Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Enough talk, time to start. (Zone Russians part 1)

 Yes Finally started. Here are my first squad for the Russian in "The Zone" . I knew I would need Russians so while I was figuring out the rest of my forces I thought I should start. The figures are Battlefront Tam Yankee figures. They are not absolutely ideal, but they are as good a figure as I can currently get for the price/effort, without either commissioning my own greens, converting or perhaps easier importing from abroad from a variety of sources. So for convienience It has to be Battlefront which are availiable from my local wargames shop (4 miles away).

Casting wise they are Ok but not brilliant as there was a lot of cleaning up to do in regard to mould lines where the moulds had slipped and also spare waste metal Left from the air vents. Also as they come from New Zealand they are not so very cheap as they have to be shipped half way around the world. Complaints aside they are the best I can get though and the sculpts are nice.

In a Russian squad (according to Osprey Publishing "Force on Force" rule book) there are 6 men armed as follows.
  • Squad leader (AK74)
  • Assistant Squad leader (AK74)
  • Gunner (RPK-74)
  • Grenadier (RPG)
  • Assistant Grenadier (AK74)
  • Rifleman (AK74)
 For a BMP 1  squad change the squad composition to 2 gunners with RPK-74s and loose the Rifleman with AK47) . So not a huge difference in squad composition. And one I hope to adjust in different games.
3 Squads to a platoon so there will be more of these. Colours taken from the same Osprey Publishing book mentioned above and the picture on the right has been my main guide.

Each transport vehicle has 3 crew (Commander, Driver and Gunner) all of whom stay with the vehicle and do NOT dismount in combat situations. I have not as yet finalised my transport choice they may be in BMP1s (A TRACKED APC with a 73mm gun and antitank missile), BTR 70's or BTR 80s (An 8 wheeled APC with a 14.5mm Heavy machine gun)  or perhaps something less ordinary like a MT LB ( Also tracked and also armed with a 14.5mm HMG, ).  The joy of the Russians is that the infantry could be transported and any of those 3 vehicles and I am sure once I am fully up and running with the project I am equally sure I will get them all so I can field a greater variety of units, although the basic foot figures will stay the same but with different squad load-outs to suit the different regiments!

I suspect I will be starting with either BMP-1s or BTR 70's though. But most importantly I am now off the mark and started.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A small unit action in NW Europe using PBI rules.

US starting positions
Well I have had a little break from Blogging but now back! yesterday at the club I was faced with some POTENTIALLY terrible news in that the local council are looking at changing the rates to commercial rates on the hall. If this goes ahead in 15 months then as a club we will have to close but 15 months is a long way off and things at local government may change. Fingers crossed.

Still you do not want to know about that!

My troops on the right flank
Games wise 4 of us (Tim, Graham (playing Germans) and Matt and myself (Playing US Paratroops) had a game of PBI. We used the current version of the rules which I had not played before having always played the older version. ) The Germans Decided to attack (They had the choice and decided to attack and put us on the back foot. Paratroops in war are used to being surrounded and out numbered it kind of goes with the job. This time luck was with us and and we were defending with 2 whole platoons until we could get reinforced.  But we were in good solid cover, (for the most part and were all veterans (well apart from 0ne support rienforcements) who actually arrived on the very last turn of the game so perhaps not a huge loss!

German tank destroyers and infantry give Matt a hard time
Anyway here are some pics and a little dialogue of the game.

The game started very well for me and with Graham sitting opposite I really was not expecting an easy battle at all. The Germans attacking went first and by the end of the US first turn I had bought such concentrated fire on the Germans that 1/2 a Platoon was dead and the other half a platoon had to flee from the board. My right wing was not bothered again in the game. Both Graham and Tim decided that Mat on my left would face both of them.

The situation was such that if I moved I would leave an objective open so I had to give what little support I could yet stay in place and not open up the objective for the Germans to exploit.

Middle of the board, with me on the right and Mat in the centre and the right.

We did not have enough troops to hold 3 objectives. The Far left objective had the least cover so we hardly defended it as to do so would have made our few troops exposed and vulnerable. So Matt was mostly in the middle of the board.

US Reinforcements.
I suspect if Graham had been in charge of the German armour Matt would have looked at a "Tank Assualt" in  the first couple of turns but while Tim had played the rules before he was struggling to recal them so he hesitated and waited for reinforcements.  Graham who knows the rules the best of us all would have just ploughed in I think.

Us reienforcements plug the whole in the line the Germans had created
The Germans did manage to bring on another Platoon and then a Mortar platoon and yet another infantry platoon.  WE were also able to bring on another platoon and with a special rule (The Surprise Asset) were able to fly them to the front in double quick time and while the target area that Tim had been hammering away at was filled up by men again making as assault VERY risky.

I did overextend and go slightly far forward and with only 1 stand of infantry then became the focus for the tank and infantry assault. My stand was wiped out but considering there were 2 enemy tanks and 3 times as much infantry I was not surprised.

Overall a terrific game for the US troops in the whole game only loosing 5 stands (Approx 1/2 a platoon) yet dealing sufficient damage to the
Germans by forcing 1 platoon to route (due to casualties) and severly weakening 2 other platoons.

I loose the assault
And an Objective
As with so many wargames good and bad dice rolls did influence the game. The Germans did roll badly on several occasions and we (Matt and Myself) did roll well.

My first ever experience USING elite troops (But have fought against them) in Peter Pigs PBI and I must say the saving throws due to superior training and feildcraft really did make a difference when defending. And while we did make a few mistakes overall I think we played well and let the enemy make the most mistakes. Which is most unlike me I must say!

US  75mm Pack Howitzer support arrive on my last turn,
So do not actually take any active part in the game.

On the Last turn. The time runs out and the Germans
fail to make sufficient progress in
Capturing objectives and
A US Para Victory.