Tuesday, September 19, 2017

East German Kampfgruppe, part3


I have finished a complete 100pt East German force for Team Yankee! ok it is only 97pts, so I might add in an OP BMP, as well as some mine clearing devices on two of the T-55 companies. But as our games so far have been 75pts, there is no hurry on that :)

Took three storage trays to barely fit in the entire force!

Kampfgruppe Klein - 9th Panzer Division 
Oberst Klein's Kampfgruppe is built around his 9th Panzer Division panzer battalion. The division has an attached motorized regiment from 8th Panzer Grenadier division, and from this a reduced tank company and motorized company has been attached to his command.

Panzer Battalion Headquarters
Oberst Klein is a career soldier, one from a family with a long line of military service, his father serving in 2nd Panzer Division in WW2. Well versed in tank battle tactics, command of the Kampfgruppe going to Klein was seen as a natural choice in the division.
Oberst Klein in his T-55AM battle tank.

Panzer Kompanie
Hauptmann Huber is a good kompanie commander and normally leads any attacks made by the battalion. The assault on the west started before they could exchange their tanks for new T-72's, though the crews are very familiar with their up armored T-55's
Hauptman Huber commands six T-55AM's battle tanks.

Panzer Kompanie
Hauptmann Weiß is a replacement officer and has only been in the battalion for a couple of months. Klein is still not sure of his capabilities and usually holds him in reserve.
Hauptman Weiß commands six T-55AM's battle tanks.

Panzer Kompanie
Hauptmann Stein is the youngest kompanie commander at 27, but has been under the tutelage of Klein for over a year now. The battalion was in the process of receiving new T-72 battle tanks, and Stein's kompanie was the first to receive them. However the conflict started before the rest of the battalion could switch out their tanks.
Stein's company has five of the divisions new T-72's, they are still getting to know the tank,
but already find the 125mm gun a vast improvement from the T-55's 115mm gun.

23rd Panzer Regiment
Oberst Klein's tanks are supported by several regimental assets detached from the 23rd Panzer Regiment, they include:

Recon Gruppen
Unterleutnant Schreiber recon section contains two BRDM-2 scout cars. His section has been commended several times for finding space for the Kampfgruppe to deploy and fight.
Schreiber BRDM's excel at taking out western AA vehicles.

Artillery Batterie
While not permanently assigned, Klein so far has had a battery of self propelled artillery dedicated to his command. He normally splits it into two parts one for his force and the other to support Vobel's motorized infantry.
The 2S1 Carnation 122mm self propelled howitzer vehicles are able to keep pace with the rapid advance tactics of the tanks.

SAM Gruppen
Unterleutnant Schulte squad contains two SA-13 track vehicles armed with the Strela-10 Surface-to-Air Missiles.
NATO air attacks have been light, possible because Schulte's section has
shot down anything that gets close to Klein's command!

Anti-Aircraft Gruppen
Unterleutnant Sauer Flak squad of two ZSU-23-4 Shilka's have always been in the rear covering the tail end of the Kampfgruppe. They surprisingly have not fired a shot in anger yet!
The ZSU-23-4 Shilka's mount four liquid cooled 23mm 2A7 cannons and their fire is radar guided.

BTR Motor-Schutzen Batallion
Not only is this an ad hoc formation, it is one from a different division, and its capabilities are unknown to Oberst Klein, as such he uses them sparingly. The ad hoc formation is built around a motor rifle kompanie (split in two) and a tank company from the attached motorized regiment of 8th Panzer Grenadier division.

Batallion Headquarters
Put in charge of the ad hoc battalion is the kompanie kommandant of the motor rifle company, Hauptmann Vobel. Not well thought of by his regimental superiors (hence the task out) he nevertheless is well liked by most of his officers and soldiers under his command. Being away from his parent regiment, Voebel has found a lot of freedom in how he commands his battalion, and so far Klein has let him run it as he sees fit.
He has been passed over for promotion several times and is thus an extremely experienced kompanie commander.
This however is his first time commanding a larger formation and he knows he is under the microscope of his superiors.

Motorized Rifle Kompanie
Leading the bulk of the kompanie is Vobel's 2nd in command, Oberleutnant Koch.
Comprised of two platoons of infantry, an LMG and AT missile squad. When added to the ten BTR-60's, the kompanie is tapping the command ability of the Leutnant.
Normally run by Kaptain Vobel, Oberleutnant Koch was recently put in charge of the bulk of the motorized rifle kompanie. 

Motorized Rifle Zug
The third platoon is led by Leutnant Roth, somewhat of a hothead, Roth excels at flanking moves and getting into trouble. His troops excel at racing around the enemy flanks in their BTR's, though they usually lack the numbers to hold onto the ground gained for any length of time.

To help out, he has a squad of AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers for fire support.
The AGS-17 has a high rate of fire when stationary.

Tank Kompanie
Hauptmann Werner is bitterly disappointed not to be commanding the battalion and lets Vobel know about it every chance he gets. He also tends to ignore Vobel's commands as he is sure his family connections will keep him out of trouble. He commands seven T-55AM battle tanks and normally takes the best one.
Rumor has it that his family has Stasi connections, and most of his command hope he'll be leaving for "bigger" things soon.

Regimental Assets
Most of Vobel attached assets are from 9th Panzer Division and so he has not had much time to acclimate to the officers of these units. The exception being Leutnant Lehmann, whom Vobel successfully pluck away from 8th PG, mostly because his sister was very insistent that he keeps tabs on her son!

Panzerabwehr Zug
Leutnant Lehmann anti-tank platoon has successfully knocked out five heavy NATO tanks so far, the Konkurs heavy anti-tank missiles being able to penetrate even the heaviest of front armor on the enemy tanks. That said, he has also has had two vehicles shot out from under him. His Zug is from 8th Panzer Grenadier division and was requested personally by Kaptain Vobel ... his uncle.
Konkurs vehicles, each of which mount five of the excellent Konkurs anti-tank missiles.

Recon Gruppen
Unterleutnant Maier recon squad normally provides flank cover to the kampfgruppe, though in heavy attacks he'll scout ahead along with Unterleutnant Schreiber.
The two BRDM-2 scout cars are each armed with 14.5mm Heavy Machine gun, as well as a co-ax MG.

Artillery Batterie
Hauptmann Vobel has been told that has access to the 23rd's self propelled howitzer regiment, though no more than a half battery and he so far has not needed them.
The 122mm howitzer on the 2S1 Gvozdika have a range of 15km

Flak Zug
Leutnant Scholz Surface-to-Air zug has four SA-9 Gaskin vehicles, armed with the Stelia-1M surface-to-air missile. His zug tends to provide air cover for the attacking infantry though his zug has been split into two parts to cover the rear echelon vehicles as well.
Being wheeled the Gaskin vehicles are a good fit for the BTR-60 battalions.

Divisional Support
The kampfgruppe will be supported by higher echelon units from time to time. They are not attached, so are assigned on a mission by mission basis, though Klein has always requested and received air support.

Panzerabwehr Zug
To deal with the heavy armored NATO tanks, more of the missile armed Spandrel anti-tank vehicles can be called upon.

Raketenwerfer Batterie
To cover a large area with fire, Oberst Klein has limited access to a battery of three BM-21 Hail rocket launcher vehicles. The rocket launchers with their high rate of fire are an excellent weapon when a commander needs to saturate a large area with high explosive munitions.
Though they have a large blast radius they are not that effective against even the lightest armored vehicles.

Oberst Klein learned long ago in his military career not to depend on any help from the Soviets, whom he has found generally still hate the Germans. This is especially true of the air support, as communications with russian speaking pilots is difficult at the best of times. Instead he relies on getting sporadic close air support from the East German Luftstreitkräfte in the form of a flight of SU-22M4 jet aircraft.

Each fighter bomber is armed with two 30 mm autocannons, Kh-25ML Air-to-ground missiles and cluster bombs.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sharpe Practice Carts

I have had a couple of carts sitting finished on my painting table for the last couple of months now. Yesterday I thought I'd take an hour or so and finally get them based up.

I purchased the carts and horses from Warbases in the UK months ago. They arrived in a very timely manner and were very easy to put together. I spent less than half an hour painting up the wagons and horses and ... then pushed them aside to work on other projects! In part was because my Mexican-American War II force does not have any carts. I had purchased them for the upcoming AWI campaign, and as we have been firming up the parameters of the campaign, I now thought it was time I finished them.

I chose to do them on circular bases instead of rectangular, mostly because I don't like the look of square/rectangular bases. And I suspect that the carts are not going to move about the gaming table very much. This led me to do the bases up with the heavy diorama look.

First up was the Water Cart ... I know this cart will be useful as the "thirsty" event has already afflicted many units in our MAWII games already.
The figure is a very, very old and of an unknown manufacture (Front Rank maybe). I believe it came from an artillery set for the French Indian war, but this figure has been re-tasked to supply water to thirsty troops!
The large water barrel is resin cast (the carts are laser cut wood) and it fit very well onto the cart. I also added a water bucket, a get "un-stuck" rod and a pile of backpacks to the base to give the diorama some flavour. I know the backpacks are more of a Napoleonic French 1812 style but it looks good and don't think anyone is going to complain about the "future" tech on the base :)

Next up was the Ammo Cart ... Not even sure if my force will have this cart, as the few times I have run low on ammo my troops were already within 12" of the enemy, but hey you never know :) The cover on the cart is a supplied piece of thick paper, which you score to fold across the opening of the cart. Hard to tell in the photos, but I applied a very light wash to it to knock down the brightness of it.
I used 4" circular bases which I had on hand. These were large enough to have the cart, horse and figure on them comfortable, as well as some open space to diorama up.
I applied my usual three layers of "rocks", followed by my grass mix. It was immediately clear that this was inadequate for the size of the base. So I added a bunch of tuffs and then packed in some "thick" flocking next to them to give a "bush" look to a few areas on the base. Applied a second layer of grass mix to thicken the remaining sections of grass.
Again the figure is of an unknown manufacture, perhaps from the same set. I think he looks generic enough, with his shovel and water bucket, that he'll fit in most black powder periods.

Quick and easy and both look good on the gaming table. My only worry is that they are difficult to pick up and move about, so I might have to pin the carts to the horse to make them more "game sturdy" in the future. Again though suspect they won't be moving that much in the first place.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Team Yankee - East German Kampfgruppe, part 2

I have been working on more East German vehicles (part one) and now have most of the vehicles done (I am procrastinating on the 15x BTR's, as I am not keen on putting together so much plastic!).

BTR Battalion sans the BTR's :)
All the above vehicles are painted and washed. I am going to add the East German shield decal to them and call them temporarily done. Mostly because I am not sure how I'll number the vehicles of the BTR battalion. Battlefront has a very limited number system with their decals, so I'll have to take a look at other companies.

But before I do the shields, I received a box this week with the two SU-22 Fitters I ordered! As was pointed out to me by Tom and a little research confirmed, the East Germans did not use the SU-25's, instead they used Mig-25 and SU-22 for ground support. Academy had both but went for the more "traditional" ground support SU-22.
So got my tube of $1 plastic glue and went to work ... and it they turned out to be kind of a pain in the %#$ putting together! It is not the best kit, and had several very small parts with no markings on where they fit on the model. But powered through it and got both of them done, though if I was a modeler I'd have a lot of putting and scratch building left to do!
The thing I was most disappointed with is that they are not loaded for ground support but air supremacy (two missiles and drop tanks). Not being an "air guy" it is possible that there is a ground attack version of the su-22 though academy just had this one version.
It gives you the hard points for the cannon/rocket pods, but no pods. Perhaps some you crafty types could make up four gun pods for me in 1/144th scale!
Gund pod circled in red
I am going to paint them similar to the above photo, but might be a bit as the 15 BTR's have priority (I'll post pictures when finished). Also I might have to hand paint the East German shield as well ... though might be able to use a Battlefront shield as the core and just paint the diamond around it.
I'll also need to make different flight stands than the WW2 ones I already had done. First off the angle is to steep for the jets and second, that even though the Moderna and WW2 models are the same scale, the SU-22's are much bigger and in turn makes the base very unstable.

More to come but were getting close to starting the Red Thunder campaign!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Team Yankee - East German Kampfgruppe

As the Frostgrave and Sharps Practice campaigns are heading into their last couple of games, I thought it would be a good time to look at starting up another campaign at the store. With the release of Red Thunder for Team Yankee last month I decided that perhaps a modern campaign would be a good choice and change of pace. The decision was made easier as Battlefront has released a Red Thunder campaign kit!

It has been a long time since I painted up a 15mm army, so thought I should do up a store army to kick off the Campaign. As I had not many sales for the East Germans I thought I would do up a list for them so that all the factions were present (turns out there will be three EG armies!).

Here is the 100pt list I came up with for the store:

9th Panzer Division Kampfgruppe 100
Panzer Battalion 47
Bn Hq 1x T-55 1
Tnk Co 6x T-55 8
Tnk Co 6x T-55 8
Tnk Co 6x T-72 19
Recon Plt 2x BRDM-2 1
SAM Plt 2x SA-13 2
AA Sec 2x ZSU-23 2
ART 3x Carnation 6
BTR Mot-Schutzen Battalion 39
Bn Hq 1x BTR-60, 1x Cmd Team 1
BTR-60 Co 9x BTR-60, 1x PKLMG, 6x RPG7, 7x MG, 1x AT-4 12
BTR-60 Co 5x BTR-60, 3x RPG7, 4x MG, 1xAG-17 6
Tnk Co 7x T-55 10
AT Plt 3x Spandrel Zug 2
Recon Plt 2x BRDM-2 1
ART 3x Carnation 6
AA 2x SA-9 1
Division Support 14
AT Plt 3x Spandrel 2
Rocket 3x BM-21 Hail 5
Air 2x SU-25 7

The first thing I noticed about this list is that it has a ton of vehicles, 66 in total! I am actually not sure this will even be playable on a 6'x4' table. With generous help from Battlefront, I began getting the models and assembling them ... and by "I", I really mean Steve, who did most of the assembling. This left me able to turn my attention to painting them all up.

The easy solution was to just use Battlefront's Soviet Green and spray the whole lot, a little dark grey on the tires, tracks and HMG's, rust up the tracks, wash the whole vehicle and call it good! I'd easily have all sixty six done in a single day. But that would just be plain boring!

As this is a fictitious war, I went with the idea that the NVA authorized camouflaged for their vehicles a few years earlier than 1988. The Volks Armee book from Battlefront has steps on how to do this camo scheme. But when looking at the colors needed, plus my decades of painting experience, I started having reservations about how the scheme would look on the 15mm vehicles, especially the "white".

So I started searching online for color suggestions and came across a website in german that had images from the army manual for painting the camo scheme. But more importantly I read that the white/black camo scheme was an amendment issued in April of '88 . The original order was for beige and brown (see translation below).

The Ministry of National Defense of the GDR introduced a new camouflage for the NVA in the late 1980s with the instruction "Distortions on combat technology, armament and equipment" . The prescription differentiated a three-color summer and a two-color winter coat, which should be applied to all combat and combat support vehicles. Olive green was the basic color for summer as well as for winter. The summer camouflage initially saw an additional blotch from the two supplementary colors brown and beige.

I thought this scheme would look better than the black and white, and while it is possible no actual vehicles were ever painted in these colors ... mine were going to be! I had intended to just do the tanks in the camo, but it seems that all vehicles were camo'd so I resigned myself to painting camo on sixty six vehicles ...

The camo is more of hard edge, but as I was not going to mask out all those vehicles, nor hand paint the edges so I ended up with feathered edges when using my Airbrush. Interestingly I also found out that each Warsaw Pact nation had its own "green", so all the research on what would work for soviet green was moot as the East Germans green was much brighter.

The Tank Battalion sans SP Artillery
After a a little experimenting I settled on the following steps:

 1) Green rattle can primer (Battlefront TYP292 NATO Green).
 2) Overspray of brighter green with the airbrush (Model Air 71094 Green Zinc Chrome)
 3) Airbrushed on brown patches (Model Air 71043 Olive Drab)
 4) Airbrushed beige patches (Model Air 71023 Hemp)
 5) Painted the tires and mg's in dark grey (Model Color 70994 Dark Grey)
 6) Painted the "get unstuck log" random color of brown (Model Color ???)
 7) Washed the whole vehicle (Army Painter WP1134 Soft Tone)
 8) At the same time muddy up the tracks (Secret Weapon Pigment WP1003 Clay Brown)
 9) Apply Decals and Clear Coat

Not 100% sure I'll decal all the vehicles, but will do a lot of the East German shields ... Now onto the 32 vehicles for the Motor Battalion!

Read part two

Monday, July 17, 2017

Russia 1943 - KGCII

Mark drove up from Olympia last Saturday to host a game of Kampfgruppe Commander II. He has an extensive collection of 15mm WWII Germans and Soviets so it was no surprise that the scenario pitted four battalions of Germans assaulting a russian fortified line. Well ok it was only one battalion of very good Germans and three battalions of not so good Hungarians attacking so so russian infantry regiments.

The axis force had to clear the center lane and capture the Village sitting astride the road. The Soviet main line of defense sat along an east west road, centered on a fortified hamlet at the crossroads, though they had refused their right flank.

The Axis plan was to have the German battalion sweep wide left and outflank the soviet line, they were to be supported by a battalion of Hungarian infantry. Two other Hungarian battalions would attack down the center to keep the Russians from reinforcing the flank. The Soviet plan was just to hold up in their field works and wait for the tanks to arrive.

Soviet strongpoint in the center. This proved to hard of a nut to crack for the Hungarians.

Two Hungarian battalions preparing to attack.

German Bn crossing its start line.

Supporting Hungarian infantry companies.

The Axis attack on the soviet right flank got off to a slow start. Terrain disrupted the movements and the Hungarians supporting attack stalled out quickly. However after massive artillery and mortar fire on the hilltop location, the Germans eventually got around the flank (covered by a woods) and forced the remnants of the defending Russian battalion to retire.

Hungarian infantry moving forward to attack.

The Germans were supported by a veteran StuG III company.

Hungarians finally move up and occupy the vacant hilltop fortifications.
By this time the Hungarian commander called off the attack on the hamlet. There were just too many russians to make an assault, and russians had moved down to flank them on the right. Soviet tanks also showed up at this time.
This small hamlet was bombarded extensively. The Soviet defends dug in and could not be dislodge.

Relief is coming!

T-34's finally show up.
 As it became clear there was no threat in the center, most of the Russian tank regiment moved to counter the Germans flanking the Russian line. While the Germans got the better of the Russians, and had completely turned the flank, they did not have enough troops to push the reformed flank back onto the village.
Most of the tank regiment moved to stem the Soviet right flank.

Though battered Soviet infantry holds on in the hamlet.

The Germans just about to turn right and attack the Soviet flank.

T-70's raced to cover the flank ... went into action and were knocked out quickly.

T-34's with infantry support cover the open area. They were later driven off from Stug and mortar fire.
We called the game after several hours of gaming. The axis side felt they did not have enough troops to effectively continue the attack, even though they had turned the flank and the German battalion was in relatively good shape.

We all thought it would be a cool idea to take this result, adjust the table somewhat and game out a follow up attack by the axis side. We'll see if that comes to fruition, as I suspect Ken will be hosting the next game and there was talk of British...