Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Op Compass - Game 2 Turkey Shoot

"I can see my house from here"
Welcome all to Part 2 of our hopefully 20 plus game run through the early WW2 Desert Campaign between forces of Britain and her Empire and the troops of Mussolinis Italy.

I have set up a separate Op Compass Campaign Resource Page containing links to previous games in the Campaign and any additional rules we are using on a regular basis so you can fit them in with your rule set whatever that may be.

Team GB for Game 2
We use 28mm figures on a 12 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules based loosely on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's but these games should work with any 28mm set of rules. We use card a activation system with Event Cards to add a bit of "fun".

Historical Background

It's the 16th June 1940, a mere 2 days after our first game. Units from the 11th Hussars are patrolling the Italian side of the Border when they discover a column of motorised Italian Infantry "supported" by some Tankettes. An initial attack by the Armoured Cars of the patrol had caused damage to a number of vehicles in the convoy before they were forced to withdraw by Italian Artillery.

Team Italy, yes I know they aren't all Italian trucks, I don't have 14 ! 
Our game begins with the Armoured Cars returning to the scene with some support to find the Italians stopped, the whole column making repairs whilst the Tankettes circle the edge of the column to provide protection.

The British are ready for a Turkey Shoot but this old Italian Bird ain't dead yet !

Table for Game 2
Set Up and Terrain 

Above is a picture of our 12 x 8 table ready to go. There is a track running down the right hand side of the table (as viewed) with a couple of low hills at either end of the table. Other than that the table is completely flat and open apart from some random areas of scrub which should offer the minimum level of cover your rules give.

"10 - 4 Rubber Duck we got us a mighty Convoy"
The Italian Convoy sets up as shown above (in the Table photo) in the top right hand corner of the table, the British enter from the left side of the table (roll a d12 to determine how many feet from one corner) each troop rolls separately.

The Difficult Going Rule is in play. Every time a vehicle moves it must roll 2d6 see the Resource Page for rule details. Vehicles travelling on the track are not subject to the Difficult Going Rule and don't need to roll.

Truck movement is limited to 10", all other vehicle move as per their move charts.

I gave both sides one full days gaming to complete their objectives.

Arnold and Arry having a day out in the Sun
Italian Briefing

Quite simply you need to get as much kit and men off the opposite end of the table.

At the start of the game you need to roll 1d6 for each of your trucks on, the Breakdown table (see Resource Page) to see how badly damaged (if at all) that vehicle is from the initial Armoured Car attack.

Any truck classed as "buggered" will have to debus their troops at the first opportunity and those lads are on Shank's Pony (Foot).

The Italian Brittle Morale Rule is in force, see Resource Page.

Turn 1 chaos !
The following troops are available,

6 x L3 Tankettes in 2 troops of 3, morale 6

2 trucks each with 1 x 75mm Field Gun and crew. Morale 8

3 x Coys of Italian Infantry each company has,

4 trucks, 1 truck has 1 x 2 Fig HQ and 1 Support Weapon (roll 1d6, 1-4 it's a Lt Mortar, 5-6 a Anti Tank Rifle). The other 3 trucks have 8 Rifle armed Infantry, including 1 Sgt and 1 Corporal, morale 7 Sgt, 6 Corp, 4 Soldier.

1 Staff Car containing the Convoy Commander, morale 8.

The Italian Artillery played an important role

There is a single M11/39 Tank available as reinforcements, it's arrival, or lack of is solely down to the actions of the British player.

If the British Support force 1 is requested role 1 d10 and the 11/39 arrives after that number of turns. If British Support force 2 arrives the tank appears next turn.

British Briefing 

The lead troop of Armoured Cars in your unit has just reported an Italian Convoy moving through the Desert nearby, after an initial attack, having damaged a number of vehicles the troop has come back to you to raise some support to drive home the attack.

As your forces enter the table they spot the whole column stationary in the open, repairing damaged vehicles.

Your Mission is to destroy or prevent all the Italian Forces from leaving the table via the short edge of the board furthest from their set up point.

"What shall I fire at Sir ?" "Stop mucking about Perkins and open up"

Your initial force is, all Morale 8

1 troop of 2 Rolls Royce Armoured Cars

1 troop of 2 Mk VI Light Tanks

1 troop of 2 x A9 Cruiser Tanks

These enter the table on the first turn of their activation card in the random location described in the Set Up phase.

Early in the game the Italian Staff Car nobly abandons his troops and unceremoniously legs it
The following reinforcements are available,

Support force 1 - 1 troop of 4 Armoured Cars or Light Tanks (we had 1 MkVI and 3 CS9 available)

Support force 2 - 1 troop of 3 Armoured Cars (we had Marmon Herringtons) with 2 x 2pdr Anti Tank guns (towed)

All morale is 8, once requested roll 1d4 and that is the number of turns before arrival, they enter the table in a random location as before. However calling for reinforcements reduces the chances of winning the game (see below).

Tankettes push forward behind a Sandstorm
Victory Conditions

Major British Victory - All Italian Troops destroyed or surrendered.
Winning Draw British - 75% of Italian Troops destroyed or surrendered and over 50% of the initial British Force survives.
Draw - Any other result
Winning Italian Draw - 25% of Italian Troops leave the table
Major Italian Victory - 25% of Italian Troops leave the table AND the initial British Force is destroyed.

Each Support force used by the British reduces their success by 1 level, so if support force 1 is used the British cannot achieve a Major Victory, if both are used the best result is a draw. The Italian reinforcements have no effect on the result.

Arry under fire by Artillery eyes up a couple of Tankettes for breakfast
Umpire Notes

With no hidden movement or minefields etc this game doesn't need an Umpire, we played it very comfortably with 3 British and 2 Italian players.

We restricted the A9 Cruiser Tanks by allowing them to only fire one of their two mini turrets per turn.

Avanti !
How did we get on 

I was a bit concerned about the balance of the game before we started but you forget how badly armoured some of the British stuff was in this period an we ended up with a really close game.

Turn 1 determined the damage to the Italian Convoy, 5 of the 14 trucks were broken beyond repair or "buggered" as we prefer to call it, with men spilling out of trucks, trucks under repair and those trucks "fortunate" enough to be drivable heading off into the British Killing Zones.

An Italian Company HQ directs it's baby mortar from the shade of a palm tree.
The British players arrived on table with the MkVI Light Tanks opposite the Italian Convoy, the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars in the centre of the table and the A9s towards the other end of the table.

The Tankettes bravely rolled out of the shadow of the Convoy to engage the British Forces to give the Infantry the best chance of escape.

It's a 2 for 1 deal !
I had decided to throw caution to the wind and go headlong at the MkVIs and with a combination of luck, more luck and an extra side portion of luck, took out both of the British Light Tanks who had decided to try and use the limited cover on the table and shoot it out.

The destroyed tankette in the photo above was finally taken out by a 2pdr shell in the flank but before that it had been damaged twice and passed 5 consecutive morale tests needing 4 or less on a d10, a Unit of the Game award surely for that brave chap.

Lots of burning vehicles, but sometimes you just can't shoot fast enough 
In the middle of the table the second group of Tankettes were taking on the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars. It was a fairly even contest with another L3 going up in flames before the fortunate arrival of a Sandstorm gave them the cover to advance and take one of the Rolls Royces out and damage the other.

Not looking good for No 1 troop
Stationary with Artillery raining down, 2 Tankettes on the prowl and two major mechanical problems to fix the crew of the second Rolls wisely decided to bail out.

It wasn't all Italian joy, remember it's not the Victor that records the History it's the Blog writer (who happens to be playing Italian) so who wants to see boring pictures or burning Italian trucks.

Italian Officers taking advantage of their very fast Staff Car, someone has to report back !
The A9s were picking off as many targets as they could alternating between approaching Tankettes and fleeing trucks. As the Tankettes got closer the 2pdr really started to take over, rapidly taking out the 2 L3s which had taken out the Rolls as they emerged from the Sandstorm.

The British stubbornly refused to take any reinforcements which just left the two A9 tanks left to finish off the Italian Forces, but they just couldn't stop the Italians from leaving the table, they managed to get the Convoy HQ and 3 Sections of Infantry (interestingly all on foot) off the table.

The game ended with good old Arry being taken out by Italian Artillery. So it turned out to be a draw at the conclusion of the scenario and to be fair as an Italian Commander I would have taken that at the start of the day.

Campaign Progress

The second game sees 2 points awarded to both sides so with the Brits getting a winning draw in the first game they lead 5 points to 3.

We move onto our traditional yearly Naval Campaign next before we return to the Desert for game 3, which will see the Italians attacking, gulp.

End of Game

OpCompass 1940 - Resource Page

This is a seperate resource page for our on going WW2 Desert Campaign based on the events of Op Compass. It contains links to all the previous games as well as recurring rules.

The games are based on the book Operation Compass by Robert Avery which is sold by the toofatlardies for their "I ain't been shot mum" rules. Although I have changed a few things round to make the scenarios work better for us I highly recommend the book as a great source of information and ideas. You can pick it up HERE for seven of your English Pounds.


Difficult Going - Before moving each vehicle throws 2 d6, on a double, 1 2 or 3 the vehicle bogs down and cannot move that turn. It can perform other actions (such as spot / load etc) so long as they declared that before the roll. On a double 4,5 or 6 the vehicle needs to roll again on the Breakdown table.

Breakdown - when required to do so a vehicle will roll 1d6 and apply the following result,

1 = It was just a misfire, carry on as normal.
2 = A wheel has got stuck but a bit of welly frees it, no movement for 1 turn.
3 = Minor Problem 2d6 > 5 to fix, may take 1 action if successfully fixed
4 = Major Problem 2d6 > 7 to fix, no further actions that turn.
5 = Serious Problem 2d6 > 9 to fix, no further actions that turn.
6 = It's buggered ! Crew abandon vehicle.

Victory Points

At the end of each game points are awarded to each side depending on the result of the game, the total carried forward to the next game to give an overall Campaign standing.

Major Victory  - Winner 4 points, Loser 0 points.
Winning Draw - Winner 3 points, Loser 1 point.
Draw - 2 points each.

Objectives in the game are particularly high for the British, this was a very one sided Campaign and sometimes having a couple of men left was a major victory for the Italian Forces.

Italian Brittle Morale

Especially in the early stages of the Campaign Italian Troops, often in a hopeless situation surrendered in large numbers. The poor morale is already reflected in their low game values however in some games this additional rule is used.

Our rules use a system of pinning, to reflect failed morale tests, getting worse with each pin until at pins the unit is removed from the table.

When this rule is in force any Italian unit with 2 pins will roll a d6 and it surrenders on a roll of 1 or 2, for 3 pins it surrenders on a 1,2 or 3.


Game 1 - Tally Ho

A quick one night only game with a group of lightly armoured British Recon units rush to break through a thin layer of Italian defences, watch out for those mines !

Our Result - Winning Draw British, 3 points to the Brits, 1 to the Italians

Friday, 30 March 2018

Anyscale Models WW2 Trucks (A Review)

Being a bit tight with tha brass (don't like spending money (translation)) I am always on the look out for a bit of added value and with these models I think I might have found some.

Now personally, in my head, I always equate usefulness on the tabletop with cost, I don't mind 20 to 25 pounds on a good old armoured tank bristling with guns and such but why do I need to pay the same for a dirty old workhorse truck ?

CMP Truck
So when I saw these on eBay for 11 pounds each my eyes lit up, got to grab me a couple of those bad boys and see what the craic is. So I bought a CMP and an Austin K 5 just to see what they were like and very impressed I was too.

The photos above show how the kits arrive, 4 bits, that's my kind of model ! The pieces are resin with a pre fitted wire guard on the front, they fit together well with minimal fuss. I did find a few bubble holes in the resin, mostly on the wheels but at 11 quid a pop I was expecting much worse.

The detail, again considering the price, is pretty damn good and a spot of dry brushing and some washes have really brought out the panel lines. The canvas covers are removable and come in a slightly different resin to better simulate cloth.

K5 Kit
So if you are looking for some for some low cost solutions to your WW2 Transport issues don't look any further than Anyscale. They have a good selection of trucks as well as the odd tank and a good range of scenics.

Monday, 26 March 2018

A9 Cruiser Tanks for the Desert

There is nothing like a spot of early war British Cruiser Tanks to spark the imagination and here we have two of the earliest examples, a brace of A9s decked in early war the early war Caunter Scheme.

The models themselves are from Warlord Games, oddly this was the only 28mm version of the vehicle I could find, usually you can choose from one of a number of companies but here Warlord have cornered the market, sadly they don't do a specific desert version so there are no sand guards on these lovelies.

Paint wise have have used the AK Interactive Caunter Paints Set which provides all the official colours for the scheme. The paints are still a work in progress for me, I first used them on my Rolls Royce Armoured Cars a couple of months ago. With those I thought the Slate colour (the darkest) was a little on the light side. I still think it might be a mixing issue (I need to remember to get some ball bearings to put in the paint pots to aid mixing) but for this attempt I added some Olive Drab to the mix and I am much happier with the way it looks.

I like these official colours on these really early war models however I will stick to the Blue - Grey for the later stuff.

Crew figures are from Warlord and I have managed to fit a second one on one of the vehicles which gives it a bit of a nice look. I have named the tanks "Arnold" who there is a wartime photo of below and 'Arry'. The names are hand painted on the rear of the turrets.

As with the Panzers I did recently I have done a spot of mild weathering on the vehicles just to give them a lived in look, nothing over the top just a spot of chipping and some washes.

With the madness of the Analogue Hobbies Winter Paint Challenge over I will probably have a few weeks off painting. I still however have the Spanish Civil War battle to write up and we are off to the Desert this Saturday so these guys will be in action then.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

28mm WW1 Turkish Cavalry

Something a bit different this week. My Infantry forces for Mesopotamia are pretty big now with 12 Empire and 9 Turkish Battalions it's time I sorted out a few Cavalry units. The big problem here is figure choice, there just isn't any.

I found these figures tucked away in an obscure corner of the Minifigs website, in the Setting the East Ablaze range, regular readers will know the Highlanders came from the same range.

By modern standards I would describe the figures as "functional", detail is pretty good but there is only one standard pose (just like the old days !). The horses look a bit big to me but that's just nit picking. I will be building this up to a 26 figure unit with 2 x HQ Figs and four companies of 6, so that's just under half a unit done.

Lances are from Arcane Scenery and I have made the lance pennants from some sticky labels.

There aren't many photos of Turkish Cavalry in Mesopotamia, the one above is from Jerusalem. The match to the figures is pretty good, it does show that the Turks did like a BIG lance pennant  !

The Cavalry in Mesopotamia spent most of the war trying to flank each other and the trench works of the other side, they were almost constantly in action when the armies were in motion so there is plenty of scope to use these in gaming scenarios, I just need to build up the forces concerned.

Things have been fairly steady here on the gaming front with work and weather reducing the gaming opportunities but we should be back in the swing of things soon.

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 Gr├╝nbraun 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.