Sunday, 21 January 2018

More minis painted

I have finally got round to painting a backlog of Early War vehicles, along with some new acquisitions. Still missing a few things, but well on the way to completing my EW armies, thanks to Rapid Fires new Early War book.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

"Peace For Our Time" - Early War Tank Formations

Happy New Year to you all.

"Peace for our time" - proclaimed Chamberlain in 1938. Although Hitler had other ideas. 1939 saw the invasion of Poland, then in 1940 saw Holland, Belgium and eventually France, drawing in the largest and best equipped forces of the British and French, only for them through lack of command and communications to be smashed by the advancing German forces, even when the British counter attacked at Arras and a few days later when the French managed to join in, it sent shock waves through the German High command and if it had been co-ordinated correctly that the French actually attacked at the same time and the British Infantry had been in place earlier rather then being tired from a march the night before it may have halted the Germans long enough for the Allies to turn around and do something that could have been written down in history... But Alas it was not to be.

A few years ago the release of Battle Front's "Blitzkrieg" should have heralded in a new age of interest and gaming. But due to BF marketing and release schedules along with V3 rules most likely killed it. The period although supported by new releases was to many a big disappointment.  The hype and dream of Early War was better then the actual reality. And many would consider it a flop.

What happened, Well Early War came too late, BF was more interested in Late War gaming, along with a Errata that Nerfed the British Armoured units. The Same was for the Early Desert book.
In 2007 there had actually on BF's forum been a section for EW. And it was vibrant, lots of enthusiasm, even an unofficial army list that BF was very happy to allow on the forum. Many played with these lists and the armies were balanced and quite decent. All BF had to do was tweak the lists and produce an official version. I can see it from their point that they did not want an outsider writing an army list for them, so they set about making their own. When "Blitzkreig" came out well you could feel the collective groan from the gaming community, and soon after the EW part of the forum ceased to be.

Over the years before FOW rules were printed I used to use the Rapid Fire rules and unofficial EW lists to play our 1940 to 1943 battles.  1940 was France and the British Vs the Germans and 1943 was Russians Vs Germans. Rapid Fire was at the time concerned more with 1944 onwards, even though the scenarios in the rules were for 1940 to 1943.

Rapid fire have recently released and Early War Book "Blitzkrieg Battlegroups". It deals mainly with the Germans, British and French giving 29 army lists, although 14 are 400 point listed and the other 14 are 200 to 400 point lists of the 400 point armies, plus a French Cavalry list. Hopefully a scenario book will come out shortly but we waited over 20 years for the Army lists, so dont hold your breath.

This new release has rekindled my interest in ww2 Gaming that was dimmed by the release of FOW v3 and defently snuffed out by the release of v4. So now I come full circle to Rapid Fire, albeit v2.

So I have been busy updating my British forces and bringing them up to strength. New Artillery has been acquired giving the British 18pdrs, 18/25 pdrs and 4.5" guns, along with new armour, A9, A10's and A13's. The Infantry tank units have also seen a increase in strength. Below are some comparison s between my FOW and RF units.

Rapid Fire British Armoured Formations

Rapid Fire gives you 3 Armoured Units; first is the 1st Armoured Division which gives you the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment armed with Cruisers. The next armoured list is the 50th Infantry Division which gives you the 4th Royal Tank Regiment and the 7th Royal Tank Regiment both equipped with the mighty Matilda. Although for both of the 400 point lists there are 200 point lists with reduced size units.

1st Armd Div, 3RTR
The 3RTR formation gives you a Command unit of an A10 Cruiser and an A9CS tank. A RECCE troop of an Damlier Scout Car, 'A' squadron consists of an A13 mk1 and 2 Mk VI's, Both B and C squadrons consists of an A13 mk2 and a single Mk VI.

50th Inf Div, 4RTR

50th Inf Div, 7RTR
The 50th Infantry Division gives you two armoured formations the 4RTR and 7RTR; The 4RTR is equipped with a HQ Mk VI tank, 'A' company has a Matilda Mk II and a single Matilda Mk I. Both 'B' and 'C' company are equipped with 3 Matilda Mk I's. 
Whilst almost similar in appearance the 7RTR has a command Mk VI, 'A' and 'D' companies are equipped with a Matilda Mk II and a Matilda Mk I, whilst 'B' company is equiped with 3x Matilda Mk I's. Its interesting that the author has missed out C Company.

Flames of War British Armoured Formations

FOW Blitzkrieg gives the players a choice of two true armoured units, one Cruiser Squadron and one Infantry Tank Company.

FOW Cruiser Company

FOW Infantry Tank Company

Shown above are two examples of Tank Squadrons/Companies that can be assembled from the FOW list.  Although there are a few changes that you can make to both these formations, they both show the strengths of the Squadron/Company, With the Cruiser list allowing 3 such Squadrons to be fielded deploying each Squadron as a single unit.
So essentially it would be possible to field... which is 3x the quantity any German Formation can field, talk about buggering up the game balance.

@935 points per Squadron. The Armoured Regiment come in at a little over 3000 points if you count the Regimental HQ. 52 tanks in total. Smacks of Late war Russian Tank Hordes to me.

 Rapid Fire German Tank Formations

The Germans in the Rapid Fire List get to choose from five Panzer divisions that have massed Panzers in them. They are the 1st,  3rd,  4th,  6th and 7th Panzer Divisions.

1st Pz Div -1st Battalion, 1st Pz Regt

The 1st Panzer Division gives you one battalion with an HQ comprising of a PzIII(vmg), a Recce PzII, and 2 Platoons each with an Pz I, 2x Pz II and a Pz III.

3rd Pz Div - 1st Battalion, 6th Pz Regt

The 3rd Panzer Divison has one strong battalion consisting of an HQ Pz I, one company consisting of 3x Pz I's and 2x Pz II's, a second company equipped with 2x Pz 1@s and 2x Pz II's, with the third company containing 2x Pz III's and a Pz IV tank.

4th Pz Div - 1st Battalion, 35th Pz Regt
4th Pz Div - 2nd Battalion, 35th Pz Regt.
 The 4th Panzer Division is the strongest with its two tank battalions although both are under strength, The 1st Battalion has a HG Pz I, along with 2 companies each 2x Pz I's and 2x Pz II tanks, a company of 2x Pz III's and a Pz IV. Whilst the second Battalion has a HQ Pz I, with only one company equipped with 3x Pz I's and 2x Pz II's, with a second company equiped with 2x Pz III's and a Pz VI
5th and 6th Pz Div
The 5th and 6th Panzer (shown above) Divisions both get a Panzer Battalion each comprising of a Command tank, in my case a Pz38T, along with two companies each consisting of 3x Pz38T and a Pz II and a company with 2x Pz IV.

As you can see the German Panzers are not up to full strengths, unless you count the 4th Panzer Division that gets 2 tank Battalions. The 5th and 6th Pz Divisions get the same number of tanks except that the 5th is equiped with  Pz35T (Which I do not have) and the 6th is equipped with Pz 38T as shown.

FOW Panzer Fomations

Blitzkrieg gives the German player four tank formations to choose from equiped with a range of Panzers from the humble Pz I to all Pz III's.

Light Armoured Company
 My Light Armoured company has a HQ consisting of a cmd Pz I, 2x PZ I's, a RECCE Pz II and a FAMO recovery vehicle. The first two Platoons consists of 3x Pz II's and 2x Pz I's; the third platoon consists of 4x Pz III Tanks (Can be 5); with a fourth platoon of 4x Pz IV tanks.

Czech Armoured Company
The Czech Armoured Company, is the poor mans' version of a Pz III company. It has a HQ equipped with 2x Pz38T tanks along with a FAMO; and five platoons: three platoons of 5x Pz38T tanks; a fourth platoon equiped with 5x Pz II's; and the fifth platoon equiped with 4x Pz IV tanks, although it could drop the Pz IV's for 5 additional Pz 38T's. It Weighs in at 2340 points.
So imagine pitting either of these formations against a massed British Cruiser Regiment.

Rapid Fire French Armoured Formations

Now onto the French, a little disappointing when it comes to these guys, considering the amount of tanks they had. available, you only get 2 formations to choose from.  The 3rd Armoured Division and the 3rd Light Mechanised Division.

Bottom two units are part of the 3rd Armd Div and the top formation is from the 3rd Mech Div.

The 3rd Armoured Division gives you the heavies. It has 2 battalions, the first equipped with 5 Char B1bis Tanks, the second with 5 H39's. The Char's should give the Germans a run for their money.

The second formation available is from the 3rd Light Division and consists of one battalion equipped with a HQ Somua S-35, one company of 4x Somua S-35's and two companies of 4x H-39 tanks.

FOW French Armoured Formations

The French player gets to choose from two formations, a Compagnie de Combat and the Escadron de Combat although they do have a third option of a Recce company.

Compagnie de Combat
 The Compagnie de Combat could be fielded as all Char B1bis, giving 10 Char's and 3 H39 tanks. I do not have that many Char B's so tend to field it as shown although I could have a HQ Char. My Unit consists of a HQ H-39, Three Platoons of 3x H-39's and forth platoon equiped with the Mighty Char B1bis, all 3 of them.
Escadron de Combat
Escadron de Comabat
I can make up two different type  Escadron de Combat and show both versions above. The first Company has a HQ Somua S-35 tank, one platoon of 4x Somua S-35's, and a further 3 platoons of 4x H-39 tanks. Quite a hard nut to crack, although it could be equipped solely with a astounding 21 Somua S-25 Tanks.  The Bottom company I can make is only equipped with the H-39 tanks.

So I hope that gives you some eye candy and a taster of things to come this year.


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Wargaming Down Under

Well its been an interesting end to the year so far, we are a few weeks of from christmas and I have yet to do some real gaming in the shed. I did get the 84mm CG refurbed ready for a local event. We also got a few Napoleonic games of Laselle played.

The Sheds 84mm CG part of a Falklands Weapons display.

So what has been happening. Besides yet another dark period of Illness which took me a while to get over, the shed has been far from my thoughts. As soon as I get it game ready something else crops up to take over the table. Despite these set backs I have managed to acquire a 28mm Roman Army and have played a few games of Swordpoint. Then another trip to Caliver books got me a excited, Only waited around 20 years for this to come out.

So watch this space, as some 1940 gaming may be on the horizon.
Any ways the biggest thing for me this year was a trip Down Under to see a friend who twisted my arm into playing in a local competition of  Infinity. Needless to say a crash course in the basics and of we went and I got trashed, but I still had fun. 

Another highlight of my visit was I got around Sydney and a few of the Museums, one trip put me at Holsworthy Barracks, Liverpool at the Engineer Museum. Here are some of my photos I took.

4 hours from Sydney saw me in Canberra, and I got to look round the National War memorial and museum which was quite an experience.

Oh well there's more to come but this post is getting a bit long so I will sign off for now, till later