Monday 30 March 2020

1940 France AAR

We were invited over to the barn for a game with Chris Flowers this weekend, he had decided on a 1940 France game as he was considering selling this collection so a good excuse to have a farewell game.

Most of the French element, and a small part of the Germans, was painted by me so I was particularly keen to play. Plus its a lovely period with a distinct flavour.

Our game had 2 battalions of French infantry along with some supports including a recce group holding a small town and a factory. Off table they had a DLM battalion in support we could bring on at any time. Steve, Mark and I would play the French. We also had a small armoured force to call on but with the Germans having permanant access to two Stukas the armour wouldnt last long once revealed.
My task was to hold the factory with one battalion, two Char B and 3 anti aircraft guns.
Steve would hold the town with a battalion and Mark would initially take the recce with 2 companies on motorbikes and a pair of Panhard armoured cars. Steve had a pair of 75's for artillery support and I had a pair of 105's which Mark also had a spotter for.

The wood in the centre held our reserve of 5 light Hotchkiss and Renault tanks, Mark and Steve would decide when to bring the reinforcements on, one DLM battalion with 3 Somua tanks.

Facing us from left to right would be John and Brian then Rich and Andy. They each had a battalion or more of Germans along with supports recce and armour, by my reckoning each player had 2 squadrons of 3 tanks and Brian had a reserve of unspecified troops.

The French had access to a little aircover whilst the Germans, as historically, had 2 Stukas permanantly on table with observers embedded in the units.

On our right John was quick to throw a tank forward to draw fire to create targets for the Stukas. Steves 75 only mananging a light damage before being destroyed.

Meanwhile on the French Left Andy and Rich were skulking in the woods and laying down smoke as they prepared to break out and overwhelm the French defenders.
After surviving a hit from the 75 Johns PZII rolled into town only to be hit by the 25mm anti tank gun.
Marks first Panhard got two ineffective shots off before being destroyed but the overwhelming German armour. The second was a bit smarter,shooting and then scooting into the damaged farm.
As the German armour finally rolls down the road hoping to outflank my position in the factory my first CharB reveals itself and inflicts a heavy damages one one of Andy's Panzer IIs in reserve fire.  Surviving the inevitabl;e blast of artillery and firing again in my own move I manage to heravy damage a second one.
Andy continues to drop smoe on my position and leaves the Pillbox covered and with nothign to fire at whilst he picks off my infantry and closes in.

My mortar is able to destroy one of Andy's trucks but inflicts no casualties whilst my infantry opens up and kills the odd German, Andys return fire is uch more effective, there is a lot more of it.
At the other side of the table Steve and Mark have not been idel and they too have destroyed a German truck and inflicted a number of casualties.
At this point the German reserve arrives, commanded by Brian a battalion of cyclists trundle down the road, bells ringing. I do love this unit.
With the Panhard destroyed Johns PZIII's and PZII's occupy the walled field to give covering fire to the advancing cyclists.
Richard has meanwhile erupted from the woods to my front, my second Char B and the 75mm support gun are able to quickly destroy two tanks, I doubt its goign to eb enough though.
And before you know it the Stukas and artillery have destroyed the first of my Char B's much to Richards glee. I have a word with Mark and the Somuas of the reserve move into the wood to the rear of the factory to support my Hotchkiss and Reault light tanks.
Andys troops come off the road and wrap around my defensive position, picign off more of my infantry he advances his engineers with aflame thrower on the 25mm int he bunker. Of dear, it hasnt even fire yet.
On my right Rich has reached my front line with his armoured infantry and decimated the first company, althrough we do manage to inflict soem casualties on his force too.
The engineers fire their flame thrower into the Pill box but miss. whilst the rest of the infantry swarm over my left flank. Its getting desperate now and my HQ group have joined int he fight firign pistols from the windows of the factory.
At last soem luck and we get a French dive bomber, lets see if we can take another tank out, Richard may well fail asecond Morale tests.
The Somuas advance to cover my right flank using the cover of the walls. Good tanks these, the Germans were still sing them to equip one of their panzer divisions on D-Day.
My casualties mount and I am forced to take a battalion morale check, a six! I pass with flying colours. Although I dont have very many men left.

I only have one intact company remaining, supported by an MG the HQ and the 81mm mortar. Things are gettign desperate but we can depend on the airforce.
John has thrown his armour forward on the right, but unknown to him the DLM Elite mobile infantry and pouring into the rear of the town to sore it up.
Just as I am lining the aircraft up to dive bomb Richards armour, he hits me with his anti aircraft, bye bye nice French dive bomber.
The Colonel of the cyclists draws his sword and shouts charge as they peddle down the road as fast as they can. Never seen a bicycle charge before,it did make me chuckle.
Marks Panhard is still playing cat and mouse with the Germans but the infantry is creepign around it and giving it nowhere to run, it cant last.

The Germans are now swarmign all over the factory and my last MG and the remnants of two companies are overrun. A second morale role sees my survivors pinned and rolling a minus 1 to hit with all firing dice.
But not to worry the brave light tanks launch their own counter attack from behind the factory, can they save the day? Its doubtful really isnt it. The French tanks cannot move and fire to reflect their poor training and performance in the battle for France.
Johnhas his troops lined up to supprt Brians bicycle charge, there are ou8ncture repair kist at the ready!
The rear of the twon is now fully occupied with Marks DLM and the front half under Steve is holding off Johns Germans. The French kit for this period is lovely.
The Stukas line up to take out the Somuas but we get lucky and they miss.
Whilst the light tanksopen up on Andy's Germans with little effect.
Andys Stuka then heavy damages the remainign Char B, however the casualties from his infantry and artillery fire force a further morale test which my brave French pass and are no longer pinned, although they have hardley anythign elft to fight with. We try to blow up the fuel tansk at this point but an argument with the anti aircraft boys who are not keen to be barbecued sees the fuse left un-lit.
The light tanks fire again and hurrah! We destroy one of Andy';s tanks. Great but too little too late, the bunkers have both fallen and only half of my HQ with the 81mm mortar remain to defend the Anti-aircraft abttery, the 105mm battery and factory.

In the twon Johns tanks finally start to break in but Marks DLM are ready and waiting.

The cyclists have wisely applied the breaks before they are mown down in the streets but the factory has fallen and the last 5 figures surrender.

The Germans have taken the factory but have a long way to go to take the town. The best part of two batallions still hold it and whilst Andy and Richard hold the factory I still have 8 tanks to stop him takign advantage and helpign take the twon. The German armour has taken a serious beating on my flank and they probably dont have the force to take the town.

I probably held bakc the light armour too long, 3 moves earlier it might have blunted either Rich or Andy's attack, thrown in at the end it simply gave us a consolation prize taking a panzer out.

With the Factory lost but the town held Chris declares a draw and we all go home happy with after a great game with some fantastic models.

Thanks guys!

Thursday 26 March 2020

Sikh Regular Dragoons

Whilst the bulk of my Sikh Cavalry will be the colourful irregulars I did want to have at least a couple of units of regulars. These are Foundry castings with a few Eagle Miniatures horses thrown in to make up the numbers.
The uniforms are taken straight from the Wargames Illustrated guide by the Perry twins, the dark red being the Colour Party paints Scarlet I use to undercoat most reds with some white added to it for the highlights given an almost dark pink effect which I quite like.
The dilemma I had with these was that I although I had just enough figures 5 of the figures I had available were trumpeters which seemed more than a little excessive. Chum Dave suggested carving the trumpet from the back of the figures and then glueing a carbine in its place, I had my doubts  but gave it a go. Eventually I did this little bit of surgery on three of the figures which gave me enough to form a unit of 10 with just the one actual bugler.
The Sikh officers often dressed in bright silks rather than regulation uniform so I have depicted this officer in bright yellow but with the same colour turban as his sowars.

Below you can see where I have removed the trunpet and replaced with a carbine, it might be best if you dont look too closely!

I am reasonably happy with the end result on these guys, my understanding is that the regular cavalry was divided up amongst the infantry divisions and brigades so I plan to have a unit each in the 4 regular brigades I am planning.

I already have one unit of regular Currassier and enough figures for a unit of lancers, with 4 battalions and a battery of guns in each brigade this will give me a fairly nice balanced force for the regulars.

The irregulars of course will be an enitrely different matter and I hope to have lots of these in all sorts of ad-hoc brigadings of varying qualities.