Thursday, March 22, 2018

Toy Soldiers Lost & Found

       With my wife out of work waiting for surgery, I haven't had time to work on gaming. I have spent more time on the computer looking at wargaming sites. One that peaked my interest was Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles .  On it he has a series of battles using Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames played between two teams of children. What's more, the game is being played as a narrative campaign. Also, the armies used were made up of Zvedza Great Northern War figures, which at one time I was going to use for wargames, being excellent figures.
     I found myself excited at the thought of using OHW rules and 18th century figures. Unfortunately, I gave away my large Revell SYW collection years ago and sent the Zvezda figures I had with them; I
and traded my plastic Spencer Smiths SYW for some Peter Laing AWI figures. I started thinking of buying some Hat SYW Prussians to make two armies, if I could find them. However, with my wife not working, money is tight so I decided not to buy figures at this time.
    I then thought of my large collection of Editions Brokaw SYW figures. As I haven't used them in years, I could easily base them and used them in a one off game.

    I started looking for them in my new "gaming room". While I still haven't found them, I did find several different figures which will come in handy in other games. I found among an odd lot of Airfix figures I bought last year some Infantry Combat Group figures, and looking through some food containers of Airfix figures, I found some more 1st generation WW2 German infantry. These should give me enough figures to use with Memoir 44 as I had thought of using before.

  I also came across some Zvedza GNW figures and Revell SYW figures in another tub; possibly enough  to copy the armies on the TSaDRB blog.

   What's more, I found another tub with more Spencer Smith  SYW plastic figures. I was thinking of holding on to them; however, now I think I will try to reach the person who got the rest of the collection and send them to him.

    Still, the search goes on for my Edition Brokaw figures.
Airfix Infantry Combat Group figures. The unpainted figures are the figures I didn't even realized I had. I plan to use them with Memoir 44 instead of the infantry figures that come with the game.

Airfix 1st generation Germans. These with be used with Memoir 44. 

The newly found Spencer Smith SYW figures.

Some of the Zvezda and Revell 18th century figures that I might use with Neil Thomas wargame rules.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2mm and Chessboard Battles.

   With my wife out of work again from an injury, and me recovering from a cold, I haven't had much time or entusiasum for gaming. As I started feeling better, I wanted to get a game in, but didn't want to spend a couple of hours in the cold basement after getting over being ill. I brought some of my 2mm figures up to the new den and fought a game. That game ended quicker than expected and I found time for another game. For this I brought up my Peter Laing recasts and used the chessboard and  Chris Salander's H & M 2.0 rules.

2mm game. The Red Army has seized the ridge line and the Blue Army brings up two batteries to shell the ridge.

The Red Army fire drives back both Blue batteries  and the Blue infantry suffers heavy losses. At this point the Red Army launches a general assault along the entire line.

The Red Army splits the Blue Army in half, and wins the battle.

Chessboard battlefield. The game is set up to use H&M 2.0 rules.

The red cavalry pushes through the center of the blue army.

Between the red cavalry and red infantry, one blue unit loses one killed and two retreat.

The cavalry overruns the blue artillery. He now has blue's headquarters within striking distance.

Blue manages to push the cavalry back.

The red cavalry captures blue's headquarters. After checking the rules, only infantry can capture the opponents headquarters. A red infantry unit is 3 moves away from the headquarters.

The blue cavalry drives off the red cavalry.

The blue army launches a counterattack.

The red army is on the run.

The red army's left flank is gone; the red army concedes the battle.
While playing the game, I forgot some of the rules which makes this game interesting. With the original rules, each side can move 4 squares worth of figures. Usually I will roll an average dice to add some degree of  uncertainty to the game. In this game I stuck to the original 4 squares movement. I did roll for initiative for which side moved first. For the first half of the game I played using Command & Colors style rules, where only the 4 squares worth of figures could engage in combat. However, after looking at the rules, I remembered the rule that ANY unit was in range could engage in combat, which during a wargame, does make sense.
After playing this game, it has me rethinking of using these rules more.  In the rules, four figures are allowed in a square; you can mix and match the pieces. Over the years, I usually just make units of infantry, artillery, and cavalry.  This game I moved different infantrymen to join other units. It has me thinking of using combined arms units instead of the same old infantry, artillery, and cavalry units.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Russians for Memoir 44

     While playing Memoir 44, I realized what great models the tanks were. While the turret of the Sherman tank seems a little flat,  the German Mark IV tank is an excellent model. I started looking at the expansion sets, especially the Eastern Front set. However, they are out of production and the asking prices of the Eastern Front sets are more than I am willing to pay. However, while on break at work, I went to Ebay, and there, someone was selling Eastern Front parts. It was missing the board, hexes, and tokens. However, it had extra tanks, guns and infantry figures, along with the rulebook and scenarios. What's more, it was a reasonable price and was a "Buy it now" item. I was hoping it would still be available when I got home from work. My luck held, and I won the lot. Included were 63 tanks and 14 guns. I didn't count the infantry figures, as I don't plan to use them. It seems the owner must have had three sets at one point.
     The tanks lived up to my hopes, and the guns are also great models. I wish there were more of artillery; I could have painted them olive drab and used them as 105mm American artillery.
The Russian tank corps. Enough for 21 tank units.

Close up of these excellent models.

7 units of Russian artillery.

The guns close up.

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Cavalry for my Britains "B"s

    About the same time I found the last lot of Britains "B" series figures, there were two lots of cavalry, which said they were Britains "B". I'm not sure that is true; they seem smaller than the  Britains. However after thinking about it, as I am going for a toy soldier look, the difference in scale might not be a problem. Either way, they are nice figures.
The cavalry figures compared to one of the new infantry figures.

The useable figures from the lots. There were several broken figures.

The figures I was really interested in; the lancers.

4 nice hussar figures.

5 dragoon figures; I have at least another of these figures.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Memoir 44 Battle of Arracourt

      Continuing on gaming with Memoir 44 and Peter Laing figures, I chose the Battle of Arracourt. So far the scenarios I've used consisted of infantry units with some armor support. This game has more armor; the US forces also have 3 artillery batteries.  It's a good thing I chose this scenario, as I barely had enough painted Peter Laing figures. If I continue to use this game, I will have to get painting more of the PL figures.

    By the way, instead of using the command cards, I chose to roll average dice and also rolled regular dice for initiative.

The scenario from the rulebook; the Germans on top.

The board laid out. In this picture the Germans are on the bottom.

The board from the German side. I think the Peter Laing figures look better than the giants that come with the game. 

The Germans prepare to attack.

The Germans assault the village of Bezange la Petite, which has an isolated American infantry unit. The infantry in the village knocks out two tanks, and with fire support from the artillery (in the foreground), eliminates the panzer unit.

In the Germans turn they continue the attack on Bezange. The Americans send two tank units to relieve the pressure, along with sending an infantry unit into Rechicourt, to provide fire support. 

One American armor unit destroys one panzer and makes the panzer unit retreat.

As the panzer unit falls back, another US armor unit ambushes it and eliminates the rest of the unit.

The Germans counterattack and destroys one of the US armor units. (As can be seen in the photograph,  there are a couple of very large German soldiers on the board. I used these for markers so I could remember which units were activated.)

The German attack on Bezange finally eliminates the US infantry in the village, and panzer grenadiers move into the village.

The US artillery unit in the foreground was moved forward early in the game. By moving this battery forward, it could fire on both villages in the center of the board. The battery opens fire and destroys one tank and makes the rest retreat.

The Germans start bringing more units forward to secure Bezange.

Meanwhile on the German left, the 111th Panzer Brigade struggles through the woods to get into action.

The US artillery fire eliminates another panzer unit.

The German right flank units launch a vicious assault on the two forward American armor units...

...and destroys both of them!

The right most US artillery battery opens fire on a panzer unit from the 111th coming through the woods, and destroys two of the tanks.

The center battery drives back a panzer assault on Rechicourt.

The German commander sends his panzers to try to deal with the pesky artillery.

The attack on the left destroys one gun and forces a retreat, however, in it's overrun phase, the German  fire does not cause any more damage. The German attack on the center battery misses the battery. The German infantry assault on Rechicourt forces the American infantry to retreat two spaces, which puts them between the artillery and panzer unit.

The center battery now brings the panzer unit under fire, which destroys it (and wins the game for the Americans).

The right hand battery gets its revenge on the panzer unit that attacked it, destroying the last panzer. Perhaps the German commander would have been better off attacking elsewhere. The Germans lost 7 units, the Americans 4. The Germans did seize two villages, but fell short of seizing Arracourt, it's objective.        

A couple of points. This is the first time I have used artillery in Memoir 44. As I have mentioned in other posts, proper use of artillery in wargames has been a weak point for me. In this game, the artillery dominated the game.  I actually marked the different batteries so in future games I can keep track of their success (or failure). I didn't realize how powerful guns were in Memoir 44 until this game. I had watched a video on Youtube of a Memoir 44 Pacific game. In it the Japanese were in fortified positions, the Americans storming the beach with flamethrower tanks and several artillery units. The Japanese player continued to leave the fortified positions and attacked the beach. To me it seemed like a mistake, even though I don't know the rules for this expansion.  However, at the end he explained that he tried to crush the beachhead before the artillery landed, where the artillery could take their time and pick off the Japanese at a distance.  After seeing how well artillery works, his tactics make more sense to me.

Another point that I found in this game. As usual, I was playing this game solo. By the end of the game, I found myself leaning heavily on the artillery and was excited at the successful center battery which was doing so much damage (which led me to mark the unit for future games). But something happened when I went to the German side of the board. I actually got frustrated about these guns, just like I would if I was playing against another opponent. This led me to attack the guns.  I found that, at least in this game, I really was trying to win for that side. I wonder if I feel this way in most games?