SdKfz 7/2 medium-weight AA half-tracks from Battlefront: Part II

On 1st September I posted pictures of the two SdKfz 7/2 German half-tracks that I had painted up in panzer grey for the early war period. Here are the other two 7/2s from the same order, but this time painted up for the mid- and later-war periods in dunkelgelb with camo.

Nice models these: easy to put together, for a change, and satisfyingly chunky.

Playtesting the new Napoleonic Rules at Lard HQ

I went over to Lard HQ last night to try out the new TFL divisional level Napoleonic rules that are currently in playtesting.

Although the game shares the same activation dice system as Chain of Command, everything else is new. The basic infantry unit is the battalion: three to seven bases of four figures each, with each figure representing about 120 men. Horse are organised in a similar fashion, with guns being either grouped into batteries or, a nice touch this, integral to the battalion they support.

As you would expect from any new Lardy product, although it has a familiar feel to it, it is a genuinely different game, not just a re-hash of one system to another period or scale.

In last night's game, Mr Clarke and myself played the early French (I forget the exact date), versus Alan playing the dastardly Austrians, no doubt seeking to strangle our infant republic before we had a chance to assume our rightful position as masters of all Europe. Our task was to wrest control of a ford and a bridge held by a smaller but still substantial enemy force. Here is the set up:

The French are to the left, the Austrians to the right. Mr Clarke's big battalions will cross the bridge and hit the Austrians in the built up area (the big house with four windows). I would hold the left flank in case the Austrians counter-crossed the ford. There were a lot of Austrians in front of me:

As the game started, Rich duly advanced his men over the bridge and headed for the built-up area.

His plan was to line up his multiple battalions and hit the town all at once, but unfortunately one of his units took an excess of heavy artillery fire on the flank, and then routed back across the bridge. This caused a massive traffic jam on the bridge and severely unnerved the rest of his troops, meaning that rather than hitting the town all at once, his battalions were fed in piecemeal.

An initial assault was repulsed, then he fought off an enemy cavalry charge as the enemy sought to take advantage of the resultant confusion, then his next assault was successful...but the time taken for all this had given the Austrians time to reinforce the town and slowly Rich's men started to be pushed back out again.

Meanwhile, on the left flank, the Austrians had decided to counter attack:

I had turned to meet them, and then let a couple of battalions cross the ford before marching forward to take it myself: neatly splitting his force in two.

At that point, unfortunately, the game had to end as we were out of time. The Austrians were declared the winners, as Rich's attack was about to fail utterly and things had not yet got properly started on my flank. All agreed that it was a close run thing: with Rich being literally at match point a couple of times before Alan's Austrians, holding on doggedly, managed to turn things around.

It was a great game and a really positive try-out for the rules. Everything seemed to work just fine, and I found that I could quickly pick up the basic mechanics without difficulty. I would love to try this out using 15s rather than 28s and, perhaps more importantly, I think the game would work brilliantly for the whole of the 19th century...well, through to the end of the Franco-Prussian War at any rate.

My thanks to the Lardies for their hospitality. I'm off to look at Napoleonic figures in 15mm now!

T-20 Komsomoleyts

Another quick bit of painting finished, again loot from the Battlefront early war 3-for-2 sale. This time it's a pair of Soviet T-20 Komsomoleyts tractors.

I only bought one pack of two, as I haven't actually got a specific purpose in mind for them. I suppose they will do as very light artillery tractors or, as they come with two men sitting on the back, as the extra two men needed for my MMG teams, originally based with three crew as per IABSMv2, but now needing five crew as per IABSMv3.

They are quite nice little models, but I don't like the fact that the crew are in old-style "Fireman Sam" helmets rather than the round ones worn by all my other Soviets.

Oh, by the way, for those who didn't know, komsomoleyts literally means "young communists", but I'm not sure why they are nicknamed that.

TFL Painting Challenge: Ron Rolls In

A Saturday night update in honour of Ron Carnegie who submits his first entries for the painting challenge: a massive year-to-date catch-up that takes him straight past the 1,000 point mark.

Speaking of Marks, Mark Luther has submitted some more 6mm 'planes and vehicles: enough to take him past the 2,500 points score: so well done to Mark.

We also have entries from:

  • Lief and some orcs
  • Melvyn and an outside loo
  • Mr Bax makes a welcome return with some steampunk Ottomans
  • And Mr Ralls' resurrection continues with a big entry of 15s and 28s

Today's picture has to be Melvyn's 28mm  'dunny' :

"Best Job I Ever Had!"

I went to see Fury last night: the new WW2 movie starring Brad Pitt and Shia La Boeuf that tells the story of a Sherman tank and its crew fighting in Germany in the final days of the war.

I’m not going to write a full review, as I don’t want to give away any spoilers and you can read reviews written by people paid to write them in the paper or online, but here are a few notes to justify my hearty recommendation to all Lardies to get themselves down to the cinema and watch it as soon as possible.

I was determined to do the film justice, so went to see it at the IMAX in Leicester Square: highly recommended for any big movie as the sheer size and all-encompassing nature of both screen and sound system completely envelop you in what you are watching.

The film is great. It’s about two hours long, but that went by in a flash. To give you an idea of how much I was sucked into its embrace, there’s a bit where a column of American tanks are driving along a hedge-lined track. One of the tank crews spots some movement in the foliage and the camera flashes on a German carrying a Panzerfaust. I’m embarrassed to say that I exclaimed “Faust!” in quite a loud voice before I could stop myself! I’m not sure the young lady to left of me, who jumped with surprise, appreciated my attempt to warn the tankers of the danger!

The acting is excellent, particularly where Brad Pitt and the other crew members of the eponymous Fury are concerned; and David Ayres, the writer and director, manages to inject real tension into every moment of the film. You really don’t know what is going to happen from moment to moment: who is going to live, who is going to die etc.

I must, however, warn those of you of a delicate nature that the film is visceral in the extreme: it pulls no punches on the horrors of war front.

Now, on to the real question: is it realistic? Am I dooming you to a couple of hours sat in front of a screen shouting “no, no, no” before storming off to rivet-counters-dot-com to express your disgust in a series of blisteringly excoriating posts?

Well, I would say the film is stunningly authentic, but not quite as realistic.

The tanks (including the Tiger and an Easy Eight from Bovvy), uniforms and other equipment, along with the general realisation of the movie, are brilliant. I was transported to Germany in 1945 and, despite my best efforts, couldn’t spot anything out of place. Apparently Shia La Boeuf smokes the wrong sort of cigarette at one point, but I felt that I could forgive him that. Filthy habit anyway.

But, seriously, recommended for authenticity and to see what a Tiger, Shermans and German/US infantry look like in situ on the battlefield. That was probably what I enjoyed most.

As for realism, some bits were a little far-fetched, but no more so than in any other fictional war movie and, more to the point, no more so than many real incidents that one can read about in official, regimental and personal histories. The way to fully enjoy the movie is to remember that, and not to worry too much about, for example, whether one man can run forward into machine gun fire, jump onto the parapet of the trench containing the machine gun and kick the machine gunner in the face, allowing the trench to be taken by the rest of his section. That’s not from Fury, by the way, that actually happened during the original Australian assault on Tobruk…but if you’d seen it in the film, would you have clapped or scoffed?

So, in all, my absolute recommendation to all Lardies to see the film: and at the cinema if possible.

 

An Update Update

For those keeping track of how the new site is progressing, I've re-loaded AARs down to the end of the Operation Compass scenario pack part of the IABSM AAR page. All the AARs for Q13 and CDS are already done.

I've also added a link to Kev (Fat Wally)'s Painting Service at the top of his gallery in the TFL Painting Challenge section. Here's the link again. And here's a quick pic of some of his work:

TFL Painting Challenge: Quick Update

I say a quick update as not too many people have submitted entries over the last week or so...must be saving themselves for the just-before-deadline rush!

Whatever the reason, this update we have achievements from:

  • Mr Hodge and the last of his Unpronuncables that take him past the 1,500 points mark
  • Chris Stoesen with some flight stands and some AWI figures
  • Benito with some cracking SCW figures
  • and Alexandros with some equally cracking SCW and WW2 vehicles

Today's pictures are from Alexandros and Benito:

Hotchkiss MMG from Benito

Hotchkiss MMG from Benito

Staghound from Alexandros

Staghound from Alexandros

Beyond a joke!

Now those of you who visit this website regularly will know that I am quite a fan of Battlefront figures. I might not play Flames of War, preferring IABSM, but I do buy the figures...lots of them.

Sometimes, however, Battlefront do something which drives me potty...something that is 'beyond a joke'.

Today's 'beyond a joke' is the new Gebirgsjaeger anti-tank rifle team of two figures: one rifleman and one chap carrying what I think is a PzB 38 or 39 anti-tank rifle. The team retails for about £1.50, but I got three of them in the recent 3-for-2 sale which, to be fair, was a very good thing, with a delivery arriving within three days of my order.

From the sublime...

I have previously commented that Battlefront's Gebirgsjaeger are a mixed bunch. Some of them are some of the best figures I have ever seen, and paint up beautifully, but some of them are ghastly shop-dummy manikins that I really only kept to make up the right numbers.

 The initial release didn't contain any man-portable anti-tank weapons (no 'schreks, no ATRs) so I was chuffed to bits when I saw that anti-tank rifle teams were finally available.

 

My joy was short lived. Why, I hear you ask? Well I will let a picture say a thousand words. Here are the two figures from the Battlefront Gebirgsjaeger anti-tank rifle team pack: 

...to the ridiculous!

You may notice that they are a slightly different size to each other.

Slightly?

Slightly?

The bloke with the ATR is so short his colleague can see over his flipping head! I mean, was this some kind of joke? Give the shortest man in the unit the biggest gun? It honestly looks like two figures from different ranges or manufacturers, not two figures designed to be fielded together mounted on the same base! What a pile of steaming poop!

I can understand the team being shorter than previous releases (new sculptor etc) but just the new figure? Didn't anyone at Battlefront notice that the two chaps didn't really match each other?

Come on, Battlefront: get your act together!

AAR: Diot

Played a great game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! today using scenario #4H from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack. 

Exciting action as the Germans attempt to outflank the Allied advance via the strategically vital town of Diot, only to run into a company of Scottish infantry determined not to let them past!

Click on the picture to read the whole AAR:

And for those whose appetites are whetted by the above, I've reloaded the IABSM AARs down to the last one from the Fall of the Lion Gate Malaya and Singapore scenario pack - I'm doing all the scenario pack AARs first before moving on to individual games and the Games Day reports. Check them out!

29, Let's Go! Released

29, Let's Go! is the first of the Pint-Sized campaigns for Chain of Command (the platoon-level WW2 game from the TooFatLardies) designed to be played using the campaign handbook At the Sharp End.  

Thirty-two pages long, 29, Let's Go! was released yesterday, and contains an overview of the planned, and then actual, events on Omaha beach on the 6th of June before then going on to present a mini-campaign covering the advance of the US 175th Infantry Regiment from the initial beachhead in their drive to link Omaha and Utah beaches by capturing the key bridge at Isigny.  

The campaign is a total of five game tables with the duration running between five and nine games.  Briefings are provided for both sides, along with measurable objectives, period maps, force and support option listings and everything you need to play this campaign through to its conclusion.  

Highly recommended.

You can read more about 29 Let's Go! on the TFL blog, Lard Island News here.

And actually buy the thing (which really is just the cost of a pint) here.

TFL Painting Challenge: It's Monday...it's update time!

Always nice to update the challenge after a weekend: lots of lovely entries to catalogue, and today is no exception.

In no particular order we have:

  • Joakim Strom with some more BEF that take him just over the 500 points mark
  • Mr Topi with legions of 15mm goodness and some French walls
  • Some Roman Auxilia from Chris Stoesen
  • Continuing the theme, Mr Douglas has submitted a unit of Roman archers (technically auxiliaries as well) which will hopefully appear the right way up
  • A couple of early war German tanks from Mr Melville, whose gallery is at least present if not yet correct
  • Some more 6mm planes from Mr Luther, who's left only two points short of the 2,500 points mark
  • The Mad Padre with some 28mm foot
  • Mr Hodge with more of his Unpronuncables
  • And Thomas, unbelievably, submits another entry as well

Today's picture is of Mr Hodge's Unpronuncables: nine 28mm Cavalry for his Gŵr y Gogledd force for Dux Britanniarum 

Quar: Ailthean Light Tractors

It's been over a month since I've had a chance to do any painting (something to do with spending all my time re-loading content onto this website!) so it was a real pleasure to sit down at the painting table yesterday and  make the tiniest of dents in the lead mountain.

Earlier this year, Zombiesmith added a whole set of new troops to their 15mm Quar line (think WW1 anteaters), and here are the first completed: a half-wedge of Ailthean Light Tractors for my Crusader forces.

AAR: Ploschad

Last week Neil and I played the climatic battle in our Bashnya or Bust! campaign: with the Soviets trying to get past the German defenders of Ploschad.

A cracking game, even if my camera was playing up a bit.

Click on the picture below to read the whole AAR...

I've also found the time to re-load the first eight or so IABSM AARs from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack too, so check them out!

Fury!

Due for release 22nd October, the trailer certainly wets my appetite!

All the more so as I know they used the Tiger I from Bovingdon Tank Museum, the only working Tiger tank in Europe IIRC, in the film and Brad (that's Mr Pitt to the rest of you) launched the film there a couple of weeks ago. 

Oooh, exciting!

"Fury" Official Trailer (2014)

Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf HD April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

AAR: Near Devyat

Craig Ambler gives us the next installment in his solo-play Bashnya or Bust! campaign. This time it's action near Devyat, featuring a German raid to spike some Soviet guns.

Click on the picture to read more...

And for those who like a bit of Vietnam action, I've finished loading all the Charlie Don't Surf! After Action Reports. Use the navbar in the header to go there now (well, after you've read Craig's AAR, of course).

TFL Painting Challenge: Monday Night Update

I'm pleased to see that a few of you found time for the painting challenge over the weekend! In no particular order we have entries from:

  • Benito ( a StuG)
  • Mr Danziger with some German infantry
  • a hugely unpronounceable entry from Mr Hodge in the form of a Gŵr y Gogledd  starter force for Dux Britanniarum
  • Dave Humm with a weird mixture of figures
  • and finally Alexandros with three fine looking Italian tanks for Big CoC. 

Today's picture has to be of Benito's StuG:

Sale: Stoesen's TFL Scenario Packs

Chris Stoesen, author of several scenario packs for TFL rule systems, is having a sale in honour of his birthday. Details at http://cstoesen.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/birthday-sale.html

 According to Chris' site, the sale prices are:

In the Name of Roma is now $5.50
The Coming Thunder is now $5.00
The Falcon and the Gladiator is now $5.00
And The Air War in the Western Desert is Free if you purchase something else. Or just $1.00 by itself.