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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Axis & Allies - A true Dining Room Battle

It's 1942 and the world is at war.

I have the first edition of the classic board game, Axis & Allies originally published by Milton Bradley in 1984. It has been revised and updated several times and is currently published by Avalon Hill. Up to five players can participate representing the USSR, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. The game portrays World War II at the strategic level and the map is divided into sections that resemble Risk. Each area of the map has a value (industrial units) that help the war effort. The players through economic development can purchase infantry, tanks, fighter planes, bombers, transport ships, battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines, air defense and factories with their industrial units. In the later editions there are additional forces. Players can also through research develop rockets, heavy bombers, jet aircraft, etc. The Allies can win by capturing the 2 enemy capitals; the Axis can win a military victory if they capture 2 of the 3 enemy capitals or an economic victory if their combined production is 84 or higher at the end of a turn.

For this game we had four players: Honorable Son #2 would be the USSR and the USA; Honorable Son#4 would be Germany; Honorable Son #5 would be Great Britain and I would be Japan.


USSR builds infantry and tanks and makes no moves.

Germany overruns French West Africa and invades and captures the Anglo-Egypt Sudan. In addition they launch a massive thrust at Karelia SSR and force the Soviets out. At sea, the U-boats sink a British transport but lose two U-boats in the North Atlantic to the Royal Navy.

The UK attempts a long range strategic bombing mission against Eastern European production but is shot out of the sky. British forces mass for a counterattack in North Africa.

Japan returns to Hawaii and destroys a submarine and aircraft carrier. The Imperial Army launches an offensive into and captures China.

The US tries to bomb North Africa but loses its bomber to German forces.

End of Turn 1: USSR 21; Germany 38; UK 27; Japan 27 and the USA 34.

A good start for the Axis and a slow start for the Allies. The inactivity of the Soviet Juggernaut was surprising; usually in this game (as in real life) the Soviet forces cause the eventual destruction of the German Army. The Axis forces have to move fast to win this game, especially with the economic might of the US looming over the horizon.

Turn #2:

The USSR launches a massive counterattack into Karelia SSR and the German's barely hold on with massive losses.

Germany continues to run rampant in Africa seizing French Equatorial Africa adn the Belgian Congo. The anticipated offensive to grab Moscow ends in disaster as the German Army is decimated with only the Luftwaffe staving off total defeat in the east. In the Mediterranean the British Fleet is sunk by the German Navy.

The UK attempts to relieve pressure in Asia by attacking Japanese occupied French Indochina from India; both sides fight to a bloody stalemate as both sides lose all of their forces.

In the boldest move of the game (hey, it's my blog!) the Japanese Imperial Navy's invasion force bypasses Hawaii and invades Mexico instead. That's right - Mexico. The Americans are thrown off guard as a smaller force invades and grabs Alaska while the Imperial Navy sinks what is left of the US Pacific Fleet off the coast of California. The third prong of the Japanese juggernaut completes the conquest of China by destroying the Chinese-American forces in Sinkiang.

The United States strikes back with air attacks against the Imperial Navy sinking a submarine and a transport that was inroute to invade Hawaii. A US submarine attempts to penetrate the Japanese home waters but is sunk in the attempt. Another American sub tries to attack the German Navy in the Med and also falls to a watery grave.

End of Turn #2: USSR 21; GE 40; UK 25; Japan 33; USA 28.

Another good turn for the Axis, especially with the Japanese moves. But . . . the UK is making the British Isles into a massive supply base and the Americans and Soviets are building up their forces.

Turn #3:

The USSR launches another attack into Karalia SSR and even though they take heavy losses, they start to wear down German strength. The Germans hold on again, barely.

In a two prong attack with massive air support, the German's smash through the Red Army and capture Moscow! The Afrika Korps continues their success by capturing the Union of South Africa and Kenya Rhodesia. With control of the Med, German marines land in Syria-Iraq.

The UK launches a new front by invading and taking Norway.

Japan blitzes through India and Persia and takes advantage of the lack of Soviet Forces in Asia and grabs Kazakh SSR and Novosibirsk.

The US crosses the Rio Grande and retakes Mexico and masses its forces to retake Alaska. After placing his forces, the German and Japanese Commanders give each other a high-five as the game ends!

End of Turn #3: USSR 9; GE 50; UK 23; Japan 41; USA 28. Economic Victory for the Axis with a combined score of 91. The overall winner is Japan with a 64% increase and Germany second with 56.2%.

Well that was the quickest game of Axis and Allies we ever played. The USA and the UK were unable to react to the Axis moves while the USSR was basically left stranded. With the game ending quickly, the greater economic potential of the Allies never came into play as the Axis picked up extra industrial output by taking Africa and most of Asia.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Something for the German Infantry to Ride in Flames of War

In my previous post I highlighted my German Grenadier company. To compliment them, I have added Sd Kfz 251/1 half tracks to add some mobility and protection to the force. I based the force on a photo I found of a half track belonging to the 116th Panzer Division.The vehicles I painted represent the 1st Battalion, Panzergrenadier Regiment 60 based on my research on what they probably would have looked like in Normandy in June 1944.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

German Grenadiers for Flames of War

Finally got around to taking pictures of my Late War German Grenadier (Infantry) Company. If you are looking for a Flames of War force with a lot of offensive mobility - this is not it! In fact, you will probably be the defender in most scenarios. On the other hand, this is a tough force to dislodge and it does have the ability to counter-attack lost objectives with a small armored force. Another factor I like with this army are the variety of options you can choose to support you force. I've played 1500 and 2000 point games with different options and have found this an enjoyable force on the tabletop. I also built the force with an eye toward employing them as Panzergrenadiers in some games, so there are some "extras" with this force.

Here is the start of the force, the Company Headquarters. The company commander and XO both are modeled with the panzerfaust options. Normally, there is only one panzerschreck anti-tank team per headquarters, but some of the late war grenadier/panzergrenadier options allow up to three teams.

Here is the 1st Platoon. The platoon leader is modeled with panzerfaust and some of the infantry stands have panzerfausts for squad options.

2nd Platoon.

Machine gun Platoon.

Another view of the machine guns.

Mortar platoon with 2 sections of 8cm GW34 mortars. The platoon has a forward observer team per section.

Hang! Fire! (Okay, I'm remembering the "glory days" of my youth. As a lieutenant in the US Army I led the 81mm mortar platoon of B/2-47 Infantry and the 107mm mortars of CSC/2-47 Infantry)

Sniper. Very good for pinning hordes of Soviet Infantry.

The pioneers (combat engineers). I love this platoon! Even though as rifle teams each stand only has a rate of fire of 1, it's a large platoon and has a tank assault of +4 . . .

. . . plus this is one of the items they can build prior to the game starting with a pioneer wagon or truck.

The pioneers can also use the radio controlled Goliath demolition carrier. I have discovered in games that the threat of the carrier tends to be more devastating than the actual use. I actually destroyed one Cromwell tank and caused another tank to bail out once with my Goliath - honest!
Time for the divisional support. Here is my Tiger platoon. Depending on the points and who I'm playing I'll take one to three for my platoon. I've had mixed success with my Tigers; not very good in the attack (slow speed and easily outflanked if not supported) but they do a great at long range fire support.

Assault gun platoon of StuG IV's. Why assault guns and not tanks? Well . . . I got them for a great price on eBay! I actually have one more to paint.

I'm slowly (and I mean slowly) working on a Panzer IV platoon of four tanks.
Anti-aircraft gun platoon of three Sd Kfz 10/5 (2cm). Good for use against aircraft and enemy infantry.

Air support.

Artillery Battery of 10.5 cm guns.

When I need an extra objective, the Kfz 68 Radio truck works out just fine.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Chasseurs a Cheval de la Garde Imperiale

I've been on a Napoleonic painting kick lately; after all it was my first gaming period. I started Napoleonic gaming with boxes of 15mm Airfix miniatures about 38 years ago - what a great way to start a wonderful hobby!

As mentioned previously, I'm doing Napoleonic Armies for the conflict in Spain and Portugal using the ruleset Volley and Bayonet. I've been using the battle orders for Fuentes de Onoro, Talavera and Salamanca as I build my new forces in 28mm. I purchase most of my miniatures either on eBay or if I need them right away, The at (you can't beat the shipping price of $5.95 for all orders in the US).

I had purchased the the Wargames Foundry command blister for the Chasseurs a Cheval of the French Imperial Guard on eBay for a great price several years ago. I was doing my research a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find out that the Chasseurs a Chevel were present at Fuentes de Onoro as part of Lepic's Brigade of Guard Cavalry. They were assigned to Marshal Bessieres' Army of the North and were with the French Army of Portugal at Fuentes de Onoro.

Marshal Bessieres

According to the State of the Army on May 1st, 1811 there were 881 sabers in the Brigade of which 235 were of Chasseurs.

Back of the Senior Officer. He will be a Division Commander of Cavalry for the French Army.

Trumpeteer, Junior Officer with Eagle and Trooper. This stand will represent the Light Guard Cavalry Brigade or a Light Cavalry Brigade depending on the scenario.