Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Slow Start for the New Year

While I had all sorts of big  ideas about building, painting, and playing over New Years and through January, I've mostly been working long hours and fighting with the flu for the last couple of weeks.  As a result, not much has happened on the gaming front.

I have managed to get a couple small terrain projects done for 6mm Africa though.   I finished a bunch of stands of trees, and made some stands of bushes.  These will help fill out my table little faster, and the bushes will make set-up and clean up faster and easier.


The trees are from the Woodland Scenics with small bits of foliage clusters mounted on flocked styrene bases.  I might still need a few more stands, but will see in the next battle, which I might try this weekend if I'm feeling up to it.


The bushes are Woodland Scenics clump foliage mounted on flocked styrene bases.  I had just been using loose clump foliage for the bases, but it was a pain to clean up, plus tended to get caught in tufts of smoke and cling to tanks during movement, so this should fix those problems.  I'll probably need more, but again, the next game will give me an idea of how much more to make.  

The only painting I've been able to do is to base coat a few of the wonderful Army's Armies Chieftains and Scorpions that I picked up before he sold the line.  I'm hoping that Scotia gets them in production soon, so that I can add some more armor and infantry to my forces.


The M60A2 to the left is one of my own models. The Chieftains are beasts, making the M60 look kind of small.  I'm still not sure if I'm putting the black camouflage on them or not, as I can't figure out when it went into use, and most of my battles will be in the 1977-1982 time frame.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Thoughts and Observations, Old and New

I guess this is my annual review post, though maybe a little less to the point than in other years.

The Old

Looking back over 2019, I spent a lot of time not getting much done.  It started out well enough, with a surge of post apoc games, but I got caught up in casting early in the year, and then CinC's pseudo-closing launched my 6mm Cold War project prematurely, and that was pretty much the year.


I bought and painted a ton of Cold War hardware, and researched my brains out, trying to set up the OBs and TO&Es for my target Cold War hot dates.  The project consumed 90 percent of the gaming time through the year, but has yet to yield a game.  It did result in  a mix of much factual data, a little frustration, and the realization that I will have more fiction than originally intended in my earlier 1950s and 1960s Cold War games.

One thing that came out of all my research was the realization that my 1958 games will be set around a scenario very different from the originally anticipated traditional onslaught of the red tide.  Not sure exactly how it will manifest yet, but WWIII in 1958 is going to look different than my pre-conceived notions had lead me to believe.  Researching the Cold War has been an absolute blast though.  A strangely nostalgic journey, very eye opening at times, and really, changing my world view a bit.

I finally got 6mm Imagi-Africa rolling, but it took a year or more to do a couple of month's work, so the real calendar continues to pass faster than the game calendar, which is kind of backwards.  The game has taken on a somewhat different personality than I originally expected, which is cool, but has resulted in more time adding miniatures and terrain, and less time playing than I had intended.

Otherwise, our Star Fleet Battles campaign is still creeping along, very enjoyable, just not as frequent as we would like.  I still can't figure out how to force the Hydrans to fight a proper fight with my Lyrans, and stick around long enough to take real losses.  Probably the most curious thing, is how tactical victories have shown themselves to often be strategic losses, and how often we both seem to feel that the other side has won a given battle.

Maybe the biggest single take away from the last year was that I just didn't find time to play nearly as often as I thought that I would.  I've really got to change that. 


The New

I want to get my post-apoc gaming going as an intermittent thing between the larger campaigns, but I need to finish more bits to make that happen, and just keep getting interrupted, running out of supplies at the most in-opportune times, and most recently brought to a screeching halt by one of the cats. 

I discovered a couple of days ago, that one of the cats got downstairs on my table, knocked over my paint water, and then stepped on my still wet pallet from applying a wash on my post-apoc diner.  The result was a chaotic spread of dark brown feline footprints all over my table and supplies that were setting about, and the diner model itself.  The diner was about 80 percent painted, now it is about 10 percent painted.  Could have been a lot worse, and only the second time in 25 years that something like this happened.

Anyway, I need to get a few buildings done, and a couple more factions completed, and things should start rolling again.

The Cold War will roll forward.  My wife got me a number of 6mm miniatures to fill in some gaps in vehicles and buildings for Christmas.  The buildings in particular will help me to address my biggest shortage, which is the terrain for Cold War Germany.

I've been getting the bug to do some WWII gaming as well, and think I will squeeze in some 1940 stuff this year.  This should involve mostly playing, as opposed to building.  Going to have to clean some dust off of some stuff though.

SFB and imagi-Africa campaigns should move along more smoothly.  I might add a few Klingon ship models to facilitate a few more miniatures games there, and may need to add the occasional bit to Africa, but don't see a lot of building in the nearer term for that campaign either.

No doubt many periods will continue to be neglected in 2020; colonials, fantasy, Vietnam, Soviet-Afghan, Arab-Israeli, etc.  My palet just fancies too many flavors.  I do think that my near-future/alien invasion project may get off the shelf later in the year.  We'll see, but I've been itching to paint my "grays" for some time, and have a lovely idea for their conveyance, such that they might pay Earth a visit.  They will no doubt come in peace.

My first scheduled game is in a couple of weeks with an old friend.  We'll be playing a 15mm Cold War battle  set about 1978.  We'll see how it goes.  

As always, big plans, too little time.  Hope everybody had a great 2019, and has an even better 2020.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Post Apoc Chain Link Fence for 28mm

Over the last week, I managed to complete a little post-apoc project, some chain link fence for 28mm.  Scale is a little wonky, as I made them to "look right" with figures mounted on slotta bases.

The base of the fences is .06" styrene 3/4" x either 3" or 6" long.  Fence posts are 3/32 Evergreen tube, 1.75" high, with 1/16" rod for the cross-members.  I pinned the tube to the bases with brass wire, and clipped the ends of the bases at 45 degrees to permit making 90 degree corners.  The wire mesh was to to the length of the base, and roughly 1.85" in height.

I originally was hoping to leave one end post off of each section, such that the end of the cross-member would simply overlap the end vertical post of the next section, resulting in a more realistic model, but the wire mesh persisted in having a little twist to it, bending the cross-member a little, and ending with the mesh at a little of an angle.  So, each joint between sections has a double post.  I briefly considered soldering the posts out of brass rod/wire, but didn't want to take the time.

I ended up with twelve 6" sections and ten 3" sections for 102" of fence.  There are a number of damaged section, ranging from a bent post, or cut in the fence to complete bent over as if run over by a large angry post-apoc truck.

Here is the result:





The last pic is with a couple of 28mm figs, for a sense of scale.  I believe the biker is from Copplestone, and the tall guy is from Foundry Street Violence.

I'm a little bummed about having to have the double end posts, but otherwise happy with the result.

Next up is an abandoned roadside diner and small motel to go with the gas station that I built last year.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

AAR33: A Minor Delay

The Battle for Objective B22  was an afterthought at best (and a surprise to me, as I didn't expect it to take place), for the Mugabian command.  Uwandan forces were already behind it, so it would fall now, or fall later, it didn't matter.

Objective B22 is in the upper left above.

The battlefield looking south, Uwanda enters fromt he right,
 Mugabia defends on the left.

Captain Hofu knew that he could not hold the town, he couldn't even pretend to defend its perimeter.  He had a company of infantry, and he needed a reinforced battalion to cover that much ground.  Instead he decided to defend a small hill just northwest of the town, figuring the rise would allow him some advantage over the invaders, at least for a little while.  As he waited for the inevitable, he hoped that he could order a withdrawal, minimizing losses, after inflicting as much damage as possible.


Mugabian forces consisted of remnants of two forces previously beaten in battle, and the garrison the town at B22.


Mugabian Forces:

Force B5
4x BTR152 w/1 squad
3x 122mm Mortar/truck
1 x Truck

Force B6
4x truck w/squad
1x GAZ 69
2x 122mm Mortar w/truck

Force B22
10x T34/85
10x BTR60pk w/squad
2x BRDM
1x ZSU57/2
2x SU100
4x 122mortar /truck

Uwanda attacked with two task groups with some experience and few losses.  Each force featured a company of infantry and two platoons of Centurion IIIs.

Uwandan Forces:

TF 7
10x Saracen & 2x BTR152 w/squad
8x Centurion III
1x Wombat
4x 105mm Howitzer w/truck

TF8
13x Saracen w/squad
8x Centurion III
3x Saladin
2x Wombat

Mugabian forces set up on and around the hill northwest of the town.  Infantry and some T34/85s spread out around the perimeter of the base of the hill, while the SU100s and a platoon of T34/85 were placed on the hill.  A couple of scouts were lace forward of the position to watch the east/west road into town.
Mugabian forces deployed around the hill,
 the scouts are little out of the view to the upper left.

Uwandan forces decided to advance on the town from the north, moving east into position, gaining cover from a hill to the northwest of the town.  The Saladins advanced across the the top of the rise, trying to locate the defenders in, and around the town.

The Mugabian scouts watching the east/west road were in perfect position to see the Saldins advancing along their north horizon  first, so Mugabian forces kept eyes open, waiting until the Uwandans closed within effective range.

The Saldadins advanced, eventually creeping into range, with one getting picked off by a SU100.  With contact made, slowly, the Uwandan Centurions of TF8 made their way along the north side of the slope, eventually  moving into firing positions on the east face of the hill, overlooking much of the Mugabian positions. 

Saladins advance on the hill northwest of the town.

At a range of 1400-1600 meters, the Centurions located and began engaging the Mugabian forces in front of their hill fortress.  The SU100s responded, with most shots from both sides missing.  During this extended exchange of relatively long range shots, Uwandan infantry continued their westerly advance to the north of the Centurions.

Centurions fire at Mugabian forces in the distance.

As this situation developed, the Uwandan commander decided to send TF7s intantry company into the town via the main east/west road.  These were quickly spotted, with mortar firing being called in on the Uwandan advance.

Infantry of TF 7 advance on the eas/west road towards town.

The mortars fired ineffectively for quite some time, finally scoring a couple of hits on Saracen APCs, and forcing a portion of the inf to continue their advance cross country and at a much slower speed.  The forward portion of the Uwandan infantry decided to push forward into town and see what could be found.

Mugabian mortars finally leave their mark.

To the north, the TF 8,s infantry closed in on the north south road, north of town, and the forward Mugabian infantry positions, all the time, under the cover of two platoons of Centurions slowly picking apart the Mugabian defenses.

Mugabians taking a beating.

By the time the Mugabians switched to firing smoke in front of the Centurions, it was too late, the Mugabian infantry facing the Uwandans had reached their breaking point, and began to withdraw from their line.  The Mugabain commander managed to keep the flanks in position for a little longer, but the battle was obviously lost.

The center breaks.

Meanwhile, to the south, TF7's forward infantry advanced through the town, and began to sweeping north behind the town, and toward the Mugabian occupied hill, when they noticed the Mugabian
mortars deployed immediately to their right.  Quickly the Uwandan infantry attacked the mortars destroying, and capturing the entire force.

Infantry of TF7 overrun the Mubagian mortars.

By the time one of the SU100s was lost to one of the Centurions, the Mugabian commander had ordered his force to withdraw, hoping to save most of his men.  Unfortunately, Uwandan
air support arrived just in time to find the mostly exposed Mugabians making themselves choice targets. The first pair of Strikemasters dropped bombs destroying several vehicles and squads, including the onlyMugabian air defense, a ZSU57/2, which never got off a shot. 

Strikemasters making their run.

A terrible loss.

As the bombing occurred, Uwandan infantry closed on both flanks, with Mugabians taking more casualties and eventually surrendering to the Uwandans overrunning them.

Just before the Mugabian right flank collapses and surrenders.

The battle had ended, the loss far worse than he had feared, his force was utterly destroyed, most of his men now POWs.  "I would do better to surrender, but then all of my men would become prisoners.  Instead, I shall take them hme, such that they shall live, and I will die for my effort."

While I expected Uwanda to win the battle, I didn't expect a total calamity. If Uwandan forces had been equipped with Sherman Fireflys, instead of Centurion IIIs, the fireflys would have had to close with the Mugabians, allowing Mugabia to bring their firepower to greater use. I can't help but believe this would have been a very different, much less lopsided battle.

Mugabian losses:

8x BTR-60
1x BTR-152
2x BRDM2
7x T34/85
1x SU100
1x ZSU-57/2
9x Truck
28x KIA
84xTaken POW (13 WIA)

Uwanda Losses:

1x Centurion III
4x Saracen
1x Saladin
13x KIA
11x WIA

Captured:
2x BTR60
1x T34/85
2x GAZ66 truck
4x 122mm Mortar

This was the last battle of the day, as both sides took a little time for regrouping.  I need to roll some dice, as the strategic situation develops a bit more.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Mugabian Situation: Soviet Concerns Grow

Well, after the last round of battles, I've had some time to roll some dice, and things are happening behind the scenes in Mugabia...



"Yes, Comrade Secretary, it is an honor to speak with you!  Yes, yes, I wish the circumstances were different as well....  Indeed, our large round friend does have a greater problem than he knows..."

It was not every day that the Soviet ambassador to Mugabia took a call from such a high ranking official.  And it was not everyday, that the ambassador was accused of letting a situation get so out of hand.  Unfortunately for the ambassador, there was little that could have been done without a greater commitment from his government.  But, that was indeed the heart of the problem, a lack of commitment.

The Mugabian President had deployed his troops more to control the ULF and any unrest that they might cause in his own country,  than to warn Uwanda of considering greater action.  This deployment, supported by his belief that Uwanda would never escalate the situation, was most practical for its intended purpose.  And up until now, Soviet leadership hadn't cared much if their round friend didn't heed their warnings, despite the efforts of the ambassador.

The Mugabian President had been more enamored by the Cubans, than the Soviets, and caught up in the enthusiasm of "the revolution", more than the threat on hi border.  The Cubans had been effective at training some of  the Mugabian troops, but hadn't helped prepare the President for the issue at hand.

Unfortunately, two days into the endeavor, a large portion of Mugabias army was well behind, or out of position to stop Uwanda's forces, while their Air Force was largely a memory.  Even with regrouping and re-supply, Uwanda would be at the Mugabian capitol in no more than a week.

Unless Uwanda committed a colossal error soon, some sort of intervention would have to occur to prevent the a Mugabian calapse.  Two days into the war, and the only significant obstacle standing before Uwanda, was the Mugabia Presidential Guard.  A force more elite in their dress, than their combat skills.

"Yes Comrade Secretary.  Yes, the Cubans have complicated the situation... Yes, I should have done more to intervene...  Might a discussion with Comrade Castro bring the situation into a more favorable light.  Oh, I see..."

As the ambassador listened to the list of what had gone wrong, he realized that he had authored the list of recommended actions that was now being read to him.  This offered no comfort to a man who was expected to take the blame for the inaction of his superiors.  Now that the situation demanded the attention of those superiors, several of those recommendations were being enacted, though maybe too late.


First, a naval group had been rerouted to Mugabia, this would bring a small, but formidable landing force of Soviet troops and aircraft.  If it could get there in time, Uwanda would be hard pressed to match its firepower, and was sure to understand that it would only be the tip on the spear.

Second, airborne forces were being put on alert, should they need to "drop in" and save the day, if Uwanda didn't wait for the arrival of the Soviet Navy.

And lastly, a group of advisers would soon be arriving.  Though they could be most persuasive, the ambassador understood that the advisers might have to make... an adjustment to the leadership of Mugabia, if the round man couldn't be made to listen.

As he hung up the phone, the Ambassador was sweating, despite the air conditioning in his office.  He feared that the adjustment in leadership might happen quickly and without adequate thought being given.  Such an adjustment hadn't worked out thus far in Afghanistan, and far more consideration had gone into that.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cold War Micro Armor

My hobby time this year has been dominated by painting over 1500 6mm Cold War models, giving me a total of over 3400 miniatures for my Cold War project.  So, for no good reason, I thought I'd set them out on the table in their trays and take a few pics.



I store my micro armor in trays that slide into in one foot square wooden cubes (each holds six trays).  I changed the design over the years, so the trays measure about 10 inches square or a little over 11 inches square and hold between roughly 150 to 250 vehicles depending on the size.  Around 3200 models are shown in the photo above.




Above are most of my Cold War French with AMX13s, ERC90s, AMX-VTTs, through AMX30s  among those represented.  Some of the French forces for the 1950s will be represented by my American models, but I still need to add a number of French vehicles for the later formations.  Between the unique vehicles designs and evolving TO&Es over the years, I find the French among the most interesting forces to play.




This is one of my UK trays, featuring Conquerors, Ferrets, Scorpions, Saracens, Saladins, and FV432s and variants in this tray.  Most of their heavy armor, Centurions, Chieftains, and Challengers are in another tray.




West German Leopard 1s and M48s. Leo IIs, light armor, and support are in two other trays.




Once of six US trays, this one features APCs; M114s, M75s, M59s, and M113s.




1950s vintage US tanks, M41s, M47s, and M48s in this tray.  Another has M60 variants, and yet another is for M1s and M2s.




Possibly the most interesting of the dozen Soviet trays with SAMs, radars, FROGs, and various bridging and engineering vehicles.  There are almost 1500 pieces of Soviet equipment in all.




A tray of mostly T80s with re-active armor, a small number of these still need painted.  I've focused on finishing the 1950s and 1960s vehicles first, then will finish the remaining 1970s and 1980s models.




A tray of WWII Soviet hardware that served in the 1950s (and later), particularly in some of the Warsaw pact nations. Various JSUs, SU100s, JSIIs, and T34/85s.




Mostly T55s and T62s of varying types from C in C and GHQ.




And some rides for the Soviet infantry, BTR50s, BMP1s, BTR152s (I still need a bunch more of these), and BTR60s of various models.

I still have between 100-200 models that still need paint, most of which require some of the more complex assembly or repair.  Next up are nearly 200 aircraft, and about three quarters of the required infantry.  

I still need to acquire a goodly number of buildings, and decide if I'm going to face-lift my old terrain, while adding the new stuff, or just add the new stuff.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

AAR32: The Slugger Gets Slugged

The battle for Objective B32 was the last battle of the third day of the war.  The battle had started with an expensive air encounter, and ended with a brutal clash on the ground.  Objective B32 was key to blocking any future Mugabian counter attack from the south, and Uwanda was expending the the two most capable units available among the southern portion of their invading forces.


B32 (Accidentally co-named B20) is in the lower right corner of the map.

Objective B32 consists of a small town and cross-roads located in a shallow valley south of Objective 21.
Uwanda's view of the battlefield looking east.

Uwanda's attacking force consisted of two army task forces:

Task Force 1:
2x Saracen Overall HQ
1x mixed tank company of 6x Fireflys and 3x Centurions (3 under-strength platoons)
1x Infantry company (partial) with 7x Saracens and 6x squads of infantry
3x Ferrets
2x M42
1x Universal Carrier (Artillery HQ)
4x M7 Priest

Task Force 4:
2x Firefly platoons of 4x tanks each
1x infantry company of 13x M3 halftracks and 12 squads
1x Recce Squaron (reduced) with 3x Saladins, and 2x Ferrets

Air Support:
4x Skymaster loaded with 4 bombs each (if and when air superiority has been established)

Mugabia had three ground units available:

Garrison force B21 (much depleted from prior battles):
1x BTR60PK (overall HQ)
1x T34/85
1x BTR60PK w/squad
1x BRDM2
1x ZSU57/2
1x 122mm Gun w/truck
1x 120mm Mortar w/truck
3x BTR152 w/squads

Garrison Force 32:
10x T34/85
10x BTR60PK w/squad
2x BRDM
1x ZSU57
2x SU100
4x 120mm Mortar w/truck

Garrison Force 32-20:
7x BTR152 w/6 squads
2x Gaz67 (HQ)
2x ZU23/2 w/truck
4x 120mm Mortar w/truck

Air support: 
4x Vautour with bombs (if and when air superiority was achieved)

The Plan:

Mugabian forces deployed around the town, in multiple lines of defense, hoping to force Uwanda armor to fight at close range with Mugabian infantry at every opportunity.  The SU100s were deployed on a low rise to the southeast of the town.


Mugabian forces deployed.


The SU100s looking west (left) above.

Uwanda's forces initially would sweep around the the west side of the town before making contact.  Then, TF1 was to attack straight down the main (west) road, intending to draw Mugabian forces toward the center of the town.  TF4 would circle around the south side of the town, taking control of the south road, and cutting off any escape route for the Mugabians, then advance and clear out the Mugabians forces re-positioning to fight the frontal Uwandan attack from TF1.

The Mugabians knew the situation around them was chaotic, and had reports of Uwandan froces in every direction, so positioned their forces such that they could defend all three entry roads into the town. 

The battle started as planned with Uwandan scouts deploying on the rise west of town, spotting a number of Mugabian positions.  TF1 then attacked as planned, deploying Fireflys and Centurions off of the road as soon as contact was made. 


Mugabian forces in the distance.

The Mugabians scored the first hits, destroying a Firefly.  Soon more  were hit and destroyed on both sides of the road.  In turn, the Fireflys destroyed T34s and BTR60s mostly along a tree line south of the road. 


The shooting begins.

Mugabian mortars fired ineffectively at the Fireflys; while, the M7 Priests (deployed off table) fired with some effect against infantry in the tree line opposite the Fireflys.  Centurions moved down the road, killing T34s in the town near the road, and then swung into the field to the south supporting the Shermans.


The battle progresses.

The Centurions eventually crossed the road into a field north of the road.  T34s hit the Centurions, but could not destroy them, while taking losses to their numbers.  Uwandan infantry deployed across the field from the Mugabians, behind the Centurions.  The Centurions forced a morale failure on the part of the Mugabian infantry in the treeline, but two of the three Centurions took track hits about the same time, stalling their advance.  Both vehicles continued to fight, and destroyed two more of the now withdrawing T34s. 


Centurions crossing into the field north of the road.

Infantry from the south treeline (originally facing the Fireflys ), by this time, had redeployed along the road at the edge of town, and began engaging the tracked Centurions with RPGs.  All three of the tanks were destroyed in time, while the infantry took few losses.  The Uwanda infantry were positioned too far north to have significant effect on the Mugabians near the road.


Tracked Centurions.


Dead Centurions.

As this fight was reaching its climax, Uwanda's TF4 had begun its advance to the south.  Mugabia had also mobilized its small reserve of infantry to defend the western edge of the town just north of the west road.


Uwanda's Task Force 4 advances.

TF4's advance was eventually spotted by a scout deployed on the hill with the SU100s, and they began to receive mortar fire.  As the leading tanks of TF4 advanced to within 16oo meters of the SU100s, the SU100s opened up at long range.  At first , they had no effect, firing at such long range, but then began scoring hits on the Shermans, knocking out several of the tanks, which were helpless against the SU100s at this range, while on the move.



Shortly after TF 4's tanks began brewing up, the mortars started scoring some hits on some of the half-tracks, and at about this time, word came from the battlefield commander, that the attack along the west road had completely stalled. 


Uwanda's Infantry start to withdraw.

The commander of TF4 lost hope,  as he watched his tanks burn up ahead, and gave the order to withdraw.  By this point, the battlefield commander had ordered his forces to disengaged, losing his last tank in the process.



The Uwandan battlefield commander had request air support, but it was delayed by the fight for control of the airspace overhead.  Word had never gotten to the Mugabian commander about the flight of Vautours, but as he didn't need them; it was not an issue.



Loses:

Uwanda:
10x Firefly
3x Centurion III
3x M3 halftrack
1x Saracen
27x KIA
9x WIA


Mugabia:
8x T34
4x BTR60PK
7x KIA
13x WIA

Captured:
1x Centurion III
2x M3 halftrack


The Uwandans got destroyed, paying heavily in the air, and on the ground, with surviving forces withdrawing back to objective 21.  Despite the victory, the Mugabians are in disarray, and may not be able to take further advantage of the victory.

Uwanda's ground forces are badly depleted, particularly in the southern part of the invasion; while, Mugabias interceptor force is now nearly gone, out-numbered at least 5 to 1 by Uwanda's (now generally) superior F5 fleet.