Monday, December 26, 2011

Plans for 2012

The trip to Central was good, few people about, the camping grounds were almost empty (but it won't be that way after today as the hordes will start to descend for the traditional NZ two week summer break between Christmas & New Year), weather was fantastic- 26-28 degrees each day. We biked a 34 km section of the Rail Trail between Wedderburn & Lauder as we made our way to Alexandra.

Anyway, this is suppposed to be about wargaming what have I been up to? Bugger all really. I have managed over 3-4 evenings to paint 13 Napoleonic Jagers- I have 2 battalions (32 figures to do) to add to my Russian force before Kent and I play again. I am only getting 3-4 done a night, not my usual speed but hopefully they'll be done in the next few evenings.

With the new year looming its time to start taking stock & thinking about what wargaming projeccts I need to do next year. In no particular order:
  1. Finish off the Impetus Crusades forces- some LBM transfers have just turned up to finish off the Syrians & shield transfees for the Frankish knights.
  2. Paint up my Visigoth force for Impetus- and maybe add a Late Roman force too.
  3. Carthagians! One of those projects I've been meaning to do for over a year- I built 15mm Carthagian & Republican Rome forces for FOG when it came out but hated the rules and when we went to 28mm a couple of years ago sold my armies to one of the local DBAers. I've been meaning to do a 28mm Carthagian force ever since- and I think I need to convince Kent to get a Republican Rome force to match them :)
  4. Finish the Russians for Lasalle- and maybe add a few smaller units for Shako II.
  5. Get a FoW force organised for Jamie's Ironman Challenge for 20112. Armoured Panzer Grenadiers, an armoured aufklarung or panzerspah force all appeal on that front- one of the Wellington guys ran a puma company at Bedecon which I really, really loved so might do something based round pumas.
  6. Try not to buy too much more lead- I have a very large pile of stuff that needs painted so really must stop flitting from one project to the next and get some of those side projects done.
  7. Build some decent 28mm terrain- probably the most urgent project. I really do need to get some decent terrain done for our 28mm games- both for European & Mid East inspired gaming.
  8. Get some games in of Impetus vs Kent's new Imperial Romans vs my Sassanid & Numidian forces!
  9. Do a few more big battles with Impetus!
  10. Try to encourage more guys at TAG to get into 28mm gaming- via our demo games on Wednesdays at the club- can't see this ever working though but who knows.

Well, I'm sure there are plenty more projects but that lot should keep me busy- if only I could learn to focus better- I am enjoying Kent and my eclectic approach to wargaming.

We've got 3-4 rule sets we like (FoW, Lasalle- I did enjoy Lasalle on a bigger table the other week) & Impetus as well as a few others we use rarely (eg Shako II) and so will continue to focus on those rulesets. Impetus is by far the ruleset I most enjoy using at present so no doubt will continue to get in games when Kent is avaialble.

Anyway enough ramblings from me, I'm back off to the bach & beach. Have a good New Year and will be back early in 2012.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Off to Bannockburn

Well work has finished for the year so I'm off with the family to Bannockburn, no not that Bannockburn, Bannockburn Central Otago. A cunning plan to avoid the masses- go away for a week before the holidays start for most people.

"Central" is one of the most picturesque parts of the country. This area was where NZs gold rush started in the 1860s and and there are plenty of abandoned mining towns to explore in the region. We'll be camping at Bannockburn and taking the kids mountainbiking in the region so it should be a great week. Then we'll be heading to the bach for a couple of weeks of surf-kayaking, swimming, boogie boarding, chilling and avoiding the roads as much as possible!

Mt Biking
One initiative that the government has underway is to create a series of bike tracks that run the length of the country- their solution to the Global Financial Crisis (I kid you not!). The Central Otago Rail Trail, which follows an abandoned railway line, has been a huge success and bought jobs and tourists to a really beautiful but underrated part of the country. I hope that the new Alps to Ocean Bike track, which will run from NZs highest mountain Aoraki (Cloud Piercer in Engish)/Mt Cook to Oamaru, will do the same to the towns and villages of the Waitaki Valley. The first couple of sections of the track have just been completed in time for the holidays and the entire 300km track is due to open next November. The geography and geology through the Waitaki Valley is truly stunning, so I'm looking forward to being able try this new track next year.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a wargaming blog, so my job while away will be to finish off the Russian Jagers so Kent and I can have a rematch sometime early in Janaary.

I hope everyone has a great, and safe, holiday break. I'll continue with the blog in the new year (once back in internet range).


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Kent & Nigel gave Dale & me a game of Lasalle at the club- this time on a 6x7.5 table.

But before we began Richard bought his latest scratchbuilt creation down- a 40K giant robot thingie- see how interested I am in 40K, I don't have a clue what the hell it is but it is a fantastic model he's made, it must be at least 60cm tall.

Anyway onto the game- this time we had two support choices per side. Kent took a Young Guard force and some Cuirassiers, we took my standard force + a jager brigade. We also added vigour and tactics rules and as a result the Russians came off 2nd best in a number of assaults.

I much preferred the bigger table but my troops didn't. We got crushed- losing 15 pts (out of 24) to 6! Well played Kent and Nigel. Tonight I remembered most of the rules- which was a bonus and even did assualts at the right time! Nigel wasn't so keen on it, preferring Shako II, Dale was just there to roll dice. I enjoyed it more than the last game (even though I got crushed) but Kent has issues with how assaults work- especially not getting decisive victories leaving the defender with no appreciable penalty. They didn't seem to have a problem dealing with my artillery this time and the bigger table finally gave us some decent room to manouvre. My biggest mistake was not defending in enough depth and spreading my line too thin- that and getting whomped by superior tactics & vigour French troops!

Maybe I need to paint up my last three Battalions of Jagers!

The only thing that went right for Dale and I was his Jagers successfully holding of an infantry brigade on our left flank, while my troops were crushed by Young Guard on the right.

A fun game though and the mini's really shone on a bigger table.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bedecon Day 2

Day 2: Breakthrough vs David K’s fortified company (from hell)

This was a revised version of Breakthrough- 2x armoured platoons on board and new deployment rules, otherwise pretty standard but I preferred to think of it as a prison break rather than a breakthrough as I was seriously hemmed into my zone by fortifications. Dave had some very, very cool scratch built fortifications a Graf Spee Naval bunker, an 88 bunker, as well as a pak 38 nest, 2x HMG & nests, 2x French tank nests, 2x minefields, wire, trenches oh and: 2x 88s, 3x pak 40s, 4x 105s, 3x infantry platoons (including a platoon of pioneers), HMGs etc.

The scratchbuilt naval bunker. Very nice.

Holy crap! David set up enfilading the objectives with 88s and pak 38s, HMG nests etc but left a little chink in his defensive positions where he deployed his pak 40s forward and the 105s a bit further behind. No use putting any armour in the flank march- all my infantry went there, everything else lined up and charged the pak 40s (Breakthough Cal style!). The Recce removed GTG on the paks.

Deployed Cal style- an armoured wedge. Ready... steady... [As you can see the other option involved dealing with a river, pak 43 & naval bunkers, 2x 88s & a platoon of infantry with 4x attached HMGs!]


The 8x direct fire priests destroyed a tank nest, 4x 10s and 4x cromwells obliterated the paks. LoS was limited and the naval gun from hell missed! I lost an Observer Sherman to the 88 bunker.

Talk about avoiding most of the table! The cromwell's swing wide. I am starng to like 16" movement!

Next turn the cromwells advanced on the 105s, killing one with DF but were not close enough to assault. Recce lifted GTG and my priests continued to DF vs infantry. I had 2x priests bailed to the 88 bunker (David's dice rolling was woeful, even when compared to my rolls on day 1) but one jumped back in- the other was knocked out next round. I lost an M10 and the other observer Sherman to a 105 barrage and a 2nd M10 remained bailed for a couple of turns.

The naval artillery continued to miss- and its ranging in attempts were made harder when my priests DF knocked out the observer. Turn 4 my cromwells finished off the 105s and both infantry platoons arrived but luckily cover/and or range helped and they weren’t hit too badly by the bunkers/nests and too minimal casualties- the advanced on table in two lines very WWI esque- to minimise templates.

As you can see David's pioneers are preparing to advance to contest the objective.

The pioneers stretch out along the hedgeline.

My Turn 5 my infantry dug in contesting the objective and my cromwells scooted round the MG the pioneers lined up against a hedge row and pinned them, killing a few stands. The pioneers failed to unpin so could not advance to contest handing me the game at the start of my turn 6.

6-1 to the T&T. Lucky though. Dave placed his paks to far forward and I was able to hammer them.


I still believe the best defence in Breakthough is a lock tight defence in one quarter- you choose the corner opposite where the attackers objectives are going to be and overlook it with AT guns etc, forcing them to deal with all of your force, rather than ½ of it. As it was the paks were at the end of his line and his two infantry platoons did not quite stretch far enough to protect them. My only chance was to hit the paks and try to work round the flank- the rest of the defence looked far too daunting to even contemplate attacking. Luckily for me my plan worked.

The biggest problem with the static defences is if you can find that one chink and exploit it (and the terrain allowed me to do that) then it can be hard to recover. There was no way in hell I was going to make headway vs the rest of his defensive line! Dave’s dice rolling let him down quite badly but I enjoyed playing him and if he’d had an ounce of luck the result could have been quite different- I’m not keen to face that force again in a hurry!

Game 5: vs FW Simon McBeth (Free French Armour)

Simon and I had a great FW at the Worlds in Feb which he won on the last die roll of the game. Going into the final round I was in the top third. Poochie was on 19,Callum, a school boy running SS PGs was ahead of him on 20 and 4 of us on 17 a point ahead of the rest of the field: Me, Tim Ward (lots of FV Brit paras + 4x Vet cromwells- a list I had contemplated), Bede (SS armoured PGs) & Simon (Free French armour) so Bede randomised the draw and Simon and I got one of the only two blue on blue games of the comp. I didn’t mind really, Simon’s a top guy and a top player so I was looking forward to trying to get some revenge for February- however my main aim was to not be rolled over 6-1!

I wasn’t sure what to do to weather the storm but protected my right objective with 6 pdrs and an infantry platoon, chucked the cromwells into the heart of a wood with the other infantry (on his two objectives) and the recce and priests as far back as they could. M10s were my ambush but I had left my left flank fairly exposed so of course Simon weighed his attack there, whilst also sending his infantry our wide on my right to pressure my objective.

Looking down the line from my left to right flanks. Note the priests deployed!. The area with the cromwell's and infanry is a wood.

My right flank- 6 pdrs + infantry.

Simon had 12x shermans (2x 76mm), reduced Armoured rifles, recon, 105s & an (annoying) AoP.

Here the French are on their start line and the order is given to attack.

Turn 1: See how annoying the AoP is- no ambushes here!

I advanced a carrier to MG the recon jeeps which broke off without being hit. I also managed to bail 2 x shermans advancing rapidly on my left flank but they remounted then next turn. The 76mm Sherman then KOed my observer tank and the AoP prevented my M10s from ambushing and I also lost a carrier.

Turn 2 I managed to do no damage with artillery again even though I had 4 more hits! Oh crap. His artillery using the AoP knocked out my 6 pdr covering the crossroads.

Start of turn 3 the massed Shermans were contesting and able to fire on my (concealed) priests- but they missed. So I direct fired with 3 of the priests (needing 5s to hit) and hit with all 3! Simon assigned the hits to his 76mm (FA 7) and 2 normal Shermans 1,2,2- all were knocked out!

The M10s also let rip at the other Sherman platoon- scoring 6 hits, killing 4 tanks (including the 76mm) and bailing the last one which fled! 7 destroyed tanks and one fled in a single turn!

Next turn the cromwells and priests knocked out the 2 French command shermans after they had destroyed 2 priests.

I managed to successfully withdraw the carriers (skill check as the Shermans were within 8") and then, the next turn, the badly damaged priest platoon. In the next couple of turns the last two French Shermans died and I had to switch to my right flank where my last observer tank was trying to fend off the advancing armoured rifles. I lost another two 6 pdrs to 30 cals and artillery but managed to pass a platoon morale check and then withdrew the survivor next turn, denying another VP.

Simon failed a tank terror test vs my infantry + observer tank so got stuck.

Howeer he attacked again under a smoke barrage in his nxt turn and managed to bail the tank and get an assault into my infantry. I lost a team and broke off, losing my Sherman.

We were almost out of turns so I fed all I could in to keep the objective contested. In the last couple of turns the 105s finally did some serious damage knocking out two M10s and bailing another. The final dice roll of the game being my company commander re-rolling the last M10s motivation to prevent a platoon being lost.

6-1 to the T&T!

Wow, that turn 3 was decisive, my most successful ambush in a long, long time. However the game still went to the wire. Simon was unlucky not to get a couple of points and even in the last two turns nearly won it! A great game, for once the dice loved me (I think I failed 2 bogging tests out of 20+ during the game- and finally started to pass my morale tests). Alas, the dice were not so kind to Simon and I got revenge of earlier in the year J


Poochie managed to defeat his prodigy Callum in the final (Poochie being former Junior Champion of the World after all) to claim first, and I snuck throught the field to nab 2nd by a point from Callum. So another 1-2 SMG finish! Tim got the most scalps in assaults with his British paras (40 something!) I was on 23 at the end of day 1 but alas got no enemy infantry in assaults on day 2. I am happy to say I helped Grant claim top German tank destroyer by giving him about 11 kills in our game! Alex got a well deserved best sport.

A fantastic weekend, the games were all fun, my sportsman vote could have gone to any of my opponents and that indicates to me the kind of spirit the weekend was played. Great bunch of guys, and some really good fun games vs people I either haven’t or have very, very rarely played. Bede did a great job organising it. The tables, and especially his Pegasus Bridge table, were fantastic!

I am already looking forward to the East Front Winterfest of Bedecon 2- either Hungarian Infantry or my Cossacks methinks!

As for the T&T boys- less priests more infantry next time! I'm also tempted to try 2 platoons of cromwell's they were lots of fun.

The Placegetters from left to right

Poochie (1st), Grant- most allied tanks killed, me (2nd), Alex (best sport), Pete (best painted-fantastic US para force); in the front: Callum (3rd) and Tim (most enemy teams killed in assaults).

And finallly... Tom Leamy's Naval Gun Fire Support!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Bedecon Day 1

Well, I’m back from “Bedecon” and had a fantastic weekend. A Normandy themed comp with a twist! There was a prize for the allied player who killed the most German infantry/manpacked gun teams in assaults, for the Germans there was a prize for the most enemy tanks (AFVs) destroyed- and I happily contributed many points to these. The concept was an idea of Poochie’s and it worked very, very well.

The comp was fantastic and the tables superb. I played 5 fun games vs 5 really nice guys, three of whom I’d never played before.

I hadn’t tested the army and it took a while to get to grips with it but in the end if did pretty well.

Game 1: No Retreat vs John H and his fortress company- infantry + pillboxes & minefields

Attacking vs lots of fortifications. John closed down one avenue of approach with a pillbox + 2 minefields so I naturally went the other and attacked cautiously- only just getting over the half way line on turn 6 and not really exposing my force to too much fire. My attempt to lift a minefield failed so it was on to plan B- drive an observer Sherman over some barbed wire to open a gap- John’s 88 bunker finally then got to fire- and missed with both shots which I found amusing. John wasn’t going to stand for that so, whomp, a 105 battery landed a barrage on the hapless Sherman and down it went!

Next turn my first platoon launched an assault and cleared the near objective of Germans- only for the 3 survivors to fail the first (of many) platoon morale checks for the weekend and thus gave the objective back.

Moments after the platoon bugged out.

Time was then running out so it was time for some trickery- alas the rough going of the minefield prevented all my trickery from working quite as I hoped- but I managed to get the cromwells and M10s over the wire and assault (under smoke) a small platoon of infantry and then “bounce” over them to the rear objective when they counter assaulted- I broke off after passing my morale test (tanks don’t stop for anything)- past the 88 bunker. Hee, hee, now I only had to survive the DF for 3x 105s and a nasty little infantry platoons attempts to assault to (possibly) win the game.

Alas, it didn’t quite work out- my gamble failed and all my tanks died (it was really my last chance for a win).

The red dice indicate the edge of the smoke bombardment.

So close...

My final infantry platoon move out of cover and got whomped by 105s, 75mm infantry guns, 81mm mortars, an 88 bunker, HMG bunkers/nests bit the three survivors still managed to go forward the next turn and take out another damaged German platoon- and contest the near objective again, but after John counter attacked my last stand, my CO, died!

John was only down to 3 infantry teams + small support platoons (well hidden) and I was down to recce, priests, + 6 pdrs and one platoon shy of auto breaking so I threw everything forward and died in a blaze of glory.

4-3 to John. A fantastic first game, it was bloody and brutal and I had my chances to win- morale tests failed me quite badly but that is life. Was happy to get to two objectives, even if I failed to hold them!


A good game- I gave it my best shot, John remained cool under fire and did enough to hold me off . Lots of dead teams to infantry assaults though- 15! Recce lifting GtG on double timing infantry in a trench + 6 pdrs= lots of dice! I was also happy the way I managed to just avoid any pillboxes going into assaults.

Priests ranged in first turn, killed a team and even with Mike Target failed to kill any more repeating the boombardment 5 turns in a row.

Memo to self- British can attack at night!

Game 2: FFA vs Alex 21st Panzer Div PGs

Similar forces- 2 platoons & supports. A great table which needed up becoming two separate battles. The game was notable for woeful dice rolling form both of us, it ended up a race to see who could failed more rolls first and thereby lose the worst!

My 6pdrs, M10s, recce and an infantry platoon defended the high objective my Cromwells, prelists, & other platoon the town. Alex deployed a PG, werfers on the top of the hill, tigers and paks covered the centre, shleppers, infantry, 3x panzer IVs + AA covered the other objective. I really liked the list- only felt it needed a 4th panzer IV to be really dangerous. We ended up trading blows round the village- Alex pushed forward his panzer IVs and after some terrible dice rolling from both of us I finally managed to see off the panzers.

Meanwhile my infantry had assaulted the shleppers and paks, killing a pak and then the shleppers and paks retreated- I lost a few teams though- and jumped 6 teams into 2 buildings directly in front of the shleppers! Luckily they missed- oh crap bunker buster!J My infantry was picked off in an assault from the 2nd PG platoon soon thereafter taking the CO with them as they legged it back to the beaches- yep, more failed morale tests.

The German panzer grenadiers move to assault the remnants of my infantry platoon.

Meanwhile the priests had been ranging in and failing firepower tests vs tigers and the tigers moved up the hill to support the other PG platoon. A few assaults took place and Germans retreated. In the end my M10s were knocked out- one got shleppered in to round 1, the others fell victim to tigers and 2 dead, 1 bailed = another failed motivation test! However, I mauled the infantry on the hill so was close to capturing that objective. On the hill the tigers were starting to pop my priests and were also protecting the last few infantry.

I managed to assault with 3 teams (out of a near full strength rifle platoon) at the 3 survivors of the PG platoon, and missed them all- the rest of my teams were giving covering fire to avoid drawing in a tigger- Alex’s dice finally started working- and he killed all 3 teams, my last four teams ran forward and only killed a team of his! The surviving PGs killed 2 more rifle teams before dying. My troops then failed their morale test (of course) and that left 3 6 pdrs and 2 recce carriers to face the tigers which were rumbling merrily towards the objective.

The shleppers were finally taken out by the cromwells and it became a race to grab an objective before losing on the top of the hill, I managed to grab the right objective and screen it with cromwells and try to hold on long enough for the win. Luckily the PGs failed to unpin after being MGed and so couldn’t contest and so we took the win by the narrowest of margins!

Bede's very nice Total Battlefield buildings. Lovely!

4-3 to T&T. A really random game that was a lot of fun. Two quite evenly matched forces I felt and we both did well, especially given our tendencies to miss most of the time, and/or fail morale tests. Lots of fun vs a great opponent!

Priests- 50 caled a pak 40! Bailed a tigger and did not much else of note.

Game 3: Witches Cauldron vs Grant

Grant ran a CT German infantry force of 10 platoons- 3x infantry, pioneers, 3x stugs, 3x jagdpanthers, 75mm IG, nebs, 3x 20mm, 2x pak 40s.

I got to defend and stuck my 2x infantry + 6 pdrs on the objectives and intended to just sit there and hopefully weather the storm till the reserves arrived.

Grant attacked under a nebwelwerfer smoke screen but failed a tank terror when my Op Shermans was drawn in. The next turn I hit him with rifle fire and the 6 pdrs and assaulted a couple of teams and he puiled back then failed to unpin.

Turn 3 my cromwells arrived but no stugs/jagdpanthers were on table yet so they assaulted and destroyed the nebs, while an infantry platoon raced out to destroyed the 2x pak 40s. In both cases the command teams stayed and retreated and both passed sole survivor tests the next round, so were removed and thus no VPs. Turn 4 the jagdpathers arrived and aimed at the cromwells and two were destroyed.

Over the next 3-4 turn as silly rolling maul developed in a cornfield. M10s arrived on the flanks of the jagdpathers and between them and the cromwells I killed 2 , bailed the other.

How's that for a sandwich? M10s & Cromwells.

Then the stugs arrived, supported by a platoon of pioneers which destroyed a cromwell, bailed another with flamethrowers then failed to assault the remains. Another Cromwell fell to a stug (but I finally passed a morale test- on a 5+). My recce arrived to deal with the infantry, then the 20mm AA arrived to deal with the recce. In the end Grant won the scrap- his 20mm AA bailed 2x M10s and a third fell to the stugs and the survivor legged it, followed in the same turn by the last Cromwell! The recce carriers cleaned up the 20mm AA from the flank then were taken out by stugs. This left Grant with 3 stugs and a jagdpanther vs my infantry, 6 pdrs & priests.

Now its getting messy!

The priests meanwhile had arrived on the far side of the board and had used 50 cals to destroy the 75mm IGs and then I started dropping bombardments on the stugs but the shells kept being bounced.


Now this doesn't look good- the stugs now advance to deal with my infantry!

Grant was starting to run low on troops and I got a lucky 6 pdr shot through the front of a stug, and repeated the feat the next turn but the final stug stayed. Finally, I did a stonk on the jagdpanther that had just taken up a hull down position to snipe my priests (and had KOed one with its first shot) and killed it forcing a company morale test which Grant failed.

4-3 to the T&T boys!

Wow another really fun, really random game that again was on a knife edge. I felt very lucky to come away with a win after that one. Grant played well and could have won it. I really enjoyed the silly tank scrap, lots of un.

Priests: 2x gun teams and a jagdpanther

End of Day 1: I was on 11 pts in the middle of the pack- not that I was worried about placing, I just wanted to have fun. Lots of us were in similar positions but the Free French Armour (Simon McBeth) and Poochie’s US armour were a few points clear of the rest of us Allies s and there were a couple of German forces with 13+ points too, so a really tight comp.

I was really struggling with the CV morale and failed at least 75% of platoon morale tests. Had some good luck with the dice, but plenty of bad, but luckily my opponents had similar bad luck. A good fun day though and was looking forward to Day 2.