Category Archives: 15mm Miniatures Wargames

Artillery Regiment 33, 15th Panzer Division, North Africa, 1942

saurer Sdkfz254_01

I did not realise quite how small the Saurer Sd Kfz 254 was in relation to the SiG 33 auf Pz II until I bought them both to fill in the orbat gaps for  Motor Artillerie Regiment 33, 15th Panzer Division, and Schwere Schützen-Regiment 155 /200 North Africa, 1942. I should have done – the 254 is essentially a 4-wheeled armoured car with the extra weight of a set of tracks, so it would have to be pretty small not to burst the tyres …. Oops, see the photo below for a vehicle living on the limits of evolution before it became extinct!

SdKfz_254_02

We are still talking about signature equipment here, but it brings some modelling variety into DAK, and highlights the rag-tag nature of the forces that the Axis deployed into Nord Afrika.

Sd Kfz 254 Saurer compared

So here is the orbat for:

  • 33rd Artillery Regiment  {Comd Saurer Sd Kfz 254 or Sd Kfz 253* (C3)}, FOO (R1), {Sdkfz 11 (or 6) Limber (L3) + 10.5cm Gun (S3)}, {PaK 38 (r) 7.62cm or PaK 38 5cm (S3) + Sdkfz 11 (or 10) Limber (L3)}.
  • Schwere Schützen-Regiment 155 /200   SiG 33 (S1) + Limber (L1) [you could, of course, just use the SiG as an S2 stand]

*Thanks to Andreas for pointing me to a very useful forum for this orbat.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, DAK, Land Battles, Modelling, Orbats, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

The Battle of Bir Bar ‘el – Breaking into the Position

0600hrs – Crossing the Start Line

Bersagliari under Artillery Fire

  1. 14th Infantry  Brigade Artillery (14ARTY) laid a barrage onto the northernmost enemy strongpoint of 1 medium CU scoring 5 against the medium strongpoint, scoring 1 red pin or pip (1M=5>M=1). Bersagliari tested for morale for coming under fire for the first time, scoring 4, which was OK
  2. 1st Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (1BEDS&HERTS) advanced to contact with the enemy and each stand of 3 bases opened fire scoring 2 pins (2L=5+6>M=2).
  3. V Bersagliari Motorised Battalion (5BERGn) returned fire with 1 light die scoring 1 pin (1L=4>L=1)
  4. In the first move, 1BEDS&HERTS have inflicted three pins on 5BERGn and received only one in return, so in the next move they can close assault the strongpoint.

Winning the Firefight

0700hrs – Close Assaulting the Northern Strongpoint

  1.  There were no unwounded stands left in the northern strongpoint, so if 1BEDS&HERTS close assaulted, they would just walk over the position, capturing anyone who was in there.  5BERGn were veteran troops however, and passed a morale test for 50% or over casualties scoring a 6! so the Battalion Commander decided that a fighting withdrawal was in order. 1BEDS&HERTS occupied the position. Their supporting Valentine tanks from 4th Royal Tank Regiment (4RTR) declined to pursue the fleeing enemy until the infantry had reorganised, on the grounds that the enemy had probably covered his lines of retreat with anti-tank fire.
  2. The 1st Black Watch Regiment (1BW) advanced to contact in a co-ordinated brigade attack against the southernmost enemy strongpoint and began the firefight (2L=5+3>M=0).The attack stalled as the defenders returned fire (1L=6>L=2)
  3. 14ARTY laid a barrage  of 1 medium CU scoring 2 against the medium strongpoint to the south, to no effect. The attack remained stalled.
  4. The supporting Matilda battalion of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1RTR) began a duel with the DAK 50mm anti tank detachment to their north (DAK PaK). 1RTR (1L=3>M*=0). DAK PaK (1M=6>H=1).

 Black Watch Advance to Contact

0800hrs – Black Watch Continue the Firefight Against the Southern Strongpoint

  1. The tank/anti tank duel continued in the south with more sound and fury than actual damage: 1RTR (1L=3>M*=0). DAK PaK (1M=3>H=0), the PaK was now out of ammunition and could only withdraw next move, or sit tight awaiting a close assault.
  2. 14ARTY laid a barrage onto the southernmost enemy strongpoint (1M=4>M=1). 5BERGs had now received 50% casualties and failed a morale test on 2.
  3. 132ARTY fired on 1BW (1L=4>L=1). 1BW had received 50% casualties and failed a morale test on a 2, becoming disorganised.
  4. 1BW settled into a firefight with 5BERGs causing a permanent (black) casualty (2L=4+5>M*=1) and receiving . 5BERGs failed their 50% morale check on a 1, also becoming disorganised**

0900hrs – Black Watch Win the Firefight Against the Southern Strongpoint

  1. 14ARTY continued to bombard the southernmost enemy strongpoint to no effect (1M=3>M=0).
  2. 132ARTY switched fire onto 1BEDS&HERTS (1L4>L=1).
  3. 1BEDS&HERTS closed to effective fire range against the Southern Strongpoint (2L=3+5>M=1). At this stage the combined attack of two battalions had won the firefight and could advance to contact in the next move. [In the picture below, the 3 stands could have black pins stuck into the bases, or be depicted by casualty markers as shown here]

Black Watch Win the Firefight

1000hrs – Beds & Herts Follow Through to the Defenders Gun Line

  1. 14ARTY continued the barrage on the southernmost enemy strongpoint 5BERGs. The fall of shot was doing more damage now (1M=4>M=1).
  2. 132ARTY continued their barrage on 1BEDS&HERTS (1L=5>L=1).
  3. 1BW mounted a disorganised close assault with only one effective fighting base (F1) against the zero strength 5BERGs, which was automatically overrun. RHQ was unable to offer supporting fire to 5BERGs, as they were disorganised.
  4. The Valentines of 4RTR supporting 1BEDS&HERTS brought 132ARTY under direct fire (1L=6>M=1) causing 1 pin.

Valentines Charging the Guns!

1100hrs – The Enemy is Defeated

  1. In a bold move, the Matilda battalion 1RTR  passed through the Southern Strongpoint and broke into the RHQ position in fine style but caused no enemy casualties (1L=2>L=0) and received none in return*** (1L=4>H=0). The Tank Terror rule was not appropriate here as RHQ had organic anti tank assets. By doing this, 1RTR prevented RHQ from putting in a potentially devastating counter attack. [See picture below]
  2. 4RTR‘s Valentines closed with 132ARTY causing another pin (1L=6>M=1) and receiving no casualties in return (1L=4>M=0) – I really was not making these die rolls up!
  3. 1BEDS&HERTS mounted a well-coordinated close assault with two effective fighting bases (F2) against the single strength point remaining of  132ARTY (S1), which was  overrun as this strength point was defeated in close assault by the attacking infantry (F3= 6,5>S1=5). [See picture above]

Black Watch Close Assault

This battle would conclude with 14BDE consolidating on the positions that it had won and reorganising. The supporting tanks would reorganise, following British doctrine, behind the defending infantry. Logistic elements would move forward to resupply the infantry and tanks

It is worth noting that throughout, I have tried to describe as much of the ‘battle’ as possible using language that would be familiar to the commanders of the day. I find battles personally more satisfying doing this than if the language of wargaming is used, as I use games to try and understand the history of the period, as well as being an enjoyable pastime.

This worked example supercedes the earlier Battle of WASHBOARD RIDGE.

Footnotes:

The notation used here is a sort of Chess-style notation that allows me to record the salient points of solo games for future reference, and to keep track in campaigns. For this game I decided that the first people to come under fire would take a morale check, and everyone would at 50%.

* I count most Atk guns as Medium in defence when tanks are firing against them, to reflect the anti-tank guns’ low profile and camouflage, as here.

** disorganised units cannot take advantage of supporting fire, and are automatically overrun if close assaulted.

*** Tanks do not close assault. They drive into an enemy infantry position as they please, but if the infantry do not surrender or run away, then the tanks are treated as light targets in the next move when close assaulted by the defending infantry  if they are unwise enough to stay on the position. See Männer Gegen Panzer to get a feel for what is going on tactically.

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, DAK, Italian Army, Rules Examples, The "Rules", Western Desert, WWII

Battle of Bir Bar ‘el

Since explaining combat in the  Battle of WASHBOARD RIDGE, infantry stands have been reduced in strength by 3, reverting to the original version of NQM. See how this works with a combined infantry and tank brigade assault against  a defending battalion with anti-tank support.

 

Order of Battle – Allies

 Beds & Herts orbat at the Battle of Bir Bar 'el

 Black Watch Orbat at the Battle of Bir Bar 'el

 

Order of Battle – Axis

 

  • 8th Bersaglieri Regiment (Motorised) – 1 Comd car + 1 Mortar + 1 47mm Atk (CS3)
  • Attached from DAK1 50mm Atk (S2) +1 Limber (L2)
  • V Motorised Battalion 2 Trucks (L3)*, [ Bn Comd + MG + 45mm Mortar (CS3)], [ 3Rifles (F3)]
  • XII Motorised Bn detached to support Ariete

*(The Motorised Bn could equally be protrayed as two single truck stands  of strength CS3 and F3. If I do that , I usually put some infantry in the back to show they are not just Logistic trucks)

Italian Orbat for the Battle of Bir Bar el

 

 

 

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, DAK, Italian Army, Italian Army, Land Battles, Orbats, Rules Examples, The "Rules", Wargames, Western Desert, WWII

Getting Chilly on the Northwest Front

2nd Inf Div troops astride the VLADIMIR-MOSCOW road in deteriorating weather

2nd Inf Div troops astride the VLADIMIR-MOSCOW road in deteriorating weather

As the last mud froze into iron hard ruts around KALINEN and VYSHNIV VOLDCHECK, the Axis X, II, and VIII Infantry Korps awaited winter with some confidence. The line they held stretched from south of LEMINGRAD along the railway to KALINEN and MOSCOW. Unlike the winter of 1941, the Landser were better equipped with winter clothing, lubrication oils that did not freeze solid and winter stoves for their dugouts. The Soviets had proved unable to retake MOSCOW this summer and would surely not do so this winter. Should the line come under pressure, then 4 Panzer Korps sat in reserve at VELIKIE LUKIE.

The Northwest Front Early Winter 1942 with Known German and Soviet Positions

The only fly in this ointment was the Soviet 30 Division that had penetrated the line between 12 and 32 Infantry Divisions. The railway was still cut at this point, and restoring the line was a priority for X and II Korps, on whose boundary the breach sat.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Infantry, Land Battles, Wargames, WWII

Great Rejoicing as Reinforcements Dock in Tripoli

A package was waiting on my doorstep upon my return from holiday. Of course, it was docked in TRIPOLI (the local post depot) and had to make its perilous way to the front, be sprayed in desert colours and find its way to the correct units. The reinforcements were mostly artillery and limbers for DAK, with a couple of India pattern carriers and a couple of Dovunque 35s. The Soviets even got an 85mm AA piece.

You just want to see the pictures don’t you? Apologies, they were taken in a hurry by a low-flying recce Spitfire.

90th Light Division, Schwere Shutzen-Regiment 155/200

I was surprised that the Sig 33 was such a large model compared to the Saurer .

Dak Artillery. Panzerjaeger Abteilung 605, 1942 onwards

The pair of Sd Kfz 7s and the Diana that I bought look small. They have been shortened to fit a standard FoW base !!! This is my seldom-seen grumpy face :-( *

Diana on Sd Kfz 6 Chassis

These pictures and a few others have been put into the updated DAK orbat post for GAZALA. I should probably make it into a page so that it is easier to find.

* Since making this comment, I have realised that the Sd Kfz 6 was shorter than the 7, and was replaced by the 11, so I shall just place the two tiddlers into the orbat slots for Sd Kfz 11s and buy a couple of proper 7s for the 88s. Harmony is restored :-)

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, DAK, Modelling, Orbats, Western Desert, WWII

Flatpack Moscow 4 – Gorky Park

Six hundred and forty one windows later, MOSCOW is looking fairly complete.I really enjoyed painting this project for a few minutes each evening, just chilling out.

IMGP0142

Moscow looking north west

One late addition to the city is the treeline at GORKY PARK (Парк горького). I kept thinking that the northeast corner of the city was a little bare, so trees were the answer.

IMGP0139

Moscow looking south west

Spring/high summer won out over the more colourful autumn or the equally tempting bare branches of winter. I couldn’t resist adding a few tables with parasols.

IMGP0143 The summer delights of Gorky Park

It is tempting to keep faffing and adding more detail, but the template is ready to game with. Saint Basil’s can wait for now. I shall hunt for some more suitable statues than the Space marines some day.

IMGP0140 Moscow looking south east

The Kremlin and Red Square are looking suitably red, but they will have to wait until the city is retaken for a proper May Day parade. The Fascists may yet be strutting up and down for a while longer.

IMGP0144Red Square looking south east

IMGP0141Moscow looking north east

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Modelling, WWII