Prepare for Battle
I was recently asked by local clubmember Alex M if I could show him some historical games. I’m all for recruiting people into the historical hobby, so I gladly accepted. Alex wanted to try out a World War 2 game and something specifically in a smaller scale (not 28mm). I suggested either the Battlegroup series of games by Warwick Kinrade or Battlefront’s Flames of War. I explained both games to him and Alex most liked the sound of the mechanisms in Battlegroup Kursk. He particularly the limits on how many units you can activate in a turn. With the choice made, I now had to plan Alex’s first outing in 15mm.
For our first game using Battlegroup Kursk, Paul B kindly lent me his Russians to pitch against the Germans (borrowed from Casey V). It was a hard, but fun introductory game. The Russians drove their tanks in penny packets at the Germans who in return littered the battlefield with burning Russian wrecks. Perhaps not the best start but Alex was keen to try more and we’d attracted the attention of Ian W, our club chairman, who wanted to give the game a go. I thought Battlegroup Overlord would be a good place to start, but my 15mm British WW2 were in need of some TLC. I had the Shermans, just not painted. To the studio!
My Shermans were a mix of Plastic Soldier Company, plastic Battlefront and Peter Pig. I wanted to get them done fairly quickly, but to a reasonable standard. Out came the Plastic Soldier Company US Army paint spray. The tracks were painted rust, drybrushed with metal. No fancy airbrushing or highlighting here - said he with a little regret! A quick attempt at pin washing was attempted (I’ll probably tidy these up before the next time we play).
Our second game was much more a game of cat and mouse with both sides carefully probing forward and being far more cautious. This time the Allies managed a narrow win. It was fun to see a Panther and a Firefly both edging carefully into range and the tactical use of reserve moves and opportunity fire. Our third game was one from Fall of the Reich; an Allied loss, we had to break the German defence line and failed miserably - mainly due it being one of those night where we rolled plenty of 1s!
With several games under his belt, Alex seemed convinced of WW2 wargaming. Obviously there then was much discussion about what armies people were going to collect. Alex M opted for the British, Ian W for Germans (Panzer III’s and IV’s, no ‘cats’). Other gamers took notice and are now collecting forces (one Russian and two German), which left me wondering what I should take.
Regular blog readers may remember my previous entry on the film Fury…
As it happens, we had an article in WSS 76 with scenarios for the movie. For that article I’d taken some pictures of a Battlefront M4A3E8 (kindly supplied by Wane Bollands of WI and painted by myself). As it turned out, none of the 15mm pictures I’d taken were used in the end, as Andy Singleton had supplied some (admittedly better) 28mm pics. So with an ‘Easy Eight’ to start, it looks like I’ll be collecting 1944-45 Americans.
I’ll probably give ‘Fury’ a little bit of a repaint with some highlights, the original paintjob was rushed (sorry Wayne). We’ll give Flames of War a go as well, just so people have the opportunity to try several good systems and choose which they think is the best. The end result is good - from a mainly 40K club (with a few crazy people doing historicals over in the corner), we now have over a third actively collecting and playing World War 2. From here to ancients, Conquistadors and maybe some pulp, the opportunities beckon!