Copyright © 2021, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2021, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

The Battle of Graus 1063


James is busily working away at his Midgard rules that hopefully will be commercially available very soon and we took the opportunity of breaking out the El Cid collections to play out the Battle of Graus using the Take the High Ground scenario from the rules.

I would use my Christian Spanish and some of my Andalusians to represent the army of Aragon under King Ramiro, while James and Tom used James collection to represent the forces of Castille under Prince Sancho.

I would be the defender, so three units of Caballeros under Sancho Ramirez would be in reserve. Having played the Take the High Ground scenario once before I decided that the best place to start would be on the back slope with my mixed bow and spear units backed up with spearmen, in retrospective this was a mistake that almost cost me dear. The spear armed troops should have been in the front with the mixed units providing overhead fire in support.

James has written a much more thorough report of the battle on his blog. I'll just add few of the pictures I took.

Having almost succumbed to defeat at the end of turn three, my reinforcements arrived on turn four and by the end of the sixth turn with both armies battered and bruised I was on top, although had very few troops left to exploit any gains.

It was a splendid action and the rules do give a great feel for the period with lots of heroic combat taking place. In one rather spectacular clash a unit each of Castilian and Aragonese Caballeros charged across the field at each other and were spectacularly wiped out in a single monumental combat. Plenty of single combats among the chaos added much to the flavour including a young Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar prove his mettle dispatching a Aragonese nobeman.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Tirailleurs Sénégalais into action


It's been a long time coming, but the Tirailleurs Sénégal that I painted back in 2019 finally hit the table on Thursday evening when James came around to ours for some dinner and a game of Chain of Command.

I had already set up the table that morning, we just threw a few extra trees on.

While Victoria put the finishing touches to the chili James and I randomised that we would be playing the Hasty Defence scenario. James would be attacking using a platoon from an Army Group A Second Wave division while I would defend with my Tirailleurs Sénégalais.

For my supports I chose a Hotchkiss MMG, an adjutant and some Francs Tireurs. James had much more to spend (14 points to my six) and chose a MG34 MMG, an adjutant, a fifth columnist Shabby Nazi Trick, a pre-game barrage, a section of entrenchments and a Panzer III.

With dinner over we settled into the game.

I got quite far forwards in my Patrol Phase and the Germans ended up with a cluster of three Jump-off points quite close together while I had a couple in the village, one each on the left and right side and another behind a wall on my left flank.

The Germans took the first move and although my Francs Tireur caused some initial disruption they were soon leapfrogging forwards with one unit on overwatch while another advanced and the preliminary bombardment kept my heads down. 

It was then revealed that the helpful garage mechanic was actually a dastardly fifth columnist constantly misdirecting my chaps trying to form a defensive line.

My plans were also rather thwarted by the number of times that Bosche maintained the initiative! 

However, I was able to eventually get some troops into action and they cut up badly a section of Germans caught in the open, leaving only a handful of survivors who dashed to cover behind a high wall - loads of fives and sixes thrown, but bugger all in the way of shock!

Oh merde!, Fritz revealed his hand and a lone Panzer III was pushed up in support, my lightly armed Senegalese would not be able to offer much resistance against this beast.

Those badly cut up Germans were able to link up with the fifth columnist and eliminate the jump-off point before being finished off by my Hotchkiss as they tried to make cover.

In the end although I had wiped out completely one section of Germans and wounded the CO, the combination of a lower starting force moral (9 vs 11) and the loss of the jump off point, a section of Tirailleurs and the V-B section saw my force morale collapse to zero.

I really enjoyed playing Chain of Command again and using the Tirailleurs Sénégalais for the first time.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Bundeswehr Force for Seven Days to the River Rhine

These past few weeks I've been getting on with some West German Bundeswehr to be able to either play against my own Soviet forces or for those games when my opponent fields their own Soviet force.

As usual, I've burst right through the usual 600 point force that you need for gaming, but at least I'll have plenty of optional variants to choose from.

The Battlegroup HQ is a Infantry team in a M113, I like to add a command vehicle to the HQ to help remind me which it is during the games. These are from the Timecast range.

The first unit is a platoon on Leopard 1A1A1 from Timecast, I went with the older tanks and APC's as I want to base my force around a unit of reservists rather than regulars.

A second platoon of Leopard 1A1A1 complete the tank contingent.

The main force of the battlegroup is three platoons of reservists in M113 APC's each platoon supported by a Milan ATGW team and a M3 MG in sustained fire mode.

Again all the infantry and APC's in these three units are from Timecast.

Like the armour I've used older equipment and not gone for the NATO three colour camo scheme that started to be introduced around this time to reflect the second line nature of the troops.

Indirect fire support is provided by a pair of M113G Panzermörser, again these are from Timecast.

Armoured reconnaissance assets are represented by a trio of Spahpanzer Luchs armoured cars, these models are from Red3 and fit in really nicely with the Timecast stuff.

There is also some heavy support in the form of a Gepard and a Jaguar 2, these are both 3D prints provided by chum Martin. My ham fisted clean up job means that I've had to hide some damage I did to the running gear on them both with basing materials.

I've done some 'soft' reconnaissance units too, three sets of infantry scouts, and two units in VW Iltis jeeps, this is a lovely model again from the Red3 range. 

The final grouping is a mixed platoon mounted in a pair of Fuchs wheeled armoured personnel carriers and a Unimog truck. The Fuchs with the Milan mount is another 3D print from Martin while the other Fuchs and the Unimog are again from Red3.

As I do over-do things there were far too many Milan teams purchased, these last four will likely never get used in any games, as four is more than enough, realistically two is enough.

A few close-ups of individual vehices.

The vehicles are done from a grey primer then base-coated in Mig NATO Green, the tracks, wheels, weapons etc. are painted in VMC Black Grey, and the entire thing dirtied up with a stipple of VMC Flat Earth.

The G3 stocks and tool handles are picked out in VMC Beige Brown. Tarps, camouflage nets, etc. are painted in VMC German Uniform, VMC Khaki or VMC Camo Beige, the mantlet covers on the Leopards are also painted VMC German Uniform. Once dry the entire thing is given a light dry-brush of VMC Iraqi sand.

They are set-aside for at east a couple of hours and then the whole thing is washed with AP Military shader and again set-aside to dry. The VMC German Uniform, VMC Khaki or VMC Camo Beige are over-painted and highlighted and then the vehicles were based then finished off using the Dark Sand powders from a Tamiya Model Master kit and a couple of coats of matt varnish applied.

I'm pretty happy how they came out, I think that the photos show them a bit lighter than they are in the flesh.