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Tuesday, 26 April 2022

WW2: Attack on a Railway Town

Playtesting of my adaption of the WRG 1973 rules for the 1925-1950 period continues. I recently developed a scenario to test the rules with some significant forces, and thought it might be of interest to readers to present the scenario as a generic WW2 game that you can adapt to your own rules and figures.

Scenario
The action involves an attack on a small town where a railway and road cross. The defenders can deploy anywhere in the top half of the table, whilst the attackers advance from their baseline at the bottom of the map on turn 1. Some armour reinforcements arrive for the defender on one of the first three turns via road 'X'. The attacker is tasked with taking the town, and also if possible controlling the road that leaves the table via 'X'. The defender is tasked with preventing this occurring.

The map shows a 6' x 4' table. North can be any direction you want.

Terrain
The wooded hills in the lower left corner are steep/difficult (whatever term your rules adopt) and the woods here are dense. These hills can only be crossed by infantry. The other woods are open, and all other hills are gentle. The hedged field in the centre is ploughed and will slow movement. The 'factory' can be any large building, or you can substitute a village of 2 or 3 houses.

Forces
These are given for rules adopting a 1:1 figure and model scale. Adapting them for a different scale should be no problem.

Attacker
Force HQ
Tank Company of 3 platoons, each of 4 tanks
Reduced Infantry Company of 2 platoons
Artillery Battery (off-table) of 4 guns in direct support (with AFO on-table)
Mortar Battery (off-table) of 6 weapons in direct support (with MFO on-table)

In my games the attacker also had a preparatory barrage available - I leave players to work out the details according to their own rules. For the infantry company, choose whatever support weapons you feel are appropriate - MMGs, light mortars, infantry guns, or perhaps even an SP gun of some kind to add spice.

Defender
Force HQ
Reduced Infantry Company of 2 platoons
Armoured Recce platoon (armoured cars or similar)
AA Section (defending the railway station - must deploy within 10" of the rail/road intersection)
Artillery Battery (off-table) of 4 guns in general support (with AFO on-table)
Mortar Battery (off-table) of 4 weapons in direct support (with MFO on-table)
Tank Platoon of 3-4 tanks, initially off-table. 
Defender rolls pre-game: 1,2 tanks arrive at 'X' on turn 1; 3,4 arrive turn 2; 5,6 arrive turn 3.

The defender's infantry company should have 2-3 anti-tank guns attached. The AA section should also have 2-3 weapons, with 1 or 2 of these being effective against tanks. The recce section might seem out of place in a defending force but their presence adds interest and assumes they have been thrown in to bolster the defence regardless of their normal role.

Notes
Depending on the period and forces chosen, it may be useful to rate the defenders a little lower for morale and skill than the attackers. I suggest that the reinforcing tanks should be of equivalent quality to the attackers. I leave the final balance to you. As for air support, I included a random air support factor, which meant that either side might get a section of ground attack aircraft over the table on any move, but adopting a fairly low chance of this happening.

Photos
Below are a small selection of photos from 2 games - the first set in Russia 1943 with the Russians as the attacker (held at Roy's house), the second set in Poland 1939 (against Paul at my house) with the Germans attacking. These are just snaps with an iphone so excuse the quality.

1943. No need for roads to be marked in the snow-covered terrain. Note the
'dummy counters' indicating where defending units might or might not be.

T-34s supported by a KV-2. A bit late in the war for the latter, but I couldn't resist the model.

German armour moves out to counter-attack. I was rather taken with Roy's
Litko 'flaming wreckage' markers and bought some for myself.

1939. An overview of the terrain

The German advance on the town.

More Germans attack via the wooded valley.

The factory under pressure.

As can be seen, the rules produced a bloody battle. Burning wrecks litter the battlefield.
Polish AA section seen in foreground behind the town.

The Rules
Both battles had numerous halts whilst rules issues were discussed. Many thanks to Roy and Paul for their tactful but honest input, and their patience. Suffice to say there is a long way to go with these rules - since these battles I have made further significant changes which now need playtesting.

Overall, it's great to be returning to face to face gaming and meeting friends once again over the wargames table. I know many gamers are feeling the same as 'normal life' resumes.

'Til next time!

EDIT 2nd May
A copy of the latest 1939 version of the rules is available HERE. The usual caveat applies - this is just the latest version of a distinctly under-tested rule set in its early stages. Also, this is for 1939 only, so only very basic stats - no armour above class E! Let me know of any problems accessing the file, which is stored on Google Drive.

EDIT 6th May
If anyone has been trying to access the rules and coming up against a permission problem, that should have now been solved. Anyone can now access the file.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Polish 7tp Tank - 3D Printing Valley

World War 2 is currently my hobby focus, mainly because of the work I'm putting in on the WRG 1973 rules. More on that elsewhere, but I recently found (as one so often does) that I needed more tanks - specifically, more Polish 7tp tanks for my 1939 collection.

The problem here is that collecting anything for the 1939 Polish campaign these days quickly hits the barrier of restricted choice, or plain unavailability, regardless of the scale you are using. Battlefront/Fow have of course ditched their early war collections (cheers guys), and I thought the only source for the 7tp in 15mm would be QRF. Unfortunately (as I thought) the QRF models are all out of stock at the moment. I have mentioned previously that the QRF Polish tank range is frankly a bit crap, and I stand by this assessment. Then, in an unusual moment of common sense, I simply searched online for 'Flames of War 7tp', hoping to find some second-hand models for sale on ebay. And what should I find but some excellent 3D printed models of the Polish 7tp tank on the ebay page of 3D Printing Valley

As you will find on following the link above, 3D Printing Valley offer a real Aladdin's cave of interesting resin kits in 1/100th and 1/56th scale, of high quality and reasonable price. I'm no expert in 3D printed models, but of those I have seen the ones from 3D Printing Valley are about the best. Let's look at some photos:

Ghost tanks. The models come in a rather interesting translucent resin,
but it was clear straight away these were first class models.

Left to right: model as received, model with undercoat, finished model.

Left to right again: FoW model, QRF model, 3D Printing model.

It was immediately clear to me that the 3D Printing model is the best kit of a 7tp in 1/100th scale that has appeared thus far. It comes in 2 pieces, turret and hull, so no construction at all is required. And it is very hard indeed to find any of the ridges that spoil so many 3D models - the whole thing is remarkably smooth.

Size-wise, the 3D Printing offering is the largest of the three examples in my collection, by a whisker, and may be a millimetre or two too long if my measuring is correct (on the other hand, both the QRF and FoW models are dimensionally incorrect, although in different ways). Nevertheless, I was very impressed. There was no finishing to be done on the 4 models I bought apart from a couple of minutes of filing required to improve the fit of the turret. There is, however, no provision for a command figure in the turret if that is your thing - a fairly major bit of surgery would be needed to put in a hatch.

Look no further for your 1/100th 7tp models - these are great and come highly recommended. I very much hope the 3D Printing Polish range, and in fact all of their ranges, will sell well and expand rapidly. Come on guys, the world needs a decent Polish Vickers tank model, and it needs it now.

Stay safe everyone, 'til next time.

Edit: 16th April
Many thanks to Will who left a comment directing me to Paint and Glue Miniatures. This 3D models company has an excellent Polish range, which includes (be still my beating heart) a very nice looking Vickers 6 ton, Polish version. Plus a TKS-D, a model I've been hankering over for many a year. 

As Will says in his comment, there is a whole range of interesting WW2 models from a variety of nations also available from these guys. Check them out. And thanks again Will!