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including some with experience from the first world war and war of liberation, much of their equipment was hopelessly out of date and inadequate. Training was also often outdated, a situation that is being rectified by the presence of German observers and training units.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.

 

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They’re here!

Last post I mentioned I was working on some US infantry from Crusader Miniatures. Well, I’ve managed to complete them and in what is record time for me. The box had 24 dudes, and included several models with sub-machine guns, two officers and two with BAR. So enough for three smaller squads or two larger depending on what is needed.

I still need to get my photography fixed up. I’ve been using my phone, but I am not as happy with the results. Back to the SLR, I guess, even though it is a bit more fiddling to upload the photos. I think my main problem is lighting, but the SLR seems more forgiving of the less than perfect light and focus combination required.

The models on the other hand, I am pleased with.

An added bonus is that these 2 or 3 squads, depending on how their counted, also mean I’ve completed the June It challenge. Yay me!

Next up is back to the Germans, I’m a tank short of a list I submitted for a tournament this weekend. But after that, I think it will be onto the some support options for the US.

See you on the battlefield.

 

The Yanks Are Coming

Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming
The Yanks are coming
The drums rum-tumming
Everywhere
So prepare, say a prayer
Send the word, send the word to beware
We’ll be over, we’re coming over
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there

I’m not sure if it’s derogatory to refer to US citizens as yanks, but these are the lyrics from the 1942 classic Yankee Doodle Dandy, so I’m guessing it’s OK in the context.

Clearing my desk of the fallschirmjager has made room to start on some US infantry from Crusader Miniatures. I have had these in the cupboard from before Bolt Action was released, so it is high-time they got a chance to get some paint on. Still to be based but I’m pretty happy with the result. Here is a sample of the first 20 odd.

Next up will be to add a couple of 30 cal machine guns, a mortar and a bazooka team. Together with a few vehicles, including the walker I’ve nearly finished, and I will have a small force versatile enough for a reinforced or armoured platoon for both Bolt Action and Konflikt 47.

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Mudskipper, Medium Jump Walker

Huzzah! (Or whatever it is that Americans yell when they’re happy.)

D.

Smash fascism (and the patriarchy)

The representation of women in wargaming is an ongoing discussion. That women of all ages, and children and older people (of all genders), have been victims of war is a fact that can only be disputed through a narrow interpretation of facts. However, gaming (overwhelmingly) focuses on the soldiers, the majority of who have been male.

Fantasy and science fiction have an easy fix available: create worlds where the patriarchy is consigned to the dustbin. Creations like this cannot be disputed for inaccuracy. That we do not is a reflection of our communities’ biases.

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Historical gaming has a genuine challenge here, since overwhelmingly combatants were (and are) male. There are companies that are seeking to shift this balance, and being companies I guess they are doing so in response to demand. Good on them. Bad Squiddo Games come to mind as doing a particularly good job of making women warriors available, consciously rejecting the pernicious sexualisation that mars so many female figures (Games Workshop is an easy source of examples, but are typical rather than especially poor in representing women).

Given there were only ever around 1500 tiger tanks produced and I suspect far more than this in service on wargame tables, I have no particular problem with female soldiers appearing more frequently than they did (or even stretching some of their roles). For WWII gaming, the Soviet Union and Partizan forces both provide historical basis for creating armies with female combatants.

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Black Tree Design

Konflikt 47 has a wonderful opportunity, being a fantasy (diesel-punk) extension to the second world war. The background story has nuclear weapons tearing strange holes in space though which the competing nations receive information about how to build new (and terrible) weapons. The new technology see the Germans hold the allies east and west, extending the war into 1947. Part of the story extends real world events and strains: the Soviet Union splits from the allies, making the war three-way in Europe and the Middle East.

A real world shift not emphasized in the story to date is the role of women in the war. In every country, women stepped into roles dominated by men: particularly in factories, on farms, transport and planning. The access to the new rift-tech still requires soldiers to wield the new weapons.

The trend in the Soviet Union was to include women, and with two potential new fronts (Japan and Iraq) and the ending of US Lend Lease, this trend will be accelerated.

The United Kingdom, except for possibly India, were under enormous pressure after six continuous years of war. Given the opportunities given to women in the quirky Operation Sealion expansion for Bolt Action, I think getting a few into khaki for K-47 makes sense.

The United States still had a lot of man-power, but the rising affluence (and influence) of women could plausibly see them not just building the tanks but operating them.

French women took up arms when they could to liberate their country. I think they would not shirk their duty given the chance in 1947.

The case for the axis is less clear. While Germany faced acute shortages of combat fit soldiers, the deeply dysfunctional and conservative regime seems to me to be unlikely to recruit women (outside of home defense units). Unlike the other nations, the role of women as mother and wife was central to the nazi regime’s view of itself. I think it is plausible that Osttruppen, Hitler Youth, and Volksturm could all include women. And armed BDM seem to be more likely than flying vampires.

The Italians have less opportunity given their lack of resources and constraints from allies, but I think for different reasons the rump of the fascists in the north (desperation), and the newly liberated nation of the south (revenge) would both allow women into their fighting units.

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Rocketeers from Eureka Minatures

New possibilities for armies, miniatures and expanding representation on the table top. I can see no downside here. So how about it Warlord?

 

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.

Eureka Rocketeers

I always enjoy visiting Eureka Miniatures, there is always something new to have a look at, often just before it appears on the web. Nic has a lovely way of getting you to walk away with more than you meant to when you walked in.  The team create some lovely, quirky and characterful miniatures. A nice example is the Pulpitations range by the crazy talent of Kosta Heristandis. I picked up a unit of the Rocketeers back in August last year:

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Some of the rocketeers prior to clean-up; there isn’t a lot to do, some minimal flash and mould lines

Other projects were in the queue, so they joined the rest of my US army in the cupboard:

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Eventually these guys will get to invade Italy

So, with a vague idea that I won’t buy anything new until I paint the stuff I have – hah, like we all know how well that works! – I did make a start on the Rocketeers:

In part I used it as an opportunity to test some green colours for the US. (Or is that green color, when you do the USA?)  I bought a selection of women with caps and helmets. All of the figures come with either.

They are nearly done, the bases mostly, but I think the US need to come forward in the queue so I can have an excuse to get these girls on the table. K-47 has jump troops, so I think they will work nicely to add a touch of weird science to what I intend to be mostly a Bolt Action force:

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Just noticed googles and some other bits and pieces still to do. So, nearly there, but not quite

Catch you around the battle fields of 1947 one day.

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.