Just a gentle reminder that the final date for pre-order/collect on the day orders for Plastic Soldier Company and Battlefront/Gale Force 9 for Carronade on the 10th of May is this Sunday – the 27th!!

We are also able to offer the same service at the Durham Show on the 14th of June – order deadline is 1st June!

For all the details of this opportunity, see http://theratreport.com/?p=20

Hope to see you there.

Monty the Desert Rat



I got my first game of the TooFatLardie’s supplement to their Chain of Command rules for the Spanish Civil War, CoC Espana last night. The very short version is that it was a GREAT game and very different from the WW2 version in playing, but with only minor changes to the rules making it very easy to pick up. I was very kindly hosted by the gentlemen of the South East Scotland Wargames Club for the game and am most grateful to them. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos.

Anyway, on to the action! We were 2 players and 2 platoons per side and the game effectively divided itself into 2 separate engagements. I had a platoon of regular Requetes against my opponent’s anarchist militia. Due to force ratings, he upgraded to Fanatics, bought an armoured truck and an adjutant to help with deployment. The ground in our section was dominated by a hill to my left with a small wood on my opponent’s side, descending to open ground in the centre and right with hedged fields on both sides and a house on my side.

The Patrol Phase left us both with Jump Off Points towards the rear except where the wood provided cover, with that housing one Anarchist JOP, I also had one on the short table edge in the dead ground behind the hill.

Anyway, Jim brought on 2 10 man sections – one into the wood and one into a field on his left flank, I countered with teams basically opposite. Jim then brought on the remaining 2 sections centre rear and I saw my chance!! The militia section in the woods was, I felt, exposed and there was a Jump Off Point just behind! I seized the moment, brought on the rest of the section and the platoon sergeant and made a mad dash for them, taking the shock for moving 3D6. They were on overwatch and I lost a man on the way in, but the Requetes crashed into the close combat – they lost 4 men but killed 8 and the remaining 2 fled. Phase 1 complete!

I then begin to bring the second section on in the middle with the platoon commander – this was to threaten from 2 directions and force the militia to share their scarce command dice, I would hit wherever was weakest! The left flank moved forward, occupied the JOP and moved to line the edge of the wood. And then it all went horribly wrong!!!!!!

My opponent was only throwing 4 command dice and needed 2 6s to get a follow on phase – he now did this THREE TIMES IN A ROW!!!! Now the counter argument is that that only leaves 2 dice to activate troops, too true, but each time he was able to come up with a 4, activate his very well placed senior leader, activate all 3 sections and pour fire into the Requetes in the wood. Men were falling like nine pins and they were soon pinned, both leaders out of action for the turn and force morale dropping. Even when I activated, he played a CoC dice to interrupt and pour in more fire – one team went down completely, although that took away its shock and then my colleague used his CoC dice to end the turn. Phew. The JOP was lost, the section unpinned (due to the loss of shock with the lost team) and I was moving up in the centre. The next Anarchist phase, however, saw the last few Requetes on the left break and run – force morale down again! And the centre was just too far away to get to grips with the exposed, left flank militia section. My opponent was able to bring a second section up to join them and I decided to call it a day.

What of the armoured truck? It came on early on the only road on the far side of the table, moving 2D6. My opponent’s colleague kindly pointed out that he could move a 3rd dice, which was duly thrown, resulting in a breakdown!!

So, a great game and I really felt the rules and adjustments worked superbly well. The 3 anarchist phases in a row really did for me, but that is war. It was just a case of a moment of inspired leadership by the anarchist leader, getting his men out of a difficult situation with rapid and well directed fire whilst the Requetes struggled to get their act together after the close combat – c’est la guerre!

Monty the Desert Rat




We’re all going…….on tour!! Although I have attended many shows and helped with games, I have never staged one myself – GULP! This year with the emergence from the shadows of Monty and with the opportunity to team up with TooFatLardies as a Lard Ambassador (someone seeking to help spread the Lard!), that is changing.

 So, where will we be? So far we are looking good for:

Carronade on 10 May – PSC and Battlefront products available for pre order, deadline is 27 April.

Deep Fried Lard on 7 June – PSC, Figures in Comfort and Battlefront products available for pre order, deadline is 18 May.

Durham on 14 June

Claymore on 2 August – PSC and Battlefront products available for pre order, deadline is 20 July.

Battleground on 29 November

I have also applied to Border Reiver in August, Skelp in October and Targe in November, but these are some way off and nothing is confirmed at this stage.

 And what will we be doing (with the exception of Deep Fried Lard):

The aim is to run a series of scenarios – 2 games at each show generally running 10:30 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 15:30 (a rat needs a good lunch!)

Every game will be different – I have produced a total of 22 scenarios covering Operation WINTERGEWITTER (WINTER STORM), the German drive to link up with the Stalingrad garrison in December 1942, all focussed on 6th Panzer Division and the Soviet units they fought against. I have also been discussing publishing these scenarios in conjunction with TooFatLardies, more to follow!

I will be ‘telling the tale’ as we go through this Blog and, possibly, the Lard Island Blog too. We will follow our respective sides through this operation as they battle each other.

What rules: TooFatLardies’ OUTSTANDING “Chain of Command” and campaign supplement “At the Sharp End”.

Can I pre-book a place – of course, I’d be delighted.

What do I need to bring – nothing except yourself, a sense of humour and a good slice of luck, everything else (less refreshments!) will be provided.

 Will we be doing anything else:

Subject to the permission of the Show organisers, I may be able to offer my ‘pre order and collect on the day’ service for Plastic Soldier Company and Battlefront (including Gale Force 9) products (see http://theratreport.com/?p=20). I have annotated some shows already with this option and, if available, I will notify it here well in advance with clear deadlines for orders and payment.

I may also have items for sale on the Bring and Buy but that depends on on the day arrangements and probably the presence of an assistant – great I may be, but I haven’t yet mastered the art of being in 2 places at the same time!! If this is going to happen, I will post here so everyone knows and I will also give an idea of what I’ll be bringing!

And I’d be delighted to meet anyone for a chat, although I would ask for patience during game time as the players will have to be my focus at those times.

 I hope to see you there!

 Monty the Desert Rat



Preparations for our participation game this year march on and I took the opportunity of the game last week to take some photos of the stuff I have been preparing, so here goes!!

First off, a village in Russia. The buildings are Kerr and King and I have really enjoyed painting them – they are lovely buildings and I really do like the damage effects they have, especially as they have gaps. The trees are Woodland Scenic tree armatures and the fences are from Ironclad  (nice pieces and very good value). The wagons are Battlefront.

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And now Soviets advancing through the village – a PSC T70 and Peter Pig infantry (lovely sculpts and easy to paint too!!)

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Svetlana the Sniper (Peter Pig) and a PSC 45mm ATG with Peter Pig crew lurk in the woods!

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While the Germans prepare in another village. First up, a Battlefront Sdkfz 10/5, then Battlefront wagons and a PSC Sdkfz 251/C in the centre of the village – this time with some Ironclad buildings added in – these are also very nice and good value.

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And now for the Panzers!! A PSC Panzer IV covers whilst a Panzer Keil of 3 Mark IIIs advances across the Steppe. The 2 in grey are Battlefront and the camoflaged one is from Peter Pig. A Battlefront Marder III also provides cover from some trees (Noch pine trees).

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I’ll be posting an update on show dates in the next few days – we really do hope to see you on our travels and, if you fancy a game with us, please do let me know and I’ll reserve you a slot!

Monty the Desert Rat



A most enjoyable evening at Monty  HQ last night as an old friend came round for a game of CoC. Dave (a different one!) asked me if I would run a starter game of CoC for him and I was, of course, delighted. It also gave me a chance to set up the basics of the demo game and see what yet had to be done.

Anyway, the game!! It was set in Russia in Dec 1942. An overview of the table:


From the German side:

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and from the Soviet side:

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The scenario was that, off the German table edge, there was a village of absolutely no tactical significance whatsoever! However, even Ukrainian hovels are better than being in the open in winter so the Soviets are determined to capture the village for reasons of personal comfort! The Germans had an infantry platoon and the Soviets a rifle platoon and an MMG. Both sides started with a Force Morale of 9.

This shows the end of the patrol phase with the Patrol markers in place (you may notice I didn’t have any Soviet ones ready! Doh – I make them for others and forget to do my own – much ragging resulted!!) Both sides were pretty happy – the Germans had one JOP in the small wood to their left front, one in a crater on the reverse slope of the high ground on their right and one in the centre at the rear table edge (please don’t ask me to annotate photos – I have enough trouble taking them!!). The Soviets had the destroyed supply cart by the road, a crater centrally on the reverse slope and a final one in some scrub on their extreme left.



We went through a couple of turns VERY quickly (my dice throwing – lots of 6s!!). But we then got into the meat of it and had a good run of phases. This isn’t going to be a blow by blow account with all the dice throws, I didn’t have time to log all that and play, but it will cover the main points and provide a commentary.

The Soviets kicked things off with the deployment of a squad on their left and the MMG in the centre, moving the latter forward to try and gain the cover of a shell crater. The Germans responded by deploying Gefreiter Oberkamp’s section on high ground to their left centre and giving the MMG a good pasting! The MMG continued to try to get to cover but the Germans burnt a CoC dice to interupt and give them some more of the good news. End result – one broken MMG team. Here we see the Soviet squad in the foreground advancing from the JOP (the tree stump by the scrub) and the MMG team in the centre (right at the top of the trees).


And here is Gefreiter Oberkamp and his men:


Meanwhile, over on the Soviet right, the squad probed forward into the scub and Gefreiter Schulz and his men deployed to give them a warm welcome! Over time the Germans continued to pile on the hurt and the Soviet squad leader was burning all his command initiatives just to try and keep shock down against an ever dwindling number of men. A losing battle as they too finally broke. Here they are taking fire and with shock mounting:


The whole table showing the 2 German sections, the Soviet squad in the scrub, the MMG team in the centre and a third squad over on the Soviet right – the start of the buildup of their assault force.


The Soviets were really feeling this now and deployed their senior leader to try to address the situation. They also brought on their remaining troops, forming a ‘mass’ of 3 squads on their right whilst the senior leader headed off to sort out the left flank. He rallied the MMG team (although we agreed it was now too fragile with just 2 men to be a reall asset) and also rallied the broken section by the Soviet JOP in the scrub. Here is the Soviet ‘masse de decision’.


And now for glory!! Gefreiter Schultz saw his moment – the Soviets were committed to their right and the left was vulnerable. He ordered his men up and down the slope at the double! They took the shock on the way with Schultz only able to rally the odd point and it took them 3 phases to get there, but they JUST made it into close combat range. The Soviets burnt a CoC dice to interrupt and fire as they closed and did some damage, but not enough and the Germans closed. The Soviets, although rallied from broken, were still pinned and it was a one sided fight with all 4 Soviets, including their junior leader, falling. Cue 2 Force Morale tests. But that was not all, Gefreiter Schultz and one of his men fell in the combat as well (but there is an Iron Cross 1st Class on its way!) but their victory allowed them to move forward and occupy the ground held (formerly!) by the Soviets – and this was a JOP! The German player then used his CoC dice to end the turn and force a 3rd Force Morale test on the Soviets. It did not go well and their morale plummeted to zero and off they went! A clear German victory, much to the relief of Schultz’s men, who had shock equal to men on both teams and no junior leader to rally them.

The end of the charge! The Soviets at the back with the pinned marker are the dead from the close combat!


You can just see the Soviet senior leader to the left by the trees with the remnants of the MMG team.

So, conclusions? First off, this was a learning game and so there was lots of debate as we went through. We agreed Dave’s plan to draw out German sections on both sides  of the table was sound – he needed to spread them out. The problem was that the punishment he took robbed him of the initiative. He was throwing LOTS of 4s and with only one team (the MMG) and that gone early, ones were only useful to combine with other dice. It was a real challenge getting the Soviets to do much on any one phase and that activity became focused on rallying broken units. We agreed his MMG team was wasted – he was trying to get into a good position but we reckoned in retrospect that it would have been better kept back. It also forced him to commit his senior leader to rally it, and thus deprived his main body of leadership and activation. The squad on the left also presented a problem. Once under fire the junior leader was fixed removing shock. Looking back, I think his priority should have been to get out of the killing zone, probably by a hasty withdrawal, and then take time to rally shock without the Germans piling more on. We also discussed the use of scouts to push forward with the main body of the section held back – this would create a threat forcing German deployment but without too much exposure.

We also discussed the problem of the German section on their left, which had got onto some high ground with excellent fields of fire – how to cross the open steppe? We did some maths! Dave could easily have got 2 squads and the MMG onto the crest of the ridge on his side and the Germans could have thrown their last section in too. Fire dice would have been about equal, but the Soviets would have had the numbers to take the losses with a 3rd squad available (and possibly also able to get into the firing line). What could the Germans do then? The odds would have been against them and they would have had to withdraw, probably back to the enclosure. That would have exposed a JOP, so a CoC dice would have had to have been used to move that. And then would it have just been the same again – Soviet firepower forcing the Germans back?

And what of the preparations for Carronade – our first show of the year! All seems good – I need to do the Soviet Patrol Markers (!), make some new shell craters (I’m not happy with the way these look – too ‘prominent’) and I need some wintery shock markers. As for the Mat – hmmmm. Some of the scatter seems to have formed a ‘skin’ on the top rather than sticking to the gunk. I think this is just excess flock that didn’t come off on shaking and I need to brush it off to see what it looks like underneath, but it seems there may be some more work needed on this mat before Carronade and on winter mats in general before offering them for sale.

But, overall, a great game, lots of fun and challenges and we are already talking about meeting again for round 2.

Monty the Desert Rat



Yes, we’ve also been working away on some woods and broken ground, moving on from our first version and switching to using Monty Mat material and scatter, which allows you to use the same template for woods or broken ground. I know not everyone likes templates, but some do and it does help define the extent of an area and avoid any confusion. So here goes with some pics!!

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The ones with straight edges are designed to sit against the edge of the table to represent an area jutting into the table.

Monty the Desert Rat