Our last game of IABSM was set in the Tuchole Forest in Poland, right at the beginning of the war. Today’s battle would directly follow on from that encounter, and represent the stalwart Polish defense of Grudziadz. Both scenarios were taken from The September War, Part One, one of the TooFatLardies scenario packs that I have written for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!
Grudziadz was a strategically important town as it housed an officer academy, a cavalry school and the several army staffs directing Polish forces in the Polish Corridor region. It was, however, only lightly defended, with its garrison made up of infantry and border protection corps (KOP) along with supporting artillery. The German attack was launched from East Prussia by 21st Corps, mainly infantry and the reserve 10th Panzer regiment (mainly Panzer I and II).
Although this site is dedicated to the TFL Company Level games such as IABSM, CDS and Q13, I do like to point out what else is going on in Lardland.
That's why I'm really happy to post that the much-anticipated Early War handbook is now available for the TFL platoon-sized game: Chain of Command.
Having published the IABSM early war books earlier this year, I was also somewhat involved in the production of this work, and can therefore assure you that it is truly epic. Rich has gone back to many first hand sources and original army manuals for the information it is based on.
This 124 page handbook provides a comprehensive coverage of the campaign in France and the Low Countries in 1940. Included is an historical account of the campaign in the West, as well as whole raft of new rules to cover the events of that summer. New theatre specific rules include Assault boats and river crossings, parachute drops, glider landings, bicycles, horse mounted troops and motorcycles. We have several new armour classifications for tanks with small turrets, vehicles lacking of radios and unreliable vehicles. Fancy blowing up a section of the Maginot Line? Well, you can with our new rules on fortifications and demolitions as well as looking at Francs Tireurs, ‘Shabby Nazi Tricks’ in the form of Brandenburg Commandos, Civilians, Stuka attacks and even the odd drinks cabinet being rolled out to stiffen the stiffest of upper lips.
Biggest of all is the truly massive section on Army lists. Here we wanted to provide a really comprehensive guide to the period and in doing so we went right back to the book, or more specifically the manuals that the armies of the period issued to their troops. The French Tableau d’Effectifs de Guerre, the German KsTN lists, the Dutch Handboek vor den Soldat and Officier series and many others issued throughout the 1930s and up to 1940. These manuals tell us not just how troops were organised, but how their training prepared them for war and their doctrines. This has allowed us to produce not just Army Lists but introduce national characteristics which make each nation unique in the way they fight.
First Line Infantry Reserve Infantry Chasseurs Groupe Franc Reconnaissance Motorcycle Fusiliers Reconnaissance Cavalry Motorised Infantry Dragon Portes Mounted Cavalry Chasseur Portes Colonial Troops Mountain Troops Ski Scouts Light DIvision Infantry Groupe Franc Motorise de Cavalerie
1939 Regulation Platoon 1940 Regulation Platoon Motor Infantry Motorcycle infantry Line of Communication troops Searchlight Troops
1st Wave infantry 2nd Wave infantry 3rd Wave infantry 5th Wave infantry 7th Wave Infantry Static infantry Pioneers Motorised Infantry Motorcycle Reconnaissance Schutzen Type 1 Schutzen Type 2 SS Totenkopf SS Verfungs and Leibstandarte SS Motorcycle platoon SS Aufklarungs motorcycle platoon Fallschirmjager Type 1 Fallschirmjager Type 2 Luftlande Glider platoon Gebirgsjager
Infantry Blackshirt troops Alpini
Alongside these lists we have nearly fifty support option lists giving support choices for a huge number of unit types, so if you have a motorcycle reconnaissance platoon you can select support from the different divisions which fielded that unit type. All in all, the gamer can choose an incredible range of interesting and varied troops types and then choose supports from friendly forces and allies for forces of almost limitless variety. But that’s not all. Each nation has a full Arsenal list for weapons and AFVs as well as comprehensive notes to cover their support options.
Finally, we have five new scenarios types, Going with a Bang, Strike from Above, Swift to Support, Hasty Defence and Blitzkrieg to bring the 1940 campaigns to life. All in all, a huge addition to your Chain of Command library in both hard copy and PDF.
Regular visitors will remember my post of a week or so ago mentioning that I had found somewhere (Heer46) that produced a model of an SdKfz 247: the command car used by some of the German armoured car regiments in the battle for France.
The two I ordered arrived quite quickly, and immediately jumped to the head of the painting queue.
There are two possible variants: one with a canopy over the rear compartment, and one without.
Lovely models of an uncommon vehicle that paint up very nicely. Another piece of kit that I can't wait to get onto the tabletop.
Those of you who are building an early war armoured car company from a panzer division's reconnaissance battalion (page 63 of the Blitzkrieg in the West: The Germans theatre supplement for IABSM) will have been almost immediately stymied by the need for the Big Man in the Company HQ to ride around in an SdKfz 247, as no one seems to make one.
Well I have some good news for you.
The figure manufacturer Heer46 now have an SdKfz 247 model available in 15mm. It's the Auf. B version with four wheels, as opposed to the Auf. A model with six wheels, and looks like a cracking bit of kit.
I've ordered two of the little blighters, even though I'm unlikely to ever need to field more than one.
The only problem, by the way, is the cost. In common with anything wargames related from Europe, they cost a comparatively enormous amount. The model is €11.80: which is about £10 or $14! That's about five times what you'd pay for a plastic SdKfz 222, making the SdKfz 247 the Ferrari of the German army!
My enjoyment comes as much from working out which BoB scenario the game is taken from as reading the report itself! Blenneville or Bust! is a pyramid campaign involving five levels, so there are thirty-one possibilities in all. There's no mention of the name of the village in the report, but only the village of Chemont has a layout like that shown in the picture below. That means it's one of #5B, #5F or #5M. Only #5M involves German Fallschirmjaegers, so scenario #5M it is!
This time, The Sergeant and the Dice Demon, Steve, are playing one of the scenarios from the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack for IABSM: scenario #4A Holm.
What's quite fun for me, as the author of Bashnya or Bust!, is working out which exact scenario they're playing from the photos. On this occasion, I knew it was Holm immediately (distinctive terrain!), but which one. Well the only one with that exact number of T-34/85s and that exact number of Panthers is 4A...so hopefully that's it!
Anyhow, click on the pic below to see all. Recommended...along with a quick visit to the two blogs this comes from as well. Excellent stuff.
As usual, I hope that neither of the gentleman mentioned above objects to me re-posting their text and pictures. It is genuinely intended as a way to spread awareness of both IABSM and their excellent blogs rather than anything else.
A bit of a shameless plug, but here are some of the comments made around the web about my latest work: the Blitzkrieg in the West: Germany handbook for IABSM, published Thursday 10th May:
"An awesome piece of work. The level of detail is incredible."
"Turned on computer a couple of hours ago. Went to TFL website immediately looking for Blitz-Germany. Only time for a quick scan through: outstanding!
"IABSM was my first Lard rules (still a favorite) and all four Blitz books provide the best single sources of information for 1940 I know of. Useful in many ways, thanks for your work."
"I have bought the four books and they [are] the best thing since sliced bread. Not a player of IABSM myself but the detail and depth of the information is so good that can be used for any other set of rules or just for reference. Excellent job, congratulations."
Derek Hodge (chief proof-reader of the handbook):
"I've had a head start on the reading this as I helped Robert with the proofreading and I can say that he's put a huge amount of work into it. I had no idea that German OOBs in 1940 were so varied.
"The whole Blitzkreig in the West series is an absolutely fantastic resource for any wargamer interested in the 1940 campaign. You can use the lists in the pdfs to build OOBs at any level from company to division.
"And the lists are also useful if you're playing a platoon level game such as Chain of Command as they enable you to see exactly where all the various support options come from. This is invaluable if you're trying to build support lists limited to what was historically available to any specific infantry platoon."
Nick Skinner (co-author of IABSM):
"More superb work from Mr Avery. Can't recommend it highly enough. Even if you do not game IABSM the unit information is astounding."
Blitzkrieg in the West: Germany is the fourth in my series of early war handbooks for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum. The handbook is a massive 185 pages long (over double the size of either the French, BEF or Low Countries books) and covers the whole of the German army that invaded France and the Low Countries on 10th May 1940, seventy-eight years ago today.
The book begins with the humble infantry: not one, homogenous, grey-clad mass, but actually eleven different types of infantry division, each with their own set of core and support troops.
Next, after a quick look at the infantry that doesn't fit into the above (e.g. the Gebirgsjaeger), the book moves on to the ten panzer divisions: with each panzer division given its own section and set of lists. There are, for example, five different lists that relate to 9th Panzer Division alone.
After the Panzertruppen, the book covers the cavalry, the SS and the army level support troops (that's where you'll find the StuGs!) before finishing off with the Fallschirmjaegers and Air Landing troops that dropped into Belgium and the Netherlands. Finally, we have the usual ratings and armoury sections, and a note on air support.
Although designed for IABSM, Blitzkrieg in the West: Germany contains a vast amount of information useful to gamers of other systems, and is really a must-buy for anyone interested in the early war period.
Available now from the TooFatLardies website, we've kept the price at £8.40: the same as the other three handbooks, despite its much larger pagination. That should make the set of four books - France, the BEF, the Low Countries, Germany - absolutely affordable for all.
I took advantage of the bank holiday weekend to finally finish the company of early war Polish tanks that I have been working on.
A Company of Polish 7TP (jw) tanks from 1st or 2nd Tank Battalion
I say a company, but actually I painted twenty-two of the little blighters: sixteen as the single-turret model, and six as the double-turret model.
That gives me the flexibility to field a company of tanks from the 1st and 2nd Tank Battalions (all single-turret); most of the 3rd Tank Battalion (one reduced company of single-turret, one reduced company of double-turret); or (given a little bit of leeway in counting 7TPs as the Vickers tank they were based on) the mixed platoons of 12th or 121st Tank Companies.
Either the 12th or 121st Independent Tank Companies: 7TPs used as Vickers
The models are all 15mm from Battlefront via Element Games. Undercoated in Army Painter green, then with the pale yellow and then the brown camouflage on top. The same basic camouflage pattern was used for each tank. Then washed and dry-brushed to bring up the detail.
Note that I had another varnish disaster in the initial spray. Not the varnish's fault, on this occasion, but mine. It was very hot, and I didn't shake the can properly, so got a light frosting of propellant/bad varnish. How did I solve it? As I've mentioned before, a light coat of olive oil got rid of the frosting, then another two sprays brought the models down flat again. A close call!
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.