Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy 2014 and New Year Resolutions

In a few hours, 2013 will be history in  Europe and I'd like to wish all my blog readers and wargaming pals a most prosperous and happy 2014. Time also to think about plans for the New Year, although I have little trust in these being any more sustainable that an ice cube in summer time ("plans do not survive contact with the enemy" as Molkte's adaggio goes) .

For this reason and in order to be realistic for once in life, I'll set myself limited targets to guide my  activity over the next 12 months, taking also into consideration potential events happening in the wargaming landscape.

My main objective this year will be to conclude successfully the Afrika CoC project that we launched a few (literally) days ago. Momentum was good due to coinciding with the Christmas period, as most of gorup's mates involved have invested in models and had time to paint during the holidays. I'll say that success is 99% guaranteed and will start playing in late January or early February.

Monday 30 December 2013

Chain of Command España: A One-Stop Source


As mentioned a few days ago, TooFatlardies started the publication of materials to play the Spanish Civil War with Chain of Command (CoC España), an herculean task undertaken by fellow Lardites ("Lardistas"?) Jim Hale and Rolf Grain.

Over the Christmas period TooFatLardies official blog "Lard Island" has been releasing new lists covering in high level of detail the different actors of this conflict. In this  post I want to make the compilation of all the available materials, aiming to become a one-stop point to any person interested in the period. This post will be republished and updated with the release of new materials.

In addition to the lists, each specific entry in the Lard Island blog has a very interesting introduction that provides useful background information, that I strongly recommend to read in conjunction with the lists.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Charlie in Chez Barrage Miniatures: A Vietnam Riverine AAR

What a wonderful way to end my year of wargaming! I was invited by the owners (...and good friends too) of Barrage Miniatures to umpire a riverine game in Vietnam with Charlie Don't Surf and had the privilege to preview the new US 28mm transport boats to be released for sale in a few days.

We used the advanced riverine rules published in the 2011 Summer Special, that I did not have the opportunity to play before because of lack of materials, and one of the specific scenarios included in the same publication.  I must say that the advanced rules are really good and I only regret not having played before one of these games

What's the monk on the right doing with a lighter?

This morning's scenario was a HUGE one involving four VC regular platoons reinforced with a weapons section (mortars+ HMGs) and two AA machine guns sections vs 3 US infantry platoons riding in ASPB Alpha Boats, 3 patrol support boats, one AVRN Rangers platoon riding in Hueys and two attack helicopters.

The small delta fishing hamlet is being transformed in a key VC base-depot where food and weapons were stored for the incoming offensive. In the meantime, the US command had decided to launch a combined arms operation aiming to preempt the enemy attack and to destroy their offensive capacity.

Villagers attending their peaceful(?) trade

Friday 27 December 2013

Taking Stock of 2013

As I did last year, it is time now to assess my 2013 wargaming performance in 2013. And the first conclusion: plans are good... for NOTHING. Reading again the post where I revealed my resolutions for the current year now I realised from minute one that I was bound to accomplish little or nothing of what I was looking to do: neither I consolidated IABSM as a main playing set, nor I played a single (!) game of Through the Mud & the Blood along this year. Worse thing of all, my very modest objective of starting just  ONE new project (Dux Britanniarium) was not even initiated!!

But on the other hand, I cannot really complain of this year as a wargamer considering the complexity I faced in my working life (started and consolidated my own new company after losing my job) and my family life (with my father in-law suffering a long and serious illness, still unrecovered, bringing increasing stress to my wife and her mother).

So why the satisfaction?

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Prezzies Arrived!

Anibal Invictus was a good boy and last night Santa rewarded him with some nice additions to his lead pile: Italians and British Perrys to start our Afrika CoC project!!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Chain of Command España **UPDATE**

An anticipated Christmas stocking filler from TooFatLardies this morning: the new special rules and QRS to play the Spanish Civil War with Chain of Command have been released for downloading at their official blog Lard Island.

This follows a set of outstanding articles written by Jim Hale and Rolf Grein included in the recently published Christmas Special. One of the best materials I've read for years, extremely informative, well written and structured, showing a clear knowledge about the period and long hours of research. I can't recommend more.... time to take the dust out of my 20mm SCW armies and returning to the wargaming table!

UPDATE: Just on the same Christmas Day, Santa brought a new present: the Falange Militia lists, now available to download at Lard Island. Thanks Jim and Rolf again

Merry Christmas

On this special day of the year, my family and I would like to wish you all a most Happy and Peaceful Christmas in the company of your beloved ones, and may your wishes come true!

Sunday 22 December 2013

Where Victoria and Iron Crosses Grow: A Chain of Command Report

Today, the British forces dealt a decisive blow on the enemy, storming a main position of the defensive lines and sending armoured troops through the gap to the rear of the enemy. Both, the lack of depth in the defence and the exhaust affecting the Germans after so many days of combat, contributed to crumble the moral of the enemy forces and the ensuing panic followed.

So it ends our fourth game, and to all effects the mini-campaign fought in Normandy over the past few weeks with Chain of Command. Recaping:

First game:  breaking from the beach area, the British established a forward position at Gruyere-sur-Mere (a key cross road directing inland Brittany) that survived a ferocious counterattack of the Germans.

Second game: the British detached a platoon in scouting role to test and gather intelligence about the configuration of the following line of defence held by the Germans. Unfortunately it bumped with another German group looking to seal the gap created after the failed counterattack. In the ensuing battle, and with the odds clearly against the British in unknown bocage country, the British backed with heavy losses.

Friday 20 December 2013

Launching Operation "Afrika CoC"

To the new project!! Cheers mate!!

As every year this time, we all start pondering by now our new year resolutions list and, of course, deciding what new wargaming projects to pursue. And also by this time of the year we feel somewhat frustrated as many of our so carefully laid plans had been derailed as real life tend to interfere with our dreams more often than not.

In any case, I have the feeling that my plans for 2014 are going to work. It was just early this week that I was thinking how nice would be to play the North African theater of operations with Chain of Command, after seeing TFL’s report in the Antwerp Crisis gathering.  I was also quite attracted by the Perry’s plastic boxes and have been in the verge of buying both the 8th Army and the Afrika Korps several times visiting my local (drug?) dealer in Madrid.

So why not giving it a try? And even better... why not checking with some of club mates to see if anyone interested? To my surprise, I was overwhelmed with the response  and not 24 hours has passed when I had already 8 eager souls shelling me with emails and asking how and when to start. And our desire has only increased after reading the two first reports of the Desert Campaign currently being played at the TooFatLardies HQ!!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Penguin giving away toys!

Fellow Penguin Nordic Lardie Leif Erikson's blog has reached one of those milestones worth a celebration... and great one it is!. He's giving away a number of useful and interesting bit and pieces of material in the most popular scales (15mm and 20mm) that would fit in most wargamer's collection of II WW armies.

So don't hesitate to leave a nice comment and become a follower, not only because of the shiny toys but also because of the intrinsic interest of the blog content: exhaustive analysis of X-Wing releases, lessons in building and painting PSC models...  

Monday 16 December 2013

The View from my Window

Sun setting in Madrid.
Clear skies in a beautiful winter evening. 
Our Sauronesque towers look in flames!
It smells Christmas

Sunday 15 December 2013

Blazing our way in! - A Chain of Command Battle Report

We played the third game of our mini-campaign in Normandy with Chain of Command. As I mentioned in my previous post, this campaign was unintended, as I realised that it was easy to link the events of the first two games into a structured and cohesive narrative.

The story unfolded as follows: after successfully breaking from the beachhead on D-Day, Lt Lozano (commanding a platoon of regular British infantry) established an advanced position in the small hamlet of Gruyere-sur-Mere in a key cross-road. In our first game, a German counterattack with a hastily made kampfguppe of different infantry units failed to eject the invaders and the German commander decided to pull out and move to a new defensive line.

Encouraged by the success in repelling the Germans, the British sent an advanced party to test the location and configuration of the German defensive positions. Unluckily they bumped head to head with a recon enemy force with the mission to seal the gap in the lines. A ferocious battle in the bocage developed, with tragic consequences for the British, who lost half of the force and broke in panic.

In the game today, Lt Lozano was given the task to penetrate the German defences after intelligence reports indicated a weak spot in the lines. In this case we used Scenario 2 “The Probe” in which the attacker must place at least one team   in the defender’s base line. This base line comprises an area 12” wide and the table side long (see maps below).

Saturday 14 December 2013

Closing with the Enemy: Book review

Michael Doubler: Closing With the Enemy: How Gis Fought the War in Europe 1941-45, University Press of Kansas (1994)

I got interested in this book after reading a review in one of the blogs I regularly follow (unfortunately cannot remember who did it: if you happen to read this, please stand up to give you the full credit).
As it can be inferred from the title, this book deals with the tactical approach of the US Army in the European campaign, mostly focused  around the battalion and company organisational levels, although making frequent deep dives into smaller unit actions.

The author attempts to dispel  the popular belief that US won the war thanks to overwhelming material and human resource, fighting along the lines provided by the field manuals and allergic to introduce any tactical innovation in the way of conducting the operations.

“Totally the opposite” writes Col. Michael Doubler. He founds an army that tore into pieces the tactical notions learnt in the training camp as soon as the first GI put his feet in North Africa, marking the beginning of its involvement in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). He also describes an army not only geared to innovation as requested by the tactical situation at each moment, but who also spread the tactical lessons learned with gusto and high efficiency across all levels of the army organisation, having produced in the 10 months running to VE day a staggering 1.500 documents of tactical value.

Saturday 7 December 2013

US Forward Artillery Observation Team

Today I finished painting and basing a US FAO team from Warlord to reinforce my Chain of Command US forces. These minis are a real joy to paint, full of character and with really nice detail: from the watch being observed by the officer (center) also holding the telephone, to the compass held by the figure in the rignt plotting the fire coordinates onto a map. The figure of the left carries a wireless radio on his back (the antenna is still work in progress!)

FAC teams are a must to play CoC in order to direct your big mortars (battalion assets) on the table.

I'm also finishing a similar team for the Germans that I will show here in due time

Monday 2 December 2013

Probing the Enemy Lines - A Chain of Command Report

Following the success defence of Gruyere-sur-Mere and the reject with high casualties of the German counterattack, Lt. Lozano was ordered to move forward and probe where the new enemy lines were established.

Today we played a second game of Chain of Command confronting British and German forces in Normandy. For this second stage of what unintentionally is emerging as a mini-campaign, we chose the “Patrol Scenario” of the book. In this scenario, two enemy forces advance towards the no man’s land with the intention of conquering the area in preparation for a follow-on attack.

According to the scenario instructions, each side has a base force (a 3-squads infantry platoon) and then die a roll to obtain reinforcements. Unfortunately I roll a “1” which allowed both players to buy a very low-level asset. From my list (German) I only saw as minimally useful to attach an adjutant (helps deploying forces on the table) or a medical orderly (to attend wounded leaders). I opted for the former as this would allow me the option to deploy my senior leader early on the table without penalties when attempting to put on play the rest of my force.

The View from the British Side

Ehrhardt E-V/4 Armoured Car

Barrage Miniatures has just announced a new vehicle to its growing range of WWI "rarities" in 28mm. Time now for the German Ehrhardt E-V/4 armoured car mainly used in the late war battles and which saw service almost until the IIWW.

A nice model to add to your Christmas wish list!

Saturday 30 November 2013

Painting Workshop Part II - Airbrushing Techniques

Readers of this blog may remember a post about a painting workshop I attended back in June. Las week we had the second part of the workshop dealing with airbrush painting technique. I have always admired my friends' vehicles painted with this tool, but have never dare to go that route on my own without oversight or assisstance.

In this sense I can’t be happier after last weekend's workshop that was extremely useful to dispel some myths about the complexity of the technique and to show that with a little practice you can really extract value to acquire a good airbrush. The only drawback is that you need ample and well ventilated space to work with airbrush, a luxury not many people enjoy at home.

Like in the previous workshop, this was run by our club pal Alfredo who again showed his inherent teaching capabilities; and after a short preparation (masks and gloves) and an introductory speech, we started immediately to work with the beast. This is the photo of my (first-ever!) painted model (a Sdkfz 250/8 model to reinforce my German troops in Chain of Command) before the final details (markings, track painting and crew).

My first time

Monday 25 November 2013

Flank Attack - A Chain of Command Report

As winter finally settled in this weekend, with a nasty, windy, rainy and cold Sunday, what better way to spend the day than playing Chain of Command under the shelter of the club. Two novelties in the game this time: we played the “flank attack” scenario of the book and we also used the army lists to build our forces.

The flank attack scenario simulates a major break-through of an attacking force, now approaching a critical defensive area of the enemy who ignores where the direction of the main thrust will come.

We agreed on a scenario representing a German local counterattack on a British infantry force in Normandy. The support forces die roll gave 8 points to the Germans and 4 to the British, according to the scenario instructions (defenders get 50% of the attacker’s support force). For those not familiar with Chain of Command, this means adding 8 points of support from the lists to a base force (usually an infantry platoon: HQ with senior leader + AT team; three squads each with a 3-men LMG team and a 6-men rifle team plus a junior leader).

German squad deploying

Lard Army Storms Normandy!

The TooFatLardies crew is on a tour in the Normandy area!!
You can follow it "live" through the Twitter account.
Don't miss this opportunity to know first hand the main battle sites

Monday 18 November 2013

Italian Army 1940-1941 for Chain of Command

After a long spell, Toofatlardies has just released a new army list for Chain of Command, time now for the Italian Army 1940-1941. Information and lists available at the official blog Lard Island.

A very interesting and challenging force, with each squad featuring two (2!) LMG fire teams and one well stuffed 10-men rifle team. A total of 21 men per squad including the embeded squad leaders. The support list are well populated with nice little tin-cans (autoblindas, Fiats...) that personally I much prefer to play rather than the behemoths of the final years of the war.

Considering the period when this list is operative and Richard Clarke's recent modelling foray, we can expect to have some nice DAK and 8th Army lists out pretty soon too!  

Summarising, in addition to the lists published in the Chain of Command book, we have now the following armies available from TooFatLardies:


Monday 11 November 2013

Stopping the Red Horde. A Chain of Command AAR

Friday night was CoC time at the club!. We moved east and played a game loosely inspired in the defensive battles fought by the Germans in 1943-1944. So I shamelessly borrowed a map and the general situation for this battle from John de Terre Neuve's blog "Wargaming in 28mm"

The Red Army attacking force comprised a full infantry platoon with three squads, a SMG assault squad, and three T34/85 tanks plus a FOO as support units. The Germans opposed an infantry platoon supported by a HMG, a Sdkfz 234/3 (armed with a 7.5cm gun for close support) and two SPGs (Marder III). Both sides were rated “average”.  

Gaming table viewed from the north
The scenario was the attack/defence from the Chain of Command book.  The objective was a tough one for the attacker, who must conquer an enemy jump-off point located at 6’ from the defender’s tactical edge.

Sunday 3 November 2013

More Long Street Games

My gaming activity has been very irregular lately as a result of some family health-related issues with my father in-law, who is in hospital again for the thrid time this year. For this reason I had to cancel a Chain of Command game scheduled for Friday, but at least today I had the opportunity to attend a Longstreet game as (literally) a photo reporter (more later on this).

I'm not a fan of the American Civil War period so this time I defected my gaming mates and did not participate in the project; however I was curious to learn some of the basics of the new rules by Sam Mustafa given the very good experience I had with Maurice (his Age of  Reason rules set) last year.

A key aspect in the  simplification of the troops activations system and you basically need now to pay a number of cards to maneuver your troops as you wish (within some limits of course); you can also  use the content of the cards to interrupt your opponent or improve your ability to do somethings.

Overall (and as in the case of my more familiar TooFatLardies rueles sets), the rules take the back seat and the players are mostly concentrated in tactics and manouvering, probably pretty much like the contemporary generals. From what I saw, large masses of figures can be moved in a relatively short period of time and flank attacks are possible if the enemy do not react timely. That makes very fluid games! I'd say that Long Street is likely to be a success and become a reference set for the period.

And now, why I was attending as a reporter? Club Dragón was contacted bythe editors of  Breaking War, a major wargamer magazine in Spain, to write an article on Longstreet, so I helped them with the photos to illustrate the article.

I attach some pics from the game this morning. Well done mates!

Sunday 20 October 2013

Back to Vietnam: Rawhide replayed

After a very looooooong spell (our last ganme was in March this year) we decided to take a short break  with Chain of Command and to play a Vietnam game with Charlie Don't Surf this weekend. I chose to replay Rawhide, scenario 9 of the companion book to CDS called Surf's Up, following the disaster outcome to the Free World Forces of the last time. This time they played much more cautious and that payed off in the end with a double military/ political victory awarded.

In this scenario an US armoured infantry platoon riding M 113s should escort 3 ARVN infantry platoons to the fishing village of Mi-Sac, with orders to put it under the control of the Republic of South Vietnam authorities. The Viet Cong mission is to frustrate the plans of the imperialist Yankees and their puppet forces, ambushing them at least twice (main military objective) and destroying as many APCs as possible (secondary military objective).

The VC forces are made of a platoon of local cadre forces armed with obsolete rifles, supported by an HMG, a RPG and a recoilless rifle fire teams. The VC also has two mines available to deploy any place on the table.

Sunday 13 October 2013

To the Bitter End 1945 - A Chain of Command AAR

After a very busy long month, last night I finally organized a new game with Chain of Command. This time we abandoned the already familiar bocage country where most of our previous encounters took place and moved forward to February/March 1945. 

The scenario aimed to simulate the desperate fights of an overwhelmed German army now close to breaking, scrapping the bottom of the barrel in terms of looking for manpower, and defending the motherland from the steamroller Allied armies. We chose to use the Scenario 6: attack on a position to organize our game.

In the table, to the north the outskirts of a German town (holding an important crossroads) defended by the two weak infantry sections supported by a HMG and plenty of AT material. To the south, two roads converging into the town and the landscape spotted with low hedges and light woods, probably the preferred place for strolling and Sunday walks before the war for the inhabitants of what is now a wrecked town.

Battlefield view from the German side

Blog Giveaway: Palouse Wargaming Journal

Giveaways seems now a most consolidated tradition in the blogosphere, at least among those dealing with our hobby. Let me bring your attention to the Palouse Wargaming Journal run by señor Jonathan Freitag, from the US. To celebrate his first anniversary as a fellow blogger he's offering a very nice and high quality book selection to anyone signing up to his site... and the most important of all, the blog is really worth following. Thanks to Rosbiff for the headsup.

Friday 11 October 2013

Belgian 1940 Army Lists for Chain of Command

TooFatLardies just released the Belgian Army lists for the Blitzkrieg campaign era in his blog. Now we only need the Dutch (...and may be the Luxembourg Army list too? :-)...) to have the complete picture.

Summarising, in addition to the lists published in the Chain of Command book, we have now the following armies available from TooFatLardies:

Monday 7 October 2013

Longstreet at the club

Longstreet has finally reached our club and a group of devoted testers played their first game last weekend. The scenario was Henry House Hill and was published in WSS 56, a part in the battle of Bull Run. As if history repeats it self, the Confederation troops resisted a savage attack of the Union forces, inflicting a major defeat on the latter when the reinforcements of Colonel Jeb Stuart reached the field.

Some photos of the excellent painted 28mm figures and gaming table

Sunday 29 September 2013

Reenacting the Polish Army 1939

This morning I attended an annual reenactment gathering in Madrid organised by Poland First to Fight group. The weather was not very helpful and I found a lower attendance than in previous years; but the reenactors put a brave face to this cloudy and grey morning and made a moving homage to the fallen, attended by top representatives of the Polish embassy in Spain and many Polish expatriates currently living in Spain.

As very recently TFL has released the Chain of Command lists for Poland 1939,  this photo report may result of interest for those painting Polish army minis.

Monday 23 September 2013

Being social...

I saw it coming... I could not stay longer alone, in the shadows... I felt the need to be more social... after all, I've been doing it for over a year for professional reasons... why not in my honny dimension too? ...The tipping point was when I read Mike Whitaker's post.... Decision taken!

Yes, Anibal Invictus goes Twitter and has a new account @AnibalInvic    

Not yet clear what my publishing policy will be.  In principle I'll be less active and more passive:
Of course, I'll tweet my blog's posts, but there's a zillion of potential interesting sources that I'd like to tapper, test and eventually decide if I drop or not, depending on how useful I find them for my purposes. In the meantime, you are kindly welcome to sign-in as a follower. 

Sunday 22 September 2013

Chain of Command BEF 1940 Army List

And the third list today! The BEF 1940 Army List has been released this afternoon. You can download the pdf here

Summarising, in addition to the lists published in the Chain of Command book, we have now the following armies available from TooFatLardies:

Chain of Command German 1940 Army Lists

No rest for Richard Clarke on Sunday! Hot from the press the German 1940 army list has just been released, to play against the French, Low Countries and Belgium armies.
Available here.

Chain of Command French Army of 1940 Lists

The release of new army lists continues at good pace. Now, the early war French Army lists to play the clasical Blitzkrieg era encounters is avaliable here. According to a post in the TFL Yahoo Group, BEF and specific German Army lists should be available during the weekend (...cross fingers).

NOTE: Notice that the FOO directing a  81mm  battery is repeated twice in support List Three. Have been confirmed by TFL that this is a mistake and the list should include the 81mm but also a 60mm mortar fire team to be deployed on the table. An amended version will be published in due time.

Saturday 14 September 2013

Chain of Command Finnish Army Lists

TooFatLardies has just released a new army list: time for the Finnish and the epic struggle against the Russian Bear in the Winder War. Together with the army lists you'll find a very interesting tactical notes 5-pager written based on contemporary sources by Nordic Lardite Ville Savin. You can download the materials here 

In the meantime, Baker Company has decided to lighten our wallets launching a most interesting Winter War Kickstarter project. Details here 

Monday 9 September 2013

Chain of Command Early War Red Army Lists

TooFatLardies has released the official list for early war Red Army covering the period before Operation Barbarossa, suitable to play the invasion of Poland, the Winter War and the far east campaigns. As usual it includes infantry TOEs, weapon tables and support lists. If I'm not wrong this is the third official list supplied since the release of Chain of Command on August 21st.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Italians in Russia: The Forgotten Army

Fellow blogger and wargamer Chris Stoesen from Wargamer's Odds and Ends has publised a few days ago a scenario book called "In the Name of Roma" covering in 30 scenarios and 6 campaigns the trip to hell of the 80º Infantry Roma Regiment of the Pasubio Division, part of the Italian Corps in Russia (CSIR).

So, what? Well, I've been following with growing interest Chris' progress of the booklet through his blogs posts but on Saturday night I had the opportunity to start reading the 200+ pages of the final work... and could not stop until finished. I was confronted by one of the most fascinating and dramatic  war stories that I've read since a long time ago: from the story of the first killed in action to the desperate fights in December 1941 surrounded by overwhelming Russian forces.

The background of the Italian involvement in the Eastern Front is the desire of Moussilini to have a share in the spoils of a sure victory against the Soviet Union in 1941. Without regards for the lack of training, supplies or material to sustain a likely long campaign, he organised and sent  a corps of over 59,000 men along with other allies of the German Army. Note that at its height there were close to 235,000 Italians fighting in the Eastern Front, of which over 65,000 were reported killed (including prisiones in Soviet camps) and many more thousands were reported MIAs.

Friday 6 September 2013

Chain of Command: Early German 1939 Lists

TooFat Lardies has released the Early German Army lists for Chain of Command, available at is blog page. The list include those early panzers and armoured carriers in the support lists that i really like to play. As a remainder, the Polish Army lists were released just a few days ago, time to put some  blitzkrieg games on the table