Blowing Up Desert Trains

 

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Fighting over the railway tracks with bayonets … Peter Laing 15mm figures

 

My 15mm Peter Laing figures have been fighting a WW1 / colonial skirmish around a blocked railway bridge and halted desert train.

This has been written up on my railway and  gaming related occasional blog Sidetracked.

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/blowing-up-desert-trains-part-1/

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/blowing-up-trains-part-2/

All of this was inspired by a photo in a post on Chris Kemp’s Not Quite Mechanised website about Lawrence of Arabia and the Hejaz Railway.

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/charlotte-bronte-and-lawrence-of-arabia-blow-up-trains/

https://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/a-civil-day-out/

This short evening solo game, played 1 figure = 1 man, was a good chance to explore using  a larger gaming space on my larger 192 Hexes of Joy gaming board, featured in previous blogposts.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/192-hexes-of-joy-a-larger-hex-game-board/

This scenario also proved an interesting parallel to my recent Vintage Airfix ACW Railway crossing game.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-vintage-airfix-full-game-write-up/

 

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My 192 Hexes Of Joy seen from above before even more pinky desert loveliness was added.

 

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 August 2017.

192 Hexes of Joy Affronted by Re-Basing and Ground Scales

 

 

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Part 2 of 192 Hexes of Joy 

In the first part of 192 Hexes of Joy, I looked at creating a new larger Heroscape 192 hex game board.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/192-hexes-of-joy-a-larger-hex-game-board/

In this second part of 192 Hexes of Joy, I shall look at the (not very) important overhang issue of base sizes – Are they  too big for 4cm Heroscape Hexes? Do they need rebasing?

It is also an excuse for some Peter Laing eye candy, if you like slender 15mm.

There  also creeps in a comment or two on basing, related to “one man equals how many?” sort of maths, ground scale, unit frontages and stuff that makes my brain hurt at times.

Overhang, Rebase  or Disregard?

To start with, I laid out part of my 15mm Peter Laing colonial flying column of British Redcoats and their artillery to see how they would fit onto the Heroscape hexes.

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The Peter Laing British colonial artillery pieces in this colonial flying column do fit onto one hex, but the limbers do not quite fit one hex. Limbers are definitely a two hex piece even with base trimming. Two cavalry or four Redcoats fit one hex comfortably.

The geeky Peter Laing figure ID bit: British Colonial figures 600 range

F603 British infantry advancing with F609 British officer standing

M602 British cavalry walking and A623 British Muleteer with A625 Pack Mule

A606 Gatling Gun with standing Gatling gunner A608 & seated Gatling gunner A607

Not too good on my guns but probably A609 15 pdr field gun, A610 Limber and A611 seated gunner for limber, A607 again and for limber M606 Artillery horse with rider and without rider M607

Gun crew A613  Gunner with shell, A603 British Gunner kneeling and A604 British gunner, field glasses (A602 Britsih gunner kneeling with ram not shown)

Hopefully these are correct, I will amend if told otherwise!

My Peter Laing ECW cavalry are still mostly based and ballasted as they were done in c. 1983 / mid 1980s.  I thought that these ‘lobsterpots’ were the finest of  15mm figures, apart from his ECW Dragoons, except I was unsure if they had very fragile short swords or pistols.

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My 15mm Peter Laing English Civil War cavalry shown here fit two by two, side by side comfortably on one Heroscape hex.

I may rebase these double cavalry figure  bases eventually and add some flock variety to the bases. They were based on scrounged spare railway ballast, which could do with some partial flocking for a bit of variety. Painted in my Matt Grunge Airfix / Humbrol enamel phase, I think a recoat in gloss varnish should bring the figures out more.

More Geeky Peter Laing figure ID – skip if you wish! ECW Cavalry 500 series

Left to right  – M511 Mounted Officer in Helmet (definitely Cromwell!)

M510 Mounted Officer in Hat. This could be used for Cavalier officers or Royalist generals – I used a Merit OO/HO railway small dog and on occasion a Peter Laing sheep with painted ears to represent Boy, Prince Rupert’s dog.

M506 – Mounted standard bearer in hat alongside M505 Mounted trumpeter in helmet.

and the bulk of my Roundhead Cavalry – M501 Mounted Trooper in Helmet (with sword or pistol?) Lovely figures.

 

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Three cavalry to a base, bit of overhang –  bought bashed and  second-hand, not entirely sure what 19th or 20th century period these French and German 15mm Peter Laing cavalry are. Any ideas? Surely a case for single rebasing though.

Other 19 Century / WW1 cavalry shown above were bought second-hand,  mounted three to a base. With the more obvious overhang, I think these will need rebasing at least onto two horses per base, but probably singly.

Bob Cordery pointed me in his comments  on my last blogpost (Part 1 of 192 Hexes of Joy) that the overhang issue is often a “perceptual problem rather than a real one”, depending on the exactness of your gaming style. Bob also pointed me  towards a interesting post by Archduke Piccolo on grid wargames, columns into line and such manoeuvres.

http://archdukepiccolo.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/grid-wargames-some-thoughts-thereon.html

To be fair, my ‘Close Wars’ type Featherstone skirmish level games hardly use many cavalry or artillery in the cluttered skirmish terrain that disrupts and  defies column, line and square manoeuvres, let alone easy artillery moves. But with a bigger 192 Hexes of Joy game board, who knows what changes of game style might result?

Will I need to rebase? 

My Peter  Laing ECW cavalry and ECW artillery are set out on bases in about 1983 to use them with the very affordable John Mitchell ECW rules sold by Peter Laing.

 

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First page with suggested unit and gun crew sizes of John Mitchell’s 15mm English Civil war rules for Peter Laing figures, c. 1983. A few childish pencilled amendments, evidence of tinkering at a young age! https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/simple-ecw-starter-rules-a-john-mitchell-tribute/

 

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Multiple bases of ECW pikemen (left, helmet marching F509) and musketeers (helmet, F517 in front) which I am slowly rebasing on part flocked single bases, recycling some of the scrounged railway ballast.

 

Looking up close at my John Mitchell rules, 1983 based English Civil War artillery, I think these are probably influenced by reading Terry Wise. He has much the same vignette triangular layout for artillery in his Airfix Guide to American Civil War Gaming, all to do with measuring firing angles and whether the guns need to be manhandled and relaid to fire at a different target.

 

 

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Peter Laing with overhang! ECW Artillery including the A505 Gunner with Bucket figure. I think the cannon / gun might not be Peter Laing. It was a random gift.

 

There is a clear overhang of one hex from such vignette artillery basing.  In fact seen overhead, this gun base  spreads over 3 to 4 hexes, plus limber another one to two hexes.

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Peter Laing ECW artillery and Limber A108 crewed with Dragoon Horse Holder F516
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Peter Laing 15mm English Civil War Artillery, painted and based by me c. 1983. A serious case of overhanging one hex! Gabion A124, crewed by A503 Gunner with handspike, A504 Gunner holding sponge and A506 Gunner with portfire. Pile of cannon balls A125/6 and Gabion A124. As for the artillery piece,  A501 Culverin or more likely the slender longer A502 Saker.

 

To be honest, I am not that finicky now about rules for relaying guns, angles or lines of sight basing.

Looking at the photographs however I think that I may need to more compactly base or rebase my Peter Laing artillery onto a smaller near one hex affair.

Limbers, however, are as long as they are, even if bases are trimmed a bit at either end.

In real historical battle situations,  the artillery train of limbers, horses and supply waggins were a bit of a nuisance or an encumbrance to the manoeuvrability of troops from one attacking or defensive position to another. Maybe they should occupy two hexes and also be classed as impassable or not allow troops to pass through them. This should add some clutter to the battlefield, much as terrain features do.

Defending such slow-moving vehicles such as baggage or supply wagons, limbers or ammunition caissons,  along with their attendant civilians and family members proves for  an interesting scenario.

Ground Scale, Bases and Unit Frontages

At this point I usually get a little frustrated with rule sets that start to fret about one man equals so many others on a set ground frontage of such and such. Buildings on this ground scale etc, frontages etc. My brain doesn’t do such maths on its hobby days off and as I am not playing set rules in competition at big brigade, division or Battle level, there is no need.

That is what I play 1 figure: 1 man small skirmishes with ground as it is, buildings as they are, often from another scale too – 15mm games with OO/HO railway huts or buildings etc., from whatever I have in stock.

A typical example from my childhood branch library is David Nash’s interesting little 1974 Hamlyn All-Colour Paperback book Wargames, pages 27 to 30:

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Pages like this  from David Nash’s book  Wargames (Hamlyn) puzzled me as a young gamer.

Some of David Nash’s rule ideas I found completely bizarre, such as the “I can’t see you” correct or incorrect line of vision over a hill, where  “line of vision must relate to the ground scale”. Of course those two figures could see and shoot at each other! A Lionel Tar reversed periscope could have told you that.

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Incorrect line of vision? Shoot him along the blue line before he shoots you!

Otherwise I found David Nash’s curious little Wargames book a thought-provoking and well illustrated read from the local library, especially when thinking through rules. I now own that exact same well thumbed library copy (with the beautiful Dewey Decimal System number 793.9) Certainly a book worth revisiting in a future “on my bookshelf” style  blogpost.

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Here are more puzzling pages from books that I had or borrowed as a young gamer, including the affordable but strange little Know the Game – Wargaming  booklet by Phil Barker / Wargames Research Group that I (was) bought as a youngster (EP Publishing, 1976/8).

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Time Scales, Troop Scales and Ground Scales were earnestly explained. I stuck to 1 man equals 1 man until the John Mitchell ECW rules set out unit sizes.

Elsewhere in time I have stuck to 1 man equals 1 man, which David Nash concludes:

“For modern warfare, it is usually accepted that one piece represents just one piece … This is because there has been a change in the form of warfare. Up to about 1860, unit cohesion was of a paramount importance, but thereafter improved weapon technology increasingly demanded a much looser type of warfare.”  (David Nash, Wargames, p. 30, Hamlyn, 1974)

Phil Barker’s Know the Game: Wargaming book was part of a series of 1970s illustrated individual booklets that were advertised as covering “every major sport and pastime … from archery to yoga.” This somehow put me playing with Airfix figures  on the same level playing field (!) as Rugby, Football and every other major sport.

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Phil Barker, Know The Game – Wargaming p. 6

“A figure representing a Roman legionary … [herein a bit of maths] …represents 20 men in 4 ranks of 5.” Help, my brain is beginning to  hurt here.

However some passages in this odd little booklet made instant sense, such as staggered figure basing for Ancients, admittedly using Airfix Ancient Britons rather than grown-up metals on my childhood budget.

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Useful staggered figure basing advice Phil Barker, Know The Game – Wargaming p. 22

At the end of all this careful explanation in books, I still think what suits me and my style of gaming best is 1 man equals 1 man, 1 gun equals 1  gun etc. at any scale above my handful of 1/300  figures (Imagine individual skirmish figure games at that tiny scale!)  So I will slowly base or rebase on these lines.

Note to self at any point during reading the above books:

Remember Mark, relax, it’s just a game, just a board game, an elaborate game of “chess with a thousand pieces” as Donald Featherstone and others described it, each piece with its own movement and attack rules as you / each gamer decides, tinkering with other’s  rule sets as we all do.

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The Egyptians pull ahead a clear hex or two from the British Chariot Crew. The Assyrians have obviously crashed racing around my big new 192 Hexes of Joy game board … “Peter Laing … Horses sometimes a little strange” as Phil Barker comments in his booklet Know The Game – Wargaming.

After considering such (not very) important issues as basing and frontages, ground scales, troop scales and time scales, it must be time for some reckless time-distorting  chariot racing around a hex board circuit.

Rules to follow, but a good bit of  fun … Ancient Britons versus Ancient Egyptians versus Assyrian chariots anyone?

I hope you have enjoyed the Peter Laing eye candy, and enjoy the comment by Phil Barker in Know The Game – Wargaming on suppliers under Obtaining Metal Figures c. 1976/8 on Peter Laing’s expanding range:

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If ever a definitive guide to Peter Laing Figures was published, it could well be titled “Peter Laing – Horses A Little Strange”.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 August 2017.

Meanwhile over on Sidetracked, literally my Man of TIN gets Sidetracked blog for anything to do with  trains, https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com, my 15mm Peter Laing figures try not to blow up trains too much in the big desert wastes of 192 Hexes of Joy.

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My Train in a TIN is halted crossing the bridge over 192 Hexes of  desert, rock  and marsh. Aerial view of 15mm Peter Laing figures over on my Sidetracked blog.

 

If you have enjoyed this blogpost, please ‘like’ my post or leave any comments, disagreements etc via the comments page. Thanks, Mark, Man of TIN.

 

 

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 15mm WW2 Skirmish

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I wanted in this skirmish games to get a motley collection of Peter Laing 15mm British and German infantry into action, WW2 figures bolstered by late war WW1 British and German Infantry in steel helmets.

I wanted to fight another skirmish over the hex terrain portable game board that  I had laid out for the American Civil War skirmish a few weeks previously.

I also wanted to test out a platoon level infantry scrap with few heavy weapons and almost no vehicles using a mash up of Donald Featherstone’s ‘Close Wars’ appendix rules to his 1962 War Games with a few additions from his simple WW2 rules in that book.

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

A lucky find of some Peter Laing WW1 / WW2 figures (lots of Sapper figures) amongst a job lot of 15mm WW2 figures of various manufactures gave me just enough for a small platoon level skirmish. Sappers and others  had rifles added by me from finely carved slivers of wooden coffee stirrers.

This gave me a scratch force of British infantry:

Three 5 man sections of pioneers or sappers with rifles and shovels (handy in a scrap!)

1 light mortar team (2 men)

1 Light Machine Gun (Bren Gun) team

1 motorcycle despatch rider

A  light 2pounder anti tank gun team with three men emerge in Turn 5. A spare Bren gunner was also found to join the British several turns in.

Versus a much larger but slightly lightly equipped German infantry group:

A larger infantry force of German infantry consisted of:

Three cycle reconnaissance troops

1 German despatch rider

Five x 5 men rifle squads directed by  1 officer with pistol

1 light machine gun (MG34) team of two men

1 light mortar team of 2 men

Officer and two rifle men

The game was played solo over two evenings with a skirmish figure scale of 1 figure = 1 man.

Arrival of different sections and weapons at a different times and locations was staggered by dice throws d6. The two board(s) being roughly marked with 6 by 6 squares A  to L  and 1-6, arrival of different sections was diced for using 1 d6.

Indirect artillery fire could be plotted in using this grid system and dicing to see which turn this lands but none was used in this game.

The Germans started with their reconnaissance troops (3 rifle equipped bicycle troops) in place at the river crossing and to the North a British 5 man pioneer unit of sappers and officer and the Bren Gun team on the board.

Dice thrown at start of each move to see who moves first, other side second, first side also fire first, other side second – highest score wins first move.

To speed things up, no casualty savings throws were used after Melee.

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Aerial reconnaissance view recording troop positions, end of Turn 2 (see dice)

In Turn 1, Germans moved first and shots were exchanged without casualty between the British motorcyclist and the German cycle troops who were behind the cover of the stone farm walls.

In Turn 2, the British despatch rider was not so lucky!  In turn the first British  rifle volley brings down one German infantryman.

Playing solo, deciding which of the two possible British infantry targets the German troops fire at is decided by dice throw: roll 1 to 3 aim at Bren gun team on left, 4 to 6 at British infantry on right.

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Dismount, aim, fire. Peter Laing 15mm British despatch rider spotted by German bicycle troops (unknown manufacturer, but good fit). Walls from N gauge model railway suppliers.

The terrain is the same portable hex wooden box lid territory as used for the American Civil War skirmish, but with the house location moved and a small wooden hut used instead.

The high rocks and the forest either side of the river are deemed impassable, the river unfordable. This concentrates the efforts into dominating the crossings and the ground between them with all available firepower.

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Peter Laing British WW2 (and a non Peter Laing British officer) fire at the German officer and infantry at the other bridgehead leafing to 1 German infantry  casualty in Turn 2.

 

The Peter Laing WW2 German officer and infantry  with rifles are really WW1 Germans with steel helmets.

Turn 3 sees more infantry on each side appear on the game board. Line of fire is checked with a reversed Lionel Tarr style periscope (from another appendix in Featherstone’s 1962 War Games).

Turn 4 sees the British  move first and a further British  rifle squad appear near where their despatch rider was killed. They close in melee with the German cyclists and two are killed for the loss of one British infantryman.

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Turn 5 sees more German troops emerge onto the board. The German motorcyclist emerges onto the board only to be blocked and killed in melee with three British Infantry.

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One of the British Bren Gun team is hit – I diced quickly to see if another nearby British soldier could help man the gun and it to remain operational. It did and brought down a German infantryman, as did the light field gun. Fortunately for the Germans the British light mortar team is just out of range.

In Turn 6 the German Light Machine Gun MG34 and light mortar teams (each of two men) make it onto the Board at G and J on the German / South side of the river.

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This mortar team in Turn 7 take out one British infantry, whilst melee and rifle fire take out 3 German infantry and 2 further British.

The forest, impassable scrub, rocky ridge and river crossings continue to create safe spaces or bunchings but once the mortars come into action, lobbing their shells over trees and obstacles etc, these safe spaces are no more.

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British 2 man mortar team in the foreground. Turn 9

The British field gun is a board game piece from childhood.

In Turn 8, this gun begins to damage the hut and the Germans inside it. Melee, mortar and rifle fire  brought down 8 German infantry including their officer and 3 British including their officer.

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Turn 9 – stalemate.

By Turn 9 , a stalemate has set in – the British mortar team from behind cover takes out the German Light Machine Gun team. Positions are consolidated. Both sides have lost their officers.

If the German infantry remain in the cover of the hut, they will eventually be killed by the 2 pounder which is just out of rifle range.

The British bridge position is now covered by one British mortar team and two Bren gun teams.

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Sketch map round about Turn 10. British left /west , Germans to the right / east

In Turn 10, the German mortar team move closer towards the British position whilst four German infantry take cover behind the stone wall to give themselves a better field of fire onto the British dominated bridge, should anyone try to cross it. Many of the German and British troops  are now out of sight of each other and out of rifle range.

A lucky ‘counter battery’ hit by the British mortar team on their German rival reduces the last opportunity of the Germans to dislodge their opponents without a fatal rifle charge.

Turn 12 – the German infantry dice to advance or stay put. They stay put but a further German infantryman in the hut is then killed by 2 pounder fire.

By Turn 14, one of the British mortar team is hit crossing the British sector bridge. The last German in the hut retreats over the German bridge behind the stone wall.

Turn 15 – no movement, just British gun and mortar fire.

Turn 16 – The 5 Germans behind the stone wall must decide what to do as they are now within British mortar range. 1-2 Advance, 3-4 Retreat, 5-6 Stay Put. They roll d6 – advance.

3 Germans killed are crossing the bridge under rifle and gun fire; the bridge is destroyed (d6 1-3 destroyed, 4-6 intact). In the return fire, a further British infantryman is hit.

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A view from the German position back down the valley to the British field gun, annoyingly just out of rifle range. The bridge destroyed by field gun fire and the hut damaged by gun fire. Time for those last two German soldiers to slip away out of range and await reinforcements?

Turn 17 – German infantry retreat behind wall out of rifle range, their bridge blown.

The game is at an end, nominally a British victory but  all depends on whose reinforcements turn up first.

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Sheltering behind the rocks: the British position, tucked out of rifle fire range.
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The British final position looking up the valley towards the abandoned German line. Mixed Peter Laing and other 15mm WW2 figures.

Play testing these Close Little World Wars rules

The increasingly dominant force in this game were the heavier weapons – mortars, light machine guns and the light field gun. It would be interesting to play / replay this game at rifle squad level without (some of) these other weapons.

This and the restricted terrain created the shape and the pressures of this solo game.

Posted by Man of TIN blog, October 2016.

 

WW2 Platoon Level Close Little World Wars rules

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Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 infantry figures.,

 

Close Little (World ) Wars

Recently I have been improvising a WW2 platoon level version of Donald Featherstone’s ‘Close Wars’ rules. These were originally written as an appendix in his book War Games (1962), as suitable rules for 18th Century redcoat versus tribal natives in a cluttered forest or wooded terrain.

I have been looking for very simple platoon level WW2 game rules, suitable for Peter Laing’s limited 15mm WW2 range, which were designed to give “a most satisfactory infantry action game”

Bolt Action they may not be, but it is interesting to look at the background logic, assumptions, simplifications, mechanisms and whys or wherefores involved to make suitable rules and weapons ranges for your style of game.

These simple rules could be used with WW2 infantry action in wooded or cluttered terrain, where vehicles cannot easily  follow such as Normandy ’44 bocage hedged terrain (but without armoured vehicles) or early 1939-40 infantry action, the Bicycle Blitzkreig, the withdrawal to Dunkirk etc.

An Operation Sealion invasion of Britain scenario (1939 /1940/ 1941) is also possible with the few WW2 types that Peter Laing made. (I’m source some of them could double up as The Warmington Home Guard as required.)

Once artillery, heavy machine guns, vehicles and other long range weapons are introduced, the distances and ranges  become too big for the smaller game boards and tabletops I work with.

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Reference to weapons ranges and other scenario rules (buildings, street fighting etc) as situations emerge can be made to the ‘Simple WW2 rules’ that Donald Featherstone includes  in his 1962 book War Games; the Close Wars rules are an appendix to this book (shown at end of blogpost).

Using 20mm plastic figures with a wider range of troop types available gives the possibility of an interesting jungle action of cluttered terrain which could be played with a box of Airfix OO/HO Australian / Gurkha infantry or  US Marines and a box of Japanese infantry. Get those palm trees out to replace the fir trees.

1 figure = 1 man in skirmish rules.

Small numbers, small tables, short actions or games time = my style of usually solo game. 

Aims or Victory Conditions

The aim of each force (as set out in Featherstone’s Close Wars rules) unless otherwise described is:
1. to seek out and destroy their enemy.
2. Alternatively, to get at least 50% of your troops to the opposite enemy baseline

However for each game, you can set your own scenario end or Victory Conditions.

This usually involves fighting to the last man, but occasionally involves rescuing or escorting to safety civilians, stretcher bearers or  secret plans.

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

WW2 Peter Laing figures

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/peter-laing-ww2-figures/

WW2 Infantry Movement Rates

Infantry on foot move 6 inches per move or 2 hex / squares.

Uphill  – moves up (opposed or unopposed) hills count as 1 hex / squares or half  rate move e.g. 3 inches.

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Peter Laing 15mm WW1 despatch rider.

Motorised vehicle e.g. motorcycle despatch rider moves 12 inches per move or 4 hex squares off-road (Plus 3 inches / 1 hex on road).  Bicycle moves 12 inches on road / 4 hexes, 9 inches / 3 hexes  offroad.

Stretcher bearers move 1 hex per move. They are not armed.

Difficult Terrain
If deemed passable, fording streams take 3 inches or 1 hex to cross. Fording places or bridges can be marked out.

Bogs and marshes (if deemed passable) at half speed eg 1 hex square per move. Other impassable features you can introduce include marked minefields.

Moves on clear paths or roads (if they exist) have 3 inch extra or 1 hex extra BONUS per move.

Crossing walls, fences etc or other barriers – as required, throw dice 1-3 yes, 4-6 no; takes 1 hex of a move.

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Firing (if range of fire clear)
Range of  LMG  light machine guns (Bren Gun, MG34) – 12 inches or 4 hexes; throw 1 dice for LMG, full score counts as hits.

Rifles have a  range of 12 inches or 4 hexes. Throw one d6 dice per firing man: 6 scores a hit.
If firer is under cover or in buildings, 5 or 6 scores a hit on enemy.
SMG or Submachine Guns (Sten, Tommy, etc)  – 6 inches or 2 hexes; SMG – half dice counts as hits.

Pistols  have under 6 inches or  1 hex range. Throw one d6 dice per firing man: 6 scores a hit. If firer is under cover or in buildings, 5 or 6 scores a hit on enemy

HMG (e.g. Maxim gun) – 18 inches or 6 hexes; Featherstone has a Mitrailleuse rule for ACW throw dice 1 to 3 entitles one dice for hits. 4 to 6 entitles 2 dice for hits.

WW1 / WW2 Maxim / heavy machine guns had an effective firing range of up to 2000 metres (effectively 48 inches or 16 hexes) which is too much for our space.

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Peter Laing 15mm British and German light mortar carriers.

Mortars (2 inch or 50 mm / 60mm)  require 2 man crew – target range from 1  hex to 3 hexes. Burst pattern for 50mm mortar is 3 inches or one hex. Roll d6 – if 3,4,5,6 hit  target hex; all in nominated hex counted as hit.

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Peter Laing German infantry WW1 rifleman, officer, grenade thrower and WW2 machine gunner and light mortar man. (Figures: Man of TIN collection)

Grenades – treat as mortars but with one hex throwing range /burst pattern; all in that square /hex counted as hits. Roll d6 – if 3,4,5,6 – all in nominated hex counted as hit.

Casualty Savings Throws

For each man hit, throw a casualty saving throw.
If fired on, each casualty has a d6 thrown for him. 4,5,6 wounded and carry on. If 123, casualty is  dead.
If casualty under cover, 3,4,5,6 wounded and carry on 1,2,3 dead (except for mortar fire where use above as if not under cover)

You can choose to dispense with casualty savings throws if you wish, after firing and /or Melee. This gives a faster game.

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This handy light gun with Peter Laing crew was an old board game piece from my childhood.

Light Field Artillery

To check line of sight / range of fire, the Lionel Tarr reversed periscope can be used for fun to get you down to table top toy soldier eye level.

2 pounder anti tank gun with crew of 3 (British QF) using Featherstone rules counts as LMG throw 1 dice, full score counts as hits.

2 pdr gun if hit by mortar: 10-12 knocked out, 9 knocked out for 2 moves, 8 knocked out for 3 moves.  Crew? Casualty savings throws.

Taking Turns

Turns consist of four sections:
a) First side moves (possible melee)
b) Other side moves (possible melee)
c) First side fires
d) Other side fires

Throw dice at start of each game turn for each side to see who moves first.

Variations on this include: 1st  side Move, 2nd side Fire , 1st side  Fire, 2nd side  move.

Melee 

This is the ‘Bish Bash Am-Bush’ bit! Assume each man has something to fight at close hand with (pistols, clubs, rifles, bayonets, entrenching tools, fists or boots, etc)

Remember – We are playing 1:1 scale, each figure represents one man.

Melee is joined when one group of figures invades or faces the other square / hex.

You can add +1 to d6 throw for attacking side  (if you choose / remember / can be bothered.) This is what Featherstone calls impetus bonus.

Choose pairs (of attacker vs. defender) and throw 1 d6 for each man involved.
Attacker can have  the + 1 added to their d6 dice throw (if you choose / remember / can be bothered).
Highest score wins, loser can throw casualty saving throw* to see if killed 1-3 or only wounded / unharmed 4-6
Continue until each man has been involved in melee.

“Usual dice saving throws for melee Casualties”  – Donald Featherstone.

* Or not if you want to speed things up. 

Melee Morale Test (if desired / wanted / can be bothered)
At end of melee session, throw d6 for each side to see who wins melee morale test and who loses and retires 1 hex backwards. Some Featherstone versions times the dice by number of each side to come up with a post Melee Morale score.
Then d6 again for losers to see if routed:

Throw 1-3 in rout, unable to fire or move further that round, effectively in modern games terms “pinned”. Roll again next move to see if still routed and retreating. A suitable coloured marker can be added to remember this.
or throw 4-6 in good order, retreat only one pace / hex.

Movement and ranges

The original ‘Close Wars’ appendix 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 (over 3 figures) 6 inches in cluttered terrain. Natives carrying less and living off the land etc moved 9 inches.

In cluttered terrain, I assume that a heavily encumbered infantryman in WW2 is still carrying about the same amount of stuff and moving at the same speed as his ancestor in the 18th Century. Hopefully his boots and field rations would have improved though!

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

Featherstone has  a ‘Rifle’ range  in his simplified WW2 rules and in Close Wars appendix rules both as 12 inches (which I take to be about 4 hexes) so assuming 500 metres to be 12 inches or 30 centimetres / 300mm, this gives us a rough working scale of a 3 inch hex equals 125 metres.

1 inch equals 42 (41.6) metres

1 centimetre equals 17 metres (or 16.666 metres)

More in our blogpost  Researching WW2 equipment  ranges, matching the limited weapons ranges shown in the Peter Laing range to the rules.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/researching-ww2-equipment-for-rules-and-ranges/

It is possible to scale this set of rules and ranges up to 54mm skirmish games by simply doubling the ranges etc set out above. This would allow the use of 54mm  Airfix, Britain’s Deetail or Pound Store plastic figures; I intend in better weather in future to try these Close Little (World) Wars  rules outside as a garden game fought “on the  beaches and on the landing grounds …” Sorry, on the flower beds and garden terrain. Could be fun!

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The original and best …

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(Mostly) Peter Laing WW2 and WW1 figures in my recent  WW2 skirmish game.

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, October 2016.