Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Hint of Things to Come!

I wanted to put out a teaser of some things that I've been working for the blog. I've really wanted to add more content than just things I've painted and battle reports every post. The first thing coming will be for Flames of War and will be some supplementary lists for Early War French!

Coming Soon!

I disappeared down a rabbit hole chasing French tanks for several months. I knew little about the French Army in WWII besides things I'd learned in passing reading German accounts. But that has been rectified! Just like I did with the Arab Israeli Wars, I have devoured any book on the 1940 French Campaign that I could find and have made a few lists to fill in the gaps in the Flames of War Blitzkrieg book.

These posts will have more history and information along with modeling articles for the French tanks that Battlefront does not make, and then the lists and some battle reports. The lists I'm working on are for the 4th DCR (including the Renault D2 tanks) in May 1940, the 4th and 7th BCC (with FCM 36 tanks) and the 67th BCC (with Renault D1 tanks).

So while you wait, check out a teaser of some miniatures!

FCM-36 tanks.

FCM-36 tanks.

Renault Char D2 tanks (with a Char B1 bis).

Char D2's.

Char D1.

Char D1.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Battletech Alpha Strike - Combined Arms

Recently Bryan and I got together to play a 350 point Battletech Alpha Strike game. We went with combined arms forces, each of us had to have a mech lance, a armored lance and some infantry.

We have been using some of the advanced rules, specifically the variable damage rule, which totally changes the game. Variable damage means that for each point of damaged caused the shooting player rolls a dice, on a 4+ a point of damage is applied if not, the hit does not cause damage. Which means that if you are hit by a power heavy mech, it is not automatically the end, you take 6 points of damage. It does, of course, make the game longer as your mechs can survive a lot longer.

I went with a powerful Assault Lance of mechs with a Stalker, Atlas, Flashman and Maurauder. Then a fast, somewhat powerful, hover tank lance with two Drillsons and two Maxim transport tanks. The infantry had two teams of Grenadier BA, and two of Cavalier BA. My main punch was in the mech lance.

My mercenary Gun Dogs force.

Combined arms to the max.

Bryan had a mech lance with a Thunderbolt, Hunchback, Trebuchet and a Shadowhawk. His vehicle lance had two LRM carriers, and two Patton tanks. His infantry consisted of three teams of Cavalier BA and three teams of Longinus BA. Byrans force was well balanced with the mech and vehicle lances able to put out a ton of damage. The two LRM carriers and the Trebuchet could put out 5 damage out medium and long range each, that is rough.

Bryans force definitely had a lot of damage potential with the LRM carriers.

The board.

A dust up around a research station.

The Flashman with the loaded Maxim hover transports.

My forces moving up on the left flank.

Flashman watching for the enemy.

The assault lance watching out from the woods.
The Grenadier power armored troops bailing out of the transports.

The game progressed pretty well, I pushed up my APC's, BA and the Flashman on the left flank to take on Bryan's LRM's and BA infantry. Over a few turns I was able to destroy the LRM carriers and the infantry on that flank, but not before the LRM's put a ton of damage on my assault mechs.

In the center my slow assault mechs crawled towards the center woods and the tanks hidden within, Bryan's mechs also were hiding behind those woods. Over the first four turns my assault mechs consistantly missed his two Patton tanks or just did no damage to them when I hit. During those turns his LRM's plastered my assaults and his tanks hammered my mechs as well.

The infantry are hunting the LRM carriers who were a serious thorn in my side.

The Patton tanks were holding my assaults up way beyond their stats.

Maxims taking on the LRMs.

Bryans mechs hiding from my assaults and firing at my infantry and tanks.

The Cavalier battle armor are slowing trudging forward.

The assaults cannot take out the Patton tanks.

The enemy battle armor is also proving a pest.

The Cavilier's take out their counterparts.

The Patton tanks won't die!
By the time I had taken out his LRM's and the Patton tanks, my assault mechs were wrecked! All of them had taken structural damage and had crits on them. This was the time that Bryan pushed up his mechs for the kill.
Bryan's mechs are still very fresh.

Shadowhawk went for the weaker armor of the Atlas.

The mech battle is joined!
My mechs were in rough shape and Bryans are still fresh.

The Flashman missed... again.

That Trebuchet throws out the damage!
The last few turns were focused on the center of the battlefield in a swirling close range battle. It was a close thing but in the end Bryan's fresh mechs were able to topple my assault mechs. The Stalker missed two critical close range shots at the Shadowhawk and then at the Hunchback, as did the Flashman, three turns in a row it missed! However, Bryan's damage rolls were awful those last turns as well, so the dice do balance things out.

A fun Alpha Strike game, as always. Next game we will be running missions instead of just line up and shoot each other!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Flames of War - EW French vs British

Last weekend some of the guys and I met at the local shop to play some Early War Flames of War Version 4 games. I brought my Early War French and Germans and Robert brought his British Expeditionary Force. One of the new players, Brandon, was there and I let him use my French to take on Rob's BEF, since neither of them have played a V4 game yet.

I will start with this caveat, I can put together almost any French list and I made Brandon a pretty well balanced armored list. Robert literally had to put in every single British tank he had in his list just to get to 1500 points, as he doesn't have much beyond the old box set. That meant his force was much less than ideal, also he was fighting french tanks that have pretty good armor.

Also, we will just say that Robert has little regard for the French military in World War II. It is an understatement to say that he is rather vocal about his position. Just remember that for later!

We decided to just play a free-for-all with their 1500 point armies.

The French force consisted of:

  • Somua S35 - HQ
  • Somua S35 Platoon - 5 tanks
  • Hotchkiss H39 Platoon - 4 tanks
  • Hotchkiss H39 Platoon - 4 tanks
  • AMD 35 Platoon - 5 AMD 35 armored cars
  • 75mm Artillery Battery - 4 75mm guns

The British force was made up of:

  • A10 Crusier MK II and Light Mk VI C - HQ
  • Armored Company - 5 A13 Mk III, 1 A9 Mk I CS, and 3 Mk VI C light tanks
  • Armored Company - 5 A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV, 1 A9 Mk I CS, 3 Mk VI B and 3 Mk VI C light tanks

Cruiser Mk III A13's trying to increase their armor, with a bunker.
Cruiser Mk IV, A13 Mk II's they are fine, they have extra armor, right?

The regiment and company HQ's.

The French lines.

The really killers on the board, Somua S35's.

Another platoon of Hotchkiss tanks on the left flank.

Those French 75's are bad news.

I painted these guys like they were from the 3rd DLM.
On turn one, the British rushed tow platoons of A13 cruisers into a field to take on the Somua S35's, while the other three A13's and the CS tanks moved that way to help. The British tanks have an anti tank rating of 7 so could do some damage. However the few hits that were made bounced harmlessly off the armor of the S35's.

In their phase the French mainly remained stationary and fired into the A13 cruisers, gutting both platoons.

It is a stare-down!

But only for a minute.
The other Cruisers re-think their next move.

Fine gunnery from the stationary S35's.

The Vickers Mk VI light tanks decide to not mess with the Somua's,

In the following turn the remaining couple of bailed cruisers from the first two platoons fled the battlefield after failing ro remount and the remaining platoon of A13's realized that there was no longer anyone to support on that flank, moved back to defend the right objective. The nine Vickers light tanks hide around the objective on the left, ready to rush out suicidally to contest it if the Somuas went for it.

The Somua tanks moved forwards towards the left objective, with the HQ S35 moving back to guard the British objective on that side of the board. The Hotchkiss tanks on the left struggled to get out of the woods. The Panhard armored cars on the right poked around and took a few shots at the British HQ on the that side, with no effect. While the French gunners pushed their guns up, trying to get in range.

S35's pushing forward.

The A10 Mk II command and Vickers Mk VI 2iC.

The Panhard AMD 35's start to probe the right flank.

And the Hotchkiss tanks move up in support.
Turn three saw little movement and a small amount of shooting as both sides shifted their forces.

The British bailed a few Panhards and and tried to machinegun others with the CS tanks.

The French  moved up the 75mm guns again and with the Panhard armored cars knocked out a couple of tanks from the HQ platoons. Both Hotchkiss platoons struggled in the woods again, but most of their tanks were out.

The Panhards feel good with the 75's in support.

A surviving A9 Mk I CS decides to go out in a blaze of glory, it only has smoke rounds.

The Regiment commander is trying his best to hold out.

The H39's on the right go hunting for Vickers light tanks.

On turn four the British knocked out a couple of Panhard AMD 35's and the last remaining CS tank charged bravely into their midst, machinegun turrets blazing, ineffectually... A plaoon of Vickers Mk VI's tried to rush over to the right on the road, in order to help their Regimental commander.

The French S35's were now on the French objective on the left flank with Hotchkiss H39's in support. The H39's on the right also moved up to support the Panhards. The French return fire from the 75mm guns and Panhard's knocked out all the remaining A13 Mk II cruiser Mk IV's. Also on the right, a H39, with it's tiny 37mm SA18 gun, knocked out the brave CS cruiser. Then on the left flank, the Somua S35's decimated the Vickers tanks on the road at point blank range.

At this point Robert conceded as his force was almost entirely destroyed!

Good armor and gun, what does it matter how many men are in the turret?

The company commander has been holding the dreaded "88" the whole game.
This objective belongs to us, Englander!

That extra armor was not quite enough.

Tiny tanks rolling out.

It was the tiny SA18 gun on the Hotchkiss that ended the A9 MkI CS!

I will admit that it was fun to see Robert beaten by his hated enemy, the French! Of course his list was at a distinct disadvantage against the list he was fighting.

The one man turret rule change helps the French out a lot! Just a blanket +1 to hit instead of not being able to move and shoot is a huge change.

Overall, I think both Robert and Brandon had a good time, one more than the other, and gained a pretty good understanding of the Version 4 changes.