Dominating the Enemy

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Thinking back over the year just gone, it struck me that when players clash with the little lead chaps,  you often see a particular manoevre in close assaults. The attacking player will put his model half over the defender or the defences, to emphasise that he has broken into the position, and is about to overrun the enemy. He does this before a single die has been rolled, in the expectation that things will go his way.

2nd Tank Corps Break Into the Northern Advanced LineLook at the dancing Cossacks – things have gone their way!

This leaves the defender in somewhat of a quandry. Does one point out this ungentlemanly behaviour and seem peevish, or does one let it slide and invite the player to remove his overly-familiar troops when the attack fails?

KV1 of 16 Motor Rifle Corps Breaks inConfident KV-1 vs. a dug-in doorknocker

A good umpire will, of course, not allow this sort of untidy behaviour, and will invite the attacker to place his troops more decorously until he does actually win the firefight …. or not.

20th Panzer Grenadier Division is Attacked

An optimistic BA-10

As can be seen from the photographic evidence, I have not always been a good umpire, but to be fair to the players involved, I have had to illustrate this article with one or perhaps two Soviet-style propaganda shots!

Happy New Year!

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Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Land Battles, Wargames, WWII

Merry Christmas

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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Every year, the Germans show “Dinner for One” on New Year’s Eve. It is largely forgotten in the English-speaking world, as the Germans purchased the broadcast rights some years ago.

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In a year that has had more than it’s fair share of intolerance, I shall be raising my glass to friends on the continent, and doing my best to improve the bit of the world that I have influence on for everyone, not just the ones that think and believe exactly as I do.

Peterborough Christmas Lights

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Relentlessly Modern – With Added Pigs

Art Deco with a Modern TwistSuburbs of Stuttgart

The reaction of everyone we told that we were going to Stuttgart for a midweek break was:

“Why?”

Put simply, Stuttgart has an excellent Christmas Market, museums featuring Porsche  Mercedes, Lindt Chocolate, and the largest* pig museum in Germany, if not the world.

Helipad at a New Hospital ExtensionNote the new Hospital Helipad

By day, Stuttgart is relentlessly modern, its railway marshalling yards having had more than their fair share of RAF and USAF attention. Despite this, large swathes of mature parkland cut through the northern part of the city, making a pleasant day’s walking between fuel stops.

Stuttgart has lots of Hills and Trees

One such was at Killingberg – a well-executed modern estate in cubist white. It works because the Germans do not try to decorate their public spaces with large amounts of fast-food litter.

The New BrutalismVery New Indeed

By night, the Centrum turns into an illuminated fairyland, and the locals crowd in to enjoy Bratwurst, Pommes, Lebkuchen and Germ Knödel; all washed down with Glühwein, Blonder Engels and Eier Punsch.

Weinachtsmarkt Stuttgart

The highlight of the holiday was a walk deep into the industrial riverside, where, by the gasworks, was the Slachterhof (Slaughterhouse Inn) and aforementioned Pig Museum.

Schweinbahn

Almost everything Pig-related was there. Not since the Dutch National Airline Sick Bag  Collection has there been such eccentric devotion to a cause.

Zinn Schweine - for Phil SteeleZinn Schweine for Phil Steele

Pigs Being Rude

More Rude PigsPigs Being Rude – for Martin Goddard

Suzanne Expresses Surprise at the Quantity of Pig-related LiteratureAre all these Books about Pigs?

The line that hooked us was “Pig enthusiasts can visit the museum then enjoy one of the relatives in the Schlachterhof next door”. Judge for yourselves. Lekker!

Schweinshaxe in a Vegetable-free Zone

*Size claims should be treated with suspicion. Here is the largest maze in Holland.

 

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True Scale Space Hulk

Terminators Looking for Trouble

Apparently, Space Hulk is amongst the evil empire’s best-selling games. The attraction is clear; heavily armoured Terminators clunking down claustrophobic corridors, using their chainswords to cut through bulkheads. Why, it was even popular with the WHELKS* when we were all in our thirties. Terminators were smaller in those days and could fit into corridors without getting stuck in the doors.

So, one frosty morning, I thought that I would give it a go in true-scale ….

There is only one man to go to in Wellingborough for over-engineered power tools , and he is known as Sarge. Suzanne came back saying,

“Can you lift it out of the boot for me? It’s too heavy.”

This Looks Promising!

Outstanding! This sounded promising….

...Gratifyingly large quantites of Toxic Fumes and Dust

It took me ten minutes to start the two-stroke engine, and an hour to cut through the bulkhead. Gratifyingly large quantities of toxic fumes and dust billowed everywhere. It was VERY NOISY! By the time I had finished, the garden was covered in a thin layer of brick coloured space-dust, and any gribblies lurking in the hulk must have fled in terror at the noise. Best game ever!

This dude ….

Approved WH40K Pose

…should not be confused with this one below. (Note the puny arms and freakishly long torso of the sculpt above).

This Dude

Uniform afficionados will note the safety glasses and armoured boiler suit. I have swapped out my customary builder’s cowboy hat for a Teeside-pattern safety helmet.

Mission accomplished:

Mission Accomplished

As an antidote to all the fun that I had just had, Suzanne gave me a window to block the new hole. Happily, it fitted.

It Fits!

If you want to know what a Golden Demon quality true-scale Chainsword looks like, then go here.

*Wellingborough Historical and Ever-so Loosely Kultural Society

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Filed under Off Topic, The Den

More Tilting

Flatbeds are much more useful on the wargames table than trucks with covered canopies, but having overdosed on PSC 15mm Raupenschleppers the tinkerer in me thought,

“what would a tilt frame look like?”

Raupenschlepper Ost with Brass Wire Tilt

Here is the answer: For good measure, I added some canopy struts to one of the QRF  Bedford QLBs that had been assembled earlier. Now it is just crying out for a couple of scruffy gunners lounging in the back.

Bedford QLB with Brass Wire Tilt

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, Modelling, Trucks, Wehrmacht, Western Desert, WWII

Things to do in a Tank

rommeling-in-a-tankRommel – obviously.

Of all the things to do in a tank, the top thing must surely be to stand in the turret , like Rommel. This is known as Rommelling or “doing a Rommel”. The size of your tank matters. A King Tiger is a suitable mount in which to do a Rommel; a CV33 is not.

Romelling in a CV33Note the ironic grin of the driver on the right of the picture. He knows that his commander is not cutting the mustard.

Coming in as a close second, is Holding Binos in a Tank – if you are half out of the turret, it counts as a half-Monty*. here is Monty doing it:

bernard_law_montgomery_1942

Pay attention to the chap behind him (probably the actual tank commander), who scores extra cool points for Wearing Tank Goggles. He has wisely opted for slinging them around his neck, as wearing them like shades is a bit Italian or girly. Being girly in a tank is only cool if you are Tank Girl:

tank-girl

Russians are encouraged to lounge on the outside of the tank.

WallmanskiHere are some wargamers pretending to be Russians.

This has the added benefit of being suicidal if the tank is moving. Russians seem to prefer this, and have nailed the Heroic Advance Look, especially after consuming toxic quantities of vodka that would pickle a frog, or a normal liver.

desantny

Germans always look as if they are retreating, and Brits just look as if they are picnicking or having a smoke break.

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Aiming a machine gun is another top activity for commanders. WH4oK Commisars take this to a whole new level by waving chainswords and pistols from the commander’s hatch.

Baneblade CommanderHere is a wargamer pretending to be a Commisar.

Finally, we come to pointing. This is a difficult look to pull off and the two examples below illustrate this perfectly:

rommel-pointing

 

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As a rule, only officers point. NCOs realise that pointing attracts Enemy Interest in a way that shouting does not. For the record, pointing the way that you are going is generally held to be better for morale than pointing back the way that you came from.

*A full Monty is completely different

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Raupenschlepper Progress

I took a break from the massive heap of nowhere-near-finished British Desert Infantry to complete something achievable. It turned out to be a true-scale door (don’t ask) and this practically free Raupenschlepper Ost with the scratchbuilt tracks.

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It turns out that a creative bit of paintwork on the wheels can fool the eye into thinking that it is a proper model. I’ve grouped it with a Peter Pig Pak 38 to lend it some credibility, and because it is heading straight to one of my Neu Art German infantry divisions. Note the over-the-top superdetailing on the grenadier’s collar tabs. He is very proud of his new Waffenfarben.

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

Aussies – WIP

9th Australian Infantry Division

[A] batch of some 50 or 60 Australian prisoners were marched off close behind us—immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle.*
—Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel, Commander, German Afrika Korps, Battle of Tobruk, 1941.

I’ve made a start on  9th Australian Infantry division. I already had one brigade of more-or-less fully painted Piggies (so Veteran troops then), and have added another from the PSC late war British infantry. All that I have managed to do so far is base them up, undercoat them, and add some black for boots and rifles – so green troops for the time being**. Progress has been slow, as on the 1:1 scale front, the garage is turning into a Man Cave (The Den is much too nice now and I have to wear slippers in there).

9th Division contained all the original volunteers and was of very high quality. 10th Division had a proportion of jailbirds in it, with correspondingly lower performance (cannot remember where I read that).

Box 005 Oct 2016

Major General Leslie Morshead

Comd staff car (C3), Ammo Truck (L3), POL Truck (L3), Ambulance (L3), Workshop Truck (L3)

Petrol Company Group

M3 Stuart (Honey)

  • 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion (not modelled)

  • 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion

    • Truck (L3), Comd, 2 Pioneers (E3)
  • 2/7th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 2/8th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (As Above)

  • 2/12th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (As Above)

  • 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • Universal Carrier (S3), 6pdr (S3)

6pdr and Universal Carrier

  • 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery

    • Morris Limber (s3), 40mm Bofors AA (s3) (or portee)

RHA

  • 2/3rd Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 2/7th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (As Above)

  • 2/13th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (As Above)

  • 2/4th Field Park Company, Royal Australian Engineers

    • Low loader (L3), D7 bulldozer (L3)
  • 9th Australian Division Signals

    • Signals truck (C3)
24th Australian Brigade

Brigadier Arthur H.L. Godfrey

Comd staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion, Western Australia (WA)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)

Australian Infantry Battalion

  • 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion, Victoria (Vic.)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/43rd Australian Infantry Battalion, South Australia (SA)

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
26th Australian Brigade

Brigadier David A. Whitehead

Comd staff car (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 2/23rd Australian Infantry Battalion, Vic.

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/24th Australian Infantry Battalion, Vic.

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 2/48th Australian Infantry Battalion, SA

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
20th Australian Brigade   (As Above)

Brigadier H. Wrigley

  • 2/13th Australian Infantry Battalion, New South Wales (NSW)

  • 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion, Queensland (Qld)

  • 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, NSW

* Miller, Ward (1986). The 9th Australian Division Versus the Africa Corps: An Infantry Division Against Tanks—Tobruk, Libya, 1941. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: US Army Command and Staff College. OCLC 14129655 Accessed in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Division_(Australia) [3 Nov 2016]

**The urge to add some captured Italian Bush Artillery and an M13 with Kangaroos on the side will prove irrisistable at some stage.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Infantry, Western Desert

Tyred Out

Marmon-Herrington Mk II

Tyres provide the modern wargamer with the equivalent of button painting. Every wheeled vehicle has at least four of them, often more, and don’t get me started on wheeled Wehrmacht Aufklärungs vehicles with eight wheels apiece, or panzers with rubber rims to their wheels!!

21PzTkRegt

there are some bright spots though: muddy tyres and tracks just need a wash or a dust over, and the 8th army were fond of roughly painting wheels to spill over onto the tyre itself. Excellent!

A range of options from “merely passable” to “If he’s paying attention to the tyres, he’s probably losing the battle” can be seen above and below.

Medium Tank Brigade (or an entire understrength tank coprs). Peter Pig and Old Glory UK

With its lend-lease transport and motorised AA, this must be a Guards Divisional HQI start by painting tyres black or charcoal grey. Some years later, they may get a drybrushed highlight in a lighter shade, or some mud or dust splashed over them. Visit Olicanalad or YesthatPhil to see properly painted tyres.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Modelling, WWII

4th Indian Infantry Division

The 4th Indian Infantry Division were old desert hands by the time of the battles at EL ALAMEIN. Here they are, having fought through solidly since GAZALA:

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4th Indian Infantry Division

Major-General Francis Tuker (known widely as “Gertie”)

Comd in India Patt Carrier or Jeep (C3)

4th-indian-divisional-recce-regiment

  • 1st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 11th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 32nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • FOO (O1), Quad limber (S3), 25pdr (S3)
  • 149th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • India Patt or Universal Carrier (S3), 6pdr (S3)
  • 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

    • Morris Limber (s3), 40mm Bofors AA (s3) (or portee)
  • 2nd Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 4th Field Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 12th Field Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Truck (L3) + optional trailer (L3), 3 Sappers (@E1)
  • 11th Field Park Company, Madras Sappers and Miners

    • Low Loader (L3), D7 bulldozer (L3)
  • 4th Indian Division Signals

    • Morris or Bedford Signals truck (C3)
5th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Dudley Russell

Comd in India Patt Carrier or Jeep (C3), signals van (C3)

  • 1/4th Battalion, Essex Regiment

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
  • 4th (Outram’s) Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)

British Indian army Inf Bn

  • 3rd (Queen Mary’s Own) Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment

    • Comd (s3), 3 Rifles (s3), MMG (s3), 3″ Mortar (s3)
7th Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Arthur Holworthy

Comd in India Patt Carrier (C3), signals van (C3)

61st Indian Infantry Brigade

Brigadier Francis E.C. Hughes

Comd India Patt Carrier (C3), signals van (C3)

Brit Inf Highland Bn WW2

argyll-and-sutherland-highlanders-tartan

By now, it will be obvious to even the most casual reader of this blog that I mix and match British desert infantry. A few turbans, Glengarries, Tam-o-Shanters and slouch hats mixed in with a lot of steel battle bowlers and berets make up the necessary numbers. I must get some of those splendid Kiwi scout hats to add to the mix.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Infantry, Western Desert, WWII