Friday, 18 May 2018

10th Brigade, 6th Division in 6mm

Another British unit that I was able to finish over the long Bank Holiday weekend recently was the 10th Brigade of the British 6th Division. This was one half of a mixed British/Hanoverian Division (the 4th Hanoverian) and was commanded by Major-General Sir John Lambert. 

The unit was composed of the 1/4th Foot, 1/27th Foot, 1/40th Foot and the 2/81st Foot. The latter was left in Brussels in during the campaign, but I have included them here as part of the Brigade's strength.

This unit had an interesting story, they had recently arrived from America to join the Allied army for the campaign. They arrived on the field at Waterloo at 10.30am and were held in reserve near Mont St Jean. Lambert had assumed command of the Divison as Cole the original commander was on his honeymoon!

Another part of the Allied Reserve Corps has now been finished and with a handful of units left the end is in sight! As I said before, all the information that I am using for building this project has mostly come from the excellent website Cent Jours, although it is in French (I don't speak it) it is a wealth of information on the uniforms of the Waterloo campaign. I am also using Mark Adkin's excellent The Waterloo Companion. This is packed full of information mainly about Waterloo, but has plenty about the whole campaign as well. 

That link goes through to my Amazon Associates account and anything bought either there or after clicking it will net me a little reward, so if you are buying anything off Amazon can I ask that you do it through that link? You'll be supporting this blog if you do!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

5th Hanoverian Brigade, 5th Division in 6mm

I've been making steady progress with my 100 Days Campaign in 6mm, and given the recent Bank Holiday weekend, I was able to knock out a couple of Allied units. Including the 5th Hanoverian Brigade of 5th Division, under Colonel von Vinke.

This is an average conscript unit of Hanoverians, but they were heavily engaged at Quatre-Bras and took heavy fire from the French battery on the morning of Waterloo and stood directly in front of d'Erlon's cavalry attack! 

The unit consists of the City battalions Giffhorn, Hameln, Hildesheim and Peine. In the absence of correct flags, I have reused the Hanoverian flags that I was able to source off a website I once stumbled on. I can't find it again, so I am glad I kept a copy of the flags...

Another one ticked off the list! All the information that I am using for building this project has mostly come from the excellent website Cent Jours, although it is in French (I don't speak it) it is a wealth of information on the uniforms of the Waterloo campaign. I am also using Mark Adkin's excellent The Waterloo Companion. This is packed full of information mainly about Waterloo, but has plenty about the whole campaign as well.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

500th Post and Star Wars Legion!

Welcome to the 500th post of this blog! Blimey, doesn't time pass fast!? 

I arrived home on Friday to find the new Star Wars Legion box set had arrived! I ordered it on Tuesday as I had come into a little bit of money recently. As with all Fantasy Flight Games it is excellent for its production values alone. Everything looks great and all the figures were sorted into separate bags so that their associated tiny parts don't get jumbled up together.

Obviously, as it has only just arrived I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but I have read the rules and it seems very similar to X-Wing, another great Star Wars game by FFG. Each unit has a unit card with its abilities. Units can be a group of troopers or an individual character (in the core set it is Luke and Darth Vader, obvs). The game takes place over six turns and in each turn players take turns in choosing individual units to act, in a slightly less clumsy IGOUGO system. 

Combat is decided by the players taking a pool of dice equal to the firing strength of the the unit and their weapons then counting out the hits, minus the defence dice rolled by the opposition. The number left over is the amount of wounds caused on a unit, with most troopers only taking one wound each. Pretty simple. There are cards to increase attack and defence dice, so that can change the landscape of combat nicely. 

Also, movement is handled very well, only the unit commander moves and the rest of the unit are placed within a certain distance of him at the player's discretion! This does away with lots of time consuming individual movement and is an excellent solution to moving large numbers of figures. Vehicles have their own rules as well, but work as smoothly as the ground troops, it seems. 

This streamlining of rules is a welcome relief as I have played Star Wars Miniatures Battles in the past and although it is a great game, it is very much of its time with a lot of bookkeeping. SWL does away with that by keeping the information in simple form on unit cards. 

So, what are the pros and cons of the game as I see it? Well, let's start with the cons: 

A lot of people have argued that the figures (at 32mm) are too big to use with other FFG games, like Imperial Assault. This may be true, but I don't have IA, so it's not such a great concern for me, but I did think the choice of scale is a bit strange when there is an already massive 28mm market out there that this could have been tapped into. 

Some of the rules mentioned in the rule book are online; this was slightly disappointing as I would like everything gathered in one place in the core box. That said, I understand the need for a 'living rulebook' and updates are easier on the net. It seems to be something FFG are moving more towards anyway, and I can only see other companies following suit in the future. 

The plastic figures are not very convertible and you get two sets of seven figures for each side that are the same seven poses. In the age of multipose plastics this was perhaps the biggest disappointment. In a skirmish game I like to see each figure in an individual pose, it also seems that expansion sets suffer from this monopose issue as well. Even Games Workshop have got this right.

And finally, people have said it is not a full game. It is, it is just a slimmed down version of the recommended 800 points game which seems to tap into the 'buy more plastic' market of collectible gaming. I'm not a massive fan of using points in games and prefer real life unbalance anyway, so this is not such an issue for me, but it may affect some people's choice of playing, especially as it also seems geared towards tournament play, which I don't like. 

Enough moaning, here's the pros:

IT'S STAR WARS! It's a fully licensed Star Wars game so that means no scouring wargaming companies for Star Wars stand-ins. Everything looks like it does in the films!

The figures are really nice sculpts, there are lots a detail and they go together really easily (use superglue though! Polystyrene cement will not work with the plastic). The poses are well thought out and look realistic, the Speeder Bikes in particular are excellent.

High production values. As mentioned, you get what you pay for with FFG, the price tag may be high, but you see where your money is going.

The rules are simple, well written and look like a doddle to hold in your head once games begin. This is great bonus for us hard-of-thinking folks who prefer to spend a game playing rather than looking up the angle of deflection of a particular armour plate versus velocity and trajectory of a HEAT round in cold windy weather at night.

It's an actual wargame, not a board game. I had been put off Imperial Assault as it looked too board gamey for my tastes. I like board games a lot, but it didn't seem to suit the Star Wars universe (you may disagree with me on this). I wanted to play a sandbox skirmish, so that is why I initially went for the more complex SWMB. Legion perfectly scratches that itch.

And finally, IT'S STAR WARS!! That can't be said enough.

I mentioned the figures and I was eager to get started with painting them, rather than reinventing the wheel, I watched a few tutorials by Sorastro on his YouTube channel (there's some great general painting tips there as well). I pulled out the two Stormtrooper commanders and they took me about an hour to complete. Here they are:

They are not perfect, but are a gaming standard and I'm happy with them. So, all in all, a highly recommended game, bursting with Star Wars goodies and what looks like hours of good times ahead. Check back in the future for some AARs and a better discussion of the rules. If you are interested in the game, you can buy it through this link:

Doing so will take you through my Amazon Associates account and I'll get a small cut, which will help me write 500 more blog posts! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Book Review: Peter Hart, The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918

Image result for endgame on the western front 1918

Given the belter of a Bank Holiday we've just had, I took the chance to read Peter Hart's latest book: The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918 and as I was given a review copy of it, I thought I had better review it!

The histories of the last year of the First World War generally are preoccupied with the German Spring Offensives and if they do explore beyond this, it is usually an examination of the Battle of Amiens (8th August) which ushered in the final act of the war leading to the Armistice in November. The works that do concentrate on the final months of the war (Jonathan Boff's Winning and Losing on the Western Front (Cambridge Military Histories), for example) are detailed academic approaches. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but on occasion, they can make for dry reading. Peter Hart (the Imperial War Museum's oral historian) takes an extremely complicated period of the war from September through to November and ably distills the information into a very readable account in The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918.
The first portion of the book are given over to a background to the fighting that continued long after the 8th of August, including the political standpoint of the Allies, with their need for a concerted effort to finally knock Germany out of the war (spoiler: the Allies win!). The largest section of the study moves into the frenetic operations that typified the fighting in late 1918, each large set piece is examined in some detail, but with no loss of readability. This is where Hart's writing really shines through, he is able to take the strategic view and place it alongside the view of the men at the sharp end of the fighting with no loss of readability. Numerous quotes from British, Australian, Canadian, French, American and German sources give a full picture of what each army faced and how they overcame the problems facing them.

The war in 1918 was a world away from the one that had started in 1914, and Endgame demonstrates this by examining the changes in tactics, not only of the infantry, but the aircraft, artillery and the use of tanks in an all-arms combination that proved the modern era of warfare had truly arrived. For anyone seeking the old myths of futility this book is not the place to find it! Hart's revisionist approach is eye-opening and up to the rigours of modern First World War interpretation. I thoroughly recommend it.

If you are interested in buying this book, please use the link below which goes through my Amazon Associates profile:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

9th Brigade, 5th Division in 6mm

Staying with the small stuff that I have recently been working on, I went back to the 100 Days Campaign and the next Allied brigade, which is the British 9th Brigade of the 5th Division. 

This was part of the British reserve Corps (as indicated by the blank flag on the base) and was led by Major-General Sir Denis Pack who was wounded during the campaign. The unit has the 3/1 Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots), 42nd Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch), 2/44th (East Sussex) Regiment of Foot and the 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders).

Although the brigade is classed as understrength and this usually means that I only have three units on a base, I couldn't let any of these famous units not be represented here!

Also, with an Elan of 7, this is a very good unit and will take a lot of pasting before it breaks. As happened at Quatre-Bras where the 5th Division was in the thick of the fighting.

I am spending my time between units for Rommel and units for Blucher, so there will be a bit of toing-and-froing between them for a bit, but stay tuned for more 100 Days updates!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Tiny Tigers

Following on from the first units I started for my Rommel in 3mm project, I put together a unit of Tigers. well, every German force has to have Tigers, doesn't it? They were dead easy to paint (I'll show you how I did it in a future post) and took no time in completing the battalion.

This is an independent unit and is based on the schwere Panzerabteilung 503 and I used their symbol of the Tiger's head for the unit recognition on the base label. The 503rd fought at Kursk, so this fits well with the 3rd Panzer Division that I have already started. The Tigers have a huge 6 armour advantage, so they should be able to smash most Soviet vehicles that oppose them!

It is surprisingly fast to make these tiny units, so it shouldn't be too long before I can game with the entire force. But that is something to look forward to for now!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Romanians At Stalingrad: A Rommel AAR

November 1942, north of the city of Stalingrad, the Romanian 3rd Army is assaulted by a massive force of Soviets aiming to cut off the German defenders in the ruins. On Saturday Dean and I refought a fictional action where the Romanian elements of 3rd Army tried to escape the jaws of a Soviet encirclement using Rommel. The scenario was taken from the Rommel rule book, the Romanians had to capture an objective at the Soviet end of the table as well as evacuating 12 elements off the table within 12 turns. Any other result would be a Soviet victory. We played it with a hundred point army each, with the Soviets receiving reinforcements of a tank brigade on turn 6. 

Dean took the Romanians (and if you want to know what he is wearing, skip to the bottom of the page...) and arranged them with the armour in the centre supported by infantry on the flanks.

I placed two infantry brigades on either side of the table with a motor rifle unit towards the rear to hold the objective.

The opening move began with the Romanians advancing through the dense terrain, this slowed them down considerably and wouldn't allow for the faster road movements.

On my right flank, I moved Soviet infantry into the woods and also attacked the forward elements of the Romanians.

Attacking the Romanians did little and my units fell back.

In the centre of the field, Romanian motor infantry and tanks pushed forward.

On the left Soviet flank, the units I attacked with were attacked by Romanian Panzer IIIs and were hit in the flanks whilst reorganising from their own attack.

However, before the Romanians engaged I withdrew the defenders back to the safety of the Soviet lines.

My flanks were holding up against the attacks, but the centre was weak and the Romanians reached the villages in the middle of the field.

A group of Panzer 38(t)s broke off and assaulted some of my infantry.

But they held and the 38(t)s were thrown back.

The Panzers on my left flank were also finding it hard to break the Soviet infantry defenders.

Dean changed tactics and started moving his units towards the end of the table to evacuate them, using the fastest moving units he headed for open fields.

This move also saw my gun line being threatened by the Panzer 38(t)s. I used a tactics card to defend against the attack though.

The unrelenting attacks had worn down my infantry and the line was looking weaker, but it was still holding.

I dug in my troops, I was trying anything that would help with the defence.

Meanwhile, Romanian Panzers had reached the objective and began their attacks.

I was being pushed back all along the front lines and my supply points were now being threatened on both flanks.

Just at the critical point my reinforcements arrived! T-34s, T-26s and KV-1s suddenly appeared and hit the advanced Romanians hard!

The battered Soviet motor infantry were destroyed, but their defence was replaced with tanks!

The Romanian Panzers kept up their battering of the objective, but the Soviet armoured infantry held their ground!

Romanian infantry elements had also reached the end of the table and started to move off away from the field.

The fighting around the objective was still intense and no ground was given by either side!

I kept the defence of the supply points (the BA-64) intact by adding what few Soviet infantry I had left at this point.

The Romanians now had a large exposed flank which I exploited with the T-34s and T-26s.

As the Romanian infantry fled past my positions, I hit them with my infantry and the tanks. The fresh troops took damage in the fighting.

Meanwhile at the end of the field there was still heavy tank fighting around the Romanian objective.

The Panzer IIIs were making little impression on the stalwart Soviet defenders.

And on my left flank the remains of the Soviet defence around the supply point attacked the remaining German Panzer IVs, being so battered from prolonged fighting the tanks were eventually destroyed.

Despite losing the other supply point previously, I was able to retake my fuel dumps and disaster was averted on the right flank as well.

More Romanian infantry made for the safety of their exit point, but the Soviet defence of the objective was a hard as ever.

Another round of fighting broke two of the three Panzer IIIs, the attack had faltered in front of the stiff Soviet resistance.

We moved into turn ten and Dean called it a day. Although he had managed to evacuate 14 Romanian elements off the board the objective was still in Soviet hands. I had many fresh tanks and would have just kept piling them into the square to hold off all attacks. The position was untenable from the Axis point of view.

So, although the Romanians had evacuated a sizable portion of their force, they had not completed the scenario goals and it was a Soviet victory. Another great game of Rommel, which took us about four hours to complete!

And if you're still wondering what Dean was wearing it was the small helmet in the centre of this picture. This blog has been quiet for the last two weeks as I have been in Northumbria, Vienna and Brighton over the past fortnight, and whilst in Vienna I was gifted these helmets, one is a Soviet era WW2 helmet, a Soviet 1980s Officer's Cap, a M17 First World War German helmet and a strange Whermacht style helmet which I can't trace. It feels unlike metal but has a metal rim around the edge. It seems too small for a normal soldier's helmet, so if anyone has a clue what it might be, please let me know!

Thanks for reading!
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