Archive for the ‘Peter Pig’ Category


For the second part of our Autumn Games Day (following a Neil Thomas version of Gaugamela in the morning … ) the players split into two AK47 games … Graham will doubtless report the other game on his blog … while I put together a made-up clash between the split wings (factions?) of the Pan AfricaN Treaty Organisation …

‘Janno Beach’ might be any bit of tempting coastline from Sierra Leone to Somalia … sun, sea and palm trees … but times have moved on and the Soviet funded tourist hotel is but a shell … there are MiG fighters on the nearby airfield but no pilots … the villagers stay up in the hills.   Then again, you might be able to rent some speed boats from the local pirates.


So this is a 4′ x 4′ interpretation of the battlefield, laid out on my kitchen floor and photographed (so I could set it up quickly at Shedquarters … the tiling is irrelevant – it is for AK47 Classic) … there are 4 templates (I have marked the village at the top but it is too loose to count as a template), some ‘line of sight’ issues and a chunk of the board missing to water (but we were using the later AK version where you can swap vehicles for boats if needed) …

Imagine, in a different world, this might be a beautiful tourist bay boosting a buoyant modern economy.

For some time, the Treaty forces have been split … PANTO, the Settler organisation, has been fighting stiff opposition from French-inspired FRAP (Forces Revolutionaires Armees de Panto), but have cornered a small ‘force de Frappe’ in Janno Beach …

Next we played through the political manoeuvre and, remarkably, neither side got very much help – Panto indeed lost quality ratings to panic and could only run a few of its vehicles due to Sanctions and consequent fuel shortages (a bad day in paradise!) …

Perhaps inevitably, they failed in a final bid to hire ‘Mad Rupert’ and his mercenaries!

I played Panto and nominated the Freight Dump, Mosque and Airfield as my objectives.

ak47-janno-beach-03(P.B.Eye-Candy, first light: Panto’s one and only chopper flies into Janno Beach … the game is on)

If you need to know … we had …

Panto: Professional HQ of the General, 1 SA, 1 APC with AA gun; 2  Regular (T55) tanks; 1 Professional (Hind) attack helicopter; a Regular army unit of 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 (Unimog) Truck RCL*, 1 Truck with AA gun; and Panto’s (militia) Women’s Revolutionary Volunteers, comprising 5 SA, 3 mortars, 1 RPG, 1 (Toyota) Truck with RCL.

*(the foot groups are mounted on camels at arrival)

Settlers: 90 political points.

Frap: a free roaming General in a requisitioned Mercedes plus … the renegade Paras de Panto (Professional) comprising 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 mortar and 1 truck with RCL*; 2 Regular tanks (AMX 13/90s); 2 Regular army units, each of 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 (Panhard) MG armoured car, 1 (Land Rover) Truck with RCL**; and the Frap militia of 6 SA***

*(actually a Vespa 150 TAP) – the recently accessioned Paras de Panto were on their first tabletop mission.

**only one of these army units made it onto the board

***actually a biker gang but at Janno Beach they traded their bikes with local pirates for some speed boats in order to raid the airfield from across the bay.

Dictatorship: 77 political points.

ak47-janno-beach-03a(Janno Beach: the Paras de Panto secure the Mosque and Gas Station)

Frap stationed the Paras in the town centre (which they secured throughout the day) and the only army unit to show up at the airfield.

Panto came in from the village/oil facility end of the board with the women’s militia, the helicopter and a solitary T55 (there being no fuel to run the other one).

The attack immediately faltered … whilst routinely acquiring targets over the battlefield, the prize Soviet-funded Hind helicopter – almost indestructible, they said – was taken down … seemingly by a group of paras who had set up a mortar on the Gas Station roof … Had they hit it with an almost vertical bomb shot?   Did they also have a light AA missile in their kit?   Was it a catastrophic failure triggered by small arms fire?  We will doubtless never know: the big beast came down out of the sky in a ball of flame.

ak47-janno-beach-05(Red Hind down … Panto lose control of the air flank)

The situation might have evened itself up over the succeeding turns … Panto’s T55 had driven into the centre ground (in part to avoid the para’s Vespa/RCL and RPGs who were making the cluster of buildings look a real nest of vipers) … and was getting some good shots in on the enemy softskins … although badly matched against the regulars now debouching from the Airfield, the women’s militia were successfully pinning them down with mortar fire.

Panto’s high point …

… and the battle seemed to swing: Frap’s regulars and Panto’s militia both disintegrated (the militia ultimately couldn’t handle the better quality soldiers but the T55 and mortar fire had reduced the enemy regulars to tatters in the process), Panto’s commander (frustratingly on foot due to that Sanctions/fuel problem) turned up at the now vacated Airfield and grabbed the objective … meanwhile the sole T55 zeroed in on the top corner of the mosque from which Frap’s commander was running the show … Kaboom!

ak47-janno-beach-06(a stunning shot from the T55 gunner … picking the enemy commander out on the Mosque rooftop)

It was a race against time … the Frap biker gang turned up … this time in speed boats … and diverted across the bay towards the Airfield (which was only being held by the commander and his bodyguard SA group).

ak47-janno-beach-07(speeding acroos the bay: a mix of military and non-military boats, hired from pirates, driven by bikers … what could possibly happen next?)

The Panto camel raiders, meanwhile, had arrived and took control of the Freight Dump.


A turning point …

So, in order to help out at the Airfield, the T55 commander turned his attention to the speed boats … firing at them but hitting none (well at least that saved us inventing a rule for occupants bailing out of a burning vehicle – the standard AK47 result with a brewed carrier – into the sea)!   At which point that Vespa emerged from behind the Mosque and spanged an RCL shot off at the tank!  … and blew it to bits with a dice roll that didn’t even need adding up!

ak47-janno-beach-08(Janno Beach: T55 tank taken out by a Vespa)

Of course, this is one of wargaming’s ‘champagne moments’  … I’d really only built the little TAP scooter model out of curiosity (and scarcely could have imagined it would bag a T55 on its first outing on the tabletop).

It is, of course, in this game, a professional RCL with vehicle mobility (a 2-wheeled ‘technical’, if you like, with a tank-killer weapon) so not such a surprise really (but in wargames, such things seldom work out) …

I was commanding Panto, by the way, so the tank was mine … awesome shooting, though … (I think it was the Vespa’s second ever shot!) …

… and that was how it all went wrong for Panto …

Frap’s AMX tanks turned up and bombarded the soldiers in the Freight Dump …


… and the biker militia were able to get in against the Panto general holding the Airfield … odds of 3:1 in their favour, but militia against professional – actually even, maybe, but they traded 2 kills in close quarter fire (so wiped the enemy out in what was otherwise ‘a draw’)

ak47-janno-beach-10(Frap militia celebrate around the captured control tower)

The random turn count just kept the game going long enough to let all this happen – and give Richard, in his first full game of AK47, a resounding victory.  As he was new to the full game we ran through the scoring system (despite the victory being clear) and for aficionados, Frap scored over 120 points.

Wow! … and I got a game full of quirky kit … a beach assault out of speed boats, a T55 knocked out by the Vespa … both commanders killed (the Frap one sniped by a T55 while hiding on the top of the Mosque … the Press won’t like that story … ) …

Got my chopper hit by a mortar, though … Never mind …

More pics …


ak47-janno-beach-04(figures and fuel pump by Peter Pig, Gas Station by Timecast, Mosque hand-built by me from cork tile and kebab stick)

ak47-janno-beach-12(T55 by Skytrex, Landy by QRF, Panhard by Peter Pig)

ak47-janno-beach-15(downtown Janno Beach: the wrecked hotel is converted from Warbases components … the blue car is Quality Castings, the red one a pimped up Chinese cheapy)

ak47-janno-beach-12a(Dusk over Janno Beach … twilight for Panto?)

Apologies if you first saw an earlier version of this post, uncorrected and without the final photos (my broadband was struggling with everything so I opted to publish the basic material, then add the finishing touches as an update)…

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Christmas Games 2015 04

I may not get a chance to post again before Christmas so seasonal greetings to you all – many thanks for indulging my PBI Candy and here are some pictures from our holiday game the other day …

We were returning to Return to the River Don … and I played a Red commander trying to keep control of the station while the engineers got that train running so we could move it off.

Christmas Games 2015 07(I scratchbuilt the Putilov Garford otherwise all the kit is Peter Pig RCW painted and prepared by Trebian)

The armies were marching to the engagement and major actions broke out across the table .. particularly the woods to the left, the station and a cavalry action in the open spaces …

Christmas Games 2015 05

Christmas Games 2015 06

Red forces deploying off the road around the woodland …

Christmas Games 2015 09

9 on a D12 was good enough to see off the more numerous White cavalry … here fleeing broken from the fight …

After much good natured wargaming, the train was able to get up steam and chugged away from the station.

Fortuitously an unexpected dice avalanche saw the defenders finally succumb just in time to wave goodbye – a positive note to finish on for a White force that had seen no rub of the green .. And who now found themselves pretty much trapped in their own objective following the retreat of their supporting units.

Christmas Games 2015 08

Great game – full of period flavour (and who doesn’t like to see an armoured train on the table?)

Full AAR on Treb’s Wargaming4grownups/Christmas

Merry Christmas ..

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Dec 2015 01

Back to the Rostov project and some tidying up in the German boxes …

I’m publishing some pictures despite the basing not being fully brushed and tufted because I may not get much more done now before Christmas other than playing some games and sharing good cheer.

There have been some Zvezda Opel Blitz trucks waiting to fill the services role … so we have an ambulance for 22PZ and a repair truck for 5th SS Motorised

Dec 2015 02

(we can add these in the fullness of time to that open-ended topic: what can you do with Zvezda trucks?)

It is also about time that I crewed up 22PD’s integral artillery (Panzer Artillery Regiment 140) which is represented by the 15cm FH18 model ..

Dec 2015 03

Dec 2015 05

The gun is Skytrex and the crew figures are by Peter Pig

Dec 2015 04

Oh – and I bought a Zvezda Panzer III whilst making my first visit to Battlefield Hobbies so I had to make that up (as is the rule with any new purchases – plus, there seem to have been a lot of Panzer II’s at Rostov and I was doing Germans … ) …

Whilst I was fiddling around I also added a couple of Russian air drop markers .. the parachutes are from an old Airfix set and have been pending for a while – so I tidied them up.

The parachutists are from PP‘s AK47 French FFL with headswaps and the weapons removed so they can drag in their chutes.  I think the marriage is a good one.

Dec 2015 06(Russian generic parachutists)

The FFL have webbing like parachute harness and little in the way of identifying kit other than their weapons so make good generic paras.  I chose to swap ushankas onto them rather than flying caps as it makes them less period specific (NB my Ice Station cold war game) and, anyway, most Russian WWII airborne ops seem to have been Winter missions.

Dec 2015 07

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Birthday Games Day

Following the birthday theme we got a few friends together on Saturday and played some games … it took an RFCM theme as I had provided some classic AK-47 kit and Martin from Peter Pig came up and laid on some Hammering Iron (AK-47 and Hammering Iron? Yep … sounds like the old Brixcon formula from the noughties) ..

Games ...

Sep top 01c(Hammering Iron)

Sep top 01aa(classic AK-47)

Sep top 01b(DBA V3 Dark Age Britain)

The DBA is for another day and another blog … we got engrossed in a big game of AK-47 sandwiched between ‘show style’ games of Hammering Iron (but the choices and lures were provided) …

The ACW riverine isn’t really 20th century but was an important part of the fez-tivities … 😉 😉 .. so I’m sure you’ll indulge a couple of pictures …

Sep top 01

Sep top 02

AK-47 Classic … 

We played the most recent version we could remember of the old style rules from our Brixcon days …

Sep top 03(AK-47 Classic … Chris, Graham F and – out of shot – Chris A lined up against Martin and Graham H)

So I had the honour of umpiring the game – Martin (who wrote them) having long forgotten that version … though it all came back to him pretty quickly it has to be said …

Sep top 04(Martin’s T55s take an early battering)

I had laid the kit and boards out for two one-on-one games but we pushed them together for one big game which seemed to work very nicely.  It was a joy to get the old toys out again …

Sep top 05(Nato peacekeepers making a lot of noise)

… indeed Chris A said to me quizzically ‘why don’t we do this more often?’ and we agreed we’d almost forgotten how much fun this game is.

In all the pictures, the figures are Peter Pig, the vehicles a mix of PP, QRF, Skytrex and toy shop renegades …

Sep top 06(Skytrex Pershings and a PP Hummer take out those Panto tanks)

The game itself was a little one-sided … we ran through the political charts and the Nato/colonials got all the best upgrades (thoroughly raiding my larder of tank and A/C extras) while the Panto dictatorship got downgrades to militia (and never got its helicopter on) …

Sep top 07(unarmed militias and biker gang … somewhat elaborate homecrafted conversions from PP’s WWII German motoryclists)

At this point I guess I should own up that we ran short of appropriate goodies for the as we played them as ‘Super Power Backed’ although I had packed them as ‘Colonial Power/Settlers’ with the upgrades for that chart (towed guns bought up the Khyber Pass, Mad Rupert’s mercenary band etc.) … So some things seemed undersupplied, others went unused … Here’s Rupert’s mad boys …

Sep top 07a

Last box on the right channel costs 14 dice and offers …

‘5,6 Mercenary unit hired to strengthen/build new unit.  Led by Mad Rupert of the Guards, this new unit has 3 professional groups of infantry, 1 Heavy Weapons group (RPG or HMG) and 2 trucks’

Sep top 07b(Mad Rupert’s cadre … looks like I slipped an extra base in or maybe I left the choice either HMG or RPG ..) ..

After the games (and a quick tour of duty to the art gallery for me) we retired to an excellent Turkish restaurant (so those Zouaves ended up Pashas after all … ) …

Really enjoyable day, happy birthday again to NQM Chris and great to have knock about of the still excellent AK-47 … (absent friends would have loved it) … cheers all!!

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Dancing Ivan 01(Peter Pig’s new morale boosting accordion and balalaika men … )

OK, OK … I should be finishing those Landsknechts and that DBA project … but last week was a bad week so I rebelled and chipped away at some WW2 projects …

I had yet to paint up the new PP dancing Ivans but they will fill a ‘welfare stand’ gap in my Rifle Divisions (more below) and when I saw that Sink the Bismark might be going OOP, I bought a couple of sets for my ongoing Big Ship Battle project … (so I needed to try the old Airfix kits out).  So here goes …

Dancing Russians

Enough said … what a pleasing little set … Some pundits have asked what can you do with them?  Well each of my Rifle Divisions has a ‘welfare stand’ or ‘aid station’ (the name is subject to revision but the function is to bolster demoralised troops): of the three, one has an ambulance, one has a field kitchen but I was unsure what to use for the third.

Sorted … it can now be cheered up by Commissars with accordions!

Dancing Ivan 02

Dancing Ivan 03

I think they turned out OK … They are painted in the simple style that matches their comrades in the line rather than for the showcase.  The balalaika player comes with a helmet on which looked odd to me so I replaced  the head with a Cossack cap .. the accordion player is straight out of the bag (as is the dancer with folded arms – I just kicked his leg up a bit) …

For variety I grafted the hand waving German mechanic torso onto the dancing legs to make the Ivan with his hands in the air (for I figure I think looks just the part) … This is a nice set but gives loads of scope for modification …

Sink the Bismark

This set was a reissue of a bundle of 1970s 1:1200 so looks like a nostalgic trip down memory lane – but turns out to be hard work like all 1970s kits … the parts don’t fit, the plastic is warped, the instructions are wrong … the usual stuff that felt like modelling to the naive teenager …

Anyway, I have persevered … and here is one of the Tribal Class destroyers plus a some planes …

StB 01(Airfix Tribal Class destroyer, a couple of Irregular Stukas and a Walrus from the Suffolk)

I think the aeroplanes at this scale are just about viable as individual models, so, seeing a role for the float planes/flying boats I tried making up and painting the Walrus as from the kit …

StB 02

It’s a pretty crude model but will perform its game function well enough …

My plan with the Big Ship Battle project was to retain the abstract/toy-like characteristics of the cheap ships I has acquired but it isn’t so easy once you get the paints out.  So I’m now floundering towards an acceptable compromise between modelling and abstraction … Here’s a go at HMS Suffolk

StB 03(Airfix 1:1200 HMS Suffolk)

… and I tried out ‘the dip’ approach on the deck of HMS Hood.

StB 04(a few simple stages in the painting of HMS Hood)

I think that makes for a reasonable compromise … I guess the Hood took an evening to paint, which I can sort of live with as there aren’t too many big ships to paint – and the look is adequate for wargaming …

StB 05(Airfix 1:1200 HMS Hood)

I need to cut some more of those acrylic bases …

More of this project anon …

Meanwhile the vodka flows and the Russians celebrate the success of their Motherland into the night …

Dancing Ivan 04

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Djebel Sahariana II

Djebel Sahariana II 00a

Here are some pictures from the completion of the game …

Djebel Sahariana II 10(The Italians have a captured jeep from their encounter with the LRDG)

Djebel Sahariana II 02(shot up French AA trucks in the wadi)

Djebel Sahariana II 01a

Djebel Sahariana II 01b

Djebel Sahariana II 03(French reinforcements arriving from the west)

Djebel Sahariana II 04(air power … a Hawk fighter still wearing its Vichy colours flies over the smoking wreckage of the French armour)

Djebel Sahariana II 08c

Djebel Sahariana II 07(those crippled trucks are repeatedly hit by Sahariana guns and go up in smoke … )

Djebel Sahariana II 06(… and contact is gradually lost with the platoon which seemed to be making progress into the casbah)

Djebel Sahariana II 05( … whilst the Italian defenders still seem active and return fire)

Djebel Sahariana II 09(… so with very few serviceable vehicles left, the French commander calls off the attack)

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Road to Rostov 01

This MNW group game supposed an encounter between 22nd Panzer’s recce squadron and outlying fragments of the Soviet 63rd Tank Brigade (LVI Army)

The table is standard PBI, 8 squares x 8 squares (so each ‘square’ is a quarter of the full size tiles evident in the pictures: I use a mix of big and small tiles which players seem to get the hang of and which doesn’t look too artificial – by wargame standards).

The Germans drove up the road in two armoured cars supported by a ‘jeep’ platoon (actually in a light truck and a couple of Kubelwagens).    They were later able to get support from a Pioneer heavy platoon in half tracks.

The Russians were defending this sector with a Motor Rifle company … with a platoon on table around the church, plus a dug in 45mm AT gun and a dug in Maxim team.    They had some piecemeal allocated armour available, and another full platoon of riflemen in the vicinity (i.e. available as reinforcements)

All the troops were rated average.

Road to Rostov 02

(end of turn one (from the Russian player’s view): the Russian positions are marked in red, the German in black … the Russian platoon commander is in the rear square; the nearer ring is the AT gun, the farther is the Maxim … the Germans have swung their jeep platoon out onto the flank and dismounted but one of the armoured cars has already been hit and taken major damage)

At this stage of the war 63rd had just over 50 tanks, but only 9 KVs and 2 T34s … the rest was a hotchpotch of light tanks including a number of OT26 Chemical tanks (i.e. flamethrowers) … in the game they managed to get a light tank, a BA20 and an OT26 into action …

Road to Rostov 05

(some tanks arrive and take long range shots at the Germans)

While the BT and BA hung back, supporting the 45mm gun’s suppression of the road, the OT moved around the flank to bring the German infantry within the much shorter range of its flame projector.

Now everyone knows that flamethrowers never work in PBI and that fortune never favours the brave … so imagine our surpise when the little OT successfully set fire to the buildings, killed most of the occupants and got away with the piratical attack scot free.

Road to Rostov 03

(only one German survived the flame attack but went down under small arms fire before testing morale)


At the same time, a Russian section by the road made a successful, if costly, close assault on the approaching German infantry, taking the platoon to breaking point.

It all seemed to be going Ivan’s way when, just as the heavy platoon arrived, the jeep platoon failed its test (and headed for the rear) and a couple of lucky shots finished off the immobilised armoured cars …

Road to Rostov 04a

(confident in their mix of MG42s, demolition charges and flamethrowers, the German Pioneers drive right up to the Russian lines)

… and then the flow of the game ebbed …

Pausing only to get out of their Hanomags, the Pioneers piled into the Russians from the adjacent squares (2 extra dice per base in PBI) and made a mess of the position.   With some losses, the Russians were all killed, and the cut down platoon broke at the start of its own turn.   A text book assault.

Road to Rostov 07

(No survivors … the German Pioneers punch their way through the Russian defence)

Neither side had used all its resources at this point, but the departure, first, of the Russian infantry gave us a pause in the action which was a convenient point to finish for the evening (a Russian counterattack would be a new game should we want to play through it) …

Even so, we rolled the potential German break test (on the now battered Pioneers)  – and they failed too (so this action really would have petered out without our intervention)

Actually, the local Soviet commander will decide that this slowing action has done its job and he will pull back to another hidden roadblock.   The German thrust presses on but this Spring, the Russians are being more slippery …

Road to Rostov 06

PBI (figures by Peter Pig; vehicles by PP, Battlefront, QRF and Quality Castings; Russian Orthodox church (10mm) by Timecast)

22PD Aufklarungs vs 63TB MR, Donbass, 1942

Wednesday Night (GE and RLi) … costly German win (GE)

1-100 Pz38T

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Southern Russia 1942/Northamptonshire 2013

Road Block PBI 01

This was an Umpire driven PBI scenario game based on accounts of Army Group South pushing beyond the Don in 1942.   It didn’t go entirely to plan!

The basic narrative is that rather than being encircled as the previous summer, Soviet forces are now falling back in front of the German spearheads.   The game starts with German light armour and recce rolling onto the table chasing fleeing Russian vehicles (armoured cars and T70 tanks) …

Road Block PBI 02(Achtung Panzer!  … and ‘ammo’ in the background)

Unknown to the Germans, the Russians have been allowed to dig in some anti-tank guns to deny the road and have some paras in the woods.   The scenario evolves: the Germans shoot up the fleeing Soviet armour but run into the concealed guns … they therefore call up their mechanised infantry.   The remaining Soviet armour is therefore able to get away, leaving an infantry game where the Germans may have some vehicle support if it has survived the ambush – and where the Russians will be able to deploy a couple of conscript platoons in the town once the German infantry turns up.

Road Block PBI 03(burning and immobilised armoured cars in a ploughed field around a dug in 45mm gun)

Road Block PBI 05(a couple of T70s attempt to get their front armour facing the enemy)

What actually happened?   The German shooting at the Russian rear armour was less effective than the A/T guns firing at the German front armour.  The ambush worked.  The German lead platoon then attempted to stay in its 250 half tracks as it drove up to tackle the gunners: cue lots of black and red cotton wool and some lousy saving rolls from the soldiers caught inside.

Road Block PBI 04(the highway from the Russian end: raw rifle platoons deploying)

Unfortunately before the armoured infantry could do much reorganising, the parachute assault troops broke cover and scrambled over the positions, hitting with everything from PTRDs to Flamethrowers.   The Germans would face a Break Test at the start of the next turn.  That was the last we saw of them.

Road Block PBI 06(Road Block PBI: Red Army Paras break cover)

This was below par from the Germans and above par from the Russians, pretty much consistently across three game turns.   It left the second German platoon over-tasked but pluckily trying to work its way around the left of the position.

Road Block PBI 08a

Road Block PBI 09(the German thrust around the left of the position is temporarily disrupted by a prowling Airacobra)

Actually they did quite well and mopped up much of the remaining Russian armour, and, despite the temporary attention of a marauding Russian fighter, had moved up to threaten the wooden buildings around the road junction.

By this stage, and after a few clumsy attempts to get themselves sorted out, the Russian reinforcements were starting to move up.

Road Block PBI 07(after some trouble finding the doors and gates, newly formed rifle units move up – some have SVT rifles)

Road Block PBI 10

Road Block PBI 11

Unfortunately the Russians managed a round of good motivations and APs with their reinforcements and were able to saturate the square next to the buildings and although a number of saves were made, 3 were not.  This prompted the Company commander to call up more support and ended the attempt by the initial two platoons to do the job on their own.

Road Block PBI 12

Game over.   At this stage, the Russians had lost 2 light and 2 medium armoured cars plus 2 of the 3 anti-tanks guns.  The other vehicles had driven off table.    The Germans had lost 2 armoured cars a half track and a Panzer IV in the process.   But they had also had a platoon break and taken significant damage on the other … without clearing the position.

Returning to the narrative, this will end up another victory for the Germans … just not on the first morning.   They will reinforce the  thrust with heavier assets and the Russians will realise this and take advantage of the lull to fall back again.  The Germans will probably be left that third gun.

If you were to score it as a PBI game, the lost hardware on each side actually favours the Germans … but their troop losses and the fact that they have not taken any objectives would swing the score against them.


This may have been Ian’s last PBI in the Shedquarters before he emigrates to Cornwall, so herewith picture file 8, full height – with best wishes …  I have wargamed regularly with Ian for more than 25 years but it will now be much harder to set up and involve some serious travelling …

Road Block PBI 08(finally winning a WWII wargame?    After how long?)

 Road Block PBI 05b

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3 9 Part 2 01

This was the concluding part of a PBI scenario we started earlier in the month.   After a stumbling start, the Red Army paras and ski troops were reinforced with a column of tanks and some accompanying rifle sections.

Although they had let the Russians take control of the mud road, the Germans were stubbornly dug in around the fuel dump in the woods, and had a platoon of scouts in half tracks plus some light armour just off table.

3 9 Part 2 02

This phase opened with an airstrike by the VVS who have just taken delivery of some new LAGGs and Airacobras (as in … I put my latest toys on the table) …

Following the standard assets procedure (dicing for deviation), this went way off target and hit a section of paras (blue on blue) hiding in some adjacent trees.

The Russians got their tanks quickly on table and rolled into the assault.

3 9 Part 2 03(Russian Tanks and Riflemen sweep up to the German positions)

After losses to preparatory shooting, the German position was left mostly being held by Officer bases (Platoon Commander, Company Commander), but with some effective use of the SMG, and closed terrain, they were able to bounce the first wave assault.

Unfortunately, the German reinforcements just made it onto the table in time to see the second wave break over the position.  Two hits killed the Officers (hits in the assault cannot be saved if foot groups)  yielding the objective to the attackers.

3 9 Part 2 04(T-70s get the job done, helping the infantry break into the position … PP figures and PSC tanks)

The Germans had put up a good fight, hanging on til the half tracks appeared.

The counterattack faltered with a mix of good and bad Action Points (3 of 7 vehicles rolled very poorly so could not exploit the exposed sides of the thinly armoured Russian tanks) …

Some enterprising armoured scouts managed to break through with an effective mix of MG42 and Panzerfaust, brewing one of the T-70s on the way … only then to be destroyed by opportunity fire from the other …  The woods were filling up with wrecks and casualties …

3 9 Part 2 05a(the smoke denotes the vehicle is destroyed; the fire marker reminds me it happened this turn – re next morale phase)

My new armoured car failed to dislodge some paras hunkered down around the road bridge, a flamethrowing half track missed, and the Platoon Commander’s carrier with a (Gun Effect 7) PzB rolled insufficient points to fire it – so sat staring at the rear ‘armour’ of  an Aerosan.

Hmm…  All bad luck, but I guess the Russians would have described these as Winter Germans.

These reverses let the Russians reorganise after their assaults, drop into defensible squares, and persuaded the Germans that they would have to pull out whatever they could salvage: the battle was over.

3 9 Part 2 06(The Return of Winter: a battle won)

Apologies that between the two parts, the battlefield and some of the figures changed … I left some boxes at HQ and had to improvise – but we were able to retain the core layout balance and starting positions.

We had 4 players for this part of the game and played for around 2 hours which disappeared almost unnoticed (which is a credit to PBI and the snowy scenario) … it seemed to engage the players and had a good mix of content including some nail-biting combined assaults, some narrow escapes, some blue-on-blue and some big hits.

Great game … I think I need to post a synopsis of where we are with PBI.

3 9 Part 2 05b(PBI: The Return to Winter Part 2)

SS Panzer Division Wiking Tscherkassy

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3 9 Ski Attack game 01B

We cooled off a very warm September evening with some further adventures on the Eastern Front.

The game was a dawn variant of the airborne scenario I have run a couple of times previously

3 9 Ski Attack game 05

(Battlefront Quad AA, PP Russians with a minitanks cannon, converted toy shop plane)

Background: research shows that the Red Army’s main use of parachute troops in airborne operations was as a way of achieving deeper penetration during the Winter months, when other offensives were severely limited by weather.    The insertions were often planned to be met by ground troops and Partisans, and it does seem that the dropping could be haphazard.

Here, as part of a wider operation, the paras attempt to link with a detachment of Ski Troops who are engaging a supply dump in the forest.

3 9 Ski Attack game 01A

The Ski Troops come on at the bottom, the paras dropping within the ringed DZ.

The three objectives they were given are marked with red stars.  

The Germans opted to defend a compact perimeter (ringed in black) and let the Russians come on to them – presumably planning to deny the other objectives by counterattacks.   They had two scary Quad 20 AA guns dug in defending the dump.

The Russians chose to drop at dawn, giving one turn of reduced visibility, hoping this would mean the paras wouldn’t be cut to shreds, ‘Arnhem-style’, as they drifted down (which had been their fate, last time, when the dropped too near the objective).   On turn one, visibility was limited to one square.


I’m still working on terrain ideas …  for this game I tried laying the snow tiles out on a blue cloth (which saves them rocking and sliding) with a river edge cut back so the blue shows.    Then the river is cluttered up with chopped shards of laminated paper to suggest broken ice.   I’ve pinched the idea from something I saw on the Perfect Captain‘s site (I think).   Anyway,  we all thought it worked quite well.

Winter Warfare: Ski Troops approach an icy river ...

Winter Warfare: Ski Troops approach an icy river …

(QRF Aerosans, converted PP Skiers)

I also played about with sculpting a hill that I could drop some 6″ area tiles into (so it would be part terrain piece, part tiling system).   So far so good.  Hills are rarely seen on PBI boards although they are covered in the rules.    You need to shape them and place them so how they block line of sight is intuitive and feels right.

Tile/hill: on the desk and on the table)

Tile/hill: on the desk and on the table)


The game started in partial darkness and the TB-3s came in …

archive cap a

3 9 Ski Attack game 02

Dropping parachute infantry in the first wave …

archive cap b

… and a T-60 tank by glider in the second wave …

3 9 Ski Attack game 03

The paras hit the drop zone bang on, and – for the first time, ever – the tank safely crash-landed without any dramas (they appear to be getting the hang of it).

Due to the limited visibility, the paras took no incoming fire during the descent and took few casualties hitting the ground (three of the 4 squares had minor issues – which gives them a ‘pin’ result) but one soldier was fatally injured … which was inconvenient as it was the Platoon Commander.

The attempt to bump up a successor failed (which is annoying), and I overruled a subsequent failure which was excessive (Russian rolls: 1 saving on the drop; 2 on the attempt to replace; 2 on the next attempt to replace).

There were a couple of sections of leaderless infantry in the woods, and the Russian players now attempted to  replace their Platoon Commander – but failed (and again, I overruled a second failure – Russian rolls for this platoon 2; second attempt 1)

3 9 Ski Attack game 06

(German AA gun position comes under mortar attack)

Meanwhile the Ski Troops moved up using their first turn movement advantage to attempt to jump the German perimeter.

Unfortunately, the Aerosans, which could have helped give cover, had whizzed off towards the river, and the Germans proved to be surprisingly alert.   They got off some accurate Opportunity Fire and the Russians failed their saving rolls.  

Unlucky Ivan!

Day had broken, and under normal visibility the Germans were getting worn down, but although his comrades were still sorting out leadership issues, one of the Aerosan commanders decided to try out the enemy defences (and test the ‘armour’ of his sled).

Rather than use the rail embankment as partial cover, he decided to whizz along it, going for the bridge and attempting to shoot up the enemy command post.  That meant going at close range and fully exposed, into the fire of a Quad 20mm AA autocannon (and, contemptuously – bravely or foolishly – he did not even shoot at it in self defence …) …

Aerosan vs multiple autocannon at point blank

Aerosan vs multiple autocannon at point blank

The hamster-bedding probably fails adequately to capture what really happened to the aerosan.

This phase of the battle was stalemated … the Russians were in a mess but had two of the objectives … the Germans were taking losses but still firmly in control of their main position.    Both sides were looking to reinforcements for some extra impetus.

To be continued …


Replacing Commanders … we will change this to a ‘dice again’ alternative if you fail (so the platoon will upgrade, but the new leader might not be where the player would like).    I also think I will use the same process for saves on the parachute landing so the PC is never lost – I am convinced by the various arguments that airborne troops were expressly trained to cope with this, given the variables of their particular mode of warfare.

Darkness: the simplistic dawn mechanism gave one square of visiblity … this was a great help to the paras, but the ground troops quickly discovered that it meant holding back for a turn or coming into the (PBI) Op Fire zone in order to see sufficiently to be able to lay down their own fire.   In the game they were unlucky with the dice that followed.   I’m not sure I am unhappy with this but will give it some thought.

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