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Category Archives: Battlegroup

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

So to keep up the dark grey theme… here are some more.

They nice thing about the early war period is, that you can get virtually every vehicle in my preferred scale, 1:48th. There are a few exceptions and the PzKw I and it’s variants are one of them. Those are only available from small companies with small production runs and cost a lot. At first I had planned to use some 1:56th scale model after all, but when Martin got himself a 3D printer another option became available.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

While one can see the layers and the detail could be higher on some parts, they still do a job, and to be honest… just looking at the cost of the material, these five tanks cost me less (probably half as much) than one of those from a small company would have cost me.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

Martin was not sure if I wanted a command version with or without the antenna assembly, so he printed both and one hot pressed into service as an armoured ambulance.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

Over all I was surprised by the 3D prints. I would have thought that the layers would have been more visible after the wash and filter. I know they stand out on these photos, but when not enlarged as much as they are on our screens you hardly notice.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

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Kradschützenplatoon (part 1)

When I was school, there was a real good 4 part documentary about the war on the eastern front on German television. One picture that stuck to my mind was a short clip of a  Kradschützenzug riding cross-country. So when I saw that Battlegroup gave the option have one for the Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa era, I was something I had to do.

In the end, it almost drove me mad. Just cleaning mold lines from all the minis and motorbikes / sidecars took the better part of a week. Do not get me wrong, none of these are bad minis, it is just that they all have so many parts that need to be cleaned up.

Kradschützen Platoon

Kradschützen Platoon

And in addition to the platoon not even being finished yet (I will need to do the command unit, an AT-rifle and HMG team each plus some rear seat riders for two of the current LMG teams). So lots of work here.

The minis are a mix of Warlord Games (the LMG teams and the mortar team) and Wargames Foundry. Scale wise they mix quite well and given the fact, that the Warlord bikes are all BMW R75s and the Foundry ones are all Zündapp KS 750s, minor differences in scale will not stand out.

Not much more to say really, so I will leave you with the pictures.

Kradschützentrupp 1Kradschützentrupp 2

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen medic

Kradschützen medic

 

 

Run out the guns

Run out the guns

For some time I have been a fan of artillery in our Battlegroup games. This was only enhanced last year when I tried out something new during a game set during Kursk when my heavy soviet artillery annihilated the German tanks virtually on its own. Unfortunately heavy artillery is hard to find for 28mm minis so my best option was the Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (SiG 33) from Warlord which will have to stand in for other heavy guns.

SiG33 battery

SiG33 battery

The models are essentially out of the box, but I replaced some of the crew (at least those not holding the shells and charges, with those from the Warlord 105mm guns to add some extra variety to the bases.

There is also some AT-guns I did recently and those are a pair of 3,7cm PaK 36s. I was at first sceptical of the PaK 36 having played only mid to late war games over the past decade where the 3,7cm is not exactly the big start. But Martin wanted to give his French Army a game last year and I have to say I was more impressed by their performance than by the short barreled PzKw IVs. So while I had originally planned to do just one and use it as an AT-gun option for the infantry platoon, I now plan to use them both as a tank hunter unit of their own. Only need to finish their Krupp Protze tows.

One is the current Warlord offering, the other a vintage Bolt Action gun that was still sold by Bolt Action until about a year or two ago. With the later, you can clearly see that this is one of Paul Hicks earlier offerings, as the poses are more wooden and the faces less detailed than what he sculpts these days, but none the less, once based and on the table it looks just as nice as the new one.

And up last some fire support for the infantry platoon by means of a 8cm mortar. Again the minis are by Warlord. Not sure how good it will be in the game. Having to pay a n order to spot for just one mortar seems excessive, but maybe it plays out well.

8cm mortar team

8cm mortar team

 

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

Now this is part of a big project I have been working on since last fall. A complete German army for use with the Battlegroup rules for the period from the invasion of Poland (Fall Weiß) up until the first months of the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa). Given that this would also make them suitable for the invasions of Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France and Greece, this will make them extremely versatile. That being said, this will also make them a huge project, since except for a couple of PzKW 38(t) and PzKw IV I have nothing suitable for it. This will mean, that I need command units, an Infantry platoon (there were extremely large for the invasion of Poland) with both truck and half-track transport options, a Kradschützenzug (motorcycle platoon), PzKw I, PzKw II (in two different versions), at-guns, artillery, specialist vehicles and aircraft. With such a daunting project you have to start somewhere. For me this was actually the Kradschützen, but since only the soldiers are finished but not the motorcycles, my second step will be the first shown to you… the infantry platoon (still without their transports). For these photos I have arranged them according to the TO&E that was in effect during the invasion of Poland. For later operations, some of these subunits would have been bigger or smaller, but there is enough models for all possible TO&Es. I would only have to rearrange some minis.

All these minis are by Warlord Games. Most of them plastics (some of them slightly converted) and a few metal ones mixed in.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

The LMG team above is my personal favorite from this platoon. Most likely, since I converted it to look like this. I always loved the looks of the LMG being fired over the assistants shoulder from a kneeling position. Since there was no such model available, I had to build one myself. What I found very funny is, that the assistant is actually a running pose, but it turned out, this was the easiest to convert into a kneeling position.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

 

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

One of me favorite German vehicles of World War II has been the Sturmgeschütz. Lots of punch, good armor, low profile and usually cheap to get. So a battery of StuGs was a must. I already had a G model with Saukopfblende from Tamiya, so when I decided to do a full battery I only ordered two more. But when I started painting them, I decided, that I would rather like all models in the battery to be the same. So I already have a third that I have not painted yet.

The models are by Blitzkrieg Models. I weathered them like the Jagdpanther and PaK shown the previous days. I added some converted plastic Warlord Miniatures German infantry as crew.

StuH 42

StuH 42

And while I was on it, I also painted a Sturmhaubitze. This one is also from Blitzkrieg, with a Warlord commander and weathered the same way. But I chose a slightly different camo pattern for this one.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Battlegroup, Rules, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

8,8cm PaK 43 auf Kreuzlafette

Playing late war games in a World War II setting, especially on the eastern front large-caliber Panzerabwehrkanonen (PaK / anti-tank gun) are a must to give you some edge over the heavily armoured tanks like the JS-2. The long-barreled PaK 43, both on a Spreiz- and Kreuzlafette are perfect for this.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

Playing in 1:48th scale, the later is not too easy to get. But some years ago, I had the good luck to get my hands on the, now long OOP, Verlinden model. It is a very nice model, but even by modeling standards it is not an easy model to build. So I had to make some modifications to the connections between the gun and the shield to make it work out and stand the rigors of game play. But even that way, it will better be picked up by its base and not the model itself. Fortunately I have decided to base all my future AT-guns and indeed put all my old ones on bases for Battlegroup, so that will not be much of a problem.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

Like the Jagdpanther, this was a testbed for the new weathering methods and I have to say… I feel it turned out exceptionally well on this model.

The crew itself is the 8,8cm FlaK crew by Warlord. It is a bit small even for their own 1:56th scale models, but I feel it still looks OK. While the gun was painted this winter, the crew was done about 15 years ago. I only redid the skin on the minis. I think that is where my technique changed the most during that time and I wanted them to blend in with my current models.

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

8,8cm PaK 43 (Kreuzlafette)

 

Battlegroup objective markers

Battlegroup objective markers

Ok, so let’s get the party started. For those of you playing Battlegroup, you will know that many scenarios require objective markers. Usually something between one and four. So far I did three for Berlin or other late war urban settings. Obviously that is too few even for that setting. So one more was needed. And while I was on it, I did a few more.

Battlegroup objektive marker

Battlegroup objektive marker (Fall of the Reich)

Battlegroup objektive marker (image edited to comply with German law)

Battlegroup objektive marker (Fall of the Reich) (image edited to comply with German law)

Up first is another one for Fall of the Reich. When Germany went about conquering virtually all of Europe as well as large parts of Russia and North Africa, they looted whatever they could, including many acheological artefacts.  When the Allies entered Germany, the Nazi high ups wanted to move many of these items out of the way, preferably into their own private collections. And I wanted one of these items, that could not be moved fast enough.

In this case I simply took an Egyptian artefact from Crocodile Games Wargods of Ægyptus range and placed it inside a wooden crate (build from plasticard) and added a helmet and G-43 from a Tamiya 1:48 scale infantry set.

Battlegroup objektive markers

Battlegroup objektive markers

From left to right these are a wayside cross (1:48th scale scenery item), an Western Allies fuel dump (barrels and jerry can from a 1:48th scale Tamiya accessory set with the Tommy Gun being from Warlord Games) and a simple tattered scare crow (matchsticks and tissue paper soaked in white glue).

Battlegroup objektive markers

Battlegroup objektive marker (Spring to fall)

And another three ammo or fuel dumps. Again, weapons are from Warlord Games and the rest is Tamiya 1:48th scale.

I tried to keep everything on the two photos as generic a possible. Only the two German fuel dumps are painted for an early and mid to late war period. But all in all, there are two markers (cross and scarecrow) that could be used virtually everywhere in Europe or Russia for any period of the war. With the those two and a mix of a German objective and an allied one (depending on the opposition) I will always have at least four options.

Battlegroup objective markers

Battlegroup objective markers (Winter)

And last a few for winter settings. Left to right these are a snowman (sculpted from Greenstuff with snow flock added after painting), a “V” that someone peed into the snow, a stack of barrels and a jerry can covered by a tarpaulin and snow (again Tamiya items and white glue soaked tissue paper) and a simply scare crow (done like the one above). Now I have to admit, that these are kind of a reserve, for right now these are my only winter scenery items.

All of these were done last winter.

 

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

 

 

And another game of Fall of the Reich

And another game of Fall of the Reich

So I am still catching up. This time it is another game of Fall of the Reich. This one was played during the first fine week (weather wise) of the year, so we could actually play outside. But even though this one has not been so long ago, my memory is even less precise than the previous one. I can remember, that the American fox consisted mainly of Shermans and infantry in M3´s, while the German force was mainly PzKw IV´s.

The beginning was not too good for the Germans. One PzKw IV was damaged right at the beginning another one blown up by the allied artillery. The Germans tried to repair the former, but failed, so it was two losses right at the beginning. So things did not look too well, but once the Americans got closer, the tables turned and the Germans could make good use of their position behind the railroad embankment. It became a real turkey shoot and in the end the American broke and the game was over. Unfortunately this is the best AAR I can come up with. Sorry! So I hope the pictures tell a good story instead.

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Waiting for the enemy

Waiting for the enemy

Bergepanther trying to repair a PzKw IV

Bergepanther trying to repair a PzKw IV

American advance

American advance

American armour in the village

American armour in the village

American halftrack

American halftrack

German defensive position

German defensive position

76mm Sherman on the attack

76mm Sherman on the attack

Hull down PzKw IV

Hull down PzKw IV

SS HMG team

SS HMG team

 

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich Christmas game

“Wait?” you will shout… “Christmas game… it is only October!” And rightly so! But, as I have had to say so many times this year, I seem to have huge problems keeping this blog up to date. So, here it is, almost 10 months late:

Between Christmas and New Years last year Julian, Martin and I met up for a little game of Battlegroup Fall of the Reich. Please do not ask for the exact composition of the forces… it has been a while. But if I remember correctly, the Americans had a mix of truck and jeep mounted infantry, M10´s, Shermans and Greyhounds (the burning Stuart was scenery). The Germans were a rag-tag bunch of Panzergrenadiere, a Volkssturm platoon, two Hetzer, a Hornisse, a Luchs, a SdKfz. 251/22 and a SdKfz. 250/9. Both sides had some off-board artillery.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the American side

Table seen from the American side

We rolled to see who would play which side and Martin got the Americans and Julian and I the Germans. We were playing the Road Block scenario and the Americans were allowed to set up the majority of their forces as far as the river. Martin put the armoured command car on he bridge with the M10s, some of the truck mounted infantry and a Dozer Sherman behind them. The Greyhounds were allowed to deploy on the German side of the bridge.

The German Volkssturm was dispersed throughout the village and one of the fields on the flank. The Panzergrenadiere and Hetzer were hiding inside the village, while the Hornisse was waiting at the edge of the village with the bridge in sight. We took a slight risk as the German players, by not putting any scout units on the table, which meant we would start the game by drawing a chit. In retrospect this was the best decision we could make, since we drew a breakdown counter, which we played on the armoured command car on the bridge, which got an immobilized result. So Martin had to start shuffling vehicles around to get the Dozer in position.

Things are about to get tough

Things are about to get tough

But while he was doing so, the Germans called in some artillery on the bridge, which took out the command car for good and set the M10 ablaze. So when the Dozer arrived, it had to start by pushing the tank destroyer aside.

American starting positions

Getting the other vehicles out of the way for the dozer

Getting the M10 out of the way

Getting the M10 out of the way

But this was not the only problem for the Americans. when it was clear, that the bridge would be blocked for the foreseeable future, the Greyhounds chose to dash into the village to hide. Which proved to be a bad decision, since the lead Greyhound drove past one of the buildings where the Volkssturm was hiding. A Panzerfaust into the rear was a reward, after which it blew up.

American armour burning

American armour burning

First moves inside the village

First moves inside the village

All in all it took the dozer three turns to even get into position to try to clear the command car off the bridge. During that time the came under constant German artillery fire. To minimise their losses, the American infantry dismounted to disperse and get across the bridge.

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

Sherman Dozer about to clear the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

American Infantry pushing across the bridge

But while doing so, the American infantry became pinned by fire from the Volkssturm in the fields.

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

Volkssturm firing at the American infantry across the river

And to make matters worse, by now the remaining German armour had arrived on the table and were taking up positions to counter any American moves off the bridge.

German halftracks staging inside the village

German halftracks staging inside the village

Getting into position

Getting into position

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

Luchs and Hetzer securing the flank

With the bridge cleared, the Americans finally managed to get their own spotters to a place where they could actually call in effective artillery fire on the German spotters killing them, but it was too little, too late. By now the Germans were in positions where they could target anything moving across the bridge from three sides.

Hetzer moving to the front

Hetzer moving to the front

By now the American force was close to breaking to breaking anyway. And when the Dozer started to push the command car, i was hit by an eighty-eight shell from the Hornisse.

Turkey shoot

Turkey shoot

At this point no coordinated push would have been possible anymore and the Americans withdrew.