Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ottoman fort for V-Beach

Preparations continue for the next game - A Bloody Morning at V-Beach. This is based on the 2010? TFL Christmas Special scenario using the If the Lord Spares Us rules. It covers the Cape Helles Landings at V-Beach on 25 April 1915.


I have the board pretty much set up having (since the picture above) added a considerable number of barbed wire entanglements to the collection (you can never have too many!)  leaving only the two forts at either end of V-Beach to be completed, something to represent the SS River Clyde and some landing boats.

Tonight , I finished a very quick scratch guild (in cork) of a small, rather generic, Ottoman fort that will act at Ertogharal Fort sitting above the low cliffs at the west end of V-Beach. The above map suggests the fort was largely a gun emplacement so I'm looking into converting it to include some large naval guns to give the right feel.

However I've kept it pretty generic as I want to use if for my other ITLSU scenarios in Palestine and Mesopotamia. And who knows when I might need a fort in Belgium for some Western Front action!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Skirmish Sangin - A bad morning in the Sangin Valley

Sangin Valley, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, October 2010

Having taken over northern Helmand from the British in September 2010, Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, began aggressive clearing operations by October. 
Sangin Valley Green Zone (Source: http://www.talkingproud.us/)
Late one October morning, after three hours of patrolling the streets and fields surrounding a village in the Green Zone of the Sangin Valley, Bravo Section is returning to base. While crossing open ground at the edge of the village, the section is engaged by a force of about 20 insurgents.

The section breaks contact and retreats towards the rest of the platoon but in their rush to find cover, one of Bravo's fireteams take a wrong turn and finds themselves separated from the section in a corner of the village that seems very quiet ... a little too quiet!
[Adapted from Skirmish Sangin 'Recon Patrol' scenario pp. 142-144]


Fireteam Leader Cpl. Lewis 'Chesty' Puller whispers into the comms:
"Stay Frosty Oscar Mike, it's too quiet around here."


"Stay Frosty Oscar Mike"
Chesty gives the order to "Freeze!". Five marines hold their breath. Then the order comes, "Fireteam, to the front, two troops, irrigation ditch, one hundred, commence firing!"

The Taliban spring their trap!
The local warlord had been reinforced by some Taliban - these veteran fighters saw the opportunity to bottle up the lost marines in the laneway. The radio chatter heightens as the Taliban leader deploys a team in the irrigation ditch to cover the north end of the lane, while he leads a flanking maneuver to the left through a compound. Meanwhile, he calls the local warlord's men in to close of the south end of the lane.
The quiet is shattered by two AK-47s opening up sending the marines into cover.
The local warlord's men close off the line of retreat to the south.
The marines are trapped!
As the two Taliban, prone in the irrigation ditch, continue with their suppressing fire (orange arrows), their leader and another fighter swing left through the compound hoping to flank the marines (blue arrows). 

'Chesty' Puller barks the order "Far ambush" sending his men into cover from which they will return fire and look for the opportunity to maneuver. But, the kill zone ahead leaves no chance of assaulting the enemy. 

His men implement their counterambush drill like clockwork. As the SAW gunner, PFC Sipple, and the his assistant Pvt "Chuck" Robb, on the other side of the lane, prepare to cover their line of retreat, Chesty signals his rifleman to follow him over a shattered compound wall to look for some cover (yellow arrows).

The local Warlord's men have closed off their retreat, the SAW gunner falls prone beside a shot-up utility hoping to lay down some suppressing fire, "RPG!" someone yells ...
 
RPG! An ear-shattering explosion sends a shock-wave down the lane followed by red hot shrapnel and a shower of masonry.
Chesty Puller and Rifleman Miller feel the concussion of the nearby RPG blast shake the mud walls of the hut they have entered. They quickly decide to climb up to the roof to assess the situation ... "Miller, stay low and find cover when we get up there!" Chesty barks as they climb through the choking dust into the light.

When 'Chesty" gets his first sight of the lane his worst fear is confirmed. The SAW gunner Pvt Hasford, has been badly wounded by the RPG. His assistant, "Buzz" McCloskey is under heavy fire. It doesn't look good for Hasford, Chesty knows his mission is now focused on extracting his wounded.
But the fleet footed Taliban leader and his comrade are already in the compound opposite. The marines have lost the initiative. 

The fire from the irrigation ditch shifts to the marines on the rooftop, which proves to be devoid of any effective cover. Chesty goes down in a hail of automatic fire. Rifleman Miller, already halfway through the hatch, is hit too - both slump on the rooftop, motionless.
Automatic Rifleman PFC "Jim" Webb dives over the shattered wall into the compound hoping to assess and stabilise Chesty and Miller. With Chesty down, the fireteam is now under his leadership. He can hear movement coming up at speed through the compound he's just entered - he's not alone! From the compound opposite he hears an order barked in Arabic, he swings around and sees the Taliban leader on the rooftop - Webb takes a bead on him with his M249.
 

The Taliban now charge into contact from the north end of the lane. Chesty and Miller are seriously wounded and trapped on the rooftop, the SAW gunner, Hasford, is possibly KIA. Things are looking grim for the marines.

Webb gets some rounds away in the direction of the opposite compound roof and fumbles for a grenade. He's keenly aware the compound he is in is not secure.
"Buzz" McCloskey is in desperate measures in the lane - cut off with Taliban approaching from the north and the local warlord's men from he south. He grabs a grenade and tosses it at the insurgent with the RPG who is struggling to reload while keeping cover. His training tells him to 'cook it' for a few seconds, the target being so close, but under pressure he throws early. The RPG operator drops his tube, picks up the smoking grenade and tosses it back!

The grenade bursts at Buzz's feet, shrapnel tears into the marine and, unbeknownst to him, the Taliban fighter taking aim behind him.

Buzz McCloskey's grenade is tossed back by the RPG operator with terrible effect.
Back in the compound, PFC "Jim" Webb, now the last marine standing, reaches for a grenade and pitches it towards the Taliban leader who is on his radio calling his men into a final assault. He cooks it but fumbles the throw and it bounces onto the rooftop above him and explodes seconds later. Chesty, Miller, and the Taliban leader opposite, all receive mortal wounds from the grenade.

Webb's grenade sends shrapnel scything over the compound rooftops

Webb has no time to think, an AK-47 rattles behind him and rounds smash into the adobe wall by his head. He swings around to see one of the warlord's men crouched behind some pallets of grain. A quick burst of his M249 takes out his opponent as shouts from the lane tell him he needs to scram if he's going to get out of this alive.


Sick to his stomach at the thought of leaving his buddies behind - alive or dead - Webb dives for a window in the compound wall and dashes towards the, now empty, irrigation ditch. His first thought to take cover and assess the situation.

But as his aching feet hit the dirt on the other side of the narrow, but deep, ditch, something tells Webb to keep going. He dashes for the cover of the wheatfields. No time to think of what he has left behind, if he's going to make it to lunchtime, he needs to find the rest of the squad. It had been a bad morning in the Sangin Valley.
 


Coming up next ... V-Beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli, 25th April 1915. A TFL If the Lord Spares Us scenario.
V-Beach, under construction


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Skirmish Sangin: Patrol Scenario set up

More experimentation with Afghanistan terrain. I'm feeling like I need to ditch the palms and come up with some different - less European looking trees.











Sunday, February 19, 2017

Terrain boards for Afghanistan

A chance find of ten sample posts of a promising looking paint color at the local hardware store has prompted a weekend of terrain board building for my Afghanistan project. The idea is to build some fairly generic rocky desert boards that I can also for gaming WW1 in the Middle East.

Having tried my hand at terrain mats in the past - and finding attempts to built contours up under mats largely unsatisfactory -  I am going to try using flat terrain boards and add-on terrain for the various features. I'm using 6mm MDF for the base boards.

The paint I found was an acrylic 'suede finish' in a mid grey. It dries with almost a chalky surface. As mentioned, they were a series of unwanted color post being sold off for $1 a can - bargain. I'd never seen this finish before and I could see the potential for this use.
Few people would welcome that color sample as being of interest - rich pickings for a wargamer!
I started with a based coat on lightly sanded MDF and scattered some grit over the top while wet. I just used the sandy colored gravel I have use for landscaping, which you can see on my miniature bases as well - a lifetime supply of basing materials!
Once it dried, I knocked off the larger pieces of gravel with a scraper, leaving the more sandy textured finish. To this I added a second coat of suede paint - and a coat on the underside to overcome warping.

Leaving that to dry well - I then sponged on some yellow ochre craft paint and then dry-brushed with a 'sand' colored acrylic.

I finished the boards with a spray of a clear varnish I had at hand - the result is fairly good for an  unplanned project (which, let's face it, most of mine are!).

I couldn't resist taking a a few pictures of the growing collection of terrain and some of the completed Eureka USMC and Afghani 28mm miniatures. The compound design and technique is thanks to Matakishi. My terrain has a long way to go, but the boards are a huge step up from what I was using!








Tuesday, November 22, 2016

USMC in Afghanistan

I am fortunate enough to have a 30 minute ride each way to work on the bus. This, coupled with the contents of the university's libraries at my disposal, makes for some good time to catch up on reading. Having read solidly on the Falklands for a couple of months, I was hankering for something new.

A recent visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra highlighted how little I knew about the more recent conflicts our country has been involved in - particularly the Gulf Wars and the counter insurgency efforts in Afghanistan. A new wargaming era to dabble in ... why not!

This led me, of course, to consider Eureka Miniatures release of 'Modern' US Marines and Afghan insurgents Sculpted by Kosta Heristanidis. Beautiful figures.

As per the advice on the Eureka Miniatures website for the Marines, I have used the following paint scheme for the Marines:

  • uniform is 60% Vallejo 321 Highlight British Tank crew (from the Panzer Ace range) and 40% Vallejo 951 White (Model Colour range)
  • The flak jacket is 50% Vallejo 923 Japanese Uniform WWII and 50% Vallejo 879 Green Brown
  • The light digitised camouflage used Vallejo 983 Flat Earth (Eureka article suggests 826 German Camouflage Medium Brown) stippled over the base colour.
  • Boots were a 50:50 mix of Vallejo 984 Flat Brown and Vallejo 317 British Tank Crew.
Here are some pics of the first batch with a little scenery: