I based the two German Platoons I made last week for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season (this being the What-if German Invasion of Sweden in 1943) on Sunday evening. These are the Skytrex 15mm ones that form part of the first part of the Campaign – the Northern Approach through Dalecarlia. This part of the Campaign will be infantry vs infantry with limited options for heavier support (perhaps an armoured car for the Germans, etc). I have a few ideas that I think will work well in a setting like this. Anyway here they are:
On Saturday I was invited to play a game of Chain of Command in Dulwich by Iain Fuller. This was one of the South London Warlords Saturday game days – they run these on the second Saturday every month – on this occasion a few Too Fat Lardies games were played. It was a really good game and although I lost I had the best of times. It was tense and hang in the balance more than once, more than a few bad rolls but then again a few good ones too. Chain of Command is a very enjoyable game! Below a few pictures from the day. it was nice to meet up with Iain Fuller and his chums, seeing Dave Brown again and having a chat with Rich Clarke. I may have a solution for playtesting the Swedish Campaign stuff thanks to Iain and Des – I will get back to you shortly.
This contains an updated file to that one presented in a previous blog post (see here), some corrections and information for both Rifle Platoon (Skyttepluton) and Ranger Platoon (Jägarpluton).
POST NOTE: The Mortar team in the support option states 3 crew, it should be a crew of 2. Also the KP-bil was not equipped with a MG during the WW2 era, so is probably more a list One or Two option.
During the hostilities of WW2 the Royal Swedish Army was undergoing a lot of changes and the most significant at the Platoon level was the change introduced in 1943 (the so called 43M organisation). This introduced more power for the Rifle Platoon by equipping the NCOs with SMGs, adding 2 No. Semi-Automatic rifles to each section. Further firepower was also provided by the introduction of a fifth specialist team with a 47mm Mortar Section and an Anti-tank rifleman to each Platoon. In addition a rifleman per section was a designated Sharpshooter and had a scoped rifle.
These changes were gradual and we suggest that the player can choose to play either the 1940 to 1943 or the 1943 to 1945 Rifle Platoon for the 1943 campaign. As an example the number of sub-machine guns and semi-automatic rifles would be aspirational in 1943.
These list allows you to field a normal Rifle Platoon (Skyttepluton) or a Ranger Platoon (Jägarpluton). The latter was more than often be used to do specific recon missions and to distress the enemy. These platoons would most often march onto to the battlefield, with a platoon cart and a horse. Some platoons may be equipped with bikes and some may even be driven to the battlefield in a truck.
Hope they are of some use, the file can be downloaded here.
[The Little One has written the blog today… I will write a little bit more next week from my perspective, but enough of me…]
I asked my Papa (that is what I call my Dad) if I could write the blog post today as we both went to the Show. I played two games at Salute. I could have played more but some were demonstration games whilst other were crowded when we went there and Papa tended to stop and talk to all kind of people that he knows. We did not maximise the playing time very well – but we both did have a good time and I know he likes to talk. I wanted to play the Omaha Beach game but it was full every time we went there – it looked really good [ed: this was the Omaha Beach game put on by Peterborough Wargames Club]. I will write about the two games I did play in more detail below, but first a few general things.
I did like
I really enjoyed the show, there is a lot to do and buy;
I got myself 3 Tiger tanks in 15mm from Peter Pig and they gave me a bonus miniature (thanks!) and I also got the Osprey Book about the Tiger I. We also bought a target lock laser line each – this will help us when we determine whether something is in an arc of fire or not. It avoids arguments, I tend to be more rules strict than my opposition (like Papa). I always see Peter Pig at shows and Papa has a lot of their WW2 stuff – I think he has the world record. I also got some dice, but they were not very exciting.
Everyone was friendly to me and answered all my questions really well;
There is a lot of different games at this show, I really like historical games but you could also play fantasy and science fiction (I was looking for someone playing Star Wars Legion but I could not find any, we play it at home so I was not too sad about it). Some games are more like street fights but there are a lot of very big battles as well;
We went to the venue using the Cable Car – it is very exciting, and
They always have some cool people with costumes at the show, like Star Wars and 40k. This year they had a Spartan from the HALO universe too.
I did not like
I was looking for some of the latest Star Wars Legion releases but the traders were only selling older stuff from the range – things I already have.
I am not used to walking around that much and should have taken better shoes.
The Battle of The Little Big Horn 1876 – The Wargamer Collection Calculator
The first game I played was the Battle of Little Big Horn, it was fought in 1876. It was a battle between 650 soldiers of the US 7th Cavalry regiment under the command of Lt Colonel Custer against Allied Native American tribes led by Sitting Bull. It was fought over land that had been given to the Native Americans but the Government wanted to take it back because they found gold in the region.
The game was cleverly designed and was played on four different boards, each linking to the other boards and events were interconnected. First I played as the Indians but later I took the role of Custer himself, and my strategy was to get into the Indian village and take the women, elders and children hostage. However I found this challenging, first I attacked when I thought the Warriors had gone off hunting but they were still around, second I had left my Gatling guns behind. During the game, I found myself facing three different enemy leaders (one being commanded by my Dad) but managed to fight bravely and get into the actual village, but unfortunately I had lost my bonus (as my leader – Custer had taken injuries) and had nothing to counter the Native Americans – ensuring my defeat. I did put up a brave fight and when I talked to Peter who was one of the organisers at the end he said that I was the closest to Victory on that day. I do not like losing and felt annoyed at first, but I realised that as a consequence the children and the women would be safe – so that is a good thing.
It was a really good game, and I really recommend it if you see it on another show. It is being run by the Wargamer Collection Calculator – you can find a link to them here. I heard that they won best Participation Game on the day – I think they deserved it. I hope I can play it again at Joy of Six in July as I will be going there this year [ed: as if you had any choice mate!]. I am getting the book about the Battle by Philbrick.
Space Vixens from Mars – “Meine Ehre heiβt Treue”, The Road to Castle Itter May 1945
The second game was interesting too and was about a situation at the end of WW2 where a German Army Major and an American Lieutenant joined forces to save French prisoners in the Austrian Alps. These prisoners were being guarded by loyal SS Soldiers at Castle Itter, determined to ensure that the prisoners are terminated.
In the game I played the German major and his two squads of the finest German Army Soldiers. We had to convince the SS checkpoints at two stages to successfully enable us to get behind the PAK 40 AT Gun and the Tiger Tank the SS soldiers were equipped with. This would allow me to conduct a surprise attack whilst the American approached the SS position with his Sherman tanks. Once the Shermans were spotted, they concentrated their fire on the Tiger and managed to disable it. I overwhelmed the gun crew and put some of my men to operate it and managed to use it to destroy some enemy positions. The American commander did his job well and finished off the remaining opposition. As a results we managed to free the prisoners. All-in-all another great game indeed. They were using the SFD rules. Really nice people (Phil, Gary and Steve) and they have a webpage too (link here) [Ed: and thanks to Josh Shuck who played the American Commander].
/ Hope that was of some interest, Great Show and Great day. Thanks to the organisers and all the people who put on nice games and shared the hobby with me!
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.
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
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….