Sunday 10 December 2017

the 3:10 to Yeovil - an AVBCW AAR

With a blast of Wintery weather forecast, I decided to knock up a quick scenario for a game of BKCII. Initially I thought of giving my Fallschirmjagers another run out, but on the spur of the moment went for some A Very British civil War action, purely to allow me to get my recently painted T-28 and T-35 on the table. 

Scenario wise I took inspiration from Scenario 11 from Grant & Asquith's 'Scenarios For All Ages', but added a train in place of the boats. The basic premise being that the BUF were trying to get their train and it's MkI Gun Carrier to a repair depot, with the 5th PFC trying to stop them. Simples. So then it was a case of coming up with some forces. Again, I use Grant & Asquith's scenario as a guide and twekaed them a bit to suit what I had to hand. 

British Union of Fascists
1 x CO
2 x HQ
8 x Infantry
2 x MGs
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x 75mm Infantry Gun
1 x A7V Tank
1 x MkIV Tank
1 x MkI Gun Carrier
3 x PzI

5th People's Flying Column
1 x CO
2 x HQ
5 x Infantry
2 x MGs
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x 75mm Infantry Gun
1 x T-28
1 x T-35
1 x Armoured Canal Boat

The BUF would enter the table by using mobile deployment, with having to have forces either side of the river, to protect the train and the track. The 5th PFC would start on the table, deployed along the road, but not able to deploy or fight in the town, as they didn't want to upset the inhabitants. A bit of a 'hearts and minds' operation as it were.

An overall view of the table, with the BUF entering from the top table edge.
The armoured canal boat, moored up and ready for action.

The 5th PFC left flank.

The 5th PFC CO winning 'hearts & minds' in the town, with the T-28 in reserve.

the 5th PFC right flank, with the T-35 awaiting orders in the cornfield.

The BUF left flank, with the heavy tanks at their disposal.

The BUF right flank, with fast moving light tanks and infantry gun support.

The train with the MkI Gun Carrier cleared away and ready for action.

Turn 1
The BUF got off to a good start, as both flanks and the train advanced more or less in line. There was no opportunity fire from the 5th PFC, as they were either out of range or did not want to reveal their positions yet.

In contrast the 5th PFC left flank got off to a poor start, with the canal boat slipping its mooring and then slowly advancing, only to blunder, leaving the HQ at a -3CV next Turn. On the right flank the T-35 advanced, but found its shot falling just short of the train. The CO ordered the T-28 forward, then took command of the right flank, managing to order the mortar to fire on the MKI Gun Carrier, hitting it and suppressing it.

The table at the end of Turn 1.

The BUF right flank advances quickly, but the infantry are getting left behind.

The train and its 'cargo' immediately attract attention.

The BUF left flank makes a rather sedate advance.

The rather poor advance of the armoured canal boat.

The behemoth that the T-35 is, cannot quite reach the train with its guns, despite its size.

Turn 2
With the train unable to move this Turn, both BUF flanks made a cautious advance, not wanting to out run the MKI gun Carrier that they are escorting. With no visible targets, it's over the the 5th PFC.

Unsurprisingly, the left flank fails its command roll, due to the -3CV from last Turn. On the right the T-35 advances within range of the train, hitting the MkI Gun Carrier. The CO once again commands the left flank, with more mortar fire hitting the MkI Gun Carrier, this time destroying it. It didn't even get chance to fire, so an ignominious debut for this unit.

The end of Turn 2.

The BUF right flank makes good progress.

The sad demise of the MkI Gun Carrier.

The A7V and MkIV tanks make stately progress forward, with a PzI leading the way.

A view from the 5th PFC left flank.

The T-28 and T-35 in a good blocking position as the MkI Gun Carrier burns in the distance.

Turn 3
With the loss of their 'cargo' on the train, the BUF are stirred into action. The right flanks rolls a Double 1, seeing them advance, with the PzIs and Infantry Gun suppressing a mortar and infantry unit. Ready to take advantage of their position, they promptly failed their next command roll. On the right flank, the heavy tanks and mortars engage each other, seeing the A7V and T-35 suppressed.

The 5th PFC left flank HQ are pretty poor, with them only able to advance the canal boat. On the right, the T-28 destroys the MkIV tank. In response the A7V and mortar manage to suppress the T-28. Yet again the CO has to command the left flank, with combined fire seeing the BUF Infantry Gun destroyed.

The end of Turn 3.

The PzIs have raced ahead and are threatening the 5th PFC left flank. However they have lost the Infantry Gun support.

The BUF tanks come under intense fire, losing the MkIV as a result.

The 5th PFC left flank under attack.

Both the T-28 and T-35 are suppressed, but have infantry support in depth.

Turn 4
With the action developing all across the front, the BUF right flanks PzIs fire on the 5th PFC mortar unit, destroying it. On the right flank, both sides shooting is completely ineffective, with the PzI surviving a hail of fire from the T-28 and T-35. With the train out of action, the BUF CO takes command of some of the right flank. Advancing his units forward, they then Blunder and advance into the open, in plain view of the 5th PFC infantry.

It would not seem possible, but the 5th PFc left flank once again fails its command roll. Time for a trip to see 'Uncle Joe' and a Siberian health spa me-thinks. On the right things are going better, with the T-28 and T-35 combining their fire to see off the A7V. Yet again the CO manages to command the left flank, with them hitting the BUF infantry in the open.

Halfway through Turn 4.

The PzIs still threaten the 5th PFCs flank, but have been unable to turn it,

The command blunder resulted in a mad advance into the open.

The BUF left flank still hoping to push forward.

The 5th PFC left flank minus their mortar.

The 5th PFC tanks still in a good position.

Having advanced into the open, a hail of fire greets them, leaving them all suppressed.

The loss of the A7V is a severe blow to the BUF hopes.

Turn 5
The BUF got off to a shocking start, with the right flank failing their command roll and then the left flank, as they tried to manouevre their infantry into a better position, getting caught in the open by opportunity fire, resulting in 2 units suppressed. To add insult to injury, the CO blundered, leaving him with a -2CV for the next turn. With their armour all but gone, their infantry suppressed and in some cases close to destruction and with the 5th PFC in a strong position, the BUF called it a day and retreated off the table.

At close of play.

Despite the threat from the PzIs on the flank, the 5th PFC left flank is in a good position, with BUF to their front suppressed and in the open.

The BUF threat to the 5th PFC right flank has all but gone up in smoke.

The BUF left flank infantry caught by opportunity fire as they tried to move around the flank of the 5th PFC.

Post Game Thoughts
For a quick game knocked together the night before, it didn't play out too badly, even if it was a tad one sided in the end. As always, the odd die roll here or there might have given outcome. The game and scenario did through up some things that require some thought. So in no particular order:

  • I really enjoy having the WWI tanks on the table. However they are very slow and when facing the T-28 and T-35, felt somewhat outclassed. So I need to think more carefully about their use in a scenario, as the points cost is not too different, but they way the play on the table is. It might take a few games to get this right, but it will be worth the effort.
  • The same is true of the MkI Gun Carrier. I need to figure out some stats for this, the easiest way being to see what might be the closest comparison with some WWII kit. This will apply to the Birch Gun and the Seabrook Armoured Car, both of which are yet to be painted.
  • Currently the 5th Peoples Flying Column are rather too effective, given that they have relatively modern kit, compared to my other AVBCW forces. So time to paint up my British Inter-War tanks to try and even things up a bit.
  • It was great to get my train onto the table, despite it having an inauspicious debut. I bought some Dapol carriage bases to allow me to make my own armoured train. The aim being to have a variety of tops that can fit to the carriages, to give more flexibility for scenarios. Something I really should address, but whether I can find the time is another matter.
  • I tried out my Leven Miniatures for the first time in a modern setting and was pleased with how they looked. I need to add detail to the mdf bases I use to delineate the BUAs, which will help with where the roads run as well as making them look a lot better. 
  • I have pretty much finished my OOB for each of my AVBCW forces. However I need to double check them again and then make a reference sheet for each one to speed up play. This will also help me focus on which vehicles, tanks etc I need to finish painting to complete each force.
  • I might replay the scenario again this month, but tweak the terrain layout to make it a bit easier for the train to advance. The dead straight track and road, I felt, didn't help the attacker. I will re-look at the scenario and, in light of today's game, see what needs changing.
  • In recent games, mortars have been very effective, given the relatively short ranges of tank and infantry guns of this period. I might reduce the amount available, or again tweak terrain placement, to try and reduce their effectiveness. I will ponder on this as it might be an over reaction.

Given my wargames butterfly nature, I may not achieve some of the above as intended. But having seen how close some forces are to finishing, I might hopefully finish some of them before Xmas. Only time will tell...

Thursday 30 November 2017

Pendraken Painting Competition 2017

Pendraken are once again running a painting competition, but this year organised by Mad Lemmey, one of the forum members. There are no prizes, just the reward of possibly winning one of the categories. I'm always amazed at the level of some of the entries and the sheer detail painted on 10mm figures. I simply couldn't do it, even if I wanted to.

As is always the case, or so it seems, I've left everything a bit late to say the least. Plans laid at the start of the month have fallen by the wayside. At least I did manage to paint some figures, so not all bad. So this evening I dug out stuff I've painted over the past year or so and quickly took some 'photos. In many ways it's nice to look back on what I have been able to paint and it may spur me on to finish off other projects that have lain half finished for far too long.

Russian T-35. This really is a beast of a model, even in 10mm. I added a slogan to make it look nicer. The red star was used on the tanks, but whether they were painted over is hard to tell from the 'photos of the knocked out ones.

Sherman flail tank. Lovely little model.

WWI British MkI Gun Carrier. They did occasionally fire these mounted on the tractor. I'm using this as an assualt gun for my AVBCW forces.

Crusader AA tank. I added a Peter Pig WWI pilot as the gunner.

Russian WWII T-28. I used to think this was a large tank until I got the T-35.

German Stug-III Assault Gun. One of my favourite WWII vehicles.

British Universal Carrier, heavily converted by adding new heads to the crew in front and infantry in the back. I use these for my Carrier Platoon in BKCII.

Daimler Dingo Scout Car, with added standing figure, to be used as an FAO/FAC in BKCII.

Treemen for my in progress 'Dragon Rampant' warbands.

Dutch Commanded Shot for my 'The Pikemen's Lament' company.

Some more units for use with 'The Pikemen's Lament' rules.

German WWI A7V tank. Nice to be able to paint this sort of camouflage.

Pak40 with Fallschirmjager crew.

75mm IG with Fallschirmjager crew.

Pak 35/36 with Fallschirmjager crew. 

British 6pdr ATG.

My British Battalion command stand for BKCII.

I wish I'd planned better to have more time to take 'photos of my figures. Still it's nice to at least have taken 'photos of some of them. No idea how I'll do, but just nice to take part.