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.

Sunday 26 July 2015

The drought is over

And I don't mean it has stopped raining outside because it hasn't.

Today, for the first time since Partizan on the 31st May I made a purchase of a wargames product. That is eight whole weeks of lean times for the industry.

Today I purchased the TooFatLardies Summer Special 2015 and am looking forwards to having a good read.

Square Bashing in Burton

On Thursday evening James and myself travelled to the Burton and District Wargames club to meet up with Simon and Peter for another crack at Square Bashing.

We stopped off on the way for a carvery at The Cherry Tree then on to the venue to meet up with Simon and Peter.

Last time Peter and I were the British while Simon and James took the Germans. This time Peter and James took the French while Simon and I were Germans. We based our force and strategy on being the attacker, unfortunately, this was not the case. Some splendid rolls from the French saw all their conscripts replaced by Senegalese regulars and they would be on the attack supported by their massed batteries of Soixante Quinze.

Some poor reduction rolls saw the Germans thinly spread out along the outskirts of a large town. Our left flank was open and two units of Uhlans held the right.

On came the glory of France, rapidly crossing the woodland and broken ground as if it was not there.

A desperate charge by our Uhlans into the oncoming mass was swiftly brushed aide and all looked lost. However, despite a friendly fire incident by our own artillery assisting in the the right flank of our town falling to the Zouaves and Senegalese the centre of our line held up well and a last minute barrage of fire falling among the Frenchmen caused them to fall back in disorder.

Holding on against the strong attacks on our right the clock ran down and it was a slight victory to the Germans by the slimmest of margins.

All the French are by Peter while the Germans are by Simon. The terrain is also all from Simons' collection.

More Chain of Command on the Western Front

On Tuesday I had another chance to play against Lees cracking WWI British using Chain of Command with the 'CoCing Up Mud and Blood' supplement for Late First World War battles.

I set the table up for an 'Attack and Defend' scenario and when Lee arrived we rolled off for who would be attacker and defender. My Germans would be attacking.

We both rolled for Force Morale and would both start at eleven, this would be a blood-thirsty engagement!

After playing out the Patrol Phase we rolled for Force Support, with five points Lee took two Stokes Mortars and 18" of barbed wire that he deployed in a 12" and 6" section in front of two of his positions. I had eleven point sand spent it on Pre-game barrage with Feurwaltz and Gas, an Adjutant, a Sniper, a MG08 machine gun, I added another Lewis gun to one of my machine-gun sections and a off-table Granatewerfer.

Under cover of the barrage, the Germans commenced their attack, on the left two Rifle-grenadier sections pushed through and around a section of destroyed woodland while on my right the enhanced Light machine-gun section and Maxim MG/08 deployed to pour fire into any positions that the British were able to occupy.

However, despite being down to four Command Dice and and needing fives to deploy any troops the British were soon occupying their firing positions and subjecting my supporting troops on the right flank to a barrage of rifle grenades, Stokes mortar bombs and small arms fire. The first to fall in the enhanced Light machine-gun section was the Gefreiter so the despite the main attack going in on my left the Leutnant had to rush to bolster on the right. With a certain degree of inevitability he was my second casualty. 

With all the British fire directed at my supporting sections, my two Rifle-grenadier sections were able to push up on the left and were soon occupying the British trench on that flank. The fire from the Maxim along with the remnants of the Light machine-gun section were also able to break the British Rifle-grenadiers, wounding their Corporal as they went, and they bolted to the rear.

I ended the turn with a Chain of Command die, capturing a Jump-off point and causing the British Rifle-grenadiers to flee taking their Corporal with them, things were not looking too bad.

Pushing on from their consolidated position the German Rifle grenadiers pushed onto the central objective, brushing aside a British Bomber section who had been pushed into the line to consolidate that flank, however, under a barrage of Stokes mortar rounds my Light machine-gun section first broke and then were cut down to a man ending ant German hopes of a breakthrough.

A great game again and quite close in the end.  

Both sets of figures are from Great War Miniatures supplied by Northstar. I painted the Germans while Lee did the British. The terrain is from my collection.

Saturday 18 July 2015

A sale of miscellany

While clearing out the garage - a not inconsiderable task - I came across a box of old bits and bobs, some have been binned, some have been reintegrated into the lead mountain and some I have decided to sell.

We have quite a few things from projects either never started, never completed or painted long ago and sold in the past.

20 Games Workshop Dwarf Hammerers - these have been in the acetone and just need priming and repainting, no shields or bases, as seen in the photo. £30.00

Epic 40K Tyranid collection - a Heirophant plus several bases of plastics, I found a couple more bases after this photo was taken. £10.00 - SOLD

Warmaster Empire, Pistoleers and Handgunners, another pair of Handgunners was found after the photos were taken.  £6.00 - SOLD

Games Workshop Bolt-thrower, primed black £5.00

SHQ miniatures BP46 - two paratroopers pushing trolley £1.50

Some 15mm Essex Miniatures Javelinmen £1.50

28mm Medieval cannon - £1.50 - SOLD

Pendragon (I think) Medieval £5.00

The back of the garage is really the gift that keeps on giving, I found another box of bits today

Old style Warhammer Dragon, needs a bit of TLC £15.00

Ruins on a hill, by 'The Scene' I think £10.00

White Lion and Standard Bearer £2.00

Humbrol Modellers Airbrush - only used a couple of times - £5.00

Some Games Workshop mounted warlord, broken lance - £1.50

Old Skool Doom-Diver - £1.50

Pink Horrors command, still in (rather tatty) blister - £5.00

Three 28mm Gladiators - £1.50

Eleven 6th Ed Orc Arrer Boyz - £8.00

43 Britannia Miniatures WWII Germans £15.00

Plastic kits, two SdKfz251/1, Wespe, SdKfz222, four PaK £12.00

All via PayPal Friends and Family with postage at cost.

Bois De Caures Campaign (2)

On Sunday James, Tom and myself arrive at the Barrage show in Stafford to put on a 1916 Verdun game. We though that this would be a great opportunity to play another game in our ongoing Bois De Caures campaign following on from Leutnant Schmidt and his Stosstruppen pushed Leiutenant Robin and his Chasseurs back from the front line.

The second rung in our campaign ladder takes place two hours later, where having consolidated the front line positions and infiltrated on the flank Schmidt pushes on to Strongpoint S7.

We would be playing the Flank Attack scenario with the Germans pushing on with their attacks.From the last game the Strosstruppen would be starting with 41 men, four NCOs and Schmidt, so I organised into three full strength sections of eleven men plus an NCO and a smaller section of eight men and an NCO.

The Chasseurs were down to 26 men, two exceptional NCO's and two wounded NCOs and Robbin but were joined by four stragglers. James organised as three sections of ten men each with an NCO.

Rolling for Force Morale we would both be starting on an eleven! It was certainly going to be a slog.

Playing out the Patrol Phase, James elected to not place one of his Jump-off points as it was too vulnerable, One French jump-off would be on an elevated machine-gun position at the rear, one would be on a section of dug-out and the other between the S7 stronghold and a section of trenches beside it.

We both rolled rather well for Force Supports James had 11 points which he spent on an Adjutant, two Hotchkiss machine-guns and 24" of barbed wire entanglements he used to secure his left against my flank attack.

I purchased an off-table MG/08 and positioned that to cover the dug-out. I also purchased an Adjutant, a MG/08, Flame-thrower and GranateWerfer.

The French took the first phase and elected to place one Hochkiss on overwatch in the S7 strongpoint and another in the raised position to their rear covering the flank.

The Germans made a bold move to the front left of S7 they deployed one section of  Stosstruppen and an MG/08 while in the flanking position they deployed another unit of Stosstruppen.

Scoring a double phase the Strosstruppen pushed on, on the flank they were unable to penetrate the unexpected belt of wire, but to the fore pushed on towards the trenches flanking S7. The Chassuers countered by deploying a section towards the trench-line, but the MG/08 opened  up a telling fire on them but was itself badly shot up by the Hotchkiss in S7.

The Strosstruppen on the flank were kept under a steady fire from the Hotchkiss deployed to cover them, but kept their heads down while they unsuccessfully tried to penetrate the wire.

The Stosstruppen pushed on taking cover in the shell-holes before the trench system and eventually were able to avoid the arc of fire from the Hotchkiss in S7, the MG/07 took a terrible toll on the troops in the trenches though; eventually cajoling his Poilu forming a firing line in the trench system Caporal Stephane was gravely wounded and expired extolling his troops to hold the line for France.

Without a target, the S7 Hotchkiss turned its attention to the MG/08 and eventually silenced it, killing all the crew. However things were looking bad for the Chasseurs in the trench, Schmidt moved a Jump-off point to up behind his leading troops and launched himself into the fray. Preceded by a barrage of grenades the Stosstruppen went in with the bayonet and sharpened shovels. Soon the Chasseurs were cleared and the trench in German hands.

Despite the attentions of the Hotchkiss, the Stosstruppen on the right eventually cut the wire and were able to advance and take cover in some shell holes on the other side.

Consolidating his position on the trench line Schmidt summoned up another section of troops along with the deadly new weapon, a Flammenwerfer. Seeing the danger French troops poured out of S7 and formed a defensive line in its communication trench, the Hotchkiss was dragged from it's mountings and also deployed to face this new threat.

Schmidt seized the initiative (actually maintained the phase four times), under covering fire from the newly captured trenches the Stostruppen advanced on the Poilu. The Flammenwerfer roared silencing the Hotchkiss and stunning the Chasseurs, again, preceded by a barrage of grenades the Stosstruppen attacked the trench, killing or scattering the Poilu and capturing Lieutenant Robbin.

Even though it was a resounding German victory, both forces finished the game on Force Morale 8!

The Germans took 12 casualties, of which 6 were finished for the campaign and 3 will miss the next game. Schmidt will start the next game with 34 Stosstruppen and 4 NCO's. 3 Stosstruppen will rejoin after that battle.

The French lost 19 dead including poor Caporal Stephane killed in action defending the trenches and Lieutenant Robbin was captured. Worse still the S7 strongpoint has fallen and the Germans can pour more troops into the assault.

For the campaign, this is the end of Lieutenant Robbin and his demi-platoon of Chasseurs. For the next game Schmidt and his depleted forces will be taking on Capitain Seguin with more Chasseurs.

At the end of the game we rolled up for the effect. Leutnant Schmidt was awarded the Iron Cross First Class for his exemplary bravery and leadership in the taking of the S7 strongpoint.

As can be expected the Colonels opinion of Schmidt is raised and Schmidt is now at +3 allowing him +1 on the Force Support rolls. With the fairly heavy casualties in this fight Schmidts men know they are with a solid leader but are concerned, their opinion drops to +2 and Schmidt no longer gets the bonus rolling for Force Morale.

With the loss of S7 the French Colonel is despondent and his opinion drops to -4 the French are now at -1 on their  Force Support rolls, The capture of Robbin and the death of Stephane take their toll on French Morale and there men are now at -3 so they will be at -1 on Force Morale rolls in the next game.

Another great game though played out by James, Tom and myself. The figures and terrain are all from the collection of James and myself.

Bois De Caures - Setting the Scene

Our finished table
Last Sunday James, Tom and myself attended the rather lovely Barrage show in Stafford.

I reckon I'll get three blog reports out of it as I have been a little slack with the updates of late so thought I would kick off with a description of how we set up the Bois De Caures table.

We requested a 6ft x 10ft table from the show organisers, we cover these in a couple of blue nylon cloths to hide and rough edges and give a neat backdrop to the game.

We then put two 6'6" x 5ft cloths that I made from black-out lining, decorators caulk, cork chippings and emulsion paint, they are quite hardy and give a good playing surface, also a lot easier to carry around than terrain boards.

The cloth is laid over some polystyrene hills to give some texture to the battlefield.

We then clamp on the backdrop, this is two pieces of 4ft x 1ft MDF with a wooden baton that James has painted very effectively with a WWI background of shattered trees, dark skies and rolling hills.

Now the fun part, before we put any terrain on the cloth we give the whole table a dusting of snow, this means that if any of the terrain shifts during the game we do not get any harsh 'shadows' from the darker cloth showing through.

Once the cloth has been liberally dusted with snow we then start putting on our terrain features, as you can see here, we have a belt of barbed wire and defensive positions representing the origginal front line on 21st February 1916, plus shattered trees and shell craters.

The whole thing again is given a liberal dusting of the snow, it's the Woodland Scenics Soft Flake Snow, two pots cost James about £30.00 and is more than enough to cover our table, after a game we just funnel it back into the pot for re-use.

The trees are rather simple, but very effective. We just use twigs cut at one end and snapped off at the other stuck with hot melt onto mounting board and textured with filler.

One person at the show was quite critical of the trees, claiming that that are too tall and 'look wrong' however there are ways of being critical and my opinion of the chap following his rudeness is that he came over as rather a cock-womble.

The barbed wire positions are made from satay skewers stuck on to mounting board and textured. The wire was bought from Northstar and wrapped around the posts to make a suitable entanglement.

The shell holes and defensive positions are all vac-formed plastic from a mix of Amera, Kallistra and Early War Miniatures  likewise these are stuck on mounting board, textured an painted.

 One pain in the arse job is that we have to go around the shell holes and flick most of the snow out of them with a paintbrush, we forgot to take a brush with us at the weekend so it was a matter of flicking it out with our fingers.

The whole table takes less than 30 minutes to get set up and I'm rather happy with how it came out.