Sunday, 24 April 2022

Flea market bargains

 Flea market bargains

On Saturday we went to a collectors fair/flea market near Benidorm, always a fun morning out browsing the interesting stalls.

I came away with some di-cast toys which will eventually be converted/painted into something more useful for my tabletop.

I`m thinking horse drawn ambulance?

Command bus for my Italians

Now the tractor is a bit modern as is, so may require quite a bit of work to make it look more like a 1930s era one. But the trailers are excellent, I`m thinking of removing the loads (good scatter terrain in themselves) and then loading both up as general supply trailers (as generic as possible) so they can be used behind the trucks of various nationalities as required

All together these only cost me 10 Euro for the lot



Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Dodge Tanake

 Dodge Tanake

Raventhorpe Ready-to-Roll model (just excellent) with a mixed crew - two Italeri Italian gunners with head-swaps and a French gunner by Pascal Mahn`s now defunct range.

A simple paint job and wash - job done

This can serve with either my Vichy forces in Syria/Lebanon or my Free French desert column.







 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Republican Armour

T-26 Tanks for the Republic

Pegasus 2-in-a-box quick builds brought out here to Spain on Tuesday by Alex.

Quick to build (a little flash but nothing awful), a basic paint scheme and all done.

The one tank has a commander who`s body was an Italeri gunner now with a Britannia British tanker head. 











Thursday, 7 April 2022

Peter Cushing - Wargamer

 Peter Cushing

Now for s long as a can remember I`ve played with toy soldiers, my parents house and garden in Rhondda were strewn with little plastic men for my entire childhood and kept resurfacing right up until we finally moved my mother down to Swansea in 2012! Buying me presents for birthdays, Christmases or just rewards was dead easy - a packet or box of Airfix soldiers - any period or nationality, it simply did not matter as they joined on side or the other in a vast melee across the house and garden. If I was particularly lucky a Dinky or Matchbox di-cast vehicle would add a motorised or armoured element too. 

War movies, Commando comics and Christmas annuals by Warlord and Victor also fuelled my obsession.

In my early teens I discovered "real rules" and books by Charles Grant, Terence Wise and Donald Featherstone and began building plastic kits.

About the time I went to secondary school I also discovered another interest - horror movies. Particularly late Saturday night creature feature features on BBC2 from the Hammer studios, these introduced my young mind to Dracula (and his various buxom victims/brides); Frankenstein and his monster and Mummies, etc. 

They also were my first introduction to Mr Peter Cushing a man of many roles, an actor of skill and finesse, who became a firm favourite of mine (and still is nearly 50yrs later).

When I was about 14 my Dad brought home a copy of "Past Forgetting" by Mr Cushing which he`d picked up cheap at a bookbinders sale. I wasn`t much of a reader so he thought it may encourage me (many 100s of books later it obviously has). The book contained several images of Mr Cushing`s Hammer years, but to my amazement two images of the great man with model soldiers and a copy of HG Wells "Little Wars" book! Reading the text revealed Mr Cushing was an avid collector and wargamer! To say the least I was thrilled to note I shared a hobby with this man who I admired.

Below I have collected images from across the net, some of which I have posted onto the FB page of "A Gentlemans War" others just found though Google. I don`t claim ownership of these and if anyone does and wants me to take them down please just let me know, I am using them to illustrate and pay homage to Mr Cushing and our shared hobby. 









Peter and his wife Helen







A couple of coloured stills from the Pathe news piece on Peter`s hobby




This photo was taken at the little museum at Whitstable which has some cases on display of Peter`s personal posessions including this WW1 bunker scene with cardboard soldiers including Peters orginal sketches.

A link to a YouTube video about Mr Cushing and his collection you`ll have to cut/paste into your browser, but it does work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGag8Qllgnw

French counter attacks at Port Lyautey - the Lighthouse

French counter attacks at Port Lyautey, November 9th 1942

The light house

On November 8th 2nd BLT (Battalion Landing Team) of the US 60th Infantry advanced eastward inland. They skirted the Kasbah and occupied a native settlement before they faced a concerted French counter-attack supported by three old tanks, two of which were knocked out. But during the action 2nd BLT became confused and disorientated as this was their first combat experience, kept falling back and regrouping piecemeal. This left men behind, abandoned, without orders or command and faced with a determined enemy (whom they had been led to believe wouldn`t even put up a fight in the first place), the French took a number of prisoners.


The next morning the French advance continued towards along the southern bank of the Sebou River towards the Kasbah against 2nd BLT positions in the native settlement and the lighthouse beyond. Their objective was the reoccupy the gun positions near the Kasbah and bring fire down onto the landing beaches.

The scenario

This simulates the French counter-attack on November 9th against 2nd BLT.

US deployment (see special rule 1* below)

Picket line east of the native village

HQ – CO, NCO, 2 runners, .30cal team

2 platoons of "E" company 60th infantry each with:

10 figs (inc BAR)

Native village

Elements "F" coy, 60th infantry

HQ - CO, NCO, 2 runners, RTO (on battalion net - can call mortar fire from “H” company near the lighthouse only)

2 platoons each with

10 figs (inc BAR)

Elements "H" Coy

1 x MMG team, 37mm AT gun with tow plus crew, bazooka team (3 rockets)

 

Dug in along the ridge and lighthouse

Composite Battalion HQ

CO, 2IC, Senior NCO, 2 RTO plus 10 men (this represents battalion HQ personnel)

Naval spotter & RTO

Artillery FOO + RTO

Medical unit

Elements "G" Coy 60th Infantry

HQ - CO, NCO, RTO, runner

2 platoons each with

10 figs (inc BAR)

.30cal team

Elements "H" Coy

2 x 81mm mortar teams, Bazooka team (3 rockets)

Note this photo also includes "G" companies .30cal team 

Off table support

1. 1 battery of 105mm artillery which is set-up on the beach (call on 5-6 on 1D6, fires for 1D3 turns, then must be called again - this is to simulate the confused situation)

2. 120mm naval support fire (call on 5-6, fires for 1D3 turns, then must be called again (as above) - this is to simulate the confused situation! [see special scenario rule 2* below]

1 x strafing attack by a F4F (arrives any time after turn 6 on 5-6) carries out 2 x 20" strafing runs against visible targets [can only occur twice in the game] – see special scenario rule 3* below

 

Special scenario rules

1* The Kasbah is still occupied by Vichy defenders so no American unit can be deployed within 18” (Heavy machine gun range) of this structure, if US troops move within range they can be fired upon by the defenders!

2* Once called there is a 1 in 6 chance (roll 1 on D6) that the guns will land on American positions near the intended French targets!!

Even if this does not occur US units must make a morale check the following turn to simulate the panic caused by incoming naval fire on the inexperienced troops!!

3* There is a 2 in 6 chance (1-2 on D6) the plane will attack US troops in error! This simulates the confusion and inexperience of all concerned on the Allied side.

French attackers

Attack Groupe A

2 x Ft17  

1 x Ft17 75BS

Note this photo also includes the R-35s

2 x Colonial rifle companies with

HQ - CO, 2IC, 2 runners (one company HQ has a MMG team attached)

3 platoons each with

10 men (FM24/29, VB launcher)



Attack Groupe B

2 x R35

2 Senegalese companies with

HQ - CO, 2IC, 2 runners, VB launcher

3 platoons each with:

10 men (FM24/29)


 

Reinforcements and support:

On turn 1D6 + 2 a single D.520 arrives over the table and can spend 2 turns strafing targets of opportunity

Once the native village is occupied the French can bring forward a mixed support battery with:

1 x 75mle1897 + crew + tow

2 x 80mm mortars + crews carried in a truck

 

History

The French overwhelmed the 2nd BLT outposts, but were stopped by fire from the positions around the ridge with the lighthouse. The French brought up some 75mm guns and mortars and forced the Americans to withdraw, but due to naval support fire, US artillery and air-support they were unable to take advantage of the American withdrawal. Similarly 2nd BLT even with all this support was unable to mount a coordinated attack and the day ended in stalemate.

The Game

For this battle a created a new configuration and the table is now approximately 9x7 feet

Our table

Looking towards the beaches




The native village

The lighthouse


Looking towards the Kasbah

The Kasbah


French deployment

Across the table width right to left:

Ft17s plus 1st colonial company along the road

2nd colonial company

1st Senegalese company supported by an R-35

2nd Senegalese company also supported by an R-35

Turn 1 saw US mortars straddle the road, the picket platoons realised making a stand would be suicide began to pull back towards the native huts.

Turn 2 French small arms and the tanks machine guns cause casualties among the retreating picket platoons. The US mortars bracket the Ft17 75BS on the road and knock it out (yet another case of a new model dying on its first outing)

Turns 3-4 saw a steady French advance, the picket platoons either evade of are over run. During these turns the US fails to call in either artillery of naval support fire and can only harass the oncoming French with their mortars.

Turn 5 sees the arrival to a single Vichy Dewoitine D-520 which dived in to strafe US targets


Turn 6 the D-520 strafes the native huts causing casualties among the defenders including the company RTO on his perch up on a rooftop!

The Senegalese and the colonial infantry are now engaged with the defenders of the village outskirts supported by the tanks.



The FT17 with 37mm moves up the road is ambushed and knocked out by the US 37mm AT gun

Turn 7 sees the US finally call in artillery which causes casualties among the French for next few turns, still no help from the navy however! The D-506 targets the lighthouse and by pure luck kills the naval spotter and wrecks his radio (not that it has been much help up to now anyway).



Turn 8 Most of the forward US positions are finally over-whelmed but a singularly brave Bazooka gunner stands his ground and knocks out an R-35 before he and his loader are both killed.


Turn 9 Starts with a run a great rolls for the US (three consecutive 5s) meaning they contact the artillery, naval off shore support and a lone F4F arrives over the table!!

The surviving defenders in the native village launch a spirted counter attack against the French too.



The naval gun fire wipes out nearly an entire Senegalese platoon!

The artillery devastates the Senegalese 1st company HQ platoon

The F4F inflicts heavy casualties on a platoon from the 2nd colonial company

 Turn 10 The artillery inflicts more casualties on the Senegalese causing morale checks! The naval gun fire effectively wipes out half of what was left of the 2nd company

Before

After

The F4F strafes the colonial infantry again claiming the 2nd company commander among its victims (more morale checks)

Turn 11 saw most of the Senegalese and colonial infantry cowering among whatever cover they could find! 1st colonial company was fighting among the village huts, 2nd company now leaderless just went to ground. The Senegalese were in worse shape with only two platoons (one from each company) now combat effective and 1st company had no command elements left either. So at this point I called a US victory.

Colonial infantry hiding outside the village

The remaining Senegalese

Frankly considering the loses there was little more the French could do, maybe I allowed the Yanks to be more organised than was historically correct? Maybe too I should have not allowed them access to the naval support fire once the spotter was killed (I just allowed the battalion CO to take over the role). Ah well c`est la guerre!!