Saturday, 1 December 2012

FoW Campaign - Week 4

It was all quiet on the Eastern Front again, and Montgomery was being characteristically cautious. Therefore the only action was in Tunisia at El Guettar where the hard-charging General Matton had to repel a fierce Counter-Attack from the German forces to keep hold of his rapid gains.

After a slow start, the Americans are now speeding towards their goal, and it seems the key to victory is keeping me off the field of battle.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

FoW Campaign - Week 3

That was a quick week!

Both the British and Soviets consolidated their recent gains whilst the U.S. found themselves on the back foot following their reverses in the Kasserine Pass. However, thanks to the dogged defence of their infantry in a swirling cauldron, the Americans withstood and shattered a Panzer assault designed the break their positions (5-2) and were able to begin their circuitous advance towards their objective.

Despite the defeat, this wasn't a bad week for the Germans as all of their opponents are still three victories from success. The U.S. are celebrating their first victory that puts them equal with their rivals.

Monday, 19 November 2012

"You Shall Not (Kasserine) Pass" - FoW Campaign Week 2

Week 2 of the club's Flames of War campaign saw me rolling out my American Armoured Company for the very first time against Andy's DAK Panzerkompanie. It seemed quite appropriate that my first engagement with enemy armour would be at the point when the campaign hit the Kasserine Pass, however, I was slightly concerned that history would repeat itself.

What followed was a learning experience, in much the same vein as how the Americans had to learn after Kasserine.

1500pts US Armoured Company vs DAK Panzerkompanie - Breakthrough

My US Armour:
 - HQ, 2 M1A1 Sherman Tanks
 - Tank Platoon, 5 M1A1 Sherman Tanks
 - Tank Platoon, 3 M1A1 Sherman Tanks
 - Light Tank Platoon, 4 M5A1 Stuart Tanks
 - Recce Platoon, M3 Half-Track (command & bazooka teams), 2 Jeeps (with .50 cals, infantry teams)

Andy's Panzers
 - HQ, Panzer IV F2, Panzer III
 - Panzer Platoon, 3 Panzer IV (Various)
 - Panzer Platoon, 3 Panzer III (Various)
 - Schwere Panzer Platoon, 1 Tiger
 - Air Support, Priority Stuka

With apparently only a Tiger tank, a Panzer IV and a Panzer III to bypass to reach their objectives, the US commander should have been more bold and taken the offensive with his 10 Sherman tanks.

However, a little too sure of the platoon of Stuarts he'd sent to encircle the objecitve, he decided to be cautious and advance slowly under smoke, aware that there would be more prowling panzers in the area.

Initially the plan seemed to work as German air superiority was kept at a distance by a veritable wall of .50 cals, the Tiger was continuously smoked to reduce it's long range effectiveness, and the German command tanks began to be picked off.

When a flanking platoon of Panzer IV's did arrive, they were mauled by the close range killing power of the US tanks. 

However, the tenacious platoon commander held his nerve and soon received support from a platoon of Panzer III's and forced the inexperienced US commander and his platoon to quit the field.

The isolated recce platoon was quickly hunted down and destroyed, forcing the remaining Sherman platoon to depart after their commander knowing that the Stuart encirclement had never arrived.

I was  slaughtered 6-1 and for another week the U.S. would fail to advance in the campaign. In retrospect, I was far too intimidated by the Tiger, and had I been bolder I could have rushed the HQ and Tiger (which wouldn't have been able to kill all of my tanks) and perhaps force a German withdrawal earlier in the game.

As it was I allowed the Tiger to whittle me down and I didn't make any progress towards the objective. I was too cautious, which is apparently not the way to be with Americans. Next time I'll have to be more gung ho. I did notice that once they got up close, the American tanks were really effective and they were also more than capable of keeping the skies clear with their .50 cals.


On the Eastern Front, a German counter assault forced the Soviets to engage in a fighting withdrawal, which the Russians were able to execute effectively (5-2). This platform allowed the Soviets to once again launch an attack to encircle Stalingrad, this time the Germans were forced into a fighting withdrawal but their Tigers and AA Guns could not halt the tidal wave of Soviet armour (5-2) and the Russian bear closed its jaws around Stalingrad, trapping the Sixth Army inside.

In Africa, the U.S. Army was once again failed to breakthrough the narrow gulleys of the Kasserine Pass (6-1). However the Eighth Army managed to launch an assault into the outskirts of Benghazi, encircling the defending Panzers and cutting off and capturing the city.

Both the British and the Soviets have made progress towards their objectives, however the U.S. are sadly lagging behind. The Germans had a difficult week, but there's a long way to go.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

FoW Campaign - Week 1

With week one of the 'End of the Beginning' campaign complete, it's time to assess the relative progress of the Allied forces...

...there hasn't been any!

In North Africa, the British rushed headlong into the guns of Rommel's Afrika Korps which they had surrounded at Benghazi and came away with a bloody nose (5-2), and the Americans lost a bloody free for all against untried Panzer divisions in Tunisia (4-3, I think). This means that the Reich still has a strong foothold in Africa and will be able to keep their European forces focused on the Eastern Front

Meanwhile, the surrounded German forces just outside Stalingrad were able to hold their positions and repel numerous Soviet attacks (5-2) to keep the corridor open for supplying the Sixth Army in the city. There was news of other fighting on the front, but reports have not yet come in as to the consequences of the action.

More fighting is expected in all theatres this week, and I suspect that German resolve will once again be tested.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The beginning of 'The End of the Beginning'

This week saw the opening salvoes in the club's Flames of War campaign, 'The End of the Beginning', which I happen to be running. The premise of the campaign is that it begins in late 1942, just after El Alamein, Operation Torch and Stalingrad when the Axis suddenly found themselves on the defensive on all fronts. Three teams of Allies (U.S., British and Soviets) are each competing to reach their objectives (Tunis and Kursk) before the others. Meanwhile, the German players (along with Allied players in German hats) are trying to hold back the Allies until the campaign finishes at the end of December.

This week, I donned my figurative black hat to attempt to stop Pete's Soviets from stealing an early march.

1500pts Mid War Eastern Front. 
Grenadierkompanie vs Gvardeyskiy Tankovy
Scenario: Surrounded

My Grenadiers:
HQ Command + 2 Mortar Stands (attached to Pioniers)
Grenadier Platoon
White Pionier Platoon
Recce Platoon
2 x PaK40
3 x Marder IIIM
Looted KV-1
Priority Stukas

Pete's Guard Tanks
HQ T-34
6 x T-34
5 x T-34
Armoured Infantry Platoon
Sporadic Air Support

The German forces established their perimeter around the small village containing the objectives, with the Marders and KV-1 on one flank, and the Pioniers and PaK40s on the other.

The massed Soviet armour launched a major assault on one side of the German defensive position (we later discovered that we were playing the scenario incorrectly).

As they advanced, the lost tanks to the Luftwaffe (who thanks to the proximity to their own lines, would spend the rest of the battle clearing the skies of Soviet aircraft), and Half-tracks (including all of their passengers!) to the Marders.

One platoon of T-34's launched an assault against the German lines, but were unable to dislodge the White Pioneers from their entrenchments. When the PaK40 anti-tank guns we finally brought to bear over the top of the hill, the Soviets were made to pay; even losing their command tank.

Another Soviet push saw their infantry advance through the woods towards the enemy. However, sustained fire saw them lose their company command and the attack was halted.

Two attacks had failed, Soviet losses were mounting and the Germans had only taken a handful of casualties. The last platoon launched a death or glory assault into the village.

And in the face of stiff resistance, they managed to push the Grenadiers out of the buildings and were closing on their objective.

Although the objective was still secure, the Germans now took the initiative and climbed from their foxholes to assault the infantry trapped in the woods. The contest was one-sided and the leaderless Soviets were forced to quit the field.

The Germans held their positions with minimal losses (only the Marders and a few stands of infantry) for a 5-2 victory. Whether this is enough to stem the Soviet advance this week remains to be seen, as there was another Eastern Front game in progress as I left.

Next week, I'll be breaking out my Americans for the first time ever. I'll be playing against German tanks (including at least one Tiger) in a place called the Kasserine Pass...I'm optimistic...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Very British Civil Warpath

After a long hiatus in the ongoing struggle for the fate of South Yorkshire, the Wortley Royalists once again tangled with the Handsworth Militia over control of the villages surrounding Sheffield. A B.U.F. armoured column was despatched to eject the socialists from a small farm and secure the produce for the royal cause.

The Handsworth Militia were dug in around the property boundaries of the farm. They included several squads of well armed militiamen bristling with Lewis guns, a field gun, ex-army sharpshooter Jeff Thompson, and the firebrand Reverend Chisholm.

With the Handsworth men dug in, the Captain Granville Cadd led the B.U.F. and Wortley infantry through the hills toward the farm, whilst heroine of the Right, Heather Brown and the motor platoon took the road...

...supported by a Mark II Brighouse (Steam) tank.

The royalists advanced on all fronts, with the Vickers machine gun mounted on the tank inflicting heavy casualties on the entrenched rebels.

A smattering of ineffectual return fire pattered off the armoured hull and the Handsworth artillery realised that they had insufficient ammunition. Seeking to do something the halt the fascist advance, Lieutenant Arthur 'Spongy' Wiggins led a small machine gun detachment out to sweep the hills clear of the enemy.

However, Wiggins men stumbled into a killing zone, and although they returned fire, all but a handful were cut down by the ruthless supporters of Edward.

Meanwhile, the motorised attack faltered as the fascists experienced fuel shortages and both their vehicles were stranded, leaving the motor platoon unable to support the assault of the tank...

...which had roared off into the distance, clanking and hissing. In a desperate move, Reverend Chisholm and Captain Bamford, with fire support from Jeff Thompson, launched a suicide assault in an attempt to get to the tank's vulnerable rear.

  Although it cost Bamford his life, the assault was successful, and the tank went up in flames. The royalists were forced to withdraw, although the significant casualties that they had inflicted meant that the Handsworth men would not be celebrating.

We played the game using Matt's conversion of Mantic's Warpath beta rules and I have to say that this was may favourite game of VBCW yet. The fast flowing rules played well with a setting that is not meant to be too serious and the alternate activations makes for a more tense experience that the typical igougo format of the GW stable. I still need to work out how to use the tank effectively, because despite its power, it's still vulnerable. Until the tank blew I was in control and about to mow down the remaining socialists and claim the farm.

Gah! Next time...

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Bringing a Tank to a Knife Fight

Firstly, apologies for the lack of pictures in this post; I left my phone at home...

This week saw myself, JP, Pete and Stu playing a round robin of 600 point mid war games of Flames of War.  All the games were Free For All but with only one objective on each side and companies only needed one Combat Platoon each.

I took my Grenadiers and constructed the following list:
HQ (2iC with Panzerknacker) + Mortar Section
Grenadier Platoon (4 squads and Panzerknacker)
Anti-Tank Platoon (2 x Pak40)
Looted Panzer Platoon (KV-1e with cupola)

My plan was to join the Mortars and HQ to the Grenadiers to form a formidable defensive platoon; use the Pak40's to pick off any advancing tanks, and use the KV-1 to put pressure on the enemy objective (trusting that it was tough enough to bully its way through).

Game 1 - Pete's Red Army Tankovy

Pete always uses tanks; lots of tanks. And today was no different as he went with a simple list of a HQ T-34 and a single platoon of 8 more T-34's. To say that it was a blunt instrument would be putting it lightly and I knew that I'd have to whittle them down before they could bring massed machine guns to bear on my infantry.

In the centre of the board was a small village and a crossroads. I was defending an objective on the bend in one of the roads between some woods to my right and hills to my left. I placed my Grenadiers in the woods to guard the objective and the PaK40's on a hill with good fields of fire. The KV-1 was ready to advance into the town. Pete's objective was on a hill to my left and this is where he massed his tanks.

The game opened with my Pak40's picking off several T-34's as they advanced and the KV-1 advancing to meet them in the village. A round of devastating shooting saw me lose my Anti-Tank guns and I was concerned about a rush on the objective. However, I pushed the KV-1 towards the Pete's objective and forced him to pull his tanks back to defend. What followed was a bit of a farce as the T-34's struggled to get side shots on the near-impenetrable and often smoke shrouded KV-1 whilst it slowly picked them off one at a time. In the end, the Soviet's didn't break, but there was only the CiC left.

Game 2 - Stu's Afrika Schutzenkompanie

Stu had borrowed an army off JP and was fielding a HQ, a Schutzen Platoon with 3 squads and 3 Panzer IIIM tanks. The board was the same as previously and the objectives in largely the same places. I deployed in a similar manner to the first game, although the KV-1 was further to the right as Stu had deployed his Panzers opposite my right and his Schutzen platoon around the objective.

The Panzer IIIM tanks faced the same problem as the T-34's in that they could not hurt the KV-1 to the front and were extremely vulnerable to it and the Pak40's. Therefore Stu committed to a bold plan and rushed the Panzers diagonally across the board in an attempt to storm the objective, leaving his Schutzen platoon dug in.

Although one Panzer III was bailed by the KV-1, the remaining tanks made a rush up the hill to hit the Pak40's. Despite failing to pin them, the Panzer III's survived their charge due to some abysmal defensive fire on the part of the Anti-Tank platoon. The Guns were destroyed in short order and the Panzers prepared for an assault from the Grenadiers.

Amazingly the Panzer III's not only pinned the Grenadiers and halted the assault, they also killed four teams into the bargain. The following turn they decided to go for broke and assaulted the Grenadiers. However, their luck didn't hold and despite knocking a few teams out, my numbers counted and the Panzer III's were destroyed.

By this point the KV-1 had got itself into position to begin sniping the Schutzen platoon. Stuart, realising that he couldn't win, conceded.

Game 3 - JP's British Light Armoured Squadron

I moved on to a desert board to face JP. There were settlements to my left and hills and ruins to my right. I deployed my Grenadiers and Pak40's on the objective which hand been placed on a hill in the centre of my deployment zone. Meanwhile, the KV-1 was on my left flank and would be pushed up to threaten JP's objective which was behind the settlements.

JP fielded a force of 5 Crusader III and 3 Grants and like others before him faced the problem of how to deal with my KV-1, with the added issue of having No HE guns which were useless for digging out infantry and gun teams. JP opted for a combination of the tactics I'd faced before, his Grants attempted to manoeuvre around the KV-1's flanks whilst the Crusaders rushed to storm the objective.

The Crusaders used terrain to sneak up on their goal, however, they were still subjected to the whithering fire  of the Pak40's. They managed to take out the anti-tanks guns, but lost all but the 2iC in the process. Meanwhile, the Grants and the KV-1 went toe-to-toe in the settlement. Although the Grants managed to bail the Soviet monster once, they eventually came up short and the game was up.


All in all, by bringing the KV-1 I became 'that guy'. It was just too tough in such a small game and the inability of the other forces to deal with it shaped all three games. I'd probably ditch it in favour of 2 Marders the next time we do this, simply to be more sporting. On a related note, it's a curious detail that the KV-1e the Soviets can field is a slow tank; not so the looted version the Germans can have. Discovering that little tidbit was the low point of Pete's night.

Boosting the Grenadiers with the Mortar section proved to be a good idea and I finally began to use Mortars for what they are best at...smoke! The Pak40's were a bit of overkill and underperformed so I'd consider taking something else next time.

All in all, all three games were fast and fun and I'd highly recommend it as a way to get to know the rules quickly. I would suggest that having a force which can attack and defend is a good idea and if you really want to win, a looted KV-1 is the way to go.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

'Tanks a Bunch'

Over the weekend I played my fourth game of Flames of War in three weeks. To say that it has not been going well would be putting it mildly. Two weeks ago, my Mid War Grenadierkompanie got isolated and picked off by Matt's machine-gun-happy US Tanks. Last week, my Late War Schwere Panzerkompanie Bake got swamped by Pete's Tankovy and then later in the same night swamped again by Bill's Peredovoye Otryad. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting much when JP rearranged our game so that I wouldn't be finding out how to play Empire of the Dead, instead I'd be up against his Mid War British Light Armoured Squadron. At least, I thought, it would be an opportunity to complete the set and be beaten by all major allies in quick succession...the full German experience, as it were!

So I set about planning my list:

HQ with Panzerknackers
Grenadier Platoon (8 stands & Panzerknacker)
White Pioneer Platoon (6 stands and Pioneer Supply Truck)
Mortar Platoon (4 x 12cm Mortar Stands - these were proxied with 8cm Mortars)
Anti-Tank Platoon (2 x Pak40)
Tank Hunter Platoon (3 x Marder IIIM)
Looted Tank Platoon (KV1e with cupola)
Priority Air Support (Stuka D)

When I got to the club, things had changed again. I'd still be playing against JP's army, but it would be commanded by Stu, who'd never really played FoW before. I sensed an opportunity...

The army he was using was as follows (I should note that it was built using 'Afrika' not 'North Africa', I'm also not sure of the spread of Crusader II tanks and Crusader II CS tanks):

HQ (3 Crusader Tanks)
Light Armoured Platoon (3 Crusader II Tanks)
Light Armoured Platoon (3 Crusader II Tanks)
Light Armoured Platoon (3 Crusader II Tanks)
Light Armoured Platoon (3 Crusader II Tanks)
Heavy Armoured Platoon (3 Grant Tanks)
Heavy Armoured Platoon (3 Grant Tanks)

In short, whatever the scenario, new to the game or not, he'd be all over me like a rash within three turns. I sensed a walloping. I'd just have to sit there, soak up the pressure and hope that my planes, mortars and tank-hunters could lessen the blow enough for me to hold...

...this was not to be...

We rolled for scenario and got encounter and I as I wasn't auto defending, I had to deploy first. We both spread our objectives wide and hoped to split the enemy. I positioned my Mortars in the buildings by the objective on my right.

Stu cunningly ignored the objective opposite them (assuming that he could redeploy fast enough to counter a rush from me) and chose to mass his tanks opposite the objective in the ruins on my right where I placed my Pioneers and Pak40's to await his arrival. He got the first turn and unsurprisingly rushed forwards and his barrage of shots took out one of my Pak40's before it even had a chance to try to 'anti' his tanks.

Despite this, I felt fairly confident. He'd made a bit of a rookie mistake (listen to's like I know stuff and everything, seriously you should have seen my debacle against the Soviets...) and left his tanks grouped in the face of air and artillery. I smiled and evil grin as the Mortars took aim at the Grants...and missed. It was a little comforting that the remaining Pak40 took out one of Crusaders and the Luftwaffe arrived to despatch another two (despite hitting five!). However, the remaining tank in his platoon passed its morale check and the tin horde rumbled on and I was now, officially worried.

Anti-Tank Platoon: 1 x Pak40
Light Armoured Platoon: 3 x Crusader II
 Grenadier Platoon
 Tank Hunter Platoon
 Looted Tank Platoon
 Light Armoured Platoon
 Light Armoured Platoon
Heavy Armoured Platoon

Stu began turn 2 as he had left off. he pushed the Crusader platoons even closer and brought up the Grants in support. He clearly intended to strike the double blow of overwhelming my dug in Pioneers and get his tanks out of reach of my planes. Two full tank platoons opened up on the Pioneers and not only failed to kill any, but also failed to pin them. However, the lone remaining tank from the platoon hit by the air strike did managed to remove the second Pak40.

Despite the lack of casualties, the Crusaders were close enough to assault and did so. Three stands of Pioneers fell but their nerve held and the Germans struck back and one of the tanks went up in smoke. It seems that contrary to Corporal Jones' assertions, its actually the British that "don't like it up 'em" and they broke off, ready to strike again next turn, confident that the Germans were unable to inflict significant damage.

With the British too close to call in the Luftwaffe, the Pioneers simply had to dig in (which the failed to do) and hope that the Mortars could help out. However, one again, despite three Grants being under the template, they only managed to bail one of the British tanks. With another turn before reserves arrived, I considered whether I should begin to pack up now.

Anti-Tank Platoon: 2 x Pak40
White Pioneer Platoon: 3 Stands
Light Armoured Platoon: 3 x Crusader II
Light Armoured Platoon: 1 x Crusader II
Grenadier Platoon
Tank Hunter Platoon
 Looted Tank Platoon
Light Armoured Platoon
Light Armoured Platoon
Heavy Armoured Platoon

With things looking grim on my right, I was naturally delighted when Stuart rolled up some reserves. However, surprisingly he chose to back up his assault through the ruins rather than send them through the town on my left to threaten the other objective. However. I considered it would all be rather academic as his tanks lined up in front of my beleaguered Pioneers.

The machine guns once again opened up, but despite succeeding in pinning the Pioneers, a series of successful infantry saves meant that, once again, no casualties were caused. Nevertheless, the Grants assaulted and despite inflicting a casualty or two, were soundly thrashed by the tank-knobbling antics of the CiC and Command team. Not to be outdone, the Crusaders also assaulted and were also given a good seeing too and were once again forced to break off with only two tanks remaining, however only three stands of infantry miraculously stood against them.

On my turn, I was also successful in getting reserves and the Marder IIIM's arrived to really ruin the tanks' day. On my left, I finally got cocky and doubled the Mortars in a mad gambit to get to the unguarded objective (not sure if Mortars can do this). The Stukas failed to materialise to threaten the reserve Grants but the Marders opened up on the Crusaders, destroying one and bailing the other. With only a single tanks to deal with, the remaining infantry assaulted to wipe out the platoon and consolidated back to the objective, safe within their castle of burning hulls. Of Stu's starting force, only a single tanks remained operational.

Anti-Tank Platoon: DESTROYED
White Pioneer Platoon: 5 Stands
Light Armoured Platoon: 3 x Crusader II
Light Armoured Platoon: DESTROYED
Heavy Armoured Platoon: DESTROYED
Grenadier Platoon
 Looted Tank Platoon
Light Armoured Platoon
Light Armoured Platoon

At the top of turn 3, not only was the lion's share of the enemy tanks now a heap of scrap metal, but also, I was seriously threatening an unguarded objective. However, my Mortar's foolhardy gambit was about to come unstuck as more British reserves arrived to mercilessly butcher them as they ran across open ground. Only the 2iC and Command team were left to break of and run for cover.

Having had every thing looking so good, I was now in trouble as my objective was unguarded and the Crusaders would be on it next turn. I prayed for reinforcements and was relieved when the KV-1 (which had been somehow shipped from the Eastern Front to the desert) arrived in the right position to protect the objective. However, I was slightly miffed that once again my planes failed to arrive.

However, it was at this point that I remembered the platoon count. If I could kill the remaining Crusader from the starting force, the game would be over. The Marders turned their guns on the lone tank and blew it to pieces, ending the conflict.

Anti-Tank Platoon: DESTROYED
White Pioneer Platoon: 5 Stands
Mortar Platoon: 4 Stands
Light Armoured Platoon: DESTROYED
Light Armoured Platoon: DESTROYED
Heavy Armoured Platoon: DESTROYED
Grenadier Platoon
Light Armoured Platoon

Thus ended a bit of a breakneck game. I'm sure it could have gone either way and we both experienced some extremes of luck. My planes and artillery should have cause much more havoc against unprotected tanks, but equally, the Pioneers withstanding three separate tank assaults was a sight to behold. I think Stu got to grips with the game well, although perhaps his first reserves should have been Crusaders to threaten the Mortars and the left hand objective and he certainly ran me close.

I think I deployed incorrectly, and should probably have had the Grenadiers on the other objective as more security. I also am still tweaking the list. The big Mortars will be downgraded to their rightful size, the air support will be dropped to Limited to enable me to add 3 Nebelwerfers to provide proper artillery support as Mortars really can't cut it. This will give me seven platoons, and so my 2iC will be able to Kampfgruppe to bring this total to eight for missions with reserves.

All in all, I think that I'm beginning to get to grips with infantry, but I'm still making tactical blunders (the run across open ground?) which are presenting my opponents too much of an opportunity to do me harm.

Still, it's been a while since I've won, so I'll take what I can get.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The only way I got to keep them Tigers busy is LET THEM SHOOT HOLES IN ME!!!

I changed my mind. Here's the Americans I've done so far:

So far they number 6 M4A1 Sherman Tanks, 5 M5A1 Stuart Light Tanks and 1 Reconnaissance Platoon of an M3 Half Track and 2 Jeeps. Strangely enough, I can make a game legal company out of them,

The Shermans are mainly from Plastic Soldier Company, and I really like them. There is the slight caveat that I found the tracks a bit fiddly to do and I wish I'd painted the tracks before attaching them. However, they are crisp, detailed and inexpensive. I mentioned in my last post that I've waiting to get some decals for them, once the decals are on I'll also add a bit of stowage. Although the PSC sprue doesn't contain much in the way of stowage (tracks and a fuel tank), I did a trade for some US Rangers and assorted bits which include stowage, which will be used to add a little individuality to the models.

One of the Shermans is a Battlefront resin Sherman from their Open Fire! starter set (the old one that was replaced by Achtung!). As you can see, it's a bit bigger than the PSC models and the details are not as sharp. I was intending to use this as my 2IC, because it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb when placed next to the others. However, I've managed to get my grubby hands on three more starter set tanks from Pete and so I'll be making them into a separate platoon which not only prevents it from looking odd on its own, but also provides an easy way to distinguish between platoons on the table.

These are my Stuarts. Now, as you know, it's unusual for me to spend as much as I did on these, however, there aren't really any cheaper options for Stuarts and I really wanted some in the force. Their fast and the pack a hell of a lot of firepower for such a small tank and as such seem like they'll be loads of fun to play with. The models are from Battlefront and they are really nice, with lots of individualising stowage moulded on to the hulls. My one gripe with this set is that the hull of one of the tanks is slightly cock-eyed and so the tracks are a touch skew-whiff. I filled and filled as much as I could but it's still not right. You'd have to look really closely to spot the fact that the tank's on an angle, but I know, and it bugs me.

Finally the Recon Platoon. As you can see, the bases of the the Jeeps need finishing off and I need drivers and .50 cal machine guns. Once again the Ranger trade almost comes to the rescue as it contained Jeep passengers and .50 cals and mounts but no Jeep drivers. I'm either going to have to convert an infantry model or pick up some Peter Pig drivers from Derby (although that might introduce scale issues with the heads).

The M3 Half Track was fun to do. I've built it as an unadulterated mid war model with the central MG mount as opposed to the turret ring with was introduced later. This is because the Recon available in late war replaces the Half Track with an M8 Greyhoubd (I think). However, because of the central MG mount I can't now fit in the three seated passengers, so I may have to see whether I can cut one of them off as I like the effect of crew in vehicles.

So, there they are (apart from my plane, but that's a pre-painted kit, so there's nothing to show off). On the bench at the moment are three more resin Shermans to make up the second platoon, another PSC Sherman to become the 2IC and some infantry for the Recon Platoon. They certainly all should be finished by the end of October, ready for the campaign beginning in November.