Monday 27 October 2014

My oldest 20mm WW2 Germans

I needed a Heer sniper team for the Battle Group Ponyri campaign so I raided the plastics box for inspiration and I found the chaps in the photos. They are both soft plastic figures from my childhood that I'd kept. I believe they are both Airfix. The chap aiming is a Mountain trooper and the chap I am using as a spotter is Wehrmacht from the 1960's.  Now the spotter chap actually predates my childhood as it was purchased by my Dad to play with his younger brother probably in the mid to late 1960's.

1960s German on left and 1970's German in right. The clear liquid on the right hand rifle is glue. I didn't get chance to do my usual PVA wash, paint, gloss then mat spray to give them strength and the rifle broke in the line of duty. The blob of glue will hopefully save it and I'll mask it with some flock which will make him look more like a sniper... I hope.

I'm really proud I can use such a vintage toy in my games today especially one with such a family connection.

I also field a Stuka which still had string on it from hanging from my bedroom ceiling as a kid. Unfortunately it didn't see action over Ponyri but has supported my forces in other games for many years.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Conwy Wargames Club

Today I paid a visit to the Conwy Wargames club, an informal group of like minded individuals. Some of the chaps I knew from my youth in the old LLADs days (Llandudno and District Wargamers Club). Some of them remembered my Dad who'd been a member. They meet every last Sunday of the month at roughly 12pm at the Colwyn Bay Sea Sports and Social club. Bigger games are played at players homes.

I didn't play because I mainly just wanted to introduce myself, and the rules they were using I wasn't familiar with. I forgot to take photos which was a shame as the Saga war bands looked great, and the ACW skirmish figures were pretty. The rules being used for the ACW skirmish were WRG's Fire and Steel.

I found them a very friendly bunch open to playing any rules and interested in most of the periods I like, and they've played most of the rules I like and use the rules I fancy trying. I look forward to getting some games in.

Ironfist Publishing Ponyri Campaign report

For an overview of the whole weekend and more lovely pictures go to Ironfist Publishing's website and download the Ponyri report pdf. Here's the link to:
Ironfist Publishing Ponyri campaign report

Saturday 25 October 2014

WW2 Battle Group Ponyri campaign Day 2

After an adventurous Saturday evening where we learnt that road works can make you hotel a lot further away than you thought combined with 'everything looks different in the dark' despite SatNav resulted in a very late meal and missing the pub meet up.

Sunday morning found me refreshed and raring to go. I'd learnt a lot Saturday and I was keen to put in to action.

I took a different force Sunday as it was a meeting engagement scenario where the Soviets were on the counter attack. I therefore took a more defensive force and included a Ferdinand for fun. The scenario rules were adapted like Saturday to get the forces on quicker. 2d6 from turn 2 for both sides and the weather was fine if you were using aircraft.


Total Points 602
Total BR        35
Officers           4

Pts Forward HQ (L,AFS) BR Men

24 FHQ 251/1 (r) (SnrO, AS,U) 3 3

26 LAC kubelwagen (r) (O,3+AiS,U) 1 2

18 Forward Signals truck (r) (Comms) 1 3

Pts Infantry (R,E,S) BR Men

100 Pz Grenadier Plt  (r)  11

5 Pz Gren Plt Command (O, MS) (At gren) 6
15 3 x Squads AT Gren 15
3 x MG34 9
24 80mm mortar 1 3
12 50mm mortar 1 2

Pts Tanks (R,E, L, S) BR Men

150 3x Pz IV H squ (r) (1 x O, MS) (U, Un) 9

Pts Artillery  BR
72Off table 2x120mm mortars  0

Pts Recon Units BR Men

15 1x Sniper & Spotter 1 2
18 Motorcycle recon patrol ( r) (s,ms) 1 3

Pts Logistic Units BR Men

8 1 x Med truck (i) (rsp, un) 1

PtsSpecial UnitsBR
135  Ferdinand  5
Ferdindand HE 0
AP 5
111  Pz IV H squ HE 2
AP 6
112  Pz IV H squ HE 2
AP 6
113  Pz IV H squ HE 2
AP 6

I didn't take notes so my write up is based on memory. All faults as usual are mine.

Game 3

My  opponent for the last game was Jonathan a local gamer with a lovely painted collection of Soviets. We had a great time chatting just as much as playing which swung this game in to my favorite of the weekend.

Jonathon gained a SU122 from the Soviet pool. I think I was unlucky to face both reserves out of 3 games. This increased Jonathan's overall BR, as did his d6 roll for taking an NKVD officer.

Unlike Saturday I was out scouted, by a neat trick of taking lots of snipers. Snipers had the advantage of not counting towards BR when destroyed. A trick Jonathan picked up from Guy my regular opponent!

So first blood to Jonathan.

T34 platoon rolls on board to support the snipers

Snipers reach the outskirts of the village

Artistic shot of the T34s

My first move. What you see is the PzIV platoon command left to call in the mortars and the forward HQ in the half track which can also call in mortars.

Jonathan contemplating his 40 plus BR of forces.

Flash. You can see my radio truck centre which I needed a lot for re-rolls to call in my mortars. In the left hand woods touching the board edge is my 80mm mortar. In front of that wood in the house is my sniper team. In the central wood is my motor cycle recon team.
80mm mortar

Move 2 and the Soviets take me by surprise covering so much ground. The T34 has a special mobility rule that enables it to go over most terrain without all the normal penalties. The coloured cotton wool is the objective for both sides.

My troops on ambush fire. I really liked these counters of Jonathan's and I'll look to pick some up. I could have purchased them from Stafford Games but I needed to head off back home so missed out browsing the shop. Plus I'd just spent my allowance buying Guy's force.

Ambush fire orders 

My 120mm mortars destroy a T34. Huzzah!

Soviet snipers infiltrate the village. This chaps lips were painted. I say this to illustrate the level of detail. I did make the faux par of asking if he was one of the dreaded Soviet female snipers

A Sturmovik arrived and attacked causing me to take a chit. I think it's useful to take some air assets just for the automatic taking of a BR counter.

More Soviets pour on. An infantry platoon and some T70s and  more T34s.

Soviets dominating the village

My troops before the start of my turn 2.


The rest of the PzIV platoon arrives plus my Ferdinand and a squad of infantry. I've moved my HQ to the wood since the motor cyclists are no more (BR chit for me). Luckily I had dismounted them so I didn't take a BR chit for the vehicle. You'll notice I deployed my platoon command in error when I dismounted the half track. You'll also notice an extra PzIV that has crept on. Oops. In the meantime another Sturmovik dives in pinning lots.

The Ferdinand pinned result is courtesy of the T70. Cheeky blighter but good tactic. Spot the T34 ready for a flank shot 

My mortars strike again destroying a T34

Add caption

Cheeky T70s

Unhappy Ferdinand

The T70s take the objective. Another BR chit for me.

My infantry reinforcements heading for the right hand woods and the hidden T34

The T70s charge on and fail to penetrate the Ferdinand's side armour. The loose infantry on the left is my sloppy removal of the destroyed forward HQ. 2 BR for losing senior officer. Boo - but not surprising I had unwittingly pushed him far forward. I had mistaken the half track for the platoon command.

My forces. I can't remember which turn this is. Not everyone is on board. I was rolling poor command dice so not everyone was moving. I had spotted my error of too many PzIVs and removed the offender who unfortunately had been the only undamaged tank in the centre (mainly because he hadn't come in to  the play being behind the others). The T34 side shot doing it's job. More BR chits for me.

This turn I failed to get my 120mm mortars in to do more damage. All Soviets are now on table, with 2 German still to come on - the supply truck, and the LAC.

My Ferdinand target 2 T34s just out  of shot centre bottom and ... 

... Misses one and destroys one. My disabled PzIV on the left takes out a T34. At the rear you can see a jeep. This is the senior Soviet officer which I discovered when I played a low ammo token which Johnathan failed and he retired off board. 2 BR chits for the Soviets.

My Ferdinand misses a point blank side shot at a T70. My 120mm mortars come through and destroy a T70. Another T70 having survived an ill advised area shot from my PzIV (should have fired direct AP) moves in to attack from the side... and misses

Atmospheric shaky shot

The final move. My infantry continue their assaults on the T34s in the left hand field to no avail. Lots of poor dice here with no results except I lose a squad.

My left flank is blown. My centre is being held by 1 squad and a 50mm mortar. My supply truck cannot rearm the Ferdinand because the right flank is overrun with T70s. Plus time is up. We added up the chits and no shock a solid victory for the Soviets.

So a loss for Germany again. Consistent play by me. My tale of the game misses out the heroic actions we managed to get, but neither of us managed to do something worthwhile with them that I remember.

A great game but I made a few errors not least mixing my troops up. I should have brought the Ferdinand on first go and made the most of its long range. I should also have moved my tanks through the woods rather than going around as they could have engaged the T34s frontally. Like Saturday I learnt lots, this time about taking force choices that make you take chits!

Thanks Jonathan for a great game.

Sunday 19 October 2014

WW2 Battle Group Ponyri campaign Day 1

The best laid plans of mice and men. When I booked a place in May for myself and my mate to attend the weekend Ponyri campaign game as put on by the Battle Group rules chaps at Stafford Games venue it seemed so far off that I could move house and prep my German force I needed at leisure. Well the move was delayed, my troops were already packed (for the move not the campaign) and I couldn't find all the unpainted stuff I needed. The radio truck wasn't found till Wednesday night while desperately looking for the Battle Rating counters. The final flock went on Friday and the HS129 plane that I managed to spin around my drill bit while making a hole to fit the stand was fixed and packed to dry just before loading in to the car. Not the leisurely start and excited anticipation I was looking for, although I had fun playing about with force lists before the mad rush took over.

A very stressed wargamer turned up Saturday morning to a very friendly welcome from like minded gamers and I began to relax.

The campaign was set over 2 days, with 2 attack/defence games on Saturday and a meeting engagement Sunday. Both scenarios were slightly modified to get the action going quickly e.g. weather was fine and reinforcements came in earlier and more dice to bring them on quicker.

As a German player I attacked day 1 and in theory attacked day 2.

I didn't keep a detailed photo log of the games or notes but the following is what I remember:

My day 1 force was:

Total Points 604
Total BR 33
Officers 4

Pts Forward HQ (L,AFS)
56 FHQ Pz IV H (r) (SnrO, AS,U) BR 3 3 men
26 LAC kubelwagen (r) (O,3+AiS,U) BR 1 2 men
18 Radio truck (r )(Comms)                 BR 1 3 men

Pts Infantry (R,E,S)
199 Armoured Assault Plt  (v)  
  Pz Gren Plt Command 251/16 (O, MS) 6 men
  3 x Squads 3 x 251/1                        15 men
12 3 x MG42                                          9 men
15 include  3x Mine Sweepers
Pts Tanks (R,E, L, S)
150 3x Pz IV H squ (r) (1 x O, MS) (U, Un)  BR 9
Pts Recon Units
30 2x Sniper & Spotter                         BR 2 4 men
18 Motorcycle recon patrol ( r) (s,ms) BR 1 3 men

Pts Artillery (AFS)
72 Off table 2x120mm Mortar  

Pts Logistic Units BR Men
8 1 x Med truck (i) (rsp, un) BR 1
R01 FHQ Pz IV H (r) (SnrO, AS,U) HE 4
                                                  AP 4
111 Pz IV H squ                                 HE 4
                                                  AP 4
112 Pz IV H squ                                 HE 4
                                                 AP 4
113 Pz IV H squ                                HE 4
                                                AP 4
251/16 Flamethrower 1 3 shots
  Flamethrower 2 3 shots

Game 1 

I played a gentlemen called Chris who'd come up from Brighton with some other chaps. He confessed he wasn't experienced in the game which suited my frazzled state and rustiness from not having played for some time. So we took it slow and steady referring to the rule book a lot make sure we were getting it right.

The board was 6x4 with the base edge on the 4. Chris as Russian was defending the outskirts of Ponyri which were on the board and he placed his 6 defences he'd selected ( 2 trenches, 2 dug in T34s, dug in AT gun, and 1 command bunker) across the centre.

In addition Chris received one of the few SU152s randomly from the umpire. Germans could get a Tiger.

I out scouted him so scored the first blood by making him take a BR token.

The coloured cotton wool are the 2 objectives, 1 placed by me in the  Russian 1st 3rd of the board and the 2nd by Chris in the Russian 2nd 3rd of the board. I chose the pig sty as my objective as everything tastes better with bacon!

The church is on the edge of our board, after that it is the next board being fought over.

My initial troops

The PzIVs and the much searched for radio truck painted for the  weekend especially!

1 of Chris's nicely painted infantry squads started off in the field

I really liked these trenches

White cotton wool shows the pinning effect of my mortars

My first casualty as a PzIV brews up, unfortunately it was my senior officer. I forgot to take a 2nd BR token for this chap. Sorry Chris. 

Mid way through the action things are hotting up. I've now lost almost all my tanks and 2 officers. My main attack is now being pressed by my pioneers!

Chris had a good tactic of not unpinning his troops, which I was doing and thus avoiding taking BR chits. His 40 plus BR rating would make him difficult to beat, and even more so with this tactic negating mine which assumed a player would want to unpin his troops

I went on to lose most of the half tracks and but I did take out more  Russian infantry and T34s but not enough. A solid victory for the Russians. Later games would show we made some errors in the rules and I should have taken BR tokens for the objectives Chris was holding and the motor cycle side car vehicle. This didn't change the result. I lost 2/3 pf my BR but enjoyed the game.

Other first games

My mate, also playing Germans facing hordes of T70s. Lots of destroyed  Russians later and victory against the Germans.

Games in full flow

Carl on the right winning against PSC Will. Carl went on to be the highest scoring German player.

The rule's writer himself , Warwick stepping in to play for a missing player

Game 2 

My second game began after lunch, with myself urgently re-hydrating due a school boy error of wearing a jumper in a hall which then became very hot and not drinking any water. Luckily I had a comfy seat to wedge myself in to hide the shakes and an understanding opponent James.

Initial set up with first blood to me out scouting James

The wooden box off centre was the strategic toilet objective. The 2nd was just off camera bottom right.

Nice view of the command bunker and dug in AA gun being used in the AT role..

Maxim gun dug out defended on the outside by a squad of Russians

Yours truly fully recovered from his embarrassing dizzy spell, smiling with the knowledge that it hadn't detracting from is normal generalship. 

Ready, steady...

Go --- bang

I advanced further this game but allowed myself to get bogged down trying to take a central wood wood which would allow me to take out the Russian infantry in cover then the AT gun. 

James takes the German objective!

The central wood showing the carnage from multiple attacks including a katyusha strike right in to the middle of both sides pinning most of my forces as well as some Russians. Ruthless Soviets!

The end. German BR down to 0

The highlights of the game was both German and Russian infantry fighting in the woods blindly not seeing each other and the Germans missing the Grant at point blank range, topped by my recon motorcycle side car  being destroyed forcing me to take a chit for the recon team and a chit for the bike. I drew 2 x 5 breaking my battle group.  Disaster denying my 1 more turn to punish the Russians who were now in the open!

Despite another solid victory for the Russians I enjoyed the game, and it was fun to play against Grants.

Overall I enjoyed the first day. Met some great people and learnt a lot about tactic and the rules.