I’m still working my way through the extra Arab-Israeli forces I bought in the Battlefront Fate of a Nation 25% off sale. My aim was not so much to reinforce my existing Six Day War forces, but more to add what I needed to re-fight actions from the Yom Kippur War too.
The latest example of this is the Battlefront BTR-60 APC company for the Egyptians/UAR:
These are lovely models that go together and paint up really well.
I now have three different paint schemes for the Egytians/UAR. I have a terrible grungy brown colour for the ex-WW2 tanks and assault guns; a quite bright yellow for the Soviet 1967 vehicles; and this very pale yellow (the most historically accurate of the three!) colour for the Soviet 1973 kit.
Anyway, these are highly recommended. Just one word of caution: the gun barrels are quite fragile: just take a little care when either clipping them from the sprue or dry-brushing.
I hadn’t gamed with old friend Neil for at least 18 months, so it was a pleasure to get a date into the diary and push some lead around the table again.
We decided to have a battle set in the 1967 Six Day War between an Israeli and an Egyptian (UAR) force. The game would be a fictional encounter battle using the TooFatLardies Charlie Don’t Surf Vietnam rules adapted for the theatre and available elsewhere on this site.
Regular visitors will know that I am adding appropriate units to my 1967 Arab and Israeli forces in order to also be able to play the 1973 Yom Kippur war. First up are the Egyptians, who can now field a platoon of T-62 MBTs:
These are Battlefront plastics in 15mm: part of their Fate of a Nation range.
The models go together well, although the downloadable instructions could be a little clearer: I went badly wrong when building the first turret, necessitating some fairly dramatic surgery later, but fortunately the damage doesn’t show.
As Battlefront had another sale on their Arab/Israeli range (25% off this time) I thought I’d better take advantage and add the appropriate figures to allow my 1967 Six Day War Egyptians and Israelis to continue their fight into the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
First off the painting table is the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka": a lightly armored Soviet self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system.
These are lovely models that really take the paint well.
“The acronym "ZSU" stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka (Russian: Зенитная Самоходная Установка), meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled system"; the "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters; the "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It is named after the Shilka River in Russia. Afghan soldiers nicknamed it the "sewing machine" due to the sound of firing guns. It is also referred to by its nickname of "Zeus", derived from the Russian acronym.”
I’ve already got the ZSU 57-2, which has got two enormous guns rather than four little ones, and I was originally a bit confused as to why four smaller guns would be better than two big ones. The answer is that the ZSU 57-2 had no radar sighting system, couldn’t fire on the move, and couldn’t carry enough ammo to allow for worthwhile sustained fire. Obvious when you think about it!
Apparently the Shilka was very successful, and actually led to a change in NATO tactics. Let’s hope that holds true when I field them for the first time.
A quick check on the Battlefront website confirmed that they are currently still running the 25% off anything to do with their modern Arab-Israeli range, so I thought I'd indulge and buy myself an early birthday present.
As I'm currently working on the Egyptian briefing for the 1973 Yom Kippur or October War, I wanted something that they used if only to inspire me to keep hacking my way through all the contradictory and incomplete information that's out there...but what to get? I got most of what I needed some time ago as I put together forces for the Six Day War.
Up to now, I've saved myself a lot of money by avoiding buying anything that would usually sit off-table (i.e. many support weapons and all artillery) but this time couldn't resist the lure of the BM-21 "Grad" (Hail) multiple rocket launchers.
These are cracking models that come in a pack of three. I say models, but what we're talking here is six large bits of resin: three vehicle bodies and three clumps of rockets, if that's the right word to use. This was a very good thing, as I'd been dreading building a traditional set of Battlefront models e.g. fixing 18 metal wheels to a resin body using those slots that never quite fit properly. So the entire build was done in about 15 seconds: blob of Superglue in the hole where the rocket clump sits, push rocket clump into place!
Painting was pretty easy too. Spray yellow basecoat, wash with GW Agrax Earthshade, then highlight in desert yellow. Paint the tyres (the worst bit of the whole process) and then a heavy drybrush to weather them a bit. Finally I did the glass blue with a few dashes of white; and then black-inked the top of the rockets to mimic the sooty residue left after firing. The bases were done with GW Armageddon Dust texture (basically thick paint with little bits in it: a marvellous invention that shortens the basing process by miles) highlighted with GW Screaming Skull and finished with some bushy clumps also from GW.
God knows what I will use them for on the tabletop: they can shoot 12 miles! I think probably as scenario objectives i.e. have them in hardpoints at one end of the table protected by infantry and a few dug-in tanks, and send an IDF force to take them out.
I picked a box of these up some time ago in one of the many Battlefront sales, but hadn't got round to painting them. A delay, however, in an order of Poles gave them the window needed to get onto the painting table and, once there, they were quickly finished.
It's a platoon of three IS-3M ex-Soviet main battle tanks now in UAR service for the Six Day War.
Something else for the Israeli's to blow to, er, Kingdom Come!
Another Saturday morning battle with the Benson boys...but what to play?
Well, my usual default here is to have a look at what hasn't been on the table recently (if ever!) so today's game must be Six Day War and must involve the Battlefront ruined fort. Add on some "tail" that's never been on the table, and Bob's your uncle: one quick scenario written!
A column of Israeli recovery vehicles has strayed too close to the front line. As they pass a ruined fort on top of a hill, they spot a force of Egyptian tanks heading towards them.
Having promised myself I'd concentrate on the Poles, I immediately took a quick break from early WW2, and smashed out a platoon of T-34/85s for my Six Day War UAR/Egyptian army.
I got these via the Battlefront 40% off sale, which I think is still on for the next couple of days, otherwise I would have gone for plastics again...but these are nice models: suitably hefty.
I've painted them the way I painted the other ex-Soviet WW2 kit in my UAR army: just the same as a more modern tank, but then covered in one of the Games Workshop technical washes to give them a real "twenty years old and a tank the Soviets don't want any more" look.
One thing to note: one of the models (the one on the left, furthest from the camera) came with one side of the hull broken off. You can see the left hand track is very visible, and is visible all down the side of the tank.
Now I do love Battlefront vehicles (I have literally hundreds of them, possible even a thousand) but their quality control sucks! Yes, I could have e-mailed in and got almost an immediate replacement but, as I've said before, that's not the point: get it right first time!
I'm still waiting for the gun barrel that was missing from my Polish AT guns: that's been four days and they have missed their slot in the painting queue! That's four Battlefront purchases painted this week, with two needing a replacement part. Not very good, to say the least!
As it happens, this wasn't a problem for me: the tanks were supposed to be battered, and this one is just more battered than most...still not the point, though!
Having spent the last few months building up my forces for the Six Day War, it was time to get the figures onto the wargaming table. For the first game, I decided to keep things relatively small and relatively vanilla: the Israelis would be attacking a UAR/Egyptian force defending a pumping station of some sort.
The first lot of anti-aircraft guns for my Six Day War Egyptians. These are ZPU-4's: four HMGs mounted together on a towed trolley.
Figures and guns are Peter Pig, from their Modern Africa range (a very useful range for anyone looking for Soviet equipment from the Sixties and Seventies). The guns don't come with any crew, so I used standard "helmeted crew" for the chaps who are standing up; and one of their "seated in helmets for the gunner himself. The gunner actually has a Kalashnikov flat across his lap, but painted black and with all the gun-stuff, it looks like some kind of trigger mechanism...and, anyway, who's going to notice on the tabletop!
The pic above doesn't actually do the little blighters justice. For some reason I decided to use a slightly different technique on these AA guns than I did on the AT guns I've posted previously. Here I sprayed them black, dry-brushed in the colour I wanted, used black ink as a wash, and then dry-brushed again. Looks great on the tabletop, but a bit messy in close-up.
You'll note that I have mounted two guns in AA mode, and two guns depressed for shooting people on the ground. That's because a platoon is four guns-strong, but I can't really see me ever fielding four guns at a time, so now I can field one or two, and swap models dependent on what angle the Israeli attack is coming from!
Now that the infantry and armour are all sorted, it was time to add the other support weapons to my UAR/Egyptian force for the Six Day War. Top of the list had to be anti-tank guns.
Looking at my orders of battle (available here) I could see that the vast majority of Egyptian AT guns were ex-Soviet 57mm Zis-2 pieces (around 300 of them), followed by ex-British 6-pounders (about 100 of them), followed by a smattering of ex-Soviet 100mm BS-3 guns (maybe 70 of them). Off to the Battlefront website to do some buying.
Interesting...the only pack of anti-tank guns that Battlefront has for the Six Day War is a mixed pack of two 82mm recoil-less rifles (which you get as part of the company HQ anyway), one Zis-2, and two BS-3s. Yes, it's technically a three gun platoon, but why use the least common anti-tank gun as the mainstay? Another Battlefront mystery!
So I decided, by buying the two-pack of Zis-3/Zis-2 WW2 Soviet guns, to get two platoons of towed anti-tank guns: one of three Zis-2s, one of two BS-3s. Here is the first off the production line: the Zis-2s.
The crews are a mix of the crews included in the pack with the addition of spares from the helmet-heads within the Peter Pig Modern Africa range (a very useful range indeed for filling in the gaps in any Soviet-equipment-using force).
I decided to give my guns five crew members each, rather than the usual four, as I have a feeling that I might need every man I can get to turn back the eventual Israeli tide!
My research tells me that in the Six Day War, the UAR (Egyptians) had access to ex-Soviet Maxim machine guns to support their infantry. Now Battlefront don't provide an HMG platoon as part of their UAR 6DW range, so I needed to improvise.
A quick rummage in the bits box turned up one WW2 Soviet gunner and gun, and a shout out to the Lardies with an offer of swapsies led to Jason Ralls kindly supplying the other two needed.
In the meantime, I also bought two Battlefront UAR anti-tank sets, each of which comes with three anti-tank guns and two recoil-less rifles. As I already have some RCLs in my Company HQ, their crews in the AT sets have now been assigned to the HMGs, along with some from Peter Pig bought to bulk things out.
Here they are, and you can see the rest of the Company, and supports, by clicking here.
A quick bit of painting finished: the company HQ for my Six Day War UAR/Egyptian army.
That's all of the core troops done, but I do need to add the HMG platoon and some towed AT assets...and to make things even more complete, I could add the tanks that accompanied the non-mechanised infantry: T-34s and IS-IIIs.
In the meantime, here's the company HQ: two Big Men and a couple of 82mm Recoil-less Rifles.
That's just about it for the Egyptians now: only the company HQ to go now, and that's only eight figures, including Big Men. Be good to mechanise the little blighters but, as I've said before, I'll wait until the next sale before buying loads of trucks!
Must be time to start on the opposition now. Figures are bought: I just need to work out how best to represent the rather unique colour of Israeli tanks.
I'm gradually getting to the end of that section of the lead mountain devoted to the UAR or Egyptian forces for the Six Day War. Here's the second infantry platoon, leaving only one more infantry platoon, the Company HQ, finishing the recon tanks, and then what odd bits of support I decide that I need.
The only real pain is the transport for the infantry company. Getting enough of the right sort of truck is going to be expensive: so I shall have to wait until the next Battlefront 40%-off sale!
Anyway, here's another twenty-six infantrymen, painted as before:
Now that I had broken the back of the vehicles needed for my UAR (Egyptian) force for the 6DW, it was time to start on the infantry. Platoons of twenty-six figures: three squads of eight plus a two-man Blindicide team.
These were standard Battlefront 15s, and painted up very nicely. Undercoat in Army Painter Skeleton Bone, then wash with GW Agrax Earthshade, then highlight with Foundry Raw Cotton (helmets); Vallejo Sand Yellow (Uniforms); with webbing in two shades of grey from GW.
Only another two platoons and the Company HQ to go!
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.