Garden Wargames and Lost Dumb Soldiers

Garden Wargames blog post – Dumb Soldiers: The Past and Future of Garden Wargames? – Cross-posting from our sister blog site Pound Store Plastic Warriors https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames/

(Picture of beach found plastic soldiers, lost in the biggest sand pit for miles around!)

A few Peter Laing figures amongst the scrap lead mountain

A successful bid on an online auction site around New Year  brought a kilo box of lead figures for spares or scrap for recasting, all for £10.

Among them I thought I had spotted some 15mm Peter Laing figures  in the single photo of a mass of random lead.  Now that Peter Laing figures are no longer made, finding new ones is exciting.

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So throughout the last two weeks in odd moments I have been sorting through this random mix of Napoleonic troops of many nations, a few ancients and even the odd space figure.

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Flocking and basing my way through a small part of a kilo of lead

It’s like a gamer’s owl pellet, ready for dissection. Mostly painted, with few broken figures.

Two weeks on and off spent flocking and basing and I am still not through this kilo of  this scrap lead mountain. Almost all will return to active service, few will end up in the casting ladle.

Most are 15mm to 20mm with many different manufacturers, with some good matches for Peter Laing 15mm figures and others of the gnome type of chunky 15mm that I thankfully bought very few of in my early gaming years.

I was right that there were Peter Laing figures in that kilo of lead – sadly less than I thought – but I really like the randomness of the other figures.

The Peter Laing figures match quite well with some of the other figures.

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Other slender 15mm figures that match well the Peter Laing American Civil War figure second from left. 
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Some other Peter Laing style figures flank the Peter Laing American Civil War Union infantryman. 
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Some Ancient Peter Laing warriors 
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Ottoman or Renaissance Peter Laing  Turks 

Some of the figures I recognised from the amazing collection of Peter Laing figures by John Patriquin the Wargame Hermit blogger.

http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/15mm-peter-laing-ottoman-turks.html

The rest of the kilo of mostly Napoleonic era troops in their distinctive shakos, bicornes and helmets will be organised with minimal repainting into Gondal, Gaaldine, Glasstown and Angria forces for my Bronte juvenilia inspired skirmishes later this year.

They all look battle-hardened figures with battered bayonets and muskets to be carefully straightened.

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Just one interestingly shaped Peter Laing horse – not sure what – distinctively shaped even amongst a jumble of figures.

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, January 2017.

More Peter Laing Scots

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F510 Scots Musketeer firing – painted in the 1980s but never based until now.

 

In my recent posting of rebased and reflocked 15mm Peter Laing 17th and 18th Century figures, there were a few Scots figures missing from the first line up.

Here are the missing Scots figures, found and freshly rebased:

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F1008 Highlander advancing
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F1002 Highland Chieftain?  and F1003 Highland Piper
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F1008 Highlander Advancing and F1009 Highlander Firing.
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Another View of Highlander Firing and Advancing figures.
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F1010  Lowland Musketeer Firing, painted and unpainted

The unpainted Lowland troops are mine, ones that  I never finished in the 1980s, possibly because I couldn’t find or decide on a suitable colour scheme. The painted ones are a motley and colourful bunch I recently found on EBay and rebased.

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F1007 Lowland Musketeer on guard

For the other Highland and ECW figures, check our previous blogposts

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/all-about-the-base-about-the-base/

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F1006 Highlanders Charging with Claymores
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F1008 Highlanders advancing 

 

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Peter Laing 15mm Highlanders with Lochaber Axes F1001 and Highland drummer standard bearers and command figures. My Matt enamel 1983 painting.

 

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Peter Laing Catalogue section for some of the above Scots figures.

Still more painting and basing work to do on the remaining unpainted, unbased Scots Musketeers, Highlanders and Lowland troops – a job for the winter months.

Posted by Mark, Mr MIN,  Man of TIN blog, 4 November 2016.

Peter Laing Happy Halloween Fantasy!

Maybe the closest Peter Laing ever got to a 15mm fantasy range are his Ancients, Dark Ages and Medieval figures.

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Peter Laing 15mm Priest with Cross and his meagre flock …

This very handy Priest with Cross F913 from his 900 Medieval range crops up in several of Peter’s suggested “Dual Use Items” such as using the Priest with his Feudal and Dark Ages range. Watch out for those Vikings!

Not quite as multi period as the useful Peter Laing sheep A921 but still a handy figure to have.

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Heroscape Ruins and Hex preaching mound with Peter Laing 15mm Priest with Cross and my small flock of  Peter Laing sheep. Fimo gravestone. Other Flock: Woodland Scenics

No doubt the Priest with Cross might crop up in a more Orthodox role in the Russian Civil War or the Crimea. Maybe even the Spanish Civil War?  The Religious Wars and Dissolution of the Monasteries etc using the Peter Laing  Renaissance Tudor range is another possible use.

I know Peter Laing often took figure requests to extend his ranges. I wonder what Peter Laing Dwarves, Orcs or  Dworcs (whatever) would have looked like if anyone had asked him to produce some?

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 31 October  2016.

All About the Base, About the Base …

A busy rainy day rebasing Peter Laing 15mm figures.

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A few of my Peter Laing 15mm as based and roughly painted in 1983 …
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My original 1980s Plastic Card bases for Peter Laing musketeers and highlanders. 

A rainy day today, so after a short while rebasing some recently acquired Peter Laing Ancient Greeks, I had the bulk of my time well spent rebasing and flocking some of my 1980s Peter Laing English Civil War and 17th/18th Century Scots. These were the first Peter Laing figures I ever bought, so greatly treasured.

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Plastic Card had a slight tendency to warp a bit  on my original larger bases. Peter Laing F517 Musketeers in helmet firing, F505 Standing Drummer in Hat, F504 Standard Bearer with original flock or ballast bases. 

For the last thirty odd years they have waded through knee-high thick dark green flock grass or over gravel ballast, scrounged from the family model railway scrap box when my pocket money ran out.

To suit the Peter Laing / John Mitchell ECW rules they were originally based in groups of 6, 4, 3, 2 0r 1 to make up small regiments of 20 or 30 infantry, which could have casualties removed in various combinations.

Whilst these strips of figures looked good to my childish eye, for my current skirmish Close Little Wars games, I need figures on individual bases.

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Just a few of my Peter Laing F503 Musketeer in hat marching, now individually rebased. Lots more to rebase this winter. 

I have rebased the figures in my own ‘blend’, a mix of different coloured Woodland Scenics flocks, play pit fine sand, very fine local beach pebbles and some of the original 1980s ballast recycled.  A little shadow of the original gravel or dark green flock remains around the figure bases, for old time’s sake to remember my childhood efforts.

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My favourites F515 Dismounted dragoon firing, now individually based for skirmishes. 

In most cases I had based my strips of figures on bases roughly similar in size to the individual bases I use today, roughly 15mm by 15mm.

In some cases I could easily score and cut the original plastic card  then simply remove old flock or ballast then reflock. The occasional figure that needed a new base has one made from scrap art mounting board card.

The Scots Highland troops from Peter Laing’s “suitable items from other ranges for use with the ECW (500) range” remain great great favourites.

They were designed not only to oppose Peter Laing’s original Marlburian range “to extend the range to cover the ’15 and ’45 risings “ but also “to provide suitable Scots figures for Montrose’s army.”

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Peter Laing F1001 Highlanders with lochaber axes, F1005 Highland standard bearer and F1004 Highland drummer with M1001 Mounted Highland officer, now individually rebased. My 1983 matt enamel paint job. 
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Peter Laing F1008 Highlanders advancing along with Highland command group, now individually rebased. My 1983 paint job needs updating and detailing. 
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Peter Laing F1006 Highland clansmen with claymores. Chaaarge!

 

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Sometimes there is quite a lot of facial detail on Peter Laing figures, something  to look at when I repaint these again from their 1983 original painting. 

I still have lots of Peter Laing musketeers, pikemen and cavalry to rebase this winter as well as finding the Highland Piper and Officer.

Recently I have been painting or repainting my Peter Laing figures as needed using gloss acrylic rather than the original matt enamel Humbrol / Airfix paints easily available or scrounged in the 1980s. I really enjoyed as a child painting the bright colours of English Civil War regiments and banners, so the colourful gloss acrylics should add to this when repainting is due.

I did get around to painting my Peter Laing Lowland Regiments in the mid 1980s but never finished them off with flock or basing, as I probably ran out of expensive Plastic Card. The pocket money ‘war budget’ kept running out,  as I usually (over)spent it on figures rather than basing materials.

I have recently acquired on EBay a few more bashed Peter Laing Highlanders and Lowlanders that need repainting, along with a few more Marlburian infantry to paint and base. These were recently obtained from Alec Green, swapped for an strange excess of Marlburian drummers and gunners.

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Hopefully soon my recent Peter Laing Marlburian swaps  will look as splendid Alec Green’s neatly painted and based Marlburian infantry. Photo: Alec Green. 

I think that there will be a few Close Little Wars skirmishes and ambushes in the suitably “cluttered terrain” of the Glens this coming spring, once the Highland snow has melted of course!

 

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Send no money or stamps, Peter Laing has retired and moved. Sadly the whereabouts of the moulds is currently (October 2016) not known. Military Modelling advert c.1982/83,  7p a foot figure! 

You can read more about John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules and the Peter Laing ECW range here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/simple-ecw-starter-rules-a-john-mitchell-tribute/

The Close Little Wars skirmish rules I use  (based on Donald Featherstone’s appendix to his 1962 book War Games) are featured here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

The blog title? Borrowed from Meghan Trainor’s song All about the Bass – watch the retro version by the talented Kate Davies and Postmodern Jukebox and other ensemble / tour versions on the Postmodern Jukebox channel on YouTube and ITunes.

Hope you enjoyed some of the fruits of my rainy day at the kitchen table spent “flocking“, as it’s known in my household.

Blog posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016. All photos unless stated by Man of TIN blog.

Peter Laing and 1066

14 October 1066, 9 a.m. Somewhere near Hastings …

My contribution to the Hastings 950 anniversary will be a small one.

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About 15mm.

William the Conqueror on horseback meets King Harold.

King Harold is Peter Laing figure F220 Dismounted Officer (Harold)

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1983 paint job of Peter Laing’s 1066 Harold.

M209 Mounted Norman Officer (William) in the Peter Laing Feudal and Dark Ages range.

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These two figures  are about the extent of my Peter Laing Dark Ages Norman army!

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Peter Laing catalogue – Dark Ages section

Posted by Man of TIN blog.

Researching WW2 equipment for rules and ranges

Incidental Hobby Learning Bit

“The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …”

This is one of my favourite or reassuring quotes from Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962 when my gaming life seems to be too much preparation time, not enough games time

Part of the interest (or irritation?)  of researching and amending games  rules is working out ranges of weapons etc. over time compared to each other.

I have been looking at adapting my hex version of Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars appendix to his 1962 War Games from 18th century forest skirmish to running simple WW2 platoon level games inspired by rediscovering a handful of childhood Peter Laing WW2 15mm figures.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/ww2-platoon-level-close-little-world-wars-rules/

Lots of questions arise from adapting or thinking through rules and ranges:

How far / fast can a man move on average carrying battle kit and weapons?

How fast is a loaded infantryman on a bicycle? Off road / on road?

How fast is a despatch rider off road / on road?

 

Movement and firing ranges

The original ‘Close Wars’ rules by Featherstone has a Redcoat /  Infantry man in the French and Indian Wars travelling at 9 inches in loose formation under 3 figures or in formation 6 inches in cluttered terrain (natives carrying less and living off the land etc moved 9 inches).

We take each 3 inches to be a Heroscape hex square.

A British, German or American infantryman carrying their weapons and field kit is probably carrying as much stuff and clobber (weapons, ammunition, backpack, tools, food, spare uniform, water) as their ancestors 200 years before.

Effective Firing Ranges 

Looking at effective firing ranges there is an interesting range of Wikipedia sites to research the weapons that the Peter Laing small WW2 platoon range are likely to be carrying.

In Featherstone’s  simple Close Wars appendix, firing is 12 inches range, presumably for a Brown Bess musket , which I also take to be the firing range for  native bow and arrow, spear etc., treating  all the same just for simplicity.

Featherstone’s figures for his demonstration battles vary from 30mm Spencer Smith figures to 20mm Airfix figures without any alteration of any firing range.

A Brown Bess musket used from 1722 to 1838 by the British and American army (and beyond in many countries into the 1860s) had an effective firing range as a flintlock muzzle loading musket of 50 to 100 yards (or 45 to 90 metres). This would give us only around a 1 hex firing range. Even once converted slowly to the percussion cap from 1838 onwards, its effective range would only increase to 300 yards (270 metres or 2 hexes).

David Nash’s War Games book (paperback, 1970s)  is  an unusual colourful offering for the time with some uniform plates, being mostly information for those researching their own rules, working out weapons and army lists. He has an interesting weapons graph comparing a British 303 WW2  rifle compared to a French musket:

Weapons graph from David Nash’s Wargames (Hamlyn, 1974)image

 

In Featherstone’s WW2 rules and in ‘Close Wars’, a rifle fires up to 12 inches. In his Horse and Musket / American Civil war simple rules in War Games,  this is slightly more complexFeatherstone rules that a Rifle (still counted as a volley) can fire from 6 to 24 inches with a more effective hit rate the closer the range / target. Carbines have a shorter range of 12 inches and light troops are given an effective firing range of up to 30 inches, presumably to cover the introduction of rifles and sharpshooters?

“Like most muskets the Brown Bess was not very accurate because the ball had to be quite loose for ease of loading. It would be very hard to hit another soldier by deliberately aiming at him at ranges greater than 100m. This inherent lack off accuracy was compensated for by having a large number of men fire their muskets at the same time at very short range, sometimes less that 25m.” http://waterloo200.org/200-object/brown-bess-musket-bayonet/

In his simple Ancient rules in War Games, Donald Featherstone lists Longbow / crossbow etc having  a range from 6  up to 24 inches. Javelin / spears are 3 to 9 inches (Roman Pilum are 3 inches only).  So we are blurring it a bit making all distance weapons at 12 inches but it makes for simpler faster game play.

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This simple WW2 range for platoon level action is highly praised for its balance on the Tim’s Tanks blogspot , which gave me my glimpse of the Americans for the first time (albeit doubled up as British Paratroops) : http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Any shortfalls in Tim’s Tanks  WW2 Peter Laing collection were patched, as with my own Peter Laing WW2 troops, from Peter’s WW1 range.

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

“This range was ahead of its time and the figures surprisingly well thought through. For each nationality (British, U.S. or German) there was a sidearm equipped officer figure, a SMG armed NCO, an infantryman advancing with rifle at high port, an LMG and No.2 and a Light Mortar and No.2. Lovely figures, perfect for the task”. (Tim’s Tanks Peter Laing WW2 themed blogpost)

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This ‘WW2’ German Peter Laing despatch rider (from his WW1 range) did not survive encountering these three tough Tommies armed with rifle, bayonet and entrenching tools!

Researching WW2 weapons effective firing ranges

Featherstone has ‘Rifle’  in his simplified WW2 rules in War Games as 12 inches (or 4 hexes) so assuming 500 metres to be 12 inches or 30 centimetres / 300mm on our games table, this gives us a rough working scale of:

3 inch hex equals 125 metres.

1 inch equals 42 (41.6) metres

1 centimetre equals 17 metres (or 16.666 metres)

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Peter Laing British Rifleman  (F2001) with Lee Enfield rifle advancing, next to British Infantry Bren Gunner (F2004) and German Light Machine Gunner (F2016) in my young Matt 1983 paint jobs.

Standard WW2 British Rifle – assumed to be Lee Enfield  303 rifle with effective firing range 500 metres (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard WW2 German Rifle – assumed to be Mauser KAR 98k – also with effective firing range 500 metres (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard WW2 American Rifle – assumed to be the M1 Garand – also with effective firing range of 450 to 500 metres (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard British WW2 SMG Submachinegun  – assumed to be the Sten Gun  with effective firing range 100 metres. The Thompson SMG (see below) was also used by Commando forces etc. (3 inches or 1 hex)

Standard German WW2 SMG Submachinegun  – assumed to be the MP35 SMG at 150 – 200 metres or the more common MP40 SMG  with effective firing range 100 -200 metres (or 3 inches or 1 hex)

Standard American WW2 SMG Submachinegun  – assumed to be the Thompson or Tommy Gun  with effective firing range 150 metres. The later 1944/45 M3 Grease Gun is often shown in many plastic figures with effective firing range / sights set to 91 metres (both sets at 3 inches or 1 hex).

Standard British WW2 LMG light machinegun  – assumed to be the Bren Gun  with effective firing range 550 metres (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard German WW2 LMG light machinegun  – assumed to be the MG34 with effective firing range of 1200 metres or from 1942 the MG42 with effective firing range 200 to 2000 metres. (As this is potentially over 24 inches / 8 hexes,  this could be standardised to between this  or down to that of the other nations LMGs, 12 inches or 4 inches)

Standard American WW2 LMG light machinegun  – assumed to be the Browning Automatic Rifle BAR with effective firing range 600 metres (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

The WW1 Lewis Gun was also used early in WW2 mostly with Commonwealth units.

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Peter Laing light mortar men – unpainted British and painted  German c. 1983 matt painting.

Standard British Light Mortar is the 2 inch light mortar (crew of 2) with an effective firing range of 460 metres  (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard German Light Mortar 50mm / 5cm Granatwerfer 36  light mortar (crew of 2) with an effective firing range of 50 to 500 metres  (or 12 inches / 4 hexes).

Standard American Light Mortar is the 60mm M2 light mortar (crew of 2 -3) with an effective firing range of 180 to 300 metres (or 9 inches or 3 hexes)

Standard British Heavy machinegun HMG is the Vickers (crew of 2-3)  with an effective firing range of 2000 metres (or 48 inches / 16 hexes).

Standard German Heavy machinegun HMG is the WW1 Maxim MG08 (crew of two) with an effective firing range of 2000 metres (or 48 inches / 16 hexes).

Standard American Heavy machinegun HMG is the M2 Browning HMG (crew of 2) with an effective firing range of  1800 metres (or 48 inches / 16 hexes).

Grenades – the German WW1 /WW2  M24 stick grenade had an effective range / throw of around 30 metres, twice that  compared to the British Mills Grenade at 15 metres. You can give them a range effective up to 1 hex.

As can be seen from the similar effective firing ranges of HMGs at around 48 inches or 16 hexes  makes them almost to big for the average small skirmish gaming board.  

Pistols – The  Webley British pistol had an effective range of only about 50 yards / 45 metres. The German Luger equivalent also had an effective firing range of about 50 metres. American officers may have carried a range of revolvers including the semiautomatic M1911 pistol . These are effectively melee weapons but you can give them a range effective up to 1 hex.

Scaling up to 54mm skirmish games

As Featherstone was playing / writing rules in War Games using 20 to 30mm figures, and we have been pushing this down to 15mm, scaling up to 54mm skirmish games in the tabletop of the garden could for simplicity require a simple doubling of the inches or hexes noted. A rifle in 54mm games could therefore fire up to 24 inches (two feet) or 8 hexes, easily achievable in the garden / yarden.

Weapons of other nations

Peter Laing sadly did not make WW2 Soviets, Japanese, jungle or desert troops. However items from his WW1 range could be used or simple paint conversions done, which Peter Laing’s simple figures lend themselves well to. His WW1 German infantry paint up well as long trousered  Afrika Korps. Tim in his Tim’s Tanks blog has for example painted the Peter Laing American infantry as British paras.

Readers will need to research the respective nation’s weapons or simply adapt the standardised ranges we have for different weapon types carried by whatever troops or figures  you use. Donald Featherstone in his WW2 rules or elsewhere in War Games rarely distinguishes by a nation’s choice of weapons for simplicity’s sake.

What is effective firing range?

All references to firing ranges etc.  are from that excellent, most accurate and occasionally mocked source of knowledge, Wikipedia!

Effective Firing Range and its relation to the further distance /  effective firing ranges of machine guns are explained on http://guns.wikia.com/wiki/Effective_range

Q 19. What is the definition of Maximum Effective Range?
The greatest distance at which a soldier may be expected to deliver a target hit, as defined in http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/m16a2/m16a2-study-guide.shtml

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Peter Laing WW2 German figures (Paint conversion WW1 late war steel helmet infantry) with rifles and bayonets  face three more determined WW2 British Tommies (also from his WW1 range) sappers with entrancing tools (and slung rifles added with tiny slivers of wooden coffee stirrers). Cycle troops – unknown make but good style match for Laing’s figures.

Blogposted by Mr MIN Man of TIN, October 2016