Same Oasis, Different Dune!

Welcome back everyone, it’s a real pleasure to have you here, for my second battle report, and a bonus gallery from my very first Tankfest! Enjoy.So on with the battle report; which this week again saw the American Shermans of Doc Dave square up against my DAK Panzer force, in another mid war extravaganza of dodgy dice, screaming planes and some rather drunk and disorderly infantry (Dave’s theory as to why his reserves refused to turn up two games in a row!)This week’s game was 100 points with the “Encounter” scenario deciding our tactics, and the dice roll ended with yours truly as the defender. Once our objectives and forces were deployed, minus reserves, the table looked a little like this.I had taken up what I felt was a defensive position covering the two objectives on my side (just outside of the shot) but also placing my Pz IV squadron in a position to utilise the centre of the table, as one of my objectives was right in the open, albeit with a battery of US 105’s staring right at it.With the game set, hand shaken we got underway with me rolling for first turn. I wanted to use my German special rule of getting two movement orders a turn to it’s fullest, so I attempted to blitz everyone, which worked a treat on the HQ tanks and the Pz III squadron, however the Pz IV squadron weren’t so interested in rushing forward, but did eventually get rolling with a move up to behind some trees.The shooting step saw me knock out one of the US HQ tanks, but nothing else of note happened, until I tried to shoot and scoot. I categorically failed to do this with both units, leaving my HQ unit sat out in the open on top of a hill!With that done Dave got his engines rolling, and pushed his Shermans forward, using the cover of a village to screen himself from the Pz IVs and close the distance on my Pz IIIs. The artillery carried on its targeted watch of the German objective.Opening up, these new fangled Shermans and their high tech 75mm guns made mincemeat of one Pz III and forced the Commander out of his, leaving the Germans a little worried as to how the next turn would go.German turn two started rather well, with the commander remounting his Pz III and passing his Last Man Standing roll! At the same moment, the howl of Stukas came rushing down from the skies, driving straight at the undefended artillery.The Pz IV squadron took a careful drive round to face the artillery, hoping they’d be distracted by the incoming dive bombers, and as the explosions began they opened up with a vicious hail of mg fire, knocking out two of the gun teams. The bombs however did no damage at all, again I’m left to wonder whether this Luftwaffe is really worth it… Hmm. On my left the Pz III tanks started firing on the wall of Shermans beating down on them, managing to knock two out of the fight, the flames rising high in to the desert sky. Yet again I failed to shoot and scoot!The Americans started turn 2 with their artillery pinned and the commander on his third tank! But undeterred he swung the remaining Shermans around and sent them after the Pz IVs threatening his flank and closing on their objective. Opening fire the Americans knocked out a Pz III defending one of the American objectives, and then brewed up the German commander’s tank, sending him running to take over the command of a nearby Pz III. Although pinned, the artillery lowered their guns, and fired directly at the Pz IV unit, blowing the turret clean off the hull.At the beginning of German turn 3 the Pz IV squadron saw the objective clear from behind the sand and dust kicked up by the big gun fire, and as they pushed up with a timely Blitz order crept on to the objective just as the Stukas came in for an attempt at salvation. Whilst all of this was going on a fresh unit of reserve Pz IIIs came streaming on from my right, covering the American objective out there. Opening fire yet again the Pz IVs and the Stukas wiped the American artillery off the table.Dave started his turn three to complete disaster; the reserves were not coming! Left with just three Shermans left on the field, he went for it, firing away with everything he had, but sadly, to no effect. With no damage done and the Germans holding one of their objectives, this sealed their fate, and as turn 4 started for the Germans they won the game.All in all a great game, and with both myself and Dave now getting a better grasp on the rules, the whole experience was a lot smoother. I’m still not sold on the efficacy of the Stukas, but they’ve not had opportune targets yet, so I won’t retire them just yet.As promised here is a short gallery of my experience of Tankfest with my 5 year old son, Felix, and some of the most beautiful weather we’ve had in ages.I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s instalment, and that you’ll hang around for the next one. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time.Tom

DAK Attack!

Hey everybody, welcome back to this week’s blog, and to my first attempt at a battle report.

This evening my friend David (of https://drdavesmodels.blogspot.com) and I took a trip to our awesome local gaming store, Entoyment, to run out our first go at Flames of War – Mid War. Although we are both new to mid war (1941-1943), I have had a good few games of late war (1944-1945), meaning I should have a better fundamental grasp on the core mechanics… should.

Having picked our forces, we selected our mission, which I have promptly forgotten the name of in a totally professional way, and came to the decision that I, with German DAK list, would be the attacker, and Dave’s Americans would be defending. My list comprised of a 2x HQ Pz III, 3x Pz III, 4x Pz III, 3x Pz IV, 4x Marder SPG and 2x Stuka Divebombers. This army looked like this:

At this point we had to split our forces, putting at least 40% in to reserves off the table, and the rest got deployed as per the scenario. Dave deployed first with an aggressive push towards his objective goal, using a recce unit to spearhead some T-30 half tracks right in my face, whilst leaving his Sherman Command HQ and M3 Lee units defending my objective goals.

Seeing this, I focused my deployable force to my hard right, covering both the objective and threatening the US advance party. This set up had my command unit, the smaller of the two Pz III squad and the Pz IV squad ready to strike, keeping my Marders and larger Pz III squad in reserve ready to take or push the advantage when they arrived.

With turn 1 starting in my hands I rolled for reserves… no luck, must have been a dodgy radio, however the Stukas knew their presence was needed, and made a glorious entry screaming full pelt at the M3’s.

Knowing they’d need to plough on regardless, I gave my Command Pz III and squad of Pz III the order to Blitz forward to hopefully make short work of the US vanguard, which, along with the fire from the Pz IV squad, was very nearly achieved. However some atrocious dice rolling from me, and a few cheeky saves from a jeep, left deep concerns for the Yankees, but didn’t get the full destruction I was hoping for. Two dead T-30s, with one bailed out and one dead jeep and his half track friend wasn’t a terrible start to the game.

The Stukas didn’t have so much luck! On their final approach, the US .50 cal AA machine guns lit up the desert sky, bringing one of them crashing to earth in an eruption of munitions and fuel. The remaining Stuka, clearly avoiding incoming fire, still managed to drop a bomb close enough to force one M3 crew to bail out, before he peeled off to regain some altitude.

That was the end of my first turn, no closer to my objectives, but a good few neutralised targets to keep the tank crews motivated.

This led to Dave’s first turn of the game; however as his reserves were delayed and scattered he had to endure another few turns before the rest of his force could think of showing up. With the characteristic vigour of the US tank companies, they blazed forward, breaking cover to give Fritz a good stomping. Alongside the rumble of engines, a unit of 105mm artillery guns threw off their ambush cover facing straight at the advancing panzers!

Although heavily threatening the Germans, unfortunately the speed of their advance, or possibly the sun shining in their eyes, meant that much of the American gun fire strayed off target or failed to hit all but one weakspot. However a close call forced one of my command Pz III crews to bail out, when all of a sudden, in a ginormous gout of flames, one of the leading Pz IIIs was knocked out by a direct hit from a 105mm gun.

With this excitement over, Dave finished his turn, passing the baton back to me for round two, with the battlefield looking like this.

German turn two began much like turn one, no reserves! And this time even the Stuka wasn’t interested. Maybe there was something in the local water…

Nevermind, thought the Germans, these Americans won’t stop us. So they ploughed forward, with the two remaining lead Pz III tanks moving forward in to the burning remains of the T-30s and recce platoon. From here they fired at the Shermans, only to watch their rounds bounce harmlessly off their frontal armour!

The Pz IV group lobbed their 75mm shells up and in amongst the 105mm artillery unit, blowing two of them to pieces, and pinning the remaining two gun teams. But, on the left flank, the Command Pz III tanks failed to do any real damage to the M3s storming their way, only forcing the already shaken crew to bail out yet again.

Dave capitalised on my failings and advanced positions. On to US turn 2.

Rolling ever forward, the Americans threw caution to the wind, sending the surviving elements of the recce team screaming towards the objective, whilst attempting to flank the German command with the M3 unit. The Shermans rolled forward, turned their turrets, and opened fire on the Pz III squad.

At this point disaster struck! Sand had fouled the Sherman tank guns, leaving the Americans in despair as they frantically tried to get their guns operational again. The M3 squad again forced a Pz III tank crew to bail out, but this was it for US turn 2.

In all of this excitement I forgot to take any photos of this turn, but it looked great in person! Sorry.

Now back to the Germans with turn 3! Finally some reserves turn up, following the remaining Stuka, the squad of Marders rolled in on the left flank of the M3s. Seeing the Americans rush the objective, the Pz IV squad revved their engines and readied the machine guns. With the artillery undefended, the Stuka dives down on top of them, dropping his final bomb before pulling up again at the last minute. At the end of the movement this is his the battlefield looked.

The Stukas bomb lands bang on target with a thud… no, a dud! Never mind, the Panzer crews knew what to do; the machine guns of the Pz IVs rip the jeep apart and causing the half track crew to hunker down. The lead Pz III squad find the weakspot on the flank of the Shermans, cooking off it’s ammunition in an almighty explosion. The newly arrived Marders make short work of the M3s, destroying two and bailling out another!

Suffering such a battering, the Americans start their turn 3, with moral at a devastating low. Failing to remount one of the M3s, the remaining tank decides to turn and flee. Seeing this rout, the US commander gives the order to retreat en masse, leaving the Germans to roll forward to victory!

What a game! With great revelations, such as how a Sherman should be feared in Mid War games, and some disastrous dice rolls, this was a real cracker of a scenario and a wonderful experience. Both David and I learned a lot about our forces, but most importantly were able to walk away smiling and willing for more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, my first battle report, but I’m always happy to hear any comments you may have. So let me know if you liked this, what could I do differently, what did you like.

Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week.

Tom

Tigers in the sand

I have recently turned my eye towards playing some mid war WW2 with Flames of War, but to do so I had to get a Tiger painted ready. Why a Tiger? As your may come to find out I’m a real fan of this machine, the hype and the realities may not match, but I still love it.

The process to paint started with an undercoat of GW Zandri Dust spray, followed by an all over coat of Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Sand Yellow. Once dry this was followed by a drybrush of VMC Pale Sand, then a glaze of 50/50 GW Lahmian Medium/GW Seraphim Sepia. A final drybrush of VMC Pale Sand was used to pick the details out, but this was selective so as to give the impression of zenithal lighting, but nothing too fancy.

So here is my work in progress of a, albeit late war hull, Tiger in my version of a desert colour scheme of the DAK.

Enjoy.

In the beginning there were dice…

Welcome to blog number 1, where this endeavour begins with the simple aims of sharing my wargaming experiences, reaching out to a wider audience and to enjoy the fun of writing about my hobby along the way.

As a description of myself, I have been wargaming since 1998 when my older sister’s friend, Chris, invited me to play something called Warhammer 40k after he saw my collection of Airfix kits that I’d amassed over a number of birthdays.

From that point I played every Games Workshop game available, until I was introduced to historical gaming with a WW2 game called “Operation Overlord”, which I think was by Italeri. Since then I’ve played more games than I can count, worked for Games Workshop, independent gaming stores and lived & breathed the greatest hobby of all time.

Now as a father of 4 I get different allowances of time to game and paint, but I get time where I can write, so this brings us to today, and this monologue about me.

I hope you enjoy this blog and that I am able to offer you a fun experience.

Tom

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