Little Mehmet

Mehmetçik- Little Mehmet was an affectionate nickname Turkish people used to refer to their soldiers during the first world war. Analogous to Digger for the Australian or New Zealand soldiers at the time. When the Soviet forces massed on the Georgian border in 1947 (at least, according to Clockwork Goblin in the world of Konflikt 47), Turkish citizens once again looked to Mehmetçik to defend their homeland.

Konflikt 47 and its close cousin Bolt Action is at heart a game of infantry combat. So representing Turkish soldiers will be key to making my home brew K-47 Turkish force a success.

My view is that elite units will have been trained and armed by German liaison units. Modelling wise, using Germans as the base will be the easiest way to reflect this, which is lucky because I have a K-47 starter box in the cupboard, so I think it is time to bust it out.

37500263_2114720725442388_4834906562701033472_nAn obvious thing to do would be to add fezzes. While this might be fun, I also think it could be quite anachronistic as fezzes became to be seen as a symbol of the Ottoman empire and in 1925 were even banned! However, the ban was for the iconic red hat, which the military never really wore. Fezzes were worn, but they tended to be khaki or black. They also came in a startling array of shapes, although this might be because of the ad hoc nature of the Republican army in the early 1920s.

Anyway, all of this gives me a lot of room for artistic license for my fictional  Turkish army, which is good because I friend gave me bag full of Handschar heads (from the Warlord SS plastic set) that I will be able to use. I think officers and maybe NCO can have the more formal fezzes.

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I also have some metal world war one Turks about somewhere. I think these older uniforms will be able to be put to use as second line, garrison troops.

Turkey was involved in the lend lease program. I see no reason in K-47 to overlook this, as both sides courted Turkey,. No British or US tanks were purchased under the scheme (there will be more on Turkish armour in a future post), but they did receive among other items British style helmets. A mix of tommy-dishes might be another way to distinguish the regular and in-experienced troops.

My last thought is that cavalry should be included somehow, and I reckon this box of Perry American civil war cavalry might be just the thing (along with some Warlord second world war bits yet to be determined).

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So, just a lot of ideas today. But I wanted to share some of my thinking.

D.

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The cruel weird war in Anatolia

While I have been working on a small US force for Konflikt 47 (and Bolt Action), I have simultaneously thinking about how to represent Turkey within the game. In the 1947 history created by Clockwork Goblin, Turkey joins the Axis powers and is subsequently invaded by the Soviet Union. German troops are deployed to eastern Turkey, but there is not much information about this front and nothing has been published on how to field a Turkish force.

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Here is the beginning of my home-brew list:

Turkey was not a willing entrant into the Second World War. When the threat from the Soviet Union and parsimony of the western Allies finally pushed the government of Inonu into declaring for the Axis, the Turkish military was far from prepared.

While the cadre of the army was built around a professional officer class, including some with experience from the first world war and war of liberation, much of their equipment was hopelessly out of date and inadequate. Training was also often outdated, a situation that is being rectified by the presence of German observers and training units. Consequently, the quality of Turkish forces varies widely, from unmotivated garrison troops to elite Republican Guard battalions.

Germany is only selectively willing to provide rift technology to their new ally. However, the threat posed by the Soviet Union from Georgia has seen Germany send an expeditionary force, Operation Red Hat (Unternehmen roter Hut), into eastern Anatolia to bolster the Turkish land forces. This force is currently small and so far, has been used as a mobile reserve, leaving Turkish units to defend the front line.

There are several useful pieces to build a plausible Turkish Army. The Bulgarian and Romanian army lists in Armies of Italy and Axis have lists are a good inspiration, with local troops and older hardware supplemented by German weapons and vehicles. Both nations also have cavalry. All of this feels like a Turkish army would be similar.

From the Konflikt 47 supplements, Resurgence and the new Defiance, there are Finland, and two Italian lists. More inspiration. Each shows different ways to create interesting armies from belligerent nations without direct access to rift-tech.

I have also done a little reading about the Turkish military, particularly the post-Ottoman Turkish army after the first world war. There is not much about in English, so it didn’t take very long. The achievements of the new Turkish Republic in 1919-1922 are impressive. This conflict is of particular interest as it took place in Turkey (similar to the Konflikt 47 invasion story), and covers the period of the demise of the Ottoman empire and the beginnings of the modern Turkish Republic.

There is a lot to come on Turkey in K47: list creation, list building, and perhaps the most fun of all, modelling. I figure my blog is a good as place as any to record some this.

I’d better get to work.

 

If you go into the woods today

This last Sunday saw Operation Bear, the largest Bolt Action tournament held in Melbourne so far. Thirty players assembled at Good Games for a cracking day of gaming. The hook of the day was 1,111 points using a single reinforced platoon (and no theater selectors) extended to allow one additional 0-1 choice provided nothing was repeated. So, you couldn’t take two Panzer III, but you could, for example, take a Tiger I and a Wirblewind. A silly example, of course, because that is almost 600 points, more than half of your budget.

So, of course, that’s what I did.

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There is a theme to the list. After the fall of Monte Cassino and the breakout from ANZIO, the 508 Heavy Panzer Battalion was used in penny-packets in support of 10th Army as they retreated to new defensive positions north of Rome. My force contained Heer Grenadiers, a unit of Fallschirmjager and a Tiger I accompanied by its anti-air asset, a Wirblewind.
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This is somewhat of fudge, since while Tigers were often defended by flak units, I don’t think Wirblewinds were deployed in Italy, or even available in June/July 1944. But I’ve got the model and I had never deployed it before.

It was a fun day. There were three games, two with objectives and one for kill points.
I feel this mix is pretty much optimal for three-game tournaments and encourages a more balanced approach to list building (or at least discouraging single-trick lists).
By the luck of the draw I faced two other German Players (who I beat), and a Polish Airborne list (who carried the day). Three fun opponents, three good games, a generally good buzz and lots of beautiful armies to look at on the day. It is hard to ask for much more.

If you want to hear more about Operation Bear and things Bolt Action, I’m one of the guests on the Cast Dice Podcast discussing the day in more detail.

Maybe I’ll see you at tournament sometime.

D.

Fallschirmjager Fire Support

Another paint job that has been hanging around for months is finally finished, some support teams for my Fallschirmjager. it is lovely to have a somewhere to paint once again. I’m probably a squad and a sniper team short of a full FJ force, but as elite options for a German force in Bolt Action they may well do very nicely. All of the models are by Black Tree Designs.

First is a medium mortar.

A medium machine gun (which is good fun with the Hitler’s Buzz-saw rule, even if a bit fragile in play).42033066214_96b553b5a5_k

An LMG to add some firepower to one of the squads.42033065954_961c82167e_h

And a couple of random models I found in the same box.

I’m done with FJ for now. The cammo-smocks were an interesting challenge, but I’m not keen to return to 28mm camouflage patterns in the near future.

A last little observation: I know the blue helmets are anachronistic. OK, probably just plain wrong. But I like the silly touch as they remind me of my Airfix toys as a child.

D.

Konflikt 47 Resurgence

No posts for a while, largely because there has been very little hobby to write about. But over these last couple of weeks I have managed to get my gaming-pony saddled up once again.

Even though I haven’t got my hands on the new Konflikt 47 book Resurgence yet, I have managed to play a couple of games using the new rules with my more organised friend Brad.

First up we played a game using our existing lists to give some of the rule changes a spin.

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Despite their complete lack of suitable weapons, their complete lack of moral checks meant the totencorp gave this grizzly a huge shock, and a couple of pins before being squashed

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SS Shocktroopers in a truck, with their close fire support

The verdict is a big rift-tech powered thumbs up.

I’m not going to go into the changes here, because Brad and I went into it in a lot of detail on his new post cast Cast Dice:


For our second game we tried out the new Japanese list. Because I only have Germans painted, Brad supplied both armies. I played the British (Sikhs with a Grizzly walker), and Brad his great coated Japanese.

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Grizzly hiding in forest

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Japanese abandon their truck

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Sikh defend a remote farm

Brad won on both occasions, but they were close run things. We’ll be back for more.

All the photos are by Brad. The beautiful Sikh and Japanese armies are also his.

See you on the battlefields

D.

PAKing heat

Anti-tank guns were deployed far more frequently on the battlefields of the second world war than you sometimes see on the battlefields of Bolt Action. I’ve got no data to back this claim up, but I suspect that the changes to HE in version 2 may the mix move back to a more historic mix. Again, no data. Anyway, I’ve decided to do my bit by finally assembling and painting a PAK-40 I picked up many months ago from Black Tree Design in one of their frequent sales.

I didn’t enjoy putting this model together – usually the lack of assembly instructions for BTD models is not a major hurdle, but I suspect that I’m not alone in muttering as I build some arty.Anyway, Google was an ally and I ended up without too many pieces left over and the model undercoated.32717942200_9ebb1562c0_k

I got as far as a base coat (with a can of german looking yellow I found in the shed), and lost interest again for a while. I considered leaving it at this stage.
32944026252_d6e3bbfbd6_kNor were the crew in a good state:33058483646_fd3102adf4_k

They even had a Dwarf along for advice. My hobby mojo was missing. I was saved by my nephew. He showed me some of the Germans he was painting. And they were good. I got inspired, and picked up a brush again.

Not my best work, but table ready. Phew.

Now, back to the lead mountain.

D.

Daughters of the revolution

Scott bought over his growing Soviet force for Konflikt 47, the joint Warlord Games-Clockwork Goblin game of weird world war. The rules are similar but distinct from Bolt Action and bring new challenges to the table along with the opportunity to field some of your more esoteric units. The fictional diesel-punk background gives motivation for the weird-science that changes the course of the war and extends the fighting into 1947.

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Armoured SS-Shocktroopers take cover in a barn as their truck brews up

What lifts K-47 above a mere campaign book for BA, with a bit of fiction and a collection of special rules that add walking-armour, flying-troops and horror-elements, is that the core mechanics also change. The main shift is adding more complexity to the assault phase, which gives room for specialist close-combat troops to participate on equal footing in the game. Close combat is still lethal, as is shooting at a distance, but the changes mean that both types of units can compete without the game being unbalanced.  The added complexity works in this milieu because of the expanded range of abilities – it allows werewolves to exist on a battlefield full of machine-guns; handled well either can win.

Players of Gates of Antares will recognise the ability to react to enemy orders. This also brings new dimensions to game and is a welcome tweak, keeping both players engaged at the table in ways the IGYG rarely can. Reactions can be great, but while they can save a unit it still surrenders the initiative somewhat to your opponent. It is not always clear what is the best decision, which is what makes it a fun addition. I think the complexity of reaction-orders could be bought into Bolt Action too, although the ability of officers to order units when they activate does fill this niche in a simpler way.

 

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The Soviet first wave emerges from the morning mist

I pretty much took my standard Bolt Action Germans, adding some Games Workshop zombies as totenkorps, and a unit of sci-fi stormtroopers as ersatz SS-shocktroopers. We played 1,000 points, so while I usually take a Tiger in the late war (not because they’re ace, but because, well Tiger), I fielded a Stug III.

Scott’s army has more of the new units, with lots of walkers, a sonic-armed tank and a unit of daughters of the motherland. His painting skills are top-notch, let down by snaps with my phone-camera. We played the maximum attrition mission from the book.

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The Germans push forward to take up firing positions

The game was evenly balanced until turn 3. The Soviet advance was beginning to stall, with the Germans taking up good positions to take advantage of their better squad based shooting, and the Stug III was giving grief to the Soviet light walkers. It felt like to me like the Germans were about to take the upper hand and start not just laying pins but start to destroy Soviet units. Sensing the weakening resolve of their inexperienced brothers, the daughters of motherland broke cover and charged towards the not one but three LMG nests. Their rush forward left them in the open and taking fire from all sides they went to ground. However their enhanced DNA saw them survive, and by absorbing fire that would have destroyed most other units, allowed the other Soviets to push forward. The Germans found their own attack falter, and break.

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Mentioned in dispatches: daughters of the motherland

The Soviets took the field with a major victory over the fascist invaders.

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Totenkorps have yet to have a big impact in any game, but they do receive a lot of firepower

If you don’t mind a bit of weird in your world war, Konflikt 47 may well work for you. It adds lots of modelling opportunities and new challenges for your gaming pleasure.

Drop me a line if you want a game and happen to be near the Republic of Northcote.

It’s war but not as we know it

The safe route for Warlord Games would have been to release a weird war source book for Bolt Action. Add some rules for flying infantry, some new units and weapons, and a few scenarios, and they could have had a viable and fun vehicle for their diesel punk alternative history and the associated miniatures. Instead Warlord, in a joint venture with Clockwork Goblin,  did something much more brave: they created a whole new game, Konflikt ’47.

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Yep, these are GW zombies. But they’re in a truck, which tots makes them totenkorps

Anyone familiar with Bolt Action or its stablemate Beyond the Gates of Antares will recognise the core mechanics of order dice and random turns. But Konflikt ’47 has some distinct mechanics that really help bring this kooky new world to the table in a fun, balanced way.

It is a very clever and rather fun addition to the range. The two largest rules changes are to the assault rules and adding reaction orders. Close combat is still brutal, but the addition of a shooting round as units close to assault means that specialist close combat units like Totenkorp and Shrekwulfen do not automatically dominate this part of the game. Similarly, highly mobile flying units don’t get it all their own way as units can now deliver reaction fire and make other reaction type orders that keep generals at the table and making decisions all the time. All these rules interact in elegant and subtle ways that open up interesting new gaming possibilities.

Existing army books also work with the Konflikt rules. My friend Brad and I tried this out one evening at Games Laboratory. I took a Tiger, some SS vets in armour and a truck load of zombies. Brad took a Japanese list with no weird stuff. The game was compelling (albeit with some page flipping as we took in the new rules), and the Japanese won the day. Turns out medium howitzers can really mess up your day whether you start the day living or already dead!

It was nice to be rolling some dice again, and I think Konflikt 47 is a fun addition to the Warlord Games universe.
D.

VBAL May

Life can really get in the way of your hobby at times. I did managed to sign up for a tour of duty for the May Victorian Bolt Action League event. Three games in a day, held at the excellent House of War in Ringwood. I liked how Tristan organised the day. Rather than the usual swiss chess sort of thing, we were divided into axis and allies, so no blue on blue. He had also appointed overall commanders, who (in consultation with their team) allocated people to tables. Each table had a different mission, so the terrain matched the mission. Both terrific things to bring to an event, and greatly lowered the stress levels because there was no “top-table”.

I took my Germans, of course. They are still my only painted 28mm WWII. At 1,000 points I left my Tiger at home and gave my Stug III a run instead.

I faced Soviets twice and the US once. I didn’t win a sausage all day, but had a cracking good time.

Round 1 Loss to Rick Vaveliuk’s Soviets. I ran out of momentum (and men) in the centre, while a T34 demolished my supply dump on turn 7 to turn a draw into a good win.
It is always a pleasure to fight Rick and was a nice way to start the day

Round 2 Another loss. Soviets again. Having trouble keeping the Bolshevik hoards back today. Kittyhawk Down and a great game.
Thanks Tim, and nice to see the citizens’ militia on the table

Round 3 Loss to Chris in hold until relieved. Turn 3 just saw my Germans taking too many pins and I failed order tests across the board.
Clear victory to the marines.

D.

Airfix Bedford Truck

Man, life can really get in the way of hobby sometimes. So in an attempt to get my mini-mojo back I picked up an Airfix kit I bought a couple of months ago in a moment of nostalgia. It is a Bedford truck. As I don’t collect the British (in 28mm) I figured I could use it with my Germans, reasoning that it was left behind in 1940 and subsequently found its way into the Wehrmacht service.

I have not built an Airfix kit in a long long time, so I got a bit of a shock when I opened the box. There are a lot of parts for such a little vehicle.

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Forty steps! What had I got myself into?

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Actually, the kit is a pleasure. The molding is crisp, the plastic well behaved and the instructions clear. I did get a reminder on why you should read the instructions first. I’m mumbling along at the many tiny parts that create the engine when I realise that I can just glue the hood shut and not have to do any of those bits!

I realise as I type this I’m a windscreen short of finished, but even without it I’m pleased with the result:

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Brrm! Brrm!
D.