21 December 2017

Fabbri Soviet MAZ-535A Artillery Truck

Just a quick update this week.  It's been very busy here and in preparation for having friends over for Christmas I've had to drop WW3 painting and do something a little bit different for a change.  So I've been slamming my way through the contents of Fantasy Flight Games Imperial Assault, trying to get all the figures painted before we can get in a Christmas marathon of IA games.  With a marathon hopefully meaning more than 1 game!

Anyway... I found I had taken a couple of photos of another Fabbri diecast vehicle I got a while back, which I had not posted up so I thought I would share it now:

This is actually a pretty nice vehicle.  I've seen someone dirty their's up a bit and it looks even better.  I might try and pick up another one down the track.

So that's it for today, and being realistic, quite possibly it for 2017.  As always my plans for the year heavily outweighed my achievements, but I moved a few projects further along the track so all in all I'm pretty happy with the year.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a great 2018.  I'm thinking 2018 may turn out to be a pretty special year for me.

Thanks - and happy holidays!


13 December 2017

Soviet ATGM Ammo Markers

Just a quick post today and probably at least one more quick post before Christmas.

During the last game we tested the rule that man-packed ATGM teams had a max of 3 missiles before they had to resupply.  We used little wee dice to show the number of missiles remaining.  I thought it would be much nicer to have a visual marker that was more "real".

So this is my first attempt at some AT-4 and AT-7 tubes:

So you can see - not much to look at, just one or two missile tubes ready to be used.  Soviet tubes don't seem to have any markings on them - or they are so small I have not spotted them.  So I just went with plain tubes.

My thinking is that if you have no markers, it means you have a full missile loadout.  Once you've fired a shot you add the two missile ammo marker to the ATGM team.  Again once fired you reduce it to the single missile marker.  Once you have no missiles - turn the ATGM team away from the enemy to indicate they can't fire.

That's the plan anyway.  We'll see how it works.  I also need to make some NATO missile tube markers next.



07 December 2017

The Zealand Campaign - Game 1 - First Clash

So - onto the actual game.  First up we established where the objectives were for the game:

They were the two major intersections along the road and the large hill that dominated the terrain.  Then the Danes set about placing their defences, knowing they would have only their recce troops and Homeguard ont he table to begin with:

The Danes access to limited engineering support in the pre-game so I allowed them to choose from a limited list of defensive options.  They selected a couple of tank fighting positions for the M41s, a standard mixed AT/AP minefield and a Claymore minefield.

The Homeguard set up in their entirety on the Big Hill (apart from the mortar, back in Faxe.

The Soviets were allowed to play out their recce moves as part of the pre-game.  They played in the spirit of the campaign and rather than just drive the BRDM-2 up the table, spot the tanks and rapidly drive off the table, they went with the following option:

Drive up the table.  Stop at the first intersection for a look and a quick spray of 14.5mm heavy machine-gun fire at the most likely target (which was a suitably unimpressed M41 which was waiting on a Overwatch order) and then drive off the table.  One M41 took a couple of shots at the BRDM but the gunner was obviously a wee bit nervous as this was his first shot in anger, so both shots promptly missed.

The BRDM-2 took another annoyance value only shot and then promptly drove around the corner.  By now the Homeguard were determined to get in on the action and their commander called up their 81mm mortar.

And this was the outcome:

With only one M41 still on overwatch the Soviets charges up the main road with an entire BTR-60 mounted company and a couple of BRDM-2s with AT-5 Konkurs (Sprandel) ATGM.  The second M41 gunner was obviously made of sterner stuff and inflicted the Danes first kill:

This intersection would become the primary killing ground for the rest of the game.  Not only was it a bit of a bottleneck, but it was also right next to where the Danes had placed their timed strikes and on the edge of their AT/AP minefield.

Unfortunately for the Soviets, the chap in the Jeep is the Naval Infantry Mortar Controller, not their Naval Gun Fire Controller who never really got onto the board in the game.  This meant the Soviets had access to their 120mm mortars, but the big guns off the coast never got called upon.

The first Danish reinforcements started to arrive.  An FO in his acquired Land Rover headed to the top of the church tower.  M113s begin to arrive at the Big Hill in the background.

Here's a closer pic of the M113's arriving at the hill.

A couple of BTR-60PBs made it through the intersection of death and their squads spilled out in the treeline which provided good cover for the road.

Meanwhile on the other side of the intersection the Soviets Heavy Squad jumped from their BTR-60PB ready for action

The TOW armed M113 or M150 (who knows!) edged onto the board ready to start throwing missiles down range.

And meanwhile at the back of the board essentially the rest of the Soviet Wave 1 arrived.

But could do very little as the Soviet orders rolls were pretty low and were continuously needed up at the first intersection to keep the pressure on the Danes.  Little did I (as the referee) know this was all part of a Soviet cunning campaign plan.

Things at the intersection of death weren't really going the Soviets way...

... whether through M41 main gun (76mm of anger) or artillery or mortar strikes.  Both BRDM-2 Konkurs were now destroyed, the BTR which had mounted the heavy squad was knocked out and two other BTR's were pinned.

I guess loosing a few things meant the Soviet reinforcements would start moving up the table:

While things got progressively bad near the intersection

But at least the mortar fire controller had made it to the firing line and could start calling in some useful support.

To be sure it wasn't entirely one-way (just heavily one way).  In three rounds of Soviet shooting the M41 on the big hill was hit by a AT-13 Metis (Saxhorn) ATGM - and pinned, a recoilless rifle round - and pinned before being destroyed by another Saxhorn missile.

The majority of the Homeguard squad camped out next to the destroyed M41 had also taken serious damage and were pinned.

The Soviet advance continued

And the second BTR-60PB mounted naval infantry platoon began to arrive around the first intersection.

Importantly the Soviets managed to knock out a single Centurion that had arrived on the table

At this point the Danes decided enough damage had been inflicted on the Soviets and it was time to relocate back to the next defensive position.

In terms of BR, the Danes had inflicted loads more chits on the Soviets than they themselves had taken so in game terms it was a victory for the Danes.  They had lost a M41, a Centurion and a few citizen soldiers from the Homeguard, while taking out 4 BTR-60PBs and a couple of BRDM-2 ATGM vehicles.

However, in Campaign terms, the Soviet player was perfectly happy to have only lost a BTR-60PB platoon (and primarily only the vehicles) and 2 ATGM vehicles to push through the first defensive line.  It felt to him like a reasonable exchange so the Soviets certainly don't feel like they lost this one.  They've also got many more troops coming along in the next wave or two, so can easily replace those losses, while Danish losses, at least for the moment - cannot be so easily replaced.

So - that was kind of a win/win scenario.  Both players achieved what the wanted to achieve with terms that were acceptable to them.  Neither side got a clear advantage and both have the majority of their assets available for the next game.



06 December 2017

The Zealand Campaign - Part Four - Pre-Game and Table Set Up

So with each player having been provided with the Operation Orders (which also includes their TO&Es for the beginning of the campaign) and the map sets it was up to them to start working out how they would tackle the tactical situation.

The Danish went with what might have been the simplest option from their initial set-up shown below.

One Mech platoon would move north to block the northern beach exit, one Mech platoon would move south to block the southern exit while the last Mech platoon in Faxe would move towards the beach - really to the edge of town to back up the recce and Homeguard units positioned there.  Something like this:

The Danes pretty much expect the main Soviet thrust will come straight down the central road as it is the fastest route to what the Danes think is the Soviet primary objective beside securing the beachhead.

The Soviet plan was also pretty simple.  So simple I can't really see the need to draw a map for it.  The plan was upon landing to push their limited recce down the central beach exit route until it discovered Danish positions.  Upon discovery (and assuming they survived the encounter) the BRDMs would either double back or use side roads to move north and push up the northern route until they came into contact again.  If the made it out of that one alive they would skedaddle back to Faxe Ladeplads and the recce the southern route.

In the meantime, once they got themselves organised from the landing the BTR equipped company would charge down the main road and try and bounce the first Danish positions previously reconnoitered by the BRDMs.  Tanks and other assets that landed in the first wave would basically move to the sound of the guns while the second wave started landing.

Troops without vehicles would help secure Faxe Ladplads and push north and south to prepare immediate defensible positions whilst waiting for their vehicles to arrive.

So - the first clash would take place on the central route directly in front of Faxe with the table attempting to replicate the area in the red box below.

To get my total nerd on, I used Google Maps to virtually "drive" down the central route towards Faxe, looking for specific terrain features.  The main thing I got out of that was that the two heavily wooded sections on the table (inside the red box) were both actually raised areas or small hills.  The woods or dense scrub is so dense I decided vehicular movement would be even more restricted than normal difficult terrain and as it has been raining non-stop all off-road movement would count as difficult terrain.  The other factor cause by the weather was that all weapons with Thermal sights (meaning essentially TOW ATGM only) would be +1 to hit.

So this is the table from the Soviet end.  The edge of Faxe can be seen in the distance, along with a small and larger hill on the right hand side of the road.

Here's the table from the Danish point-of-view.

Again you sould be able to see the two hills pretty clearly here.  But just in case you can't - here's the big hill (which is in the Danish deployment zone):

And the little hill which is on the Soviet's side of the table:

And that's it for the table set up.

Next up - the AAR.