The Entwicklung series of tanks was an attempted rationalisation of the German tank production towards the end of WW2. You can read more about it here and here.
The E100 was a heavy tank, comparable to the better know Maus, armed with a 128mm gun and a coaxial 75mm L48 gun.
I bought this 1/72nd Dragon kit many years ago to use the running gear for resin conversion (into an even sillier 150mm armed jagdpanzer version) as such I’ve had the spare hull and turret sitting around planning to do it as a dug in version. A group build on the Wargamers Forum link gave me the impetus.
Next job is to come up with a scenario to use it in… I’m thinking Russian Engineers or Commandos sneaking up at night to blow it up….
In this penultimate campaign game, I was drawn against my erstwhile colleague James and his rather strong Venator gang. He was several hundred points ahead of me, especially as he used one of his territories to get one of my champions to miss the game… so I got extra tactics cards which I was determined to put to good effect. Playing with a limited deck of cards has its advantages… what you lose in choice and flexibility is made up by knowing your cards well and how best to use them.
The scenario was quite simple, the game would start as a straight up gang fight, however one of the gangers was actually a purestrain Genestealer in disguise… the ultimate aim was to take it out of the game, this being an instant win for the side whose ganger administers the coup de grace. How do you know which ganger is the Genestealer pretending to be? Easy every time a figure takes a wound a D6 was rolled: on a 5 or 6 the figure is replaced by the Genestealer, only one Genestealer was incognito. Once it was revealed a further dice roll would determine it behaviour.
I decided to be bold for this game, I figured that whilst it isn’t in my best interests as Van Saar to push close to the enemy gang I didn’t want to be a long way from the Genestealer when it appeared.
Eschewing my usual ‘take the high ground’ approach I went low to make the use of the ground level cover.
The game progressed quite slowly, neither James or myself could convert hits into wounds so several turns went by without much happening. James did try to infiltrate some gangers in behind me. That didn’t go as well as expected, my Van Saar ganger proving far more competent in close combat than he had any right to be.
The game threw up several funny moments… a pair of my gangers got hit by a incendiary grenade setting one alight. In a panic he ran across the front of my firing line before rolling on the floor in agony, sensing an easy kill a Venator moved into close combat. Fluffing the roll my ganger stood up to fightback promptly dispatching his attacker before going back to the serious business of extinguishing himself.
Both of us were unlucky with ammo rolls with lots of our guns going out of ammo… James’ Venator with a grenade launcher, having already ran out of frag grenades decided to try his luck with a krak grenade… missing so badly that he hit one of his own side taking them out of the game….
My high risk ‘push forward strategy’ wasn’t really paying off- I had many fighters out of the game- felled by more powerful weaponry. The Genestealer turned out to be disguised as one of my juves, it took a ganger out of the fight then made a beeline for the opposite table edge, trying to escape. Fortunately, the route took it past and in front of my plasma gun armed champion… a couple of blasts at full power stripped it of its extra wound, then a venator with a bolter felled it at the end of a turn. Both of us had pushed gangers forward to intercept the fleeing monster. With it prostrate on the floor victory would go to who ever got priority next, sadly I’d already used my tactics card that would of given it me automatically. I won the roll and my juve moved up to get me the instant win, not a moment too soon as I’d only just passed the roll not to flee.
Thankfully the post battle sequence went well for me, no nasty injuries, only one fighter missing the finale and a free juve was recruited to my ranks to make up the numbers.
It was a great game loads of fun- thanks to James as well as Marcus and Mark for answering the rules queries.
Inspired by Hannie’s blog link I’ve decided to review the last film I watched… The CaptainIt was released last year so it is a fairly recent one too.
The film is based on a true story; the titular Captain is Willi Herold, a young German Landser who deserted then adopted the role of a Luftwaffe Captain and carried out some pretty horrendous crimes in the last months of WW2.
The film opens up with a young man, Willi Herold, in scraps of uniform being pursued by German Soldiers as a deserter who are intent on killing him. After hiding in a wood and making his escape he stumbles upon a abandoned staff car, whilst rifling through the car looking for food and warm clothing he finds the full uniform of a Luftwaffe Captain. Being better than the rags he is in he gets changed and smartens up his appearance. Shortly after doing this another soldier/ straggler approaches him and ask for permission to be under the Captain’s command.
At this point Herold realises if he is dressed as a Captain and is being taken as an Officer as in this situation, he has to act out the role lest he is rumbled. He needs to quickly adopt the manner and authority that befits his new persona. So, he takes on the straggler as his driver. However, being an officer behind the lines without any papers means that questions are asked as to his purpose, Herold bluffs his way through this, basically inventing a story that he is on a special mission from Hitler himself to investigate the state of morale in the rear. This is a confidence trick with his survival being staked on it.
With the rear areas being infiltrated by looting deserters, violent and rapacious to the point of brigandage (just like Herold Was himself at the start of the film) he finds he has to adopt the brutal, violent manner that is expected of a German Officer at this stage of the war, the situation forcing Herold to dispense summary justice to maintain his fake persona. This leads him ultimately, and to not give too much of the remainder of the film away, to a prison camp for German soldiers run by the SS where he instigates and perpetrates the mass murders of fellow Germans by the rabble of men he has collected around himself.
The film is wonderfully shot with a very subdued colour palette, the landscapes look rather bleak and minimal lending a post- apocalyptic feel to the whole proceedings. The acting is good, Willi Herold being played by a young Swiss actor Max Hubacher, with a cast of grizzled looking soldiers being contrasted with Herold’s / Hubacher’s fresh faced good looks.
Parts of the film are incredibly dark, not just in terms of what they portray which, whilst violent, aren’t particularly graphic but also in the obvious disintegration of the psyche of Herold as he turns from the oppressed to the oppressor carrying out the very acts that he started the film fleeing from. It is never made clear whether this is due to a latent psychopathy within him of an insane end that keeping up his charade drives him to. This ambiguity is a good thing as it forces the view to consider both positions themselves. It would be too easy to explain the action of Herold away as that of a mad man but what about everybody else involved? With the exception of his driver who he forces to participate against his will in the killings. In this way you could extrapolate question to the whole phenomena of the Holocaust and other crimes of the Nazi regime, the film being a slice of or microcosm of the larger events. Taking the lead from Browning’s excellent book Ordinary Men one could turn to social psychology for an explanation and look at the experiments of Milgram and Zimbardo for how behaviour is governed by the role adopted and submission to authority.
I think one of the best things I can say of the film is that it evokes the feeling of the 1985 Russian film Come and See but not in a derivative way (Come and See is, I think, one of the best and most important films about WW2 and you should really watch it if you haven’t already). The normalisation of violence and the wanton nihilistic violence that often accompanies war but was especially prevalent within the Third Reich is very well realised, the almost surrealist scenes that are shown whilst the credits roll raises more questions than it answers.
The real-life Willi Herold was only 20 when he committed his crimes. After the war he and his accomplices were tried and executed 6, including Herold were executed as war criminals. There is a short Wikipedia page on him here .
In my last game against Joe’s Venator bounty hunters led by Colonel Reynolds Feathers I had a ganger Lebedev captured, as such I had the right to attempt a rescue mission before he was sold to the guilders. James (running a rival Venators gang: Harkathnut’s Void Pirates) also had a fighter captured. I was approached to see if I was wanting to run a joint rescue mission to free both of our gangers; that sounded like too much fun to pass up so we teamed up in raid into Joe’s territory.
I was a few members down as they were recovering from wounds recieved in the previous fight and James’s Void piratesd were down in number too… still together we just were more powerful than the Colonel and his men.
We set up on a large 6 foot by 4 foot board with the prisoner’s cage in the middle on the back edge. Joe deployed a few of his gangers as sentries and lookouts, the rest being held back as reinforcements.
My plan was to slowly work my way forward until all my gangers were where I wanted them before I made my move. This didn’t work for two reasons: firstly Col. Feathers himself is always accompanied by a mutt of some description which is great at detecting troops and secondly James used his terrain and cards to inflitrate a large portion of his Void Pirates getting them into the fight almost straight away.
We had fun rolling to control Joe’s sentries, moving them randomly and turning their backs’ to face the wrong way, ostensibly to jeer at the prisoners. James and I also used our cards well to switch of the lights, plunging that sector of the underhive into darkness. This was less of a problem for us as we had lots of photo goggles (gave us a 12″ line of sight unlike Joe’s 3″).
One of my gangers was quickly detected by Col. Feathers dog ending the sneaking around part so James used that moment to spring out of cover using his infiltration ability. A few of my men were a bit far away to do much at this point but wewere able to divert some of James’ reinforcements. They spent a bit of time hunting down my gang trying to root me out. This took the pressure of James so he could free both prisoners.
Other than the swirling confused melee around the prisoner cage (Col. Feathers has an Ambot as well as Half- Horn in his outfit meaning we never wanted to get too close of hang around in one spot really) the highlight for me was dispatching the Col. His mutt had bitten the face off two of my gangers (Van Saar are beyond feeble in hand to hand combat) and was bearing down on my leader with the Col. not far behind. The Col. raised his bolter and emptied his clip in the face of my leader missing completely. My leader calmly raised his melta/las combiweapon, and successfuly ignoring the mutt one shotted Col. Feathers taking him and his dog out of the game. Not sure which I was most pleased to see the back of him or his dog….
I was taking gangers off the table as they got to the edge and this meant after freeing my gangers I involuntarily bottled. Still for freeing my man I gained more than I lost. Ending one of the most enjoyable games so far.
In a nice twist of fate my next opponent will be James. I was kind of hoping he would betray me thus giving a nice narrative reason for the next game… will have to see what happens…