Thursday, June 16, 2016

FoW: Meet Boris the Behemoth

Random army idea time. The Barbarossa armybook turned up yesterday so have been flicking through looking for ideas. I found last night that I would have preferred to have RoF 3 Panzer IIIs rather than the lower rate of fire but better fire power of the Mk IVs- I don't have the hulls to enjoy the luxury of sitting back bombarding/smoking opponents, so came up with a silly idea that I suggested to Poochie this morning...

Barbarossa Light Panzer Company (CV)

  • 1x HQ Panzer IIIG (155pts)
  • 3x Panzer IIIG (460pts)
  • 2x 231 8-Rad Armoured Cars (110)
  • 1x T34/40 (CT) (260 points)

Yep that's right "Boris the Behemoth", a  T34/40 which has been press-ganged into German service.
Front armour 6, side armour 5, AT 8, range 24". What's not to like?

I like to think of him as my "pocket tiger." I expect him to be totally underwhelming but he is similar points to a platoon of 5x panzer IIs so Poochie and I intend to have a competition to see who does the most damage, Boris or the Pee-Wee Panzers.

So my army has shrunk to 7 AFVs (4x panzers, a T34 and 2 armoured cars). At least set up/ deployment shouldn't be a problem!

So a quick drybrush and we are good to go. I've had to order a couple of 231 8-rad armoured cars though.

Boris in all his Russian Green glory.

And the Panzer IIIGs- I had to replace the barrels with short 50mm cannons, gave them all a quick drybrush and we are good to go.

I can't see Poochie and me threatening too many opponents forces but it should be a laugh.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

FoW: Early War: DAK Panzers vs Crusader Squadron

Tonight Nigel popped round to test out my Panzershrek force vs his Crusaders.

Panzer Company (CV)
1x HQ Panzer IV
3x Panzer IVs
5x Panzer IIs
2x 231 8-Rad armoured cars

Nigel took his Crusaders (CT):
1x HQ Crusader II + 2x Close Support Crusaders
3x Crusader IIs
3x Crusader IIs
3x Scout carriers

As it has been so long we thought we'd play a nice and simple free for all- maybe not such a good idea with such small (1000pt) forces, but what the hell.

Initial deployment. I got the first turn.

British turn 1, the troop of crusaders on the British far left advances and destroys a panzer II. The carriers have charged in close to get side shots.

Turn 2- so low AT + crappy fire power= 2x bailed panzer IIs. In reply the 231 armoured cars bail 2 scout carriers.

 On my leftflank the panzer IVs advance on the Crusader HQ troop, destroying a close support crusader.

On the German right flank thngs are not looking good. A couple of panzers failed to remount and the crusaders swept down off the hill making full use if their tally ho rule to fire t full rate of fire.

Even worse on my left flank none of my panzer IVs remounted- they re sitting ducks. However as I write this I completely forgot about protected ammo for all my tanks. Doh! What can I say, its been a while.

Another Panzer II is knocked out.

Turn 3 those pesky carriers are destroyed though. At least I'll get a point.

On the German left flank the Crusader HQ advances to make use of Tally ho.

 Back on the German right all the panzer IIs are knocked out or pinned.

The HQ crusaders advance past the German platoon making use of their broadside ability and knock out the German company commander and the Panzer IV troop.

 On the right the Panzer IIs fail their morale test and the Germans break. 5-2 to Nigel. A nit of a major deployment error didn't help my cause but Nigel did a better job of keeping his armour supporting each other so deserved the win,.

What can I say? It as always going to be a fast, and potentially unbalanced, game at 1000pts. A lot of fun though. Fast and brutal. I've lots to learn about playing early war games.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Getting back into Flames of War

It's been awhile since my last game of FoW, over two years in fact (Day of Days 2014). After more than a decade of FoW I'd had enough and put it aside for other games and activities.

However, Poochie and I have decided to play in  Panzershrek this year. We chatted about it last time we met up and after being keen then changing my mind decided what the hell it would be a great chance to catch up with some of the North Island gamers I enjoy playing against. Panzershrek is Early War doubles so we've been emailing over the past few weeks throwing a few ideas around and slowly our ideas have been crysallising into a couple of (hopefully) viable lists.

I'm looking at running a panzer company and  Poochie a supporting infantry company. Anyone who knows Poochie's style of play will quickly realise the most dangerous part of our force will no doubt be his infantry- he is a rather aggressive infantry player. You can be assured when laying him that that his tactics are not usually to turn turtle and dig in but take the fight to the enemy whenever he can. We will be using Barbarossa (good call Poochie, pick the only EW book I don't have!) which I've ordered but in meantime I'm using Hellfire and Back to trial/playtest my list. I can do it as a DAK force but not as a Barbarossa based one... (yet).

I  hope to get Dale, Nigel and Kent involved. Dale has a Stuart Squadron that can be used Early War. He first used it in 1E taking it to the Nationals (about 2003-2004) and it was a bitch to play against. Of course his force was all Poochie's fault. Having a night sitting round having a few beers at Dale's during one of one of our early TAGCON/ Day of Days Dale and Poochie had one of their (typical) see who can make the craziest list discussions and they came up with two armoured squadrons of (about 30-32) M3A1 Honey Stuarts at 1500 points.

Dale being Dale soon had the force bought and painted and terrorising the local gaming community- we used to love it when he got totally confused with which tank belonged to which troop/squadron once turn 2 or 3 came around- there would be a huge mass of 28+ intermingled Stuarts driving full tilt straight at some hapless opponents objectives and Dae losing track of which start belonged to which troop. It was a nasty, nasty list to play but over the years we  bought some of the Stuarts off him so reduced its nastiness :) Still it was a great list to learn to focus fire against, picking off one squadron at a time to break his force (Though h would usually withdraw a battered squadron and throw the other one in before either as broken), he played it well and you really had to bring your A game to the table and a decent amount of luck to beat it versus its traditional DAK opponents.

The last time we used them was ANZAC Day 2013 when we had a desert themed midwar doubles game.

Nigel also has a Crusader squadron that I sold to him many years back I hope to play against. It was my first desert force which I bought way back in about 2002-2003 when under V1 crusaders were absolute pants (reluctant trained IIRC) but did quite well with it at a TAGCON/Day of Days.

So we can do a few trial games in the desert vs armoured forces to test my ideas out.

I am looking at two possible panzer companies to run (1000 pts per player, 2000pts per team). I'm looking at running a panzer IV company and have 2 play test options:

Mittlere Panzers (1010pts)          
2x           Panzer IVD          300
4x           4 Panzer IVD       600
2x           232 ACs                110

Simple and hopefully effective- not much to it really except as many Mk IVs as  I can fit in and some recon to lift Gone to Ground of necessary.  
Med Panzer Kompanie (990pts)
1x           Mk IVD                 150
3x           MK IVDs               450
5x           Panzer IICs          280
2x           232 ACs                110

This has possibly a bit more subtlety/flexibility to it with the Panzer IIs there to terrorise infantry forces so would (I hope) have a bit less one dimensional.

My first run will be the version with the Panzer IIs.

The Panzer IVs

Recon and 232 Armoured Cars.

I've thrown together a couple of British forces to playtest vs- one of which is a Kiwi (CT) rifle company to see how it handles the heavier armour of tanks like Valentines. I've not enough British tanks myself so have put together the infantry to test the force out.
2x infantry squads
4x 2 pdrs
3x Valentines

The  2pdrs need a bit of work but will do.

Infantry platoons

A playtest table I put together today to run a few solo/playtest games on.

I've ordered the tanks I'll need to do the East Front version.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

BA 1600pts Free French vs Germans

Last night Nigel and Kent came round for a game of Bolt Action. Again we played 1600points of tank heavy forces. I used the same force as last time (2x Vet 75mm shermans, 1x 76mm sherman, M10, Scott, 81mm mortar, 2x vet squads, bazooka, dodge truck), Kent had tweaked his list and took:

2x stugs
3x panzer IVs
2x vet FJ squads
1x 81mm mortar
1x105mm howitzer

We used the same table and played point defence. Nigel rolled to see who attacked and it was the Germans so I set up my infantry, mortars and guns on table, armour in reserve.

A view from my positions- I placed the 81mm mortar in the edge of the woods with an infantry squad and bazooka. The 57mm gun covering the road and the second infantry squad in the cornfields to protect eitehr the central or left objectives. I had a sherman and the Scott flanking.

Turn 1 the Germans advance on my right flank with a single stug covering the crossroads/left flank.

The panzers cover the infantry advance on turn 1.

Turn 2 begins with the 105mm howitzer getting a direct hit on my 57mm AT gun and destroying it!

The M10 showed up and immediately knocked out one of the panzer IVs (smoke jsut visible behind the trees). One-One.

Another panzer advances and taes up a hull down position behind the building.

It is immobilised by my commander's Sherman coming on table from near the woods.

The 76mm Sherman and M10 cower behind a building. Something tells me there is a stug on ambush not far away...


The game about the start of turn 3.

The stugs ambush shot missed but then at the start of turn 3 the stug brews up the Sherman.

Turn 4 the Scott arrives from its flanking manouvre and charges the 105mm howitzer but only kills one crewman.

On the other flank my second 75mm Sherman arrives on table and outflanks the stug.

The immobilised panzer knocks out the scott.

The M10 too falls to Nigel's stug.
The start of turn 5 or 6.

On my right flank the fallschrimjager emerge from the cover of the building.

And the next turn assault and wipe out my infantry for minimal losses.

Suddnely only the bazooka team is contesting the far right objective.

Turn 8 and the final fallschimjager squad advances on the centre objective but my goumiers also contest.

Alas for Kent and Nigel their infantry fail their order test and so my bazooka manages to keep contesting..
Victory to the Free French.

Another good game, I managed to hold the objectives but only just- I had to pass two break tests in the past two turns due to having lsot 6 out of 11 squads/teams (we have introduced a FoW style break test). Also for tank Wars we are using a 5ft x 6ft table so added an extra turn to the game and this worked well.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Current project

Not much to report on the gaming front again unfortunately but Kent and I are planning to have a game next Weds all going well. The only gaming news of note is that Poochie and I have decided to go to Panzershrek FOW doubles tourney in Palmerston North in July.

Most of the guys I enjoy playing against in FoW are based in the North Island these days and over much umming and aahhing decided to partner Poochie and go on a road trip with the Regiment- as an honorary member (or is that the only member?) of their southern branch. Haven't played FoW since Day of Days 2014 so no doubt will be a bit rusty but looking forward to catching up with a large number of gaming mates.

Bach Reno project
However, I have been keeping myself busy. After about 15 months of planning I've finally started my major renovation on my old bach. I had to wait till Julie was back working before I started and the council consents took 3 months rather than the 20 working days we'd anticipated so the timeline has been thrown well and truly off track.

The bach is about 60 years old and currently about 60 square metres with two small (under 10 square metre each) bedrtrooms so I decided to add a larger double bedroom for Julie and me. However, the best views are from the carpark area as the bach is nestled down the slope (and so protected from the prevailing winds) so I decided that if I didn't go up as well that in a year or two I'd be kicking myself for not having done so. So in the end I came up with a design that had a lounge and an upstairs bedroom. The addition will bring the bach to about 100 square meters so still quite small- I've become a fan of the small(er) house movement. It is interesting to note that since the 1960s our houses have grown from about 120m2 to more than 205m2, the third biggest in the world!

Anyway I digress. Over the past 8 weeks or so I've spent most of my weekends down at the bach getting involved in my building project- not exactly a grand designs scale project but fun nevertheless.

Easterweekend weekend finally got started- we had to excavate part of the hillside as the build is going to be set back into the hill.

Foundations went in- after a 2 week delay as we'd hit a seam of limestone and council needed to approve changes to the piles- yet more expense.

 As you can see the existing bach is nothing flash (a typvcial old school bach, not a fnacy arse holidfay home), built 60 odd years ago, clad in horrible hardiplank (I'm going to change to ply and batten to tie in to extension). The new lounge and upstairs bedroom is built on the north (sunny) side of the house.

The upper storey is built back into the hillside and sitting on a block wall- which we needed to build.

The ground floor framing goes up.

Indoor/outdoor flow- the existing north wall is removed- this will increase the size of the lounge.

The upstairs is underway

Upstairs framework complete.

Finally,  I get to see the view I've been planning on capturing.

The above photo was taken last Friday- a stunning day. Saturday it pissed down and I spent the day sweeping away water which was coming through under the ply into the existing lounge we'd put up till the interior is enclosed.

I popped down after work last night and yesterday the roof went on and they started wrapping the exterior.

And there we have it to date./ Am off down for the long weekend to do a few bits and pieces but hopefully by next weekend it will be clad