I really couldn’t let the recent antics of the odious twerp that runs TMP go by without commenting (reading Frothers has been a hoot recently!). Over the past few days he has banned about 20 people and caused many more to leave with his ridiculous and slightly unhinged behaviour which has included having a pop at all British wargamers. I really can’t see why you would bother with it any more, especially if you aren’t an American as it seems everyone else (Tango aside) isn’t welcome. I’ll be giving it a wide berth from now on.
I look at it this way: TMP is like a pub that you go to initially because everyone else does. Soon though you realise that even though most people there are alright and the conversation is usually nice the views of the landlord and his cronies at the bar are truly unpleasant and any pointing out of this results in being barred, and speaking up in defence of people who are attacked by said cronies also gets you barred. Thankfully there are other, nicer pubs around (The Wargames Website in particular) where the vibe is a lot cooler, the locals pleasant and the landlord isn’t a vile xenophobic, egotistical maniac.
I had a game of FFT3 booked in for this week against Alex who hadn’t played for quite a while and was keen to get another game in. He told me that he would be bringing a Soviet Tank Regiment along so I figured why not take the survivors from the Lithuanian force from last weeks game and see how they did against the follow on force. Obvious really if you think about it and I was really keen to have a go with them as I had just painted them! We would be just using the vanilla rules this time round and wouldn’t be using any air assets.
My much reduced Battle Group consisted of the following:
4 Chieftain mk.13
Armoured Inf Coy:
3 Inf, 1 Weapons stands + 4 Stormer 20’s
Mech Inf Coy:
3 Inf, 1 Weapons stands (dug in, no vehicles)
Cav Combat team 1:
Recon VBC-90, VAB-VCI + Inf stand dug in
Cav Combat team 2:
Recon VBC-90, VAB-VCI, Inf stand dug-in + VAB-Milan
TOW platoon (1 ton LR transport)
2 x SP 155mm batts (off table)
2 x 5.5″ gun batts (off table)
2 x 155mm batts (off table)
Not big in numbers but it definitely had some punch with the mix of 120mm & 90mm guns and Milan and TOW atgm. I probably wouldn’t be able to completely halt the oncoming tide of armour but I’d at least be able to exact a hefty toll on the attackers and maybe might be able to pull off another victory like last week.
Before we started Alex informed me that he had brought a BMP Regiment instead of a Tank Regiment so my morale went up immediately, I might just be able to deal with the onslaught after all! However he still had a massive superiority in Artillery and his force was still quite large:
2 Vasilek 81mmM
Recon Brdm-2 + BMP-R
3 Motor Rifle Btlns:
9 Inf stands (3 with AT-7 atgm) + 9 BMP-1’s
Off table Artillery
SP 122mm Btln (4 batts)
2 x SP 152mm Btlns (4 batts)
2 x BM-21 MRLS batts (6 units each)
So we got to it with Alex bringing on a MR Btln down the road and another over on the left, so exactly the same approach as the chaps last week. Alex had rolled up only one turn of pre-game barrage and it only suppressed one infantry stand which was lucky. I decided that I’d open up as soon as possible but waited for the road column to get past the farm before unleashing with a combination of TOW, 90mm gunfire and 20mm autocannon. I managed to take out a couple of platoons of BMP’s and suffer only suppression in return fire, the second round of firing having some effect too even with being supressed and the Soviets started to lose platoons. Alex shrugged this off though and stating that he was going to do it the Soviet way didn’t pause to return fire and continued to barrel up the road before turning right and heading for the wood.
There was another Battalion of BMP’s following along the road and these were tasked to take out the Cavalry that had been tackling their comrades in front and pretty soon massed ATGM fire and artillery strikes had caused the end of the plucky VAB and VBC-90 platoons but not before they had virtually destroyed the lead battalion with only 5 platoons making it to the safety of the wood. With the end of the Cavalry on the hill (which I had left in place for a move too long) I decided to withdraw the TOW platoon and they duly mounted up onto their 1-ton Land Rovers and started to pick their way slowly through the trees. Unfortunately for them they were caught by the advance of the vengeful BMP’s and we decided that they were captured. there was one last bit of action in this wood though as the dug-in infantry platoon took out another BMP before being forced to quit the field in the return fire.
The action in the centre now paused for a bit as Alex consolidated his position in the wood by the road and brought his T-74 battalion forwards. On the flanks things got hotter, much hotter. Whilst the fight for the central position had been going on the BMP’s on the left had been advancing through the wood seeking out the Lithuanian forces and after clearing the trees Alex pushed them forwards to take post on the hill in front of the stream. This meant that they ran smack into the infantry company entrenched there. A quick and brutal close combat ensued with 3 BMP platoons soon knocked out whilst the infantry only lost their weapons platoon. Retribution was swift however with the surviving platoons of AIFV’s letting loose with their 73mm guns which forced all 3 Lithuanian platoons to fail QC checks clearing the way for the advance to continue.
Over on the right the survivors of the first Motor Rifle Battalion that had reached the wood were making their way out the other end when they ran into the second Cavalry combat team and the combination of close combat with the dug-in infantry, 90mm guns of the Armoured cars and MILAN fire soon saw them reduced to a solitary platoon which promptly failed their formation test and left the battle. With their work done the Cavalry team began to withdraw but suffered the loss of the VAB/Milan platoon when a retaliatory Soviet artillery barrage rained down on the hill hitting them as they withdrew. So all in all at this point I was quite happy with how things were going, I had suffered some casualties yes but I had taken out a whole battalion caused casualties on two others and still had my Chieftains uncommitted. Alex still had the numbers to finish the job though and so the fight moved into its final act.
Whilst the quick flurry of action had been taking place on the flanks Alex had brought his tanks forwards and had sent them into the wood, I had taken them under fire with the VAB-Milan platoon posted at the end of the wooded ridge in the rear of my position and soon a couple of tanks were burning, however retaliation was swift and the huge weight of return 125mm fire soon saw the anti-tank unit to quit the field. Alex was busy debussing his infantry in the wood, he had failed to save any from all of the ones hit so far and wanted to use their AT-7’s against my tanks once he located them, and slowly moved to the edge of the wood. At the same time the battalion on the left had recovered from their fight on the hill and surged forward to the stream which was the queue for the Chieftains to open up. I decided to split the fire of each platoon to try and maximise the damage and hopefully cause a formation check, it nearly worked but one platoon somehow survived and the battalion was still in the fight.
With the Chieftains now located Alex bravely pushed his infantry out of the wood to the stream covered by the BMP’s and newly arrived T-72’s. The combined fire from the various ATGM, tank guns and a massive MRLS strike supressed the Chieftains who gamely returned fire resulting in more BMP’s bursting into flames but the writing was on the wall and when one of the Lithuanian tanks brewed up after the next massive onslaught of Soviet fire I decided that it was time to pull out and leave the field to the very much battered Soviets whilst I still had some forces left.
It was a cracking game that really did go down to the wire, for the loss of 4 platoons KO’d, 1 captured and 5 that quit the field I had eliminated a battalion of BMP’s, totally gutted another and inflicted casualties on the remaining one and the tank battalion so very much of a Pyrrhic victory for the Soviets. Alex was a great opponent and enjoyed the battle too and I look forward to playing him again. Next week will see some more FFT action as I try and get an even better handle on the rules and this time it will be the turn of the Poles to have a crack at the Lithuanians who are now firm favourites of mine.
I have been busily painting up a couple of new forces for my Modern FFT3 project, concentrating on the Alt-History Lithuanians and the first part of the Soviet forces. As I had volunteered to get a game on and they were ready to go it meant that it was a no brainer that they met on the table.
The scenario was a simple one, a Motor Rifle Battalion reinforced by 2 Regimental Tank battalions and the Divisional Tank battalion was tasked with breaking through to Vilnius. The remainder of the Division was busy taking on the 3 Lithuanian Infantry Brigades whilst this force had slipped through and was launched at the capital. Unfortunately the Lithuanian Armoured Brigade had been deployed to prevent this happening. The Soviets would have a near 3-1 advantage in tanks and artillery but the Lithuanians had managed to throw up hasty defensive positions and lay a quick minefield to help boost their efforts, they also had 2 dug-in tank turret positions for the enemy to worry about. The Lithuanians were of better quality too, being rated Regular (QC4) vs the Soviet Conscript (QC 5). The Soviets were commanded by Dan and Daren, the Lithuanians by Phillip. Unfortunately due to having to umpire I didn’t get any time to take photo’s during the game so only have a few but here is the battlefield from the Soviet perspective (the dark squares on the 2 round hills are the dug-in Conqueror turrets):
I had allowed the Soviets pre-planned barrages for the first 2 turns which meant that they didn’t have to roll for the availability of their guns but were limited to 3 out of the 4 fire units available to each battalion. They used these to hit the 2 dug in Conqueror turret positions with a 152mm battalion shoot each whilst the 122mm battalion hit the front of the left hand wood behind the fields. Both turrets were supressed as was an infantry platoon in the treeline. Dan brought the first of his units on in a manoeuvre straight out of ‘Comrade Noakesavitch’s Instructions to Armoured Troops’: Belt some tanks straight up the road and see what happens, plenty more where they came from! So the ‘spare’ Regimental Tank Battalion was duly dispatched for this reconnaissance of death duty. Elsewhere, over on the left, Daren brought on the Recce company (one BMP-R and one BRDM-2 platoons) and headed for the wood just targeted in the barrage.
The Soviets then piled more units on, the Divisional Tank battalion entering along the road whilst the other Regimental Tank battalion entered behind the recce company along with the BTR-70 battalion in a scary looking phalanx of Communist might. Their pre-planned barrages continued to hit the turret emplacements on the hills, knocking one out, and re-arranged some more of the lovely Lithuanian forest. However, no Lithuanian troops had revealed themselves yet although their artillery had supressed a T-72 platoon on the road. Phillip then gained the initiative off of the Soviets and, bagging himself 3 command pips, he duly called in a strike from his air support. This saw a plucky flight of Jaguars brave the Soviet air superiority and head straight for the mass of armour arrayed along the road. Unfortunately for Dan, he his AA assets were stuck at the back of the traffic jam and couldn’t prevent the attack from hitting home. When the dust had settled 2 T-72 platoons had to retire (failed QC checks) and another was supressed. One of the Lithuanian VAB/Milan vehicles also opened up on Daren’s attacking horde and ko’d the BMP-R from the recce company whilst an artillery strike supressed a couple of BTR-70 platoons and the BRDM-3 AT platoon. It was quickly dispatched by one of the supporting T-72’s though.
This suppression had a massive effect on the rest of the game as Daren consistently failed to roll high enough to clear the suppression and move the Motor Rifle Battalion more than half speed for the rest of the game – even when Daren spent one of their command pips he failed, a terrible sequence of 1’s and 2’s – which basically stymied his advance and the action here was limited to the BRDM -2 nosing close to the wood and shooting up an infantry platoon so bad that it retired (QC fail). The brave Recce chaps inside then spent the rest of the game calling in artillery fire on the wood that eventually caused another Lithuanian platoon to fail a QC roll and the survivors to retire back to their waiting VAB’s and start to bug out.
So the action was all over on the other side of the table and along the road in the centre. Dan was also finding it difficult to unsupress the survivors of the Div. Tank battalion and also get them moving again as they recovered from the air strike so swung the huge 5 company Battalion of T-72’s with their attached ZSU-23/4 and Engineer company off to the right aiming towards the hill with the now kaput Conqueror turret on. This manoeuvre was carried out well and shrugged off attempts to disrupt it from the Lithuanian artillery, which Phillip was having trouble calling in now, until all of a sudden the unmistakeable crack of tank guns were heard. One of the Lithuanian Chieftain companies stationed along the stream opened up and had caught the Soviets in the flank too and soon a few platoons of T-72’s were burning. The Lithuanian’s also opened up with their TOW launcher but this was not as successful, only causing one suppression I believe. Dan reacted bravely to this new threat, taking the Chieftains under fire with half the battalion whilst surging forwards with the survivors of the other half to gain the hill.
The return fire did well enough, causing a suppression, and the attention of nearly all of the supporting MRLS artillery supressed another platoon and caused one to quit the field. The arrival of a Hind really began to tip the balance though as it sat at the back of the battlefield immune from Lithuanian AA fire and started to pick off the Chieftains with long range ATGM fire. Meanwhile though the Chieftains were knocking out T-72’s so it was imperative that the companies of tanks heading for the hill got there quickly to help out. Unfortunately for them they ran smack into a dug in Infantry Company at the base of the hill, which saw some bloody close combat. This fight actually went a lot better that it could have done for the Soviets, admittedly they lost a few platoons but they did succeed in punching through and caused the Lithuanians to fail a formation check – probably due to the survivors watching the ZSU take out a platoon with ground fire. The T-72’s duelling with the Chieftain company had closed the range, bravely driving through a minefield to do so without a scratch on them, and with the help of the Hind had finally eliminated the last of the brave Lithuanian tankers.
In the meantime Dan had finally got the stuck remnants of the Divisional Tank Btln sorted out and the leapt off down the road whereupon they were duly ambushed by some Lithuanian Recce types hiding in the wood by the road junction, this resulted in another platoon gone and one more supressed. Phillip now started to move his second Chieftain company from its position on the right by the stream over to engage the T-72’s of Dan’s battered command. With time running out we decided that the Soviets had shot their bolt and would have to retire to re-organise before trying again as Dan’s units were all close to triggering formation checks which, given their QC rating of 5 might be tricky to pass and Daren’s were effectively out of the fight. Daren’s awful luck activating his chaps had a large bearing on the outcome we felt (as all the troops on the table were newly painted one lot had to have rotten luck as is the first law of wargaming) and we believe that the commander of his MR battalion was called to a ‘meeting’ with the Regimental Commander and the Commissar. Philip had lost half of his tanks and nearly half of his infantry but had held on just, medals all round, especially for the Jag pilot as we all enjoyed seeing one on the table!
Hopefully the game went alright for the chaps involved, and I’d like to thank them for taking part and putting up with my sometime befuddled handling of things – it’s been a while since I played the rules and I did make a few mistakes! I will be tweaking the activation rules a touch to try and prevent what happened to Daren’s force happening again. I’m hoping to put on a big FFT game at the end of the month so this helped an awful lot in planning for that. Cheers gents!
As I’ve done for the Lithuanians here is the full OOB for my Alt-History Poles. It is taken from the IISS’ 1994 Military Balance, the Army is as is but I’ve had to change the Air Force OOB as at this time it was still very ‘Warsaw Pacty’ with a large number of aircraft organised into regiments. To get the new one I combined the Polish Air Force of today with the Nigerian Air Force of 1994 (as Nigeria was the basis of the equipment mix for the Poles). To change equipment from the Soviet kit to Western kit I just looked up the Soviet type on Wikipedia, looked at the ‘See also’ section and picked a type from there, all very clever and scientific! The Border guard OOB came from the pre-WW2 force.
4 Corp Hqs
10 Mech Divs (1 Reserve)
1 Armd Cav Div
1 Marine Bgde
1 Armd Bgde
1 Mech Regt (Pres. Guard)
1 Mntn Bgde
1 Air Asslt Bgde
1 Inf Btln (SF)
4 SSM Rgts (10 launchers each)
4 Attack Heli Btlns (5 Pzl.w4 Mangusta, 2 Pzl.2)
4 Tactical Heli Sqdns (7 Pzl.w3 Sokol, 2 Pzl.2)
1 ADA Bgd
10 SAM Rgts
6 Bgdes (6 Inf Btlns, 3 Cav Coys, Art Batt, Eng Coy)
1 Mobile Grp (2 Inf Btlns, 3 Cav Coys, 2 Art batts)
This is the second of my Modern Alt- History forces. I have decided that I would use the TO&E’s of the smaller Gulf States for the Baltic States as they seemed a good fit, being small divisional sized units and with a nice mix of kit that could feasibly be used by the Baltics. The actual size of each army has been altered slightly as I have taken the pre-WW2 forces OOB as a guide, turning infantry regiments into battalions for example and hence some slight changes might be made. As always I’ll be using Mark Bevis’ great lists available from the Wargames Vault for the lower level organisation. The air forces are taken from the Gulf State that is used as the ‘inspiration’. I chose Oman for Lithuania solely by dint that it had the largest population of the three (the others being Bahrain and Qatar).
Lithuanian Armed Forces
1 Armd Bgde
3 Motor Bgds
1 Abne btln
21 National Guard Battalions
1 Engineer Btln
2 Artillery Btlns
1 Air Defence Regiment
Army Aviation (aircraft listed in game terms 1 = 2 actual aircraft)
2 Lift sqdns @ 7 AB-205/212/214
1 Scout Flt @ 1 AB-206
2 GA Sqdns @ 7 Jaguar, 1 Recon Jaguar
1 FGA Sqdn @ 4 Hunter
1 LtGA Sqdn @ 4 Hawk
1 Trg/LtGA Sqdn @ 6 L-39 Albatros
1 Transport Sqdn @ 4 Skyvan 3M & 1 C-130H
TO&E’s (FFT3 so one base = platoon)
1 Cmnd Sultan/Land Rover
1 VAb 6×6 VDA sp tw20mm adg
2 Recce Inf (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
2 VAB-VCI 6×6
1 VAB 6×6/Milan-1
SP Art Btln
1 Landrover FOO
2 m109a2 sp155mm
1 Cmnd Sultan
2 Tank Coys
4 Chieftain mk 15
1 Inf Coy
1 weapons (2 60mmM, 2 MMG)
3 Inf (3 ar, Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
1 Stormer-12.7 apc
3 Stormer-20 AIFV
Mech Inf Btln
1 Cmnd VAB
1 Blowpipe team
1 Combat Eng (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
2 1ton LR
1 Recce LR/mg
3 Inf Coys
1 Weapons (2 mmg, 2 60mmM)
3 Inf (3 at, Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
Not a terrifying force by any means but the Chieftains, picked up from the Brits ‘cheap’ thanks to them introducing the Challenger, are not to be sniffed at. As the Army is a purely defensive force anyway it suffices as a mobile reserve unit. It could also have the Scorpion equipped Armoured Cavalry battalion attached but that is usually split between the 3 Infantry Brigades.
3 x Infantry Brigades
1 1 ton LR/Landrover
1 tw 20mm adg
1 1ton LR
Armoured Cavalry Sqdn
4 Recce inf (3 ar, law-80, lmg)
3 105mm Lt Guns
3 1 ton LR
3 1ton LR
3 x Infantry Btlns
1 Cmnd 1ton LR
1 Blowpipe team
1 Combat Eng (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
4 1ton LR
1 Recce LR/mg
1 Weapons (2 mmg, 2 60mmM)
3 Inf (3 ar. Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
4 1 ton LR
The Infantry Brigades are purely defensive formations and are augmented by the following National Guard Battalions which may be attached as and when needed or left to defend their mobilization locations.
21 x NG Btlns
Cmnd Iltis Jeep
2 Blowpipe teams
1 Eng (3 ar, lmg)
1 Scouts (4 ar/smg)
1 Landrover LWB
3 NG (4 ar, 3 lmg, 40mm gl, c gustav)
And under Army HQ command there are the following units:
1 cmnd (4 ar/smg, law-80)
2 recce landrover/hmg
1 para weapoms (3 60mmM, 3 Carl Gustav)
3 para (4 ar, lmg, 40mm gl, law-80, 2 snipers)
If deployed on land will use Trucks as transport
1 cmnd LR/mg
1 Carl Gustav team
1 recce LR/mg
1 Chieftan AVLB
3 eng (4 ar, 3 lmg)
3 1ton LR
Army Art Btln
2 5.5’ Gun
Army Art Btln
2 155mm fh-70
Army AD Regt
3 40mm adg
I’ll be posting some photos as soon as the bases are finished (next day or so for the Armoured Brigade).
I’ve been guilty over the past few months of neglecting getting anything done with regards to tackling the leadpile in any way. Thankfully this seems to have passed as having to paint some kit up for our Salute game has re-kindled the passion for painting somewhat (I have been suffering terribly from ‘painting block’). It has also made me realise that I need to focus my attention on what it is I really want to get done, therefore I’ve decided make an effort to restart my stalled Alt-History Modern project. I really want to get some more 6mm kit done for a big game I have planned for later in the year and, to be honest, it isn’t that hard to paint the little blighters! This is also a way to give me the impetus to tackle some projects/jobs that aren’t finished as they will be a nice break from painting all that camo. (That means your stuff Martin, been feeling very guilty about that!!)
With this in mind I have laid out all the kit I have for my ‘Polish’ army so that I can see what I need to either paint up or order to finish off units and that is all in hand, waiting on an order from H&R for the missing bits now and will be tackling what I have that needs to be finished painting next. I have also looked at what kit I had in drawers and have sent out an order to Scotia to augment that and now have the beginnings of a Soviet MR Regiment en route, the email arrived yesterday saying it is dispatched, so that will be the next job after finishing the Poles. The kit that I bought at Salute to complete the ‘Lithuanian’ brigade is now well on the way to being finished, and I’ll bung up a post with pics when they are done.