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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Persian Gulf Wars...


Just a quick note.  I decided to rename all of my posts previously titled "Iran-Iraq War" to "Persian Gulf Wars."  For me the Persian Gulf Wars are Iran Iraq, Invasion of Kuwait, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom.... and maybe even beyond that.  I think over time that will make more sense.  Hopefully there will be more posts as I continue my work, thanks.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Persian Gulf Wars: Iraqi Republican Guard


I am riding a wave of activity (which will soon run out of steam, I am afraid)... and have hurriedly finished my platoon of Iraqi Republican Guard.

These are all Liberation Miniatures, 20mm, and painted more for the late 80's early 90's with the dark dull green uniforms.  I was really REALLY tempted to paint these guys in various "duck hunter" style camo, but argued myself into the more homogenous look you used to see on TV footage.  I still feel these are useful for the entire set of Gulf Wars, from 1980 through 2003.
I can field 4x squads of 7 men, each with 1x RPK and 1x RPG-7, or 3x squads of 10 easily, or whatever.  I also have a few command type models (including radios) and a platoon marksman armed with an SVD.  I have a 4th RPK gunner, who is not very useful on his own... but I might decide to get a couple more RPKs, and more RPGs, to do "double support fire teams" in each squad (2x AT options and 2x LMG options).  Also, might get some PK gunners.

You see them backed by their "normal" support, T-72s.  These are 5 Unimax diecast vehicles, which I bought years ago (except for one that I obtained in a lot purchase sometime last year).  I painted one of the T-72s with a camo to match some of the other vehicles I have, like the trio of BMP-1s (which can serve as the IFV for these Republican Guard).  Also, the re-done T-72 can easily serve as a "command" vehicle as it stands out.

The T-72s are "dedicated" Iraqi vehicles.  They could potentially serve other middle eastern armies (even the Iranians), but won't work for my Cold War Soviets.  So they and the trio of K-63s will always be showing up with my Iraqis.  The BMP-1s are great vehicles, serving the Iraqis in various wars, or the Soviets in Afghanistan or Eastern Europe.... these were a good purchase, and I have gotten a lot of use out of them.

the ear muff looking things are radio headphones, they don't show up too well in the photo

Because I decided to keep the Republican Guard painted in this uniform, using identical colors to some of the Iraqi "regulars" I painted earlier this week, I get to do a little mix and match as needed...

So I suddenly can field separate formations, or mixed formations, and it will still work visually.  Also, now I may not need to buy additional RPGs or LMGs for either force, I can just "borrow" them from each other.  I could get some heavier weapons, with crews in berets, but I probably would get more crews in helmets.  I have not painted specific unit insignia on the helmets (like those red triangles you frequently see), to let them be a little more "generic".  Once I mix in a few miniatures in the maroon berets, they look like Republican Guard anyway...
Speaking of berets, I was asking around for verification on what color berets the Republican Guard had.  I always associated the red berets with them... but there were plenty of guys running around in black berets too.  I never found a 100% correct answer, so I went with the advice that Troop of Shewe gave me... paint them, post them, and within minutes people will tell you if they are wrong !  Ha ha, he is probably right, but I feel pretty good with the red berets.

Unfortunately, it is likely to be a bit longer until I finish up the next platoon of troops, I will be busy for a couple of weeks (probably).  But I definitely need something, with TWO platoons of Iraqis, and plenty of vehicle support, there is no way I can't find someone to attack.

Until next time, watch the berms.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Persian Gulf Wars: Iraqi Infantry Platoon


My last blog on the Iran-Iraq War was in 2011.  The subject of this blog, an Iraqi infantry platoon, was purchased in 2009... and was only painted in the previous 2 nights (other than black primer, and a couple of test "base colors" for uniforms, I had not done anything with them for the past 5 years).

Between selling a house, buying a house, my wife working and earning new degrees at the same time, shortfalls in income... well, you get the picture.  Enough whining, let's see what I did....

I made a large purchase of Liberation Miniatures for the Iran-Iraq War.  My Iraqi infantry platoon is meant to be fielded from the September 1980 start of the Iran-Iraq War, right into the 1990 Invasion of Kuwait, the subsequent 1991 Desert Storm operation, and eventually the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom).  With this in mind, I mixed in a large number of dull-dark green uniforms, instead of only tan uniforms (which I associate more with the Iran-Iraq War).  I mixed colors for the webbing, but kept all helmets the same.  The helmets are mostly M1 pattern (which were usually only the helmet liners) with a few M40 helmets mixed in.

Overall, I think this gives them that ad hoc look I associate with Iraqi regulars.  At the same time, they all have certain things that bring them together.

When I planned the force, I didn't think of everything, but I did make them flexible.  Although I typically game platoon level games in Seek Out Close With and Destroy I like to buy more stuff than I need, so I can create different mixes of forces.

Here, I can potentially field 4 squads of 9 men, each squad containing 1 RPG-7 and 1 RPD, or easily 3 squads of 10 men, or whatever.  I also have at least 3 models to form a command team, an SVD equipped sniper, a 12.7mm DsHK HMG team, and an AT-3 Sagger team.

You will notice that I also have, additionally, 4 models armed with PK LMGs.  I can swap them out into the squads for the RPDs, increasing their firepower, or even double up on the LMGs in the squad (though, I think 1x PK and 1x RPD per squad would be an unusual squad mix).

I pictured these with some likely vehicle support.  The 3 Hobbymaster T-55s and 2 Combat Ready T-62s were shown waaaaaaaaaaay back in April 2011 in my Iran-Iraq War 2: Iraqi Armor blog post.  Since then, I have added a few Soviet trucks, including one here for supplementary transport.  What I am even happier about was purchasing the 3 K-63 (Type 63, or export version of the YW531 Chinese APC) APCs just last month.  At the time, I meant them to be more or less an add-on to a larger purchase.  Now, I am really happy to have them as (given their paint job and look) they add some authenticity as an Iraqi-only asset (I can't use these for my Cold War Soviets for example).

I don't know if they are Liberation also, or if they are S&S Models.  I have vehicles from both, and like both, butand whoever made these, I like these too!

When I finished up the platoon, something didn't look right.  Like something was missing.  Then, it hit me... where were all the macho man Saddam-staches?

I quickly went back through and added a few to about half of the models.  NOW they look finished!

Some observations about the Liberation miniatures.  I have plenty, for several different armies.  I like them.  I find them to be very easy to paint (once you start... after years of hiatus!).  Something about the form.  Also, they are sturdy miniatures.  I doubt that I could break most of them, even if I tried.  Of the several hundred Liberation miniatures I have purchased, I can not remember removing flash.... maybe a bip on the edge of a base or something, but that is it.  All that I have purchased are very clean.

Also, the weapons are distinct.  What I mean by this, is, I can look at any weapon any Liberation miniature is carrying, and I immediately know what it is.  I confess to having some miniatures, in 15mm 20mm and even 28mm, that I can NOT tell what the weapons are supposed to be.

I like my old Combat Miniatures very much (almost all of them Falklands), I have clubmates with Elheim miniatures, which are honestly quite nice, but I'll give my unsolicited endorsement for the Liberation line.  There are tons of them, covering all kinds of things, but really what matters... is that I like 'em a lot :)

OK, so now what?  Other than suddenly getting the feeling I should use these guys to invade one of my neighbors IMMEDIATELY... I have already taken steps to complete another, slightly different Iraqi infantry platoon.  Started last night, did a little tonight, maybe I will have them done before the end of the month.  Or maybe in the next 5 years.  Who knows?

I hope to put these guys on the table, this year, several times.  Against Iranians, against Americans, against Russians, against each other.... I don't care.  What is the point of being a ruthless dictator with a blood thirsty army, if you can't unleash them on someone?

Until next time, make sure the sand doesn't build up in the receiver, my children!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Falklands Panhards and Scorpions AAR


I recently ran a small "what if" type scenario for the Falklands.  After the series of successful (but costly) British hill assaults, the Argentine forces have retreated towards (Port) Stanley.  They hope to reform defensive positions, stall for time, and see if the upcoming storm season stalls the British drive. 

Really, I just was looking for a reason to work my 2 Panhard AML 90s into a game.

All of the stats and rules came directly from Seek Out Close With and Destroy

This was a small game, with the various squads on both sides suffering from attrition.  The first two turns would occur in the low light conditions of pre-dawn, meaning a heavy fire penalty for everyone (except the Scorpions).  The Argentine infantry were considered fragile, meaning every time they were pinned they had a chance of disbanding.  Also, the Panhards were likely to bog if they traveled off road.

The table does not represent any specific part of Stanley, it is just meant to represent the change from the rocky slopes to the town..

from the Argentine left flank, looking towards British descending from the hills

from the outskirts of Port Stanley, looking towards the hills

from the British positions, looking towards Stanley
The initial 2 turns saw the Argentine units (instead of falling back into the town) move forward to take up positions amidst the stone runs/rock streams.  The darkness and stones helped protect both sides, but casualties began to mount.  An Argentine AT rifle grenade missed a Scorpion.  The British had an advantage in firepower.
Argentine units suffer casualties

the Scorpions obliterate this Argentine unit
Sunrise occurred on turn three, meaning the cover of darkness disappeared, and both sides anticipated increased casualties.  The Panhards also moved on board, tied to the road.  One Panhard moved slightly offroad for a better firing position and promptly bogged... but it was (unfortunately for the British) still combat capable.
plenty of targets to the fore

both Panhards on table

The thing about those Panhards is that their 90mm gun works wonders when it hits lightly armored vehicles... about this time the focus of the battle shifted from the infantry fight to the armored fight
the first Scorpion is destroyed by an AML 90
the remaining Scorpion promptly scores a hit... immobilizing and damaging this Panhard, but failing to destroy it

the bogged Panhard returns fire, and destroys the other Scorpion
The Argentines by this time had suffered heavy casualties, though no unit had disbanded after being pinned.  At this stage of the game, they had 4 infantry left (one of which was double pinned).

Having no choice, the British AT team (Carl Gustav) boldly advanced in the open to make a shot at the immobilized Panhard on the road.
Carl Gustav team in upper right corner, targeting Panhard on left on road... shed blocks LOS from the bogged Panhard to the AT team

When the AT team hit, the Panhard was destroyed.
destroyed AML 90 (the Argentine infantry on the hill are casualties)
The bogged Panhard put effective fire back up the hill, and knocked out the British GPMG team.  With that shot, the Argentine commander conceded the game.

This was a tough game for both sides.  The British infantry definitely performed better (they did have fire power advantages) but still suffered about 10 casualties (figure 1 kia, 3 wia, 6 stunned or lightly wounded).  The Argentine infantry suffered about 25 casualties (figure 3 kia, 6 wia, 16 stunned or lightly wounded).  However, the loss of both Scorpions was unexpected ( the Panhards had better rolls for firing, the Scorpions would have generally been more accurate with their fire ), making up somewhat for the infantry losses.

Still, with the other Panhard bogged in such a way it could not see any of the British infantry, it was effectively "out of the game."

The Argentine defenders had failed to effectively resist the British advance... but the British had suffered heavier than anticipated losses.  Our assessment was a tactical victory for the British, but close enough it might convince the Argentine commanders to continue fighting.