Friday, 30 August 2013

German Camo: Waddaya think?

So I am painting up some nebelwerfers (nebs as they are lovingly referred to) and thought I would whip up some different camouflage styles for my Germans.

As a support platoon to my Fallshirmjager army, they are not part of the FJ or Luftwaffe branches of the Wehrmacht, but rather the "Heer" or land based.  So I thought I would do some different camouflage on them.  I have painted each team a different style, and will mix them all up at the end.  Team one was painted with my "traditional: FJ camo (even though they are not FJ):

The three teams as a WIP
As an aside, does anyone else make up silly names for their German military paraphernalia: - panzer-stuffer, panzer-muncher, panzer fluff chucker.  I hate to think what we are going to do with nebelwerfers - noodle chuckers?
Team One with my usual FJ Camo
Then I used the camo tutorial over at the Flames of War site (see: here).  Yes I know that they are SS, but they just look cool.  First team using the "Plane Tree" pattern:

Not their final position - going to mix them all up at the end

Then I did the "oak leaf" pattern:

So what do you think of my noggin-wackers and the various styles?  Still have the command and observer to do, so open to all new suggestions.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Aggressive infantry, my lesson on what not to do with an infantry company.

We are on a roll with FOW currently. The last few weeks we have had several games, most undocumented. However here is a report from last nights game. It was Chris and me playing German infantry fallschirmjäger and Dan and Alex playing the mechanised British Guards. The game was, ahem, unsuccessful for me and Chris, however we had a lot of fun and I think played a great game and learnt some lessons, namely infantry probably shouldn’t be an attacking force specially against a mechanized company.

We played Dust Up - similar to free for all however with delayed reserves and a interesting layout. The deployment zones are on opposite quarters of the table and, what I believe partially contributed to our loss, reserves come in from the other quarter. Chris and I deployed our infantry and panzers holding back a mg platoon another infantry platoon and Pak40s. Dan and Alex put out a recce platoon, tanks (using substitute M4A1s for his British Shermans) and an infantry platoon protecting their objectives. They held back an infantry platoon, mortars, a recce platoon and another tank platoon. Anyhow here is what happened.

Just after setup, recce have already moved.
For some reason Dan insisted on putting our german objectives on our side!

Turn one: Dans Guards being a mechanised force had the first turn. He moved his recon up with his free recon move. Then he moved some tanks up, fortunately his Firefly bogged down on the railway tracks exposing its side to my panzers. His infantry remained protecting his objective behind the church. During the shooting phase he managed to pin the infantry and kill one infantry team. Our turn. Chris moved his troops up, forgetting to roll to unpin. He did the roll after movement, failed it, and had to move all his troops back. I moved the panzers to hide behind some bocage and shot at Dans Firefly. One hit against side armour but failed my 3+ firepower so his Firefly was only bogged and bailed. Humph. I storm trooped the panzers up 10cm and preformed a complicated parallel parking maneuver.

After turn one

Close up on german parallel parking prowess! 

Turn two: Back to Dan and Alex, one turn away from rolling for reserves. They managed to remount the bailed out Firefly but remained bogged, things are looking up for me and Chris! Dan moves his tanks behind the forest and towards our objective, digs in his platoon protecting his objective and shoots again with his recon, this time no kills! A sigh of relief. Our turn. Chris un-pins the infantry and moves them up into the forest, shoots and manages to bail out two of the recon with 2 lucky shots. I move my panzers up, one bogged down, and remained bogged down for the entire game in another forest! What gives. I had 3 shots at his firefly, all missing and some unsuccessful MG fire at his troops straddling the forest across the valley. Now we may have the rules wrong here, but Chris assaulted the bailed out recon with one of the two panzershreck teams combat attached into the platoon, leaving the rest of the platoon in cover, as they were bailed out they were destroyed automatically, no defensive fire was possible.

Our panzerschreck assaulting. We probably got this wrong but figured that if he could assault out to 5cm within range of a bailed vehicle as per rules they would be automatically be destroyed. Only problem is he didn't quite reach so perhaps was an illegal move. 

Turn three: Dan rolls for reserves, success, they get another platoon of tanks, making Chris and I sweat. His other tanks advanced, still unable to see our infantry except the panzerfaust team who boldly assaulted the bailed out recon. 18 or so MG shots later he was well and truly destroyed. Recon remained reorganising. Infantry holding the objective remained where they were. In our turn we got reinforcements and went with our other infantry platoon. Boldly and foolishly we placed them as far away from our objectives as possible to march them up to take Dan and Alex’s objective. Now for a moment (which I felt was a personal success), I moved the Panzers (except the one still bogged in the forest) into assaulting distance from the troops guarding our objective, shot them up, no kills but pinned. After that I assaulted, survived return fire (one PIAT) and killed two teams making them fall back and I contested the objective. Yippee my first successful assault! I think I am starting to get the hang of this.

A before and after my assault

Turn four: Dan and Alex roll and get reserves, they put out their universal carriers. They advance their tanks forward for an assault, with 18+ mg shots. Against concealed, gone to ground troops he only managed 4 hits, not enough to pin and no kills. Fortunately for him our panzerschreck team wasn't placed at the front so couldn't return fire. The tanks assaulted in, killing three teams and pushing us back. On the other side of the table he left his infantry protecting the objectives and moved his tanks up to protect the objective at the back. Because we were in the area terrain no shots were possible. 

Now it was our turn! No reserves arrived, I was worried, I knew Chris wouldn't be able to hold off with his infantry and we possibly should have protected the objective better. Oops. Then I saw it! Victory, all I had to do was move my panzers in, kill the two tanks who were able to move in and contest the objective without anyone able to make it there. I moved my panzers boldly, argg! one joined in the bogging fun along with the panzer which got bogged down before never to un-bog. The other three made it, one taking on one and the other two taking on the other. Pew pew, the one on one panzer shot and destroyed Dans sherman, however the other two panzers missed! Me and Chris shook hands and came to terms with our loss then and there. That was our last chance.

Post my bold move, one sherman down, one to go. (note I was going to have to storm trooper in post shooting to capture the objective. 

Turn five: Dan and Alex advanced, shooting the panzers now exposed. bailing out one and destroying another leaving one still active. No motivation needed. With their tanks and other riff raff on the other side they moved up for an assault but managed to kill the whole platoon with MG fire first and be in a position to control the objective. Sadly in our turn we couldn't get in quick enough and lost the game in turn 6. I have a slight feeling I may have missed a turn but that is that.

Dan and Alex moving in! (Chris took this great photo)
End game, bummer.

Now for a short 26 second clip to display Chris and my feelings on the matter!

In summation it was a pretty fun game! I enjoyed being aggressive with the panzers and I felt that victory was in our grasps. However our defence wasn't enough and troops coming on opposite the objectives in dust up is annoying. Plus if we set aside our panzers as reserves and put in the PaK40s playing a defensive game we may have had a better chance. All in all a good game, I felt both sides played well and I certainly learn't some more valuable lessons. One of them is, I like tanks and I like attacking! Oh yeah, and I had no idea what to do with our damned barbed wire!

Side note, I couldn't be bothered grammar checking this so forgive any discrepancies. Dan here - just edited it for you

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Hell comes in threes and the mysterious number 28, M4A1 76mm Shermans

Well my Hell on Wheels army is progressing nicely! Well it could be a Spearhead company depending on if I want confident veteran (Hell on Wheels) or confident trained (Spearhead). I have painted up three of my M4A1 76mm shermans. However I am leaving the last two for later so I can paint up my standard M4A1s to create the company command and core M4A1 platoon. So lets take a look!

Here they are, parked up for sunday mass in France!

Brrrrrreeeeeee. As Scott from Scott's War-gaming and Kapiti FoW Gamers once told us, making noises is MANDATORY!

The guy on the right is the platoon command and the guy on the left is Staff Sergeant Lafayette Pool all the way from Texas! As you can see Lafayette Pool has hedgerow cutters. Which raises a question, if you have a platoon of 3 tanks and half can have hedgerow cutters, do you round down and have one or round up and have 2? I guess it probably is only one.

As you probably know by now I like add a little extra to my forces, so here is my command proudly displaying the number of German tanks his platoon has destroyed! 28 and counting. I was actually thinking of doing this for real, after each game increasing the tally, however I couldn't wait to see how it would look. 

A rear view. The guy in the back is on carrying the spare gas duty! Hopefully a well aimed shot doesn't light the barrels.

Just for comparison, the M4A1 76mm (close) next to the M4A1 (far) to show the difference. The 76mm has a larger turret and gun of course and hard to see but a slightly larger body also.

The classic ridding off into the distance shot. All in all I am happy with these guys. The only complaints would be the difference in shading, the one on the far left is slightly lighter than the other tanks. This is probably because I am a bit of a stinge and water down black paint for my wash rather than use a pre-made wash. I have got my technique down for this now meaning a tad more consistency. The other thing is they are pretty dark, however I think that also helps them look very all American, don't know why but it does! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

German Reinforcements: Panzer IVH Platoon

After prevaricating on what late war German tank platoon I should get as a support platoon to my Fallschirmjager army, Steve effectively made the decision for me.  He bought a large bundle of stuff on Trade Me (NZ's ebay) and among them was the Panzer IVH boxed set.

Like most of us wargamers, I love a good boxed set - decals, sprue and five tanks.  They had the plastic schurzen add ons as well, which were a fricken fiddly faff fest of a thing to put on.  But after getting through that (and without a super glue finger print on the side), I got around to painting them up pretty quickly, using by and large the WWPD painting guide for these guys: see here .

Aside from the schurzen, the turrets are going to need some work filing them down as they sit too high on the tank, making the gun barrel look like it is in need of a bit of viagra.  Should have done that before I painted, really as there is going to be a bit of resin dust generated from that.

Here are the guys painted up - still with some stowage to add on:

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pimp My Ride 1944 Style

As a British soldier in Normandy in the summer of 1944, what better to pick up your attractive young French date in, than a universal carrier.  Open topped, able to navigate through the ruins of the village your army has just decimated (or liberated).  You can even let her have a fiddle with your Bren gun while you drive...

Can be used also as a Carrier Platoon...

For those rainy nights, when a roof might be helpful, and perhaps some privacy, you can't go further than the good old 3-ton truck.  Be the envy of all your mates, as you cruise the countryside in this little number - complete with covered canopy out the back for well, whatever you and your French date might need it for...

Enough 3 tonnage there for two infantry platoons to get around

Not a 100% sure about the windows.
On the table at the moment is the boxed set of Panzer IV H's which I am not far off completing.  Watch this space for more thrilling painting updates...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Delivery by Recon

As soon as I finished my American armoured division recce platoon Dan came down my stairs (as we are temporary neighbours) with a delivery. My M4A1s and armoured rifle platoon arrived! The minis look pretty good so looking forward to painting them up. Next up I will order another M4A1 platoon, M4 mortar halftracks, priests and a thunderbolt. Anyway enough faf, here are some shots of my newly painted recon platoon.

Here they are, troops mounted, riding off into the sunset.

The whole platoon consists of; M4 halftrack with .50 AA MG and caries the command rifle team and bazooka team; two jeeps with optional AA MGs and a rifle team per jeep. The bazooka team and the extra jeep and rifle recon section are optional.

The bazooka team, if you look closely you can tell the guy at the back right has a distorted face... He was bullied at school and his only duty is to cary explosive ammo.

Here is my recon squad dismounted. I still find it hard to utilise recon, but if there was any use assaulting StuGs from behind would be awesome (it probably is a bad idea but why not)! You probably have also noted that I have given my solders the American cammo uniforms. I like these uniforms because the camo hides any mistakes and the back story. These uniforms were handed out to certain companies including the 2nd Armoured Division (Hell on Wheels), unfortunately they didn't tell any of the other Allies that these were being rolled out. It was at a time where if people were wearing cammo they were generally suspected to be Germans so there was a few to many encounters of friendly fire.

A shot of some troops in the back of a M3 halftrack which I painted up before the recce platoon to show off their cammo and the guy who has an awesome moustache in the centre.

Comparison of the two haftracks, M2 on the right. I think the M3 looks better and I like the stripy cammo. I did the cammo on my M2 with to brighter grey which I didn't like but I put the decal on overtop so didn't want to make it darker later on and have a random brighter spot under the decal.

Just a shot of the back of the jeeps and M2 halftrack.

Thats it. I have some tanks painted up but will wait till I have a whole platoon to show you. Looking forward to using these guys.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Open Fire session, FOW bat rep

Our Monday night games club sometimes gets an influx of members, last night was one of them. Because we had planned on FOW we split up into two groups and were forced into using some unpainted miniatures. Chris and I drew the short straw and played a game on a makeshift table with our semi painted Open Fire troops. I played the Germans Grenadiers with two grenadier platoons, three StuGs, and two PaK40s. Chris Played the Brits armoured company, with two platoons of Shermans and a firefly and an american paratrooper force. Because I had lent my camera to Chris' wife the pics are shoddy coming of a Huawei android phone.

We were playing free for all and the set up looked something like this:

Here it is, the grand set up. As WWII photos where black and white
I imagine they grew their grass with similar colour scheme.
The game started with Chris advancing his tanks and troops. Unfortunately he boldly sent one of his tank platoons out in the open, unsuspecting of the impact a few StuGs would have on his Shermans. On my turn I dug in my troops in the trees to keep my objective safe, shot the Americans who moved at the double with my PaKs taking out a team, and best of all... I moved my StuGs through the trees, one bogged down but I the other two, at half rate of fire hit two of his shermans, one bailed and other destroyed. After all this fuss the Brits were a bit unsettled and failed their motivation! Nice.

StuGs showing the Brits how its done. 

Chris was crestfallen, however he carried on (not the person to storm off in a fit of rage).  His turn two consisted of him moving his other Shermans and command shermans into cover as he learn't his lesson, don't put your tanks out in the open! He also moved his paratroopers behind a fence in bullet proof cover. If I remember rightly he managed to shoot one of my grenadier teams this round. Now my turn two, I moved into a building just opposite Chris' paratroopers, did some unsuccessful shooting with my troops and StuGs but pinned down his Americans! Now the question was should I assault, of course! So my troops made a bold move forgetting about his tanks nearby! Oh no, they got shot to pieces, having to fall back before making to the americans and a couple of teams lost, my 2IC sitting out in the open!

After the assault. Things looking more bleak. 
The next turn Chris took some pot shots at me, killing my troops out in the open and kept on trying to destroy my pesky StuGs who were straddling the area terrain for concealment. No success. Being cautious chris kept his tanks and troops in cover just across the road from my grenadiers. My turn involved me leaving my other platoon in the trees they started in and my PaK40s. I probably should have done something with them but was worried about his tanks. Well I shouldn't have because my StuGs managed to destroy his last tank platoon! Whoopee, just his command and Americans left.

Chris next turn was a bit hazy but I recall him leaving his Americans safety in cover and cautiously moving his command tanks into some area terrain. I then moved my StuGs up, one bogging down again and took some shots at his command, destroying his 2IC. Then I moved my grenadiers on the left at the double to try get to his objective!

Then Chris made a bold move and assaulted my StuGs from behind, unable to shoot at him I lost two Stugs as I failed to motivate for counter assault and one was bailed out from some bazooka fire during Chris' shooting phase. Luckily my last one passed their moral check. During my turn my Grenadiers moved up close enough to contest the objective leaving his 2IC the only one to defend this. However I managed to shoot him down and victory was mine!

Contesting the objective. 

All in all a fun game, more so for me than Chris admittedly. However a learning experience. I feel we are getting more of a handle on the rules, although still having to consult the rule book every round for this and that. Assault rules seem the hardest to handle. We both learn't some lessons, Chris more than me, like don't advance your tanks out in the open Chris! Also I shouldn't have put my StuGs in a position to be assaulted from behind and perhaps tried to get the objective earlier.

From the sounds of things Dan lost his game next door to a failed stormtrooper role. I have been painting up my American 2nd (or 3rd) armoured devision. Photos to come in the next couple of days.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

British Reinforcements

I have recently completed a heavy mortar platoon and half a 6 pdr.  I say half because the blister comes with two of the four needed for a platoon.  I got one of the older blisters that did not come with a command team, but that is on its way with the second blister from FOW direct.  Here's the mortar platoon:

The Whole Platoon


One of the Teams

Piat and Observer
Here are the 6 pdrs.  I didn't use a wash on them, trying to achieve a bit of a cleaner look.  Not totally convinced, but all comments are welcome:

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