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Tuesday, 21 June 2022

French and Indian Wars - Rangers

 Last weekend Bob very kindly gave me some FIW figures that would be ideal for skirmish wargames.  I couldn't resist painting them and out came the brushes.  The figures are by Irregular Miniatures and are large 25mm castings.  They are fun to paint.

I will be painting small numbers of British and French and their allies in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

A Two Bob Battle - Eastern Front 1943

Yesterday Bob Black and his wife Sue paid a visit, and after a light lunch and extensive wargaming discussion the two Bobs settled down for a short wargame.  

I was keen to play test my 'Tank Action' rules, which are an adaptation of Charles Grant's rules from his book 'Battle'.  Movement and firing distances have been converted into hexes and and the whole armoured section is laid out on one side of A4. Here are the rules:

The battle takes place on the Eastern front in 1943, with the Soviets exploiting gains following the battle of Kursk.  The Germans are pulling back to a new defence line around the Dneiper river and seeing an opportunity, a soviet Guards Tank regiment is rushing forward to cut off the retreating enemy. They quickly outpace their infantry and artillery and hurtle headlong into a delaying force defending a low ridge. I played the Soviets while Bob controlled the Germans.

The soviet mission is to capture a small village, which is at the centre of the German delaying force position.

The Soviets advance towards the low ridge and the village objective is visible at the top of the table:

The Soviet force is made up of a large number of T-34 tanks of both 76 and 85mm variety and a lone tank destroyer.  In all there are 15 tanks.

The Germans hold the village  with a mix of Panzer IV tanks and anti-tank guns:

A major asset for the Germans is an 88mm gun hidden in a small wood, covering the road into the village:

The six German tanks are mostly concealed behind the low ridge:

Wishing to maintain momentum the Soviet leading tanks roar over the ridge to engage the germans, but quickly come under fire from two 75mm PAK 40s in defilade positions behind the ridge, the T-34s attempt to fan out and close in on the enemy, but are quickly taken out by the 88mm and flanking guns:

The initial soviet attack is blunted and their commander (me!) is shocked by the effectiveness of the ant-tank defence:

It was clear that small numbers of tanks would be picked off as they crossed the ridge and so the next few turns were spent bringing up as many tanks as possible in order to launch a mass attack towards the village:

Meanwhile, Bob brought up his Panzer IVs into firing positions along the high ground by the village:

As the Soviets shuffle into to position another T-34 is hit by a long range shot from the 88mm, which sits well out of range of the soviet tanks:

When ready the soviet tanks burst into view, coming under a hail of fire from the German tanks and anti-tank guns.  Another two T-34s go up in flames:

However, through sheer weight of numbers the soviets continue to roll through.  One of the German 75mm guns is destroyed along with a Panzer IV:

More Soviet tanks burst into the view and a close exchange of fire ensues (I only learnt from bitter experience how close the T-34s needed to be to take out the German armour).  More Panzer IVs go up in flames and I actually thought that the tide was turning in favour of the soviets.

The T34s roll towards the village and victory - or so I thought:

The 88mm firing along the road and the remaining 75mm firing into the Soviet flank soon  changed all this, as the exposed Soviet tanks suffer the same fate as those earlier:

Having lost well over half of their number the Soviet attack faltered and the survivors reversed back over the ridge.  It was a German victory and Bob and I retired to discuss the battle and the rules over tea. If the soviets had artillery and or infantry the outcome may have been different as the German anti-tank guns could have been neutralised.

The rules worked well, especially the observation/visibility element.  The final score was 9 - 4 to the Germans!

The vehicles, 88mm and tanks are all Roco Minitanks, with Airfix 75mms.  the game was played on a 5" hex board.

Thursday, 9 June 2022


 I am having difficulty posting comments on my blog and others.  I get the notice to log in to my account:

I try to sign in but nothing happens, I just get taken back to the blog page.  However, I am signed in to google and blogger.

When I go to post a reply to my own posts I am listed as anonymous but also get the same message about logging in:

The only changes I have made on my computer is a clear out of cookies and I stopped  'captcher' from popping up.  Any ideas?

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Mystery Figures

I bought these figures several years ago as part of a Seven Years War group.  I have always assumed them to be Minifigs either AWI Light Infantry or from the French and Indian War.  However, having looked several times I have been unable to find these figures in the Minifigs catalogue:

Annoyingly the bases have been cut down and there are no numbers visible.  but, on one I can make out CW, which makes me think they were originally ACW (American Civil War).  On closer examination I can see trousers and I think the hats (Kepis) have been filed down and a new front plate added to depict a Light Infantry helmet.  What they were originally, I am still not sure.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

The Battle for Mount Hoedown 1982

June 1982 and British forces are closing in on Port Stanley, but Argentine forces (FAA) hold a series of rocky mountain tops that shield the port .

In a move to secure a key peak that overlooks the line of advance for the main British force, a battalion group consisting of 8 PARA, with artillery (FOO) and naval gunfire (NGS) observers as well as other supporting elements are to stealthily sail into Penguin Cove aboard RFA Sir Gregory, under cover of darkness and move quickly ashore to carry out a night attack against Mount Hoedown, approaching from the West.

The objective looks like this:

Mount Hoedown is defended by an infantry company supported by a platoon of Marines and two 81mm mortar sections.  The FAA believe the threat comes mostly from the north and mines have been laid and two .50 cal machine guns in sangars cover the open ground in this direction.  The mortars have also a number of DFs covering likely approaches.

Things do not go well for the British from the outset.  Sir Gregory is late departing and arrives in Penguin Cove three hours late.  It is imperative that she is back out to sea well before first light due to the enemy air threat.  The delay means that only half of 8 PARA is able to land (B & D Companies) with their artillery observers.  Most of the heavy weapons and the Forward Air Controller remain aboard. A Harrier strike is scheduled for 07:00 on RED CARD.  8 PARA will have no way of adjusting this, having to relay messages via Brigade HQ, rather than talking directly to the pilots.

Abandoning the operation is considered, but seizing Mount Hoedown is key to other operations against other FAA positions.  So, it is decided that D Company will race forward and capture the first knoll known as FREE KICK.  B Company will pass through and clear CENTRE SPOT and RED CARD. A mortar section will support along with two sections of machine guns.

At 06:30 D Company is approaching the western crags and so far has not been detected by FAA defenders:

Almost at the crags D Company is spotted as FAA troops turn to the west and mortar rounds begin to land amongst the paratroopers. Two soldiers fall, one killed and one wounded:

Under cover of smoke from the British mortars D Company edges closer to the crags:

By 06:50 the paras assault the west end of the feature hoping to bounce the defenders. Two FAA soldiers fall and confidence is high.

However, the FAA are well protected by the rocks and their defences and they bring down heavy fire and D Company casualties begin to rise as a major close quarter firefight ensues.  The FAA put up a very strong defence:

At around 06:55 B Company arrives and begins to move up to relieve D Company and push on towards RED CARD:

The CO of 8 PARA had decided that the airstrike on RED CARD should go ahead and prays that the attack is accurate.  At 07:00 a Harrier streaks in and drops two 1000lb bombs smack on to RED CARD and destroys the FAA HQ platoon, killing two:

At last D Company have some success and finally eliminate the western .50 Cal machine gun and more costly close quarter action clears FREE KICK:

A mortar attack on B Company, still in the open ground, causes their first casualties:

B Company consolidates on FREE KICK and attempt to position the NGS officer to bring fire from a supporting warship onto the FAA positions.

The next few turns were taken up by both sides consolidating and with B Company moving up to the crags.  However, before B Company can go firm the FAA mount a spirited counter attack with mortar fire support and rush back towards FREE KICK:

The struggle for FREE KICK sees more casualties amongst D Company, including the loss of the NGS team, but as B Company arrives and a determined effort by the remnants of D Company the FAA are pushed back with heavy losses:

D Company consolidates around FREE KICK:

and the FAA concentrate around RED CARD, but begin to realise that the weight of British fire will overwhelm them, but they do not give up easily as their mortars hammer down on B Company:

With artillery support, and smoke from the British mortars B Company begins the assault on RED CARD:

105mm artillery crashes down on RED CARD causing more casualties and with the threat from B Company the FAA commander decides to withdraw:

At around 07:40 the battle ends and B Company occupies RED CARD.  It has been a very costly victory for the British, with 7 dead and 25 wounded (out of 60), while the FAA have just 2 dead and 15 wounded (out of 29).  It is a narrow victory for the British but D Company is totally non effective.

I used modified Memoire '44 rules for the game. the troops are plastic Matchbox paras and ESCI figures for the FAA. The smoke and artillery shot markers are home made.

Of course there is no Mount Hoedown, or 8 PARA, other than in my imagination.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Count Goya's Waterloo British Cavalry

A few weeks ago I showed some images of Count Goya's British Infantry at Waterloo, whereby he is in the process representing every British regiment present at the battle.  

Well, a few days ago I received some more pictures, this time the cavalry.  It is quite a spectacle with nearly all regiments present at Waterloo represented, made up of old school 20/25mm figures from Hinton Hunt, Les Higgins plus others and there is even an Airfix unit amongst them.

The pictures say it all:

Wonderful stuff!

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Really Old, Old School

 I have been promising myself that I would create some British opposition for my Roco and Type1 Airfix German force.  Leafing through some early Featherstone books the answer lies in the Airfix Combat Group set;  a set that I have always liked apart from the lack of heavy weapons. 

I set about assembling a 'company' size force of four platoons and an HQ.  I also converted some Type 1 8th Army machine gunners to create a medium machine gun platoon.  Here they are:

I plan to create two more companies, an HQ and some other support weapons to form a battalion sized unit.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Battle Report - Ligny

Our most recent battle was another Command & Colors Napoleonic scenario, the battle of Ligny 16th June 1815.  This was played the day after we fought Quatre Bras.  This time William and I played the French while Phil played the Prussians.

As can be seen from the map the battlefield is divided by Ligny Brook, with the Prussians defending the north bank using a string of villages and woods.

The picture below shows the French right flank with the settlement of Ligny with its twin bridges.  The bulk of the French army, including most of the artillery and the imperial Guard are positioned on the right:

The centre and left (from left to right) has the villages of Wagnelee, La Haye and, on the south bank of the brook, St Amand.  Again the Prussians are occupying the villages, apart from Wagnelee:
A view of the battlefield from the French right, with Napoleon himself in attendance!
Battle commenced with a sustained artillery attack by the four French batteries on the ridge, causing some damage to several Prussian units.  

A small action took place on the right flank when a Prussian infantry regiment, supported by artillery pushed forward and destroyed a French regiment; however, they were quickly beaten back, badly mauled. 
Artillery exchanges continued on the right flank, but a second Prussian advance, this time on the French left forced a French response. Of concern was the arrival of a Prussian artillery battery deploying onto the knoll behind Wagnelee, which began firing into the flank of French columns. Also fresh Prussian infantry units moved forwards.
The French rapidly pushed a couple of battalions over the brook and light infantry rushed into the village to drive off the Prussian gunners, but they were met with grapeshot and had to withdraw into the shelter of the buildings. The Prussian battery remained an annoyance for the rest of the battle. Meanwhile the french capture La Haye with heavy casualties, but Fresh Prussian units soon drive them out again:

The battle now was concentrated almost entirely on the left flank, although the french artillery continued to bombard the centre and the right. A pattern emerged, with the French storming the buildings, but were then forced out by Prussian counter attacks.  Most of the Prussian units on this flank were Landwehr and they suffered heavily.
The battle became one of attrition with the Prussians taking huge numbers of casualties as they attempted to regain lost ground.  Bit by bit the French edged forward and St Amand fell.  A counter attack by Prussian Cuirassiers supported by infantry failed to dislodge the French and soon the Prussians reached their exhaustion point and it was all over.  The French claimed a huge victory with a score of 11 - 5.  Revenge for our defeat the day before!

I have played this scenario solo before, but it was much more enjoyable with a 'live' opponent.