Monday, July 21, 2014

Gigabytes Game Day - 7/19/2014

A great day all around. There were a number of games going on including one rather large pirate game that seemed to last a long time. At some point I realized that they had changed terrain and begun play of a second scenario. Seems like they were having fun.

I was told that there was a Saga game going on somewhere and on the table next to us there was an ancients game but I know nothing about how those fared.

A quick note about the new Gigabytes. It is fantastic. There is plenty more space for games and most importantly, there is much more light to take pictures.

Game One

For myself, I joined James' WWI Check Your 6 game. It was great fun. Mark and Steve were the German players.

Piloting the Belgians were myself, Jeremy and Bill. James would also pickup Bill's aircraft after he had to leave for a short time. I managed to not get a picture of Jeremy. (Sorry about that.)

The scenario was a balloon busting scenario on the Western Front. The Germans had a balloon and four albatross fighters. They were engaged by several groups of Belgians. I commanded a group of two Belgian Handriots. Mine are the blue fighters on the table. One pilot was a veteran pilot and the other was a complete new boy. We had six (I think) Belgians to run. My fellow Belgian players made a beeline for the balloon while I drove straight at two of the Albatrosses.

The plan worked as the Balloon was quickly shot down by turn 4. This left one of the most unusual dogfights that I have ever participated in. In turn 3, my Veteran pilot fired upon an Albatross and instantly jammed its guns.

It took some four attempts before I managed to get the guns unjammed. Meanwhile my sprog pilot took a long and slow circular route around almost the entire table before finding a target at turn 12 and shot down a German pilot. My sprog had better luck than my veteran.

The Germans managed to fail maneuver after maneuver roll. I think each of their aircraft were out of control at one point or another. One of the other Belgians managed to get a kill in and another had a great shot lined up but could not complete the kill.

In the end, it was a fantastic Belgian victory. But most importantly, it was a fun game. We had five players and James supervised then took over aircraft as a player had to leave for a bit. I also had to take over a second flight as another player had to run for a bit.

The WWI mods seemed to work well. It would be interesting to compare these to Algy one day.

Game 2

First up was a quick detour out for lunch and then back to Gigabytes for another game. I would have eaten there but the owner does not have the license yet for serving food yet so Arby's was the order of the day. The second game I played in was Rob's Spanish Civil War Chain of Command game.

I played Nationalists with Nathaniel. Across from us were Steve who commanded the anarchists. He was supported by Steve S who commanded the Communists. The Communists were ordered to keep the anarchists in place and would fire on them if they fled.

Nathaniel laid out a simple enough plan. We would drive bulk of our forces and take the church. Once that was done we would move across and flank the enemy. We each had a platoon of Foreign Legion troops supported by an armored car with a squad of Guardia Civil as supports.

Nathaniel had the left and I the right. I positioned my men behind the rocks and moved my light machine gun to the far right and a squad up on the rocks to engage and keep the anarchists still. Nathaniel's men were in the rocks across from the church and one squad on the rocks to the left flank. That squad would get beaten up a bit from some Communists in the large building.

With the support of the two armored cars (which I think had way too many fire dice) the two squads holding that small wall were eliminated to a man. This decimated the anarchists morale. Their big men kept getting wounded or killed with alarming frequency.

Once the walls were cleared, Nathaniel rushed his men forward. The armored cars still pounded away on the barricade and eliminated the squad there to a man. Somewhere in this pounding, the anarchist morale broke and they fled. I ran my men forward and climbed into the positions just abandoned by the anarchists.

A few more turns were played and the command of the communists in the large building took a pounding that caused them to break and flee. This took the senior big man with them. That made the communists break as well, giving us the field. I had lost a total of 2 men. Nathaniel took something like six men killed. It was a solid victory.

The Republican players were unfamiliar with Chain of Command and at a bit of a disadvantage. They also were not supporting one another very well. Our coordination was probably the key to the victory.

Wrap up

All in all, it was a great day. The only sad point for me was that Brian was not able to join in and that I could not get in Mark's Chain of Command game. It looked like it was going to be a fantastic game but I had run out of time and had to leave. I would like us to plan large events like this on a quarterly basis. I think it would be great fun.

By the way, Mark has much better pictures than I do of the day on his site:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This Years Painting in Review

The first quarter of the year started off with a bang. Having Robert Avery's painting challenge has proven to be a big help. In the first quarter, 194.5 points of work. But in the second quarter, I managed a mere 60 points of painting. (Actually I did a bit more but since the work did not get finished to the point of completed basing, it did not count.

Third quarter is chugging along. I am not sure about the points Rob awarded for 1/600th scale aircraft. It almost seems too much as I already have 126 points for this quarter. My goal, is to paint a total of 1000 points or more for the year. I will see what happens. The airplanes were enough fun to paint that I may just end up finishing the remaining ones off. That and I have some base work to do on a whole platoon of DAK as well.

Next up is the Gigabytes Games day on the 19th. I am looking forward to a fun day of gaming. Lots of interesting games going on there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Comparing Air Games

My local gaming group prefers the Check Your Six aircraft rules. They work well and provide a great game. I have enjoyed the TFL Bag the Hun rules. They also are fun and provide a good game. What I have never done is play the two side by side. I thought it would make an interesting comparison.

I started with just a simple scenario, a pair of Bf109es and a pair of Hawker Hurricanes. Both sides are regular pilots with nothing extra. The first run through was with Bag the Hun. It took four short turns. The first turn had the aircraft close. The second turn had aircraft turn and the card system ended up with the British Hurricanes in a vulnerable position. The third turn gave the initial cards to the German's favor and the first of the British Hurricanes exploded in the air. The remaining British aircraft attempted to run for it. The fourth and final turn had the Germans on the tail of the final British aircraft which netted in the British pilot being killed.

The result was it proved to be an excellent solo play system that resolved combat quickly and was deadly. Maneuvering to contact was easy and allowed to get to grips with the enemy.

The second game reset the pieces and Check Your 6 was given a roll out. This was a different kettle of fish. I like the preset turn determination. But doing this is not as easy for solo play in my opinion. It also took longer for the aircraft to come to grips. For a multi-player game, this is actually not a problem at all. The firing mechanism as slightly more cumbersome but mostly because I am less familiar with it than with Bag the Hun. In the end, I had one exploded Hurricane and one that was able to run for his life.

This was also a good and plausible result. And it was a fun game. I really enjoyed both of these rules. For solo play, I think I will stick with Bag the Hun. For multi-player games, I will probably keep going with CY6.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - New Aircraft

I managed to get some painting in. I finished off quite a few 1/600 scale aircraft for North Africa. Some of them I went with a very basic paint job while others I actually attempted some camouflage.

I managed to finish off three Ju87s, three Fiat Cr42s, six Mc200s, six Bf109s and a single Sm79.

Ultimately, I intend to have 2 full staffelin (not sure if that is the right plural) of Bf109s of 12 aircraft each. I also want some heavier bombers than the Stukas. I have five more of them and three just need some markings to be finished. I was thinking of picking up some Bf110s and some Ju88s to round out my Germans for North Africa.

My Italians are in pretty good shape. I am planning for a Squadriglia of 9 aircraft each of both the Mc200 and the Fiat Cr42s. I should be able to knock out the Mc200s quickly. I will finish up the remaining five Sm79s at some point. I have another six Cr42s but they are not even assembled. I would really like to add a few Br20s and an Ro37 to the Italians at some point to round out the force.

For the Allies, I currently have 8 Tomahawks and 8 Hurricanes finished with another eight of each in bags untouched. I would like some Gladiators and some Maryland and Blenheim bombers to round the British. But that is for another day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bag the Hun and Check Your 6 - Messing with Scenarios

I have been looking into my air campaigns again. Not enough to do another scenario book again but just tinkering with things.

So just to keep things fun, I am posting up a couple of scenarios for all of you to tinker around with. Please let me know if the links work.

The first is a scenario set in the Spanish Civil War. It covers one of the first Combat Air Patrols of the Italian CTV air contingent. This is the scenario that covers the first victory achieved by the Italians over the skies of Spain. You can get it here.

Next up is a scenario that takes place days before the launch of Operation Battleaxe. It features pilots of the 1./JG27 encountering some Hurricanes of the Number 73 Squadron over the airfield at Ain-el-Gazala South. You can download this here.

Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think. This is the first time I have used dropbox as a means of hosting files so let me know if you can access the files. Thanks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

100K Hits and Other Things

Thanks folks for sticking with me. 100K hits is something I just did not even imagine just a year ago. Thanks again everyone including Russian spam bots who I am sure helped. :)

Interesting Things

The most popular post so far has been the one for the launch of the ACW scenario pack The Coming Thunder. It has received over 1900 hits compared to just over 900 hits for the launch of my WWII Scenario pack In the Name of Roma. Yet, In the Name of Roma had 35 comments while The Coming Thunder received just 10. Granted half of each of those comments were me answering something back.

Now Jon over at Basement Games recently had a recent post that went over his posting history for the past year. I actually have never looked at what my posting habbits were before. I was actually surprised. Last year I managed an all time high of 148 posts. The first half of 2014 I managed 75. Of those, 50 were from the first quarter of the year. The second quarter of the year dropped off considerably. That coincidentally matched my painting output as well.

Painting... Sort of

I managed to start rebasing my DAK last night. I feel guilty about it since the original owner did a great job. Here is what they originally looked like.

I have added no paint to this yet. I am just gluing the riflemen to US Pennies and using medium rail road ballast for basing. So plenty more work to do. Here is what they look like currently.

I think that I will be able to get these completed rather quickly. What I am most needing are defensive positions for the desert plus the engineers to have something useful for support list one items.

Anyway, thank you all again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Painting some DAK

I managed to get some painting done this morning. I only need to put on some matt varnish and base now. When complete I will have a DAK platoon with some support elements for Chain of Command.

The next step will be rebasing these and the existing miniatures that I have as they are all on FOW Biscuit bases. If I don't fall asleep, I should make some progress on this tonight.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Book

I have been looking for a good background for a Chain of Command campaign. I wanted to do something on the Eastern Front in 1941. I have plenty of material to do one for the Italians in August/September but I wanted something much earlier. A little bit of Google-ing had me find the Battle of Brody in the first Month of the war. It was a huge battle that ranged over a 1800 square mile area. Within this space were some 650 German tanks and 180 Assault Guns against some 1500 Soviet tanks. The battle was a triangle between the towns of Lutsk, Dubno and Brody.< P> This is way too big an area to even try to fool with for Chain of Command. But surely there are lots of accounts of the fights that took place there, right? Honestly I have no idea. But thanks to, I have gotten the book The Bloody Triangle: The Defeat of Soviet Armor in the Ukraine, June 1941 by Victor J Kamenir. Since it just arrived, I have nothing really to say about it. It is probably at too high of a detail but I am hoping it will give me pointers to what I really need to look at.

Anyone have any recommendations for Regimental Histories or the like for this battle?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TFL Summer Special and Welcomes


Please give a warm welcome to Henry. I could not find a link to your blog. Let me know if you have one.

TFL Summer Special

The Special is out and it is wonderful. There are plenty of items for most interests. My AWI scenario made it and Rich did a fantastic job with it.

So far I am still busy with the 4 (yes 4) Chain of Command Campaigns. One for Operation Sea Lion, one for the Invasion of France, another for late war east front, one for France 1944 and lastly one for Modern Africa. Actually, there is a huge number of things that I really want to do in there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Guinea 1943 - A Chain of Command AAR

The old man sat on the rocking chair watching the sun break across the horizon as he did every morning. The little boy eased through the screen door and was careful not to let it slam. He was blonde as his grandfather had been before him. The old man was still an imposing figure. His wiry arms still had strength. The cup of tea steamed in the old man's hand.

Taking all the courage he could muster, the boy who was no more than eight spoke finally, "Grandda, can you tell me a story?"

The head barely moved. The eyes tracked to the child. The face was imposing but the boy held his ground. He did not flinch or run from the gaze.

"I don't know any stories," was all he managed to muster.

The boy looked at him and frowned. "No, Grandda, I want to hear about what you did in the Big War. Daddy says you were a hero and did brave things. I want to hear about that." The old man was taken aback. He looked and reconsidered the boy for a moment. He then began a slow nod. "I was no hero, boy. But I did my duty. Your mother would not approve of such a story." "That is why I closed the door so careful Grandda. She does not need to know." The old man gave the boy his first real smile of the morning. He leaned back and looked slowly to the right and left. He then nodded his head towards the kitchen door. "Shut the door James and come here. I'll tell you a story." The boy's face lit with excitement. He quickly moved to the door, carefully opened the screen door and gently closed it with a soft click. Then he eased the screen door closed to make the least noise possible with the grouchy spring that wanted the door to slam. The old man patted his knee. The boy looked dubiously at the old man thinking he was to big to sit on the man's knee any more and took a seat on the edge of the back porch with his eyes glued to his grandfather. The corners of the old man's eyes crinkled with a smile. "OK, what to tell you. I know, It was back in 1941. The battalion ordered us to attack a Japanese position at the far end of some farmland. It was some terrible terrain. We had to cross this large field of Kunei grass to get at the Japs in the far treeline. My platoon moved up the left side of the field while Leftenant Luther and a Matilda CS tank moved up the road on the right."

My platoon Area.

Lt Luther's area.

"Leftenant Luther was senior to me and had a platoon sergeant helping him. He took the side with the road because of that bloody big tank that was supporting us. It could waddle on down that road as nice as you please. We were stuck slogging through that grass."

"I sent out scouts and they managed to press all the way up into the tree line on the far left. This allowed us to get in right close to the Japs. They were a wily lot. Luther's scouts were doing the same on his side of the field. He did not make it to the treeline. His fellows made it just a short way up the road and out in the field."

The old man shook his head remembering, "That grass was miserable. It made the hot day so much hotter. It trapped the humidity. Were were soaked with sweat before we even made 20 steps."

Approximate locations of the jump off points. The Aussies in Yellow and the Japanese in Red (at least I think its red).

"Once the Japs had spotted our advance, they began to move quickly. The first of their troops to appear was a big brute of a man yelling orders and getting one of their strange sections moving. They did not move like we did. We divided our troops into separate teams with the bren gun and a few fellows in one team and several blokes with rifles in the other. That gave the section leader some flexibility. The Japs on the other hand kept everyone together. Their light machine guns had nothing on the bren. But those cagey buggers put bayonets on everything. Even their light machine guns. That was a sight to see when they came close, let me tell you. where was I?"

The boy frowned, "You said their sergeant pushed a section up Grandda."

"Right you are boy. They appeared in the tree line ahead of Luther's boys. They were in amongst some big trees."

"Now, Luther had that Matilda tank come rolling up the field. He kept it off of the road for some reason but it tore its way through that grass leaving an easy trail to follow. Up came a pair of sections to support the tank as well."

"The Japanese ran two more sections forward in reaction to the press of infantry and tank from Leftenant Luther. Now they had a section at the crossroads where the tree line intersected with the road and another section to their left and that first section in the trees."

"Now with the Japanese occupied on the right side of the field, I managed to get two of my sections forward to box them in. One of my sections penetrated the treeline and would remain there for the bulk of the battle. I am still convinced that Corporal Jenkins must have come across a stash of Japanese Saki. His boys held on to that miserable patch of Jungle much harder than I thought them capable." "I came in behind the section I deployed in the grass and pushed them up further and had them get careful as they were getting close to being in range of the enemy." I managed to get two phases in a row! The Japanese were getting rapidly boxed in.

Now Mister Nippon did not take kindly to getting boxed in like that. He took that first section he deployed and turned them to jump my boys in the bush. Corporal Jenkins told me he heard them coming up and saw them hunker down on the far side of a small clearing but they were being cautious."

"While they were crowding my fellows in the bush, they also sent forward a section out into the grass across from Leftenant Luther's men. This would be a fatal move for those men. Luther told me afterwards, that they moved into the grass and went prone. They really never did anything but die after that. Their other section in the crossroads took the first shots of the battle. Not sure what happened but we did not hear anyone cry out after those Arisaka's spoke."

The first shots of the battle all missed.

"For an infantryman, the best sound I ever heard was the chatter of a Bren gun. One of Leftenant Luther's bren's responded to the Arisakas. That is when I knew the first casualty took place. I heard a Japanese boy cry out."

The Japanese suffered one kill from bren fire with no shock. The next Japanese phase had nothing happen.

"Now Corporal Jenkins had his fellows pitch a couple of grenades and fire on the section that was facing them. Let me tell you, if you have to throw a grenade in the jungle, don't get your hopes up. With all of the plants and trees, they rarely go where you want. The only good thing is it makes the bangs a bit quieter. The boys marksmanship was a bit better than their pitching and Jenkins said he saw two enemy fall from this opening volley."

The Japanese section suffered 2 kills and one shock from the volley. Grenades did very little in this game.

"Now I could see the Japanese moving some fellows around out in the woods but I was not too clear on what was happening. The fellows in the road began to return fire on the bren team. Their section out in the grass also tried to move but really did not go anywhere."

The Bren team took 2 shock.

"As an infantryman, I really like tanks. For one, they take much of the attention off of you. Next, they can make a real mess for the enemy. That tank moved to the road to get a clear shot at Japanese at the end of the road. The bren was just pouring fire down range. He must have kept his loaders hopping. The tank began to fire that big main gun. Now I spoke to the tank commander after the battle. He told me that the entire crew of the tank was hungover for the entirely of the battle. Tanks back then were not for sissies boy. They had no air conditioning. It was hot, noisy and not a place to be with a hurting head. do you know what a hangover is?"

The boy smiled brightly, "Yes, Grandda, its a headache you receive from the over use of alcohol the previous day. Ma once yelled at Daddy for having one last year. While he said his head would split open it never did. I watched for it. I think he was just saying how it felt not what was going to happen."

The old man grinned even bigger. He leaned forward and tousled the boys hair. "You are a sharp one. Well that tank's first shot blew the top off of a tree. I could see it from where I was in the grass. Completely useless. Take my word for it, gin is not your friend. Ever. That bren kept on chattering. The gunner was magnificent. He caused three casualties among the Japs while the tank was shooting trees."

The Japanese took 3 killed and 3 shock on the force in the road from the Bren gunner. Mark would have 3 phases in a row. Great die rolling on his part.

The old man spit in disgust.

"Now, the tank redeemed itself on its second shot. That one hit in the right place and you could hear screams following the explosion. The Bren gunner added his fire and the Japanese started to run backwards."

The section caused two kills and one shock. This broke the section. They were restored by the senior sergeant. Actually this part is a bit fuzzy in my memory.

"The Japs looked to be on really shaky ground at this point. They started to move their sections around and getting cautious in general. I had a Vickers MMG team assigned to my platoon. The battalion adjutant pushed them forward to give us a hand. I was pleasantly surprised to see them behind me. I took to shouting and got my third section to show up as well. The ones in the bush cheated forward a bit and the ones in the grass did the same."

"Grandda, where were you when all this was happening?"

"Me, well I was standing up in the grass. To make sure my boys could see and hear me I was standing and jumping, yelling and pointing. Now that I think about it, I really should not have been carrying on so."

"Oh," said the boy with a measure of disbelief.

"Now where was I, oh yes. The Japanese across from Corporal Jenkins got all worked up. They had moved a machine gun up with their section and commenced to fire on Corporal Jenkins. Despite their best efforts, amazingly we only lost two men to that brutal fire."

"But Jenkin's did not get the worst of it. The Japanese in the grass got pounded. In a couple of seconds of firing, they were reduced to a single man and the sergeant. Those two did the most sensible thing that I saw in the whole battle, they ran screaming back towards their lines."

The Japanese used a Chain of Command die and avoided the morale roll. The Japanese in the woods caused 2 kills and 2 shock on Jenkin's section.

"The tank bellowed again to no effect. The top of one of the palm trees exploded. A large coconut landed at my feet."

"Grandda! That didn't happen, did it?"

"Well, he did kill another tree," he said with a frown. The man was grumpy that his embellishments were not holding water with the child. He better stick to the truth.

"The Jap platoon has a whole section dedicated to their 'Knee' mortars. They have three of them in the section. They appeared in the tree line and commenced to bombard Leftenant Luther's squad in the grass. Also arcing up from the trees came a rifle grenade. The combined fire cost his squad two men down."

They also took five shock.

"I continued to push forward the Vicker's team and the squad next to them to ambush the fellows picking on poor Corporal Jenkins. Jenkins moved his men back a bit to get some distance from the Japanese."

"The Japanese knee mortars continued their barrage of the squad in the grass. From what I understand, they accomplished very little. At some point the bren team that had done such excellent work against the Japanese lost a member and eventually took enough fire that they broke and fled for better cover. Up to that moment, Leftenant Luther said they were well on their way to the military medal. Once they run he could not recommend it but he did shelter the men from getting criticism for running from battle."

"The battle was started in the afternoon and we were rapidly running out of light. I managed to close my men in on the Japanese in the woods and exchanged fire with them. I lost a man but the Japanese lost more. As it grew dark, the firing dwindled and both sides took their wounded and left the field. I lost 4 men that day. Leftenant Luther lost but two men dead and two fled. The Japanese as far as we can tell lost close to 16 men. It was hard to be sure but they were not beaten." The boy had hung on to every word but both grandfather and child ceased all talking as they heard footsteps inside the house. The mother's voice was heard calling for breakfast.

What a great game of Chain of Command. Mark and I each took a platoon of Australians and attacked an understrength Japanese platoon run by Brian.

Brian examines one of his Japanese figure while Mark talks about his his Australian figures. Other than being in 20mm, they are fantastic.

We had separate force morale for each platoon and Brian got 4 Jump off points while the Aussies got 3 per platoon. At the end of 28 turns (which would have gone faster if we did not get distracted and chatty) left all three sides still in fighting shape. I lost 4 men but my morale was the same 9 that I started the game with. Mark lost 2 morale points but was still at a 7 by games end with a mere two men lost. Brian, while suffering 16 killed only lost one morale point putting him a 9.

Had the game continued a bit longer, I think we would have broken the Japanese. I was pretty sure I was going to shatter the one squad with three squads surrounding it and a Vickers team. The Japanese squad was well on its way towards breaking. Facing Mark, he only had a near ruined squad and some mortars to contend with that could not hurt him much. Mark had advanced his squad inside both the rifle grenadier and Knee mortar's minimum range. The Japanese did have a sniper but I got too close and ran him off. They also had an anti-tank team but they needed to move into contact with the Matilda CS tank to do any good. Given that he was vastly outnumbered, Brian earned the draw result.

There are some subtleties of the game we all need to learn a bit better but it was sure fun to play.