Friday 29 November 2013

The Megablitz Archive - A Bridge Too Small - part 1

As a Friday treat here are the first of the photos from the Market Garden game played in June 2005.  The tables ran from XXX Corps' forming up area to Deelen Aerodrome, east of Arnhem.  Unless otherwise captioned, all toys are from my own collection.
Above and below: XXX Corps included a lot of exciting 'bolt-on goodies' in the shape of specialist armour.  The Croc is the Airfix kit with a scratchbuilt (not by me) trailer.  The AVRE is my old Matchbox kit.

Table 1.  That's Eindhoven nearest the camera.  The table is about 30km wide.
Table 2.  The bigger BUA near the woods in the middle is Nijmegen.  Arhnem is the BUA in the distance.  Too far away perhaps?
Nijmegen before the game.  Peaceful, isn't it?
The RAF taking photos of Arnhem and Oosterbeek.  Probably nothing there....
A raggedy-arsed collection of Germans deploy to meet XXX Corps.
The British LZs near Arnhem.  1/300 scale gliders by Heroics & Ros, painted and owned by Wg Cdr Luddite.
20mm Brits leaping out of 6mm gliders.  It must have been pretty cramped in there...
More Paras inbound near Arnhem.
What the RAF recce didn't see.  SS KG Hohenstaufen.
Elements of 82 Abn Div on the outskirts of Nijmegen.
More transports inbound!
Attack of the Giant Hands!
US Paras - 'somewhere in Holland...'
The Wg Cdr's 'Big Wing' of 1/300 Dakotas.
The German forces were mostly scratch units of survivors from previous campaigns.  A bit like the toys.
XXX Corps on the move.  
Some of the players: Adam, Jerry, Wg Cdr Luddite, Tim.
The horror!  John C and Chris W.

If you've read this far you'll be interested to hear that part 2 (of at least 5) of this sorry tale will follow in a few days.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Flags of all nations

A couple of readers asked about the removable flags I have introduced to my recent and ongoing 54mm toys.  Above is a BMC ACW figure whose paintwork would enable him to show up in several different armies during the 1860-1914 period.
The flagpole is a length of brass rod drilled and glued into the figure's hands.
The flags are laser printed on normal (80gsm) white printer paper and then wrapped round a length of brass tube and secured with PVA.  Here is the same chap serving the French Republic in 1871...
...but he is clearly keeping his options open!
The brass rod and tube was sourced in a local model shop.  The rod can be cut with pliers, the tube with a razor saw.
The four flags I recently finished.  They are finished off with a coat of gloss varnish.  This not only binds them into a shape (they are all slightly wavy) but also makes 'em showerproof!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Zouave and zophisicated

The latest batch of 54mm toys are these Zouaves.  They are HAT plastic figures form the same sets I have previously used for the Forbodian Jager battalion .  I bought six boxes of these chaps so expect another couple of units in the fullness of time!
As with all my recently completed units the flag is removable so this lot could turn up on either side in the ACW, or in various other armies - French, Turkish etc.

Monday 25 November 2013

Mare Nostrum? Part 2

I refer you to my previous post for the player briefings.  As usual both fleets sailed in dangerous clumps until my repeated warnings about collisions and torpedoes eased the ships apart a bit.  Above is the French fleet.  Scary eh?
The pride of the Regia Marina being moved by Dave (left) and Mark.  The French were led by Lloyd and Tony.  John and myself made up the umpire team.
The Italian ships.  Any scarier than the Frenchies?
All of the ships in the game were balsa scratchbuilds as first mentioned here.
As the rival fleets closed the French cruisers broke away - hoping to draw fire perhaps?
The Eyetie battleships looked pretty intimidating!
The Italians opened fire first - and some early hits were scored.
As usual my firing arrows were these conveniently shaped post-it notes.
In the hectic exchange of fire which ensued, Vittorio Veneto suffered a minor hit (seen above) amounting to 1.5% of her total points.  The other Italian ships were untouched.
The French turned for home and made smoke (most of it voluntary...).  Strasbourg lost 14% and a complete turret (half of her main battery), Dunkerque 11% and La Galissonnier (seen below) 5%.
The Italians declined to pursue and the game ended with both sides claiming victory.  Strasbourg returned to port with her 'B' turret shrouded in tarpaulins - there, so the press were told to hide 'secret equipment'.....

So - a game which occupied six players for a little over an hour using only seven toys!

Saturday 23 November 2013

Mare Nostrum? Part 1

I had promised the masses a Fletcher Pratt naval game so I needed to come up with a scenario.  During a flick through my copy of Conway's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, I noticed that the Italian Littorio class battleships were commissioned as a response to the French Dunkerque class.  What fun might there be if they were actually to meet?  The player briefings are reproduced below.  A future post will cover the action as it unfolded.
The Vittorio Veneto - a big Italian boat.
French Briefing
While the nation’s attention is focused on the French Army’s gallant fight gallantly against the German invaders, it would clearly be unwise to ignore Germany’s ally, Italy.  Accordingly, a task force consisting of the two new battleships, Dunkerque and Strasbourg, accompanied by the cruisers Montcalm and La Galissionere will stage a demonstration during the final trials of the new Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto.  You must approach to within 4 feet of the Vittorio Veneto but must not initiate hostilities against what is still a neutral power.

Once you have shown the Italians just who the Mediterranean belongs to you may return to port.

Vive La France!

Italian Briefing

Il Duce has decreed that the nation will soon engage in a glorious struggle against the decadent French.
While the French are focused on the losing battle against our glorious German allies, our Navy will stage a demonstration to show the French that the Mediterranean really is ‘Mare Nostrum’.  Accordingly, a task force consisting of the two new battleships, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto, accompanied by the cruiser Guissano will stage a demonstration during the final trials of the recently refitted French battleship Strasbourg.  You must approach to within 6 feet of the Strasbourg and unless she withdraws you may then open fire and sink her.

Once you have shown the French just who the Mediterranean belongs to you may return to port.

Friday 22 November 2013

Across the Canal, 1981

This game has already been reported on Martins blog - here and here.  So now that you've had the balanced view it must be time for the frothing Soviet propaganda!  Above can be seen the brave lads of 200th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment in their starting positions.
The game used Martin's 2mm toys and Hexon terrain.  My forces consisted of a reinforced Motor Rifle Regiment tasked with carrying out a canal crossing near Brunswick.
Kayte posing with my Soviet Special Forces beret'
The lead motor rifle battalions reached the canal in short order - only to find that the capitalist imperialist fascist pigs had blown the bridges.  The rotters!  Lucky we brought all that bridging gear....
NATO reinforcements - in the shape of a British column - were detected by our Frontal Aviation assets.  A flight of SU-17 Fitters soon swooped....
...and though the bombs went astray the Brits failed a morale check by rolling a '1'.
An overview of the battlefield.
RAF Harriers were in action trying to discourage our glorious engineers...
...and failing miserably!
A Soviet airmobile battalion was inserted across the canal on a crucial road junction.
When more Brits - including tanks - appeared, more air attacks followed by Fitters...
...and helicopters.
Back at the canal, the defenders of the Motherland were in the process of building another bridge, 
while tank and AT units laid down covering fire.
By now the crossings were pretty secure and is was a case of keeping up the pressure on the capitalists.
Even the accuracy of the Soviet air attacks improved - here are Mi-24s making life tricky for the Brits.
British Lynx helicopters were in action too - but were soon swept from the sky.
A British counterattack gave the paras some worrying moments but luckily the decadent
 imperialists' morale broke and they were unable to press home the attack.
The game ended with the Soviet bridgehead and route to the west secure, while the Brits were in flight.  Urrah!