Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Dear Diary - a rolling 6 months of comment

3 May 2022

TF-ON testing continues

Some small actions are going to the table to keep up a steady stream of situations that will test out my Two Flags - One Nation ACW rules, which are being converted from being hex based to working on the open table.

Here, a brigade of 5 Confederate infantry with artillery support have been ordered to take the bridge.

The Union stand against the initial charge, but their pre-charge fire is poor and contact is made. The Union are pushed back, but the Confederates struggle to deploy on this side of the bridge. 

Eventually the Union position collapses as casualties take their toll.

An interesting tussle and two areas of the rules were clarified as a result of the action.

3 May 2022

WI issue 413 (May)

The latest Wargames Illustrated magazine  is out on the UK newsagent shelves. The May edition has a very eye catching look, reminiscent of the small Commando commando comics.

The issue has a lot of variety, but articles that have immediately caught my eye from an initial flick through are; creating a snowy diorama, a 4 page look at Alter of Freedom rules, a look at the new 15mm range from Wiglaf Miniatures - the new venture by Dan Mersey and a Never Mind The Billhooks scenario covering the Battle of Blackpool Sands (Dartmouth) 1404.

Naval, WWII land and 1st Indo China war articles are also given page space.

This issue looks like a cover-to-cover read for me.

1 May 2022

New Duel title

Only Published a couple of days ago, the latest book in the Osprey Publishing Duel Series is in my hands. I bought it from a company called Wordery and can recommend their pricing, promptness and packaging.

I have been waiting eagerly for several months for this title as the subject is right up my street.

The appearance of the Tiger I in Osprey Titles is familiar enough, but the ISU 152 (which is referred to in my own rules by its nickname - The Beast) is the big draw.

It all follows the usual duel format, with development, systems and deployment / action of both vehicles nicely covered. Several of the photographs in there are new, to me at least and I look forward to giving this a full reading.

30 Apr 2022

Basing choices

These are WWII era Soviet infantry in metal from the AB Miniatures 20mm range and were a test batch of five to try and help decide on a basing style.

I have two thoughts. Either base in pairs on 50mm pill shaped bases (suitable specifically for Rapid Fire) or to base representing a section, with five models on a 60mm x 40mm base (suitable for the likes of ‘O’ Group, BlitzKrieg Commander IV and even my own rules ‘Into Battle’).

The 3 man crewed mortars shown a few days ago will work for any of these systems, as Rapid Fire uses 3 man bases for crewed weapons.

Tough call, as all of those rules attract me. Twice I have got the glue out to use the single bigger base and each time I have held off in a moment of indecision. At the moment, I am still more inclined towards the larger single base, but not enough to jump today!

Like the 20mm mortar crew below, these were block painted, washed with thinned Agrax Earthshade and then high lighted with a touch of ivory added back into the base colours. Being metal, they got a coat of gloss varnish before the mat varnish went on. Once properly based, they will get another light coating of mat varnish to take the last of the gloss out.

26 Apr 2022

WWII era Soviet 82mm mortars

These two mortar teams are from AB Miniatures 20mm range.

The two part mortar goes nicely together, secured by a small dab of super glue  and the accessory ammo boxes help dress the base, which are 50mm MDF rounds.

22 Apr 2022

Inspiring bloggers table

Blogger Steve J on his most recent blog post, plays through a 10mm game that is the latest action from a WWII campaign that he has been running, using Blitzkrieg Commander II rules.

I have put a link to this action down below as some of the photographs give closer detail of the terrain, particularly the town.

The table is exactly how I would envisage / like my ‘O’ Group and or Blitzkrieg Commander IV (latest printing) games to look and so I will set about replicating some of that terrain style for my 12mm Victrix forces, keeping things small and on the pinboard for the moment.

For buildings I will pick up a couple of the excellent resin jobs from Steve Clay at Battlescale.


18 Apr 2022

Epic French Curassiers

This is the first stand of cuirassiers from the heavy cavalry sprue.

They were straight forward to paint, using the artwork supplied on Warlord Games website for reference.

like the infantry, I trimmed a couple of millimetres from each end of the base to reduce the effect of the gap when two units are placed side-by-side.

I know some gamers are changing the basing to 30mm deep because there is an overhang of these Epic horses on the 20mm deep bases, but I am okay with the bases kept slightly apart when in column.

18 Apr 2022

Epic French

These are my first sample of French Infantry from Warlord Games’ new Epic collection (13.5mm figures).

On the left are 2 ranks of greatcoated infantry. These were quite easy and straightforward to paint. On the right is the first rank of tunic wearing infantry. The starter set gives you a 50 / 50 collection of these two unit types, which helps painting and will also help readily identify some unit groupings on the table.

They paint up well. I have cut a couple of millimetres off each end of the bases, so that the ‘obvious’ gap between bases is drastically reduced.

18 Apr 2022

Victrix 12mm German infantry

I have been experimenting with basing, using two infantry, a HMG and a mortar section.

Previously I had squads on 40mm x 20mm bases with 5 - 7 figures on them. With a view to shrinking that for ‘O’ Group, these were trialled on 30mm x 20mm MDF bases with the edges shaved down.

It works out quite well, but I think I would prefer infantry sections on 40mm with more figures, to look more like a section, but am happy with moving the heavy weapons to a 30mm base (from the old 20mm x 20mm) to give them a bit more room to breathe and perhaps getting an extra figure in, such as the ammo carrier.

16 Apr 2022

The Shell Begins to Crack

The Old School tactical game mentioned yesterday, was played through today.

In the first half of the game, the American attack (from the left) quickly stalled. The defence was simply too strong and the American’s taking heavy losses, were forced to pull back. They were counter-attacked on their right and were pretty much destroyed there.

There was nothing to do but wait for the reinforcements to arrive. During this time, the Germans busied themselves using most of their impulse points on improving defensive positions.

Once the Allied reinforcement arrived (Turn 7), it pushed down the right flank (along the bottom of the map), where there was less resistance, intending to drive deeply and then swing onto the building complex in the middle of the board. The attack dislocated the prepared German defence, as they were forced to abandon some positions to strengthen their threatened flank.

The Americans hit real problems. German infantry were able to inflict heavy casualties on the engineers that had hitched a ride on the Shermans and the tanks took two losses from StuG’s hiding amongst hedged orchards.

The attackers got snarled up at the farm (bottom left of photo) and had neither  the strength nor the time to assault the objective buildings.

This looks a tough scenario for the Americans. They are up against the clock and facing forces that have plenty of capability. I will play it one more time to see whether this was a ‘dice thing’ or whether the scenario is skewed to favour the German defender. 

16 Apr 2022

Reprint - BKC IV

4th Edition of Blitzkrieg Commander has had its first reprint, which includes the known errata to date.

174 pages in softback and perfect bound, brings together rules, army lists and scenarios. The scenarios are based around general situations rather than being prescriptive scenarios with their own maps etc.

So for example, scenario 1, ‘Encounter’ just states that both sides must have equal points, describes artillery and defences and gives some deployment notes.

We are the told of the game length and details of how to win by describing what is needed to get a minor objective and what is needed for a major one.

It is still the case that in the core rules, hits are removed at the end of the turn, despite many players allowing them to roll over and accumulate through the turns. I would have thought that by now the alternative would have been offered with the main rule as an option.

Here is a link to a game that I blogged about, using the first print run of fourth edition.

15 Apr 2022

9th Armored at St. Vith 1944

Old School tactical has a module called Phantom Division, which contains 6 scenarios that highlight some actions of 9th Armored Division. All scenarios are on the new pocket maps …… except one, which uses the full gameboard that comes with Vol II.

So here we are, with the full board. The map is 3 foot wide by 27” deep. The photo shows the eastern half of the map, with the German armour and pioneers defending a settlement. Off picture, to the left, the American counter-attack is just about to engage the German forward defence, a company of riflemen.

The scenario (The Shell begins to crack), deals with an action near St. Vith on 21st December. The Germans have attacked and penetrated the outer American perimeter of St. Vith, advancing half a kilometre.

An American scratch force counter-attacks and once joined by Sherman tanks, they drove the Germans back.

In this game, the Germans win if they hold on to the three big building structures that I have marked with yellow plastic discs. The American counter-attack therefore must dislodge the Germans from there.

It is a 13 turn game and halfway through, the Americans will get Shermans, engineers and assault teams as reinforcements, to bolster the counter-attack.

The German forward infantry positions have a respectable smattering of Panzerfausts and Panzerschrecks and can probably hold out for a while, absorbing the initial attack.

I will pick the game up tomorrow and update once the counter-attack gets going.

13 Apr 2022

The Canadians in Normandy

The new ‘Reloaded’ rules format is brought to the Canadian module, an A5 publication in 24 pages of rules for £7.

Very much in the usual Rapid Fire schematic format, the booklet presents four Canadian scenarios.

Interestingly they have been built around a 6’ x 4’ table because the authors feel that the currently popular game mats are produced in that size and of course handy for those of us with the more ‘standard’ sized gaming area.

Another nice thing is that as well as the schematic map, there is also a photograph of the properly laid out wargames table, which has been a nicely executed touch.

The four scenarios are; Juno Beach (landings) and 7th Infantry Brigade, The Push on Carpiquet Airfield, the Putot Counter-Attack and Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse.

The rear page gives the various vehicle stats for those referred to in the scenarios.

Overall, a nice resource to have.

13 Apr 2022

Rapid Fire Expansion

A couple of years ago, the new streamlined Rapid Fire rules were published, under the banner ’Rapid Fire Reloaded’. At just 16 pages, gamers found it handy to also refer to the old Version 2 of the rules for the extra areas that reloaded did not cover.

Now some of those rules have been collected together to give a ‘Reloaded Extra’ volume.

Like the Reloaded rules, this is an A5 booklet format by Colin Rumford and Richard Marsh. We get ground attack air strikes, boats and amphibious vehicles, minefields and engineering, artillery expansion, observation posts, command, supply, vehicle repairs, amphibious landings, bunkers, concealment markers, large tank battles, night fighting and snow, SMG companies and solo games.

So overall, some nice stuff to dip into when trying to push to make a more interesting scenario an a bargain at £5.

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