Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WW2 28mm Soviets in Snowsuits

Time for some winter themed forces for WW2, beginning with a group of Soviets in snowsuits.


They are 28mm Soviet Veteran Squad in Snowsuits from Warlord Games. Really nice miniatures. They hardly require any preparation and also got painted pretty quick as they are covered by their snowsuits.

The snowsuits are in a dirty and damp "white" that gives really strong flashbacks to doing national service in the Swedish armed forces... Those suits were simply never in a clean white. 😀

The snowsuits are painted using the following method.
1. Black undercoat.
2. Vallejo deck tan.
3. Army Painter soft tone ink.
4. Vallejo deck tan. First a thinner layer then a thicker one. 
5. Mix in some Vallejo ivory in the deck tan for highlights. 
6. Vallejo ivory on it's own.







Sunday, March 5, 2017

AAR: Attack on the House of Thott - a 15th century skirmish

A battle report using the Lion Rampant ruleset depicting a 15th century raid on a Lord's house


Introduction

We finally found the time for another AAR. This time its from our late medieval Swedish civil war campaign. 

The scene is late 15th century Sweden that suffered from civil war
as different families and factions struggled for power. Later historians could describe it as the beginning of the end of a rather long, although not peaceful, Nordic union (”Kalmarunionen”, 1397-1523) - with Sweden in the end breaking away from Danish influence.

In our story the Rebels have gained the upper hand. Rebel spies revealed that some factions of the Thott family - until then supporters of the Rebel cause - negotiated with the Unionists. Through a betrayal and a surprise attack the Rebel forces managed to take a Thott castle by storm (see how that happened in the AAR HERE). Not all Unionists were caught or killed however. A sly Unionist leader, the hated local Sheriff, slipped away into the swamp surrounding the castle and were nowhere to be found. 

With so many of the Thott castle retinue killed the Rebels now had to act swiftly before news of the attack on the Thott castle spread far and wide. Other members of the Thott family would no doubt turn against the Rebels hearing the news. The Rebels therefor planned a preemptive strike and force marched to another stronghold of the Thott family, arriving before the latter could gather all its forces.

The game was played using Dan Mersey's Lion Rampant (published by Osprey) with 28mm miniatures from Perry Miniatures on a 6x4' table. We played the Bloodbath scenario. We used a modification (also found in Pikeman's Lament) with +1 on activation rolls if within 12" of the commander.
 
The opposing forces

The Unionist Retinue (Thott family)

Unionist Unit 1
1 Lord Thott
5 Foot Men at Arms 

Unionist Unit 2
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 3
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 4
12 Peasant Allmoge Warriors (i e Foot Yeomen)

Unionist Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Unionist defenders - the Thott family retinue
The Rebel Retinue

Rebel Unit 1 
1 Lord Natt och Dag
5 Foot Men at Arms

Rebel Unit 2
6 Mounted Men at Arms 

Rebel Unit 3
12 Peasant Allmoge Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen)

Rebel Unit 4
12 Lübeck Mercenary Pikemen (i e Foot Serjeants)

Rebel Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Rebel attackers.
The Table

A 6x4' table.
The Game

The rebels arrived at the Thott family estate.

Having received word of the advancing rebels from a loyal peasant boy the Lord Thott hastily gathered his men to defend his homestead. The Rebels advanced across the fields and their cavalry followed the road towards the Thott estate.

The Rebel infantry advance under the Sture family banner...
...with heavy cavalry of the Sture family leading the way, next to the Rebel Lord's foot
men-at-arms carrying the Natt och Dag banner and some mercenary Lübeck pikemen.
The Unionist Lord gather his men, in red and yellow livery,
as the Rebels approaches on the far side of the hill.
A small group of Unionist crossbow skirmishers took a stand on the road opposite the advancing enemy. At the same time a larger group of missile armed Thott soldiers took position behind a fence while even more of the Unionist men moved up amongst the buildings.

A group of Unionist crossbowmen move up the road and fire on the approaching Rebels.
The impatient men-at-arm Rebel cavalry rode at full speed towards the Unionist. They smashed through the Unionst skirmishers on the road but another Unionist group of soldiers also fired their missile weapons against the Rebels as they thundered past. Two riders fell off their mounts dead.

The Rebel cavalry is hit by bolts and bullets from
the flank as they charge down the road...
...leaving their infantry support far behind.
"... into the valley of death rode the six ...
... 'cannon' to the left of them ..."
The Rebel cavalry's attempt to attack before the Unionists could form their lines properly was in vain. The Lord Thott formed his peasant allmoge soldiers in a close formation while he personally anchored the line with his foot men-at-arms.

Beset on all sides and faced with a target rich environment the Rebel men-at-arm cavalry could only follow their attack through. Seeing the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, in his red and yellow quartered livery with his personal retinue straight ahead they made their choice and smashed into the foot men-at-arms and their lord. A fierce fight erupted with heavily armed men on both sides. The Thott Lord, fighting for his home, fought bravely and the Rebel cavalry were driven back up the road with further casualties.

The Rebel cavalry's aggressive push forward is met by a well organized defence.
The Rebel infantry continue their advance and can only look on...
...as their aggressive cavalry already get stuck in!
With men lost and with their high spirits broken the Rebel cavalry retreats.
At the other side of the main building the Rebel infantry advanced across the fields. The Rebel skirmishers were driven back, however, as they came under fire from a group of Unionist soldiers. More Rebels advanced on their position and as the latter attacked intense hand to hand combat took place in the passage between the main stone building and fenced plowed field. Men fell on both sides but eventually the Unionist had to retreat.

The Rebel skirmishers are driven back...
...by the Unionists by the plowed field. But more Rebels close in...

...and attack...
...making the Unionists retreat.
By the road the Rebel infantry, the second wave of the attack, made contact. The Rebel Lord and his foot men-at-arms attacked the Peasant Allmoge closed line. The non professional Allmoge Peasants could not hold against the Lord and his heavily armed retinue and many peasants fell and the rest broke. At the same time the Lübeck mercenary pikemen also advanced and attacked a group of Unionist soldiers behind a fence by the road. The pikemen were not as successful as their lord and could not shift the Unionist soldiers from behind the fence and the pikemen had to regroup in the road, leaving their casualties behind.

Having broken the Peasant Allmoge line the Rebel Lord found himself not far from a very angry Thott Lord and his retinue. The Thott Lord led his men into a counter attack up the road. The two heavily armed retinues clashed with the Thott retinue gaining the upper hand and pushing the surviving Rebels back.

The Rebel Lord's retinue attack the peasant allmoge line...

...breaking them, as the Lübeck pikemen follow...
...and attack the Unionist soldiers at the fence.
The heavyweight championship. The Thott Lord attack and take
on his Rebel counterpart, together with their retinues.

On the other side of the stone house the formerly broken Unionist soldiers rallied and went on the offense again. Attacking with vigour the Unionist this time broke the Rebels, driving them from the field of battle. However, during the close combat the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field closed the distance. As their Rebel friends were driven off the skirmishers fired into the victorious Unionists at close range. The flanking fire took the Unionist by surprise and they broke and run in disorder, leaving the Rebel skirmishers alone by the main building.

The Rebels - with the lily pad Sture family banner -
turn and flee as the Unionist attack again.
The Unionist victory is short lived as they break under
fire from the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field.
Back by the road the Thott Lord and his retinue continued their furious fighting, taking on yet another adversary. Although heavily outnumbered they attacked the Lübeck mercenary pikemen. But the Thott Lord's momentum finally was lost. His now depleted and bloodied retinue had beaten back the initial Rebel heavy cavalry charge. Then he had led his men against the Rebel Lord's retinue and won, driving them back. Now again faced with stiff opposition in the shape of the professional pikemen of Lübeck it was one fight too many. The last of his men fell dead to the ground and at he risk of being completely surrounded he had to fall back towards his home, the stone house. Fate would have it that as he was only a few steps away from the door and some safety a group or Rebel skirmishers appeared at the far corner. The Thott Lord died on the steps of his home, pierced by both bullets and crossbow bolts that found ways though his plate armour. With the Thott Lord dead and his men all but broken the battle was over.

The Rebels had won.

As the Rebel Lord looks on the Thott Lord attack the Lübeck pikemen...
...but his outnumbered retinue is killed.
As the Unionist Thott Lord retreats he runs into
the bullets and crossbow bolts of Rebel skirmishers.
The Thott Lord lies dead only a few steps from his home.
Conclusion

It was a very intense game that swung back and forth. As the initial Rebel attack was uncoordinated and their heavy cavalry attack failed it seemed as if the Unionists would win the day. They had a good defensive position in the yard and with the flanking group of soldiers behind the fence. But as fate would have it the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, finally took on one enemy too many as his retinue was worn down. Also, with his men retreating on the other side of the main building the Rebel skirmishers could sneak up around the corner to finish the job.

The Rebels have been successful in our last few games and the Thott family has taken a real beating. We will see what lies ahead and if the Unionists can find the momentum and a way to strike back.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's Blood Bowl, baby!

The Badland Bashers - an Orc Team for Blood Bowl

The Badland Bashers
First row: Blitzers
Second row: Black Orcs
Third row: Linemen
Fourth row: Troll, Goblin and Throwers

Back in 1994 Games Workshop released the 3rd edition of its fantasy football boardgame; Blood Bowl. Simply put its a boardgame of American Football in a Warhammer Fantasy setting. We dived right in and enjoyed it immensely. We had a league running literally for years.

And now its back in its 4th edition! Happy days. Its simply a fun, great game. It plays fast but demands tactical thinking and all doesn't always go to plan. With the new edition and new miniatures it felt like the perfect opportunity to start playing it again. What's even better is that friends that didn't continue with miniature gaming through all these years are now back painting their first miniatures in 20 or so years.

So this team is The Badland Bashers. An Orc team with the full potential line up of sixteen players. Its mainly build from the starter box. The now released plastic twelve man teams from Games Workshop are made up of two identical six man sprues. So if not modified you will end up with doubbles of each miniatue. Not a big problem really - as they are really nice miniatures - but sometimes you might want more variety. Also, wanting four Blitzers and four Black Orcs on the team demanded some additions and adjustments.

The Black Orcs were mainly made out of what is nowadays called Orc 'Ardboys bodies using Space Ork heads. The Blitzers are identified through their horned and covered heads, also made from Orc 'Ardboy bits. These additions freed some bits to be used elsewhere on the team (for instance one of the Throwers is using what is supposed to be a Blitzer head). With some further cutting and repositioning identical doubles on the team were avoided.

WIP picture of the whole team, clearly
showing the non Starter Box bits in grey plastic.

Some of the Black Orcs.
Black Orcs made from 'Ardboy bodies and Ork heads,
with a few bits from the Starter box thrown in.

Blitzer, Thrower and Blizter.

 

Note that the Blitzer to the left is made from a Thrower body.
And that the Blitzer to the right is using a Thrower left arm.



Lineman, Thrower and Blitzer.



Note that the Thrower in the middle is made froma Lineman body,
with a Starter Box Blitzer head and a Thrower arm.
A troll from Black Scorpion Miniatures and a slightly
modified Goblin from Games Workshop's 40k range.








Sunday, February 12, 2017

AAR: Probe before Panzer Attack on the Western Front 1944

A Chain of Command Battle Report in 28mm



Awhile back we found time for a WW2 game using the Chain of Command ruleset from Too Fat Lardies. If you are not familiar with the Chain of Command rule set you can find good instruction videos on Youtube posted by Too Fat Lardies. Its a great set of rules.

We set our scene on the Western Front in the late summer of 1944 with a US rifle platoon trying to hold a vital crossroad as a SS Panzergrenadier platoon tried to secure it before a larger German counter attack. For this we used the Probe scenario from the Chain of Command rulebook. For the attacker to win they had to exit a unit off the defender’s table edge. For some extra nerve we kept our support choices secret until they were deployed in game.

Opposing forces

The Germans were the attackers in this scenario. The regular panzergrenadier platoon had an adjutant and a Unic halftrack as support.

The defending US Rifles platoon, also regulars, were supported by an 81mm off table mortar battery and its Forward Observer.

The German Panzergrenadiers
The US Rifles

The table

The game was played across a 6x4' table. The patrol phase, and alot of interviening terrain, resulted in the Jump Off Points being quite close to each other and the Germans having claimed alot of ground before the game even started.



A 6x4' table.



The Game

A squad of Americans was in position in a ditch by the crossroad and the church, waiting for the German advance that would surely come.

Sure enough, using a forward jump off point a squad of Germans appeared by the ruined house by the central road and opened up on the US soldiers in the ditch. With the Germans two MG42 guns it was an uneven firefight and it got worse as the Germans had their commanding officer deployed keeping his men firing and in order. The US squad was in good cover but both shock and casualties were mounting.

The first Germans on the scene...
...with the Americans just visible down across the road.

To keep the US rifle squad in the fight the US platoon sergeant arrived on the scene and rallied the men and helped in keeping the lead flying. To further counter the Germans supperior firepower a second US squad deployed on the road behind a hedge and it also took up a fire fight with the single German squad by the ruins.

Both sides deploy more men on the scene.

For a moment it looked like the US soldiers were getting the upper hand but then an Unic halftrack came rumbling up the central road with its machine gun firing.  Suppressing the Americans it rolled up the road and later also deployed a German squad in the ruin across the road from the church.

As both sides committed even more men to the field it was clear that the Germans supperior firepower was getting the upper hand.

The German Unic halftrack arrives...
...making the Americans keep their heads down in the ditch.

The Germans deploy from their halftrack.

Up close and personal.

All would change however as at a critical moment the American spotter in the church tower managed to call in a 81mm mortar barrage right on target, hitting the Germans hard. The barrrage continued until the Germans were seriously weakened. 
The American Forward Observer, high up in the church tower...
 
 
...calling in a a very well timed American mortar barrage...
...catching the Germans in a very bad spot.
With the Germans in disorder and close to breaking they tried a last desperate attempt to smash trough the American lines. The Unic driver got the engine going at full speed and drove straight up the middle of the battlefield. But the Americans were ready and a well placed bazooka shot destroyed the halftrack and put an end to any German hopes of achieving their mission.

The Germans retreated from the field leaving the Americans bloodied but victorious.

The last desperate attempt to break through
the American lines is stopped by a bazooka.
Conclusion

It was a very fun game - although we were rusty on using the rules and made a few mistakes.

The German firepower were starting to take its toll on the Americans and they were making themselves ready for the final push through American lines when that vital mortar barrage was called in. After it finally finished the Germans were no longer a real threat to the Americans. Their mission could still have been achieved though with that last desperate gamble with driving the halftrack forward. But a well positioned bazooka put an end to the game.