Saturday, December 26, 2015

Over a Month!

It has been over a month since my last post!  I really get annoyed when real life infringes on the hobby!!!!

I had an opportunity to get to the painting table over the past couple of days and I am happy to report that the French WW II army is complete!  Although there are rumors that my Christmas stocking might include a couple of reinforcements.  We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

There are a total of 75 figures, two guns, and two vehicles in the force. Here are a few pictures of what is painted to date.

The Foreign Legion specific forces.  Three squads, medium ATG  (47mm) and a 2LT.

Close-up of one of the squads.  Each squad has a SGT with SMG, LMG and five Rifles.

Medium ATG.  This is a French 47mm Anti-tank Gun.  Considered one of the best weapons of the early years of the war.  Note the Fusilier Marins gunner that is part of the crew.  In the background is a Renault R35 light tank.  Not technically part of this Foreign Legion unit, but definitely one of the support weapons of my overall French Army.

I think it is a pretty Balanced and colorful force.  Not your usual French Army.  I can't wait to get it on the gaming table and see how they fight!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Not War-games, but... Army Paintball

I had a chance to go to NY this weekend to watch my son, Andrew,  play paintball for the US Military Academy (West Point).  Here are some photos:

On the firing line.

Making a move

My favorite part of the game... the Break!

Under fire and moving forward!

"I'll get by with a little help from my friends..."

Andrew being contemplative at the end of the day.
While they may not have had a great day from a score standpoint, we had a great day being with our son and his friends and watching them do something they love.  It made me very proud to see the team fight through adversity and always play with an aggressive, can do, attitude.  Go Army Paintball!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Way to Determine Line of Sight on the Game Table

Here are some photos taken with a new gadget I bought on Amazon.  First the photos:

British Paratroops move into a small village.  Maybe from the viewpoint of a German MG crew?

A British Para Platoon commander looks to his right and sees SGT Robinson's section taking up a position on a hedgerow. Support is being provided by a Para MMG team in the small woods just tot he rear of the section.

The German view of SGT Robinson's section. Note the MMG in the woods behind the section.
The device is called a Universal Magnetic Periscope Lens.  It is a small device which attaches to an iPad or iPhone and allows you to take pictures from all kinds of angles on the game table.  You can use this to check line of sight or simply to take a photo from, "the commander's viewpoint."  As the photos show, however, one must have a nice photo backdrop to take really decent pictures.  I will be working on that next.

I look forward to many really neat photos for the old blog here.  I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New 28mm Bolt Action Army

Here are the first photos of my new French Bolt Action Army!  The first squad is regular infantry.  There will be others, but I haven't painted 28mm WWII before so I wanted to start with some troops with a pretty straight forward uniform.  I think they came out pretty well.

Charge over the hill!  We will throw back the Hun!

Keep up the fire, drive them back! 

The squad on the move.

The first photograph was taken without a flash.  The other two were taken with a flash.

I like the way the ink wash came out.  I still need to spray these guys with Matte sealer, but I am going to wait until I have more troops done.  I will be working on the next squad and some other surprises.  This is going to be a great force!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

USMA Class of 2016 Gets Their Rings!

It was a very special weekend as my wife and I travelled to the United States Military Academy to see our son receive his own West Point Class Ring.

Proud dad and Cadet Lieutenant Decoteau.  Thirty-three years and two generations of USMA rings!

I cannot tell you how proud we are of all that he has accomplished!  In approximately 265 days we will have an even bigger celebration!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Modern Bolt Action - Serbia 1999

We played a game of Bolt Action for moderns yesterday here at the house.  Ralph, AJ, Mike Ed and Charlie joined me for the game.  It was set in Bosnia in 1999 with a UN envoy trying to escape the board with the help of Canadian, French and Belgian troops.  The Serbs had the village surrounded and were trying to cut off the envoy and escorts from the relieving forces moving in to open the road out.  In the end the Serbian sniper team took out the envoy and the game ended, but casualty wise the allied forces caused a significant number of casualties to the Serbs.  Unfortunately, I was so busy running the game that I did not take any photos.  One of the players did take a couple of pics and I will get those up as soon as he gets them to me.

One of the primary learning points of this play-test was that having a single victory condition, the UN had to get the envoy off the table, meant that the Serbs on had one thing to worry about.  This created a "Pee Wee Soccer Game" phenomenon in that all of the Serbs piled on the town and worked at killing the envoy.  This was exacerbated by the inability of the French and Belgians relief forces to get to the fight fast enough to have any affect on the outcome.  I need to modify the allied deployment areas so they can get into the fight faster and make the Serbs worry about defending themselves more.  Also, I need to have some other form of victory conditions such as a box if documents that are being transported in addition to the envoy so there are multiple ways for the allies to win.

The modern modifications for BA worked really well.  All of the players felt the addition of a "marksman" within some of the squad organizations  is a very accurate "modern" feel.  This is a single shot sniper who does not pick the figure if it causes a casualty.

I did over-classify the vehicles, using Light Tank instead of Armored Car rankings for the M113 and BRDM-2 that we had in the game.  This made the HMG's totally ineffective against them, which was not accurate.  We also decided that all moving fire will get the -1 modifier from this point forward.  The RPG's and LAW's were appropriately inaccurate.  And probably the best modern rule test was the Sagger ATGM and the time of flight rule where the missile has a full range of 96 inches, but only "flies" 30 inches per turn.  One of Ralph's M113's almost dodged the missile, but he was still within the 45 degree angle of attack and the Sagger easily caused a catastrophic destruction.

We also decided that modern troops do not get to close assault armored vehicles.  For one thing, there are very few, if any, effective hand-held antitank weapons.  Secondly, modern vehicles are very fast and infantry would be pretty unlikely to get them in a situation to get close enough to destroy them.  Current tactics stress getting close to armored vehicles, but still using ranged weapons, such as RPG's to take them out.  So we have decided to allow infantry to only close assault soft-skin and open-topped vehicles.

For this large type of game we modify the dice pull so that all of the players on one side issue an order, then all of the players on the other side issue an order, etc. until all order dice have been played.  The side with the most order dice in a given turn get to go first.  We all like this version of the orders dice as it keeps all players engaged with the game, but still have that BA feel.

Overall, this is one of the best first play-tests that I have ever had.  I really appreciate everyone's patience as I search out an effective modern skirmish rules set that works for the way our club approaches war-games.  We like realistic, but simple rules and games that can be fought to a conclusion within a 3-4 hour period of time period.  I think that we are onto something with this particular set of modifications to Bolt Action.  90% of the rules are straight out of the rule book and the modifications are primarily in the weapons systems and ranges.

We are looking forward to further play-tests to see if the rules continue to give good results.  I will get those photos up as soon as I can.

Here is a link to AJ's website so you can see some photos of the game:

Monday, July 13, 2015

BIG ADDITION to the Napoleonics Collection

Because of the incredible generosity of my friend and club mate Ed M., my 28mm Napoleonic collection has grown by leaps and bounds recently!  Ed gave me over 190 French and Polish infantry, 20 Cavalry and six guns with 12 Gunners.  He also gave me 10 French and Polish Commanders.  Now I have the opponents for my Peninsula Campaign British troops!  I can't wait to get them on the table for the first time.

As the photos below show, these are not dregs of his collection by any measure.  These are all nicely painted figures.  I do have a couple of conversions to do and a couple of standards to add to the units, but that is a matter of one weekend and they will be ready to go!

You can see that I have already gotten the majority of them on stands and ready for flocking.  Only a couple of battalions (five) more to base up and they will be ready to add to the force.  I even have some figures that will be Young/Middle Guard battalions.

Here are some initial photos:

The Commanders First.

The new division commander and his aide.

One of the brigade commanders.

Here are the infantry.

All of the new battalions.  In front (l to r) two 2-battalion ligne regiments, one 3-battalion ligne regiment and one 1-battalion legere regiment.  In the second line are two 2-battalion Polish line regiments.  I haven't numbered any of the units yet.
Two battalion ligne regiment.
Close-up of the Eagle of one of the ligne regiments.
Three battalion ligne regiment.  Still need to add the Eagle to the command stand.
One of the Polish Line regiments of two battalions.  Note the Sapper in the left hand command stand.
And the artillery.

The two batteries of Foot Artillery.
The Horse Artillery battery being directed by the cavalry brigade commander.
I think I will wait before posting pics of the cavalry until I get them touched up.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this great gift from Ed!  He will not be paying for lunch anytime soon when I am around!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Game Night at the Club

The Northern Conspiracy held its monthly game night last night and we had a great time!  I played in John's excellent ACW game using Regimental Fire and Fury (RFF) and his fantastic 60mm figures!  The game was visually stunning and it was a truly entertaining time.

I must admit that Kevin and Bob kicked my butt, even so it was a great time.  Here are a few photos from the evening.

As you can see from the photos - the figures and terrain were just a sight to behold!

Some of the Rebels we tried to subdue.  They were just too good.

More of them Rebels! 
Part of one of our brigades.  Even the Black Hats of the Iron Brigade were not enough to save the Union on this night!

The section of the field from behind Greg's Command.  The object of the game was to capture the road in the middle of the table.  The Confederates got the memo - our side did not!

Some of my brigade - a unit of Zouaves.  They were classified as Crack Troops in the scenario.  They fought more like Crackheads!

One of our artillery batteries.  They did actually wipe out one Confederate regiment, but it was not enough to save the day. And the other three regiments facing them wiped this battery out to a man!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

HUZZAH! Shopping Results

My shopping at Huzzah! this year was not spectacular.  I got a book on modern uniforms, a book on French Foreign uniforms from the 1880's up to the present day and the Bolt Action game book - Battleground Europe.  I needed the latter as I wanted the official rules on minefields so I can incorporate them into my modern games.

Here are the books that I purchased:

I also got a bridge for my War of 1812 games from Wargamers' Terrain and some Vallejo paints.  The bridge is pretty cool as it is built up on either end with small abutment pieces.  Should be a nice addition to the terrain collection.

Here is a photo of the bridge:

I will get photos up as soon as I can get the camera operational.  Not as much as usual, but there just didn't seem to be anything that really caught my fancy - no "I have to buy that" moments.  Really pretty scary for the Sammy Sanguine in me!

Huzzah! 2015

Just got home from Huzzah!  I went up for Friday night and the day today. It was a really enjoyable time to get out of town and spend time with friends doing the hobby. Played in a couple of games, one last night and another this morning. There was a definite theme - Paratroopers!!

The game last night was a very large Bolt Action game. I got to play some units of 82nd Airborne troops involved in an attack on a German bridge.  Today I got to play in a "British Wars" skirmish game of Pegasus Bridge. I commanded a couple of Sappers helping Den Brotheridge and MAJ Howard take the key bridge just before the invasion force hit the beaches.

I really enjoyed both games. They were very different, but they had some interesting tactical situations and the rules gave a completely different feel for airborne operations. Overall this was one of the better convention gaming experiences I have had in quite awhile.

Here are some photos:

The Bridge from the Cafe end of the bridge.

Another pre-battle photo from behind the Cafe.

 Here are some photos of the first battle that I participated in on Friday evening.  We were the 82nd Airborne Division attacking a train bridge so reinforcements and materials couldn't reach the Germans fighting against the beaches:

A destroyed Sdkfz-222 Armored Car.  The last thing the crew of this vehicle saw was the 90mm gun of an American Pershing Tank!

Another charge set on a bridge section supported by a Chaffee Light Tank.

My Sappers destroying the first section of the railroad bridge.  I had suffered four out of six in the section as casualties, but the remaining two troops hung in against serious German efforts to kill them (HMG, AT Gun firing HE, Infantry fire, etc.) until they had the charge set-off.

Results of a German artillery strike - Three pins on a HMG and ATG.  A destroyed Stug III.  And a killed Major commander. Thank you to the Forward Observer who was holding his map upside down when he sent his call for fire!  Couldn't have done it without him!

P-47 on a strafing run.  The results were a destroyed '88' and several dead infantrymen.
One last photo:

The guy kneeling in  the center of the photo is one of my sappers from the Pegasus Bridge game checking for demolition charges and fuze wires.  The British successfully prevented the Germans from blowing-up the bridge.

 Both games were excellent.  The whole convention was a great time!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Regimental Fire & Fury Game Report

I had an opportunity to host a Regimental Fire & Fury war of 1812 game yesterday at the club.  The game went very well. Here are some photos of the game. My thanks to Bob, Paul, Mike and Matt for playing in the game!

The Stalwart Warriors! (l to r) Paul, Bob, Mike and Matt.

Americans defending Farmer White's Fields.  The photo shows American artillery supported by the 3rd US Volunteers behind them, Pennsylvania Volunteers on their flank and further to the left, the NY Greens Volunteer Regiment.

A close-up of the NY Greens under fierce attack by the Voltigeurs Canadiens ably supported by the 100th Regiment of Foot.  The Voltiguers' attack was very successful as they swept the NY Greens from the field.

Not seen very often in the War of 1812 - British and Canadian cavalry charging the 9th US Infantry.  The 9th successfully held off the attack.

The British and American battlelines face-off.  The Voltiguers have taken the position from the NY Greens and they continue to advance.  The 103rd Regiment of Foot moves up behind them in support.  On the right the 100th Regiment of Foot with 3/1st Foot on their right prepare to engage the Americans.  The American lines include (from l to r) a NY Militia Battalion, a composite Rifle Battalion, the 2nd US Artillery (serving as infantry) and the 1st US Infantry.

I wanted to include this picture to highlight the great terrain from my friend Andrew.  These are his fields and the buildings in the upper right-hand corner are just really beautiful!  They make a perfect farm for old-man White!

I had a great time putting on this game.  I have run the scenario on four occasions using Volley & Bayonet Wing scale.  The games turned out fine, but I really enjoyed changing over to the F&F rules for a change of pace.  I am thinking that this will also make a great scenario for the new computer moderated rules that my friend AJ is working on.

The battle ended up being larger than I anticipated and so we did not get to a complete conclusion.  I hope to run it again this summer here at the house so we can hopefully fight the whole game.  As it was the Americans held onto the farm and could have pretty easily held the small bridge which was a tertiary victory condition.  The British caused more casualties then they took, and I think given a few more turns, they would have given the Americans a run for their money in the fight to control the farm.

The players also provided me with some great feedback on the victory conditions which I will incorporate into my next game.

Overall I would say that this was a very successful game which I hope players enjoyed participating in.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bolt Action Game

Had an opportunity to play in a great Bolt Action game on Friday hosted by my friend Ralph.  The  scenario was not only a great wargame - it had the additional special attraction as it was based on an actual action where Ralph's father was the American company commander!  The game went very well.  It was a large game in terms of Bolt Action, but it played very well and everyone had a great time.

In this scenario an American infantry company was attacking across a river to secure a small German town as a flank support attack for the main effort in another part of the Regimental sector.  All of the artillery and armor support was with the main attack so the Americans were on their own. 

Fortunately, the Germans opposite the attack were mostly Volkgrenadiers.  The Germans, as always, had substantial firepower in the form of light and medium machine guns and Sturmgewehr 44's.  Unfortunately, the Germans could not compete with the pins and losses inflicted by the much larger American squads with their Garands and BAR's. 

In the end the Germans ran out of troops and the Americans ended up crossing the bridge and securing the road in several places.

Here are a few photos of the truly outstanding terrain and figures in Ralph's collection.

An American squad crests a hill in an effort to overwhelm the German VG on the far side of the stream.

One of my medium machine gun teams providing covering fire.

German troops come out of the buildings and attempt to establish a defensive line along the stream they were defending.  The American flamethrower team in the foreground did not get to fire (unfortunately) as they took a substantial amount of fire from the Germans before they could act.
An American forward observer for the medium mortar attached to the company.

Two American infantry squads overwhelm a German VG squad opposite them.