Sunday 27 August 2023

Plastic Apache/Yaqui

Plastic Apache/Yaqui

I`m having a tough time finding suitable figures to add to my growing warband, that nice man Alan Hamilton was selling off some of his plastic mountain and supplied me with a mixed batch of old Airfix and Atlantic figures, not really period being more plains wars than Mexican Revolution but its my tabletop.

Not my best paint job, but they look better at 4ft across a tabletop.

Two Airfix prone figures 

Frankly the Airfix 1/76th scale figures look way too small next to everyone else, but you can`t tell with these prone guys

The rest are old Atlantic

Two stalking Indians wearing wolf pelts - interesting sculpt I think 

Two mounted braves

Foot braves - maybe too many bows and not enough guns for the Revolution era but hey ho

All together

Thursday 24 August 2023



I finally got off my arse and forced myself to pick up a paint brush. It`s been quite hot out here, but we`ve also had the boys out with us and I don`t do hobby stuff when we have people visiting.  

This batch of Yaqui were undercoated way back in June, all by Shellhole Scenics.

Drummers to go with the war-drum I did way back in May

Pictured with the drum

12 warriors with mixed weapons - bows or rifles

The war-drum came with 4 drummers and frankly I can`t see it ever appearing on a tabletop much, so i chose to arm swap two of the drummers (I also added slung rifles) to create another two warriors

All 14 warriors together


Sunday 20 August 2023

Not Bir Hakeim

 Not Bir Hakeim

 Western Desert bash based loosely on the actions of the Free French Brigade at Bir Hakeim in June 1942. My Free French haven`t had a run-out for ages and I just fancied a change, this is just getting the toys on the tabletop so please don`t take offence.

The fortress at Bir Hakeim (Old Man's Well) had been built by the Ottomans and later used as a station by the Italian Meharist (camel corps) to control movement at the crossroads of two Bedouin paths. The wells had long been dry and had been abandoned but Indian troops had re-occupied the site to build a strongpoint surrounded by minefields.

In our game a mixed Free French force is tasked to hold the crossroads and deny its use to the enemy for 20 turns.

 Free French forces

My desert Free French were assembled ages back most come from a time before you could just order them from a website 😁 There are Airfix and Matchbox 8th Army plastics some with head-swaps or painted up as Senegalese! I also have SHQ, Dixons, EWM plus odds`n sods from Pascal Mahn, Brian at The Hobbyden, Elheim, Tumbling Dice & Retrokit

 HQ inc medical section

4 x infantry platoons (a mix of Legionnaires and Senegalese)

1 x MMG

1 x 81mm mortar

1 x Boyes AT rifle

1st artillery battery with:

2 x 75mle1897 plus crews and tows

AA section (fusiliers d`marine)

40mm Bofors + tow

Mine fields, wire and entrenchments

 Flying column 

Starts the game off table east, can be called onto table any turn after turn 6

2 x Dodge Tanake

1 x Bren carrier w/25mm Hotchkiss AT gun

Air Support

Turn 1D6 + 2

Hurricane fighter bomber

 Turn 12 + 1D6

Hurricane fighter bomber

Italian Forces 

(from the west on turn 1)

Elements of 132nd Tank Regiment

2 x M41 tanks

1 x Semovente

Recce company with:

2 x motorcycle recce platoons

1 truck platoon

1 x Armoured car 

From the North

 (turn 8)

2 x Semovente

1 x armoured car

CV33 flame-thrower

Company of infantry from Pavia Division

German forces 

(from the south turn 12)

2 x Panzer III

DAK infantry company


 Turn 1D6

3 rounds of random 105mm battery fire

Turn 1D6 + 4

Stuka sortee

 Turn 10

2 rounds of directed 105mm battery fire (may be called by any HQ element)

Turn 12 + 1D6

Stuka sortee with Bf109 cover 

My table

Note the dark red/brown areas are mixed high density minefields, the tracks through them are also considered mined!

The game

Turns 1 & 2 sees the Italians advance from the west towards the crossroads, the motorcycle platoons moved off road to the left and right, the M41s also moved left. The armoured car headed straight up the road followed by the truck born platoon and company HQ car.

On turn 2 the armoured car passes into the minefield – luck is with it as it doesn`t trip any mines!

 Turn 3 All hell breaks lose, the armoured car does hit a mine, followed instantly by the recce platoons truck (they lose half their compliment).

The French `75 opens up on the lead M41 (miss), the Italian return fire is ineffective.

Both motorcycle platoons dismount and prepare to advance on foot.

Turn 4 Both M41s move to engage the French `75, the lead tank misses (again), the second tank main gun roles double 1 (a jam or dud shell); unfortunately for the French they miss also.

The motorcycle infantry move forward on foot, The Italian company HQ dismounts and moves to rally what was left of their truck platoon.  

 Turn 5 the lead M41 is wiped out by a direct hit from the French `75, but its own shell smashes the `75 in return.

The other M41 crew manage to get their gun working. The two motorcycle platoon begin to take fire from French defenders. The Semovente moves forward to shell the crossroads in support of the motorcycle infantry.

 Turn 6 a Hurricane enters the table

It targets the cluster of vehicles and men on the road (the Italian HQ and truck platoon & Semovente) and manages to kill the company commander and his RTO as well as killing more members of the truck platoon (who fail their morale and become pinned).

Italian artillery lands around the crossroads, taking several casualties

The motorcycle infantry on the right find themselves pinned by solid French fire, on the left supported by the last M41 move forward against determined French defence.

 Turn 7 A Stuka arrives over the table, but is driven off by the French 40mm Bofors

The right hand motorcycle platoon take more casualties and fail their morale and break.

The left platoon takes more casualties and also fail their morale check and begin to withdraw, the M41 luckily misses getting hit by a petrol bomb, but seeing its supporting infantry withdrawing it joins them!

The Semovente moves forward in support, but hits a mine!

Italian artillery plasters the crossroads causing no casualties this turn.

Turn 8 the second Italian force arrives from the north (just as the western attack collapses)

The French hastily re-set their defenders, rushing men from rear areas towards the north.

 Turn 9 The lead armoured car strikes a mine!

The Italians spread out one platoon plus a Semovente and the C33 flamethrower move right, whilst the other Semovente backed with another platoon move left. The last platoon dismounts and moves around the minefield to its left. Company HQ takes up position on the hill and calls for artillery support (fails)

Turn 10 The Semovente on the right is knocked out by a superb shot from the last French `75

The other Semovente is targeted by the French Bofors and it too brews up!

The French 81mm mortar targets the centre Italian platoon and takes a couple of men.

 Turn 11 With all the other amour gone, the C33 fails its morale check and just stops where it is.

The 81mm mortar once again drops a bomb onto the centre platoon taking more men. The French Bofors also fires directly at this platoon causing yet more loses and forcing a morale check (which they fail and they break).

The Italian HQ calls down artillery against the Bofors and wipes it out!!

Turn 12 the Afrika Korps arrive from the south and drive straight into the minefield. Neither tank is damaged by the lead truck platoon gets blown sky high and the platoon takes 50% casualties!

The two active Italian platoons move forward and engage the French both sides take casualties.

Turn 13 the Afrika Korps are forced to withdraw and regroup

The Italians continue their advance, the French company 2IC gathers what men he can find into a scratch platoon to try and block the Italians.

 Turn 14 the Afrika Korps send one platoon and one Panzer III down each flank of the minefield, the company HQ  moves to rally whats left of the 1st platoon.

Turn 15 Mixed fortunes for the Italians, one platoon is cut to pieces as it runs into two well placed French machine guns – at the end of the turn the survivors fail their morale and break! The other platoon clears all the remaining French in front of them and it looks like they have a free run down onto the track and into the French rear. The French 2IC is of course moving his scratch platoon to block this.

The Afrika Korps advance, the Panzers blast any visible French positions.

Turn 16 the Italians continue their flanking move, the French 2IC moves his men to block them

The Afrika Korps continue their advance, the panzers firing at anything they can see, the French desperately move whatever troops they can to try and stop them, the last `75 is manhandled around to face this southern threat.

 Turn 17 the Italians move forward but are targeted by the French 81mm mortar who brackets them and causes casualties including the platoon leader! (This leads to morale check at the end of the turn which they fail and they become pinned)

The German Panzer on the right is hit by the French `75, but the solid shot fails to penetrate! Its supporting infantry are hit from the flank by LMG fire and take casualties.

 The left hand panzer begins to pinch in towards the track, its infantry also come under LMG fire and takes casualties.

 Turn 18 Both sides get air support

On the right, the `75 once again hits but fails to penetrate and the Panzer III return shot buries itself in the field wall in front of the gun (hit but failed to penetrate). The German infantry wipe out the French LMG, but still take more casualties which result in a morale check – which they fail and become pinned!

 On the left the panzer breaks through onto the track and wipes out another French position

Its infantry exchange fire with the French LMG and silence it.

 Up in the air the Hurricane targets the right hand panzer and destroys it with an accurate bombing run.

The Me109 sees its chance for an easy kill and swoops in, but totally blows it by rolling double 1 – I rule a mechanical issue (blocked fuel line or blown oil rings, etc). So the 109 limps home and the Hurricane lives to fight another day.

The Stuka barrels in to attack the French centre and the `75

Another pathetic roll (1 & 2 on 2D6) sees its bombs fall way long causing no casualties to the French – so much for the Luftwaffe………   

Turn 19 the remaining panzer and the `75 fire on one another, the `75 once again hits but its solid shot just bounces off L The Panzer is dead on and destroys the French gun.

At this point the Germans only have one turn left to clear the crossroads, and just can`t do it, so I called it a French victory.

A few final shots

French 81mm mortar which caused so many Italian casualties 

Boyes AT rifle team lying in wait for the last panzer

Hotchkiss team holding the northern flank

Some of you may have noticed that in all the excitement I forgot to bring on the French flying column – d`oh!