Sunday, 30 September 2012

José María Bueno's "El Ejercito Espanol En Parada" - Set 4

This set has some rather natty Italian light tanks in it. The uniform colour of the Civil Guards is very light, - but that may be because it's their dress uniforms. My Civil Guards are painted a darker colour, - closer to the regular army units.

The SFL unit carrying the infantry mortar is also of interest.

Bandera de Falange Espanola
Regiment of Falange
Compania de 'Bersaglieri' Motorizados
Bersaglieri motorbike teams
Compania de Carros Ligeros del C.T.V.
CTV Light Tanks
Note middle row Command Vehicle with radio antenna, and flamethrower vehicle on the bottom row.
Guardia Civil de Caballeria
Mounted Civil Guards
Guardia Civil de Infanteria
Civil Guards
Regular Army Infantry
Mehal-la Jalifiana Infanteria
Mehal-la Jalifiana Infantry
X Bandera de la Legion
10th Bandera of the Spanish Foreign Legion

Saturday, 29 September 2012

José María Bueno's "El Ejercito Espanol En Parada" - Set 3

Set 3 of these unique paper figures. Don't have much more to add at this point!
Artilleria de Montana, Escalon de Municionamiento
- Mountain Artillery, Ordnance Section
Artilleria de Montana - Mountain Artillery

Bandera de Camisas Negras del la Division 'XXIII de Marzo' 
Regiment of Blackshirts from the 23rd March Division
Marina - Marines

Primer Tercio del Requete Navarro
First Tercio, Navarre Carlist Requetes
Servicio de Trabajo de F.E.T. y de las J.O.N.S.
FET & JONS Labour Battalion
Tabor de Caballeria de la Mehal-la
Tabor of Mahal-La Cavalry
Grupo de Regulares de Melilla Numero 2
Grupo of Melilla Regulares

Thursday, 27 September 2012

José María Bueno's "El Ejercito Espanol En Parada" - Set 2

Set two of Bueno's paper soldiers presented me with a problem as I'm not sure exactly what was in it, so there's some guess work on the scans. This pack does have a lot of the wargamnig glamour troops in it, I'm afraid, as it contains the Tercio and the Condor Legion. This is also one of the sets that Bob Cordery doesn't own.

What is impressive about these figures is that there is no skimping on the detail. Just look at the pictures of the men carrying the machine guns, or the anti-tank units.

Condor Legion

Bandera de la Falange de Marruecos (Regiment of Moroccan Falange)

Artilleria Anti-Carro de la Legion (SFL anti-tank unit)

La Legion (Spanish Foreign Legion infantry)

Escuadron de Lanceros (Lancer Squadron)

Batallon del Requete (Tercios del Sur) - Carlist Batallion, Southern Tercio

Grupo de Regulares de Larache No 4

Tabor de Caballeria de la Mehal-La

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

José María Bueno's "El Ejercito Espanol En Parada" - Set 1

As described on Bob Cordery's blog Wargaming Miscellany José María Bueno produced five sets of paper figures showing units of the Nationalist Army in their victory parade at the end of the Spanish Civil War (it's rumoured that there were six sets, but I've only found evidence of 5).

I've managed to track down fairly good reproductions of all 40 of the sheets, and I propose to post them here, set by set. They provide a really good source (an almost incomparable source!) of information on the uniforms of the time, - although be wary. These are all dress uniforms, and some may be misleading.

Bandera de F.E.T. y de las J.O.N.S. (Regiment of FET & JONS militias) 

Caballeria de las Milicias del Requete - Carlist Mil.itia Cavalry

Escolta mora de S.E. el Generalissimo (Franco's Moorish bodyguard)

Infanteria de Marina (Marine infantry)

Infanteria (Regular Army infantry)

Mehal-la Jalifiana

Policia Montada de Sevilla (Seville Mounted Police)

Tiradores de Ifni-Sahara
I'll post Set 2 next, which consists of Spanish Foreign Legion & the Condor Legion.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Chinese Puzzle

We had another go with the Taiping Era rules Monday evening. This time we did a Taiping v Imperialist Chinese game, which is a bit more evenly balanced. The Imperialists were 50/50 Mongolian cavalry and Chinese foot (played by ECW Royalist horse and Fuzzy-Wuzzies respectively). The Taipings were made up mostly of foot, and were played by some Ansar.

We had a fairly straight set 'em up and run at them game. The Taiping foot was slightly better than the Imperialists, and their cavalry were of similar quality but a bit more manoeuvrable. With the Mongol cavalry on the wings the balance of the game was whether the Imperialists could turn the Taiping flanks before the latter ran over the middle and routed the Imperialist foot.

I had made few changes to last week's rules mostly due to lack of time, but also to give them a fair try out.

It went pretty well. The Imperialist horse had a nightmare, failing EDNA rolls when looking to roll 7 or less on a d8 a few times. This caused their charges to falter in the face of formed foot who gave them some effective musket volleys.

In the centre the Imperialist foot held up pretty well and even managed to break some Taiping foot units but elsewhere it was too awful for words and they ended up fleeing the field.

The core mechanisms are looking okay, giving simple, quick and clear results. The push back mechanism gives the game a real ebb and flow now I have it properly workked out. I need to add some more flavour and differentiate between different unit types, but I think I have a system that works.

I'm just not sure how much like Chinese warfare it is yet. That's the Chinese Puzzle.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Civil War Miscellany

Many years ago I passed up the opportunity to buy a set of books from my local second hand bookshop. After a couple of months I realised what a mistake I'd made and went back to get them only to find that the shop had closed down.

Imagine my delight, therefore, when I nipped into the Age Concern Second Hand Book Shop in Market Harborough and discovered another complete set at a mere £2 each. I did not make the same mistake again and immediately forked out the folding stuff for them.

Here they are. All eight volumes of S R Gardiner's history of the Civil War and the Protectorate. Still a classic, still with a pretty good narrative despite a bit of nit-picking in some modern works.

The red-spined ones were the background to my final year at university, so this is certainly a nostalgia buy. The versions I used then weren't this paperback reprint, but the early 1900s originals. Gardiner died before getting to the end of the Protectorate. The books only get to 1656, and were edited and published by C H Firth (after whom Firth Hall is named at my Alma Mater). Firth went on to finish  the story with his "Later years of the Protectorate". Alas I don't have them, and they are a bit more than £2 on Abebooks.

Changing Civil Wars ever so smoothly I have finished my SCW artillery. The Nationalists now have a fine array of Krupp 77mm field guns. These are my favourite (inexpensive) RUGs together with Peter Pig crews.

Not to be outdone the Republic has taken delivery of some chunky looking howitzers.152mm it looks like, courtesy of Comrade Stalin. And RUG again.

There are three of them, but I'm just giving you a close up of one.

Completion of the guns lets me move on to some cavalry. I've had a shot at putting together a pack horse with an MG on it. It looks like a load of jerry cans and bits of wire glued to a horse at the moment.

So there you have it. Two Civil Wars for the price of one!

Right, off to put together my bits and pieces for Monday night's game now.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Taiping Lesson

I've spent the last couple of weeks on and off on the train putting together the first draft of rules for mid-19th century Chinese warfare. These rules are intended to cover mainly the Taiping Rebellion and the Second Opium War.

I had a solo playetest in the garage the weekend before last which indicated a few areas to be tightened up, so I felt I was ready to share where I'd got to with the Monday Night Group.

As I haven't bought any Chinese yet my Red coated Sudan British stood in for the "Barbarians" and the Ansar and Fuzzy-Wuzzies for the Manchus, Mongols and Chinese of the Imperial forces. Hence no pictures.

The core of the system is a use of the EDNA mechanism. Each unit has a discipline score which is whittled down by combat and also provides a measure of how able it is to perform any actions like charging home. For example a British line Regiment has a discipline of 11 on a d12, a Chinese foot "ying" has a discipline of 5 on a d6. Other units variously use a d8 or d10. When a unit is hit it rolls against its rating. If it rolls more than the number then it is reduced by the difference. When a unit's rating is reduced to 1 it has to retire, at 0 it routs.

The use of multi-sided dice isn't popular with all of my players. It was remarked to me that "wargamers don't like them". I'm not sure about this as you sure see a lot of them sold at shows. It might be that some types of wargamers, - those brought up in the purely historical tradition - don't like them. I prefer to use d6, but sometimes altering the number of sides on the dice is just convenient.

How did the play test go? In summary the British mostly roughed the Chinese up fairly efficiently, although they lost a cavalry regiment and one unit of foot in the process. I'm sure there'll be questions in the House about both of them.

The core mechanism works, although I need to stop it being so brutal at times. Hits are inflicted by rolling a d6 per base, doubled at close range for the Europeans. The number of hits is then the number of dice rolled for the EDNA test. I had a bit of a design issue with this in the solo test, - whether to roll all of the dice at  once and rank them or roll them individually. I went for the former for this playtest. This means that a small number of hits can be catastrohic on a Chinese unit if there is only one 6 in the numbers rolled as that means that 5s have an effect that then means 4s have an effect and so on and the unit routs. I may go back to rolling one die at a time.

So I got the game I was expecting but it probably isn't much fun for the Chinese. I have the classic problem for Colonial games. If the British are well organised and lead (or just competently lead) they will prevail in a set piece battle. Even if they make a mistake (such as opening the square a Tamai) they'll probably recover the situation and give the locals a pasting. The challenge is then how do you make it an enjoyable game for the natives without distorting the history (SvP doesn't bother by having the natives run by the Umpire).

In some ways the European forces are a side show, as I want to be fighting Taiping v Imperialist or the EVA at the most. So perhaps a test with them next week. Or at least some fuzzies and Ansar who are a bit lost.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

SCW Update

I was going to write more this weekend, but a mega-PC failure (Blue Screen Of Death) has wasted most of it.

Anyway, here's some photos of my latest completed work:

Peter Pig's new Carlists, - firing & LMG figures
Carlist HMGs, - Nationalists with head swaps

Command groups, - two different types of Officer

The LMG poses. I drilled out the metal under the barrel to make it look more realistic

More firing Carlists

Height comparison between new Carlist figures and original Civil Guards
That's enough for now. Off to finish re-installing my software and trying to find my e-mail addresses. Anyone who has my e-mail could help out by sending me a brief e-mail so I can add you quickly to my address book.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Second BAIT

So we had another go at RFCM's "Bayonets and Ideology 2" in an attempt to find a low level Spanish Civil War set of rules. The first game left us with some reservations, but one game isn't enough to make a judgement and it did seem to have something in it.

This time we had a Republican counterattack by some brave International Brigaders against a position held by members of the Tercio. The Republicans were average, supportede by a Renault FT-17 (well, I've got three or four of them and never put them to any use) . The Legion were mostly veteran. The board this time round was another ruined village, with the attack coming from the surreounding olive groves.

The Set Up: the IB's are on the right, the SFL to the left
Will took the Fascists and Phil the Reds.Will decided the defend the left hand side of the road with his HMG section and his average platoon. Phil had a rifle platoon, his HMG section and the FT-17.

The Fascist's central position

Phil deployed his HMG teams opposite Will's in the ruined building, but didn't have enough APs to open fire. His rifle platoon went up the left hand side of the road, from his perspective, to take the undefended objective and to turn Will's flank.

Will opened fire with his HMG's and immediately hit and killed one of Phil's.

 By drawing Will's attention to his right Phil succeeded in getting his troops across tyhe open ground and into the buildings, so he could work his way into the centre.

Phil then returned fire on the central HMG nest and managed to hit one of the supporting rifle groups. I understand now why Will put them in there, - it's to take the hits that would otherwise knock out his heavy weapons.

The IB HMG's continued to take damage, but gamely stuck to their task, as both sides scrabbled around to roll for reinforcements. Phil's IB's were luckier in that respect and some reasonable looking extra bits and pieces were assembling on his side of the table.

A hail of fire in one turn enabled Phil to pin one of Will's HMG teams (ss the smoke in the bottom right hand corner) so he could start the close assaults, cleverly using the ruined car as cover on the open road. Alas for Phil he'd lost track of the number of turns and he was back to close assaults costing 5 APs, rather than the 3 it takes in turns 2 and 3.

Making used of the pinning effect Phil got a support team across the road as well and launched a close assault, bombing his way into the burnt out building successfully.

With reinforcements "sneak" moving uip the left hand edge the FT-17 took on the role of mobile pillbox and pulled up to the buildings, providing partial cover to the rifle section with it as they closed on the final defending troops.

Alas I'm light of photos at this point. There was loads of stuff going on over on the left and on the SFL's base line as the reinfiorcements got into the game, but I have no record of it.

The game ended with the IBs having a decent foothold in the village, but the SFL still entrenched in significant positions. The victory points gave the IB's a significant vistory, although it didn't feel like it until we added the numbers up.

Both players professed to have enjoyed the game but I think we will introduce some of our PBI2 amendements to make the game run smoother. These are briefly:

1) Roll both motiovation and AP dice together and chose which is which.
2) Command bases do not count for occupancy
3) Motivated units always get 2 APs minimum
4) Bases moving from cover to cover only pay 1AP. The enhanced cost arises moving into a more open square.

I also need to look at the army lists and special characterisitcs.

But fun none the less.