Sunday, 27 September 2015

US 3rd Infantry Division Painting Guide

US Infantry

All paints from the Vallejo Model Color range. Started from a black Army Painter spray undercoat

Foundation 826 German Cam. Medium
Dry Brush 876 Brown Sand
Dry Brush 819 Iraqi Sand

Boots and Rifle Straps 984 Flat Brown
Puttees and Jacket 988 Khaki
Trousers 873 US Field Drab
Skin 815 Basic Skin Tone
Helmet 887 Brown Violet
Rifle 875 Beige Brown

Everything was washed with 203 Umber Wash which is really nice and then the webbing was highlighted with 886 Green Grey.

Initially fiddly to paint, as usual the wash bought everything together nicely.

Month 1 500pts completed!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

5th Gebirgsjäger Division

5th Mountain Division logo.svg
"Who said that?"

By the time it was sent to Italy in 1943, the 5th Gebirgsjäger Division had already fought in the Balkans campaign and as part of army group north in the push towards Leningrad on the Volkhov front.

The Gebirgsjäger were light infantry and specialists in mountain warfare.  Identifiable by the edelweiss insignia on their sleeves and on their distinctive mountain caps, they were (and still are) recognised as one of the elite units in the German army. But the main draw for me has to be the pack mules (which I am reliably informed carry shoulder mounted panzershreks and are also commonly known as 'PAK mules').

Pack mules apparently have some serious balance issues in Bolt Action

As a newbie to the game of Bolt Action I was at a loss as to which force to build for this campaign.  I wanted to play axis, as I could tell there were plenty of allied players already, and I quite fancied an elite infantry force.  After some reading, the idea of veteran mountain infantry really caught my imagination, and the fantastic models battlefront have released for these troops sealed the deal.

The List

Building a list for a game you don't know is always interesting.  To give myself a starting point, and to hopefully be more forgiving of my early mistakes while I learn the game, I decided that my list would focus on versatility, redundancy and resilience. I then had a play on and came up with the following for my first 500 pts:

German Reinforced Platoon

Order Dice: 5


Second Lieutenant  (page: 20)    Veteran               78
Qty         Weapons             Range   Shots     Penetration        Special Rules
1              Second Lieutenant                                                         
                 with Rifle            24"         1              n/a        
                 with Pistol          6"            1              n/a         Assault
                 with Submachine gun   12"         2              n/a         Assault
                 with Assault rifle             24"         2              n/a         Assault
1              Infantry (equipped as modeled)      
                         -              -             
Infantry Squads

Heer Veteran Grenadier squad  (page: 22)           Veteran               126
Qty         Weapons             Range   Shots     Penetration        Special Rules
1              NCO with Submachine gun          12"         2              n/a         Assault
4              Infantry with Rifle            24"         1              n/a        
3              Infantry with Submachine gun   12"         2              n/a         Assault
2              men have Panzerfaust in addition to other weapons        12"         1              +6           One-shot, Shaped Charge

Heer Veteran Grenadier squad  (page: 22)           Veteran               132
Qty         Weapons             Range   Shots     Penetration        Special Rules
1              NCO with Submachine gun          12"         2              n/a         Assault
1              Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)            30"         4              n/a         Team (2 men)
6              Infantry with Rifle            24"         1              n/a        
1              men have Panzerfaust in addition to other weapons        12"         1              +6           One-shot, Shaped Charge

Heer Veteran Grenadier squad  (page: 22)           Veteran               98
Qty         Weapons             Range   Shots     Penetration        Special Rules
1              NCO with Rifle   24"         1              n/a        
1              Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)            30"         4              n/a         Team (2 men)
4              Infantry with Rifle            24"         1              n/a      
Sniper team  (page: 32) Veteran               65
Qty         Weapons             Range   Shots     Penetration        Special Rules
1              Sniper team (rifle)           36"         1              n/a         Team (2 men), Sniper

Platoon Points: 499

The entire force is veteran, so hopefully that should give me some level of resilience.  I have also gone for relatively large numbers for such an elite force, with very few weapons teams present.  My hope is that the high ROF German LMGs in two of my squads will grant sufficient fire power to compensate for a lack of any MMG teams or vehicle MMGs.

As the entire force is veteran already, I chose the basic second lieutenant leader to save points.  I couldn't bring myself to make him anything less than a veteran though, that just wouldn't be right!  I also gave him a buddy/bullet sponge for some added protection.

The first squad is meant to be my main forward operating squad, with a total of 4 smgs and 2 panzerfausts to make them a threat to anything up close.  From perusing a couple of forums, the total of 8 men seems to be a generally accepted 'good number' for veteran troops (always trust what you read on the internet!)

The second squad is designed to be flexible.  One LMG, one SMG and one panzerfaust should make it a moderate threat in quite a few situations, and with 8 members again it should be fairly resilient.  I expect this units role to change depending on the situation I am faced with each turn.  Early on it might be giving covering fire to the 1st squad, but later on when my brilliant leadership gets 1st sqaud killed to a man, this squad might move up to grab an objective or pop a tank with its panzerfaust.

The last squad is lower strength at only 5 men, so I will probably try to keep them back a little out of harms way.  A single LMG will be useful for giving covering fire to 1st or 2nd squad as they advance.

To finish off the list I have added in a sniper.  My logic here is that in small 500 pt games most players will not have much redundancy in their plans, and a well placed shot form a sniper could take out that MMG or mortar team which is ruining my day.  Whether this translates to the tabletop remains to be seen!


I have used the Gebirgsjäger infantry models from battlefront to represent this force. A single company box was all I needed for this months troops and all the basic infantry, machine guns, command and light mortars I could want for the entire campaign.  In fact, I now realise a single platoon box would have been plenty!  Plans are however already afoot for some of the spares...

I should really look at the back of the box before concluding this is how many models you get...

In an inspired flurry of painting I managed to get my first 499 points painted this afternoon.  I have gone for a fairly straightforward (read 'quick and dirty') dipping method.  The minis were all primed grey (Halfords grey primer) then had greatcoats picked out with army painter 'fur brown'.  A dry brush of vallejo 'green grey' over the entire model produced a nice German uniform colour before details like skin, weapons and boots were picked out and army painter strong tone was used to shade/do all the hard work.  For basing I used a mix of dark grit and some ash colour flock topped with modelling snow, grass tufts and some tiny bits of clump foliage to give a spring thaw mountain theme.  I mainly chose this as it can be hard to make drab colours stand out on brown or green bases. The dark grey and white help the models stand out nicely.

Without further ado, I present to you the first instalment of the 5th Gebirgsjäger Division!

All primed and ready for painting

The first 499 points ready for battle

A sniper team lines up a shot

2nd Leiutennant Hans Mueller and associates

Monday, 21 September 2015

HG Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1 Hermann Göring

Any suggestions as to what this Divisional insignia is supposed to represent?
In the battle for Monte Cassino, the Hermann Goring division's Oberstleutnant Julius Schlegel displayed either an estimable respect for renaissance art or his unit's namesake's deserved reputation as Europe's most proficient looter by having the division's workshop department fill their trucks with all of the Abbey's irreplaceable artworks and 'deposit them in the Vatican.' This prevented their destruction when the Allies flattened the Abbey but doesn't begin the explain how they were eventually found on a train in Bavaria at the end of the war....

Tempting though it was to field a platoon of  Kunstschutz - or 'Art Protection' troops, it seemed to me that a division of elite paratroopers probably contained some more effective options on the tabletop.

HG Division Kunstschutz 'protecting' some art

Like the monks of Monte Cassino, I'm under a vow. I have sworn off buying any new gaming related stuff for the calendar year 2015 while I concentrate my time and money on a much larger painting project, a new extended kitchen diner. Imagine how hard Salute was, then multiply it by 10 as all of my chums embark on a shiny new WW2 project in 15mm.

So I've had to confine my plans for a Canadian detachment to paper for a while and will field a force of Hermann Goring Fallschirmjagers using some of Jon's copious collection of late war Germans. I will eventually look to buy, assemble and paint this list too, but for now I'll be proxying in.

So with the force comp rules understood, and a quick look over the options for the late war German paratroopers, I got cracking on working up a list using's force selector.

Given that I'm up against the most devious and down right dirty players I know, I would have abandon my usual strict adherence to historical accuracy and craft a really optimised list at 500pts, thus depriving me of my best excuse for inevitable defeat.

So for starters, all core troops choices are Vets which, while nice in itself, does mean that they are reassuringly expensive. They also possess some interesting late war German weapons choices, including the useful 4 dice LMGs and the intriguing Assault Rifles.

After much consideration, my core choices ended up as a suitably wizened Veteran 1st Lieutenant commanding two minimum sized squads of Fallschirmjagers. The first has an NCO with a rifle and two LMG teams. They will act as a firebase. The other unit of 5 consists of an NCO with an SMG and 4 Assault Rifle toting troopers. They will be my (fragile) offensive arm.

Keeping the core units small and thus cheap leaves me with a few points to throw around on support teams. First up is a Vet MMG team to lay down more suppressive fire. They will be assisted in the backfield by a Regular Medium Mortar team.

My final choice is a Vet Sniper team cos why not? Everyone hates snipers. They can reach out and touch your opponents best unit, no matter how much cover they have and are hard to hit in return.

This left me with 37 points to play with and I considered bulking out the troops choices but decided I'd like both another order dice and to get with the light vehicle meta we're developing on the Axis side. So in goes a Kubelwagon with a pintle mounted MMG. You can never have too many German machine guns in a list right?

This gives me 7 order dice, which may give me a slight edge over my opponent, 4 machine guns with a range of  at least 30", a mortar and a sniper. My basic tactics (which I HAVE to try to remember) will be to pin the opposition in place, potentially pin them out, and then clean up with my assault squad.

I've got the flexibility to mount up either the Mortar team, the MMG team or the sniper/lieutenant in the Kubelwagon if I need to move up/out.

I'm noticeably short in anti-tank but I suspect that this wont be an issue in the first week with no vehicles with armour over 7+ and at 1000pts I may have space for a heavy ATG wielding Panzer.

I'm also going to argue that this is not too cheesy a list. It's not got any flame-thrower jeeps for a start. Or deep striking howitzers. Or Terminators. By this stage of the war, German units were typically below strength. They were masters of defensive tactics, utilising their widely available and excellent machine guns and possessing the experience that is reflected by a sniper team. Fallschirmjager units were better equiped than other units - although not that many were packing the StG 44 in Italy in 1943/44.

So I'm relatively happy with this and have already considered the options for the next 501pts. I suspect that with relatively few models its going to be a bit of a glass cannon and will rely, sadly, on me remembering how to use it properly. So that's that fucked then.

Fallschirmjagers in action, prior to me ruining their day with my tactics

Sunday, 20 September 2015

184th Divisione Paracadutisti Nembo

It's not my fault. Honest. I'm not an evil person per se - it was just that I couldn't take it any more. All those snide little remarks. The derrogatory comments. The constant jokes at my expense. And I happen to know just what will wipe that smile off their faces.

Allow me to explain...

When I'd first pitched the idea for a Bolt Action escalation league, I'd suggested the Italian theatre amongst others in an attempt to maximise the number of possible playable factions (not that it did a lot of good - the draw of the BROKEN American list proved too strong). The response was... not a positive one. 

"The only time anyone ever wants to play the Italians is if you're playing Ancients!"

"Errr, actually guys if you take a look at the Italian list I think they'd be pretty competitive. Lots of elite troop types, cheap armour, and some pretty nifty tank destroyers - "

"Oh really? How many reverse gears have they got?"

"Do you mean tank destroyer, or do you mean an ice-cream van?"


Right, I thought. I'll show them! I'll write the sleaziest, beardiest 500 point Italian list I can. If only there was something in here that will really scare them. Oooh, what's this - a light tank that counts as an armoured car choice? And with a flamethrower, no less...? Mwahahahahaha!

At least those were my initial thoughts. This list almost died a death at a very early stage when I looked through 'Armies of Italy' and realised that - unlike the SPACE MAFINNS - the Italians don't have access to Panzershreks. Despite the plentiful historical evidence they were issued with them by the Germans. And the fact that Battlefront do some nice models of Italians armed with them. AND ALL BECAUSE WARLORD GAMES NERF THE AXIS POWERS WITH BROKEN LISTS IN AN ATTEMPT TO REFLECT WHY THEY LOST THE WAR, RATHER THAN LET SKILLED PLAYERS LEAD THEM TO VICTORY BECAUSE BRITS HATE TOURNAMENT GAMERS! *Cough* Sorry, I appear to have been channeling (the now defuct) there. Anyway, I'm not convinced that any mid- to late-war list can be viable without man-portable anti-tank weapons.

Fortunately, whilst looking through the errata for a rule which said that because one very lost Finnish soldier had fought in Italy I could have force selectors for a whole platoon of them in Bolt Action (I'm looking at you Lauri Törni - after all, he seemed to get pretty much everywhere else), I came across the additional units pdf and the Late War Paracadutisti Infantry Section. Panzerfausts! Three! For every squad! That's what I needed.

Commando Comics called - they want their art back.

I was also reassured by the note regarding theatre selectors, which state that they can be used for Anzio - Paracadutisti are a notable omission from the Anzio theatre selectors, I suspect because Warlord initially only intended them to be used to represent Folgore in North Africa - or for the units that kept fighting on the Axis side until the end of the war. One of the niggling concerns when I chose to play Italians was that the September '43 armistice would seriously limit their utility without stretching historical accuracy to breaking point. I mean, I knew that Battlefront had Flames of War lists and miniatures for late war Italians - and they wouldn't lie to sell miniatures, right? Right...? But for the purposes of not being called a cheating bastard by my opponents, it was nice to have it written down in black and white by Mr Caviatorre.

The limited number of units that sided with the Axis after the Armistice rather than throwing in their lot with the co-belligerent forces, and the aforementioned requirement to include paratroopers, also made it easier to tie my Bolt Action force to a particular historical formation. The Bolt Action pdf mentions a newly raised Nembo division which took part in the defense of Anzio and Rome, and some further research revealed that they were formed out of the 185 Airborne Division Folgore - double hard bastards I already knew all about from the North Africa theatre.

The 185 Parachute Regiment of 184th Airborne Division Nembo were sent to reinfore the Italian forces on Sicily after the Allied landing - albiet arriving too late to do anything other than form a rear guard as the remaining Italians and Germans were evacuated to the mainland - before posing a fierce resistance to the 8th Army and Canadian troops during the landings in Southern Italy. The majority of the 3rd Parachute Battalion of the 185th then sided with the Axis, and fought to contain the Allied beach-head at Anzio - and continued to fight on after that, eventually being one of the last Italian units to surrender, in May 1945. So much for my concerns about utility! Looks like I'd found a historical formation to model my models on.

Collar insignia of 184th Divisione Paracadutisti Nembo. And no, I'm not painting it in 15mm...
With the research done, I got to list building. Unsurprisingly, Late War Paracadutisti are veterans - so I knew I wasn't going to get many of them for 500 points. I do however need two squads for a viable platoon - and since they're the only troops I'm going to get, I might as well take them at full strength. Two squads of ten (allowed for Late War Paracadutisti, rather than the Folgore squads of nine in 'Armies of Italy') it is then. My first reaction was to cram them as full as SMGs as I could afford - any man can take one - but then thinking about the way the Italian 'Defensive Strategy' rule was going to force me to play, not to mention the MMG spam I was likely to be facing from Darren, I decided to stick with rifles. I also decided not to take an LMG, since as a group we are not actually convinced they offer much advantage if you aren't playing as the Germans. Similarly they won't need Panzerfausts in the first 500 points, but I will certainly be revisiting that option next month and giving them as many of the things as they can carry (sadly only three - and as a unit, not each). I will also definitely be taking the 'Stubborn' rule (it's free) as it might save them from being wiped out by a lucky mortar strike.

The stereotype-challenging Paracadutisti Nembo. Note the 'samurai' style SMG magazine pouches.

And then for my (now not so secret) secret weapon - the L6/40 (well, tecnically an L6 lf). This is a shoe-in as it is only 95 points, about as as well armoured as any of the tanks available to me, and yet still counts as an armoured car. Plus, did I mention it can take a flamethrower? To be honest, the light automatic cannon would probably be just as useful at 500 points (2 shots of D2 HE at 48"), but the psychological effect of the flamethrower on other players, let alone on their units, is more than worth the additional ten points. As I suspect it will be drawing a lot of fire, it at least has to be regular. And since I'm facing at least two cheesey American lists that I just know will be dripping with bazookas, I also need something up my sleeve to try and ensure that the L6/40 doesn't get taken out as soon as it comes on the board. A regular sniper will do nicely - plus I know Darren dislikes facing them - and combined with my other choices brings me up to a total of 435 points. 

This is what fear looks like in Bolt Action.
Of course, the problem with being a devious bugger is that you assume that everyone else is capable of the same baseness as you are. Is there a cheap vehicle that one of the others could take in their lists which would seriously upset my plans? Both the US and British get the M8, but at 110 points for regular for something which is open-topped, I doubt anyone will be fielding one. What worries me more is the potential for one of them (well, Tom) to bring a M3 Stuart, or even a Stuart Satan... in go two panzerfausts to each Paracadutisti squad. Still, thinking about it those are both tank choices, and neither of them is going to want to waste a tank slot at this stage when they can have something much better in the next 500 points... so out go the panzerfausts again.

Have I forgotten anything...? Oh yes, a platoon HQ! At this point he seems like a bit of an afterthought, since as stubborn veterans the Paracadutisti hopefully won't need much external motivation, but I have to take one. I have the points to make him veteran, but might as well keep him regular (arf arf) and give him a guaranteed wound soak in the form of an aide instead. 

So there you have it - the elite paratroopers of 184th Divisione Paracadutisti Nembo. If I'm honest I'm a little worried about the lack of order dice, particularly given that I will need to eliminate any anti-tank weapons as swiftly as possible to properly bring the L6 lf into play, and I have a strong suspicion that my two squads will just be pinned out by weight of fire - but it will be nice to be facing regular forces as veterans, and if you've only got five order dice to begin with then it is hard to lose three more than the opposing player so the 'Avanti Savoia!' special rule shouldn't come into play in our 500 point games at least. Yep, overall I'm reasonably satisfied with this list. Still 5 points to play with too - oh go on then, just the one panzerfaust for one of the squads... There. All done.

Friday, 18 September 2015

U.S. 3rd Infantry Division

So for my Allied part of the escalation league I will be collecting a US list. Looking through the Flames of War Road to Rome book to get ideas I have chosen to go with the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division.

They fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany and Austria, so they are good to go for just about any other theater.

They have a long and illustrious history in both world wars and count the highly decorated Audie Murphy in their ranks.

You can read all about them here
3rd Infantry Division (United States) on Wikipedia

Badge "We Shall Remain"
Shoulder Patch

The First 500

Pretty straight forward has 2nd Lt and 2 infantry squads. Packs 3 Medium Machine Guns to lay down supporting fire and a Bazooka to deal with any light armor that shows up (I'm looking at you Von Cleweswitz).
Built sing Bolt Action Easy Army

Purchases this Month

One Flames of War US Rifle Company Box for £30 with 156 models is going to give me all the infantry I need for the entire project! Comes with 6 M1919 which will cover my MMG choices and more Bazookas than I'll ever need. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Bolt Action 15mm Escalation League

Each month the target is to complete 500pts of Bolt Action Minis in 15mm.

1pt if based and painted
1pt getting a game in
1pt for at least a single related blog post on progress, research, after action report, list building, hobby, scenery etc (That's me sorted for month one then bitches!)

You can field a single platoon for every 1000 points.
Each platoon must include a platoon HQ and 2 Rifle Squads
If you include more than one platoon then you must include a company HQ

Lists are chosen from the basic BA selector with FOW lists for Italy used to dictate equipment and general organization.

Units can be chosen from the above based on a time frame of Sep 43 (mid war) to Jun 44 (late war)

No vehicle over DEF 8, Forward Air Observers or Forward Artillery Observers in the first 500 points.