Friday 26 August 2016

Somme enchanted evening

A couple of weeks after the Somme game reported here earlier I ran a cut-down version at the Sheffield club.  Why cut-down?  Two reasons:
1. pressure of time - I wanted it to be playable in an evening
2. I had to provide almost 100% of the kit!
Among the new items I had prepared for this game was the German battery above.  An Emhar model and figures.  The dog came with a toy wagon.
With my own bodged tranches and bunkers and the help of Martin's trenches we constructed a German front line over 20 feet across!
John entered into the spirit of things with his (plastic) helmet.  Martin and new chap Tom also joined the Brits.  The Jerries were led by er, Jerry.

Fokkers balloon busting.  Or trying to.
Looking across the playing area - with the players trying to look as if they're not involved...

 British recce gets hit by 'party popper' flak.
The British artillery fire concentrated on a few targets.  And even hit some of them.
Martin (in a hessian covered repro helmet) and John looking like a pair of dodgy Airfix re-casts.
My Hannover got into action.  Well for photographs anyway.

 When the troops went 'over the top' the result was all too predictible.

The wicked Germans skulking in their fortifications.

Once again most of the harvest of death was gathered by the German machine guns.  These are plastic recasts of old Charbens Russians with Armies in Plastic heads.

Casualty rates were similar to the original game.  And indeed the original battle.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Aircraft stands

In need of some aircraft stands for the indoor Somme game I picked up some 3-foot lengths of 12mm dowel and sank them into holes drilled in squares of remarkably heavy plywood.  The bases were then painted the same green I use for figure bases.  As they were needed in a rush for the Somme game the aircraft were held on with blobs of blu-tac.  More recently though, I decided to adopt a more robust solution.  I drilled out the end of each stand and glued a short length of wire (cut from a wire coat hanger) into position.
The models are then drilled and slot on to the stand.  No casualties so far!
I'll soon have more news on this old but new to me Bristol Fighter and it's many chums.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Hogging the limelight - part 2

Remember the Warthog build from earlier this month?  Well here it is finished at last.
I went for a green/green/grey camo finish and used the kit decals.  This last turned out to be a problem which eventually required three coats of varnish on the affected areas to make the decals adhere properly.
Still, for an old kit it looks OK.

Monday 22 August 2016

Somme day I'll find you - part 5 (the last)

 We left the action as the troops went 'Over the Top', confident of an artillery-wrought victory. Sadly as the Tommies approached the Jerry lines... became clear that they were still well defended.  This is because, as with the historical bombardment, many of our shells were duds.  The failure rate was 50% in most sectors, with some as high as 80%.
 Consequently gaps began appearing in the British battalions.  This is 1st Black Watch.

 1st Knuston Pals
  2nd Knuston Pals
    The German machine guns chattered incessantly 
 The Black Watch gets tantalisingly close to the mine crater
 By now the survivors of the Sheffield Pals have gone to ground in shell holes.
 Black Watch survivors go prone   
  And so, as in 1916 the attack stalled with appalling casualties.
The Black Watch suffered 70% casualties including Lt. Col J.G.Robertson and Sgt H.Gow
Among the 'Pals' battalions in my brigade the casualty rates were as follows:
Sheffield City Battalion - 60%, including the Colonel and most officers and NCOs
1st Knuston Pals - 65% including the Colonel and most officers and NCOs
2nd Knuston Pals - 40%
Makes you think, doesn't it?
 This chap and his ilk have much to answer for.

Saturday 20 August 2016

A hasty Hannover - part 2

I wanted to try to replicate the 'lozenge' pattern camo which appeared on some late war German aircraft and having dismissed the idea of painting regular geometric shapes I gave the Hannover a base coat of dark blue and then topped it with 'blobs' of pale blue, olive green, yellow-green, yellow and purple.  It seems to have produced the right effect.
Decals came with the kit - to British eyes at least there are few more sinister emblems than big black crosses!

Friday 19 August 2016

Somme day I'll find you - part 4

 During a final short, sharp bombardment, the troops assembled to go 'over the top'.
Two brigades were deployed, each of four battalions.  I provided one brigade comprised of one regular battalion and three of the newly raised 'Pals' battalions.   I decided to name each of the figures in the Pals battalions to get the full effect of the appalling casualties suffered by some such units in July 1916.
These were 1st Battalion of The Black Watch, This was my 'local' regiment and Armies in Plastic obligingly make a set of figures in kilts and Glengarries.  The 'Pals' units were:
12 Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment (Sheffield City Battalion).  I named these figures after members of Sheffield Wargames Society.
1 & 2 Battalions, the (fictional) South Midland Regiment.  Better know as The Knuston Pals, the figures of these battalions were names after attendees at this year's Conference of Wargamers.

 The other brigade was provided by PW and JW.  It's units included The Accrington Pals and that rather less well know unit, The Harrogate Loose Acquaintances.
 At Zero Hour whistles were blown (no really) and the troops went over the top.  Here the Sheffield City Battalion surges forth.
 The Black Watch advance in a professional manner. 
At that very moment the British mine was detonated.  We had chosen one of the German MG bunkers near the junction of the communication trench to the rear.
 The resulting immense crater was scattered with corpses.
So after massive bombardment, a successful mine detonation and with overwhelming numbers the attack would surely succeed.  Wouldn't it?