Friday 31 July 2015

Home Front 1941: Fallschirmjager Complete

Just to prove, to myself more than anyone else, that I can actually finish a project, here are my Fallschirmjager. This is a full platoon for Chain of Command (I haven't checked yet but it would probable be right for Bolt Action too, as the forces are about the same for both games). In addition to the three squads of FJs I have a medic, a mortar, and extra panzerschreck team and an infantry support gun. This should be enough to get me gaming when the Earlswood Wargamers get together after our summer hiatus. 
  While I say that this project is 'finished' I am sure that any wargamers out there will know that no project is ever actually complete. I do intend to add a few more pieces to this platoon to give me a few more options. A StuG assault gun and a static MG43 on tripod being the obvious choices.
  At Earlswood we are going to be basing our games around the Battle of the Ardennes, AKA the Battle of the Bulge. This was Hitler's last big gamble, when he threw this best reserves into a desperate push through the US held territory in the Ardennes forest, in Belgium. The US were caught flat-footed and fell back in disorder, and for a short time it looked like the tide of the war could be turned back in the Germans favour. Eventually, as history recalls, the US/British forces stalled the Germans attack and eventually drove them back, but at a terrible cost. 
The Fallschirmjager are the German paratroopers. They were part of the Luftwaffe (airforce) not the Heer (army). They fought as airborne infantry in the early war, most notable when they seized the Belgian fortress at Eban-Emael in a surprise raid, and in the Battle of Crete.   Later they were used as an elite light infantry, and played a key role in the defence of Normandy, at the battle of Caratan, where they fought US Airborne troops (see Band of Brothers if you haven't already) and at the Fortress of Brest they delayed the US forces for ninety nine days!
  By the time the Fallschirmjagers got to the Ardennes they were a different force. Many of their veterans had died in Normandy and they had lost many officers too. Their ranks were replenished with ground troops and officers from the Luftwaffe, many of whom had only basic infantry training. Never the less they fought hard and earned a reputation for tenacity (and even fanaticism). One tactic the Fallschirmjager employed was to go to ground , hiding in cellars or the forest, while the US armoured vanguards rumbled past them, only to return to catch the US tanker off guard, wiping out the tank crews before they could get back to their vehicals, and they driving back the disordered US infantrymen. The next morning the Americans would be forced to take the same town they had already captured the day before. 
  My Fallschirmjager will also be used to fight my 'Dad's Army' Home Guard, using the Crete 1941 list in the Bolt Action rules. All I will have to do is reduce the number of machine guns and take out the Panzershrecks. The German plans for the aborted 'Operation Sea-lion' would have certainly featured the Fallschirmjager parashooting in to sieze key naval defences and air defences ahead of the main invasion. 

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Across The Dead Earth: 'Pet' Hyenas

Reader of my other blog, Hotel Zugando, may haver seen these before as I painted six of them for my Zugando modern African setting. Six seemed a little excessive and when Simon Q (Brummie) suggested I used them for a post-apocalypse setting I thought it was a good idea so I re-based  two of them to use in AtDE. 
Quite how a gang for AtDE got to own two 'pet' hyenas is a back story I need to work on, but in the mean time here they are, in all their vicious snarlyness. The figures are from North Star's African range with mussels and collars made from Greenstuff and chains made from jewellery chains. 

Saturday 25 July 2015

Scum and Villainy: Landspeeder

Joe the Soleman has a bargain for the scum and the villains who live the space-port.  One vintage Landspeeder, one careful owner, who had to hastily leave the planet for reasons best not explored in too much detail. 

I bought this from Disney shop in Birmingham, it was on sale from £7 to just £3.50, which is a real bargain. I am still not sure what I am going to do with it, bit I think it needs a base to make it look like it's hovering. The weathering/distressed look is exactly how it comes in the box, which is great. The jet repair hatch opens and closes too. If you are quick you should get one as they had quite a few on the shelf. 

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Homefront 1941: Fallschirmjager Platoon Support Weapons

It is my intentions to complete my Fallschirmjager platoon for Bolt Action/Chain of Command before the end of the month so I can move on to a new project or two (Frostgrave and Freebooters Fate look most likely at this time). to this end I have just completed a Panzershreck Team and a Mortar Team. These figures are from Artizan. 
I just need to paint another MG team, and a medic and I will be able to use them in battle. At some point I plan to add some vehicals, a static MG43, and make some 'jump off point' markers, but apart from that they will be complete

Saturday 18 July 2015

American War of Independence Battle Report

 Today was the Earlswood Wargamers 'All Day' game. We played American War of Independence, with Big Al's very fine figures and scenery. I felt very privileged to be able to game on such amazing looking terrain.  We used "Rebellion in the Colonies" as a rules. At first the rules look bewildering with tables to cross reference every time you fire, but in actual fact is was quick and easy to learn, and very slick to play. 

The game was between the arrogant British and their dastardly Hessian mercenaries against the brave American patriots (I was on the side of the Americans). The British force consisted of a Scottish Brigade (Bob), a British Brigade (Big Al), a Guard Brigade (understrength and held in reserve) and a Hessian Brigade (Spike). The Americans had three brigades because we decided before the battle started to break up our forth brigade (a militia brigade) and distribute its companies between the three other brigades to better bolster their poor morale. Vlad commanded the brigade on the left, by the woods, Little Al, our battalions general, took the centre ground, and I had the right flank, covering a corn field. The British objective was push the rebels aside and capture the road running along our side of the board. 

My Brigade set up deployed in depth with two lines of defence on either side of the corn field. the Scottish Brigade would have to fight its way across the fairly open ground to achieve it's objectives. 

The Scots appear, but the rebels are not about to give ground without a fight. 

On my flank the Scots skirmishers clash with the American light infantry over a bubbling brook. 

Further up stream the Hessians advance steadily towards Little Al's brigade. A company of American militia hold the farm house but Spike decided to ignore them and by-pass them with his main force, leaving a company of Jaeger to deal with them. 

Big Al's British brigade advance towards the woods, where Vlad's Americans wait anxiously

The first line of my Americans give a good account of themselves, thinning the ranks of Scots as they advance. The grim faced Scotsmen will not be deterred by a bit of musketry, and come one undaunted. 

In the woods Big Al's brigade get to grips with Vlad's beleaguered Americans. 

My first line of the Americans fall back before the advancing Scots, drawing them on to out carefully prepared defence lines. 

At the other end of the battlefield Big Al tries to bring the full weight of his numbers against Vlad's patriots, and things begin to look grim on both flanks. 

The Hessians press on hard against the American centre, and Little Al's line starts to buckle. 

 The Hessians take the American fire but nothing seems to stop their advance. 

Back in the farm house the Hessian Jagers are failing to dislodge the militia, and they Hessians are eventually driven off. 

Bob's Light Company make short work of my skirmishers and advance up the flank of my main force, obliging me to deploy my reserves to stop them. 

General Little Al begins to feel the pressure as the British push hard against our lines. 

The Scots advance across the corn field right onto our cannons and the waiting second line. The steady fire begins to take its toll are the Scots are whittled away. Yet still they advance. 

Vlad's militia manage to fend off a company of British line infantry, even when the continentals fall back in disarray. Their heroic efforts slows Big Al's advance to a crawl. 

Bob's light company, full of British arrogance, charge my reserve company of continentals, and are easily driven back

The Hessians break through Little Al's line, but are too badly mauled to exploit the advantage...

...until Spike deploys his reserve- two companies of Guardsmen- to open up the gap in Little Al's line.

The Scot's finally reach the second line of my defence, but in too little numbers to make much impact. When Bob fluffs a charge roll his companies are forced back by my Americans. The Scottish Brigadier has his horse shot out from underneath him. 

On the far side of the battlefield Vlad's heroic defence in the woods proves too much for Big Al's British brigade and they fall back in disarray. 

When the Scot's light company breaks and rout their injured brigadier can not stop his brigade from following them as both of the British flanks collapse at the same time. 

It was felt that the Scottish Brigades rout was the death note for the British attack. The Hessians were a spent force, and the Guard Brigade would have been overwhelmed by the reinforcements flooding in to the centre from both flanks if it did not withdraw to cover the general rout of the rest of the battalion. 

Overall a deadly day for the British and Hessians, and a triumphant day for the Americans. The decision to split the militia brigade amongst the other brigade was vindicated as they performed very well (much better than had been expected). Thanks to everybody for a great game, especially Big Al, who brought all the stuff, and Spike, who taught me the rules. 

Friday 17 July 2015

Frostgrave: Soldiers Work In Progress

I decided to jump on the rapidly moving band wagon and back the 'Nickstarter' for Frostgrave, a brand new fantasy skirmish game from North Star and Osprey. I backed it to get a copy of the rules and one pair of wizards, as I didn't want to commit too much in case I didn't like it. When it arrived I loved it. The rules book is a slickly produced hardback rules with lost of coloured plates and pictures of the figures form the game. I just wanna get going!

I realise now I should have picked up a pack of the plastic soldiers while they were going cheep on pre-order, but I never, so I decided to make some from the bits and bobs I had hanging around. These figures are kit bashed from plastics from Warhammer/Mordhiem, Conquest Miniatures and Gripping Beasts. I tried to copy the style of the Frostgrave soldiers, which tend to have more of a medieval look to them than a typical Mordheim figure, which is where the Norman bits from Conquest came in handy. The city of Frostgrave is, as the name suggest, a frozen ruin, and so I added fur lining and a scarf with green stuff, To portray that these are adventurers in the classic Dungeons & Dragons style I also added backpacks, sling bags, pouches and bedrolls. 

Saturday 11 July 2015

Dead Man's Hand: Dead Cavalrymen

"Argh! They shot me Sarg! I can'y feel my's so cold..."

Some dead cavalry for my Dead Man's Hand gang. these figures were converted from the dead outlaw figures. Strictly speaking you don't need dead bodies for Dead Man's hand, but they are a bit of fun and add to the over all visual effect of the game.