Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bedecon- ideas

Winterfest (Bedecon) is fast approaching and the theme this year is the Winter War on the East Front 44-45. So it’s time to start trying to come up with some ideas.

When Bede first proposed Winterfest last year my first reaction was to take Cossacks. I’ve now got Red Bear so I’m starting to go through some ideas:
Option 1: Cossacks

Guards Cossacks- FT      

  • ·         HQ      35
  • ·         2x Mt Cossack Platoons     205
  • ·         3x Dismounted Cossack Platoons - x HMG        275
  • ·         Regimental Gun Platoon: 4x Zis 2           185
  • ·         Tank Killer Company: 4x M10s     250
  • ·         Cossack Tankovy Company: 8x Valentines       260
  • ·         Guards Heavy Tanks: 3x JS II- 3x AA MG           420
  •          3x        M 16 MGMC AA Halftracks            120

Option : Scouts instead of the AA.

Option 2: Motostelkovy.
Mostostrelkovy get a pretty bad rap and many people think there are far better (read more competitive) way to run Soviets but they do have some advantages:
  • ·         Lots of interesting support choices so it really is a flexible force.
  • ·         All infantry are armoured with SMGs
So I am very tempted to run motostrelkovy but pinning down what to put into it is far harder than I originally thought. However, the whole point of the army is to take SU 76s so they are a must have unit.
My main issues?
  • 1.    Size of motostrelk companies: Some players on the Bf forums seem to be recommending single platoon companies (representing worn down companies) but I think a 2 platoon company dug in and supported by Zis 2s could be hard to shift off an objective but also have some survivability going forward.
  • 2.    Tank support: T45/85 are a good all rounder unit, IS 2s or IS 85s, or even ISU 122s- I just like the look of the ISU 122.
  • 3.    High end AT: ISU 122s or SU 100s in this role.
  • 4.    Red army or Guards (confident or fearless?) the main difference being a slight difference in company size.

A couple of options are as follows:

Red Army Motostrelkovy (CT)   

  • ·         HQ      30
  • ·         8x        Motostrelkovy (SMG)           130
  • ·         15x      Motostrelkovy (SMG) + HMG          265
  • ·         9x        Razvedki- M3A1s (FT)        205
  • ·         5x        T34/85s- AT 12 (cupolas)   400
  • ·         4x        57mm AT guns- AT 11        155
  • ·         4x        SU 100- AT 16          310
  • ·         4x        SU 76- AT 9  150
  • ·         3x        Spetnez- (FT)            100

o   Total  1745
Guards Motostrelkovy (FT)        

  • ·         HQ      35
  • ·         8x        Motostrelkovy (SMG), 1x HMG, Kom        195
  • ·         8x        Motostrelkovy (SMG), Kom 155
  • ·         9x        Razvedki- M3A1s     205
  • ·         4x        57mm AT guns- AT 11       180
  • ·         3x        IS-85   385
  • ·         4x        SU 100           345
  • ·         4x        SU 76 (CT)    150
  • ·         3x        Spetnez- (FV)           100

At this stage I'm leaning towards the Motostrelkovy, its not the meanest force round but has the potential to be effective if used properly. So I guess my main issues are:

  • 1.    5x T34/85s or 3x IS-85s (no Hens & Chicks)
  • 2.    3x ISU 122 or 4x SU 100
  • 3.    2x min strength companies, or 1x 2 platoon & 1x 1 platoon.

I need a few practice games so sort out options


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FoW Soviet Armour- Roll Call

The Soviets have always been my main FoW army and I have far to many armoured vehicles. How many? Until today I wasn't sure but thought I'd take a roll call to find out. I have a few more hidden away in boxes from the move (such as 3x T70s and 3x T34/85s but have yet to find exactly where).

All the vehicles except the lend-lease Shermans are Battle Front, the Shermans are PSC.

So what does the army have:

18        T70
28        T34/76
4          BA 7
4          SU 85
5          M10s
4          SU 122
4          SU 76
3          SU 152
4          ISU 122
9          Stuarts
4          Churchills
3          JS 2
5          KV 1E
5          KV 1S
16        Valentines
7          T34/85
10        M4 Shermans

Recon and Razvedki   
10        M3A1 Scouts Cars
9          Bren Carriers
2          Sdkfz 251 Half Tracks
7          BA 64
2          BA 10s (can't find #3)
Mixed Tankovy (white wash)
10        T34/76
8          T60
2          KV 1E


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Black Powder Report

Kent and I popped down to the club for another game of Black Powder, this time with 10 battalions per side. My cunning plan this time was to use the extra battalions to make a small reserve brigade of two battalions.

I took the following formations:
  • 4x line battalions
  • 2x jager and 2x grenadier battalions
  • 2x line battalions
  • 1x Cuirassiers, 1x Dragoons, 1x Lancers
We used John's rules for the Borodino weekend so my infantry had a stamina of 4 but only 2 dice in shooting. 

Kent had:
  • 6x line battalions
  • 2x Middle Guard
  • 2x Old guard
  • !x Cuirassiers, 1x Dragoons, 1x Chasseurs 

I decided to use the small brigade on my right flank to hold the flank while I attacked on my left flank.

 Kent's deployment.
 Turn 1: Kent attacks my weak right flank with four battalions while also advancing on the left.

 I actually advanced this time, drawing up on the edge of a road as they steeled themselves to advance into the teeth of the French defence.

 On the right the small brigade prepares to throw back the French attack.
 A view form my ;left flank- I forgot to take some trees down to the club but the base in the foreground represents a wood. At this point I felt if i threw my infantry forward the 8 battalions I mad massed should be able to punch through the extremely thin Blue line.
 Unfortunately, my infantry threw themselves straight at the Old Guard who repulsed the assault although they were shaken by the ferocity of the initial charge (the first of three such failed assaults against them).
 My elite brigade (Jagers and Grenadiers) also attacked but were again repulsed in the hand-to-hand phase.
 Meanwhile our Cavalry had turned up and prepared to clash on the far right of my line. Kent's raced across the table and mine ere pinned in against the table edge but for 2-3 turns we both failed to pass command roles and so stood there glaring at each other (memo to self: must remember to do initiative charges).
 Kent managed to disorder my my battalions most turns and so my advance faltered.
 Finally, our cavalry clash. My Dragoons came off second best and withdrew off the table, only to return later.
 Unfortunately my far left brigade broke and then in the final turn my other two infantry brrigades also broke so game to Kent.
A much closer game than the final result indicated. I managed to destroy two battalions of infantry and also some of Kent's cavalry but in the end the Old Guard held held off three determined assaults and then Kent's fire managed to disorder my battalions so although I had sufficient mass (IMO) I was not able to quite execute my plan. What I probably need to do is take advantage of the mixed battalion rules to run a skirmisher screen to better protect my infantry. A good fun game though and the much closer than the week before.

We are still not sure about John's ratings for the Russians and will use them for Borodino and go back to the suggestions in the BP book after that.

Finally we both enjoyed the more options that another two battalions allowed, we are starting to hit a sweet spot game sizewise for our games. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Russians- Black Powder & FoW

Kent and I are having another game of Black Powder tomorrow night so over the last couple of nights I've painted up some Jagers so I will be able to field 10 infantry battalions. I decided to paint them in the dark green (winter) uniform to help recognise them on the table top.

 Also, Winterfest (or as it more commonly referred, Bedecon) is only a few weeks away. Last years theme as Normandy, this year it is the Winter War on the Eastern Front in the winter of 44-45. To tell the truth the last time I played late war was Bedecon last December, so I am a bit rusty. I don't own the latest books (Red Bear & Grey Wolf) which is another issue but they should be arriving in the next day or so. I will be on the Soviet side, not sure what I'll take and it will depend a bit on changes in the latest  books but probably Razvedki, Cossacks, Strelkovy or possibly even a forward etachment force. The thing putting me off committing to Cossacks is the size of the cavalry bases and having to transport everything to Wellington, so it has to be reasonably compact.

Waylander Games in the UK was having a special last week, order 100pds worth of stuff and get the new Devil's Charge thrown in for free. So I took advantage of that to get Red Bear and Grey Wolf and as I needed a few more bits and pieces to get to the 100pds also got a platoon on Lend Lease M10s to add to my M10 collection. One idea Poochie suggested was to do my Soviet Lend Lease force in late war using the razvedki M3s, Shermans and M10s but we will see.

I'll start sorting out ideas in the next few days but in the meantime I redid the bases on my stelkovy tonight using static grass and Silflor grasses. Most of my infantry are from the Soviets in Greatcoats
blister and they are my favourite Soviet sculpts. I've the odd stand that has gone AWOL in the move but no doubt they'll turn up soon.

Battalion HQ Anti-tank rifle platoon
 Dismounted DshK AA machine guns- back in 2005 they were a mainstay in my mid war guards force and always did well for their points.

Hopefully in the next week or so I can get a game s Kent or Dale so I can test a few ideas...

In the meantime, hopefully I can slow down the French tomorrow night in our next 1812 clash.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Disaster near Borodino

As the Grand Armee's advance continues deep into the heart of the motherland, Bagration dispatched two brigades of infantry to halt the French advance and they soon ran into advance elements of the invading army. How did the Russians fare? Read on and find out.

We used John's rules for Borodino, including his suggested stats for units so my Russians lost their steady rule but got an extra point in stamina, I'd rather have the steady rule- but that might jsut be grumbling aobut the outcome!

Turn 1: Kent reads the battle notes transcribed by Napoleon himself apparently.
 We each had 8 battalions of infantry in two brigades- Kent's incldued 2 units of Guard (one per regiment) and 2 units of Veterans. I had 6x line battalions and 2x veterans.

 End of turn 1. My right command refused to advance towards the enemy.
 End of turn 2- Kent advanced a battalion to flank my troops- my artillery would take care of them- or would have if it hadn't blundered and moved in the wrong direction.

 The thin blue line advances.
 While the stalwart defenders of the  motherland march forward to meet them. Atr this point everything was still looking okay...
 Uh, oh. I smell trouble. The Cavary brigade has arrived.
 Still my right flank refuses to do anything useful.
 My Cavalry arrives, my lancers advance then the rest of the Cav join the mass milling round trying to sort out where they are supposed to go. This does not bode well.
 Meanwhile the guard cavalry charge my artillery, ignore the casualties and run down my guns (again!)
 The French Cavalry have charged my infantry, foring them into square so the Gurd go in with the bayonet and rout my battalion- oh, if only wer were steady...
 Ta da! Where did the Russians go?
  minor hiccup comrade, continued the advance! Alas I again manage to fail most command rolls and my attack becomes even more disjointed. It also means Kent is able to continue to concentrate his fire on my exposed brigade and the casualties soon mount...
 In fact two more battalions are shot to pieces and the brigade routs! Ah, crap, now we are in trouble...
 Retreat! The remaining battalions retreat off the table.
 My Dragoons move to cover the crumbling left flank.
 At least the right brigade has finally decided to move...
 The Guard Cav and French infantry dare the dragoons to advance into the valley of death- but disorder them with musket fire. .
 Now the French attack pivots to the French right.
 My infantry fail to inflict any meaningful casualties (again)
 The French Dragoons slaughter the Lancers and drive the survivors from the field.
 Guard Cavalry attacks the dragoons destroying them too.

 And the Russians break. A total white wash, the French did not lose a single battalion! Talk about a white wash. I did miss the steady rule but Kent played his army well and again my lack of coordination of my brigades cost me dearly. Very well played Kent.

Next time we will add a couple more infantry battalions.

The Bomber 
I watched this the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it. The premise is a bit silly but an enjoyable war movie and (the wargamer geek coming out in me) the terrain was great inspiration for war gaming in Russia and the Ukraine. Interesting to get a Russian view and the story is definitely not from a western film making perspective which is good. I thought they did a pretty good job of showing the issues facing Russian soldiers (eg. NKVD) and also of atrocities commmitted in Russia. Well worth a look.