About dave2718

Poet, lover, wargamer. Carbon-based.

Machine guns are scary

Or, at least they should be. Alas! In Bolt Action, medium machine guns are somewhat underwhelming. They can be nasty, but it also feels like they can be neutralised far too easily. Snipers often seem to be a better choice, and moreover also seem to be an effective tactic against MMG teams. I’m not really sure what can be done about this. Perhaps nothing has to be. There are certainly a lot of opinions about.

Members of the People’s Volunteer Army lay down support with a Chinese built Maxim

The basic economics make sense. For 50 points you get a regular MMG team that has 5 shots (6 for the Germans) and a max range of 36″. A regular infantry squad with rifles has 5 shots with a range of 24″, but has two more bodies and can move and shoot. If you can manoeuvre an infantry squad to within assault range, they will probably win. Getting to a place to charge an effectively dug-in machine gun team, that is dangerous work. This describes pretty much every squad level engagement since machines guns were widely adopted in the early 20th century. Yet, this is not part of the Bolt Action vibe, and the game is a little less than it could be because of it.

Fallschirmjäger crew an MG42 on a fixed mount

In the recent campaign book, Italy- Soft Underbelly, there are scenarios where the defender gets multiple MMG. So the designers at least have faith, and it does reflect history, which is at least part of the point. Perhaps this is all that is needed. Allow 0-2 MMG in a standard list, use terrain, hidden set-up and ambush. Job done!

An MMG holds up the Soviet advance into Stalingrad

One of the most successful tweaks has been the introduction in Konflikt ’47 of the ability to perform suppression fire. Trading accuracy for weight of fire allows additional pins. A neat mechanism and one that would port into Bolt Action well and present players with additional tactical decisions.

Built by the Italian military, the machine gun pits formed a key part of the strong defenses of Tobruk

Extra shots, cheaper points. Some wonky equivalent of tiger fear. Solutions that likely come with a bunch of unintended consequences. I keep coming back to some form of extra pins as an attractive way to increase the power of MMG.

A light mortar gets d2 pins, so additional pins is a simple extension that is probably not overpowered. I wonder if making MMG d2 and light mortars 1 pin + 1 additional pin on a 5+ might give the right feel? Or vice versa. Simply doing extra pins also avoids a new mechanism to remember, which has a merit of its own.

MMG were used in all theatres and climates

I would restrict MMG buffs to infantry teams and pintel mounts. Most gun ports on vehicles have such restricted views that the big sweeping shots, and even prepared fire lanes are rarely an option. And they will still throw out 5 shots in most situations, which is still dangerous. Adding a small benefit to infantry-crewed MMG will help tip the balance back the other way a little. I include pintel mounted MMG since most vehicles will become open-topped as the brave soul operates the gun. Maybe too complicated already. This does illustrate the point that trying to fix one thing might (will!) cause a new problem.

The role of many riflemen is often restricted to carrying extra ammunition for the squad MG

Here is another thought. Only provide additional pins to MMG that are deployed at the start of the game. A special rule like “fixed lanes, or prepared positions” where because crews have had time to prepare fire lanes and ensure enough ammunition, they get the additional effect of extra pins. Once you move (other than rotate as part of an advance order), you loose extra benefits. Depending on the mission this will tend to benefit the defender, which is perhaps as it should be.

Great War British MMG team, 15mm, Plastic Soldier Company
Many MMG designs, like this water cooled Vickers, were largely unchanged from the first world war.

Lots of ideas on MMG here. What do you think?

Do MMG need a tweak or are they fine as they are?

fallschirmjäger follies

I picked up the latest Bolt Action campaign supplement: Italy- Soft Underbelly. It covers from the liberation of Sicily to the allied landings at Salerno and the winter line. I think the forgotten war moniker doesn’t really apply to gamers for the Italian theater and it is ace to see this part of the war getting attention. That the focus is relatively narrow suggests at least two more supplements: Monte Cassino and a late war, Gothic War one. I hope so. There is lots to explore and showcase yet.

The book is a bit of mixed bag. It has a good range of scenarios, which helps me think about new ways to play as well as throw little spotlights on the history. Some of the unit entries feels a repetitive to me, but do help to round out the history. A highlight for me is an opportunity to field a complete Fallschirmjäger force.

Adding the option of taking stubborn to support units, as well as squads, captures the tenacity that seems to be a frequent feature of paratrooper stories.

I have quite a lot of a small force already, so it is tempting to add some more squads and maybe a StuG III (or even StuH IV) and a Pak 40 and make a complete Fallschirmjäger force.

But not before I finish my Konflikt ’47 Turks.

Flames of 47

The talented folk at Clockwork Goblin have gone back to their roots and released a series of Konflikt 47 miniatures in 15mm resin. I’ve picked up some walkers and a pack of 5 Tesla turrets to swap out on an existing Sherman troop from Plastic Solider Company.

The resin parts are clean, with little or no clean up required beyond the usual wash to prepare them. They take the paint nicely too.

There are no particular rules, but given Konflikt-47/Bolt Action works in 15mm (or 20mm, for that matter) just fine. Also, I think Tank Wars works even better at this scale, so 15mm is a perfect chance to put lots of toys on the table.

I couldn’t find in my cupboard any Allied decals in the right scale, so the final touches can wait. But these are ready for the table.

I’m still plodding along with my Turkish force. Next steps are to finish the last couple of units in the queue so I can take some nice photos to jazz up my home brew army book.

codex ahoy!

Writing about writing is weird. But when there hasn’t been much painting and the only hobby has been words. Well. Here we are!

Turkey is mentioned in the narrative of the alternative history of the weird war Konflikt 47, but has no specific or separate official rules. So I wrote my own. Inspired but not bound by history, it has been a fun project to create a list that is both a little quirky and still balanced. Or at least as balanced as the existing armies.

Two main ideas underpin the list. The first is the mad array of armoured vehicles that Turkey accumulated (in the real world) is an opportunity to field Soviet, German and Allied tanks all in the same force. And because in the world background Turkey only enter the war in 1945, this leaves the space to field and deploy older tanks already superseded in other armies. Renault R-35? Why not, Turkey had these terrible little tanks so common in the 1930s, and if you’re defending an invasion from the Soviet Union, why not use everything available, including an armoured kitchen sink!

The other framing idea is that Germany do not yet fully trust Turkey as a ally and only selectively provide the wacky rift tech. Moreover, Turkey itself is suspicious of some of the stranger technology, especially subjecting their soldiers to the procedures necessary to create the more extreme, horror-type units.

Together, this makes an Axis army that is different to Germany, (Fascist) Italy, or Finland. All this before the modelling opportunities.

So, here it is: a text only draft of the Turkish list.

So now I have some layout and proof reading in addition to painting. Good fun.

still going!

No posts recently. Life. You know the drill. But work has NOT ceased on my Turkish army for Konflikt 47. After completing a tank and walker (which I think came out OK, check them out here) I have moved onto some support options and another squad of infantry. None of them are complete yet, so a WIP post today.

Support options include a medium mortar and some anti-tank in the form of a Pak 38 gun. They are Warlord Games Afrika Korps figures with a couple of added fez. Gunners work pretty hard and often seem to be stripped down in photos, so I think the hot climate uniforms will work nicely alongside everything else.

I have built a Kettenkrad from Rubicon as a tow option for the anti-tank gun. It is a fun kit to build and went together with a minimum of fuss despite some of tiny parts. The vehicle came with a goliath remote-bomb. Now that is a thing waiting for some weird war rules. Maybe a wee AI instead of a control-cable? Nothing could go wrong with that as a plan!

There is also an MMG. I nearly always field an MMG in Bolt Action and K-47. They can be a bit fragile on the table but they are iconic to the period. The team is a WWI vintage from Woodbine Designs, but Turkey is doing what it can in its homeland defense.

It feels like I’m in the home stretch of this project. Unless I keep buying more stuff.

Which might happen. So many ideas!

Cheers.

tanks sighted

Actually, just one tank, a Panzer IV. One of the neat things about Konflikt 47 is that many of the weird variants of the historic vehicles is the base Bolt Action kit with added (mostly resin) parts. By keeping the rift-tech to the turret, you get two distinct builds in the same box.

I cut away part of the Schürzen to simulate battle damage. Off topic question. German nouns are often capitalised. Does this hold over when you use them in an English sentence? So, is it Schürzen or schürzen? Not that it matters much.

The transfers are modern Turkish airforce markings, but there is no mistaking the flag so I think they do the job nicely.

D.

boots on ground

I’ve done some more work on my Turkish themed force for Konflikt 47. Adding to the existing units are Spinne Llight Panzermech and a unit of border guards. The panzermech is a weird science walking tank, which is a part of the K-47 world. It fits in much the same role as an armoured car, although the legs allow for better off-road performance over a wheeled vehicle. Did I mention the weird science part?

In our world, anti-tank rifles quickly fell out of favour. In K-47, the emergence of light armoured walkers and heavy armoured infantry saw their re-introduction in a specialist sniper role.

I have also completed a border guard squad. Keeping up the eclectic theme of the force, this squad uses older style uniforms rather than being equipped similar to late war Germans. The models are WWI Ottomans from Woodbine Designs. They are really very nice minis.

Border Guard units are armed with rifles but may also take panzerfaust

A German Liaison officer and attendent keep an eye on the patrol. Under my home brew rules, the presence of a German office allows for the Turks to deploy rift-tech units like the panzermech.

Gebirgsjäger from Black Tree Design

Next up, some more vehicles and onto support units like medium machine guns and mortars. In rugged landscape of east and south Turkey, both these units will be useful assets for commanders.
D.

slowly slowly

Painting is progressing slowly on my Turkish army for K-47. Base coat on the Panzer IV and some progress on the first of the border guard troops, which are WWI figures with the odd panzerfaust added.

Figure from Woodbine Designs, an ace WWI Ottoman range

I think they’ll come up OK. I have the next fortnight off work so it will be nice chance to make a bit of progress.

all the tanks!

Turkey has an almost bewildering array of armoured vehicles, although it possesses relatively few of any given model. The most modern tanks are a preciously guarded resource by the higher command. Unlike the other belligerent nations, whose older stocks after 8 years or more of war are all but destroyed or relegated to training units, older Turkish vehicles are available to be put into service. The existential threat posed to Turkey in the K-47 world sees every available asset put into use. Turkish leaders hope that deploying the out-dated tanks will buy time for sufficient stocks of modern material and vehicles to be built, and help turn the tide on the Soviet invasion in the east and respond to the threat from the US/UK to the south and west.

Valentines in British service (15mm Battlefront)

During the interwar years, like many nations, Turkey acquired French tanks, 100 Renault but there is some confusion as to whether these were FTs or R35. These were added to the existing fleet of T-26 and BA-6 from Russia and handful of British Daimler Dingos and Vickers Light Tanks.

M4 Sherman (15mm PSC and 1/56 Warlord Games)

Between 1940 and 1943, the Turkish government made use of US lend lease arrangements to purchase M4 Sherman, M3 Stuarts, Valentines, and additional light tanks. Universal Carriers were also acquired at this time, adding valuable battlefield mobility to a military largely stuck with a mix of pre-war Soviet ZiS and US Ford trucks, civilian cars, and pack animals.

The core of the Turkish tank regiments is German made Panzer IV, mostly now up-gunned to the 75mm heavy anti-tank gun.

Tiger I (15mm Battlefront)

So far, all of the tanks mentioned were actually in Turkish service up to 1945. There are probably others. In additon, in the game, pretty much anything goes. At a minimum, Panzer III, Stug III/IV and Tigers all make sense. That is before the weird stuff rolls out. For Konflikt 47 this provides a fun smorgasbord of choices that helps make Turkey distinct from the other belligerent nations. Heaps of modelling opportunities too.

D.