The M3 Honey conversion has had the last few splashes of paint aimed at it. My photography skills do no favours to the details: Brigade flashes, Recognition flashes, graphite and rust on the tracks etc. In the end, the mantle was carved from the cork at the front of the turret. Here it is.
Category Archives: 15mm Miniatures Wargames
This game was played over an evening from 8 to 11 o’clock including setup and strip down, with Trebian taking the Soviets and Yesthatphil taking the Axis . I scaled the game at one NQM battalion representing a division. This gave me some problems midway through the game, but more of that later.
The 2 Panzer Armee advance was limited to the rail line from TAMBOV to BORISOGLEBSK due to deteriorating weather. Soviet resistance was less hampered, but 57 Army comprising 99, 150, 317 and 351 Rifle and 14 Guard Rifle divisions had left most of their their divisional artillery behind in order to advance to contact with 48 MotKorps, comprising 17 and 18 Panzer divisions with 29 Motorised and 167 Infantry divisions.
Soviet South Front had managed to reinforce BORISOGLEBSK with 335 Rifle division from 9 Army in time to fend off assaults from 2nd SS Panzer and then 10 Panzer divisions from 46 Mot Korps as they arrived on the outskirts of the rail junction.
Things were looking good for 9 Army, as Strategic RKG reserves in the shape of 3 Guards Cavalry and 24 Tank divisions were able to catch 2nd SS Panzer.
Then disaster struck …
I applied a Tank Terror ruling to the reinforced 10 Panzer and 18 Panzer assault on BORISOGLEBSK. The look of horror in Trebian’s eyes told me that I had failed to carry the players with me in the narrative. The story running in his head told him that the heroic 335 Rifle division, fortified* in a city, on the point of achieving guards status , had had victory snatched from them by a dodgy umpire ruling and one die roll. It took a bit of smoothing over as Phil marched the division off into captivity**.
Elsewhere things were going badly for the Germans. An apparently unending wave of attacking infantry was tearing into 48 Mot Korps as it advanced along the rail lines. Any semblance of an attack dissolved as logistic echelons found themselves defending against close assaults.
A fierce cavalry-armour battle developed around the outskirts of BORISOGLEBSK. what became apparent was that the panzers were not going to reach STALINGRAD this year and were not going to hold on to the TAMBOV-BORISOGLEBSK railway. The assault ended with scattered remnants of 48 Mot Korps straggling in to BORISOGLEBSK in order to fall back to VOROZHNEV to regroup.
* I keep having this problem with the open, single storey, wooden built-up areas in 1940s Russia. Everyone equates them to the high-rise city centre scenes in ‘Enemy at the Gates‘ rather than the more open suburbs of Stalingrad that burned down leaving only chimmney stacks. I count these troops as Medium in defence, and only count fortified troops in concrete bunkers as Heavy.
** On reflection, a rule that works well at battalion level is too abrupt to apply to an entire infantry division, even if it has left its heavier equipment behind to reach close terrain. On reflection, I should have made the panzers fight through the rail junction. The result would probably have been the same, looking at the red pips on the infantry stands, but the players would have been happier, and that’s important.
- Racing the Rasputitsa (notquitemechanised.wordpress.com)
In the dying days of Summer 1942. German armoured forces fanned southeast to STALINGRAD towards the banks of the river VOLGA. Spearheading the 2 Panzer Armee advance against minimal opposition were 10 Panzer and 2nd SS Panzer divisions from 46 Mot Korps less Gross Deutchland, which had been engaged at TAMBOV junction.
48 MotKorps, comprising 17 and 18 Panzer divisions with 29 Motorised and 167 Infantry divisions, were echeloned northwards behind them. These formations were all well understrength and although coming to the end of their logistical chains, were benefitting from the opening of TAMBOV junction to rail traffic.
Opposing them was South Front comprising 2 Armies :
57 Army comprising 99, 150, 317 and 351 Rifle and 14 Guard Rifle division
9 Army comprising 51, 106, 333, 335, 341 and 349 Rifle divisions
and South Front troops comprising 3 Guards Cavalry division and 24 Tank division. Unusually fo rthis stage of the campaign, the operation had the characteristic of a meeting engagement.
Phil Steele coined the “Pointless Conversion” phrase during one of his exemplary builds of an SU-122, observing that sometimes an apparently pointless project made sense. This conversion is one such as I already own a couple of perfectly servicable metal M3s with the later round cast turret. Phil brought a box of PSC M5s back with him from a show at my request. At the time of purchasing, I thought the spare hulls would do nicely for the Western Desert and for Eastern Front Lend-lease. I knew that M3s were used, but didn’t realise that M5s were not, or that more importantly all three hull variations in the PSC kit were M5s. Bobbins!
Undaunted, I set about a pointless conversion. First of all the rear deck was cut off and reversed. Saw away the fuel tanks and save them, they will be needed later. I used a block of wood as the lower hull with the upper hull shimmed to get it level, and the tracks glued straight to the block.
Next, the front glacis plate was chopped away. Card (plasti- or paper) was used to deck in the holes, and was trimmed level once it had set. I do most of this with scissors and a fresh sharp scalpel, obviating the need for much filler, although when this technique goes wrong, the bodges are more obvious.
The hull was reasonably straightforward to build up and a spare PSC T-34 fuel tank made the vertical exhaust chambers. The suitably chopped fuel tanks went back on in a reversed position, although looking at some of the desert pictures, square stowage boxes occupied these spots.
A cork core sheathed in card formed the frame for the turret. I ran the angles by eye, filing and slicing away until it ‘looked about right’ although it is probably a tad over scale. The PSC commander in beret deflected attention away from any deficiencies in this area. Wire from the bits bin made a gun and some Milliput will provide a mantlet.
The conversion appears slightly too short in the hull, but I wanted it to fit in with my existing two metal M3s. Job done. I suppose I should paint it now instead of sending it Soviet-style into its first game wearing nothing but an undercoat. More to follow … painting and detail faff etc.
NQM is a set of operational guidelines to fight divisional and corps level battles. A single player can comfortably handle a division. In a multi-player game, a single player can manage a corps, with all its corps-level assets. With more than two people, we usually play with an umpire.
A Soviet infantry regiment of 3 battalions is going to winkle a nest of Fascist Vipers out of their position to show us how it should be done.
NQM resolves movement simultaneously by player agreement. Defenders can be hidden or laid out on the table. Recce usually engages first to try to find the enemy.
Here is a Recce sequence : The regular armoured car squadron rolls red 5, white 2 , blue 4 against regular infantry. It withdraws without shooting having spotted the defenders. The defenders can shoot against it at effective range but elect not to.
Then the main body of the division usually moves up to engage the defender. It is a good idea to bombard with artillery first : The 120mm medium Mortar fires 1FU at the medium dug-in defenders, scoring 2. No effect!
The attacker then begins a firefight, which he must win to close assault the defender. We can see the two leading battalions closing to contact the defenders for a firefight. If he does not win the firefight at first, he can carry on until he does in subsequent moves.
Firefights are usually resolved by battalion of 2 stands. In regimental or brigade attacks, three or four battalions can resolve their firefight together on a single enemy position.
Only the front rank of fighting stands in contact with the enemy, a second rank of support stands, and divisional supporting armour and direct fire artillery will usually be engaged in the firefight. Indirect divisional and corps artillery will have preceded the firefight, or will be protecting the flanks.
Here is the firefight : The 4 regular light stands (2 fighting, 2 command/support) in contact for the firefight need 5s to put pips onto the medium enemy. They score 1 pin. In return, the enemy fire 2 light CUs back scoring a 4 to put 1 pin onto the attacking Soviet regulars. The Soviets have neither won nor lost the firefight this round. [the green dice show how many CUs each battalion has left]
The next round sees the Soviets score 1 pin from 4 CUs on the Germans and take 2 from 2CUs in return. They must break contact next move or reinforce to continue the firefight. They do so by adding the regimental command/support stand to the firefight. In the third round they score 2 pins from 3 CUs on the Germans and take 1 from 2CUs in return, so have won the firefight in this round. Both the defenders and the two lead Soviet battalions have exhausted their CUs and can only engage in close combat from here on in.
The attacker close assaults. If he wins a round of close assault, he can push that number of bases into the position. If he loses, he has that number of bases pushed out of the position, he must pull back and reorganise before he can begin again.
Soviet 6-5-5 matches the 6 and 5 against the German 5 and 3. Two wins to the Soviets place 2 pins on the defender. He only has one unwounded base now, so can only defend with one die.
Soviet 5-3-3 matches the 5 against the German 1. The last unwounded stand is pushed out of the position. There are still 3 wounded stands in the position, but if they hang around next move, they will be overrun and lost.
After the firefight, close assault, any defender counterattacks have all finished, both sides will usually attempt to reorganise before continuing. Fighting disorganised is dangerous because you cannot use supporting troops not in direct contact with the enemy. Logistics are important, because without Combat Units (of fire), you cannot do anything other than close assault an enemy.
Since bringing the infantry orbats in line with armour and artillery, I have received a few questions about how they should appear, and the difference between bases and stands. Bases are the individual components of a stand. There are usually 3 bases to a stand, but there can be more, or fewer.
For an all- infantry battalion it is fairly straightforward. Here is 4th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles , comprising a command and support stand (CS3), and a fighting stand (F3). They are tooled up for a fight , with 6 combat units (CUs) represented by the little airgun pellets on the spanking brand-new tinplate movement tray next to them, and the two stands can put out 2CUs per turn between them, for 3 turns, by which time they will have run out of ammunition.
Next, comes a motor battalion, 1st Battalion the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. They can be organised as previously shown, with a vehicle base and 2 infantry bases making one stand, and three stands in the battalion, or you could dispense with the infantry, and just have 3 vehicles with infantry glued into them to show that it is not just a logistic vehicle. Either way, it does not matter how you model the stands as long as both you and your opponent know what is happening.