Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Song of Drums and Shakos AAR #4

This fortnight we played the second Scenario featured in the More Song of Drums and Shakos rulebook, Reinforcements. Al and I took command of the colourful Ottomans and Dave led the Russians. Last time the Russians were given a bloody nose by the Bashi Bazouks in the Convoy Escort Scenario. This time Russians were defending a strong central position with a small force but knowing reinforcements were close at hand. The Ottomans have an advantage in numbers, 22 to 15 but the ill disciplined and untrained Bashi Bazouks would need all their courage to win the day!

The height of the action a crazed Bashi Bazouk tries to tackle the besieged Russians...

The Story;

August 1810
Captain Popoff withdrew toward the Russian Supply Depots after his supply convoy was intercepted. He and Sergeant Putin gathered scattered Grenadiers and Musketeers and formed a strongpoint around a small walled cemetery hoping to halt the advancing Otomans.
Meanwhile Bashi Bazouk leaders Yildiz and Arslan and their men were elated after looting the Russian supply train. They gathered even more Bashi Bazouks and pressed forward knowing more Russian booty was before them!
Pressing forward the Ottomans ran straight into Captain Popoff’s strongpoint, Yildiz and Arslan decided there was only one thing for it…they ordered the charge!

The Forces:

Ottoman Bashi Bazouks Attackers 400pts Fury Trait Morale 11

‘Boluk-bashi’ x 2 Berlin Yildiz, Baler Arslan 45pts ea
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapons - Pistol, Sword
Special Rules - Leader
‘Bashi Bazouk’ 18pts ea
Musket x 8
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapons - Musket
Special Rules -Strong (attack only), Poor Shot, Green and Unreliable
‘Bashi Bazouk’ 14pts ea
Obsolete Firearm x 6
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapons - Obsolete Firearm, Sword
Special Rules - Strong (attack only), Poor Shot, Green and Unreliable
‘Bashi Bazouk’ 15pts ea
Obsolete Firearm x 6
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapons – Pistol, Sword
Special Rules - Strong (attack only), Poor Shot, Green and Unreliable

Imperial Russians Defenders 500pts Stubborn Trait Morale 9
Officer Captain Popoff 60pts
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapons - Pistol, Sword
Special Rules - Leader
NCO Sergeant Putin 56pts
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapon - Musket, Sword
Special Rules - NCO
Drummer 16pts
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapon - None
Special Rules - Musician
Grenadier x 4 32pts ea
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapon - Musket 
Special Rules - Strong 
Musketeer x 8 30pts ea
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapon - Musket 
Special Rules - Steadfast

The AAR;

Turn 1 started badly for the attacking force as Boluk-bashi (Leader) Arslan failed all his initiative attempts and the strongest Ottoman group straggled onto the table. Boluk-bashi Yildiz fighters also affected by poor activations just struggled onto the battlefield! Meanwhile the Russian deployed to face the attackers while a couple of extra soldiers sprinted toward the walled cemetery.

Yildiz's assault force enter the fray...

Arslan's Musketeers straggle into action...

Turn 2 the Ottoman main attack picked up the pace and closed in on the Russians, their fire support finally got organised and would be ready to fire next turn. The defenders fire caused no casualties on the attackers!

Turn 3 saw the action heat up but also saw confusion! A couple of straggling Russian infantry entered behind the Ottomans while the leading Bashi Bazouks out paced their Leader and were unable to act as a united force.

Turn 4 and the Turks after some ineffective fire closed on the Russians and engaged them in hand to hand combat. Initially the Ottomans did well but a Bashi Bazouk was then knocked down and suffered a 3 to 1 loss in the close combat...disaster...being 'green' all the other Bashi Bazouks that saw this event had to take morale checks and most fled! The Russians were jubilant even though they lost their two stragglers and a reinforcement to the Ottomans.

Overall view at the end of turn 4...

Fleeing 'green' Ottomans ran down the road!

The Turkish Musketeers kept up hot fire, the results varied turn by turn...

Turns 5 and 6 saw the OIttomans try to close on the Russians and engage them and at one point there were several Bashi Bazouks inside the walled cemetery...the dour Russians now with all their forces on the table held on and with a mix of fire and close combat took out all the Turks within their defence perimeter...

A series of vicious close combats in and around the cemetery saw the Ottomans beaten...


Boluk-bashi Yildiz with his body guard make a lonely site before the Russians...the Turks realised they had been bested!

Turn 7 saw the Ottomans reach 10 casualties and their main assault force had been successfully been repulsed by the Russian regulars. At this point we called the game over and declared a Russian victory!

The overall view at the end of the game...

A great game played out resulting in a Russian win. The final casualty count was 10 Turks to 6 Russians.

Song of Drums and Shakos will definitely be rolled out again! Al has promised to put together a Song of Blades Scenario soon too and I've started reading the Song of Drums Large Battle rules so we will have to try them out one night. We all enjoy the system these rules employ!

Friday, 3 May 2019

1/56 French 1940 Armour FCM 36 & Renault R35 (Completed)

Continuing to build up my France 1940 CoC forces!

Today I completed two French AFV's.

First up is the Renault R35 from Warlord. As previously mentioned I found the fit a 'bit iffy' for the tracks on this kit and the details were just okay (good thing was decals and metal tank figure were included in the price). well I sanded the track section and they now sit fairly upright and also now sit almost within the line of the mudguards. I used a camo scheme based on drawings from the Tank Encyclopedia. It will get some weathering once i complete all my planned France 1940 vehicles.

Finished vehicle...will look fine on the table top despite my misgivings...


Here's a couple of WIP pictures showing the track alignment from above...

...and the amount of sanding involved to improve their camber and try to get them to sit under the mud guards.

Onto the Mad Bob Miniatures FCM 36. Now this is my favourite looking tank of all time, it's Art Deco lines make this the look the most sporty tank I've seen! It is to AFV's what the Chrysler Building is to Art Deco Architecture! I just love it, pity it's a really a crap AFV on the table top! HeHeHe.

This model is a resin cast of a 3D printed original, I believe this as on the underside and on the lower hull you can see what look like the print layers. Anyway the good news is even if the original was a 3D print the top has been cleaned up really well and the surface has a nice texture. There are four parts; the hull, the turret, a drivers hatch and the commanders hatch. This gives some opportunities for the builder to include crew. I found one small air bubble on the surface of the hull so that's pretty good. It was an easy build and again I used the Tank Encyclopedia as a basis for the camo. The decals are Warlord ones from the R35  & Pz 38(t) kits. Again weathering will be done later.

The completed FCM 36...


I will definitely buy again from Mad Bob Miniatures and beside having a good range of vehicles/guns they have a fixed overseas shipping price that is very reasonable!

Mad Bob Miniatures

My mighty French 1940 armoured force so far...

Sunday, 28 April 2019

1/56 German Sdkfz 10/4

An all powerful Sdkfz 10/4 trundles along a road on its way from the Ardennes to the English Channel!

Here's another CoC France 1940 vehicle, this time the Army Group North Miniatures Sdkfz 10/4. I actually picked this model up quite a while ago when War Time Miniatures (not trading at the moment) were clearing out a lot of their 1/56 stuff so it was 'at the right price' i.e. really cheap. When I got my parcel which also included several Italeri infantry sets this got put to one side as with no instructions I had no idea to properly assemble the FLAK gun!

Move on a couple of years and I've looked at this kit again as it would now be of use for my CoC forces. The packet includes a couple of large resin bits, four metal crew figures and a heap of metal bits making up the FLAK Gun and detail parts for the half track (lights, tow bar, window frame etc). The detail is good and all the parts both resin and metal are well cast with minimal flash and no air bubbles. The only thing I noted about the kit contents was including a few more ammo boxes would have been nice as I only got six where most actual vehicle pictures I looked at had ten mounted on the vehicle, I briefly thought of casting or scratch building more but since I built mine with the sides down I didn't as it isn't really noticeable. 

The half track went together easily and although I'm not a fan a vehicles with bases it was quite clever how the top of the vehicle fitted onto the base which had the tracks and front wheel assembly cast on it, all very neat and presented no assembly issues. Well done AGN Miniatures. The metal accessories fitted onto the half track easily. The driver has the steering wheel cast with him.

Okay over to the FLAK Gun, I could figure out how the major parts went together but there were a couple of 'gun frame bits' that I had no idea how to fit! I emailed AGN Miniatures and promptly got a return email (thanks Andrew!) with a selection of pictures of an assembled but unpainted model from which I worked out what was going on. Gun assembled!

Pictures from AGN Miniatures to help with the kit.

Painting was easy, a rattle can primer coat, then I sprayed the whole thing grey and picked out the details like tracks, seats and tyres by brush. I use enamels with my old AZTEC airbrush and am using MATT 32 for my German vehicles as I find in this scale MATT 67 (the real Panzer Grey in the Humbrol range) looks way to dark (it suits 1/35 much better)...

I finished up the figures to my best war gaming standard!

My AGN Miniatures Sdkfz 10/4 assembled after a couple of years and awaiting paint!

The painted up Sdkfz 10/4, it will get some weathering but I'll be doing that once I get all the German 1940 Campaign stuff I have built up and do them all at the same time...


Interestingly this vehicle isn't listed in the CoC 1940 handbook so I'll have to work out which unit types would have deployed it and it value in the 'Lists'. This is even more odd in that the Sdkfz 250 is listed when production only kicked in June 1940 so the chance of them getting to the front line by the 25th when the campaign concluded must have been extremely slim (build dates from the Total Details definitive Sdkfz 250 series of books).

More German and French 1/56 stuff to come soon including a couple of 3D printed vehicles! I have been pretty 'sniffy' about 3D vehicles I've seen on the net so let's see what I think now I have a couple in my hands!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Song of Drums and Shakos AAR #3

Well nothing beats ending a four day long weekend than a sausage sizzle followed by a game of Song of Drums and Shakos! After feasting we played the Convoy Escort scenario from the More Song of Drums and Shakos rule book.


Bashi Bazouks engaging a Russian Mule Train Escort...

I made a couple of changes to the scenario as written firstly I placed the wagon with a mule train simply because I did not have a suitable wagon and also our play area was 1 metre square slightly bigger than the 90cm square one recommended in the rules.

Below our forces, please note I created my own irregular Ottomans as the ones listed in the Rules Army Lists were of pretty poor Quality (logical for irregulars) and did not have the special attributes that make Bashi Bazouks scream out at me. The change to higher Quality would allow the game to run quicker (also reduced the number of Turks as their value increased accordingly) and the included attributes were to add flavour and try to simulate what I read about Bashi Bazouk soldiers. Also note some of my Ottoman figures are stand ins from a latter period but besides weapons they fitted in perfectly!

Ottoman Bashi Bazouks 330pts
‘Boluk-bashi’ x 2 Berli Yildiz, Baler Arslan 45pts ea
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapons - Pistol, Sword
Special Rules - Leader
‘Bashi Bazouk’ 20pts each
Musket x 8
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapons - Musket
Special Rules - Secondary Weapons as per figures, Strong (attack only), Poor Shot, Green and Unreliable
‘Bashi Bazouk’ 16pts each
Obsolete Firearm x 5
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapons - Obsolete Firearm
Special Rules - Secondary Weapons as per figures, Strong (attack only), Poor Shot, Green and Unreliable

Imperial Russians 400 pts
Officer Captain Popoff 60pts
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapons - Pistol, Sword
Special Rules - Leader
NCO Sergeant Putin 56pts
Q - 3
C - 2
Weapon - Musket, Sword
Special Rules - NCO
Grenadier x 4 32pts each
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapon - Musket
Special Rules - Strong 
Musketeer x 5 30pts each
Q - 4
C - 2
Weapon - Musket
Special Rules - Steadfast
Driver x 1 free figure
No cart with horses was available so a mule train replaced it!
Q - 4
C - 1
Weapon - None
Special Rules - Green

Convoy Escort Scenario...the story...

June 1810 and Imperial Russian forces crossed the Danube into northern Bulgaria. In August part of this force attempted to capture the town of Razgrad to protect the flank of the besiegers of the fortified town of Shumen. There the Ottomans counter-attacked and in the confused fighting Turkish light troops infiltrated the Russian front line and engaged in numerous vigorous skirmishes with rear echelon Russian units...

Captain Popoff of the Imperial Russian Staff was pleased with his new assignment, he was in command of a small escort detachment bringing vital supplies up from the rear for the Army Headquarters. Everything was going smoothly for his detachment until they heard shouting in Turkish...

The AAR....

The Russians deployed their NCO and four Grenadiers around the mule train and began advancing the mule train first and then the Grenadiers but before they got far the initiative turned over and not wasting anytime the Ottomans sprung their Ambush!

Eight musket armed Bashi Bazouks and their Leader advanced on the right of the mule train while five more armed with Jezails and their Leader emerged to the convoys left! The Musket armed men led by Baler Arslan advanced and opened fire felling a Russian instantly. Meanwhile Berli Yildiz led his men forward to block the convoys advance. Captain Popoff quickly moved his remaining infantry to face the closer Turks forming a line between them and the mules.

Turn two and Arslan’s men wailed as they charged the Russian before them, killing one, knocking another down and pushing a third back. The other Turks advanced and fired their Jazails with little affect. Popoff’s Russians fought back and held the Turks which in turn panicked a couple of them. At this point the mule train failed to activate leaving it stationary and in danger.


Third turn and while the musket armed Ottomans retired to the woods the others advanced in front of the mule train and shot their driver down resulting in it remaining still again and now a Russian fighter would be required to led it! Popoff now moved men from the right of the road to the left to block this new threat as the other Turks withdrew.



Turn four and while a Russian Grenadier took charge of the mule train (but with no second action to move it so it didn’t move for the third turn in a row) and both sides exchanged fire causing further losses, both were already approaching 50% casualties!



In the fifth turn the mule train finally started moving again forcing the foot soldiers of both sides off the road before it and at this point the Ottomans hit the Russians hard; Yildiz at short range killed the Grenadier leading the mules with his pistol while one of his men shot another Russian infantryman this pushed the Russians to over 50% losses!


The morale checks saw a further two more Russian run from the play area (including Popoff) and it was all over for them.

An Ottoman victory!

A great game and it was very close and both sides were simultaneously just shy of 50% losses (the Russian stubborn national trait gave them some help here). That the Ottomans had the first chance to strike on turn five and then made good use it saw them take the win. The forces were surprisingly well balanced even though in this scenario the defenders with 400 points of ‘men’ outnumbered the attackers with 330! We’ll be playing Song of Drums and Shakos again next fortnight!

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Chain of Command - Third AND FINAL Trial Game

We did another hour and half walk through of CoC this fortnight and used the same forces as the last game but swapped sides!

Plucky Brits advance in the face of nasty Spandau fire!

The Forces;

The British
An 1939 Platoon with a base morale of 9
With an extra Section
With a Sniper Team
With a Mk VIb tank

The Germans
A First Wave Platoon with a base morale of 8
With an ATR Team

This game ran much quicker than our previous ones. We didn't encounter any major play stopping issues and consulted the rule book far less! Still the 6 page QRS (an oxymoron surely) is a bit much but we consulted that less too! 

With small changes to the OOB's and terrain this time it all boiled down to a race for buildings, be they complete or ruined. At the end of our time the Jerries were in the box seat played well their section can generate a lot of firepower!.

Below are some pictures of the action...

 The Germans were quick off the mark as both sides made the Chateaux their main objective!

Seeing the stand off at the Chateaux the Brits deployed two sections on their right flank while their Mk VI tank covered their left...

Ordered to hammer a British unit with HE the German Light Mortar Team rolled a double 1 for its first action...DOH, they became riflemen for the rest of the game!

The British dash to occupy the Chateaux failed, the Jerries were at the doorway and windows of the rear wall already!

 A stand off, just over 4 inches apart a British and a German section face off and they blazed away at each other literally scared to be the attacker in a close combat situation!

More Germans deployed to flank the British section behind the Chateaux!

 Five of a kind!!!! You don't see that often...some wasted 3's there (pity two 3's can't be added together to make a 6 hehe)!

The British light mortar strikes again, a German section which moved into a good flanking position suddenly found their LoS blocked!

The Germans extend their right to ensure their flank is not turned, leaving their MG 34 Team in the building ruins the Riflemen make a dash to the hedge...

The Brits do their best to try and flank the German left!

 "Ahh Schiesen!", while trying to move clear of the British smoke to get a clear shot men of a German LMG team are caught just short of cover by a low movement roll, they were promptly shot to bits by the British section in the distance of the picture...

 The mighty British Mk VI rolls effortlessly onto the battlefield, it duked it out with the German ATR team and saw them off. After that it remained stationary on the British left flank but in doing so tied down the best part of two German sections!

It was here we stopped for the night to discuss the rules! A much easier discussion than after our other two run trial games. Having clarified our queries from the other games using the Lardies CoC Discussion Forum we found everything made more sense!

Next time is a full on game!