Monday 13 December 2010

German 105mm Artillery (Part 2)

Job done ...... Finally that's the last element for my generic German infantry kampfgruppe finished ..... Two 105mm artillery batteries, with observation teams and HQ.

Well I said finished but I do have a couple of horse tows to paint ..... but when would I use them???

The Honorable Lead Hoarder Vow has been updated....

Sunday 5 December 2010

German 105mm Artillery (part 1)

At last, steady progress is being made on the final unit for my generic German Infantry Kampfgruppe. This consists of two 105mm artillery battalions and HQ using a mixture of Flames of War and Peter Pig castings.

Hope to have this finished by the end of the week..... now that's given me something to aim for.... doubt that it will include the horse tows though. At the pace I work I can't be too optimistic can I?

Saturday 20 November 2010

Hovels - La Haye Sainte (12E5 & 15E5)

Above are two more buildings that have been languishing in my 'to do' box waiting to be painted..... This time it's Hovels La Haye Sainte farm house and corner barn (12E5 & 15E5). I'd purchased just these two from the set, along with the gateway/dovecote, to create a small farm complex. Need to dig out and paint the gateway and some walls to complete.

These buildings have tested my photographic skills as I've found it difficult to capture the different tones I've applied to the white walls. I'll keep practising and post some more if I can improve on the above. Even so it looks like I still need to do some finishing off, ...... photographs do focus my eye to bits I've missed !

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Hovels - Row of three houses (4B5)

After the recent game, I was fired up to do something with my vast amounts of unpainted wargaming stock. One item that caught my attention was a building that had be languishing in my WWII buildings box. It had been under coated many moons ago but I'd not had the inclination to take in any further. After a few evenings dabbling around with brush and paint it's finally finished. It's not brilliant but it will do......

This little task has, at last, renewed my enthusiasm for painting.................where it will lead we will have to see..........

Sunday 14 November 2010

Waldrundstadt (Aug 1944) - Game report

After much indecision and juggling with units to achieve the 800 points, I eventually put on the table three reduced infantry battalions. One battalion with M3 half tracks as transport and a reduced tank company as support. The other two battalions had reduced heavy weapon support, no transport and no towed Anti Tank guns. I was, however, able to allocate a solitary Hellcat as Anti Tank support to these two battalions. Artillery support was provided by two 105mm howitzers from the 82nd regiment support units and a divisional (off table) battery of three 105mm howitzers. I tried to factor in some air cover then decided that to clear and take the woods I would need as many ground troops as I could muster.

Americans advance towards the woods behind the barrage and a paltry smoke screen.

I was unsure of the size and position of the force facing me. Being convinced that Mark would have the German infantry dug in in the woods, I'd planned a advancing barrage. This was to be laid down through the woods by both artillery batteries starting on turn one and ending on turn 5. Two battalions of infantry were planned to advance behind this barrage starting on turn two. All turns, up to turn 7, had timed moves marked on my command map/plan. One rule I always struggle to understand in Rapid Fire is the laying of a smoke screen ......why only a 5/6 on a D6 to lay smoke ..... it always disappoints.

There was a lot of close assault and short range firing within the woods.

All seemed to be going well until turn 10. My two infantry battalions were holding their own in the woods, gradually gaining ground. My advance on the left flank was under way. Then I made the mistake of not using the 'chance observation' tests, if I had, I may have spotted the infantry lurking in the woods on the left and the Panzer IV skulking behind the barn. Turn 10 and 11 brought havoc on my left flank, (loosing two half tracks complete with two companies of infantry and the 76mm Sherman destroyed). Somehow the infantry and tank companies survived the following turn's morale test.

Turn 10 just after the two half track have been hit and destroyed.

Unfortunately it was getting very late in the evening. With my left flank faltering and the German attack also faltering in the woods, neither of us had achieved our objectives. May be if we had a couple more turns........ but no..... as it was close to 1:00am with work the next day it was decided to call it a night.

It was a good game with some elements of the rules being understood a little better, also new sections of the rules being brought into play. We do need to organise a follow up game sooner than 6 months though.........

German brief

All along the front it appears that the whole German army is in disarray and falling back, seemingly to Berlin itself. Your sector is no different. It does however give you some hope that just 40KM to your rear "substantial" forces are being assembled to push the invaders back to the sea.

It is at this point that you receive a broken message from no less than Field Marshal Keitel's office - Your order is simple. ...."Stop falling back....... Assemble closest units to you....... Retake the town that you have just vacated..... Nothing could be simpler....."

You realise the task is next to futile. Especially as the town holds no strategic importance, so much so that you can't even remember its name.

The one thing that you can be sure of, is that should you fail to take the town you will bear the brunt of the 'Teppichfresser' himself. Should you fall back even further than you currently are, his displeasure would be even more severe.

Victory conditions
Take the town - Major victory
Clear and retake the woods - minor victory
All else - fail.

Rapid Fire German force points value 550pts


I do apologise for the quality of the photographs but I forgot my camera and had to rely on my phone for taking the them.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Game on - Waldrandstadt (Aug 1944)

Well ...... we have a game planned for next week. Not the Napoleonic that I was planning but a fictitious WWII game. I've been handed the following brief:

August 1944
All along the front the American Army is racing towards Germany and it surely cannot be long before you reach Berlin. Just imagine the glory and honour of being the first units to enter what remains of Hitler's capital. As the vanguard of your sector you have just taken a town and started to reform your units in what remains it - what was its name?

The time it took to clear the town and the size of the forces that were at your disposal meant that no real headway though the woods themselves could be achieved. At least you can rest a while until elements of your main division start to arrive. That is until a broken message arrives from "Ol Blood and Guts". The message is blunt, "Move your big fat ass .... take those woods and the buildings beyond ....... stop being pussies...." It is not for nothing that he gained such a name for himself.

Victory conditions:
Take buildings and woods - Major victory
Clear woods only - Minor victory
All else - fail

Rapid Fire points value for the American force 800pts

A rough sketch of the proposed table

It's been a while since I brought my Americans to the table. I'll have to dust them off and see what force I can make for 800pts. I know my opponent has been painting up a small German army and has been eager to get them into action. I think he has some Fallshirmjager and at least one battalion of Wehrmacht with full support so this will not be an easy task. I would imagine the opposition will be around 550 pts unless the scenario is for German counter attack when my opponent might be fielding a 1200pt force. The way he keeps saying it will be interesting I just wonder......

I need to decide what losses my vanguard force has suffered from previous days' fighting and how to represent this within the 800pts. My battalions will not be at full strength and will have some equipment losses. Also what support can I call upon from my main division? How much artillery support and/or air cover can I include in the points allowed? Need to get the rules out again and have a skim though them to refresh some of the finer points.

Should be interesting.............after the game I'll hopefully post the German brief, a game report and pictures.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Basing figures

Its been a barren year for my wargaming activities. I've had the odd game..., well about two since February,...... but that's it. Figure painting has been non existent as I've committed most of my spare time to my other hobby. BUT I am trying to arrange a game that is based on the 1809 battle at Teugn-Hausen. This is just a small Napoleonic, Austrian v French, engagement but it means I'm doing a little more 'finishing off' on my Austrains.

First up has been naming each figure base. As I've taken the effort to make storage trays for each unit, as an aid to protect and organise each unit during storage, it has become a task at the end of a game to match figure bases to trays. Also due to some figure poses some bases only fit back into the trays in a particular way which can be a little trying in the early hours during a week night with work the next day. So I'm printing some small labels with unit name and a number which determines which tray the bases fit and the order (position) they are in the tray. These are then glued to each figure base and then varnished for protection. Examples below.........

Austrian - 7th Jager Battalion

Austrian - 2nd Battalion 2nd (Hillier) Infantry Regiment

Austrian - 4th (Erbgrossherzog von Toscanna) Dragoon Regiment

I've a few more infantry battalions and cavalry regiments to finish basing. Plus there are a few more artillery batteries to paint before I feel that this Austrian army is complete. When this will be who knows...............

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Another Lead mountain update

After the last game I've been going through my WWII "stuff to paint boxes" and discovered more items purchased, during the later half of last year, that idea forgotten about. They are 7 vehicles for my proposed 21st Panzer Kampfgruppe. Not sure how to add these to the vow as there will be crew figures to paint. Should I count the figures separately to the vehicles? I think I might. So total to be added to the Vow as purchased will be 28. Good news is that I've started to paint four of these will follow when completed.

Also, I'm a sucker for nicely painted AB figures and put in a speculative bid on some that were on ebay recently..... to my surprise I won the auction. They are some nice AB Napoleonic Austrians that should complement my current Austrian army well. (66 castings in total). Once I've touched up some of the painting a little, and rebased them to match my current basing I'll post some photos.

I've also sold more lead:
3 DBA armies, (an Early Imperial Roman + BUA, an Ancient British and a Moorish, totalling 128 castings) plus some surplus packs of unpainted lead totalling 63 castings. Total sold = 191 castings.

Vow has been updated.

Sunday 28 February 2010

Sturmgesshutz-Abteilung 200 (Major Becker)

One of the proposed units for my 21st Panzer Kampfgruppe is Major Becker's unit, the Sturmgesshutz-Abteilung 200. After reading Colonel Hans Von Luck's memoirs, I discovered that three batteries of this Abteilung were attached to Luck's Kampfgruppe for the attack on Escoville, Ranville and the Orne bridges. Also the whole of (or what remained of) the Abteilung was part of Luck's Kampfgruppe during Operation Goodwood. I think I will build this whole unit, not just one or two companies. But what was the actual composition of this unit?

The information on this unit within the Rapid Fire rules set is a little confusing. In their 1944-45 Unit organization lists they state that the Assault Gun Group consists of 2 x Hotchkiss 105mm and 2 x Hotchkiss 75mm AT. This would equate, at Rapid Fire's vehicle ratio of 1:5, to 20 vehicles per company. I've always had a problem with this and not fully sure what this term 'Group' actually represented?

This is my Rapid Fire Assualt Gun Group of 2 x Hotchkiss 75mm AT and 2 x Hotchkiss 105mm, which were painted a while ago.

I've also searched on the web and found Spearhead's composition for the 21st Panzer Division (found here at To back this up, the German records (found here at show that there were 10 or 12 vehicles in each company. Using this information means that each company in Rapid Fire should consist of 1 x 105mm and 1 x 75mm Hotchkiss vehicles? ...... Interestingly this is the same ratio that the Spearhead rules seem to use.

These entries on a WWII forum are also interesting, they give a little background to Major Becker and the creation of this and other units. The posting can be found here at : I've copied the relevent entries below, just incase the entry on this forum vanishes.

........Major Alfred Becker, a First World War veteran and mechanical engineer, was heavily involved in the conversion of captured vehicles from 1940.
In 1942 he converted captured French carriers into the 15cm (Sf) Lorraine Schlepper self-propped gun, which meet with great approval from the OKH. These were shipped to Afrika to supplement Rommel’s forces in the desert.
Towards the end of 1942 he was transferred to France to devise ways of utilising various captured French vehicles. Becker’s engineering staff set about their work and were soon pumping out a variety of innovative designs. From 1943 he started to convert the Hotchkiss H35 and 39 light tanks to mount a 7.5cm PaK40 or 10.5cm leFH16 as an assault gun. In the summer of 1943 he was given command of the 200. Sturmgesch├╝tzabteilung, part of the rebuilding 21. Panzerdivision, which he equipped with the new assault guns. By the time of the Allied invasion in June 1944 he had built the StuG abteilung up to five batteries of 10 vehicles (4x 7.5cm PaK40 and 6x 10.5cm leFH16 each). Becker was however more than just a simple engineer. In 1914 he had won the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, and during the fighting Poland had added the 1939 Bar to each of his crosses (commanding the 15. Batterie, 227. Artillerie-Regiment, 227. Infanterie-Regiment). For his inventive use of captured vehicles he was awarded the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords and by 1945 had earned himself a Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords.........

Another posting from the same thread:

........ One single person (Hpt. Alfred Becker, 227. ID (Artillery) was in charge ot the salvage the whole French captured AFV's. He collected the scrap in one place and did a triage with the vehicles:
1. Minor repairs and refits
2. Major repair and refits
3. Spare parts source

The the vehicles where repaired by importance all of one type in one step. All remaining spare parts where stored away. What was left was shipped back to the steelworks.
The Wehrmacht had only on Alfred Becker, so most captured vehicles in Russia where doomed!

Alfred Becker was an interesting guy. He started the war in the west with his Batterie (12.) horsepowered. After reaching the first dutch artillery depot on the way of 227. ID he equiped his Batterie and the recon element of 227. ID with motorized vehicles.
OK, motorized is fine, but mechanized is better. So Becker started to refit his Batterie with SPA's (!!!) (BY HIMSELF, WITH AN ARCWELDER !!!! ). After 6 month the FIRST armored artillery Battery of the German Wehrmacht was combat ready (without one vehicle build by a professional manufacturer!!!). The armoured artillery vehicle was composed from Vickers Mk.6 under-carriages with 10,5cm Feldhaubitze 16.
After that Becker was instantly transfered to Alkett to help this armourworks build a SPA on a French Lorain ammo-carrier.
In 1942/3 Becker salavaged all usable tank wreckage he found in France as described above. Now his unit was called "Baustab Becker". His production output (more than 1800 tanks and other Vehicle) was used to form "verstarkte schnelle Brigade West". Becker was also simultaniously commanding officer of Sturmgesch├╝tz-Abt. 200 (later Sturmpanzer-Abt. 200)............

In hindsight, I think that Rapid Fire's Assault Gun Group's makup for the Sturmgesshutz-Abteilung 200 is more to do with the points value given to the Hotchkiss vehicles within their rule set and the need to create balanced forces. I've also been wrongly understanding the term Group to mean Company.

My makeup for the unit is going to be:
1 x Leicht Schutzenpanzerwagen U304(f) - Unic Kegresse P107 (fitted with Radio equipment?)
2 x 4.7cm Pak (t) auf PzKampfwagen 35R(f) ohne turm (QRF models GFF03)
1 x PAK 40 + truck tow (probably a French truck)
4 companies of
1 x 75mm PAK40(Sf) auf Geshutzwagen 39H(f)
1 x 105mm leFH18(Sf) auf Geshutzwagen 39H(f)

I've now just got to puchase a few extra vehicles get the rest of the unit painted...............

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Lead mountain update

Thought I'd better try and get to grips with the 'Honorable Lead Hoarder Vow' again so I've been looking though my stock of lead.

I can't remember buying much since my last update in May 09 apart from 62 Napoleonic Austrian infantry figures, a pack of Old Glory Austrian artillery (6 guns + 25 figures) then from Peter Pig, 24 German infantry figures, 1 SdKfz 251 and 3 WWII buildings. This amounts to a negative Hoarder Total of 122 castings.

Since Christmas I have sold 154 castings and painted/finished 64. OK not enough painting but the Lead Mountain is still going in the right direction. I think a more concerted effort is needed.

The Vow has been updated

Friday 19 February 2010

First game of the year!!!

We both needed a game fix so a quick one was organised. Not very involved just a WWII pickup style game. Mark had recently finished a British Parachute battalion and was in need to unleash them. So a far fetched British and US combined parachute drop operation, on the morning of D-Day, to capture a bridge was quickly thought of. This would also enable me to evaluate whether I sell or keep my fledgling American 82nd force which I'd purchased on a bit of a whim last year.

Back to basics for the gaming table, just a green cloth with a few building and walls. A couple of small woods were added which didn't play a part in the game. The parachute drop went fairly well for the Allies with just a few casualties but they lost some heavy equipment (mortars and medium machine guns). The first three turns were played using the night time rules so observation and movement were reduced. A die was thrown for each German company to see which ones were woken by the aircraft and therefore could observe and fire on the first turn.

British Paratroopers cross a wall to get behind the emplacement, as the American are just about to occupy the building opposite. This was a bad loss for the Germans loosing half a Company (4 figures) to only one American casualty.

The remaining German half company, ousted by the Americans, make it over the bridge on the next turn, just as the company of half tracks are roused and decide to get in the action.

The German force was eventually pushed out of the other building but it took nearly half of the British battalion and the Americans had to finish it off. At the end of the game the two American companies were making a dash across the bridge. Another turn could have seen them take it along with occupying either the church or the building.

A good game with minimal forces was just what we need to get back into the rules. It has me thinking about what happened next for a follow up game, either later on the same day or the next day. Maybe some Glider troop reinforcements then a German counter attack......

Saturday 13 February 2010

Fallshirmjager 2nd Battalion

These figures were painted about 5 years ago while on an enjoyable holiday in the Lake District. The routine was to paint for a few hours in the morning, while my partner was writing, then go out late morning early afternoon for walks and enjoying the scenery. Perfect holiday I seem to remember.....

All the castings below are from the Peter Pig range of 15mm WWII figures .

2nd Battalion HQ

5th - 6th - 7th Companies

8th (Heavy) Company

15th Company (Pioneer/Engineer)

I've marked this as the 2nd battalion as my intention was not to motorise this unit but after recently picking up the Rapid Fire D-Day scenario book I may have to add a little bit of transport for the HQ. According to the scenario book, in Normandy, the Fallshirmager 6th Regiment's 1st battalion was motorised with French trucks; only the 2nd and 3rd battalions HQ had transport (a Kubelwagen and Kettenkraftrad). They have also included a 150mm infantry gun to each heavy company, which I don't think I will add just yet.......not at the pace I paint anyway........I still have another battalions worth of figures to paint....................think I need another holiday in the Lakes like the one 5 years ago!!!!

Tuesday 2 February 2010

StuG III Company

Reading through this blog I've realised I haven't posted any pictures of the latest additions to my German Infantry Kampfgruppe. I've still got a little way to go to complete it as there are two artillery battalions and a tow for the 120mm Infantry gun to paint. I'm hoping the posting of pictures of the latest additions will motivate me to finish the outstanding elements and I can finally finish this Kampfgruppe.

As mentioned elsewhere I use Rapid Fire rules with 15mm figures. For this Kampgruppe I'm following the Divisional makeup as suggested in version 2 of the rule book. The only variation is the inclusion of an Assault Gun Company as an optional extra. A document showing the Kampfgruppe's composition can be found here

Below is the German Assault Gun Company with two 75mm and one 105mm StuG IIIs. When required, the two 75mm StuGs can be used as the 14th (Anti Tank) Company replacing the Pak 40 and 8 Panzerchrecke figures. Otherwise, along with the 105mm StuG, they can be used as an additional unit attached to the Kampfgruppe in an infantry support roll.

I do like to create storage trays for my models. These are marked up with small descriptive labels that help anyone identify what the units are. These trays also help to keep the figures and vehicles tidily together when stored in my drawers and make it easier to pick out specific units for games.

It's about time I put some German crosses on the sides of these StuGs.........some extra storage items might be nice as well......just when I thought these were finished.......

Saturday 30 January 2010

Early Imperial Roman DBA army

As stated previously, I am in the process of renewing my efforts in sorting through my mountain of lead and trying to lighten the load of painted as well as unpainted figures. I think all my DBA armies will have to go as I've not gamed with these for at least two years. First on the list is my Early Imperial Roman army.

All nicely boxed as well

I cannot claim to have painted these figures but this will still be a reluctant sale as I do like this group of figures. An interest in the Roman period of history probably stems from school history lessons I can still remember the projects we did on Roman forts and villas. The 1964 film 'The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' might also have been an influence on me during my childhood. I've a couple of other small collections of Roman figures and these will also be sold........ Sad times......

Thursday 28 January 2010

Samurai (15mm)

Below are some figures I picked up from a 'Bring and Buy' at one of the Derby shows. I took a real fancy to them as I've always had a fleeting interest in this period. I think it's something to do with all those flags, the decorative costumes and armour. Trouble is I don't know much about Samurai period, the armies or the feudal system. The project to build a small army for DBA or larger never got off the ground. Building armies of the World War Two period seemed to take precedence and my research into the Samurai period took a back seat. I can't see me getting any further with this project in the next few years so, very very reluctantly, I'll have to let these figures go.

I think they are Two Dragon Productions figures and beautifully painted.....wish I could claim it was my brush work........

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Austrian Landwehr

A couple of photos of some 15mm Napoleonic Austrian Landwehr battalions that were finished last year.

Prague Landwehr

I do like this battalion it's something different to most of the other Landwehr units and also goes to show that not all Austrian infantry was in white.

1st - 2nd - 3rd Vienna Woods Landwehr

Another campaign year

Wow.....was it really May 2009 whenI last posted something on this blog? Another year already and what has happened since my last posting? A lot to keep me busy but not much on the wargaming front.

There was another WWII game with four players some time last June but due to trying to take part in the game and be an impartial umpire it didn't get recorded. One of the new guys that joined us that evening has a vast collection of figures and he has put on a few games but due to work and social commitments I have only been able to make it to a couple of games.

On the painting front I finished the WWII German Infantry Division Anti Tank Company and started painting two Artillery batteries for the Infantry Division. On the Napoleonic front the Austrian army is coming on well with a few battalions ready to base and then only a couple of cavalry regiments, a couple of horse, a couple of brigade batteries along with a few command figures to paint, then it's finished. Pictures will follow under suitable headings.

But overall it's been a very poor year on the wargaming front........ As such I am proposing again to multiply my efforts to cut back considerably on the amount of lead I own and I'm also going to focus my efforts on painted lead. Easier said than done but what is the point in having numerous armies if they haven't seen light of days for years........Up until now each time I opened the drawers I couldn't bring myself to part with any...... I seem to have a different mind set this year so let's see how I get on...................'Small is beautiful' has to be my motto for this year.
I have been wargaming for 10 years in which time I have finally settled on two eras, Napoleonic and WWII, both in 15mm (1:100). Most of my ramblings will be about gaming in these two eras. An attempt will be made to record my wargaming interests, building of armies, ideas, interests and hopefully some games played.