Saturday, May 21, 2016

SALERNO-Black Monday! And "Progress" Report

I broke out some of my WW2 troops for a quick battle that turned into a rules experiment to see what rules I liked playing for a "stand equals a platoon" battle.  Needless to say that experiment ended badly and I started playing the "Wargaming: And Introduction" tactical rules by Neil Thomas which I absolutely love for tactical WW2 battles.

I thought I would post pictures of my progress from Salerno so far, and also some of my more recent painting endeavors (hint - I finally started my Bavarians!)

US AT Gun Platoon awaits the arrival of the Germans
 Almost immediately, the Neil Thomas "1 Hour Wargame" rules proved disappointing for a larger game (over 6 units on a side) and the limits of that engine become apparent.  I tried with the GHQ WW2 rules as well, but those didn't do it for me, either.  Maybe burned out on them?  I thought about Fistful of TOWs, Command Decision, or Panzerblitz in Miniature (most likely going with the latter).

Since I already had forces set up, I thought I could at least battle it out!  The bridge, which is supposed to be knocked out, is up and the Germans are fighting for both the bridge and the ford.

German Landsers deploy near the Salerno bridge and fan out!  This battle is using Neil Thomas' "Wargaming: An Introduction" Tactical WW2 rules.

Mk IVs reach the river ford and attempt the crossing under the watchful eye of a US tank destroyer!

The Germans race for the bridge exit!
 The Neil Thomas Wargaming: An Itroduction seem to me to be the most satisfying and quickest playing tactical WW2 rules out there (I could have easily played Battlegroup, but didn't assemble the break points or costs).
US infantry (actually dug in artillerymen but who can tell?) have something to say about the Germans crossing!

Tank Destroyers treat em rough!

THe Germans claw their way to the opposite bank but start taking casualties.  Note the Sdkfz 251/9 close support vehicle churning its way up to the bridge!  Once he gets into the fight, it's curtains for the GIs!

Germans fan out!


Meanwhile at the ford, a US round immobilizes the lead Mk IV.  One more result like that and the ford is blocked!

 And now for the moment you've all been waiting for - my experimental Bavarians!  I tried a different method with them - in this instance I've primed them gray and then applied a hearty black wash to them (Nuln Oil).  Then I'm block painting with a darkened white, then progressively lighter colors on top.  The Vallejo blue is "Andrea Blue" which TMP says is the best color for Bavarians :)

Sorry the pictures are flipped 90 degrees.  I think this method worked quite well and am going to continue to use it for lighter colored troops.

Well these Bavarians are still a work in progress but you get the idea.  I'm really happy with how they've turned out so far.  The progressively lighter whites make the detail really pop.

whites and blues applied

Grey with black wash

Black started to be applied

Soviet AT crews WIP

That's it for now.  Still want to try Ski's "STARDUST: GROUND" sometime soon, and then hopefully finish a stand or 2 of Bavarians.

Then I need to experiment with the Command Decision and Panzerblitz in Miniature rules to see how they handle a larger game.


  1. I have tried Several inking methods and at best get mixed results, so I am now about to do the same as your good self, by applying Nuln Oil over a grey primer for ACW confederates and then going in with colour and highlights - your Barvarians look good, so I am hopeful this time around.

    1. Thanks Norm. I'm hoping to get a stand done so I can preview the results of this method for everyone. I am very happy with how they're turning out.
      Doesn't have to specifically be nuln oil, but an inky black wash that sufficiently darkens the crevasses on the figure would be best.

      Also these are 18mm tall as well. I dont know how it would work on larger figures. Id love to know how it works for you, though.

  2. Great painting...and of course, great report on the WWII rules research.
    What are the main features of Panzerblitz compared with say Squad Leader - I knows it's an old SPI classic, but I haven't tried it.

    1. Thank you Darren. I was having a difficult time picking a set and realized I really didn't want to play the GHQ rules, I didn't have adequate "stuff" to play FFT (QRS, data sheets, etc) and PB seemed easy enough if I was to play a platoon scale game.

      Panzerblitz is really a simple game. Simple sequence of play. combat results table after comparing combat power ratios, and good rules for "close assaults" (infantry) and "overruns" (vehicles). The version I play is changed for miniatures but is a self-contained miniatures game as in you really don't need the original box game to play. I'll post a link to the right side of my blog.

      It plays very, very fast. Much quicker than Command Decision but when you're playing it you get the feelin

    2. feeling that you're playing the same game.

    3. Darren,
      Check out these rules here (free)

      The data sheets and rules are all below. These capitalize on all version of PB (PB, Panzerleader, and Arab Israeli Wars) into 1 rules set.

      Good for games when you want to play an entire battle and not maneuver fireteams around (although that itch must be scratched too)

  3. The NT rules use individual figures for the infantry, each with a specified weapon and with the group having a mix of rifles, LMGs and SMGs. How did you deal with this using the infantry on multi-figure stands instead? I'm interested because if I ever used these rules (and I'm keen to) I'd prefer my infantry on one or two stands per unit, instead of a mass of individually mounted figures. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kaptain Kobold. I'm with you - I'd rather use team sized stands or squad stands than use 8 infidivually based troops.

      So I use an abstract approach and unfortunately it's a bit "fiddly." My squads have a pretty basic weapons layout and that is 8 troops, 1 SMG, 1 LMG, and the rest have rifles. This is the basing scheme I use for "Battlegroup: Kursk" and it seems to work.

      When shooting, I have to pick which weapons are eligible to shoot based on how far I moved and the distance to the target, determine how many dice I am to roll, roll to hit and roll saves based on the target squad's morale condition, then let's say 2 hits get through, I'll use a red colored die to mark that the target squad has 2 casualties. Really it affects shooting the next round as the squad is 2 soldiers "down" so that equates to 2 less dice. It's only a big problem when you have many multiple weapon systems. Less of a problem when everyone has rifles. For simplicity sake, I may roll the weapons separately so I dont confuse myself. So if the squad doesn't move and the target is within range, I'll roll for the rifles, then the SMG, then the LMG.

      I have to admit - the only hard part about this is - I usually pick the casualties from the rifle-armed guys. So the SMG and the LMG are the last guys to fall.

      While I hate having to look closely at 15mm troops to see what weapons are firing but overall it works as most of my team stands have similar weapons.

  4. What he said (Kapn Kobold, that is). Nice looking kit too. Also, Steven, did you play the game out to a conclusion using the NT rules? If so, who won, man? Did you use the NT rules for generating the scenario too?
    Those rules look good, but there are a few points where I feel compelled to fill in what I feel to be missing rules, or else I am not interpreting it correctly. Like units fighting to the last man, the inability to affect soft transport, how many hits it takes to kill weapons teams and gun crews, and some other issues.
    Did you run into any issues like that?
    Thanks and regards,

    1. Thanks for commenting, Ferrymen. Yes the rules definitely are not the "end all-be all" of wargaming rules that's for sure.

      I haven't even come close to finishing the game yet! I kept getting interrupted and I wanted to at least post something up on the blog! (it's been awhile).

      The scenario I got from the GHQ website (microarmor). I'll post the link below in the comments section.

      So yes I have run into these issues before. I think one of the things I like most about the NT rules are the ability for us to fill in where needed.
      I don't usually fight to the last man. once down to one trooper, I usually take the squad off the table.
      I didn't realize that about soft transport. I'll check that out today. The only time I've used trucks has been to transport Anti Tank Guns and they haven't gotten shot at much [the trucks] during my games.

      Oh and yes the 2 to 6 save for weapons teams is outrageous and infuriating... The best way to kill them is to plaster them with HE fires.

      I would say that, and in the author's own admission, you could technically fill a 200 page book with a set of rules. I know he kept the rules very short and succinct so newcomers to the game wouldn't feel too intimidated.

      I don't consider myself a newcomer to this hobby, but I definitely appreciate the two brain cell approach. I like these rules specifically for how certain things are dealt with compared to other rules sets

      (though, they're not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination)

      The way HE fire is handled in these rules is outstanding. I also love how infantry have been given their "teeth" back and as a tank, you don't dare risk coming close to defending infantry without other tanks or infantry support of your own. That is a forcing function for combined arms tactics and I really appreciate that in a set of rules.

      I do like lumping armor and guns into the "small, medium, large" category. I've played more sophisticated games and usually get the same results with these rules so I tolerate the simple approach here.

      Oh one thing I don't like is the morale system - I dont like how morale effects only last 1 turn and then suddenly disappear.

      I'll try to post some more turns today.

    2. As promised:

  5. Nice looking work on the troops Steven and some great pics of the battle.

    Keep up the experiments!

  6. Thanks for the scenario link, Steven. Looks interesting although a tad overwhelming for the defenders. With 44 German vehicles I'm surprised you could fit all that without overcrowding the table, even with 15mm kit. Did you expand the table dimensions, or stagger the German arrival?
    Even if I went up to 36" x 72" I don't think it could handle my 20mm troops - they'd be fender-to-fender.

    Back to the NT rules, weapons teams and gun crews take just one hit to eliminate, so that hit is made extremely difficult, correct? It is not explicit, except for automatic elimination in close combat.

    I am interested to see if the defense can hold. Thanks for posting.

    1. Technically it is - but remember 2 KO units block the ford and the US player has a ton of artillery at his disposal. Final Protective Fires are a God-send!