Copyright © 2016, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2016, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A world in flames, or at least the Taberna at Gran Salacias

Since arriving in Wisconsin I've painted enough troops to field an International Brigade platoon for the Republicans and a Foreign Legion platoon for the Nationalists. Yesterday was a good opportunity to play a game before the den is temporarily re-imagined as a bedroom for the next couple of weeks.

I set up the gaming table with the village of Gran Salaicias dominant, a large wood was placed in one sector and south of the village was an area of broken ground.

La Legion are a Regular +10 platoon, aggressive with six command dice while the International Brigade are a Regular +1 platoon with five command dice 5. I balanced the forces by making the Brigadiers Anti-Facista (also making them aggressive), two 5cm Mortars, two LMG and two Machine-rifles.

Rolling for Force Morale the Nationalists were starting at FM8 while the Republicans a very respectful FM11. Randomising the mission I would be playing a Delaying Action with the Republicans attacking out of the sun (or the table edge nearest the window as it is more commonly known).

Rolling for Force Support the Republicans would have five points which was spent on an Adjutant and a T-26B, the Nationalists spent their two on an Adjutant of their own and a Road Block.

Only having three scouts the Patrol Phase was very aggressive for the Nationalists and they managed to peg the Republicans well back in front of the town..

Early phases of the battle involves the scouts from both sides getting into position, the Republicans deployed their mortars in the grounds of the substantial house, while the Nationalists countered with their own positioned behind the small hillock in the wasteland on the far side of the village. The T-26B started to roam across to the right. With their scout in position early and a good number of fives rolled, the Republicans use a Chain of Command dice to deploy jump-off point into the vineyard on the right with easy access into the woods.

To counter this the Nationalists deploy a section of Legionaries in and around the taberna, but the Republican secure a double phase, deploy a section into the vineyard via the moved jump-off point and start to move towards the woods. In response the Nationalists in taberna open fire with little effect.

Things start to go well for the Republicans who throw four sixes, then a three, the taberna being the closest building to the centre of the table catches fire forcing evacuation, the Nationalist Sargento Primero rushes to the scene to calm the situation. The Republicans double six again and push on slowly towards the woods while confusion reigns in the Nationalist ranks as the Legionaries rush to exit the building. However, maintaining the initiative the Legionaries get their LMG set up and the first casualties of the game occur as two International Brigade fall. One of the squads that evacuated the building made use of the smoke to advance on the Republican lines.

Two of the observer-scouts set up in the church tower and the Teniete arrives at the mortar battery to coordinate the fall of shot, shock starts to mount on the Republicans own mortar battery. With two Chain of Command dice already the vulnerable jump-off point is pulled back from the free-ranging T-26B. The recently evacuated LMG squad concentrates its fire on the Republican tank forcing it to withdraw.

A new squad deploys on the recently moved jump-off point to counter the Republicans flanking move through the woodland. The Sargento leading the Nationalist squad pushes them on towards the vulnerable jump-off point, maintaining the initiative it is captured and they also add their fire to the shells falling amidst the Republican mortar teams.

With a poor run of dice and seeing the need to protect the mortars and the jump-off point they are holding the Republican Commander steps in and starts to rally the troops. The Nationalists roll a triple six to end the turn and push their troops towards the courtyard. Maintaining the initiative again the Legionaries press on and charge through the side gate, in the initial brawl the Nationalist lose four men to the Republicans six so both leaders steel their troops for the fight, this time it's damned conclusive, amidst the bodies of the Legionaries and his mortar crew the Teniete remains. Both sides suffer a loss of three Force Morale points.

The Nationalists still hold the initiative and the mortar shells begin to fall around the rather exposed Republican Teniete who calls up his remaining troops and orders them to clear the Observer-Scouts in the bell-tower who are responsible for his predicament. While the first Republican section push through the unexpectedly dense undergrowth in the woods the second section accompanied by the Teniete push into the village causing more Observer-Scouts deployed there to skedaddle back to their own lines.

After a hard push through the woods the Republicans finally form a firing line at the woods edge only to come under mortar and concerted small-arms fire from the Legionaries deployed opposite, the casualties are nominal but the Junior Leader suffers quite a severe wound. Return fire is desultory, but would be much boosted if the mortars of their own would have been around to provide support.

In the village the Republicans push on, but a random shot from the rapidly retreating scouts creases the Tenietes skull and knocking him out cold. Fortunately in the next phase the Republicans triple-six and he is back in the action. The Sargento at the woods edge is less fortunate, another bullet whips through the trees and he is carried to the rear loosing blood. Things look bad for the Republican right now, leaderless the troops are stuck in a firefight that they cannot hope to win and are carrying too much shock to effect a retreat deeper into the woods.

Shaking his head to clear it the Teniete gathers his force, with the LMG squad providing covering fire from the building he launches an assault onto one of the Legionary rifle squads and the observer-scout wiping the nationalists out to a man but with nil effect on their Force Morale.

Hoping to press the advantage things go disastrous for the Republicans, the Nationalists double-six for five phases in a row and the concerted fire from a well handled LMG squad sees the attack that was progressing so well reduced to the Teniete, a Sargento and a couple of their men running for cover.

With only three Command die, few troops left of his own, an un-commanded section on the right in the woods and the Nationalists sitting on three Chain of Command dice the Republicans withdraw.

What a great game, two aggressive forces, neither of which can have troops broken in a titanic clash with heavy casualties on both sides. If this had been a campaign game I would have likely withdrawn the Nationalists as soon at the taberna caught fire as it seemed key to the position.

More pictures from the game

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Fall Blau Painting Update - 9th October 2016

Another productive week with the paint brushes sees another 15 comrades join the Soviet forces for the Fall Blau project.

Quite a lot of automatic weapons this time, a Crusader Miniatures Maxim Model 1910, two more DP LMG teams and four chaps with PPSh  are rounded out with four more riflemen with their trusty Mosin–Nagants, all but the Maxim are from The Assault Group.

Like the previous batches I mixed up the uniform colours to give an 'on campaign' feel for the troops and this batch have a lot of the Russian Uniform greens on them. They are painted using the previous recipe.

A few more shots of that Maxim model 1910 from a range of different angles.


Riflemen with Mosin–Nagants.

Riflemen with PPSh

DP LMG teams

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Fall Blau Painting Update - 2nd October 2016

Having finished painting the Germans it time to make a start on the Soviet opposition. These chaps came on our recent vacation and I managed to block in the base-coats on about 24 figures so since we got back it has been a matter of doing the highlights and bases.

Very much like with the Germans I did not want to stick to a single colour for the uniforms so again made use of three different hues for the main uniform colours - All Vallejo Model Colour.

  • Jackets: Russian Uniform WWII, US Field Drab or Khaki.
  • Trousers: Russian Uniform WWII, US Field Drab or Khaki.
  • Some blanket rolls: Russian Uniform WWII, US Field Drab or Khaki.
  • Helmets: Russian Green.
  • Knapsack, Ushanka fur, some blanket rolls, some webbing and cartridge and magazine pouches: German Camo Beige
  • Rifle butt, some belts and cartridge pouches: Beige Brown
  • Some belts and cartridge pouches: Saddle Brown
  • Epaulette edge, stars: Dark Red 
  • Flesh: Medium Fleshtone.
  • Boots, some belts, equipment, exposed metal: Black.

After blocking in the base-coats and being allowed to dry I gave them a wash with Sepia Wash and allowed to dry. I then went over and highlighted with thin washes as follows:

  • Russian Uniform WWII: Go over with Russian Uniform WWII add a little Dark Sand then a final highlight with more Dark Sand added.
  • US Field Drab: Go over with US Field Drab add a little Dark Sand then a final highlight with more Dark Sand added.
  • Khaki: Go over with Khaki add a little Dark Sand then a final highlight with more Dark Sand added.
  • Russian Green: Go over with Russian Green then add a little Dark Sand.
  • German Camo Beige: Go over with German Camo Beige then a highlight with Pale Sand added a followed by a final highlight with more Pale Sand added.
  • Beige Brown: Go over with Beige Brown add a little Dark Sand then a final highlight with more Dark Sand added.
  • Saddle Brown: Go over with Saddle Brown add a little Dark Sand then a final highlight with more Dark Sand added.tone: 
  • Medium Fleshtone: Go over with Medium Fleshtone then a final highlight with Ivory added.
  • Dark Red: Go over with Dark Red then add a touch of Flat Red for the highlight.
  • Black leather: Touch up where required with Black then a highlight of Black Grey.
  • Black metallic equipment: First a wash with Gunmetal Grey mixed with Black and finished off with a glaze of Gunmetal Grey.

Finally the bayonets are painted Gunmetal Grey and highlighted with Silver. Detail was picked out by 'brown lining' with Windsor & Newton Nut Brown ink and after basing a coat of Testors Dull-cote is applied.

All the figures are from The Assault Group although the uniforms are a bit later than those of my Germans they are a great range of figures, clean up well and are a joy to paint. The gaps in the range shall be supplemented by figures from Crusader Miniatures.

Here are some of the individual figures:

El Cid adventures with To The Strongest!

Following on from the Battle of Britain game with the chaps at Brown Deer I asked if I could arrange the next game and Bill kindly agreed to host an El Cid! game using my terrain and figures, we should be using the To The Strongest! rules.

I loaded up the car on Friday evening and set off around 0645 Saturday morning arriving at Brown Deer around 0830 to be greeted by Bill. I realised then that in my hurry to pack everything I had forgotten to bring my contribution for lunch. We carried the goodies down into his huge games room in the basement of his home and soon Mike and John arrived and we had quickly set up all the terrain and figures.Unfortunately, Nick and Kurt were unable to make it so it would just be the four of us.

 Dishing out the ammo markers to the unit I had soon ran out, I had forgotten just how many missile weapons the El Cid collection carried! I also had forgotten to pack the victory medals so we improvised with dice. You'll note from the game that we used order chits rather than cards, I am a bit of a tart and think that they are more photogenic although cards do rather add something to the game.

The two forces we used can be found here, you'll note that I added a couple of units of formed archers to the Berbers that are not in the original TTS! lists and neither side is 100% compliant with the lists.

Bill and John would command the Christians while Mike and myself the Muslims. The Christians won the scouting phase and elected to be the active player.

The Berber Jinetes were soon in the backfield of the Christians, but were mopped up by the judicious use of a command of Caballeros and my complete lack of being able to pass a single evade test or make a save!

The Berber foot were getting the better of the slog in the centre, but John had carefully guarded his horse and only committed his Jinetes to harass the Berbers opposing them. It was time for King Alphonse to commit, having all but wiped out the Berber horse on their right Alphose committed his reserve of Caballeros and despite the stubborn resistance of the African mercenaries the Berbers were rolled up and broken.

An inauspicious start for the African invaders!

After a bite of lunch we switched sides, Mike ad I would play the Spanish this time and John and Bill the Moors.

Bill also committed the Berber Jinetes into the Christian back-field early on, and we were completely unable to deal with them in the efficient way that Bill had mopped us up in the first game. However, Mike had also manoeuvred one of his commands of Caballeros onto the flank of the Berber line, this was looking to be an interesting game.

The Berber Jinetes were soon ravaging the Spanish baggage and we were soon six victory medals down, ouch! The troops assigned to recapture the baggage were extremely sluggish in their response and the Jinetes made hay among our supplies. The Berber foot surged forwards and the Spanish seemed to get the better of the initial clashes.

Ibn Scrivs committed his reserve cavalry to counter the Christians threatening his own baggage while Caballeros roamed freely on both his flanks.

Unfortunately, the Berber pressure started to tell in the centre, galvanised into action the Caballeros on each flanks pressed on but were unable to make headway, Alphonso committed his reserve in the centre, but they were unable to make headway and the Christians lost all their Victory medals as a commander fell. Victory to the Berbers this time.

It was time to pack up and say our goodbyes until next time. Bill is a great host and has a fantastic games room in his basement.

It's good that the scenario appears to give both sides a good chance of victory and bodes well for when I run the game at What-Khan later this month. I think for that I shall switch back to using card decks rather than order chits.

More images from the games, the Spanish are in the main Perry Miniatures while the Berbers are mostly Gripping Beast.