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?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

New Britains "B" Series Figures

It's been a while since I've gone on Ebay to look for toy soldiers. This week I've found a great lot of Britains "B" series, along with some figures identified as Hanks & Fry. In " The World Encyclopedia of Model Soldiers" by John G. Garratt, there is no listing of a Hanks & Fry, but there is a separate listing for Hanks Brothers & Co, and A.Fry, Ltd. No matter, this is a useful lot of new figures.
I am assuming the figures on the left are the Hanks & Fry. These figures have great potential. I can see them painted as Spanish American War Americans or British Boer War infantry. On the far right is a Northumberland Fusilier. I already have one of these figures, however this one I would use to create a mold.

The other great buy; Britains "B" fusiliers and another Guards figure.  Hopefully I can fix the running figure, at least until I could make a mold of it.

While all the figures have broken rifles, I am thinking of making rifles and drilling holes to insert the rifles. I haven't decided yet if I will just use wire for rifles, or make a small mold of a rifle that I can cast.

I'm not sure of the make of the British figure with the white helmet. It's a nice figure, but one that I don't see much use for right now.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Battle Cry with Peter Laing Figures

    While trying to work out how to use toy soldiers with Memoir '44, I also started thinking of what other games I could play using different Richard Borg games with my Peter Laing figures. I decided to try using Battle Cry with my Peter Laing Boers and Victorian British parade figures.  It's a simple answer to using my toy soldiers in games.  I used the First Bull Run scenario for the game.  My poor cards shuffling led to a large part of the game taking place on the Union (British) left, and on the right of the Confederates (Boers) line.
The board set up, with the British on the bottom and Boers on the top.

The British moving up their left flank. I always try to keep units on the dividing  line so they can respond to either  zone.

The Boers attack the British artillery, killing one gunner. The British cavalry counterattacks ...

...and drives the Boers off. The card drawn by the British was the "Hit and run" card which allowed the cavalry to attack, the move again. The cavalry takes the hill, giving them advantage against the Boer cavalry, should the Boers choose to attack. The blue mounted Boer is a General figure.

The Highlanders advance to try to take the center ridge line. The Boers had poor luck in drawing cards for the center.

The one Boer unit on the ridge has a General with them, giving them an extra dice. The Boer cavalry on the left attacks the British artillery again.

The Boer cavalry eliminates the British artillery, and the Boers on the ridge kills one Highlander.

One Highland unit climbs the ridge and kills two Boers.

The Highlanders kill the Boer General and wipes out the Boer unit he was attached to.

The Boers now attack the ridge and eliminates the Highlanders holding the ridge.

Another unit of Highlanders push onto the ridge.

On the Boers' right, the Boers wipe out two British infantry units.

The British fire on their left eliminates one Boer unit, and forces the other to retreat. The Boers retreat to the ridge.

The Boers counterattack on the ridge destroys another Highland unit.

The British, led by their General, drives one Boer unit off the ridge. The British used a "Leadership" card, which gave units with a General attached extra movement and fire benefits.

The Boers draw a "counterattack" card, which basically lets the Boers use the last card the British played.  The Boer cavalry on the ridge has a General attached to it, giving them the benefits of the "leadership" card. The Boer cavalry sweeps off the ridge and hits the British infantry's flank. With all  the extra dice, the infantry unit is wiped out. The British has now lost 6 units, which means they have also lost the battle.

The field at the end of the battle, from the Boers line. The game tends to start off slow,  as the  infantry and artillery move 1 hex at a time. Once you get enough units into combat, the game gets interesting. I am thinking of maybe using average dice to see if that would move the game along a little more quickly.