Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, 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.

Friday 30 January 2015

Enter Rommel!

Yesterday evening Quinton, Steve and myself played a 1941 Western Desert Game of Chain of Command.

We rolled up a random scenario and would be playing the Flank Attack scenario, in all the time that I've played Chain of Command I have never used this one. Rolling for the roles, I would be the attacker.

Quinton was assisted by Steve and used a Schutzen Platoon while I used a Rifle Platoon. There was a 3pt discrepancy in the force ratings, but like a doofus I forgot to fill that!

After the patrol phase the Jump-off points were laid out as per the image, Germans in Black and British in Red. As we used a cloth laid over hills, I have marked the contours on this one as they are not that obvious.

Quinton rolled 9 points of force support and took a Panzer IIIG and a battery of 8cm Mortars. With my 4 points I purchased another anti-tank rifle and a pre-game barrage. The 3pts I had forgotten to spend earlier would have come in very handy.

The Germans started the game with a double phase and were soon moving towards me from the northern edge of the board with two section of infantry and his Panzer, although my pre-game barrage did cause some delays. The observer for the mortar battery also joined this attack.

I deployed one of my anti-tank rifles to face off against the tank, but deployed the other infantry section facing west. Leaving the Bren team in cover I rushed towards the exposed German jump-off point with the Rifle team. If Quinton decided to put his last section on this point it would break up the attack, while if he concentrated on the northern front then the disruption from my barrage may allow me to capture the Jump off.

The northern attack was now beginning to form, so I committed the other anti-tank rifle and a supporting infantry section to counter that. However, the MG34 were now well sited and Steve threw his first eleven dice needing 5+ to hit, EIGHT HITS!! Although only one of my men was killed it happened to be the Junior Leader of that section.

I moved one of the Boyes teams towards an outcrop on my right and set up an ambush for the Panzer, however the German fire was withering and my anti-tank team was soon broken and running to the rear.

Things went from bad to worse, the German observer called in fire on my northern section, but it overshot slightly, also hitting my section on the west. I was now all pinned apart from the rifle team sneaking up on the German jump-off point. Realising things were going well for the two sections and the Panzer in the north Quinton committed his last section to the objective in the west. Against two MG34 there was no way my rifle team would make any headway so they sheered off and took cover in the broken ground.

Pinned by the mortar barrage and taking constant fire from the two Schutzen sections there was not much I could do to stop the advance of the Germans. Pretty soon the defenders in the north were reduced to a single rifle team and my Platoon Sergeant had all on keeping the shock off of them.

I could use a Chain of Command dice to end the turn and hence the mortar barrage, but the Germans also had a Chain of Command dice to continue the barrage, plus I would have lost my tactical and overwatch markers.

Eventually, it was the closeness of the German advance that stopped the barrage, but by this time I had nought left in the North. The Panzer tried to capture my objective, but I used a Chain of Command dice to move it out of the way.

One Section of Scutzen swept over the final hill and engaged my Platoon Sergeant and the Boyes survivor in hand to hand, hilling both but having a section of their own broken in the process. I then deployed my final section to subject them to some deadly fire.

The map on the right should give you an idea of how the battle panned out.

However, it was now all over, my Force Morale had collapsed and the game was over. I could have done better if I had remembered to spend the three points from the force disparity from the outset, I think a MkVIB would have been a great asset especially in the Western sector. I also deployed troops that I had no need to, so the superior German fire-power was able to be brought to bear against them.

Apart from the Panzer III which is Quintons work all the figures were painted by myself.

Thursday 29 January 2015

We Cannae take it!

Excuse the poor pun in the title!

On Tuesday evening Martin and I played our first game of To The Strongest for quite some time, the previous one being back in November.

Tim and Steve had also agreed to join in the fun.

I picked a Carthaginian force of:

General: Mounted, Detached, Senior
Veteran African Spearmen, three African Spearmen, Numidian Light Infantry with Javelins

General: Heroic
Three Gallic Warriors each with a Hero, two Gallic Cavalry each with a Hero

General: Mounted
Three Numidian Light Cavalry with Javelins, one Numidian Light Infantry with Javelins

I finished off with a Stratagem

Martin had a force of two Alae each of General, two Velites, Hastatii, two Principes and a Triarii. Another command comprised three Cavalry, one with a Hero, his final command was two Italian Spearmen, two Italian Javelinmen and a unit of Cretan archers.

The Romans won the scouting roll and were the active player, kicking off by pushing their lights forward to break up the Carthaginian lines.

Soon the Carthaginians had closed the gap, driving off the lights and engaging the maniples behind.

On the Carthaginian left, things went badly, the Numidian command being completely shot up by the Italian Javelinmen, although the Cretans seemed to attract an ace each time they were activated.

In the centre the Carthaginians were unable to make any headway against the superb armour of the Romans. Martin lost a single unit on a 6+ save (that is about a 50:50) out of we think about thirty hits inflicted. Whereas the African Spears and Gallic Warbands were soon collapsing. 

We soon burnt through our 11 Victory Medals, Martin had only expended two by the end of the game.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Gurkha Reinforcements

I wanted to bring my Gurkhas up to a full platoon strength so I ordered a couple more packs from The Assault Group.

I used my standard 14th Army method:

  • Clean up figures and stick on 25mm round MDF bases
  • Prime them with Halfords grey primer.

I then rough out a base coat as follows:

  • Vallejo Gunship Green: Shirts, trousers, some hats, some webbing, some gaiters, some packs, some water bottles
  • Vallejo Khaki:  Rifle slings, some hats, some webbing, some gaiters, some packs, some water bottles.
  • Vallejo Chestnut Brown: Rifle stocks, entrenching tool handles, bayonet handles, some boots.
  • Vallejo Black: Bayonets, Rifle fittings, some boots.
  • Vallejo Saddle Brown & Vallejo US Tan Earth : Exposed flesh.

Once the figure is base coated I give the figure a wash of Vallejo Sepia Wash. Once dry I apply the highlights as follows:

  • Gunship Green areas: Highlight with Gunship Green then highlight again with a mix of Gunship Green & Dark Sand
  • Khaki areas: Highlight with Khahi then highlight again with a mix of Khaki & Dark Sand
  • Chestnut Brown areas: Highlight with Chestnut Brown then highlight again with a mix of Chestnut Brown & Dark Sand
  • Black areas: Highlight with Black Grey for the boots 
  • Black areas: Highlight with a mix of Gunmetal Grey and Black for the bayonets and rifle fittings, then bayonets are then further highlighted in Gunmetal Grey
  • Exposed flesh highlighted with US Tan Earth then highlighted again with Tan Yellow. The officer was done in Basic Fleshtone highlighted by adding Ivory.

Once the highlights are done then the detail is picked out with Windsor and Newton Peat Brown ink.

The bases are then covered in PVA glue and dipped in a coarse sand mix that is painted Vallejo US Field Drab, highlighted with Vallejo Dark Sand and then washed with Vallejo Sepia Wash then decorated with tufts and scatter.

Here are some extreme close ups.

Friday 23 January 2015

The 1861 Influenza Epedemic

Following on from the Union victory at the Battle of Woodwards Farm on 14th September 1861 both forces marched and counter-marched but neither side managed a clear advantage.

Despite the excellently executed flanking manouver and great heroism leading his troops Colonel Thaddeus P. Scrivener remained without recognition. However, following his mismanagement of the Confederate forces Barksdale was inexplicably elevated to the rank of General following the debacle. That scoundrel obviously has friends in high places.

XI Brigade entered winter quarters outside the town of Barbourville in Knox County. However, disaster struck, an outbreak of Influenza decimated the troops in the camp leaving hundreds dead and incapacitated. No retrospect of rank was shown, and Scrivener was laid low for several days, his beloved Victoria was summoned to the camp as the worst was feared.

Come early spring 1862, Scrivener had recovered and some influence had been at play as he was rightly elevated to General rank. The howitzer from 12th Battery Ohio Light Artillery was replaced. Further support was also forth-coming, the newly raised 5th West Virginia joined the brigade and Battery H, 5th U.S. Artillery comprising two 3" rifles and an howitzer were added.

The campaigning season for 1862 was about to start.

In terms of Longstreet.

James has the 'Friend in the Statehouse' card so even though he lost was throwing quite a few dice for his promotion prospects so was soon elevated to General, meanwhile on my six Epic Points I was unable to throw two 4+ so was skipped over for promotion.

After the battle we worked out the loses and my force was looking very credible:

14th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits9
8th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits9
3rd West Virginia InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits9
1st West Virginia CavalryCavalryEagerRecruits7
12 Battery Ohio Light ArtilleryArtillery22 6pdr

James force looked rather worse, one of his infantry was reduced to 8 bases and he only had his howitzer remaining plus one of his infantry and his cavalry had be reduced to Seasoned.

However we then rolled for the reduction phase and you really have never seen so many ones rolled. Following this travesty of a phase my force stood at:

14th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits6
8th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits5
3rd West Virginia InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits7
1st West Virginia CavalryCavalryEagerRecruits5
12 Battery Ohio Light ArtilleryArtillery22 6pdr

Whoops, to add insult to injury James only lost a couple of bases!

Now it was time to play the Campaign cards. I first drew Promotion, elevating Thaddeus to General. James drew Rebel Cavaliers adding a Regiment of eight Eager Veteran cavalry. Next I drew Broken Code, next game I add +2 to my scouting roll, James drew Confederate Replacements, his force was getting huge. I pulled New Artillery and a pair of Light Rifles form a new battery in my force. James was visited by the President on a Hail to the Chief card so one of the units that had dropped to Seasoned returned to Eager. Finally I drew another New Artillery card, this time, two Howizers, allocating one each to my existing batteries. James drew another Confederate Replacements card but as it was a 'red top' he could only add to one of the units as all the others had already been replaced.

This was pretty gutting, James forces were almost back to full strength while mine had withered.

Checking the Raw Recruits stage James was well over his 38 base limit (34 + 4 for 'Friend in the Statehouse' ) however I only had 29 bases after my epedemic so a regiment of four bases of Eager Recruits joined me.

For the next game my force stands at:

14th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits6
8th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits5
3rd West Virginia InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits7
5th West Virginia InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits6
1st West Virginia CavalryCavalryEagerRecruits5
12 Battery Ohio Light ArtilleryArtillery32 6pdr, Howitzer
Battery H, 5th U.S. ArtilleryArtillery32 Lt. Rifle, Howitzer

14th September 1861: Victory at Woodwards Farm

Behold, great news from the front, today we rejoice in the victory of Colonel Thaddeus P. Scrivener of XIth Brigade whose troops today repelled a large force of Confederates under Colonel Barksdale who had advanced as far as Woodwards Farm in Kentucky and had prepared their positions to repel us.

Seeing the enemy dispositions and noting their weakness our hero, Colonel Thaddeus P. Scrivener, deployed the 8th Ohio infantry and 12 Battery of the Ohio Light Artillery to screen the enemies front while he took the head of the 14th Ohio Infantry, 3rd West Virginia Infantry and 1st West Virginia Cavalry in a flanking manoeuvre.

The Rebel Deployment
Using a cunning ruse to distract the enemy horse, Scrivener at the head of his troops pushed ahead with the flank attack.

Our brave troops push on
The Confederate infantry tried and tried again to shatter our lines with futile charges, but the march around their flank continued. Soon under terrible fire from our steadfast troops in the fore and those in the flank the Confederates quit the field in disarray with great loss in men and material.

Thaddeus P. Scrivener is a true hero of our times. On to Nashville!

The Barksdale is outflanked

In terms of Longstreet:

We played the Walled Farm engagement with myself as the attacker while the Confederates under James were the defenders.

For reasons known only to himself, James set himself up back from the walls, so I took the opportunity to screen with one regiment and my guns while the rest of my force advanced around and then into the wooded area on his flank.

The union screen takes its position
James tried to counter with his cavalry, but in successive turns I used the  Confusion and Old Rivals cards to confound them.

Artillery supports our brave boys
Early on James tried a couple of charges, using the Rebel Yell card in one instance, and I was able to repel them so we both earned a couple of Epic Points each for these, James for charging and myself for repelling, although we forgot to roll for Heroes after these!

I also managed to kill both of the Confederate 6-pdr cannon with rifle fire.

Tempted from the safety of the wall our screen advances on the foe.
Pinned to the fore James committed his reserves to try to clear me from the woods and was repelled, in a final onslaught. Although during this charge phase he accounted for my Howitzer by charging with his cavalry.

Things are looking bad for Barksdale
At the end of the game James had lost 22 bases to my eight so a round thrashing for the dammed Rebels. I'll round up the post-game phase in my next post.

The pictures are a little dark, the lighting is not so good at the White Hart.

Colonel Thaddeus P. Scrivener and XIth Brigade

A native of Chillico, Ohio from a family of foundry owners.

Following Graduation from West Point in 1852 Thaddeus P. Scrivener saw service with the Corps of Engineers surveying the un-chartered lands between Bismark and the Canadian border.

Upon the death of his father Resigning his commission in 1859, Thaddeus returned to Chillico to manage the family business, but when war was declared was appointed Colonel of the 14th Ohio Infantry who were mustering at Toledo, Ohio in April .

As the senior officer in XI Brigade Scrivener became the defacto commander and the brigade was acting as an independent command in the western theatre.

XI Brigade comprises the following units:
  • 14th Ohio Infantry
  • 8th Ohio Infantry
  • 3rd West Virginia Infantry
  • 1st West Virginia Cavalry
  • 12 Battery Ohio Light Artillery

In terms of Longstreet Thaddeus P. Scrivener drew the Boigraphy card "The Scout" this allows him to avoid the effects of the "Poor Surveying" card and to allow one unit of foot to fire out to 8BW as skirmishers.

14th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits10
8th Ohio InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits10
3rd West Virginia InfantryInfantryEagerRecruits10
1st West Virginia CavalryCavalryEagerRecruits8
12 Battery Ohio Light ArtilleryArtillery32 6pdr, 1 Howitzer

Wednesday 21 January 2015

1967 on the Golan Heights(ish)

It's been an age since I last played Cold War Commander, indeed there is not a single battle report on the blog so I am guessing my last game was before November 2011 when I started Scrivsland.

Back in November, Mick and I arranged a game, but due to work commitments it kept getting rescheduled, however yesterday evening we finally managed to settle down to a game. We both have quite extensive collections, but we decided that this time we would play Israelis against Syrians during the 1967 Six Day War.

As we had not played for such a long time we opted for the encounter scenario with 3000pt forces over eight turns/

I chose Syrians and used:

CO (Command Value 8)
2 Recce Unit (BRDM)
Two infantry battalions each HQ (Command Value 7), 9 Infantry Units (Conscripts), 1 Support Unit (HMG) and 1 Support Unit (Mortar, 81/82mm)
Tank battalion of 1 HQ (Command Value 7) and 9 Tank Units (T54)
Tank battalion of 1 HQ (Command Value 7) and 9 Tank Units (T34/85)
Tank company of 1 HQ (Command Value 7) and 9 Tank Units (T10-M)
Anti-tank company of 1 HQ (Command Value 7) and 3 SPAT Units (SU-100)
Artillery support of FAO (Command Value 6) and 3 Artillery Units (122mm)

Mick used the much better led Israelis
CO (Command Value 10)
2 Recce Units
1 Anti-tank Unit (SS11 ATGW)
Two infantry battalions each 9 Infantry Units (Regulars), 1 Support Unit (HMG) and 1 Support Unit (Mortar, 81/82mm), 1 Support Unit (Recoiless) all in half-tracks
Tank battalion of 1 HQ (Command Value 9) and 9 Tank Units (Super Sherman)
Tank battalion of 1 HQ (Command Value 9) and 3 Tank Units (20-pdr Centurion)
Artillery support of FAO (Command Value 7) and 1 Artillery Unit (122mm)
Artillery support of FAO (Command Value 7) and 1 Artillery Unit (152mm)

Mick only had three commanders to my seven, but they were much higher rated.

I set the table up with some large hills under the cloth (they may not show up too well in the pictures) and with a small road network with three villages. We elected for a mobile deployment bringing on our forces from the start. As was proved later this favours the armies with decent command values as their troops can actually get onto the table!

I went first and managed to entice one infantry battalion, the heavy tank company and the T34/85 battalion onto the table, the infantry even 'double-oned' and were raring towards their objective.. The Israelis countered deploying the Centurions on one hill, the infantry in the centre and the Shermans towards the hill on the other flank, however the Shermans 'double-sixed' and retreated towards their start line. This was to continue next turn when they again 'double-sixed' and were back where they started.

My T34/85 battalion roared up the table towards the Centurions, hoping to cover the distance quickly, however although the T54 had by now arrived their advance was sluggish. The Centurions soon despatched three of the T34/85.

The Shermans had by now sorted themselves out and were duelling with my heavy tanks, Mick soon discovered what beasts he was facing though and soon changed targets to concentrate his fire on my T54s. Along with the fire from the Centurions, SS11 and Recoilless Rifles my T54s were soon wiped out, a lot to do with very poor armour save rolls on my part!

It was now turn four and my SU-100 finally made an appearance, moving to plug the gap left by the missing T54 company!

However, this had allowed my remaining T34/85 to close the distance on the Centurions and to take up defensive positions. In a brisk close-range fire-fight, the T34/85 knocked out two of the Centurions, that was quite a result.

The Shermans closed the distance on my T10-M heavy tanks and I had soon lost one, although the remainder proved very stubborn and were able to account for several of the Israeli infantry who were closing the distance on one of my infantry battalions. Although I was well dug into the village and surrounding crops the weight of numbers and superior quality of both the Israeli command and troops soon began to tell and I was taking off infantry bases at an alarming rate.

Seven turns in with the clock running down and snow falling outside we wrapped up the game, both of us had achieved minor objectives and it was not likely we would make a major breakthrough if we kept playing.

After over a three year hiatus I really enjoyed this game of Cold War Commander and I hope to be writing a few more of these reports over the coming months.

The Syrians are all from my collection and the Israelis from Micks. The terrain is all mine. Most of the figures are from Heroics and Ros with quite a few from GHQ.

Saturday 17 January 2015

More WWI Germans

Over the past few days I have been plugging away at the Great War Miniatures WWI Germans that I picked up from Northstar and have gotten another dozen completed. Some of the highlights were applied during my stay in a hotel in Hook this week, may as well put the time to good use.

I cleaned up the figures and stuck on Renedra bases, 30mm for the Officers and NCOs and 25mm for the rest. They were given a blast of Halfords grey primer and then it was on to painting.

I used the same method as previous:

  • The uniform jacket and puttees were painted Field Grey
  • The trousers Neutral Grey
  • The helmets, mess tins and gas mask cases German Grey. 
  • The assault pack and gas masks were painted German Camouflage Beige. 
  • Haversack, flesh, rifle stock, bayonet handle and water bottle Beige Brown
  • Flesh was then painted with Medium Fleshtone.
  • The rifle slings and some straps were painted Saddle Brown
  • Remainder of straps, boots, weapon fitting, bayonet sheath, shovel head, wire cutters, etc. were painted Black.

The whole lot was given a coat of Sepia Wash and then highlighted when dry:

  • Field Grey was highlighted Field Grey then adding a small amount of Dark Sand
  • Neutral Grey was highlighted with Neutral Grey
  • German Grey was highlighted with German Grey then adding a small amount of Neutral Grey
  • Beige Brown was highlighted with Beige Brown then adding a small amount of Dark Sand
  • Mediun Fleshtone was highlighted with Mediun Fleshtone then adding a small amount of Ivory
  • Saddle Brown was highlighted with Saddle Brown then adding a small amount of Dark Sand
  • Black was highlighted with Black Grey
  • The rifle fittings, wire cutters, etc. were picked out in very thin Gunmetal Grey
  • A Flat Red line is piped down the trouser seams and a small dot on the epaulettes
  • Each edge of the epaulettes is piped with Ivory as is the piping on the collars of the NCOs

The shoulder tabs were given Flat Red unit markings then these and the NCO collars were picked out in Ivory. Finally, the detail was picked out in Peat Brown ink. The boots, puttees and trousers are then weathered with Tamiya Model Master mud.

The bases are a mix of pumice gel, sharp sand and static grass mixed into a paste with Flat Earth and applied to the bases with a light drybrush of Dark Sand. The posts are Chocolate Brown while the barbed wire is painted Saddle Brown then highlighted with Flat Orange up make it rusty. The muddy puddles are done in PVA glue.

 Here are some individual close ups:

I now have twenty-four of these finished, I'll have enough to play a game soon, bed get working on some suitable terrain.