Thursday, 28 February 2013

1940 3rd/4th German Panzer Division 1/200 (Part I: The Panzer Brigade)

The Third and Fourth Panzer Divisions attacked through Belgium and Holland. They fought the French 2nd and 3rd DLM in the Gembloux Gap.They were "light" in the numbers of Pz III and Pz IV's containing a high proportion of the Pz I and Pz II models. Hearing that I knew it was a wargaming project must (in 1/200).

The Armoured Element:

The 1940 German Panzer Brigade of a Panzer Division, see below reading from top to bottom:
  • Panzer Brigade HQ
  • Panzer Regiment HQ x 2
  • Panzer Battalions x 4

The Panzer Brigade's fighting "manoeuvre elements", the Panzer Battalions (x 4), see below reading left to right:
  • Light Company x 2 [4 Tanks each, total 8]
  • HQ Element x 1 [2 Tanks]
  • Medium Company x 1 [4 Tanks]
14 Tanks in total

Panzer Regiment HQ (1) see below:
  • Pz Bef I x 1
  • Pz II (Recon) x 1

Panzer Regiment HQ (2) see below:
  • Pz Bef I x 1
  • Pz II (Recon) x 1

The anatomy of the Panzer Battalion (Note: All "company" formations multiplied by four):

The Medium Company (see below):
  • Pz IIIE (37mm) x 2
  • Pz IVD (short 75mm) x 2

Light Company (1) see below:
  • Pz I x 2
  • Pz II x 2

Light Company (2) see below:
  • Pz I x 2
  • Pz II x 2

Battalion HQ Company (see below):
  • Pz I Bef
  • Pz II (Recon)

Back up at the top of the food chain the Panzer Brigade HQ:
  • Command HQ Stand x 1
  • Hanomag 251/10 x 1 

In total 60 Tanks (each stand represents between 4-6 actual tanks, about a fighting strength of 300+) which in 1940 is a lot of armoured fire power!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Useful Web-Site:Blueprints for Counters

This was passed on by a friend and it blew me away:

More boardgame than wargame (tabletop) but still a fantastic resource

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Battalion Attack: Fire and Movement - Board Part I

The "Battalion Attack: Fire and Movement" basic terrain board, an eight by six hex system (see below). These hexagons are of 50mm side dimensions. The intention is now to paint them a base green colour and fix them to a cardboard sheet (with a brown base colour) with the gaps between each hex coming through as a brown edge.    

An alternative scheme could be individual basing, which may be applicable for other scenarios (see below). In the first instance I am going for a "fixed" board set-up to minimise the administration required in setting up a game.

Roughly hewn, this is my "Ode to Pringle" a contemporary modern art piece (see below): 

The fun and games should start when I start painting and flocking.

Monday, 25 February 2013

20mm British Infantry Painting 1944 (Continued+)

Following on from my "Old Notes to Self" post describing my British Infantry painting technique, it appears I must now dirty up the British Infantry again to create the correct "grimy shades" feel to them. As I want them to fit in with the old figures I must comply (see below): 

Other matters attract my attention. "A carrier, a carrier, my Platoon 20 figures need a decent carrier". My 'battalion' will need a carrier stand. Frown ... Oh look there's one (see below): 

Thankfully what was previously considered an oversized Skytrex model (when used next to traditional plastics) fits the bill nicely (see above and below):

Once again other matters attract my attention.I am still missing an "in scale" 20mm (that is large metal) 6 pdr anti tank gun. I do already have 'six' Airfix 6 pdr and Bren/Universal Carrier kits but they look so out of place next to these metal Platoon 20 giants. I have 'three' of them earmarked for the "anti-tank stands" needed for the plastic (1/72:1/76) British Infantry (Airfix/Revell/Caesar) battalions I will 'raise'. The other three will become a "divisional anti-tank battery" that can be attached to battalions. So an all metal 6 pdr and crew is on the "wish list" but with no immediate urgency as of yet.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Third BEF Battalion gets its Green Hats : 1/200 BEF Painting Progress

The boys from the loft (the third BEF battalion) get their green hats too. As well as the twelve infantry stands you should be able to spot for each battalion:
  • 1 x Command Stand + Truck
  • 1 x Engineer Stand + Truck
  • 1 x Mortar Stand + Truck
  • 1 x Carrier Stand

Skytrex do provide a nice range of Britsh military transports (see below):

The carriers are quite "cute" (see below), subtly different from the later "Universal" carriers (post 1940):

The "Scout" and "Bren" Carrier versions were sensibly morphed into the more useful "Universal Carrier" post France 1940.

Friday, 22 February 2013

20mm British Infantry Painting 1944 (Continued)

While the "British paint set" was on the table the bigger boys got some action too (see below):

Anything vaguely metallic or black got a covering of Anita's Acrylic Metallic Black. The next step is to organise a black wash and start the highlight process.

Slow steps but forward progress is all I ask for ;)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Painting 1/200th British Infantry (Continued)

The painting tray still has a collection of those small 1/200 army men on it, my third 1940 BEF Battalion.

Base high light brown:

Flocking on some static grass:

Paint the British helmets green (Vallejo Russian Green and then mix in a bit of Yellow for a highlight). Some spares:
  • 2 x Vickers HMG Stands, 1 x Command Stand, 1 x Mortar Stand, 1 x Bren Section Stand

British infantry battalion OOB:
  • 12 Infantry Stands, 1 Mortar Stand, 1 Engineer Stand, 1 Carrier Stand,1 HQ Stand

The painted stands for the Battalion Attack get a retrospective "Green Helmet":
  • 12 x Infantry Stands, 1 x HMG Vickers Stand

That just leaves one more battalion to retrospectively paint "Green Helmets" onto (currently in the loft). Then next stage is to assemble and paint the BEF1940 Infantry Brigade support stands.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

BBDBA Delium 424 BC (Peloponnesian War) Part 4

Demoralisation and defeat of the Athenian Army in glorious "blow-by-blow technocolour"

The (now demoralised) left wing Athenian hoplite phalanx suffers the ignominious fate of being flanked and then completely routed (see pictures below, the outflanking through to the "coup de grace"):

Even the cavalry contest on the left goes badly (so to be expected as the right wing of the army is now demoralised), with the Athenian cavalry stand being killed, note how Alcibiadies' "light horse" standing forlornly alone in the Athenian backfield (see below):

Athenian Right Wing Losses: 0
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 5 (Demoralised)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 5 (Note: Only 12 needed to break whole army, almost half way)

Two Athenian hoplite stands fall (see below):

Athenian Right Wing Losses: 0
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 7 (Demoralised)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 7 (Note: Only 12 needed to break whole army, therefore over half way now)

The jaws close on the last left wing Athenian hoplite stands. Of the original DBA Army force only the "Light Horse" of Alcibiadides remains (his once in a game 'potent' +1 attack option rule having been long forgotten about by the Athenian player). The Theban "deep phalanx" doubling its opponents, as does a traditional group of Theban hoplites. The Athenian hoplites fall like leaves from the trees in autumn (see below): 

Athenian Left Wing Losses: 0
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 11 (Demoralised)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 11 (Only one more point required to reach the army breakpoint)

The Athenians push hard at the Thebans extreme left flank, the very flank the Athenian general Aristogoras dreamed of "turning quickly" earlier in the battle. Here is an unusual DBA contest of Cavalry (in bad going) defending against advancing hoplites (Spear) trying to slow down the hoplite advance and buy time (see below):  

It goes well for the Athenians killing one Cavalry (its retreated impossible in the bad going, blame the dice I say) and making a perilous situation for the other (see below):

Theban Right Wing Casualties: 1 (25% to breaking point)
Theban Left Wing Casualties: 2 (50% to breaking point)
Theban Total Army Casualties: 3 (25% of breaking point)

Again the Theban left wing suffers, but this time the Cavalry lives to "flee" to fight another day. The Theban left wing is battered but not broken (see below):

The Theban come back fresh, straight at the outflanked Athenian hoplites, rolling them up from the side. These are the final Athenian casualties being the 'straw that finally broke the camels' back. Two right wing hoplite stands so flanked die in close combat (see below, there is a big hole in the middle of the photograph "where" they used to be):

Athenian Right Wing Losses: 2 (50% to breaking point)
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 11 (Demoralised)Athenian Total Army Losses: 13 (army broken)

Victory, and a hard fought one at that, to the Thebans. They chant their Boetian paean (victory song), which roughly translates to "Athenians go Home!"

A nice battle and well played to all, the Theban C-in-C commander gets MVP as he persisted in a brave cavalry attack on the ford which ultimately helped turn the game. Rolling good dice in the Theban attack on the Athenian hoplite center also helped for sure. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

BBDBA Delium 424 BC (Peloponnesian War) Part 3

Push and Counter Push

The Athenian right wing pushed hard at the extreme Theban left. An isolated Theban psilio has been identified as a "vulnerable juicy target" and is double overlapped (gulp). As the Theban left wing commander I have to take full responsibility here. I was left with insufficient PiPs for what I needed to do. I could not pull back both of my psilio units on the left and ran the risk of losing more by reinforcing failure (see below).  

The inevitable happened as the Theban psilio descended to Hades (see below). The rest of the Theban left wing gives as good as it gets.

Theban Right Wing Losses:1 (25% to Demoralisation)
Theban Left Wing Losses: 1 (25% to Demoralisation)
Theban Total Army Losses: 2 (Still 10 to play with but every penny starts to count at this stage)

The Thebans go in hard on their right (see below, top) but tactically refuse on their left (see below, bottom). To their advantage the Thebans find that they can disengage their two 3Cv units from the Athenian 4Sp (a case of four legs better than two legs in getting out of trouble). The down side being that the 3Cv enter a region of "bad going", something they don't want to linger about in. The remaining Theban left wing psilio discreetly pulls back deeper into "bad going", but in its case feels much safer. 

The "crux of the game" occurs in the next few combat rolls in the "hoplite phalanx on phalanx" action. Firsly the Athenians survive a "6 to 1" roll against them and therefore recoil.

(Note: DBA/BBDBA Quantum physics calculations are, the Athenian Spears +4, supported by back rank of Spears when fighting Spears +1, with +1 rolled on the dice equals 6, versus Theban Spears +4, supported by back rank of Spears when fighting Spears +1, with +6 rolled on the dice equals 11)

The Athenians make it interesting by rolling another "1" and the Thebans roll a "5" but as they are now overlapped are doubled and destroyed.

(Note: DBA/BBDBA Quantum physics calculations are, the Athenian Spears +4, supported by back rank of Spears when fighting Spears +1, overlapped -1, with +1 rolled on the dice equals 5, versus Theban Spears +4, supported by back rank of Spears when fighting Spears +1, with +5 rolled on the dice equals 10)

Suddenly the Athenian left is on the brink of demoralisation with the Theban "deep phalanx" still to be brought into the attack. But alas for the Thebans the last two remaining combats result in "stands" (see below).

Athenian Right Wing Losses:3 (75% to Demoralisation)
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 0 (Untouched)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 3 (Still "9" to play with but the Athenian right is in a 'critical state')

Note: The northern cavalry battle has been pushed past the river line to the flank and rear of the Athenian left. Another "worry" for the Athenian Strategos to consider. 

The Athenians follow up on their right wing as best they can but only manage to shuffle back some hoplites and get within striking range of the vulnerable lights and horses for the "next go" (see below): 

Fearing inaction being the worse of strategies the Athenian sends his auxilla in to battle the Theban lights on his extreme left in the "bad going" (see below). His reasoning is sound as the two units of Theban hoplites are potentially vulnerable. The die roll is a straight "2 to 2" as the auxillia suffers from an overlap, but if luck stands with Athens these low combat rolls can be deadly, but to whom?

The crack of doom, the Athenian auxillia falls bravely in battle (see below):

Athenian Right Wing Losses:4 (Demoralised)
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 0 (Untouched)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 4 (Still "8" to play with but the all Athenian right is 'demoralised' and at the start of the next turn will suffer -2 to their combat factors)

Can the Athenian right perform a similar feat of destruction on the Theban left before there is a "bonfire of hoplites" on the Athenian left? The Thebans are next up!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

BBDBA Delium 424 BC (Peloponnesian War) Part 2

The opposing armies quickly close together.

The Thebans hold their position on the hill and the Athenians advance. On the Athenian left flank(see below top middle/left) the Athenian cavalry and supporting light troops position themselves to defend on the line of the river and protect the flank of their hoplite phalanx as the Theban right cavalry wing advances very aggressively. On the Athenian right (see below, bottom of the picture) both Thebans and Athenians draw their lights and mounted troops in to become the "end of their respective hoplite lines".

The battle on the Athenian left flank shapes up as "The battle of the fords". Each section of the river-line gives a random [to be diced for as encountered] defensive bonus, this section  going left to right gives [+0 (clear ford), +1 (defensive bank), +0 (clear ford)] (see below):

First blood to Thebes, as an Athenian psilio is lost to an unfavourable dice roll (see below):

Athenian Right Wing Losses: 0
Athenian Left Wing Losses: 1 (25% to Demoralisation)
Athenian Total Army Losses: 1 (As 12 is needed to "break" whole army, nothing "as yet" to worry about)

The Athenian's counter attack diverting an auxilla stand (4Ax) from assisting the main hoplite battle-line (see below):

The "fickle mistress of war" and "swing of fate" (in the guise of a d6) see the Theban psilio fall in battle (see below):

Theban Right Wing Losses:1 (25% to Demoralisation)
Theban Left Wing Losses: 0
Theban Total Army Losses: 1 (As 12 is needed to "break" whole army, nothing as yet" to worry about)

Meanwhile the battle lines are within spitting distance of each other. The Thebans aggressively come "off the hill", wanting to force the action in favour of of their perceived stronger right wing. The Thebans also seethe dangerous possibility of the Athenian right outflanking the Theban left wing (by sheer numbers there is at least a one stand overlap developing, see below bottom): 

The Athenians respond by cleverly contacting the Athenian right wing to the Theban left wing, but refuse and incline the Athenian left wing to the dangerous Theban right wing (and Pagadoras with his "deep phalanx"). Contact is made by only a few of the hoplite stands as the light forces find themselves just outside of range (see below): 

With the main event shaping up the Athenian pulls back his auxilla stand from "the battle of the fords". The next few rounds will determine the outcome of the battle.

Friday, 15 February 2013

BBDBA Delium 424 BC (Peloponnesian War) Part 1

Background to the Game: 

I am currently half way through reading Kagan's seminal tome ("The Peloponnesian War", which is a damn good read - he says on "his" third attempt to read it). "The Battle of Delium", the first big hoplite battle of the real-war, strikes me as both a golden opportunity missed (as in Athens "knocking Boetia out of the war") and a terrible confidence shaking tragedy for the Atheniam Empire. It seemed to put the Athenians off fighting in pitched land battles again, a bit of an Athenian "commitment problem". However as a battle it hung in the balance and could have easily swung either way but a moment of "fickle fate" (so hard to re-create on the tabletop), so therefore it begs as a "must to re-fight" if but only to ponder the historical "what-ifs". The Athenians at this time were exploring a more ambitious "take the war to the enemy" strategy from the original "passive Pericles" and ended up building a fort near Delium deep in enemy territory. After the fort's construction the Athenians were caught with their pants down as half their army (admittedly most of their 'lights' and useless mouths) had already sailed back to Athens. This served to even up the battlefield odds and gave the Thebans the incentive to "have a go", as their most bellicose Strategos Pagodas put it, "the Athenians would only come back later with more men another day".

Athenians and Allies
  • Right Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Hippocrates [C-in-C]), 7 x 4Sp, 1 x 3Cv 1 x 2LH, 2 x 2Ps
  • Left Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen), 7 x 4Sp, 1 x 3Cv 1 x 2LH (Alcibiades), 1 x 3Ax, 1 x 2Ps
Note: The difference between the two wings above (can you spot it, hint look at the "lights" was not planned as such, but just "how they inadvertently came out of the box" so don't try and read anything clever into it. Alcibides is referred to in a special rule detailed below, see also Socrates.)

Thebans and Boetians
  • Right Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Pagodas), 7 x 4Sp, 2 x 3Cv, 2 x 2Ps
  • Left Wing: 1 x 4Sp (Gen: Pagodas), 7 x 4Sp, 2 x 3Cv, 2 x 2Ps
Pagodas cunningly formed his men up from behind a hill and then appeared suddenly (see below, as seen from Theban/Boetian lines looking down on the confused Athenian position). To recreate this state of affairs the Athenians set up first and then the Thebans deploy which should give them a 'subtle' tactical advantage. Both sides had cavalry but it was hampered historically being on the wrong side of some rough terrain. I forced this deployment outside on the normal zone "just" within the reach of the commanding generals (see below, just off to the left out of camera shot is another group of Theban/Boetian cavalry).   

Both armies have identical army break points (50%) 12 stands or both wings going demoralised (that is 33% in each wing going four elements OR the general). The Theban hoplite line is shown below with a curious bulge at the far end of its line of battle (Note: a "special" scenario rule is in effect).

Pagodas was experimenting with a technique that was going (eventually) to pay handsome dividends to the Thebans in their future wars against Sparta (but that was still some fifty years off). Instead of eight deep he massed a phalanx of twenty four deep at the right hand side of his line of battle.

Special Scenario Rule: Theban Deep Phalanx (optional)
Requires four x 4Sp stands to be place in column with C-in-C Pagodas in the Front Rank. If any stands are ever peeled off the column, the "deep phalanx" ability is permanently lost for the course of the battle. 
Combat factor: +6
  • +4 Front Rank
  • +1 Second Rank
  • +1 Third and Fourth Ranks Combined
You could say it is a very expensive way to get an additional +1 as you are sacrificing breath (and possible tactical overlaps) for a heavy "push point". Yes, if the "deep phalanx" were somehow ever "doubled" in combat all the stands would be lost (aka instant "wing" demoralisation). Blissfully unaware of this tactical innovation the Athenian hoplites muster into a straight line (see below).

In normal BBDBA the C-in-C for each army can claim a +1 offensive/defensive modifier once per game (which at first glance seems rather harsh when compared to the intrinsic +1 per turn in normal DBA, however it adds its own character to the game). This still applies to the Theban commander Pagodas in this "deep phalanx".

However there were two historical characters in the Athenian army which beg a special modification to the leader rules as the army commander Hippocratis was not that inspiring. Therefore the normal leadership bonus can be played in the following fashion instead:
  • Shield of Socrates: The future great philosopher was present at this battle as a hoplite. In 432 at the siege of Potidaea Socrates had showed his great courage and valour saving the aristocratic Alcibiades' life (a rising Athenian "star"). Any Athenian hoplite unit (4Sp, including Hippocratis) can claim (only once per game) a +1 defensive modifier as they are "standing firm with Socrates". Note: The implication is that it can only be used to save a friendly unit not kill an enemy one.
  • Sword of Alcibiades': In the Athenian left wing "light horse" has the young Alcibides with it and once per game this unit can claim a +1 attack modifier. Note the implication here is that it can only be used to kill an enemy unit not save itself.

The armies are ready for battle. The Thebans set up after seeing the Athenian deployment but the Athenians "go first" (another scenario rule) as on seeing that the Athenian right overlapped the Thebans left, Hippocrates (the Athenian C-in-C) immediately ordered a charge up hill to press this advantage home as soon as possible.