Blitzkrieg V3 Project 1940 – 20 mm scale

Since few people should now, Blitzkrieg is a French language WW2 ruleset, best played in 15 or 20 mm scale. It is – very loosely – based on the old Advanced Squad Leader system, and has a following in France proper. V3 since it is the third iteration of the rules and, as the saying goes, “Three is the charm”. I can only hope that for English speaking players a translation will be made as the correction of the V2 glitches makes V3 a very coherent and efficient system IMO. For those who want to know more, here is a link to the French site :

Link to the Blitzkrieg site

 

Fact is, I followed the discussionb relating to the design of the new version on their forum, and liked what I read so much I decided to give V3 a try and paint a set of brand new armies in 20 mm (the club’s favorite scale) for the 1940 campaign (everyone is used to play late esatern or western fronts, or the Pacific, so early war should be a change)

So, here is swhat I have painted so far, starting with the Germans :

Panzer IVs

 

 

 

Panzer IIIs

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Panzer IIs

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a Company of Schützen

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some sort of limber

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an Opel Blitz

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and the French side, just a platoon of S35 Somuas painted for now

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I will add 2 more Pz III, 2 more Pz II, a Pz I,  another German Schützen Company, 2 Half tracks, 2 Pak 36, a  SiG 33, and a recce unit with 2 side-cars and a Sdkfz 250 which should make for a respectable German force. Of course, the French side will need to grow too, and will get a 4 tanks strong H 39 platoon, 2 infantry companies, 2 25 mm AT guns, and some recce with an AMR and a side-car. This will keep me busy for some time, but meanwhile I will be enjoying other gamers’ late war armies for a good game of Blitzkrieg V3.

Russo-Japanese War fleets

More precisely, for the battles of the Yellow Sea and Ulsan. All miniatures are War Times Journal products, meaning they are “rapid prototyped plastic” and not metal.

 

First the Japanese side, starting with the whole force

First Battleship Division

Mikasa


Shikishima

Asahi

Fuji

The Armored Cruisers

Iwate

Tokiwa

Azuma

Kasagi

Now, I’ll follow with the Russian Pacific Fleet and the Vladivostock squadron. I am not sure the Vladivostok cruisers wore the same olive grey livery as the Port-Arthur ships, but well anyways…

Battleships

Tsessarevitch

Revitzan

Sevastopol (I have another two of the same class, Poltava and Petropavlovsk)

Pobieda (I also have its sister ship Peresvets)

 

Protected Cruisers from Port-Arthur

Pallada (same as her sister ship Diana)

Askold

Novik

Armored Cruisers from Vladivostok

Rurik

Gromoboi

Rossia

 Masts have been scratch built, using Evergreen 0.20″ rods and tiny plastic beads (most commonly used by 5 years old little girls to make armrings and necklaces *grins*)

 

 

 

 

 

Ships for Coronel

So, I painted a few GHQ WW1 ships mainly for the battle of Coronel, which saw, in November 1914, Von Spee’s Asiatic Squadron annihilate a British squadron under Admiral Craddock. As a side note, I don’t like the thick Litko bases, but I made a mistake when ordering…

Spee’s Sflagship, Scharnhorst

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Gneisenau

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Dresden

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Leipzig

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And Bremen, that was not there, but GHQ makes no Königsberg class mini yet

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Now, their British opponents, starting with Craddock’s flagship, Good Hope

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Monmouth

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Glasgow

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And Defence, that was not there but could have been (and no Otranto as well, since I found no mini)

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And just for fun, Vergniaud, a French pre dreadnought that can also proxy for Otranto if I need eh eh

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Now to set up an appointment for a game.

 

 

Battles in the Atlantic

We had a Naval Thunder game at the club this week end. Actually we had time enough to play 2 games, the Rio de la Plata affair and the battle of the Straight of Denmark.

First game was fairly quick, we set up the scenario as depicted in the Naval Thunder Bitter Rivals extension. I was playing Harwood, and Fred was playing Langsdorf. His task was to break through my squadron, mine was to prevent him, this was a very straightforward battle.

Unlike Langsdorf, after some hesitations, he opted for a very direct approach, and tried to blast his way through the British squadron. I’d always wondered, also, what would have happened had Harwood elected to first gather his ships in order to give the Spee a stronger opposition. Here is what happened in the actual battle, with Exeter attacking on the port side, and Harwood and the light cruisers harassing the starboard side of the Graf Spee.

Unlike Langsdorf, after some hesitations, he opted for a very direct approach, and tried to blast his way through the British squadron. I’d always wondered, also, what would have happened had Harwood elected to first gather his ships in order to give the Spee a stronger opposition. Here is what happened in the actual battle, with Exeter attacking on the port side, and Harwood and the light cruisers harassing the starboard side of the Graf Spee.

Movements in the 1st phase show this, the Spee making a broad zigzag in order to keep all his turrents in arc, and the cruisers electing to converge into a single force. During this time, Exeter copped a 280mm shell that destroyed a secondary 4.1″ turret, and Ajax another one that started a fire that was immediately put down. As far as I can tell, the Spee was not hit. Gunnery was fairly por, assuredly, as the range (extreme for the Brits) and the small number of guns (6 on the Spee) meant, in NT, poor odds of hitting something. On the other hand, the awesome penetration capacity of the german big shells meant that each hit went though any cruiser’s armour.


Eventually, both British forces were merged into a single formation, Exeter leading, followed by Achilles and Ajax, more or less perpendicular to the line of escape of the German pocket battleship. The Graf Spee elected then to try to run the gauntlet and make good its escape, getting into effective range of all British guns and getting its T crossed a first time. Exeter was hit once more, taking some flooding damage (quickly mended too), while the Spee lost a few secondary turrets and took a hit in the engine room that cut her speed.

Seering it was coming on the losing side of the exchange, the Graf Spee veered to port once more, to keep all his 280mm guns firing. By a spate of bad luck, all missed Exeter, the only damage being a 105 mm hit tat failed to penetrate. Not so for the Brits, who kept knocking things down on the Spee, not least of which  another hit to the boiler that reduced speed even further to a crawl.

Gallantly, the doomed raider turned into the ennemy, who had reversed course to keep crossing her T. Once more, the big 280mm missed altogether, while a 6″ shell from Achilles destroyed the the forward triple turret. Aty that time however, we had come into torpedo range, so the Spee veered to port, and let loose fishes at Achilles. The 280mm turret fired a last time, kocking another 4.1″ turret on Exeter. While the German torpedoes sailed harmlessly past Achilles, return fire was devastating, and sent the German ship to Davy Jones’ locker.

Second game was the Battle of Denmark Straight, with me taking the part of Admiral Holland and Fred that of Admiral Lütjens. This AAR will be shorter, as to my great shame, I must admit I did not bother to take a lot of pics.

Actually, all my joss left me out for this one. It started with the loss of a turret Caesar on the Bismack, from which I never recovered. I tried to distract the opposition with the Prinz Eugen (and that worked, as for three turns she was the target of both British ships before sinking, but I never managed to inflict significant damage on the Hood). Then Bismarck got once more all the attention of the ennemy. In the end, the Hood was sunk, but so was Bismarck after a heck of a fight at 2 to 1.

Battle of the Atlantic Ships

They were painted some time ago, but never photographed. Since they are to be used for the 1st time this week end, I grabbed my brand new Canon AOS to try my hand at shooting a few pics of them. They are picked from the Rio de la Plata and Straight of Denmark battles.  ‘and yes, I made a mistake, it should be the Dorsetsgire, not the Devonshiere, but I’ll beg for forgiveness…

Without further ado, the Kriegsmarine contenders


Bismarck


Prinz Eugen


Graf Spee

And their Royal Navy opponents


Hood


Prince of Wales


Rodney


Devonshire


Exeter


Achilles

Moghilev 1944

I had another BKC II game at the club last saturday, in order to introduce Fred, who is already practicing CWC, to the joys of its WW2 sister rule. Stef was there, and requested to take part, so I gave him the Ruskies, and sided with Fred with the Germans.

This is june 1944, and operation Bagration is in full swing. The Soviets have managed to capture bridges and cross the Dniepr at Moghilev, they’ve started to entranch themselves and brought some armour. The situation is very serious… but chance has it that some German armored reserves are immediately available for a hasty counterattack. Germans have 10 turns to send the Russians packing across the Dniepr and seal the leak. Objectives are both Sovkhozes, and the main bridge across the Dniepr.

Here is what the terrain looked like (sorry, cam batteries were the first casualties in this game… c’est la guerre!)

 

Terrain from the East :

And from the West :

And here are the forces :

Taking advantage of his forces’ flexible doctrine, Fred reorganized them into 4 Kampfgruppen :

* KG1 CO & 3 Panthers

*KG 2 HQ & 4 Pz IVs

* KG 3 HQ, 5 Schitzen in HT, 2 Pz IV

* KG 4 5 Schitzen in HT, 2 Grille SPG

Russains entrenched on Hill 308 and in front of Moghilev (notice the SU 85 behind the hill)

Here was the plan. Hill 308 was obviously the key to the position, taking it fast would ruin the coherence of the Russian defence. So, Artillery would target Sovkhoz Marx on turn 5, then Hill 308 on turns 6 & 7. KG 1 & 2 would attack eastwards and take on Hill 308 frontally, KG 3 & 4 would take advantage of the road to take Sovkhoz Enghels and flank Hill 308.

Kampfgruppen 1 & 2 :

and KG 3 & 4:

PHASE 1

As the commander of KG 3 & 4, I was unhappy with the artillery allocation : I was eager to bypass Sovkhoz Marx (in my opinion too far forward of the main soviet position) and grab Sovkhoz Enghels which had been left unoccupied. In BKC terms, make good use of the road bonus. So I’d opted for a “mad charge” along the road, well conscious however that this might well be another Balaclava. My partner started to move his Panzers forward, all the more since the top of hill 308 was unoccupied. Essentially, we could hope to avoid mortar fire for some time… But I statred, as usual, with a command failure for KG 3, wasting some precious time, and that would have dire consequences. All went well however for KG 4, that could reach the lee of the low hill in front of 308.

PHASE 2

At that stage, however, things looked bad for the german side : we were but 2 units short of having to test for break point, while the Soviets had lost but 2 tanks and were nearly intact on all objectives. Once more, German Panzers engaged the SU85, suppressing one, return fire doing the same to a Panther. Then it was the infantry’s turn to activate. This started, well, uneasily, as KG 3 rolled 12, and that was command blunder. Fortunately, that was but 3 attacks against a unit, 2 missed, so, well, no loss but for losing the possiblity to move that command. KG 4, on the other hand… they rolled 2, and that was incredibly welcome. Everyone could drive madly into Enghels Sovkhoz, resulting in a flanking of the Russian position on 308.

The Russians tried to counter by repositionning their SUs to face KG4 (now in their blind arc, and minimum distance of the mortars). German OPfire killed another 2, and suppressedf one, leaving the Russians but 2 AFVs, and likely to be destroyed by OPfire at their next activation. The Russian player conceded the game (it was turn 5) as with the demise of their tanks, coming artillery fire, and envelipment by tanks, SPGs and mechanized infantry, the forces on 308 were facing a hopeless battle. Their loss would have put the Russians way over Break Point too.

Fun game, that could have gone either way. Once more in BKC, as much as your plan, making good use of your luck will win, or lose you, the game, mimicking with a simple & elegant evice the vagaries of the battlefield. Thanks to Stef and Fred. Next occasion to play will be our big Cold War Commander da, and things are proceding soundly on it.

 

Battle for Stonne, 1940

 

A new game at the club, this time Blitzkrieg Commander. Also, an attempt to simulate what was perhaps the most fascinating battle of the campaign of France, the battle for Stonne. Perched atop a high hill, Stonne was overlooking the west bound roads that were supporting Guderian’s drive to the Channel. Had it fallen to the French, the fate of the battle would probably have been very different. Since it changed hands no less than 17 times in a few days, let’s just say it was a very close thing. Especially as French reserve troops were facing no less than the Wehrmacht’s crème de la crème, the Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland. Allow me to express my thankfulness for their sacrifice, and my admiration for their courage, as well as for all the humble grognards of 1940 who tried to perform their duty in the face of overwhelming adversity.

 

The French are attacking North towards Stonne, the Germans are trying to defend against the might of the Char B. To better reflect the ability of the Frnch side during that battle, the penny packet rule is dispensed with. Furthermore, the Char B HQ, Major Malagutti, starts with a command value of 9, dropping by one for each failed activation attempt to a minimum of 7. Orders of battle are below :

 

 

The German plan was straightforward : 2 infantry companies and MMG on the first line, with Pak support, to slow down the onslaught as much as possible. A third company in reserve on the second line, ready to plug any hole. And a STUG company further back on the road, ready to exploit any opportunity. I discarded placing the FAC in the abbey’s spire, as it seemed obvious it would be plastered by the French 75 mm. I could do without my Paks, but not without my Stukas… consequently, I opted for the next best place, the top of the Mont Dieu.

My opponent’s plan was more complex. He wished to overwhelm the defense with various axes of attack, in a double envelopment. His artillery (and unfortunately I won’t comment further about it ) plastered the empty buildings around the crossroad. As the fates would have it, the unprotected trucks would be rushing downroad under the eyes of the Luftwaffe air controller…

Phase 1

Everyone activated at least once on the French side, moving towards their objectives. Malagutti, however, failed on his third attempt, downgrading to CV 8. Then it was the German turn, and all hell broke lose! Stukas arrived, and divebombed the column of Dragons Portés in their trucks, taking out  3 platoons, and suppressing one in the middle of the road. STUGs were immediately committed and started to go around the Mont Dieu. Decision would take place on the French right flank.

Phase 2

The French infantry took shelter under the lee of a little hill, and dismounted, leaving only the Chars B as a viable target for the Stukas. The problem was that they were much better protected by AA fire, but dice favored te Luftwaffe, and one of the steel beast was taken out. The little Hotchkiss failed to activate (no wonder with aa HQ at 7), as did the STUGs (despite a CV of 9…). When they eventually did, they took out a last truck that had been kept pinned by MMG fire from Stonne. Chars B, and Paks, traded ineffectual fire. Malagutti however failed an activation for the second time and downgraded to 7.

 

Phase 3

Everything rested on the Chars’ shoulders. They concentrated on Stonne, neglecting the STUGs on their right flanks. Everything seemed to improve, as a Stuka was downed, removing the most serious threat. Better yet, a German command blunder caused the Pak guns to advance under fire, which eventually resulted in the loss of one unit. But the STUGs sealed the day, cresting the Mont Dieu, and opening fire on the flank of the Chars below. One tank platoon was destroyed, bringing my opponent’s army to its braek point, and a failed roll ended the game.