A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Highway to Hell: Soviets in Afghanistan

Howdie.  A few weeks ago, I shanghaied Dieter, one of our local club members, into squaring off with me in a "everyone loses" scenario (these are the kinds of scenarios I am best at) for Seek Out ,Close With, and Destroy.  A Soviet mixed column would have to fight their way through a valley controlled by Mujahideen.  The object for the Soviets was to exit the board... the object for the Mujah was to kill Soviets.

The Mujahideen had a partial hidden deployment where units were placed in certain areas as they activated on the first turn.  The Soviets had chances to spot some of these prior to game start, and were required to list their vehicle order secretly.  The Mujah nominated a specific point at which a command detonated bomb had been placed, and chose blindly which vehicle in order would be targeted.

Dieter chose the Mujahideen, I ended up with the Soviets.

The Soviets rolled poorly for spotting additional units, and the game was started with a bang as the command detonated mine ripped through a Soviet truck, completely annihilating it.  As the first Mujah activation, Dieter revealed his B-11 --the "B" stands for big, by the way :) -- and managed to acquire, hit, and destroy the lead vehicle, a BRDM-2. 

What followed was a mad scramble by the Soviets to deploy their infantry sections (out of the sitting duck targets of their BMP-2s) and begin to engage the Mujahideen that began to spring into action on all sides.  The Soviets took casualties, but they also dealt them out too.  A Mujah DShK team (a particularly dangerous weapon in this game) was depleted to the last gunner, but was never eliminated. Fortunately for the Soviets, that opening B-11 shot was it for them, as they were pinned throughout most of the rest of the game.
Here you see one Soviet infantry section crossing a shallow stream to engage the DsHK, with another section prepares to storm a Mujah held hill.  The Soviet command were engaged while still in their truck, and while the truck was not destroyed, they were pinned and bailed.  This forced me to choose another unit to act as command... I picked the rearmost infantry section (and they would remain in command for the rest of the game).

Here the Soviets begin to push forward.  That T-62 at the end of the column was missed once with an RPG-7, but was hit a total of three times by the same RPG-7 team... and somehow managed to survive!

Dieter's Mujah tracked the lead BMP-2 with an RPG-7, and pinned my "assault" section.  This, I did not enjoy.
Despite this, that infantry section did rally and storm that hill.  They caused considerable damage to the two Mujah units, but were eventually eliminated in a hail of gunfire from multiple directions.  I commend my opponent's use of angles... its something I routinely do in my gaming, but many gamers seem to lock into the four sides of the table, and tend to overlook angles of opportunity.  I must do something about this before I game Dieter again.... and never let him game a sniper.  He popped up his sniper and began shooting at my command section.  My command section stayed pinned, and eventually lost the Lt anyway... as well as a couple of other models.
Yes, here is that command section.... and the infantry section that was forced to step up.
That infantry section began to roll  up the Mujahideen defenders, and while the Soviets drained away, so too did the Mujahideen.  A later view of the game, showing large patches of empty space where models used to be...

Look, some of my enemy on the run!
In the end, there was no clear victor (we had a later start, and should have had 2 more turns completed before ending).  I thought the Mujahideen were winning, Dieter thought the Soviets were winning.  As he pointed out, we were both beset with hard decisions throughout, and that made for a tense and completely interesting game.  I think in final analysis, that it would have been harder for the Soviets to claim victory if Dieter could have gotten his B-11 back into action.  But it was a hell of a fun game for us... not so much fun for the forces involved.

Persian Gulf Wars: Iraqi Armor

Whoa son, has it been a busy month.  I have a number of catch up posts, and will be starting with my progress on the Iran Iraq War project.  Totally intimidated by the sheer volume of Iraqi infantry I need to paint up, I admittedly took the coward's path and started with the vehicles.

This was partly due to the fact that I have several diecast models, already fully painted and ready to go... and partly due to the fact that I like the multipurpose nature of my chosen vehicles and paint scheme.  For the majority of these, I have kept with a sand and green paint pattern that shows up on vehicles used by a number of different nations.  Specifically, I want most of these to also be usable by my 20mm 1980's era Soviets for fighting in Afghanistan.

If I ever want to get the chance to throw these on the table in a Seek Out, Close With, and Destroy game, I need to get a move on.... here is the entire Iraqi armor force, plus 3 uparmored Soviet BMP-2s that I painted at the same time, in the same paint pattern.  The BMP-2s are from Liberation, they are great models, BUT, I regret purchasing them as they are really only appropriate for use in Afghanistan.  I should have bought 3 standard BMP-2s instead.  Still, they are a useful addition to my Soviet forces.  Though this kind of thinking might seem like heresy to some, its a great way for a gamer on a limited budget to get the most out of his dollar (or euro or yen...).  So my Falklands British fight my 80's Soviets which fight my Mujahideen... and these vehicles can show up in more than one theater.  Pragmatic, maybe.  Cheap, definitely.

For the base coat, I used a desert yellow designed for hobby use.  The problem is that it is indeed yellow, I should have more of a whitish-tan.  Some extra paint applied improved the look, but its probably still too yellow.  They turned out well enough for the likes of me.

This next image shows the diecast component, including 3 T-55s from Hobbymaster, painted for Iraqi service already.  I may decide to paint over the Iraqi markings to make them more general purpose.  Also included are 4 T-72s from Forces of Valor, also painted for Iraqi service.  I did repaint one, with tan and green, which helps tie the group into the rest of the vehicles, and also gives me a vehicle to nominate for command function.  These T-72 models are really for later wars against American led coalitions, but they should do fine here in the 1980's.  In the war against Iran, the T-72s were formidable tanks, and the Iranians had difficulty fighting them.

To complete the lot are 2 T-62s, from Combat Ready, and my armored transports, 3 BMP-1s.  These two groups are very useful, and can show up in a number of places as needed... I think that I will need another group of transports eventually.  Maybe something specific to the Iraqis.

Any of these vehicles could show up in Iranian hands too, as captures... effectively doubling my Iranian vehicle pool.  The most likely candidates would be the T-55s and BMP-1s, I think the T-72s would be the least likely to be employed as captures.

Whew!   One step closer to completion.  Thanks for viewing... and look for some quick follow up entries on my Soviets.