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...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1777 Saratoga Campaign - Sharps Practice 2

So our SP2 Mexican-American War II has been going pretty well ... we just finished round three and I am prepping for round four which will be our 1st "big" game where all six of us will be at the same table.

That said, most of us are already working on our forces for the next narrative campaign: 1777 Saratoga. I am no exception and have finished my first group for my Mixed British-Loyalist force ... British Grenadiers!

Eight Grenadiers from the 20th Regiment of Foot
The 20th Regiment of Foot has already had combat experience, assisting in the relief of Quebec in May 1776. The grenadiers will be the hard hitting unit of my force, ie my foot cavalry.

Lt. Whitham of the Flank Company, 20th Regiment of Foot
The Grenadier detachment is led by Lieutenant Whitham, who is familiar with the colonies due to his family having holdings in New York. An experienced officer serving with the 20th for several years; he is the senior lieutenant of the force.

1777 British Mixed Column 99 elements from Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser Advance Corps
Leader III 9 Major Stedman
Leader I 3 Ensign Bramley
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
3pdr (1+5) 6
Indians (12) 7
Leader II 6 Lieutenant Fraser
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Leader I 3 Lieutenant Beaubien
Loyalist Ranger Skirmishers (6) - Canadians 7 3rd Company (quebec)
Leader I 3 Sargeant Trahan
Loyalist Ranger Skirmishers (6) - Canadians 7 3rd Company (quebec)
Leader I 3 Lieutenant Whitham
Grenadiers (8) 7 20th Rgt
Musician 1 24th Rgt
Exploring Officer or Scout 3 Ensign Adams of Adam's Rangers
Specialist - Marksman 2 from Captain Frasers Ranger Company
Water Cart 2