måndag 17 september 2012

Preparing for Operation Supercharge

The time is nearing for our annual demo game in some suitable local convention. The idea is to game something that happened in WW2, 70 years ago. So something from 1942 then. We originally envisioned a 20mm game with skirmish-y rules featuring the LRDG attacking an italian airfield in the desert. For various reasons that plan fell through, and we redirected our goal to something more realistic perhaps. Still bent on the desert the obvious plan was to game El Alamein.

No, not the whole battle, obviously, but some part of it. Operation Supercharge, the break-out operation during the second battle of El Alamein was deemed suitable. This is where Monty finally managed to smash through the DAK lines and started to roll up Rommel's lines.

Montgomery anxiously watching the advancing british tanks from his Grant command tank.

The operation is famously called "Balaklava in tanks" evoking memories of the charge of the light brigade during the Crimean war in 1854. This time it was the 9th Armoured Brigade who had to charge against the PAK-front of the joint italian and german forces. Montgomery stated that 100% casualties was acceptable as long as the brigade achieved it's objectives of smashing the PAK-front open and drawing Rommel's panzer forces into the fight so they could be destroyed.

The 9th brigade was equipped with the new Sherman tank as well as the older Grant and the obsolete Crusader tanks.
The ideal scale for this kind of game is 6mm or micro-armour, since you can field lots of tanks making grand sweeping maneuvers. Also the ranges involved in the desert also looks better with smaller scale models. So I'm feverishly basing and painting up the forces for the first playtest of the scenario. We will use IABSM to play of course.

Five Grant tanks from GHQ.
Most of the tanks are still only base painted, but I'm trying out paint and camo schemes. One of the problems is how to separate the different squadrons visually so you can tell them apart on the gaming table.

Five Sherman tanks from GHQ, two of which are almost finished.
The tanks were sprayed with medium brown from the underside and then with British Desert Armour spray from above to create some instant shadings. The two testpainted Shermans were then given camoflague stripes in Calthan Brown, gently drybrushed with white and shaded with Gryphonne Sepia. The tracks were picked out with Solar Macharius Orange, highlighted with metal and then washed with Devlan Mud.

Five "Honeys" from GHQ make up the recon squadron.
The tanks are mounted on standard Warmaster size bases, i.e. 20x40mm from Renedra. Vallejo Desert Sand base gel was spread on the bases with some sand sprinkled over it.

- Oi! The front's that way! -No, this way!
Painting the little blighters takes less time than one would imagine, as long as you don't involve yourself painting any of the exquisite details sculpted, like shovels, tow cables and exhausts. That way lies madness.

That's better...
Now, if only those damned yanks could deliver the rest of the tanks...

10 kommentarer:

  1. To distinguish squadrons, maybe some kind of marker on the bases - different coloured vegetation in different corners, discarded oil drums or ammunition cases, tyres or things like that. Alternatively, keep one small corner (or both) at the rear of the base clear and do the indicators there.

    Nice painting btw :)

    1. Nice idea. Still thinking about it.

  2. I agree w Tamsin, they look great. Nice work. Pity the LRDG game got scrapped, I wanted to see Thomas ' rusty old Italian flak gun in action!

    1. It's not scrapped, just put on hold. No time to build all the fuel trucks and airplanes to blow up :-)

  3. These look great! To be honest, I like the plain tanks more than the camoed ones.
    Looking forward to see more of that stuff!


    1. Thanks. I'm thinking of having half the tanks in camoflague and half without to separate the units.

  4. I'm looking forward to the fight!
    Actually, I don't really care about the camo at all, because everything will be covered with black smoke when they "find" my PAK-line.

    Just kidding, they look great.

  5. I wonder, at what distance will I be able to see 6mm armour let alone figures

    1. Well... that's why I base them. And you need some sort of way to keep troops apart -- markings won't do it -- so I'm doing camo on one troop, no camo on the next.

      But I agree it can be a bit hard to make them out sometime. It's actually a bit realistic in some sense, you can see that the enemy has a lot of infantry with some tanks, but you can't really tell what kind until they hit you.


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