I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on. I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here). I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming. Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.
I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.
British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)
German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)
Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One
I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you. There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground. It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns. However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range. My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel. It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders. You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!
The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time. He does not like this game as much as I do. I really like it. There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.
I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.
As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.
– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)
Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.
In summary, not done too much in the last three weeks, some “diversionary-but-I-hope-of-some-interest-blur” to fill out the blog and then some pictures of new stuff at the end.
This is my 8th consecutive year of putting on a table at Joy of Six. With the exception of 2016 when Neil Shuck and I ran Saga in 6mm, Nick Dorrell and I have staged a range of Battles from the Great Northern War (GNW), including Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Lesnaya 1708 and Horka 1708. I think it has been an fair run and I am currently debating with myself whether the table this year, Poltava 1709, will be the last GNW table I do. I feel like it has been a good run and looking at all these tables in the pictures below I enjoyed all the effort I put in and when we presented them, I have been told, others enjoyed them too.
There are a few more battles of the war that I think would be interesting to put on the table, including:
Narva 1700. Swedish attack on fortified Russians with a snow blizzard during the battle. A few Swedes against many, many Russians.
The Duna Crossing 1701. Swedish river assault supported by floating Gun Platforms, etc. Against the Saxons.
Battle of Helsingborg 1710. Fighting on Swedish soil with the Danes last attempt at getting the Scanian lands.
Actually there are many more and if you go to the eminent webpage Tacitus.nu there is a nice table showing all the bigger engagements of the War, when they occurred, who the Swedes fought and who was the main Swedish Commander (link here, and while you are there you will find detailed uniform information for some of the largest battles, based on some of the best resources available).
It is strange, having read so many GNW books and painted so many 6mm miniatures from the Baccus GNW range, that I still have this fascination for the period. I still remember my Father’s retelling of the bravery of the soldiers in the Dal Regiment, when its Battalions breached the defences at the Battle of Narva in 1700 under the leadership of Magnus Stenbock, then a Colonel, who later (I suppose subject to some argument) became one of the Greatest Generals of the era. Another story was the one about the Duna crossing and I remember I closed my eyes and felt the splashes of water from the cannon balls landing next to the rowing boats as the Swedish advance force pressed on toward the river bank on the other side. There is no historical era that is even close with regards to the level of satisfaction and sense of adventure in my opinion – but then I am unashamedly biased. All the other stuff I do are also very interesting but are truly just diversions, I suppose the Great Northern War is what they call “a first love”.
I seem to have convinced myself to keep on going but we will see how this year goes. There is a small benefit in that apart from making the mat/terrain there is limited work in setting up most of the tables after I have finished the Poltava Battle this year, as any painting required will be limited (I have extensive Saxon, Swedish, Russian and Danish armies, so I am reasonably well covered. Some of them I have based for Summer and Winter).
So.., how is Poltava going?
In an earlier posting about a year ago, I was stressing about Poltava (that Posting was actually reasonably interesting, with a link here). I want “my” Poltava to tell the story about the battle not just as a line of Soldiers facing each other at the final attack of the decimated Swedish force against the overwhelming Russian packed lines.
Given this, the following needs to be done (with level of completeness given as a percentage, where 0% means done shit all and 100% all done and dusted):
Finish all the Swedish and Russian miniatures (for the main action, but also for detachment around the battlefield) – 95%
Swedish Camp – 50% (have a lot of Swedish supply wagons, just need to do some camp bases)
Swedish Siege Lines around Poltava – 0%
The Poltava Fortress and Town – 25% (have some houses I can reuse, but will need to do the wooden walls and towers)
Russian Redoubts – 0%
Cossacks / Kalmyck irregular cavalry – 100%
Monastery on the Hill – 0% (but have bought the models)
Surrounding Villages – 50% (I will use some existing ones but need to buy some more)
Russian Camp – 0%
The Battle Mat – 0% (I think a 12 by 4 sheet will do).
The fact that almost all the miniatures are painted is a very good place to be, but I learned not to underestimate the time it will take to do the other stuff – especially the battle mat. The above is the tracker I am using for the Project.
Just before Christmas I did some bases of town folks I will use as Poltava Militia – now do they really look like we would imagine a militia unit of the region? Maybe not but I felt that the Streltzy code would make them look too uniformed, too organised – so I did them like this. The idea was that each miniatures was painted differently, I think I achieved the look I wanted. Note that I have not yet based them as I want to do this when I know how I make the Poltava town/fortress section of the battlefield – so the bases can blend in nicely.
This week I also did some more Dragoons, it seems like there is always more Russian Dragoons to be made – I think that may be it for this time. However, I will do another review just to make sure. I have run out 60 by 30mm bases at this time, so I will have to base them later.
/ Hope that was of some interest, all the best to you.
I had a lot of fun with the hobby in 2018 and this is my year end account of a lot of the things that has been and some things to come. I really hope that your 2019 will be great and I am really grateful for all of you who visit this blog on a regular or occasional basis. One of the best things, this year, is that the Little One is getting more interested and involved in the hobby – thanks Mate!
Also a big thank you to Nick Dorrell, who I did the Horka Battle with at Joy of Six in the Summer, also all the Twitter people (it is a very nice place to be, I call myself Per at Roll a One there), and all the fantastic hobby related podcasts I listen to in between the audible books whilst I try to put paint in the right places. These include, the Too Fat Lardies Oddcast, the Veteran Wargames, the Grognard’s Files, the WSS Podcast, Henry Hyde’s Battlegames (not strictly a podcast but he has done a lot of great ones this year), Wargames Recon, and Trouble at T’Mill.
I also regularly listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and inspired by them the Little One and I thought we would do our own top 5 games we played this year, in no particular order.
What a Tanker – this is so much fun and it inspired me to do a lot of Russian and Finnish tanks during the Sovietic Summer Offensive 1944. I also did a List for the Finnish Tanker (see more below). A brilliantly simple, but not simplistic game, that I really recommend anyone to try (link to the rules here).
Bag the Hun – Provoked by some of the Twitter chums, you know who you are, but again got me a reason to explore some of the Finnish connection. The Finns basically flew the shit of the machines they had and painting those tumbling dice plane has been great fun (see more below). We only did a few games to learn the rules – we will definitely fly more next year (link to the rules here).
Maurice – we just pulled this out for our Christmas game but ended up playing another two games in the last few days. I had forgotten how good of a game this is, it really gives a very nice feeling of the larger battle with the cards adding that narrative feel and grand excitement to the outcome of the battle. I wrote about this battle in the last blog post (see here) and a link to the rules here.
Saga – we have had fun this year using the Second edition of the rules (see more below) and we recently got the book of battles that is a fantastic product – that could be used for other games than Saga (link to the rules here).
Mutants and Death Ray Guns – In the quest for rule sets for my Mutant 1984 project (see more below) we have had some fun games using these rules. Perfect for smallish skirmish (link to the rules here).
Next year we are looking forward to playing all of the above, but also a few other games:
Star Wars Legion – the Little One got a fair amount for this game over Christmas. Looking forward to see if the force is with us or not. I am not a great fan in doing 28mm painting because it takes too long and I am crap at it – so I think we have more than our hand full with this project.
Chain of Command – I want to finish the Swedish platoon write-up and do a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell. Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. I also would like to do some scenarios based on some of the fighting in the ‘Unknown Soldier’ book/movie during the Finnish Continuation war (I made some assault boats I really would like to put in a scenario). I also need to finish the Germans for the 29th Lets Go Pint sized campaign.
Other stuff – I am excited about the Rebels and Patriot Rules, as we have enjoyed playing Pikeman’s Lament and the Rampant rules. I also think the Little One is getting ready for a few more involved rulesets, like Twilight of the Sun King and some higher level WW2 rules. In addition I will do the final battle of the Towards Moscow Trilogy, Poltava 1709, at Joy of Six, but plenty more of that next year.
Here are a summary of the projects I have been working on this year….
Kirbekan 1885 – 6mm Sudan/Egypt Colonial Project
This project was started this year to try out Peter Rileys draft “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” rules. It has been fun to paint the Baccus colonial range. I will need to get some terrain together so I can have a go with the rules next year. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
Rapier Miniatures are doing some fantastic Glorantha stuff in 6mm and 28mm, I could not resist to get a few of their Bison riders. They painted up really well. Here are few pictures and a link to the relevant blog posting below.
WW2 Platoons, 15mm for Chain of Command (or any other platoon based game)
I painted a fair few Platoons with supports this year, including a Swedish what-if platoon (with some initial notes on the composition to do a list for Chain of Command). Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
I also did a full set of markers etc, to use for winter war gaming of Chain of Command. I especially enjoyed doing the patrol markers and the tall pine trees. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below. We have played a lot of games with these rules and made a list for the Finnish Tanker so we could play Continuation War scenarios. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
To Katie, Henry, Mike and Neil (I will explain later),
I have a twitter account Per at RollaOne (@roll_a_one) were I ran a vote on whether to do a Christmas game with Swedes fighting Danes or Saxons. Here are the results. Being Swedish I did not want to us to do a game without the Swedes on the table. It would have been a strange Great Northern War battle without them anyway.
So here a presentation of the forces and a short AAR with some picture of the Battle…
The Rules, Opposing Commanders and their Forces
We decided to use the Maurice Rules for the game and made two 100-pointish armies each. 1 unit is represented by 2 No. 60 by 30mm bases (a battery by 1 No. smaller base) – normally you use 4 square bases for a unit – this is 2 bases – the only issue is that the column formation looks funny – I can live with that.
Maurice is an excellent game by Sam Mustafa and you can download some information on his webpage, including a lite version that you can play with (link here). The rules works well for us and suits the way we play.
We have not done a what-if, instead it is a just a battalion level clash with familiar names of regiments for both sides, but with two totally fictitious Generals (quickly sketched up by yours truly).
I am using Maurice because I would like to do a little campaign, at some point, of the Swedish lacklustre efforts against the Prussians during the Seven Years War. This is a chance to dust off these rules that I think gives a fun flair and works for the Period. It is a card driven system, cards are used for activation and in additon can give bonus to firing (called Volley in the game), actions (charge, march, bombard, rally) or events can be played. You can also buy national advantages that gives your army bonuses. There is also a good campaign system, heroes (notables that work as supporting Commanders) and other stuff not covered here.
I made some notes on Maurice earlier with regards to the Great Northern War era (link to that blog post here). In addition we are using the special rules for stationary artillery and pikes (for the Swedes).
This is not a review of the rules and I will just discuss the set-up and the result of the Battle briefly, there are a lot of reviews and playthroughs on the net, as the game has been around for some time, that you may want to check out. I really like the concept and the card system. As you will see in the actual game we played it creates a narrative.
The Danish Side
The Danish Major General Schmeicel is a tired and laconic individual, but can cause some occasional spark on the battlefield. He is mainly an infantry specialist and have fought many campaigns in central Europe and his men are well drilled in firing – in accordance with the Dutch School. This places less emphasis on the bayonet and is highly dependent on platoon firing with a rippling of fire down the whole length of the battalion. His strength lies in a prolonged firefight again the inferior firing Swedish units but will find it difficult once caught in the melee. The conscript horse units are represented by Dragoons.
For the Danish side we went for the following:
National Advantage: Lethal Volleys – 12 AP (this to represent better fire drill than the charge oriented Swedes)
8 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 48 AP
2 No. Regular Cavalry (Trained) – 12 AP
3 No. Regular Cavalry (Conscript) – 12 AP
4 No. Artillery units – 10 AP
Improve two units to Elite – 5 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 1 No. Infantry)
A total of 99 AP, 16 infantry bases, 10 cavalry bases and 4 Artillery bases.
We are also assuming Stationary batteries for the Artillery (See Chapter 10 – advanced rules). In this era
Resulting in the following force:
Foot Guard/Queens Req, Regular Infantry, Elite
Grenadiers, Regular Infantry, Trained
Marine Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Frijs Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Arnoldts, Regular Infantry, Trained
Zepelin Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Staffels/Kragh, Regular Infantry, Trained
Viborg/Aarhus National, Regular Infantry, Trained
Horse Guard, Regular Cavalry, Elite
2nd Fynske, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Life Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
Bulow Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
Jyske Land Dragoon, Regular Cavalray, Conscript
1 to 4 Artillery Units
The Swedish Side
The Swedish Major General Stryptagh has risen quickly through the ranks and is one of the Kings youngest Generals. Keen to impress, he is rash and a fully aligned with the Swedish offensive tactical doctrine (Gå-På). He needs to get into contact as quickly as possible to win the day with superior shock cavalry as well as pike armed infantry units, hitting hard. The religious doctrine is represented in the use of clerics which is more to give an edge than clerics running around throwing incence. The cleric will be marked using individually bases figures. There is no difference between Cavalry and Dragoons in the Swedish army in this game, or in reality, the are all count as galloping shock attacking cavalry.
As elegantly described in the book “Vägen till Poltava” (‘The Road to Poltava’, by Konovaltjuk and Lyth) the Swedish doctrine of marching slowly and steadily, towards the enemy in silence, then fire a Salvo at 70 steps and then at 30 steps from the enemy, with no reloading, before charging in, was based on simple mathematics.
Here is a rough translation of the relevant passage.
“The Swedish method of infantry attack was based on the limited accuracy (spread) of musket fire and the time to reload for a new salvo. The spread meant that units preferred to shoot at the same time with many weapons – salvo fire – and hoped this would create gaps in the human wall in front of them, even though many shots failed to ignite or missed their targets. A salvo had a limited impact on distances above 70 steps (50 meters) – except against cavalry that had a bigger target area and were the horses reaction was more important than the riders. In shooting repeated salvos, whether they were fired by rank, platoon or by all, you had to wait for all to reload. The time for unified reloading has been discussed a lot and sometimes assessed to be at least one minute and up to two minutes. In a minute the enemy had time to march one hundred steps (75-80 meters) and run 150 steps. If the effective range for a salvo was 70 steps the unit that opened fire at a longer distance became a defenceless target for the opponent that calmly and steadily advanced and fired its salvo at a shorter distance and therefore with a bigger impact. The Gå-På method was based on this simple calculation.”
In reality it seems that the first and second salvos were fired even closer as the war progressed. It was very effective and very often led to a routing enemy at or before contact with no protracted melee. The horse charged in with a wedge shaped formation as was equally offensive and did normally not fire any weapons at all.
For the Swedish side we went for the following:
Major General Stryptagh
National Advantage: Cavaliers – 9 AP (Shock Cavalry), Clerics – 9 AP (to illustrate Swedish Determination) and A la Baïonnette! – 9 AP (shock infantry)
5 No. Regular Cavalry (Trained) – 30 AP
5 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 30 AP
Improve four units to Elite – 14 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 3 No. Infantry)
Also Swedish infantry are armed with pike and we are using the advance rules for Pikes (See Chapter 10 – Advanced Rules). Typically a third of the Soldier had pikes in the early Stages of the War.
A total of 101 AP. 10 No. Cavalry Bases and 10 No. Infantry Bases.
Resulting in the following force:
Närke-Varmland, Regular Infantry, Elite
Västerbotten, Regular Infantry, Elite
Västermanland, Regular Infantry, Elite
Kronobergs, Regular Infantry, Trained
Södermanland, Regular Infantry, Trained
Queen Dowagers Horse, Regular Cavalry, Elite
Bremiska Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Bassewitz Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Norra Skanska Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Nylands Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
We then made our selection from the Winter based stuff, we used about 25% of it.
We fought the battle on the dining table, using a 3 by 4.5 feet snow mat I have had for some time. With the relative small forces at hand (and a base width at 30mm) this should work fine.
We drew the following battle field card.
Going through the motions of the card we find that we can place a maximum of 1 hill, 2 marshes, 1 rocky ground, 2 towns/village, and 6 wood terrain features (the red around marking around the forest number indicates that it is mandatory to choose some forest features (makes sense since the battles is in a woodland area).
Next was scouting and this is done by rolling a die each. The Little One rolled 6 and I rolled, yes you got it, One!. There are modifiers based on the number of units you have of the type on the card (regular cavalry and irregular infantry in this case) but there was no point checking this, the Little One won. He wanted to be the attacker! – it was what the Swedes did in this era.
We ended up choosing two town/village and a few forest terrain areas. The table was set up as follows.
In addition being the attacker the Little One was allowed an additional ‘mercenary’ units – we just added another Swedish infantry unit.
We then recorded our Army Morale values which were 17 for the Danes and 11 for the Swedes, this is based on number regular of units!
A little bit of shuffling and card allocation later we could start the Battle.
The Jingle Bells rang and we were ready to get going….
The Game got a thumbs up from the Little One. I have to agree, although the write-up perhaps gives the impression of Swedish onslaught it hang somewhat in the balance. The cards are interesting and the national characteristics gives the right Great Northern War feel we get from the traditional history books.
We had blast, but then we always do. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a really good Christmas if that is your thing, if not have a blast anyway. I will be back with some reflective stuff before the end of the year. That will be the normal review of the Year, from this/my blogs perspective (and there is a wide variety of stuff to cover), and some Crystal ball gazing for next year. Hope you will be back for that! The next big project is Poltava, with some 350 bases on the table (the battle we just presented above had 50 bases) at Joy of Six in July – it will be a spectacle. Here is a “nice” video about the battle from YouTube.
A sad but also, I hope, inspiring end to this post…
Being somewhat detached from worldly events at times, I totally missed that my favourite Danish Artist Kim Larsen died earlier this year, on the 30th September 2018. This was after a long battle with prostate cancer.
I remember many drunken occasions in my youth listening to his band Gasolin and have been listening to him since. I have included my favourite song below – “Det bedste til mig og mine venner” (“The best to me and my friends”).
This year I have also sadly been reminded of the issues of mental health within my family, friends and in the work place. I am happy that the awareness and understanding is increasing in our society but I think there is a lot more to do. In the wargaming community I especially applaud efforts from Katie Aidley, Henry Hyde and the Meeples and Miniatures crew (of course there are others too). They have all in their own way inspired me to reflect, consider and learn new things about these issues. This blog post is truly dedicated to them.
I let you explore the fantastic creative work of these fantastic people on your own, but here is a little bit of help for you to get started.
I had a Christmas Greeting from an ex-colleague who retired a few years ago, he said some nice things, and one part really made me happy “…working with you was a pleasure. And I noted you covered by back quite a lot”. He actually covered mine and many others backs all the time. It is what builds strong teams, friendships and people! Look out for each other!, … and yourself!.
If you have followed this blog you may know that Nick Dorrell, some other Chums, and I put on a game at Salute in 2017. It was the Kalisz Battle and it required a lot of Cossacks and Kalmucks, actually more than 30 No. (60 by 60mm bases, link here). In reviewing the needs for the Poltava Battle I realised that I had too few light cavalry bases as both sides had sizeable contingents (the Swedish side being supported by Mazepa’s Cossacks, and the Russian with its normal light cavalry contingent). I only put 7 miniatures on each base but realised I needed about 16 bases. I prepared the miniatures for painting but they have been sitting on the painting table for some time now – I was not feeling too excited about getting started.
Podcasts and a WW2 Diversion
This weekend offered almost uninterrupted rain, so I caught up on some Podcasts, including Henry Hyde’s patreon question time that was amazing (link to that project here), the Veteran Wargamer giving some advice (Jay with Friends) on WW2 movies to watch over the Christmas break (link to his excellent podcast here) and a festive Oddcast session from the Too Fat Lardies (listen to it here) that was fun, as always, to listen to. I felt sorry for Sidney Roundwoods Christmas presents – I hope he gets some better ones elsewhere ;).
In the Veteran wargames show I like the fact that Finnish War movies in general were mentioned, also the Norwegian Max Manus and the Danish 9th April (incidentally I think there will be an upcoming Chain of Command Pint Sized campaign covering this). Here are these and a few other Nordic WW2 movies, in no particular order I recommend them all (a mixture of trailers and clips).
…. and finally a movie about the aftermath of WW2 (an absolutely excellent movie).
As for my own favourite Nordic WW2 Movie I have to admit that I like the Cinemaphotography of the new Unknown Soldier (above) and would love to see it on the Silver Screen again – it made me make some assault boats (I have not yet used) some time ago (more here)
However the following movie makes the journey to Mount Doom seem like a walk in the park – so here is another non-English movie to check out.
However I really like Fury, Private Ryan and A Bridge to Far, as well….
Here is a movie I never heard about, I ordered it today (about the invasion of Norway).
Back to the Cossacks
I got on with the painting and the podcasts offered sufficient time to get these done (they are the Cossacks from Baccus 18th century range, GNR10 Cossacks link here), with a special mention to Henry with his three and a half hour session.
Quick job, then Windsor and Newton Nutbrown Inkwash, basing and good to go.
Now I need to park the Russian Dragoons on the painting table to brew for a while.
You may recall that when I started this little Kirbekan diversion I had as an objective to get enough bases to do the scenario as presented in Peter Riley’s draft colonial rules so I could lure him to demonstrate the rules for me – I think I am almost there with the miniatures. There is still some desert terrain and hills to be done before I can call this project done.
If you want to catch up on previous progress and some further background on this project have a look at some of the old blog entries:
In the last update I showed some nearly finished 19th Hussars, some British Leaders and some Mahdi Dervish Irregular Infantry. I based these and added flags as appropriate (All are from Baccusm 6mm colonial range, link here).
First out the 19th Hussars (more about them here).
…then the Leaders
And finally the completed British Contingent for Kirbekan:
(I also made all of them in marching column)
Here are the Dervish Infantry
And the more or less completed Mahdi Contingent for Kirbekan. Missing the leaders bases – Moussa Wad Abuhegel, Ali Wad Hussein and Hamisd Wad Lekalik.
Next step is to do some terrain, I intend to play this on a 4’6″ by 3′ mat that I will make using the good old acrylic mat trick and with some sand cladded styrofoam hills. The idea with this was to have small bases (40 by 20mm) and being able to play games on a normal kitchen table.
I stole this quote and the map from Peter’s Draft document.
“The terrain is very Hilly, with rolling hills that have flat and sandy bottoms between them. All of the hills have gentle slopes, even the two contoured ridges are gentle slopes up to the summits and ridges.”
From the unpublished “Polemos Colonial Wars – A Steady and Deliberate Fire”, by Peter Riley.
In other news, I and the Little One had a go at Sword and Spear and had a blast (more here). We did a simple “DBA sized” game. We will definitely do a few more and perhaps do an AAR when we know the rules a tad more! We used the 6mm Punic War forces.
I also started the first step of rebasing some Prussia SYW stuff I have as I have a little idea for a Maurice based campaign (the good, and not so old, honour Game by Sam Mustafa) on a ALT-history version of the Swedish campaign in Pomerania during the Seven Years war (Sweden vs Prussia). Another long term project, but it would be fun to develop some specific command cards, etc. Hellish work in rebasing! It will be a long process and parts of me has regretted it already!
I also need to get going with the Poltava Project as soon as possible, I have loads of Russians and Cossacks to paint and another bloody big battlemat to do.
His shoes are too big and his hat is too small, His trousers are tight and his coat is too long, But it does not matter, because he is my soldier, Somewhere in Sweden!
– Translated from the 1940 Swedish Song “Min Soldat” (My Soldier), performed by Ulla Billquist and written by Nils Perne.
A few weeks back I presented an initial stab at a Swedish Platoon Organisation for the WW2 era (here is a link to the earlier posting) for Chain of Command. Since then I have been working on some miniatures for the platoon and some of the support options – I will present the work to date in this blog update. I will leave out the work I have been doing on vehicles (armoured cars and tanks, I think that will be a good one on its own) as I have not yet finished the tank markings/decals – but I am working on it with some help from some friends.
I want to state how grateful I am to the community when doing something like this, the support from all kind of places with encouragement, the research and offers of help. I even got a fair few of 3D printed models for a Swedish Tank type sent to me by a friend on Twitter. Good stuff!
Later blog updates will also show/discuss jump-off markers and some terrain features to make the battle field having a touch of Scandinavia – making it look as Scandinavian as a wargames table with Snake rail fencing looks American!
I would like to do an what-if Scenario based on the operational plan developed by the commander of the 25th Panzer Division (link to Wikipedia here), Adolf von Schell, to attack Sweden with a handful of divisions from Norway. This is described at high level in the book “Andra Världskriget och Sverige (2002)” (that translates to: The Second World War and Sweden) by Jan Linder, and contains the following picture.
I have not been able to find any more information on this operation and if you are reading this and know more – please let me know. It would be fun to do a linked campaign of fighting in some of the areas I know very well from my childhood.
It is interesting to note that the 25th Division was issued with outdated French Tanks and according to the Wikipedia entry above the following was the combat strength in 1943:
..21,000 men and fielded 14 Panzer II tanks, 62 Panzer III, 26 Panzer IV, 40 Hotchkiss H39, 15 Somua S35, and 15 Self-propelled assault guns, such as the StuG III.
It would give a nice opportunity to get some French tanks and do them in German “livery”. However that is for the future and I have yet some research to do…
The Swedish Platoon Organisation and Models Used
In reading the old manuals there are a few changes required to the original list that are summarised below. I will update the Platoon document at a later date.
(i) Due to allocation of runners, I have reduced the number of Riflemen in each section with one. I need to verify this so I did 4 extra models just in case!
(ii) The first Section/Grupp had an SMG armed rifleman in the Rifle Team/Gomgången. However, due to shortages this was not always possible, especially early in the period.
(iii) The manuals indicate the presence of two Teams/Omggångar and that there are situations when they fight as two elements – one K (Kulspruta / Light Machine Gun) and one G (Gevär / Rifle). Therefore I have re-organised the Platoon organisation in the picture to reflect these changes.
This is still work in progress and may change as I read more stuff. For the 1943 to 1945 Platoon I have made the same changes to the organisation. Again, this is an aspirational platoon, and as you can see it offers a significant increase of fire Power with 2 SMGs per section and the M/42 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and in addition the Platoon 47mm mortar and the Anti-tank rifle.
I decided to make enough miniatures so that I could field a platoon at any stage of the WW2 period. Following some discussions on twitter and a few other similar projects the 15mm Italians from Flames of War seemed to be a good match for the m/39 uniform.
This assumes the M/37 helmet and the M/39 uniform, at the time the latest equipment available. Some units would be equipped older uniforms and helmets, like the earlier helmet M/26 and older uniforms.
If you are doing this project in 28mm you could use the fantastic Ådalen Range that depicts interwar Swedes, these are just troops that have not had new kit – the range covers all that you need for the early war (limited poses, and there are no SMGs and the Machine Gun is perhaps a bit dated, but I think it would work and if you even use some of the earlier uniforms in the mix you may get a motley crew of ill-prepared 1940 soldiers), more information here (I have not ordered any, but they do look good. I suggest you contact them first before you make your order – I always do).
Anyway back to my 15mm project.
I bought the following from Battlefront
1 pack of ISO101 Italian Artillery Group – gives you crew for your guns as well as some SMG armed gentlemen.
2 packs of IT702 Fucilieri Platoon – your bulk infantry
3 packs of ISO131 Italian Fucilieri (Late) – again gives some SMG armed soldiers and some more LMG (for simple conversion)
2 pack of GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer – for the infantry gun option (more below)
1 No. PL510 37mm wz.36 gun – this is the famous 37mm Bofors Anti-tank gun, used by the Poles, Finns and the Swedens (and others).
I also had some Polish Machine Guns from Batttlefront and bought the WW1 Austrian Machine Gun from Peter Pig.
I used the following paints for these:
Jacket and Trousers – Vallejo German Field Grey 70830
Helmet – Vallejo 70895 Gunship Green
Bread bag – Vallejo 70886 Green Grey
Leather / Belt – Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
Water Bottle / Gaiters – Vallejo 70988 Khaki
I tend to use Field Drab, then Medium flesh tone for skin, saddle brown for the rifle buts.
I put a wash of army paint quick shade on top – soft tone.
The Swedish 1940 – 1943 Platoon
The Swedish 1943 to 1945 Platoon
This is the same models as above but with some swaps and the Mortar Section.
In addition there is an anti-tank Rifle for the Platoon, I made two of these conversions.
The are based on a kneeling rifleman and I did the simplified rifle from some plastic coated paper clips, it shows better in the picture below.
Some support options
The next one was a little bit trickier, but once I found a reasonable proxy the conversion was simple, using some very thin cocktail straws I bought may years ago. I wanted to mode the Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 Mountain Gun.
It looks like this,
Battlefront makes the GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer, it looks like this.
I hope this sequence is self explanatory
And finally some Machine Guns, one using an old Polish MMG set and the other head swapped Austrian WW1 MMGs from Peter Pig.
I am really enjoying this project, it is not a Labour of Love, just Love
The Iron Ring – Can Nordholmia be saved from doom?
Relaxation?, Comfort?, Breathtaking Nature? – Hotell Imperator
Nordholmia is in danger. The farmsteads of the city gets destroyed by an unknown powerful enemy and the mayor turns to the adventurers for help. During the adventure a big conspiracy is expose that could threaten the whole of the Pyri Commonwealth. The Player Characters are confronted with a investigative problem that leads to countless dangers, first in the city of Nordholmia and afterwards at the ancient hotel Imperator. Big skill is required by the players in addition they should have experienced player characters.
– Backblur from the 1985 scenario Järnringen (the Iron Ring) for the Swedish Roleplaying Game Mutant!
This was the first and perhaps the best of the adventures produced for the Swedish Mutant 1984 RPG (apart from the starter adventure in the box). The “Grey Death” adventures (I wrote about part 1 of those in here) were more epic but I think this is the one in the whole that captures what I feel was the essence – maybe because it came first? It was also funny that the scenario took place in the county in Sweden where I was born – Dalarna. I have written about this RPG in an earlier blog (link here). But in summary:
Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.
The Prologue – The Postman dies once, but slowly…
Although the cover of the adventure is intriguing, not so much in what is happening on stage but more about what is going on in the crowd. But there is one picture that I think stands out in the scenario and it is the one that illustrates the opening scene.
The fog is dense around you. From a distance you can hear the howling from wild beasts prowling in the unknown. But it is not your main bother as you are fully occupied trying to figure out who really suggested that you would get out on the Moor. It has been raining all night and your are thoroughly wet and miserable. It is now the third day that you have been straying around the wilderness between Hardin and Torsvad. Comments like “Shortcut to Torsvad, my arse!”, “Are you happy now, when we have no food left!”, “I was against this from the start!”, “It was you that ….”, has been flying around during the last few days.
Suddenly you hear the sound of hooves approaching. A lonely rider seems to pass by at a distance in full gallop. The fog starts clearing and you can see the silhouette of some crags on the left. You realise that the rider must have passed behind them.
The silence is interrupted by a scream followed by two loud bangs of musket fire and another scream. From the crags a saddled horse without rider storms against you. When you carefully advance you hear voices and can soon see to whom they belong.
On the ground behind a large stone a man is lying down and desperately holds a shoulder bag against his chest. He holds his other hand against his bleeding shoulder and next to him lies a smoking pistol. Around him stands four creatures that all are directing their weapons against him. The leader seems to be a giant mutated moose and the other three are mutated lynx. The Moose grins against the man and asks him to hand over the bag. When the man refuses he aims his musket towards him to end his life.
Roughly translated from the Järnringen scenario book (page 3, this is from the introduction to the players). The picture is drawn by Peter Johnsson. I love this picture especially the “Bobby on the Beat” Hat! Proper “In Medias Res” – straight into action. It is how we liked to roll.
There is limited information in the scenario about these four creatures, apart from the information above and some mediocre game stats (they were not suppose to give our character any major problems), so in normal fashion I have fleshed out these characters a little bit in my take on them – given them some names (with my apologies to Alexander Dumas), sketched out a little bit of a background story and tried to find a suitable way of representing them on the table in miniature form.
As always these are not artistic master pieces, but I do hope a sufficient representation to give some kind of homage to an old Swedish rpg from the 1980s that I have so many fond memories of.
The Three Lynxeteers – Arameow, Purrtos and Arthiss
These henchmen (or should that be henchlynx) are brothers and were born in the outskirts of Hardin to a very large and poor family. From an early age they had to fend for themselves and became reasonably successful in picking pockets and locks, and other illegal means, to make ends meet.
On the day of the annual celebrations in Hardin commemorating the killing of the Hound of Tandalsåsen (Sorry Lovecraft!), the brothers decided to pay a visit to the Mayors house. As was custom the Mayor, Signe Frihamn, held a speech and attended the celebrations with her family – the house would be empty – they thought.
On the morning of the festivities Signe’s husband Johannes, the previous Police Chief of the county, had woken up with a very bad back pain and had decided to stay home. The Couple had given their servants the weekend off to go and visits some relatives in Hindenburg. When the trio entered the house Johannes heard them from upstairs and armed with a rifle he went to investigate. She startled Arameow and Purrtos as they were rummaging through his belongings and held them at gunpoint. Arthiss, being elsewhere in the house, sneaked up on him and drew his knife and stabbed him in the back. The trio quickly took what they could, including Johannes trademark black helmet, and fled the house.
When Signe returned Johannes was still barely alive, but in his dying breath identified his assailants. A manhunt ensued and the brothers took their refuge in the Moorlands outside Hardin. Here they met a mutated Moose (Dart an Älg, see below) who realised that the three brothers could be useful for his needs – although the brothers thinks he has joined their gang. They are now operating as highwaymen and hiding from the law.
They recently robbed a short noble man who had a travelling wardrobe with a large number of coats – seemed a shame not putting them to use (this is of course to justify the choice of models and their clothing below).
The helmet worn by the constables of the representatives of law and order in Pyrisamfundet is based on a so called Custodian Helmet used by the police force of the former countries of England and Wales. The design was based on the Prussian pickelhaube and was used by constables and sergeants.
Signe and Johannes Frihamn were seasoned adventurers and apart from being the slayers of the Hound of Tandalsåsen in 86 they had travelled wide and far. They had worked as troubleshooters and mercenaries for the King of the Scottish Badgers and travelled in other parts of the Islands known as Ängland (meadowland, due to the green and pleasantness of the flora and fauna). In the forbidden zone of Batteracid (in former London) he had found his trademark black helmet, that he had worn since then. When he later became responsible for law and order for Hardin he had some copies being made for his officers – the helmet was now standard all throughout Pyrisamfundet, and some versions has even been developed for civilian use.
[Yes, this allows me to use Victorian Bobbies to represent the law and order in my version of Pyrisamfundet]
Modelling the Brothers
I ordered a few cat people form Black Cat bases (link here), and did a few modifications, like adding a policemans hat (you can buy some heads with Police hats from Crooked Dice, here) and weapons (I got some flintloque pistols etc from Black Cat bases too, link here). The cat with the sabre got a police hat, the cat with the parasol got a musket and the cat with the tray got two pistols.
Overall I am happy with the look (they originally did not had a fancy clothes but I thought they would look ok in the attire they came in).
Dart an Älg (The Mooseketeer)
Dart originates from the forests around Nordholmia (where incidentally this adventure will progress to) and worked as a trapper during his youth selling furs to the Nordholmia traders and occasionally working as a scout for the Army or other daring folk who ventured in the area. He gained some reputation as a reliable man and his fur trading grew to a healthy business. However Swizzle, one of Pyrisamfundets biggest trading houses did not like the increased competition. Swizzle’s operations in Nordholmia were run by the founders grandson Vizel Swissle. Vizel instigated a campaign to damage Dart’s business, bribing officials, burning down storage facilities, threatening suppliers, etc. However, Dart was resilient and seemed to recover stronger from every set-back. Vizel had to escalate his efforts and framed Dart for the murder of a local school teacher by the name of Elvira Snyft.
Dart did not stand a chance against the resource of the Swissle House and ended up in a labour prison outside Hindenburg. Here he was , to put it in the words of the stern judge at the trial, “..to serve for his horrendous crimes until the day he died”. He felt betrayed by his town and his country, but most of all he had a raging anger towards the Swissle family as he was more than sure they were behind the plot. From the moment he put his foot in that god forsaken prison he tried to work out a plan to escape and seek revenge. As the years progressed he became more and more bitter. He made numerous attempts to escape but were caught and brought back and was punished severely with beatings and long times of isolation – somewhere along the way he went insane. One day when a group of prisoners were out working on a road repair job one of guards suffered from a heart attack. Dart told the second guard that he could save his colleague and lied that he had been a doctor as a civilian. The guard dropped his guard for a few moments whilst Dart pretended to help the his suffering comrade. The opportunity presented was quickly exploited by Dart who strangled one guard whilst watching the other man die. Needless to say he sought out Vizel and took out his revenge in the most brutal of ways. He was chased by the Nordholmia Sheriff and a Posse but managed to escape. Since then Dart has been an outlaw and have become a terror in the area around the Hardin Moors. One day he stumbled across on the three brothers who also were outlaws – a relationship was formed and the group operate as robbers and thieves in the area. They have successfully avoided capture as they are careful and knows the lay of the land very well.
I got myself a Garrison Caliverman from Perry Miniatures – it is part of their fantastic Border Reivers 40mm range (here is a link).
As you can see in the picture it comes with a number of heads – but none of them being a moose head. So I had to find it elsewhere. I got myself a Moose from Northstar (pulp miniature range, link here).
Some cutting later I had my Mooseketeer!
As for the dying Postrider, his name is Erjan, and I think he may be from a the body of a WW2 soldier I had in my bit box? I made the post bag from some putty (Somewhere along the way I forgot that he was bleeding from his shoulder and not his leg – my mistake).
Anyway here is the set-up, this should not have been a life changing encounter for the group but this is untampered nostalgia on overdrive – so why not! My 13-year old self would have been as happy as I am now!
So just do not stand there, get on with it…. what do you do?
Some other related stuff
I have painted a few models from the interloper miniatures range (link to their webpage), they are wonderful models. I hope you like them they form part of my overall Mutant 1984 “collection”.
/Hope that was some interest.
Currently I am working on another scene from the adventure – the Robot Attack in Nordholmia. But that is for some other time.
I went to the SELWG 2018 show this Sunday and in summary had a great time! I think it is a good show and has a good blend of traders, games and the bring-and-buy is always brilliant. This is not a full walkaround report, more my own absent-minded rambling around the show. There were things I did not take pictures of that I perhaps should have, like the neat little 7TV game or a few of the naval games that looked very nice.
On the 7TV subject a big shout out for their latest kick-starter if you are into Post-Apocalyptic stuff (link here). Some really interesting stuff and a nice nod in the direction of some of the different movies and tv-series from the past.
However this is what I did take pictures of at the show…
Tonbridge Wargames Club presented The Battle Segesvár 1849 (somewhere near Transylvania), this was part of the Hungarian revolution in 1848 to 1849 of which In knew nothing. The battle was fought between the Hungarian Revolutionary army (supported by Polish volunteers) and a Russian-Austrian army. The battle was fought using their own ‘War in the Age of Blood and Iron” using the “War in the Age of Empires” supplement. I think it was fought using Heroics and Ros 6mm miniatures. Here is the Wikipedia link to the battle. Very interesting times.
Simon Miller was fielding his very nice English Civil War 28mm miniature using his new For King and Parliament rules – it looked like great fun. The action was the Battle of Soggy Bottom 1643.
Gravesend Gamers Guild was also putting on English Civil War game but in a smaller scale in their Skirmish at Staplethorpe. Great little game, with 4 factions (royalist horse, parliamentarian horse, neutral local defenders and raiding deserters) with differing objectives. Fun idea using the good old Featherstone’s Skirmish rules.
Battle of Asculum from the Society of Ancients.
The Too Fat Lardies were busy all day doing a Barkmanns corner game with the participants, supported by Nick Skinner, trying to blow up Richard Clarke’s Tiger tank. Of course using their fun What a Tanker ruleset.
There were two other games using the Too Fat Lardies rules, first out the last outing of the beautiful “Alliés Peu Fiables” a Chain of Command game set during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. The action takes place in the small Belgian town of Gehondeskirk..
Another Lardy one was a Sharp Practice game – the Biscotti War. I let you read the small print yourself – I have seen this one before and it is a nice game.
Battle of Mats, sorry I meant Battle of Matz was put on by Robert Dunlop. Another of his fantastic 6mm battles. Full of stuff going on.
This is the Beautiful Battle of Kawanakajima 1561 – a Sengoku era battle that looked really nice. I forgot to ask about any details at all – I got samurai struck!
There was also this fantastic Middle Earth battle presented by the Shepway Wargamers, it is a table fully loaded with different stuff and was one of those you needed to look at from different angles – a lot of things to see.
…and finally (almost) a participation game by Peter Pig with their new Western Rules. I also did most of my shopping from Peter Pig – 15mm WW2 stuff.
As for what to do with the warlord miniatures, after the show, I ordered some heads from Sally 4th that I thought could be used to make a nice set of characters for my Mutant 1984 project.
My favourite of the day was the absolutely beautiful game from Maidstone Wargames society that I was so happy to see again.
Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.
The game shows HMS Vindictive that carried a troop of royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions. It is a fantastic looking game and the work that has gone into the terrain is phenomenal!
I also had a chat with a few of the traders, and a special shout out for the dynamic duo who can take care of not just your painting needs, but also make sure your dice are safe and sound and that you can change into something more leisurely than your combat fatigues and black t-shirt – it is of course Deborah and Matt of Glenbrook games and Saddle Goose Designs.
Busy times at the moment but I have made some progress on the Kirbekan 1885 project and this time mostly with regards to the Mahdists to fight the British. I have limited information on these forces in comparison of the detailed accounts of the heroics and sometimes not so heroic deeds of the British. I have mainly used the various Osprey titles for inspiration.
Anyway, for the battle itself Peter Riley, in his draft rules, suggests.
Moussa Wad Abuhegel – CinC
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base Ali Wad Hussein – Commander
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base
Irregular Dervish Infantry – 3 bases
Irregular Hadendowah – 3 bases Hamisd Wad Lekalik – Commander
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base
Irregular Dervish Infantry – 4 bases
Irregular Hadendowah Infantry – 4 bases
So in summary, I would need.
• 3 No. command bases
• Organised Command and Rifle Infantry – 6 bases
• Irregular Dervish Infantry – 7 bases
• Irregular Hadendowah – 7 bases
I started out making the 6 No. Organised bases (40 by 20mm basing) and based these on the Baccus CMA07 – Mahdist Riflemen (all codes for the Mahdi can be found here).
…and the Hadendowah Sword and Spear men (on deeper bases 40 by 30mm), using the code CMA02 – Hadendowah Infantry – Spear, Sword, Shield.
In addition, I have spent some time doing some of the smaller units I need for the battle.
And some more Mahdists in the pipeline,
I also based the Horse Grenadiers that featured in the last update (see here).
I have done my first proper effort on the 2019 Joy of Six project – the Battle of Poltava 1709. As I have stated before it will be a full blown table showing not just the main battle, but also the besieged Poltava, the Monastery and of course the redoubts (more background at the end of a previous blog here).
I did a inventory of the Swedish miniatures needed and found (not to a great surprise to be honest) that I have everything I need apart from some Cossacks and the models required for the Poltava Siege works (I want to make the siege lines, siege guns and sappers, etc), as for the forces on the table, all I need is (excluding artillery and command bases):
41 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
18 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
24 Vallack and Cossack bases (large light horse bases 60 by 60mm)
That is 83 No. of bases (and detailed below) in total compared to 100 No. of bases for the Horka battle.
I will do the same review for the Russians, but I already know that there will be substantially more work as the number of bases for Horka was 155 No. but I will need a total of 259 No. for Poltava.
140 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
89 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
30 Cossack and Kalmyk bases (large light horse bases)
Now all these did not fight in the main battle, but it allows a little bit of a reflection as to the relative strength of the Russians vs the Swedes in terms of available resources in the area. It will be a busy table, considering that it is about 40% more models (however they will be somewhat differently spread).
In the interim I do know that I have no Russian Horse Grenadiers and I need 3 No. regiments of 4 bases worth of models, so I have been painting some of these.
In 1708, Peter the Great, formed some Horse Grenadiers regiments, taken from the Grenadier company of existing Dragoon regiments. It is a little bit confusing and unclear how these units were uniformed at the Poltava battle and how many were present, so what follows are an interpretation. In game terms we will treat these as a better quality dragoon units and I have modelled these on a basis of 4 bases per regiment. Note that these are from Baccus Seven Years War range (and not from the WSS or GNW range) – they are wonderful little models and you can find them here.
A. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
I painted these in the most common uniform combination of the Russian Army at the time with Green jacket with red facings, this is a speculative uniform combination. The flag is green and I am thinking of making some transfers to add some detail to them (I bought some printable transfer paper).
G. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
Again speculative uniform – I made them as above but with blue instead of Green, apart from the flag.
von der Roop’s Horse Grenadiers
Yet again speculative uniform – I made them blue coats with red facings and a blue and red Mitre.
I have given them an ink wash (nut brown of course, see below) and will base them up shortly.
/ Hope that was of some interest
List of the Swedish units required for Poltava 1709 based on a rough guide of one base of 9 models of riders per 200 to 300 cavalry (about 2 squadrons) and the same for base of 24 models of infantry per 400 to 600 infantry (a battalion).
In the post last week I discussed the Project the Little One and I are doing to play the 29 Let’s Go Pint sized campaign from Too Fat Lardies (link here if you are interested). The German platoon and supports have not yet been delivered as an item is on back-order, so we have pressed on with other stuff. One of the most pleasing aspects of a WW2 Skirmish is a nice looking table that sets the scenes alive. If you look at any of the Too Fat Lardies games there is plenty of character in the table itself – nice buildings, trees, hedges but also those additional things that makes it look real, like Green houses, planters, sheds, benches, telegraphs poles, pissoirs, statutes, monuments, civilian cars, old advertisement on buildings, etc.
Warbases have a nice range suitably called Chain of Command that has some very nice item including two garden sets (link here), they have been developed with Too Fat Lardies. The only problem for our project is that they are all in 28mm – if I did this in 28mm I would definitely get these.
I contacted Warbases and said something in the line of “Hey Lets Go 15mm?”. They told me they do not do them in 15mm, but that perhaps the stuff that Scenic Route Models could fit my needs (link here). Now these model are in OO scale that technically is 1/76 whilst 15mm is about 1/100 (most of the time) – in reality I feel that most of the Battlefront miniatures are bigger than 15mm. However, I thought to myself, I could throw a few pounds in their direction in the interest of research. So I ordered the following sets this Tuesday and they were delivered this Saturday.
And of course their Green House (well I got two).
I got them and as I suspected felt that there were a little bit on the large side (as they are design for another scale), this is the Greenhouse door vs the doors on the houses I am using (more about those below).
However I got out my good old razor saw and cut of a few layers on the bottom on all the pieces before assembling (you could use a knife and cut carefully as well) – A relatively easy modification.
And, I did similar modifications to the other stuff – always modifying the height. The only further modifications I did to the buildings where adding roof ridges (cocktail sticks), and gluing on 80 grade sandpaper on the shed roofs, and adding some glass to the plant boxes and green houses – this was from some sheets from some thin plastic from packaging for strawberries (I ate them and cleaned it up first). After I painted them I added some flower tufts to the planters and green houses. And, I almost forgot, I also added some detail to make the opening to the Green house look more like a door.
I am very happy with the results (the 15mm Americans from last week making another appearance).
I have made a second order for some more stuff (mainly repeats, but trying out one or more other things) and also ordered some other things from some other suppliers I hope will work as well – but will write about those in future updates here on the blog.
I also stumbled upon the following during an eBay search for something completely different. I thought it looked like some kind of stone pattern.
So, I got myself a piece of it to try out – it is called Faux Leather Python Pattern Upholstery Fabric and is sold in 1 meter lengths (1.4m wide) for £12. I got it and did a quick dry-brush and detail and this is how it turned out – not 100% satisfied but it does work.
Finally I bought a whole bunch of 15mm Normandy houses/structures (16 No. in total) from Empires at War – they are pre-painted stuff and are very good (link here). We only built a few and will only need about 5 No. for the 29 Lets Go campaign and only applied a little bit of additional paint mainly to hide the brown laser cut mdf sides – if you look at the pictures you can see the before and after look – they do work well without any modifications as well.
I will show more of the houses when I finished them.
I have bought all of the Too Fat Lardies Pint sized campaigns for Chain of Command to date, but I have to admit of not yet played any of them. I have used Chain of Command for some very fun Games in a Finno-Russian Winter war setting and for the Continuation war period. I am currently struggling with time to do any bigger gaming ventures apart from some gaming with the Little One as I spend more time than I would like away from home due to work. He had up to recently not been to interested in Chain of Command but now, out of the famous blue, he would like to do some Normandy actions, so I thought the first campaign Richard Clarke did could work well (and I have to admit I fancied painting some Americans and Germans).
I really enjoy the format of the “Pint Sized” campaign books and you can find this one and others on the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), you would need the Chain of Command Rules as well as At the Sharp End campaign supplement for the full experience – but I dare say you could use this with any WW2 plutoon based rules and have fun they are great products. The campaign covers the advance of the US 175th Infantry Regiment and their struggles in linking the Omaha and Utah beaches.
To play the scenarios you basically need a platoon or US Infantry and a Platoon of Germans, with some support options.
I am also using this project as an opportunity to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the terrain making aspect of the hobby, this time we did some roads and telegraph poles – which was great fun and with immediate gratification (at least for us) in the pictures below.
We also did some Telegraph poles that we bought from e-bay, they are laser cut MDF but I think they work very well and saved us some building time and 24 for a fiver (£5) is much cheaper than some alternatives – that perhaps look better, but for us this was perfectly adequate.
We did not use the base it came with instead installed them on top of thin washers with superglue (some of them on bases) and made a few damaged ones.
We also have a set to winterize for some other theatres, but that is for another colder day.
American Rifle Platoon
The American Rifle Platoon and the support options is more or less completed – there are a few I have not done yet and I will pick these up from Peter Pig at SELWG. The basic Platoon is based on the Battlefront US Rifle Company pack – this is not the plastic one they are currently selling but the old metal version, it gives you everything you need for the campaign except for some Shermans, Flamethrower, 50 cal. HMG and some Engineers (the new plastic box should do the same too).
Here are the models…
And then two mortar teams finished today (apart from gun metal colours – I realize now),
That is all we need for the American side, next the Germans….
This is a holding blog post for yet another diversion and show the bare bones for playing a Swedish Platoon in WW2 using Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based WW2 rules). It is a work in progress but as there is some recent interest on Twitter for this I decided to do write-up to get us started in doing some men and machines for the table top. This will be fleshed out with further blog updates moving forward, including:
National characteristics to be added to the platoon list – see notes below on this process.
Suggested ‘what-if’ scenarios for using the Swedes – potential German invasion in 1940 or 1943, the Swedish Army fighting the Soviets in Finland (early or late war, in an official capacity), an Allied attack in Northern Sweden on the iron ore mines, etc.
Modelling the Swedes – a note on what models can be used for Proxy Swedes and Equipment. In general Italians, polish and Japanese can all be used in some form or another for this purpose. There is some great inspiration out there as some people have already done some spectacular projects and others are in process.
Some more detailed presentation on Swedish weapons and vehicles available during the war years.
Vilken Stridsvagnsfanjunker! – a What a Tanker list for the Swedish bidding panzer ace – even more done just for fun.
Before I forget a big thank you to the ‘Swedes’ on twitter (you know who you are) who has helped this along.
This post seek to present a typical Swedish Rifle Platoon that you can use during the war years for some “what-if scenarios”. I have organised this in the way Too Fat Lardies does their platoons for Chain of Command – however, you should be able to transform this to whatever rules you are using. As for support options I have gone full in and based it on what was available at various times. Some of the options may not be logical from a geographical location, but I have left it for you to have some fun – it is a what-if situation anyway. If you do specific historical scenarios you may have to do some research on where different regiments were stationed (e.g. for armoured units) and modify your support options accordingly.
On the Too Fat Lardies webpage there is an article about designing platoon lists for Chain of Command and so far we have achieved the first two steps required (the organisation and the support), but I have not yet developed national characteristics for the platoon.
“Finally we need to look at national characteristics. This is a more time consuming process as it involves significant research into the way that the troops were trained and fought. Only with this research can we allocate characteristics to our forces which are based on the way they actually fought, rather then on some rather dodgy stereotypes.”
I mentioned in an earlier blog update that Too Fat Lardies have their new Blitzkrieg supplement on pre-order (link here). Have a look at the large amount of platoon lists available and the statement “ 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.” Hard work has gone in to that supplement and if you are interested in gaming the early war give it a go.
So given this and to get a better understanding of the Swedish Platoon, I have ordered some old Swedish manuals and books from the 1930s and 1940s, that I hope will give me some further insights to develop some characteristics and a note on tactical doctrine. I want to avoid doing some national characteristics like “The Spirit of Gustavus Adolphus” or the “Tactical Brilliance of Charles XII”, in lieu of reading through these – but they are yet to arrive and then it is a matter of finding the time to review them.
Anyway, I have a word file and the pdf file for download here, that you may use as you wish. These are version 2 of this list as I will update the list and will make further versions available on this page. Please, if you do have any corrections or views let me know. As indicated, I am interested in how these men would have fought as a unit. The infantry tactica available on the Too Fat Lardies webpage here is an example of what would be ideal to have in a Swedish context – that is our target.
I recommend that you read the first part from last week (link here, that contains a little bit of an intro) as this is a rather short update if you have not already and if you are interested in the context of this.
I learned this week that Major General Earle who died at the Battle in 1885 is standing outside George’s Hall in Liverpool (where he was born in 1833). A very elegant statue that was unveiled in 1887 by Lord Wolsey, the Commander of the British Forces in Egypt.
Earle had started his career fighting in the Crimean War and fought gallantry at Alma and Sevastopol rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He later served in Gibraltar, Canada and India. In 1880 he was granted his Major Generalship and was sent to Egypt in 1882. Here he was the commander of the garrison at Alexandria. In 1884 he was in command of a campaign (the British Nile Column) to support General Gordon in Khartoum (Sudan). The city was under siege by Mahdist. Earle and his soldiers did not arrive in time and Khartoum fell in the beginning of 1885.
On the 10th February 1885, Major Earle, and part of the British Nile Column stormed the hills at Kirbekan and routed Mahdist force. Unfortunately Earle, as stated above, was killed in the battle together with about 60 British soldiers, including Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eyre of the First South Staffordshire Regiment.
So, to hang on to Lt Col Phillip Eyre for a moment, this week I did the second large British unit at the Kirbekan Battle 1885.
The South Staffordshire Regiment
The regiment was sent to Egypt in 1882 as part of the invasion and in 1885 it travelled as part of the unsuccessful column to lift the Siege of Khartoum, but came to play an important part in the battle at Kirbekan. Following Garrison duties it was later sent to fight in the Boer War. I let you read more about the regiment and its further adventures during the Great War and World War 2 on Wikipedia (link here).
As I did last time I used the excellent Perry Painting Guide from their webpage (link here). I made six bases (40 by 20 mm) with firing poses and six bases with Marching poses – as the British did a lot of marching and I fancy a long column of soldiers in the end. Of course when I checked this out I realised that the South Staff Regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red at the Kirbekan Battle – I painted mine with the grey/blue uniform last week – Oh well perhaps the Scots did not listen to the English commander, or I have to do another set of them in red!
14. South Staffordshire Regiment This regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red to storm the ridge at the battle of Kirbekan, 10th February 1885
From the Perry Painting Guide
Anyway, here is how the South Staffordshire gentlemen turned out (they are 6mm Baccus from the their colonial range, link here).
/ Hope that was of some interest, next time I will do some Mahdists I think.
My friend Peter Riley who has written a number of Wargames rules, including the Polemos American Civil War (ACW) and the Franco-Prussian War (FPW), sent me a copy of his unpublished colonial rules “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” a long time ago to try out and give him some feedback. Doing something and giving them a try is long overdue.
By the way Peter is one half of the Wargamer Collection Calculator Crew that I have talked about before on this page, check them out here.
In addition they are doing a Little Big Horn Project in 6mm that I have been following with some interest (here is a good starting point).
I did acquired a large amount of 6mm Baccus Colonial miniatures in a “bring and buy” sale many years ago and have wanted to find some inspiration to do something with them. I did some colonial stuff using the Men Who Would be King rules for 6mm Skirmish (link here, here and here). That was really fun and The Little One and I have had fair amount of fun table time with those.
However, I wanted something for bigger battles – and skimming through the rules Peter had sent me last week I found the Kirbekan Battle in 1885 (link here) that would require about 30 bases to play on a 6 by 4 table using 60mm frontage, and with 40mm bases it could be played on a normal kitchen table, on a 4’6″ by 3″ table.
The rules are extensive and although I have not yet understood them I have decided, as a little side project, to do the two sides of the battle and use it as a vehicle to learn the rules. In future posting I will write more details about the actual Battle and these rules.
With regards to basing (from the rules):
a base of Infantry represents an Infantry Company, about 65 to 180 men.
A base of Cavalry represents a Cavalry unit of about 65 to 130 men and horses.
Support Weapon bases represent and group of 1 to 3 guns.
According to Donald Featherstone’s excellent Khartoum book (published by Osprey) The British General Earle had the following force available at the battle (the book also contain the typical Osprey 3D map of the Kirbekan battle):
The Black Watch – 437 men.
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men.
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men.
A half company of Egyptian camel company – 47 men.
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men.
This translates to the following set-up in the rules:
The Black Watch – 437 men – 6 units (bases)
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men – 6 units (bases)
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men – 1 unit (bases)
A half company of Egyptian camel company (Camel Corps) – 47 men – 1 unit (bases)
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men – 1 unit (bases)
I thought I start with the British Side and from the top..
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
The regiment was created in 1881 in an amalgation of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot and the 73rd (Pertshire) Regiment of Foot (more here and here).
The regiment fought extensively in the Anglo-Eqyptian and Mahdist wars at the Battle of Tel el-Kebor 1882, Battles of El Teb 1884 and the Battle of Kirbekan 1885. The regiment also fought in the Second Boer War.
As for painting them I consulted the very good resource on Perry Minatures webpage written by Michael Perry about the Sudan 1883-85 (link here). It has a uniform guide that includes the Black Watch (the grey I have used is perhaps too blue, because I used blue).
Each base represent a company of men, I made them in Marching and Firing poses on 40 by 20mm bases.
Next up the South Staffordshire Regiment, at some point in the future.
Soviet Platoon/Company for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War)
Bersaglieri Platoon for Chain of Command (Greek 1940-41)
My lighting solution(s) for my travel rig
Soviet Platoon for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War) with Support
Had some marathon sessions last week to paint up a company box of plastic Russians/Soviets from Battlefront (Product code SBX33 Strelkovy Company in Plastic, at £28, but I got mine cheaper on ebay), with some additional miniatures from Skytrex (LMG second men, AT Rifles), Mortars from Peter Pig and further SMG men from Battlefront. I did the photos after having based them so there is still some static grass on the figures in some places – sorry!
These guys will fight the Finnish Platoon I made earlier (link here).
Using the list from the Chain of Command book we find the following information for a Russian Rifle Platoon.
So let us start with that Leytenant
Add two more squads and we have our Rifle Platoon (I did 4 or these Platoons)
Some of the support options I made this week (in addition I have plenty of tanks from my What a Tanker stuff I made earlier this year, just need to add some Infantry Gun and Anti-tank Guns:
Having placed all that on the table I still had this left.
So there is enough for more Platoons for a large game of Chain of Command, or even a IABSG.
Bersaglieri Platoon for Greece 1940-41 with some Supports
Whilst I was on holiday in Rhodes, Greece, I painted a Greek Platoon that I had lying around on the lead mountain (here is a link to that one). Below some picture of this platoon.
I got really inspired and decided to paint up a platoon of Italian Bersaglieri – Italian light elite infantry with those cool black feathers (actually capercaille feathers). To fight these brave Greeks. By the way Bersaglieri means marksman.
I love the intensity in this video showing them in action in the beginning – it is a propaganda video and I have no idea what they are saying and I especially like the part where they are pulling the AT Gun up the slope about 30 seconds in – quality.
I have seen these previously on the wargames table in the North African Theatre with the tropical helmets and light coloured uniforms and later in the war during the Italian campaign with a light khaki top and brown trousers. However for the Greek campaign the sources I found suggest a much darker uniform at this point and I have gone for this in doing these. I guess this uniform would work for the attack of Southern France in 1940 as well as for Barbarossa.
I got the models from Battlefront and I used the following packs (unless stated otherwise stated in the text) to make the platoon and the supports (prices in british pounds from Battlefronts webpage, I got mine about 10% cheaper from ebay). I really like the models but there is some flash especially on the two firing rifle poses and some of the rifles are a little bit weak so be careful.
I need to get some more infantry Guns and perhaps a small tank, anyway this is the platoon and the support option at this point in time.
As a basis for the platoon I used the list from the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), however this is a list for a Fucilieri platoon in Africa so may not be correct (if yoy know it is not and are reading this could you please let me know through the contact or comment on this blog). Anyway it is an assumption for now.
By the way Too Fat Lardies are soon to issue a new supplement for Chain of Command that maybe will contain further information on the Bersaglieri at this point in time. I am very excited about this as I have painted platoons for Germans, French and BEF (and a few on the lead mountain). In addition they will include rules that will be useful for my Continuation War scenarios as there will be rules for bikes (remember Lt. Eero Perkolas platoon in the movie Ambush [ Rukajärven tie] ) and boat assaults (see this link, if you do not understand why I am excited about this).
So really looking forward to this one, for many reasons.
…back to the Italians.
Let there be light!
Earlier (link here) I wrote about my current work situation requiring me to stay away form home in hotels a few evenings every week and about taking back the hobby time in bringing a “painting and basing rig” with me.
However there was an issue and I made a promise.
Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.
I find it difficult to focus if I paint in a poor light environment and I quickly get tired – affecting both quality (can’t see properly) and output (can’t do it for long). So something needed to be done.
I actually “splashed” out and bought two slightly different lamps and what follow is a little bit of a discussion or a review if you wish. I did not do any research prior to buying these so there may be better and more cost effective ones – this is just my view on the two I did buy. I have no technical knowledge of light and it is just based on my opinion and what seems to work for me – have I caveated myself sufficiently?
First out is Ideaworks super bright portable LED lamp, I call this one Gimli.
Gimli – £9.27 from Amazon UK
This one folds into a little compact box (13 X 7 X 4.5cm) and is powered by 4 No. AA batteries or by USB cable. I have only used this one using the USB cable so I do not know how long the batteries will lasts. There are also three levels of light that can be used 30%, 50% and 100%.
Second is the taller but with more sleek design, MoKo Portable LED Desk Lamp, I call this one Galadriel.
Galadriel – £22.99 from Amazon UK
This taller but slimmer lamp (23 x 5 x 2.5cm)has an internal rechargeable battery and can also be powered via USB cable. The battery can also be used as charger for your other gadgets (2800 mAh, this in theory is more than sufficient to charge an iPhone from 0 to 100% once) – so a handy additional feature. Further the battery lasts for about 7-8 hours according to the product blur (but there is a deterioration of strength during use).
So overall I am most happy with Galadriel as the light is better, but in addition she takes less space (they both weight about the same, when Gimli has the 4 AA batteries added) and further she has the added feature as a back-up power bank. I recall one of my University Lecturers saying that price is an information carrier and in this instance it is correct. I used it whilst on holiday and I am more than happy with the product.
However, as I now have them both I think I will use them together as this gives the even a better light experience. They are my two Towers.
“Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-Dûm in Elder Days before the fall of the mighty kings beneath the stone. She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.
He rose clumsily and bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying: „Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie in the earth!
from the Two Towers by Tolkien
The point is whether you are painting at home or roaming the land, make sure that you have good light as it make the experience easier, more enjoyable and less tiring.
/ Hope that was of some interest, time to put on a few colours and then switch off the light. By the way here is a picture from the movie I referred to earlier Ambush/Rukajärven tie showing the Finnish soldiers with their bikes.
I often see posts like “What movies/books inspires you to Wargame” on forums and it is an interesting question and very often the answers leads me to find new and interesting potential projects. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions I went to the Cinema when I went “home” to Sweden over Christmas last year to see “Unknown Soldier” based on the book by Linna. It is one of the most famous Finnish books and is set during the Continuation war (you can read more about the book here) 1941 to 1944, between Finland and the Sovietic Union (or Russia if you prefer) – you can find out more about this war here.
One of the scenes in the Unknown Soldier movie shows a Finnish attack using assault boats – I really found this scene inspiring and have been thinking about doing a scenario starting with reinforced infantry platoon (with a half Machine Gun platoon) in six boats pushing forward after the Finnish Barrage on the opposing side (with unknown effect), with chances of the boats being hit by enemy fire, but also some possibility of doing the Russian side some further damage with the Machine Gun or perhaps even Rifle fire, getting off the boats and then play the scenario as a normal Chain of Command (or Bolt Action or whatever platoon based rule set you prefer) scenario with the possibility of having lost units on both side before the actual engagement.
Here is a screenshot of the scene from one of the movie trailers on the net.
I recently did a Finnish Rifle Platoon in 15mm (here is a blog write-up) and have got all the miniatures to do another one, however in doing this I ended up with a pile of Finnish Soldiers I did not need. I also had a few boats I had made for another project some time ago (do not ask, but it involved making molds and using clear resin). These boats are not based on the Assault Boat in the pictures and the men, as you will see, on then are more dynamic and all-over the place than would be the case in reality. but I felt inspired yesterday so they had to do – and what the lack in historical or procedural accuracy I think they make up in looking cool!
Here are a few pictures on how they ended up, for anyone interested there is a little discussion after on how they were made and the painting (more for me if I want to do more).
Here we go… (all miniatures by Battlefront, from their Finnish range, 15mm scale). I think they are good enough for a game.
Thanks for hanging on so far, now some notes on how their were made and some notes for me on the painting as I may do a few more at some point.
Assault Boat Notes
I had six boats I had made previously lying around and I still have the mold somewhere to do more if I need – I used a clear casting resin I had used for some water effects. I cut off the bases on the miniatures and bent some legs when required and tried to get a look of some action maybe just as the boat enters the “final destination” and the section are ready to jump off and attack.