Friday, 21 September 2018

Gnuston Heights - part 1 - All along the watchtower

An Israeli watchtower goads the Syrians by flying a big flag.
Looking west (right) with the AT ditch in the foreground.

Like many fine games, this one started rather by accident.  In late May a certain individual – let’s just call him 'Ian' – emailed me a photo of a couple of Israeli aircraft he had just completed.  Following a process neither of us can remember, a few days later we had booked  the lawn at Knuston Hall and ‘marketed’ the game to potential players

This was by some margin the biggest yet Little Cold Wars game.  We’d previously had six players and a total of three brigades back in 2015.  The er, 'plan' was to fight through the first day of the Syrian assault on Golan.
This year on 31st July nine of us gathered the lawn – a better scale model of the Golan Heights you’d struggle to find! 
The toys were the usual ‘wrong but somehow right’ mix of 1/32 figures, 1/48ish AFVs and 1/72 aircraft, mostly provided by Ian and I, though Bertrand and Russell also contributed.
Photos by me unless otherwise captioned.
 Syrian strike aircraft (MiG-17 and MiG-19) overfly the border.  The latter is in the process of falling off it's flight stand while making it look like a skillful aerobatic manoeuvre
 Israeli Mirage III fighters scramble to intercept
 The key town of Kuneitra, seen from the north

 All along the watchtower.  Part of the Israeli 'Purple Line' with two tank platoons in attendance.
And there was plenty to watch.  Syrian armour masses for the attack (this and the next two photos by Ian Drury)

 Wave after....
 ...wave of Syrian aircraft flew over the border to attack the Israeli positions...
...but some of their pilots looked overly hirstute (photo by Ian Drury)

 Even FROG missile were fired - to no effect!
While some of the Syrian AFVs  - like this SU-100 had clearly been in the area for some time, others had apparently been shipped straight from Soviet units.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Tankette MkI

The recent Ebro game saw the debut outing of my bodged tankettes. Here are the Mk.1,  a later post will cover the Mk.2. I’ll let you study the first two photos and try to guess what it’s based on. The punchline comes in the final pic.
The crew figures are from a 1/35 set - either Italeri or ICM I think - of WW2 Soviet tankers. The signal flags were an irresistible addition!

Monday, 17 September 2018

news from Spain - part 3

By now Nationalist reinforcements were arriving in decent numbers.  These Panzer I were accompanied by a captured T-26.
This company of Moorish infantry reinforced the depleted force defending Hill 77.
I sent a second company of Moors into Gandesa and sent the armour (if you can call it that!) round the right in the hope of taking the International Bde in the flank.
Soon the Moors hoisted their flag over the ruins of Gandesa.
As the Reds readied their final assault on Gandesa another air raid further thinned their ranks.

Endgame.  After bitter fighting a few surviving International Bde troops occupied the two buildings on the right of the photo.  At which point the Commissar ordered a retreat...

In short then a clear victory for the forces of law an order with the Reds put to flight following the loss of all of their tanks.

Military learning points:  the future of warfare is the 'holy trinity' of the tankette, the 37mm AT gun and the tri-motor bomber.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

news from Spain - part 2

Having only a single battalion to cover a rather wide - 4km or so - frontage and in view of the Reds’ heavy concentration of artillery, I had decided to spread my three companies quite widely.  In the south a company occupied this ruined monastery on what became known as 'Hill 77'.
The Reds sent forward a battalion of Asaltos to take Hill 77.
In the north, the Reds deployed an infantry battalion, a cavalry regiment and a tank battalion.  It looked like a walkover...
...but they had reckoned without our chums from the Condor Legion and their battery of mighty 37mm AT guns.  If your tank armour has the consistency of damp tissue paper then a 37 is really quite effective!  From memory the AT battery saw off three T-26 tanks before being destroyed.
Hill 77 also attracted a bombing raid.  Happily not a very good one.
Another flight of SB.2 swooped low over Gandesa.
Meanwhile the Red cavalry-mechanised group provided an irresistible target for our Italian allies. The bombing was gratifyingly effective and the cavalry was largely neutralised.
Back to the east (front) of Gandesa the International Brigade continued it's attack.  It wasn;t loooking good for the legitimate forces of law and order.
Things didn't even go well for my reinforcements - the yellow bus provided a great target for the very accurate Republican gunners.