Brexit and my holiday???

I don’t normally indulge in politics in my posts, but this is beginning to get personal.

I have booked a camping space on a site near Oosterbeek, Netherlands from 17th to 25th September 2019.  Those who follow this blog will understand why.  I have also booked my ferry from this small island to the mainland of Europe.

With all the current shenanigans I have no idea if my passport, car insurance or travel insurance will be valid after 29th March.

Let me be clear.  I voted to join the European Economic Community in the 1970s.  I thought it was a good idea.  In my working life and my re-enactment hobby I have found many friends in Europe.

I was never given any say in the subsequent creation of a pseudo “United States of Europe.”  In the 2016 referendum I voted to leave the EU, because in my opinion we were beginning to lose our national identity and our parliament’s ability to govern Britain independently.  (I little understood that, thanks to the aftermath of the referendum and a subsequent ill-conceived General Election, our Prime Minister would be rendered incapable of governing anything more than a large house in Downing Street, Westminster.) 

I understood at the time of the referendum that the intention was to actually leave the European Union, not to piss about for a couple of years and then have another think about it.  I admit that neither side gave a full appreciation of what would be involved before we were asked to vote, but I never thought that the famously quoted “£350m to the NHS” bus slogan meant what it was interpreted by the uneducated masses to mean.  The wording was very clever, and never actually promised £350m to the NHS.  If in doubt, check what it actually says.

Enough petty politicking.  All I really need to know is:  After March 29th 2019 will my current British/EU passport still be valid, or do I need to apply for a new one?  If so, how long will it take?  The British passport office appears to have no useful information yet…

Three wargames and some real life

Following my recent post “Rethinking my priorities” I have moved the campaign on.
The battle for the Arnhem railway bridge has been fought and the allies now hold this crossing over the Rhine.
I have another game currently in play for this campaign using Memoir ’44 board and rules, but instead of their models I use my own gaming tokens based on German tactical map signs (see photo’ below).
Each token represents one platoon or equivalent.

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In this game a German Panzer regiment and a supporting Panzer Grenadier regiment have encountered two battalions of British infantry. They have been fighting for two game hours so far.

On other gaming fronts I have been preparing the battlefield for the long awaited 4th September 1939 battle in my project to refight the whole of World War Two before I die! The troops have been ready for months.

I have also been gathering the models for the first naval encounter of World War Two, the sinking of three commercial vessels by German submarines on 7th September 1939. Although the attacks did not happen in the same area, my game will involve an escorted convoy against three submarines operating independently. British must cross the table with as many ships as possible surviving. German submarines are vying with each other for the maximum ships sunk.

Annoyingly I have lost the box of unpainted “sinking ship” models  that I printed a couple of months ago.   The only one I can find is the half-painted version (now complete) in the centre of the picture below.

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I know that if I reprint them they will turn up, so meanwhile the printer is in use to produce dummy submerged submarines for the confusion of friend and foe alike.

My idea for submerged submarines is that when a sub dives it is replaced with a number of transparent models according to the roll of one average die. One of these is marked underneath as the real submarine. They each go their separate ways and until they come into action neither side is allowed to look beneath the model.
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I have been struggling with a computer program “Rule the Rail” which is used to design virtual model railway layouts. I found the game in a discount store many years ago and have since upgraded it by downloading extra models and functions provided by other users more clever than me to make it more British and 1950s focussed – my old trainspotting days.

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Last week the program suddenly started refusing to save files, although I have successfully run it on Windows 10 for a year or more. I can only guess that Microsoft have updated something to the detriment of my enjoyment. The developers last tested the system with Windows XP, so any fixes are now handled by the fan-base community. I have asked them for help.

My latest, half finished, project is based on a layout found in “Railway Modeller” of the local station where I used to do my trainspotting as a lad in the late ’50s and early ’60s. The actual model is well researched, but the creator admits that it was pure accident that the school-children on the platform are wearing the correct uniform for my old school (Poole Grammar). I want to finish the project, but if I cannot save any changes I am, as they say, “stuffed”.

Incidentally, the developers recently launched a kickstarter to develop this program for the latest PC, Mac and Android operating systems, but it failed with only half a dozen backers. A shame, since there is clearly a large community of users who could have helped.
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On a personal note, I have recently undergone a “triple A” investigation for possible aneurism, which showed that I have no problems in that department.  Next Thursday I have my PSA blood test to confirm that all is still well after my cancer operation in November 2017.  Isn’t it amazing how concerned the NHS gets about you when you  are over 60, when so many of the issues could have been solved by better advice when you were 20?

Arnhem Rail Bridge part 2

18th September 1944, 12:00

Situation:  3rd Polish Parachute Battalion (3 PP) and 7th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers (7KOSB) had joined forces across the rail bridge west of Arnhem.  Two companies of 3rd Panzer Grenadier Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division (3/9SS) were still holding out in bunkers at each end of the bridge.  A flight of German fighters was threatening the allied troops.

General Urquhart sent his congratulations and ordered that the remaining enemy troops in the bunkers be eliminated.

Forces.  7KOSB.  3 companies, 10 platoons.  3PP. 4 companies, 14 platoons, including 2 mortars and 1 HQ.  3/9SS. 2 companies, 7 platoons.

Turn 1. 12:00

7KOSBs – Move Out (4 infantry units)  The three companies moved to positions to close assault the northern pill box.  A. 2 infantry. 2 hits  B. 1 infantry, 1 star. 1 hit. Unit eliminated and pill box captured.

3/9SS – Behind Enemy Lines.  Fighters left the table with no appropriate command card.  The company in the south bunker made a break-out.  Moved 1hex,  attacked a Polish rifle company in a defended position. 1 flag, so Poles retreat.  Moved 3 +1 for the road and exited the board, so a successful break-out was acheived.

Casualties.  Germans: 2 of 14=14%.  Allies: none.

Arnhem Rail Bridge18/09/1944

Despite spending over a month preparing my terrain and 6mm specialist infantry bases for this game, bad weather forced me to play it indoors as a board game.

Five companies of SS Panzer Grenadiers were defending the rail bridge.

They were attacked simultaneously by four companies of Polish parachute infantry from the south and three companies of British glider infantry from the north.

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The Poles (at the bottom of the picture) were represented by Russian tokens and the British (at top right) by US tokens.

Because of the peculiar nature of this game, and with the Anglo-Polish side suffering communication difficulties and a potential language barrier I played this game with three independent sides.  Each nationality received one command card for each company.  All troops were rated as elite (Special Forces rules apply.)

Both the Germans and Poles were cut off from their supply base, so a reduction of 1 die was applied for any distant shooting.  The Poles had the benefit of two mortar platoons.  I ruled that if a grenade (1/6 chance) was rolled when attacking a bridge hex with HE, then a second roll of a grenade would damage the section.

The battle would end when either side scored 3 Victory Points for destruction of enemy unts.

Order of play was British, Germans, Poles.

Turn 1. 11:00

British.  Assault left flank (all 3 companies)

The 3 rifle companies manoeuvred to a position from whence they could all fire at the German company defending the end of the bridge at 2 hexes (500m) range.

2 dice per company.  A. 2 tanks rolled, no hits.  B. 2 flags rolled = 2 retreats. Enemy fell back onto the bridge.  The retreat was then blocked by friendly troops, so one platoon was lost. C. (Reduced to 1 die tue to increased range). Grenade = 1 hit.

Germans. Assault Centre (all 5 companies).

The company at the south end of the bridge fired at the advancing Poles at 2 hexes range.  2 dice -1 for short supply. Grenade = 1 hit.   The company in the bunker were unable to shoot at the enemy at 3 hexes range due to the need to conserve ammunition.  At the north end of the bridge the company that had been driven back moved forward again and fired at the enemy infantry on the river bank.  1 die. Grenade = 1 hit.  The company on the centre of the bridge moved to the north end and shot at the same enemy company.  1 die.  Tank was a miss.

Poles. Probe Center. (2 units).  HQ increased this to 3 units. The Two flanking rifle companies moved forwards through the polder.  Three companies fired at the German company in the open at the south end of the bridge.  A. At 3 hexes, no firing, conserving ammunition.  B. At 2 hexes, 1 die due to ammo restrictions. Tank was no hits.  C. At 2 hexes, Star was no hits.

Turn 2, 11:10

British. General Advance. (2 in each sector, all 3 companies included).  A. Shooting at 2 hexes. 2 dice, Infantry, Tank = 1 hit.  B. Shooting at 2 hexes. Infantry, Tank = 1 hit.  German unit eliminated. 1 VP.  C. Shooting at 3 hexes, Infantry = 1 hit.

Germans.  Recon Center. 1 unit +2 on the move.  Company at south end of bridge shoots at nearest Poles at 2 hexes, 1 die. Star is a miss.

Poles. Dig In. All 4 units improved their defensive positions.

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Turn 3. 11:20

British. Probe Center ( 2 units).   Two companies fired at enemy in the open at 2 hexes.  A. 1 grenade, 1 flag.  1 hit, 1 retreat.  B. 1 grenade. 1 hit.

German. Air Sortie played with Left Flank.  One fighter arrived on the left flank. Air check rolled tank, so the aircraft was OK.

Poles. Recon Center.  The centre company  fired at the enemy unit in the open defending the bridge.  At 2 hexes, 1 die. Grenade was a hit.

Turn 4. 11:30

British. Probe left flank.  One company made a close assault on the German bunker at the north of the bridge.  A second company advanced to the north of the bridge and fires at the company on the bridge.  A. Close assault vs bunker. 2 dice. grenade, star. 1 hit.  B. Shooting vs infantry in open at 3 hexes.  1 die. star was a miss.

German. Probe Left Flank used for Luftwaffe support.  Moved 4 hexes east.  No target available.

Poles. Assault Centre.  3 companies advanced to contact. Close assault, left company.  2 dice, 1 hit.  Centre company. 2 dice, 1 hit, 1 retreat. Germans fell back onto bridge, Poles took ground.  Right company. Vs bunker 1 die. No effect.

Turn 4. 11:40

British. Firefight. 4 units not adjacent, +1 die.  Centre Company at 3 hexes vs bunker was 1 die. Tank was no hits.  Left company at 3 hexes is 2 dice. Flag, star was 1 retreat, but retreat was blocked.  1 platoon lost, unit eliminated.

German.  Direct from HQ. Ordered all 3 infantry and 1 LW unit.  LW. Air check OK.  Strafing missed.  Unit in N Bunker.  2 dice at 1 hex.  1 hit.  S. End of bridge. 2 dice at 1 hex. 1 hit.  Bunker at S. end. 2 dice ar 1 hex. 1 retreat.

Poles. Recon in force.  1 unit each section, increased to 2 units center for HQ.   Left company. 1 die. 1 hit.  Centre company. 2 dice, 1 hit.  Unit eliminated.  Poles took the bridge.

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Losses:  British.  2 of 12 = 17%  Poles. 2 of 16 = 13%  Germans. 13 of 20 = 65%

But the Germans still hold pill boxes in company strength at both ends of bridge, even if the allies hold the bridge itself.  We shall see what progresss…

Rethinking my priorities

For some time now I have been running a WW2 play-by-email campaign with five “generals”. The original idea was to give them a strategic game which would provide me with some interesting tabletop solo wargames.

However, I have become too bogged down in getting the visual depiction correct and this has slowed down the execution of the big game.

And so, in the recent spate of bad weather which banned me from both the gaming and painting sheds I had a re-think.

The campaign will now progress somewhat faster and individual engagements will probably be fought as board games or simple tabletop wargames without the frills.

I have already played as a board game the expected table-top game that took more than a month to set up, of which more later…

Painting Blog 26/12/18-17/01/19

Just to prove that I have not been idle for the past 4 weeks, this is what I have been preparing for various wargames.  I must remind readers that I am a wargaming butterfly, in that I have may projects active at all times.  However, my priority is to keep the “Market Garden” campaign active for my five on-line Generals.

So, what have I painted and modelled since Christmas?  For reference, any photographs below on a gridded board are displayed on a 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) grid.

Painting and modelling projects in the last four weeks

WW2 German 6mm Adler Panzer Grenadiers.

16 Platoons of 4 figures each.  To be painted in late war camouflage smocks.

26th December:  Models sorted, bases labelled.

27th December:  Figures glued to 2cm square plastic bases using UHU contact adhesive.  Snipped corners from some bases to indicate weapon type.  Milliput added to bases to help strengthen the contact.

28th December:  Basecoat (Vallejo WW1 German Field Grey) applied to figures.

29th December: Bases painted for urban setting.   Uniform Grey overall, sprinkled with fine sand, then “splodged” with Vallejo Green Grey.

30th December:  Flesh tone added to faces and hands.

31st December: Repainted hands and faces with lighter flesh colour (Coat D’Arms Flesh).  Rifle barrels painted with Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

1st January:  Stippled smocks with Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Stippled smocks and some helmets with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January: Brick wall ruins on bases painted Coat D’Arms 509 (Brick Red?).  Black leatherwork painted Coat D’Arms 102.

6th January:  Gas mask cases painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.  Army painter Matt spray paint applied.  Unit Finished.

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WW2 1944 Polish Parachute Battalion

16 Bases of 4 Infantry; a mix of Adler British Paras and British Marines.

15th January:  Glued troops to bases.  Painted bases Coat D’Arms Grass Green .  Base Coated Figures Coat D’Arms 537 Faded Khaki.

17th January:  Rifle stocks painted Coat D’Arms Horse Tone Chestnut.  Helmets painted Vallejo 382 Reflective Green.  Faces painted Coat D’Arms Dark Flesh.  Dabbed smocks with Vallejo 70.782 Chocolate Brown.  Dabbed smocks with Coat D’Arms 223 Chestnut.  Trousers overpainted Coat D’Arms 225 Khaki.  Weapons painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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Blindheim Project.  6mm Irregular Miniatures troop blocks.

Lt-Gen. Horn.  Mounted General with 3 footsoldiers carrying a flag)

31st December: Horse painted Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Coats painted Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Base painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

1st January: Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

17th January: Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms Flesh.

Danish Foot Brigade. 3 blocks of 18 musketeers + 3 man flag base.

6th January: Black wash to all. Diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Command base. Boots painted black.  Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms 213 Flesh.

7th January: Coats painted Coat D’Arms Grey 236.

17th January: Musket Barrels painted Citadel Mithril Silver

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 American Civil War 20mm Plastic Figures.

Two Union Regiments of 5 bases (15 figures each).  Part-finished.

31st December: Repainted musket stocks Coat D’Arms 225 Horse Tone Brown

1st January: Repainted musket barrels Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal, Touched up bases with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January:  Backpacks, cartridge boxes and belts painted Coat D’Arms 102 Black.  Sprayed with matt varnish.  (Will be resprayed gloss for a “toy-soldier” appearance.)

3rd Maryland Regiment  8 bases of 3 figures each.

9th January:  Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun metal, Card bases painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.  Sprayed with Rustoleum clear matt varnish.

13th January:  Bread bags painted Vallejo 886 grey-green.  Trousers painted in various greys and browns.  Bases touched up with Polyvine Acrylic Enamel 52 Brunswick Green.

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Terrain for “Market Garden” campaign.

City river bank hexagon tiles.

2nd January

Five existing river hex tiles masked and one point sprayed with grey stone effect paint.  (Will need a touch-up by brush – stone effect spray cans only work well the first time).

Two railway sloping embankments started.  Cork tile sections cut, glued and clamped.

5th January:  Tried to cut cork embankments to form slope.  Failed.  Designed similar shape for 3d printing and printed two sloping embankments.  A partial failure as the bottom of the piece was curved, so I inverted them.

7th January: Overpainted the city river banks with light grey “tester pot” paint.

14th January:  Glued Leven Miniatures rail sections to sloping embankments.  Re-glued rail sections to sloping embankments!  Ordered more hexagons from Kallistra.  (Plain Blue single tiles).  Spotted new half-hex tiles, and ordered them too.  Made side slopes of rail embankments from Milliput.

15th January:  Painted and flocked railway embankments.   Added streaks of PVA to blue hexagon tiles for wave/river effect.  Glued railway sections to polder/swamp tile for rail crossing with embanked road.

16th January:  Discovered I was using the wrong bridge for the Arnhem Rhine rail crossing.  Dug out different bridge and added Leven Miniatures resin rail sections.

17th January:  Black washed rail sections on the sloped embankments.  Railway sleepers (railroad ties) painted Vallejo 70-872 Chocolate Brown.  Rail track tops painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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1940 3mm German force.

Two SIG33 15cm Self-Propelled Guns.

6th January:  Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.

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WW2 Naval

Sinking destroyer token (3d printed)

6th January: Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Deck painted Coat D’Arms Flesh 213.  Bottom of hull painted Coat D’Arms 509 Brick Red.

7th January: Superstructure and gun turrets painted Coat D’Arms 236.

17th January.  Repainted hull and superstructure darker grey.  Repainted deck with a darker tone.

HMS Warspite (prepainted model from Axis & Allies Naval)

13th January:  3d printed base (2 x 6cm hexagons adjoining, 2mm deep).  Repainted hull and superstructure with Vallejo 886.

15th January.  Spray-painted base with 2 shades of blue.

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WW2 1/600 Aircraft

De Havilland Mosquito, Focke-Wulf 190d.

6th January:  Painted all aircraft Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Poor coverage.  Maybe the models should have been washed first?

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6mm Commission Figurines MDF

French Revolutionary War, 24e, 56e, 90e de Ligne.  Part finished.

13th January:  Painted white coat turn-backs and breeches.

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That’s all Folks!

And now back to the painting table…

 

Wargaming Update

So what have I been up to since my last post?

I have started to keep a log of my painting and modelling work, which helps me to keep on track with my resolution to paint something every day.

I have also resolved to be more patient with my painting, leaving stuff for up to a day before the next paint application.

I have been preparing SS Panzer Grenadiers for the Market Garden campaign, with late war camouflage smocks (not the only chaps wearing the wrong camouflage for the location!).  In addition, these chaps are getting an urban base cover instead of the normal grass.

In the last couple of days I have been more dedicated to creating the terrain hexagons needed for the latest game.