Thursday, July 20, 2017

Historicon 2017


I was able to attend Historicon 2017 down in Fredericksburg, VA, this year.  Despite being a trek in the mobilewagen, I got there on time and played in a number of games from Thursday to Sunday.  The flea market was decent, though the overall interest in FOW seemed lower in the vendor area.  Team Yankee seemed popular, and I was able to play in the MEGA TEAM YANKEE!!!! game on Saturday.  Here are a few shots on the games I played in.

On Thursday I played in the American Civil War Spotsylvania Courthouse Battle using the Big Bloody Battles rule set.  The Confederates were outnumbered, but better leaders and terrain allowed them to hold on despite repeated Union assaults.

The Union II Corp advances to assist the floundering Union northern assault.  

Good ground and entrenchments make sure the next Union attacks don't do much better.  

Attacking across open fields in not a good idea unless you have a lot of good troops.  

The Confederate center is threatened with more Union forces.

Lee is able to shift forces to prevent the Federals from holding the Spotsylvania Courthouse.

Union forces culminate on Day Two with the Rebs in possession of three of the five victory point positions.  On to North Anna!

I played a Stalingrad game on Thursday evening using version 4 FOW rules.  I had a Soviet infantry company (at first) attacking German positions in the city.  They were wiped out to the last stand.  Luckily my T-34s did some damage and reinforcements arriving in the sewers turned the tide.

Massed Soviet infantry prepares to assault the Tractor Factory.

The starving Germans are well entrenched.

Sewer born reinforcements turn the tide.

The Germans cannot resist the Soviet hordes!

Victory to the larger battalions!
Friday was the Vietnam day as I played two very different games set in the Vietnam War using two different rule sets.  In the first game, the US Marines attempted to dig out entrenched VC and NVA forces in Hue using FOW Version 4 rules.

My VC companies prepare to absorb the Marines' firepower.  Ouch!

The VC have lots of booby-traps, mines, snipers and ambush HMGs to slow down the Marines.

A VC RPG scores a lucky hit on a Marine tank, my best shot of the game!

The Marines make progress but are slowed down by the numerous VC booby-traps, snipers, ambushes and mortar fire, allowing the communist player to eek out a win.
The second Vietnam game of the day was "The Men of Company B" led by Martin Goddard of Peter Pig.  Here the US player is conducting search and destroy missions to root out nefarious VC supplies and local forces.  The game played very differently as one might imagine.  Martin was a great game master and very entertaining (the British accent is worth a couple of victory points alone!) and we ran two complete games.  Martin and his minions won one and the US player won the other.  Lots of fun!

A US squad searches for VC caches and slow running VC.  Rolling the Piggy dice is amusing in its own right.

VC local forces and US infantry exchange fire.  The US has a firepower advantage but the VC have a pesky ability to run away and regenerate.  Another great Peter Pig game!
My last game on Saturday was the TEAM YANKEE MEGAGAME.  I wanted to play this to get a feel for the game system, and the lust of running a full BMP battalion proved irresistible.  The game was well set up and knowledgeable players were a big help.  Still, a seven hour game is a bit long for me.  I need to be more disciplined in the future.  Still, a very impressive game.


Nothing says MEGA GAME!!!! like a full Soviet tank regiment!

A British artillery battery attempts to slow the horde.  Good luck!

The Soviets roll including the BMP-2 battalion on the flank.

Initial NATO defenders are brushed aside.

The British FO is killed as the BMPs roll west.

The British artillery park repositions to the rear (run away!) as the Soviet tank horde forces its way through the interchange.

The Soviet Commander is not interested in losses.  Move west!

A BMP company loses some mounts but the surviving infantry hops aboard the remaining vehicles.

Traffic jam on the Autobahn.

The BMPs keep moving. 

An RAF Harrier strike obliterates a BTR company!  Ouch!  Good thing the Soviets have two more in the battalion!

The advance continues.

NATO reinforcements from the US and West Germany try to slow the Soviet thrust.  Good luck.  

British reinforcements turn and set up a strong position to stop the Soviet thrust.

The BMP battalion has lost about half of its vehicles now.  One company is essentially combat ineffective but no force has failed a morale check and routed.

A reduced company pushes ahead while the strongest remaining one takes up position in the woods to engage the British forces.

British tank fire kills off most of the leading BMPs.  The surviving infantry forms up and continues the attack.

A HIND attack looks neat, though most are shot down by West German AA fire.

The attacking infantry manage to kill two British tanks with RPGs and force the Centurion ARV platoon to route.  Well done!

At games end, the Soviets are still not across the river despite ~50% casualties.  NATO forces are hanging on by a shoestring.
Everything in Team Yankee is deadly!  The game moves fast, but at this concentration it might be more than the game system is designed to accommodate.

Thanks to all of the game masters and players who did a great job at presenting their games and dragging me along the various systems and forces.  Well done!

Time to decompress and paint more LW BOTB Germans.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

LW BOTB Hetzers!


     One problem in creating a less than elite force in Version 3 is that the various options really don't fill up the point spread very fast.  Or even well.  So, if you rally want to create a force based on the 18th Volksgrenadier Division in the Battle of the Bulge, you area going to have some challenges.  As a RT force, getting up to 1500 points is not easy.  One way to do this is to take every single high priced support unit you can, making up for the fact that even taking every infantry force and add on in the Combat Platoons is a mere 610 points.  I am trying to make this an artillery heavy force, as the worse your infantry is, the more artillery you need, and the volksgrenadiers need as much indirect fire as they can get.  A tank-hunter platoon is another way to add on points, as even a RT Hetzer platoon is 235 points.  I picked these up in a sale at a hobby shop and was not immediately taken in by them.  The Hetzer is not my favorite LW German armored vehicle.  It is small, underpowered, under armored, and not very exciting compared to other LW staples such as Tigers and Panthers, and my workhorse Panzer Mk IVs.  None the less, they do seem to be the tank hunter of record for the VGs in the Bulge, so I pulled out the box and had a crack at them.  I also got to use my air brush for the first time, and attempt the German camouflage that is so enticing.  Everyone says that there is a steep learning curve on airbrush use.  I have not approached the asymptote yet . . .   Otherwise, they turned out well enough, and should be able to help root out the frozen defenders of St. Vith or Bastogne when called to the next game.

A Volksgrenadier Sturm platoon and a Hetzer Tank-Hunter platoon move up to attack the American defenders.  

The Hetzer camouflage is supposed to be green back drop areas with brown inner core circles.  I did the opposite.  Oops!  Don't tell the unteroffizier!

I really don't expect any RT platoons to last very long.
 
The jabos view before they bomb them to pieces.

The Hetzers are small and pretty easy to paint.  Not too much junk on the hulls.

The platoon commanders exchange ideas on how to eliminate the FV Paratroopers from the objective.  Neither appear optimistic.  

Perhaps discretion IS the better part of valor.  The Hetzer rear view.

Not a great AFV, or even a good one.  A cheap one to be sure.  

On to the Meuse River!
     I am now working on a 10.5 cm artillery battery for the Bulge.  I have prepped and primed the crew but I am still (!) waiting on the special order guns.  I think someone had to refine the metal . . .   After that the 2nd LW BOTB VG Sturm platoon awaits!  This should give me close to 1200 points and with a little help from the Fuhrer Escort Brigade, will be enough.  Stay tuned.

LW BOTB 88 mm ATG


I love military acronyms!  Just writing LW BOTB 88 mm ATG is a joy, much more so than actually having to type "Late War Battle of the Bulge 88 mm Anti-Tank Gun."  Since I send pictures to a few willing acolytes who are always ready to pump up my self esteem with accolades, I have had more than a few opportunities to write this.  LW BOTB!  It brings joy to my heart.

In other news, I finally finished the LW BOTB 88 mm ATG (there, I wrote it again!) after more than a few months.  I wanted to do it to look like the piece that is banging away at the FV in Easy Company at Foy in the "Band of Brothers" miniseries.  I couldn't get a good view of the markings/color/camouflage despite numerous viewings on YouTube.  So, I went through the collection of books I have only to be disappointed.  Not to be deterred, I searched on the internet and eventually came up with this picture:

A REAL LW BOTB 88mm ATG.  The camouflage looks unique.  The gunners look cold and hungry.  

The camouflage is a bit unique, but good enough.  I used the standard Battlefront GE550 blister for the gun and used most of the crew, though I added/altered a couple of the crew and used a few of the LW Winter artillery crew to round off the stand.  Version 4 came out in the middle of this, but I based the gun using Version 3 criteria.  I placed a rare earth magnet in the stand so I can rotate the gun (a little) until the figures get in the way.  The base of the gun sank a little lower in the flock than usual, but I will just say the snow was a little deep in that position.  

An eight man crew for an 88 mm flak piece.  

I used arid grass and snow flock for the base.  I think it looks better than just deep snow.

The gun crew looks a little scruffier than the elite Panzergrenadiers.  Unfortunately you can't get 88s as support forces in V3 for a Volksgrenadier force.  Nuts!

The haystacks are from a Miniature Building Authority sale that took place as I was painting the gun.  

I can rotate and elevate the gun (a little).  Since I envision it more as an antitank gun than an antiaircraft gun, this is OK.  
OK, so now that the LW BOTB 88 mm ATG is done, I can showcase the hetzers.