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 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.

Friday, December 7, 2018

1/600 Pico Armor moderns for sale

Next time I will have an actual post, but i have been busy with work and a consulting job I am doing on the side.

I think I am done with my 1/600 scale Stryker Rifle Company project.  In typical magpie fashion, my interests have drifted.  I have also satisfied myself that a Stryker Brigade Combat Team would have significant issues projecting credible ground combat power on NATO's eastern border, without significant air superiority.  This is highly unlikely against a near-peer opponent such as Russia with a sophisticated air defense network, superiority in artillery and electronic warfare, and the advantage of deploying along their own borders.   Your opinion and mileage may vary, and I will leave up all my Stryker BCT resources up on the web.  (note nothing political driving this, I was just purely interested from a military feasibility standpoint)

So, for your purchasing pleasure, I offer the following for $50, free shipping anywhere in CONUS.  Pay Pal only, please.

Everything is based on 20mm x 30mm bases.  Not going to count these up, what you see is what you get, but includes at least the following.

US Army:

  • Includes Stryker ICV Company with 3 platoons and dismounts
  • 3 x Stryker TOW
  • 3 x Stryker MGS
  • 2 x Stryker 120mm mortar
  • 14 x M1A2 SEP 
  • 14 x M2A3 BUSK 
  • Misc such as a  Striker company sniper team







OPFOR:
  • 10 x Boris MBT's (from sci fi range, but used to proxy T-72B3 or T-90
  • 12 x Matabele APC (proxy for BMP-3)
  • Dismounted company with heavy weapons such as AGS-17 and Koronet ATGM
  • 12 x BTR-82A
  • Misc including 2S1 SP guns, large SP Guns from sci fi range, MLR's from Sci-Fi Range, Armored cars.





If interested, please leave a comment  (I won't publish it)  Thanks!


Sunday, November 11, 2018

CSS Hunley and a 6mm AWI Hex game

Just back from helping my wife chaperone her 8th-grade field trip to Charleston.  Besides our normal itinerary of Ft. Sumter, the USS Yorktown (CV-10), Charles Town Landing, etc. we also visited the CSS Hunley.  I have not been for about 5 years and I am very impressed with the progress that has been made in restoration.  All of the hardened silt has been removed from the interior and it is looking great!  If you are ever in Charleston, SC, it is worth a visit.

I only managed to snap a few pictures, as I was shepherding nine 8th grade boys, but the boat is looking good:


I had a great group this year with some very smart, inquisitive, and well-behaved kids.  Thanks to my wife for bringing me along every year, as it gives me a captive audience to ramble on about history.

We took today as a recovery day, but I did dust off my One-Hour Wargames modifications for the AWI and tried them out on a hex grid.  They worked pretty well, I need to exercise them before.  I have not played them in so long, I am not sure why I changed the sequence from Move and Shoot to Shoot and Move, I might revisit that.

Here is a rough overview of the game.  I used my AWI Southern Campaign Army generator and the Damned Rebels fielded Militia plus some riflemen and the British sported Regulars with a battalion of lights, Hessian Jaegers, and 17th Dragoons.
(Click Photos to enlarge)

Here was the initial deployment:


The British tried to use the Light Bobs to clear the woods on the Patriot left flank with the bayonet, but the riflemen put up a stiff resistance in a bitter struggle that actually lasted most of the game.


The Jaegers dueled with their American counterparts on the other flank and gained the upper hand in the firefight.  The Backcountry riflemen decided to fight another day.  Meanwhile, the Regulars in the center charged up the hill at the main body of Patriot Militia.

With predictable results, the militia could not face the cold steel of the regulars and mostly quit the field. 

All in all a fun little diversion this afternoon.  I need to exercise the rules some more, the hexes certainly sped up play, but I need more games before I know how I feel about using them for linear warfare.

If anyone has any opinions on the Move - Shoot or Shoot - Move sequence, let me know.

Thanks and good gaming!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Birthday Diorama for the best son in law in the world!

Nate loves any Reality TV show that involves looking for treasure or gold.  We especially enjoyed the ridiculous Legend of the Superstition Mountains about a group looking for the Lost Dutchman mine.  The women folk of our little clan just don't get it, but that's why they have not found and treasure yet! (Of course, neither have we.)

So, for his birthday I decided to do a diorama using Bob Much's prospector figure from Pulp Miniatures.

Here is the result on my table right before gluing the cover down on the display case.

And afterward.

If you look carefully, you can see the black hand of the Apache Black Legion warning the prospector off.

That's all for now.  Going to fiddle with my hex based One Hour Wargames AWI mods next, until then, good gaming!




Monday, October 29, 2018

Orienting hexes for Linear Warfare, opinions?

Contemplating my 4" hex grid cloth and trying to decide the best way to use it for linear warfare such as the AWI and Darke Ages.  The Portable Wargame recommends using squares for this purpose, but I have this great hex cloth I want to use!

So, anyone with hex grid miniature gaming have any advice?

I see two options, here are examples using my 6mm AWI troops.

Option 1: With the grain


Like this, but the disadvantage is that you cannot make a continuous line.


Option 2: Against the grain


This option was inspired by the excellent Tigers at Minsk rules by Norm at the outstanding Battlefields and Warriors blog.

I am going to modify my One Hour Wargame variant for the AWI to hexes and am experimenting with infantry units moving 1 hex per turn.   Melee only happens when you enter the opponent's hex.  So a British line advancing on a Patriot line would look like this:

Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
In this scenario, assuming a musket range of 2 hexes, the Patriots get 2 shots off at the British, which is exactly what they get in the non-hex version.

But in principle, you can see how it would work.  I am leaning heavily towards this option.

Here is what moving and arcs of fire would look like, facing changes are done inside the hex at the start and or end of the move like in One Hour Wargame.  The black arrows show 1 hex movement and the red outline shows 2 hex range target hexes.



Opinions? Am I cracked?  Thanks for looking, good gaming!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Frugal Forests for 3mm and 6mm

UPDATE: I found the source for this technique HERE and he does a much better job!

Pesky real life has been taking up my time, so I have not updated in several weeks, but I have been keeping a few hobby projects going in the background.

Inspired by The Portable Wargame, Developing the Portable Wargame, and One Hour Wargames, I have been making hex compatible terrain for use with my Cigar Box 4" hex grid mat.  One of the terrain feature you need in quantity is forests and as I will be playing with 6mm and 3mm figures, I turned to my trusty friend the grout sponge, which I have used before for making forests for 6mm.

You can see another method at the Storm of Steel Blog as well, but this is my cheap and fast method.

Disclaimer: I did NOT come up with this method, I saw it on a blog or forum somewhere and cannot remember the source.  If you originated this, please take credit!

Supplies

I used:

  • 4 x Tile Grout Sponges
  • 1 x Can Dark Green Spray Paint ( I used Rustoleum Camouflage Green)
  • 1 cheap acrylic craft paint in a lighter green
  • 1 cheap acrylic craft paint in an even lighter green
  • Wide Paint Brush
  • Good scissors
  • Needle nose pliers
  • A hex template if you are trying to make a hex shape



Step 1

I cut each sponge in half as they are pretty thick.  I then use a plastic 4" hex I bought off of Amazon (I think quilters use them), but any hex template will do, and cut the sponges into rough hexes.  You do not have to be precise as you want them slightly irregular.

I managed to get 4 hexes from each sponge.


Step 2

This gets a little messy.  First I used the scissors to shape the edges off of the pieces and then I used the needle nose pliers to pluck out chunks of foam to give each piece a more irregular forest like appearance.  Remember you are making forests, not trees.

Do this somewhere you can clean up easily, as it generates a lot of little pieces of sponge.

Step 3

Spray paint the pieces.  I mean really get in close and spray paint the heck out of them.  I did 2 coats, as the pieces soak up the paint, well, like a sponge.  Let dry thoroughly.


Step 4

Heavily damp brush your darker green craft paint on first and let it dry, I used this:

Then dry brush on your lighter green.  Use whatever shades you prefer and dry brush to taste, I used this:


Let dry! Then the pieces are ready to use and are darned near indestructible.  If not using hex terrain, you can do as I have done for my other games and make smaller or larger chunks as you see fit.

Here are some posed shots of the trees on my 4 inch hex cloth with 1/600 cold war vehicles from Pico Armor, mounted on 1.5" squares



 I hope this is helpful.  Meanwhile, I am working on a few odds and ends, including a historically accurate set of hex based rules for the Ruritanian-Elbonian War of 1925.   Until then, good gaming!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Battle Report: British Assault on German held village, 1918



First, I want to promote my friend Ivan Sorensen's Indigogo campaign for Hammer of Democracy, a WW2 set of rules adapted from his squad hammer set.  Just for the record, even though I am the co-author of Trench Hammer, I am not benefiting from this and have thrown my hat (and cash) into the ring.  Please give it a look, I have never supported a crowdfunding campaign, but I know this one will be a good one!

Another go with Trench Hammer this weekend, this time with the wife!  She is long-suffering and the best spouse/opponent a guy could ask for.  She is usually convinced I am cheating, but was willing to dive in and give Trench Hammer a try.

We played a simple British attack on a German-held village, circa mid-1918.

The Germans had 2 grenadier section with bombs, an MG08/15 LMG section, and an MG-08 Maxim HMG.  The British had a standard platoon with a Rifle Section, Bombing Section, Lewis Gun Section, and Rifle Grenade Section.

Apologies for the poor quality pictures, but I was drinking a nice lager at the time and the lighting was poor.  I need some more lamps.  I am not going to do a blow by blow, just an overview, as I was too busy playng to document everything. Anyway, on with the show...
 Here we have the initial setup, with the German defenses arrayed and the British skipping down the road.
 The lead British element took heavy fire from the Maxim, while the Lewis section returned fire.  Meanwhile, the bombers assault the woods
 The Bombers chase the Germans out of the wood, while the Rifle section decides enough is enough and is out fo action.
 The Germans counter-attack the woods but are thrown back.  Meanwhile, the Lewis gun trades fire with the Maxim and the Rifle Grenadiers move behind the other wood to take up a firing position
 The Bombers have completely secured the wood at the top of the picture, after knocking out the German MG08/15 squad.  The Rifle Grenadiers are thrown back when the German bombers sally out of the village to assault them.
 The Bombers get in close and force the Maxim team on top of the hill to fall back.
Here is the German commander, sad at her defeat.. the Bombers manage to infiltrate the village from the flank.  This is a narrow British victory, but the butcher's bill is high.  The Britsh lost their platoon leader, rifle section, and Lewis section and are incapable of further offensive action at this time.

The Germans lost their platoon leader, a Grenade squad, and an LMG squad.  After the British infiltrated into the village and the Maxim pulled back, the remaining combat effective German squad was forced to fall back or face being cut off.

A great game we played in 45 minutes!  She likes it and we will be playing more.  I hope you enjoyed it and contribute to Ivan's new rules if you can.  Until next time, good gaming!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Battle Report: German Raid on a sap

I played out my scenario, full details of the scenario, map, briefings, and setup can be found here, now on with the show...


Here the raiding party works its way down the trench towards the target
 Lt Klink leads with the Stossgruppe against the Lewis Gun section.  They knock out the section but are disorganized (5 hits) and the rest of the platoon passes through them while they sort themselves out.  Lt. Klink is seriously wounded in the action and his senior NCO takes charge and leads the Grenadier squads through.

A British suffer from several turns of terrible activation rolls, so are only able to bring on the reinforcing bombing squad after the hun is well into their position.  The lead German squad manages to bomb the British rifle grenade section in the sap out of action.

 The reinforcements from the adjoining unit are met by one of the German Bombing squads.  The melee is intense and the Germans wind up with 4 hits and barely drive off the enemy.


 Back at the T junction of the trench, the trailing German Grenadier squad gets into a grenade fight with the British Bombing section for a couple of turns.  Once again, the combat is bloody (the Germans take 5 hits) but they manage to rout the British.

Meanwhile, the lead German Grenadier squad clears out the rest of the sap. Given that there are no combat effective British units on the table, the Germans has enough time to blow the sap and withdraw back across no man's land as planned.  So a major success with fairly moderate casualties.

Lt. Klink is carried back by his men and will spend several weeks in a field hospital in the rear having his wounds attended to.

I hope you enjoyed it.  The game took exactly 31 minutes to play, I know because I listen to a podcast while playing it, but I also played it solo, which speeds things up quit a bit.

Until next time, good gaming!








Friday, September 14, 2018

Scenario: German Raid on a sap

This scenario is inspired by “Gentlemen at Loos” from Too Fat Lardies Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers Great War scenario book.  I cannot exactly recreate it given my terrain and troops, but I can get pretty close, consider this scenario “inspired by actual events.”
When playing scenarios involving trenches, the gamer will find one of their biggest limiting factor is how he represent trenches on their table.  I use rather large rubber trenches, really designed for 15mm FOW bases.  As a result the trenches don’t have what I consider enough bends and kinks as an actual trench would to prevent enfilading fire and protect from shell blasts, so some abstraction is in order.
Here is how I am tweaking the rules to handle my trenches and handle fighting along a trench (no changes from the main rules if one unit is outside a trench:

Special Rules for Fighting along a trench
·        Visibility along a trench is limited to 3”
·        All fire between two units fighting along a trench is limited to ASSAULT combat
o   With the exception of Bombers and Assault Troops, all fire is limited to 3”
o   Bombers and assault Troops may ASSAULT out to 6”
§  They may ASSAULT enemies they cannot see
§  They may ASSAULT enemies if there are intervening friendly troops
§  (It is assumed that bombers are trained to attack into adjacent traverses, etc. as was the practice, and will stop if intervening troops get into bayonet range.)
Your mileage may vary, these rules are for my peculiar circumstances.

Raid on a Gas Sap

German Briefing:

The perfidious British are digging a sap from their trench lines into no man’s land that intercepted phone traffic tells you will be used for gas cylinders to attack your regiment. The Colonel has ordered you to take a picked raiding party, infiltrate the British Trenches, and destroy the sap while it is under construction.  Your raiding party consists of:
·      

  •   1 Officer Leader (yourself) and 1 other Leader (a senior NCO)
  •      3 Bombing Squads
  •      1 Assault (Regimental Stoss troop) Squad

Bags of grenades are distributed to your men and you carefully rehearse behind the lines for several days.  Your route across no man’s land will be covered by smoke and harassing artillery fire, and carefully camouflaged routes through the enemy wire have been cut over the last few nights.  Your will rush through these gaps during daylight hours, enter the enemy trench is a poor defended spot, and work your way down the trench using grenades.  Once in the enemy sap (S on the map), destroy it using concertation charges (each bombing squad carriers one, they must spend 1 turn and 2 activation points performing no other action, then must roll a 3+ to succeed.)
As soon as you have succeeded or are driven off, fire a green flare and more artillery fire will cover your withdrawal.  You troops enter at point A on the map.

British Briefing:

Your Platoon is being used as coolies to dig a sap for the Special Brigade to conduct one of their infernal gas attacks.  It will only encourage the Hun to plaster you with shells while the Special Brigade detachment heads back to the comfort of the rear, so you are not terribly happy with this.
You have your Rifle and Rifle Grenade section in the sap (S on the map) working under the supervision of their NCO’s, while your Lewis Section is preparing to relieve one of the other sections (B on the Map)
You and your Bombing Section are located off map at point C.  Reinforcements consisting of an assault section can be had from the neighboring company, and enter the table at point D.

·        Given the surprise the Germans achieve, the British roll for initiative as if they had poor training (2d6, select lowest)

·        Every turn you may choose to save activation points each turn instead of activating a unit.  They may be saved from one turn to the next.  At the beginning of each turn you may choose to spend the points, roll a d6 and if it is <= the number of points, you and your Bombing Section arrives at point C and may activate this turn.  The next turn the assault section will arrive at point D with 1 leader.
Don’t let the Hun ruin your labor!

The Map:


Player Aids:

I hate having my squads drag dice around with them to indicate hits, so I am using unit cards to track them.  There are only 4-8 units on the table in a typical game, so this should never be too much of an issue in Trench Hammer.
(As a side note, BUY YOURSELF A LAMINATING MACHINE if you make your own player aids. Mine was $10 at Wal-Mart and I buy the sleeves from Amazon so it costs me < $0.02 a page to laminate.  Do your self a favor and get one now!)

Here is the German force, it has a Leader card with the leader rules and a card for each unit that tracks hits with a red paperclip and includes any special rules for that unit.




Here is the British Force:


The QRS I use now can be found here, it can be pretty small as I have offloaded some of the rules to the unit cards.  After I get them painted, I intend to also use casualty markers, 1 for when a unit reaches 3 hits and a second one for 5 hits, so I remember to apply the negative damage modifiers.  This should leave a fairly uncluttered table.

Let me know what you think!

Next time I will actually play the game and we will see of Lt. Klink can deliver a blow to the British.

Note this is not the same Klink as Just Jack's, but his ditant cousin,  Just in case I get him killed off, we won't have any temporal paradoxes.