Thursday, 1 March 2018

28mm Panzers in the Desert

Up until now my WW2 Desert collection has been confined to the forces of Britain and her Empire, along with lots of Italians. The Blitzkrieg Miniatures offers last year persuaded me to invest in some Afrika Korps vehicles, after all who can resist a half price tank !

The first completed vehicles are 3 Panzer II and 3 Panzer IIIs. Our games are limited to pre 1942 so there is none of that fancy long barrel goings on, this is proper early war stuff. The crew figures are from Perrys.

Early Panzers arrived in the area in either their dark grey, European colours at which point they were covered in local muck or they were painted in the darker green brown RAL 8000 Grünbraun rather than the more familiar later RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb.

I used a RAL 8000 paint from a Company called Mission Models, who I haven't heard or used before. I didn't realise until I started painting that it was a airbrush paint so I had to dig a back of the cupboard and blow the dust of my airbrush.

Is it just me or are Airbrushes just a massive pain, all that mucking about between colours, does my head in !

Anyway, once I got the bloody thing working, doing the base colour was relatively painless. I then used Green Ochre and Dark Sand to bring out the highlights before painting in the metal work.

I don't normally bother with weathering, but as I am usually spending hours hand painting Caunter Camouflage onto vehicles I felt like a bit more time could be justified with these, so you will notice, if you look closely a bit of chipping and some washes going on.

I also tried out AK Interactive Africa Dust Effects on the Panzer IIIs. If you look closely on the photo above you can see the sand deposits by the front hatches. The "paint" is enamel based and is basically a clear medium in which small sand particles are suspended. Once applied in the locations on the model that sand might accumulate, it is left to dry slightly before using a clean brush and thinners to blend the effect.

It gives an interesting finish and I will certainly do more experimenting with it.

The tanks are for the 15th Pz Div who used a single digit numbering system in the Desert, so decal wise I have used the ones supplied by Warlord, adding divisional symbols by hand.

I decided when Blitzkrieg Miniatures did their Black Friday sale to up the Panzers to a full battalion which will be a HQ of 1 x 3 and 1 x 2. 2 Companies of 3 x 3 and 1 x 2 with a final company of 2 x 4 and 1 x 2. Unfortunately I am still waiting for the vehicles to arrive.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Spains, Trains and Armouredmobiles

In preparation for the next Spanish Civil War battle here at YG, I needed to put together some bits and pieces to approximate the area over which the Battle of Quinto was fought and whilst I was at it I thought I would empty the SCW "to do" box.

A railway line runs through the town of Quinto and the Station is in the same place today. I have used the Sarissa Precision Adode (South of the Border) range for my Spanish buildings to date and since I last bought from them they have introduced a Railway Station to the range. So an Order went in for that and a set of railway tracks (shown in the top photo but not painted / based yet).

The model comes in the usual flat pack form and fits together nicely. I textured the base and added some grass tufts and Basetex. I used the latter to represent some climbing plants which is code for covering up cracks. A bit of light weathering and some Spanish Civil War Posters finished the building off.

Next up is the MC 36 Hispano Suiza Armoured Car from Minairons which has been lying around for years. A wonderful model that would grace any inter war or pulp game.

And the final figures added to the display cabinets was the completion of my first Unit of Nationalist Cavalry. These figures are 28mm from Empress Miniatures, I painted up 10 figures last year and just added another 10 to them. I had been pondering the unit organisation for a while but finally decided on a 2 Fig HQ with 3 x 6 Fig companies, which neatly gives 1 unit for 2 of Empress' discount packs.

There are no dismounted figures for these yet but my Spanish Legion Figures will suffice for now. These really are superb figures and the unit has added something extra to my SCW collection.

More SCW to come soon with the write up and Scenario post for the Quinto Game, the paint table is full of WW1 Mesopotamia and WW2 Desert vehicles, the

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Another Year Goes By - Yarkshire Gamer is 4

The Crusades Project
It's that time of year again, the world has gone round the sun (or is it the other way round !) and Yarkshire Gamer starts to mature and get ready for Nursery.

Rather than a review on the calender year end, I always have a look back on the anniversary of the start of the blog on the 19th February. Previously I have done a review of the top ten posts of the year but sadly I have been hit quite a bit by Russian, Turkish and American Bots this year so the stats are quite a bit off.

Instead I will just use it as an excuse to rehash some old photos and remember some of the games we played here at YG.

Games of the Year

WW1 Mesopotamia Action at Ctesphion
The year started off as always with our Mesopotamia adventures and a refight of Ctesphion, a real tight battle which finished exactly the same as the real battle.

This year's WW2 Naval Campaign was something a bit different, we went out to the Baltic in 1941. Lots learned about a relatively obscure Campaign, the Russian Navy made some mistakes early in the Campaign and paid dearly for them at the end.

Our attempt at refighting the Spanish Civil War battle of Jarama on the 80th Anniversary failed with various players contracting Ewok Fever at various times however once we got going another close fought game was had, going along historical lines again.

The behemoth that is Jutland rolled out of the shipyards to be played in full at Derby Worlds.

Our early war North Africa collection had a couple of outings with one large battle and a smaller one later in the year, the latter being the start of a linked Scenario Campaign based on Op Compass.

The AWI collection saw the light of day again with a crack at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.

And then at the end of the YG year it was back to Mesopotamia with a rare opportunity to see the Turkish Troops attacking at Umm at Tubul.

New Units

A selection of the units added to the display cabinets, Really Useful Boxes and Box Files this year are;

Blake's 7

Spanish Civil War Cavalry


Lots of units added to the WW2 Desert collection this year.

As well as lots of reinforcements for WW1 Mesopotamia.

Looking Ahead

The main Projects stumbling along in the background are the 15mm Minden build where the Allies are nearing completion and Project Crusades where I have managed 4 units in 3 years. No doubt I will be side tracked by all sorts of nonsense but at least last year I didn't start a new period.

Minden British Cavalry
Gaming wise we are already on with a big Spanish Civil War battle (Quinto) whilst next up will be the 2nd Op Compass game followed by this years top secret WW2 Naval Campaign.

Thank You

That just leaves me to thank all of you who have visited YG over the last year. All the likes, pluses and comments are much appreciated and I hope some of the stuff I do is useful or inspiring for you just as I find other blogs inspiring.

And finally thanks to my regular attendees at Yarkshire Gamer, Lon, Ian, Steve, Rob and Roger, all of them friends now for many years. Those who are not able to attend for various reasons are always welcome back.

Happy New Yarkshire Gamer Year !

Monday, 12 February 2018

WW1 Black Watch in Mesopotamia

The latest unit completed for my Mesopotamia collection is this Battalion of Highlanders in glorious 28mm. It's been a while since I started this unit, I found and bought a small selection of the figures 12 months ago (more below) but didn't get round to purchasing the rest until a couple of months ago.

The full battalion has a 2 Fig HQ with 4 x 8 Fig companies and a HMG base. The figures themselves are from two seperate sources. The first was something I came across by chance, Minifigs have a small range called Forgotten Front Miniatures hidden away on the depths of their website covering 1914 - 1930 troops, it's worth checking out there are some weird and wonderful stuff in there. You can find the range HERE.

The Highlander figures come in 3 basic poses, charging, advancing and firing. However each pose has two versions, one in full kit, the other in "light order". I have included pics of the six different figures above. Unfortunately there are no command figures so I needed another source to complete the unit.

Another wasted hour spent perusing miniatures websites paid off when I found Empress Miniatures Jazz Age Imperialism range. Designed for post WW1 (just, 3rd Afgan War was 1919 !) I spotted these Highlanders, basically in the same kit, kilt aprons etc. I could complete the Command and also add in some Lewis Gun Teams, figures in the picture above.

Which just left me with a missing MG base, neither ranges had a suitable option so I was on the hunt again, thankfully Great War Miniatures do a Highlander MG team and that finished off the unit.

Although quite different, the three manufacturers figures fit together reasonably well and to get a unit of Highlanders on the table I can live with it.

Company Numbers on the bases.
The first Highlanders (Seaforths and Black Watch) arrived in Mesopotamia in the 1916 reinforcements which had been designated to consolidate Townsends Forces after the capture of Bagdad. Of course that never happened and the units ended up trying to break the Siege of Kut. If you are interested in the history I can recommend the book With A Highland Regiment in Mesopotamia which due to age is available free if you click the link. Inspired by the book I modelled the unit on the Black Watch battalion.

A great addition to the collection and something a little different from the norm, our little Mesopotamia adventure is up to the Seige so these guys will be in action soon.

Monday, 5 February 2018

WW1 Mesopotamia Action / Scenario

Over the last few years the tradition here at Yarkshire Gamer each Xmas has been to play a game from the Mesopotamia Campaign of WW1 using my collection of 28mm Figures. So far we have fought our way up to the outskirts of Bagdad and the Battle of Ctesphion, now we are on our way back to Kut Al Amara.

I was looking for something a bit different from the previous games where the British had been attacking Turkish troops in prepared positions. I was scanning through my volumes of The Campaign in Mesopotamia (now reprinted by IWM) and came across the action at Umm At Tubul on 1st Dec 1915.

Tea in the British trenches Yarkshire of course.
What follows is my scenario for the Battle describing terrain, forces etc, along with lots of pics, one of the participants, Roger has already done a full AAR Found HERE so I will concentrate on the set up.

Historical Background

Following the victory at Ctesphion General Townsend realised that his men and animals were exhausted, short of water and their nearest ammunition supply 12 miles to the rear. The Turkish troops weren't in a much better state and both sides decided to withdraw simultaneously. Townsend had retreated back to his supplies but air reconnaissance suggest columns of Turkish troops were marching towards him, unable to fight a major engagement he continued South.

Arabs in Turkish Service from Rogers Collection

The Empire Forces reached Umm at Tubul about midday on the 30th November and went into a defensive camp on the banks of the Tigris, the camp was formed in a rectangle with a brigade of Infantry responsible for each of the three landward sides and the gunboats protecting the open southern flank on the river. Townsend didn't realise how close the Turkish troops were and it wasn't until Artillery landed inside the encampment that he realised the odd troops he could see in the distance weren't just local Marsh Arabs looking for easy spoils.

Here come the locals on the rob
At 3am Townsend messaged his Cavalry and Armoured Cars to return to Umm at Tubul and protect his open flank, as dawn broke Empire Infantry stretched out along a dry wadi bed on the right of the encampment to wait for any Turkish attack. It's at this point I have frozen time for the game to begin.

Punjabi Infantry hold the perimeter at dawn waiting for an attack.
In the actual action as sun rose at 6.45 am, the British saw that the main Turkish camp was in sight about 3500 yards away, all available guns from both the gunboats and the land artillery caused havoc amongst the Turkish ranks. It didn't all go Townsend way though, the Turkish 44th Regt supported by 2 mountain guns advanced tight up against the Tigris and heavy fire from these and other Turkish Artillery units sunk the two British gunboats Firefly and Comet, a big loss to the Empire as these two boats had been stalwarts of the advance. Townsend used his Cavalry to effect his withdraw during the course of the day although hard fighting was had. British and Empire Casualties were 550, the Turkish around 850.

The Set Up and Terrain

The one available map of the action from the official record is sparse to say the least, it shows the river, the Empire encampment and some "mounds" by the Turkish lines, it doesn't even show the dry wadi referred to in the accounts of the action. So above are two photos of the table during the game to give you an idea of how to interpret the battlefield.

Main features on the 12 x 6 table are the,

The River Tigris - impassable to all but gunboats, covers southern end of the table.
Empire Encampment  - Easy to spot, it's the trenches.
The Mounds - Row of 4 small hills in the middle of the table closest to the Turkish entry points, on left as you look at it.
Dried Wadi Bed - top right hand of pictures.
Umm at Tubul  - two building on the table behind the central trees.

Both sides battles hard for these two buildings
The buildings are guess work but I wanted something to represent the settlement, so is the rest of the table. I have added lots of areas of scrub to break up the table and then two wooded areas. A small one to the south of the village and then a palm grove by the river itself.

Cover is as seen apart from the Wadi, this is soft cover if you are moving, hard cover if stationary.

Home made activation cards
Rules and Figures

We use "If the Lord Spares Us" by Toofatlardies, with very little modifications, which is remarkable for us. The Set are designed for 15mm figures based in pairs but we have found it works perfectly well with 28mm figures individually based with the same ranges etc.

Figures are virtually all Woodbine Design Company with the Marsh Arabs from Artizan and the odd Great War Miniatures figure like the Signallers.

If you are thinking of using the Scenario with another set of rules, 4 is the worst morale, -1 the best.

We used the, They Don't Like it Up'em, Mirage, Turkish Delight and Stiff Upper Lip event cards.

A Company of British Infantry on picket duty in Umm at Tubul
Empire Set Up

The Empire Force starts with two battalions on table,

In the front trench 1 Battalion of Indian Infantry 2 Fig HQ with 4 x 8 Fig companies and attached MG, Morale Grade 2.

In the side trench 1 Battalion of British Infantry 2 Fig HQ with 4 x 8 Fig companies, one of which is on picket duty in the village. Also 1 MG base attached. Morale Grade 1.

3 Bases of Artillery in the centre of the Camp. Along with a Commander with 2 signal bases, graded as Harrow.

1 Gunboat parked at the side of the trenches - armed with 1 MG base and 1 Artillery base. The boat starts the game "building up steam", start at 0, roll 2d6 each time the boat activates when the total reaches 36 its free to move and fire normally.

The following troops are available as reinforcements,

1 x British Commander, 2 Signal Bases, Eton.

1 x Battalion of British Infantry, 2 x HQ Figs, 4 x 10 Fig companies and MG base Morale Grade 0.

1 x Battalion of Gurkhas, 2 x HQ Figs and four companies of 8 Figures plus a MG base, Morale Grade -1 (Aggressive)

1 x Battalion of Indian Infantry as above in initial set up.

The Empire players should be given the historical background and told that they need to secure their right flank to allow a staged withdrawal.

The Camp
Turkish Set Up

The only Turkish troops on the table at the start of the game are two 9 figure Marsh Arab groups mounted on Camels, Morale Grade 4. These begin the game in the top
Left hand corner of the table as viewed in the set up photos.

The Turkish Player has the following troops available,

1 Regt of Regular Turkish Infantry with a Young Turk Commander consisting of 4 Battalions of troops, each with 2 x HQ Figs and four companies of 8 Figures plus a MG base. Morale 1.

1 Regt of Arabs in Turkish Service with an Old Turk Commander consisting of 4 Battalions of troops each with 2 x HQ Figs and four companies of 6 Figures plus a MG base. Morale 3.

1 Battalion of Veteran Turkish Troops 2 HQ Figs and four companies of 8 Figures plus a MG base. Morale 0.

1 Artillery unit of 4 Artillery Bases.

The Turkish Players should be given the historical background and told that they need to pin the British in place and threaten to out flank them.

At the start of the game randomly pick 3 of the 10 Turkish Units as entering the table on Turn 1. For each card roll a d6. 1 or 2 the enter by the river, 3,4 or 5 in the centre of the Turkish lines and 6 at the top of the table with the Marsh Arabs.

Marsh Arabs sneaking into the back of the village.
Umpire ONLY Notes

I ended up playing on both sides in this battle as different people were present each week, an Umpire is not essential but for the game to work each side needs to be unaware of the others objectives and reinforcements.

EMPIRE - at the start of the game add a Empire reinforcement card into the deck. When it comes out before the tea break roll 1d6 and that is the number of turns until the next troops arrive. On that turn select at random one of the units not on the table and place it in the Camp.

When all the Empire Units are on table and there are Empire troops within 12" of the northern table edge, add a Empire Recon card to the deck, roll 1d6 and that is the number of turns until 2 Armoured Cars and a Regiment of Cavalry (2 HQ, 4 x 6 Fig companies, Morale 0) enter on the northern corner of the table on the Empire side.

However at this point the Empire Commander must chose one of his units and begin to withdraw that from the table on the next turn of its card. The Empire should continue to withdraw units one at a time until they have three units left on table which may withdraw together. The Cavalry and Armoured Cars must be the last unit to withdraw.

"Its an emergency Send for more Tea"
TURKISH - at the start of the game add a Turkish Reinforcement Card to the deck and add units as the Empire however they use a d4 to determine the number of turns between unit arrivals.

Remember that each arriving unit needs to roll for its start point apart from the Veteran unit which always starts by the river representing the 44th Regt.

Bring the 1st Turkish leader on with turn 1 using the commander who has the most regiments on and the 2nd when half his Regt is on.

Marsh Arabs win the village !
How did we get on

I defer to Rogers AAR which has the link above for a detailed account of the game. Both sides got distracted from their objectives and the village (as it always does) became a black hole, attracting units from all over into a enormous melee.

The British never pushed far enough North to trigger the Armoured Cars and the Turkish used all their strength trying to keep the village after the Marsh Arabs (commanded by me !) had captured Umm at Tubul.

The Black Hole
The Turkish gave up the attack when they thought couldn't get any further, casualties were about the same but the Turks had massive amounts of suppression on them and a few units were about to break.

They were a touch unlucky with their reinforcements even with a d4 vs a d6 they got troops at the same rate as the Empire and the one card they really wanted, the Artillery never came out.

All in all though I am happy with the Scenario which served up something different from the previous games. Should be around about a year before the figures are out again. Spanish Civil War and the Battle of Quinto up next.