RSS

Category Archives: SS

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

Advertisements
 

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.

 

WWII German forward observers

WWII German forward observers

We recently switched to the Battlegroup series of rules for our WWII gaming. The rules work really nicely when you are using combined arms tactics and I personally feel they encourage them. As a result, we have been using artillery a lot in recent games. Nothing bad about that, only that obviously it would be nicer if you do not have to burden some squad leader with the direction of incoming shells. So I felt it was time for some forward observers. Up first are the Germans, but I will add some to the Americans, British and Russians as well.

The set is from Warlord Games and for once, the faces of their Germans are actually fairly nice. That being said I still wanted some more diversity and used a head from West Wind on the guy with the map board. All the others are straight out of the box.

Wehrmacht (Heer) forward observers

Wehrmacht (Heer) forward observers

Wehrmacht (Heer) forward observers

Wehrmacht (Heer) forward observers

But being on it, I also wanted some for the SS. While the set is cast as a Wehrmacht set, they were fairly easy to convert. With the officer and the map guys this only meant the removal of the collar insignia with a sharp knife. Otherwise most of their uniforms are covered up by the Zeltbahn, so nothing more to do there. The radio operator was a bit harder. He is wearing a Tarnhemd. Now opposed to what wargamers tend to believe SS and Wehrmacht smocks were actually quiet different. They had foliage loops in different places (not sculpted on these figures, probably since many soldiers removed those anyway). But the biggest difference is that the Wehrmacht version was reversible camo / white and had a hood while the SS version was reversible spring (summer) / autumn and had no hood. Since the radio operator is wearing his hood out (most soldiers actually stuffed it in on the inside in summer) it had to be removed. This was simply ground away with a Dremel. Over the years I have grown accustomed to working with a grinder bit on the Dremel and as a result I did not even have to re-sculpt anything. In this case the officer got a helmeted head from West Wind and the map guy a head from Victory Force. I chose to paint these in Eichenlaub pattern. For one it one of my favorite patterns, it is one of the most common and helmet covers, smocks and Zeltbahn were produced in this pattern, so it fitted nicely.

SS forward observers

SS forward observers

SS forward observers

SS forward observers

 

Some painted SS troopers and the birthday haul

Now that the big Möckern Project is over, I want to turn my attention a bit towards my WWII minis again (although not completely). As outlined in another post, I want to paint my WWII Brits and a good amount of my SS for this years Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. To get back into the mood I decided to paint some SS this week. And here are the results.

Some years ago I went and looked at all the different patterns used for camouflage uniforms by the SS and painted at least one sample each, both spring and autumn versions. I found that there were two I liked the most and those were Eichenlaub (the spring version) and Erbsenmuster. So while my forces will still have some odd other camo mixed in, the majority of the troops will now wear these two types of camo. And this also suits my needs quiet well, since most of the action these minis will see will be rather late war, when these types were already in use.

Up first are the troopers in Eichenlaub. All the minis are from Victory Force (as are the minis in Erbsenmuster), which are still my favorite minis when it comes to WWII Germans for the love for historical accuracy and detail. I only found that the faces were quiet different in style from the ones I have painted over the past 1 ½ years and that these were giving me some pain. Painting these was straight forward. Feldgraue trousers, jackets in a lighter Feldgrau to represent lighter fabrics for the jackets (you can only see the collars of course), Eichenlaub smocks and in one case helmet cover (mini on the far left). Otherwise it is just the utensils carried by the men and the camouflage painted helmets and they were done.

SS Eichenlaub (front)

SS Eichenlaub (front)

SS Eichenlaub (back)

SS Eichenlaub (back)

Now with the Erbsenmuster I went a bit further. Now the Erbsenmuster was no used for smocks, but for trousers and 1943 and 1944 type jackets. So I went and used Heer type minis for them and painted them accordingly. While the shades are virtually identical regardless of factory and age for Eichenlaub, there are huge differences in shades with Erbsenmuster. I guess this is due to the lower quality of dyes during the late war period. So I went and mixed and matched a bit here. Bold and bleak patterns in this group and even on one mini as well as a regular Feldgrau jacket mixed with camo trousers. I really love what you can do with these.

SS Erbsenmuster (front)

SS Erbsenmuster (front)

SS Erbsenmuster (back)

SS Erbsenmuster (back)

What else. Well this week saw my birthday (36th if anyone is asking). So what did I get? Well my better half was kind enough to grace me with a few vehicles from Warlord Games. Three Daimler MK I scout cars (one will be converted) and a Unic Halftrack with 3,7cm PaK (this will joined the three regular and one command variants still in my painting queue). Great stuff, which should allow me to round out my armored forces in due time. From my parents I got the Rousellot book on French Napoleonic uniforms. Leafing through it, this is one of the best and most comprehensive books on the subject I have seen so far and should make a great addition to my collection. Some of the first minis painted for the above mention Painting Challenge will be the Limited Edition minis from Martin K´s Befreiungskriege blog which contain a foot artillery drummer and two train soldiers. Looking at the drawings of those last night, I am sure this book will be extremely handy!