Sunday, 12 March 2023

Scratching an itch.....80's Cold War!

 Sometimes you've just got to scratch an itch. Some of you may wish to look away now.....

I've fancied cold war stuff for a while. The lads at the local club play in 6mm and it looks good, but I've never been a fan of small scale stuff and really I don't want to play with brigades, more platoons and companies. 

When a mate mentioned he had 15mm modern British and played Team Yankee - Chieftains, Scorpions, Abbots and Lynx helicopters - it was the excuse I needed. Although I'd rather have had the British I picked up some T-72's and some other kit on eBay and from resellers at discounted rates and got painting. 

Now I know FoW gets some stick for having lines of tanks and point based games which look like 40k. But that's as much about how you play as the rules themselves. Digging online I found some some info on Soviet TOE and used that to assemble my force.

  • T-72 Tank Company- HQ tank and 9 tanks in 3 platoons
  • Recce platoon- 2 BMP1
  • AA Platoon- 2 Shilka
  • Tracked Art- 3 Carnation SPG
  • Infantry Support Motor Rifle platoon- 4 BMP2 w Infantry squads 

This is well within the scope of the army lists in the books and feels like the lead elements of a Tank regiment pushing forward with recce and other support. 

My force acquitted itself fairly well in its first game, considering it was only the second time I've played FOW and first time with TY. I expected to get my tanks shot up at long range and wasn't aggressive enough really but I managed to drive deep into the British position and take out the Lynx's and Scorpion's - the latter with my infantry RPG's. The chieftains suffered 2 or 3 losses from my tanks as they were well concealed by buildings and other terrain and had I been able to deploy a squad of my tanks earlier would have stretched the fewer numbers of British tanks by attacking both flanks simultaneously - but such was the scenario deployment rules (Encounter) and the throw of the dice. Given the British tanks could fire twice to my once whilst moving the losses seemed "right". I've been reading up on Arab Israeli battles in the 60's and 70's as the only real Cold War tank battles and the Soviet trained Syrian troops seem to have had the same issue when attacking, albeit in T55's vs Centurions. 

T72 drives past shot down Lynx's

Carnations deploy and have to use direct fire to stop marauding Scorpions...but the RPG's take them out.

Two Chieftains taken out by my T72's......but not enough

I am impressed by is the quality of the material produced by Battlefront. Nice glossy sourcebooks and plenty of eye catching pictures backed up by info online and a strong range of toys. It's accessible and enticing, (even if at times a good proof read is needed!). 

I also like the idea of doing some solo games, on the kitchen table with small forces. So I have bought some West Germans to face my Soviets. Leopard 2's with Heli support for now but I will add some  panzergrenadiers in Marder1's or some home defence units with older kit. I also fancy some air support and in the first half of the 80's the Germans used Lockheed Starfighters and Alpha Jets. No cards for these, only the later Tornado. So using the Skyhawk stats from TY I made up cards from scratch using MsVisio. Quite pleased with these and now I've finished assembling my tanks and Heli's I need to decide which fighter to buy and build!

Lastly I need some modern buildings for the area around Hannover and Hamburg and some modern roads.  Mdf seems ideal for these but again I like the Battlefront stuff too. 

Sometimes it's nice to go a little off piste. Now.....where's that Scorpions LP...

Friday, 17 February 2023

Canadian Patriots Rebellion - test game

 Last Tuesday there were a few folk away and numbers at the club were low so an off the cuff Rebels and Patriots games was arranged as I hadn't put my boxes of 1830's British and Canadians away I took them along with my snow mats and winter fences and we played a scratch game of the early rebellion using the stats for forces from the R&P rules. 

I need to paint the edges of the roads white and look at a simple method of adding snow to the house roof.

We played two quick games, in the first, the British, commanded by John, decided to shoot their way across the river, but skirmish fire from the Patriots held them back and nibbled away at the units. I was unable to being up the larger units of Patriots to support my skirmishers and when I did one of them got shot down in pretty quick order. However by now John was not in any fit state to force the bridge and we wrapped up the game.

In the second game I took over the British and determined that a little more dash was called for, so sent two units straight up the road and over the bridge, while two units fanned out to screen.Johns dice throwing improved and he was able to bring his skirmishers into play against the column and men started dropping. The lead unit stalled and with Patriots on three sides was quickly down to half strength and less. Casualties were mounting on the second unit two and when the advance unit inevitably failed its morale test, everyone piled back across the bridge.

Two quick games, two different approaches and two similar results.

But historical ones. In the first actions of the revolt, the British sent a force to St Denis and it too was forced back. neither John nor I were able to do much better, indeed we failed to get anywhere need the building, but as games go it was good fun to play and I have to say I think my figs and terrain went to tether quite well too!

Figures from Empress and Studio Miniatures (now Bicorn) for the British and Artizan and North Star for the Patriots. Mat from EBay, fences from Emperor Toad and roads from way way back! Trees are last valley and the buildings are Conflix

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

A Return to the Sugar Islands... in 40mm

 Last weekend I had the opportunity to catch-up with Graham H and we decided that it had been a bit too long since his excellent 40mm SYW figs had been on the table. So we decided to play the Ambush scenario from my Sugar Islands book. 

The scenario was designed to game the British struggle to get their men through rough country to be able to capture Fort Royal. The British advance was hindered by the narrow road to Fort Royal and the fact that the French were able to continually harass them with swarms of skirmishers taking advantage of the home ground. The British sent their Grenadiers and highlanders forward to clear the way and capture overlooking high ground. 

In  our game a unit of Grenadiers, one of Scots and a supporting unit of line infantry were advancing towards a hill with large house on it. They were attacked by three French units, one of line and one each of marines and militia. 

The game went very well, with the British finding it difficult to engage the French, casualties were not overly high, but Graham suffered from some poor morale rolls which disordered his grenadiers and highlanders and even had them scuttling back to the road in what could otherwise have been said to have been a rout! But there they reformed and the French decided it was time to head for the hill and call it a day. 

A great game, with a few surprising twists. We used Graham's 40mm figs and Jim Purky of Fife and Drum's AWI rules to play. Piccies below - 

Both Wargaming the Sugar Islands and Against Spain are still available , directly from me, from Caliver or from On Military Matters. The UK's postal woes continue at the time this post was written, and a recent order to the US took quite a long time to arrive safely. However it did arrive - thanks Brett for your patience! 

Friday, 13 January 2023

Patriots Rebellion - The Windmill

 After a rather longer than expected wait, a received my Xmas present - a 40cm high 3d printed tower which will be the Windmill near Prescott, Ontario which the Hunter Patriots defended in their ill-fated attempt to stir rebellion in Canada. 

This is still a prominent structure with massive walls which were able to stand the British artillery which was brought up on the day and which was only accessible by a door on the first floor, turning it into a virtual fortress.

This model needs its balcony and sails, but there is far less modelling to do than scratch building the whole building. I think it's a very good match. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

1st Game of the Year - the End of the Glen Campaign

 Let off the lead today to play a game with Graham H.

We decided to finish off the intermittent Glen Campaign which we have been running. After several skirmishes the two sides faced off near Skene, the town sitting at the gap where the Glen turns into the Valley. Here the three Union commands faced down the two remaining Confederate commands which had taken up position in a sunken road just outside town. This provided a good deal of cover and Graham deployed most of his units along its length, but threw two out behind the cover of a small wheat field in order to blunt the Union advance. I had the advantage of numbers, but most of my command were green recruits, leavened with 3 veteran units and some sharp shooters. Not the 3:1 odds I needed to take a defended position, but I hoped to be able to soak us some damage by not getting into to many firefights....

Pickett's charge....union style! 

The Union Army begins its advance

The Confederates await. 

Action across the field. Union gain the upper hand on the left and right flanks but are driven back initially on the latter despite artillery reinforcement from the Rebels.

But breakthrough is achieved and the remaining men in grey and butternut are driven off the table. 

The game could have gone the other way, but my morale tests were good, even for the green units and casualties were spread over the whole command. Graham's men did benefit from cover but I went in with the bayonet which seemed to do the trick, although accurate fire from the Sharpshooters caused a lot of disorders. Graham's fire did have some effect - the central Union brigade was badly cut up, but held long enough to push through with the veterans on the left to win the day and end the campaign. 

A great way to kick the year off. Much plans for 2023 were made too - including hopefully putting on display games at Falkirk and Kirriemuir.