Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Soviet Rifle Company Completed

Wow - finally a project done!  It only took me most of the summer.  Here is my 15mm Soviet Rifle Company based for Arty Conliffe's ever-popular Crossfire rules but these guys could be used for just about any rules set.  I may use them for BKC or even GHQ if the mood strikes me.  There are three, four-stand rifle platoons each with a platoon leader, a heavy weapons squad with HMG (commanded by the Kommissar... you know where the HMG will be....) and of course the COmpany Command Stand.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out and I have to admit - besides repetition, they painted up rather easily.  Huzzah!  
These tough-looking troops are ready to take on the fascist invader!

Wave after wave of humanity

Different angle.

Heavy Weapons Squad commanded by the Kommissar.  More than likely it will be placed at the rear of the formation to discourage retreat!

Monday, August 22, 2011

BG Simon Fraser

This is Brigadier General Simon Fraser, commander of the British Advanced Guard early in the Saratoga Campaign ca 1777.  I have no idea if he was mounted at the Battle of Hubbardton but this model is very nice and too good to pass up on.
Plus I can use him for a generic British field commander or Major General in Guns of Liberty.  I think he turned out fairly nicely.  THe lace at his cuffs went on easily as well.  I will do something very similar with my other mounted British officer model, who will be Baron Von Riedesel.  Coming soon!  Huzzah!
He turned out alright in my humble opinion.  I tried something new with basing - glued sand down, sprayed it black and dry brushed it GW's Graveyard Earth.  Looks very handsome!


Note the lace on his cuff.  

These 20mm plastics are a joy to paint.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Positional Defense 2 of 2 After Action Report

Here is a scanned map from Charles Grant's book. I added graphics for a kind of crude overlay to show the progress of the attack.  This is the disposition at the end of turn 8.  With 4 more turns to go, it's doubtful that the French would have been able to achieve the scenario's objective of clearing the BAC line.

More than likely the French would have captured position 2 by the end of the 12th turn but it is doubtful they would have been able to grind down yet another stationary British Brigade in a redoubt that was sitting in position 1.  They also would have likely been able to capture Redoubt C but given the movement rate and also the stubborn British defense, I do not think they would have been able to force the entire position in one "day" (12 turns).

Proposed attack.  The FR left wing was commanded by the Division Commander. 

Drove out the British Brigade in position A by turn 9.  Finally made it to position C by turn 9!

Key Lessons Learned:

Assaults need to be tied in with the overall strategy.  The French left wing division got bogged down with numerous, repeated failed assaults on the town in the center while the timer ticked by.  An entire turn could have been saved by preparing the British Brigade first with both artillery batteries.  The position could have been carried by turn 4.  It sounds ridiculous but 1 turn is literally a half hour worth of movement.  Do your homework in volley and bayonet!  You don't have the benefit of a staff working things out for you.  You need to know what your greatest constraints are within the context of MISSION, ENEMY, TERRAIN, TROOPS AVAILABLE, and TIME (METT-T).  It is a US Army planning acronym that's been around forever. 

If your Artillery is not shooting every turn, you're wrong.  Again, Artillery at close range hits on a 4 or better.  If it's stationary you get another die!  You're as close as you're going to get to scoring another hit and you're another turn closer to reducing a position. 

If you have a Stationary Brigade defending a hardened position, DONT MOVE IT.  The British retrograde at the end of turn 9 was a disaster!  It enabled a French divisional attack directly on its heels.  What was worse was the moving British Brigade was shredded in the open by French musketry and cannons as soon as it left the position.  It would have remained for another turn at least, further preventing a French victory.  The retrograde movement towards position 2 at the beginning of the 8th turn proved to be the decisive moment in the battle.  I thought I could retire the Brigade and move it to position 1.  It was not to be.

If you're on the defensive and your order of battle allows it, use skirmishers to disrupt the enemy's movement.  The British Highland unit I had in the woods forced almost an entire French Light Division to fight 5 turns out of 9 turns and slowed them down.  My only complaint is that I didn't push them forward sooner in the game.  If so, it's doubtful the French would have even made it to the redoubt (position C) by turn 9 like they did.

Positional Defense

Played Charles Grant's "Positional Defense" Scenario on pg 10 of his book "Scenarios for Wargames."  Essentially, this is an attack against prepared, mutually supporting positions, which is suitable for any period.  I chose the Napoleonic period, somewhere on the Peninsula.  My only divergence was changing the order of battle around slightly, condensing the map,and using Volley & Bayonet rules instead of Mr Grant's toy soldier rules.

This game pitted 2 French Divisions against roughly 2 British Divisions of similar composition.  The French have a Cavalry Brigade, and the British have elite skirmishers wearing kilts. (highland unit).  I played in 6mm.  The OOB is as follows:
French Division Commander, commanding left wing.  4 x Infantry Brigades 4 strength points, 5 morale with 2 supporting artillery batteries.  Smoothbore, Field Guns, and a heavy Cavalry brigade.  The French Right Wing was my "light" Division consisting of 1 Battery and 3 Infantry Brigades, all rated at 4-5 as above.

British OOB was similar:
3 British Artillery Batteries, 1 in each redoubt (mandated by the scenario).  4 British Infantry Brigades and 1 Light infantry Skirmisher unit of elites.  The British  right wing consisted of 2 mutually supporting redoubt positions and an Infantry Brigade in Reserve.  A large, town complex dominated the center of the map and the British forward defensive position.  (It would prove a tough nut to crack.)  The British nested a 4-5 Infantry Brigade in the Center of the town, dug in of course that anchored their 2 redoubts.  To the British left, a large wooded area with the redoubt in the clearing, controlling the approach to the British Rear area.  The British had 1 brigade and 1 battery stationary within the redoubt, and the infantry skirmishers placed in the woods to slow the French advance.
French Left Wing looking towards the East with the light div in the background in front of the woods.

FR Light Division attacks through the woods towards the British Redoubt.

Light Division.

Attack in the Center of the Line note the Stationary Marker on the British BDE (cannon balls)

British Line Brigade

British Reserve Counter-Attack is beaten back with heavy losses east of the town.

Final disposition in the town prior to the British retrograde action (withdrawal) the French took heavy casualties taking this town and never made it to the first redoubt until turn 9! (out of 12 turns).

Firefight!  I learned how to take down a fixed position. during the 2nd attempt.

Light Division attack finally commences as the brigades emerge from the woods.  The highland unit finally evaporated this turn.

Attacking the redoubt.

Meatgrinder 101: How to assault a fortified position.  Final Exam answer - lots of Artillery!

The French attacked straight at the British Brigade in the town on turn 2 and was repulsed with very heavy losses.  To give you an idea of the sheer size of the losses, an entire French Brigade was practically wiped out during the fighting on beginning of turn 2.  The Artillery was never really engaged and the Brigades were sent in piece-meal.  The British released their reserve from the Northwest to circle around and block any flanking attempt on their position.  They skirmished with the French Cavalry and rendered them ineffective for the rest of the game...(not an auspicious beginning for the combat arm of decision.)

I realized that I would need to get lots and lots of volleys into the town and artillery salvos if I was to take it.  Stationary Artillery hits on a 4,5, or 6 at close range with 2 dice!  This is much better than rolling 1 die hitting on a 6. The Brits had not even suffered a single loss until almost turn 4 and the French left wing was in serious jeopardy of reaching its exhaustion point! (To Be Continued)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Группу Советских командной компании!

Finished my Soviet Company Command Group for Crossfire!  Pictured here is the Company Commander, Political Officer, and the 2nd Platoon Leader.

Thought was not lost on me that I can use these stands and command units for Blitzkrieg Commander, Spearhead, or even GHQ's MicroArmour Rules.  I have enough 15mm Armored vehicles to ruin any German's day...(that being said, I do have way more German AFV's than Soviet....  Oh well.  Huzzah!

Command Group for my Soviet Crossfire Company.  Commander is on the left, Comrade Kommisar is on the Right

A rare shot of the command group before a battle.  The 2nd Platoon's Leader is on the right.  His pistol is drawn as he is undoubtedly trying to make a good impression in front of the CO and Zampolit.

A Soviet Company Commander never smiles...

And the Kommissar certainly never smiles....

the PL is directing his squad leaders to conduct a thorough weeding of the Regimental Vegetable Garden.  Pistol Drawn!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The One Hour Challenge

I wanted to see if it could be done.  Painting a "Brigade" of Troops (in Fire & Fury terms) in one hour.  Well here you have the results!  A dismal failure.  Almost as embarrassing as McClellan on the Peninsula...  OK maybe not that bad but all I was able to do was slather some acrylic basecoat on the troops and get their frock coats painted.  I took a pic right at the start, and at the end.

I did make some progress - but it's impossible to respectably paint 23 15mm troops in under an hour.  Huzzah!  (by the way, these are troops of Meredith's "Iron Brigade" of Wadsworth's Division of the 1st Corps (Reynolds in Command) rated at 9/6/4 in  Fire and Fury.)

Here they are in their unpainted glory.

Some have faces, others have their basecoat and some blue on them.

One hour later - based and frock coats all done.  Not a bad showing but an impossible task!

The Iron Brigade so far.  Will finish them up today after I  get some things done and re-post.