Friday, February 9, 2018

Task Force Wolverines Introduction


Well, it's time to start another too large project.  My son and I will play a series of games (how many I don't know, we'll go 'til we're sick of it) using a modified version of Too Fat Lardies' "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!" rules, in 10mm on a 6' x 4' table.  We're using some beautiful Cold War models from Pendraken, supplemented with two pairs of plastic jets for air support, with terrain (mostly 15mm stuff, actually) from various sources, but lots of JR Miniatures, Novus Design Studios, Crescent Root Studios, rivers from Wargamers' Terrain, and hills from Warzone studios.  Now for the backstory:

It's 1966, and the world has been in flames for than two years.  I don't know if anyone on our side actually knows what really happened, or how it happened, but it seems after the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion and the near apocalypse of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Reds were scared enough they figured something needed to be done.  They massed men and machines in Western Europe, and when the balloon went up, all hell broke loose.  NATO and the Warsaw Pact clashed from Norway down to the boot of Italy, trading blows like two heavyweight fighters.  We were so intent on getting our reinforcements embarked and dispatched to reinforce Western Europe that we didn't even notice whole Army Groups go missing from the Soviet order of battle.  Forces that were in reserve, just inside the Soviet borders, simply vanished, but we were too busy to contemplate that, or divert significant resources to figure it out.

And then all hell really broke loose.  No one knows how they did it exactly, but in one fell swoop the US was decapitated and all alone.  It was late November 1963 and the President was visiting Dallas when 6.5mm rounds fired by Soviet agents ended his life and that of the Vice President.  Simultaneously, scores of nuclear detonations rocked the United States, destroying the capital and ruining major cities on each coast, while over the Atlantic, Soviet bombers approached the massive convoy carrying US reinforcements bound for Europe, then eliminated them by detonating a nuclear airburst to blind the US radar and dropping nuclear bombs on the convoy.  Nuclear weapons were unleashed elsewhere by the Soviets as well, most notably upon China, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and it wasn't long afterwards that those missing Soviet Army Groups began appearing.  The US mainland was subjected to daily (conventional) bombing raids as Soviet forces crossed the Bering Strait, conquered Alaska and marched south through Canada into the US' Pacific Northwest.  Soviet forces also crossed the northern Atlantic, staging in Nova Scotia before launching their invasion of the US through New England, while Soviet forces staging out of Cuba landed in Mexico and pushed north into Texas and New Mexico.

The initial strikes, with Soviet advances in red, purple stars are nuclear detonations that occurred 22 November 1963.  We nukes weren't missiles or dropped by aircraft, we believe they were smuggled onto the continent by sleeper agents, detonated on command.  Either way, they caught us totally by surprise, and really fractured our ability to defend ourselves.

And here we are today, January 3, 1966.  The lines have pretty much settled.  Sure they knocked us back on our heels, but we eventually got around to reorganizing ourselves, rebuilding or moving industry to support the war effort, pulling folks and machines out of the line to rest, re-fit, and train.  And we were just about to strike in north Texas, cut off that salient in New Mexico that's reaching for to link up with the Reds on the West Coast in Arizona and Colorado, not that we don't need to worry about them linking up in the north, too, with their push into Michigan, looking like they intend on meeting in Minnesota.  But things have slowed down a bit up north and out west due to pretty bad winter weather, so the Russkies opened a new front, caught us off guard again. 

They opened the new campaign by popping another nuke, this time on Cape Canaveral, down in Florida, and then they made an amphibious landing just north of there, up around Daytona Beach and Saint Augustine, where they immediately dashed west, through Orlando and St Petersburg, cutting off the southern half of Florida.  So we've got real problems.  First, ain't no bad winter weather down in Florida, so I'm sure they're looking to push north and west to effect linkups, and second, we've got a lot of Americans down there in Florida that need our help, ASAP.

As you might guess, we've been critically short of heavy weapons and equipment, and what we have is spread all over the country in penny packets, and by now is pretty much worn out.  But we've got industry stood back up in the heartland, and we're once again turning out tanks, planes, and guns.  With the new stuff rolling out of the factories we've created an armored brigade; sure, a single armored brigade is pretty pathetic when you look what we're up against with the Soviets, but we need them to help hold the line while we get production back into full gear.  Our armored brigade won't be our only armored brigade for long, but we do need it to hold off the Reds and buy us time, so it's going to be used as a fire brigade, dashing wherever it's needed most.  They're headed up by a tough guy, Brigadier Andrew Tanner, US Army:
The General, seen here with his aide, Captain Erica Mason.

General Tanner is already, as we speak, preparing his brigade, known as Task Force Wolverine, to move southeast to and stop the Reds cold in Florida, then roll them up and push them into the sea.  Failure to do so means a whole lot of Americans south of the front line will perish...

**Enough BS, here's the deal: my son and I are going to play out a US vs USSR campaign set in the 60s, occurring on US soil.  We're playing in 10mm, 99.99 % of which is from Pendraken, with me being the US and him being the Soviets.  Each side has a battalion commander, a Mech Infantry Company, a Tank Company, an Anti-Tank Platoon, a Reconnaissance Platoon, a Heavy Mortar Platoon, an anti-aircraft detachment, and close air support.  That's what I have in terms of toys; it's not likely, but it is possible either side could have all of that on the table for a single fight, but not likely.  We'll be using a modified version of Too Fat Lardies' "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum."  They were rumored to be working on "I Ain't Been Nuked, Mum;" maybe I should use that title?

TF Wolverines Roster

Task Force Wolverines.

Brigade Commander:  General Andrew Tanner
(with aide, Captain Erica Mason)

94th Tank Battalion

Battalion Commander: Colonel Jed Eckert

A Company Commander: Major E. Smith
1st Plt/A Co: 1st Lt Tuinei
2nd Plt/A Co: 2nd Lt Stepnoski
3rd Plt/A Co: 2nd Lt Gogan

B Company Commander: Captain E. Williams
1st Plt/B Co: 1st Lt Wisniewski
2nd Plt/B Co: 2nd Lt V. Smith
3rd Plt/B Co: 2nd Lt Wright

C Company Commander: Captain M. Irvin
1st Plt/C Co: 1st Lt Harper
2nd Plt/C Co: 2nd Lt Martin
3rd Plt/C Co: 2nd Lt Novacek

D Company Commander: 1st Lt Norton
1st Plt/D Co: 1st Lt Brownlow
2nd Plt/D Co: 2nd Lt Del Rio
3rd Plt/D Co: 2nd Lt Lockhart

56th Mechanized Infantry Battalion

Battalion Commander: Colonel Matt Eckert

E Company Commander: Major Aikman
1st Plt/E Co: 1st Lt Laufenberg
2nd Plt/E Co: 2nd Lt Walsh
3rd Plt/E Co: 2nd Lt Beurlein

F Company Commander: Captain Woodson
1st Plt/F Co: 1st Lt Washington
2nd Plt/F Co: 2nd Lt Everett
3rd Plt/F Co: 2nd Lt Horton

G Company Commander: Captain Sanders
1st Plt/G Co: 1st Lt K. Smith
2nd Plt/G Co: 2nd Lt Gant
3rd Plt/G Co: 2nd Lt Bates
H Company Commander: 1st Lt Haley
1st Plt/H Co: 1st Lt Maryland
2nd Plt/H Co: 2nd Lt Childress
3rd Plt/H Co: 2nd Lt Casillas

31st Reconnaissance Company

Company Commander: Major Robert Morris

1st Plt: Capt Hennings
2nd Plt: 1st Lt Holt
3rd Plt: 1st Lt Marion

45th Anti-Tank Company

Company Commander: Major Arturo Mondragon

1st Plt: 1st Lt Lett
2nd Plt: 2nd Lt Tolbert
3rd Plt: 2nd Lt Jones

16th Heavy Mortar Company

Company Commander: Captain Danny Bates

1st Plt: 1st Lt S. Williams
2nd Plt: 2nd Lt Jeffcoat
3rd Plt: 2nd Lt Johnston

Anti-Aircraft Platoon
Platoon Commander: Captain Tony Mason
Victor1: MSG Hendrix
Victor2: SFC Brown
Victor3: SSG Agee

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Some Progress, But Not There Yet


No games this weekend, but I've made some progress on a couple projects, though neither are ready for the table.  In any case, I'm waiting for the Super Bowl to start and figured I'd post an update.

Yep, there's my progress.  My Soviet aircraft for Wolverines, and, because I have utterly no self control, another new project...

I'm working on the two Soviet aircraft (Su-22s posing as Su-7s) for Wolverines, my 10mm Cold War project.  I would have loved to have simply painted these two metallic, but the US air support, two F-100s, are metallic, so I wanted these to look different, hence the camo.  I sprayed dark yellow, threw Blue Tack on, then sprayed medium green.  It worked pretty well except...  I was running out of the medium green and some of the lines came out pretty ugly.  But I didn't have any problems with the Blue Tack pulling paint off when I removed it, so I was very happy with that.  It seems to work better on plastic than lead.

In any case, I'm working on these, trying to clean up the camo lines and then do the details, then apply the decals, but I'm having a hard time.  My dark yellow paint (I'm brushing on dunkelgelb) isn't doing a very good job of covering on the medium green , and it's running all over the place.  It's always something...

But I know what your question is; what's in the box, right?

Well, here it is!  How about more 10mm gear, this time for modern Africa!  Everything here but the helos is from Minigs UK.  I received my package the other day, so this weekend I pulled them out, cleaned them up, based them, sanded them, and got everything primed.  If you're wondering why there is green and tan, I'm pretty much (not totally) building two identical forces (or four, two per side, if you will), one for desert scrub action and the other for tropical.  Don't act shocked, you've seen me do this plenty of times ;)

I've got terrorists (a command stand and seven rifle stands) in tan and green.

I've got modern French consisting of a command stand, six rifle stands, then support: GPMG, Milan, SAM, sniper, Carl Gustav, and mortar.

I've got modern French special forces: a direct action element with a commander (singly based) and two shooter stands, and a reconnaissance element with a commander (also singly based) and three recon stands.

And then I've got seven stands of civilians.

I've got bad guy vehicles: a T-72, a BMP, a BTR, two Technicals with HMGs, and a Technical with a recoiless rifle.

And I've got good guy vehicles: an AMX-10RC, two 4-wheeled VABs (I threw Pendraken tank commander and an M-60 from an M-113 ACAV on the AMX, and I put Pendraken .50 cals on the VABs), and two Pumas for vertical envelopment.

Okay, again I know what you're thinking: you're thinking, I've seen this before...

Yeah, I did, I had a bunch of 10mm Minifigs UK Modern French.  I played a lot of games and had a lot of fun with them too (in both desert and temperate!), but then I got on this 15mm kick, and ya know what I did?  I sold almost all of my 10mm modern gear (I hope it's doing well for you, Ben!).  But I just can't seem to live without these guys, so I did, I placed another order and now I'm apparently back in the 10mm modern game.  I even keep finding myself staring at the Minifigs UK website, looking at buying more modern USMC.  This must stop...


Monday, January 29, 2018

Pendraken 10mm Cold War Forces


Well, it's two weeks to the day since receiving my package full of lead from Pendraken.  I've busted my butt, spending way too much time cleaning, assembling, basing, priming, painting, washing, and flocking (aggravating my wife and kids in the process!), but I have completed everything that came in the box!  And wanted to show it off with a whole bunch of pictures; and I'll apologize up front, the quality of the pics is a bit uneven in places, but those are the breaks when you get home from work a little late and the sunlight is failing.

So, what did I do?  I sprung for two almost identical Cold War armies in 10mm, from Pendraken Miniatures in the UK.  Per side, I built a 10-vehicle tank company, a 10-vehicle mechanized infantry company with a company command stand, three platoon command stands, nine rifle stands, three recoiless rifle stands, three heavy machine gun stands, and three medium mortar stands, 3-4 vehicle reconnaissance platoon with a platoon command stand, two rifle stands, an HMG stand, and a recoiless rifle stand, a three-vehicle tank destroyer platoon, a 2-3 vehicle heavy mortar platoon, an anti-aircraft gun, and a battalion command stand.

I used dated vehicles, looking to set my war in the early or mid-1960s, and I went real heavy on the infantry (in terms of heavy weapons).  I went 1960s because I didn't really want to mess with all the modern implements of war; I've done and continue to do plenty of modern gaming, I wanted to do something different.  I didn't want to have to mess with helicopters and surface to air missiles, thermal sights and laser rangefinders, and I wanted something approaching parity in terms of technology and capability.  In my humble opinion, the early-mid-1960s offered me the opportunity to match one tank vs one tank, one APC vs APC, on equal footing, no issues of 3 to 1 as a matter of capability.  I went heavy on the heavy weapons as it seems to me this matchup in the early to mid-1960s is basically a continuation of the Second World War, and what everyone had gone to by the end of WWII was having a tremendous amount of heavy weapons organic to the unit, under the control of the local commander.

And let me be clear: I haven't been bragging about the project being finished because... well, it's not.  I still have some work to do.  I bought two pre-built F-100 Super Sabres that I still need to apply decals to, and I bought two Su-22s (filling in as Su-7s, which I couldn't find) that need to be assembled, primed, painted, washed, and have decals applied.  So not quite there yet, but close.  In any case, let's get to the pics.

Everything, all done.

The US tank company, comprised of a tank commander and three platoons of three tanks.  The tank of choice is the venerable M-60A1.  I was going to paint all the vehicles, for both sides, in snazzy camo schemes, but my experimental attempts didn't work out and it was waaaaaaaay too much work for a project with 63 vehicles.

The company commanders' vehicle, for which I left the machine gun cupola off.  A buddy asked if they did that in real life; I have no idea!

The Soviet tank company, organized as the Americans re, in glorious T-62s.

The vehicular portion of the US mechanized infantry company, again with a company commander and three platoons of three vehicles, using M-113s.  I wish I'd have done three platoons of four vehicles, but I didn't think about it and there's no going back now!

And the infantry portion of the US mechanized infantry company.

The vehicular portion of the Soviet mechanized infantry company, in BTR-50PKs.

And the Soviet infantry, organized exactly as the Americans.  I used Pendraken Argentinians for the infantry of both sides, hoping the Argentinian FNs would look close enough as US M-14s and Soviet AKs at tabletop range.

And that brings us to the US tank destroyer platoon, which is a bit of an oddity, but it works for me.  Before ordering I spent a few hours roaming the internet, trying to figure out what the US Army's tank destroyer was I the early/mid-1960s.  I didn't actually find anything equivalent to a tank destroyer, per se, but what I did find was that US Army infantry companies were equipped with recoiless rifles as a means to deal with tanks.  I know I've seen pictures from the Vietnam War with US and ARVN M-113s (and USMC LVTP-5s) lashed to them, but I don't know if the Army ever had anything like the picture above to use in a tank destroyer role.

Well, I do ;)

And the Soviet tank destroyer platoon, three ISU-122s.

The US heavy mortar platoon, with three M-113s carrying 106mm mortars.  Or maybe 4.2", who knows, they're big.

The Soviet heavy mortar platoon, which is NOT self-propelled.  Two trucks carting around three 120mm mortars.  The mortars are from the WWII Soviet range.

The US Reconnaissance Platoon, four jeeps with a platoon command stand, two rifle stands, an HMG, and a recoiless rifle.

The Soviet Recon Platoon, three BTR-152s and the same infantry setup.

The US AA gun, the self-propelled M-42 Duster, sporting twin 40mm guns.

And the Soviet AA gun, also not self-propelled.  The AA gun is the Rheinmetall dual 20mm job from the Falklands range.

And to finish off, the US battalion commander, two officers huddled around a tree stump with a map spread across it, trying to figure out which way is up...  The tilt on the Deuce and a Half looks terrible, but I can't seem to fix it (I did actually try).  I put the wash on it, and while it was drying I was bumped by one of my children and I nudged it, which smeared this side totally clean and smooth.  I tried redoing it several times, but it just got uglier and uglier...

And their Soviet counterparts.

And that, is that!  Almost ready for the table, just gotta get the air support straightened out.