Monday, 16 October 2017

606 - Trying 'Battlegroup' in 15mm

(or, 'I Can't Believe It's Not Flames Of War')
"Achtung - Jabo!"

Hullo, All.

Last week I managed to secure a night's gaming, and as Guy wanted to introduce me to something new, we went for 'Battlegroup' in 15mm...which if nothing else would be vindication for me not selling off my Flames of War army!
11AD in 15mm. For those of you newer to the blog, this is
the older of my 'historical' forces, but it's a company-sized
facsimile of my platoon-scale 28mm Bolt Action force!
Hearty thanks to Justin for permitting me to use his pics.
Battlegroup is very specifically divided into separate sub-games for the different theatres, so we went for 'Battlegroup: Overlord' for some 1944 Brits Vs Germans action at 'platoon' level: we both had a platoon of troops, a squadron of tanks and assorted support units, which was a perfect level for an intro game...

...what we didn't have was the rules. 

- We had three different theatre supplements (including - thankfully - Overlord) but not the core rules, so we had to blag those from a mix of 90% stuff Guy mostly remembered and 10% stuff I'd briefly read about beforehand. 
25pdrs are reassuringly versatile in BG...
...and the rate of fire from these buggers
against ground targets is vicious!

To this end, I won't go mad on what exactly happened, but suffice it to say that we had a good clash. When we called time, I'd clearly won 2/3 objectives, but I'd also accumulated one more 'point' than Guy (this is a Bad Thing in Battlegroup) so it was a happy draw overall. 
My FOO team took their grass with them! 

Time for some more pics, then my reflections...
The central objective: burnt-out tank by the building

The Germans advance on the objective
My miniature gun-line
3RTR loses a Sherman to the Panzers
Highlight of the game: RAF to the rescue!
At the end of the game, Guy realised that we'd missed out some fairly fundamental stuff, which might've helped some things to make a bit more sense, but overall it didn't matter at all. 

As I suspected, I much preferred the game to Flames (which tends to slow right down to a grind mid-game), and I look forward to playing it again. "Once more with feeling!" ...or at least, with the rules! 


- D.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

605 - Desert Sikhs Vs the Italians

Evening, All!

A week and a half ago, I was lucky enough to get in an early-war game with Guy, who (a) prefers early war and (b) hadn't yet met my Desert Sikhs - needless to say it was a joy to accommodate him on both fronts!
Guy's Germans weren't quite finished, so he brought along some Italians - luckily (for me, at least!) we rolled the mission in which each side has to get into (or exit) the other's deployment zone, so he was denied his defensive special rules as there was no attacker/defender.
After a little confusion, we actually played 750pts rather than 1000, so I didn't get to use any of my newly painted toys, but I had my list from way back at 'UK Gathering II' so I was at least familiar with it. Here's a handful of generic family photos:
I can't easily edit picture captions whilst on my phone, so I'll try to keep it simple. In essence, the early deployment of Guy's M13/40 MMG-toting tank opposite my left flank forced me to deploy heavily on my right, essentially steering me toward a classic (not entirely planned!) 'refused flank' approach. 
The Italian view. I would be advancing from the far side, so the right of this image is my 'left' flank.
In the opening stages, I did... well, not very much... and had to watch in dull dismay as his medium mortar's first round landed plumb on my 25pdr and wiped it out. Boo. My sniper, at least, was uncharacteristically useful...
My centre, at deployment
General advance up the right

The Italians move to reinforce their centre
In turn 2, all of my reserves came on - which was great - but my Crusader got well pinned by Guy's medium howitzer firing HE direct, on ambush. Ouch! This caused me more problems actually, as the stricken tank started to create a bottleneck right in the centre of my main axis of advance. Rats.

Talking of 'Axis' though, things weren't going too well for Guy either, as none of his infantry squads - not even the more experienced ones - would come on from reserve: evidently they'd found a safe place behind the lines to get some nice, cold gelati!

On the left flank, my Boys AT rifle team ran on and into the isolated small building there - their plan was to distract the tank and force it to present its flank to at least one of my three AT weapons.

By turn three, my bottleneck of troops was easing, but the Italian medium howitzer sent it's last shell flying toward my poor truck, blowing it sky-high but mercifully only killing one of the riflemen within. 
My lorry's aflame, (left) but the Italian armoured car has been forced back (right)

A bit of rallying and my troops started at last to surge slowly forward; my Humber MK2 helped by pinning its Italian counterpart, which had to reverse away at high speed when it failed its next order test [insert joke here]. 

Around turn three and four, Guy's squads FINALLY started to arrive, but still not all of them, and it was too little, too late. By this point, my mortar had killed off the howitzer, I'd secured the right flank and the Crusader's main gun had silenced the armoured car. Phew!
On the left flank, meanwhile, my plucky Boys team had somehow managed to weather the storm of the M13/40 gunning the crap out of them, and even managed to pin it AND jam its turret with a lucky shot. Better still, it failed its order test to advance and instead reversed slowly away!

This put paid to the Italians' plans. They'd lost their flank to the Sikhs' advance, and on my left now, it was my dug-in AT team facing off against an officer and mortar team, who'd been reluctantly ordered to accompany him to secure my deployment zone. 

Worse still for the Italians, the Humber and my 1 Section had peeled off left in order to bring the fight to the centre and left flanks, where the only other competition was offered by the exposed remnants of a brave but inexperienced rifle squad. 

At this point, Guy gracefully conceded (and, I imagine, ordered the immediate arrest and execution of all his shirkers!).

Sikh victory. :D


This was a fun and very good looking battle - I'm annoyed I didn't get more photos - but it was (amusingly) frustrating for Guy. A lesser opponent might've jettisoned his toys from the pram, but Guy's very much in it for the pretty views and for the joy of the storytelling! Props to him.

Tactically I was lucky(!) but my approach was mostly sound. I was disproportionately afraid of the tank(!) and had I realised that it was (a) slow and (b) very vulnerable on the sides, I would've taken a more aggressive approach to it...but I didn't! The Boys team were without a doubt my Most Valuable team, and Guy's howitzer excelled itself.



- Drax 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

604 - Panzer IV Ausf. H


Another unit painted, and again I actually had fun doing this one!

I've finished my Panzer IV, and I've opted for Schurzen with a different (two-colour) scheme, the idea being that the plates have been salvaged from another vehicle.

Please be advised that In Real Life, the Rotbraun is far more brown and far less red - it's quite muted actually. In these photos it looks really quite vibrantly red: it's not - honest!


- Drax.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

603 - Desert Rats Sikh Reinforcements

I was tempted to pun more with that title, but suffice it to say, I've painted up a few more toys for my Sikhs:

  • A Vickers MMG and three crew,
  • A second officer model (white, this time) as my artillery forward observer,
  • His signaller, who will act as my artillery forward observer when it's just a one-man team,
  • A platoon 2" mortar team.
Avoid enlarging this - it probably won't bear close scrutiny!
This all means that all of my original desert army toys are now painted up, but I do still have the camel-mounted officer and runner which Mattenbury very kindly donated to the war effort...

Anyone would think I had a game planned against the Deutsch Afrika Korps this week...!

- Drax. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

602 - Resurgam

Hullo, World.

I was totally planning to do some painting this evening, but alas and alack, my frustrating allergies to my two pet cats [don't ask!] has rendered my eyes puffy, bloodshot and less than ideal for painting. 

So I figured I ought to return to the blogosphere. 

Thank you very much for your kind comments after my last post - life is returning to normal now and all is well. 

I've felt actual, real-world guilt for not blogging about some of my Bolt Action games  - which I know is ridiculous - but if I gloss over some of them, I shall at least eventually cover the second part of the Battle of Hamburg (which was every bit as amazing to play as the first installment). For now, though, here is a brief overview of some of my gaming antics over the last three months...

Bolt Action!

In a nutshell, I finally played a game with a fully painted (if not ideally composed) force of Germans and got enjoyably thrashed by Mattenbury's gutsy RM Commandos... 

I played a joint game against some Russians with my established ally, Alex, and to our surprise we won...
I played a handful of introductory games against some pleasant opponents in Portsmouth...
I've painted up my first 1000 points of late-war Germans AND started to put together my Blitzkrieg/Op Sealion Germans with more of a sense of direction now, including a couple of enjoyable conversions...
Points for telling me what's going on with the last two pictures...
For my late-war Brits, I've started putting together a squad of RAF Regiment, a 4.2" mortar and a Chaplain. Because why not, right?!

Black Powder?

Yes, I finally gave Napoleonics a go, on a grand scale, courtesy of Guy and his amazing miniatures...huge fun, but it's not for me.


I finished painting up Zzzzzz's combat medic team (and quite enjoyed them in the end!)...
Oh, and I was invited to Devos IV to help him to "line up the little men". 1830 of them, to be more precise...
Recognise any of these lovelies...?

Yeah, this experience was absolutely amazing! I urge you to check out the first of Zzzzzz's posts about it, here: link, and here: link.

Err...and I've discovered Netflix and the strange not-quite-nostalgia of watching my way through Star Trek: TNG.

Oh, and this is a snapshot of the Drax family (No.1 Daughter) enjoying one of our many beautiful local beaches. Honestly, sometimes it's like living in Narnia, round here...
Good to be back!


- Drax.