Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grenadier Guards (Flames of War 600 pt force)

So there I was, broken in bed, studying the ceiling and trying not to feel overly sorry for myself.  My wife, sweet, thoughtful creature that she is, bought me a small stack of WW II books to read because she knows I like that kind of stuff.  And here my troubles began.  Over the next couple of weeks I picked up a few more new tomes, notably some volumes in the so far excellent Stackpole series, and rediscovered a few old loves, such as Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier.  I was quickly getting into a rut.  You know how it is.

Once I could get up and around, I got out my Bridge Too Far and Battle of Britain DVDs.  I watched them over and over as I nudged a few minis glumly around on my desk, entirely unable to paint.  And then there was the internet.  The verdamnt internet.  Always sitting there in predatory silence.  Patient, watchful.  Wanting me to get on it and buy things.    And at last, with little else to do, get on it and buy things I did.  Tiny tanks and tiny men.  Too many of them.  You know how it is.

Anyway here are some of them.

A long time ago, I discovered something on the FOW site that got a big, fat iron  fishhook in my attention; these little 600 point starter forces.  I became fascinated by them and of course I had to have some of my own.  So now I've got late war British armor and American mechanized infantry, and German Grenadiers to fight them.  I'm starting out at 600 points with each army, and then I'm going to build up each army in 300 point blocks, until I get bored.

So here we go:  My British Armour Company, 600 pts:  (I'm using the FOW Armies book that comes with the new edition rules, not the high-speed Atlantik Wall and Overlord books; I'll acquire those eventually, but don't have 'em now.)

HQ Platoon:
2x Sherman V:  125 points
The CO and XO.  The extra tread should probably be green, but I sort of like how it looks painted as bare steel.  These are the plastics from the boxed Open Fire set, but purchased separately from bits merchants online.  Somehow, I got frames that all had the same commander figure.  I tried to get 1 tank with a distinctly different commander by buying one of the resin-and-metal Sherman Vs, but the commander figure that came with it was too short and skinny to look realistic next to the others.  Certainly, his smaller size would have poorly represented his Boss-Man stature.

Combat Platoons:

1st Platoon: 
2x Sherman V & 1x Firefly VC:  210 points
 I originally wanted my lads to be denizens of 11th Armoured Division for no other reason than that the 11th's division patch looks, frankly, badass...
Am right, no? 

But the decal pack I ordered seemed to be an older version that did not include the raging bull patch.  It did, however, have the somewhat disturbing all-seeing Eye of Sauron device of the Guards Armoured Division, so I was ok with that. 

2nd Platoon:
 2x Sherman V & 1x Firefly VC:  210 points
I would have preferred that my Guardsmen had been of the Irish regiment, (had images in head of Michael Caine as Joe Vandeleur, wearing that pained expression of quiet and dignified desperation as he tries to cram his regiment up the accursed single lane highway to Nijmegen) but no, the decals I had only supplied the '51' of the Grenadier Guards, and I was anxious to get started.  Grenadier Guards it would be.

 Giant hole in the back of the Firefly's turret that I didn't notice until just now. Grr.  Will have to go back and fill that in.

The decals look pretty good once you slop them up with 'mud' and when they don't catch the light in the wrong way.

So the compulsory units of my British armoured company were assembled.  I had a bare minimum HQ platoon, and 2 bare minimum combat platoons, and already it added up to 545 points out of 600 points.  What can you buy with 55 points in Flames of War?  Not much.  The one thing could do was to outfit all my tanks with AA Machine guns at 5 pts each. Good for fending off wandering Stukas, and, perhaps just as important, I think they look cool.  So that's 585 points.  Next:  German Grenadiers.  Right after I finish my Oldhammer Gobbo stickas.

 "Oh...Bluddy Hell.  Men, we've come the wrong way.  Turn around, objective's back that way.  Christ, are we ever going to get out of this bocage country?"

Friday, February 14, 2014

Flo's Field Kitchen (Orc and Goblin Baggage Train pt. 1)

 "Ya know wot?  I saw Sumfin da uvver day, and I couldn't believe wot I wuz seein'.  Wanna know wot it waz?  I'll tell ya.  Big fight out near da mountains, roight?  Crossed da big river, followin' Big Blackie's handsome backside...Wahhh, he's a looker, 'e is...anyway, got over da river wif only a few lads drowndin' and up frough da treesie countrie, into da hills, headin for da mountains, tall mountains where da funder gavvers on top.  Stunties, der.  Loads of 'em.  Wif gold!!  An' Humies, too.  Nasty little rotters, dem pinkies, dey stick togevver, you can count on dat.  

"An' me and da gurls, wot we doin', eh?  We got dis whole lot wantin' us ta feed em!  Now I got me a fine big iron pot, dat's fur sure, nobody east a da big rivver got better, but still, you got to feed a hunnerd lads, you're gonna have a ruff time of it!  We gotta boil up four, five pots a stew a noight!  An' where you gonna get da stuff for dat, eh?

"Huh.  Whereevver yoo can, eh?  Huh huh huh.  Now after a big foight, it ain't so bad!  Lotsa dead peeple and wot, you got no worries, da boys can eat all noight!  But when you're on da march yoo gotta get it where you can.  And here's where I'm gettin' to my point, see?  Dis is da fing I saw dat I couldn't believe...

"Big fight, roight?  Der's our boys and der boys laid out bleedin' all over the meadow and Big Blackie and dis one stuntie wiv a big helmit got bloody great horns on, de're still fightin out near da creek wif a few boys wit 'em, but everybody else is about done for da day, dey jus creepin' around pickin froo da dead boys lookin for sumfin good, and each side kinda keepin an eye on da uvver.  I'm grabbin' up everyfing I can fit in me pot for the big eats, an' crammin' everyfing I can't cook in de wagon, save it for later, ya know? And den I see the humies and da stunties are gavverin ders up too...ya know...da ones dat ain't quite dead yit?  And I see der puttin' rags on da holes our boys put in em!  And I fink, now why dey do dat?  Ya can't keep da blood in!  Spoils da meet!  Ya gotta led it out or it goes all larmy too fast!  Now dat's mighty strange!  

"And den I see 'em layin' all da ready-for-da-pot boys out on da grass, and der's some humie and stuntie girls comin, and I fink, Oh, dey'll  be comin' wiv da knives an' da pot!  But no!  Dey give dem pot boys tasty drinks an put pillers under der heads an' dat...and dey pet 'em on der hair and is all real sweet to 'em...disgustin' really!  And den dey load 'em in da cart and dey take em away...all comfertable dey was gonna KEEP 'EM  ALIVE...and I know?  I bet dey don't even eat em!  Couldn't beleive wot I was seein, even doh it were roight here in frunna me own eyes...  Now...I ask ya...ain't dat just like a pinkie?  Too rich dey too much, dey don't 'ppreciate good meat when it falls in der laps!  

'Hand me dat knoife, will ye, Gertie?  "An quit squirmin', you gimpy lil Gobbo, you!  You'll dull me blade!  Wot's dat, ya say you can still walk? Well not fast enuff, I'll warrant!  Nod if we can ketch ya! Eh Gurls?"

(raucous laughter).

So here's my first section of my Oldhammer Orcs and Goblins baggage train, with the cauldron counting as the wagon. It adds points to Big Blackie's horde, but it was fun to do.

"OY!  Get yer fingas outta dere, it ain't ready, yet!  ...'Less ya wanna leave em in dere permanent...heh."

"Snots is good fer flaverin' up yer pot when ya ain't got nuffin else...De're really quick and slippery, tho...hard ta get yer hands on.  I just get 'em likkered up real good and dat makes em lot more easy ta catch..."

"Arright, boys...soup's on, get in line, already!  Er, by the way...anybody hurt?  Sick?  Wounded?  Hrm?  Anybody?"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Corporal Steiger's Squad

Jackbooted fascist thugs come to oppress the workers and farmers of Mother Russia?  Latter day Teutonic Knights determined to spread the gospel of National Socialism throughout the world?  Hm.  Probably more like nine alarmingly normal guys who just want to live long enough to get back to their home towns in Saxony, assuming those towns still exist.  No matter.  Corporal Steiger is determined to get as many of them home as possible.  That's the only thing he cares about...when, in certain rare moments, he finds that he is still capable of caring about anything.

In the blackness of a Courland forest night, the squad falls back to yet another defensive position.  Lars, Lothar and Fritz pull security as their comrades make a dash across a forest path.

Corporal Steiger highly recommends the rugged Soviet ppsh submachine gun for leading your squad through the thick Baltic forests.

 Along with Corporal Steiger, Heinrich here is one of the 'Old Gang' in the second platoon...which means he's survived over a year of combat on the Eastern front.  He's never quite recovered from the winter of '42, though, and always stays bundled up, even in the middle of summer.  Even in severe heat, he's always complaining that he just can't seem to get warm and stay that way...

The new guy.  Nobody has bothered to learn his name...they all know he won't last long.  I mean, look at him!  Doesn't even have his weapon at the ready.

The gun team.  The machine gun is the heart of the squad's combat power, and is affectionately known to the kameraden as 'Greedy Gretchin"  Hey, new guy, keep up, will ya?  Still got that extra ammo or have you fucking lost it already?"

With most of the squad safely across the track, Fritz prepares to make his own move.

  "Security set?  Ok...Quietly now, boys...and quickly...Go!"