Thursday, February 29, 2024

28mm Ottoman Infantry Regiment

Hello friends:

Bit of a change of direction here, as I finally finish a unit that's been on and off the painting table since the start of winter.

 This is a regiment of Janissary infantry, figures by The Assualt Group.   While these figures are more Renaissance than 18th Century, they will be opponents for my SYW Russian army.

The flag was from a set I purchased from Warfare Miniatures USA.  Good customer service.  I have some of their Ottomans and while they aren't as good as TAG, they're ok.

Figures are painted using the Foundry tri-tone system.  I'm especially happy with the headresses.

Also some single based command figures, always useful for Sharp Practice.

Always fun to paint Ottomans.

I'm hoping to muster these fellows into my Ottoman army, which is a strange mix of new and old figures, and put them on the table against my Russians.   I don't have a set of SYW rules that includes an Ottoman list.   However, Henry Hyde's new horse and musket rules have a colonial section that might do for some of the wilder Ottoman troop types.  More to follow.

Thanks for looking and blessings to your brushes!


Monday, February 12, 2024

First Look At A Bulge Monster Game: Wacht Am Rhein by Decision Games

 I think anyone who remembers the heyday of paper, hex and counter wargames from the 1970s and 80s has a fondness for the monster games, multi-map, thousand plus piece mammoths that took up all available space, chewed up thousands of hours, and often never got finished.     The most well-known were published by SPI in so-called "soap box" format because they resembled those old laundry detergent boxes.

Last December I remembered that I had a Bulge monster game in my stash and I thought it was a good time of year to give it a try.   Wacht Am Rhein is a Joe Youst design, published by Decision Games in 2005, and traces its lineage back to an SPI game of the same title designed by Joe Balkoski and Jim Dunnigan and published in 1977.  There's a lot in the box.

It comes with a big rule book.   The Grand Operational Simulation Series (GOSS) is highly detailed, and is grand-operational in scale, which is one of my gaming sweet spots.  Units are mostly battalion sized, and have three steps; most BNs can break down into company level which is useful when attaching armour to an infantry attack, or distributing AT units among a defensive line.  The system reminded me of SPI's Atlantic Wall which I played a lot of long ago.

I chose a very simple learning scenario, a four turn (two day) battle called Fight For Kesternich, in which the US 78th Infantry Division tries to capture a ridge on the German/Belgian border guarding the Roer Dam.  Defending the ridge was most of the 272nd Volksgrenadier Regiment.  Historically this American offensive kicked off just days before the Ardennes offensive and forced the Germans to change the northern pivot point of their operation. 

In the scenario, the Americans have two days/four turns to capture two hexes, one being the village of Kesternich (shown below towards the left of the photo, occupied by a stack topped by the German (grey) AT company0, as well as hex 5510 towards the bottom of the photo.  I've broken the US tank battalion down into three companies to support the infantry.    The Germans begin the game entrenched, so are hard to dig out, and there are some hexes occupied by the Germans at start which are rough and restrict the number of units that can attack each turn.  The shot below is taken just after the first US turn, with a little progress made on the attack but the Germans pretty much holding fast.

This learning scenario abstracts artillery, has no weather or night rules, and imposes strict boundaries on the hexes in play.

And the state of play at the final turn, No American progress to report, and at the bottom of the photo, the US attackers have actually been pushed back.   Both sides have suffered casualties, and it would be unlikely that the 78th could manage another day on the offensive and still be effective, while the Germans have clung on by their fingernails.

One of the things I like about GOSS is the combat system is quite complex at first, but as you get the hang of it, you see its wisdom.    Terrain determines the starting odds, which are then adjusted for or against the attacker depending on whether the attack is prepared, whether engineers are in support, whether the artillery barrage has been effective, and for the defender depending on entrenchments and, crucially, adjacent enemy units that are not themselves being attacked.   Such shifts simulate supporting and enfilading fire that can be brought to bear on an attack from supporting, adjacent defending units, and they can break an attack.     

Once the odds are calculated, there are a variety of bonuses that can be added to the D100 die roll depending on armour superiority, regimental integrity if more than one BN of the same Regt is attacking, and so forth.  Both defender and attacker roll separately, meaning that an attack can have a NE fail while the defenders' fire is murderous, or vice versa.  Combat results are a tradeoff between step losses, fatigue, or retreats, depending on how badly you want to hold a hex.  A few days sustained combat can easily wreck a division.

So my first attempt at WAR was successful and I learned a lot about the basic system.  The bigger systems have rules for strategic movement, transport, logistics, weather, air support, leaders, etc that I have yet to crack.

It was great fun to make it a little ways up the mountain of this monster game, and I hope to return soon.  The next scenario features the 101st AB defending Bastogne and looks like great fun.

Blessings to your counter clipping!


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Progress on the 15mm SF Front

Hello friends:

Not much blogging activity here but slightly more hobbying in the last month or so.   Last time I posted here it was about some Darkest Star models that were nearing completion.  Here they are all done and in flight (no, this isn't a scene from Masters of the Air).

The three "flying" models will be Terran military APCs, which will go nicely with some well painted infantry that a friend kindly gave me recently (see below).   All together, they make a decent infantry platoon to go up against my space kitties.  I couldn't tell you the manufacture of the human infantry.  They look properly armed and accoutered.   If you recognize them, pray leave a comment.

Here one section dismounts will the other two APCs remain in air to provide overwatch.  A wheeled recce AFV has gone forward to secure the landing zone.  I have no idea if that is sound Grav Infantry doctrine in future, but it seems legit.

There are a few decals from recently completed plastic airplane model kits that were put to good use.  That flight stand, by the way, is by Litko, and very useful.  I had to drill the bottoms of the models for the stand to fit, and since I was guessing where the centre of balance was, each model sits a little differently.

Not a great photo, but speaking of decals, you might recognize the unit and formation IDs on these vehicles, from a Flames of War set bought years ago.   I thought they made sense for a formation operating on an arid planet.

The entire platoon deployed.  That should give the Kzinti something to think about.  There's still a Terran grav tank to complete and some Canid allies to fight alongside the Terrans against the evil space kitties.

Of course, the universe is dark and full of fearsome things, including these four armed alien gribblies that my friend also kindly passed on to me.  On the left there's a fearsome pack of armoured beasts/bots/?? that look fast and deadly.   I have no idea who manufactures these figures, but I quite like them,

Speaking of deadly, some of these fellows have proper SF weapons and some have old fashioned choppers.  Like the Kzinti, it looks like the prefer hand to hand as much as shooting.   Are they Kzin allies?  Do they hate everyone?  Do they eat everyone?

I'm happy that I've gotten to the point where I could try a decent battle using Xenos Rampant, but I also have some rules sets for larger actions that I've bought from Nordic Weasal and never tried, so I have some options.

Blessings to your blasters!


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