Friday, December 29, 2006

One down, three to go.

I've finally managed to totally finish off one of my 10.5cm Guns that forms part of my Artillery Battery. I've also moved them from the snowy outskirts of Stalingrad to the green, green grass of Normandy, ready for the late war battles that are sure to feature in 2007...

I know it's going to make my German Army a little hotchpotch, but all this experimenting with painting styles and basing, will (hopefully) payoff when I (hopefully) get my British Para Army underway, though when that will happen is anybodies guess, seeing as I'm supposed to be painting my 1st Grenadier Platoon, and I'm way behind schedule on that!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Late War Army Options

Daniel lent me his Festung Europa handbook, so I've been looking at how I can re-jig my army for a late war setting, and I've come up with two initial options:

Company HQ | 40pts
add Anti-tank Section | 25pts
add 8cm Mortar Section | 55pts
1st Grenadier Platoon (with 3 squads) | 155pts
add Command Panzerfaust SMG | 10pts
2nd Grenadier Platoon (with 3 squads) | 155pts
add Command Panzerfaust SMG | 10pts
3rd Grenadier Platoon (with 2 squads) | 110pts
add Command Panzerfaust SMG | 10pts
Weapons Platoons:
1st Machine Gun Platoon (with 2 MG42 HMG Sections) | 140pts
2nd Machine Gun Platoon (with 2 MG42 HMG Sections) | 140pts
Divisional Support:
Tank Hunter Platoon (with 4 Marder III M) | 280pts
Artillery Battery (with 4 10.5cm leFH18 guns) | 210pts
Limited Air Support:
Hs 129B Flying Tank | 155pts
TOTAL | 1495

Required purchases to complete this army:
Machine Gun Platoon | $14

Greanadierkompanie with Heavy Tank support:
Company HQ | 40pts
1st Grenadier Platoon (with 3 squads) | 155pts
2nd Grenadier Platoon (with 3 squads) | 155pts
Weapons Platoons:
1st Machine Gun Platoon (with 2 MG42 HMG Sections) | 140pts
2nd Machine Gun Platoon (with 2 MG42 HMG Sections) | 140pts
Divisional Support:
Heavy Tank Platoon (with 4 Tiger IE Tanks) | 860pts
TOTAL | 1490

Required purchases to complete this army:
Machine Gun Platoon | $14
4 Tiger IE Tanks | $64

Of course, rather than spending $64 on some Tigers I could pretend that my Marders are Tigers and see if I really want to make the investment!

A couple of things that I noticed about late war is that priority air support is no longer an option, and the Tiger tanks are now reliable!

Having some Tigers does sound rather nice, but at 860pts they don't leave me much else to play with, but on the bright side, they sure would scare the living daylights out of Stu!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas at Stalingrad

Come six o’clock I’ll officially be on holiday, and no doubt stuck in Auckland’s lovely traffic. But what does one do when they have the prospect of 11 days with no work?

For me, I have very modest ambitions.

For one, I want to paint and properly base at least my 1st Grenadier Platoon.

Secondly I’ll finish off Pegasus Bridge (which is making me lean towards contemplating a British Para/Air Landing company as my next big FOW purchase) and read Christmas at Stalingrad.

Antony Beevor's Stalingrad, published by Penguin in 1998, was a worldwide bestseller, telling one of the most harrowing stories of the Second World War and reminding everybody of the power of narrative history in the hands of an expert storyteller. In Christmas at Stalingrad, Beevor takes us back to December 1942 when the German 6th Army was surrounded by the Russians and facing annihilation. Only thoughts of Christmas kept German soldiers' hopes alive.

Of course, reading a 57 page excerpt shouldn’t be too taxing…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

.45 Pulp Campaign

The .45 Pulp Campaign that we had been playing over the last couple of months came to a grand finale last night, with all three teams somehow making it to the tomb.

Stu had once again set up a great scenario that saw a staggered entry into the tomb, well almost. All three heroes became bottlenecked at the door, as the Brit seemed unable to open it with his own strength, and required the help of his friends.

Of course, once in, the two ‘allied’ heroes ran off to the left whilst the stealthy German took a right, and then a left down a dark corridor full of traps, that his keen sense of survival managed to overcome, making him the first into the tombs chamber.

It was only when the pesky allied adventurers saw that the nasty Nazi might get away with all the plunder did they shamelessly attack the Hero of the Fatherland. Of course this proved to be an ill-fated move.

When the final two allied adventures made it to the door, and when I say adventurers, I say it with a pinch of salt as one of them was a mere dog, they were soon joined by the Grade 2 German who was promptly set upon, and thus had no alternative but to fight back. In the ensuing struggle however, he dropped his grenade that exploded, killing the American dog and British adventure, and seriously wounding the German.

The British ‘Hero’ in the meantime had uncovered the first of three pieces of valuable artefact, and the Americans went on to uncover the next two in the inner chamber, but in the process unwittingly awoke the Zombie King.

But because the Yanks weren’t able to pick up any treasure, the Zombie King went after the stupid Brit ‘Hero’ who was holding the only piece of loot. This sufficiently scarred the pom that he began by throwing his dice into his freshly delivered cup of steaming hot coffee and bring the game to a temporary halt whilst everyone else cracked up laughing.

The Germans had a plan however, and shot out one of the few remaining lanterns and waited till The Yankie ‘Hero’ had dispatched of both the Zombie and that pesky, racist Brit, then with the clueless Yank being easy to see (as any man holding a lantern in a dark tomb is) he would also be easy to shoot.

But alas, as soon as the Zombie King had been sent back to the grave, the tomb started to cave in, putting everyone’s lives in danger. The Yank typically sent his lady friend to battle the Nazis while he made his escape, and the Nazis made light work of her, stealing her loot and rendering her incapable of fighting.

But with the dastardly American hero out of the Tomb, and my men needing to feel their way out in the dark, we called it a night.

Overall the game was great. It had action aplenty, surprises, and plenty of laughs. The .45 Pulp systems once again proved to be very entertaining.

If there were any tweaks to be suggested, they would be thus:
There would be as many entrances as there were teams, so that there would be no bottlenecks at the main entrance, but as soon as the Zombie King was killed, all but one entrance would cave in instantly.

Who was and who wasn’t holding a lantern needs to be more visually apparent, as my number two fellow – I discovered when I got home and looked at the score sheet – never put his down, and miraculously was still holding his lantern after the grenade exploded and thus could have shot the Daniel’s man from a distance.

But hey, these things can only ever be called after playing the scenario, and as it was, the campaign as a whole, and every different scenario was fun to play, and that in the end is all that matters.

Grown men having fun with very little toys.

Friday, December 08, 2006

D Minus 1

Being a huge fan of Stephen E Ambrose’s Band of Brothers I’m looking forward to seeing how the new D Minus 1 rulebook, and consequently any new missions look, I was excited to find that the boys at Battlefront have already played the new Seize and Hold mission, and have a turn by turn report right here.

Having just played a couple of Cauldron missions, I can see the similarities and the possibilities of quite a bit of fun, which only increases my excitement for the late war possibilities.

I will of course have to see how my German Grenadierkompanie can be tweaked to fit the scenario and start thinking about some American Paras…

The Cauldron

After playing The Cauldron scenario (FOW) with Stu last week and loosing badly, I decided to tweak my army and have another go.

This time, rather than defending I was on attack.

The nature of The Cauldron is pretty interesting and totally random, with all of the attackers deployment being random through dice rolling. This left my artillery without any real defence and both of my main attacking forces on opposite sides of the board.

It didn’t help my game that my dice rolling was appalling, and that my reserves only came on late in the game, and that I forgot to do anything with one of my platoons!

Air support was another misery, even with my priority air support and a blimmin flying tank, I think I only destroyed two things in the entire game. In the latter stages when the planes may have helped me win, I couldn’t use the darn things because my own troops were too close.

All in all an interesting and fun game, with my tweaked army serving me better than it’s previous incarnation.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Welcome to the new blog...

I decided on a re-design and a new name for my war gaming blog, focusing a lot more obviously on my passion for World War II and consequently Flames of War. Sure it won't all be Flames of War, we'll be playing our last game of Pulp for the year on Tuesday, but the flavour will be decisively World War II, with maybe some bits of interesting history thrown in now and again.

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