Saturday, 24 March 2012

Models : T-26 Command Stand for BKC

As you can see I have completed my Early War Command Stand for Blitzkrieg Commander.  My army now covers the Invasion of Poland to the Fall of Berlin.  I just 3 trucks to paint and then the Russians are done (thankfully).

History : The Sherman

During World War II, approximately 19,247 Shermans were issued to the US Army and about 1,114 to the US Marine Corps.  The U.S. also supplied 17,184 to Great Britain (some of which went to the Canadians and the Free Poles), while the Soviet Union received 4,102 and an estimated 812 were transferred to China. These numbers were distributed further to the respective countries' allied nations.

The U.S. Marine Corps used the diesel M4A2 and gasoline-powered M4A3 in the Pacific. However, the Chief of the Army's Armored Force, Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, ordered no diesel-engined Shermans be used by the Army outside the Zone of Interior (the continental U.S.). The Army used all types for either training or testing within the United States, but intended the M4A2 and M4A4 (with the A57 Multibank engine) to be the primary Lend-Lease exports.

First combat

The Sherman was being issued in small numbers for familiarization to US armored Divisions when there was a turn of events in the Western Desert. Rommel had taken Tobruk, and Egypt (and the Suez Canal) was threatened. The US considered collecting all Shermans together so as to be able to send the 2nd Armored Division under Patton to reinforce Egypt, but delivering the Shermans directly to the British was quicker and 300 had arrived there by September 1942.

The M4A1 Sherman first saw combat at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 with the British 8th Army. The first U.S. Shermans in battle were M4A1s in Operation Torch the next month. At this time, Shermans successfully engaged German Panzer IIIs with long barreled 50 mm L/60 guns, and Panzer IVs with short barreled 75 mm L/24 guns. Additional M4s and M4A1s replaced M3 Lees in U.S. tank battalions over the course of the North African campaign. The M4 and M4A1 were the main types in U.S. units until late 1944, when the Army began replacing them with the preferred M4A3 with its more powerful 500 hp (370 kW) engine. Some M4s and M4A1s continued in U.S. service for the rest of the war.

Encounters with a company of Tiger Is, with their heavier armor and 88 mm L/56 guns, in Tunisia were typical of the mid-war period: the fearsome quality of a few German heavy tanks and their crews could sometimes be overcome by the quantity and mobility of the Shermans, supported by artillery and airpower, but sometimes at a great cost in U.S. tanks and crewmen. By June 1944, the Panzer IV had been up-gunned with a 75 mm L/48 weapon, and 75 mm Shermans were out-gunned on a regular basis. The first Sherman to enter combat with the 76 mm gun in July 1944 was the M4A1, closely followed by the M4A3. By the end of the war, half the U.S. Army Shermans in Europe had the 76 mm gun. The first HVSS Sherman to see combat was the M4A3E8(76)W in December 1944.


Pacific Theater

While combat in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) consisted of high-profile armored warfare, the mainly naval nature of the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) relegated it to secondary status for both the Allies and the Japanese. While the US Army fielded 16 armored divisions and 70 independent tank battalions during the war, only a third of the battalions and none of the divisions were deployed to the Pacific Theater.  Indeed, even the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) deployed only their 2nd Tank Division to the Pacific during the war.  The environment in which armor from both sides had to operate was generally described as tropical rain forests, which most armies simply classified as jungles. For this type of terrain, the Japanese and the Allies found light tanks easier to transport, maneuver and employ.
During the early stages of combat in the Pacific, specifically the Guadalcanal Campaign, the U.S. Marine Corps' M2A4 light tank fought against the equally matched Type 95 Ha-Go light tank; both were armed with a 37 mm main gun, however the M2 (produced in 1940) was newer by five years. By 1943, the IJA still used the Type 95 and Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tanks, while Allied forces were quickly replacing their light tanks with 75 mm-armed M4s.  The Chinese in India received 100 M4 Shermans and used them to great effect in the subsequent 1943 and 1944 offensives.

To counter the Sherman, the Japanese developed the Type 3 Chi-Nu and the heavier Type 4 Chi-To; both tanks were armed with 75 mm guns, but of different type. Only 166 Type-3's and two Type-4's were built and none saw combat; they were saved for the defense of the Japanese homeland, leaving 1930s vintage light and medium tanks to do battle against 1940s built medium Allied armor.

During these latter years of the war, General Purpose High Explosive (HE) ammunition was preferred, because armor-piercing rounds, which had been designed for penetrating thicker steel, simply went through the thin armor of Japanese tanks, and often out the other side without stopping. Although the high-velocity guns of the tank destroyers were useful for penetrating fortifications, M4s armed with flamethrowers were often deployed, as direct cannon fire seldom destroyed Japanese fortifications.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Games : BKC Invasion of Russia - June 1941

This is a game we played last Thursday night to try and see how an early war game of Blitzkrieg Commander would work. With a view to running a club campaign later this year.

The scenario was a Deliberate Attack (p38 BKC) with the Russians having 3000 points split into 2 battle-groups and the Germans with 4500 points split into 3 battle-groups (one of those Jims Fallschirmjaeger with which I was destined to become well acquainted). The aim was for the Germans to capture the monastery within 12 turns, well they did it in 5!

View of the Russian positions with the monastery the building on the left with the tall tower.

View of the Russian centre, with infantry (entrenched) out in front of AT guns and machine-guns.

On the Russian left, a reserve of tanks. Some T34s, KV-1s, a couple of T26's and 3 BT-7s. As much as possible, the idea was to limit the good tanks that the Russians could have and instead give them the light tanks which made up the Russian forces of the period. Models are 15mm and quite a lot of them are the Zvezda plastic snap-together kits.

 The monastery, held by a large force of infantry, a machine gun in the tower and a tank reserve to the rear.

 The German forces in the centre.

 Overall view of the battlefield

The Germans start the game off with Stuka attacks on the monastery. Russian AA fire damages the Stuka but the attack goes through.

The German Fallschirmjaeger enter the table from the Russian right, steaming over the Russian infantry entrenched in the wood. It was at this point the Russian tank reserve should have moved to the right to eliminate the advancing paratroopers, however they fluffed their command rolls twice and the Soviet tanks remained where they were.

In the centre, the German advance is also successful. Coming down the road and forcing their way through the hedges. The Russian infantry fall back in front of them, trying to keep covering the road and delaying the Germans. The Russian machine guns move out into the road setting up a zone of fire, to try and keep the paratroopers away from the monastery.

On the right the Russian tanks get a move order and try a counter-attack, it is a dismal failure and the hedge is lined by burning BT-5s.

 And its the same on the left, the German advance seems unstoppable.

The view down the road, as the Germans advance.

The Germans sweeping forward in the centre.

The Fallschirmjaeger advance toward the monastery, using the hedge as cover and supported by panzers.

Game over, the defenders break and it only took 5 turns.

Conclusions, well it all seemed totally believable. The Stukas provided flexible fire-power to aid their advance. It was not that effective but it did break up the Russian carefully laid out defences. This was the first game of BKC that I have been involved with that infantry really were important. The infantry combat was fast and brutal, units dying really fast. We even had a close-assault. The Russian BT-7s were almost useless, practically no armour save, easy to kill and with awful fire-power. The table was littered with burning Russian tanks, just like in the real war.     

Thanks to Justin for another excellent Battle Report.


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Late War German Army for Sale

I'm trying to stream line my collection, and I've decided to concentrate on my Russians for Late War, so I'm selling the following 1500+ point Late War German army for Blitzkrieg Commander.

The army consists of :

5 Panther Tanks (Plastic Soldier Company).
1 Panther disguised as a American M10 Tank Destroyer (Forged in Battle).
6 Units of Infantry (Plastic Soldier Company).
1 disguised StuG III Assault Gun (Forged in Battle).
3 MG42 Machine Gun Units (Plastic Soldier Company).
1 CO (made from PSC infantry and a Flames of War Scenic Base).
2 Hanomag Troop Transports (Forged in Battle) useable as HQ's.

All models based with magnetic bottoms. All unpainted!

£40 + £5 p&p (only Paypal accepted)

UK Sale Only

Photos of the PSC Panthers and FiB Panzer Group 150 Panther shown on previous posts.
If your interested drop me a line at: NOW SOLD



News : More New Releases from Forged In Battle

Forged in Battle are busy Boys and Girls at the moment.  More new releases on the horizon:

Early War British 2 Pound Anti Tank Guns

Now if only they would do some of the Tanks used by the BEF, I might be able to do the British Army I want to do!

Jeeps with Trailers

M2 Half-tracks

Thanks for looking


Saturday, 3 March 2012

News : Forged in Battle preview new 15mm models

Forged in Battle have released pictures of their new models.  Im a big fan for the most part, although their Panzer Group 150 Panther left a little to be desired, these look like a return to form for me!

British Sherman from the Desert War

German Das Reich T34's from the battle of Kursk

German Panzer IV F1

German SD 250 Mortar section with Anti Tank Gun Options

Soviet T34 M41/42

British 6 pdr Anti Tank Gun

 Looking forward to seeing some of these models in the flesh.