A place for me to show off all my wargames stuff.

Dumfries show

Albuera – A scenario for Black Powder

This is the scenario that was used for a re-fight of Albuera at Albancih 2015 on the terrain boards described in a separate post:

https://newtshobby.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/albuera-making-the-terrain-board/

Introduction

On 4th May the British under General Beresford besieged Badajoz with a small army of around 20,000 British and Portuguese. Marshal Soult had just finished putting down a rising in Andalusia and had gathered together a French army of ~25,000 with which to raise the siege. Having tricked the British into thinking he was preparing defensive positions he marched as quickly as possible towards Badajoz with the intention of defeating the Spanish army under Blake and Beresford’s British/Portuguese in detail.

Beresford learned that Marshal Soult had set out  to relieve the fortress. He therefore decided that it would be better to meet this threat in the field, raised the siege and arranged to join with a Spanish army under General Jochim Blake at the semi-deserted village of La Albuera.

The scene was set for a pivotal battle in which Soult’s magnificent flank attack and sweeping cavalry charges by the Vistula Lancers were defeated by stubborn, brave British and Spanish soldiers standing their ground despite the odds.

The Scenario

This is a fairly large battle and the scenario as written/used was based on representing 800 men as a Battalion /400 cavalry as a regiment /8 guns as a battery, but you could alter this as needed to suit what you have available. The strength of each Battalion / Regiment / battery is given in the attached files to help you do this. Note that we made some adjustments to suit the scenario for example the two Battalions of Kings German Legion are represented by one large Battalion but we could have equally decided to represent them as two small Battalions. Also, arguably French light infantry should be treated exactly the same as line infantry, however, we like the difference…When you play it you can do it your way :).

The scenario starts before Soult’s flank attack and gives the French player the option of entering from directly in front of Albuera and attacking as Beresford expected.

Deployment maps and OOB are given in the attached files, play sheets are included to make life easier…

Albuera Allied Deployment v1

Albuera French Deployment v1

There are some ‘special rules’ to cover interpretations of the terrain. Note that these are partly based on the terrain boards we used depending on how you choose to represent the battlefield you might want to changes/ignore some of these. In particular it would probably be better to extend the battlefield beyond what we represented to show the start of the wooded area North of Albuera and the rickety bridge thus avoiding the entry requirements for Hamilton. An additional scenario rule that potentially allows the bridge to be used might add a bit of flavour and may mean the Allied player deploys Collins to watch this flank as he did historically.

Albuera Special Rules

The Battle As We Played It At Albanich 2015

Some things in the photos that might need a little explanation…we use four 30mm x 30mm stands of 6 figs to represent an Infantry Battalion. Skirmishers (when deployed) are represented by an additional ‘skirmisher base’ that has a frontage of 60mm and 3 figs occasionally we will leave the skirmisher base on the table but move it to the rear of the battalion if they are not deployed, it depends on how much confusion there is at the time and what we think looks better at that point in time.

For light infantry we have an additional two skirmisher bases, sometimes modelled with 4 figs, when the entire Battalion adopts open order we deploy both of the skirmisher bases and remove two of the close order bases. To help us keep track of what is where…we tend to keep the four bases in base to base contact.

Cavalry Regiments are depicted using six 30mm x 30mm bases of 2 figs, that we like to field in two ranks to represent a Regiment in successive lines.

Initial Allied deployment:

Spanish on the left…

Albanich2015 (3)c

British in the centre and Hamilton’s Portuguese on the right.

Albanich2015 (4)c

Portuguese cavalry watching the river crossing.

Albanich2015 (1)c

Godinot’s division enters and begins to cross the bridge over the River Albuera. The 27th Chasseurs a Cheval and 4th Spanish Chasseurs à Cheval lead the way and guard the open ground to allow artillery to deploy in a forward position but receive the unwelcome attention of the KGL firing from the buildings of La Albuera . The long snake of infantry trudge along behind…

Albanich2015 (5)c

Meanwhile, to the South Latour-Maubourg’s cavalry division moves to seize the high ground on the open plain.

Albanich2015 (8)c

Godinot deploys light infantry to support his artillery but a surprise attack from the rash British cavalry sweep them from the field. The cavalry are then badly mauled and retreat back to the British camp where they spend the rest of the battle tending their blown mounts and injured troopers (missing photos due to the high level of excitement…). A gaping hole opens in the French front as their infantry desperately try to get over the bridge (repeated failed command rolls/blunders). British light troops (rifles) come forward to harass the deployed French artillery while the line infantry behind them struggles to get organised. (many failed command rolls…). A few Battalions (Werle) have made it to the high ground to the left of the artillery but the collapse of Godinot on their right and the long delay of Gazan to come into the action has made it impossible for them to attack.

Albanich2015 (10)cAlbanich2015 (9)c

On the French left flank… The cavalry division has entered and deployed in an orderly fashion in preparation to launch a sweeping attack on the weak Spanish flank of the Allied army. Another (Girard?) infantry division enters and moves to occupy the high ground  to support the attack. It is looking like an unstoppable force is about to be unleashed and the Spanish commander is feeling decidedly nervous. His infantry even more so as they refuse to obey commands.

Albanich2015 (11)c

The French cavalry division sweeps down on the Spanish army… charging ahead of their supporting infantry that are still in March column

Albanich2015 (12)c

But the Spanish cavalry puts up a bravely counter charges (!) and despite heavy Spanish losses and the French successfully taking the high ground they have suffered greatly and the attack grinds to a halt (as the French desperately try to overcome disorder and rally key regiments to stop the division becoming broken…).

Albanich2015 (13)c

But the French cavalry attack opened the way for Werle to attack in the centre! The Spanish are teetering on the very brink of collapse but refuse to run and against the odds they hold back the surging French infantry inflicting casualties and sowing disorder in the French line.

Albanich2015 (14)c

Girard’s French infantry  are struggling to keep pace with the ferocious cavalry attack and can’t deploy quickly enough to press home the fleeting advantage…(more failed command rolls, only getting the single free move for being in column of march).

Albanich2015 (15)c

Finally the British and Portuguese get into order and begin to advance on the French column that is struggling to get across the bridge and ford. Godinot’s division is on the brink of being broken as a Portuguese hammer approaches…

Albanich2015 (16)c

 

And that was as far as we got…always the way when trying to have a game at a show with so many shiny items on stands to browse rather than playing the game. It was fun though, even though I was umpiring rather than playing.

Dean and Bob were the French commanders of the day and they had a spectacular run of bad command rolls with entire divisions sitting stationary for turn after turn, except the French cavalry attack which surged forward at break-neck speed. The luck was not much better for Nigel, Brian (Spanish + British) and Chris (British + Portuguese) but at least it actually meant we had a game of it rather than them surging forward and crushing Godinot/Werle at the ford.

As usual Black Powder provides a nail biting game even if we didn’t get to a conclusion. It was looking very bad for the left flank of each army!

 

Advertisements

Albuera – Making the terrain board.

For the Albanich 2016 show (Dumfries) we, and by ‘we’ I mean Nigel…decided that doing a re-fight of the battle of Albuera from the Peninsular War would be a good idea. The theme at Albanich was horse and musket to celebrate the 200yr anniversary of Waterloo. The scenario details and OOB will be in another post.

I am writing this about a year after the event. At the time I did a lot of research into the battle and the layout of the key features on the battlefield. It was my original intention to write a detailed account of what I concluded and include links to where I got the information from and arguments as to why I concluded certain things. However, I have left it too long and now I can’t remember, and I have put my notes in a safe place that I now can’t find :(. So apologies to all those excellent web resources I found and also if you have stumbled upon this looking for more, all I can do is tell you that Google is your friend and there is a wealth of material that is easily found on this battle. Nevertheless I hope this will be of some use regardless.

Our initial thoughts were to use a published scenario from Fields of Glory scenario book for Shako rules, and for me to build a suitable terrain board. We already had a good amount of 15mm Napoleonic miniatures between us and to keep the cost down we would use that (even if the uniforms were not quite accurate). The rule system of choice for us is Black Powder so we would need to adjust the scenario to fit but it had a modest number of battalions in the scenario so all seemed very doable, with little headache / expense. At least that was the plan…but then I got a bit carried away.

The initial scenario required modelling both sides of the valley and began at the opening of Soult’s feint towards Albuera and after Blake’s Spanish have moved into position to oppose them. This sets the scene for Soult’s impressive flanking attack.

Here is my first sketch of how the terrain board was going to be laid out. It’s a bit hard to make out because the text has not scanned too well (and I have compressed the image), but the general gist is that it will require a 9ft x 5ft table. The terrain around Albuera is gentle rolling hills so contours were to be ~10mm in height

Albuera sceanrio for Dumfries

It was all looking very straightforward and then this happened… http://www.peninsularwar.org/albuera.htm

I discovered a very detailed map and as a result of doing more research I also learned a lot more about the battle, the initial movements of the various armies beforehand, and the soldiers involved.

So…I started again. This time using the more detailed map from the web page above, the one that shows the initial starting dispositions I changed the area of the battlefield that we would fight over.

For Black Powder we use four bases of 30mm x 30mm to represent a Battalion. This gives a frontage of 120mm on the table-top, which is roughly equivalent to 150yds. Now, I can’t find any of my previous notes or the sketches of the terrain board I made before making it, but I used this as a basis to determine how much of the battlefield to model and what ground scale to use. It won’t have been precise though as there needed to be some compromise to make the game/scenario playable. Also it was fixed to be no more than 9ft x 6ft as we had a 10ft x 6ft table at the show, and you need a little bit of space each side for keeping rubbish (and drinks) off the battlefield.

I also changed the scenario…more on this later.

The table was to be made up of 3ftx2ft boards for ease of carrying and fitting in my van. Previously (River Bug game) I had made 5ft x 2ft sections but this then needed me to make a frame for transport which was something I was keen to avoid this time. The boards were made from 6mm ply wood using 2″x 1″ planed wood, frame and strengthened with a central batten. Raw materials awaiting attention.

Albuera(1)c

This is where I made my first mistake…I measured to the wrong side of the circular saw blade and made all the boards 2mm shorter than intended!

I then arranged all the boards and drew out the terrain in pencil. I coloured the features so that I could make sense of it but really there was little point in doing this as it was all going to be covered. It felt good to stand back and look at it though :). I couldn’t resist putting a few minis on the board and some 6mm scale buildings just because they were all I had. This is actually Godinot’s Division in its starting position, for a sense of scale.

Albuera(5)cAlbuera(2)cAlbuera(4)cAlbuera(3)c

Although I have not been able to share my planning stages, you can hopefully now see that the battlefield is quite different to that in the original scenario. It is a bit easier to see later on when the boards are built but just in case you are wondering, the battlefield has moved significantly West to cover the shallow valley behind Albuera where the Allied armies initially deployed. This was at the expense of covering all of the valley to the East of Albuera, but it was a wooded area that concealed Soult’s movements anyway so I considered making this bit ‘off table’ would have little impact on the scenario.

My second mistake though…If I had extended just 6″ further North (so that Albuera moved 6″ towards the centre of the board) it would have taken the battlefield to the natural edge formed by the woods to the North, giving enough ground for Hamilton’s Portuguese to deploy on table :(.

The next stage was to glue blue foam onto each board and shape the contours. Unfortunately you have to buy the blue craft foam by the box. So to save money I bought a box of 5mm thick foam in 600mm x 600mm sheets. This gave me a 5mm base layer all of the boards so that I could cut out the river with shallow banks but meant I would have to laminate the sheets for all the other contours. It is a bit of a pain doing this as when sticking the sheets together with PVA glue it doesn’t set very well in the centre of the sheets and you end up faffing on with pulling them apart in some areas, or cutting out the middle that has not set and then re-gluing them. Using 10mm thickness sheets would have saved a lot of heartache but also doubled the cost for the craft foam.

Albuera2(1)cAlbuera2(2)cAlbuera3 (1)c

There was a decision to be made of which of Nigel’s bridges to use for the main bridge. After positioning them each on the developing terrain it was decided that the bigger bridge would be better, even if it was a little out of the ground scale.

Albuera3 (3)cAlbuera3 (2)c

Next stage was to draw out all the roads and other features.

Third mistake… I thought I was using a permanent marker. It turned out to be a water based marker that then bled through when I got to the painting stage :(. Should have just used pencil.

The next stage was to put some texture on the boards.

I used polyfiller for the roads, this was painted on with a 1″ brush in the direction of the road to give an impression of cart wheel ruts.

The rest of the board was coated with PVA and then sprinkled with dried sieved sand. I also mixed up a paste of sand/PVA and this was then pushed into the gaps between the craft foam sheets to hide the joins between contours. Second photo shows the boards at the back being weighted down while the glue dries (after afore mentioned patching of un-set areas). Incidentally – the bottle of beer is mine, the crap larger was left at our house following a party by somebody to embarrassed to come back and collect it afterwards…

Albuere4 (2)cAlbuere4 (1)c

Once dry, the boards were all painted with emulsion paint. I used ‘Dancing Bear’ from the B&Q range, followed by a dry-brush with ‘Lions Slumber’. Everything was painted the same, then the river was painted with several coats of a very dark green called ‘evergreen’ (rivers are either brown or green in my experience…even though it looks a bit blue in the photos). The white roads are where I have gone over them again with the polyfiller. I was relying on the change in texture between the sand and polyfiller to provide a good differentiation between the road and other ground so that I would not have to ‘sink’ them into the terrain.

Albuera5 (1)cAlbuera5 (2)cAlbuera5 (3)c

Although these boards were being made for a specific event IP wanted them to have a bit of longevity and flexibility for use in other games. Therefore the terrain elements other than the main contours were all modelled separately. To the East of Albuera there were olive groves. These were made in the same way as the boards using 3mm ply cut and shaped as required. I chamfered the edges and added some stone walls made from strips of cork wall tiles. These were a pale brown colour so I didn’t even need to paint them, I was not very careful about painting the ground around the walls as this helped tie them into the ground.

Albuera6 (1)cAlbuera6 (2)cAlbuera6c

For olive trees I picked up some cheap trees from e-bay and mounted them on washers using hot glue. They were also based using the sand/PVA paste that was used to hide gaps between the craft foam sheets. A tip here is to mix a bit of paint in with the sand/PVA it makes painting the bases a lot easier.

Albuera8 (1)c

Next, the entire board was given a dry brush with ‘Moroccan Sand’ emulsion from B&Q.  This was applied heavily on the roads and other contour areas where I wanted the contour to stand out, for example the river cliffs below Albuera. The walls of the olive groves were also picked out with this.

Albuera7 (1)cAlbuera7 (2)cAlbuera8 (2)c

The River was given several good coats of the ‘evergreen’ paint. When dry brushing the roads I allowed the brush to lightly go over the river to give an impression that the water was shallow at the fords. The river was then coated several times with clear nail polish that I ‘borrowed’ from my eldest daughter – thanks Bridget…to give the water a shine and a transparent film to give the impression that the colour came from depth.

Stone chippings were glued along the banks of the river, these were also dry brushed with ‘Moroccan Sand’. Finally, some foam flock was glued along the banks to represent increased vegetation. I was considering using lichen to show small trees/unruly bushes but I decided this would be better as scatter rather than a fixed part of the boards.

Albuera9 (2)cAlbuera9 (1)c

Albuera was not intended to be a representation of the town itself and was based on buildings that Grahkam already had in his collection. The base was made in exactly the same way as the olive groves. It did initially start off as very regular looking but ended up a bit more interesting.

Albuera7 (3)cAlbuera7 (4)cAlbuera10 (4)c

Albuera10 (3)cAlbuera10 (2)cAlbuera10 (1)c

Albuera10 (6)cAlbuera10 (5)c

The main elements of the boards were now completed and all that was left to do was the addition of flock. Now was the time to make sure that I had made something that would fulfil its purpose and accommodate the necessary battalions included in the revised scenario. So I made cardboard counters for each unit of the Allied armies and positioned them on the developing board in their starting positions, luckily everything fitted. Or at least it did more or less, this was when I realised my mistake with not allowing enough space for Hamilton to deploy. I did consider making an additional board, but in the end decided to just go with what we had. Hamilton would just have to ‘enter’ the battlefield…(You can see Hamilton as the column of bases on the right of the photo…it should be a line extending to the edge of the wood 6″ off the board edge).

Albuera11 (1)cAlbuera11 (2)cAlbuera11 (3)c

The big flock was next… I used a mix of all kinds to give greener more fertile looking valleys and parched looking hills. Especially the area to the top left of the photo. I added some flock around the base of the walls in the olive groves and also some to the walled areas in the town to give an impression of gardens.

Albuera13c

The area around the town of Albuera has fields but these do not have hedges/fences around their borders. The borders would be made up of the stones that have been removed from the ground during ploughing. So I made up some fields using the same principals as used for the olive groves but using the PVA/sand paste to build up the edges.

Albuera14 (2)cAlbuera14 (3)cAlbuera14 (1)c

I also made up a separate piece of terrapin to show a marshy/boggy area that was shown on some of the maps I had seen.

And here are the completed boards:

Albuera19 (2)c

EDIT: The white dots beside the road (upper right) are tents of the British encampment. They were made using folded paper…very simple.

This was the last photo before they were packed for transport to the show. On the day we added scattered lichen to show scrubland, but you can see that in a separate post that will include details of the scenario/OOB and some photos taken on the day.

Thanks to Nigel for the enthusiasm that sparked mine, the bridge and to Graham for the buildings.

Also thanks to Chris for the moral support and air-brushing the trees to make them look a bit more like olive trees.


Assault Over The Bug River, Operation Barbarrossa Day 1

Well…we won ‘best in show’ for our demo game of the first day of operation Barbarrossa depicting an assault over the Bug River in the vicinity of Patulin and Matykaly, North of Brest.

Chris has done a great detailed After Action Report on his blog so here is a link:

http://blog.cjsutherland.co.uk/attack-on-the-bug-river-28mm/

Extra to that here are some photos that I took (much better photos on Chris’ blog though).

German + Russian OOB:Bug River Scenario 

Opening dispositions from the Russian end, a bit difficult to see much on the photo though…

Dumfries

A shot of the initial Russian emplacements showing the long line of barbed wire and a few suspicious breaks in the wire…

Dumfries (1)Dumfries (3)

Initial German deployment…or at least part of it, the tauch panzers had not been placed yet. Notice the engineers with the pontoon bridge and the emplaced 150mm Artillery (bane of my life in this game) behind them.

Dumfries (2)

After the first couple of turns, from the Russian end. Germans have had an opening barage which hit all Russian squads on the ‘second’ board and provided quite a lot of pin markers, they also laid a few rather annoying smoke screens. The sharp eyed will also notice that the barage appears to have created some ‘rough ground’ at various points. Actually Nigel forgot to mention he had brought it, and then I spotted it in a box under the table. So shortly after the first turn a few areas of ‘concealing’ rough ground appeared. We allowed line of sight over/through these but applied a -1 to hit modifier. It also counted as rough ground.

Dumfries (4)

Closer shot of the German infantry getting into boats and the first tauchpanzer dipping its tracks in the water…the other is lurking behind the wood in the centre. Engineers have got to the bank of the river and start building the pontoon, which all going well will take them four turns.

Dumfries (5)

First section of the pontoon bridge is up…first boat hits the opposite bank! Russians are rather annoyed by the smoke which prevents any of the Germans being visible.

Dumfries (6)

Second sectionof pontoon bridge built, tauch panzers nearing the opposite bank and second wave of infantry climbing into boats.

Dumfries (7)

A few turns later…the pontoon bridge is up. All the smoke blew away but they just layed more…An advance German squad was in an unfortunate position when the smoke blew away and has been hit quite a few times, no cassualties to speak of but pin markers are starting to mount! The far tauchpanzer has been spanked! but the Russian rounds just bounced off. Still it gave the crew a bit of a shock and they retired back to cover at the river bank.  In the second photo, the plume of grey smoke by the river bank shows where a German squad was anihilated by a Russian mortar.

Dumfries (8)Dumfries (9)

 German reinforcements are coming on thick and fast. Here they are building up a grand battery on their side of the river. Medium mortar plus two 75mm infantry guns (light howitzers). It will be several turns before the NKVD border guards in the bunker realise this lot is all in range of their MMG. In the meantime the Russian mortars can only reach the middle of the river…notice the mortar shell splash, which gives the Germans a secure base for indirect fire support of the attack. Unseen by the Russians, the spotter for the 150mm artillery is lurking in the woods.

Dumfries (10)

And then the smoke all blew away again!

Dumfries (11)

And the advanced German squad got hammered…but they were doing a good job of keeping their heads down and avoided taking many casualties.

Dumfries (12)

And after a few more turns the game came to an end…

The positions at the end of the game:

German armour had surged forward and the Panzer III headed for the break in the wire, only to discover it was a minefield! A carefully placed Russian teller-mine managed to seriously damage the tank and it was out of action. The Germans had finally managed to storm and take the first line of Russian trenches. They actually did this with very little casualties but were then exposed to fire from the second line which was begining to take its toll.

Dumfries (18)

More German armour (two Panzer IV/D) was making its way over the bridge supported by a squad of infantry in an armoured half-track (sdkfz 251/1)

Dumfries (19)

On the German left (Russian right) an infantry squad had finally managed to storm the hill and take out the Russian mortar spotters.

Dumfries (13)

On the Russian left a T-26 had rushed out from Brest and positioned itself behind the second line of defence to lend some fire support. Unfortunately the thin armour was no match for the penetration of the German guns and it was soon on-fire. The crew managed to put the fire out before the tank was put out of action but they were effectively rendered ineffective due to the number of hits and pins they had received.

The Russian anti-tank battery had done a stirling job all battle and repeatedly hit the advancing German tanks, but failed to penetrate…

Dumfries (17)

A Russian T-28 had managed to get onto the field and was putting heavy pressure on the German infantry and light tanks….

Dumfries (15)

The Russians attempted to capitalise on this but only suceeded in drawing the attention of the spotter for the 150mm artillery which promptly destroyed the other T-28 as it emerged from the village of Matykaly…

  Dumfries (16)               

 The Germans launche a bold move in an attempt to grab some land with a half-track containing an infantry squad. HMG fire disabled the halftrack forcing the infantry to dismount. Seeing this the NKVD stormed out of their bunker and assaulted the bewildered German squad which after a sound thrashing made a run for it back to their own lines (thats them beside the T-26 turret), and the NKVD consolidated back into the safety of their bunker.

Dumfries (14)

The T-26 turret took a hamering in the battle but somehow repeatedly survived penetrating hits! It may have been the most effective unit on the Russian side.

This would have been a better battle report if I had taken more photos but it was a great fun game and I was just too carried away to remember the camera. However, hopefully this gives you a summary and an overview of how the game went, and you can look on Chris’ blog for better pictures and more detailed narrative (link at the top of this post).

Many thanks to Nigel the (almost) impartial umpire who went distinctly German after lunch…just what was in that sandwhich?

Also to Graham and Chris the German players.

And a special thanks to Comrade Brian helping me stem the advancing hoarde.


28mm Sand Bags

I know that these days everything should be described with a load of pictures or a video..but here are some old fashioned instructions:

If you want to make sand bags for 28mm, or any other scale using milliput (or green stuff) here is how I do it.

Firstly have a clean board to work on, the chopping board from the kitchen is apprently not acceptable, nor is it appropriate to work directly on a kitchen worktop or the dining table. This board needs to be large enough for you to roll out the milliput. I found a 12″ square of MDF was just right (eventually).

Make sure you have a small bowl of water to hand.

Get equal sized portions of the two elelments of miliput, I found pieces about the size of a large marble were a decent size to work with, about the size of a gobstopper if you are young enough you don’t even know what a marble is. If you don’t know what a gobstopper is either nobody can help you…knead them together until they are well mixed. Remember to wet your hands before you start kneading and as required during the kneading process to stop your hands/fingers being covered in milliput.

Next splash a little bit of water on your board and then roll out the milliput until it is in a large sausage just a little bit thinner than the width you want for the sand bags.

Next, dip the blade of your modelling knife in the water and then cut the rolled out milliput into sand bag sized pieces.

Now put a bead of PVA glue on the model where you want the sand bags. Take up a single sand bag, give a little more squashing into a pleasing shape with your fingers and place it onthe model.

When you have done a full layer, take something that is textured (I used aluminium mesh used for car body repairs, because I have some waiting to be turned into chainlink fences…that is another project I will get on to one day) and press it into the sand bags to give them a hessian sack appearance. You could also run your modelling knife blade along the edge of the ‘bags’ to give the impression of a seam, I did this on some…

Start again with the next layer. You don’t need to use the PVA glue for the next layer because the milliput will stick to itself, but i found that using it helps to fill out the gaps between bags.

Here are some pictures of slip trenches I made and added sand bags to, these are the sand bags unpainted and in the raw colour of standard yellow/grey milliput.

Trench (1) Trench


28mm Artillery Position

The scenario we are using for the Dumfries show on 9th March requires the German artillery to be dug-in.

Also it turns out that Nigel has ordered a 150mm howitzer for the Germans, so an artillery position is required.

I dug about on the internet a bit but the contemporary photos I found were basically holes that had been dug into the ground and didn’t really offer anything in terms of looking like a prepared artillery position. I did a bit more digging looking at various scenic items offered by the various terrain selling companys in various scales. Also I had this desire to use corrugated tin sheeting in the model.

If you look at most tinned food cans you will notice that at least a part of the tin is ridged. Heinz soup tins have a bit of this but Heinz sweet corn tins have much more, for whatever reason… Anyway it seems to me that these ridged tins are perfect for making corrugated tin sheeting at 28mm scale and I was keen to try this out on an actual model.

So…I decided on a fairly basic premis of a dug-out area that would accomodate a gun (or two) with a covered area that could either be an ammo store or a make-shift shelter for the crew. And here it is:

ArtyPosition (1)

The base is 2mm MDF and the blue is 5mm thickness blue foam board, 3 layers throughout with an additonal layer for the covered area.

The problem (it turns out) with making tin sheeting from food tins is that it is curved and does not want to lie flat, even after persuasion with gentle bending. the problem being if you hammer it flat which could be done, it will also remove the corrugations which are the whole purpose for using the stuff in the first place! So I ended up gluing the foam board into place and letting it dry. Next I had to glue/position the tin sheeting pieces and then drill holes in the base so that the match stick supports would actually hold the sheeting flat against the foam board. The pleasing aspect of this was that the match sticks have to be placed according to the need to hold the sheeting flat, which feels like it must be authentic to a full scale situation. In the photo the two pieces on the right have been bent further (around a paint pot) to make a curved roof for the covered area.

The sheeting is not difficult to cut but you must be careful as the cut sheets are sharp! I used a stanley knife which was more than up to the task of cutting through a food can but there was the danger of slipping while cutting which kind of focussed my mind on the job! I’d suggest extreme caution and wearing cut resistant gloves. Anyway, once the main body of the corrugated section was cut from the tin I tidied it up with an angle grinder fitted with a coarse flap-wheel, making sure to remove any burrs, and flattened the sheet as much as I could with gentle bending. Actually cutting the individual sheets from this was easy. Basically give it a fairly heavy score with a stanley knife and then bend/snap along the scored line. I cut all my sheets into standard sized sections of approcimately 20mm x 40mm which is roughly 4ft x 8ft in scale terms and approximately equal to standard corrugated sheet sizes. Actually it was a little less than 20mm as they were cut at an oportune corrugation.

After it was all glued and dry I coated all the foam board with polyfiller:

ArtyPosition

Photographed with a ruler to give an idea of dimensions.

Next I painted all the areas that would be ‘earth’ and added sandbags made from milliput. You could use green-stuff if you are affluent and even buy it from GW if you are really rich…

ArtyPosition(2)ArtyPosition (3)

The problem with using this method for tin sheeting is that the metal sheets have very thin (sharp) edges and in particular sharp corners that could easily cut somebody. My solution to this was the liberal application of sandbags to the model to cover the sharp bits sufficiently that they are not a hazzard.

And then, the finished item:

 ArtyPosition (5) ArtyPosition (4)    ArtyPosition(3)

Pictured with a BlackTree Designs  German 75mm Infantry gun to give an idea of scale.

The sand bags were painted ‘khaki’ and then highlighted with a blend of khaki/light grey.

The actual model is probably not quite the right size. It feels to small for two guns but a little generous for a single piece. Perhaps it will suit Nigels 150mm gun though.

There was no authentic basis for this but it seems to me that troops would make use of what was available to them. There was certainly plenty of tin sheeting around in the England during the 1940’s so why would there not be a few sheets that could be scavenged from somewhere in Poland or elsewhere in Europe? Perhaps a little tenuous but it made a decent looking model I think.


28mm WWII Russian Tanks

These were all obtained from Wargames Command Post, they are all Company B models.

I like the early and mid-war period and if you are going to get a Russian army at this time there are certain vehicles that I think are must haves. One of those is the T-26.

By this time it was a bit naff, but at the time it was designed it was streets ahead of anything any other nation had. The T-26 with its 45mm gun was superb in the Spanish Civil War. It seems to me that Russia was always ahead of the game in terms of tank design right through the war, the problem was that they didn’t retire the old designs and used them on the field. So the T-26 was still a major part of the tank divisions at the start of hostilities in Summer 1941…not that many of them survived very long afterwards since they only had an equivalent amount of armour to an armoured half-track!

I particulalry like this tank commander miniature. Firstly I like the pose and secondly because the miniature is holding the top of the hatch it means that the open hatch can be securely glued in place, which is always a bonus. The droopy gun is a bit of a let down though. I dont know how/when this occured.

WWIIRussianTanks (2)

For a medium tank of course there are a few iconic vehicles in the Soviet Russian aresnal. The T-34 is probably the one most people would think of but to me it is just too good. I dont really like wargames with things that excell at everything they do and the T-34 certainly did that. Admittedly during the early war it had its problems (lack of radio…) but I just dont like the idea of it, at the moment anyway.

So bring on the T-28! What a monster! Multiple turrets…it looks like a proper early war vehicle.

Now you could take umbridge at my previous comments about uber vehicles but the T-28 is certainly not that. They did all have radios but the tank performed very poorly in the Winter war against Finland becasue of its thin armour. As a result this was increased to ~80mm which is comparable to a Panzer IV but the extra weight took the top speed from something around 45km/h to ~25km/h. The main armament is also lacking in punch since it was designed as an infantry support tank and fitted with a low velocity 76mm gun. So in game terms, this is decently armoured but slow and only passingly effective against other armoured targets. And it is huge…there is no way you are going to be able to conceal it behind anything much.

WWIIRussianTanks (3)

To get a better idea of the size of the T-28 here it is with the three T-26 I have.

WWIIRussianTanks (1)

You will notice there are no markings on any of the tanks. Strictly for early war they should have coloured bands around the turret that designated the organisational level of the tank. However, in later war it was common for Russian vehicles to leave the markings up to the local Brigade to decide or have no markings at all – that way you can’t tell what formation you are fighting. taking that into account I trawled the ‘internet’ for contemporary pictures of T-26 so I could copy the markings. What I actually fouond was loads of pictures of tanks with no markings. So I went for that. Of course I can always add markings at some point in the future.

Now, although I prefer early/mid-war I dont want to constrain my opponents. If they really must field a late war German Kampfrugge complete with Tiger II, Panther and all manner of infantry equipped to the teeth with assault rifles and panzerfausts, then I need something of that period too.

So here is my answer, an Su-76…its not spectacular but it was extremely common and had a long post war carreer too.

WWIIRussianTanks (7) WWIIRussianTanks (5) WWIIRussianTanks (4)   

And finally..in order to get about sometimes a comrade needs a truck:

WWIIRussianTanks

One fine day I’ll probably sell-out and get a KV-2, if for no other reason than it is just sooo Russian! The T-35 sorely tempts me too…although it would be a purely early war tank since mostly they were used on the parade ground. Some did see action though, for what they were worth – which was not a lot.


28mm WWII German Tanks

Obtained these from Wargames Command Post.

Not sure now if they are Company B or Army Group North models…

Painted up in mid war German panzer grey, gotta love simple and easy paint schemes. Of course I could have painted some chocolate brown camo pattern over them, but then they would not have been quite so simple to paint. Lazy I am… The bases still need to be finished off but I have not entirely decided how I am going to do the bases for all my 28mm WWII yet.

The tanks are still waiting to be weathered, mud splashed up the sides, around the tracks etc…but I am waiting until I have painted all the vehicles I intend to get and then I’ll weather them all at the same time in the same shades to tie everything toghether.

Panzer III, all photos of the same model (I only have the one). Short 50mm but without the extended turret that had extra storage added to the rear. The photos seem to have invented a lot of light reflections that weren’t there, still they give a decent impression of the model.

WWIIGermanTanks (3)WWIIGermanTanksWWIIGermanTanks (2)

Panzer II

WWIIGermanTanks (4)    WWIIGermanTanks (5)

Soon be joined by a Panzer IV D (short 75mm), which should then give me all I need, although still far less than I want! Curses to WCP and the photographs on your pages!