Thursday, 23 March 2023

Warhawks, Lightnings and Liberators

I've located what I think could be an interesting and challenging historical mission as the basis for a Bag the Hun scenario. This would involve four P-40F Warhawks, four P-38G Lightnings and six B-24D Liberators against a superior force of up to thirty (!) A6M3 Zeros and fifteen A6M2-N Rufe floatplanes, so a really tough battle for the USAAF although the number of Zeros would be scaled back to balance the game. 

Here's an outline from the excellent Pacific Wrecks website: Pacific Wrecks - February 13, 1943

February 13th 1943

Six B-24 Liberators from the 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG), 424th Bombardment Squadron (424th BS) took off Henderson Field on their first combat mission against Japanese shipping in the Shortland-Buin area escorted by six P-38 Lightnings from 339th Fighter Squadron (339th FS) plus seven P-40F Warhawks from 44th Fighter Squadron (44th FS). 

On the way to the target, 3 P-40s and 2 P-38s aborted the mission due to engine trouble, leaving the B-24s with an escort of 4 P-38s and 4 P-40s: P-40F 41-14102 (MIA), P-40F 41-14110 (MIA), P-40F piloted by Captain Jack A. Bade and P-40F pilot 1st Lt. Robert B. Westbrook. 

Just after noon, the B-24s bombed a cargo ship from 14,000' just claiming one hit. Over the target, the formation was intercepted by 39 enemy fighters including A6M Zeros and floatplane fighters. 

Lost are B-24D 41-23597 pilot Captain Harold G. McNeese (4 MIA, 5 rescued), B-24D 41-23980 pilot 1st Lt. George K. Trager (9 MIA), B-24D 41-23975 pilot 1st Lt. Russell W. Rowe (9 MIA), P-38G pilot Rist (MIA), P-38G pilot Morton (rescued), P-38G pilot Cramer (rescued) and P-38G pilot Lockridge (rescued).

This will need some serious fine-tuning to turn it into a playable (if not winnable?) scenario, but it has all the ingredients for something a bit different and exciting for both the Japanese and American players. I have at least one more P-40F themed scenario idea up my sleeve but this one looks like a good place to make a start.

Off The Shelf Scenarios


One of the problems when working up a series of scenarios for Bag the Hun in the Pacific, is that it's all been done to death for other rule systems, specifically for Check Your Six. A good example is Guadalcanal, which is covered in part by the supplement on the Cactus Airforce, although this in itself is just a snap shot over a couple of months in 1942. To avoid covering the same ground but also to give me the option of converting a scenario or two from CY6 to Bag the Hun as a quick fix, I've ordered a copy of the scenario book to dip into. I'll definitely be devising my own scenarios, however, with a view to submission for the 2023 Lard Magazine.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Red Actions! ASFR (5)


It's on to the artillery next, with two of the guns built and based to see how they go together. The field gun is the Peter Pig Putilov 76.2mm model, which is very straightforward to assemble, while the rather hefty 122mm M10 Schneider heavy howitzer is the from the  Irregular Miniatures Really Useful Guns range. I have another one of each of these models to base up then I'll get cracking on the limbers.

Fistful of Lead Last Man Standing Shootout


I had a good game of Fistful of Lead: Reloaded at the club yesterday, although it ended up dragging out at the end as the lawmen hunted down the last of the bandits and finished them off. This was a simple last man standing scenario, with five figures for each posse, the lawmen aiming to stop the bandits escaping on the waiting railroad train at the far end of the town's main street. The game swung too and fro with both sides well matched until the last few turns of the game. The highpoints included a lawman using his shotgun to shoot upwards through the roof of a saloon at the bandit on top, another lawman smashing through a window, doing a forward roll and attempting to shoot a bandit, who promptly shot him stone cold dead with his pistol, and a long range rifle shot which picked off another lawman as the attempted, very badly, to shoot a prone and defenceless bandit, yet again fluffing his shooting roll not once but three times at point blank range. It was good fun as always but next time I'll have a time limit!

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Red Actions! AFSR (4)

I bundled in some WW1 Russian infantry in greatcoats with my last Peter Pig order, so will now add a fifth infantry company to the line up. The new range doesn't include an HMG pack but I have that covered with a pack from the WW2 range, with which I can do a surgical head swap transplant, using some surplus figures as donors. I'm not sure what this unit will represent but I may deploy it as a veteran, officer or elite unit, although I need to check the rules to see if this would be a feasible idea.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Fistful of Lead Club Game


I have a couple of games of a Fistful of Lead: Reloaded at the club tomorrow, with a player who hasn't tried the rules before, so I've rolled up two new gangs and filled out the rosters. While doing this I thought it would be a good idea to actually produce a set of character cards including all the relevant details and traits for my usual posses, so I'm going to have a go when I get some free time over the holidays.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Red Actions! AFSR (3)


I have now based the infantry battalion of four companies with six bases and an attached machine gun, for the Volunteer Army Infantry Division. This will also give me three battalions of seven bases plus a machine gun each for It Rolls For Ivan, leaving two bases spare. Up next will be the artillery, for which I have four Putilov field guns and two Schneider heavy howitzers, together with four limbers, so quite a lot to get sorted. I will also make up a couple of artillery observer bases for IRFI, which will be attached to each battery as needed. 

Saturday, 18 March 2023

South Pacific Scenarios for Bag the Hun

I've been thinking about writing a set of scenarios for Bag the Hun for months but couldn't decide whether to pick up an old set of notes for the  Whirlwind anti-shipping strike missions, or try something completely new. In the end, I've picked a really mainstream topic, the air battles for Guadalcanal and the Solomons, which has been done many times before but is perhaps of greater appeal than my usual obscure subjects. 

The thing that I like about this option is that I can base the scenarios on one of my favourite books, Edward Sim's Greatest Fighter Missions, of which I have an original first edition hardback copy. This is a fantastic source of scenario information and includes several specific sorties, breaking them down into blow by blow tactical steps. The diagrams are especially useful and the text resonates with the first hand experience of the author as a WW2 fighter pilot.

I'm planning to get started on the scenario development over Easter, when I'll have time to sit down and work my way through the book and the other sources that I will use to pull it all together. After that, I'll paint the required planes in 1/600th scale, which shouldn't take too long as they have very simple camouflage schemes and insignia, ready for some playtesting in the Summer.

Ancient British Army for Strength and Honour


I spent some time yesterday evening playing around with the Antonine Miniatures figures and bases to work out an army for Strength and Honour. This is what I came up with, minus the skirmish line bases, and I think it's not a bad start. As you can see, there are four open order warbands, two light cavalry units, a chariot unit, a skirmish unit and a general in his chariot. I might reduce the cavalry to one base and add another warband but I think it's pretty much there, aside from a camp or baggage?

Friday, 17 March 2023

Strength and Honour Sagittari Skirmishers


I have a couple of packs of the Antonine Miniatures skirmish castings that I originally bought for the Parthian army but didn't get round to painting. I'm now thinking of using them for a skirmish unit to protect and scout ahead of my Imperial Roman Legions, so have been doing a bit of reading around the subject. It seems that an auxiliary unit of Cretan archers took part in Trajan's Parthian campaigns, so there's clearly an historical justification for a distinct skirmish formation, as opposed to just another bog standard auxiliary base. There's an interesting article here explaining how they would have been deployed:

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Strength and Honour Ancient British Inspiration


I've been watching the videos on Strength and Honour lately, which are very good and really helpful, so was particularly interested in Mark's set up for a Boudiccan Revolt British army. This is the next thing on my list of forces to build, so it was really handy to see the break down of units for a medium sized, typical army set out and explained in one go. 

It's given me some ideas for my army and some further guidelines about how to represent open order warbands and skirmishing chariots. The option to deploy chariots in skirmish lines or en masse has really changed my concept of what to do, so plenty of food for thought. In the meantime, I will soon have three more Imperial Roman Legions and some cavalry to base up for the Parthian campaigns, so plenty to be getting on with.

Pre-dreadnought Additions


USS Oregon

USS Cincinnati 

HMS Grafton

I've tweaked the last group of models that I'm painting for the Easter holiday wargaming project, swapping some out and adding some new ones. The US Navy has lost both the USS Charleston and USS Baltimore, as they are a little too old, but have gained the far more potent battleship, USS Oregon, alongside the protected cruiser USS Cincinnati. These two ships were both stationed on the West Coast in the timeframe I'm using and will, therefore, fit in very well to any potential scenarios. 

The Royal Navy has lost the impressively enormous armoured cruiser HMS Ariadne, as she by contrast is really too late for the campaign, but have gained the Edgar class protected cruiser, HMS Grafton, once again on the basis that she was deployed to the Pacific at the time, or thereabouts, so is more appropriate. I have also added the four Argentinian torpedo boats, as previously mentioned, so have some interesting and varied things to paint up over the next couple of weeks!

Torpedoes Away!


Before and After

Corrientes, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Misiones 

Corrientes Class TB

I bit the bullet and based up four lightly tweaked torpedo boat destroyers (ABS 9) from the Tumbling Dice Spanish range as Argentinian Corrientes class torpedo boats. This involved removing the gun platform aft, cutting down the cast on base by about 4mm and gluing it to a 15x40mm MDF base, then using a filler and PVA mix to blend it in, sealed with a brush of liquid superglue. 

Jane's Profile 

I'm pretty pleased with the end result which looks much better than I thought it would. I have now got a solid method for basing small torpedo boats and similar light craft, which will be very handy for some other projects. In reality, there were only three if these torpedo boats in service, as the Santa Fe was lost in 1897, leaving the Corrientes, Entre Rios and Misiones to soldier on until 1925, despite being hopelessly obsolete!

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Red Actions! AFSR (2)


After a couple of hours feeling like death warmed up, I am a bit better today and, as it's my day off, I have started on the Red Actions! project. This far, I have based up two of the four infantry companies, each of six bases including a command stand, which is more than I rolled up but will give me some options and also allow me to configure the army for It Rolls For Ivan. I will add a machine gun base to each company when the figures arrive in the next couple of days, having decided not to use the old castings that I already have as the figures are a little less filled out. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Strength and Honour Roman Legions

Legio I Adiutrix

The game of Strength and Honour at the club last week, which I had to miss due to being unwell went down very well and has led to a lot of interest in the rules. A few players are already putting together armies which gave me the incentive to review the two core armies that I have already completed, one Parthian and one Imperial Roman.

The first of these is an Imperial Roman army for Trajan's Parthian campaigns, which is very much a core force as it only has three legions, Legio I Adiutrix, Legio II Traiana and Legio XV Appolinaris. I think I now need to expand this army to include the other three legions - Legio III Cyrenaica, Legio XII Fulminata and Legio XVI Flavia - as well as adding an Ala of cavalry or two. 

I have a legion base and blocks spare and enough cavalry blocks for at least one base, so that's not a bad start. I could also add some skirmishers, although I think I have enough auxiliary units for the moment. This expanded army will be the one that I can use to try out the rules before I move onto the Parthian army, which may also need a bit of a boost with some additional horse archers bases.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Almirante Barosso


While sifting through the storage box for US pre-dreadnought cruisers at the weekend, I discovered that I have a spare model of USS New Orleans. This was a sister ship to the Brazilian protected cruiser Almirante Barosso, built in England and launched in 1896. This means I can now add a Brazilian warship to my non-belligerent flotilla, although I suspect the Brazilians will pick sides in the conflict, most likely alongside the Chileans rather than with the Argentinians?

Pre-dreadnought Third Parties


I've been unwell again over the last couple of days, so my best laid plans to spend some time at the workbench went sideways. However, I have sorted out the final few models to paint for my fictional South American conflict, with the focus being in the non-belligerent third parties, namely the USA, Great Britain and Peru. Fortunately, most of these have already been based and undercoated earlier, so are ready to go.

The USN is represented by the cruisers USS Charleston and USS Baltimore*, with the USS Marblehead and the gunboat USS Yorktown in support. The Royal Navy have the protected cruiser HMS Intrepid and the armoured cruiser HMS Ariadne. The Peruvians meanwhile have their two scout cruisers, Almirante Grau and Coronel Bolognesi. 

Finally, I've included the obsolete central battery ironclad Almirante Cochrane for the Chileans, just because I like it! The deadline for painting these is the end of the month, leaving the merchant ships high and dry for the moment but starting the Red Actions! project alongside the pre-dreadnought painting.

*I may replace these two older cruisers with some more up to date ones, if I get the time?


Red Actions! Reinforcements


I didn't have quite enough of the new Russian infantry to equip my White battalion so thanks to a timely discount voucher, I have ordered some top up packs from Peter Pig. While I was there, I also added a couple more limbers, a Putilov field gun, some gun crew and HMG teams and enough greatcoat wearing infantry to kit out a company. I'm going to get started on this project over the coming week, last weekend being a wash out as far as wargaming workbench time is concerned due to illness. 

Saturday, 11 March 2023

A Smorgasbord of Shipping


It's freezing in the garage today but I've stuck at it to assemble a smorgasbord of shipping for my South American Pre-dreadnought project. 

First up, we have the Chilean central battery modernised ironclad Almirante Cochrane, using the old and now out of production model. 

Then we have the two Peruvian light cruisers that I converted earlier in the week, with the Almirante Cochrane for comparison. 

Next, two Royal Navy cruisers which served on the North America and West Indies station, the Apollo class cruiser HMS Intrepid and the Diadem class cruiser, HMS Ariadne.

Last of all is a selection of merchant shipping including a couple of tramp steamers, four colliers or mineral carriers, an oiler, a small liner, a couple of tugs with barges and a packet steamer, the latter a model of SMS Wolf repurposed for the job. 

I'll get the bases textured and the models undercoated tomorrow, but I'm off to warm up by the fire now, as I'm ********* freezing!


I'm keen to have a crack at this new set of WW2 naval rules by Sam Mustafa, being a fan of his Maurice rules. The rules cover most of the major combatants, as you'd expect, but not the French as yet, which is a little inconvenient. There's another potential player at the club so it's worth me splashing out on the pdf, as the chances of getting a game are good. In the longer term, the built in campaign system looks really interesting and there's loads of potential for solo play too. It's not cheap, however, with the print copy weighing in at £40 and the pdf at £25 plus printing costs. Blimey!


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