Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recon out .... photos soon

Hey Troopers,

I got an hour in today finishing some bases on the command squads and touching up the bazooka squads primer black. As soon as time allows, I am feeling better from the colds recently, I will place them up on the blog.

I finally got some fine hobby sand from Michael's today. I will see how it looks compared to the other bases but I am leaning toward it having better results. Steve has used it and it looks awesome on his bases.

I also started placing some static grasses and other scenery bits. All that is soon to be left is the flat spray to protect the models.

I hope all is well with everyone at your respective HQ's. Be safe, keep painting and rolling them dice.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Status report

Greeting Troops,

Quick status report regarding troop strength. The CO, XO and platoon commands have been based and only require a gloss/semi gloss finish. I have started to get the weapon platoons prepared for initial priming. I also need to get the command team up for the weapons platoon since they were forgotten while placing the others in service.

Head colds were the order of battle this past week. The whole family was fighting them and put a small damper on models and painting in general.

Look this week for some more pics hopefully. Feel free to add yourself as a follower and drop a comment or two.

Be safe, have fun and enjoy spring .....


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Learning the basics ...

Hello troopers !

Sunday, I was able to get some learning the basics in with Steve at his place.

Once arriving we arrived in Steve's game room. I must admit that Steve's inventory of terrain takes the whole game to another level. I don't think there is any gamer that can argue that scenery makes a game. Bravo Steve .... your terrain made learning the basics a treat.

We covered the following during class ... infantry shooting & movement
and assault steps. We used the following to assist my learning process ...

1) US Glider Platoon defending against a German Grenadier Platoon
2) US Glider Platoon defending against German Panzer IVs in the open
3) US Glider Platoon defending against German Panzers in Woods
4) US Glider Platoon defending against German Panzers in Buildings
5) US Glider Platoon attacking a German Grenadier Platoon
6) US Sherman Platoon attacking German Grenadiers in the open
7) US Sherman Platoon attacking German Grenadiers in the Woods

It was a good learning experience. Steve was great in explaining the basics and answered many questions. After those topics we covered basics on mortars and artillery.

After many questions and scenario "what ifs" we played a short game. Steve was in command of 2 German Grenadier Platoons while I commanded 2 US Glider Platoons with light machine guns attached to the infantry and a mortar platoon. The Germans were holding a road vital to US supply lines. The US had to dislodge to win.

Beginning point of US Glider troops, Steve's German positions in the horizon.

Steve's Germans in difficult terrain ...

The first movement phases saw the Americans moving into shooting/assault positions. One platoon took the right flank while the other moved towards the left flank in a pinch maneuver. The mortar platoon began to setup in the middle to prepare the assault with covering fire.

The battle actually fell into two separate but brutal confrontations. The US left flank fell into a quick and dirty fight with the German's entrenched in the woods (difficult terrain). The Americans moved into positions just on the edge of woods facing the German positions. Steve, being a great teacher and aggressive opponent dove into the fight. Shooting phases killed many on both sides just before closing into hand to hand combat. The Germans inflicted heavy casualties on the Americans whom had to fall back. The Germans also took many losses and had to make a morale check which they failed and fled the battle field. The Americans also failed and fled back to the field hospital.

The left flank of the Americans setting up in the woods ... just before the carnage

The Germans getting in range to assault ...

The assault phase hurting both sides .... which caused both factions to flee the field of battle

The German's east flank was approached by the Americans right flank platoon. They were assisted by the US mortar platoon which pinned the German defenders. The Americans had been engaged but due to the mortar cover were able to close into assault phase. The Americans were able to sweep down the German positions but not able to force the Germans out of the road area before the time limit.

US right flank pressing the attack ....

Mortars supporting the attack ....

Another view of nice support fire ...

Hand to hand erupts .... but too little too late.

Good job by the Germans. I found that defensive units dug in could be hard to approach, engage and defeat. I did find out though that support platoons such as my 60mm mortars were vital in my approach.

I had a great time and a huge thanks to Steve for the learning experience and great time I had. I am looking forward to more battles and hope to learn the basics quickly in order to be a challenge to others.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Let the BASES begin !

Hello troopers ...

I finally got around to a little model work and time to myself.

I finished up as much details as I could with the command teams and began to base them. Before I flocked and detailed with static grass I thought I would hit the base edges with GW Bestial Brown 61-13. I noticed that the paint was not going on at all and realized I had not primed the bases. With the weather being the way it is I decided to give a old college try experiment. I took a coarse sanding stick and hit the sloped edges of the bases that I would be painting to give the paint something to "grab" to. I test painted another base and found that it did the trick.

I realized that hitting the edges without anything to grab onto was a tad daunting. So I decided to base the figures and then once dry would paint the edges of the bases. After that is done I will begin to cover the bases.

If you have any suggestions, comments or observations on basing please let me know. Enjoy the pictures ..

Steve and I plan to have some practice maneuvers on Sunday. I will be practicing Infantry basics, defensive positions and various assault maneuvers. I am looking forward to it and will have plenty of pictures to show.

Be safe and keep rolling those dice.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oh the woes of commanding troops ...

Hello fellow troops !

I mentioned in my last post about having additional pictures from my first battles in Flames of War. I figured I would save the most interesting thoughts and concerns and post them under "What I have learned" mile posts (blog tags).

My first command in battle went as good as I thought it would. The dice were against me most of the time; although that is something a wargamer seems to say all the time. If you could have seen Steve's face at times after my roles of the dice you would laugh. He was a good sport about and I had to chuckle myself. We would have awesome ROF rolls and then produce nothing but a glancing shot off the German tanks. I swear I could hear German tankers laughing at me.

But I did learn how positioning and moving tanks in general could turn the next phase into a shooting gallery. My first lesson was never, never, NEVER use double time across open fields with an enemy platoon is gonna be in striking distance. I thought maybe I could get the platoon of Crusaders within a flanking shot of the Panzers. If there is any good out of the situation I was able to get the 3 tanks across 36" without rolling a 1, which would have broken them down for the rest of the game. The bad news is the Panzers got double ROF when attacking. This resulted in approximately 20 shots fired with 15 of them landing a punch. I don't need to explain the results to any gamer. I think the picture will explain ...

Another thing I learned was approaching villages. One turn you think your covered and the next turn you in some German tanker's sight for a flank shot. These Shermans were approaching the village in the middle of the map. The German tank column turned and got all 3 Shermans in one round of shooting. I must admit my rolling of dice seemed to lend a hand to the Sherman's downfall.

Rolling dice seemed something that anyone could have a decent hand at. I learned that I didn't have the knack yet. "1" rolled numerous times and made me feel my troops were too busy looking at pinups and not practicing shooting. I am sure that any wargamer will agree that the dreaded "1" seems to show up in favor of the opponent every time.

Not giving up is another thing learned my first time out. A group of Grants using high ground and excellent firepower took out the platoon that killed the Shermans. Excellent shooting characteristics of the Grants along with British modifiers worked magic on splitting open German armor. As you can see by this photo ...

As Steve mentioned in these battles ... FOW is like Chess. Learning the basics is easy but mastering all the moves takes a lifetime. I can't remember the exact phrase but that was close and a good phrase.

I hope to add more to this mile post (blog tag) as my battles and experience happens.

Till then .... enjoy the blog and feel free to leave comments


Battle Hymn 09

Hello fellow troops !

Well ..... Battle Hymn 09 has come and gone once again.

The turnout was once again very high. The show consisted of various models, the wargames miniatures section and car/military vehicles on display. And of course the vendors were in full force. The cub scouts were there in high numbers as well. Its good to see their motivation and hope that the model hobby as well as the miniature wargaming sticks as a hobby for them.

Once arriving I headed straight over to the wargame area. I had plans to find Steve and his Battle of El Alamein. It wasn't hard to find since it was the only desert table in the area. I introduced myself and Steve allowed me to help control his British forces on the table.

Taking on the Nazis controlled by Tom was a task that any experienced FOW general would find daunting, I found it a humbling experience to say the least. A fun time but very humbling.

As I took control, the British were already deployed since Steve was running the game before I arrived. A true sportsman and a great teacher he allowed me to role the dice and ask many many questions.

We had two objectives. One being Rommel himself and the other a supply depot. The British in this scenario did not have any objectives thus forcing us into an attack role. The scenario only allowed tanks being a easy way to learn the game. The map consisted of a main road splitting the board and t'ed off towards two separate villages. There was olive groves, various hills/ridges and some marshes. The marshes were an interesting use of small bases with some vegetation spread out among a large bases of tan. The buildings were 15mm in design and made the map feel so much more a desert reality. Excellent setup !

My first kill some an awesome shot from a British Sherman tank. Well to tell the true it was the only thing my Shermans did in the first game I played. The kill occurred as we attempted to flank the German position surrounding Rommel's HQ. It was the only shot we placed and killed in this attempt. The victorious Sherman was rewarded by being tagged by a returning German fire and his OIC failed his moral test and retreated from the battle. The Grant platoon was singled out and destroyed in later rounds without much effect.

While the above flanking maneuver was taking place we sent a 1 platoon of British Shermans and 1 platoon of British Crusaders down the main road to split up the defending Germans.

It is here that we had a German response with the OIC leading the attack on our Shermans attempting to flank again through a gap next to the buildings in the horizon. The Crusaders lacked armor but had excellent tank killing power. They moved to attempt cover fire.

On the opposite side of the map we had 1 platoon of British Grants and 1 platoon of British Crusaders. Their objective was the supply depot near a village and olive grove. We moved them onto of an excellent hill for exploiting our 2 shot advantage per Grant. The Grants in this scenario led in kills and were one of the most effective firing units we had. We poured fire into units defending the supply depot and you could almost hear the rounds punching through the German armor.

We also had the Grants provide cover fire for the middle advance. A couple more kills achieved with great shooting from the British crews. But alas the middle advance was destroyed by superior German armor and my horrible dice rolling.
Things began to crumble as the German armor turned its ugly head to the remaining British forces. Once the eastern forces were no longer a threat; the defending Olive grove forces moved to engage our remaining Grants and Crusaders. Slowly our forces were opened up like tin cans although we took out some Germans with us.

It was a great game for being my first. Steve was excellent in explaining the basic rules and making the game fun to learn. I thank Steve tons for allowing to participate and making it a great day. I look forward to playing future games with Steve and Tom. Revenge of the burning British tanks will be had .... maybe.

I have more pictures from a second game that we played. But since the carnage was so great I will be posting it later as a "Things I learned not to do".

Till then .... be safe, keep painting and practice the dice rolling (I need to for sure). And remember, the 327th GIR is forming and looking to make its mark on the table.

Be safe ....