27 December 2012

Xmas Haul: Support Vehicles for D-Day

Xmas Haul: Allied Support Vehicles for D-Day and El Alamein

Allied Support Vehicles for the Late War campaign: 
Some collector's items, destined to become table top gaming pieces: 

Lledo and Corgi Trackside models

Some may say it is sacrilege, but these will be repainted and join my Allied Armies in North Africa and Europe.

AEC Mamouth Tank Transporter

D-Day Allied Command Vehicles, including Caravan

D-Day Allied Soft-skin support Vehicles and Command Car

  El Alamein Soft-skin support Vehicles and Command Car

23 December 2012

6 December 2012

Allied Commonwealth Forces start to muster for El Alamein

Allied Commonwealth Forces start to muster for El Alamein

Being as enthused as I have been of late with gaming  El Alamein and the Desert War on the one hand, and Kursk on the other has led to some confusion. Having just converted all my Desert Themed armies to European theatre of war the Desert Lust grabbed me again. so here I find myself building Gun Tractors, 6pdr guns and painting Desert Rats again...

Thought I might convert some Aussie Jungle Fighters to Desert Fighters, and Some regular  8th Army and Ghurka figures into Indian Troops, giving my 8th Army a bit more Colonial flavour. 

My Indian Division have received a couple of coats, and have been glued to their bases. Still a way to go before they are ready for the table.

Turbans and Kukri, cold steel and conquered warrior tribes, all in service of the Empire

While on arriving from down under, we have a boat load full of Aussie cobbers

In the confusion of a dust storm on my workbench Friend and Foe seem to have been thrown together: Luftwaffe Gunners, Heer Artillerymen, Regular English 8th Army Sappers, and Aussie Infantry mill about, waiting to be based.

I have struggled to find figures in 1/72 scale with the obiquitous tropical pith helmets that both sides were issued with, until I stumbled upon some Hong Kong made copies of the old Airfix figures that were not too badly cast, except for their over-sized tin hats. Just perfect for converting to tropical helmets!

The South African troops in particular seemed to have been issued with these useless items (did block the sun, but no protection against flying metal). The conversion to Indian headgear is relatively straight forward, and the turbans are drying as we speak. The Aussies came with bush hats, and most of the Ghurkas too, so no issue there. Some Ghurka also wear a fez or kepi-like cap. No hope of finding a NZ Lemon squeezer hat though ! The truth is that all of these exotic headgear saw little use in battle.

Arrivals from the Reich: More Boys of Summer

Fresh Arrivals from the Reich: More Boys of Summer

Received a fresh batch of arrivals for my 20mm German WW2 Forces over the last few weeks:
Mixed box of WW2 soft skinned vehicles: 

Kettenrad and Kubelwagen for my Recce Zug and a Utility Willys Jeep for the Allies

Bridge-layer Sd.KFz 251/1 for the Pionier Zug...

... and a 234/4 packing a PAK 40 75mm gun as tank destroyer while teay lay that bridge

And just for good measure a Raketenwerfer Sd.Kfz 251/2 Ausf D

Two 88mm bolster the Luftwaffe's artillery, and a Pak 38 "Doorknocker"

A Great little find off Trademe (NZ Ebay equivalent): A complete coastal defense battery! ($15 including postage! One may's junk is surely another's treasure)

14 November 2012

Trouble in the Border Provices: Fantasy Gets its Own Page

Trouble in the Border Provinces

I found it too confusing to have both WW2 and Fantasy Wargaming on one blog, so I have split the two. 

My Fantasy/Sci Fi blogging now takes place at  Trouble in the Border Provinces

My first post relates to my Empire Army. 
I got the whole lot (barring artillery) out last night, and arranged them on my gaming table. 
Did I hear solo wargaming, Scott? I may call it solo Army parading....

Without any buff and fluff, shields and upgrades I can probably field 10 000 points. 
The Army contains many Mordheim Skirmish Models. Skirmish games being another love of I have. 

I have based them so they can be used as part of standard WHFB armies too, so the Sisters of Sigmar can join the Army either as alternative Warrior Priests (Nuns) or a flagellant band. The Witch Hunters fulfill a similar role.

Who said self flagellating religious fanatics have to be male? 

One is the infamous Nun Chuck with her ubiquitous nunchaku shaped flail
This picture is off the net, but my paint scheme is similar (Blue) for my Nordland Sisters of Sigmar

Generic pictures: Will post some of my own tomorrow

12 November 2012

Defense of the Reich: Niedlingen Fuel Depot and Startion

The Boys of Summer II: Defending the Reich
Anxious moments

The Fuel dump at Niedlingen: 2 Quad Vierling 20mm and two single 20mm Flak cannons arrive at the rail depot at Niedlingen to defend the meager fuel reserves against marauding Allied Typhoon aircraft.

A single Tiger II is there to defend the fuel dump from enemy ground forces. 

The Fuel dump has recently been topped up by the arrival of a train, carrying  fuel for the armoured vehicles

A SS K-rad Zug is also moving through the town on the way to the front, when the sound of vehicle engines is heard in the distance.

 The group strain to discern the origin and nature of the sound, anxiously scanning the horizon. 
Wer Da? Friend oder Feind? Who is there? Friend or Foe? 

8 November 2012

Game Over? 7 US Navy Seals reprimanded after consulting for EA Games

Seven US Navy Seals face disciplinary action 

after it was revealed they worked as consultants on 

EA's Medal of Honor: Warfighter Game.

CBS News reported that seven members of Seal Team Six consulted with EA over two sessions, and shared classified information that had been given to them by the Navy.

Seal Team Six is the team that carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and CBS stated that one of the Seals that consulted with EA actually partook in the raid.

The seven Seals who worked with EA have been issued letters of reprimand, which effectively means they cannot be promoted, CBS said. They have also been docked half their pay for two months.

The seven members of Seal Team Six are still on active duty, although four have since transferred to different squads.

Further action is possible, and CBS reported that their careers as Seals may now be over.


7 November 2012

Are you a REAL Wargamer?

Are you a proper Wargamer?

Original and responses on The Wargaming Site

The viral post from Phil B on The Wargaming Site (New Zealandised/Australised)

Are you a proper Wargamer?

One does not simply claim to be a wargamer by having a couple of games of 40k.  No, no,no.  There are many steps you must go through before calling yourself a true Wargamer.

To genuinely call yourself a Wargamer, then you must have done most or all of the following;

* Spent at least $750 on figures / tanks - and you get extra kudos for every $750 you've spent

* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block or spear horde

* Tried at least 10 different rule sets and vowed never to play half of them ever again

* Bought and played 3 or more editions of your current gaming system,
* Bought an army off EBay/Trade Me

* Sold an army on EBay/Trade Me

* spent months painting an army - then used it in anger once

* tried several different periods and genres

* dropped a box of figures on the floor from a great height

* lost a battle on the last throw of the dice

* made at least one enemy for life

* had a proper, stand up argument over a wargamer's table

* thrown a dice across a room

* rebased an army for a different rule set

* inflicted a whopping defeat on an opponent

* suffered an embarrassing defeat due to a stupid tactical decision

* joined a wargamers club

* bought a ton of lead/plastic that remains unpainted

* been to a wargamers show

* have more dice than is logical or necessary to own - and have used most of them

* have taken boxes of troops down to a club just to show them off to your mates

* own reference books for periods you don't even intend to collect an army for?

*you have reference books on each period / army you play

* Having played so many different games you confidently quote rules for a totally different period, scale or
   ruleset  edition to the one you're playing at that moment

* You have lied to your partner / spouse about how much you've spent on the hobby
(When my wife saw my painting table, I told her that Vallejo paints are only $2 each - I'm going to Hell...).

* You get genuinely excited when a package arrives in the post - then hide it upstairs quickly before your partner sees it.  If your partner finds it first, you lie about the contents.You sneak it into the lead pile while she's not looking...

* You have joined a re-enactment society (5 points for this one!)

* You have played in an unsuitable venue

* You continue to search for the perfect Napoleonic / WW2 / Ancients / ACW etc. rule set (knowing that it doesn't actually exist).

* For that reason you have developed your own house rules for certain periods.  And think them far superior to the original author's efforts.

* You have returned from a wargames show or shop and sneaked upstairs to hide the stash.

* You have made your own wargames scenery.

* You have reached a painting 'wall'

* You have lost - and regained - your wargaming mojo.

* You have the occasional (and short lived) sense of guilt with your wife/children when complaining to them about the money spent in clothes, shoes or toys/Xbox games when you have $500 of unpainted metal stuffed in an upstairs drawer.

* You have done armies in different scales for the same period (e.g. ACW in 28mm, 15mm and 6mm).

* You have jealously coveted someone else's troops

* You have laughed (secretly or otherwise) as someone else's paint job

* You have provided a piece of useless trivia relating to the troops on the table to show off your wargaming knowledge.

* You have contradicted someone elses' trivia - demonstrating your superior knowledge and giving you a warm glow inside.

* You have caused a major disaster on a wargames table (spilling a pint, collapsing the table, dropped someone else's figures or your prize figure on the floor).

* You have cheered when an opponent's dice lets them down at a critical point

* You have lied to your partner about going gaming or how long its going to take

* You have lied to an attractive woman (man) about your hobby.

* You have made an opponent cry.  It doesn't count if they are under 8 years old though.

* You have painted the same army in the same scale more than once

* You have reference books on armies you haven't even got

* You have bought figures for a period you have never and will never play - because they were cheap.

* You have inflicted grevious bodily harm on a dice that has let you down.  This includes the guy who used to drill holes in them and impale the offenders on cocktail-stick stakes and Big Lee taking an axe to one offender.

* You blog or have a web-page about your Wargaming activities

* Your book collection is almost all war and wargames related

* You critique 'war' movies (especially Hollywood war movies) for historical accuracy (like the use of American tanks - Pershings I think - to represent German Panzers in the 'Battle of the Bulge'.)

* You spend car / train journeys checking out the lie of the land - considering which way you would attack from and whether it would make good wargaming terrain.

Any more ?

4 November 2012

Bomb of an Auction coming up...

An online auction has been set up for anyone looking 

for a "bomb" of a Christmas present.

An Auckland-based munitions collector has put up for sale an original MK 84 500lb (227kg) bomb and a New Zealand New Seacat missile.

Starting bids for both items - which are on offer on TradeMe - begin at $1000, with the online auction set to close at 3.57pm on Sunday.

The 227kg bomb is filled with plaster and the owner states it ''turned up as a garden ornament (minus tail) many years ago''.

''Once I had it checked out as safe (and free from explosives!) by an Airforce ordinance specialist I refurbished the body and sourced an unused 1969 tail,'' the seller wrote.

''It's a totally awesome bomb and would be the showpiece of any collection, another item that would make for the ultimate man cave decoration.''

The seller said it was about 2.5m long and ''very heavy''.

The Seacat missiles is 1.5m tall.The seller wrote that the item was one of the few decommissioned missiles of its type to remain intact.

''Have a look at pictures of all of the major ordinance collections in NZ and you won't see one of these,'' the item's blurb stated.

''This is a truly rare opportunity to own a piece of missile history, a 'must-have' for any ordinance/naval collection and a unique addition to any man cave.''

The seller added: ''I have owned this for close to 20 years ... reluctant sale but looking to fund a new project.''

 © Fairfax NZ News

Carrier pigeon w secret message

And now for something completely different!

Inspiration for clandestine operations. Modeling carrier pigeons with secret messages?

A British man has found the remains of World War II carrier pigeon in his fireplace complete with a canister attached to a leg containing an encrypted WW2 message.

David Martin, 74, found the bird's remains while renovating a unused Victorian fireplace at his Surrey home not far from the wartime headquarters of General Bernard Montgomery.

"It could have been a secret message for him. I hope it is something interesting it will be amazing if we discover an unknown detail from such an important part of British history," Martin told Britain's Daily Mail.

Martin said he and his wife Anne "were stunned it was like Christmas had come early. The chimney was full of hundreds of twigs and rubbish and then I just started finding various bits of a dead pigeon."

At first they thought it might be a racing pigeon "until we spotted the red capsule and our eyes just lit up."

Carrier pigeons have been used since ancient times to relay messages from behind enemy lines and the capsule Martin found was the kind British troops used during World War II.

The message, written by a Sergeant W Stott, contains 27 codes that each contain a combination of five numbers and letters. The message was destined for "X02," which is believed to be the classified designation for Britain's Bomber Command.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

30 October 2012

El Alamein NZ History perspective

El Alamein: NZ perspective (from NZ history online) 

Enter Monty !

In late June 1942, the New Zealand Division fell back to the Alamein Line, where it took part in the first Battle of Alamein. At Ruweisat Ridge on 15 July 1942, and the El Mreir Depression a week later, the New Zealanders seized their objectives after successful night assaults. But on both occasions they were left unsupported by British armoured units, and when overwhelming numbers of German tanks appeared they had no choice but to surrender.

Inability to get tanks, anti-tank and other heavy weapons forward to the New Zealanders contributed to the debacles at Ruweisat and El Mreir. Faulty orders and a lack of initiative on the part of the exhausted British tank commanders lay at the heart of the problem. The 4th, 5th and 6th (NZ) Brigades suffered heavy casualties in these battles, and several thousand more New Zealanders were captured.

A stalemate developed on the Alamein Line. Rommel, conscious that a lack of reinforcements and supplies were weakening his position in North Africa, tried to grab the initiative before it was too late. On 30 August 1942 German and Italian forces breached the Alamein minefields and headed south in an attempt to outflank the Allied forces. 

Deciphered German codes – dubbed ULTRA intelligence by the Allies – allowed the Allies to track Rommel’s intended movements and they pounded his columns with artillery and from the air. Having made little progress and with his tanks short on fuel Rommel fell back to his original positions. 

This action marked the debut of the 8th Army’s new commander, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery. While he was fortunate to assume command just as conditions began to favour the Allies, Montgomery had more than good luck on his side. He brought a new uncompromising approach to the campaign, immediately indicating that there would be no thought of further retreat.

Breakthrough at El Alamein

The New Zealand Division played a key role in the second Battle of El Alamein, which began on 23 October 1942. Its task, along with South African, Australian and British divisions, was to 'break in' through the enemy defences, which were now covered by deep minefields. At 9.40 p.m. the skies around El Alamein lit up as around 900 guns opened fire on known Axis positions. Twenty minutes later the infantry began their assault, advancing forward under a First World War-style creeping barrage. While the New Zealanders seized their objectives, the overall battle did not develop as Montgomery expected. Congestion, poor coordination and cautious leadership prevented Allied armoured units from taking advantage of gains made by the infantry.

Montgomery planned a new attack – Operation Supercharge – further to the south, which would essentially repeat the process of the initial attack. He looked to the New Zealand Division's experienced headquarters to plan the ‘break in’ component of Supercharge, although the division itself was too weak to provide the necessary punch. Two British brigades, with New Zealand support, would carry out the attack while New Zealand infantry battalions protected their flanks.

Operation Supercharge began at 1.05 a.m. on 2 November, with the British infantry brigades forcing open a path for British armour to pour through. Having breached the prepared Axis positions, the tanks ran into Rommel’s panzers. Both sides incurred heavy losses in the ensuing battle, but by evening the Afrika Korps were facing defeat. Realising his battered armoured units were fast running out of fuel, Rommel decided to withdraw. Despite Hitler ordering the German-Italian troops to ‘stand fast’, by 4 November Axis forces in North Africa were in headlong retreat. Many Italian troops, without adequate transport, were taken prisoner. Rommel’s defeat at El Alamein would prove to be the decisive moment of the North African campaign.

The Axis position in North Africa was furthered weakened when Anglo-American forces landed in Vichy-French Morocco and Algeria in November 1942. To meet the new threat, Axis forces poured into Tunisia, forming a new army commanded by General Hans-Jurgen von Arnim. The Germans and Italians were now fighting on two fronts.

Enthused by El Alamein

Enthused by anniversaries of El Alamein and Tobruk, memories of growing up in South Africa with stories from veterans that had been "Up North". A cousin's farm was even called Tobruk. These battles left an indelible mark on the psyche of the ANZAC and South African soldiers, who took part in the desperate defence of Tobruk and the First Battle of El Alamein in 1941, and the Second battle of El Alamein in 1942.

My first wargaming teeth were also cut on these battles, using Lionel Tarr and Donald Featherstone's rules. I have since repainted a lot of my armour to reflect the European theatre of war, only to now again become gripped by the Desert War.

Painting these guys in the desert khaki rather than the jungle green

Desert Khaki here too, and some conversion to represent Sikh or Punjab soldiers

I obtained a (rather large) box of 8th Army, Australian and Gurka troops off trademe (Ebay equivalent in NZ) and started painting these up. Decided to honour the memory of the Anzacs and S.African Brigade, and also to throw in a few Indian to flesh out a mostly colonial battle-force.The standard Matchbox 8th Army does form the core of this force. Another work in progress...

28 October 2012

Historical Battles

The next 3 years will see the 70th Anniversary of some of history's most significant battles 
(Certainly from a WW2 Wargamer's point of view.)

Battles that have proved decisive as turning points in history, made great and famous generals, and ruined others. Battles that may have gone differently, if supreme commanders had not not interfered, if better lines of supply been available, if, if, if...

(Now that was a V for victory sign, wasn't it?)

The stuff that wargames are made of...The variables, the role of luck, the role of fate, the role of intelligence, the role of the weather, the role of...you know!

20th Century warfare's decisive land battles loom ahead, starting with the 2nd Battle of El Alamein.
Many wargamers are already getting ready for Kursk, the greatest tank battle ever!

I have purposely themed my repaint and expension of German Armoured Forces so that they will do for the North African, Italian and Eastern Fronts.

Get Ready, El Alamein is at hand!

20 October 2012

More Militaria Gems

A few more Gems I acquired in the last month through the generosity of others:
Reference works with amazing detail and information on uniforms