Wednesday, April 24, 2013

KSK - Part 1

After finishing the last sculpt, I didn´t stay idle for long and finished my next little project. As I got sick over the weekend and didn´t have much energy to pursue other activities, I made some good progress on the minis while watching series in the background.

I picked one of the assorted figures from my small sculpting list and started on some Bundeswehr Special Forces - Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK). Thanks to the new tools I ordered in early april, you can see some significant improvements in the amount of detail on the figures. I´m amazed by the difference it makes to work with these tools (simple dental tools, btw, obtained from the UK for 6 pounds + postage, so very cheap after all!). Definitely a worthwile investment!

So, the figure to the left is the group leader - unfortunately the weaponry didn´t have any more G36c or G36k in stock, so he had to take the long version to battle...

The guy on the right is a Designated Marksman / LMG-Gunner carrying the HK21, which is also known as G8 in the German Army.

Sorry for the blur on the last picture - I think you can still get the most important features, but I finally lost patience after taking ten bad pictures or so in a row.

Next, I will take a small sidetour to Africa and sculpt two minis for the National Army of Malongo, and then I will probably get back to complete the KSK-Team with two more guys.

Until then!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bundeswehr Trupp

Second Post for today, as you can see, I spent my afternoon doing some wargaming-stuff.

As you have obviously noticed, I also changed the layout of my blog to get it a little brighter, more optimistic and appealing. The old layout was getting somewhat too dark for my taste and the map in the background didn´t fit that much, as I´m mostly doing modern stuff right now. Might have been right for renaissance, but somehow this project has suffered a backdrop as I´ve delved deeper into moderns. I´ll probably get back to it sometime in the future, but probably not too soon, which is why I dropped the theme for now.

Anyway, I´ve painted up more Bundeswehr Soldiers today and have already incorporated the MG-Gunner into the group. Now, I´m missing a Gunner for my second team (probably going to wield an MG4 instead of the MG3, as those are getting replaced on the squad-level) and I´ve got my first functional and fully assembled Gruppe.

German Troops taking cover in a rock formation

Do you still recognize the MG-Gunner? ;)

Suppressive Fire!

The forgotten Designated Marksman

Do you remember the Designated Marksman I was sculpting in February?
Actually, I finished him quite some time ago, but forgot to put him online, because I wasn´t that satisfied with the result. He has become much taller than he should be, he is as high as a standing mini though he is supposed to be kneeling. This is probably also why is helmet looks too small.
Don´t consider him 100% finished, there are some tidbits I´d have to fix to claim this, but I don´t see much point on improving this when the basis is not satisfactory and cannot be fixed anyway.

Still, I wanted to share him with you, just for completeness´  sake.

I´m also putting together a list of sculpting-projects I want to do sooner or later. If you´re interested, I´ll publish it here.

On a sidenote:
Mission 9 of Operation Firefly is in the works, but we´ve just started turn 2, so it will take some more time to finish.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Operation Firefly - Mission 8: Rear Guard

After finishing our long-lasting game (the outcome is condensed into the pseudo-newpaper article I wrote recently), we where able to gather some steam and finish mission 8 of our campaign. We´ve used the experimental house rules again.


Intelligence has indicated that the Taliban are preparing a number of ambushes along the supply routes leading towards El Qualeed and Mul Qasr. Fighters are gathering along the road and setting up their positions to strike the next transports moving through. Fortunately, we can act on this knowledge, prevent the damage and secure our supply-route. Local Militia and one of your Squads is already on the move to outflank the enemy elements and hit them by surprise, clearing the way for the convoi to pass and hopefully disrupt their organisation. The Taliban present there are believed to be local fighters and anti-coalition militia, but well armed and equiped with heavy weapons that are posing a serious threat to our convois.
Your task is to find and destroy their heavy weapons in the village of Mashab and conquer the central compound by the road, which is a good position to control the surrounding area while the convoi moves through.

-Find and Disable all (three) Crew Served Weapons in the area (10 VP)
-Clear & Occupy the central compound (5 VP)

Coalition forces consisted of one US Infantry Squad (TQ 8 / Morale D10) and one ANA-Squad (TQ6, Morale D6). The squads where split with each providing one fireteam for each entry zone sector, going with a balanced approach and mentored ANA-Teams.

The US deployed an unarmed UAV to scan the area during the battle, costing them 5 COIN.

Turn 1

Right away, the Afghan Fireteam on the right flank came under fire by an RPG-team (one of the target CSW-teams) that caused severe casualties among the Afghans. With only one of five surviving the hail of fire, the ANA-team got pinned and suppressed right away, unable to continue its advance or return fire.

[Note that the picture is wrong, the Taliban team took no casualties in this turn! Something got mixed up in the process an the picture ended up wrongly.]

On the other side of the battlefield, things wheren´t going any better:
Advancing carefully while shots ring from the other side of the battlefield, the Afghans check one of the contacts ahead and identifies him as an urarmed man. Meanwhile, the Machinegun-Team conceiled between the trees holds their fire, waits and assesses the situation before finally opening fire on the Marines.
Slow to react and distracted by the radio chatter about the firefight in their east, the Marines take two casualties before getting their act together and killing one of the enemy insurgents in a less then formidable performance. They are pinned though and unable to continue their advance.

Turn 2 
After checking their casualties, the Afghans find one of their soldiers dead and two lightly wounded from fragments of the exploding RPG.
The Americans are more fortunate, one of the Soldiers is fine and almost instantly back on his feet, the other one is in shock from the awful experience of 12.7mm bullets cracking past. His body is shaking heavily, his aim is unsure, but he´ll be fine after some time to recover...

Having seen enough death and destruction in the war to be indifferent to the death of one more man, the Afghans on the right press on under the cover of smoke and are able to lay down some fire on the RPG-team while the US Fireteam provides overwatch from a safe position.

They are able to gain fire superiority for a short moment, but fail to intimidate the well entrenched RPG-team in their position. Through the effort of the overwatching US fireteam and their scoped weapons, the RPG team does suffer the loss of its leader, but the RPG-gunner is unimpressed and sends another rocket straight towards the Afghan soldiers. The exploding warhead sends shrapnels flying that kill one of the soldiers and knock one of them off his feet – fortunately, the American Bodyarmour that were recently provided to the Afghans stop the metal fragments and he is able to get up again after taking a deep breath.

As they provide Overwatch and shoot one of the Taliban, the soldiers of Fireteam Blue realize with terror that they have just sent their Afghan soldiers into a terrible trap, as they spot multiple contacts in the building right next to where the Afghans are pinned down and taking casualties... though these armed men did not yet open fire, their intentions seem hostile and most likely their lack of activity is just a sign of their bad discipline rather than lack of will.

On the other flank, Team Green is also able to lay down a smokescreen, improving their defense against the entrenched Machine Gun. Nevertheless, they take a gruesome volume of fire from the AA-gun in the woods, getting pinned down by the wall, unable to advance any further. One of the men is seriously injured and in a critical state, his leg chopped off by a 12,7mm bullet. The team has to tend to the casualty before advancing any further.

On the bright side, the focussed attention of the machinegun means that Fireteam Red is able to advance unhindered, and while doing fire and maneuver, they even silence the Machinegun – though not for long, as the gunner crawls up from cover, bleeding from some smaller cuts from 40mm-fragments, taking aim again...

Drone Intelligence
 Turn 3

The US fireteam on the left flank advances into the round compound and engages the remaining DshK-Gunner that is still manning the gun after getting up again. 

On the right flank, the Afghan Fireteam deploys smoke and attempts to withdraw, but are caught by a huge volume of inaccurate suppressive fire from the building, pinning them in place again. They take another casualty and hunker down, while the US Team moves into the white compound trying to get a clear line of fire on the Taliban element. As the Afghans are still unable to disengage, the US soldiers attack the remaining RPG-gunner in the foxhole instead, killing him before he is able to hit the Afghans in the flank. 

Turn 4


The US team on the left flank leaves the round clay building, advancing further to the south. Somehow, the soldiers are able to see through the wall of the compound with its very narrow entrance from this direction because somehow I didn´t feel like arguing with my US player. They shoot two Taliban and cause some substential fear among the group, sending three more enemy fleeing (2 left in the building).  The enemy is too disorganized to react to this new threat

Talk about impossible shots...
...but they probably popped a 40mm Grenade close to the door

The second US Fireteam attempts to change their position, but as they are trying to close in on the next building, they are greeted by an well conducted ambush from inside their new position. Obviously, Taliban fighters have been waiting for them. Fortunately, the soldiers are able to get to cover quickly enough and despite getting pinned and suppressed in the relatively open ground between the buildings, they are able to put enough fire on their target to kill at least one of the four Taliban – wether by coincidence or skill, they kill the leader of the group, 


Meanwhile, the Afghans on the right flank try to patch up their seriously wounded  and are unable to move out of their perilous location. Their comrades on the left successfully take up position to breach, but fail their first attempt and need more time to figure out the english manual for their C4 charges. 

Turn 5

Orders for Blufor, Turn 5
While advancing into the field, Team Red (US, left flank) stumbles upon a group of Taliban hidden away in a well camouflages position behind some treestumps. The enemy is obviously preparing an ambush, but somehow give away their location. Team Red is quick to react and instantly kills half of the team in a close range firefight. Shattered by this experience, two other local Talibans try to flee, but are also shot on their retreat into the bushes. Red advances to their overrun position and checks the bodies, no survivors. While closing in, they locate another person somewhere in the field, unarmed, ducking away.
At the same time, Green moves east and engages the Taliban in the compound. Their inaccurate riflefire causes no casualties, but the enemy is prevented from moving out of their position as the soldiers spray the doors and windows with bullets

Yellow engages the second cell in front of blue. Overwatch-fire decimates the enemy numbers to one man, Afghan fire has no effect – the last diehard insurgent fires his RPG at the Police Force and suppresses them again, though not scoring any casualties. To the horror of the coalition forces, one of the Taliban is getting up again after receiving a definite hit...

[Sorry for the lack of pictures, I still had trouble with the cam] 

Turn 6

While advancing through the fields towards the main entrance, one of the soldiers notices the alleged civilian fumbling around with something, hectically looking up and down between the soldiers and the device in his hands. Aroused by this suspicious behaviour, the soldiers take aim and order him to throw the thing away, but the Afghan man panics and tries to run away. One of the soldiers looses his nerves and shoots him. Searching his body, the Marines find a trigger in his hand... Alarmed and even more on edge then before, they continue towards the building – spotting two more suspicious contacts in the woods by the field....  (two separate contacts)

Green tries to get their asses moving, but the Taliban are finally back on track and fire an RPG at the wall of the house. Though the wall holds firm, one of the soldiers gets wounded. Panicking, the other Afghans hurry to cover, spray bullets everywhere but on target and are stuck almost in the same place they started.

Shooting at the Taliban to no avail while advancing, Yellow tries to join Green, but with green pinned down and suppressed, they are unable to meet them at the rendevous point – even though they reach it in time, green is not there.

After taking more Riflefire from the two-man cell ahead, Blue walks in its Underbarrel Grenades and scores a direct hit into the window, killing both men inside and follow up into the building.

Drone Intel just before the end of the turn

Turn 7

Blue lays down a barrage of fire on the Insurgents in the northern house, confirming two kills. They proceed to the next position after fulfilling their task, noticing a local hiding in a windowframe. Though he is positively identified to be a hostile and engaged, the Afghan is ducking away while the US troopers race towards the house. Surviving the unaimed and uncoordinated fire from the US fireteam, the Local triggers a large but poorly made IED, hitting the last soldier that hasn´t yet entered the building. Shocked, his teammates pull him in and consolidate their position, only one room next to the bomber... but at least not in the open

As the compound to the north is now cleared, yellow moves in (green is still busy patching up its most recent casualty) and identifies the unknown contact as an Afghan hiding in the orchard – they immediately sense the danger after hearing the explosion that just erupted and spray away like madmen – hitting nothing but the walls and the sky.
Unintimidated, the bomber blows up his IED installed inside the wall of the compound. The Afghans are lucky though, as the blast drives developes to the outward and noone inside the building is hit, while the triggerman is hit by fragments of his own device. The nearby civilian hiding from the chaos of the battle inside the walls is also hit by shrapnels and goes down.
After hesitating for a split-second as the two explosions rock the battlefield, Red prepares to engage the enemy men – but isn´t able to do so in time. Another, smaller explosion – more like that of a landmine than a large detonation – on the road follows. Small, but full of shrapnels flying around at the low angle, the device has indeed been made by a very skilled bombmaker. The shapnels hit one of the Marines. The soldiers collapses, while the rest opens fire on the two bombers and bring down both enemies in a concerted action before a second device explodes. However, having just taken a casualty, they are not very keen to storm the building potentially filled with hostiles.... 
 At this point, I also offered a deal to my US opponent, as we where switching to the experimental rules and he didn´t have any idea how that would influence the required tactics.
The deal was:  Either he would accept defeat in after turn 8 with a VP score of 7-10 against him (which is minor defeat and was a more generous result than he would have gained if the game had ended after turn 8 under normal circumstances) or he would get an additional 2 turns, but no more generosity, with the risk of losing out completely - or winning everything.
He finally decided to take the extension of the turn limit.

Turn 8, 9  and 10

Both US Soldiers are found seriously wounded only moments afterwards.
Careful after experiencing three explosions in a very short timespan, all soldiers scan the horizon even more carefully – and indeed, the danger doesn´t seem over yet, as Team Red identifies another potential triggerman trying to hide in the fields to their south...

Due to nerves of steel and emotional detachment, the US units split and leave one man tending to the casualties, while the others are continuing their advance.

It was later determined that this is not how things are meant to play out and will not happen again. To quote evilrobotshane:
[...]if you read the bits around the rule (I think the rule itself and an explanatory box about how the Serious Wound result being more crippling to the unit than the Dead result seems initially counterintuitive), it's fairly clear that the situation is supposed to represent an emotionally charged struggle to save a life; a player trying to have most of the unit say to one guy "you got this? We'll be over here if you need us" is a bit poo. 
 So, a part of team red grabbed their support weapons and moved up to kill the remaining mortar team, succeeded in doing so and claimed the VP for this. Fortunately, this error would not have distorted the result of the game if it hadn´t been committed, as both split units scored their VP in turn 9, which would have left turn 10 - so, even with one turn stationary, things wouldn´t have turned out much different, due to the enourmus luck of both units.

Meanwhile, blue prepared to approach the compound to aid the Afghan teams in storming the building. In turn 9,  both Blue and Green are successfull in breaching the compound and storm the building. Confusion reigns and disoriented by the two-pronged approach, the six defenders inside are unable to mount a coordinated defense by fire. They quickly succumb to the assaulting force and the compound is cleared.
One alleged Taliban Leader is taken prisoner and will be taken to base for further interrogation.
Storming the compound from two sides


The supply-route is cleared, the Taliban ambush on the convoi has been spoiled - all crew served weapons are destroyed, the compound on the road is safe. For now, the supply-route is safe. This is a crushing defeat for the Taliban, who lose a fair amount of support among the populace in addition to the losses suffered in the area.

The Taliban lose their entire presence in the area, Blufor gains 26 COIN from VP.
5 COIN are expended for the UAV that was used in the mission.

Net COIN-gain is 21. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MG3-Gunner - Finished!

I´ve finally finished the MG3-Gunner. He now has a decent structure on his plate carrier, an improved, bearded face (though unfortunately not that well visible on the pictures) and some kind of ammo-chain (though I´m not 100% satisfied with this one, might change it later)

Hope you like it! 
I´m probably going to invest in some decent tools very soon, to further improve the quality of future sculpts. This is still made with very improvised tools.

Apart from that, we´re almost finished with Scenario 8 of our campaign, so you might see some update soon. Furthermore, we´re preparing to introduce the Fog of War-Mechanism outlined December Last year in the next campaign turn (after one more scenario on the tabletop) and add some more spice to the game. 

So, stay tuned!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Last week, three American soldiers have been killed in a daylight assault on an outpost in Afghanistan. Several more where wounded, before US Helicopters drove the attackers off.

 By Martin Bourne

picture source:
Three American servicemen where killed last week by a Taliban attack in southern Afghanistan. According to detailed information released by the US State Department, extremist Insurgents attacked an American outpost in the remote Lagashkar-District in broad daylight and where able to creep as close as 50 yards before being driven off by American Airpower. US Army officials estimated that up to 100 heavily armed insurgent fighters participated in the attack on the remote outpost, after another group of insurgents had lured the quick reaction force away from the base.

"This was a well organized attack, planned and led by experienced insurgent commanders.", a US Intelligence Officer said, "We have also found evidence of foreign jihadists participating in the assault - Al Qaida Fighters from Syria and Iraq and probably also Chechens."

Only the fierce resistance of US soldiers trapped inside the base and the overwhelming use of Air Power prevented a bigger catastrophe. Despite suffering three dead and several wounded, the US Military regards the battle as a success. "The enemy has suffered an estimated 50% casualty rate, with several hardcore insurgents and foreign fighters among the dead. We believe that this battle dealt a big blow to the Taliban command structures and that the horrific casualties will affect the number of new recruits willing to join the insurgents. The enemy is now on the backdrop, in need to regroup and reorganize. We are not going to give them time to rest though.", said Lt-General Hathfield, commanding officer in the region. However, some security analysts do not share his optimistic evaluation of the attack. William Shannon, researcher for the Afghan Security Board, offers a different interpretation of the battle: "What we have seen here is a complex engagement, successfully planned and executed without the knowledge of any US intelligence. The fact that such a huge number of enemy fighters where able to gather close to a US outpost is a shameful display of how little we know about the local support for the Insurgents and how bad our disposition with the local populace is. Though the attack was ultimately repelled by Apache Helicopters, the attack shows how thinly stretched the US forces are in the region. While lead elements are pushing ever deeper into the area, there is hardly enough strength left to protect regions that where already secured earlier from reoccupation.", Shannon says. "The Taliban retreated and melted away after being confronted with Airpower - this is their usual reaction and merely means they are still somewhere in the region, preparing for their next strike. Meanwhile, US casualties are mounting and public pressure on a quick withdrawal is increasing."

picture source:

US Forces are scheduled to leave the country until the end of 2014. Until then, Afghan Securities Forces are supposed to take over province by province. "We are confident that the Afghans are able to take responsibility during the next year. Our effort to train and equip the Afghan soldiers are showing good results. Though are assistance will be needed beyong 2014, we will be able to hand over the security tasks to the local forces and concentrate on training and aid."

Despite these claims of the US Military, Shannon remains sceptical.
"Though the quality of Afghan Forces is improving, substential doubt remains if the Afghans will be able to take over full responsibility as early as 2014. Serious issues with literacy, discipline and corruption are still running rampant within the Afghan security forces. If left alone with this collossal task, the Afghan Army might succumb to the pressure. Especially in the southern regions, where the opium trade is still flourishing, Nato presence will be required after 2014 to keep this source of income closed to the Taliban and prevent corruption within the Afghan Army, which means that both Lagashkar District and the neighboring Qalah-eh-Bagh will require Nato presence long after other districts have been handed over."

 DISCLAIMER:  This is a work of fiction, though resemblance with real events is intended. All names and locations are purely fictional, any similarity with real persons is coincidencial. If anyone feels offended, please contact me.

Bundeswehr MG3-Schütze & Campaign Status Update

Hello again,

I´m back from easter holidays and finally got a free day at home with access to all my material. This means I´ll be able to finally stand up to my promises and deliver some results. I´m probably also going to do some more painting & crafting today and I´ll have to deliver my special write-up of our last Operation Firefly-Mission.  Good news is that the new mission is coming along quite nicely, we´re already on the verge of starting turn 4 and the easter holidays did not result in a major disruption of our progress - things are still coming along.

I still have to get an SD-card reader to use my own camera, but I abused my girlfriends device to shoot some pictures of my latest sculpting project. I´m still not sure if I should leave him as he is or add some tiny details somehwere? Here´s an impression of the current shape:

Does he need more details? If you think so, what should be added?
I´ll probably add the ammo-belt, I´m also thinking if I should improve his arms somehow.
If you have any suggestions, let me know!