Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Market Garden Campaign, Game 1 "September Snow: Arnhem"

Our gaming club ran a pretty neat game this past weekend using the opening fight for Arnhem on 17-18 September 1944 as the scenario.  I was the GM and John and Richard provided very high quality models for it.  Special mention must go to John's scratch-built table, which is without a doubt the best urban table I have played on in all my years.  It was super fun.

Richard provided a good write-up and some bangin' in-situ wargame photos over at his blog, here.

The game had two parts.  Part one (17 September 1944) was done on-line with the attacking team planning the routes and rate of march for the battalions of 1sts Para Brigade, along with the mounted reconnaissance squadron, from the landing zone to the bridge.  The defenders, meanwhile, developed a concept for Kampfgruppe Kraft in their initial defense west of Arnhem.

The results of this initial phase were interesting in several ways.  First, John Frost and 2nd Battalion never made it to the bridge, ending up (along with 1st battalion) on the eastern side of Oosterbeek, blocked by two companies of SS NCO students.  On the other hand, the reconnaissance squadron managed to avoid contact and made it to secure the Arnhem bridge (and this next part is really important for the campaign) before the 9th Pzr reconnaissance battalion crossed to go to Nijmegen.  Phase 1 and we have consigned the dustbin of history to the dustbin of history.

Part 2 (18 September 1944) was a tabletop fight pitting the 9th Pzr (reconnaissance) against elements of 3rd BN, 1st Brigade British Airborne.  It was, not surprisingly, a bloody house-to-house slog.  The challenges of urban combat were clear as the Germans ran into tenacious British Paratroopers the moment they entered the board.  The German forces had a considerable advantage in both numbers and firepower, but the psychological effect of not knowing where the Red Devils were hiding took its toll on the speed of the German advance.

After getting hung-up mid-game (exacerbated by a flare up of "never say die" from some bypassed paratroops in their rear), the Germans finally gained some momentum with successful coordinated attacks between their tanks and their infantry, but it came a little too late in the game and the British managed to retain control of the Bridge through sundown on the 18th of September.

There are plans to continue this campaign, but students of history will see that, unlike the events of history, this campaign is still very much in the balance going into September 19th.  Next up, the XXX Corps Breakout....

I will post more links to photos of the game as they come in.

Like now: UPDATE, John posted in-game pics here.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kangaroo Tank WIP

Been out of the net for a while.  Busy moving to a new house.  Here's a picture of Tiki Bob and a refreshing drink overlooking the woods behind my new house.

About two years ago, John challenged me to do a high-quality version of the Kangaroo Tanks (captured Italian M13/40) I made for our Tobruk Wargame.  I'm finally getting around to the project.  I selected the Tamiya 1/35 scale kit for no other reason than it was the one I could find.  It comes with kangaroo decals, but I have not yet decided whether I will use the decals or freehand the markings.

For starters, I have never made a 1/35 scale tank, and I did not know what to think about such a big model.  Having completed the first part of the project, I can say that I really like working in the large scale as it give me the ability to work in a lot of nuanced detail without overwhelming the model.

After the initial basecoats and some wash, I used a straightedge to replicate the scoring that you get on the sides of the hull from the treads.  I wanted to try also to replicate the wear you get from the track bouncing up and down as well, but could not make it work with the lateral scoring, so I just shaded the hull between the return rollers with a darker paint to suggest wear.

I love dioramas and terrain, so I bought some British armored vehicle crew models and am trying to think of a good vignette.  I originally wanted to have one of the crewmen painting a kangaroo on the side of the turret, but I'm afraid that exceeds my modeling expertise.

With 1/35 I get to make oil stains that don't look like a superfund site.  The wear and tear is so much more fun to do at this scale and looks so much better than paint chipping on smaller models.  Really enjoying this project so far.