Wednesday, 30 October 2013

10mm British Sherman Tanks and Bren Carriers.

Here's some photos of my new Pendraken 10mm Late British. I've finished painting all the armour and now just have the infantry to complete. They were really satisfying to paint, and I took most of the tips from the Flames of War painting guide on their website. I undercoated in black, then did a base colour of Vallejo Russian Uniform Green. After that I did a brown ink wash and then highlighted with another layer of Russian Uniform plus a mix of 30% or so White. The tracks were left black and then spotted with Vallejo Gunmetal. The camo on the Scout car and Bren Carriers was a base colour of Reflective Green, another Brown wash and then a highlight mix of Reflective Green and (again) 30% white. They were pretty quick and easy to do and I managed to finish nine vehicles in one short afternoon.

Something that inspired me with the choice of figures was reading Robert Kershaw's book "Tank Men". I'd really enjoyed his work on Arnhem ("It Never Snows in September") and was pleased to get this one through the post from Amazon. The personal experiences recounted within it's pages are just stunning and I'd suggest it to anyone who wants to get a sense of what it's like to see war from a Tank crew's point of view. In fact the Kershaw one then led me onto ordering the classic Keith Douglas book "Alamein to Zem Zem". If you haven't got any of these I'd put them on the Xmas list right now.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

15mm Zulu War Game Report

A couple of Sundays back, Dave G decided to put on one of his famously epic colonial games using the 'Battles for Empire' Rules. This was a Zulu War scenario involving an British Advance army consisting of 'disgruntled' Zulus followed by a main body of British regulars. The opposition force was a fair sized group of Zulu tribal allies...and of course the Zulu Royal Army itself. The British objective was to disperse or steal the tribal group's cattle situated on the hill, drive off their force, and then bring the British Regulars to establish camp around the hill. The main Zulu Army was off board as the British Advance began towards the tribal settlement, and (as we cautiously expected) could appear just about anywhere...and fast.

Myself and Mark (who kindly provided the photos) were the Brits, whilst Dave, Paul and Chris were the Zulus and Lawrence commanded the Zulu tribal allies. I decided to use the British advance units to head straight for the hill and tackle Lawrence's guys before the Zulus might react. My mistake was not having a clue about using my Native cavalry units to scout around, and instead trying to use them to protect my flanks and keep everything together. Hence the Zulu allies were spotted easily and I began to deal with them as I approached the hill, forcing them backwards and away from their cattle. But I messed up by (as Dave mentioned) failing to throw my scouts out in a wider arc which may have revealed the whereabouts of the main Zulu force. This meant that when Mark's British Regulars came on behind me they effectively had to proceed blind.

It quickly became obvious that both the advance force and the main British body would have problems supporting each other. My own predicament became acute when I realized I'd got around 2,000 Zulus moving against my backside, whilst I was still trumpeting a short lived victory after capturing a few cows. Mark probably had to deal with about three times that number from two different directions, and did the typically British thing of "forming square". Unfortunately this only gave a false sense of security, especially when Mark's artillery began to produce less than pleasing results. So it wasn't long before the Headquarters Staff themselves were casting aside the lace doilies and turning over the dining furniture in panic as Zulus ("thousands of them") started brisk work with their Assegai.

So in conclusion, the Brits came away with few survivors and having been taught a serious lesson (again). Maybe we'll remember to bring along a few Gatling guns next time.....