Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dak vs Guards Infantry

Well the sojourn into Southern Russia continued but alas my camera batteries were flat so you'll have to make do with a simple narrative.

Kent came over and we used similar terrain to last week but this time he bought a guards strelkovy. I volunteered to attack as Guards strelk are one of my nightmare forces to assualt so it would be good practice- however on my own defence Guards Strelk are one of the forces I regularly play an have always done well with, and so at least I've got an inkling of how to deal with the buggers!

I didn't want to defend, I needed to practice attacking and so we diced off for a mission I'd have to attack dug in infantry choosing between Breakthrough, Fighting Withdrawal or Hasty Assault- randomising with a die roll came up with a Hasty Assault.

I chose to test one of the fine tuning DAK forces

HQ 45
7x Pioneers + 2x pak 38 285

(supply truck) 25
7x Pioneers +1x 2.8cm ATR 225

(supply truck) 25
2x Bison 180
2x 25 pdrs + panzer II 120
4x Marder III 325
3x Semovente + 4x AA MG 270

Kent ran
HQ + 5 sappers ( a small HQ platoon of a single sapper to get to 6 platoons)
2x 45 mm AT guns (HQ- attached out)

2x platoons (R/MG)- with attached 45mm guns
2x Platoons (Rifles) +2x HMGs
4x Sukas
2x SU 85s
6x T70s

I nominated and deployed a pioneers with pak 38s, 25 pdrs and semoventes (I was worried about the possibility of a T70 surprise on turn 1 so didn't want to risk the marders)

Kent ambushed with the sukas and deployed both infantry. His ambush bailed a sevemonte (GtG but I rolled a 1 and was trained-grrr). My marders arrived on turn 1 and so the direct fire of marders, 25 pdr, sevomentes and pak 38s only managed to bail 1 Suka and kill another. The bailed one promptly got back in and shot up my marders (I lost one). Eventually I won this duel once I charged with the semovente's but even as the Sukas died the SU 85s arrived but luckily for me both shots missed my Italian assult guns and in my next turn good rolling from the marders destroyed both SU 85s.

In the centre the guards R/MG company advanced to grab a large central ruin and the T7os roared onto the table but double timed- two of them were KOed by the bison which had also arrived to bolster my very weak looking right flank and over the next few turns I sniped a few more using the sion shuffle (i.e stormtrooper moves).

The struggle in the centre of the table was titanic as my pioneers and the strelk assaulted each other- or more correctly Kent assaulted and I backtracked. In fact the only thing that saved me was uber-observer tank that attached to the other pionier platoon (fresh and unpinned) to score 10 his to stop the QoQ assualt. Slowly though we whittled them away and Kent was forced to retreat.

In the end I managed to takeout the Sukas and SU 85s exposing his right objective and slowly assaulted him back from it. In the centre both my infantry platoons advanced through the ruins and drove the remnants of his R/MG company back (however I had to kill every team in the end to break the company!).

In the end we slowly wore down the Guards and the end came when on turn 7 or 8 Kent assaulted my 2 remaining marders with 2 sappers and missed both, instead of counter attacking and broke off through his force and onto the objecitve creating a no go zone so he could not contest. On the other flank my defensive fire from bison, panzer II and 3 remaining pioneer stands stopped him reclaiming the other objective which I had in my previous turn assaulted him off.

I lost one infanry platoon when they failed to storm trooper back out of LoS and got hammered in the dying turns and the semoventes which eventually succumbed to sapper assaults whilst trying to force Kent back from the other objective. I had also destroyed 4 platoons/companies and Kent passed 2 company morale checks. In fact when I won the game Kent was left with 5 rifle teams and a battalion commander- my last run accounting for the last team of his R/MG company (yes I had to kill all 20+ teams) and the 2 stand company HQ sapper platoon.

Lessons learned
2 SU 85s were a waste of points but the rest of his force was potentially very dangerous to my lightly armed tanks. It was a real struggle to wear them down and at no stage did I feel totally in control of things- each infantry team was vital and I kept wishing I had more infantry- or Kent's force- as he launched his assaults in the ruins! However, my observer tank was probably the most useful 10 pts I've spent in along time- it saved 2x 45mm shots, was bailed for a few turns but managed to help break up 2-3 attacks that could have swung the game back to Kent- I know he was getting sick of the independent team attaching to whatever platoon most needed its help!

Kent had not used SU 85s before and learned an important lesson: 3-4 or none at all but apart from that his force was very competitive vs mine as he had plenty of AT 8-9 shots to dealw with the paper thin armour on my tanks and tank hunters- the bison got lucky managing to sneak round a hill to snipe the T70s and did very well at shoring up that flank but I just wish I had another mobile platoon to support them.

I wasn't overly happy with the force I took and although the semoventes worked reasonably well still have a couple more ideas to test before making my final, final decision :) Although the Semoventes worked reasonably well I wished they were M13/1 carri for most of the game so they might get another run next game.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Afrika Korps Update

I have continued working off and on over the past few days on rebasing and touching up the Afrika Korps.

Here are a few pictures.

Pak 36rs. These are an option for the 90th light division schutzen platoons and give them some long range, hard hitting anti-tank capabilities.

Captured 25 pdrs. These can either be instead of the light infantry guns in the infantry gun platoons or as artillery. I intend to us them as artillery- for a much needed smoke template or is a real pinch as a stop gap anti-tank gun as AT 9 is not to be sneezed at mid war. They also have the option for a panzer II observer tank for 10 pts- which IMO is a real steal!

Bison. These are some of the best looking things in the Afrika Krops lists- unfortunately they tend to be rather underwhelming on the gaming table but I'm hoping that used as a support unit they might occasionally pull their weight! After all its not all about stats and taking the best bang for the buck!

Marder IIIs- Anti-tank 11 with the rechambered Zis 3 gun. These are going to be the workhorses of my anti-tank defence! To field 3, 4, 6 or 8? That is the question!

M14/41 Carri. Italian allies. Ideal for taking on infantry and light guns but with front armour of 3 if anything does so much as sneeze in their direction they will die.

Semovente 75/18: Another anti-tank option I'm considering as they would be handy vs light tanks. Anti-tank 9, front armour 4 and only trained 1 in 6 of the time! Another interesting unit to add to the mix.

Infantry: A schutzen platoon with 2x organic pak 38s and 81mm mortar team, a very handy and robust little unit.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MW: DAK vs Tankovy

I don't usualy do non historical match ups but needed to try out the DAK so we did a little what if battle involving the DAK in southern Russia. Kent wanted to test out a mid war tankovy and so I made up 4 lists for him to try and he settled on a guards tankovy.

Guards T34s
1x T70 45
7x T34/76- 2x cupolas 635
7x T70 275
9x Razvedki- M3A1 + 3xc 50cals 245
3x SU 85 300


I took the DAK, 15th Panzer Division Pioniers.

HQ 45
1x Pioneers + 2x Pak 38 285

supply truck 25
1x Pioneers + 2.8cm ATR 225
2x Bison 180
4x Carri 240
2x 88s 255
3x Marder III 245

We rolled up a Cauldron. This mission used to get a lot of bad press- especially the 1E version but I quite like it in 2nd Edition. Sure the deployment can be a bit random but as long as there is terrain central to defend it can work out okay- the key attacking is to deploy to avoid the ambush and build your attack. It would be an interesting challenge for my force any way.

I deployed both pioneer platoons and ambushed with the 88s- Kent got to deploy where he wanted and so chase to hie behind a hill- thus negating my ambush.

The minefield is in front of the objective nearest Kent's force and the other is in the scub area with the pak 38s.

From another angle.

The Soviets prepare to advance.

The DAK pioniers prepare for the onslaught.

The first reserves arrive- double timing T70s! Would you believe that one 88 could hit them in the open, short range and only managed 1 hit with 6 shots (which bailed!)

The 88s didn't last long enough to get another shot- first VP to Kent.

The marders gave us some hope- the T70s double timed away but the marders moved into some scrub and knocked out 4- the rest of the T70s ran away!

Meanwhile a wall of T34s and razvedkia dvance on my pioniers- killing mroe than they should!

The biosns arrive- and manage to bailed a few tanks but not knock any out.

The a 38s also manage to lose a gun dual, failing to KO any T34s before finally perishing.

The Razvedki assualt goes in. A flamethorwer kills a pionier team but in the actual assualt the Razvedki teams (3 of them) miss and are all killed in my counter assault.

The carri counter attack, roaring past the T34s to knock out the M3 scout cars and the surviving razvedki flee. I also manage to bail 2x SU 85s but not kill either with the bison barrage!

From here my pioniers fail to assualt the SU 85s (pinned in Defensive fire) and the carri are picked off. I can't manage to destroy the SUs- which managed to win a duel with the marders- needing 6s to hit me whereas I only needed 4s!

Eventually my company breaks. 4-3 to Kent.

A fun game and one of "if only". My AT guns were woeful and rarely hit anything- only the marders gave me an ounce of hope and once they were gone it was just a matter of time. The list is definitely fragile and needs a bit of luck to go its way to succeed.

DAK for Wellington

Army lists were due in on Monday and I've managed no play tests with the lists I have been considering so I have pestered Nick, Chris and Dale for their ideas and input.

I decided I wanted to do a DAK force suitable for Alamein and if possible I wanted to include Bison and 88s! 88s aren't too bad, although I've never fielded them in a comp, they are easily countered (artillery and/or smoke) and vulnerable to artillery but do exert a perceived threat that perhaps outweighs their on table performance. However limiting myself to this time frame means that I don't have access to some of the kit that you commonly see fielded (and which I would otherwise probably take- such as Nebelwerfers!)

Bison are included as a bit of a joke choice- overpriced, underwhelming and a points sink (I'd have been better off with 2x 25 pdrs for smoke and possibly some recon- and was very, very tempted by this option) but in the end went with what I wanted in the list rather than what would be more effective on table. I've always wanted to field Bison at a comp but have not one so as the points would be better spent elsewhere- well I still can't justify them but am taking them anyway!

HQ & 2x Infantry platoons
The choice was between regular schutzen (MG teams) or pioneers. They are now similar in points, both platoons can get AT guns as part of the combat platoons (which is very nice!). The main differences being the rate of fire when defending, option to use flamethrowers and (for the schutzen infantry) mortars as part of the platoon. In the end I went with pioneers and a supply wagon, deciding that the tank assualt of 4 would be more likely to keep tanks away. The wire or minefield would also be good for breaking up infantry lines of advance so could be and other handy addition. However I will miss the ability to get a smoke template by kampfgrupping the mortars out.

One platoon has a couple of pak 38s, the other a 2.8cm ATR for additional support.

2x Bison
Slow, overloaded and my only artillery option! However AT 13, FP 1+ (range 16") means that they can pose a threat to the unwary- time will tell if this was a sensible choice. I am already leaning towards, no it wasn't!

3x Marder III
My mobile AT. I was seriously tempted to take 2x platoons of 3 marders (and no 88s) which several people felt was a better choice due to the mobility- and to a certain extent I agree, but the 88s do have a valuable overwatch role to play- as long as they have cover and some long range lines of sight. These guys will have to be used carefully and avoid head to head fights whenever they can.

4x Carri
Last minute revisions made me drop my light tank platoon down to 4 tanks- these guys are to threaten flanks and are destined to be used in an anti-infantry role. Hopefully they aren't "trained" too often. The key will be to use cover and only attack targets of opportunity- not medium tanks!

2x 88s
As mentioned above- probably better off being an extra 3x marders but it will be interesting to see how they fare, especially since I've never fielded them. If they can get reasonable line of sight they could do okay- but I expect them to be smoked most games!

So there you are,a very fragile and different force to what I'd normally take. I lack a third infantry platoon (probably a better choice than the carri) and also any smoke templates- 25 pdrs will be missed. However, it could prove solid in the right circumstances but there will be plenty of things it will struggle against.

So there we have it: 6 platoons, no recon, no smoke, and a lack of infantry! This could be a very, very long competition!

Repainted DAK Infantry
I've spent the past couple of nights touching up and rebasing my DAK infantry as I was unhappy with their basing. The Pioneers are a mix of DAK figures, mid war Pioneers, and a few figures from various other ranges thrown in for good measure.

2.8cm sPzB Anti-tank rifle. AT 7, RoF 3, FP 5+. We'll see if it can catch any half tracks or light tanks by surprise.

Desert Bases
1. I always base my figures before I undercoat and paint them. I undercoat the figures (already superglued onto the base) and then once dry I cover the base in permafilla.

2. Once the figures are finished the base is painted using the local British Paints range of paints. I use test pots which are usually about $5-6 per pot and they last for ages! The base coat is called Wet Sand and this is followed by a dry brush of Mexico Gold and then a final highlight of Ivory.

3. A few scatted clumps of beach sand (from Kakanui near Oamaru) is then added to the base for more texture.

4. A couple of drops of PVA are added and cat litter sprinkled over these.

5. Finally a couple of small clumps of Woodlands Scenics Olive Foliage is added for a contrast.

It's nice and simple yet I am happy with the overall look.

JR Buildings (Update)

I managed to paint the first couple of buildings last night- a quick undercoat and then a couple of layers of drybrushing. Simple and effective.

Monte Cassino

Hartenstein Hotel
This one still needs a final spray paint of some black to make it look more smoky.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

JR Buildings

Well my order from JR Buildings arrived last week after being held up in customs. My own fault for ordering too much and making worth Customs collecting GST on. I don't really mind paying GST on goods however what I do mind is Customs whacking an additional $40 in bullshit charges for opening my package (which after all is part of their job) on top of the GST. That to me smacks of revenue gathering for the sake of it and really pisses me off. However, I've learned my lesson and in future will stick to ordering 2 smaller packages rather than one larger one.

The buildings themselves are pretty good- a couple arrived slightly damaged but nothing a bit of glue can't fix.

Arnhem Rowhouse

4 stories tall so really looks imposing- it has a single interior level, but would be easy enough to add more. As you can see it would fit a number of medium FoW bases inside it.

The interior.

Two rowhouses and a ruined rowhouse. The ruler gives you an idea of length. I am considering buying another two compete ones and a second ruin to finish off my city.

Monte Cassino Ruin
Now this is impressive. As you can see it is big (approximately 40cm x30cm).

Hartstein Hotel- ruined version. This will be perfect for our Day of Days weekend.

One of the other ruins

I've also purchased a half dozen of the smaller ruined buildings to bulk out the city.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid war- Dak vs Armoured Squadron

I managed a couple of play test games vs Dale last night, using DAK vs his 8th army.

I took a DAK schutzen company based around Gazala- 1st Alamein and Dale his infamous Armoured Squadron. This force used to be 32 Stuarts in two companies and was a real pain to face with infantry forces- it ran over them game after game after game. These days its a single company with grants and 25pdrs for smoke.

DAK Shutzen
  • Company HQ
  • DAK schutzen + 2x pak 36rs
  • DAK shutzen + 2x pak 38s
  • 2x Bison
  • 2x 88s
  • 5x Carri
  • 2x 231 ACS
I've never taken 88s or Bison and so am trying to squeeze both into the list. The question is, am I trying to do too much?

Dales Light Armoured Squadron
  • 15 Stuarts
  • 6 Grants
  • 4x 25 pdrs
The first game was a Hasty Assault. Dale raced his Stuarts in for the kill but failed to pin my platoons and was decimated 6-1.

In the second game we played a FFA and he won 4-3. I managed to kill 3 platoons of Stuarts in the end Dale's Grants destroyed a platoon on the far objective and my 6x 88 shots + pak 36Rr all missed and so he grabbed victory.

Both games were fun but threw up a few issues with my force. Recon wwas a bit hit and miss in the second gamer- I missed, Dale hit, and we were wondering whether or not to take something else instead. The bisons, the whole reason for the list were again of limited use (being used just as artillery). Dale suggested adding some air support which wouldn't be a bad option and I might try to squeeze some in- probably at the expense of a pak 38 and the recon.

A few pictures

Hasty Assault deployment

88s ambiush and knock out a single grant (range + gone to ground)

Grants advance to the next cover.

When using 88s expect them to be smoked!

Here come the Stuarts!

Pak 36Rs start to whittle them down.

The final assaults- Dale failed to pin the defending platoons and was stuck in no-man's land with not option but to assualt. Defensive fire accounted for each one.

Note: Dale had misplaced a couple of his Stuarts so pressed gained some 231 ACs to make up the numbers.

Free For All


Dale fortifies his troops- with ale.

Trying to releive the pressure the carrri advance- and manage to take out 2 platoons of Stuarts before being lost.

Stuarts poised to stike- there 16" move is a real pain when you are playing infantry as they cans switch the point of attack very, very rapidly.

That's what I call a tank duel- Stuarts vs carri. The Stuka is an objective.

Although we have held off the Stuarts on the other flank the grants advance. I failed to dig in on turn 1 and lost a pak 38 as a result. The Grants then closed and nibbled away at the PG platoon. Eventually assaulting it and the survivors broke.

They can't kill us all! Th grants take objective holding formation. I shot at them with 88s, pak 36r and bison- the bison got 3 hits, all saved and everyone else missed. Had I broken one platoon Dale was under half strength and therefore would have needed a morale check before claiming the objective.

4-3 to Dale

Another fun game- FFa is my worst nightmare vs so many zippy Stuarts. Again Dale used smoke to minimise the effectiveness of the 88s and the Stuarts were a real pain. I wasn't expecting the PG to collapse and rout so quickly though and that cost me dearly.

Not sure about a couple of things in the list:
Bison and 231s.

Dale has suggested airpower. Ideally I'd like to keep the bison for flavour and stick to the Gazala theme but it does lack a bit of ommph. The pak 36rs were very handy and I'm considering another two for my second infantry platoon but if I take air support this is unlikely to happen.