26 October 2016


Back in April this year I posted up a couple of photos of a Jaguar and Harrier kit I just just built (here).  It's taken a while, and typically for me when it comes to aircraft, a couple of minor disasters, but now I'm classifying the Jaguar as finished!

I decided to have another crack with my airbrush - which is slowly becoming less of a scary event for me and more of just another tool.  One day I'll get there.

Very much a 3 foot test viewing model - and at that range I'm very happy with it.  So back away from your computer before viewing...

So there you have it.  Air support for my BAOR or Royal Marines or any other British force.



17 October 2016

BAOR Infantry TO&Es

For a bit of a change I've decided to discuss the next TO&E - or at least my best understanding/interpretation of it.  This time its the British Army Section.  Sadly I have no official TO&E graphics to show - so I'll just go with this one to begin with:

So I've organised my infantry into 8 man sections.  Here's my first example of a standard BAOR Mechanised Infantry Section:

I've split the section into 2 "units".  A Rifle section of 5 men on the left and a 3 man GPMG section. 

The Rifle Section is primarily armed with the L1A1 (or SLR or FN FAL) and one of the men has a L14A1 84mm Carl Gustav Medium Anti-Tank Weapon (MAW).  The rifle team can take up to 2 M72A2 Light Anti-Tank Weapons (LAW).

The GPMG Section has the L7A4 GPMG and two men with L1A1.

Both teams are transported by a FV432.  In a Mechanised Infantry Platoon, 2 FV432s can be upgraded to be fitted with a Peak Engineering MG turret - like so:

Part of the BAOR's 4th Armoured Division, but needing to be quickly moved from the UK to Germany is the 19th Infantry Brigade, which is equipped with the Saxon APC.

Other units in the 2nd Infantry Division and the United Kingdom Mobile Force would also have been equipped with Saxons.

Finally we have those units that are equipped with the Warrior MCV-80.  Two battalions were equipped with warrior in 1988, however I'm inclined - what with the increasing tensions etc - to allow Warrior to be available in small numbers a year or so earlier.  (I believe several Warriors took part in Exercise Lionheart in 1984 - so they were around).

Around this time increasing amounts of L85 and L86 small arms were becoming available, along with new uniforms and helmets - so the Armoured Infantry Sections looks a little different to the previous Mechanised sections (note I did not paint these infantry but bought them painted):

The section is "bought" as a complete section of 8 men.  6 armed with the L85 (or SA80 or IW) and 2 armed with the L86 (or LSW).  The section has the Fireteam special rule - which means it can be split however the player wants - however it "should" be split into 2 fireteams of 4 men each - with 3 L85s and 1 L86.  The entire section can also take upto 2 LAW 80 anti-tank weapons.

So that's my BAOR infantry TO&Es.  I'm interested to see what you think



10 October 2016

Second Hand Joy - Part 2

Every wargaming convention I go to (which is only 2 a year - but I have been going to them both for quite a few years now) I always make sure to spend some time at the bring 'n buy looking for 20mm stuff.  Normally if there is any, it's hidden under piles for 28mm GW and 15mm Battlefront stuff...  I've been to some bring n' buys without finding a single 20mm model to buy.

And then there was this years Cancon where I did really well and at MOAB I found what looked to be someone selling his entire 20mm Cold War/Modern collection.  In reasonable, bit sized chunks.  Most pleasingly to me - he was selling these:

I decided I needed a platoon of T-62s a while back - and every now and again I would pop an ESCI kit I found on ebay into my watch list - but I never committed.  So to find a full platoon, painted very nicely (I just need to get rid of the little red stars) for $50 - I thought it was a real bargain.

The seller was also off-loading some soft skins:

  These two need a little more work.  The open-top one needs a windscreen, which isn't too hard, whereas the closed up one has issues with one of the windows - which has popped in slightly.  My fiddling with it has only made it worse... so not sure what to do about that one.

I think this is a Zil-131 - regardless it's a neat little truck.

Originally I thought this was a Ural-375, but now I think its more likely to be a KrAZ-255 - regardless... it's big!

Trucks can be a pain to make - so this is another second hand purchase I'm pretty chuffed about.

That's it for today


05 October 2016

Second Hand Joy - Part 1

Recently I've had a rare run of good luck in the second hand department - coming across some great books and a couple of board games in local shops, a wargaming convention and on ebay.

For many of us our first "experience" of the Cold War gone hot genre was General Sir John Hackett's book "The Third World War".  I inherited my brother's copy in the early eighties (without his knowledge...) and held onto it ever since.  Until I found these:

Mint condition hardbacks - fairly cheap - at a new bookstore which also stocked some 2nd hand books.  Same shop also had these:

Whilst not quite as up-to-date as I would have liked, they are full of good information and some excellent photos.  Finally buy from that shop (apart from a book I've been searching for on the First Crusade) was this:

Mainly a great source of photos, it also has a section on the role of the 3rd Commando Brigade in Norway is a WW3 scenario which was interesting.

Last weekend I visited MOAB - which is a wargaming convention here in Sydney.  Amongst other excellent 2nd hand stuff I picked up these...

...for $6!  Bargain!!  Again full of excellent photos - although a few more Danish regular troop shots would have been helpful.

A while ago I got this for about $50 on ebay:

I'd played it (feels like 100 years ago) and had a soft spot for it.  So at MOAB when I saw this...

...for $8 I had to have it!  Now I just need the 3rd, 5th and 6th Fleet games to complete the series!  Ha!

Anyway - feeling pretty chuffed about that.  In Part 2 I'll show you the other Cold War bargains I got at MOAB - models!



25 September 2016

Westland Sea King/Commando Helicopters

Coming to the end of my 3rd Commando Brigade project, I'm pretty much left with Helicopters and Aircraft.  Things I seem to take a long time to deal with...

At the beginning of the project I posted this picture of some helicopters that came with the Helicopter Collection magazine:

I've only managed to deal with the 2 Sea King/Commando helos, which meant painting out the IFOR markings and fixing up the stripes.  It took a while to match the colours, but this is what they came out like:

So - another bit of the project done and dusted.

Thanks for looking


18 September 2016

Re-basing Soviet Motor Rifle Troops

Very short post this time.  As I rebased (and ended up largely re-painting) a bunch of BAOR troop recently - I thought it only appropriate that I rebase a heap of my Soviets.  They were probably painted 6 plus years ago (hard to believe) when I did my bases a little differently.

Now - they all look the same - not special or anything great - just the same - it's all I was going for.

So there you go.

Thanks again for all those who commented on the ATGM resupply question in the last post.  Really interesting that all of you said to limit the missile count.

I'll be playtesting a couple of options in the next few games.



11 September 2016

Norwegian Blue - After Action Report

Over the weekend I finally managed to get in a Cold War game with Mick - this time set in Norway. 
A small disclaimer before I begin - the terrain is not exactly how I would have liked it, but it was the best I could do on the day.  It was also a useful exercise to work out the sort of things I needed for a "wilderness" setting in Northern Norway and to give me a good idea of what to work towards completing.  Also, if I waited until everything was just so, I never get a game in at all!!

Anyway - we used the Roadblock scenario from the new Battlegroup: Wacht am Rhein supplement.  The story behind the scenario is relatively simple.  The Soviets have invaded Northern Norway by air land and sea.  They have taken a couple of Norwegian airbases and small ports and are now trying to push out their areas of control around those bases waiting for their overland comrades to arrive.

NATO forces have been pushed back but are determined to resist.  A small Royal Marine Commando reinforced platoon has been helo-lifted to form a roadblock at an intersection of the E6 and a small side road - looking to stop any Soviets driving down the road.

A quick preview of the forces involved.

Attackers - Soviet Naval Infantry
1 x SNI Platoon mounted in BTR-80s.  They have a SA-7 Team and a Sagger Team attached.
1 x T-55A platoon
1 x T-55AM platoon (with added brow armour)
1 x BRDM
1 x PT-76
1 x Sniper
1 x ZSU-23-4 Shilka
1 x Mortar Fire Controller
2 x Medium Mortars off table.

Defenders - Royal Marines
1 x RM platoon with 2 x attached Milan Teams and 1 x Medium Mortar Team
1 x additional Milan Team
1 x Javelin SAM Team
1 x Sniper Team
1 x Up-gunned Recce Land Rover Team
1 x FO Team
1 x Light Artillery Battery

Here's a look at table from the Royal Marine point-of-view:

From the Soviet end:

And a close-up of the intersection:

The hills are not that well defined in the photos, but there are some serious hills on either side of the intersection, whilst on the other side of the road it is mostly swampy land leading to the water's edge.
All my reading on Northern Norway talks of limited space for manoeuvre, a single road running south, swampy off road flat lands, and mountainous fjord sides.  So that is what the table is attempting to represent.

Several of my defenders were able to set up first, in defences.  I deployed one Milan Team into the swampy land:

I decided before the game began (after the photo) to give them some protection by adding a sniper team to the position.  The sniper didn't fire a shot the whole game...

Overlooking the improvised roadblock at the intersection I placed my next defensive position.  Another Milan team, a full RM infantry section (a rifle group with a MAW and a GPMG group) and my Forward observer:

Covering the side road, but able to fire to support the unit covering the intersection I added another infantry section and my final Milan:

This would flank would be identified by the Soviets as my weak point (it was) and would become the schwerepunkt for the attack.  I'm lucky that this happened a couple of turns into the game rather than from the start.

My final unit that started on the table was my 105mm light artillery battery.  A fairly heavy point investment in a small game - that would prove to be really not worth it!

The Soviets came charging on to the table:

Here's a view from the fox-holes overlooking the roadblock:

The Soviets continued advancing down the road and some other units slowly worked their way through the forested area over the hill.

On turn 2 (I think) a Flogger turned up and bombed the crap out of that small hill...  The only real (and quite useful) effect was to pin my FO Team.  Not arty for me in the next round (again)

In a target rich environment the BRDM take the first killing hit.  Any closer and my Milan teams would not have been able to engage it.  That doesn't mean I hadn't taken some shots at other vehicles here - I just rolled a staggering amount of 1's in the first few turns (4 or 5 in a row at one point).  Anything the Milan's did manage to hit were immediate kills.

Tagging along behind - the PT-76 called mortar fire for some of the game and took 1 shot at a Milan team towards the end.

Milan hit!  The team in the swamp takes out a BTR, kill some of the infantry and wiping out a Sagger team being carried.  Each time I killed a BTR it caused 2 chits to be taken.

After numerous turns slowly moving through the woods the Soviets take their first objective, obviously the Soviet commander really wanted that abandoned combi-van!

The Soviet's mortar fire controller (his mate is hidden) works his way through the woods.  Directly into line of sight of an overwatch GPMG team. The MFC didn't last too long after that!

My armed recce made it onto the table.  Against a bunch of T-55s it's usefulness was limited, so the driver decided to spend the rest of the game practising 4 wheel driving in difficult terrain.

Turn 5 and the Soviet flanking force arrives - making 3 T-55s, a BTR (with troops) and a Shilka versus a section and a Milan.

More SNI and a VDV? Sniper make it to the edge of the woods.

Meanwhile of the main road the whittling down of the Soviet original attack continues...

In 1 really good turn of dice throwing I was able to knockout 3 significant threats.

The Soviet assault started to run out of steam...

...although you can see here how close it had gotten.  The Rifle team has been wiped out and the Milan team was down to one man.  Only the GPMG team was fully manned and they were in an ideal place to take on the Soviet infantry.  Fortunately there was another GPMG team on the other side of the rocky outcrop that could also lend some support.

Here you can see the limited progress of my reinforcements.  the Landie has barely made it past the edge of the woods and off in the distance you can see some more infantry moving up and my Javelin team on overwatch - after the Flogger had left the table of course!

Last photo shows the results of my only successful fire mission of the game - carried out by my mortar!  It took out the Soviet's mortar controller's ride.

So the Soviets were pushed over their BR limit, while I was 8 off my own - so relatively close.  The game reinforced my feelings on how hard it is to be the attacker is an Attack/Defence mission - having essentially all my on-table infantry and ATGMs in reinforced cover made all the difference - as well as the limited manoeuvre space the Soviets had due to the terrain.


Now - here's a question for you - but first some background.

Currently there are no "ammo" rules for dismounted ATGM teams.  There are ammo restriction rules for tanks and other vehicles firing ATGMs but no ammo restrictions for man-packed ATGM.

In most of my games thus far, for a variety of reasons (terrain, movement etc) ATGMs have typically only gotten off a couple of shots - so ammo restrictions have not come into it.  In this game, due to the open nature of one half of the board and the number of tanks the OPFOR had, between 3 Milan teams - over 7 turns, I probably took around 16 ATGM shots.  These killed 4 T-55s, 2 BTRs and a BRDM - so around a 50% kill ratio (all hitting shots killed).  One team took about 7 shots (essentially 1 per turn).

As the teams are only 3 men, they remained pretty hard to observe, and as they were in reinforced cover, they survived a fair amount of rounds (including HE tank rounds) coming their way.  No team was 100% knocked out in the game.

So - here's the question(s). 

1.  Do you think it's reasonable that a single ATGM team can basically shoot as if it has an inexhaustible missile supply?
2.  Should there be a limit?  If so, what would you make it?

I have some ideas that would make the teams more vulnerable once they had shot - this would definitely work, but might push the pendulum to far back the other way.  I'll have to play test that...

Anyway - please let me know what you think?