Year End and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 2 The Finnish Platoon

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A Finnish Lieutenant (Luutnantii) and a Captain (Kapteeni) inspecting a Red Army Light Machine Gun, the  7.62mm Degtyarev M-27. The picture was taken on New Years eve 1939 and is from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

Year End

This is a continuation from the last post.. but first some reflections – it is that kind of time of the year after all…

I started this blog to help to promote the Saga game I ran with the help of Neil Shuck et al at the Joy of Six 2016 show about 35 weeks ago (as this is the 35th blog update and I think we have done one per week!).  I continued running the blog for three reasons – (i) I actually enjoy doing the blog posting and it does not take very long to do, (ii) it helps me being more productive, and  finally (iii) it seems that people do end up on this blog and the average visit ends up in more than one entry being viewed.

The blog has been running for about 8 months and I have mainly covered 6mm projects and it is likely that it will be like that moving forward.  I think the scale  is very rewarding when you have limited time to work on each project and want to create a visually stunning representation of a big battle.  I have also tried to show this year that you can take 6mm to ‘another level’ in my Saga and Sharp Practice examples. I will be doing some more 15mm WW2 era stuff and I may even do some Halo Stuff that I have been eluding to for the last few months – but it depends on how hard pressure the little One will apply.

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Sharp Practice in 6mm

 

With the Saga project I wanted to show that for some games we can just replace the individual based with a base with a few 6mm soldiers and still run a very pleasing game. For the Sharp Practice stuff I have just scaled down everything I am playing with half inches instead of full inches. We have now done a few games and it plays really well – and set-up time is very quick.  But the main reason for doing them was that they are good and solid games and I have enjoyed playing them. The drop in scale did not affect playability.

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Saga in 6mm at Joy of Six 2016

 

As for the main activities for next year it will be the preparation of the first installment of the Great Northern War Towards Moscow Trilogy – Lesnaya 1708 – at Joy of Six in July.  It seems like ages away but I know that it will come thundering like a Swedish Gå-På attack but I think my progress so far is promising – failure, however, is not an option. There is also the dusting off to be done for the Kalisz 1706 game at Salute in April, but all is already more or less done so I am not worried about that.  We will be running these games using The Twilight of the Sun King (see a little write-up here) or the Polemos GNW Rules (see here). In the background I am slowly getting on with the supply column and will show these in a future blog.

I bought a copy of the Dawns & Departures campaign supplement for Sharp Practice 2 and would like to use my 6mm FIW figures to do a campaign.  This is an excellent supplement and I suggest you buy it even if do not use Sharp Practice (you can find further information here), I think it would be useful for anyone considering running a wargames campaign.  I will also enjoy my finished Finnish and Soviet platoon and play some Chain of Command – I noted the useful stuff for the Winter War in the Lardies Winter Special 2016 I just bought (again from the Lardies site, here).

I will also do some forces for IABSM (see here) in 6mm  and maybe some more Chain of Command Continuation war stuff in 15mm.  I also have a few more lead mountain leftovers, that on reflection may trigger renewed interest – there is still some veins of  good lead to be found. I may also put up some action shots as well next year, because we do play some stuff not just paint the buggers.

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Got myself some good reading material on the Continuation war in Swedish over Christmas. The first book discusses strategy used by both sides and the second about fighting in the East Karelia. Both are out of print.

 

With regards to playing games, in addition to those mentioned above, I will try out the new Basic Impetus 2 rules (see here)  and Sword and Spear (see here) using my 6mm Saga War Bands.

I think this far exceeds what I will end up doing, so as an ambition this is absolutely brilliant!

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It is about having fun with your toy soldiers at the end of day. And so we have… thanks for having stopped by.

Please leave some feedback if you want, sign-up here or like the page on face book – and you will be updated on new postings!

For more on Saga in 6mm, click here.

For more on Sharp Practice in 6mm, click here.

For more on the Toward Moscow Trilogy Project, click here.

Now back to the Chain of Command Finnish Platoon for the Winter War (if you have not read the first part you should perhaps go back to the last blog, you can find it here).

The Finnish Winter War Platoon for Chain of Command

You can find the army list here from Too Fat Lardies (The Platoon Force Rating is +0 for regular and +7 for elite, 5 command dice for regular and 6 for Elite).

NOTE: As before the bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.

Platoon Headquarters – Vänrikki Ruotsalainen (Senior Leader with Pistol), Kersantti Hautamäki (Senior Leader with Rifle).

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Platoon HQ

 

Section One – Alikersantti Linna (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).

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First Section

 

Section Two – Alikersantti Paasilinia (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman).  Painted skulls on two of the helmets based on some pictures and original helmets from the war.

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Second Section

 

Section Three – Alikersantti Torvalds (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman).

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Third Section

 

Section Four – Alikersantti Aalto (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).

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Fourth Section

 

Support Options

List 1

Medical Orderly – a artillery crew member with a box painted with a cross and as by magic a medical orderly.

 

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Medical Orderly (yes, I can see the metal base too!)

 

Engineering team – mine clearance, wire cutting, etc. This is a mix of standard and converted models.

 

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Engineering Team

 

SMGs to allocate – These are from Legion East, Resistant Rooster and Battlefront.

 

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SMG Troopers

 

For the Satchel charge, Molotov cocktail and Captured SVT-38 I make a note before play (runners are not represented on the table). Terrainy objects once I get some pictures from an actual game.

List 2

I do not have a model carrying a Russian LMG (Captured). May have to do one.

AT Defense Team – these are from left to right – converted Legion East Grenade Thrower with a log, Battlefront log carrier with Peter Pig Head, Battlefront Original, Resistant Rooster Molotov Cocktail man, ditto from Battlefront and finally a grenade thrower from Legion East. A Motley Crew and mix. However they are more than ready to mess with your tank.

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List 3

Anti-tank Gun, MMG and AT Rifle Team, 5 men (three with rifles) from Battlefront (not sure where the AT Gun is from though).

 

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AT Gun

 

 

 

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MMG Teams

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Advancing

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Shooting

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Shooting

 

Sniper Team – Legion East helper and a Peter Pig German Sniper.

 

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Sniper Team

 

List 4

I am currently working on the Bofors Gun and the captured Soviet Gun – I got these from Battlefront (the 37mm beautifully designed Bofors Gun can be found in the Polish range, just get some Finnish Crew).

List 5

Forward observers – two German models from Peter Pig.

 

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Forward Observers

 

Next I need to figure out what playing surface to use, but that is for another time.

/ That was all for this year, Happy New 2017

Christmas, TMT Progress and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 1 The Soviet Platoon

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Red Army Soldier with the typical pointy Budenovka hat that was still in use during the Winter War period. The picure is taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

Towards Moscow Trilogy Progress

I considered just putting up some old pictures and change the titles – I might get away with it for individual units but I am afraid it would fail en masse at the Joy of Six in July next year. Anyway, joke aside and in line with the promise I solemnly made to myself I did force myself to complete a few more bases for the Project. This time 3 No. Russian Dragoon regiments (As before these are from Baccus 6mm).

Astrachanski Regiment

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Nevska Regiment

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Kievska Regiment

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Winter War – Chain of Command

A little bit of an intro

The Winter War was the invasion by Soviet Union of Finland in 1939 (30 November) to 1940 (13 April) in order to protect its interest as it, amongst other things, perceived Leningrad’s proximity to the Finnish border being a security issue. This short war showed the difference between a bad & overoptimistic plan, inadequate equipment & training for the theatre of war, unmotivated & badly led men (remember Stalin’s 1936 t0 1938 purges of the Red Army leadership) against a disciplined, trained and mobile force of highly motivated soldiers who used the arctic conditions to its advantage. Although the Soviet Union won the war it was not the quick and total victory that had been expected.

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Finnish Propaganda poster from the Winter War saying something like “Comrades, Red Army Soldiers. The Political Commissar drive you into death, and you say “Die yourself, you dog”.

 

Onlookers marveled at the Finnish resolve but more importantly the incompetence and seemingly badly preparedness of the Red Army was noticed by the Germans and this is traditionally seen as one of the contributions to the start of the Barbarossa Campaign in 1941. However, although the lesson was correct in 1940 it did not consider that the Red Army had learned a few lessons too. The sobering and embarrassing experience of the War led the Red Army High command to review its performance and from this implement a number of reforms including changes to tactics, logistics, communications and training of officers. It also introduced the wider use of field mortars to support infantry, toned down the role of the political commissar, as well as the wider use of submachine guns. Although these changes were not fully implemented at the start of the Barbarossa campaign, the Red Army in 1941 was not the same army that invaded Finland in 1939.

The family on my mother’s side are Finnish and I have heard many stories from this period – some heroic but most of them being about the sad realities of war and the people that had to endure them directly and indirectly.  For example one of my relatives, a pioneering educationalist working in the Finnish border areas, had to take home his two sons in coffins during the war – both of them were volunteers and the youngest was 17. My hobby is very much related to war and  I think it is important to remember that in reality it is far from a game.  This awareness does not take out the fun of it but adds respect to how I deal with it.

I recommend you read more about the conflict here and why not get a copy of the Talvisota/Winter War movie while you are at it.  There is a good youtube video with Sabaton’s Talvisota with clips from the Talvisota movie – you can find it here (this is a good one, did I say that?).  Other sources on the net that are worth checking out to start with are:

  • Sami Korhonen’s Battle of the Winter War webpage, here (lots of links to other useful stuff) – very good source.
  • The Jaeger Platoon webpage – weapons, formations and some battle write-ups as well as links to other information, here.
  • Some war stories can be found here. It forms part of the Axis History Forum’s Winter and Continuation war forum (here) with over 1800 topics.
  • And three relevant and good papers:
    • New approaches to the study of Arctic warfare by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
    • Elimination of pockets in Western Lemetti during January – February 1940: Use of German Experience with Storm Troops by the Finnish VI Army Corps, by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
    • Finland in the Winter War by Ville Savin, on the Lardies website, here.

I find the following books useful and a good start:

  • The Winter War: The Russo-Finnish War of 1939-40 by William R. Trotter, link to the publisher here.
  • Finland at War: The Winter War 1939-40, by Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen (the second in the Series about the Continuation War is good too). Link to the publisher here (but could perhaps be bought cheaper elsewhere).

From a Wargaming perspective I intend to use the Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies (they are really good and you can find them here). I also have a few other resources including the Skirmish Campaigns book Finland 39-40 The Winter War (This was not written for the Chain of Command rules but can easily be used for the system, and this have been discussed to some extent at the Chain of Command forum, here search for Skirmish Campaigns and Chain of Command”).

Miniatures Used

I decided to do this project in 15mm and got myself a few packs of miniatures from Battlefront (yes 15mm Flames of War miniatures, sometimes you can find packs on ebay and other alternatives but if this fails buy it directly from Battlefront) as they were doing early war Finns and Soviets for their Rising Sun supplement (Well I got a fair few actually).  The packs are still for Sale and I think they are ok – in addition buy some loose heads from Peter Pig of the German WW1 helmet and you could even buy some Japanese helmets without netting (to simulate the Swedish helmets worn by some units, the Swedish M-26 helmet is being used to make fake Japanese helmets being sold on the collectibles markets), and some German field caps and fur hats and you have some headswap options to create some variety with the same poses. Similarly for the Russian side you can get some early Sovietic helmets (known as the M-36, these were replace by the more iconic SSh-39). Your winter war Russian looks best with the pointy hats and/or the M-36 helmets.

Peter Pigs head range can be found here – snip off the head and drill a little hole, put some superglue and attach the new head (be careful and you will be fine, it is worth it).

I have added some additional things using more Peter Pig (main page here) stuff, some old Resistant Rooster stuff (here) as well as a few really old True North stuff (here, but I am not sure they are still in business?).  But this is really for variety – the only issue with the Battlefront miniatures are the lack of LMGs.

Battlefront Finnish Packs Used

FI721 Jääkari Rifle Platoon (Winter) – main pack

FI722 Jääkäri SMG Platoon (Winter)

FI724 Machine-gun Platoon (Winter)

FI727 Tank-Hunter Platoon (Winter)

FSO113 Finnish Anti-tank Gun Group (Winter)

FSO112 Finnish Artillery Group (Winter)

FSO115 Finnish Sissi Troops (Winter)

SU500 45mm obr 1937 gun

FI570 76K/02 (76mm gun) (x2)

Battlefront Soviet Packs Used

SBX28 Strelkovy Company (Winter) – main pack

SSO120 Greatcoat Command & Komissar Team

SSO152 Artillery Group (Winter)

SU560 76mm obr 1927 gun (x2)

SSO153 Anti-tank Group (Winter)

SSO192 Soviet Dismounted Tank Crew

SSO151 Flame-thrower Platoon (Winter)

SU766 Sappers (Winter) Upgrade

SU301 BA-10

SU040 T-28

SU002 T-26S obr 1939

SU422 Zis-5 3-ton truck (x2)

Now to some more detail on the platoons, the Soviet Platoon this week and the Finnish Platoon next.

The Soviet Platoon

You can find the full army list from Too Fat Lardies here (The Platoon Force Rating is +6 for Regular and -2 for Green, 5 Command Dice when regular and 4 when Green. The Winter war forces are regarded as Green during the initial phase (Nov-39 to Jan-40) and can be regarded as Regular after that).  These are not elegant maneuvering elements – this is brute force! UHRAAAAH!

I tried to go for some variety to the coats but painted the pointy hat in the same colour (with the red star) using a field bluish colour – it gives a somewhat uniform look to the units. It works for me. I got some inspiration from some nice photos from this site – it shows some reenactors of the conflict – both Finnish and Russian.

NOTE: The bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.

Platoon Headquarters – Leytenant Tretiak (Senior Leader with Pistol), Starshina Fetisov (Senior Leader with Rifle). The Starhina is from Battlefront and the Leytenant is from Peter Pig.

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Squad One – Serzhant Kasatonov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Squad Two – Serzhant Krutov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen.All are from Battlefront I added a flag bearer to each squad for show, not sure this is realistic – but it looks good.

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Squad Three – Serzhant Larionov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Squad Four – Serzhant Makarov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Support Options

List 1

SMG upgrade – PPD SMG – I made a few SMG armed ones based on Peter Pig winter war Russians with headswaps (using heads from the Battlefront Peaked cap miniatures or the Early Russian Helmet Head packs from Peter Pig). Not a very common weapon at this time of the war.

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SMG Troops

 

SVT-38 Semi-auto rifles – did not do specials for these. They were being tried during the Finnish Winter War. If they are used we just make a note and get on with it. Slightly longer than the normal rifle and a with a cartridge magazine. The initial reaction of the troops to this new rifle was negative as it was felt it was cumbersome, difficult to maintain and the magazine could fall of the rifle.

Engineering Teams – 3 men for each (Mine clearance, Wire Cutting, Demolition or what ever). These are from the Battlefront Sappers pack.

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Engineering Teams

 

Other more terrainy stuff have to wait until I do my next battle (Minefield, Barded wire, entrenchments)

List 2

Mortar teams using the 50-PM 38 (50-mm company mortar model 1938), comes in the base winter infantry pack.

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Mortar Team

 

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Mortar Team 2

 

Flamethrower team, armed with the ROKS-2 Flamethrower designed to be easy to conceal on the battlefield (22.7kg, effective range 25 meters, but could fire up to 30-35 meters). The Finns captured some of these and they were later put in use as the Add to dictionary M/41-r. Nasty weapons. The are from the Flamethrower platoon pack.

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Flamethrower team

 

For the pathetic but charming T37 see picture below, do not have a T-27 Tankette or a BA-20.

List 3

Sniper Team – this is just a standard infantry model from Battlefront without the bayonet and his spotter.

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Sniper Team

 

M1910 Maxim MMG (Will do a few more) – very dark picture again from Battlefront.

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MMG Team

 

Political Commissar/Officer – I think this is a headswap story with a Peter Pig body and a Battlefront Peaked hat head. He is screaming out communist propaganda whilst running into the sights of the White Death.

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Political Comissar

 

For the T26 see the tank picture at the end. These are Battlefront.

 

List 4

Another infantry squad – Serzhant Pushkin (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. This time with the early War Russian helmet bodies from Battlefront and heads from Peter Pig – Early Russian helmets.

I need to paint the 45mm AT Gun and the 75mm infantry gun, I got both these from Battlefront.

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Additional Infantry Squad

 

List 5

For the Kht-26 flamethrower tank and the T28 see the tank picture at the end. The Flamethrower tank is from Zvezda and the T-28 from Battlefront.

List 6

T28E (using the T28 again), see the picture below.

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The Garage and some tank crew from Battlefront. The T-28 commander is from the Winter Infantry Set (just cut off the top part and actually looks more the part). As for the bases I need to winterize these at some point.

 

I hope this was of some use, I will show the Finnish Platoon next week…

/ All the very best, and seasonal greetings! Keep toy soldiering on!

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) Part 3 – Accelerate or break!

I have just reviewed the children’s Christmas wish lists to do some final clicks on Amazon trying to support the market in its constant struggle to achieve equilibrium. I have not done a wish list for myself for a long time, my mother still asks me what I want every year and I normally answer peace on earth! – the best battles are fought on the tabletop with toy soldiers.

I tend to cherish experiences and last year I enjoyed the visit we did to the reenactment of the Battle of Hastings (see here for some notes from the day) or another example is when we went on the Dreknor boat in Caretan (Normandy) a few years back.  I like to get an insight in how things looked like, worked and/or felt, it is sometimes difficult to capture this from the pages of a history book.  So I do hope to get a similar experience of some kind in 2017.

Talking about experiences I took the children to watch Rogue One this evening – overall I thought it was fantastic fun and so did the kids (well, except the middle one!).  I have to admit that Episode VII and this movie has reinvigorated my faith in the Force again. Although I do not think I ever lost it!  A Light Saber that would be nice, I think I put that on my wish list.

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I had a splendid day a few years ago on the Dreknor that is a ‘genuine’ replica of a Viking Longboat and offers a unique experience of being in a seafaring vehicle that for its time was pretty amazing and capable of maneuvers in shallow rivers as well as on the open ocean. I do hope I will get an opportunity to get out with the crew again at some point in the future. Here is a link if you are in Normandy and interested.

I have a friend who used to compete in long distance motorcycle off-road events whose motto used to be, and I suppose still is, “Accelerate or break!”.  It dawned on me that I was coming to a position with the Towards Moscow Trilogy project (see here for a summary of what the heck this is all about) where I had to get real and stop faffing about. So after being told off by myself I will stop this wishy washy stuff and get on with some painting instead.

I actually have not completed any bases of miniatures since August for this project, so I decided to complete at least ten bases by the end of each week. Here is how I got on this week (in red bases completed this week):

Russian Units for Lesnaya, TMT Part 1 Type Need Done
Preobrazhenski Infantry 3 3
Semenovski Infantry 3 3
Ingermanlandski Infantry 3 3
Astrachanski Infantry 1 1
 Menshikovs livskvadron  Cavalry 3 3
 Vladimirska Cavalry 4 4
 Sibirska Cavalry 3 3
 Nizjegorodska Cavalry 4 4
 Vjatska Cavalry 3
Nevska Cavalry 3
Kievska Cavalry 3
Novgorodska Cavalry 4
Rostovska dragonregementet Cavalry 4
Ustjuzjska dragonregementet Cavalry 4  
Smolenska Cavalry 3 3
Troitska Cavalry 3 3
Jamburgska Cavalry 3
Karpolska Cavalry 4
Tverska Cavalry 3 3
Koporski Cavalry 2
Narvski Cavalry 3
Olonetski Cavalry 4

And the mandatory proof (All 6mm scale from Baccus).

 

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Menshikov’s Life Squadron

 

 

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Vladimirski Dragoon Regiment

 

 

 

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Nizjegorodski Dragoon Regiment

 

I am currently at the final hurdle of finishing of a Finnish and a Sovietic platoon for Chain of Command in 15mm – so I may do a few notes on these in the next few blogs.

I also got my order of Waggons from Baccus so we will continue doing the Supply column in the next few weeks or so.

/ May the force be with you and Toysoldier on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead astray or a hike to the snow cladded lead mountain – Part 2

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Swedes attacking a defended Saxon position (Miniatures from Baccus)

With a little help to my friends

Twilight of the Sun King Rules

Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules I talked about in an earlier blog (see here) are now published by the Pike and Shot society.  I really enjoy these fast play rules that makes it possible to play large horse and musket battles during late 17th and early 18th century in a reasonable time. Basing is adaptable and the rules works at two levels standard/brigade and regimental scale. In the standard scale a unit represents brigade or its equivalent (2,000 infantry or 1,000 cavalry – so about 4 battalions or 8 squadrons). For the regimental scale a unit equates to 1,000 infantry or 500 cavalry.  I play the game in the regimental scale, as I do GNW where the battles tends to be smaller and I have more than enough miniatures to play in this scale, using two 60 by 30mm bases for a unit with a total frontage of 120mm per unit. This is the same basing I use for the Polemos, Maurice and the Might and Reason rules. Further the units can be classified as small or large to allow for the variation in units sizes during the period, e.g. to deal with smaller elite units etc.

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The rules are, to quote Nick from the Design Philosophy notes, “…radical, some would say reductionist, in their conception. It is based on the premise that during this time period, morale rather than numbers of casualties was the key to deciding combat and even the outcome of battles. Many wargames rules pay lip-service to this; however, these rules take the radical step of collapsing shooting and close combat into morale. This dramatically simplifies game play but does so, in the designers’ opinion, without significant loss of historical accuracy.”

The Rules as well as a Scenario book is now available from the Pike and Shot Society and can be obtained from them, http://www.pikeandshotsociety.org/, and other retail outlets.

The scenario book is called Louis XIV at War and features 10 battles – 4 of these are from the War of the Grand Alliance (1688 to 1697) and the other 6 from the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). Each scenario includes orders of battles and a map.

A second scenario book is being worked on and will cover the Great Northern War and the Ottoman wars.

There is a Yahoo group:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TwilightSK/info

and you can contact nick via wyreforestgamers@yahoo.co.uk

Collection Calculator

Another friend of mine, Peter Riley, came up with an idea for a Wargames collection calculator when he went to the Newbury show this year. As he walked and talked to gamers at the show it emerged from the many conversations he had is that we don’t know, in detail, what we have in our collections and what they are worth.  So to keep a good record of all the elements we have in our growing collections seemed a good idea.

A beta website has been set up here – http://collectioncalculator.com/ . Peter is looking for feedback on what you may think.

I think it is a brilliant idea and could be used to manage your collection, get an idea about its value for a sale or how much to insure your collection for. Try it out and if you like the general idea support it by letting them know how it can be improved.

In a recent Meeples and Miniatures episode the hosts discussed the issue about insuring your stuff when they were speculating what they would do if they lost their collection and got the opportunity to do it all again being given the full value from the insurance company. If you do not know what you have and are not adequately insured then this scenario could end it tears and not in speculation on what you would replace or not.

By the way Peter Riley is the author of a few sets of wargame rules, including the ACW rules Crisis of Allegiance and On They Came as well as the Franco-Prussian Wars rules Kommandant de Battaile and Kommandant de Armee. He is working on a few new sets including a colonial set called A Steady and Deliberate Fire.

Winter is coming

I have presented two Great Northern War battles at the Joy of Six show that took place during the winter season with snow and misery on the battle field – Fraustadt 1706 (with a mention in an earlier post here) and Gadebusch 1712.   I really like wintery landscapes having been brought up in Sweden, where minus degrees and snow is a constant for a large part of the year. It engulfs the land and when Spring finally comes it feels like the land has been subjected to some form of annual cleansing.

When I first did the Fraustadt Battle I was hesitant in “winter basing” the armies as I was going to do Klissow where I could have “re-used” a lot of the miniatures especially on the Saxon side. However the contrast between a wintery table and the rectangular zone of summer really annoyed me when I had finished the table and set up the bases on it.  So I got on with drybrushing all of the bases with white and then topped them up with some wintery tufts – it was worth the effort. Following the Gadebusch battle I now have fully sized GNW armies for the Swedes, Saxons and the Danes ready to rumble any time of the year.

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The Saxon forces at Fraustadt did stand and wait for the Swedes for a while but I do not think that it resulted in the grass growing, or that they had some Astro Turf ready to roll out. I agree with the fact that basing should make the miniatures stand out but this a little bit over the top!

So apart from the snow ventures above I have a passion, or perhaps compulsion, for the Winter War 1939-40.  It is a very interesting conflict and I went with the Baker Company Winter War 28mm Kickstarter a few years back – the project did not really go as intended and I only got part of what I expected. Instead I decided to go for it in 15mm and have recently completed enough to start playing some  Chain of Command with a Platoon with some options for each side (I will do a future posting for the Finnish and the Russian/Sovietic platoon).  I am also keen to try out the IABSM (I ain’t been shot Mum) rules from Company Sized actions. Both these rules are from the eminent makers of rules at Too Fat Lardies (Chain of Command here and IABSM here).

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Finnish Soldiers from the 1939-40 Winter War. The Light Machine Gun is the M-26 7.62mm Lahti-Saloranta.  The picture is taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.  This is a conflict to which the lead mountain has attracted permanent visitors from a number of scales.

So for IABSM I have a few options, (i) expand the 15mm platoons for Chain of Command, (ii) use the Pithead 10mm ones I bought a few years back or (iii) try out the 6mm Finnish from Heroics and Ros.

I bought a few test strips from Heroics and Ros from their Finnish Range and also a strip from the Snow/Ski Troopers.  I decided to paint these and base them to see how they would look like and put them on a 65 by 65mm base. I am pleased how they came out and I think it will work well for the IABSM rules (although I would probably use 25mm bases) – I hope you agree (Note one of the pictures show some 15mm miniatures from the Chain of Command Finns).  I used some snow flock mixed with Matte Mod Podge for the basing, it looks slightly better for real than in the photos.  I am going to do a winter company for the Finns, Russians and Germans as they did some combined operations with the Finns.  With this scale it should not take very long to complete a company worth of miniatures. It will look fantastic.

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I think I have to order some more from Heroics and Ros. For the Pithead stuff, well I have no problem with it staying on the mountain for now!  The 28mm Baker Company stuff I did get I will probably get rid off.

Not really Winter but cold as death

About 2 months ago I wrote about some new 6mm miniatures from Microworld Games (see here). I did not buy the Landsknechts this time but I bought the new duelists and peasants as well as a large number of zombies and ghouls for another little project I am working on (I am doing the Saga Revenants faction in 6mm when I have time). Anyway, I got them this week as it was a pre-order, and I really liked the look of the duelists and the peasants – some of these will be used for my Sharp Practice games. I could not resist painting up a little vignette on a 60 by 60mm base with some zombies controlled by a witch/necromancer (from Perfect Six)  attacking three witch hunters (the duelists) supported by a few farmers.  This is a homage to a roleplaying scenario I played when I was a kid (well at least a younger kid) and actually a Christmas present to a very dear friend.

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Ok next time I will get on with some Great Northern War stuff and the Towards Moscow Project / Keep on toysoldiering!

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Gadebusch 1712 from Joy of Six 2015 – the Swedes advancing over the frozen fields towards the Danes.

Lead astray or a hike to the lead mountain – Part 1

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Recently I have been rummaging around my various past projects and  found a fair few forgotten ones – they all seemed like a good idea at the time. I felt myself obliged to consider whether I could reignite the fire/impulse that had trigger the start of these projects in the first place – if not I may as well get rid of them.  These projects range from a number of unopened packs to being considerably started and with a few bases even being completed!  I thought one way of going about this process was to paint a few models for each project and then see how I felt in taking them to the very end.

The World’s Smallest Wargame

The smallest unfinished project I found was a little vignette Peter Berry gave me at the Baccus open day a few years back. This is normally held the day before the Joy of Six and gives a chance to see how Peter and Igor produce the little soldiers.  The model depicts two 6mm scale war gamers playing a war-game. I decided to give it some acrylic love and base it up. I thought it would be fun to plant it on the table for the next outing and see if someone spots it. I wish they were all that easy!

Note: I added the BIC pen with a diameter of 9mm to the picture as I occasionally are being contacted by people who wonder how tall these guys are. In general when we refer to scale in Xmm it is the measure of the height from the base of the miniature to the eye level or the top of the head. Baccus in general are between 6 to 7mm and the two gentlemen here are 7mm (the bearded bloke) and 6.5mm (the accountant) respectively.

In the next section I will be showing 15mm soldiers and these are of course about 15mm from the base of the miniature to the eye level.  But remember that these scales are indicative and the actual size of a Xmm miniatures can vary significantly between different manufactures and sometimes even between their ranges.

I used a BIC pen as it is probably one of the most known items on the planet (I made that up!) and based on my extensive research has sold over 100 billion pens since the 1950s that is enough pens to stretch 40 times the distance from the earth to the moon if laid end to end.

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Western Front 1940

Another, and perhaps a better example, of these projects was to use the Skirmish campaign books and the Arc of Fire ruleset to do some early France 1940 WW2 platoon level scenarios. I had started painting a few of them but there was still some work to do.

I intend to put some effort into this and use the excellent Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies. I printed out the Chain of Command army list  for the German 1940 platoon (you can download it here) and checked that I had the right amount of miniatures (these being 15mm and mainly from the excellent Peter Pig range) and realized I had most of what I needed and fairly quickly over the last few weeks got to a state of having them all block painted and based. This included some support options like anti-tank rifle, AT-guns, infantry gun, sniper team, heavy machine guns, flamethrower unit and a forward observer. What remains is some washing, highlighting and base detailing. They are individually based on 15mm washers (with a magnet in the hole) and prone LMGs, heavy machine guns, 50mm mortar and AT rifles on small flames of war bases.  I base the AT and Infantry guns on medium flames of war bases.   In addition I need to do some vehicles, but this should not be too difficult for early Germans!

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From the German 1940 Army List for Chain of Command – you can download the full list here.

 

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Painted batch to date.

 

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Sniper in the middle, PAK 36 AT Gun to the right and a rifle section to the left.

 

I have also made good progress on the BEF 1940 Platoon using some old Skytrex and Peter Pig Miniatures. We should be able to wrap this project up in a not too distant future.

Joe Dever

I was saddened to hear that Joe Dever had died a few days ago. He was one of my childhood heroes who allowed me to become one as well every now and then in the fantastic world of Magnamund. I met Joe a few years ago at a gaming convention where he was busy taking pictures of the proceedings. We had a short but very enjoyable chat. Hats off to you Sir!

The picture is of the Swedish translation of his first game book “Flight from the Dark”.

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/ Have a good week