August had seen a surge of units for the British but I was conscious that there were still more guns and carriers to paint before I even looked at the Comets and Shermans.
For September, I set myself the challenge of getting the gun line sorted. I was conscious I was going to lose a week to trade shows for work but I reckoned I could still get the two boxes of PSC 6pdr knocked out, possibly with some more Carriers or the 25pdr following.
The Plastic Soldier Company 6pdr box is a good investment for any British player as it not only contains four guns and crew but also four Loyd transports and a heap of spare rounds and containers to litter a base. The 6pdr doesn’t strictly need a transport (and even at 1pt it feels over-costed) but its nice to have the option. Of course, you do need to factor in a need for purchasing bases at the very least going the non-BF route but that’s what Warbases is for…
The build of the guns and tows was relatively straightforward, though the build instructions for the Loyd left a lot to be desired on how the suspension and interior actually fitted. Thankfully dry fitting covers many sins. Another issue was that every peg felt oversized for the hole it was meant to fit into and required trimming after I snapped an axle on the first 6pdr.
On the plus side, the big selling point for the Loyd is the canvas tilt. This part makes life much easier as it hides the interior, saving a lot of painting effort! I decided that all of the Loyds would have it fitted to save painting more crew figures.
A small thing to note is that the model *almost* comes with enough parts to build both the deployed and towed version of the 6pdr but doesn’t have enough gun shields to do it. A little frustrating given there are enough barrels, wheels and carriages!
I left the dismounted crews on the sprue (albeit cut back as much as possible) to simplify painting whilst the guns and Loyds were attached to nails for painting handles. I also attached the tilts to their own nail as I figured it would be easier to paint them separately.
As the guns, crews and Loyds were painted in pretty much the same manner as the other vehicles and infantry, I’ll skip over them for the most part and focus on the tilts.
The canvas tilt appears to have been a khaki/green brown colour in real life. I suspect this probably remained true until the first time the vehicle was repainted at which time it likely ended up the same colour as the rest, especially if it received the mouse ear camo, but it made for a more interesting paint job to go with the khaki.
I sprayed the whole tile with Vallejo Surface Primer (VSP) Green Brown. I then used the airbrush to layer on Vallejo Game Air (VGA) Khaki on the edges and raised areas (where the metal frame sits) followed by a very light coat of Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Aged White.
Once that was dry I then used the same colours to add some hand painted highlights and shading to the creases and folds of the tilt. Finally I applied a Mig “Brown for Dark Yellow” filter to blend everything together.
The 6pdr were going to represent the battalion anti-tank platoon for The Monmouthshire Regiment as part of 11th Armoured Division’s 159th infantry brigade. That led to the crews receiving the same shoulder markings as the infantry and carrier crews whilst the Loyds received the same arm of service marks as the carriers. I should note that an infantry battalion only had six guns, whilst I have painted eight which is to allow me to field them as 8th Rifle Brigade; the 29th Armoured Brigades’ motor infantry battalion. The flashes and arms of service are wrong for that but I figured I was going to use the Monmouthshire more often anyway.
The 6pdr rounds were all painted as anti-tank rounds with black shells with red and white banding as per the 17pdr shells on the M10C.
I tried something different with the basing and first applied a layer of the Windsor and Newton Medium Grain (with VMC Chocolate Brown mixed in) to the Warbases base. I then stuck the guns and crew into the wet medium which effectively glued them in place and seems to be holding, to date. I also cut the unpainted ammo tins off the sprue and stuck them in the wet grain too.
Once it was all dry I drybrushed the soil areas VMC Tan Earth then Iraqi Sand then painted the ammo tins.
6pdr AT Gun Platoon, The Monmouthshire Regiment, 11th Armoured Division, France
The need to disappear to London for a week did have an impact on my gaming but I still managed to get three game sessions in the month, each with a different system!
Fate of a Nation – Dust Up vs Eddie’s Egyptians
First up saw Eddie’s Egyptian T-55 battalion clash with my Israeli Magach 6 company. We both went aggressive with attack stances and so we rolled up a Dust Up.
As has often been the case with my force, its small numbers really hurt it. I lost the HQ tank early on after I failed to shoot and scoot and so left their turret rear facing some approaching IS-3.
From there, Eddie kept up the pressure, though the arrival of my reserve Magach 6 platoon, dashing up the flank after he messed up the position of his screening force, did cause some concern.
The Magach 6 platoon on the objective was flanked and started to fall to 122mm fire though the last tank did hold on for a few turns before running, buying some time for my advance on Eddie’s objective. In the end I got swamped and lost. In hindsight, I think it came down to my unwillingness to trade space for time, allowing the IS-2, which couldn’t hurt me from the front, to flank and kill me. Sure, I’d lose a shot by falling back, but better that than losing tanks.
WWIII:Team Yankee – Bridgehead vs Duncan’s Iranians
I finally had a chance to take the Desert Storm era Brits out for a game! This was one of my lockdown projects and would be going toe to toe with Duncan’s Iranian armoured force consisting of Chieftains and M60s backed up by AH-1 Cobra, M109 artillery and a flight of Frogfoots. I was somewhat outnumbered and outgunned but I was hopeful that the Rapier would swiftly secure the skies and allow my Challengers and Milan missiles to do their thing.
Duncan went defensive (as was historically the case with the regular army in the Iran-Iraq war) which caught me by surprise as I went attack (as would have been the case in 1991). This led to the Iranians defending a Bridgehead.
The situation wasn’t ideal for either of us! Duncan was crammed into a tiny deployment zone, inviting MLRS fire, and my force was going to have to attack armour over open ground with only Milans and three Challengers for anti-tank fire power.
The Rapiers quickly evened the odds, downing all but one of the four Cobras whilst the MLRS zeroed in on the Mechanised infantry on the right objective. The Challengers opened up and destroyed the CO Chieftain who promptly got out and took over another tank. He would do this four times in the game and we reckon the crews must have been terrified to see him run their way!
Duncan tried his best to fight his way to my Rapier so as to clear the way for the Frogfoot to cause some carnage. The British Infantry not only weathered the incoming fire but advanced and took the M60 on at close range with Carl Gustav and LAW fire, killing all three M60.
The British infantry on the right flank were just as hard fighting, clearing out their Iranian counterparts and sitting on the objective. The Challengers and Milan were desperately trying to shoot the Iranian armour contesting the objective but couldn’t do it quickly enough. The Challengers fell to two passes of the SU-25, the Rapiers thinning them down to two planes after the first pass, then a single one on the second but each time the remaining planes scored fatal hits on the MBT, leaving them smoking wrecks. The only thing in the Iranian army that could hurt the Chally from the front, had!
It wasn’t over though, if I could rally my infantry then I would be able to assault the remaining Iranian tanks and be in with a chance to win the game. Sadly I didn’t rally. With time being called at Dice Saloon, the Iranians had held on long enough.
Still, it was a good close game and not a bad first outing for the Brits.
Flames of War – Encounter and Dust Up vs Eddie’s Bulge US
Just squeezing into the month, we received the review copy of the Bulge:American and Eddie was keen to give them a try. He had M4A3 75mm, 76mm 105mm plus Pershings and a pair of Easy Eights and a pair of Jumbo so it was relatively easy to construct an army.
I went with a combination of PzIV and Panthers backed up by Wespes, SdKfz234 and a Sperverband platoon.
The first game we played was Encounter.
This started off a cautious affair, mainly because I kept failing to blitz veteran Germans! Eddie used the improved cross of the easy eights to push through the gardens in town and use HVAP ammo to score an early kill on one Panther before flanking the other two with an out-of-command (bought into command before the shot) M4A3(76)!
The Panzer IV managed to hold the line for a bit longer, killing a few of the 76mm Shermans, and even made a dash to Eddie’s objective just held by his armoured mortars. But the the Pershings arrived. The CO and 2iC made a valiant last stand but the US eventually knocked them out to rout the formation.
The second game was a Dust Up. I got the first turn and used my earlier spearhead to move to threaten Eddie’s objective at the cost of leaving mine open. The Wespes dropped smoke to screen the advance. I was betting on Eddie taking the bait and rushing to my objective down the road but then leaving himself open when the smoke lifted. Sadly Eddie spotted this and dropped his own smoke on the same spot so that he would also have a screen vs me! The tight cluster of Shermans was spotted by my Op but he failed to range the Wespes in on them!
My HQ fell back to hold my objective but the Panthers and SdKfz234/1 pushed towards the objective, taking out the mortar carriers. The armoured cars led a charmed life, being missed by point blank Sherman fire whilst the Panthers engaged in a successful long range dual with the recently arrived Pershings, knocking two out (and the third fleeing) for the cost of one Panther.
The fight for my own objective saw the HQ quickly joined by my platoon of PzIV. Eddie desperately tried to clear me off but struggled to land killing blows whilst his Jumbo took as many hits as it could but was ultimately left the last tank standing from its platoon, being swamped by the PzIV to win the game for the Germans.
It was a good pair of games that gave Eddie and I some insight into how the new US worked.
The eight 6pdr can be fielded as a single platoon of six guns in a Rifle Company or two platoons of four guns in a Motor Rifle Company.
I haven’t really explored the Motor Company (8th Rifle Brigade was the 29th Armoured Brigade’s Motor Infantry Battalion) but decided to construct a suitable list. I mostly used the stuff I have painted over the last few months but I did add my sole troop of Shermans (painted all the way back in v2 days!) as they felt a better fit than Churchills. Note also that I limited the in-formation mortar platoon to two tubes to again better fit with the historical organization of the Motor Company, which had two tubes in the HQ platoon (riding around in White Scout cars). I also almost paid the points for the Loyds but figured a French Resistance raid was a better use of the points!
I plan to give it a go on the tabletop next month.
In terms of the 2021 goals, we can add eight gun teams eight (semi) armoured transports for 22pts to the year’s output. That brings the running total to:
188 figures (73 AFV, 87 infantry/gun teams, 14 helicopters, 6 fixed-wing aircraft and 8 transports)
368 pts – though we are continuing to mix LW WW2 with TY points!
We also cleared two boxes from the shelves without adding any extras. Shame adverted!
Looking ahead to October, having built the 25pdr and quads I decided to get on with them but my enthusiasm for painting SCC15 was really starting to wain. I decided that they (maybe a Carrier platoon with 0.5 cals) would be the last of the Brits until the Bulge book came out.