Why Jozi's Tin Man? This has caused a little confusion. It is in reference to a Savage Worlds game I played with my wife, Jozi, where she played a flying monkey and I was a Tin Man. Hence Jozi's (possessive) Tin Man.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Trench Hammer How To Video posted

I have posted a brief demo video of Trench Hammer to my site here:

I hope this is helpful, it is not all the rules but should give you an idea of how the mechanics work.  If you have any questions, the best place to ask is The Wargames Website, Ivan or I are usually lurking there.

Good Gaming!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tank on Tank: Central Front, Play test 2

First an admin note, I have added a section on the left of the current book I am reading.  Not that I think I am an academic, but I have found some great recommendations from other historical gamers and someone may find this useful.  My current book is only $0.99 for Kindle, so how can you go wrong!

Ok, on with the show.

Motor Rifle Regiment Hasty Attack

After the decisive defeat of the Forward detachment and lead Motor Rifle Battalion earlier in the day, the brigade has completed deploying to it assigned positions.  The Brigade commander has pulled C/3-44 Armor and cross attached it to 2/93 INF.  3-44 AR has been assigned C/2-93 INF (Mech) mounted in M-113's and deployed them as battalion reserve.

3-44 AR does not have priority for fires or air support as another sector is under greater threat, so in the next round, it will have to depend on its organic weapons.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment commander gathers the survivors of the initial probe (which is a single BMP Company) and calls up his other two Motor Rifle Battalions to assault the now identified NATO defensive position.

(In the previous game, NATO units started hidden, but as all 3 tank companies were scouted and fired during the last game and have not repositioned, they will NOT start this game as hidden)

Here is the initial deployment. I did change up the terrain a bit, so the Soviets were not as exposed in their initial assault.  The Soviet plan is to left hook with the two MRB's straight down the corridor to the town while the A/T company and the BMP company left over from the forward detachment protect the flank from A and D company.

 Right out of the gate, the Soviets mass fire on B company, whose positions had been scouted in the previous game, and render the company combat ineffective.

9A few turns later) 3-44 AR has redeployed A company to cover the gap with the scouts, and long-range fire has started to take its toll on the advancing MRB's.

 A BMP company has made it all the way to the town, but is repulsed by C/2-93 INF.  The AT Company and BMP company in support have moved to flank D company to shift them from their position.
 D company has fallen back to avoid being flanked and close assaulted by the infantry.  The Soviets knock out the battalion scout platoon (which had been hindering mobility, they do no damage but reduce movement top 1 hex for enemy units within range.  This may have been too much of an effect and I might revisit, see the rules link in the last battle post)

They also close with to assault A company
 A company also falls back to avoid being close assaulted in terrain.  The MRR continues to take casualties.

 D company finally succumbs to repeated ATGM attack and is combat ineffective at least for the time being.
The MRR attack is finally stopped.  the battalion mechanics and the Brigade's Forward Support battalion will have their work cut out for them, though.  I will use some sort of random mechanic to see which units are ready for the next fight, as combat ineffective does not necessarily equal destroyed.

I still think the rules are working well, next game I will add more artillery and air support and air defense units to exercise those parts of the rules.

All comments are welsome!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Tank on Tank: Central Front (Rules and test game)

Tank on Tank: Central Front

This is a brief introduction to my modifications to Lock ‘n Load Publishing’s outstanding Tank On Tank series for 1980’s Central Front on the tabletop. Despite the rules being free, you should pick up a copy of one of the original games and help support a great company.  I have East Front and it is going to see a lot of use on my table!

This project was not original to me and was completely inspired by these guys, check out their projects and thoughts!

Assumptions (in no particular order)

  • Each unit is a company sized formation
  • Attachments and recon units are platoon-sized units that add special capabilities such as air defense or engineering 
  • Each hex is roughly 1 km across
  • 4 units can fit in a hex
  • Concentrating units makes control easier but makes them vulnerable to artillery and air strikes
  • ATGM's have a slower rate of fire than tank guns
  • Destroyed units are not physically destroyed but combat ineffective for the rest of this fight
  • Helicopters and aircraft represent flights
  • Scouts and recon units should be used to screen friendly defensive positions, locate enemy positions when on the attack, destroy enemy screens, screen flanks, and perform other economy-of-force missions
  • Helicopters are always at a tactically appropriate altitude

To try them out, I have resurrected my 5Core Brigade Commander solo campaign from 3 years ago.
Here is what that game looked like then...

As I am just testing the rules, I have trimmed out the helicopters and electronic warfare assets.  Let’s see how it plays.

CENTAG, August 1985: Campaign Game 1

I will be following the fictional 2nd Brigade, 6th Armored Division.  The division forms part of the US V Corps, and is in the process of completing the implementation of the Division '86 reorganization. All subordinate units have reorganized to the new H series MTOE, but only 2 of the 4 infantry battalions have upgraded from M-113 to M-2 Bradley's.

The Warsaw Pact has launched a short notice assault across the Inter-German border, after a few weeks of escalating tensions for the stated purpose of liberating the FRG from fascism.  The Soviets have announced that they will not use chemical or nuclear weapons and they intend to stop at the Rhine River.

At the outbreak of hostilities, the division's front is covered by elements of the Corps Armored Cavalry Regiment.

2nd Brigade consists of:
  • 1/44 Armor
  • 3/44 Armor
  • 2/93 Infantry (Mech)
  • 1/198 Artillery (direct support from DIVARTY)
2/93 is equipped with M-113, the two armor battalions with M-1's (105mm)

As the Brigade scrambles to roll out of their motor pools, the ACR if engaging lead elements of the 205th Motor Rifle Division...

Game 1: Screening Mission

3/44 Armor has been given the mission to rush to meet the Soviet spearhead and act as a screening force to give time for the rest of the Brigade to form up.  They are to perform a mobile defense / delay in sector.  They have 1/198 FA firing in direct support.

The lead elements of the 205th Motor Rifle Division have rushed passed the Armored Cavalry units on the border and are moving towards 3/44 Armor's position.  Their orders are to identify the enemy position, and bypass resistance encountered.  If they are unable to bypass, they will hold in place and wait for the rest of the lead Motor Rifle Regiment to arrive and perform a regimental attack.

The Soviet forces consist of the Division Forward Detachment (at top of photo) consisting of the Division recon battalion, 1 tank company, and 1 Motor Rifle Company (BMP). Immediately behind is the lead battalion of the Motor Rifle Regiment.  They are reinforced by the Regimental Artillery Group of 122mm guns in direct support. 

Here is the initial setup, with 3/44 Armor in defensive positions screening about an 8km frontage with the Forward detachment probing forward.

Here is the Motor Rifle Battalion (BMP) + that will be following the forward detachment.
The Soviet recon elements scout the NATO forward positions, while excellent gunnery knocks out the lead T-72 company.
The Soviet scouts do their job and pinpoint the NATO forward positions.
The Motor Rifle Company of the forward detachment is eliminated, while the 155mm guns in direct support of 3/44 Armor attrite the follow on MRB.
And here we have the conclusion, with the Forward Detachment and the lead MRB in smoldering ruins.

A few quick observations:
1) I LOVED the way the rules played.  So far so good, but no major changes yet.  That may change 
2) My terrain setup was poor.  It was basically a gunnery range for the tankers of 3/44 Armor.  4-5km visibility, which is very uncommon in West Germany, and the advancing Soviets had no cover or concealment, something they would take maximum advantage of in real life.  So, next game, I will give them a better terrain setup.

Until next time, good gaming!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Ruritanian-Elbonian War of 1925: Battle 1

As a side project, and to test out basing schemes for 1/600 scale for my Korean War project, I decided to wargame the little known 1925 war between Ruritanian and Elbonia.  Think of it as "Warfare During the Age of Poirot."

Mostly it was an excuse to do an interwar Imaginations campaign that I could use to play battles from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames and paint up some FT-17's.

I will post details on the armies, but here are some possible points of interest:

  • I fielded both armies together for <$40 from Pico Armor's WW1 French and Russian ranges.  The armies are based on 40mm x 20mm ovals and at full strength, each consists of:
    • Ruritania (French WW1)
      • 1 x HQ
      • 12 x Infantry Companies (bases)
      • 4 x Machine Gun Companies
      • 4 x Field Artillery
      • 2 x Armored car companies
      • 4 x FT-17 Tank Companies
      • 7 x Trucks
      • 2 x SPAD 13's
    • Elbonia (Russian WW1)
      • 1 x HQ
      • 14 x Infantry Companies
      • 4 x Machine Gun Companies
      • 4 x Field Artillery
      • 3 x Armored car companies
      • 1 x FT-17 Company
      • 4 x Cavalry Squadrons
      • 2 x SPAD 13's
  • I have a new base supplier!!!! Our Laser Cuts
    • Check them out, they are half the price of other base suppliers and do the pill shape I prefer for 20th century + gaming.  No matter what shape you want, they are great, ship fast and have free shipping in the US!
  • Rules
    • I am of course experimenting with my own but...
I will eventually get pictures of the army posted, and will play these games irregularly as the mood strikes.  There is something liberating about imaginations, though.

Now on with the show...

Recent History of Ruritania

Since the end of the Great War, Ruritania has recovered fairly quickly, not having been racked by civil war as Germany has.  As a minor member of the Central Powers, Ruritania was treated leniently by the Allies in the Treaty of Versailles.  France, in particular, sees the benefit in having a friendly, stable nation in central Europe, and Ruritania has traditional ties to France going back to the War of the Spanish Succession.

As a result, the Royal Ruritanian Army is equipped primarily with French surplus equipment as the current King has sought to modernize in the face of growing threats, including FT-17 Tanks.  The King is the titular head of the armed forces, but while he is a gifted diplomat, field command of the army falls to his Brother the Duke of Streslau, who commanded the Ruritanian Expeditionary Force (REF) during the Great War and served on the staff of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria.

The primary security concerns of Ruritania are the bellicose pronouncements by the neighboring People’s Republic of Elbonia and fear of internal communist insurrection.   Recent liberalization and the increase in the power of the Diet has diffused some of the latter, but recent border incidents have increased fear of the former.  More conservative elements of the Ruritanian aristocracy have even called for stamping out the Red Menace on their borders.

Recent History of Elbonia

The Elbonians have been one of the many small minority groups that made up the Austro-Hungarian Empire since their absorption by the Hapsburgs after the Seven Year’s War.  The breakup of the Empire at the end of the war has finally allowed the Elbonians to assert their independence, under the flag of a worker’s revolution.  

Elbonia is primarily an agricultural economy.  The People's Army is equipped with former Austro-Hungarian small arms and weapons funneled from their fraternal comrades in the USSR.  Officers and Commissars are trained by the Red Army and the troops are thoroughly politically indoctrinated.  The Elbonians have traditionally been strong horsemen, and as a result, still field a cavalry force, which was used to great effect in the Elbonian Civil War.

Currently, the Politburo in Volksburg is increasing its military readiness, both from fear of attack by the reactionary Ruritanians and a desire to free the workers of Ruritania (and Ruritanian factories and mineral resources.)  Recent border clashes with the Enemies Of The People, have led to heightened readiness.

First Blood: Elbonian Attack on the Ruritanian Border

This game was based loosely on scenario 1 from Scenarios for Wargames.  the forces are:

Ruritania (Defending)
  • 4 x Infantry Companies
  • 2 x Machine Gun Companies
  • 2 x artillery batteries
Elbonia (Attacking)
  • 6 x Infantry Companies
  • 1 x Armored car company
  • 2 x Cavalry Squadrons
  • 2 x Artillery Batteries
Here is the terrain

The Elbonians attack from the bottom of the picture

 Over the first few turns, the Elbonians attack and clear the wood on the flank, but with casualties
 They then launch their first assault on the town.
It is beaten back byartillery and machine guns, the Elbonians then bombard the town

 The defending machine gun company has finally been destroyed, but the town is still garrisoned by an infantry company, about to be reinforced by another one.  The Elbonians launch another attack.
Despite attempts by the Cavalry to intervene, the Elbonian infantry is cut to ribbons by the Ruritanian artillery.  The Elbonian Commisar arrests the Brigade commander and calls off the attack.

There are a few rules tweaks I want to make, but it was a pretty fun game.  Playing on hexes greatly sped play.  I expect more dispatched from the war to arrive at irregular intervals, stay tuned!

Until next time, good gaming!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

There is nothing more irritating than having silly things like jobs interfere with the main purpose of life, which is playing with toy soldiers. But, alas, for the last month or so I have been doing some consulting in the evenings, and unfortunately it does not include wargaming.  Hopefully I will be able to restore balance soon.

Meanwhile in my professional life, I subscribe to Eisenhower’s maxim that “The plan isn’t important, the planning is.”  In that spirit, I have decided to set my priorities and set some specific hobby goals for this year.  And I am going to take a variation of “the pledge” and will not start any new projects until these are done.

The Great War with Trench Hammer

  1. Rework my Great War resources page
  2. Create and post video tutorials for the rules
  3. Finish painting the remaining 10mm troops, odds and ends
  4. Play at least 8 games of Trench Hammer based on scenarios from the TFL book
The Ruritanian-Elbonian War of 1925 (Imagi-nations)
  1. These troops are painted and ready for the table! Pictures will follow
  2. Create site with background info and post my rules based on The Portable Wargame
  3. Play at least 12 scenarios during the year from CS Grants Scenarios for Wargames
6mm AWI skirmish with Patriots and Rebels
  1. Finish painting forces for the campaign in the Carolinas
  2. Play at least 6 games 
Korean War
  1. Paint the pucoarmor forces I already bought
  2. Start playing Hammer of Democracy 
  3. As a stretch goal, paint up the aircraft I have for some air gaming
WW2 East Front with Tank on Tank board game rules
  1. I have recently bought the game and want to convert it to picocarmor on big bases.
Ok that ought to hold me for 2019!  I will update this weekend and add a checklist to the sidebar.