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.

asu85

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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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.

vdv 1

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.

vdv 2

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.

 

vdv 4

Three Engineer attachments.

vdv 5

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

vdv 6

AGS17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher attachments.

vdv 7

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

vdv 8

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.

 

From the Shed: 6mm terrain.

I picked up these bits of terrain from the Leven Miniatures clicky stand at the Fiasco show last year and have just got round to getting them painted.

oil tanks

A nice collection of storage tanks to add to and industrial area.

 

police hq

This is sold as the police station but to my eye it should work as any office block really. I kept the paint scheme neutral for that reason.

tv station

The TV station. The bit with the antenna coming out of it is removable, which adds flexibility to the piece.

porta cabins

I picked up two packs of Portacabins as I figured they’d be useful at add to other bits. I painted up this pair to see what they were like.

oil donkeys

This pair of oil ‘nodding donkey’ pumps were from Perfect 6  miniatures clicky (sold through Leven at shows).

 

All of the pieces were very well cast in resin with a nice level of detail and a pleasure to paint up. They should be good for my 20th century 6mm set ups.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

The latest additions to my 6mm (1/300th) Cold War forces.

I’ve been busy in the shed expanding my Cold War micro armour collection in preparation for a multiplayer game of 5core: Brigade Commander that I am planning.

6mm US

First up with have a mix of US Army vehicles: A Command stand and a company of M1A1s plus extra ATGM, mortars and Vulcan AA cannons mounted on the ubiquitous M113 chassis.

6mm Warthog

To give the US some air support I painted up a A10 Thunderbolt II aka The Warthog. Probably THE close air support aircraft for the Cold War period.

6mm Harrier

For the Brits I have done a Harrier GR3, for a change I decided to do it in the winter camo scheme often seen sported during deployments to Norway.

6mm jaguar

Also for the Brits I’ve painted up a SEPECAT Jaguar, one of my favourite Cold War era jets.

All the models are from Heroics and Ros apart from the infantry that are from Irregular.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Beating around the Bush (Horizons).

Last week I took a trip with Bill of Under Fire Miniatures to vist his friend Wing Commander Luddite aka Nick to playtest his African campaign/ battle system that he is developing called Bush Horizons. Also it was nice to see the Wing Commander’s model collection and be able to game with it. All models and terrain in the photos are his.

bush horizon 1

We were joined by Jerry and Kev to run through a full campaign turn and play out any resulting battles.

bush horizon 2

Basically the game was set in a fictional African country sometime in the 1970s/ 1980s. You create an armed/ political party: Kev and I formed B.O.P.M to take on P.R.O.F. run by Bill and Jerry. You then have 40 ‘elements’ to split between 6 different abstracted territories of the country. Once both side have committed their forces for the turn it is revealed to both sides. Any contested areas are played out. If you are massively outnumbered you can always conceed the territory to your opponent.

bush horizon 3

Once a battle has been decided upon both side roll a number of D6 equal to the number of elemnts that they committed to that battle to see what actually turns up. These elements are then grouped into units for the battle.

bush horizon 4

We managed three battles of various sizes in an afternoon so fighting a campaign to its conclusion wouldn’t take that long.

bush horizon 5

The tactical battle system is fast and elegant and gives you a definite result with hte minimum of fuss. I’m looking forward to being able to get another turn of the campaign done.  I’ve not given away too much in terms of the mechanisms of the campaign or battle systems are they aren’t mine to do so with but it would be great to see the rules reach a wider audience someday. Playing the games got me thinking about other, historical, areas it could be used for. The South Africans fighting the Angolans and Cubans wouyld be an obvious one. You could play up the quantity versus quality difference there. Also I thought that the campaign system with a few tweaks would work well for the various wars that have broken out in the area around the Great Lakes, particularly the Kagera War between Tanzania and Uganda (I know its fairly obscure but I’ve been reading a lot of the Helion African at War series recently clicky ).

bush horizon 6

Wing Commander Luddite’s 6mm modelling skills are amazing and as the photos show it is something to aspire to. I will try to up my scenery game in 1/300th now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Assorted games from recent weeks.

As much as I’ve been busy beavering away in the shed making kits and painting I have been getting quite a few games in too. I’ve not done a battle report in a while for the simple reason that trying to take photos at meaningful points in the game comes third to a) playing the game and b) having a laugh with my mates, the latter is the best reason for gaming imo.

Nonetheless I have taken some ‘happy snaps’ as it were of a few recents evening’s gaming so thought I’d put them up here:

battlemasters 1

First up we have the old Milton Bradley game Battlemasters from 1992. Done in conjunction with Games Workshop as an entry level game it comes with a rather nice printed plastic mat.

battlemasters 2

Paul had found a cheap copy in a charity shop so he took it up to the games club and gave it a run through that evening. It plays quick so we managed to get two full games in. The above photo gives you some idea of how the random card cannon mechanisms works.

battlemasters 3

The second scenario saw the ‘evil/ chaos’ army attempting to force a river crossing to take out a fortified tower. It seemed to be a quite a tall order for them to do that given that the ‘Empire’ army was at full strength.

Cold war game

I ran a nice little 6mm 5core: Brigade Commander game for Evan and Bill that saw Bill’s 1980s British defend a section of the German countryside from Evan attacking Soviets. You can’t beat a bit of 1980s Cold War what if? gaming to stir nostalgic memories of the 1980s. I really should get a CD of 80s music to go with these games.

Cold war game 2

The twist in the scenario was that the Soviets faced a large flanking counter attack that they weren’t ecpecting. Here Evan tries to reposition his troops in the face of approaching British armour.

Cold War game 3

Here a MIG 23 from the VVS tries to halt the encroaching Chieftans threatening to overrun the Soviet HQ. The game ended in a bloody draw.

great war french 1

I have managed to get a couple of games of the French expansion of The Great War board game. The op[ening games are based around the battles for Verdun. The first game seemed a tough ask for the defending French. I played the game twice in an evening with Paul swopping side: on both occasions the French were decisively beaten.

great war french 2

I played the second of the new scenarios with Evan. Again we played it twice, again the French were beaten both times. Evan played as the Germans the first time. Veteran gamer that he is he quickly indentified the the weakpoint in my defences and went for it winning comfortably. After we swopped sides I looked at the board and couldn’t come up with a better plan so copied his shamelessly for much the same result.

rjw 1

I dug out my modest fleets of Russo- Japanese War ships for a naval battle with Paul. We could have probably done with a bigger table as this turned out to be the naval equivalent of a knife fight in a telephone box.

rjw 2

Here Paul’s Russian battleship is trying to ram my battleship squadron, having crossed his ‘T’ I gave him little option. Fortunately he bounced off my side armour and a lucky critical hit roll sunk him. A fun game, I need to add to my collection though before I can play the war as a campaign as I intend to do at some point.

wat

Finally with have the recent Too Fat Lardies’ tank skirmish ruleset What a Tanker. Evan ran the game for Bill and I, I had three BT7s and a T28 facing off against a STUGIII, Pz38t and a PzII. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing around the table Bill whittled me down for the win. I’ve mixed views on the game (I think the games set in the early war don’t work, for boring mathematical reason, due to the game design) but that aside it was one of the most enjoyable evening gaming I had had in a long time.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Some more 6mm reinforcements.

I’ve been busy expanding my 6mm Cold War collection again.

First up we have a very mixed bag for my Americans: M60, M109s, M551 Sheridans, A battalion’s worth of troops in HMMWVs, some recon and anti- tank HMMWVs and finally some leg infantry.

DSCN1244

The models are unknown for the M60, Heroics and Ros for the Sheridans and M109s and Scotia for the HMMWVs. All of the infantry and HMGs are from Irregular.

 

Moving onto the Russians we have a handful of vehicles: a ZSU23-4 and 4 MTLBs, 2 portee-ing the ZSU23-2 AA gun and 2 the Vaselik auto mortar.

DSCN1248

The ZSU23-4 is from Irregular and the 4 MTLBs are Scotia models.

Finally lots of infantry and support weapons (HMGs and mortars).

DSCN1280

DSCN1282

All from Irregular this time.

 

I’ve based everything for use with Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander rules. I use a 50mm square base for a company stand and a 30mm square base to represent a platoon sized attachment.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.