Vis Imperica Gallery: the Juarista's

My Mexican Juarista army is one of my absolute favourite armies from my collection of nineteenth century figures. Nicely painted, full of character: a wonderful mix of uniformed line infantry, less well-uniformed line infantry, and Mexican peasantry.

Another confession: I didn't paint this army either. Obviously feeling flush, I paid for this army to be painted and based for me...although I have added a few bits and pieces over the years.

The Juarista's have fought the French invaders many times, sometimes successfully, and have also swooped through history to fight the Americans and Texicans in earlier wars. A great excuse to showcase a range of appalling accents as well!

To see the gallery, click on the picture, below.

Los Supremos Podres

Los Supremos Podres

TFL Painting Challenge: Big Tuesday Update

My very quick round-up of where we are after six months certainly seems to have galvinised you all into action!

Lots of entries today, including one newbie. In no particular order we have:

  • Mr Douglas reverts to his Greeks
  • Andrew Helliwell submits another two battalions of AWI infantry
  • Richard Naylor sends in some more US Marines for Fighting Season
  • Mr Yuengling makes a welcome return with some LDV types (Home Guard precursors)
  • Thomas stuns us all by popping in some fences...and not a glued-on finger in sight. Most disappointing!
  • Benito Vera is also preparing for fighting season: some lovely Brits.
  • Matt Slade makes his customary appearance: three beautifully painted minis
  • Today's newbie, who seems to have christened himself Mr Nouveau, explodes onto the challenge with a huge mass of 20mm WW2 figurs and terrain (presumably for playing some Operation Compass scenarios)
  • and finally Derek Hodge is still stuck in re-basing hell (you don't think...you don't think he actually likes it do you?)

What an awful lot of submissions and points!

Today's pictures? Well one, as is traditional, is from Mr Nouveau. The other? Some of Benito's Brits I think:

20mm WW2 terrain and figures from Mr Nouveau

20mm WW2 terrain and figures from Mr Nouveau

The command section of Benito's 'fighting season' brits

The command section of Benito's 'fighting season' brits

Q13 Points System: Calculating Spreadsheet Now Available To Download

One of the great things about Quadrant 13, the TFL rules for company-sized sci-fi wargaming, is the fact that you can construct and use any army from any figure manufacturer or fictional source. This flexibility, however, does come with a price.

Quite a few people have mentioned to me that they have a problem not so much with actually building the armies themselves, but with then working out what troops to deploy on each side to give a good game…especially for heterogeneous armies such as humans versus bugs.

Put simply, they can use the guidelines in the rules to give their medium tanks the right sized gun but then have difficulty in working out how many tanks to field in order to make it a ‘fair fight’ with the opposition. Unlike the TFL historical rulesets, there is no frame of reference.

The TooFatLardies Summer Special 2015 therefore contained an article, written by me, detailing a rudimentary points system for Q13. The article references a spreadsheet that can be used to easily calculate the points values for any Q13 unit. You can download the spreadsheet by clicking on the Q13 logo that can be found here.

TFL Summer Special 2015

The TooFatLardies have just announced the release of this year's Summer Special.

This issue contains the following articles:

  • Blitz to Boulogne - A complete mini-campaign for Chain of Command
  • Action at the Crooked Billet - AWI scenario for Sharp Practice
  • Glowaczow - AN IABSM scenario from 1944 with Soviets versus Germans
  • Hadgranate! - Tracing the development of hand grenade tactics in the Great War
  • At our Convenience - A mini-campaign for Mud & Blood (or Great War Chain of Command) centred on the battle of Loos in 1915
  • Fight for Sesna -  A Spanish Civil War tank action for CoC Espana!
  • Straight out of Central Casting - Adding characters to your Bag the Hun games
  • Taking the Biscuit - A complete guide to using Sharp Practice for Garibaldi's 1860 campaign in Sicily.  Rule suggestions and five scenarios
  • Quadrant 13, A Point System - Robert Avery provides a point system for his popular Sci-Fi rules
  • The Roundwood Report - Sidney talks Lardy Games days with three veteran organisers
  • Fork-Tailed Lardies - Using the P-38 in Bag the Hun
  • Le Hameau - A 200th anniversary Le Feu Sacre scenario
  • Hunting Charlie with Captain Jack - A Charlie Don't Surf Scenario for Vietnam
  • Arise to Lard - Applying 1940 air tactics with Bag the Hun.
  • Scotland Forever - Try to capture the Eagle with the Scots Greys at Waterloo.  A complete game to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the great battle.

You'll note the article from your's truly about a points system for Q13.

The TFL Summer Special 2015 is available for only £6 by clicking here.

TFL Painting Challenge: Is It Really Saturday Again Already?

Morning all, here's another update for the painting challenge.

Quite a big one today as I've had lots of other things to bang up on this site during the week. So, in no particular order, we have:

  • A triple entry from Steve Burt: guns, limbers, entrenchments
  • Some 15mm WW2 figures from Mr McCarthy
  • Sapper sends in a Soviet battlegroup, also in 15mm
  • Paul Blankenship sends in another huge batch of 6mm WW2 vehicles and infantry
  • Mr Douglas goes Persian
  • Mark Luther has more 'planes for us: loving those Ju88s
  • Mr Slade has more minions of the non-yellow lozenge type

Today's pictures are one of Andrew's Forged in Battle 88s, and Sapper's Soviet battlegroup:

Q13: Chuhuac APCs

I am now on a quest to finish all my Chuhuac figures. Most of the army is done: only the special ops unit and a few Big Men to finish.

Next off the production line are three Sirrus APCs. I now realise, of course, that I should have bought four of the little beauties: that way I could totally mechanise one of the Chuhuac platoons. Ah well:  one more thing to buy...and I may as well pick up four more for the second platoon as well! 

The eagle-eyed among you will also have spotted that I have added a GZG self-propelled rotary cannon as well. Always good to give your little dinos a bit of extra firepower!

Q13: Daemonscape

I have added another 15mm sci-fi figure manufacturer to the list in the Quadrant 13 section of the site: Daemonscape.

They produce a small-but-growing range of scenery and figures in a number of scales, including a number of excellent-looking 15mm dropships such as the one pictured below.

The Big Rig

The Big Rig

I have already ordered the 'Big Rig' for my Ursids and will report back on what it's like once it arrives and gets painted.

Onslaught Miniatures

And in other news, Onslaught Miniatures have now released their first two 15mm sets: one for the Sisterhood and one for the Tzacol.

I won't be ordering just yet: I'm going to wait until there are a few sets available for each, then do one big order...I have enough 'single units' to keep me going for a while and really need to concentrate on finishing the huge numbers of sci-fi armies that I already have.

US Paratroops

The second platoon of US Paras are now done. 

For these I used Battlefront figures rather than painting another platoon from Forged in Battle. Nothing against FiB, I hasten to add, just fancied a change.

These are nice figures in my favoured slightly-cartoony style. There are a couple of differences with the FiB set: the Battlefront have no dressing-packs on their helmets, and they all have these irritating little daggers strapped to one leg. On the plus side, however, the platoon comes with three machine gunners with a tripod-holding crew, which are very nice indeed. Also of note are the chaps throwing a grenade: nice action pose.

So now all I have to do is decide which manufacturer gets the vote for platoon three. Let me know what you think I should do: FiB again, or Battlefront again, or someone else?

US Paras from Battlefront

US Paras from Battlefront

AAR: Franco-Prussian War

It's been a long time since I've played any 19th Century (i.e. Waterloo to Mons) wargames, so it was most pleasing when Neil, my regular opponent, offered to bring round his new 6mm Franco-Prussian War collection and run a game using a modified version of the Black Powder rules.

He duly arrived, laden with not many boxes (6mm, you see!) and set up what looked like a huge game on my 5ft by 6ft gaming table.

I would play the Prussians, versus the French, obviously, with the aim of smashing a French rearguard from their positions atop a ridge at the other end of the table from my start point. All directions are given from the point of view of the army being described.

prussians!

At my disposal, I had a Corps of Prussians consisting of:

  • Corps Commander
    • Corps Artillery (4 batteries)
    • Corps Cavalry (2 regiments Cuirassiers, 2 regiments Dragoons)
  • Left Flank Division
    • Divisional Commander
    • Divisional Light Cavalry (1 regiment)
    • Divisional Artillery (4 batteries)
    • 1st Brigade
      • Brigade Commander
      • Brigade Infantry (6 battalions)
    • 2nd Brigade
      • Brigade Commander
      • Brigade Infantry (6 battalions)
  • Right Flank Division
    • Divisional Commander
    • Divisional Light Cavalry (1 regiment)
    • Divisional Artillery (4 batteries)
    • 1st Brigade
      • Brigade Commander
      • Brigade Infantry (6 battalions)
    • 2nd Brigade
      • Brigade Commander
      • Brigade Infantry (6 battalions)

I could also expect reinforcements at some stage.

Against me, lined up on the ridge line in front of me was a single division of French facing my left flank division. 

I decided that I would strongly probe the French right flank and see what happened, so I set up my left hand division on the left and the right hand division in the centre, with the Corps cavalry protecting my right flank.

The left hand division began the game by advancing strongly, halting inside my artillery's range, but outside Chassepot range. The artillery opened fire with a round of counter-battery fire that had no effect.

Meanwhile, my right hand division and corps artillery (also deployed in the centre) had not moved: its orders having been mislaid or delayed or some such.

we are ready down to our last gaiter buttons!

The French, for their part, now revealed another division set up in line on the left hand side of the ridge. They therefore effectively had an unbroken line of infantry across the entire table's edge.

The artillery of the left hand division now switched targets to the enemy infantry on the ridge, and immediately forced one battalion to retreat in disorder. Excellent!

This left not only a hole in the French line, but led to the more central of two brigades facing my left retreating back behind the ridge in the face of the advance of the corps artillery in the centre.

This obviously left the other brigade isolated, so my left hand division moved forward and prepared to assault. A round of fire peppered my line, but I still had plenty of troops for the attack.

Unfortunately, the corps artillery were then told to move immediately to the right (a "blunder"), meaning that the French brigade that had moved back could now move forward again. In tactical terms, my left hand division could now punch up the hill and destroy one French brigade, but would then be destroyed in turn by the other.

This was not something I was prepared to accept, so my infantry fired one round with their Needle Guns, and then retreated back out of Chassepot range.

This doesn't seem in keeping with my orders, but the good news was that I had received reinforcements in the shape of another division of infantry behind my right flank.

This division kept in column and punched up the right hand side of the battlefield, aiming to hit the left hand brigade of French infantry. Behind my reinforcements were the four regiments of Corps cavalry, Cuirrassiers to the front. 

the prussians in position for their assault, about to receive fire from the french line

What had been the right hand division was now in the centre. One brigade of this division headed left and, together with the left hand division, kept the French on the left hand side of the battlefield from helping stop my right-hand assault. The other brigade headed straight up the hill in line and began a firefight with the right hand end of the French line on the left: I took casualties, but this meant that they couldn't intervene either.

keeping the centre of the french line occupied (note the corps cavalry charging in on the right)

My full divisional column smashed up the hill against a single French brigade that had already been softened up by artillery. At the same time, my Corps cavalry came out from behind the infantry and charged the centre of the French left-hand line, which had become disordered as a result of the fire of the right hand brigade of what was now the centre division.

prussians assault the ridge

misere de misere!

It was carnage!

Although the French Chasseur battalion in the house protecting the left hand end of their line resisted all attempts to dislodge them, the left hand brigade lost three battalions and its artillery were over run...and that was before the cavalry hit.

The Cuirassiers (big men on big horses!) were disordered by the fire from the two French battalions in front of them, but kept going nevertheless. They slammed into the equally disordered French infantry that, effectively, ceased to exist!

At this point we called time and declared a Prussian victory. The right hand side of the ridge was in my hands, and it would not take much for me to wheel left and start to roll up the rest of his line in conjunction with a general advance from my left hand and now-centre divisions. The French retreated: battered!

the french right

keeping the french right occupied

It had been a great game: and a game that looked really good as well. There's something very satisfying about huge numbers of 6mm infantry or cavalry blocks manoeuvring around the tabletop.

Not that I'm going to switch to 6mm, I hasten to add...but I'll certainly have a some more games like this!

My thanks to Neil for putting on a great game. 

Vis Imperica Gallery: United States Army 1898

A small but perfectly formed army representing a United States army force for the Spanish-American War of 1898, although they have been used to fight Mexicans in 1840 and Native Americans throughout.

Another army that I bought rather than painted up myself. I was at Warfare in Reading when I spotted this big box of figures in the Bring-and-Buy. Now I'm not normally a B&B kind of person (I prefer to paint my own or buy painted from new) but the box was full of the army below and a Spanish army for the same period (c.f.). This was too good an opportunity to miss: as the sheer obscurity of the theatre was enough to suggest that one would never come across anything like this again.

I think the figures are from Freikorps. I did need to re-base them (surely the worst job in the world!) but that was a small price to pay for troops to fight in such a "splendid little war" (US Secretary of State John Hay).

Click here to see the whole gallery:

TFL Painting Challenge: Saturday Morning

Just a quick update today as I'm gaming tonight and want to keep on top of things.

Today we have achievements from:

  • Matt Slade with his Minions and Gunfighters
  • Leif with a couple of wookies
  • Mr Ralls with his usual cornucopia of 15mm delight: houses (those gardens!), French tanks, German tanks and infantry...loads!
  • and Lloyd Bowler with another unit of War of the Roses types

Pictures? One from Mr Ralls and one from Mr Slade: lovely!

Just some of Mr Slade's Minions (now we know who really does his painting!)

Just some of Mr Slade's Minions (now we know who really does his painting!)

Some French armour from Mr Ralls

Some French armour from Mr Ralls

Fate of a Nation: The Cold Shower

Regular readers will remember that I had sorted what armour I needed to buy in order to take advantage of the Battlefront Six Day War 40% off sale. It was therefore now time to look at the infantry contingent.

My intention was not to go too crazy here: probably only looking at a single company of Arab troops and a single company of Israeli troops. So I thought I'd start with the Egyptians.

The Egyptian Infantry Contingent

The immediate problem here is matching the Battlefront boxes with the standard TOE for a UAR infantry platoon.

Battlefront’s breakdown, if you follow the way the box sets are put together is as follows:

Lovely figures, but where are all the LMGs? (Both pics from the Battlefront website)

  • a company headquarters (CHQ) that includes a command element of three, two three-man LMG teams and two three-man recoilless rifle (RCL) teams
  • plus three platoons each of three squads of eight and a bazooka team of two

That’s 93 men in all.

However, as far as I can tell from my reading, the UAR were organised on Soviet lines i.e. squads of ten, each with an LMG. That makes three platoons of thirty-one strong plus the CHQ of eight or 101 in all.

Looking at the TOE for a 1973 Yom Kippur war platoon, for example, they had squads of ten comprising NCO, eight men with AK-47s, one with an RPG and one with an LMG. The CHQ would also add an HQ/Weapons squad of eight men.

Now, if we follow the logic, and assume a Soviet breakdown, that means the Battlefront TOE assumes the heavier weapons have been moved to the CHQ (very reasonable) but is still very, very short on LMGs. Weird!

What I would like to model is:

  • a CHQ of Big Man and two four-man RCL teams
  • three platoons, each of a Big Man, three squads of six AK-47-ers (some models might feature RPG-2s, but I understand they weren’t used in this campaign) and a two-man LMG team, and a two-man bazooka team.

That gives me a company of four Big Men, nine 8-man LMG squads in three platoons, three 2-man bazooka teams, and two 4-man RCL teams: a total of 90 men.

The problem is, of course, that although the numbers are just about the same, the distribution and weapons doesn’t match the BF offering: I’m short loads of LMGs.

Loads.

It must be something to do with modelling game mechanics, in the same way that IABSM doesn't necessarily represent every man in a squad.

missing!

missing!

Well this has sort of put a kibosh on the whole affair. If I want to model the company effectively, then I'd have to buy so many sets of the Company HQ that the 40% off is negated.

Unless anyone can come up with a solution, it's going to be an armour only purchase, leaving the infantry to another time...particularly as I've now started to look at Khurasan's Yom Kippur range!  Maybe  it's time to turn the clock forward a few years...

IABSM AAR: West of Caen

Carole is a regular contributor to the painting challenge, most recently amassing huge numbers of points with her latest late war figures. See her gallery here

Now we get a chance to see some of her collection in action with her first AAR for the Vis Lardica site.

It's 1944 and somewhere west of Caen. he British need to clear a village, the Germans need to hold it. Find out what happens by clicking either here or on the picture below.

The Siren Call of "Fate of a Nation"

My regular opponent, Neil, pointed out that Battlefront were having a 40%-off sale on their Six Day War Arab & Israeli range, asking "so what we doing, then?"

Jon Snow and I know nothing about the Six Day War

Jon Snow and I know nothing about the Six Day War

Well "nothing" was my immediate answer, as my lead mountain has scaled new heights and I have lots of other things to be getting on with.

But my eyes kept getting drawn to his e-mail, until at last I could avoid the truth no longer. No matter that it was a new period for me, no matter that I know nothing about said period, no matter what, in fact: it was a 40%-off sale and I was going to spend lots of money!

That decided, the problem became one of what to buy. As I said, I know less than Jon Snow when it comes to the Six Day War, so a bit of rapid reading was called for. First up, what happened. As far as I can tell, the chronology is something like:

  • Israel launches surprise air attack on Egypt (known as the United Arab Republic) and destroys the UAR's airforce
  • Israeli ground attack to the north towards El Arish succeeds after hard fighting
  • A UAR counter-attack is ambushed at Bir Lahfan
  • Israeli ground attack to the south towards Abu Ageila succeeds after hard fighting
  • UAR troops withdraw for the Suez Canal, allowing the Israelis to capture Sinai
  • Jordanians are tricked by the Egyptians and prepare to join the attack on Israel. Israeli's pre-empt and launch an attack of their own. Israelis take Jerusalem and attackl towards Nablus. Hard fighting, then the Jordanians retreat behind the Jordan river, leaving Israel to capture the West Bank.
  • Israelis then attack the Syrians on the Golan Heights, which they capture after hard fighting.
  • The Israelis also fight the Palestinians and capture the Gaza Strip

Excellent: all I need to know for the moment!

Now to look at what troops I need to buy. Today I'll look at tanks, as I'm too tired after work to get into the minutiae of infantry!

The Israeli Forces

I'm looking at using the IABSM variant for the 6DW, so company level. According to the lists kindly sent to me by Lardy Nick Overland, a tank company consisted of an HQ of two tanks, and then three platoons of three tanks each.

As its the Israelis, I'll be fielding small numbers of good quality tanks, so I reckon I need four tanks of each of the main types. Looking at the FoW website, and consulting my lists, these seem to be as follows:

  • Sherman-types. Either the M50 or the M51 Isherman: so we'll go for four Ishermans as they'll do for both but look nicer than the simple M50.
  • Centurion-types. Either the Mk5 or the Sho't ('whip/scourge'): so, again, we'll go for four Sho't's as they'll do for both but were used in greater numbers.
  • M48-types. Lots to choose from here, but we'll go for four of the Magach ('battering ram') as they'll do for all but have a cool name
  • French AMX thingies. Also used with reserve forces, so although I was going to get just two, will get four just in case.
An israeli sho't (picture from the Battlefront website)

An israeli sho't (picture from the Battlefront website)

That's the Israelis sorted. Now for the Arabs.

The Arab Forces

I'm going to need lots of these, as I want a company-sized force to fight a platoon of Israeli tanks to make it a fair fight.

An Egyptian or Syrian tank company seems to have been an HQ of a single tank, then three platoons of three tanks each. A Jordanian tank company has two HQ tanks then four platoons of three vehicles each. That's 10 or 14 tanks. 

Now which tanks to get?

  • T-34 types. The Egyptians fielded T-34/85 as infantry support. The Syrians also used them.
  • I'm going to ignore the Syrian Panzer IVs: I have enough of them with balkenkreuses on them!
  • Sherman types. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fielded an upgunned version called the M4/FL-10.
  • SU-100 types. The Egyptians seemed to have fielded lots of these as infantry support.
  • IS-3 types. The old Joe Stalin itself. Again seems to have been a back-up tank for the Egyptians.
  • T-54 or T-55 types. An absolute must: fielded by the Egyptians and the Syrians. We'll go for the T-55.
  • M48 types. The mainstay of the Jordanian armoured force.
  • Centurians. Also used by the Jordanians.

It's a tricky one, as getting more than  one tank company is going to be expensive.

UAR T-55 (picture from the Battlefront website)

UAR T-55 (picture from the Battlefront website)

Okay, let's go for the iconic Soviet tank: the T-55. I'm going to need ten of them, but Battlefront are selling them in three's, so I'll get twelve. I'll also get a single platoon of IS-3s. 

Decided, particularly as any T-34/85s I might want can come from PSC.

So, the tank shopping list is as follows:

  • 4 boxes of T-55s
  • 1 box of IS-3s
  • 2 boxes of Ishermans
  • 2 boxes of Sho't
  • 2 boxes of Magrach
  • 2 boxes of AMX

Gulp! Better start working out which of the children to sell first!

TFL Painting Challenge: Monday Night Update

Just a small update tonight, probably as I did one on Thursday night as well. Some nice kit though.

  • Carole goes back to the simple life: nice, plain Allied tanks!
  • Mr Douglas sends in some Roman Auxiliary Cavalry
  • Mr Duffell completes four very nice 28mm vehicles
  • Derek Hodge, lately of Deep Fried Lard, pops in some sabot bases
  • Thomas, dear Thomas, builds and paints a house for his Paras to rest in
  • Paul Baldwin builds and paints some rocky outcrops

Today's picture is from Andy Duffell: a very nice Daimler Dingo...and there's more on show in his gallery.

Do feel free to comment on the achievements you see displayed both here and in the galleries. Obviously I'll remove any out and out nasty ones, but otherwise I'm sure feedback of any sort would be much appreciated!

Vis Imperica Galleries: The French

My French figures have fought throughout the nineteenth century from the Crimea through the Franco-Austrian War, the Maximillian Adventure in Mexico, the Franco-Prussian War right up to the Boxer Rebellion in China. Obviously some of the units are specific to specific campaigns (the sombrero-wearing Marines for Mexico, for example) but I've never worried too much about getting exact representations.

The figures are almost from Freikorps: a manufacturer that I used a lot for my 19th century European armies. Must confess that I don't even know if they still exist now (if only we had an easily accessible source of the world's knowledge!) but I used to pour over the catalogue for hours on end.

These are still painted in simple block colours style, but are an improvement on some of my earlier work. I will eventually get around to highlighting them and flocking the bases which, I think, will improve them no end.

Click on the picture to go to the gallery.

TFL Painting Challenge: Mid Week Round Up

Thought I'd better get a quick round-up in now before the weekend rush.

Today we have:

  • Thomas with some French Paras
  • Vidal makes a welcome return with a sizeable entry but no pics
  • Doug's Samurai finally get onto his scorecard
  • Carole finally finishes her German zug: no more camouflaged zeltbahn for a bit
  • Mr Naylor submits some more 20mm US Marines
  • The Mad Padre sends in a whole vilage of 6mm buildings plus a few choice 28s to tempt us

Today's pictures are from Doug (as his samurai have been waiting for so long) and a 6mm church from, of course, the Padre.

When is a Walker not a Walker...

Fascinating discussion recently on the TFL Yahoo Group that I thought I'd share here: what would the word or words be in Russian for what we would call a Walker or a Mech i.e. the giant, often anthropomorphic fighting machines like the one in the picture below.

Paint It Pink's Ashley Pollard posed the question, saying that Google translate had given her Progulki Boyevaya Platforma as a starting point.

A friend of her's had suggested that Progulki Voyevaya Platforma might be a better representation of how the Russian root word бой, meaning 'to do with struggle or combat', would appear, and she had herself used another translation site to generate Gulyayushchaya Platforma Boya.

Now I have a friend who is Russian (graphic artist Sibirian Blue who does all the illustrations for my IABSM scenario packs and for Q13) and she told me that gulyayushchaya means walking in the sense of a stroll, and that the expression Gulyayushchaya Platforma Boya therefore meant something more like "taking the combat platform for walkies" which, whilst rather sweet, is probably not what Ashley had in mind!

Her suggestion was Мобильная Боевая Платформа, or Mobilnaya Boyevaya Platforma, which translates as Mobile Combat Platform. She also checked out some Russian toy shops and sci-fi sites, to see how they described things like Transformers, but discovered that most just cyrillicise (if that's a word) the English.

The problem with 'mobile combat platform', of course, is that it could apply to anything that fights and moves: a tank, a warship etc. There's no specific suggestion of the walker bit. Back to the drawing board!

Ashley then produced another Russian-speaking friend, one who is quite into military stuff, who suggested Shagayushaya Boevaya Platforma (Шагающая Боевая Платформа), which apparently literally means walking fighting platform.

According to my friend, however, shagayushchaya  literally means "takes step by step", so that although Ashley's friend was right in trying to get a sense of walking into the Russian, the actual wording wasn't quite right.

Now keen to solve this puzzle, Sibirian suggested that what was needed was to get the Russian sound 'hod' into the first word, as that is the root for all things walking or stepping.

one of ashley's own walkers

one of ashley's own walkers

She therefore suggested Pohodnaya Boevaya Platforma (Походная Боевая Платформа) which literally means something like "Hiking Fighting Platform". It also neatly works as PBP as an acronym, or 'Hod' as a sound-alike as it's pronounced po-hod-nya, with the emphasis on the 'hod'. 

I quite liked this, as I could see people saying things like "We have two Hods incoming on vector six"!

James Sterrett, on the Yahoo group, agreed, pointing out that Pokhodnaya was a good choice, as pokhod also means "march", in both the sense of military marching and 'things used while on the march'. So you get Russian words like pokhodnaya forma meaning "field uniform", and pokhodnaya kukhnya meaning a "field kitchen" etc. His view was that you could get away with translating it as Marching or Field Fighting Platform.

He did, however, suggest changing the platforma bit to ustanovka i.e. making the phrase Pohodnaya Boevaya Ustanovka: his rationale being that this was very much in line with the self-propelled artillery designation SU, or Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, as in the WW2 vehicle the SU-85. He used the more modern SAU or Samokhodnaya Artilleriskaya Ustanovka, but its the same difference. Here ustanovka translates oddly:  apparently the literal best fit is something like "installation" or "piece" but here it is used to indicate a platform or (gun) carriage.

Ashley has, I believe, decided to stick with Pohodnaya Boevaya Platforma for the moment.

A fascinating discussion indeed!