWII American infantry only need very few additions to make them plyable as either an Infantry Division or an Armoured Division. So I started fleshing them out. The biggest problem though was (and still is) that virtually all my other Americans were painted nearly two decades ago. Since I mostly used self-mixed paints back then, which have long dried out, and my style of painting changed a bit, this was a challenge. But I think I have found colours that nearly match the old ones and have managed a style close enough not for them to stand out. Only when it came to the faces and eyes I stuck to my new style completely.

M 101 105mm Howitzer
M 101 105mm Howitzer
M 101 105mm Howitzer

Up first is a two gun battery of howitzers. I always love to add some artillery to my forces and these were actually quite fast to paint.

Next is the .30cal machine gun team. Like the artillery before them, they are by Warlord Games. Really liked the composition of the minis, although the ammo bearer taking the knee feels somewhat strange with the rest of the Team being prone.

The .30cal, .50cal and mortar teams above were not painted now, but only rebased. Under the rules we used in the past, it made sense to base the teams as single miniatures. Under Battlegroup that is not necessarily the case and I rather want them based as teams these days. But, I think these minis (by Victory Force Miniatures) actually show, that the new ones blend in well with those painted almost two decades ago.

When I decided to paint and rebase these minis, my eyes fell upon the Greyhound above. It had been sitting assembled but unpainted on my shelve for years, so I decided to paint up up as well while I was on it.

 

Lots of early war German vehicles

Lots of early war German vehicles

Work is still ongoing on my German early war (Poland to Barbarossa) project. It is amazing how many vehicles one actually needs for this fairly short period. Between all these and the ones I posted last year, there are still lots to do. All of these were done over the fall to early spring period of this year.

Up first is the SdKfz 222 from Blitzkrieg models. Really nice model. The only thing that disappointed me a bit, is that it comes with sand tyres, which would fit a model for the Afrika Korps, but not Europe. Fortunately I had the SdKfz 260 kit from ICM, which comes with two sets of wheels. Both with regular tyres and even though the plastic version is already great, there I a rubber set. So one of these was fitted to the SdKfz 222.

This is the above mentioned SdKfz 260. Unfortunately it has no place in the Battlegroup lists, but I simply liked it looks too much! We have already used it as the ride for the Luftwaffe liaison officer (who usually rides a half track) and it worked out fine.

And here is a bunch of PzKw II. The ones in the top picture have early turrets (commanders hatch) while the ones in the lower two photos have the late turret (commanders copula). In retrospect I should have asked the people at Blitzkrieg if they would sell me three hulls with two different turrets each, since it was lots of work painting six similar hulls, but one always has these ideas when it is too late.

And to round things off with the PzKw II family, here is a Flammpanzer II Flamingo. This model is also from Blitzkrieg.

And then there is the transport for the Grenadiere. Personally I prefer halftracks, but those are more expensive points wise and unavailable for Poland, so I needed some trucks. In this case a bunch of Opel Blitz from Tamiya. The drivers (mostly invisible on these photos) are by Victory Force, the soldiers themselves by Warlord.

And then there are the halftracks. The commanders halftracks is an old Bandai model (by now repainted for the second time). It is a SdKfz 251 B. Not sure if such a mix with the SdKfz 251 C models for the rest of the platoon is realistic, but I am thinking that maybe the unit got a small batch of earlier models first that were allocated to the commanders, while the rest of the troops got theirs later. The C models are by Blitzkrieg. The Grenadiere are by Warlord and the machinegunners are from Rubicon, but with Warlord heads to hide their slimmer shape.

To give the troops some supplies there is another Opel Blitz by Tamiya. The guard is by Warlord Games. The supplies are a mix of Tamiya and Bandai. Not sure if there are too few supplies. Maybe I need to add to it.

And last, a tripod mounted MG-34. The machine gun and gunner are by Victory Force, while the spotter and loader are Warlord Games.

 

Pegasus Bridge, a Horsa Glider and other things

Pegasus Bridge, a Horsa Glider and other things

As you may know, we wanted to host Pegasus Bridge at Crisis in Antwerp this year (and eventually we did so). Between the three of us we already had a lot of buildings, hedges and so on. But this still required some more terrain.

Not many buildings for the vicinity of the bridge were required, but I wanted some more variation. Since I still had the château from Sarissa Precission around, so that seemed like the natural option. It had been a nice kit to assemble and was a nice kit to paint. If I was to do it again though, I would probably leave the first floor windows and shutters off for easier painting.

French Chateau French Château
French Chateau French Château

But we also needed a Horsa Glider for the game. Martin had a model by Grand Manner around. Martin was unsure if he could give it due credit, so I painted it up. I Ieft the landing gear off to me the model fit the scenario since the Gliders used for the attack on Pegasus Bridge all had rough landings and ripped their landing gears off. It was nice enough to airbrush up, but I think the dimensions are somewhat off. The lower hull and underside of the wings were painted in a dark green, the top in camouflage. So I started by doing the camo and then taped the edge off. Which is when I realised that something was amiss. For example I used the forward doors and tail wings as a guide, but under the main wings the lines ended up too low. But I felt this was acceptable, since people could hardly see this spot. So the lower half of the glider was painted in dark green and filters and washes applied. Now I taped off the invasion stripes and again, I noticed that something was not quite right, for there was too little space on tail. In the end the RAF roundels on the tail ended up overlapping the invasion stripes for that reason. To finish things off, I placed chalk markings on the flank saying “Lady Irene” to make it match the glider Major Howard landed in.

Horsa Glider Horsa Glider
Horsa Glider Horsa Glider
Horsa Glider Horsa Glider
Horsa Glider Horsa Glider

And up last, the most importer building for the game… the bridge itself. Again this was a Sarissa kit. I had been too lazy to assemble the model, so I bought a model that had already been build and sold my kit on. In retrospect, this did not make things that much easier, since it had not been assembled as clean as I would have done, so I had to do a lot of sanding and so on.

I wanted to keep it in the very light grey of the original, but in the end, this seemed a little bleak to me. So I added rust marks to the model, which gave it a lot more character.

Pegasus Bridge Pegasus Bridge
Pegasus Bridge Pegasus Bridge

If you want to see some more detail shots of the bridge, those can be found in my post about the British Paras.

In the, it turned out to be quite a nice game. We used the Battlegroup Overlord rules and they worked very well even at this small size. It was especially interesting to see how different tactics played out. If the British went for a defense in depth, it usually went well for the Germans, since they could usually wipe out the British first line of defense (after stumbling into it) and then using the superior range of their SP gun(s) (,depending on how many survived the PIAT,) to destroy the rest. If the British went for a strong first line of defense, the Germans were too weak to protect their SP guns sufficiently and took too many loses to take the bridge. It will be interesting to see how future games play out.

So I am leaving you with a (very) few pictures from the game at Crisis.

Pegasus Bridge Pegasus Bridge table
Pegasus Bridge game Pegasus Bridge game
Pegasus Bridge game Pegasus Bridge game
Pegasus Bridge Pegasus Bridge table

 

 

Our game at Crisis 2015: Battle of Berlin

Our game at Crisis 2015: Battle of Berlin

So, after keeping you all excited for days now, here are the game shots from our Battlegroup: Fall of the Reich  demogame at Crisis this year.

To be honest, it is hard to make a coherent game report out of the game, due to all the chatting with people, explaining the mechanics, answering where the vehicles and models came from and so on. But I will at least try for a very short synopsis:

The Germans were a mixed Battlegroup formed around a nucleus of a Volkssturm platoon, beefed up, by a squad of Hitlerjugend tank hunters, a squad of SS Panzergrenadiere in a halftrack, some Wehrmacht Pioniere, a SS sniper team, a Pantherturm, 8.8cm Pak “Scheunentor”, a Borgward Wanze, a Panther and a Tiger II (Commander).

The Russians had a Platoon of rifles, with Maxim, Ratsch-Boom AT-gun and AT-gun team, an artillery spotter team for their onboard mortars and heavy artillery, a squad of Assault Pioneers, one of Scouts, three T34/85, two JS-II tanks and a lone T-34/76 (Commander).

Julian and I started the game in quite classic fashion. The Germans waiting for the Russians to run into the traps they had laid and the Russian tanks trading were shots with the Tiger and Pantherturm at long-range, while waiting for the infantry to catch up and protect them from the pesky Panzerfäuste.

During this time not much happened. Much like the Demo last year, both of us managed to alternate at rolling bad so we did not take out much with our long-range shots. (The funniest exchange was between the Pantherturm and JS-II who had problems spotting each other and one of the JS finally did and hit, he got a snake eyes for the penetration roll [he would have needed a three on two D6] only to roll a twelve the next round.) The most impressive exchange was the Russian sniper and one of the SS snipers killing each other, which left the lone German sniper to kill one the artillery spotters, pinning the other. When the Russina infantry command was also pinned, this effectively rendered the Russian mortars and Artillery useless (especially since the the participation gamers would continuously forget to unpin them). We also found out that a fanatic squad of Hitlerjugend can well take out a squad of Soviet elite scouts at short-range with their SMGs and a little help from the Panzergrenadiere. And that even with our gods eye view of the battlefield, it is easy to drive a T34 around a corner only to find the road blocked with Czech Hedgehogs and becoming a prime target for a PaK as a result.

Obviously things really picked up once the first participants came and played along, driving their tanks and infantry on without regard for losses. At that time tanks started blowing up all around the table and infantry perished left and right. This was also the first time I saw man-pack flamethrowers in use in the game and boy are they deadly assaulting buildings, especially on a squad sporting a fair amount of SMGs! All in all we had a cracking day and I hope the players had one, too. I will leave you with the pictures!

Der Russe kommt!

Der Russe kommt!

Hitlerjugend tankhunter squad besides destroyed Tiger I

Hitlerjugend tankhunter squad besides destroyed Tiger I

Pantherturm and Volkssturm MG-08 team in the front, Tiger II in the rear

Pantherturm and Volkssturm MG-08 team in the front, Tiger II in the rear

AT-gun position with the Volkssturm command looking on

AT-gun position with the Volkssturm command looking on

SS sniper in one of the tall buildings

SS sniper in one of the tall buildings

The Panterturm again

The Panterturm again

LMG position

LMG position

JS-II advancing

JS-II advancing

T-34s advancing

T-34s advancing

Hiding behind the rubble

Hiding behind the rubble

Hitlerjugend about to take out the Soviet scouts

Hitlerjugend about to take out the Soviet scouts

Russian Pioniere about to assault

Russian Pioniere about to assault

Enemy at the doors

Enemy at the doors

Volkssturm advancing

Volkssturm advancing

The 8.8cm PaK

The 8.8cm PaK

T34-85 taken out by the PaK

T34-85 taken out by the PaK

The end of the Pantherturm

The end of the Pantherturm

Tiger II waiting behind the barricades

Tiger II waiting behind the barricades

 

Battle of Berlin infantry… scraping the barrel

Battle of Berlin infantry… scraping the barrel

So in the effort to catch up with all the stuff done in recent weeks for the battle of Berlin game, here is the first step… the last additions to the German infantry.

After having played WWII for well over a decade now, I have been in the comfortable position not to need too many new miniatures for this years game. Having nearly 300 Russians and more again when it comes to Germans (regular Wehrmacht and SS), there was not much to do there. Except for some of the more uncommon troops that were sadly thrown into the meat grinder during the last weeks of the war.

I know many people have reservations about using these units in their games and for some time I contemplated this as well. But as sad as the use of children and the elderly in fighting units may have been, it is still a part of history. And at the same time, very few of us (as long as we play ancients) have reservations playing Spartans, who were taken for training as soldiers at a far younger age, or Romans, who would eventually sell their vanquished foes as slaves. So I made the decision to use units of Volkssturm and Hitlerjugend in the game as well.

Before I start with the pictures, please note, that some of them have been edited (blue dots) to be in line with German law. Here it is a criminal offense to show certain symbols in public on models and such.

Up first are a few Volkssturm I did about a decade ago, which formed the nucleus for the force (and which I wanted to show for completeness sake). These are all Victory Force miniatures. The NCO wears the uniform of an Allgemeine SS NCO. Probably someone who managed to evade being send to the front all war long and now finds himself leading a squad of Volkssturm during the final days. And who will probably disappear to “get some orders at HQ” when the bullets start to fly. This model is a Wehrmacht mortar operator with his uniform repainted. All the rest of this squad are from the French Resistance line. Some had their headgear converted to make them look less French and more German and all have had the Volkssturm armbands sculpted on.

Volkssturm

Volkssturm

Up next are a bunch of vintage Bolt Action Volkssturm miniatures. Always loved the guy with the old WWI Bavarian helmet and was very pleased to finally paint them up, after they collected dust for ages. The guy with the Greatcoat came unarmed, but I felt he did not look like a medic, so he got a Panzerfaust from Victory Force.

It was actually pretty funny when Paul hicks passed by the table at Crisis and actually spotted some of his old Volkssturm and Russian minis.

Volkssturm

Volkssturm

Now I needed some numbers to field them as a complete Volkssturm platoon under the Battlegroup rules, so more minis were needed. These days this is easy, with the set from Warlord, although I still needed a Wehrmacht LMG team. So all the minis in the following pictures are by Warlord. Some of these are regular SS or Wehrmacht soldiers, but those either served as NCOs for the platoon or as part of the Panzergrenadier squad also used in the game.

And these later minis are up first. I had some bad luck with the fat SA officer, since the mini was slightly miscast, but Warlord send me a replacement in time. The battle never got close to him on Saturday, but if it had, I bet he would have joined the Allgemeine SS NCO from above to get some new orders at HQ. The NCO in the middle and the soldier with the Luftfaust to his right feature heads from West Wind productions. At one point I had used up all the not-so-cartoonish heads from the Warlord set and had to find something proper. The gas mask on the Luftfaust seemed proper. I know some soldiers operating the Panzerschreck without the blast-shield would wear gas masks to protect against the backblast, so it seemed sensible for this mini as well.

Volkssturm (leaders and NCO)

Volkssturm (leaders and NCO)

SS Grenadier with curved barrel attachment on his StG-44

SS Grenadier with curved barrel attachment on his StG-44

SS Grenadier with curved barrel attachment on his StG-44

SS Grenadier with curved barrel attachment on his StG-44

And now the regular Volkssturm.

Volkssturm

Volkssturm

The guys on the left and right got field cap heads from Victory Force. Again, I had only the cartoonish faces left for the set, so this seemed sensible. Plus if you look at the guy on the right, he is sculpted in a way, not a single helmeted head would have fit him. Even with this one, he still looks a bit like Quasimodo. Anyway, between these three, the one in the greatcoat for the vintage Bolt Action set and the one from Great Escape games (see below), there is almost a whole squad in greatcoats, which is nice, too.

Volkssturm

Volkssturm

The platoon also needed a HMG and I loved the option to give them a MG-08. Rummaging through my boxes of minis, I found a WWI HMG team from Renegade Miniatures. The size of the minis was right and since they were lying on their bellies, no huge difference in their uniforms could be seen. So I just took their heads off and replaced them with ones from Victory Force. At first I had decided to just paint them in the brownish Feldgrau uniform, to represent the cheap uniforms made with cheap dyes late in the war and given to the Volkssturm. But with their regular headgear and a lack of rank insignia (the lowest Volkssturmmann would not get any) I felt they could still be mistaken for regulars, so the armbands were a late addition.

Vollkssturm MG-08 team

Vollkssturm MG-08 team

Vollkssturm MG-08 team

Vollkssturm MG-08 team

And last, some Hilterjugend (and Flakhelferinnnen). 6 of the boys and girls would form a tank hunter squad, with the rest of them (and the Volkssturmmann) beefing up the numbers of the Volkssturm.

Up first is the set from Great Escape Games, which was easily my favorite from all these minis, for all the character put into the youngsters.

Hitlerjugend and Flakhelferin

Hitlerjugend and Flakhelferin

And the remaining minis come from the Warlord set once more.

Hitlerjugend and Flakhelferinen

Hitlerjugend and Flakhelferinen

 

Some Waffen SS (5th Entry, 5th AHPC)

Ok, the end is neigh (regarding the 5th installment of the AHPC) so I felt it was time to get some points added to my tally and fast. So looking through my massive lead pile I found some SS troops that I will need for a demo at a show later this year. That is one thing I like about WWII (compared to Napoleonics or as I had to find out even SciFi minis)… they paint up fast even if wearing camo and even if they have lots of insignia on their uniforms.

SS troopers

SS troopers

Up first are some additions to my infantry. These are not the first SS I have painted, but I had a certain lack (and still do to be honest) with some types of minis. One are normal riflemen without the face late war G43´s or StG-44´s. While most of them are geared towards late war, those weapons still were an exception and not the norm, so here are two soldiers with K-98 carbines (one of them also carrying a magnetic mine). There is also an NCO beefing up the numbers of squad leaders. and last there is one machine gun assistant loaded up with lots of ammo to feed into a a Hitlers buzzsaw (already had that one painted but minus the loader).

SS troopers

SS troopers

I wanted a distinct late war look. So they are wearing Erbsenmuster camo clothing. Now to enhance the rag tag looks many German units had to take on in 1944 and 1945 they are wearing a mix of both mint and faded clothing as well as a mix of camo clothing and field grey clothing.

Another area where I have a distinct lack of minis are gun crews, so I painted up a gun team for a PaK or other light field piece.

SS PaK Crew

SS PaK Crew

 

Again they are wearing a mix of camo clothing in various states of fading and field grey uniforms. This team will eventually see more men in Eichenlaub smocks added to the team (not sure if that will happen during the challenge though). This will add yet more variety to their looks and enable me to field them as a large team. Even though we are using 28mm we play the Battlegroup set of rules which work out really fine at larger scales as well. In Battlegroup a large crew for a gun gives you a chance for an extra shot per round, so that is a nice option to have.

SS PaK Crew

SS PaK Crew

All the minis in this post are from Victory Force and scaled at 28mm.

 

Crisis 2014 – Our game

Crisis 2014 – Our game

OK, now that things have settled in a little bit more, here are some pictures from our very own game at Crisis too.

We did run a demo for Battlegroup: Overlord. All in all the game was quite uneventful. A British unit consisting of two Troops of Shermans, a Troop of Honeys, three sections of Motorized Infantry and the usual support up against German ad hoc defenders from a Wehmacht unit with a few Panzer IV, a Panzer V, a 5cm and 8,8cm PaK each, Infantry and Panzerwerfer. The Brits had to expel the Germans and if possible destroy them. In the end both sides traded shots over the river. The Germans seemed unable to hit the broad side of a barn and the Brits were able to hit, but their shots simply bounced off the German armour (and not just the Panthers armour). All the while the British off-board artillery did a good job at pinning German troops, which in turn did a good job at recovering. In the end the only casualties were a Firefly (which took a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer rocket) and a Sherman taken out on the bridge by a Panzer IV.

Before I give you the pictures, I would like to say thank you, to the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp for running another fabulous show. As usual I am really looking forward to next year. I would also like to thank Julian for being my partner in crime this weekend. Also thanks to all those who stopped by to ask about the game and the nice comments! Also all the friends (not going to mention any names, since there would be more than two dozen and I would not want to miss anyone) who came by or into whom I ran at the show. It was just great chatting to you guys!!!

Crisis 2014 - The whole of the table

Crisis 2014 – The whole of the table

Crisis 2014 - Sherman troop on the move

Crisis 2014 – Sherman troop on the move

Crisis 2014 - Panzerwerfer firing

Crisis 2014 – Panzerwerfer firing

Crisis 2014 - Firefly taken out be a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer

Crisis 2014 – Firefly taken out be a direct hit from a Panzerwerfer

Crisis 2014 - Panzer in defensive positions

Crisis 2014 – Panzer in defensive positions

Crisis 2014 - British Shermans driving up to the bridge passing the burning Firefly

Crisis 2014 – British Shermans driving up to the bridge passing the burning Firefly

Crisis 2014 - Moving up to engage

Crisis 2014 – Moving up to engage

Crisis 2014 - A bridge too far for this Sherman

Crisis 2014 – A bridge too far for this Sherman

 

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich AAR (somewhere in Germany)

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich AAR (somewhere in Germany)

Friday I finally wanted to give my newly painted British an outing, so Julian, Martin, his son Max and I met for a game of Battlegroup: Fall of the Reich.

Martin and Max played the British (decided by the roll of a die). Their troops consisted of a forward headquarters on foot, a forward observer team and a scout team, each in a Bren Carrier, a veteran infantry platoon on foot (consisting of a command squad, three rifle sections, a 2″ mortar team and a combat medic) as well a troop of Shermans (two regular ones and two Fireflys) and a supply truck. The forward observers had access to a two-gun battery of 25pdr. guns and a medium priority artillery request up the chain of command.

Julian and I played the German defenders. They had a forward headquarters team and a forward observer team in a Kübelwagen each, a sniper, a grenadier platoon on foot (consisting of a command squad, three grenadiers squads, a combat medic, an HMG team with extra ammo carriers and a 7,5cm PaK40 with extra ammo carriers) and a PzKw IV H platoon with three tanks and a supply truck. The forward observers had access to a two-gun battery of 8.8cm guns and the whole force  benefitted from two special abilities which raided their battle group rating (for those not familiar with the rules… the point where the whole battle group breaks).

The Germans were defending a small village somewhere in the west of Germany. The village was overlooked by a large hillside on the British table edge and surrounded by woods, an orchard and some yet unplowed fields. There was also the wreck of a Tiger tank left from previous fighting. We played the delaying action scenario, which meant that either side had to bring the others battle group rating down to zero to win. If neither side had managed to do so by the end of round 9, it would be a German win, since they had managed to hold up the allies long enough. For those not familiar with the rules: each time one side looses a unit (or something just as traumatic happens) or if the other side takes an objective, it has to draw a random chit. While some indicate random events, most carry a value used to reduce the battle group rating. For completeness sake, we had four objectives on the table, but these had little importance on the game since each side took the two closest ones.

The British started with just their scout team deployed on the road leading down the hill, but would get continuous reinforcements every turn. The Germans had to roll for starting forces and did badly. So the only troops on the table were a squad of infantry, minus their LMG element hiding in one of the ruins with and objective marker, the observer team hiding in the upper floor of one of the intact houses (leaving their Kübelwagen in the front garden) and the sniper hiding under the roof of yet another house. One of the PzKw IV started on the table as well, but kept behind the row of houses not wanting to present a good target to the tons of British tanks that might come onto the table in the first round.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

The British automatically got initiative on the first round, but rolled badly for their reinforcements (just two units and they picked one of the Fireflys and the forward observer team). So the scouts just raced forward to the woods on their right flank, while the observers in the other Bren carrier raced forward to a hedge to hide there and claim their first objective marker. The Sherman just rumbled forward on the road. There was not much for the Germans to do, except for the infantry to claim to objective marker by their ruins and for the Panzer to drive towards the left flank, to get a bearing on the Firefly, while hopefully being in a position where other British tanks would not be able to get a shot at it once they arrived on table. The forward observers though called for an artillery strike on their British counterparts which was not right on spot, but close enough to pin the British observers and rattle the crew of the Firefly.

PzKw IV in firing position

PzKw IV in firing position

The next round the Brits had the initiative (actually we just forgot to roll for it and just handed it to them). Again they rolled poorly for reinforcements and only got the forward HQ on table (with the intention of quickly unpinning the observers) and some infantry. All the British units advanced, with the exception of the scout, who just stayed put. The observers were unpinned. Now things were handed over to the Germans. They only had a 33% chance for reinforcements every turn from this the second onwards, but they got some on the first try and even 5 units at that. So onto the table came the other two PzKw IV with the supply truck as well as the PaK and HMG teams. All these advanced towards the front, with the Panzer that had already been on the table loosening off a shot at the Firefly, but missing it. Again the German observers called in their artillery and this time it was true on target blowing the Bren carrier with the observer team up and killing two of the soldiers in the British forward HQ. This meant that the British would be unable to call for artillery of their own for the rest of the game.

PzKW IV

PzKW IV

The next round was actually quiet uneventful. The Germans just kept on advancing and the Panzer on the left flank and inside the village fired at the Sherman but found their shots just bouncing off or missing. For once during the whole game the German observers were unable to contact their off-board artillery which gave the British some respite. The German HMG team took the other objective while moving forward and that was about it. The British rolled good for reinforcements and got another infantry squad, the two regular Shermans and the supply truck on the table. The forward Firefly shot back at its assailants, but missed both its shots. Otherwise the rest of the troops just advanced.

Sherman firefly

Sherman firefly

Holy cow... the British are advancing

Holy cow… the British are advancing

The next round was actually quiet with the two PzKw IV trading shots once more with the Firefly with similar results. The Panzer on the right flank advanced and began to fire at the scout team. The German artillery tried to take out the supply truck, but only managed to kick up some dirt. Again, the troops on both sides just kept advancing, with the British infantry taking another objective as well. Also the Germans moved the supply truck forward (they had previously parked it outside of view behind a row of houses) in anticipation of ammo running low on the two tanks that had seen firing for some time now.

Truck moving into position to resupply one of the PzKw IV [photo had to be edited to conform with German law]

Truck moving into position to resupply one of the PzKw IV
[photo had to be edited to comply with German law]

British lines

British lines

As usual, the next round began with the Germans taking initiative and again the Panzer traded shots with their targets, with the usual nonexistent results. The one on the left flank, which had started the game on table revered to take up ammo at the supply truck. The HMG team set up position in the middle of the village and the PaK moved forward for the final time on the right flank. And again the German forward observers called in artillery to take out the British supply truck. The fire only managed to shower the supply truck and the forward Firefly with dirt, but one shell landed directly on the rear Firefly, setting it on fire. The British also got their final reinforcements on table.

View from the village towards the British

View from the village towards the British

That is why the Germans called it the "Tommie Toaster"

That is why the Germans called it the “Tommie Toaster”

On the British side the infantry and regular Shermans advanced, the later to finally get within firing range. The remaining Firefly got off one shot before it ran out of ammo. And this shot hit the freshly reloaded Panzer, punched through and exploded it, too. The British were happy that they finally had been able to destroy a German target, but it was short-lived, when we drew an Air Attack counter instead of one that would reduce the German battle group rating. But no German plane showed up, so at least no insult was added to injury.

British advance

British advance

The next round saw the Brits actually win initiative the only time during this game. They rolled poor on orders and so there was only a limited advance. The Firefly was resupplied, while the lead Sherman fired at the PzKw IV in the village and set it on fire, too. Again Martin and Max rejoiced the fact that the Germans had to draw a chit, but this time insult was indeed added to injure, since Julian drew a Breakdown counter, which resulted in the remaining Firefly to run out of fuel, being immobilized for the rest of the game.

Shermans advancing on the village

Shermans advancing on the village

With initiative shifting over to the Germans, the artillery now started concentrating on the poor bloody infantry, wiping out half a squad on the British left in the process. The PaK finally opened up as well, but missed all three shots directed at the lead Sherman. The remaining Panzer fired at the Sherman as well, but failed to hit. But as an icing on the cake, the Germans finally got further reinforcements, too. So now the forwards HQ, one more infantry section and all three infantry sections LMG teams entered the table as well.

PaK 40

PaK 40

During the eighth round we saw more of what we had seen before… tanks and AT guns fringe at one another, but hitting nothing. Again the German artillery shifted targets to the scout team still hiding in the woods. This time their fire scattered badly, but landed virtually directly on the 2″ mortar team which had been sneaking up through the woods, wiping it out. With only one round to go and hardly any chance to bring the Germans to breaking point, the British decided to call it a day. Which was probably a good idea, since the German battle group rating was only down to 31 (from 37), while the British was down to 8 (from 32).

Shermans in the orchard

Shermans in the orchard

It was a bit sad, that on the German side the only damage was dealt out by the artillery and on the British side only by the tanks. But this was mostly down to the dice luck. Another deficit (and this was entirely my fault), was to give the British infantry no transports, which kept them out of firing range for the game, once we Germans were happy to stay inside the village. I guess i must really tackle some Kangaroo models or another M5 soon so we can use a whole mobile platoon for late war games soon.

PzKw IV in the village

PzKw IV in the village

But I think, that it still was a fun and taxing game. Had the British managed to keep their observers in the game (or even fired at ours), this could have turned around easily and Julian and I certainly felt that spectre hanging over heads.