weird war turkey

Back in 2018 I wondered what sort of army Turkey would have in the weird-science, alternate history world of Konflikt 47. And, here is my answer.

Staying neutral as long as possible, Turkey enters the war late, signing as part of the Axis with Germany. With the real and fictional history only diverging in 1943, I felt this was a great opportunity to field a wide range of armour and other units, representing an under-prepared Turkey scrambling to respond to the seeming unavoidable Soviet invasion from the east and north-east.

I have chosen to restrict the number of units with weird technology. This reflects the junior partner nature, and likely German skepticism of just how committed their new ally is to the cause. In particular, I have no horror causing units which are such a distinct feature of German lists.

I swapped the heads of the Italian heavy infantry. I ended up with this set accidentally when I grabbed the Italian instead of the German box. Always take your reading glasses to the hobby shop. There is little chance for confusion, as this is a distinct looking unit in the force. Tougher than ordinary infantry they are still susceptible to anything that have armour piercing capability. If you can get them into cover near an objective they will be hard to dislodge.

The core of most armies are ordinary, regular infantry squads. With a few fezzes added, they are armed as late-war Germans. One squad has an LMG, but under my home brew they don’t get the Hitler’s Buzz Saw special rule, so no extra shot, leaving them with the same number of shots as other armies.

The second compulsory infantry choice has assault rifles and a panzerfaust.

Not all units are first-line. I will use these WWI Ottoman Turks from Woodbine Design as inexperienced troops.

Germany have deployed observers. Their role is to train and advise their new allies in battle spaces impacted by weird technology. Veteran observers have the special rule, Weird Tech is Expensive, which allows Turkey to field (selected) units with weird technology. These miniatures are Gebirgsjäger from Black Tree Design.

By keeping the colour palette restricted I have helped to give a more cohesive look to what is otherwise an intentionally disparate model selection.

A Panzer IV in Turkish livery. The decals are 1:48 modern Turkish air force and have come out great.

The Panzer IV-X is funky science version of the Panzer IV. The turret is a simple swap with the ordinary Panzer IV. So, while I can’t field both, I have the choice to field either in a game.

The Allied nations had hoped Turkey would join the war on their side. Part of this process was access to the Lend Lease program, where Turkey took delivery of a wide range of different tanks, all in small numbers. This included Valentines. This model is from Rubicon.

Every army needs officers. These figures are all from the Woodbine Design first world war range. They are lovely minis, full of character.

A German Liaison officer and his interpreter. As long as the interpreter is alive, the officer gets to use his German national rule to add an extra unit to the number he can Snap To. Liaison officers also have the Weird Tech is Expensive rue, so are an alternative to an Observer squad. Next project might need to include some practice with faces.

Support squads include a Pak 38.

Which has a Kettenkrad as a tow. This is another Rubicon kit.

A sniper and his spotter.

A medium Mortar.

A medium machine gun, another set from the Woodbine Design Ottoman range.

An anti-tank gun. By the late war these were mostly useless against most of the common armour. However, these heavy caliber rifles have found a role on the Konflikt 47 battlefield as a specialised sniper targetting heavy infantry and lightly armoured walkers.

Perhaps my favourite model is this Spinne Light Panzermech. Silly and wonderful in equal measure. In game they are reliable reconnaissance vehicles, suitable for rough terrain.

A feature of the Independence War in the early 1920s were irregular fighters that fought both for and against the emerging Republic (and sometimes both). I have included a unit of irregular cavalry, reflecting local resistance to the invasion of their homeland in 1947.

In addition to the painting and modelling, I have written a home brew army list. A draft version is posted here.

There are heaps more pictures in other posts. You can find them by using tags, especially the tag Turkish Army. My next goal will be to get them onto the table.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me so far.

fark!

Back in 2018 I had an idea to build a Turkish force for Konflikt 47. I accumulated most of the models I wanted, and there it sat until May last year when I picked up it once more.

One of the first units I started was a cavalry squad of irregulars. Which then sat on my desk until it was the last unit left unpainted. Well, I picked up my courage. Picked up my brush, and now, I have finished! Seventy-odd fighters, several tanks, and support units. Phew!

Kit-based, based on the Perry’s US Civil War cavalry

In my home brew army list, irregulars have the special rule, The Hills Have Eyes. This means the local area knowledge of the irregular units prevents opponents from outflanking. This rule is one of the Bulgarian national traits re-named, and I think brings some nice flavour (and options) to the list.

I will do better pictures, and get a beauty parade together. But I’m a little bit excited at reaching this point and wanted to share this with y’all.

where should I put it

I realised that I need a tow for the Pak 38. Otherwise it will never get to come onto the board in a lot of missions! In the cupboard was this nifty Kettenkrad from Rubicon. Problem solved.

I don’t think they are in the K-47 rule book, but in Bolt Action it is up to towing a medium anti-tank gun, so I’m including the option in my home brew Turkish list.

I really enjoyed assembling this little vehicle. It went together easily, despite some of the parts being tiny.

There are decals, but I can’t see them without a magnifying glass, so I’m not going there.

This kit includes a Goliath on a trailer. Very cool, even if there are no immediate plans to blow anything up with it.

The fez wearing passenger isn’t glued on, so with a simple swap I will be able to use it for German lists in Bolt Action too.

With a large Turkish force, I’m wondering if I need some Soviets now …

fire support

This week, some fire support weapons for my Turkish Konflikt 47 project. A mortar and an anti-tank gun. Both are handy in games and both fit the background well.

In Konflikt-47 and Bolt Action, medium mortars are fantastic. Especially when paired with a spotter, they can project a useful threat or help dig out dug-in enemies.

The model is from Warlord Games, from their Afrika Korps range. They are nice miniatures, with a feel that the crew in the middle of laying a barrage. To tie in with the wider army I have swapped the head of one crew member to wear a fez.

Also from the Afrika Korps Warlord Games range is this pak 38 anti-tank gun.

Metal artillery from Warlord can be fiddly to assemble. I get around this by mostly not worrying if a part is missing or upside down, as long as the overall look is OK. The crew are great, though, with dynamic poses. Just like the mortar, they bring a feeling of a crew in action.

This crew also has a one fellow wearing a fez.

A pak 40 is probably a better choice, classified as heavy a/t over the medium a/t for pak 38. However I already have a pak 40 for my world war two Germans, so I wanted something a little different.

My reading leaves me with the impression that anti-gun guns are critical in stopping tanks, in games and real life. Time and again, it seems that gun screens could be far more dangerous to tanks than other tanks.

I had a look in the cupboard and it seems I only have one unit left unpainted in this Turkish force. It is true, armies are never really finished, but this is a bit of milestone just ahead. Wow!

lend lease love

One of the things that motivated me to explore a Turkish army for Konflikt 47 is the mad array of armoured vehicles that Turkey possessed over the war period. This has been a great excuse to build and paint some vehicles without having to start a whole new army. Vehicles like this British Valentine tank.

In K-47, real world history is followed until the rift opens (in 1944) and the world jumps into a parallel, weird-science timeline. Up until 1943, wooing by the Allies included 180 Valentines from the UK, acquired as part of lend lease.

Reasonably well armoured and fitted with a QF 6-pdr anti-tank gun, the Valentine was a robust tank for its time and I can see it becoming a trusted member of the Turkish tank regiments.

Most of the delivered tanks are mark VIII. I include mark X tanks in my home brew list, which are fitted with a co-axial MMG in the turret. This makes the tank more useful in game and matches the kit I had in the cupboard. It is my fan fiction after all.

The model is a Rubicon plastic kit and is right on the usual quality from them.

The Turkish flags are from a decal set for the modern Turkish air force which I think do the job nicely.

I have more than enough complete units to get some games in. It might be very close to get some group shots together. And maybe even roll some dice.

Turkish Support Teams

More progress on my growing Turkish army for Konflikt 47. Today a couple of support teams.

First, a sniper team. Yes, the gunner has a turban. In the Greek-Turkish war of 1922 there were many irregulars on both sides from many backgrounds. I think it is likely similar diversity will also occur in the crisis of 1947. Sniper teams are perfect to show off some of the more independent souls who join the fight to defend their homeland.

The other squad is a medium machine gun. These miniatures are WWI Ottomans from Woodbine Designs.

The older MMG will not look out of place on the table.

Next in the queue, a lend lease tank.

Get me a bigger fez

Sometimes shiny gold buttons and red collars are not enough. You also need a big hat to show just how important you are.

Today I have some officers for my Turkish Konflikt 47 project. Three of the five figures are Ottoman Turks from Woodbine Designs WWI range. They are very nice miniatures, with heaps of character.

I don’t really need all of these officers, but they came as a set. And now I have options, and painted minis.

I also completed a German Liaison Officer. Under my home brew rules, for a Turkish force to have access to the weird tech, German observers must be present. These officers and their teams provide advice on correct tactics of the new weapons. They also keep an eye on the political reliability of their new allies. Attending the liaison officer is an interpreter. German officers with an interpreter are allowed to use their Snap To on Turkish units, including the extra die that German officers have as part of their national rules

This final figure will become a forward observer for artillery or air support.

Next it the queue are some more support teams.

See you on the battlefields.

More Mehmets

The backbone of any army are its infantry squads. I have been plugging away on another squad for my Turkish army for Konflikt 47. These Mehmetçik have a mix of uniforms including some camouflage capes to reflect the stretched nature of Turkish forces in this alternate-history.

Their headgear is a mix of German helmets, cloth caps and fezzes. I’m quite pleased with how they have come up. I have used plastic grenadier models from Warlord Games with a sprinkling of British packs to shift the look. The fezzes are the WG Handschar heads with eagles shaved off.

The NCO has a Soviet PPSh-41, suggesting he is a seasoned squad leader.

These fellows have been sitting on my painting desk since before Christmas. I had convinced myself that I was too busy to paint, but I think the dull reality is I felt a bit daunted by the camouflage scheme. Which is silly, because this is totally my choice. The list isn’t even historic. We are our own enemies at times.

After all that, I’m pleased with the general effect I have achieved.

Of course, I have included a squad based MG. I’m not sure why the dude is wielding a stick-grenade, but he has a pretty determined look on his face so I’m not about to argue with him.

Mehmetçik translates as Little Mehmet. It has a similar place to Tommy as a term used with some affection to refer to soldiers in the Ottoman army during the First World War and into the independence period.

Next up will be some support squads and some officers. You can tell the officers from the fancy fez they wear.

Pack more ammo

If medium machines guns sometimes seem underwhelming on Bolt Action tables, squad based support weapons seem to suffer from not even being invited to the dice-rolling party. Squad based light machine guns are a common topic when BA players gather. A lot of the debate centers on the cost of including LMG in your infantry squads.

With a basic cost of 20 points and requiring another squad member to act as loader, LMG are not cheap. In return, you get 4 shots with a range of 36″. An increase of 2 shots over two soldiers with rifles. LMG also increase the reach of a basic squad with rifles by 12″. In game terms, the choice to include LMG will depend on what role a squad has in your army.

I often include squads with LMG in my armies. Partially this is because I tend to play Germany who, with the Hitler’s Buzz Saw national rule, get an extra shot for LMG and MMG. However, the main reason I include LMG is because they were typical of German infantry doctrine. Especially in defense, squads were mostly porters for MG ammunition. A kind of history tax paid by players who are not completely focused on list optimisation.

I have never notices that big-arsed mold line until I took this photo. A misshapen head won’t stop him from doing his duty though.

I toy with what rules changes could be made to LMG to encourage their use. A points reduction is tempting, but moving the value of just one weapon, especially one that appears in nearly every list, will likely have unintended knock on effects. As ever, Konflikt 47 has a nice solution, allowing squads with at least two LMG (or one MMG) to use suppression fire. This is a trade-off of -1 to hit to cause an additional pin if you do, which is handy at times and captures some of the weight of fire aspect of MG.

An alternative could be to allow squads with an LMG to split into combat teams, creating the opportunity for (historical) fire and maneuver tactics. The LMG provides supporting fire as the rest of the squad moves to assault or take ground. This idea has all sorts of headaches, the magical addition of an extra order die for starters. I suspect the most simple answer is to take slightly smaller squads to represent combat teams, and use the officer rule to pull additional dice to help co-ordinate assaults.

Surely nobody did this outside of posing for a photograph? It is still an ace vignette from Crusader

So, LMG: don’t leave home without them. Oh, and remember to bring plenty of ammunition.

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?