Saturday 27 July 2019

The Hottest War & Peace Festival Ever !

Probably the most impressive and unusual 'kit' at this years War & Peace extravaganza was this superb Marder 111. This was very interesting to see close up and how cramped the crew compartment was for operating the PaK 40 gun.

I am writing this today with rain falling loudly on the conservatory roof a far cry from Thursdays soaring temperatures at the showground near Paddock Wood in Kent, where Mr Whippy's were instantly turned into liquid form as they left the ice cream vans and stallholders were melting in their marques. There were thankfully many drinking water taps around the site, but I did not envy those trapped within their steel beasts displaying their precious vehicles, or the re in-actors in their hot uniforms...except those perhaps dressed in authentic western desert garb.

Perhaps it was just the Thursday and the hot weather last week, but there seemed a distinct lack of re enactors/living history enthusiasts 'dressing ' the vehicle displays which was a shame, although I usually avoid the 'set piece battle' or 'bang bang your dead' display in the main ring it is nice seeing vehicles in their settings with equipment and people. Although as usual the SS seemed to come from 't county of Yorkshire' their accents! 

One last rear view of the gun compartment, surely only small Wehrmacht soldiery crewed these beasts!

My favourite piece of British Kit resembled an old Airfix kit 'combo' of a Bren Carrier and 6 pdr.

The carrier was well displayed with its compartments full of its crews accoutrements and small arms.

The Ordnance QF 6 - Pounder towed Anti-Tank gun was very nice to see as well and made a nice display.

The only thing missing was the crew in 'Airfix' poses ready to fire! I must make one again now for old times sake!!

I am sure theres a few of these somewhere in the loft/ 'house stash'!

Continuing the World War 2 British theme there was the very nice Valentine Tank with wading gear I first saw last year

sadly I didn't see it on the move but here is a U Tube film of Valentine tank at one of its previous displays

A detail shot of the small turret, and the wading gear always amazes me how canvas screens could allow a tank to float! goodness those crews were brave!!

In this post I am concentrating on WW2 vehicles and will post shots of modern armour and vehicles in a second report.

A  very nice example of a Daimler Dingo, reconnaissance armoured car


A T34/85  sitting on its own without re-enactors for once, a distinct lack of Stalin's finest this year

Germans leaving the display ring with a 3.7cm PaK 36

'Jerry' leaving the display ring singing either that song you hear in the 'Battle of the Bulge or 'Ilkley moor bah tat'

Stug self propelled gun 

The ubiquitous US Jeep

German Staff Car 

M3 Stuart with Cuillin Hedge Cutter, developed in Normandy as a 'in field adaptation' to cope with the hedgerow terrain , it allowed tanks to break through the hedgerows without going over them exposing their nether regions to a panzerfaust!

Nebelwerfer German multiple rocket launch system

American Half track 'gunned up' 

Another Stug? Ausf E I am sure there are some reading this more up on their German armour than me

American Bulldozer towing a damaged 'fury' Sherman in a well presented 'tableau'

 One of my 'favs' a DUKW the famous 'Duck' shown in a loading scene

German MG 42 on tripod on display

But then you could buy almost any kit in the marques just look at these available for a price !

British Staff Car

A well armed German engineers Hanomag

The Shopping area which is 10X this photo! selling everything from 18th century swords to 1940's dresses to Jeep spares and re-enactors uniforms

Anyone fancy a restored Hetzer !!

For sale at a snip was this amphibious jeep for a mere £130,000! useful to commute across rivers !

 My Cornish Friend Chris , well he's from Lancashire really but lives in Cornwall ....a model maker, owner of a light aircraft and his own aviation archaeology museum has turned his collecting eyes onto 1940's British home front helmets....yes the men in white coats are calling on him soon, well he promised me a free ticket to the show if I could source one of his 'wants' initially any white Brodie or Mk2 which he hadn't got yet

There were a few on sale and more to see on display 

A book is even on sale for £65 for aficionados of the 'fascinating' subject 

It definitely opened my eyes to a whole new area of collecting and a subject I had no knowledge about apart from my Grandad was an ARP  Warden in WW2. Did I manage to find one ???

Yes !! Apparently it was not worn by members of a Human Resources department but by Heavy Recovery teams !! so thats my entry ticket money recovered!!

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Deal Wargames Society - Rapid Fire Game Last Night

Well for only the third time ever I have attended a Wargames club meeting ! This was my second visit to the ever accommodating Deal Society who are a very friendly bunch , the last time I visited was about 18 months ago, so not exactly a regular! I would be if I wasn't so knackered after a long day at school. Adrian White hosted a game of 'Rapid Fire' as umpire for me and Mark to play I luckily also had Kevin from the club on my side who had played a game of 'Rapid Fire' before, so I have to confess to having an advantage which helped with the end result.

The elite 9th SS Panzer division had to capture a British held (or I should say Scottish) held chateau, I did plead for a special bagpipe dice bonus rule....but alas to no avail. I was a little concerned about 'Harry Huns' two jolly Panthers versus my 3 Churchill's! The British Set Up included ; 4 companies of infantry , over half of which were dug in around the Chateau, 5 Bren Gun Carriers, 3 Churchill's, one 6 Pounder AT, a 2 and a 3 inch mortar, Vickers MG and rather importantly two off table 25 Pounders. The German set up included; 2 Panthers, a Flammpanzer 111, a Hanomag Sd.kfz 251  with a Pak gun, 4 other Sd.kfz 251's, a heavy Mortar plus a number of elite Infantry squads equipped with Panzerfausts and a Flamethrower. The Germans were classed as elite The Brits as standard infantry.

The British Victory conditions were to take two settlements or destroy half of the German forces, the Germans had to take the British held Chateau or loose half their forces. The Brits won initiative and advanced towards the settlement on their left wing driving up the road with 2 Churchill's with a Bren Carrier in the lead, the rest advanced on the other side of the hedge in the same direction, The troops dug in at the Chateau received the 6 Pounder in support of their position which was also HQ's base. Smoke gave cover on the advance up the road . The Germans sent a Panther up the road to the first British Objective (the white houses) and advanced men and Flammpanzer in support around the objective via the wooded area. The rest of the German battlegroup advanced to the Railway line.

No shooting after the first round but as soon as the smoke cleared the Brits got their forward observers and carriers to the white buildings of their objective and occupied them, British infantry moved to their right flank as well to occupy the large farm on the right. The 6 Pounder hit one German half-track crossing the Railway line. The Germans carried on their advance to the edge of the white houses the Panther in the middle of the crossroads traded shot with three  Churchill's with no result and a British Carrier was damaged.

Then Total Madness broke out, one brave and foolhardy Churchill Tank Commander went ' head to head' with the nasty Panther the other two Churchill's 'bunked out' and went cross country, damaging the Flammpanzer which had 'brewed up' a carrier. The other Panther and attendant half-tracks had reached the farmhouse objective after knocking out the 6 pounder and its crew with magical '6' dice rolls.

At this point the German forces were doing rather well, the Brits were rolling (well me entirely) awful '1's at key moments with 25 Pounder 'Stonks' on the 'Jerry' held woodland failing to even burst an eardrum and thats when the radio communications worked! The Churchill fired at point blank with the Panther knowing it was a one chance or out scenario....rolled a '4' missed and no effect ! gulp. The Panther fired rolling a two! ....Churchill armour is thick its only saving grace.....the tank received only light damage and soiled 'kacks' for the crew!

Now most sane tank men would take the decision to beetle off in reverse around a building for cover thanking their lucky stars, changing underwear and swigging from the RTR hip flask...not our brave was stay put and fire, The other Churchill's advanced to the hedge line engaging with the Pak armed half-track, The Germans occupied the Farm on the British Right Wing and saw the occupying Brits off who left through the back door for the was even more looking like a German victory......and then the unthinkable happened I managed to roll a decent dice and the Churchill hit and destroyed the Panther in the white houses, the other Panther supporting the other attack poised to smash into the entrenched chateau troops failed its morale throw and hit reverse gear with much roaring from the 'Maybach' engine'

The German infantry at the white houses had some success 'flaming' a 2 inch mortar crew and most of the Bren Carriers, this was not a battle to be a Bren Carrier driver. However eventually the Flammpanzer after being damaged was knocked out by a Churchill in a complete 'flamer' and the Pak armed half track and infantry were pretty much mopped up by the British tank machine guns and main armament.

So half way through the game which lasted 9 moves of the 12 , both Kevin and I were not keen to do the dice rolling, not wanting to let each other down, by the end our luck had changed and the coup de grace was the rolling of '6's on a 25 Pounder 'stonk' into the German held farmhouse where massive casualties convinced the German commander all was finally lost as he was a gnats whisker from 50% casualties.

 So a good victory for the Brits and much wound licking for 'Jerry' interesting scenario which Adrian has played before and this was the first Victory out of three games the other two being draws. Is it a balanced game...definitely the assistance of the 'off table' artillery helped victory, I benefited from being a team where as Mark was the lone German player, the game was very enjoyable due to Adrian's encyclopedic knowledge of the rules (I hate reading rule-books, like the pretty pictures ...but reading the writing uh oh) plus he supplied everything apart from the infantry which were Marks superb masterpieces. A box of his 20mm work is shown below the figures used in this game.

Now to re dress the balance , this was my second game this year as I had been well and truly 'thumped' at 'Travel Battle' which Mark won at the convivial  'Thomas Tallis' micro pub in Canterbury

I could plead intoxication after a few jars of real ale but really it was bad play on my left wing which lost me the battle so no excuses! Again although I have a set its not been painted like Marks example above and below which makes the game visually look a lot better.

There will be an update on painting projects soon, but now time for family stuff coming up to Easter and what looks like decent warm weather!!!