Salute 2015 and Miniature Wargames Issue 384

Missed this posting, but to be fair am only getting used to using some new software that helps me find all the interesting stuff, so will be more upto date soon.

 

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Salute does look to be really good this year, despite not having a bring and buy section. I will be running a game along with other members of the WyreForest Games club and expect to leave with my wallet a lot lighter and my building and painting schedule even more crowded..

****** Miniature Wargames – Issue 384 ******

Due out this week, it’s a bumper issue this month, because it’s that time of year — yes, issue 384 contains the official show guide for Salute 2015, which this year will have the theme of Agincourt, celebrating the 600th anniversary of the battle.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • “A funny thing happened to me on the way to the show,” says The Editor in his Briefing, as he considers the joys of Hammerhead and the forthcoming delights of Salute, the ‘daddy’ of them all.
  • In his World Wide Wargaming column, The Editor takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the stresses of marketing new products in the digital age, breathes the air of publicity on two deserving blogs, and rounds off with some tips for making your own blog more discoverable.
  • Neil Shuck uses his Forward Observer spot to test Simon Miller’s new Ancients ruleset “To the Strongest”, and consider the merits of Peter Pig’s “PBI”, before passing his eyes over PSC’s “The Great War” Kickstarter, remembering how his enthusiasm for WWI was kindled by the TooFatLardies “Through the Mud and the Blood”. Then he plunges into questions of terrain for WWII gaming and, in particular, his recreation of the Pont de la Croix scenario from “Operation Warboard”, pondering how much he should make, and how much he should buy. Decisions, decisions…
  • Diane Sutherland uses her Wargames Widow column to show us how to Whistle while you wattle. She’s been kept in the dark for ages by husband Jon, who now surprises her with a Dark Ages task. So, it’s time to put down your whittling and pick up your wattling with plenty of paint but no daub.
  • Fantasy Facts columnist John Treadaway (who features later in this issue too) looks at the latest offerings proffered in the build-up to Salute, where manufacturers will be releasing a welter of new and shiny goods to tempt us. Here, he is deluged with stuff from CP Models, drowned with offerings from Brigade, smothered with shinies from eM4, harassed by sculpts from Artizan and finally cowed by miniatures from Crooked Dice. poor man!
  • Andrew Rolph returns with the opening instalment of The march on Madrid, this instalment being an overview of the remarkable advance of the Army of Africa’s advance on the tormented Spanish capital in 1936. This sets up Andrew’s brilliant ideas for a campaign system, to be delivered next month. Many thanks too to Minairons Miniatures who supplied some lavish photographs.
  • Then comes the huge Salute 2015 show guide.
    • Following the Welcome from South London Warlords’ President/Chairman Phil Portway, Alan Perry describes the process of creating this year’s giveaway miniature in Sculpting the longbowman; David Barnes examines The longbow, a stick that changed the course of history; Alan Patrick pays tribute to The bowmen of England, the product of a nation organised for war; and the Salute 2014 painting competition pages are stuffed with sumptuous photographs of all least year’s first and second placed miniature masterpieces.
    • Halfway through, we present the listings of all the games that will be presented at Salute 2015 on 25th April at ExCel, a useful floorplan with additional information about this year’s queueing system, and a list of all the traders.
    • Moving on, John Treadaway presents Stingray, describing the planned participation game in which anything can happen in the next half hour; Stephen Dunn gives a comprehensive account of all the Warlord memorabilia produced by the Warlords for the show over the years; and then Ian Spence, Des Darkin and Martin Gane preview their demonstration game The Battle of Araure, Simon Bolivar’s 1813 victory in South America.
    • There are also, of course, lots of messages from enthusiastic traders hoping that you will visit their stands at the show!
  • Back in the ‘normal’ magazine, Conrad Kinch uses his Send three and fourpence column to extol the virtues of picking one size of miniature and sticking to it.
  • In the fifth part of Gravelines, his series on siege operations, The Editor begins with assessing the challenge facing the attacker and then, having laid down the first parallel, the preparations necessary to begin the dangerous job of sapping forward towards the walls.
  • Rules writer Dan Mersey returns with Quick play the WRG way, in which he scouts out the latest versions of the popular DBA and HOTT rules, assessing the changes and explaining the basics. Be warned: Dan has managed to conjure up a giant, killer hedgehog. It’s not a pretty sight.
  • Boardgame enthusiast Brad Harmer uses his Hex Encounter column to assess the opportunities still to be grasped in the world of licensing box office hits to become boardgames with appeal for the masses, and lists his top four favourites.
  • Despite the squeeze on space, we’ve managed to cram in a Recce section too, with reviews of the Sands of Sudan rules by Carlo Pagano, the excellent 7 Days of Westerplatte boardgame, Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World’s End rules for all you budding Conquistadores, and a special review of Tumbling Dice’s “Discount Battle Pack” of tiny fleets and rules for Russo-Japanese naval conflict at Tsushima 1905.
  • And of course we have an update from our Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal and a competition, this month for not one, not two but three marvellous ‘Rapid Ruins’ kits from Valiant.

That should keep you going. See you at Salute – and if you’re attending the show, there’s no need to rip the middle out of your magazine as the show guide will also be available at the door of the show.

via: Miniature Wargames 384 with Salute Show Guide Out Now!

 

Making Scenery for your War Games

Making Scenery for your War Games

 

Playing wargames means more than just having the model tanks, infantry and guns, as to make it REALLY work and look the part, you need to ‘set the scene’ too, and that means scenerey.

You can buy all that you need of course (I and have bought quite a lot myself) but it is also fun to make it yourself.

The chap in this video has a fantastic channel on this subject, so please have a look (and some fun too).

First 10mm War Game – BattleGroup Kursk

Up until very recently I had only intended to build and play with 20mm (1/72nd) scale models in my BattleGroup games, BUT then I got hooked on 10mm as well..

German Forces
The German Forces

The 10mm scale offers the chance of putting a lot more toys on the battlefield as well as allowing a greater range of ‘clever’ manoeuvres like encircling or outflanking (at least if you can manage to conceal your real plan before your opponent sees it), whilst also allowing the greater range of the German guns to be felt (20mm playing areas normally don’t allow this important difference to be noticed, things being so close to start with).

The Russian Defences
The Russian Defences

Also, by enabling a much bigger scale of operation to be laid out, you can really start to see a replica of the battlefields you have seen on the historical TV programmes like World at War.

A Battlefied view
A Battlefied view

With all this in mind we set out to play a BattleGroup Kursk game based on pg 176 in the book, the Strongpoint Assault. This was basically the Germans trying to take a number of Russian strongpoints, one of them being a Bunker (which is hard to damage in BG rules).

Battle commences
Battle commences

The game was played on a 9 * 6 ft board, some buildings and scenery being used, but no t much as the battles around Kursk were mostly fought in open country.

Panzer III's backed up by armoured infantry attack
Panzer III’s backed up by armoured infantry attack

BattleGroup uses a points system, this allowing each player to choose which units they want to have in their ‘army’, whilst at the time giving some balance to both sides AND most importantly causing the armies to look like the real thing in the machines and men used.

More action around the woods in Mini Staliingrad attack.
More action around the woods in Mini Staliingrad attack.

It was a big game, perhaps on hindsight too big, over 2,500 points being used up (to give you an idea, a normal 20mm game will have between 400 and 600). In this scenario, the Germans started on the board, with the Russian having only 50% of their forces on the board to start, the rest ‘feeding in’ over the course of the game, but only after a few turns had been had.

This delay should have been enough for the Germans (me) to make a good dash across the board, BUT the Russians had decided to blunt and slow down the attack using some T34 and T70 tanks, these managing to slow the advance right down. Besides these tanks, two groups of infantry armed with AT grenades and ‘Mine dogs’ lurked in some buildings just inside the Russian set up area. This and some poor German planning meant that not enough ground was taken quickly enough.

To make things worse for the Germans, their flanking force arrived early and quickly the area around them became a sort of mini Stalingrad, more and more German forces being sucked into take a small village, whilst all the time the Russian’s tank reinforcements were also arriving.

In the end the Germans did win on a points basis (there are no draws in Battlegroup) but they had not played well and so in my view it was a draw, the Russian tactics (and bravery) being so very good.

The game was in all played for about 6 hrs, but at the end of it we were all a bit ‘battle happy’ and think that next time, we should keep it to just 4 (or 5 as a max), hopefully, at times being able to leave the game up and play it though at a later date.

All in all though, another really great day!

BattleGroup game – The Road to Lokhvitsa

I played in the last ‘BattleGroup’ weekend in 2014, that one covered Kursk and the German’s got creamed, just like the real thing..

I actually played the Russians twice and won, and as soon as I played the Germans got beat, and I love to play the Germans…

The next game covers the Barbarossa campaign, which will be very different indeed.

http://www.guildwargamers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=303&t=37499&p=402619&hilit=lokhvitsa#p402619

i have already bought my German ticket.

Can’t wait myself !!

My latest model – The Revell LSV from WW2

I reckon that wargaming is as much an addiction as a hobby (not that I am complaining) and with this in mind I must report that the latest model that ‘I just had to buy’ was the Revell LSV. It’s 144th scale, (which I reckon is about equiv to being 12mm) so it won’t look out of place (well not too much) with my 10mm models (some of which it could be augued be 9mm, and 12mm…).

For more details see http://www.revell.de/en/products/model-building/ships/naval-ships/id/05123.html

Landing Ships of the LSM-Class (Landing Ship Medium) were used from the middle of 1944 by the U.S. Navy in the fight against Japan in the Pacific. Totalling more than 550 ships they were the main component of the amphibious forces for landing troops and vehicles on enemy beaches. The loading capacity of a LSM roughly corresponded to a mechanized platoon. The steel hull had nine watertight bulkheads. With an anchor located at the stern, the ships could withdraw from the beach without assistance. Armour plating protected the superstructures against small arms fire. The early LSM were mostly equipped with six 20-mm Oerlikon guns for self defence. The open-top cargo area encompassed almost the entire length of the ship and was at maximum 7.9 m (26 ft) wide. By the end of the war, nine ships were lost mainly due to kamikaze attacks. After the end of World War 2 some ships went into service with allies armed forces. In 1958 NATO partners Germany received three LSM and two LSM(R).

BattleGroup Game at the Alumwell Wargames Show – March 2015

I have been to the Alumwell show once before (and came away laden with goodies – some of which are still in their boxes) but have never run a demonstration / participation game at a show, so it was an exciting first for me.

The Alumwell Show

Alumwell Show

I arrived on time and got all set up for the opening time of 10am, not at all sure that anyone would ‘have a go’ at taking the German bunker.

Could You Take The German Bunker?

 

Could you take the German Bunker?

The rules for the  game, as you can guess from the title of the blog were from the Battlegroup series, this one using units in the Overlord version. I had selected forces with about 350 points each, but as the Germans ‘spent’ so much on defence items, they had very few troops (and hence a low ‘Break Point’ – more on this later). However, they had a very strong defensive set up and more still had a Tiger tank that ‘might just arrive’ if things got too hairy…

The Tiger Tank at the Alumwell Show

That ‘possible’ Tiger was not this big boy of course, this was my pet 1/16th pet that was used as a show piece on the table, which was just 6ft by 2ft (and thus the smallest at the show – see this report).

Tiger Tank and BattleGroup field of combat

As you can see the defences were strong, a bunker on the right with entrenchments on both sides of the road, plus two MG pits with MG42’s. As a back up the Germans had a half track with a full squad armoured with panzerfausts.

BattleGroup British forces at the Alumwell

Above are the attacking forces, the tank destroyer at the bottom coming on if the Tiger arrived (needed 8 on two D6 after turn 5 for this to happen). They had 3 Shermans (one a Firefly) a Churchill Petard and 6dr anti tank gun and a platoon of infantry (which had a Piat and a light mortar). Also, in case they were needed an Engineer squad with demolition charges (useful if they could get close to the Bunker).

BattleGroup and Smoke

As anyone who has played Battlegroup knows there are no rules for the deployment of smoke this being covered by the rules on spotting and hitting. Much debate on this has of course been carried out on the BattleGroup Forum and suffice to say that there are pro’s and con’s. However, this was a demo game and I wanted to play it in a way that would entice people into playing it again, so I gave the player a choice, did they want smoke (to cover their advance) or not? I know that had I been a soldier on the field I would have wanted smoke and so it was not a surprise when they said yes, so we employed some ‘smoke rules, including drifting’ that I had ready.

The Orders are given at Alumwell

One of the issues that face any wargamer is  the “Have I used that unit yet?” question as it can be very easy to miss a unit or perhaps to give it two orders when only one per turn is allowed. To help here I use a counter that is placed by the each unit, this being turned over once the unit has moved / fired etc. Here we see the orders placed on the units as they advanced up the field.

Infantry in Close Support

The British Advance on the Bunker

It was a brave move, the three Shermans racing up the field with the mortar laying smoke in front of the Pak 40 and MG pits on the right of the German line. BUT there was a dreaded 88 in the Bunker and that smoke did not cover all the angles…

The Tiger Tank Appears….

 

The Infantry Advance, but they have lost their armour support

Thus all three Shermans were lost in quick succession, this despite the 88 missing on several previous occasions. The problem here for the Brits was of course that they could not silence the bunker. They hit it several times, but the saving throws (which equate to an 88% chance of not taking casualties) literally saved the units, only one of the gun team being lost. The Tiger tank also did some damage, but not as much as it might due to poor dice rolls..

 

An overview of the battlefield

The Brits still had their Churchil Petard tank (this being specifically designed to knock out strongpoints with it huge shells), but it was very slow and took sometime to get into range (only 20″ on this scale). It fired at the bunker twice, missing once. But as with the other attacks, the saving throws saved the occupants. The Churchill itself was soon lost too, a hit in the side armour from the Tiger being enough to finish it off.

Things were looking very bad for the British now, but could the 6pdr save the day by rushing to support the beleaugered infantry? Well it managed to knock out the Pak40 crew, but itself was lost to machine gun fire, so it was down to the M10 tank hunter.

A Tank Hunter's view of a Tiger tank

Here we can see a ‘hunters eye view’ of a Tiger tank. The good news for the British that gun (the fantastic 17pdr) used in the Achilles managed to knock out the Tiger…

The British Break and Withdraw.

However, even with taking Battlecounters for all the losses (and having to UnPin) their troops the Germans were no where near their ‘breaking point’ of 16, whereas the Brits had reached the end of the road for that day, having used up all their points, so they had to withdraw, the Germans had won this particular day.

You Don’t Have to Annihilate the Enemy to win

Some game rules are all about decimating the enemy, to win you  have to ‘kill them all’, but this is not how it was, in ‘real life’ in most circumstances a force that is badly mauled will pull back to re-group and so be able to fight another day. This is the way that the Battlegroup rules work, each side having a level of ‘punishment’ that it can take before it quits the field.

To make it even more fun, the counters that you take (when you take a casualty etc) have random numbers, so you can take a ‘hit’ of between 1 and 5, or if you are lucky, you can take a counter that you can play on the enemy (to their disadvantage).

This  is not the place to discuss the rules in detail, for that you should (a) buy the Battlegroup rules and (b) join the Wargamers guild forum.

In any case the Alumwell show was a great success for myself and my fellow WyreForest wargamers.

The Fearful Tiger 1 and a Very Interesting site..

If you mention WW2 and tanks most people will immediately think of the German Tiger tank. It was probably the most feared weapon there was, which is strange when you think only some 1700 were made (compared to 60,000 T34’s and Shermans).

One of the reasons they were so feared of course is that the shells the allied guns fired at them just bounced off (at least to start with) and even towards the end of the war a Sherman had to get very close (or attack from behind) if it was going to make a kill.

Things changed with the development of the 17pdr gun that equipped the Firely of course, but they were not around in the Desert where the Tiger was first encountered by the British.

So just how good or bad were our guns at penetrating the armour of a Tiger 1?

The chart below (from the wwiiequipment site) shows the effect of a 6 pdr gun using an AP shell in 1943 (the Tiger is facing the 0).

The red and orange areas show when you might get through the armour, and as you can see, you have to get very close if you want to get through the front armour (something under 500yds). The chances are better on the flanks and from behind, but you still have to get close without getting killed yourself..

6pdr v Tiger 1

 

Things got a lot better when the 17pdr came into play:-

17pdr v Tiger 1

Here we can see that the 17pdr can beat the Tiger at long ranges, something that gave the Firefly’s a chance in battle.

Well, the http://www.wwiiequipment.com can answer all your questions on the matter, and is well worth a look, certainly explains why the Tiger was so feared and why wargame rules make it so hard to knock out a Tiger tank…

Warwick Kinrade’s BattleGroup Blog

Warwick is the man behind the great BattleGroup series of games and he has his own blog that details the ‘battles’ he has fought (well some of them) as well as new and views on the wargame world.

This is just one photo from his latest Blog post:-

 

The Russians are Coming…

 

 

If you would like to see his blog and check out how the battle went, click here

BattleGroup Demo at Alumwell

One of the best ways of ‘putting across’ just how much fun playing a wargame can be is to have a participation ‘Demo Game’. Here people can have a go at the game and see just how easy it is and just how much fun you can have pitting your wits against the opponent (not to mention ‘Lady Luck’ who may well be on holiday just when you need her).

At the Alumwell wargames show being held on March 8th in the West Midlands, I am going to be running a very small game (on just a 2ft by 4ft table) with the Allies facing a difficult challenge, that of knocking out a German bunker just after D Day in 1944.

It is not going to be a reinactment, but there were similar small battles being fought all over Normandy as the Germans desparetly tried to stop the Allies breakout from the beaches.

The forces involved will be small, but will include Churchill Flame Throwing and ‘Petard’ tanks as well as the dreaded German 88 and Tiger tank.

A BattleGroup Wargame

The shot above was from a BattleGroup game played in October 2014. I was playing the Russians and won (but when I played the Germans, I got beat !)

It’s not to be missed, watch out for the map and briefing next week.