Tuesday, 9 February 2010

"Secrets Of The Third Reich" - German Mech Grenadier Command

These models are actually another cheat in that like my models posted on the 11th January 2010, I painted them towards the end of 2009, and they’ve actually seen service on more than one battlefield. However, I have neglected to properly base them until now (and thus, perhaps unfairly, I plan to add them to my completed miniatures tally for 2010).

The models are by “West Wind Productions” and come from their ‘Secrets of the Third Reich’ ‘blister’ G-SOTR25 ‘German Mech Grenadier Command'. This is an interesting set as it comes with four separate and very different ‘character’ heads (two of which were different to those shown at the Westwindproductions.com website). Frankly the radio operator’s head, complete with earphones, would look somewhat odd on a body other than that of the one carrying the two-way radio transmitter. But I did enjoy the jest of placing the head wearing a ski cap and smoking a cigarette upon the field medic’s body. The two remaining models seem to be simply officers caught in dramatic pose, so I gave one the head of a thick-moustached individual wearing a helmet (which somehow now makes the model give off the impression that its an America soldier?), and the other a bizarre (and poorly designed) head, complete with goggles and visor cap.

With the exception of the radio operator I painted their uniforms with Adeptus Battlegrey and Badab Black, but painted all four models’ body armour in Calthan Brown and Devlan Mud. This is the colour scheme I have previously used for my Mech Grenadiers and obviously wanted their officers to be similarly dressed. Having attached a spare mast from my “Brigade Models” ‘Aeronef’ collection to his backpack (to act as an aerial) I simply painted my radio operator in Chaos Black. This was in an attempt to give him (along with his blonde hair) the appearance of being from the ranks of the Gestapo, and because I wanted the models on the table quickly. For their skin I used a base coat of Tallarn Flesh, roughly highlighted with Elf Flesh, and then washed with Ogryn Flesh. I must confess to not being entirely convinced by these models (nor indeed my own painting of them) and may well revisit them at a later time, probably to ‘dress’ the radio operator in an Adeptus Battlegrey uniform.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Unternehmen Seelowe – “The Selsey Landing”

I thought it was high time I put a battle report up on the blog to 'showcase' my homemade ruleset Unternehemen Seelowe, as well as the "West Wind Productions" 'Secrets Of The Third Reich' miniatures I use. To be honest it is currently the main game I tend to play these days, and always results in a close contest no matter how fortunes ebb and flow throughout the action. I've tried to explain the (more relevant) rules as the narrative progresses, so hopefully it won't intrude too much.

This first in a series of battle reports covering the German Reich’s (fictitious) invasion of the United Kingdom in September 1940, sees a tiny Axis force attempt to capture a small foothold on the outskirts of Selsey; a seaside town on the English South East coast. Each force can only consist of infantry units, field a single specialist unit and cost just 50 points.

Once the table was laid out, three objective markers were placed (at least 12 inches from either deployment edge and from each other) for the forces to battle over. The clash would last for six turns.

At the start of the game both sides rolled a D6 to establish who would place their first unit (of models) on the table. Each unit must be deployed within 6 inches of their starting edge, and once the side with the highest score (who therefore won initial placement) has deployed their first unit then their opponent places one of theirs and so on and so forth…

The British, surrounded by a handful of Selsey homes, deployed a unit of British Commandos and their Sniper Team to the western edge of the town, a second unit of Commandos and a Heavy Weapons Team in the centre, and a unit of Red Berets to the east.

The invading Germans, with water to their east, and a small forest between them and the town, placed their Heavy Weapons Team on top of a small hill to the West of Selsey. The Axis force then filled their centre with two Zombie Packs and a Sniper Team, before fielding a unit of Mech Grenadiers as far east as the watery terrain would allow.

At the start of the first turn, both players rolled a D6 dice. The British had the highest score and so could move/fire/fight (hand-to-hand) with all their units before the German’s turn began. As a result the Red Berets immediately moved 6 inches forward (their normal move) towards the dirt road that bordered the southern outskirts of Selsey. Just beyond this was an objective [number three].

The British Heavy Weapons Team picked up their Bren light machine guns and moved 4 inches (their normal move) in order to better cover the centre of the ‘battlefield’ (and objective number two); the central unit of Commandos accompanied them. Both the British units on the western flank wanted to shoot, so remained stationary (as only units, which did not move during the movement phase, and are not in hand-to-hand fighting, may fire at an opponent).

The British Commandos fired first, and at the German Heavy Weapons Team atop the western hill. Unfortunately they were more than 20 inches away (normal shooting range) so did not actually fire. The Sniper Team on the other hand have the special ability Long Range, so can shoot at anything up to 30 inches away. The (two) Snipers also have the special ability Sharpshooter, which means that instead of ordinarily only hitting a target (in plain sight) on the roll of a 5 or 6 (using a D6), they would hit a target on the roll of a 4, 5 or 6. The Snipers rolled a 1 and 5, so struck one of the assault rifle carrying Germans. Fortunately the majority of all infantry wear some sort of body armour, and have the special ability Armour as a result. However, in order for his armour to save him so he could remain on the battlefield, the soldier needed to roll a 6 on a D6. Unluckily the infantryman only rolled a 5 and was removed from play; first blood to the British.

Already a man down, and under fire, the German Heavy Weapons team sped 7 inches (north) down the hill and sort cover behind a tree. Such encumbered soldiers running can usually only move 6 inches. However as the unit was moving down a hill it gained +1 inches to its movement for the turn. In the German centre the Zombie Packs continued their slow (4 inches) advance forwards, whilst the Mech Grenadiers ‘snuggled’ up to the foot of a hill that was located just southwest of objective three.

The German Sniper Team decided to open fire on the British Bren light machine gunners. Unfortunately, despite their 50% chance of a hit (on a D6 roll of a 4, 5 or 6), the marksmen failed with both of their (shooting) dice, rolling just a 1 and a 2.

The British won the initiative for the second turn of the battle and continued to move its Red Berets south (and across the dirt road towards objective three). The Commandos in the centre of the town’s outskirts also pushed south and ‘took’ an old abandoned two-storey shack [objective number two], ‘nestling’ against its wood and plaster structure for protection. With the German assault riflemen now out of sight (behind foliage), both the British Sniper Team, and their Commando companions moved south. Now the Commandos’ carbine rifles would be able to reach the German lines, whilst their brave bodies (now slightly further forward of the Sniper Team) would ‘shield’ the marksmen from oncoming fire (as a unit must always charge or fire at the closest (viable) enemy unit).

The British Heavy Weapons Team blasted away (four shooting dice) at the Mech Grenadiers. But because over half of the Germans were ‘tight’ up against a hill, the “Englanders” were penalised a -1 to hit (as the Axis soldiers counted as being In Cover). This meant the British needed to roll a 6 to successfully strike the Grenadiers and they failed to do so.

Encouraged by the poor shooting of the British Bren light machine gunners, the German Mech Grenadiers scrambled on top of the hill they had been using for cover, and made ready to charge the unit of Red Berets approaching them (and gambling that the Germans would win the next turn’s Initiative). The Nazi Undead continued to stumble north towards the British lines. The Germans carrying assault rifles took the opportunity of using these ‘screen’ of rotting flesh to get into a better position to fire upon the Commandos and British Sniper Team.

The German Sniper Team aimed their rifles at the British Heavy Weapons Team and threw a 4 and a 5. Because of their Sharpshooter special ability, this meant that both shots had struck their target, and having failed to make their Armour saves, two Tommies crumpled to the ground.

For the first time the Axis ‘landing’ force won the initiative and immediately the Mech Grenadiers charged (11 inches) downhill into the Red Berets. Both of the Zombie Packs shambled forwards, with one of the Undead hordes moving next to the abandoned two-storey shack [objective number two]; their German masters knew that if they survived the initial charge of the occupying British Commandos, then the walking cadavers would probably win in a hand-to-hand fight and wrest control of the objective from the British. The German Sniper Team became a victim of their own success, and having wrought two casualties upon the British Heavy Weapons Team, could now no longer see the (remaining) Bren light machine gunners. Instead, they shifted position in order to better see units on the British west flank (British Sniper Team and British Commandos).

The German Heavy Weapons Team fired their assault rifles at the oncoming British Commandos (as they were closer than the British Sniper Team). Despite rolling four D6 dice (for shooting), they only succeeded in killing one of the British soldiers. The Mech Grenadiers hurled themselves at the Red Berets, and because of their charge, rolled four D6 dice in order to establish whether they’d struck any of their enemy. Ordinarily the Grenadiers would only roll two D6 dice whilst in close combat, but a unit that successfully charges gains +2 Attack Dice for their first turn of hand-to-hand fighting. As a result a single Red Beret failed their Armour save and was removed as a casualty.

Ignoring the stench of rotting flesh the British Commandos holding the two-storey shack charged into the Zombie Pack, bayonets at the ready. Whilst the Heavy Weapons Team moved into the shadow of a nearby tree ensuring that the German marksmen could still not get a bead on them.

The Commandos to the west opened fire on the ‘fast’ approaching (second) Zombie Pack, rolling two 5’s. Although the Zombies don’t wear actual armour, they are still entitled to an Armour save due to their undead nature but failed them both. One of the British Sniper Team also managed to ‘headshot’ one of the groaning walking corpses, reducing the Zombie Pack to a single model (when they started with four). During the hand-to-hand fighting stage the Red Berets grappled with the Mech Grenadiers but failed to cause any casualties, and despite charging the Zombies (and therefore rolling four dice), the Commandos failed to wound the creatures filing around the two-storey shack.

Both the British and the Germans rolled a 6 for the (fourth turn) Initiative roll. The “Englanders” therefore went first because if the roll is a draw, then the player who went second in the previous turn gets to go first. The Bren light machine gunners moved forwards ready to support the Commandos in ‘hand-to-jaw’ combat with the Zombies if needed. The Commandos, ‘holed up’ on the western outskirts of the town, shot dead the last of the (second) Zombie Pack, giving their Sniper Team a clear line of sight upon the German assault rifles. Disappointingly though the marksmen failed to hit anything, as did both the Red Berets and Commandos during the hand-to-hand fighting stage.

At the beginning of the Axis turn, the surviving Zombie Pack activated its Regeneration special ability. This allows a player, at the start of their turn, to roll a D6 for each missing model within the unit. Upon the roll of a 6, that model is ‘returned’ to the unit. However on this occasion no corpse returned to its feet. As all the German units wanted to either shoot or were in hand-to-hand combat (so are not allowed to move), the Axis soldiers all remained where they were.

The German Sniper Team ‘picked off’ one of the Commandos on the western edge of Selsey. The assault rifles opened up with their (normal) four dice against the British Sniper Team. However, because the marksmen have the Camouflage special ability, which means that an enemy unit always suffers –1 to its dice roll when firing at them, the German Heavy Weapons Team needed to roll a 6 to hit them and missed entirely. Fortunately the Axis forces fared better during the hand-to-hand fighting stage killing another Red Beret, and two British Commandos.

Both forces again rolled the same score for their Initiative roll, meaning that the Germans had the ‘advantage’ for the penultimate turn. The surviving Zombie Pack immediately activated its Regeneration special ability but failed to reanimate another corpse. Whilst the Axis Heavy Weapons Team moved out of the cover of some trees towards the town’s western roadside (and objective one).

The German Sniper Team finally had a clear shot at their British counterparts. Their Sharpshooter special ability offset the British marksmen’s Camouflage, meaning that they hit on the roll of a 5 or 6. One of the bullets ‘hit home’ and because snipers don’t wear armour, the result was an instant kill. In the centre of the battlefield, the Undead ‘ate’ the remaining Commandos, finally giving the Germans ‘control’ of the shack [objective number two]. The Mech Grenadiers also killed another of the Red Berets, coming closer to securing the eastern beach (and objective three).

Horrified at the Zombies consuming their colleagues, the British Heavy Weapons Team moved towards them in order to contest the two-storey shack. Things were starting to get desperate for the defenders, as the remaining Red Beret failed to injure any of the Mech Grenadiers. However with a volley of fire both the surviving Commandos and the British Sniper Team brought down two of the oncoming German assault rifles, securing the western part of Selsey from the Axis forces.

The German soldiers retained the Initiative for the sixth and final turn, but still failed their third successive Zombie Pack Regeneration roll. Instead the Undead horde remained stationary, surrounding the two-storey shack, but out of sight of the approaching British Heavy Weapons Team (so safe from any gallant charge as any unit charging an enemy unit must first be able to see them).

However the remaining British Bren light machine gunners had other things on their mind, as having run out into the open (in order to try and reach the shack) they were mercilessly taken out by the German Sniper Team. The surviving German assault rifleman prayed to the Fuhrer to deliver him from a similar fate as he moved into full sight of the British marksman and surviving Commandos (contesting the western flank of the town). Amazingly the British Red Beret survived a final push by the Mech Grenadiers to clear the eastern approach to the town.

Holding their carbine rifles steady, the British Commandos killed the final German assault rifleman. The western Selsey road [objective number one] was secure and safe in British hands. The British Sniper Team managed to take out one of the Zombies, but as no British units were within 6 inches of the shack, the Germans won the centre [objective number two]. However on the eastern coast [objective number three] there no clear winner, as both the Red Berets and the Mech Grenadiers were within 6 inches of their prize. The battle was therefore a draw with an objective apiece.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

"I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost!"

Having completed my ‘Ghost Rangers’ I have been scrambling around for some suitable miniatures to act as ghosts. I didn’t really want to purchase any new miniatures, and instead scoured my ‘lead mountain’ for some models that I wouldn’t ordinarily have painted.

These “Newark Model Soldier Company” models were given away free upon entrance to a number of the “Partisan” wargaming conventions, and just go to show how many of them I have attended over the past decade. They consist of (starting from the left of the back row): ‘Laurence the Asylum Attendant’, 'Paul the Postman’, ‘Stuart the Telegrapher’, ‘Harold the Hero’ and ‘Little Lau the Chimney Sweep’. The container of ‘ghost slime’ (to be used as an objective marker) is a plastic model from the old “Games Workshop” ‘Warhammer 40k’ boxed starter set ‘The Battle For Macragge’.

I actually used these models as a test for a colour scheme I want to use on a “Games Workshop” ‘Lord of the Rings’ Army of the Dead force, so I undercoated them all with Skull White. I then simply gave them a wash of Thrakka Green, a wash of Devlan Mud, and dry brushed them Skull White. I now plan to paint a second ‘Paul the Postman’, ‘Stuart the Telegrapher’ and ‘Little Lau the Chimney Sweep’ to help fill out the numbers of ghosts. I’m sure I’ve seen a butcher model somewhere as well...?