Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cobra '44: Bite Back

The US right flank runs into an ambush, the key of a tight defence, in the close cover surrounding the farm buildings...
An M7 Priest 105mm Gun drops shells on the main buildings and yard to try to dislodge the forward company which fell back to cover.
 Mechanised infantry push forward boldly in their M3's and debus to begin their assault. In RF you can debus and move three inches in addition to the transport move...usually handy in an assault.
 Surprise! Across the track the bushes erupt with fire from a company laying in wait.
 ...at the critical point of the US attack the fire enfilades, the now exposed, infantry...
 Birds eye view (oh, for an AOP!) of the attack becoming an ambush...
 The close attack of the German infantry punish the lead company who have clearly outrun its own immediate support.
 Crossing for the right flank...the GI's are faring better, so far....
 Smoke out! The armoured elements try to nullify the reach of the 88...
 Meanwhile, the MMG lets rip from the rear of the exposed company. The GI's are effectively surrounded.
 ...and the farm puts out its own defensive fire...
 The Germans are, in their turn, pushed out of the field on the left flank and mown down in the open plain before the town.
 The GI's advance to take possession of the ground...
 ...supported by the armour (sorry, armor)
 Gun commander searches frantically for targets. It is assumed that you cannot see over smoke.
 German mortar fire is accurate and deadly...
 ...on both flanks...
 The company in the trap is clearly on a hiding to nothing. Casualties mount alarmingly.
 The MMG's get out of any possible beaten area for US mortars and artillery. The damage is done. The company is toast. Morale has to be rolled for and the result an inevitable rout!
 The STUG's defence is over....but the US attack is blunted with many casualties.
...and the Shermans skirt the wooded area
 A tank attack is developing...
behind the left flank smoke...
 ...through the fields...
 ...despite the presence of giant hands in the sky!
 ..and the infantry use the mobile cover.
 The move forward becomes more general...
 ..cover from 30cals...

 Suddenly a shot from the right! (apparently, from just between the trees)
 Oopsy! A PAK 43 opens up from cover.
 Scratch one Sherman.
 More bad news.
 Support for the 88
 GI's hug the cover
 A Panther surveys the target rich environment and....
 ....decides to do a 'Wittman'.
You can just make out the smoke from the PAK 43. It shows a good choice of cover.

Next time: Paying the piper

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Interlude: Modified Speed Painting

Speed painting is all well and good but it will develop as with any painting style. After a good deal of stripping technique (careful) down to the essentials (ooh, err, missus) one realises that the cautious addition may be beneficial to the overall look without losing the epithet 'speed' painting.

One significant problem, I've noticed as I get nearer the grave, is my eyesight. Black undercoat doesn't help but, still the technique demands it...So, how to have the best of both worlds?
 Very dry, very light gray brushing. This highlights the points you need to paint and leaves creases and folds, depressions and edges suitably obscure or brought into high relief.
 ...then just fill in the blanks...
 It works quite well on most figures but especially on the Hat Industrie with their clearly defined sculpting.
 I have followed this technique up by using the light gray as an undercoat to the white application. White is never easy over black but this provides a kind of 'speed painters depth' look as well.
 It means you don't have to be as fussy with the white as before. White is almost just the highlight and just as quick as a highlight.
 Note the bearskin (steady) with a dry brush of gray on the cords...you just 'dot' the paint in the usual way but you get a kind of depth...stop me if I'm getting to arty ***ty!
 For me it makes a difference and I don't find a significant slowing down of the technique. Of course there may be a little...but then I like the results.
 And, after all, painting is a significant part of the wargaming hobby. I know you can have it done if you desire and that's fine...
 ...but I do enjoy it (easy now) along with the social side, the terrain, the building and researching.
 More could be made of dry brushing, washes and adding a myriad of stages to get to staggeringly stunning armies together but a balance of what you're happy with, alongside time, money and the desire to attend to the other elements of the hobby generally preclude this for me.
Technique over speed divided by time equals satisfaction.

Next time: Cobra continues.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cobra '44

 So, we thought 'We've got all this perfectly good scenery let's guild the lily and do something different for a while'....hence Cobra '44. We're doing  the point unit of US 15 Corps forging ahead from the breakout into the untrammeled interior of the French countryside.
'wait for it...wait for it...'
The situation is fluid for the German Army (ie up the creek) and nowhere have they been able to dig in like in front of Caen. This scenario is of an ad hoc battle group trying to hold up US 15 Corps drive between Le Mans and the Seine.
 Recce troop lives on its nerves.
 Contact!...a miss and a damage dink.
 More bad news waits around the bend. A cheeky Stug III
 The bushes erupt with fire...
 ...and the Shermans of the lead RCT deploy into a gun line...
 Target...the farm on right flank...
 Meanwhile, left of arc, a lorried infantry battalion finds trouble all of its own. Another Panzerschreck has a pop at the lead jeep
 ...and swerving off the road adds to the woes...
 Back across to recce troop (I suppose the cousins would call them recon) who crash into the field and start spreading 30 caliber joy all around driving the infantry ambush off into the old stone farm buildings...
 The hard cover is very welcome
'Jump Mac, she's gonna blow!'
 Left of arc again and things are hotting up some...
 The summer wheat fields provide good egress for the field grey field mice...
 General Sherman bangs away swapping 75mm rounds with the Stug
 Armoured infantry arrive on the scene but they get badly mauled crossing the open field. They are close assaulting the 'shrek but are cut up by its support...
 RCT fans out to get a grip on the situation. Nothing too big has shown up so far but we can't leave these jokers for the 'Red Ball' guy's to run into....
 The Germans are falling back from the fire power to their front but towards what?
 Follow or flatten...hmm?
 Ah! They don't want to end up under their own mortar stonk....very wise
'Incoming'
 Getting sticky here...
 Hooray for steel, but casualties mount amongst the open topped vehicles
 Camera man gets nervous
 Casualties...
 ...all round
 Bazooka one...shed nil
 Now we're not flanked locally we can get forward...maybe...
'Find that mortar! It's shaking out my teeth'
 German 81mm making its presence felt
 Things are getting hot for this MG team and they're of to the cover of the field
Uh oh, the back up shows it has teeth. Good job the Sherman is fitted with a clinometer for indirect fire.

Next time; How many nasty surprises can you get into one little action?