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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Assault against Sevastopol

Inspired by this old print of the siege of Sevastopol, during the Crimean War, I thought I would have a go at building a similar battlefield on my hex mat and perhaps re fighting some of the action:

Playing around with my tiles I put together the battlefield to cover the key areas attacked by the Allies in 1855:

Here is some of the detail. First the area of the Mamelon, in front of the French lines:
This was a fortified pimple of land that sat forward of the main city defences and was regarded as a key position by the allies as fire from here could sweep across the open terrain on both sides. The French will be responsible for the attacks in this area.

Beyond the Mamelon lies the much tougher position, known as the Malakoff, consisting of stone walls, a fortified tower and earthworks:

A series of earthworks running along high ground link up with the main British objective, The Redan lying at the far end:

More Russian guns will be positioned in the Redan.

The Allies have assembled a mass of heavy guns that are positioned behind major earthworks on high ground opposite the city. Allied infantry are deployed across the front, protected by deep trenches:

The Allies have significant reserves encamped to the rear (off the table, including Sardinian and Turkish troops, as well as the balance of French and British forces. The Russians too have reserves within the city, which is also being bombarded by Allied naval forces and other siege guns.

The Allies are preparing for their first assault.

I am not trying to accurately recreate the actual siege, which would require significant additional work, but I am simply drawing inspiration from the defences to create a setting for an assault against a fortress. In the real battle the Mamelon fell to the French in June 1855, while the attacks against the Malakoff and the fall of the city did not happen until September that year.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

US Armour

I have looked through US armour and fixed the odd loose wheel and machine gun and this is what I found:

A group of 76mm and 75mm armed Shermans:
Three Chafees:
Seven half-tracks:
Two M7 SP guns:
Three 155mm SP guns:
Altogether, as useful force:
I am sure there are some Stuart light tanks too somewhee?

Opening Boxes - Allied Amphibious Forces

This was an exciting box to open, an old shoe box in the bottom of the container and full of landing craft and amphibians:
On closer inspection I found four Buffalo tracked vehicles and three DUKWs:
There were four lading craft and some assault boats:
Then there were some home made beach defences and an Airfix Coastal Defence fort:

The bunkers were made from up turned plastic packaging:

The fort was built from the box, but had some scale anti- aircraft weapons fitted:

I am sure that there is another fort somewhere. It will likely turn up as I dig deeper

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Opening More Boxes - US Armour

A rummage through the containers turned up three boxes of US tanks, half-tracks and SP guns.  I know there should be more as I am sure there are some General Lee tanks and possibly a few others. maybe they will turn up as I dig deeper.

There is one box of M4 Shermans:
A box of M-24 Chaffees, a tank destroyer and some half-tracks:
And a box of SP guns and more half tracks:
Most are in good order. A few bits have dropped off ans some of the soft plastic tracks had perished and need attention.

Altogether a nice little armoured force and probably more than enough for the table top.

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!