Saturday, 31 January 2009

War in the Gulf

Last night I hosted a great Gulf War game, a fictional Search and Destroy scenario with British forces attempting to locate pockets of Iraqi resistance in a hilly region.
First off I want to make some apologies (or excuses!). One, I broke my Sigma 500 DG Super flashgun so have had to resort to on board flash for these pics, hence why they look pretty terrible. Second, I am yet to get round to buying a desert terrain mat, so lets pretend this is a particularly fertile part of Iraq and third my printer ran out of ink so hence the strange shade to the Iraqi flags I used as blinds. With that out of the way lets introduce the forces.

Brits- Led by my mate Jamesy, who is fairly new to CWC and is in the process of sorting out his own Israeli force.

3x Scorpions (recce)
18 infantry all with LAW
3 MMGs
2 FV432 mortar carriers
12 Warriors
8 Challengers
2 AVRE Centurions
3 Swingfires
3 155mm M109 artillery
Lynx attack chopper
2x Spartans

Iraqis- ME!
3x HQ
2x AML60 (recce)
9 x Militia with RPG 7s
3 ATGW Saggers (deployed as ambushes)
6x T62s
9x T72s

I also had 4 minefields and a plethora ( great word) of anti tank ditches.

The board looked like this-

The South of the board saw a small town nestled in a valley with a industrial area to its West. The town was heavily fortified with minefields to its south and it was almost entirely ringed by anti tank defences and hills. The north had another small town surrounded by fields of crops and wooded areas. It was also defended by mine fields.

The Iraqis mission was to basically cause as much damage to the British as possible. I deployed using hidden set up and had 10 blind cards, enough each for all the CO and HQ units, the recce units and some spare to confuse and confound Jamesy! If you look carefully in the pic you can see the hidden markers which I used Iraqi flags (printed in the wrong colour) for. I spread them across the board, fortifying both towns and some int he wooded areas to the east of the board.

I had no idea where the British would deploy from as they could choose any board edge. Jamesy chose the West edge (long edge) and using mobile deployment spread his HQ units wide. The British mission was to search out the Iraqi forces and do enough damage to break them while taking as little damage as possible- they vastly outnumbered the Iraqis but had no idea where they were likely to spring from.

Turn 1
The Brits cautiously deployed in the south west corner, behind a large hill , 2 companies of Challengers, a AVRE Centurion engineering squad and 4 platoons of infantry is Warrior IFVs. They slowly rolled over the hill and straight into an ambush as a unit armed with Sagger ATGW, hidden in a derelict factory complex opened fire, suppressing a Challenger squad. The return fire from the other Challengers saw no damage dealt and as they rolled nearer the town an Iraqi militia company was revealed in the buildings all around them. RPGs rained down and a Challenger squad was annihilated as well as a Infantry platoon and their Warriors.

The British traded fire with the well dug in Iraqi militia suppressing some platoons and destroying a Shilka that was hidden in he streets behind the factories. The Brits took the worst of it though and 2 other platoons of Infantry found themselves in disarray and suppressed.
It was looking good for Iraq, and the Brits had learnt the foolhardiness of AFVs trying to move into a built up area.

Turn 2
To the north, a cautious probe by the Brits revealed 2 companies of T62's dug in at the edge of a (very tall) field of crops. Artillery immediately rained down on the tank group suppressing their HQ and one of the T62's. This was immediately followed by an attack by a Lynx chopper that which suppressed two more T62's. Liking the odds more, an under strength company of Challengers and a company of dismounted infantry and their IFVs in support, cautiously rolled on skirting the woods to the north and thanks to some great command rolls from Jamesy, opened fire repeatedly on the hammered T62's in the cornfield. 2 T62s were reduced to smoking wrecks and a further 1 was driven back out of the field. Things were looking bad in the north, but what other surprises were in store?

In the centre of the board a company of Swingfire ATGWs deployed but within seconds a sagger from the own to the south flew with unnerving accuracy at such a range and left 2 Swingfires feeling vulnerable.

To the south the British armour continued to get punished for its foolhardy advance and another Challenger was lost to a hail of RPGs from the industrial estate.

Turn 3
It was turning into a game of two halves to use a footy cliche. In the south the bulk of the British forces were being repeatedly punished by a foe that they were struggling to inflict any damage on, while in the north the Iraq tank group had been pretty much neutralised. Now was the time for the Brits to take revenge on the Southern town. An artillery strike was called in, in the hope of flushing out the Iraqis, but a well timed blunder saw the FAO taking friendly fire and aborting the strike. A hail of tank shells into the factory saw the loss of some Iraqi infantry, but the Brits were still failing to make any advance into town and things were further complicated by the detection of a T72 company supported by another well dug in company of RPG armed militia in the town itself. The T72s seemed hesitant to engage and skulked behind the town out of site as the brave Iraqi infantry held off the armour alone. The unit of infantry with the Saggers took out another Swingfire and withstood a huge amount of return fire from the Challengers and Warriors, unlucky rolling from Jamesy (something like 32 dice and no hits) saw to that!
In the north the Brits continued there advance now supported by 8 platoons of infantry who had been dropped into the town by a Chinook.

Turn 4

The Brits frustrated by the inability of their armour to put paid to the hail of RPGs from the factories used a good old fashioned bayonet charge and flushed out a platoon of Iraqis and the heroic Sagger team, who found themselves now outside looking in, and in the aim of 2 challengers, who quickly took them both out. Despite starting to take infantry losses in the Southern town things still looked good for the Iraqi held South. The T72s decided now was there time to support their struggling brothers and began to flank round the town to engage the British, but as they went behind a large cornfield confusion reigned and they ground to a halt unsure how to proceed.

In the north as the British rolled East towards the small town, confident that it was theres, 2 companies of T72s appeared from the north east of the town. Jamesy cleverly opted for spreading his fire amongst all the T72s in the hope of causing enough suppression to cover their advance, but hit by bad rolls again, he only managed to suppress one squad. This apparently was enough though as the T72s seemed in disarray and were unable to return fire at the advancing Brits, losing the advantage in a dramatic fashion.

Turn 5

Although the Iraqis were holding bravely things were beginning to look dodgy as they began to near their breaking point. In the north a lone HQ was over run by British infantry but luck was still on the Iraqi side as another artillery blunder saw the poor FAO killed outright this time, and an attempt to bring in a Lynx to further suppress the T72 companies in the north failed. In the south the Iraqis took a few more casualties in the factory district, and the damage began to tell on their morale, as the Iraqi CO decided now was the time to call their retreat, having pulled off a huge amount of damage to the advancing infidel British.

The game ended in a Minor Victory to the British who had managed to break the defending Iraqis but who in doing so had taken 2025 points worth of casualties for the Iraqis 1335.

A great game and a good learning experience for both of us.
Jamesy learnt that AFVs and heavily built up areas are a very bad ideas- like real life infantry with AFV support are definitely the way to go, and I learnt about the dangers of trying to use troops who have a 15cm initiative range in an ambush when they carry a weapon with a minimum engagement range of 20cm. Very dumb...

Hope you enjoy the read, its long and the pics aren't as good as they should have been, but it was a very fun battle.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Flexible Roads

Saw a great tutorial to make flexible rubber roads the other day and thought I would like to give it a go.

Check this link out- How to make flexible roads

I used dish cloths as my backing fabric (you can see the reverse of one in the photo), and Cerafix Decorators Caulk (Brown) from B&Q. 10 dish cloths for 30p in Asda and the Caulk was £1.89 for a large cartridge (too large to fit my standard size cartridge gun). Not sure how much 1 cartirdge will make- so far Ive done 4 1/2 foot of road and only used about a 1/5 of the tube.

The cool thing is if they get bent or warped you can iron it (reverse side obviously, otherwise your Mrs might murder you). They really are very flexible and seem pretty robust. Equivalent flexible roads will cost you around £30 for 6ft or so.

Also notice my now fully painted and based Sherman in the photo- still waiting for the bloody decals from Minfigs, hence why I haven't matt varnished the gloss varnish coat, who still haven't posted out my order 9 days after making it. Not happy with that to be honest.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

My first CWC project

I found some pics of my very first CWC project- a British army for the Cold War era circa 1987. This was my first army, and some other members of my gaming group made purchases at the same time, buying Russians and West Germans. Both are still yet to paint them, the slackers.

To be fair I am notorious for buying lead and never painting it, but for some reason microarmour has me hooked and I can't not paint them. Im usually a very slwo painted, especially in 28mm, but with 6mm (and 10/12mm) I seem to be able to whip through them.

Anyway enough of my blathering here's some pics. These were taken a while back and make use of my gaming mat from Terrain Mat. The figures are all GHQ apart from a couple of Navwar pieces. The infantry hadn't been painted at this point- I will have to take some pics of them and the support stands at a later date as they look rather good in my opinion.

A new scale, a new addiction...

All the talk on the forums at Specialist Military Publishing, home of Blitzkrieg Commander and Cold War Commander, of a new version of BKC has got my juices flowing. My gaming group have a ton of 12mm World War 2 stuff that they use for Rapid Fire. They have tried to get me interested a number of times, but a mixture of other projects getting in the way, and me not being a huge fan of the rule set, has meant that the few 12mm models I had were stuck in a box somewhere and done nothing with.

That was until this week, when I dug them out and decided to start another new project, an American army for BKC! I was very inspired by some other forum members work on similar projects, mainly NikHarwood , and Tony Barr's work.

So far I have painted 2 companies of Shermans ( I had to convert a British Firefly model I had, but that was made easier by the fact that one of my Sherman 75s had 2 MGs and 2 main guns in the pack) and a single lonely Stuart tank. I am awaiting some more stuff from Minifigs to add to it, and most importantly a sheet of transfer. I will leave off the weathering and mud until I have put those on.

The start of my Iranians

My current CWC project is the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. Ive got the Iraqis so obviously next choice has to be the other side. Ive tried to theme both armies slightly, which probably means they aren't too historically correct- the Iraqis are mainly Soviet and French equipment, while the Iranians are American and British stuff.

The other difficulty I have found for Middle Eastern conflicts is colour schemes- everything seems to be some shade of sand coloured pain oddly enough! I found some pictures of a brown and sand coloured camo scheme on a blog of military equipment- I'm not sure how widespread or accurate its usage was for this particular conflict, but to be honest I don't really care! It makes it easier to recognise forces for my old eyes.

A battalion of Iranian Chieftain tanks. From my readings it seems that Chieftains weren't in that much abundance during the conflict, particularly the later years, but once again I don't overly care- I love Chieftains, I love the miniatures (GHQ again) and they are a nasty force to face on the battlefield. I'm not a power gamer honest!

A company of M60A1 Pattons- what a cracking model this one is, hats off to GHQ again. I have some on back order from Wargames Emporium , but as usual with most stuff I order from there they have run out. Not that I am knocking them- they give great service and are really nice guys. Plus the postage is cheap as chips compared to 99% of miniature companies (no names mentioned Foundry).

Ive yet to buy the rest, as I am doing it in stages so my wife doesn't get too annoyed with me spending all our money. I expect I will finish it off when I go to Salute at the end of March.

Iraqis in 6mm.

Here's a selection of pictures from today of my Iraqi army in 6mm for Cold War Commander.
Miniatures are a mix of CinC and GHQ- if I remember correctly, the tanks and infantry are all GHQ but the rest are CinC.

Command group with a company of mechanised infantry. Infantry look a wee bit shiny, as I had a varnish disaster and had to go back with some gloss to rescue them. The weathers been too wet to go back and dull coat them again.

A company of T-72's- lovely looking tanks.

An assortment- BM21 rocket artillery, Shilka anti aircraft guns, some AML-60s and some BRDM with Sagger ATGWs.

Its a great little army, and has the advantage of multi uses- I use it for late Iran/Iraq war, early Gulf War 1, and with a wee bit of imagination, Warsaw Pact armies for the late 1980s. Currently can field around 4000 points (not taken pictures of the T-62s and T55s and the hordes of infantry and other AFVs).

And they are off....

Well here goes a selection of my first proper blog posts.

I'm off work today - spent most of last night with terrible stomach cramps and nausea. Had a nice long lie in, and feel a little better so decided to have a play with this here blog type thingy.

Decided to up some pics of my Cold War Commander armies and the start of my possible new addiction- Blitzkrieg Commander. A great series of games that give fun and fast play as well as realistic outcomes. Check out the website- . Nice forum community to boot!

Anyway as you probably don't know, my other hobby is photography, and much as I love my kit, today has shown its shortcomings. I need some decent lighting, soft box and even a macro lens. Today's bodge job is passable I guess, but I am a bit of a perfectionist and a techie so I am not really very happy with the results.

For anyone interested I shoot using a Canon 40d, these shots were done with a Canon 28-105mm lens, which is a nice cheap walk about lens. Its done a passable job but I really would like a macro lens if I am going to be getting into this blogging lark.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A Blank Page

Nothing more daunting, and also nothing more I can add, seeing as I am stuck at work and looking for ways to distract myself from my paperwork.