Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Christmas is here. I was truly blessed this year. I received a fantastic gift from my Santa Clause. I recieved a group of wonderfully painted group of Italian WWII miniatures in 15mm. They are just what I needed to round out my WWII Russian Front Italians. I can't wait to get these based and on the table.

My sister-in-law gave me some really nice paint brushes. I gave myself the TFL Dawns & Departures supplement and the Christmas Special. Best yet, I have some Amazon Gift Cards. I am already scanning it for new toys and reference books.

The year is almost over and I am quite glad to see the end of it. Merry Christmas everyone and a happy and healthy New Year to you all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Books - Jentz's Panzer Truppen Volume 1.

Years ago, when the War Room was still down the street from my house, I found Jentz's Panzer Truppen Volume 2. It was a great reference for Sicily as it had detailed information on the tanks used by the Herman Goering division there. It has plenty of other information and most of it is at the Division level. Volume 2 covers from 1943 to the end of the war.

Poking around Amazon and needing some retail therapy, I found someone selling a used copy of volume 1 for a fairly reasonable price. It just arrived. It looks like someone chewed on one corner of the cover and the dust jacket is nowhere to be found but it is in good condition otherwise. This book covers from 1933 to 1942. So it is perfect for the early war period and even has information for the German troops in Spain. It should provide some enlightening reading.

Sharp Practice Campaign System - Dawns and Departures

Rich just released his new supplement for Sharp Practice just in time for Christmas. I quickly purchased it and got it downloaded to my laptop. It looks great. There are three separate campaign systems for you to use. Its very exciting. I first need to start playing some games though.

To that end, I had a look at what figures I owned for Napoleonics. I did not even bother to open the Russian drawer was I know nothing is painted. One day I will have to do that. But the British Drawer was much more hopeful. I had been going for making a one to one battalion of British troops. I did not make it too far. What I have though is pretty good. I have a 64 man light company of infantry. They are led by two officers and two sergeants. There is also a drummer and color party. I also have some miniatures that I bought off of ebay that I have not painted yet. This expands the force to 16 men of a center company led by an officer and a sergeant with their own drummer. I also have a mounted officer ready to go. All in all, more than enough figures to get in a game of Sharp Practice using the core forces from the rule set.

The French were also an exercise in Megalomania. I was looking to do a battalion of Legere infantry. What I have is a Chasseur company of 72 men led by three officers, five sergeants, two drummers, a horn player (forgot what they are called) and a mounted officer. In addition, I have some skirmishing carabiniers (light regiment grenadiers). I have nine of those fellows led by a sergeant. For supports I have a group of 25 cavalry. Included in their number is a musician, a standard bearer and an officer. Plus I have a single cannon with a four man crew.

I was worried that I did not have enough Frenchmen so I was on Ebay last night. Something I should avoid for a while. I picked up a some more figures. The first auction had a mounted officer, five Chasseurs and 8 voltigeurs. The second auction netted me 16 more miniatures with Carabiniers, Voltigeurs and a couple of Chasseurs. I should be able to field two groups of skirmishing Voltigeurs when they arrive in the new year.

What I am lacking is British support items. I have no artillery and no cavalry for those poor chaps. Those will probably be an ebay purchase for the new year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reading Material & Santa Clause Update

I have been thinking of doing a Pint Sized Campaign for the later war period. The problem was, I did not have any good references for it. All of my books cover the early war period. After asking a few questions online, I ended up ordering Zhukov at the Oder. I have only just started to read it but it is an interesting book covering the Soviet push into Germany and its ultimate goal, Berlin.

Thus far it has not offered much on small unit actions that I am looking for but it is still very interesting. What is better, is I got it dirt cheap on Amazon. I also purchased Jentz's Panzer Truppen volume 1. I had picked up Volume 2 a long time ago but never got around to purchasing the first volume. I found it for a decent price on Amazon and one click and it was on its way. Should arrive in the next couple of days. Now to find time to read with all of the hustle and bustle of the season going on.

It seems like the Santa Clause is running successfully. I have heard from most of the participants that gifts are on their way or will be shortly.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Messing With the Cold War Again

Since I cannot keep myself focused on any one topic, I have jumped back to the Cold War. I started looking through my collection to figure out what I needed for support options.

At this point I have a near complete platoon of British troops. I need some FV432s to round them out.

My US troops are a full platoon (circa early 1980s) with M113s. One needs some camo but the rest is complete. I need some armor for supports. I really want some form of M60 as the armor rather than an M1 Abrams.

The Soviets are a platoon of Motor Infantry with BMP-1s. I have one T-55 but it is painted as a Syrian vehicle. I really need some T-72s or T-55s to go along with them. There are some infantry that need some paint to round out the platoon. But other than that, they are complete.

I also reprinted my playtest copy of Cold War gone Hot (Chain of Command for the Cold War) and started to reread them. Hopefully, I can get some down time and paint or play a game here in the near future. Really should paint terrain......

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Toys, New Manufacturer and Observations in Scale

I was surfing E-Bay looking to do a little retail therapy when I stumbled across a new miniature manufacturer - War Game Models of Ohio. They make resin vehicles in 15mm that are really nice.

When I added them to my storage trays, I did notice that the T-34 is bigger than my Old Glory (Command Decision) vehicles. It is about a millimeter longer and the barrel and turret seem beefier than the Old Glory models.

For the German trucks, I don't think this will be an issue. If my Radio and tanker truck are slightly bigger than an Opel Blitz truck, I don't think anyone will notice. But the tank is very noticeable when next to the others. I will still use it but I may pick up another Old Glory pack of T34 1940s at some point in the future.

I started to inventory my Early War Soviet collection to see if there are any gaps that I have for the support list in Chain of Command. Honestly, my vehicle recognition skills stink so I was trying to compare my vehicles with pictures on the internet to figure what was what.

I found I have three KV-1s from two different manufacturers. The odd man out looks like the little brother of the other two. I believe that the two larger ones are from Flames of War. But the smaller one has a resin body and metal treads as well. As such, I am stumped as to what it is.

My T34s I recognize without having to compare pictures.

I have a plastic flamethrower variant of a T-26 (Kht-26 maybe? or OT-26). I think it is a Zveda model. Nice but feels fragile.

I have three Gaming Models T-26s. Looking at their site, I actually don't see the same turret as the ones that I have. It looks like his Radio antenna model with out the antenna. Speaking of which, I want one of those.

I have five of the Gaming Models KhTz-16 tractor tanks. Love these models. They were built in two places, Kharkov and Stalingrad. They were a terrible tank and most of them ended up as fiery wrecks but they are just too cool not to have. Gamine Models is the only place to get these. The owner built them for me by request. He did it because he thought they looked cool. Very nice models.

Then I have three Ba-10 armored cars. Two are metal models but are not Old Glory. Not sure whose work they are. And one is a plastic one (probably Zveda again). The plastic one was fiddly to put together. The front bumper snapped right off. But it fits in very well with the others.

That takes me to seven vehicles that I have no clue what they are. I bought them as part of a collection that someone was selling off.

I think two of them are BT-7s. I still have to figure out the others. Back to the search.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scenarios, Research and Getting Something Done

In a burst of enthusiasm, I managed to finish my AWI supplement yesterday. I also looked over my Kharkov campaign again. It is ready but just needs graphics. To do graphics, I need terrain to take pictures of the troops in. So that had me drag out the train station. As I did so, I pulled out the new styrene strips I bought to continue where I left off. OOps. Wrong thickness. I need to go back to the store. Plus, my wife used up all of the PVA glue in the house for Halloween costumes. Got to get some of that too.

Putting away my train station, I pulled out one of my new favorite books, "The Bloody Triangle" that covers the armored battles in the opening days of Operation Barbarossa in the Ukraine. This was a source I used for the Ustilug Campaign. Great book that is chock full of good stuff to base scenarios on.

As I was reading, I came across a section discussing the 15th Panzer Regiment/11th Panzer Division's advance through the Ukraine. To Quote the author, Victor Kamenir, the town of Radekhov was the site of "the first significant tank battle in Ukraine" (pg 139). This got me excited. It seemed like a great candidate for an IABSM scenario and I know Mark has the miniatures in 6mm to get this done. I kept reading. It seems that the small town of Radekhov was occupied by two tank battalions and one Motor Rifle Battalion from the IV Mechanized Corps. OK. This could be a BIG scenario.

But where on earth is Radekhov? Unfortunately, it is not on It is in map M35-62-A which he does not carry. The book describes the town and its neighboring village of Stoyanov as "equally small and insignificant town"(pg 139). But, I found a 1929 Polish map of the area that has both towns referenced by the book present. Much harder to find as they used the Polish names for the towns instead of the Russian/Ukrainian names. You can pull the map up here: Below is the part that I am interested in.

Caution, original image is 28MB. I added it here as a small image. I hope it does not bog things down.

The Soviet force was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Georgiy Lysenko. North of Radekhov and between Stoyanov was two battalions of the 10th Tank Division of the XV Mechanized Corps. Around 0330 hours on the 23rd of June, the lead battalion of the 15th Panzer Regiment engaged the battalions of the 10th Tank Division. They brushed them aside and approached Radekhov from the north around 0530 hours.

Here is where I am left slightly disappointed. The description of the battle tells me nothing about the forces that engaged one another. I have no clue what was in the 10th Tank Division at this time. So it was time to dig. Well, I found this little gem: TECHNICAL REPORT FROM THE 10th TANK DIVISION, AUGUST 1941. This was a report filed by the acting commander of the 10th Tank Division in August of 1941. He provides a breakdown of the losses suffered by tank type in the division. Now we are starting to get somewhere. Tanks listed in the losses section are: KV, T-34, T-28, BT-7 and T-26. Unfortunately, there are multiple models of the T-26 and KV tanks so this does not completely clear the muddy waters. But I did remember that I had a book by Charles Sharp somewhere. "The Deadly Beginning: Soviet Tank, Mechanized, Motorized Divisions and Tank Brigades of 1940-1942." Surely this will be enlightening. And it is.

Tank Regiments of the 10th Tank Division

Parent Unit1st BattalionSecond BattalionThird BattalionFourth Battalion
19th Tank Rgt31 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-731 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-731 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-7Light Tanks
20th Tank Rgt31 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-731 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-731 KV Tanks52 Mixed T-34, T-28, BT-7Light Tanks

Well, it helps some. We can assume that the Light tanks are probably T-26's based on the August Report as that is the only tank type missing from it in Charles Sharp's account of the division. In the initial action, the T-34 tanks were not yet encountered. We know this from the next revelation from "The Bloody Triangle."

German aerial reconnaissance spotted a significant body of Soviet Armor approaching Radekhov from the east. This was the bulk of the 10th Tank Division. The whole of the 15th Panzer Regiment deployed in line and waited for the arrival of the 10th. They were supported by artillery and anti-aircraft artillery. This allowed the forward deployed elements of the 10th Tank Division to escape and fall back to join Lysenko's main force.

The Germans pressed on towards Radekhov and were met by Soviet artillery fire and a dozen tanks (no mention of types). The first battalion of the 15th Panzer Regiment dealt with the 12 Soviet tanks. They knocked out three and lost only one of their own vehicles in return. They then took Radekhov. The defenders fled to the south and southeast.

Now this is where the account gets interesting. The 15th halted south of Radekhov just before a hill to the southeast of the town. Lieutenant von Renesse volunteered to lead a reconnaissance of the hill and its surrounding area. His entire platoon (2nd platoon) from the 5th Company volunteered to go forward for the mission. Now we get some details. There were five tanks in the platoon. Three of the tans were armed with the short 5cm cannons and two were armed with the 3.7cm KwK cannons. One of these later types had a non-operational gun but still was eager to go forward.

In researching what tanks were part of the 15th Panzer Regiment, I found a source that said the 5th Company was a light tank company. But this does not work based on the armament of the tanks. The Panzer I and Panzer II light tanks did not have such heavy armament. But, the Panzer III tanks had exactly this armament. So we have one side determined.

The panzers aligned themselves in a wedge formation and moved up to 100 meters before a highway that was on the hill. The panzers encountered a few enemy infantry but reported back that it was smooth going. Then they spotted a formation of four Soviet tanks advancing in a single file line spaced fifty meters apart. The book states that they were of a type that the tankers had never seen before. The panzers got off the road and into position to ambush the advancing Soviet tanks. The Soviet tanks advanced at full speed down the road. At nearly point blank range, the panzers opened fire. Firing as rapidly as possible, the platoon scored hit after hit on the Soviet tanks. The Soviet tanks reaction was to turn around and drive off. The Soviets did not fire a shot, were hit repeatedly and did not lose a single tank.

This was one of the first encounters that the German Army had with the Soviet T-34 tank. This description, coupled with the Polish map should provide enough information for a nice game of Chain of Command. At the bottom of the map above, the hill can clearly be seen as well as the highway that was hidden to the Germans from the base of the hill. The hill itself did not have much in the way of trees but the elevations should provide some interesting cover to move in and out of.

AnywaY, I hope this was interesting for you. I will try out this scenario at some point with my 15mm Toys. Now to see if I have the right types of Panzer IIIs.