Saturday, August 25, 2018

Keeping Busy

I've been pretty busy lately, both in and out of the hobby.  One the hobby front, I've been ordering and painting figs for my 6mm Uwanda-Mugabia project.  Most of the orders are in route, so just been working on old models thus far.

The first batch of vehicles for Uwanda is done.

The second batch is under construction/repair.

I've also managed to finally paint my 15mm East Germans (though I haven't flocked them yet), to get them out of the way of the smaller stuff moving on to my painting table.  So far this month, between the GDR troops and Uwandan odds and ends, I've painted 131 miniatures, more than doubling my total for the year.

East Germans awaiting flock.

I'm also preparing for the next Star Fleet Battles game in our campaign for tomorrow afternoon.  Our last game was nearly four months ago, so we're past due for action on that front.  the battle will consist of the Klingon assault on a Kzinti battle station.  Should be a pretty easy time on my end, as I have a dozen ships attacking, and I think there is only a single Kzinti police boat defending.  

We'll see how it goes, the Kzinti player is a most devious fellow, so I'll need to act accordingly, or I could be in for a surprise. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Uwanda & Mugabia: Growing Scope & Shrinking Scale

As I prepared to run the next couple of ground battles in the war between Uwanda and Mugabia, I realized that the battles have become larger than what I originally envisioned for the campaign, and potentially unmanageable in 15mm on my table. 

Originally planned as primarily infantry battles with platoons of vehicles here and there, I'm now facing two battles that could feature a half dozen or more company sized units with other supporting elements.  I don’t think that my 6’ x 9’ table can handle upwards of a hundred vehicles and associated infantry roaming about on it, and still have room for maneuver.  So, I'm going to try switching over to 1/285 scale or 6mm figures for some of these larger battles.  I've already ordered infantry, and a few vehicles and aircraft to paint up, and with any hope, will be able to move this process along quickly.

Terrain-wise, I’m not too bad off.  I need to make a few buildings, but have some Arab style buildings that gives me a start, and have both the basic terrain tiles (many are already used with the 15mm games), and trees that will work. There are a few items that I’d have to add otherwise, but at 6mm, none of it should take too much time.

My only real concern is that the games might lose some of their personality.  I'll still be using the same character/leader mechanisms, but I'm worried that since the infantry will be based as sections on multi-figure stands, that the game could become sort of impersonal. We'll see how it goes, if the flavor seems to leak out of the games, I'll have to find another solution.

In the mean time, I still have a couple of air battles to play out, and can spruce up some of my old NATO/WarPac Micro-Armor.

I'll post updates of my progress.

Monday, August 13, 2018

AAR29: A Good Showing by Mugabia

With the exception of the Mugabian counter-attack at Objective 21, which caused Uwanda to alter plans slightly, things had pretty much gone Uwanda's way thus far.  The second day of the war opened with a series of morning attacks by Uwanda's forces, both on the ground and at in the air.  The battle at objective B29 would be key to the success of Uwanda's plans.  Surprisingly, the battle consisted of the smallest forces on both sides to fight on this day.  Uwanda had air cover with two F5As, but no ground attack aircraft committed, and neither side had artillery support.

The black line running roughly down the center of the map is the
 border between Uwanda and Mugabia.  The Battle takes place
 at Objective 29, center right.

Uwanda's forces consisted of:

1 Armored  Company with 13 Sherman Firefly
1 Motorized Infantry Company in trucks with 12 infantry sections and the CHQ
1 Recce Section with two Ferret armored cars.

Uwanda's view of the battlefield, looking generally north.

Mugabian forces:

1 Mechanized Infantry Company with nine squads in BTR152 and the CHQ
2 BRDM in an ad-hoc recce section
2 ZU23/2 anti-aircraft guns towed by trucks.

Mugabia's view looking south.  In the far right, the little 
white puff is a Uwandan Ferret armored car burning.

The Mugabian forces had some time to dig in, and had created two lines of defense, the first a lightly manned screening line, the second a more solid line of infantry, running diagonally towards the first to the extreme right.  The BRDMs would act as a mobile reserve to try to patch any breeches.  The Mugabain commander expected that Uwanda would employ armor, and the best that he could hope for was to embroil any enemy tanks in an close range skirmish with RPG wielding infantry.

From overflights, Uwanda knew that there was a significant infantry force located at the objective, but feared that by the time that they arrived, reinforcements with heavier equipment might be waiting.  The Uwandan commander regretted that one of his two assault groups had been recommitted to fighting elsewhere, as his force was now the lightest of all Uwandan attacking elements, and was in the position of making the deepest penetration into Mugabian territory.

Though still mounted, Sergeant Okoye's recce section was at least now moving at a more reasonable speed and cross country, rather than simply racing to their death on the road.  He intended to follow orders exactly, barely making contact, and then letting the heavier forces do the shooting.  His Ferret slowed to a stop, as it approached a tree line.  "Time to have a look...again", he thought, as he prepared to climb down from the turret.

Uwanda's scouts slowed as they approached each line of trees and bushes separating fields, taking time to scout out the next line of foliage.  Unfortunately both scouts were spotted by infantry, prior to seeing anything, and one was hit repeatedly, first getting immobilized, and then destroyed by RPGs.  The other scout was fired upon, but at much longer range, and skedaddled into cover along the river.

Sergeant Okoye's armored car smoking after being hit by RPGs.

In time, the Fireflies advanced, moving cautiously, trying to find the elusive Mugabian infantry.  After advancing into the field with the destroyed Ferret, RPGs opened up, killing two of the tanks.  Their positions given away, the tanks were free to engage, firing cannon and machine gun, and killing a number of infantry.  Quite a number of RPGs were fired, but most missed as the Mugabian infantry started to fall back.

Fireflies advance, the Mugabians still haven't been sighted.

The advance continues, more Fireflies pass those killed by RPGs. 
Uwanda's infantry follow in trucks at some distance.

During this exchange, another platoon of Fireflies advanced into battle, with Uwanda infantry in trucks following behind.  Finally in range, the Mugabian anti-aircraft gun on the hill opened up on a truck and demolished it and many of its occupants.  Additionally, in rapid succession, three more tanks, including the one ridden by the battlefield commander,  were hit by RPGs during the slow advance.

Despite Fireflies dropping high explosives in close proximity, 
the ZU23 continues to fire.

The remaining tanks focused on the AA gun, as well as, the sources of RPGs.  Though the AA gun got another truck, it and many of the RPG gunners were knocked out of action, and the Mugabians withdrew completely from their first defense line.  However, chaos ensued as some of Uwandas forces continued to follow their last orders, while others reacted unpredictably to the specific events involving them.

RPGs and the ZU23 took their toll.

It took some time for the young infantry captain to gain control over most of his forces, and even then, he wasn't really equipped to coordinate the armor and infantry. 

Most of his infantry had dismounted at Mugabia's first defense line by the time he caught up to them.  He had one platoon remount as a reserve, while troops to his right exchanged long range small arms fire with Mugabian infantry near the road leading into town.  To his left, he had his second platoon advance toward the small hill, now seemingly abandoned by the opposing infantry.

Second Platoon advances toward the little hill.

Third platoon advances into the open area east of the hill, and 
west of the road (lower right).  Second platoon is now engaging 
Mugabian troops on the hill (upper left).

During the lull that came after the command tank was hit, the Mugabian commander had his troops withdraw to the backside of the small hill to the southwest of the town.  He hoped that the cover would force the Uwandans to finally attack dismounted, giving his troops opportunity for a fair fight.  Additionally, if the tanks came again, the few remaining RPGs would be able to engage at short range.

When the Uwandans did advance over the hill, a furious firefight ensued, in which both sides took heavy casualties.  Both sides suffered morale failures, simultaneously abandoning the hill. 

The Uwandan Captain, sent the reserve platoon to try to regroup the remnants of second platoon, while third platoon advanced into the open area just west of the main road into town.  The Mugabians withdrew into the town behind the hill and along the road, during the Uwandan recovery and advance. 

Uwandan infantry withdrew, rallied, and attack the hill a second time.

Once again the Uwandan infantry rushed the hill, engaging in another heavy firefight, and discovering the Mugabian surprise behind the hill, two BRDM armored cars with their heavy machine guns.  Once again, the Uwandan infantry broke, causing the caption to mount up and advance with the remaining tanks to regroup his battered forces. 

Fireflies crest the hill to find the Mugabians nowhere in sight.

All during this time on the hill, Uwandan infantry slowly closed with the Mugabians in the town and along the road, finally gaining an edge, and hitting several of the Mugabian infantry in the town.  As the Uwandan tanks advanced up the hill to engage the armored cars, waiting on the other side, the Mugabian commander decided that it was time to withdraw.  His force had been reduced by half or more, but had fought hard, and stood their ground, when required.

Uwandan infantry west of the road, advance on the town.

The Mugabians took significant losses along the road, 
and finally decided to withdraw. 

Uwanda took the objective, but paid dearly during the process.  This force would not be advancing to the next fight.  Additionally, the captain's after action report, combined with observations from higher on, gave clear indication of the limitations of Uwandan command structure, and the cost of attacking without proper artillery and/or air support.

Sergeant Okoye was confused as he came too.  His last memory was of the flash and the immense burning pain in his legs, then blackness. The medic assured him that his injuries actually weren't too bad, and that he would be okay.  He asked about his driver, and the medic said that he didn't know, but Okoye already knew what the medic wouldn't tell him. 

This was a great game, if a little slow at the start.  The battle took place almost entirely on the "west" side of the road, but the infantry battle for the hill ebbed and flowed with multiple morale failures and rallies, spanning maybe 25 turns or more.

In the end, there were simply too many Uwandan troops and tanks, but the Mugabians fought well.

Losses were as follows:

7x Sherman Firefly
3x truck
1x Ferret

17 KIA
46 WIA

1x Zu 23-2
3x BTR152
1x GA 66


2x Zu 23-2
3x BTR 152
1x Gaz 66

21 KIA
30 WIA

I'm still playing with officer command bonus/penalties for leadership quality, training, etc.  

Uwanda's primary commander was a strong leader, but the infantry captain was inexperienced and hesitant, making him slow to act. He got a one turn penalty to make decisions when changing orders.  this helped give time to the Mugabians to regroup and reposition, during the fight for the hill.   

Mugabias leader was recognized as having great character and was well respected by his men, which gave a morale bonus to his troops.

Probably going to do another battle this Saturday.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nothing Gets You Painting... having a game set up, ready to play, and discovering that some of your miniatures are missing.  

It all started, just before the weekend, when I had a wee bit of dental surgery.  Nothing outrageous, just enough to make your jaw throb for a few days.  Irritated and distracted by the sensation, the one thing that I knew could distract me from my constant awareness of it, is gaming.  

So I picked up my folder for my 3rd world imagi-nations campaign, took a look,  and thought, "I should be able to get at least three games in this weekend."  I figured out the sequence of the next series of battles,  hurried downstairs, set up the terrain, pulled the Mugabian forces and placed them on the table, pulled the Uwandan forces, and wait a minute...

… Where is the other half of my "company" of Sherman Fireflies?  I need 13,  I know that I painted 14 of them at one point.  I can only find seven of them. What the heck?  I snoop around, confident that they will show up shortly.  Jaw is throbbing.

After some time searching, like better than two hours, I still have only seven tanks.  The Jaw is throbbing.  In years past, my dentist would have prescribed a day of two's worth of prescription pain killers.  I've never used more than two of the buggers in the same year, but even so, because of the opioid epidemic, he no longer prescribes them.  He noted that I might feel "minor distress" as a result.

Yup.  He was right.  I have indeed been visited by "minor distress".


… My tanks are gone.  Just gone.  

Got no clue where they could be.  A couple of years ago, I discovered that all of my 15mm Panzer Is and variants were missing.  The last time that I could remember seeing them was at a convention a few years before, where I ran a France 1940 game.  The drawer was there in my wooden storage box, but mostly empty.  It had some Pz IIs, but no Pz1s, PzJg 1, Befehls-boxes, et cetera, maybe 22-25 vehicles were missing.  It would be hard to have left them there accidentally. They had a drawer in a wooden storage box that I built for my vehicles; so it wasn't a matter of leaving a plastic box on a chair or under a table.  And besides, I didn't use all of them in the game, so some never left the storage drawer.  To leave them, I would have had to pack up everything, and left two dozen tanks setting on an empty event table.  I hate to think that someone walked off with them, but unless my house has a ghost with a thing for German light tanks, I don't know what could have happened to them.  Guess those Pz1s are in trouble now, as the ghost has some Fireflies that will rip them a new one.

Well, I just happen to have seven more castings, assembled, but unpainted, setting in the hopper.  So I got the dudes out, chased down my painting notes from a hundred years ago, and started painting.  they just get a basic paint job with a touch of weathering.  But we had a ton of rain the other day, which means that the basement, no... cellar, we have a cellar, ancient (by American standards) stone walls, kind of dungeon-like; the cellar is damp.  Even with the dehumidifier running, the humidity will just not go away.

So, I thought, I'll slap a first coat on them, and play out one of the dogfights occurring in association with one of the other land battles.  Umm, wait.  I have that game already set up; the fight for Objective B29.  Crap!  Nowhere to play.  

Well, how long can it take to do a basic paint job?  I'm now on day three, and may not finish them in time to play the first game of the weekend, this weekend.  I just did the final touch up of the basic hull color, still wet after 45 minutes.  Not used to this.  

So, here I am, with an entire weekend (actually, three days) actually free, to do nothing but game, and instead, I am watching paint dry, and too distracted to paint other stuff to pass the time.

Did I mention that my jaw hurts? 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

AAR28: Operations Concluding the First Day of War (The Uwanda/Mugabia War)

I decided to take a break from my post apocalypse gaming just long enough to finish up some loose ends from the Uwanda-Mugabia war, occupying a town and completing a series of Uwandan air attacks on the first day of the war.

The map shows the location of the objectives 
along the border between Uwand and Mugabia.

Objective B6

By late afternoon of  D+1, Uwanda's forces reached the outskirts of Objective B6.  Aerial reconnaissance had shown that the town was occupied by Mugabian infantry with little support, similar to most other towns near the northern portion of the border.

Uwanda's attacking force deployed for the assault, but as they advanced, they discovered that the town had been abandoned by Mugabian forces, who had apparently withdrawn to either objective B10, or more likely B22.

Uwandan forces were received mostly without incident by the local residents who had largely stayed in their homes, and preparations began for the next stage of the advance.

Objectives B7, B8, and B9

Initial plans called for simply bypassing garrison troops located at objectives  over-run by Uwanda's advance.  Uwanda would place small occupying forces in the captured objectives, and move on, with the general belief that the immobility of Mugabia's garrisons rendered them little threat to Uwanda's the occupying forces, and that they would lack sufficient initiative to take on counter-attacks on their own. 

Uwanda's leadership realized that this could change, but believed that they could adapt rapidly enough, to overcome any surprises along the path of advance.

As Uwanda's forces advanced east through objectives B6 and B21, Mugabian forces at objectives B7, B8, B9, and B10 had been cut off from Mugabia proper.  Individually these forces posed little threat, but collectively they could yield more than a battalion of infantry, so it was decided to address them, before they became a problem.

Afternoon recon lead to early evening aerial attacks at  objectives B7, B8, and B9, with the goal being to destroy mobility, leadership, and any initiative that the garrisons might have.  Without vehicle transport, these troops would be hard pressed to move, and less likely to take initiative to do anything futile.  B10 was not attacked for the time being, with the intent, that any withdrawing forces would head in that direction, making them predictable and more easily managed, when the time came to do so.

Aerial Attack at objective B7

Similar to the events at Objective B6, was the result of the air force attack at Objective B7.  Uwandan Skymasters could not find any trace of the enemy finding only a couple of abandoned trucks (which they strafed).

The commander at B7 realized that if attacked, that his tiny force had no hope of surviving the Uwandan advance, so he had his troops hide their trucks and equipment, where they could, and his troops dissolved into the countryside.

Attack at objectives B8 and B9

Badu sat crouched behind the stone wall with his rifle, comforted by the though that his force did not appear to be in front of one of Uwanda's advancing elements.  Additional relief was felt, as he saw the dust plume rising on the road from Objective B8, indicating that the friendly forces from there, were arriving at his location, significantly bolstering the strength of the collective force.

The men around him began to cheer , but were quickly silenced, and started to scurry for cover.  He paused for a moment, watching and listening, and then he heard them, the whining engines of Uwandan Skymasters, following on the heels of the friendly forces.  He simply thought, "Oh no!", as he saw the first bombs released by the enemy jets.

Easterly view of the battlefield.

The Mugabian view looking west.

In the face of the Uwandan advance, Mugabian forces at objective B8 had decided to withdraw to Objective B9, and combine with the smaller force located there.  They happened to be arriving at B9, just as the Uwandan air force also arrived.

Friendly forces arrive from Objective B8.

The HQ element of Force B8 would simply drive through objective B9 without stopping, while most of the unit behind was either destroyed or scattered.

An unfriendly force arrives with them.

As The forces at Objective B9 had no air defense weapons, save their light machineguns, and the two towed anti aircraft guns of the force from B8 were on the road behind trucks.  The first pair of Skymasters line up on the column and released their bombs with perfect strikes, destroying several Mugabian trucks and their occupants.

The second skymaster makes its attack, the bombs 
already marked with the smaller plumes of smoke.

The next pair of Skymasters lined up and strafed trucks that had veered cross country, ultimately destroying three more trucks and many of their passengers.

As soon as the Skymasters had cleared the immediate airspace, Uwandan G91s came in from the north, and bombed the forces deployed on the western edge of the village at Objective B9.  Again, the bombs were perfectly on target, streams of tracers from the Mugabian light machineguns stopped, and only fire and death remained.

The first G91 lines up its shot.

The second G91 comes in...

… and leaves its mark.

The Uwandan jets turned for home, their mission complete, two more Mugabian forces essentially stricken from the order of battle.


Not much of a battle here, just shooting fish in a barrel.  Mugabian light machineguns got no hits, and the Uwandans did the Following damage:

Mugabian Force B8 loses:

7x Truck
42x KIA
16x WIA

Mugabian Force B9 loses:

2x Jeep
2x Truck
27 KIA

Both forces lost over half of their numbers.  The number killed was again disproportionately high due to the type of attack, and the inability of Mugabian forces to tend to their wounded.

And thus, the first day of the war was at an end.