Monday, April 22, 2013


Today was a very special day – I played a game of Dreadnought with my daughter.  It was her first time and she went the British in the Battle of the Denmark Strait scenario.  We had some good ups and downs and the Bismarck was almost caught a few times.  The game ended in a draw, which was a good outcome.  The game’s visuals are perhaps a bit dated by today’s standards, but it still gave a good game of “battleships” which had been my daughter’s request.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Napoleonic East Prussian Grenadiers

I received these figures from my mum for last Christmas (well I selected and ordered them and she paid J ).  They are from Warmodelling Miniatures, product codes LN-24 and LN-25.  They were very cleaning castings and painted up well as the 1st and 2nd East Prussian Grenadiers.  I now have two 20PrGN brigades for my Napoleon’s Battles Prussians, units that will also double as Prussian Guard if need be.  I had put off raising these units as the figures available all came with the distinctive plume; I was lucky Warmodelling recently produced them.

A first for me was using paper flags.  I also painted them in one go – normally I would have painted one brigade and then the other.  It also meant that I have finished this project.
I am pleased I did go for the mass painting as it meant I could implement a bit of uniformity in figure poses when I made up the bases, they are elite after all and should be able to march in step, especially being Prussians.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

French versus Austrians and Russians

Richard and I undertook another 800 point Napoleon’s Battles game.  This time it was an X meeting engagement with Richard’s Russians coming in from one corner of the table and his Austrians from the other.  To meet them I had two corps coming in from each corner on my side of the table.  The rationale was that the surrounding terrain was rough and that the centre of the table represented a strategic road junction that would allow the armies to link up. 

We set the battle in April 1809, sunrise was at 5:30 and we figured the armies would be well on the way by 9:30 and set that as the start time.  The French decided to come on straight away in march column while the Russians and Austrians decided to take two turns to deploy and come on ready to fight.  This was probably the most critical decision of the game.

In the above picture the French I Corps cavalry is racing ahead while the II Corps has reached the centre and is about to start the challenge of deploying.  The two best corps commanders where on this flank and would need all the skill to keep things moving.  Luckily they passed all their command tests.

On the French right the III Corps has already deployed into column while the Guard Light Cavalry, represented by my hodge podge collection of red lancer figures, is coming on as the lead element of the Guard Corps.

The Austrians can be seen approaching on the French right.  They looked menacing, but were plagued with command problems that slowed them down.

The French on the left can see where they must go (I love the officer in the front pointing the way).  The Russians appear in the distance and seem far away.  They were in fact the larger force, but were hemmed in by the terrain for a while.

On the French left the time has now reached 13:00 and deployment has just about completed.  Phew!  The French cavalry has massed both here and in the centre ...

 Ready to attack the Russians.

After two hours of fighting the Russians had been halted, but not before they threw in their Guard cavalry.  The Russian artillery had not been very effective and the French got an early advantage when they knocked out a number of the Russian batteries.

The Austrians had also been held with some valiant fighting by a brigade of Old Guard which had been flung forward in order to preserve the integrity of the French central position (which had allowed the French army commander to take control of all four of his corps and deploy troops to either side as the situation called for it).  The above picture also shows the damage the Russian Guard Cavalry had done, but it was now a spent force and about to be blown away.  The French Carabineers lead by a newly painted general were about to charge the Austrians who had been pinned by the Old Guard.  However it was at this stage that we ended the game with Austrian and Russian 15:00 turn.  Just about all my troops had been engaged, with the exception of the reserve horse artillery which I had been unusually tardy in bringing up – I should have force marched them.

When I had selected this army I found I was one corps commander short.  With just over a week to go I was able to select the figures from my lead mountain, clean them up and paint them, using my trusty Funcken book as a guide.

And very pleased I am too with the Old Glory Marshal Ney figure and ADC.

The Napoleon’s Battles rules played well, although we did have to look up a few tricky things with the mass of cavalry react, recall and pursuit moves that occurred.

I also tried colour coding the labels and while successful, next time I will use darker shades to denote corps and divisions and also better space out the letters used to denote the formations as I, II and III all blur when viewed peering down at the table from a few feet.

It was a pleasure to be able run this army using the figures I have collected over the last twenty years as well as the joy of the recent addition.  It represented just about all the French I have, with only a few stands spare and a couple of foreign brigades not used (although my Hessians were).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zvedza German 20mm Flak38 Anti-Aircraft gun 1/72 scale

I had looked at the Zvedza products in my local wargames shop, but decided they weren’t for me – I wanted to concentrate on other things and had enough WW2 models to last a lifetime or two.  However, the other week I was browsing and I noticed the price.  It was just after Easter and I had not splurged on any chocolates so I thought I’d treat myself to one of the Zvedza models instead.  The problem then became which one?

I didn’t have this model in my collection so I thought it was a good choice.  I was expecting to be disappointed based on experiences with east European models from many years ago.

On opening the box my immediate thought was “Kinder surprise for wargammers!”  I was expecting one or two pieces and nowhere near the detail I was presented with.

My second surprise was how well everything went together.  That was until I hit the elevating block which I couldn’t get to snap in properly and the sight which seemed happy to pop out whenever the seated gunner was attached.  I ended up using tweezers and a good coat of PVA glue to secure the completed model.

It painted up well and I was very happy with the result and look forward to treating myself to more of the Zvedza range.  I have only partly finished basing it as I am considering adding more crew if I can find suitable figures in my spares boxes.
I used a 60mm square of MDF board as an experiment.  All my circa 1/72nd scale WW2 models and figures are planned to be based on increments of 30mm, more to aid with packing than anything else.  This model would have fitted within 40mm square, but I was thinking from the start of room for the full crew which I understand is around seven men.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Counterattack on the Dvina June 1941

My aim was to adapt a scenario from Where the Iron Crosses Grow for the Spearhead WW2 rules for use as a Blitzkrieg Commander Counterattack game.

The Germans have seized a bridgehead across the Dvina and are just regrouping prior to pushing on with their offensive.  The Soviets are either fleeing or choosing to surrender, however some decide to counterattack.  More information can be found here:

The Soviets had thier scheduled artillery firing concentrated barrages, but with the exception of the first strike these missed their targets as the Germans generally vacated the wooded areas and came out fighting.

Looking at the opening turn from the eastern edge the Soviets had made slow progress with the exception of one heavy tank battalion that was just about to crest a central hill.  The Germans were already redeploying from the wood on their right, after the antitank gun took out a Soviet armoured car.

On the western half of the battlefield the Soviet flank attack was very successful and was able to take advantage of the opening artillery barrage which had hit the Germans holding the wood.

The two other battalions of the 144th Rifle regiment were distinctly tardy and the commanding officer on this side initially blundered onto the battlefield and then on the next turn blundered off.

After the 144th Rifle Regiment’s HQ had fled the field the flanking battalion fought on extremely well, but the other two battalions hardly moved.  The Germans came out to attack and while engaging the Soviet flank attack that was now holding the wood, they were subjected to return fire that wiped them out.

Back on the Soviet left the motorised infantry had finally arrived.  The German 8th Panzer regiment had knocked out a good number of the Soviet heavy armour, but more was on its way.

This is the situation at turn 5 on the Soviet right, with the battalion holding the wood having driven off the Germans, while the other two battalions advanced extremely slowly.  The command failings were not limited to the Soviets as at the climax of the tank battle in the centre, the German panzer regiment failed its command.  The German overall commander then took over but it too failed: disaster!

This is just before the end with Soviet tanks now successfully engaging the enemy, although they had suffered significant losses.  Off picture on the far left is another battalion of Soviet tanks coming round the right flank of the Germans.  With the Germans now exposed and facing superior numbers it was only a short time before they reached their break point.

I had been concerned that the fixed 8 turns would not be enough for the forces to get engaged, and while this was certainly true for some units, it was certainly not a hindrance to achieving an outcome.  The number of troops (3,000 points of Germans – effectively four battalions; and 4,500  points of Soviets – effectively eight battalions plus artillery) filled up the battlefield which meant wherever the Germans where they were likely to be engaged sooner or later.

All models and terrain are from Richard’s collection.