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Friday, 15 June 2018

Away for a few days

I am off on holidays. I may not be able to respond to comments and most likely will not be posting again until I return home in about 10 days.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Cisterna di Littoria - Italy May 1944

This battle is based upon an unofficial Memoir '44 scenario. The setting is an attempt by the US forces to break out of the Anzio stalemate in May 1944.  The US objective is to seize the town of Cisterna and punch a hole through the German defences. The battlefield is set out:

The town of Cisterna lies in the centre, with its heavily built up area and the railway running across the board. On the right is the Mussolini Canal, which is fordable, but remains an obstacle and is crossed by a railway bridge.  Defended farms on the right cover the approach from the canal. The whole area is extensively mined, with wire obstacles and fortifications. The US approach is over open, flat ground. Here is a view of the US approach in the centre:
German tanks lurk in the woods to the rear on the left and right flanks:
As dictated by the cards, US activity kicks off on the right with an assault by 504 Regiment, supported by tanks and artillery. At first all goes well as the US rapidly advance and capture the bridge:

 The US forces run into trouble when their armour is destroyed on the bridge and they take casualties in the infantry, which are quickly reduced to just one unit.
A German counter attack drives the last of the 504th back and on the right the US take on a defensive posture.
 The Germans continue to counter-attack, but over extend themselves, losing a tank. The action on the right reduces to a stalemate, with the Germans firmly in control of the canal crossing.
The US try their luck on the left. Armour and engineers push forwards:
 The engineers reach the minefield, with some casualties and begin clearing a path through.
 A German tank counter-attacks, but is quickly destroyed
However, heavy fire from Cisterna force the engineers back and eventually eliminates them. With such slow progress the US commander diverts his armour from the left to support an assault by US Rangers in the centre.

Taking heavy casualties the Rangers, supported by tanks, move forward with engineers to clear the mines:

Initially the attack goes well, and despite heavy casualties from machine guns in the town and artillery, the Rangers force the defenders back:

Having almost succeeded in taking the town a German counter-attack destroys the two remaining US tanks and forces the engineers and some of the Rangers back:

But, the German effort is not enough. The US regain the momentum and clear the depleted Germans from the town. With just one unit and the artillery remaining the German capitulate. The battle is a very close run US victory in the Centre, but the Germans won on the flanks where the US were ground to a standstill and pushed back. This was a really good scenario, which could have gone either way.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Training Manuals - Airfix Guide Nos 12 & 20

Having been mentioned several times in previous post comments and as they are a constant source of information and inspiration, I thought I should mention these two little gems that have been in my collection for decades, They are Airfix magazine guide 12, Afrika Korps and number 20, 8th Army in the desert.:
These slim little books are packed with organisation, uniform, equipment and campaign history, all supported by great photographs and drawings:

Over the years I have collected a number of these guides and here is my complete collection:

Army Reforms 2 - 8th Army

Continuing to reorganise my old Airfix soldiers, it is the turn of the 8th Army.  I really like these figures as there is so much potential for conversion jobs, to upgrade existing and create new weapons that are not included in the set.  I have used a few matchbox figures, especially their mortar teams. I have also scratch built some 2 pdr anti tank guns:

The tanks are by EKO, similar to ROCO minitanks:
Artillery consists of 25 pdr field guns, 5.5" medium gun, 6 pdr anti-tank gun and 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns:

Then, best of all, we have the infantry. I just love these advancing figures:
Support weapons are the 2 pdr anti-tank gun, Boys anti-tank rifle, Vickers machine gun and 3" mortar:

In addition there is a motorised battalion, with mostly Matchbox figures:
And last but not least some sappers:

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Army Reforms - Afrika Korps

I enjoyed my Arnhem game very much, which promted me to dig out some of my old plastic WW2 figures. I thought I could reorganise them to be used in future Memoir '44 engagements.  The first figures that I stumbled across were my WW2 desert forces and these old Airfix Germans, along with some Roco Minitanks make up a useful 1942 force:
There are two infantry groups with supporting machine guns, light anti tanks guns and engineers:
Armour consists of some Mark 3 tanks:
Some Mark 4s:
An anti aircraft unit:
Assault gun:
And artillery:
The same box has some Airfix 8th Army figures that will allow a similar force to be generated. Some desert battles coming up, I think.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Peninsular War - First Action

My Spanish and French napoleonics made their first outing into the field with this all Warrior Miniatures outing - the battle of San Ignacio Bridge.  The scenario is made up and depicts a rear guard stand by elements of the retreating Spanish army, that occurs on a river crossing at the small village of San Ignacio. The fast flowing river can only be crossed by the bridge and via a ford further up stream. A Spanish force consisting of five battalions of infantry, three regiments of cavalry and two artillery batteries is deployed along the home bank of the river, apart from the town itself, which is defended by the Spanish Regiment Muerte:

San Ignacio:
The French in pursuit are not far behind arriving on the field with a cavalry and artillery heavy force and a mix of line, light and grenadier infantry.

Te action begins on the left, with a French assault against San Ignacio by two battalions of infantry, supported by artillery:
The Spanish defenders in the town fight hard causing heavy casualties amongst the French and forcing them back several times. The Spanish move a second battalion up to the bridge to reinforce the defenders:
But, the weight of the French attack eventually sees the defence of the town crumble and the reinforcements thrown back across the river:
The French attack pulls in more Spanish reserves and the Spanish heavy cavalry and additional infantry begin to move forwards:

The Spanish Cuirassiers counter attack over the bridge in an attempt to throw back the French infantry, however, the French form a square and the attack is thwarted.

The Spanish heavies pull back over the river.

Meanwhile over on the French right flank an attempt is made to force the ford, which is more lightly defended:
Again the French attack is blunted by Spanish infantry. However, the French reform and supported by cavalry and artillery a second reinforced attack forces back the Spanish:
The remaining Spanish reserves are rapidly deployed to bolster the defence of the ford as the battle sways to and fro. The French so far fail to cross the river:
Back on the French left flank a combined infantry and cavalry assault begins over the bridge at San Ignacio:
French horse artillery provide close support:
The attack is met by volleys from the Spanish defenders:
However, the French infantry storm over the bridge and the Spanish infantry break and rout off the field:
The french have secured the town and captured the bridge, but they badly bruised French infantry have little time to enjoy success as they are swept away by a Spanish dragoons:

The French try again, sending a regiment of dragoons headlong over the bridge, but they are attacked on two flanks by Spanish heavy cavalry and wiped out:
The Spanish cling on to their hold of the river crossings, but casualties are mounting.

Back on the right flank a renewed French assault finally breaks the Spanish infantry when French cavalry smash one of the Spanish battalions:

It looks as though the Spanish left is about to collapse, but a timely charge by the Spanish Hussars sees off the French cavalry and checks the French infantry, who are forced into square formation:

Meanwhile over on the left, the French commit their reserve, guard grenadiers and a second dragoon regiment. This, along with artillery fire, depletes the remaining Spanish defending the bridge:
A French victory is secured when the gallant Spanish hussars are cut down by musket fire from the squares. They break and the Spanish left flank collapses:
The Spanish capitulate, having fought hard and bought precious time for the retreating army. The French pursuit is blunted too. However, the French are victorious on this occasion.