Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BA: Italian Front Germans vs US Paras

After our last game it was back to the drawing board to tweak my force and make it more competitive. My cunning plan this week? Fight fire with fire and run the bulk of my troops as veterans. I envisioned this force representing a reinforced platoon from one of the motorised panzer grenadier regiments fighting in Italy during the autumn winter of 43/44. The core of the force being built round the ubiquitous MG42 teams- 2 defensive squads each with two MG 42s and two assault squads (armoured panzer grenadiers in a half track, and the pioneers, each of which has 3x SMGs for extra close combat omph). The rest of the force being very similar to the last game. The upgrade to veterans meant I lost the kettenkrad and the MMG team.

Craig's Italian Front Germans (11 order dice)
Vet 1st Lt & NCO
2x Vet squads (1x SMG, 2x LMG, 5x rifles)
1x Vet panzer grenadier squad (3x SMG, LMG, 6x rifles)
1x Vet Assault Pioneer squad (3x SMG, flamethrower, 6x rifles) 
1x Vet sniper 
1x Reg Med mortar 
1x Reg Flak 36 37mm AA gun 
1x Reg 233 armoured car
1x Reg Stuh 42 
1x Reg 251/1 half track
Kent ran the same force as last time with 11 order dice:

Vet Lt & NCO
2x Vet Para squads (9 or 10 men with LMGs)
2x Vet Para Squads (11 men, BAR- tough fighters)
1x Vet Sniper
1x Vet Med Mortar
1x Reg Sherman
1x Reg Greyhound armoured car
1x Vet Jeep
1x Vet bazooka

We decided to play envelopment, but decided that only troops that started on table could leave off the opponents edge. We rolled and I got to attack. Unfortunately I rolled a 1 for the bombardment.

Turn 1: I advance onto the board, with my panzergrenadiers, stuh and 23 armoured car ob my left flank, my two other veteran infantry squads on the right. The pioneers advance towards the building sin the centre. My 233 maanges to hit with its first squad a squad huddled behind a wall, killing 5 teams!

Turn 1 the Stuh races up the road, forgetting Kent had a bazooka behind the building in front of it.

The 233 armoured car moves on board.

The hanomag contains the panzer grenadiers and my officers.

A large para squad protects the US left flank.

The 233 hit the infantry in the foreground killing 5 teams.

Turn 2, I continue to advance. The Greyhound and sherman come on form reserve for Kent, my panzer greandeirs debuss and attack the decimated squad in the field, killing another man. My mortar fails to range in on a building housing a squad of infantry, likewise Kent's mortar fails to range in. His bazooka however hits the stug but fails to penetrate the front armour. I then kill the loader for the bazooka. On my left flank the panzer grenadiers assault the remenants of the infantry squad behind the wall destroying it 

Turn 2 the advance continues.

 The Greyhound moves on to counter my armoured car and hanomag. The infantry debus and pins the remains of the infantry squad defending the wall.

Meanwhile the pioneers advance in the centre.

On my right flank the other infantry squads advance towards the wooded hill.

Realising the danger Kent reinforces with a second alrge (tough fighting) para squad.

The greyhound collects pins.

Turn 3: Kent gets the first dice and fires the bazooka, knocking out the stug! The greyhound then knocks out my hanomag, killing my NCO but my officer survives the inferno. My mortar ranges in on the building pinning the troops insie, while my pioneers advance into a front yard in preparation for assualting the paras in the building. On my right flank the infantry start moving towards the centre of the table rather than through the woods. I was about to race the hanomag and my commander off the board but Kent had other ideas, he fired at the hanomag with his greyhound, destroying it. 

But still manages to knock out the hanomag.

 Kent gets the first dice on turn 3 and the bazooka team knocks out the stug,

The pioneers shelter in the front yard but lose 4 men!

Meawhile the panzer grenadiers have killed the remnants of the infantrty squad and the sniper.

Turn 4: Kent moves his one of his large (11 men) tough infantry squads towards the centre, his mortar ranges in on the pioneers in the front yeard while the paras in the building opposite them pour fire into the pioneers positon, hitting 4 and killing all of them!  Kent now contrates on pinning this unit as he is worried about their flamethrower, pins quickly accumulate. My mortar again hits the paras in the building but the shell lands in the cellar so kills nobody. The sherman hits and kills 4 or 5 men from my infantry squad advancing to support the pioneers. I manage to keep pins on the greyhound and it is again neutralised. Kent also continues to focus on pinning my pioneers.

Kent moves a squad right to reinforce his centre and right flank.

Turn 5: The pioneers are eliminated as is the remnants of the veteran infantry squad that was trying to assist them. My other veteran infantry on the left flank manage to destroy the sniper team in hand to hand combat. At the end of the urn my other veteran infantry squad moves through the woods on the rigfht flank (both Kent and my infantry in the woods were on ambush).

Turn 5 my infantry advance into the woods.

There are now two para squads holding the centre for Kent- the guys by the building and another squad in it. My 37mm Flak 36 is starting to have an impact on the visible infantry, killing 2-3 teams per turn

Turn 6, my panzer grenadiers make a run for the table edge but just fall short. This forces Kent to focus all the forces he can on them. On the right my other squad charges out into the open, killing 2 of the mortar crew but the survivor remains. If the game ends now I've 3 units in Kent's deployment zone which will give me 6 points. Kent rolls ot see if the game ends and rolls high so there will be a 7th turn- which is NOT what I wanted.  

Which doesn't end well as Kent does all he can to eliminate the squad.

Turn 7: Unfortunately at this point my camera's batteries went flat. Kent rolled for a turn 7 (I was hoping the game would end at the end of turn 6) then got the first dice so I lost the last man in the panzer grenadiers unit to be denied 3 points; then his large veteran tough fighting squad slaughtered my infantry in his deployment zone on the other flank (22 assault dice=one dead squad) . My platoon commander managed to exit the table though for a consolation prize. 

Result: 12-7 to Kent.

A bit of a thrashing but had we not had a turn 7 it would have been a draw. Another fun game and it really see-sawed, I started off well but Kent came back strong at the end. I really don't like those large (11 man) veteran tough fighter units, they are damn nasty and take a lot of stopping. 

 The last turn went against me but it was close till then. Having all the infantry as vets really helped and the flak 36 really performed well this game. Letting the stuh get taken out by the bazooka team was another mistake but a bit more luck and the result could have been very different.

Not allowing flanking forces to run on and off for easy points worked well. Don't see me making any changes to this version of the list, though I would like to include a second half track.The 37mm Flak 36 realy performed well for me tom, keeping the Sherman at bay and killing several infantry. Its 72" range and 2 dice- doing 1-2 hits each is really, really handy. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

BA: Italian front German infantry

I've been off on holiday the past few weeks so not much in the way of gaming to report. I started back to work today  and got back into painting last week, my aim to get my Italian front Germans done in preparation for this week game vs Kent and his US paras.

After the last battle I've decided to run with veterans:

  • 2x vet squads (8x infantry incl SMG and 2x LMGs)
  • 1x Vet squad (9 infantry including 3x SMGs and 1x LMG) in a hanomag
  • 1x Vet Pioneer squad (9 men including 1x flamethrower, 3x SMGs) 
  • 1x sniper 

I scavenged a few figs from my EW Germans and intend to get some more of the Artizan DAK range to eventually replace them with. After some experimenting I've decided to go with a tropical uniform as the basis of the infantry (though one squad is currently rebased EW Germans and so are in field gray). Most of the figures are either Artizan LW Germans, though there are a few of the DAK range riflemen, and Crusader miniatures infantry, though there are a few others as well.

Sniper team- scrounged from figures I has lying round- one crusader and one Artizan.

The Pioneers- Crusader and some Warlord Games plastics (the SMG armed guys).

 Crusader miniatures pioneers.

The veteran infantry squad- mainly Crusader but a at least one Black Tree and the SMG armed NCO is Artizan Designs. These guys are in field gray uniforms.

Crusader LMG teams

The second infantry squad- a hodge podge of Artizan Designs (NCO and LMG are from the LW range, riflemen are mainly DAK riflemen and the second LMG team is from Crusader). These ones are painted in more tropical uniform.

The panzer grenadiers- Artizan LW Germans.

Lieutenant and NCO- both from the Artizan LW German NCOs and officers pack.

We will see how they fare on Wednesday's game.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BA- Italian Front Germans

Inspired by last nights game I started my revised Italian Front Germans today. I had a squad of Artizan LW German infantry which was going to be used as part of my main German force to stretch it to late war so decided to use it s a base and scrounged up another squads worth of "volunteers" to get under way.

The Artizan LW Germans will form the  nucleus of an armoured panzer grenadier squad- hence their fancy LW uniforms. One of the things mentioned in almost all accounts of fighting in the Middle East and Italy is the number of machine guns in German squads and the firepower that they can put out, the infamous MG34 and MG 42 (sometimes called the Spandau or Hitler's Buzzsaw) so want to have MG34s/42s at the heart of the force.LMGs get a bad rap in some sectors of the "BA community" as being overcosted at 20pts but I for one never leave home without them. I find the extra range invaluable and the reality is they provided the core of firepower in sections/squads so IMO should be there, min maxing bean counters be damn! The Bolt 5 pt versions make them even more attractive and maybe we will finally start to see Germans using LMG to provide the core of squads firepower rather than the ubiquitous assault rifle, which seems to be the weapon of choice for most German bolt action forces but which you will soon note are not included in my force- I may add some at some point but want to avoid assault rifles if I can.

My general theme is to have the force represent a platoon from one of the many panzer grenadier regiments defending Italy from late 43 onwards so with that in mind this is how I envision the core of the force being constructed (note, based on last nights games the force has been upgraded to veterans):

  • 2x Veteran Squads (8-9 men including NCO with SMG and 2 LMG each)- the defensive firepower but with 9 men also capable of some go forward (mainly standard heer uniforms but intend a smattering of other kit as well- a typical hodge podge of uniforms representing vets who have survived various campaigns)
  • 1x Assault pioneer squad (8-9 strong with options for a LMG or flamethrower)- I like the look of the Crusader pioneers for variety with this lot. 
  • 1x Veteran (armoured) PG squad (9-10 men including LMG and 2-3 SMGs). These guys will travel in style in the 251/1 hanomag and are a mobile firebrigade/assault force (mainly the Artizan LW Germans but a smattering of other manufacturers as well (some Crusader, a Perry and Warlord games plastic to get them to 3 SMGs)  

I also tried a new basing palette for them, trying to get  dusty "Italy" look and am happy with how it turned out.

Below is a few shots of the first two squads, painted up, based and ready for action.

 With so any LMGs going to be included (at least 5 and potentially 6!) I've decided to revert back to putting them on rectangular bases to identify them easier.


Monday, January 5, 2015

BA- Germans vs US Paras (1200pts)

Kent has been working on his US paras so tonight it was finally a chance for me to take my Italian front themed German infantry force out for a spin. I built this force last year but have not had a chance to use it yet. I was short of a 251/1 half track so painted one up today. Unfortunately I sold off the original infantry force (Perry plastic DAK) and haven't painted up their replacements so my early/midwar East Front Germans would be subbing in for the game.

First up though, today's adddition to my force, a Warlord Games SDKFZ 251/1C.

As with or recent games we were playing 1200 pts and using the BoltAction. Net prices for LMGs (5pts each) as well as their rules for gun teams (can turn on the spot and fire at a -1 penalty to hit)

Craig's Italian Front Germans (13 order dice)
Reg 1st Lt & NCO
2x reg squds (2x SMG, LMG, 5x rifles)
1x Vet squad (2x SMG, LMG, 5x rifles)
1x Vet Assault Pioneer squad (2x SMG, flamethrower, 5x rifles) 
1x Reg MMG
1x Reg Med mortar 
1x Vet sniper 
1x Reg Flak 36 37mm AA gun 
1x Reg 233 armoured car
1x Reg Stuh 42 
1x Reg Kettenkrad
1x Reg 251/1 half track

With the -15pts per LMG I managed to add a MMG but otherwise the force is as I'd always intended it.
My plan? Put the Vet infantry in the hanomag and use them as an assault force, the pioneers likewise would provide a second strike force (possibly backing each up with a regular squad). My 233 and stuh's role is to blast infantry and the rest is to support my main attack (assuming I am attacking). In defence a similar situation really, put the regular infantry on and possibly flank with the hanomag and vets, depending on the mission.

My cunning plan...
In the end we decided to rerun our last battle with my Germans attacking in a Point Defence. I decided to try a right hook (flank attack) with my regular infantry and (hopefully) the stuh (which came on in the first wave) would offer some much needed fire support to them while everything else was going to go for the left hand objective.

Kent's US Paras.
Vet Lt & NCO
2x Vet Para squads (9 or 10 men with LMGs)
2x Vet Para Squads (11 men, BAR- tough fighters)
1x Vet Sniper
1x Vet Med Mortar
1x Reg Sherman
1x Reg Greyhound armoured car
1x Vet Jeep
1x Vet bazooka

Before we began we got to compare my Rubicon Sherman (left) with Kent's Warlord Games one (right).
 Not sure what mark the Warlord Games one is- but the barrel looks a tad weird to me.

 The Warlord games one (right) has a much taller hull which makes it look squatter. I prefer the Rubicon one.

Turn 1 Paras prepare to fortify an old monastery.

My kettenkrad tows my flak 36 on table.

The 233 armoured car probes forward on my left flank.

In the centre the Sherman dominates, the building in the foreground has a squad of paras in it and the bazooka lurks behind.

The hanomog, which contains the vet squad and my commanders, supports my advance on the left.

The flak unlimbers in the cornfield as my sniper and assault pioneers cross the open ground- each takes a pin from fire by the US infantry.

At the end of turn 1 the Sherman fires on the stug, hitting it but fails to penetrate the stugs armour. The sniper managed to kill my MMG as it attempted to deploy in a  hedgeline. First blood to the Americans.

Turn 2, my infantry squad debusses from the hanamoag. In the distance the flak 36 opens up on the sniper but fails to pass its firepower test (rolled a 1) to kill him

Turn 2, the engineers make it to cover behind the building, the sniper has now occupied the building.

The American mortar observer in the belltower ranges in the mortar on the flak 36, knocking it out.

Turn 3, the flamethrower armed pioneers advance on the building, but veteran paras arrive from reserve to cut them off. I lose a couple of pioneers to small arms fire leaving the squad with only 3 men.

The Greyhound also makes an appearance.

I got the first dice next turn and attacked with the pioneers flamethrower, killing 1 team (note: we've decided to abandon the must pass a morale test after being hit by a flamethrower, the D3+1 pins is bad enough). My flamethrower then ran out of fuel, leaving the assault pioneers with only 1 team.

Midgame. At this stage I was still feeling confident. I'd lost my flak 36 and MMG team but was putting pressure on the left hand objective. Kent had reinforced both the left and right objectives (each with a big squad of tough-fighting vets). The stug managed to miss the paras in the monastery twice but had survived two direct hits from the sherman. All in all,  things were going okay. 

Turn 4: the greyhound took  a shot at the 233 which recced away behind the hedges (we've decided that to break off you need to pass a morale test if you have any pins).  The infantry and hanomag continue to pour fire on the pinned para squad in front of the building.

 I managed to kill the NCO of the infantry in front of the building with my sniper, they now have 5 pins are so are almost out of the game. The bazooka has been causing me grief so my Lt and NCO charge it forward sparying the team with SMG fire but only ill the assistant.

Kent responds by assaulting with the squad in the building, wiping out my commander. Maybe that was a tad rash on my behalf.
 Turn 5 the 233 charges the sherman but its shot glances off the Sherman's side armour.

The stug continues to do sweet FA, missing is about all it does all game- if only I can hit with the 105mm howitzer will make a mess of a squad! My infantry in the foreground are caught in an enfilade by ambushing paras.

On the left things are not much better, my hope for a draw, my infantry FUBAR and make a full move away from the objective!

Turn 6 starts well when the 233 hits and knocks out the sherman.

Then paras rush out of the monastery, pouring fire on my infantry near the right objective.
 Leaving one stand!
Back on the right my infantry managed to move forward and defeat a squad of paras in melee but were unable to get far enough forward to take the objective.

Result: Victory to Kent. I really struggled to make inroads vs the big (10 and 11 man) squads of veteran paras. Regular squads can't hack it vs larger veteran squads unless you can whittle them down a bit and I failed to do that. The hanomag was fun to use- I'd like to include another one and this game certainly showed me the potential that transports can have, the key being to time when to use them better!  

Back to the drawing board, I've a bit of fine tuning to do...