EARLY WAR MINIATURES ITALIANS

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An unusual subject, the Italians aren’t the most popular choice with WW2 gamers, I was nevertheless asked to paint these figures from Early War Miniatures. I will let the pictures do the talking, but these are nice miniatures and the range is pretty comprehensive, covering most things you might want. Good stuff!

Monty the Desert Rat

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BATTLEGROUND 2014 – A SHOW REPORT

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Here I sit recovering from a mammoth journey and a day on my feet and taking a moment to pause and reflect on the events of the weekend. Battleground is, I suppose, an old show under new management, so how did the new management do? Simply excellent. Anyone who has dealt with Pendraken will, I am sure, recognise such sentiments as friendly, helpful, efficient, organised and on the ball and all that carried through to Battleground in spades. Quite simply, from my perspective, one of the best organised shows I have attended.

The venue is also excellent. It’s a large sports hall so lots of space without feeling at all empty and also light, bright and cool. The café across the car park was also open in good time and got the bacon butties on early as a special favour – I know they did good business on the day.

How did it compare to previous years? I can’t say as it was a first visit for me, but it was an excellent show and I have already asked to come back again next year, which just about says it all!

As for the game, it was Scenario 21 from Operation WINTER STORM – the Soviet counter attack on the bridgehead over the MUSHKOVA River at BOLSHAYA-VASILEVKA. The Germans had their usual Panzer Grenadier platoon with a sniper and Panzerknacker team, whilst the Soviets were a little different from usual – an Elite Guards SMG platoon of 4 squads and a T34. Soviet Force Morale was 10 and the Germans were on 8. I had 2 new players, one on each side with Ian commanding the Soviets and Luke the Germans.

The Germans started with their free patrol moves and pushed forward across the board. The Soviets countered but were held back in their own third of the table but with one JOP right over on the table edge on their left flank. (Sorry, should have taken more photos but I was too busy running the game). The Germans had a chain across the middle of the board, choosing to deploy mid table to exploit some good fields of fire.

The Soviets opened by bringing on a squad centre right and pushing into a church. The Germans countered with all 3 squads deploying in a chain and with 2 having fields of fire to the church. The Soviet squad was exposed and started taking casualties, with the Junior Leader being the first to fall. Unable to rally shock, the Platoon Commander came on to bolster the section but some exceptional and intense German fire broke the squad and the German ended the turn – write off 1 squad and the Senior Leader. Soviet force morale plummets. Game over? Far from it. Something Chain of Command does superbly well is the ebb and flow of battle. The Soviets had now got their game together and brought on a squad on their far left, using a covered approach to threaten the Panzer Grenadiers in the building holding the German right flank. They also brought on the T34, which they held well back and protected by their infantry (another squad coming on to do just that) and they proceeded to pound the German right flank. The German platoon commander was forced to rush over to help keep the squad in the fight, but losses and shock mounted. The Germans had tried to counter by bringing on their sniper to cover the exposed right and deal with the lurking Soviets, but Gunter had clearly been at the Apfelkorn and couldn’t hit anything at all!! Showing commendable patience, the Soviets softened up their target and launched a close assault, through the overwatch fire and into the building. By the end, the Soviet squad was down to one man and a wounded Junior Leader and was broken, but the Germans were wiped out to a man – Junior Leader and Senior Leader included. German force morale dropped to 5, Soviet Force Morale – no change! Clever hoarding of Chain of Command Chits (I don’t use dice, heretic that I am!!!) meant they were able to avoid the 2 tests. Much closer now.

The Germans needed to do something sharpish and they pushed their left flank squad forward towards an exposed JOP and, despite another Soviet Squad deploying as quickly as they could to counter, the Germans first closed down the JOP, then captured it and then ended the turn – more Soviet force morale loss and down to 4 dice.

But, undeterred, the Soviets stuck to the plan. The T34 switched fire to the centre squad and began to pummel that with an SMG squad poised to finish the process. Taking losses, shock mounting, an unstable building and with the Junior Leader stunned and out for the Turn, the remnants did the only thing they could and pulled back out of the line of fire.

And then the Soviets lost the game! They pivoted their T34 to fire on the German left flank squad, holed up in the building they had occupied to capture the JOP and boxed in by a Soviet SMG squad. This seems sensible – repeating the route to success from earlier, pound with the T34 and then close assault. However, this was the chance the Germans had been waiting for. They used their Chain of Command chit to ambush with the Panzerknacker team. They had been waiting for a flank or rear attack as they needed that to throw the odds in their favour; and the attack was a blinder. No Soviets on overwatch to cut down the man with the charge, no Chain of Command chit to interrupt and some excellent German dice and poor Soviet dice and the T34 was brewed up. Cue one tank destruction badge, a pat on the back for the team leader for being so patient and picking his moment, and a further loss of Soviet force morale. And so we called it, a very narrow German victory as they had held, but they had lost the best part of 2 squads and the platoon commander. The Soviets had lost similarly – 2 squads and the platoon commander and so they still had 2 squads in good order. But they had also lost their ace, the T34, and, with SMGs and lots of open ground to cover while still facing 4 MG42s and with a Force Morale of 2, we felt it was too much to ask.

And so our campaign through the Show season comes to an end. It’s been great fun, I’d like to thank all the organisers, gamers and interested passers by for what has been a most enjoyable and entertaining first year on the show circuit for Monty’s. And especial thanks to Rich and TooFatLardies for such a great rule set and all the support throughout the year. We will return – watch this space to find out more!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

SITREP 007

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Yes, I know I have been quite of late – a combination of illnes (flu type, nothing serious), building work at Monty HQ and so it goes on. However, here goes with some more eye candy!!

First off, some RN chaps from the NZ wars:

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And then some more WW1 British and Germans,

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And, finally, some WW2 early British:

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Hope you enjoy,

Kind regards,

Monty the Desert Rat

SITREP 006

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It’s time again for an update on what’s been going on at Monty HQ! First off, we have completed some WW1 Scots:

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and then there are some early WW2 Germans:

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and finally, some Rif Wars tribesmen for Chain of Command.

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Hope these were of interest,

 

Monty the Desert Rat

SITREP 005

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I know I’ve been a bit quiet of late, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been busy here at Monty HQ. Quite the contrary and I now have quite a few photos to tantalise!!

First up we have more mats, starting with Papua New Guinea, including coastline:

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And then we have Crete:

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Going to the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, we have some 28mm Germans all ready for winter:

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And staying with WW2, we have some 1/300 scale US and German aircraft:

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And, in parallel, I’ve been developing an extendable flight stand, which I hope to have available for sale soon:

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We have more Sci Fi tanks:

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and, finally, some 15mm Napoleonics:

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Monty the Desert Rat

OPERATION WINTER STORM – A CHAIN OF COMMAND SUPPLEMENT

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Just to let you all know that TooFatLardies have just released my Operation WINTER STORM scenario supplement – 22 scenarios for £7. It can be found at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25&products_id=153

Monty the Desert Rat

 

CLAYMORE!!

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And what a great day it was! It all went very smoothly – a tribute to the obvious hard work of the chaps of SESWC – and the show seemed very well attended as usual. There were 3 Lardie games there (Dux Brit and ITLSU as well as my CoC game) and we were all grouped close together, which was ideal.

Anyway, the game. I had 2 people who had not played CoC before and who were keen to give it a go. This was yet another scenario in the ongoing WINTER STORM campaign and, by this stage, we are well into the German drive on Stalingrad. The main defensive lines have been broken, 4th Cavalry Corps, which had posed a threat to the left flank of 6th Panzer Division, has been dealt with and the Panzers are driving north. They have crossed the Aksay River and pushed ahead to meet the Soviet reinforcements rushing to the area, aiming to defeat them in detail as they arrive.

The scenario itself saw 11th Panzer Regiment clash with the lead elements of 13th Tank Corps in an all armour battle. The Germans has 3 x Pz IIIJ (one with a senior leader) and one Pz IVG. The Soviets had 3 x T34/76 (one with a senior leader) and 2 x T70. The Germans had a radio net and a pool of 4 extra Command Dice to use one at a time at their discretion and this command and control advantage was to prove key!

We ran a patrol phase first – it suited the meeting nature of the engagement and I had tanks deploying from JOPs, which also worked well. The Soviets pushed forward hard on both flanks whilst the Germans held the centre. First on were the German Senior Leader in his Pz III and the Pz IV. Both deployed right centre. Two T34s then appeared on the Soviet left taking advantage of a forward JOP and they proceeded to try and turn the German flank on this side. The combined fire of the PzIII and PzIV gradually dealt with the second T34 – it’s main gun went, it was immobilised and the crew finally bailed. This prompted a Section Breaks throw on the Bad Things Happen Table. Meanwhile, the other T34 had turned the flank and engaged another Pz III that had come on in the centre, wounding the tank commander. That Pz III moved into dead ground and started towards the German left/Soviet right – more of this in a moment! The Senior Leader’s T34 then engaged the German senior leader’s Pz III, finally knocking it out (a Section Lost throw). The senior leader dashed across to the Pz IV and the duel continued with the T34 taking gun sight damage.

The other flank proved, however, to be decisive. The 2 Soviet T70s had come on here and tried to turn the German left, where there were also some vulnerable looking JOPs! They pushed forward hard and all the Germans could do was deploy the last Pz III to counter them. A firefight ensued with the Germans taking hits and being immobilised but the first T70 went up in flames (Section lost and Junior Leader lost tests! Soviet force morale was dropping). The second T70 forced a bail out but the other Pz III from the centre, shock recovered and with its commander slowly bleeding into unconciousness, had put itself into a prime position and KABOOOOM! Up went the second T70 and Soviet morale failed.

What of the 3rd T34? It made it on in the centre, but was not able to influence the action. So, another German victory and the march goes on!

How did the rules work in this all armour clash – brilliantly! No adjustment was needed at all. I didn’t use the more devastating advanced rules and this proved sound in this case; with more tanks, I would have done just that. The real difference was the C2 – the Germans on average activated 2 tanks each turn, although one was often by radio – to the Soviet’s 1 1/2. The Germans used their extra dice well to try and seize and maintain the initiative, allowing them to exploit opportunities better and it was this C2 that made the difference. The Soviet commander found it all a bit more disjointed, as it should have been. Overall, a great success – who said CoC is only for infantry!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

And here are the photos:

 

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DURHAM – WENT THE DAY WELL?

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Very much so! The lads of the Durham Club were great hosts and extremely helpful, especially to a one man/one rat band trying to do it all on their own! The atmosphere was very open and friendly, I thought the layout worked well, using the space to best effect, and I really do recommend a visit if you can be in the area at the time.

I had my Eastern Front Chain of Command set up there as normal (at least for this year!) along with my ‘pre-order collect on the day’ setup for Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company. And here are some photos:

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Hope to see you there next year,

Monty the Desert Rat

LARD AT DURHAM

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Now that I’m recovered from Deep Fried Lard II (an excellent day’s gaming), I thought I should post about the events of next weekend – THE DURHAM WARGAMES SHOW. This is a first time for me but I have heard so much good stuff about the Show that I am very excited to be going. I will be running 2 participation games as usual – both drawn from my Op WINTER STORM collection of scenarios and using TooFatLardies’ excellent Chain of Command rules and the associated campaign supplement: At the Sharp End. These will cover the opening events of WINTER STORM itself – the intial break in battle and then events on the left flank of the advance. Game 1 will start at 1030 and run to 1230; Game 2 will start at 1400 and run to 1600 – if you’d like to pre-book a place, please do drop me an email (the address is on the website if doing it from here proves difficult).

I’ll also have a load of stuff on the Bring and Buy – 15mm ACW, 15mm Eastern Front buildings, 28mm Fantasy, 20mm WW2, 15mm Pony Wars and other various items – should that be of any interest!

The Forces for the Day:

The Germans

3 PLATOON

OC: Unterfeldwebel Rolf Schweinsteiger

An Office Clerk in Augsberg since school, and then the army when called up. Age 48. As broad as he is tall, a barrel of a man.

FIRST SQUAD

Ober gefreiter Maximilian Flicke

A former Communist dock worker in Hamburg, he keeps quiet about his background now but leopards don’t change their spots. He hopes for better days in the future. Add +3 to age roll.
Age 35. A strapping 6 footer.
LMG 1 Maximilian Fliegle
ASST Daniel Lohner
RFN Tobias Kisslinger
RFN Leon Hafonstaangel
LMG 2 Fabian Lehman
ASST Lukas Lammesfelder
RFN Fabian Karge
RFN Paul Mòhlbach
RFN Jonas Artz

SECOND SQUAD

Gefreiter Michael Wallfisch

An inner‐city School boy from Berlin with a father in an armaments factory. He left the Hitler Jugend and joined the Army. He is a model citizen of the new Germany. Roll 1D6 only for age.
Age 23. Average, unremarkable appearance.
LMG 1 Jonas Pfeiffer
ASST Maximilian Ettmuller
RFN Tim Mosbauer
RFN Daniel Kolf
LMG 2 Tobias Saggau
ASST Felix Beerbaum
RFN Jonas Klinsmann
RFN Alexander Wiese
RFN Lukas Schwarzacher

THIRD SQUAD

Ober gefreiter Gert Oberkamp

A cabaret musician originally from Leipzig, he played with all the big stars before being called up. He still hankers for some “degenerate art” and listens on foreign radio broadcasts when he can.
Age 30. Tall and thin.
LMG 1 Julian Mellenthin
ASST Maximilian Beyer
RFN Paul Feinblatt
RFN Florian Scholze
LMG 2 David Backstedt
ASST Tobias Zobel
RFN Paul Fersten
RFN Julian Kresch
RFN Tim Reinelt

The Soviets

First Iteration – the rifle platoon

SECOND PLATOON

OC: Leytenant Dmitriy Vinogradov

He studied hard in the Tekhnikum in Sevastopol to learn the skills which you would use upon graduation to distribute bumper turnip crops to the peoples of all the Soviet Union. You are a loyal Party member and fine Soviet citizen.

Age 23, An average sort. Unremarkable.

FIRST SQUAD

Serzhant Yegor PetrovA mechanic from Moscow. He trained on engines and there is nothing about the internal combustion engine that you cannot fix. Age 27, A true bantam, short but full of fight.
LMG Maxim Sokolov
ASST Alexei Semyonov
RFN Nikolai Kozlov
RFN Aleksey Popov
RFN Ivan Golyubev
RFN Ivan Vasilyev
RFN Segey Kuznetsov
RFN Yegor Pavlov

 

THIRD SQUAD

Serzhant Ivan NovikovA clerk in an office in Kiev , involved with the implementation of the Five Year Plan. Age 24, A strapping six‐footer.
LMG Dmitriy Ivanov
ASST Andrey Morozov
RFN Mikhail Vasilyev
RFN Alexei Semyonov
RFN Yuri Kuznetsov
RFN Vladimir Vorobyrov
RFN Artyom Petrov
RFN Nikita Volkov

SECOND SQUAD

Serzhant Maxim LebedevA worker in a factory in Chelyabinsk producing much needed armaments. He volunteered for the Army when his factory was moved to the Urals to save it from the rapacious invader of Soviet soil. One day he will return, a hero of the Soviet Union! Age 23, A strapping six‐footer.
LMG Anatoly Zaytesev
ASST Alexsandr Vorobyrov
RFN Nikolai Solovynov
RFN Maxim Vasilyev
RFN Andrey Kuznetsov
RFN Mikhail Petrov
RFN Aleksey Morozov
RFN Alexsandr Vorobyrov

 

FOURTH SQUAD

Serzhant Anatoly Pavlov A bookbinder in the Party Press Offices in Krasnoyarsk, he volunteered for the Great Patriotic War as soon as the fascist beasts invaded the mother country. He is an upstanding Soviet citizen.Age 28, An average sort. Unremarkable.
LMG Mikhail Ivanov
ASST Vladimir Pavlov
RFN Nikita Lebedev
RFN Yegor Volkov
RFN Yuri Popov
RFN Aleksey Pavlov
RFN Segey Smirnov
RFN Aleksey Kozlov

 

And the remnants of the cavalry platoon – will they re-appear?

FIRST PLATOON

OC: Leytenant Andrey Sokolov

He supervised the workers on the collective farm in Gerogia where bumper turnip crops were grown. He is a loyal Party member and fine Soviet citizen but his peasant background means he takes care to look after his men. Add +1 to the men’s opinion.

Age 25, tall and thin.

FIRST SQUAD

Serzhant Igor VolkovA worker in a factory in Kiev producing much needed armaments. He volunteered for the Army when his factory was moved to the Urals to save it from the rapacious invader of Soviet soil. One day he will return a hero of the Soviet Union!Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable. WIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
LMG Anatoly Zaytesev
ASST Dmitriy Novikov
RFN Aleksey Popov
RFN Segey Sokolov
RFN Nikita Kozlov
RFN Yuri Smirnov
RFN Maxim Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Mikhail Petrov

THIRD SQUAD

Serzhant Nikolai SokolovA mechanic from Minsk. He trained on engines and there is nothing about the internal combustion engine that he cannot fix.Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable.
LMG Andrey Vorobyrov
ASST Yuri Vasilyev
RFN Yegor Petrov
RFN Anatoly Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Vladimir Sokolov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Maxim Petrov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Igor Vinogradov
RFN Alexei Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42

SECOND SQUAD

Serzhant Yegor PopovThe son of a small shopkeeper in Eastern Russia, he fights for Holy Mother Russia in her hour of need.Age 21, An intellectual looking man of average to short height. KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Acting Serzhant(command radius 3″) Andrey KuznetsovA musician in the State Orchestra from Bryansk. His fingers are now scarred and dirty, but the work he does now is of greater importance than music. He fights for the rights of the workers and peasants of the world!Age 24, As broad as he is tall. A barrel of a man.
LMG Artyom Petrov
ASST Yegor Kozlov
RFN Maxim Morozov
RFN Ivan Golyubev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Yuri Lebedev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Segey Bogdanov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Nikolai Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42

FOURTH SQUAD

Serzhant Daniil VasilyevA worker on a collective farm near Belgorod producing food for the Soviet people and their fraternal allies. The Army has been a harsh school, but he has survived and killed many fascists. His men look to him for leadership as they know he is one of them.Age 23, A strapping six‐footer.
LMG Yuri Vinogradov
ASST Vladimir Morozov
RFN Mikhail Smirnov
RFN Segey Ivanov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Alexsandr Golyubev KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Yegor Kozlov
RFN Dmitriy Golyubev
RFN Dmitriy Zaytesev

 

 

Monty the Desert Rat

CARRONADE 2014 – WENT THE DAY WELL?

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The short answer has to be YES!!

First off, hats off to the guys at the Falkirk and District Wargames Club for a great show. I asked myself the question, what could they have done differently to make the experience better for me, and the simple answer was nothing! I arrived in good time, I was able to park close to the hall, I was quickly directed to my table, which was exactly as requested and perfectly set up. I had some help carrying everything in and was ready with over an hour to go. I can’t comment much more on the show as I was tied to the stand (not literally!!), but it seemed very busy.

And what of the games?

Game One, here’s the table from the German end

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And from the Soviet end:

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The scenario saw a German Panzer Grenadier platoon with a PaK 40 in support (played by Rob) defending a collective farm against 2 dismounted Soviet cavalry platoons (2 squads each and commanded respectively by Gerard and Roderick of the McHighland Brigade) with a T34/76 along for the ride. Things did not go the Soviets’ way from the start. As cavalry they had the chance of additional, free moves in the patrol phase but none of their 4 dice gave them anything. That did mean the Soviets would not be able to press the farm as closely as they might in the Patrol Phase. Anyway, the Patrol Phase gave the Germans JOPs on their left in the woods, and towards the rear of the village. The Soviets had theirs in dead ground and, crucially, in scrub well forward on their left. Here we see it all post Patrol Phase:

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This left hand Soviet JOP was to be key for them and they progressively brought all four squads on from this JOP and pushed hard to break into the village, attacking the large, foremost building first. A sound plan as the German JOPs were too far back to allow them to deploy in this building. The Germans countered by bringing 2 squads on to cover both flanks of the farm. The right hand squad had both LMGs at the windows of one building and were able to bring the Soviet cavalry under fire. However, the Soviet use of tactical movement and the cover of the fences limited the impact of this.

Meanwhile, the German PaK came on on the left and positioned itself to cover the open approach. The T34 also appeared and was intended to come to the left, using the dead ground to avoid exposure to the PaK, and then bring the farm under fire to support and cover the advance of the cavalry. Clearly there was some decadence apparent in the crew as their advance was far from swift (2 on 2D6!!!). This left the cavalry exposed. The 3rd German squad came on on high ground behind the right flank of the farm, but was badly exposed and suffered from the fire of three Soviet squads and decided to move down the hill and into the cover of the farm. Various pictures of the Soviet attack:

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And then the battle really swung. The Germans managed to bring some accurate and concentrated fire down on the cavalry squads – one was wiped out with the Junior Leader killed and a second Junior Leader had already been wounded. To hurry the games along, I had decided to add 1 to all ‘Bad things Happen’ rolls and this saw Soviet force morale collapse – a German victory!!

The Germans had lost a couple of men, but they got these back immediately as they had a sufficient difference in force morale. The Soviets lost 10 men, 1 Junior Leader and 1 Junior Leader wounded. This left them with 5 KIA, 3 missing for the next game and 2 back immediately. The wounded Junior Leader came back straight away, but Andrey Kuznetsov had to take over 2 Squad from the now dead Serzhant Yegor Popov. This left 1 and 2 Squads looking like this after all men came back:

FIRST SQUAD

Serzhant Igor Volkov

A worker in a factory in Kiev producing much needed armaments. He volunteered for the Army when his factory was moved to the Urals to save it from the rapacious invader of Soviet soil. One day he will return a hero of the Soviet Union!

Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable.

WIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
LMG Anatoly Zaytesev
ASST Dmitriy Novikov  
RFN Aleksey Popov  
RFN Segey Sokolov  
RFN Nikita Kozlov  
RFN Yuri Smirnov  
RFN Maxim Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Mikhail Petrov  

SECOND SQUAD

Serzhant Yegor Popov

The son of a small shopkeeper in Eastern Russia, he fights for Holy Mother Russia in her hour of need.

Age 21, An intellectual looking man of average to short height.

KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Acting Serzhant

(command radius 3″)

Andrey Kuznetsov

A musician in the State Orchestra from Bryansk. Your fingers are now scarred and dirty, but the work you

do now is of greater importance than music. You fight for the rights of the workers and

peasants of the world!

Age 24, As broad as he is tall. A barrel of a man.

 
LMG Artyom Petrov  
ASST Yegor Kozlov  
RFN Maxim Morozov  
RFN Ivan Golyubev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Yuri Lebedev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Segey Bogdanov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Nikolai Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42

Fortunately, neither squad was needed for the second game and Squads 3 and 4 were untouched.

And the post game discussion? Really it focused around 2 issues – the failure to gain extra Patrol Phase moves leaving the Soviets more open ground to cover and with the Germans further forward, and the failure of the T34 to shoot the cavalry in. Had this been able to take up a good position out of the PaK’s arcs, it could have used its guns to progressively reduce the defences and soften them up for the cavalry to move in and mop up.

Game Two. We now moved forward to cover the events of the afternoon of the 5th December 1942. The positions we had been dealing with in the morning were still held by the Germans, who were increasingly under pressure. Soviet forces had also bypassed them and moved to clash with German forces further south. Having been stopped, they were now regrouping on some low ground ready to push forward again. Meanwhile, the Germans were pushing North to re-establish contact with their surrounded comrades. Here’s the table from the German end and then the Soviet end:

HITACHI HDC-1491EHITACHI HDC-1491E

So, we had Paul with a dismounted Soviet cavalry platoon (2 squads) with a Maxim, a 45mm ATG and a T34/76 in support against Stuart’s Panzer Grenadier platoon with a Marder III in support. Paul got an extra Patrol Phase move as dismounted cavalry (his 2 dice giving him the average result this time!). He pushed hard up on his right and we ended up with German JOPs pretty much on a line across the board in dead ground and scrub. The Soviets had one well back on their left centre behind the crest and they then ran forward in a diagonal line through some scrub (with a JOP) to a final JOP on the edge of the board but very far forward on their right. We spent a bit of time talking about this – using that Patrol Marker to place a JOP was a bold move and was to set the whole tone of the game. These show the end of the patrol phase – notice the Soviet JOP in the bottom left of the right hand photo – it’s the small circle on the table edge:

HITACHI HDC-1491E HITACHI HDC-1491E

Paul brought a Squad on over on that extreme right and, in due course, brought his ATG on on his left on the crest to cover the road, with his Maxim deploying in the scrub right centre to cover the open ground and crest from that side, and his T34 coming on the road and moving forward as quickly as possible. However, back to the scene of the action and the Germans! Stuart was very clear that the Soviets had seized the initiative and that the deployment on his flank was a critical threat – if the Soviets got onto the crest they would dominate his whole deployment zone and have 2 of his JOPs in easy reach. Something had to be done! Whilst one Panzer Grenadier squad deployed in cover in the centre, a second was deployed to counter the first Soviet squad and the 2 LMGs ripped into the Squad. Men went down like flies, but Paul brought his second squad on – his JOP placement was bold and an all or nothing act – the combined fire cut down half the Panzer Grenadiers. This was a real close quarter affair at about 50 yards range! Even the Squad Leaders’ SMGs were involved it was so close. Stuart felt he had to bring on his final squad to win the firefight, which he duly did with the first Soviet Squad wiped out and the second reduced to 2 men and a wounded Junior Leader and they duly broke off the table. By this time the Marder had made it on to the table, but only just!! Some shots of the action. The first 2 show the Soviet depth positions with the 45mm ATG. The next 3 show the brutal firefight on the German flank.

HITACHI HDC-1491E HITACHI HDC-1491E HITACHI HDC-1491E HITACHI HDC-1491E HITACHI HDC-1491E

By this point, Soviet Force Morale was pretty much broken and the Germans were very well placed to capture the forward JOP and complete the victory.

And what did we think of it all? Paul’s aggressive JOP placement made a significant portion of the battle irrelevant – it would all be determined by the fight for that insignificant and unnamed bump in the ground on the Don Steppe. The fire power of panzer grenadiers was key in winning this for the Germans, leg infantry would have been less robust in this respect. On reflection, I also wonder if the Soviets weren’t quite bold enough!! This really was an all or nothing gambit; perhaps the deployment of the MMG and 45mm to the same JOP with the senior leader would have beefed the Soviet force up. The additional firepower certainly would have tipped the balance back and Stuart would have been hard pushed to get more Germans on the ridge, although he would, perhaps, have been able to bring his 3rd Squad over to replace losses. Much to ponder!

The Germans had lost a five men, but they got these back immediately as they had a sufficient difference in force morale. The Soviets lost 12 men, 1 Junior Leader killed and 1 Junior Leader wounded. This left them with 6 KIA, 3 missing for the next game and 3 back immediately. The wounded Junior Leader came back straight away, but Yegor Petrov had to take over 3 Squad from the now dead Serzhant Nikolai Sokolov. This left 3 and 4 Squads looking like this after all men came back:

THIRD SQUAD

Serzhant Nikolai Sokolov

A mechanic from Minsk. He trained on engines and there is nothing about the internal combustion engine that he cannot fix.

Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable.

KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN

Acting Serzhant

3″ command radius

Yegor Petrov

A former seminary student from Sosnovy Bor, you escaped from the Solovki Special Purpose Camp, thereby avoiding death. You now serve in the Army under an assumed identity. You fear exposure each day. Add +3 to your roll for age.

Age 27, An average sort. Unremarkable.

 
LMG Andrey Vorobyrov  
ASST Yuri Vasilyev  
RFN Anatoly Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Vladimir Sokolov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Maxim Petrov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Igor Vinogradov  
RFN Alexei Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42

FOURTH SQUAD

Serzhant Daniil Vasilyev

A worker on a collective farm near Belgorod producing food for the Soviet people and their fraternal allies. The Army has been a harsh school, but he has survived and killed many fascists. His men look to him for leadership as they know he is one of them.

Age 23, A strapping six‐footer.

WIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
LMG Yuri Vinogradov  
ASST Vladimir Morozov  
RFN Mikhail Smirnov  
RFN Segey Ivanov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Alexsandr Golyubev KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Yegor Kozlov  
RFN Dmitriy Golyubev  
RFN Dmitriy Zaytesev  

Overall, however, I am really grateful to Rob, Gerard, Roderick, Stuart and Paul for coming along and giving my games a go. It was a real pleasure to meet you all and it was a great atmosphere round the table. It was also great to meet old friends and new ones – thank you to everyone who took the time to stop and chat, when I was able to free myself up.

And as for my perspective? The key conclusion was that running participation games, fronting a stand to the public and trying to show case your business is just too much for one man, even with a rat in support! I was VERY lucky that a good friend covered the stand to allow me to get some lunch and then came back and helped me clear up – cheers, Jimmy, I owe you one. But it was a very hard day and I was left feeling that neither the players nor the public had had the attention they deserved. What to do about that? I have no idea as cloning is not an option!!! More thought required.

HOWEVER, next up is Durham on the 14th June (I will also be at Deep Fried Lard on the 7th but Durham is the next show). This is a new one for me but I am really excited. I know Durham well and it is a lovely place and I have heard only good things about the show. The campaign will now move on and we will see the start of Operation WINTER STORM proper now 6th Panzer Division’s buildup is complete. I’m sure some will be concerned that the Soviet forces have been badly written down already – but will the cavalry be back or will 6th Panzer be facing a new and fresh foe? Watch this space!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat.