Wednesday, December 30, 2015

4 Troop, B Squadron, 13/18 Hussars Report for Duty

     My painting table is currently inundated with Sherman tanks as I valiantly try to build up my LW British Sherman squadron.  I am using the 13/18 Hussars as my  "typical" unit as they landed at D-Day on Sword Beach, fought with the 6th Airborne and 3rd Infantry Division around Caen and later were with the 43 Infantry Division in Holland during Operation Market Garden.  All in all a pretty eventful time.  I have 3 Sherman DD tanks from Battlefront that I painted up to represent B troop of the 13/18th on D-Day.  The Battlefront model is a M4A1 Sherman while the 13/18th had Sherman IIIs (aka M4A2s) so it is not a 100% match but it is pretty close for 15mm forces.  I added the rear turret tool box as well to make it look a tad closer. The large numerical decals (always an eye catcher from my perspective) from Dom's Decals also helps. I think the ink was on the folding screen is a bit too dark (I used Manstein Shade from the new Battlefront German paint set) but I dry brushed a little more dirt/German Camo Beige over the top so it looks OK. At least well enough to attack the German defenses around Caen.

4 Troop, B Squadron, 13/18 Hussars hits the beach or at least the beach mat.

A side view of the model.  I hate painting Sherman side wheels!

Another view.  I hate the side wheels from any direction. 

An overhead view of 4 Troop. 

Different views of the tanks.  It is a nice model. 
The REAL DD-Tanks in action: "Men of No 4 Commando engaged in house to house fighting with the Germans at Riva Bella, near Ouistreham. Sherman DD tanks of 'B' Squadron, 13/18 Royal Hussars are providing fire support and cover. After subduing the opposition, No 4 Commando moved inland to link up with 6th Airborne Division.  Photo Credit: Laws, G (Sgt), Army Film and Photographic Unit - This is photograph MH 2012 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums  (collection no. 4904-04)."  From the Wikipedia article on the 13/18 Royal Hussars, (accessed 30 December 2015).
     OK, three Shermans done, 10 to go!  Back to painting!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Landing at Sword Beach

The first time we played the Sword Beach scenario we did so many things incorrectly that I did not post the pictures.  Getting off of the beach, destruction of the sea wall, smoking German bunkers, and others were screwed up.  Plus, I lost (as the British) so I did not want to post the indications of yet another defeat.  So, I waited a week, took another look at the various rules, and tried again.  I admit the end result was the same, though we were a lot closer to all of the rules for amphibious assaults.  Not all (I still screwed up the smoke rule on the German 88 mm bunker) but a lot closer.  Really!

The British first wave approaches the beach.

German forces at strongpoint Cod are shaken but not really damaged by th epreliminary bombardment by HMS Warspite

An old French tank turret covers the left side of the beach area.

Strongpoint Cod just before the landing craft drop their ramps.

The first waave hits the beach minus delayed pioneer platoon and 2 of 3 DD tanks.

The first DD tank engages the French turret bunker.
A DD tank and Sherman Crab destroy the French turret bunker. 

The 88 mm bunker eyes the British assault with malice in its sight. 

The British move up to the seawall though 2 Crabs are bogged down.

The 88 mm bunker kills its first British tank, an AVRE.  It won't be the last kill . . .

German artillery from inshore range in on the beach. 
The AVREs destroy a section of the seawall.

An infantry platoon works its way around the 5 cm kwk bunker.

The Crab smokes the 88 mm bunker.  This was incorrect since the tank was over 16 inches away.  This allows the British armour to survive a bit longer.  But not by much. 

The beach exits become clogged with a mass of British tanks and infantry.

The slowly move ashore past the burning AVRE.

The British move ashore and turn right to attack Cod while the two bogged Crabs remain bogged on the beach. 

The AVRE attacks the 5 cm kwk bunker. 
One less 5 cm kwk bunker!  The AVREs are pretty awesome with a bunker busting petard. 

Another AVRE attacks a German HMG tobruk but misses. 

The 88 mm bunker fires back and hits!

The 88 mm bunker has a great LOS to hit just about everything. 
More British land but a LOT of landing craft are stuck on the beach so reinforcements are slow.  The M-10s land and attack the 88 mm bunker.  This is a waste of time and M-10s (proxied here by Achilles as I haven't painted the M-10s yet).

The surviving AVREs attack Cod with some help from a Sherman Crab and rout the German defenders.

The M-10s fire and chip the paint on the bunker. 

German reinforcements start to arrive from inland.

Still, there are few in way of the advancing British who have finally departed the beach area.
Another view of the AVREs crashing through the barbed wire.

Can the Germans withstand the tank assault?

No!  They rout and withdraw to fight another day.

More German reinforcements arrive. 

The M-10s give the German 88 mm bunker a chance to earn another kill ring. 

The British need to go faster before more German reinforcements show up.  The ranks of the point infantry platoons are being whittled down, slowly but surely.

The beach remains a mess as the Priest battery (proxied by Sextons) lands and bogs down almost immediatley.  At least the Crabs have managed to move ashore.   
The lead British infantry platoon engages the German Company Commander and soon wishes he hadn't. 

The lone German HMG guards strongpoint Sole and the other German objective.

Panzers from the 21. Panzerdivisione arrive.  This is not good.

The 88 mm bunker kills the two remaining AVREs.  Uh-oh . . .

German artillery hits the Commandos as they get off of their landing craft.
The British infantry platoon close assaults the German Company commander in the hedgerow and loses.  It falls back and licks its wounds. 

The Panzer Mk IV Hs engage the lead DD tank. 

The Germans take up position in the center hedgerow area.  There are a lot of them even if some are merely Ostruppen.

More M-10s burn courtesy of the 88 mm bunker.  I hate that thing!

A Sherman DD tank burns too but this one was taken out by the Mk IV H zug.

Return fire from the surviving British armour and artillery is ineffective.
The British approach culmination. 

The specialized armour has been destroyed and the lead infantry platoon has lost its platoon commander.

A Mk IV H is destroyed but the British have run out of steam.

Despite a valiant attempt, the British cannot take the objective near strongpoint Sole.  Monty will not be happy. 
Unfortunately the net result was the same, another German victory.  I took the closer objective near the German strongpoint but it wasn't enough.  The combination of platoons being swept off of the board due to current, DD tank delays or swamping, and trying to maneuver took too much time.  By the time the Brits were off the beach and rolling inland, they had taken too many casualties to halt the advance of the German reinforcements.  Plus, I didn't make use of the Priest battery offshore.  All in all, an improper use of my pretty powerful assets.  Next time I should attack strongpoint Cod directly with the armour and take out the 88 mm bunker before it causes too much grief.  The other German forces in the strongopint can't stand up to the massed amour and pioneers and the other 5 cm kwk bunker isn't a real threat.  Next time . . .