Escalating Tensions Part 23 – Everything is better with a 25pdr

With a bit more forethought I would have left painting the 25pdr two months and made for a snappier title.  25pdr in part 25?  Alas, forethought is one of many things beginning with “fore…” that I’m no good at.  What I am at least passable at is modelling, painting and playing so let’s move swiftly on to that.

A long time ago, Plastic Soldier Company had a kick-starter for a 25pdr kit and I went in on this, big time.  Each box effectively had, so long as you didn’t mind not having limbers, all the bits to build four 25pdr (or 18/25 or 17/25) on the Mk.1 chassis *and* four “Mk.4” chassis which, at the time, I presumed was just a late war simplified chassis. I had planned to buy four boxes and then build 16 late pattern 25pdr with European crew for LW, eight 18/25pdr for early war, replace four skytrex 25pdr I had used for my DAK and then have four spare for other purposes.  As a bonus the box also had Morris Quads too.

The kickstarter went well, reaching its stretch goal of adding options for the Canadian CMP pattern quad and a separate CMP 15CWT truck kit but not reaching the threshold to add a Sexton kit (PSC eventually did one much later).  I added four boxes of the CMP trucks to my pledge as I wanted to mechanise my desert brits and replace some badly chipped resin ones I had had since the early years of getting into Flames.  When my pledge arrive, I received four boxes of 25pdr with Morris Quads but also four boxes of 25pdr with Canadian quads and no trucks.  PSC sorted that out quickly but it left me with a lot of 25pdr!  

About this time, v4 happened.  Suddenly trucks were no longer as useful so my CMP trucks are still gathering dust but that was okay because the Brighton Flames of War scene imploded (8th edition 40K proving an ill-timed temptation) so I found myself playing Team Yankee a lot and didn’t have much reason to paint WW2.  

Happily, a deadly pandemic saw a rebuilding of the Brighton FoW community and I found some enthusiasm for painting WW2 again.  As we have seen over the past few episodes of the series, this has seen many long forgotten British kits on my shelf getting some love and it was only a short time before the best field gun of the war got its time in the sun.

I built up eight Mk.4 carriages and a sinking feeling started in… what the hell was this model?  It was weirdly narrow in both gun shield, turntable and wheel base.  A quick google revealed that the Mk.4 carriage was a post-war standardisation of the narrow “jeep axis” carriage used in the narrow tracks of the Asian jungles. It never saw any real production so its curious PSC put it in the box!

I put those aside for future use in the Pacific and built up a set of Mk.I carriages with Mk.II barrels with muzzle breaks seeming as these were very much for late war use.

Painting

By this point I feel I had my British “recipe” for armour and infantry nailed.  For those who want the gritty details:

The SCC15 Olive Drab process can be found here.

The English Uniform process can be found here.

The Khaki tilts on the Quads were the same at the Loyd carriers from last month, here.

The only notable new addition was the HE rounds for the 25pdr.  British High Explosive shells have three distinctive fetaures:

  • A somewhat garish yellow body.
  • A band of red “x” at the nose
  • A green band with the HE filler type (TNT,  Amatol, RDX, etc) written on it.

At this scale I rendered the red X as a narrow red band and the green band lacks the writing, but it gives the right look at 15mm.

With the 25pdr done, I had some time left in the month so I painted up a new acquisition, the latest starter for Aeronautica Imperialis.  I experimented with airbrushed Contrast over a gold undercoat to get a Metallic red that I was pretty happy with.  I’ll try and get a tutorial done for “Breakthrough Assault Plays:” soon.

Painted Miniatures

151st (Ayrshire Yomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 11th Armoured Regiment

Morris C8 Field Artillery Tractor “Quad” Mk.III

25pdr Mk. II on Mk.1 Carriage

Games!

No Retreat vs Duncan’s British “Keith Flint” list

In a bid to help Duncan to pin down his Warfare list he took his Keith Flint list (so called because its a real Firestarter with Crocodiles and Wasps) against my Bagration Germans.  he opted to defend and we rolled a No Retreat.  

Duncan mined the easy approaches to the near objective and placed his 6pdr in ambush.  This was going to be a tricky game.  I placed my PzIV in overwatch, long range fire finding and killing the PIAT, whilst the Panthers made a dash through the back gardens of the town, their 2+ cross helping them through.  As expected the 6pdr ambush was painful and my large platoon of PzIV suddenly seemed somewhat thinned out.

The Sperverrband had a firefight with some Wasps that saw the little Carriers driven off but it did slow down my infantry from reinforcing the Panthers.  The Big Cats threw themselves into assaulting the objective but my luck on the cross checks started to run out (I forgot I had “Lucky”!), slowing down the effort especially when a Wasp bailed one Panther who promptly stayed bailed.  The arrival of the M10C saw my attack peter out.

In hindsight, I should have sent the HQ tanks behind the Panthers.  Sure they only cross on 3+ but one of them would have followed the Panthers and helped keep them motivated for remounts and counterattacks.  I also shouldn’t have been blasé about the long range 6pr fire vs my PzIV.  Still, it was a close, fun, game that gave Duncan some food for thought.

No Retreat vs Nathan’s Russian Strelk and then a Secure and Hold glider assault

Mike arranged a games night in the barn and so Eddie, Nathan and I all headed over for an evening of games.  Eddie and Mike had already locked horns so Nathan and I set about an Eastern Front game as his Strelkovy Battalion took on my mixed Panzers.  Nathan is a big believer that the only true Soviet force is a non-hero one so I was confronted with two big blobs of infantry, all behind some well sighted mine fields that blocked all easy lines of advance save the far left flank.  My StuG and SdKfz234 took that option with the aim of whittling down the infantry on the left objective (along with artillery support) whilst the infantry cleared the mines to free up the PzIV in the centre.

The artillery did a fairly good job at thinning out the infantry and the StuG tried a brave assault but suffered a bail on the way in to defensive flame thrower fire!  RPG6 grenades thankfully missed but the StuG had to fall back, whereupon the Strelk then assaulted them in the next turn, capturing the assault guns after a second one was bailed by flame thrower.  The SdKfz234 met a similarly firey fate.  My PzIV eventually reached the party, slowed by a devious ambush of 47mm guns in the rear arc, and made good headway onto the objective but the arrival of the T-34 blob saw them quickly elminiated.  A tough but enjoyable game.

We then played a glider assault mission.  Mike had built a new canal for the table so it seemed necessary to repeat Operation Deadstick*! I had four Airlanding Platoons backed up with a mortar platoon, all in Horsas (I was using the Warbases MDF glider) whilst a commando platoon, centaur platoon and DD platoon would all be coming from the sea.  Nathan was limited by the German forces he had in his case so bought a SS Panzer platoon to the fight!

The Gliders landed more or less where needed though the first one crashed!  Thankfully I only lost one team. Sadly it was a PIAT (thankfully the platoon had two).  The Brits moved quickly to secure the first bridge and try and establish a small bridgehead on the far bank but quickly came under fire.  Nathan’s armour moved to push the Brits back and, despite some resolute defending, were able to push the invaders back.  

As a first run with the glider rules for v4, it was an interesting experiment and we learned some lessons on table set up and forces for a repeat game in the future.

Aeronautica Imperialis vs Rhandolph’s Orks and Stuart’s Eldar

To round out the month, I got a chance to try out the freshly painted Space Marines in Aeronautica.  I played a Garrison mission versus Rhandolph’s Orks and then a Dogfight versus Stuart’s similarly freshly painted Eldar.

The Space Marines are very hard hitting but a number of times I found myself at too short a range to fire any of the mid-range optimised firepower.  The Orks were a tough fight but once I got my range in I was able to take them apart.  The Eldar were far nastier.  The first turn saw a number of them die to long range fire but as soon as Stuart got them in short range they became lethal.  Wing over moves and jinking put them in the perfect spot to unleash a blizzard of firepower into my planes.

Two good games and much to learn, going forward.

Conclusion

With the 25pdr finished my 2021 British Force breaks the 200pt mark!

and that doesn’t include softskins

At this point, it feels like I have done enough for the immediate needs of my force so I’m going to put the Brits aside for the moment an return to them when the Bulge: British book finally emerges. 

In terms of the 2021 goals, we can add eight gun teams and eight transports for 30pts to the year’s output.  That brings the running total to:
204 figures (73 AFV, 95 infantry/gun teams, 14 helicopters, 6 fixed-wing aircraft and 16 transports)
398 pts – though we are continuing to mix LW WW2 with TY points!

We also cleared two boxes from the shelves!  well, kind of.  I kept the sprues as the Desert crew and bits may come in handy for other projects.  But I definitely put the boxes in the recycling!  I did purchase the new Aeronautica starter but that was also painted up in the same month.  Shame adverted!

With a couple months left in 2021, I’m going at adopt a somewhat ad-hoc approach to painting projects and just complete some odd platoons that have been lingering on the fringes of the painting queue.  

Pictured – fringes

See you next month for November’s hobby progress

Category: Battle of the BulgeBritishD-DayEscalating TensionsFlames of WarGames WorkshopLate WarMarket GardenNormandyPlastic Soldier CompanyV4

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Article by: Lee

Wargaming since Rogue Trader in 1990; I made the move to Flames in 2006 and have been with it ever since! I play at the Brighton Warlords most weeks.