Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 Before the non-hectic festive season begins properly here in Casa Anderson I thought I would just wish all who pop on here and hopefully enjoy my musings a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, go for it.


Saturday, 19 December 2020

Wash, rinse, repeat: Pegasus II

 After the success of Pegasus I I wanted to take another shot at it to see how and if it played differently, I roped in mate Rob and despite real life I managed to get a start this week and finish off today. This will be my last game for this year as it is getting cold in the PO and having the lights on as darkness falls around 1500 I must look fairly sad playing on my own with wee sojers, although almost everyone in this area by now must know how 'different' I am. I was mentioned recently in a fictional story in a local Parish News  as 'the Warlord of Warton.' Perhaps a television or big screen adaptation could be the future.

 Anyway on the morning of the drop HQ obviously got their timings wrong and the brave Paras dropped in the half light of dawn and were scattered to the four winds, apart from 1 Section who landed on top of the walled field and began to set up an ambush position and await Jerry reinforcements. An early riser in the the Cafe Normandie was surprised by the sight of British paratroopers landing almost at his front door, he managed to raise the alarm despite his shock, the paras meanwhile made for the factory fence. Communications were good and elsewhere the British sections made for their objectives as the cover of night disappeared, the men in the field were spotted and the machine gun in the pillbox opened up a desultory fire on them while the guards hammered on the door to be let in. Very soon the first of the German reinforcements began to turn up, the British reaction was pathetic and a truck soon unloaded a full squad along a nearby hedge while the MG in the staff car swept the stone wall. By now 2 Section had taken up position in the station and brought the pillbox under fire, but the inexperienced defenders were brave behind the concrete and held their ground, the other sections continued to make their way to their buildings, 3 Section chased by the squad from the Cafe Normandie and taking casualties as they ran.


The Paras in the walled field were not making the best of their position and they failed to stop any of the reinforcements turning up, these same sent one truck to the factory and ran the gauntlet of fire from both the field and the railway station to deposit its passengers at the factory gates. The rest of the Germans began to surround and outnumber the defenders in the field, so much so the Para commander made his way to the field to lend his support. The position in the factory was getting desperate as the Germans brought in more and more men, the useless PIAT team was cut down and 3 Section decided to blow their explosives before they met a similar fate, Building 3 went up in pieces, as the British picked themselves up they were taken prisoner. Soon after Building 1 also blew up, again the Paras only just making it to safety outside the perimeter fence, a close call but with Jerry seemingly everywhere the decision had to be made. Elsewhere 2 Section also withdrew as the Germans concentrated on the troops inside the factory and the survivors of the ambush party, these men were also forced to surrender.

 So Pegasus II a victory for the British, albeit again with heavy losses, the German reaction this time was very quick and when I play it again I shall have at least three proper night time turns. The British ambush was not very effective this time due to bad die rolling and failed order checks, I also think that the gap between the walled field and the station was too far for the sections in those positions to offer mutual support. I am happy the way both these games played out and am looking forward to the time I can face a human opponent across the factory floor.

I have taken over more space in the PO as the boxes arrived to contain my 'Berlin' project, our lending library has now been squeezed into an ever smaller area, it is my plan to eventually do away with this altogether and hope the missus doesn't notice. I have also managed to get covers for all my mats as well, everything ship shape and tidy.

  I have now received my second Kickstarter, the Terain Tutor's 'Terrain Essentials' book, I am hoping this will give me inspiration to keep working on my terrain in the coming year. It is a well produced book and you also get a small plastic figure of the Terrain Tutor himself (Mel Bose). I now only have one Kickstarter extant but this has been in the works for almost four years now so I might get it before 2525 not that it will do me any good by then.

  I got my birthday presents early and decided to paint them up, the first was a 6pdr anti-tank gun for my Airborne forces, I got this in the hope that Two Fat Lardies will complete their much touted Arnhem campaign book at some point, if not I shall just use it in Bolt Action scenarios. My second present came about from my purchase of 'Panzers in Berlin' where I saw the little Borgwarde Wanze for the first time, this little tankette started out as a remote controlled bomb, a big bomb, but as the Reich fell some were converted to anti-tank machines by mounting what were in essence six panzerschrecks on the side. I learned that Warlord did one and therefore had to have it for Berlin games. It is a lovely little model and looks to have a young lad as the operator, it should have three smoke dischargers on the front but they were too fiddly for my fingers so mine does not have them, but then the real ones also do not always have them either.

 A customer looked at the set up for the game and asked if I needed more rail track, I said sure as I do not have any curves, a day later he turned up with an old, yet complete, Hornby train set with oodles of track. The train itself will need a repaint as will some of the rolling stock, some may not be useful for WWII but I can check that out later, result! And lastly with no club this year (or next) we will not be having our usual fun packed Christmas Game, our resident chef Julian always treated us to a tray of excellent mince pies and Andy brought a tin of chocolates. So imagine my surprise when Julian said he was popping in to collect some flags and a carrying case I had for him and would bring ...... yes, mince pies. With all this and the two Volksturm troopers given to me by Rob, how lucky am I?

 Thankfully I finished this before hearing the bombshell which has floored me, the u-turn that we are not getting the five days of Christmas but the one day of Christmas with enough caveats to make it a completely miserable, lonely day for millions. In the words of Dickens or somesuch "Gaw'd 'elp us every one"

Sunday, 13 December 2020


 This week was earmarked for another shot at the Operation Pegasus scenario with mate Rob taking the part of the British Operations Officer however it was not to be. The first intrusion into what I like to think of is my normal life, a bit of work, a lot of mapping, painting soldiers and playing wargames and being waited on hand and foot, sorry, got carried away there, was the bedroom. The new walls and ceiling were done along with the new electrics so it was now up to me to paint the place, I took my anxiety pills to get over several visits to DIY and paint stores. I was asked which colours I liked, this was promptly ignored and her indoors chose which she wanted, also how is it we can stop a rocket being burned to a crisp on re-entry but no one can come up with a paint which only requires one coat?

The second intrusion came from our (in my experience) less than worthy NHS, the diabetic nurse who until now has completely ignored me decided to give me a call and frighten the life out of me, I do wonder why she is bothering now. Anyway I have to try and change my diet for the next three months, not an easy thing for me to do as eating what I like is now about the only pleasure left to me and being Scottish I am partial to all the food which is bad for me.

Covid of course still intrudes and makes life miserable, or the handling of it does. Thankfully we manage a club Zoom meeting now and again and this is a real treat and as much as I enjoy it I would prefer, like everyone else, to meet in a proper club atmosphere. The dour Scot in me cannot see much of a change coming in 2021 either, I don't want the 'new' normal, I just want normal.

Now let's be a bit more upbeat, I have managed to get the odd hour of painting in despite my home life being in turmoil. I decided I needed more defenders for Berlin and went for Offensive Miniatures' Hitler Youth Squad, I do not think they are as nice as some of their other troops the poses being uninspiring, some are nice but I don't get the impression of fanatical youths. The figures are also fairly bare of military paraphernalia considering by this time they were front line troops. The uniform is typical of the HJ and is intended to be painted black, I decided to do half of my boys in Wehrmacht grey, photographs of them receiving medals in the garden of the Reichs Chancellery show boys in grey as well as black hence my guys are a mixture. I also decided to add a grizzled veteran as the commander and fished one out of my small lead molehill, the squad also comes with an HMG but I didn't want this so I will be sending it to bolster Rob's Last Levy.

 My birthday is coming up so along with Christmas I asked my boys to simply give me money, not something I would do normally but this year I wanted to possibly take advantage of Black day/week/month and add Rubi Points to my Rubicon account so it was easiest to get cash. For the former I took advantage of Warlord's buy 2 get 3 tank offer and ended up with a Char B1 (to be built as a German flammpanzer), a KV1/2 for early and mid Russian forces and a little favourite of mine, a Panzer II Luchs, I got in quick with the Luchs as they are now out of stock. I am awaiting several kits to be released from Rubicon, a British truck and Valentine tank, the latter will be heading to Russia for Lend Lease but for now I settled on two transports a Krupp Protze for the Jerries and a US Studebaker for the Russians, I also got double Rubi Points so a nice discount for the future. On a different note I am tempted to get a Panzer IV and a 3.7 cm AA gun and scratch build a Mobelwagen after seeing one built on Facebook, I could do that, right?

  I chose the Luchs for my Birthday and went ahead and built and painted it early. A resin and metal kit from Warlord, and it is very nice, there were no decals with it but I have a shed load from all my Rubicon kits so no big problem. I painted it the usual Dark Sand with green squiggles and added a cross and number from the Rubicon transfers. I also decided to put wire aerials on the little tank, one because I could drill decent holes and two because these tanks were for recce and thus had good comms. I can now field a very decent and powerful German Panzer Aufklarungsabteilung (armoured reconnaissance battalion) and need to look at getting it on the table.

On the tray is my second present which is a British Airborne 6pdr anti-tank gun from Artizan. I was hoping to get the crew done today but too many intrusions.

 Before I go I recommend 'Mosul' on Netflix, a war movie, which I found different, interesting and probably realistic despite me never having been in Mosul.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Operation Pegasus

Berlin has fallen to the Soviets, obviously just a lull actually as I will be back there again at some point having spent the GDP of a small country on the terrain. I finished James Holland's book on Sicily a few months ago and was taken aback by the disasters which befell the airborne part of the invasion, having also completed my own airborne platoon I wanted to try an air landing of my own.

The target of my scenario was to be a factory producing something important for the Axis war machine, I could not come up with exactly what but as it was top secret all the Paras needed to know was what to blow up. I also wanted it to be a challenge just like a real airborne attack, so first up I gave the British player an order of battle with five squads to plan his attack, not knowing of course that only four would turn up, he also got a map and some recon photos. The landing zones for each squad were marked on a map and a roll determined where exactly they turned up and to add injury to insult a further roll determined how many casualties or missing men each squad had suffered in the drop. The factory itself was guarded by a pillbox at the main gate manned 24 hours, a squad of soldiers were also on duty but resided in the nearby Cafe Normandie during the night, a larger garrison was in a town off to the northwest, two roads led to this. The first turns were to be nightime, when the sun came up was dependant on a die roll as per the Bolt Action rules.

Just before dawn the Paras arrived, without 3 Section which had been given explosives and whose job was to attack the pillbox and breach the main gate. Two of the four squads landed on target,the others did not. Luckiest among the Paras were 2 Section who landed right next to the Cafe Normandie, although the Jerries were no doubt sleeping off several of those expensive European beers there was a slight chance someone would have been moving around, but no, Alles in Ordnung as the Germans say. With no 3 Section and radio communications established and dawn approaching 5 section decided to rush the pillbox in the half light, 2 Section quietly made the factory fence and began to cut a way through. A PIAT round flew past the surprised pillbox crew while the gate sentries went down in a hail of lead, return fire had no effect on the Paras, the noise of course alerted the Germans in the Cafe Normandie but it took time for them to dress and form up, they did however manage to get a message off to the local garrison. A second shot by the PIAT hit the pillbox and although no real damage was caused the green machine gun crew inside decided to run and abandoned their post, 5 section went back to their original position. The Germans from the Cafe headed for the sound of the shooting, not realising two Para squads were lining the road ahead.

2 Section had now made it into the first building and 1 Section were now through the southern edge of the wire and making for another of the objectives. The German reinforcements had decided to enter on the road nearest the paratroops set up in ambush waiting for them, the first truck came to a halt and burst into flames while the infantry quickly dismounted and jumped over a nearby hedge. The following vehicles made a quick turn into the Cafe road and debussed while the first squad took casualties from 5 Section in the walled field, the original German squad from the Cafe now took 5 Section under fire and the Paras took their first shooting casualty. Meanwhile in building 3 2 Section entered and got their explosives ready, 1 Section arrived at their objective and prepared to enter. 4 Section now advanced on the factory leaving 5 to hold up any reinforcements, the Germans were now beginning to build up forces near the factory road junction and in order to stall this danger 4 Section decided to make an assault on the nearest enemy, this was a great success and the survivors of the vicious attack fled, the Paras had gained some time. As more enemy trucks could now be seen arriving the British began to pull back in preparation for a full retiral, things were going well in the factory and explosives had been rigged on two of the objectives and the one German squad inside the factory grounds was easily being held back. Outside however more Germans were turning up and at last numbers and firepower began to tell on 4 Section holding the road junction, although 5 had decided to retire with the arrival of an enemy armoured car the brave PIAT team stayed behind to try and take it out, one shot stunned the crew but the second missed completely.

With 4 section now out of the fight and the Germans beginning to advance 2 Section decided to blow their objective to give them some cover, the trigger was fired and ..... nothing, something was wrong and the building still stood, the British CO now ordered an evacuation, 2 Section gave covering fire and eventually fled through the southern breach, now that his men were clear the British commander triggered the bombs in building 1, again nothing happened and there was no time to return and check. The Paras retreated as fast as they could.

What a game, it just goes to prove nothing is certain in wargaming, as the first German reinforcements were shot up and there seemed to be no opposition to the Paras I thought despite the rough landings I had got it wrong and the game leaned heavily in favour of the British. I continued to think this when 4 Section wiped out some Germans in close combat and seemed to stabilise the situation in the centre, but then as more Germans turned up they began to take a toll on the paratroop squads, the armoured car helping in this. A few times both sides failed morale but this hurt the Jerries more than the Paras, but of course the real bad luck was me throwing a one for both explosive charges, who would have bet on that. So what looked like an easy victory for the British had turned into a disaster of major proportions, the British had lost about 50% of their men and there is still a PIAT team somewhere in the countryside eluding the Jerries, the game took eleven turns to play and kept me occupied for a few days. I will probably try it again to see what happens, if anyone has any ideas on how to improve it feel free to drop in a comment.

Duncan popped in this morning and he showed me an armoured car he is trying to buy, a German Sdkfz 222, he showed me photographs and it really looked nice. I asked how film company's handled such well loved and restored vehicles when they are shot up or blown up, not very well was the answer, they don't really care. He is really not pleased with Brad Pitt who in a scene shot up some German troops in a halftrack, Duncan's halftrack, and insisted on tons of gore, they hired people with missing limbs and then set off a 'blood bomb' in the back of the halftrack before Brad was satisfied leaving Duncan with a large clean up job. He has several projects lined up for next year, one in Morocco which deals with the LRDG and for which he would like the 222 along with two Kubelwagens and two trucks, although he is loathe to rent them the Opel Blitz.

I have taken the opportunity with my birthday and Christmas coming up to avail myself of some kits which I would have left on my wishlist for much longer. A KV1 with a view to moving my Eastern Front time period to take in 1943, a Panzer II Luchs simply because it is there and the Char B1 flamethrower as these were at Arnhem and I believe Normandy and the Eastern Front but I have no real info on the latter two. I also have a small rocket launcher tank ordered which I had no idea existed until I got my "Panzers in Berlin" book, a crazy piece of machinery but a must for Berlin battles. And finally I have got a full Hitler Youth squad coming from Offensive Miniatures, these are shown in the black uniform on the site but I notice in those last pictures of Hitler and the young boys in the Reich Chancellory garden some of the lads are wearing field grey but with HJ shoulder tabs so I may go for a mix.

What after that lot, I have no idea, I still have SYW troops to paint but the latest Covid shenanigans have left me a tad disgruntled to say the least. If things go true to form I am just waiting for the Vaccine roll out to join the myriad other expensive government cock ups of 2020.

Does anyone know how to put a comment on photographs with this Blogger?