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If you follow Chris’s NQM Blog (and you should) you will have seen all the technical details of the Battle of Vyazma.  This grand operational game saw the first action of some of the snow soldiers I have been tinkering with of late* – so here is their photo story.**

In still freezing conditions, the Red Army was heading West …

Minefields took a toll but the Scouts pressed forward

… onwards …

… as resistance stiffened, the Sturmoviks screamed in, following the road …

The first wave of reinforcements pushed North around the Viazma pocket …

… and now an armoured column appears on the road West ..

… and crashes straight into the main defences …

… not without losses …

Although the centre of Vyazma holds til the last man, armour quickly bursts through defences to the South ..

… and more armour streams to the front …

The Battle for Vyazma is fully committed when a German column crshes into the flank of the offensive.

But not early enough to stop the Northern encirclement …

As Vyazma finally fell, way to the rear German stragglers are brought into a Soviet aid post …

For them the war is over.

Kudos to Chris for managing such a mass of material in such a compact space.  It all made sense at the time.

*objective 1: get them painted; objective 2: get them into a game!

** as I suggest, for the narrative details, see Chris’s post.

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Snow troops 01

Just a quick experiment really … I swapped on a few ushanka heads and painted some of the new Piggie scouts in snow camo …

Now mostly the Red Army’s snow suits were one-piece coveralls with the equipment under the suit (2-piece suits on the Eastern Front seem generally Finnish or German ..) … but these paras show there were variants …

GroundParatroopers(Soviet Paratroops ready for wintry conditions)

So here’s the result of the experiment, ready for Chris’s next NQM retreat from Moscow.

Snow troops 02(Peter Pig 15mm Red Army Scouts with head swaps and white suits)

I think it works quite well and expands upon my ski troops.  Hopefully, in time, Martin will make some new packs in the more familiar voluminous coverall.  I would buy some.

The truck in the background is one of the new Piggie resin models.  Looks good I think.

Snow troops 03

I’m happy with that experiment.  The force expands.

snow-drop-01a

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All quiet here for a few weeks I know but things have been moving on … there’s a couple of accessions updates to log and I’ll add some reviews and modelling notes in due course …

AK47

ak-specials-01

Some special forces have arrived: French inspired security types (Professionals, you’d think) made up from the excellent Peter Pig French Paras plus some other odd spares …

ak-specials-01a

ak-specials-01b

ak-specials-02(P.B.Eye-Candy: Peter Pig 15mm figures for AK47)

You might notice there is one of those splendid Recoilless Rifle motor scooters in the unit …

ak-specials-03

Home made from the PP weapon and some aero modelling spares, I think it turned out OK and has been on my list of cool kit for some time (a box has been ticked)  – remarkably, French paras had them in Algeria …

ak-specials-04

PBI/NQM (WWII)

… and I have cobbled together a PBI platoon from some trial items Chris Kemp gave me …

Now he’s a big fan of Plastic Soldier Company (not really my cup of tea) and insisted I try a Blitz truck sprue and some Fallshirmjaeger …

I built the trucks OK …

blitz-trucks-05

I’ll insert a link to a review when it’s done (so you can see what I think of them) … they’re OK, and I’ll use them to ship about a platoon or so of paratroopers.

I added a pack of PP metal ones to the plastics to make up a viable unit (and I have to say liked them a lot more than the PSC ones) … anyway, here are some pictures …

fallshirmjaeger-01

fallshirmjaeger-03

fallshirmjaeger-04

fallshirmjaeger-05(P.B.Eye-Candy: 15mm Fallshirmjaeger for PBI/NQM)

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Moscow 2016 01

So after a short gap whilst NQM Chris has been building his new wargames room (see the NQM blog, various entries), action around Moscow 1942 has resumed (you can imagine there has been desultory fighting since the last episode while the forces regroup …) …

This was very much a leisurely picking up of threads but we got some sharp actions fought through as the snow camo Russians pushed in on the outer zones of their capital …

Moscow 2016 02(15mm Russians … Peter Pig, Battlefront and vehicles by mixed manufacturers … assault the outskirts of Moscow)

Shrewd observers will see my recently acquired and reviewed Zvezda T60 getting its tabletop blooding, middle shot, driving in over the anti-tank defences in the first close assault of the game.  Getting new toys into action is always a pleasing moment for me as a collector/player.

Moscow 2016 05

Of course these winter warriors were fairly light and mobile and against dug in defenders, the fighting was slow and attritional (and by the end of our session, only the outer trench lines had been cleared out) …

We did get some proper NQM mobile warfare, however, as some outlying formations were encircled and overrun …

Moscow 2016 03a(NQM: tank divisional action in open country)

Moscow 2016 04(contact!)

Moscow 2016 04a(encirclement!)

We were also able to pick up the attacks on the city from the previous game so, as befits NQM, got 3 or 4 actions running simultaneously in a fairly fluid treatment of the battlespace.

I will be following the NQM blog as Chris has planned running a few more days of action on the board before boxing the kit back up – so watch this space …

Moscow 2016 07a(NQM Moscow: as the collage shows, Chris gave the chance to sprinkle a few new accessions around the table which all adds to the effect)

So, Divisional artillery and motorised infantry next … and my operational level Russian forces will be nearing completion.  And good to get some motivation from playing the game.

Look forward to a number of new completions featuring here shortly.

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Moscow 2015 01

Here’s a quick photo diary of our Christmas NQM episodic Eastern Front game in the new extended Chateau K …

I’ve subtitled it Festung Moskau as that’s the way it seems to be going … we played about 5 days of the operation and it looks as if Moscow will be cut of as comrade Stalin has ordered …

Moscow has been in German hands for years, and the front line runs along the Volga canal – the Germans seem to want to hold it over the Winter …

Moscow 2015 02

I joined the game for a few days as crumbling attacks wore down the enemy all along the front with 1st and 3rd shock armies poised to break through weakening sectors.

I am sure more precise details can be followed on the NQM blog … it is all carefully managed despite its freewheeling appeal …

Moscow 2015 03(Chris gives the operational briefing on the big magnetic map)

So, here’s a player’s flavour of what happened …

Moscow 2015 04(Moscow suburbs and Gorky Park in the background … attacks fix the Germans in place … ) 

Meanwhile to the South Army Reserve Breakthrough Artillery move up to prepare the attack …

Moscow 2015 06(everything including the kitchen sink – well, including a speed boat flotilla for when the ice melts – pulls up to the start lines)

Meanwhile a gap had appeared to the South allowing the Guards Division to flood through and assault the airfield …

Moscow 2015 07

… and the static front started to tilt in the Red Army’s favour …

So the cavalry then broke through and the Tank  Divisions were unleashed … The Germans started pulling worn units out of the line to reform them …

Moscow 2015 08(Armoured Train and air units give support)

Moscow 2015 09(breakthrough!)

Over the next day or so, reserve units move up to support new attack into the city ..

Moscow 2015 10(Female soldier on point duty managing traffic at the bridgehead)

… and a bloody attack completed this phase of the operation …

Moscow 2015 11

… the sector was very well supported so Vodka and Accordions were brought up to bolster the troops for the coming struggle …

Moscow 2015 12(morale boosting at the captured airfield) 

… and at dawn the concrete began to shatter under dive bomb and howitzer bombardment before the firefight and attacks went in …

Moscow 2015 13(Festung Moskau: Red Guards take the South East suburbs)

Whilst the gravity was shifting in the South, North of the city more artillery and Sturmovik attacks were pummelling the defenders …

Moscow 2015 14

… progress remained slow …

… and the defenders in Gorky Park remained steadfast …

Moscow 2015 15(Festung Moskau: stand off at Gorky Park)

To Be Continued … thanks Chris, great game so far – and Happy New Year to all you P.B.Eye-Candy regulars …

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NQMWO 01

Of course the next most important thing to completing a reorganisation is getting the troops into action: and the opportunity came very rapidly in an important Winter Offensive in the Northern sector (in Chris Kemp’s ongoing NQM Barbarossa campaign).

Chris had set up a shallow defensive line of dug-in (hopefully ‘winter’) Germans and put me in charge of several divisional waves of freshly rebuilt heroes of the Motherland (not that we’re taking sides, of course 😉 ) …

NQMWO 02(my guys are organised 6 half-battalion sized bases per regiment – and 3 regiments per division)

NQMWO 03(Chris has his as 5 or 6 bases per battalion, but misses a level and represents a division with 3 such battalions)

Which is all quite fascinating as it means we have 3 blocks of about the same footprint with the same number of figures in a Division.   Perfect … just the scale logic getting there is not the same.

So in we went in great force, rolling reasonable dice … and mostly the German’s folded … To be fair to them, there were as many overloads as morale failures (on an Eastern Front Winter there really isn’t anywhere to run to anyway).

NQMWO 04(Classic NQM … soldiers everywhere!!! ) …

I have some tank forces in reserve to boost up this attack but opted to put the rifle men in first, to see if the Germans were up for it.   This was a quick ‘working week’ session – and concluded that there is enough left in the game to give another session (so we get all the toys on the table) …

Meanwhile, we had rattled through about a dozen or so firefights, most of which were followed by an assault, and the Russians had pretty much carried the first line and were engaging the second.

In traditional fashion, I did try an impromptu attack, against to see if the next line of Germans were really committed to hold onto this patch of someone-else’s country.  They were, so the next wave of attacks will, indeed, need to be prepared properly.

Late evening, the Vodka was passed out amongst the men who took the key positions …

NQMWO 05

Whilst I was posting these pictures, Chris put up the annotated story (so for who was who etc. go to NQM blog/storm forecast )

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Rifle Divisions 01

Almost done, now …

I’m waiting for some parts to arrive to add tows/carts for the big mortars but otherwise the infantry guns and limbers are complete and, for Operational Games, 3 divisions of infantry are rolling.

Rifle Divisions 02(I have given a horsed limber to each infantry gun and – somewhat generously – a Komsomolets to each anti-tank gun)

Rifle Divisions 03(each gun is mounted on a shim base which will mate with a magnetic patch either on the tow or the deployed base)

Rifle Divisions 04(I had some walking gunners liberated in the rebasing so these now are loose and can accompany the guns as appropriate)

Rifle Divisions 04a(AT guns hitched up … there is some scope for me to add some riders to the tractor when time permits)

Each rifle battalion has a stand of small arms and a stand of support weapons … one representing the machine gun platoons, one HE type support and one anti-tank.  They all count as infantry in operational games but it gives a nice spread of types and functions.

Rifle Divisions 05(Rifle Regiment in half battalion stands)

Rifle Divisions 06(Rifle Regiment on the road)

Each division has three of these regiments …

Rifle Divisions 07a(Red Army Rifle Division)

And the Corps has three of these divisions

Rifle Divisions 08(Red Army Corps … the Rifle Divisions)

Being for operational games … all these go into a bespoke file box …

Rifle Divisions 09(an exact fit – give or take some space for padding … at right there are some spare wagons but the space will be for mortar carts)

Of course, each Division has its Headquarters, services and Artillery, and the Corps has more of the same … these are all in the next file box (which we will look at in a future episode) …

The figures are mostly Peter Pig Russians, the Komsomolets are either Battlefront or Quality Castings.  The AT guns are piggies, the IGs BF and the big mortars Skytrex.   They all blend together nicely I think.

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