One of the ‘toys’ I got for Christmas was a new digital camera. I’d had the old one for some seventeen years, and it had really started to give up the ghost. Batteries were drained with one shot, it hated anything but the brightest of sunlight, and the cover to the compartment for the batteries had developed the annoying habit of popping open at the slightest touch.
The new one came from the post-Christmas sale from John Lewis. This was another first from me, as I actually stood and queued outside for half an hour, and then rushed in with the tsunami of other shoppers to try and get a bargain: not something I have done before, as I usually avoid the whole “Sales” madness. It seems to have been worth it, however, as once I had actually worked out where the sale items were (in their own special area) I picked up the camera I wanted for £30 less than the sale price on Amazon.
New camera means an excuse to photograph some figures, so I re-shot all my 1940’s French. Still haven’t got exactly the results I was looking for, but they look a lot better than my previous gallery.
Some rather colourful R-35’s from a supporting GBC (Groupe de Bataillons de Chars)
I’ve got a lot more figures, especially Somua and Char B1 tanks, and some of the more esoteric portee vehicles that Battlefront was pushing during their Blitzkrieg phase, but I’ve tried to avoid cheese and stick to the official OB’s from the TFL Blitzkrieg in the West: the French handbook.
Reading the lists and building the gallery is a great way of seeing where the gaps are in my collection.
Must be time to get some more French: I wonder if I can find any of them on sale anywhere…
Time for another game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with John and Dave…but what to play? Dave has requested an early war encounter, so a quick look back through my library of scenarios and I settle on one of Richard Clarke’s games: Lille.
The premise is simple: Rommel’s Germans are advancing rapidly on Lille, aiming for the village of Lomme, whose capture will seal off the escape route of all English and French forces in the area. The Allies have realised what the Germans are up to, and have dispatched a small force to hold Lomme for as long as possible. The scene is set for an epic clash!
Derek put on a game if IABSM set in France in May 1940, using his excellent 10mm figures.
That's not me with Derek btw but my opponent!
I played the French: commanding seven H-39 tanks (good armour, but armed with a pop gun), two 25mm anti tank guns (good panzer killers!) and a platoon of infantry.
Facing me were five Panzer 38(t) tanks (excellent at this time of the war), two Panzer IVs, a platoon of motorcyclists, and some other infantry that never arrived or got off their Blinds.
I deployed my tanks along the treeline and waited for Rommel's boys to attack. This they did, their motorcyclists appearing first: dumping their metal steeds as soon as I hit them with some HE, and then rushing forward towards a nearby field.
Meanwhile his P-38(t) tanks had appeared and advanced towards my line over open ground. My tanks engaged, and a firefight broke out: his five Panzers versus five of my tanks and, soon, my two anti tank guns.
His tanks were considerably better than mine, but stationary and out in the open. Mine were carefully concealed in the edge of the wood, and some lucky dice rolling meant that soon three of his were abandoned for the loss of two of mine.
When one of his Panzer IVs also succumbed to anti tank gun fire, the Germans decided that they'd had enough and retreated. Victory to the French!
All in all it was a good, if quick, game. My tanks performed much better than I was expecting (one of them proved almost indestructible despite being hit many times) and the tactics chosen by the Germans suited my deployment perfectly.
My thanks to Derek and the rest of SESWC for their hospitality, and I'm already looking forward to the next time I'm up.
It's been far too long since we saw one of Mark Luther's amazing 6mm IABSM after action reports...but I'm pleased to be able to say that the drought is over.
Mark played one of my scenarios - Wave Goodbye - taken from the 2011 TFL Summer Special: a French armor counterattack is hitting the flank of a German panzer column in an area east of the Ardennes in May 1940.
Sorry about the lack of posts for the last few days: I've been busy with another of Jack's amazing after action reports. This one weighs in with an extraordinary 239 photographs, each of which I've had to individually download and label!
The report is taken from Jack's blog, BlackHawtHet...and you'll be pleased to hear that he and I are working on a better way to transfer the content from there to VL.
Anyway, this time Jack takes Kampfgruppe Klink on a trip to the cabbage fields of Moiste: using the IABSM scenario that I wrote for the TFL 2005 Summer Special "Moiste Cabbage and a Quick Cognac".
The background is simple: The Germans have found a ford that gives them access to the French flank, the French dispatch a force under the eponymous Captain Cognac to close the gap.
Jack seems to have had a cracker of a game (239 pictures!), so click on the photo below to see all:
Here is our first I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! After Action Report from Jack, taken from his blog BlackHawkHet.
And what an AAR it is: fully 169 photographs with a comprehensive accompanying text. It's taken me a few days just to get it all loaded up on here!
Having been in contact with Jack, I'm pleased to say that the inspiration for the game actually came from VL, and from one of the other battle reports posted here. To be specific, it was from James Tree's Pushing On game, taken from the Operation Martlet scenario pack for CoC.
Here's a quick and somewhat fuzzily-photographed IABSM microarmour AAR from Mark Luther, this one covering action in France 1940 as the French counteract with Somua tanks.
Click on the pic below to see all:
Mark based the game on another AAR from this site: this one from Brian Cantwell. You can see Brian's version (in 15mm) by clicking on the pic below (opens in a new link).
And now a quick request.
I am running out of battle reports to post up here on Vis Lardica.
I am getting the occasional report sent direct to me for posting, and many individuals are kind enough to have allowed me re-posting rights to their blog entries, but it is becoming more and more difficult to keep the flow of reports coming.
So here's the request: if you are playing one of the TFL games covered by Vis Lardica*, and don't have a blog of your own or anything like that, take a few pictures of the action, scrawl down a few notes on what happened, or even just captions to the pictures, and send the lot through to me at email@example.com. Don't worry about format or tidiness or anything like that: I can turn the raw content into a report for you.
That way you have a record of the games that you have played, a record that you can come back to and browse anytime you feel like it. I certainly enjoy reminding myself occasionally of the great tabletop encounters I've enjoyed in the past, and judging by the traffic stats for the site, so do the rest of you!
So don't delay and get scribbling!
*The site covers TFL's company-sized games - I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf! (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (sci-fi) - along with their variants Rock the Casbah (the Arab/Israeli wars of the '70s); B'Maso (Africa in the 60's) and the various adaptions for Moderns.
Finally, one thing that did catch my eye earlier today...
I was trawling the Internet looking for interesting wargames content to read, and came across a Russian-language site with a battle report on it. A quick Google translate came up with the usual pidgin English, but one sentence particularly caught my eye:
"well, where in the truhistori vargeim without homruli"
It's like reading Chaucer, or listening to Grendel/Grendel's Mother speak in the Ray Winstone Beowulf film, but expresses a sentiment we should all take to heart: is a wargame truly a wargame without home rules!
Rather than immediately clear away the rather nice set up for the For the Honour of France game played a couple of weeks ago (click here to read the AAR, opens in a new window), I decided to use the same scenario for a game that I was umpiring between John and Dave that took place last weekend.
A very different game from last time. Click on he pic below to see all:
June 1941. A most unlikely conflict has broken out between two former Allies. Vichy French airfields in the Levant have been used by the Lufwaffe to support an uprising in Iraq, and Britain has decided that enough is enough. A task force has been assembled to move north into the Lebanon and Syria to take control of the area for the Free French and safeguard British oil supplies. Unexpectedly Vichy forces resist strongly, fighting for the honour of France.
That’s the introduction to the game of IABSM that Bevan and I played on Sunday evening. An unusual game featuring Australians versus French in the desert.
Here a battle report from a game played a couple of weeks ago featuring a scenario originally written for the TFL 2005 Xmas Special.
It's France 1940. A German probe has discovered an unguarded crossing over the river Moiste. They dig in and call for reinforcements, but the French have spotted them and send in Captain Cognac and his men to re-take the crossing.
I've now almost finished all the models I bought in the Battlefront early war sale. Here are a couple more: two 25mm SA-34 Portees for a French Escadron de Fusiliers Portees.
These are fine models that paint up beautifully. Although the picture is not a particularly good one, there's some nice layering on the crew's uniforms and helmets, and you can see that the brown patches that form part of the vehicles' camouflage has come out quite well too.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love the 'tail' part of an army as well as its 'teeth'. Well, a couple of months ago I updated the manufacturers' directory with MMModels, a group of wargamers who make their own models where none are available and offer them to the public on an on-demand basis, whose catalogue includes lots of lovely 'tail'. Here's a quick review of the first models off the production line:
First up were some British vehicles all based on the Austin Tilley chassis. They are a staff car, a utility vehicle and a truck. All three are lovely little vehicles with plenty of detail that paint up nicely. Recommended. You can see all three in my entry in the painting challenge (as well as everything else mentioned below) but here's the Austin Tilley truck, with a Soviet infantryman (what I had handy!) for scale:
Next were some more British vehicles, this time based on the Scammell heavy tractor chassis. They are the Scammell Artillery Tractor and the Scammell Heavy Recovery vehicle. These were not quite so pleasing. Maybe it is me, but I couldn't get the back wheels to sit properly, and I think the front wheels look a bit Heath-Robinson and weedy too. There were also quite a few bubbles in the resin. Still, it's good to have some proper heavy artillery tractors, and the recovery vehicle looks okay too. Here's Ivan, again, with each:
Now onto the Germans. Only thing I've painted so far are some Opel Blitz buses. Very nice models that, again, paint up nicely. I really liked these, and will use them for very late war eastern front games, either as scenery or asersatz troop carriers. The picture below is a little misleading: the buses are actually quite a nice size.
Finally there are some Peugeot trucks. I'm afraid I didn't like these very much at all. There were also quite a lot of bubbles in the resin. Anyway, they paint up okay, but aren't a patch on the trucks available from other manufacturers. On the other hand, they are quite cheap: £4 each unpainted.
So a mixed review so far for MMModels. Lots of unique models not available anywhere else, good pricing, but variable quality (all would look fine on the tabletop though).
One more whacky French unit! This time anti-tank guns mounted on trucks:
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.