Saturday, November 27, 2010

LW Fighting Withdrawal

Poochie came down so we had a couple of games both trying to attack in a Fighting Withdrawal using our Masters forces vs a panzer grenadiers form the new Stalin's Onslaught book. The whole purpose of the German list was to be able to field a full armoured pioneers platoon!

HQ + shrek
2x PGs
3x pak 40s
3x hummels
7x armoured PGs

Final selection: Chris took sporadic stukas, I took 3x armoured cars (and less panzerfausts).

Game 1: My US paras attacked.
I tried to use the tank rider rules of the infantry but failed and lost 3 teams, including the commander which left the grenadiers stuck. A couple of fireflies fell the the hummels. My two infantry platoons advanced supported by the 57mm at guns but in the end the panzer grenadiers wore them own. i got one platoon below half strength but then the ambushing armoured pioneers appeared (turn 5 ish) and ripped through my force.

6-1 to Poochie.

The guards infantry are riding on the Shermans.

The paras reach cover.

We capture an objective.

One platoon has just been massacred by the armoured pioneers, the other tries to take on the panzer grenadiers but is beaten back in defensive fire.

The PGs counter attack.

Game 2
We reloaded and this time Poochie's US rifles (3rd Infantry- CV) attacked and the result was similar. Poochie decided to leave his company commander wth his 2 artillery batteries and this was to prove disastrous. As he advanced I ambushed (turn 2) with the pioneers (why waste eh half tracks), killing 6 teams and pinning a platoon. 2 of my teams died n defensive fire and 2 US teams fell and the platoon retreated and broke. The other platoon failed to unpin (it had ben hit by my MG teams) but managed to kill 2x armorued pioneers and break the platoon- there goes my fun half tracks. However the rest of my force concentrated on his remaining platoon and it too was destroyed. The m10s had fallen to my hummels and so Pooch was left with nothing on my side.

The massed US artillery finally knocked out the last hummel to break the platoon on turn 5 and so grab a 2nd VP for a 4-3 to me.

Thoughts & lessons learned
What can I say, ambushing armoured pioneers are nasty!

We both made mistakes and learned some valuable lessons- for me it was to support my paras with the tanks and concentrate my forces (a lesson I seem to regularly relearn!) and for Poochie it was to use the company commander to motivate your combat platoons, not your artillery!

Finally, we both really liked the Germans list! Armoured pioneers are one of my favourite units and this force makes them very viable!

A few pictures
The US rifle company prepares to attack.

Hummels range in on M10s- the next round Poochie doesn't move and two more are knocked out.

The Americans are making progress. Time to Ambush!

They were fun while they last4ed- which wasn't very long. Artillery + small arms fire forced the survivors to retreat.

The last few survivors are slowly whittled down.

Hill 213

After we'd finished we ran the Hill 213 scenario from Monty's Meatgrinder. a Squadron of bailed Cromwells ambushed by Witmans platoon. The cromwell;s fdfomr the City of London Yeaomanry (reluctant vets) have to remount and then deeast the tigers- not an easy task.

The game was fought on a 4x4ft bocage table.

In game 1 I knocked out 9 cromwell's and fireflies in 3 turns (all my tanks had re-roll misses) to win the game.

Game 2: It took Chris about 5-6 turns but he managed to kill 10 cromwells and break the company for the loss of no tigers (although I had failed to knock out 2 with firelfes when I failed my FP tests).

So all up 19 cromwells knocked out for the loss of one tiger!

It was fun 30 minute game that I will definitely repeat and might use at the club to try and get some interest in FoW as it is always fun rocking round in a tiger!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rapid Fire Playtest

I haven't played Rapid Fire in about seven years so this was going to be interesting.

The rules are a bit “loose” in many areas, which after Flames of War I found a little frustrating- and there is a clear need for houserules. One of the young players wanted (and did) fire his tanks main guns at our tanks and his machine guns at at our infantry- nothing seemed to prevent it happening so we allowed it but after FoW it didn’t sit right with me- and we will need to house rule this.

I doubled the number of guns and artillery proved bloody and decisive- we will wind it back to 2 gun batteries, although 3 guns looks "proper" to me- so may consider 3 guns but only 3 hits per gun as a compromise.

Recon: My recce carriers were fun but blew up reasonably quickly- where was my recce move to get out of trouble? Actually I can see it as being a ruleset where I can bolt on bits of FoW that I like and still play fast.

We used 2 hits to knock out a gun team, HMG or mortar, but for artillery teams I will increase his to 4 hits (under the rules a gun team has a crew of 5 so a battery has 10 figures- which makes them bigger than a company which Imo is a little silly!)

I played it as a company level engagement and used FoW platoons to represent each platoon and it gave a good look but combat was bloody and we quickly ran out of infantry! As a result I have had a rethink and will reorganise it and use companies rather than platoons in future. However, using FoW stands gave a better look to the game that the 8 figures= 1 platoon (company) under the rules.

A British rifle platoon consisted of:
  • 7x rifle teams
  • 1x light mortar
  • 1x ATR

I doubled the number of AT guns, MMGs and mortars and this worked well- but reduced the “crew” to 2 per stand. If I carry on this way then I think I’ll drop the additional range in attempt for medium mortars though as we will be using units of 2 rather than 1.

Overall, it was success. Assaults weren’t as effective as FoW- but that may have been due to a lack of experience and the lack of info in many areas was annoying and needs house rules to figure out (firing vehicles MGs and main guns at different targets). Also where to take range measurements from with infantry platoons was an issue but I’ve since found out that you take it from the “centre of the unit.” With smaller units though it shouldn't be such an issue.

The guys enjoyed it and maybe they’d like to play a few more games in 15mm- it gave looked right and support was not overpowering the way it is in FoW so I definitely think we’ll try a few more games.

Hidden units and Objectives

I really think that the FoW objective rules would work well- rather than simply try to break the enemies force so will introduce those next time. We also used hidden deployment- we placed counters where the enemy was and allowed units to spot before moving- only once spotted did we reveal what was placed where. We also had a few dummy units. Not knowing what you ere going to run into worked well.


One thing I learned last night is that we didn’t have enough infantry- so I’m going to reorganise things and run the game at the company level. Ideally each side will run 2-3 companies of infantry + the support company . Each FoW stand will count as two infantry.

A British Rifle Company will look like this:



FoW Stands











2" Mortar

















German DAK Shutzen Company

1st Compnay

FoW Stands




















What this means though is that I don’t have enough infantry!

The counters represent units that haven't been spotted.

Surprise! I think we've spotted a platoon of enemy armour!

My infantry advance on the village.

Valentines move to support the attack on the other flank.

My infantry near the village.

The Germans repel the assaults and two platoons are badly mauled so we sound the retreat (i.e ran out of time).

I did enjoy the less cluttered battlefield and think that with more infantry it should give a good game so we'll try another game soon. Stephen has ordered RF II and so hopefully some of the glaring holes in the rules are taken care of- a good fun ruleset but definitely not for tournament games!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


As some of you are probably aware Kent (Galpy's paint shack) has gone mad on cowboys lately. He put in a rather large order to the UK so I ordered a few to keep him company. They turned up yesterday so I painted up a couple of test things out.

I've got to get some washers for bases.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

EW French Artillery & Rapid Fire!

I painted up my 75mm artillery last night and now only have the infantry to go.

For some reason I forgot to add some camouflage to them- too much time spent painting Soviet guns I suppose. I may go back and give them so camo at a later date.

Rapid Fire!
I bought Rapid Fire! when FoW was still in playtest mode and was going to use it to replace the rules my friend Ian and I had developed over about 20 years- our original rules being Lional Tarr's rules in Donald Featherstones Wargaming (which we laboriously hand typed as 9 year olds!) but were later incorporated parts of Operation Warboard (the first wargaming book/ruleset I bought) and then modified over the years- eventually Ian changed our rules to a D10 standard.

I started wargaming in 20mm and had a very large collection of models. After seeing the Battlefront miniatures at the Nationals in 2002 I sold all my 20mm stuff and started again in 15mm- partly as getting specialised vehicles from the UK wasn't cheap but also as a few of the local gamers wanted to get into WWII and the Battlefront range semed both cheap (not so much now though!) and readily available. After having spent much of my free time in the three years I had been living in Japan building 1/76th Fujimi kits I had no intention to build more and the Battlefront minis suited my purposed nicely so we all started gaming in 15mm and evetnually FoW became our default ruleset.

Stephen, Tony and the other historic gamers at the club have been starting to get back into WWII gaming via Rapid Fire. They had their first game in 1/300th scale last week. To my mind, that defeats the whole purpose of 1/300th scale- rather than 1 tank represents 5, smaller scales are ideal to get the grand manner feel of massed brigades with LOTs of tanks! However, they had a fun and that's the main thing.

Even so, I have a cunning plan to try to try to get them involved in 15mm gaming. They don't like the gaminess of FoW- which is a very valid point- but with so many of us owning 15mm WWII forces it would be sensible to build forces at a scale that is compatible to the rest of the club, so to try and lure them to the dark side I am running a 15mm Rapid Fire! participation game for them tomorrow night.

I still quite like Rapid Fire! It's fast play but it does have issues- for me the main one being the 8 figures to a company just doesn't look right- it looks more like a skirmish game to me! But for me my main gripe has always been the single HMG, mortar or AT gun to represent a platoon of such weapons. I've toyed with modifying the rules a number of times to double the number of such weapons on table but always given up and gone back to FoW.

To get round the skirmish look we'll use 7-8x FoW stands to a company, so will have about 30-40 figures. Indeed I've been toying with the idea of taking it down a scale and running it as a company level game- and simply use the FoW organisational charts to determine forces.

I've two ways I'm considering running things
1) Treat each FoW unit as a company and play it as a battalion (rather than brigade) level game - doubling the number of AT guns and machine guns (the lack of mortars, HMGs and AT guns being one thing I don't like about RF). However, I am worried that 2x HMGs will be twice as effective, of course we could simply halve their ratings)

2) Run it as a platoon level game and simply use FoW platoons- but possibly keep HMGs, mortars and AT guns at one 2 per platoon.

3) Morale- I intend to run morale by platoon (company) and see how that goes, rather than by battalion. Indeed there will proably be a number of players each using a platoon/company each.

We will game using a battalion of 8th Army infantry:
  • 4x companies (4 FoW platoons)
  • Support company with: 2x HMGs, 3x carriers, 2x 6 pdrs.
  • 3x valentines
  • supported by a battery of 25pdrs

The German battalion will be represented by:
  • 3x FoW platoons
  • Support platoon: 2x HMGs, 2x mortars, 2x pak 38s
  • 3x panzer IIIs
  • a battery of Italian 105mm guns.
I look forward to seeing how it plays- and trying to remember the rules!

We'll be using the original rules but Stephen has ordered Rapid Fire II and I've been meaning to for some times so if the new version is okay I may end up playing more Rapid Fire in future.


Friday, November 19, 2010

LW Hasty Assault: FJ vs US Rifles

Poochie and I had a game to test out his Dogs and Devils 3rd US Rifles. We chose a Hasty Assault and since the last time we did one he attacked it was my turn to do so.

I took a pretty average 1500 pt FJ list:

HQ 55
2x Stummelwerfers 50

10x FJ + P/K 255
10x FJ + P/K 255
3x Pak 40 (FV) 195

4x Stug Gs (CV) 380
3x Panzerwerfers (CV) 195

Sporadic HS 129 115


Poochie's US Rifles consisted of:
HQ + bazookas
2x rifle platoons
3x 57mm aT guns + bazookas
4x 105s
4x 155
4x Stuarts
limited kittyhawks


Poochie deployed his 2nd infantry platoon as his limited ambush.

Turn 1

The 155 battery missed with its first ranging in attempt but hit and destroyed a stug with its second roll. Luckily another stug passed a top armour save vs a flight of kittyhawks!

A look down the US line.

Chris deployed his transports as well- unarmorued, 50 clas and fully tracked, these things were to be apin all game! In my only HS 129 strike of the game I missed the 155 but destroyed a transport and the artillery failed to unpin- one less thing to worry oubt in my next turn.

Then there was 1. The stugs had moved forwrd t try and engage the 155s but for two turns I failed to stormtrooper- on the 3rd turn I paid the price- the 155s ranged in and destroyed 2 stugs! To add insult to injury the kittyhawks MGed and destroyed a panzerwerfer that had jsut arrived form reserve.

My infantry meanwhile tried to get into the wood on the big hill. Poochie wasn't having any of that and came forward to assault me, killing 2 teams so my FJ retreated to regroup- and then promptly failed to unpin, even with the company commander being there to assist!

We reach an objective- a few more turns have gone past. Poochie continued to assault the pined FJ but they only lost 3 teams and the survivors counter assaulted and killed 4 teams of Poochie's he retreated. In my enxt turn I unpinned and continued to attack, wiping out the US infantry and opening up the objective- then he 57mm AT guns arrived!

Poochie's company commander trying valiantly to get a medal of hour led a bazooka team and observer and assaulted the FJ. My surivors eventually broke! The company commander then moved to the other side of the table to save things over there!

On the other my kampgruppe arrived and did everything possible to win an iron cross. They survived fire from 3 Stuarts- which were then picked off by my last stug and pak 40s They assaulted the 9 strong other US rifle platoon- killing 3 teams. Poochie then missed them all with 4xveteran teams in his counter assualt and the FJ killed 4 teams in return, including the platoon commander. The last 2 teams retreated! The last 2 teams eventually died but not before they had MGed a 155 transport putting the 155s below half strength and they retreated!

On the other flank my reserve platoon made it to the objective- these guys lost 3 out of 7 teams to a time on target barrage on their first turn. They were eventually MGed and assaulted off this objective and died to a man.

The stug that won the battle! This guy survived being bailed (twice) each time passing a motivation test to stay on the table and also 3 top armours save in a row (all up 5 rounds of fire!) and eventually killed 2 105s. Funny thing was that right by the bailed stug as a US observer but being an independent team he couldn't launch an assualt by himself to capture the stugs and win the game.

In the end the 2 panzerwerfers managed to come forward and kill the US company commander and the last rifle team in the 2nd infantry platoon to break the company for a very, very improbable win!

Result 4-3 to the FJ

I had left on table:
  • 3x pak 40s + commander
  • 1x observer
  • 2x panzwerwerfers (which couldn't move as I'd lost their command stand)
  • 1x stug!

Chris had his 57mm guns and 3x 105s left!

What a completely silly game!
It started off with me getting trashed by artillery and on turn 2 I thought it was going to be 6-1 to Chris and I'd get a second game in very, very quickly!

However the FJ hung in there. The turning point came when my KG passed 15 saves in a row in one round and then the next turn they made the silliest assault I've done in a long, long time, somehow wiping out seven teams and opening up the other objective. Then they forced the 155s to retreat and captured the objective- only to finally fail a couple of saves and die!

The last few turns I had to kill 2 rifle teams to win and Chris had to kill my stug- which then proceeded to pass 5 top armour saves in a row (as well as 2 motivation tests to stay on the board) vs the 105 battery!

A great game played in our usual light hearted manner- its always a lot of fun playing Poochie and look forward to the next one. I think he is owed a major win for that one, talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

It was also good to see Ben (Jungle Rhino) from the forums popping into to his old gaming club whilst back in NZ on holiday.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Axis of Attack Ukraine: Game 2

Having been driven off with heavy losses the Germans regrouped and found some armorued cars to add some much needed support (especially at removing GtG) and an extra panzer III at the expense of the grilles.
  • HQ
  • 2x armoured PGs
  • 3x pak 40s + half tracks
  • 2x 232 ACs
  • 4x panzer IIIs (1x L, 2x N, 1x Late J)
  • 3x panzerwerfers
The Soviets took one of the lists I had suggested the other night and fielded:
  • HQ + sappers
  • 2x 2 platoon rifle companies
  • full God of War
  • 8 (or my) Stuarts!

This was going to hurt but high command demanded that we succeed and blunt the Soviet juggernaut.

2nd Battle of Lisowka

Kent decided to forgo an ambush and deployed his God of War near his baseline- with the Zis 3s dug in on the hill crest and an infantry company defending the forward objective.

I decided to split my forces- sending the panzer IIIs and one platoon in half tracks after the rear objective- the other platoon and pak 40s, supported by 2x 232 ACs, towards the near one.

Turn 2 we prepare to assualt the dug in Russians.

We kill 5 but lose 3 teams and a half track to the counter assault and fall back.

The battle in this wood was to rage for many turns!

A more cautious advance on the other flank.

Half tracks and anti-tank guns cover the centre.

Several failed Soviet counter assaults are stopped dead by defensive fire- just. Both sides are whittled down. In the end my platoon is reduced to one team and breaks, while all the Soviet teams except two are destroyed before they finally break!

On the other flank an armoured assualt goes in and more Soviets die.

The Soviets counter attack but fail to kill any teams. I kill another 3-4 and the Soviets break off.

The victorious Germans spread out- there is a God of War in the vicinity after all!

A panzer III (late J) is knocked out by direct fire for a Zis 3. Kent had woeful luck with the GoW this game- it failed to unpin three times and more often than not failed to range in when it was unpinned. Even so it took several turns to knock the guns to less than half strength and even at the end of the game the last 2 122s were still hanging on.

Yet another assault goes in the panzer grenadiers are earning their pay today! The panzerwerfers have smoked the enemy gun line but the smoke was not the direction I hoped for and masked all potenail targes from my tanks- I was hoping to isolate one or two.

Kent launches another assualt on the front objective but once more is pinned- there are a lot less of them now but they won't fail their morale tests!

Still the Zis 3s hang on.

Here come the Stuarts! Can they turn the tide?

The panzer IIIs and paks whittle the Stuarts down- but they are still contesting and threatening to overwhelm my infantry.

All available reserves are rushed over to try and reinforce the objective- and stop the second strelkovy from breaking through to contest it!

Victory! We manage to get the Stuarts down to less than half strength and they fail a morale test. My infantry assualt and drive the infantry back and they fail to unpin. 5-2 to the Germans!

A really tough game- I hate to think how it would have gone if Kent had ambushed with the God of War or Stuarts. As it was the most decisive things was probably the God of War performing so badly, especially its failure to unpin three of four times! I am amazed at how resilient the Zis 3s are, they really took a hammering but continued to function and like most Soviets they were impossible to break.

So it looks like the Germans have broken though at Lisowka and the pincers are closing on their next objective- Brusilov.