Friday 29 December 2023

Plugging the same Gap again

In need of a game to entertain Lloyd and I a couple of weeks ago I reassembled the 'Plugging the Gap' scenario I'd run several times back in 2020 (see here and subsequent posts).  I duly set it up a couple of days before and we cracked through it in a little under two hours - so pretty much real time.  Lloyd commanded the US lackeys while I provided the forces of scientific socialism with inspired and ideologically sound leadership.  So exciting was it that I quite forgot to take photos until GT6!  Just don’t ask whose artillery is landing on that Motor Rifle battalion.... 

The Soviet cunning plan.
Mostly lifted from a previous plan but drawn on clear acetate to offer a veneer of professionalism.
The US defended a little further back than previous incarnations of this scenario. Here they are skulking in cover and exchanging fire with units of 1 GTR

After seven turns the jittery capitalists fled west, so the Sov advance can continue.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Delightfully dynamic decal delivery

 While sorting out some 1:300 Cold War aircraft I decided that I ‘needed’ more decals. In particular I wanted East German markings, so it was off to the internet in search of such things. And of course you can’t just order one sheet..

An order was duly placed with Flight Deck Decals. Less than a week later the order had crossed the Atlantic and was in my hands!  Great service. 

I’ll have photos of more completed aircraft soon. 

Monday 18 December 2023

Cold War aircraft refurbishment - part 2

While in the 1/300 aircraft repair 'groove', I decided to attend to some of my fleet of helicopters.  

Short lengths of brass rod were drilled into the top of each heli.  Clear discs were cut from OHP transparent sheet.  I achieved the circles by drawing round various sizes of mdf bases with a permanent marker pen.  It's really difficult to cut a circle but I find that it's the ink line which draws the eye.  The centre of each disc is drilled to fit over the brass rod and secured in place using a small dab of PVA.
Before and after.  A great improvement.

Sunday 17 December 2023

Cold War aircraft refurbishing - part 1

A recently arrived gift of some 1/300 scale Cold War toys (thanks Alan!) prompted a long overdue stocktake in my boxes of aircraft. After some paintwork repairs I delved into the decal box and was able to smarten up a few models. Here we have RAF Harriers, Tornado and Jaguar, along with a West German Tornado. 
The exercise prompted me to order more decals - more on this after they arrive. 

Monday 11 December 2023

Verdun 1916 in 54mm - Fort de Vaux

 Yet another 54mm Great War game now - and another (long-awaited) trip to Verdun!

This saw the debut outing for several 'new' toys, including a small batch of beautifully painted (and converted) figures I picked up at the Plastic Warrior show in May.

German officers pose for a photo shortly before the battle.  These rather splendid chaps arrived from eBay a few days before the game!  The real German generals were Martin, Pete and Graham, while French interests were represented by John and Russell.

In their pre-game briefings I gave the Germans and the French 300 and 100 points respectively to spend on additional assets.  The resultant 'shopping lists' were as follows:


40 - gas artillery shells to cover the beaten area chosen 

23 - 303 Rgt as higher quality troops 

20 - pioneers to improve the 301 and 302 positions

10 - contest aviation to achieve air superiority

2 - RFC recce

2 - AAA

2 - field telephones between the three starting positions and artillery

1 - any remaining assets to super heavy artillery 5km off map.



50 - super heavy guns

50 - air recce

30 - flamethrowers

50 -  field telephones

30 - hospital

30 - improved roads

30 - visit from a dignitary

30 - film crew

Once we had the terrain (such as it was) set up, the Germans made an artillery fire plan while the French laid telephone lines using red wool.  We couldn't resist de-colouring some of the photos for atmosphere.  Above are French trenches under heavy artillery fire.
Clash of bayonets!  
Germans approach the mighty Fort De Vaux.  It may only be badly carved insulation form but it looks pretty terrifying from this angle!
Another scary fortification was the Batterie de Damloup, but the Germans weren't deterred.
The field of Mars - a faithful* recreation of the terrain.

The horrors of war!  One of the more harrowing sights was the German players laying down a withering hail of er, matchsticks.
Speaking of German artillery.  Field and heavy batteries.

Stormtroopers er, storming forward.
The extensive network of French telephone cables was soon disrupted by....
...German artillery fire!

The lightly held French front line had been further weakened by artillery fire...
...and the Germans were soon in control of parts of the trench line.
Batterie de Damloup took a couple of attempts to capture

I've probably mentioned before - it's a comfortable carpet to kneel or sit on!

Eventually German forces closed on Fort de Vaux.  I represented the garrison by placing some figures in the courtyard.  The Germans attacked from the rear - the rotters!  The fort's commander, Cdt. Raynal was by now reduced to trying to dispatch his few remaining carrier pigeons to request help, as the telephone lines had all been cut.
The Germans lost no time in setting up a communications hub on the fort's roof, even while fighting continued inside.  Meanwhile Raynal's last pigeon finally made it to Verdun where like it's historical counterpart (Le Vaillant) it promptly dropped dead.  Many shoulders were shrugged back at HQ.

Combat in the fort's interior was resolved by the time-honoured 'stone/scissors/paper' method.  And some people think I make this up as I go along.

In the German rear area (sorry) the senior officers' latrine saw much action.
French ration party rushing forward with fresh supplied of bread and Pinard.

Eventually the fort was captured and the Germans were handed the keys.  Historically Raynal was taken to meet the German Crown Prince.
I was pleased that my gas mask-equipped stormtroopers happened to have been committed to the sector which saw (French) gas attacks.
As always, this was the key reference and inspiration, while the map has been used in several games.

The 'Otto Dix' photo.  Clearly the look of things to come!  Be afraid...