Forum Replies Created
14/09/2014 at 00:05 in reply to: Command Decision 15mm #8245
The new resin body looks superb.
I keep a stash of Peter Pig drivers for crewing Skytrex/CD and other models which come without them.
Allen05/09/2014 at 19:12 in reply to: What's your favourite ancients ruleset and why? #7195
“Allen – the Cimbri and Teutones were Germanic tribes, not Celtic.” I did not say otherwise; you may be responding to someone else. But lord knows by then they’d been wandering around Celtic lands both in the east and west long enough to have developed a somewhat different character than they had in their original homeland (they covered a goodly portion of the modern Schengen Area, after all).
Actually, Arausio was a failure of the political nature of Roman generalship. If it hadn’t been for petty jealousy between the commanders, the disaster would not have happened. Normally, the only way to replicate that sort of thing in an ancients wargame is to put players who loathe each other on the same side.
I’m disinclined at any rate to draw too many distinctions between Celts and “early” Germans. Tacitus nonwithstanding, our knowledge of the Germans of the period is limited. And as Divus Iulius discovered later–as did others–in the area of the modern “Low Countries” the distinction between Celt and German was often blurred, with tribes claiming either origin living side-by-side and with no clear-cut cultural boundary. Is there really much difference between an ambush in the Alps and an ambush in the Teutoberger Wald?
And then there are my favs, the Ligurians, who show considerable Celtic cross-cultural influence, who continued to give the Romans fits right up to Augustus. For the WAB supplement Hannibal and the Punic Wars, I gave the Ligurians a lot of “chrome”, but not over-poweringly so. But that begs the question (to get back to the topic): should an ancient ruleset and accompanying lists make rigid distinctions between various ethnicities of “barbarians”, when our historical knowledge of them is weak and the historical examples of their performance few in number?
Allen05/09/2014 at 18:55 in reply to: Sneak Peek of more PSC 15mm Germans #7193
So I’m looking forward to the Germans. Right now, my early ones are a mix of Skytrex/Old Glory and True North, so the PSC sets will be a bit of an upgrade.
Allen05/09/2014 at 18:53 in reply to: Sneak Peek of more PSC 15mm Germans #7192
I found the detail on the British set to be excellent: sometimes subtle, but there and paintable (though I hardly did it credit, so be thankful for a blurry photo!).
The main problem I found with the Brits was where the injection molding couldn’t handle undercuts, so the boundaries of some items, especially packs and arms, were indistinct and had to be painted in.01/09/2014 at 01:27 in reply to: What's your favourite ancients ruleset and why? #6654
The Helvetian (Celtic) Tigurini, allied with the Cimbri and Teutones, ambushed and defeated the consul Longinus, killing him, the former consul Piso Caesoninus, and most of their troops, at Burdigala in 107 BCE. This set up the disaster of Aurasio in 105, in which the Tigurini also participated, along with the main forces of the Cimbri and Teutones.
Allen29/08/2014 at 05:04 in reply to: Artillery crew separated from main weapon #6256
Allen28/08/2014 at 21:54 in reply to: Artillery crew separated from main weapon #6186
Allen28/08/2014 at 00:45 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #6078
Personally, I prefer the wings.
Allen28/08/2014 at 00:44 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #607728/08/2014 at 00:39 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #607428/08/2014 at 00:37 in reply to: British and German Infantry in Normandy: Organization for WRG 1925-1950 rules #6072
Allen27/08/2014 at 21:22 in reply to: British and German Infantry in Normandy: Organization for WRG 1925-1950 rules #6042
I think that one may actually be more current in certain details.
Allen27/08/2014 at 18:22 in reply to: British and German Infantry in Normandy: Organization for WRG 1925-1950 rules #6034
Ummmm… see my link above. Or here:
Allen27/08/2014 at 03:20 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #5987
Horns? Got anything for horns? (besides Hagar…)
Allen27/08/2014 at 02:57 in reply to: German Inf vs. Russian Infantry #5986
“…you can only do so much when the dice gods laugh in your face!”
And therein lies one of the great truths of human struggle, as reflected in military maxims from “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” to “Sh** happens.” Napoleon of course reportedly inquired concerning a general, “Est-il heureux?”
It is the commander’s responsibility to set condition which will minimize the effects of unpredictability, chaos, random dice results, however one views it. In my opinion, at the beginning of the war, Germans were better at managing chaos, but as the war proceeded, the Soviets got a heck of a lot better at it.
Now excuse me, but I need to get back to playing World of Tanks in my Duck. It is a silly thing, but epitomizes the chaotic nature of combat rather well.
Allen26/08/2014 at 21:53 in reply to: German Inf vs. Russian Infantry #5959
That activity was often not just to pin, but as a form of reconnaissance by battle: to reveal the enemy’s disposition and fire plan. It could be as well planned as any other attack, and could involve significant levels of artillery support. It was part of the preparation for an operational offensive, usually. Once the front artillery opened up for real, the enemy defenses and gun positions having been established, then it was time for the actual assaults, oriented to penetrate weak points, bypass and surround defending forces, and to destroy them. That may be why we don’t read a lot about the final phases in many of the German accounts, due to the notable absence of survivors.
There are often German accounts of their own cleverness in “allowing” their front-line positions to be located, then withdrawing to subsequent fighting positions while the Soviet artillery prep rained down on the vacated forward positions. All I can say is: from the Vistula to the Oder, 300 miles and arriving within 40 miles of Berlin, crossed in 21 days–faster than the allied race across eastern France in pursuit of the shattered German forces. Well done, Fritz! You may not have noticed, but you probably weren’t the real target that day when you “dodged” the Red God of War.
Allen26/08/2014 at 17:02 in reply to: British and German Infantry in Normandy: Organization for WRG 1925-1950 rules #5915
Shaw’s volume wasn’t the one I had in mind, but thanks for reminding me: I have it around here somewhere, and haven’t run across it lately, so I need to go have a look. It’s pretty good; it was written for Tabletop Games’ Combined Arms rules, but would certainly work with WRG. I never referred to it as often as I did Bruce Rea-Taylor’s prolific volumes for “ultra-moderns” (for the TTG Challenger rules), so must have it stashed in an obscure place.
This was the one of which I was thinking, in case the cover happens to look familiar and causes anyone else to go searching in dark corners too!
Allen26/08/2014 at 15:55 in reply to: German Inf vs. Russian Infantry #5908
Get a Forbidden to that link Allen.
I think a great deal of Dave Glantz (although not his pipe tobacco). At Leavenworth, I used to trek across post to pick his brain, along with those of the other guys at the Soviet Army Studies Office. They all smoked pipes; the atmosphere was thick. Heck, Dave even agreed to be on my KU thesis committee. But he will be the first to acknowledge that he simply does not focus at the tactical level. He is a master of the analysis of German and Soviet operational maps. The nuts and bolts of low-level tactics don’t much interest him.
What he wrote on Barbarossa is not misleading for Barbarossa, in the initial period of the Great Patriotic War. There’s a reason he titled his volume on the Red Army at the beginning of the war Stumbling Colossus. But if you follow through with his When Titans Clashed and Colossus Reborn, you’ll see a shifting picture emerging. This is especially apparent with his two CSI studies on August Storm in Manchuria, 1945. Here’s the more “tactical” one:
If nothing else, it’s good to review the Conclusions chapter, pp. 187-192.
By 1944, a dramatic change had occurred. It simply was not 1941 any more. As Alexander Hill sums up in his The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941-45: A Documentary Reader (on Manchuria, and referring to Glantz’s studies–Hill is one of the same circle of Soviet specialists): “At the tactical level, Soviet forces used ‘small, task-oriented assault groups with heavy engineer and firepower support’ rather than the human waves which had characterized Soviet tactics at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, and where possible probed, bypassed, and penetrated through the cracks of even more dense defenses rather than hurling themselves against them. Relying more on machines than human lives, Soviet commanders exercised initiative much further down the chain of command than they had done earlier in the war.”
As Glantz says (August Storm, p.192), the Soviets ended the war with “…an imaginative and flexible… approach to the conduct of combat, a World War II lesson often lost to Western military analysts.” That’s no surprise. We paid for our pet German generals to write the histories of the Eastern Front after the war; we were darned sure going to take their word for it. But then, they lost the war, and didn’t have to pay the price of the dead landser in the snow.
P.S. Full disclosure: the wintry photo is actually from the Leningrad Front, taken on 21 December 1943, showing Soviets from the 168th Infantry Division. So it’s a little early for 1944, but makes the point. http://visualrian.ru/ru/site/gallery/#63305426/08/2014 at 02:25 in reply to: German Inf vs. Russian Infantry #5844
By the way, I ran across this the other day when I was having problems logging in. This would be the typical landser’s last view of a Soviet strelkovyy in late 1944:
Thing is, his squad wouldn’t have been fighting a Soviet squad. It would have been overrun by the tank riders of a company of T-34/85s after being shocked into senselessness by a bombardment of HE from tube artillery or Katyushas.
Allen26/08/2014 at 02:20 in reply to: German Inf vs. Russian Infantry #5843
IIRC PG’d always had 2 LMG – one with the squad/cection and one dismounted from the Halftrack (the rear AAMG)
Yarp. Actually more that the second squad MG could be mounted on the back of the halftrack in a gepanzerte squad, since motorized Panzergrenadiers also had two MG (at least in 1940 and after), but no HT!
See all the detail anyone could want at:
Allen26/08/2014 at 02:14 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #5842
So Mexican Jack convinced you he was a “professor of Native American studies”? I tell you, there’s one born any minute.
I sort of question whether any academic in that field would offer such a blessing, unless he was just talking out of his hat. The Native Americans and First Nation peoples of the Northeastern Unites States and maritime Canada themselves have very little information on their forebears’ appearance or weaponry much before the later European contacts of the c.15th. Shortage of artifacts, you see: look up Thule culture, for example, and you’ll find tools and hunting kit found in common sites with Norse artifacts, but not man-killing items. I would say that the range so far looks entirely credible. But then I’d say that the indigenous people portrayed in the film Pathfinder might well not be too far off, either, whereas the “Vikings”? Oh, my.
Allen25/08/2014 at 01:06 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #5741
Speaking of figures (we were, weren’t we?), I think there are sculptors who are really missing an opportunity by not sculpting Alex Kingston (River Song, baby, yeah!) as Boadicea/Boudicca/Boudica:
I need to have a little lie down now and think about River Song…
Allen25/08/2014 at 01:01 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #5739
Normally Thorfinn’s little jaunt would be dated to 1009-1010, but I was assuming v.2.0 Vikings with oversize Foundry figures (after your time, Jack) and half-nekkid wimmin (Shadowforge, mebbe?). They’d be a lot more modern, with shiny mail and silicone hooters.
Anyone interested may read the bare-breasted blonde’s exploit in full at Chapter 12 here:
Until someone comes out with Norse figures that look like the grody Icelandic flick Hrafninn flýgur (mysteriously re-titled for the English sub-titled version as Revenge of the Barbarian or Revenge of the Barbarians–it’s actually just one Irishman, but as you know, that’s enough to get people putting up “Keep Out” signs), Allen won’t be a happy camper.
You have to love the wee ponies (Bill, sculpt some) and the odd versions on what can only be described as a seax, I suppose. Nancy and I used to call this film “Big Slow Knives”.
Allen25/08/2014 at 00:47 in reply to: British and German Infantry in Normandy: Organization for WRG 1925-1950 rules #5738
The 1973 edition had no army lists included, nor an accompanying army list volume. The 1988 edition contained army lists, but I don’t have that edition. An unofficial volume of army lists to cover both Newbury (Cambrai to Sinai) and WRG was published independently.
For Normandy, you’re going to have to make some choices. The British motor section was authorized only eight men, compared to the rifle section’s ten, and of the eight, one was the section’s driver who remained with the vehicle. You can choose to portray it short-handed with a rifle base and a Bren base (5 WRG points each); this is similar but not as radical as what Flames of War does in chopping the motor section down to a single MG/Rifle team of four or five men. Or you can portray it over-strength with two rifle bases and a Bren base for 5 points more (not that points need matter, except as a rough cut, but you’ll have to decide), the same as a rifle section. This is what I do (using FoW basing) for FoW (screw ’em!) and IABSM, mainly because IABSM’s own lists (which assume an integral LMG per section) do not differentiate in strength between motor and rifle sections. I can always leave out one rifle base, if that seems more appropriate for the game, and you could too!
The German panzergrenadier squad by this time had been reduced to ten men, but two were the halftrack crew (assuming a gepanzerte unit). So the best way to portray the eight dismounts might be one rifle base and two MG-34/42 bases, totaling 15 points. If you need to represent a depleted unit, I suppose one LMG need not be dismounted from the vehicle, and you could go with one rifle and one LMG base. The motorized panzergrenadier squad was still twelve men, with one driver remaining with the vehicle, so the dismounts still work with one rifle and two LMG bases, or you could stretch it with one man over-strength to two rifle and two LMG bases.
Don’t feel bad about rounding. Keep in mind that the WRG bases don’t necessarily fit actual organization any better than other rules which use set “teams” or “bases”. For example, in a British rifle squad, the Bren group should actually consume three men, including the assistant section leader, leaving only seven for the rifle group. So we bend things just a little–and remember that full-strength units were often the exception rather than the rule.
As always, the best breakdown of small unit organization is Gary Kennedy’s Bayonet Strength site:
Allen24/08/2014 at 21:46 in reply to: Footsore Skraelings Available #5712
As mentioned elsewhere, in Thorfinn Kalsefni’s expedition in 1099 (from the Vinland Sagas, specifically the Saga of Erik the Red), ‘Leif Erikson’s half-sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir was pregnant and unable to keep up with the retreating Norsemen. She called out to them to stop fleeing from “such pitiful wretches”, adding that if she had weapons, she could do better than that. Freydís seized the sword belonging to a man who had been killed by the natives. She pulled one of her breasts out of her bodice and struck it with the sword, frightening the natives, who fled.’
In modern Danish and Norwegian, “skraelings” has come to mean “weaklings”. “Consistently beat”, my exposed buttocks!
Allen24/08/2014 at 21:38 in reply to: Soviet slogans: both turret sides? #5710
We used to regularly host the Soviet army specialists from both the US (Leavenworth) and UK (Sandhurst) at the National Training Center to observe the OPFOR portrayal and share their latest work on Soviet tactics (picking interesting details out of open-source literature). We’d run down to Ontario (California) airport or LAX to pick up the Brits. On the way back up through the desert, they’d always get a chuckle out of the very prominent Toys “Ya” Us sign in Victorville. Nowadays, it bugs me when companies like Battlefront/Flames of War use Cyrillic characters in place of “look-alike” Latin ones. The mind really stalls for a second or two as it tries to process that gobblety-gook.
I didn’t go to ARI, but used my GI Bill benefits to take Russian at KU whe I was working at Leavenworth: in one class, two of us who were civilian intelligence specialists and a couple of the local Soviet foreign area officers took a tailored course in military Russian for a couple of years. For the two of us civilians (my boss with a doctorate in c.17th German, myself with Latin, Greek and Old English), it started with the alphabet, then basic grammar and everyday vocabulary, before moving on to military vocabulary and reading military journal articles. That was so much fun I worked with the same instructor learning Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic. Now those will really bend your mind when learning vocabulary, because there are so many words that only appear in the literature one time. Ever.
Yep, I love that site, and refer to it regularly.
Allen16/08/2014 at 16:32 in reply to: Organisation of Pz III and IVs in Panzer Regiments? #4695
Ah! A gentleman on the other forum seems to be trying to answer your question:
Allen15/08/2014 at 04:45 in reply to: Organisation of Pz III and IVs in Panzer Regiments? #4518
No problem, Sparker. That’s the best I can come up with!
Allen15/08/2014 at 01:59 in reply to: WWII 15mm Snipers #4505
I don’t know whether you consider Rebel one of the “regular guys”–they’re not unknown. But here you go:
Allen13/08/2014 at 20:57 in reply to: Organisation of Pz III and IVs in Panzer Regiments? #4326
“I have been wondering about the use of Pz III and Pz IVs in German Panzer Divisions in 1943. Specifically for the Kursk operation…”
Sorry you haven’t had more useful answers. Earlier unit composition isn’t particularly helpful for Kursk, except to note that companies were typically homogeneous–by mark, not necessarily by variant. Do you have access to a copy of the second volume Jentz’s Panzertruppen? I’ll see if I can summarize.
The most typical Heer structure probably was two battalions, each with a headquarters and one medium company equipped with Pz IV, and two (or three) light companies equipped with Pz III. Medium companies that were short Pz IVs were occasionally filled out with a platoon of Pz III. Light company structure, as mentioned, could be all of one variant or include mixed variants. Any remaining Pz II would typically be a platoon in the regimental headquarters. In some cases, a Pz III Flamm platoon was attached to one or more battalions.
There were exceptions: for example Pz Regt Grossdeutchland, with one battalion of Pz IV, a second battalion mixed as above, and a heavy company of Tiger Ia.
Confusing? It is to me… And that’s without getting into the Panther-equipped battalions!
Allen13/08/2014 at 20:26 in reply to: Soviet slogans: both turret sides? #4310
The use of slogans was not widespread. Some of the best examples are clearly staged propaganda photos. These tend to show the same slogan on both sides of a tank, but with stylistic/positioning differences:
(for a photo of the other side: http://www.kv1ehkranami.narod.ru/big/big_kv1-rkka-002.jpg )
If you browse through the Tanks section of the Engines of the Red Army site, you will find a number of good examples, both in original photos and art based on original photos:
Allen13/08/2014 at 20:05 in reply to: Ancient Wargaming and Terrain (or lack of it) #4306
I’m finishing up the latest batch of 15mm PSC WWII British infantry for NW Europe. Victoria’s comment on the basing: “Looks like desert.”
Allen13/08/2014 at 02:35 in reply to: List of 28mm figure manufacturers #4209
I’d recommend adding Battle Honours:
Allen12/08/2014 at 18:26 in reply to: Seeking Flames of War Alternatives #4155
“Suddenly, you can just play CoC with your FoW army out of the box!”
Not really, not if it’s a full-strength British Churchill infantry tank company with a full-strength rifle company, plus the limited supports available for that force. It doesn’t appear to me that however big the Big CoC may be, that it would work well for even a full infantry company, much less anything more than a tank platoon. I’ll stick with IABSM, and continue to hope.
Allen08/08/2014 at 04:11 in reply to: 15mm early war. #3801
Skytrex figures can be ordered directly from Skytrex in small “squad” packs, rather than the big bags of the same when branded as Command Decision/Old Glory. They will be the closest in size to the older PP sculpts. See for example:
If you need platoon-sized packs and support weapons, there are Forged in Battle’ early war ranges:
Same sculptor as the Skytrex/Command Decision, so similar style and similar quirks (both + and -).
Allen05/08/2014 at 20:05 in reply to: What's your favourite ancients ruleset and why? #3426
<div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Allen Curtis wrote:</div>
After the fiasco that wound up WAB, I’ve been shifting to large “scenic” bases: first for Impetus, then for Dux Bellorum when I want something a little simpler. You may have seem my short piece in WS&S on adapting DB for other ancient periods. Allen
Hello Allen, I did not see this – which issue is it in?
It was in WS&S issue number 70, entitled “Strategos Machon”. The main point was using DB for the Hellenistic period, but I had a bit to say about the history of ancients basing as well. I was pleased to receive a positive comment from Dan Mersey. Guy would like some more army lists covering Rome and the Hellenistic east. If I live long enough…
Allen04/08/2014 at 16:21 in reply to: Since my first sand pit, where I stove cusin Jean's head in with a coal shovel.. #3202
Nice to see the whole table and more of the collection, James.
Allen04/08/2014 at 00:59 in reply to: Plastic hoplites #3102
They were not bad for their time.
They still show up on eBay every now and then.
Allen03/08/2014 at 18:36 in reply to: Plastic hoplites #3027
Allen03/08/2014 at 18:34 in reply to: Suppression effects in infantry games #3026
*Effective* suppression ought to rely on the skill of the shooters, I think. The response to fire would indeed depend on the psychological factors of the target, including leadership, experience, et al.
Without going all Marshall on the subject, I would think you have to accommodate a range of responses: from those especially motivated who keep on going; to the green troops who dive for cover and take no action in return; to the veterans who select their cover to be able to return fire, to the war-weary who say “‘sod this”, get their heads down, and wait for the artillery.
Infantry combat was almost an ancillary part of training at the NTC (in the old days). But you still saw all kinds of responses (including total paralysis of a unit) even when the worst that could happen was that your MILES sensor would go off and you could have a sit-down.