Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fathers Day 2009 at IWM Duxford

I thought I'd share a few photos of my recent Fathers Day trip to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford with my family.

I last visited Duxford when I was stationed with 39 Royal Engr Regt Wksp REME at Waterbeach Barracks near Cambridge way back in 1997. If memory serves me correctly the collection whilst quite well established was a bit hodge-podge in arrangement.

I got quite a shock when I realised just how big the collection has become and the addition of two 'brand-spanking-new-purpose-built' display hangers really make the day a great day out for the family as well as the military enthusiast.

Apart from the 'thrill of the throb' of a Spitfire roaring overhead I was particularly keen to see the Museums growing collection of Warsaw Pact vehicles - reputedly one of the biggest in the world.

As always with these things there were things I came across on the day that were added bonuses and I'll try to do my best here to share those with you.

The 'obligatory' Spitfire - Czech roundel if I'm not mistaken?

The ubiquitous Hurricane

This is an unusual one - a folding motorcycle as used by British Airborne Forces complete with its drop cannister and parachute. This was the very first time I had seen one in this condition in the flesh as opposed to in a book!

'Big Boys Toys'
The level of detail on the r/c models was amazing. The weathering on the foremost model was incredible and even one or two of the figures heads was moveable by remote control.

This video just goes to prove two things.
1. Size isn't everything
2. The turret traverse of the Tiger I is truly deplorable!

The SA8 Gecko

The PT76 - another 'first' for me!

A T34/85 in Balkans 'livery'
Not too sure what the script reads, but sure that whatever it reads its not too pleasant!

FV432 'Lady in Red'
An unusual camouflage scheme which is anyones guess really? I'm not entirely sure Chris DeBurgh would approve - personally I think this is a massive improvement on his wailing which I have heard far too many times for one lifetime:-)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

CWC Batrep - Mount Longdon, 11th June 1982

British Order of Battle - 3 Para Btn

1x CO Lt Col H. Pike CV10
4x Para Infantry
2x Charlie G Upgrades

Recce Patrol
2x Para Patrols

Company Support
1x HQ CV9
1x Naval FAO (HMS Avenger)
3x 81mm Mortar
2x Milan

A Coy
2x HQ Maj D.A Collet CV9
5x Para Infantry

B Coy
2x HQ Maj M.H Argue CV9
1x Artillery FAO (29 Cdo - 2x 105mm FH)
9x Para Infantry
2x Charlie G Upgrades

Breakpoint 13
2190 points

Argentinian Order of Battle - RI7

1x CO Maj C. Carrizo-Salvadores CV8
1x FAO (1x 105mm FH)
3x Reservist Infantry
1x Sniper
1x SAM Blowpipe

1x HQ Marine Sub-Lieutenant S. Dachary CV8
3x Marine Infantry
1x HMG (IR)

1x HQ CV7
3x Reservist Infantry
1x HMG
2x 81mm Mortar

Breakpoint 8
895 Points

View of Mt. Longdon through IR Night Sights
from the British Support Company Position

3Para Plan of Attack
With the battle taking place at night and in poor weather 3 Para's CO decided that the main thrust of the assault would be against the right flank. B Company would lead the assault in a flanking manouvre intended to 'roll up the flanks' of the Argentinian positions.

A Coy would support this attack whilst HQ Company under the CO would feint an attack against the centre left positions with the intent of pinning the enemy in the centre. Support company would offer fire support from the startline.

Having the advantage of Hidden Deployment and gaining a further 5 hidden deployment markers, the British would seek to threaten the left flank with the blank markers hopefully preventing the Argentinian Commander from re-deploying any troops to strengthen the actual point of attack until it was too late.

RI7 Plan of Defence
Major C. Carrizo-Salvadores strung out his forces across the expanse of Longdon placing his HQ's and IR equipped HMG and Sniper along likely routes of attack.

His Marine detachment under MSL S. Dachary took up positions on the most exposed left flank. A single hidden minefield covered a gully in defilade leading to the central summit of Longdon.

Turns 1-3
The Para patrols located the Argentinian Marines calling in HMS Avengers guns - only for it to blunder. Fortunately for the Paras the fire deviated massively off the table narrowly missing B Coy's startline.

The advance elements of B Coy came within 200 metres of the Argentinian Marines before being detected, a hail of fire checking their advance. Other hidden routes of advance went largely unchecked. Were the enemy asleep?

The Argentinian CO watched in horror as hidden deployment markers moved behind his line of defences dangerously exposing his right flank. A runner was despatched to rouse the Reservists.

The advance elements of B Coy failed their command roll leaving themselves dangerously exposed in the open and the ensuing firefight sees them suppressed again. Some frighteningly accurate artillery support ties up other units of B Coy stalling the Paras assault.

In the centre the Argentinian CO wisely checks his fire allowing A Coy to come within effective range of the weapons massed on Longdon's summit.

The Paras continue to creep forward bringing their Charlie G's into play not realising that almost their entire battlegroup has now been detected. Suddenly all hell breaks loose resulting in the first British casulaties to B Coy. The Para Recce patrols desperately try to relocate to the centre aspect of the battlefiled but find the terrain pretty tough going.

Just when it is feared that things cant get much worse the Naval FAO wanders into the hidden minefield - narrowly avoiding destruction.

Breakpoints - 3Para 2/13, RI7 0/8

View of the assault by B Coy on the
Argentinian right flank from A Coys start line

Turns 4 & 5
With casualties starting to mount 3Para upped the anti throwing the Support Company into the fray. Milan, GPMG and Mortar fire raked the Argentinian positions in the centre with further support added from HMS Avenger and 29 CDO's 105mm Field Howitzers.

The Argentinian Marines supported by the 81mm mortar platoon continued to increase the pressure on B Coy once again stalling their assault with mounting casualties.

3Para's support company continued to pour down covering fire and A Coy's support passing through B Coy proved timely. With the vast majority of his troops pinned down by enemy fire the Argentinian CO was powerless to respond. An entire turn passed with only sporadic fire being returned towards A & B Companys combined assault.

Breakpoint 3Para 5/13, RI7 4/8

Argentinian Centre being pinned by 3Para's HQ Coy

Turn 6
The combined assault of 3Para A & B Company finally breaks into the Argentinian Marine position from the flank and rear and in a brutal round of hand to hand clear the trenches.

With daylight approaching and under pressure from 3Para Support Company Maj Carrizo-Salvadores orders his men to retreat on Stanley.

Breakpoint 3Para 5/13, RI7 6/8

Op Corporate in 6mm

Operation Corporate, the British Army's campaign to re-take the Falkland Islands has always appealed to me. As an impressionable teenager with aspirations of joining the army from early childhood, I remember racing home from school to catch the news each evening. What I saw on my TV only made me more determined to join as soon as I physically could.

I have always thought it strange that I had never seriously tried to re-enact any of the engagements through my hobby of wargaming until now, 27 years later. In a way I think one of the primary reasons for not doing so much earlier, is that there never seemed to be a rule set that captured the feel of battalion actions. That fact, coupled with so few military miniature manufacturers producing Falklands ranges probably restricted my choices.

When Cold War Commander was first released a couple of years back, it was with great delight that I noticed the Falklands Conflict was covered in the army lists. A few hours of internet surfing later and I was left feeling disappointed that even fewer miniature manufacturers were producing a range that covered the conflict. 20mm seems to be relatively well covered but its not a scale I particularly like. Once again the desire to recreate an engagement of the conflict came to nothing.

It was only recently when I caught the two part series on Sky about the Falklands that my appetite was re-wetted. I dragged out my Cold War British army in 6mm and realised that at 1-1 scale I pretty much had the vast majority of kit used in the conflict. Further digging (to find figures to represent the Argentinians) highlighted my WW2 Red Army and WW2 Late War Americans as potential stand in's.

An hour or so later I two workable forces at roughly battalion scale with infantry stands representing infantry sections. Using CWC's battlegroup creator I had two opposing forces to pitch against each other - 3Para going up against B Coy of the Argentinian RI7 supported by Argentinian Marine Machine Guns on Mount Longdon, 11th June 1982.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Welcome to my blog

Hello and welcome to my witterings about my primary hobby - the weird and wonderful world of Wargaming.

Here I'll share my latest thoughts on the hobby, pictures of the latest project I am working on, batreps of games I have played and other ramblings about the hobby in general.

I have a wide interest in Wargaming and have been playing with 'toy soldiers' for more years than I care to remember.

I have fond memories of creating 'trench systems' in my parents front garden (much to their dismay) and hours spent pelting Britains/Airfix plastics with lumps of mud, stone and the occasional housebrick!

I have 'not so fond' memories of as many hours spent digging over the garden to recover those miniatures s that my dad could reclaim his vegetable patch.

My main period of wargaming interest remains 20th Century games (primarily WW2 and Modern Era) although I also dabble in Napoleonics, Colonials, ACW, AWI, ECW and numerous others.

Lately I have collected, assembled and painted several 'futuristic forces' for Future War Commander - one of my personal favourites when it comes to rule sets which comes out of the Pete Jones 'stable', Specialist Military Publishing

Pete's other rule sets, BKC & CWC cover WW2 and Modern Gaming respectively. I cannot big these rule sets up enough. I have been wargaming for many years and Pete's rules are the first set I have stuck with for more than a year! They are ideal for solo gaming due to the innovative command and control system. If you haven't seen these rules then you are missing out.

I'll be aiming to add to my blog on a monthly basis at least as long as work and real life doesn't get in the way:-)