Balagan Campaign system.

I’ve been following Steven’s Balagan blog for a long while now and I always recommend it. Great game writing and analysis. Especially on Crossfire, one of my favourite games- even if I don’t play it too often.

His latest post here is a great little campaign system for guerrilla warfare. I’ve highlighting it as it ticks loads of my boxes for a fast campaign system. Also, the political game adds context to what would otherwise be a series of light infantry clashes. I’ll make a couple of copies of the game board- I’m thinking of magnetising one so it can be left out without the counters moving over a long period of time.

If anyone else uses the system I’d be interested to see how they get on.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: another batch of 6mm Russians.

I’ve been painting up some more 6mm bits. I’ve been enjoying them recently as they are quick to paint. I find myself worrying less about individual vehicles and more on the mass effect of a unit.

6 bases of T55s- good for the whole Cold War really. From the early 50s right up to the armies of the Warsaw Pact allies of the 1980s.

A base of TMM bridgelayers. The models came with deployed bridges so I did a little base to show the bridge deployed. I’m thinking that a river crossing scenario is on the cards here.

A BTR 152 and a BMP1- I had these models spare so decided to give them a quick paint job them mount them on single bases.

Moving forward into the 1990s here are some BTR80a APCs and dismounted infantry. These should be good to go up against my friend’s later Warriors and Challengers.

To give them some support I did some 2S23 Nona SVKs (120mm breech loading mortars on the same BTR chassis).

As usual I’ve used two vehicles (and some infantry if appropriate) on a 50mm square base to represent a company and single vehicles on a 30mm base for a platoon sized attachment. This is how I’ve been organising my forces for Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander, my go to set of rules for 6mm Cold War games.

Cheers,

Pete.

Tea Loaf- recipe.

Here is the recipe for the tea loaf that I use. It has been modified slightly from this one for my loaf tins. All measurements are in metric, not sure how it would convert to cups for my American friends..?

Ingredients: 500ml earl grey tea (very strong), a generous splash of a single malt scotch whisky. 500g of mixed dried fruit, 410g self raising flour, 340g dark brown sugar, 2 eggs (beaten).

Method:

1- put the mixed fruit in a bowl, pour over the tea and add a generous splash of your favourite scotch, leave to soak over night.

2-Pre heat oven to 150 degrees centigrade, grease 2 loaf tins then line with baking paper.

3 – sieve in the flour, add the sugar, and pour in the eggs to the soaked fruit. Mix well.

4- divide into the two loaf tins. Bake for 1 and 3/4 hours until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes then put on a cooling rack.

5- tuck in. Can be spread with butter. Last a while too but if you are anything like me it will be eaten quickly.

If any of you bake some I’d love to see photos.

Cheers,

Pete.

A selection of games in the style of H G Wells.

I was going to do an update post but I thought you don’t want to just read about me maoning about my problems so I thought I’d do something more positive and tell you about something fun…

… one thing I’ve really been enjoying recently is a series of large scale outdoor games run by Tim. As I’m sure most of you know the first widely publilshed book on wargaming was H G Wells’ Little Wars*. These were games played on the floor with traditional 54mm toy soldiers. There has been a recent renassiance of these games with the publication of Funny Little Wars and Little Cold Wars, these games use the same sort of mechanisms (occasionally a matchstick firing cannon gets up- graded to a nerf gun). The games are based around fun and enjoying some gaming time with friends rather than a serious military simulation, however it is interesting how ‘good’ a result, ie historically plausible, these games generate.

Anyway enough waffle from, me on to the pictures:

The first game I joined in with was the defence of Fort Fisher in the ACW. I was one of the Confederate defenders against the Union combined operation.
The defences were manned but we were heavy on firepower but light on men. Still it was good funb firing the cannon at the ships as they closed in.
The Union tried to run a ship aground and blow it up to disrupt us. It didn’t work so well but they did make a landing in the centre of our fort and overrrun a few batteries (our defensive grapeshot, represented by party poppers, caused considerable casualties). Ultimately the Union didn’t have enough strength to sustain the attack so had to withdraw.
I played as the defending US forces in a game set in the early days of the Korean War in 1950. Task force Smith was hastily assembled to stop a North Korean armoured thrust south. With only 2 pieces of artillery and a few bazookas I only just managed to blut the attack.
On the same day as the Korean War game we played a small scenario representing the British parachute assault into the Suez Canal area in 1956. Each platoon stand was represented by a piece of card and dropped from shoulder height as we walked past the gaming area.
Although the troop quality of the British paratroops was much higher than the defending Egyptians they did have the advantage of starting in bunkers.
A much bigger parachute assault that I took part in was the 1970s South African asssault into Cassinga. Seen here are the defending African nationalist troops.
Due to winds over the drop zone (read that as being a bit breezy on the patio) the SADF troops were quite widely scattered. Ultimately their superior troop rating and a bit of air support won the day for them.
We revisited Suez 1956- expanding the game to include the French parachute assault as well.
Again the air support on hand was rather handy for getting the defenders out of their emplacements.
We went back to the first day of the Somme to test out some different artillery rules. Due to rain we had to move inside.
The Germans had three lines of defenses with the first row being very lightly held.
There was an extensive air phases prior to the troops moving (I was the RFC player for this).
As can be seen the British defensive fire was quite effective. Sadly, for the RFC at least, this was due to ground AA fire not from dogfighting.
The guns line up for the inital pre- attack barrage: this was a set number or rounds/ matchsticks against the clock. The artillery came in three phases: inital stonk, box barrage to suppress and destroy, then a creeping barrage as the troops went over the top. As was to be expected the British pals battalions took very heavy casualties, even though they made it to the first German trench line. The fun of the game was in the pre- assault preparation phases, working through the air combats and the different sorts of artillery.
It has become something of a tradition at these sorts of games that I provide a cake- usually a teaf loaf. The laidback, jovial nature of these games with plenty of breaks for tea and snacks, not to mention sandwiches has been a real tonic for me having not enjoyed gaming at home so much recently.

So there you have what I’ve been enjoying gaming the most recently. I hope you found it of interest.

I have got a whole pile of pics covering what I’ve been doing so I’ll put them out when I can in what will probably be a mixed up order.

Cheers,

Pete.

* Robert Louis Stephenson had written a book on gaming earlier but it didn’t get anything like the wide reception Wells’ did.

2nd Quarter 2022- Progress Report.

I have painted: 150 6mm, 18 20mm and 32 28mm figures; painted 33 6mm vehicles; also I read 17 books.

Apologies for the complete lack of posts over the previous weeks, a combination of illness, being busy and writer’s block. I’ll try to get an update post out next week and fill you in on what I’ve been doing.

Cheers,

Pete.

Blue and Bailey.

After Bailey’s popularity it is only fair that I show you his brother Blue.

They were a pair of rescue cats we took in; we are lead to believe that they are ragdoll crosses. They are a wonderful pair. Bailey is very friendly, albeit a bit nervy and neurotic with it, where as his brother is a big lazy chilled out lump who like nothing more than a good snooze, preferably in a box.

Cheers,

Pete.

Game Report: Cold War action in 6mm.

One of the (many) facebook groups I’m on posted a link to a you tube video… it was an old British Army of the Rhine instructional video of how to defend against a Soviet attack in the early 1980s. I’m a sucker for that doctrine/ training type of thing so gave it a watch. It did give me an idea for a 5core: Brigade Commander scenario and, mindful of the current climate, decided to run it for Evan and Bill.

Bailey has inspected the terrain set up and approves.

The video shows the escalating attacks of a Russian division as it contacts a BAOR defensive line. The video ends with the Soviets forming up for a bigger attack in regimental strength. For the scenario I swapped Brits for West Germans (all provided by Evan) and let the Soviets (from the collection of Bill) deploy after the West Germans had set up. Bill picked two points of Evan defensive line and deployed a company, followed by a battalion 6″ back and the rest of the regiment another 6″ behind that at each point selected. If you watch the video you’ll see where I was coming from with this deployment. The objective for the game was the crossroads.

The crossroads were the key terrain of the game.
The Soviets deploy in depth from their chosen routes of attack.
Leopard 1s further back in reserve.
The Soviets push forwards

As usual we used the Brigade Commander rules from Nordic Weasel. We three are big fans of the system and have built up considerable forces between us. We use a 50mm square base to represent a company and a smaller base for a platoon sized attached asset.

The dug in positions protected the vulnerable Leopard 1s from the worst of the fire, but they were slowly forced back.

With anti air support the BMPs push towards the crossroads.
The West German defenders in the BUA.
Airstrike: unfortunately the SU24 was driven of by the Gepard SPAA.
In return the West Germans send in their Alpha jet with impressive results.
The lone mechanised infantry company makes an attack against the German held BUA.

The game swung backwards and forwards with the crossroads changing hands a few times. In the end, although casualties were very light on both sides, Bill had pushed Evan back from the area around the crossroads and had disrupted Evan’s armour so I decided it was a winning draw to Bill’s Soviets.

I may do a urban skirmish game based on the final, defeated assault of Bill’s mechanised infantry company. Something for later on….

Cheers,

Pete.

Progress Report: 1st Quarter 2022, and an update.

In the past threee months I have painted 36 28mm miniatures and 71 20mm miniatures. I have painted 1 1/72nd scale kit and read 19 books.

My ill health sadly continues… will be looking at some different treatment options this month hopefully.

The 3d printer seems to have given up the ghost too… it had sat broken for a while until I had the time to try and repair it. I swapped out what I thought was the broken part but it still doesn’t work- although the part I did replace works OK. I’m not keen to chuick more money at it though. I’m pretty sure if I knew what I was doing with a multimeter and a soldering iron I could fix it, as I’m mostly sure it is a broken wire. The downside is that I’ve not used a multimeter since the mid 1990s and I don’t have the time with uni work to be messing with it too much. This does leave me wondering what to do with it now….?

Kill Team 2 – my Death Guard aganistEvan’s Tau. The rather nice terrain is all his work.

Been getting the odd game in- Kill Team 2 and 40k against Nicola plus some interesting online stuff too. Hope to do a bit more.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: Some more Winter War Finns.

As my last post intimated my uni work has been taken priority so hobby time has been limited. Plus both Nicola and I have been unwell (both are on the mend now though). Still I’vve managed to get a few bits done.

I’ve got some more Winter War Finns painted. I’ve made a list of everything I need from the scenario book I’m working to and I’m trying to get it all done before I start gaming. They are a mix of Euerka metal figures and Strelets plastics from the infantry and heavy weapons set. The wheeled gun is a Madsen 20mm cannon that was used in very limited numbers.

I also got some cheap Christmas decoration trees smarted up to add to the winter scenery collection.

Given the history of the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union various commentators have drawn comparison between that war and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine. Whilst I can see some similarities I think that the analogy is stretched a bit too much. Besides, there are already enough wars to study we don’t need any more, I hope that there is peace in Ukraine soon.

Right, it is getting late- time for whisky and a DVD….

Cheers,

Pete.

Just a heads up…

…. that my posting as well as viewing/ commenting your blogs might be a bit sporadic over the next 2 months. Long story short- uni is going to get hectic as I prepare for my progression review. I will try to keep on top of thing though.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with a picture from one of the game I ran for my studies…

Cheers,

Pete.