On Saturday the Little One and I had a real treat as we were invited to Mike Whittaker’s Mill Studios (@TaTM_blog on twitter) to play the eminent Omaha Beach game that we had missed to play at Salute this year (see link here). The Little One, Andy (who built the terrain but never played the scenario) and I played the American Side, we were being skillfully empired by Mike who also played the Germans. We
The scenario is from the excellent IABSM scenario book called “Where have you been boys” and can be bought from the Too Fat Lardies website here.
This is scenario Six and in the book and promises “The game will be nasty, bloody and gritty, it shouldn’t be anything else”. It takes place at the eastern end of Omaha beach (Colleville-Sur-Mer) and involves the US 1st Infantry Division – the Big Red One. This is very much the scenes from Saving Private Ryan stuff. The scenario shows the difficulties on the day and for this kind of operation in general. The Germans have relative little Firepower but are in very good protected position whilst the Americans are mainly in the open up to the shingles of the beach, then protected by the cliffs before having to be in the open again trying to get through the wires and mine fields.
The US forces, just like on the day come in waves, and basically first wave took a lot of damage, so did the second but managed to clear some wires and take out some of the nests form a distance, then the final and third wave started to turn the balance. It was a different wargame in that most of the time, from our American side, was spent hoping that the next barrage of artillery, HE guns, sniper fire and MG would not wipe the whole section out and that some of the men who survive and get to the shingles and momentarily be safe. The two Sherman tanks who had made it to the beach did provide some initial fire power but they were soon taken out. It was very sobering and certainly kept to the promise in the scenario book, as it was indeed “nasty, bloody and gritty” and leaves you with a lot of reflection on the terrors facing the men on that day. We had to leave just as the third wave had arrived, but at this time it looked like the first part of the job was done, at least on the side of the beach I was not responsible for (luckily Andy and the Little One had cleared a lot of wire on their side of the board).
Mike had added a few features like General Norman “Dutch” Cota, coming as part of the second wave, who was useful in rallying and getting some moving on where needed and also Robert Capa who took some iconic photos.
A few other memorable moments was the first shot from the Sherman leading to one of the guns in the bunker getting out of action and the off–table German 88 being taken out by some Royal Navy guns very early. In addition the effect of artillery and the way it works is really effectful and realistic (as is the use of HE weapons) leading to units becoming pinned and stopped in their tracks – not based on casualties in itself – I really like this (keeping your head down). Some of my units arrived without leaders and it was difficult to get these men up to beach to do their job – the unit with the leaders fared better but I was let down by some bad dice rolling (rolling ones, who would have believed that!).
What follows are a lot of pictures from the day. I believe that Mike will be doing a write up of his thoughts from having played the scenario a number of times in the upcoming Lard Magazine that will be out later in the year.
All the miniatures were from Battlefront!, except for a few Peter Pig casualty markers.
As for the Little One and I? I think we both would be tempted to do something similar perhaps in 6mm?, one day!
It was a great day indeed, thanks for having us Mike.
I was going to progress on the main project this Sunday doing some bespoke terrain mats for Lesnaya (well at least starting them), but felt a little bit tired after spending the evening watching the news about yet another horrendous terror attack this time in London. I work a stone throw from London Bridge and have spent a fair few evenings in Borough Market. I decided to listen to the latest (two!!) Meeples and Miniatures podcasts (link here and here) and to do some gardening to clear my mind as I did not find myself even close to a creative mood. My thoughts are with those affected directly and indirectly in the recent terror attacks in Manchester, Kabul and London. Mats will have to be done later.
A little bit of effort this week
I have wanted to try out the IABSM (I ain’t been Shot Mum) rules for some time and decided (a few weeks ago) to make two forces to try these rules out – some British Paratroopers and some German Grenadiers. I have seen some nice games in the past using 6mm miniatures (that is more or less the ground scale of the rules) – So I got myself a fair few packs of Brits and Germans from Baccus (here is a link to their WW2 section).
I was initially considering doing some Winter War themed 6mm stuff but had a change of mind as I already have a lot of Winter War stuff in 15mm (see more here showing the nice winter war stuff from Herois and Ros in 6mm) – but perhaps in the future. Heroics have a nice range of Winter geared soldiers and since the Germans and the Finns had the same type of helmet it is easy to make a Finnish force.
Having been encouraged by the recent 6mm skirmish stuff (see more in the individual links: (i) Sharp Practice, (ii) Men who Would be Kings, and the recent (iii) Pikeman’s Lament) I thought I would do the companies for each force in a way that I could play Chain of Command as well using one of the platoons. I have platoons for the Winter War in 15mm and Germans and British for 1940 Europe, but not for Normandy. One of my very good friends live in Normandy and it would make it easy to take the stuff with me on my next trip.
Incidentally, there is a scenario in one of the Lardies Special about the fighting around the Pegasus bridge (it is the Summer Special 2006 – What’s for Afters?, link here). I also have a 6mm Pegasus bridge that I spent far too much monies on, so I better get some use out of it. The Paratrooper company could be scaled down to represent a glider company.
Testing with the 8th Army
I quickly painted a platoon of early war 8th Army guys this week (they are 6mm Adler figures that I bought some years back, here is a link to the range) as I found them on the lead mountain. I based them so I could use them in a chain of command scenario and also to get a feel on how it looked. I have to admit that I am really please with the results and I really like the way the basing turned out.
The bases are 12mm to 20mm washers (see here for how I tend to get them). There is a Lieutenant (Pistol, 15mm), Platoon Sergeant (SMG, 15mm), 2″ mortar team (20mm), Boyes AT rifle team (20mm), 3 Junior Leaders (SMG, 15mm) for each section and 3 sections of two teams; Bren team (3 miniatures, two on a 20mm base and one on 12mm base) and rifle team (6 miniatures, 3 on a 20mm base, 2 on a 15mm base and one on a 12mm base). Note that I have stopped using the 9mm base – as I feel it is too small.
In summary, three sections like this (from left to right), Junior Leader with SMG (one tuft to indicate his leadership ability), 3 man Bren team and 6 man rifle team.
Senior Commander (Platoon Sgt with SMG), Senior Commander (Lt with Pistol) – both with two tufts to indicate their status. In addition a Boyes team and a 2 inch mortar team.
Supports – 2 man sniper team, Medical orderly, 3 man engineering team and 5 man (forgot one in the picture) HMG team.
I think I need to get some Afrikakorps as well, this test got a little bit too inspirational. I have heard that the GHQ vehicles works very well with Adler.
Anyway I have spray-painted the necessary stuff for the Normandy Stuff and will complete them at some point this Summer.
Dragon’s Rampant in 6mm
I also dug up some 6mm fantasy stuff I have (some bought recently and some a little bit older) as I ordered a copy of Dragon’s Rampant last week – it is the same “engine” as Pikeman’s Lament and the Men who would be Kings. The Little One has enjoyed these games and asked me for some fantasy – so why not. I am planning on doing Goblins (with miniatures from Baccus, link here, and Microworld Games, link here) and some high powered knights (based on the Dragon order from Perfect six, see link here).
Here are a few picture of the basecoated (grey basecoat with black ink) stuff.
/ That is all for this week, take care of yourself.
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.
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.
and you can contact nick via firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Ok next time I will get on with some Great Northern War stuff and the Towards Moscow Project / Keep on toysoldiering!