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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Opening the boxes - US Infantry

The first box that decided to open has a label - US 87th Infantry. I seem to remember giving regimental numbers according to scale. There should be boxes for 87th, 76th, 72nd etc.

This box contained Airfix first type US marines, which came as a surprise, as I thought I had already found these and based them. Here are the contents:
All quite nicely painted and best of all there were some US light anti-tank guns, as well as some jeeps, heavy machine guns and commanders,

Last night I finished off basing them and when added to the original battalion painted last week I have a sizable force, which I will call a brigade:
The vehicles are 1/76  scale and somewhere I know I have some half-tracks and tanks, as well as artillery.

Amongst this group are some interesting conversions. First off there are two 37mm? anti-tank guns with converted crew:
A couple of heavy machine guns:
Some additional bazooka men:
and a rather smart looking senior command figure group:
Next I am going to go hunting for tanks and vehicles.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Sortie into the attic

For the past couple of weeks I have been raiding some boxes close to hand at the edge of the attic space above my garage, but I have been unable to find some of my old Airfix figures.  So, a sortie was planned to go up amongst the dead flies, cobwebs and mouse droppings in near 90F heat to recover all of the boxes.  Most have been unopened since the 1990s and many contain figures from the 60s and 70s. 

The figures and vehicles are kept in old model boxes and it is not clear exactly what each contains. Having retrieved all of the boxes I spent a fun afternoon opening them up to reveal the contents:

The plastic and card boxes are brought down:
Each containing loads of smaller kit boxes:
A few are unmade, but most contain battalion plus size units of artillery, tanks and infantry:

Having retrieved the lot, I emerged triumphantly from the garage, dusty, covered in cobwebs and very sweaty. Over the next couple of weeks I will go through these and re-base them and reorganise - until I get bored and move on to something else!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Army Reforms - Germans and British

Continuing with the seemingly endless rebasing sessions I have now reorganised two lots of old Matchbox 1/76 soldiers.

First up are some Germans, supported by an Airfix PAK-40 anti-tank gun:
And from the same manufacturer, British infantry, with an Airfix 6 pdr anti-tank gun:
The same lot with their transport and OP scout car:
Although not quite the same as my old Airfix figures, I quite like the Matchbox offerings as they have a good variety of supporting weapons in the form of machine guns and mortars, that were not included in the Airfix sets.

Having unearthed these old figures I have started to open up boxes of made up old Airfix kits, that I have started to base, where appropriate. To start off with I am putting my towed artillery on bases:

The first group is British field artillery by Airfix:

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

More Army Reforms - Infantry

I have more-or-less decided that my WW2 wargames will be played on a hex mat using modified Memoir '44 (M 44) rules. To that end I have been slowly reorganising my model figures and rebasing them. My groupings of figures are designed to be used at various levels, so a group can be a platoon, a company or a battalion. Most often they will be used at battalion level.

I have boxes of painted loose figures that were used in the 1980s in a series of large WW2 wargame mini-campaigns, one of which included a D-Day assault on the German held Isle of Man!

I digress.  My infantry 'groups' are a cluster of 'units' and essentially consist of four rifle units, one or two machine gun units, a mortar unit, an anti-tank unit and a command unit (I use the term unit in that these 'units' are stand alone elements when it comes to using the M 44 rules),  I have drafted some additional rules that allow these 'units' to perform as such on the table - for example a machine gun unit is classed as infantry, has a strength of two figures, rolls three dice out to a range of 4 hex.

I will set out a summary of these rule additions in a future post. To illustrate here is an Airfix US infantry 'battalion' that I have just rebased, set out as above:
I have also rebased my Russians, and here are two Battalion groups, representing a Regiment/Brigade:
I am working on a German group, made up from old Matchbox figures. I have still to work out how to incorporate transport for my troops - for example does a machine gun armed half track become a unit? Lots of mulling over to be done!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Army Reforms - British Armour

Having been advised of a source of 1/87 scale tanks, I contacted Butler's Printed Models (BPM) and placed an order. Unfortunately the early German vehicles that I was after are not yet available, but I was able to obtain some additional British tanks. These were six Crusaders and three Grants, which have now been painted and weathered:

I thought at just over a fiver each they were good value and the service from BPM was excellent too.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Operation Goodwood - Abandoned

I have always wanted to play a game that represents one of the big WW2 battles and have had an enduring interest in OP GOODWOOD fought after D Day in 1944.  Looking on line, I found the Memoir '44 game that attempts to simulate this action. So I set about converting the M '44 map to my wargame table. I looked at 20mm figures to start with, but this just did not look right, and so I set it up using 1/300 models. This is the battlefield as laid out, the allies are on the right, Germans on the left. The central village representing the town of Cagney, Caen would be off the table at the top:
The view from the other (Caen) end:
Having set it all up I began to play, but after the initial moves I felt that I just wasn't getting the feel of such a big operation. The scenario had no allied artillery in play - yet the allies deployed a huge amount, and two Corps worth of armour and infantry were represented by just  6 units of tanks and a similar number of infantry on the British side.  This means that three models represent roughly a brigade and one model a regiment/battalion.

Despite the initial attraction, I just could not get into this battle. It sat on the table for several days, after which I packed it all away - maybe I was just not in the mood!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Army Reforms - The Panzers Arrive

I have repainted and beefed up my Afrika Korps panzer force. My original Roco Minitanks have been reinforced by another six from the Spanish firm EKO. Here they are off the production line:
One of the new Pz IIIs:
They are very similar to the Roco version, but are different moulds.

Here is a Stug III, which I believe only served in N Africa in limited numbers:
I am trying to source some 1/87 scale Panzer 1 and 2 models, but so far I can find none that arereasonably priced in the UK.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Peninsular Warriors - more highlanders

These figures were very kindly given to me by a fellow collector and have been on my to do list for quite a while.  These are older Warrior 25mm figures, made of a much softer bendy metal, but they paint up just as well. This unit depicts the 79th Cameron Highlanders:

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Battle of Brandywine Creek 11 September 1777

Back from my hols, I had much fun completing this scenario, which I set up before I departed. The game is based upon the Command and Colors scenario and can be found in the Napoleonic section.

Essentially, the Americans established a very strong defence of the creek to prevent the British crossing the three fords; however, they failed to spot a British flanking attack that had crossed further along the Brandywine Creek. This is where the battle starts, with the British appearing on the edge of the American right. The map below shows the American dispositions along the creek:

Only at the last minute did the Americans deploy forces onto the high ground on their right to counter this threat.

The British flanking force consisting of Grenadiers, artillery and line troops comes into view and heads towards the Americans deployed on the high ground:

This is where the action is concentrated, with a stiff fight for the slopes, but the Americans are quickly overwhelmed and pull back:
In order to prevent the Americans from reinforcing their right with troops from the main position, the British on the far bank of the creek advance to pin the Americans to the bank:
And they engage the Americans across the river:
The battle along the creek swings to and fro. Some British units are forced back by the heavy fire from the home bank:
But, two American Regiments are also forces into retreat:
With the Americans fighting on two fronts only a dribble of reinforcements make it to the right flank, where they account for one of the Grenadier regiments, but they cannot withstand the British attack. A brave stand is made in a gap between two woods:

However, the American right flank begins to crumble as the British continue to push through into the woods:
The Americans finally give way and the British win the day. On this occasion the dice favoured the red coats, but it could have gone the other way quite easily.

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.