From the Shed: Russian Airborne Armour.

Following on from my post on VDV Air Assault Brigades I’ve done some light armour to give them some support.

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First up we have the ASU85: a light self propelled gun on the PT76 chassis, designed to give the VDV some anti- tank support. It was a replacement for the much earlier ASU57. At the time of its introduction its 85mm gun (based on the WW2 tank gun) was barely adequate for the task by the 1980s when it was still in service it would have been useless at its intended role. Still any soft skins or light armoured cars would be vulnerable to its gun.

sprut

Next we have the little known 2S25 Sprut SD, the replacement to the ASU85. Mounting the usual Russian 125mm smoothbore gun it can fire all the same ammo as an MBT but from a lightly armoured chassis based on the BMD3. Given the ammo types it can fire it makes up a pretty potent support vehicle for the modern day VDV.

Pt76

Although not an airborne vehicle I painted up a few PT76 amphibious tanks. Developed after WW2 as a recce vehicle it is fully amphibious, accordingly it means it is not very well armed or armoured. Kept in service untill surprisingly recently in has seen combat in the Middle East, Vietnam, India, Africa and even Chechnya.

light armour

All models are 1/300th (6mm) scale and are from Heroics and Ros.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

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Partizan Wargames Show.

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Yesterday (Sunday) Paul and I headed down the A1 to Newark Showground for the first of the Partizan shows of the year. We like to go to the local wargames shows to spread the word about Pennine Megagames and hopefully attract more players. Whilst Newark is not really part of the Pennines it is pretty close to Sheffield; hopefully we’ll get more gamers to the games we run there.

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The game we took with us was Stalingrad: Block by Block, a mini game born out of two previous games. Given I had a very nice 6 foot by 4 foot map of Stalingrad from my Case Blue game that didn’t get used I thought it would be a good excuse to use it. Paul is running a game in September, Hold the Line, based on the invasion of Poland; the mechanisms of which he used for last years Czech Mate game. I thought to myself it would be nice idea to run a game with his mechanisms based around the city fight.

Paul was kind enough to give me the polystyrene cubes and stickers needed so I got to work and knocked up what was needed. We ran the scenario as a participation game, so players could try out the mechanisms in advance to give them a taste of what to expect if they attend out events.

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The game proved very popular with the attendees of the show, lots of people were asking questions and taking photos, so much so that the two of us were hard pressed to run the game and chat to everyone at the same time at one point… We were the only none toy soldier based game there so we stood out as doing something a little different. Paul game design was described as ‘inspirational’ and I was pleased to see several people bring their friends over to show them saying ‘This is the game I was telling you about, I’ve played one and it was really good’.

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The game should get a few more run outs this years and there are a few tweaks I want to it, some of the rules need tightening and it would be nice to come up with a set of scenarios for the board that are suitable from anywhere from 2 to 6 players so we can be more flexible about the size of game we can run in the day. It would be nice to be able to give people a taste of the layers of command that the megagames have, one of their stand out features for me, but it is difficult to do in small scale for obvious reasons. I have some ideas of how to do it but it will need more work.

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I managed to do a little bit of shopping for myself (oddly no books) and managed to chat to some gaming friends I hadn’t seen in years. The newer venue for Partizan is much better than the stygian gloom of the old one too. All in all a great day and both Paul and I agreed it was the best reception Pennine Megagames has had at a show.

I’m quite looking forward to the next show for us which will be the Phalanx show at St. Helens in June.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

VDV Air Assault Brigade in 5core: Brigade Commander.

During the Cold War the Soviet Union raised extensive parachute forces: the Vozdushno-Desantnya Voyska (VDV). Whilst the Airborne Division were under the command of high level HQs and would have been used for strategic and operational missions their smaller cousins the Air Assault Brigades were under the command of the Ground Forces so would get more tactical missions to undertake; because of this I thought they’d be an interesting force to field in our 6mm games of Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander.

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Three- quarters of the Brigade lined up. 50mm square bases for companies, 30mm square bases for platoon sized attachments.

One of the things that would have hampered the Soviet Union’s deployment of its VDV was the lack of sufficient lift capacity, especially at the strategic/ operational level. At the tactical level insertion by helicopter would have been more common but even so the number of heavy- lift helicopters to move vehicles was limited. The non- mechanised companies could be para dropped of they could be flown in by helicopter. The engineers in the brigade were trained to make landing strips for aircraft out of West German roads (doubtless these would have been recce’d in advance) to bring in heavier vehicles.

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The HQ company stand, three Heavy Companies and two recce  attachments in close up. All vehicles and figures are from Heroics and Ros.

Below is my interpretation of the brigade. Sources differ as to whether there are 2 Heavy battalions or one either way there are four battalions.

 

HQ coy

AT company, BRDM3- can be fielded as 3 AT attachments.

2 or 3 Air Assault Battalions:3 companies of Infantry (limited AT).

1 or 2 Heavy Air Assault Battalion: 3 companies of Mechanised Infantry, BMDs (Advanced AT).

Attachments:

1 light Recce, BRDM or GAZ jeep.

2 AA, ZSU 23/2s on BTRDs

3 Engineers, GAZ jeeps.

3 Mortar, 120mm.

1 AT, 85mm ATG

 

For my collection I’ve got far more attachments than I actually need, this is primarily to have some variation in what I can field.

 

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Three Engineer attachments.

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Three SO120 mortars (a breech loading 120mm mortar on the BMD APC chassis).

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AGS17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher attachments.

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The BRDM based ATGMs which act as the anti- tank attachments.

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A MMG attachment.

 

I’ve come up with a couple of scenarios to use with the unit that reflect the sort of tactical missions they’d have been given. The first is a landing to capture a bridge and then hold it against a counter attack until relieved, the second is to attack into NATO rear areas to take out a HQ. I’ll post some game reports when I’ve played them.

I may yet expand my collection to be able to field a regiment from a fully fledged Airborne Division later on.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

1944: Race to the Rhine- board game.

With three run throughs of the boardgame under my belt now I thought I’d offer up a few observations of the game.

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1944: Race to the Rhine  by Phalanx Gamesis a wargame who’s main focus is on logistics rather than the intricacies of combat. The game is set after the Normandy breakout and the fall of Paris in 1944. Three players (full disclosure time- all three games I’ve played have been three player I know that there are rules for playing solo or with 2 players but I don’t know what they are) take the roles of the Army commanders Montgomery, Bradley and Patton; each with their own ‘path’ to the Rhine.  Each player has three or four wooden blocks which represent their subordinate Corps, wooden counters are also used to indicate what supplies each Corps is carrying (fuel, ammo or food) as well as the path that the logistics trucks take to resupply the subordinate units. The winner is the first General who pushes a Corp block across the Rhine, if all the German units are deployed before that happens the winner is the General who has earned the most medals.

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When a player takes a turn, they can perform two actions: move a Corps, move supplies, take trucks or take supplies. Once all the trucks have been used the game pauses and the logistics trucks are reset.  Movement is point to point and a card is drawn for each point entered. One deck is used for ‘unoccupied’ areas and is unique for each player whilst a common deck is used for areas with a German presence. Cards may indicate a German formation, a historical event that is used to change the weather or interactions with the local populous. Combat is deterministic and is just a case of having the right resources to beat the Germans. The hard part of the game is ensuring that the right resources are there where they need to be at the right time. Once each player has finished their two actions they place a counter, starting with anywhere adjacent to Dusseldorf, and working outwards from there. Of course, the placement of these counters can be used to hinder the progress of your rivals.

Each of the Generals has their own special abilities, this combined with the different starting loads for Corps as well as the hazards along each available route makes for a different game strategy for each General. Some of the basic decision that you have to make are similar, do you push forward straight away, or do you load up with what you think you might need… Montgomery’s route has the channel ports to consider, clearing them is difficult but supplies can be brought in from them once they have been taken; If Antwerp and the Scheldt estuary is cleared it is an even bigger bonus. Similarly, Patton can draw on supplies from Allied forces advancing from the South (post Operation Dragoon) once he has advanced sufficiently far. Air power is simple but effective when it is used carefully. Likewise, the use of Airborne assets, needs careful handling. If used badly they might cost you the game but you can still try for your own Operation Market Garden.

Deciding when to push forward and when to consolidate and bring up supplies are the key decisions in the game, keeping and eye on how your rivals are doing means the pressure to keep going piles on. The game is a great blend of euro style mechanics married to a strong military theme. There are very few flaws in this game. The only one that is really apparent is the game-y way you can stich up your rivals by placing the German counters- rather ahistorical, I’d have preferred a random or semi- random guided placement bot.

 

Regardless, it is a minor quibble, I highly recommend this game.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: More Van Saar

With the start of the next Necromunda campaign at the club I decided to get my remaining Van Saar figures painted. I didn’t like using unpainted minis last time but needs must mid campaign.

I bought a second box of Van Saar models to use some of the Forge World arms. They add some great new weapon options and they allow me to give my new gang a better mix of weapons; one of the lessons I learnt from last time was short range and heavy hitting was the way to go.

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The 11 figures I’ve finished- same colour scheme as last time The rest of the photos are close ups showing them off in their speed painted glory- I should really go back and tidy up some of the eyes….

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A pair of Lascarbines.

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Plasma pistol and shield, Hand Flamer and knife, twin Las Pistol (added a Skittari head for a bit of a change).

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The heavy hitters: Rad Cannon and a Meltagun/ Shock Stave combo.

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A Radgun and a Juve with twin Las Pistols.

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A flamer (worth it for the blaze trait) and a Suppression Laser.

 

I didn’t use all the Forge World arms, and have a had a present of some more, so I think a third box is in order… The change to get more models with energy shields is too good to pass and a champion with a multimelta will be great for taking down all the monsters/ brutes people seem to be buying in this time.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: Winter Chechens.

A quick post… I had been rather pleased with the winter bases on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. figures I recently finished so I churned out a handful of Under Fire Miniatures 20mm Chechen fighters.

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The range has been sculpted wearing fairly substantial jackets and coats so it isn’t too much of a stretch to put the on winter bases. I went for a mixed of woodland and urban camo for them.

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I really like how they have come out. I think some of the heavier support weapons on similar winter bases would look really good.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.