Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Kickstarter update !

My maki kickstarter kit has arrived; Thu 08 Jan 14.  Possibly a little over due, but I now have 3kg of mostly gothic archways to provide the bulk of my yet-to-be-designed basillica.


I've got plywood, polystyrene, hardboard and left over bits from my Imperial City (it's better in Spanish - Cuidad Imperiale - go on, say it out loud, whilst pretending you're Antonio Banderas or General Pinnochet - a little bit inappropriate, but it'll make you want tapas and Cerveza all day...) and one Imperial Memorium kit.  I may get another to have double Eagles flanking the vast doors I'm dreaming of.

No need to get my dad excited yet, the garage is too cold at the moment.  But I can plan for when it warms up a bit.


In terms of Kickstarters, I've had nothing from Raging Heroes - I have asked for it to all come at once, but I'm seeing a lot of TGG figures going up about the place and am thinking that it would be nice, if not to see them arrive, then at least to know when they might be here.

And the last stuff from Mark Mandragon - Eisenkarn APCs and a command squad.  Pre-publication update: I got the Parcelforce invoice for the HMRC duty on Sat 17 Jan 15 - £48.82.  I'm going to be very careful in future about even considering kickstarters from outside of the EU.  To date, everything I have received from the US has been worth the money I've paid the producer and the customs duty as well. But in each case, the duty has far exceeded the savings accrued from being a backer. Now, I know that part of what I have done has established the Eisenkarn models and they now appear on Wayland Games' 'site etc etc, and I am happy with that.  And I am also content that some of my hard earned goes into keeping UK PLC propped up.  But there are better places to put my hobby pennies that get better VFM.   Now added to the plastic crack mountain. 

And then I put a few quid towards Heresy Miniatures kickstarter, because he did one.  We know that the metal heresy dragon took a very long time, so this is one I am happy to wait for.  One day, folk singers will compose odes and ballads about Andy Foster and his Dragon...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Great Crusade OPFOR ?

I think these guys might give a Crusade Legion a run for its money.

After all, not every planet the Legions bring back to the fold can be medieval or have an evil alien overlord.  Some could be properly organised armies with science and progress and functional government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Jus' sayin'.

You can find the details for these good lookin' fella here:

another kickstarter.

And I'll review my KS life on Friday.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Operation RESTORE

“Amateurs study tactics,” goes an old saying, “armchair generals study strategy, but professionals study logistics"
Received wisdom in modern military circles. 

During Operation RESTORE, the Departmentio Munitorium Engineering Corps laid 1126kloms of dual railway from the port of Randstad to the lager point, later known as Fort Nuttar (Nuttar being a local small but colourful bird that gathers in large flocks to eat grass seed on the prairie).

The dual railway, in the space of two months, carried:

35480 Personnel
8960 Vehicles
24 Milllion litres of drinking water
31 Million litres of vehicle fuel (derv and avtur)
48000 tonnes of ammunition (incl CPR, capacitors, plasma flasks and batteries)
7000 shipping containers of misc stores (uniform items etc)

Departmento 8x8s covered 1230000kloms in support of Operation RESTORE.

In order to achieve all of this, in support of the railway construction and fabrication of Fort Nuttar, the Departmento Munitorium Labour Corps moved 853000 tonnes of earth and dug 212000kloms of ditching.

During this period the Engineering Corps printed 12450000 maps.  The 72AG Surgeon General, having so many Imperial Guardsmen, Departmento Engineers and Labourers either in one place or spending some time in Fort Nuttar, administered 78000 vaccinations.

By the time that the military operation (Operation FIRESTORM) was due to re-start, the Engineering Corps focussed on laying two promethium pipelines (one for Avtur and one for Derv) to support the advance from Fort Nuttar. 

“At first there will be increased slaughter—increased slaughter on so terrible a scale as to render it impossible to push the battle to a decisive issue. . . . Then, instead of a war fought out to the bitter end in a series of decisive battles, we shall have to substitute a long period of continually increasing strain upon the resources of the combatants. . . . That is the future of war—not fighting but famine, not the slaying of men but the bankruptcy of nations and the break-up of the whole social organization.”
    —Jean de Bloch, Is War Now Impossible? The Future of War in Its Technical, Economic and Political Relations, 1899

Friday, 16 January 2015

Over stretch

72AGs overarching plan was based on continued resistance by the PLA (the PDF and all other separatist forces) as a homogenous unit.  This is what 4* General Zukhov would have done[1] and despite the best efforts of his staff, is therefore what 72AG’s plan was designed for.

In the event, the sly and despicable Danny Bloodcoat did not do what 4*General Zukhov expected; he detached fully one third of his fighting power to menace the Imperial southern flank, necessitating the splitting of forces and a vastly increased theatre of operations. 

3* General Mantoufel (72AGs Chief of Staff) believes that `XVII Korps got lucky when they breached the Cudlip Line defences;  The spare time caused by facing the PDF Division to the south[2] had allowed to the PLA to prepare a defence in depth.  Of course both sides were painfully aware that anything that the PLA does can only be a delaying action.  However, each successful delaying action gave the PLA’s masters, the separatist government, more time to further their own machinations, be they securing off world reinforcements or a negotiated settlement.

1* General Pallumgovski made his name committing 904 Div (the valuable Corbanian 1st Regt[3]) to the schwerpunkt that had been identified at the extreme edge of his TAOR.  A cynic might offer that it was only the timely intervention by the Legio Atorium’s warhounds that prevented a disaster, arriving as they did at the very tipping point of the engagement.  However, it is possibly fair to say that Pallumgovski’s unauthorised assault would have succeeded regardless, as the adjoining 902Div would have taken up the gauntlet and pressed home the scant advantage[4].

What came next was a steady advance eastwards across plains more used to Grox herders than tank battles.  Actually tank battles were few and far between; here the PLA’s tactic was to fight from a strong point in strength sufficient to blunt the local advance.  And then to disperse, leave the area and re-group for more of the same at a later date.  If the advancing elements of 72AG wanted to catch the separatists, they had to be fast.

Separatist strongholds were almost always near an underground bunker, positioned decades or possibly even a century or more ago.   The contained welfare facilities for the defenders, self-heating rations, fuel and ammunition as well as limited medical supplies and a connection to a well buried hard wired vox network.   Occasionally, some of these bunkers would actually include replacement heavy weapons, vehicles and artillery.  It was known before any part of 72AG even stepped foot on the planet that the PDF had another 100% quota of main battle tanks in hidden underground storage – their most valued resource was the trained crew, rather than the tank itself.

As they advanced, XVII Korps and XVIII Corps would alternate being the lead element, within each Corps, Divisions were rotated according to suitability and disposition; remaining fighting strength and whether or not they had seen ‘hard going’ or not.  Time was spent resting and retraining[5] during the advance.

On occasion, the PLA might leave units of up to company strength in ‘stay behind’ positions – some of these underground establishments.  The Imperial invaders would be allowed to pass overhead and at some pre-determined point the separatists would emerge.  Sometimes this would be as an ambush; bursting out of cover in the Imperial rear echelons and causing quite a bit of local consternation before being (eventually) gunned down in a blaze of glory. 

At other times the separatists would steal out of hiding and disperse, to poison water sources, burn supplies, steal munitions to make more booby traps with, even just removing or mis-directing markers positioned by the departmento following the advance to ensure that supplies and reinforcements got to the right place at the right time.   Increasingly, formations were having to dedicate a portion of their own strength to watch over their own supply chain.

The biggest problem with supplying the forward elements of the army was that the supply chain plan had been drawn up at the same time as 4* General Zukhov’s campaign plan; as this was based on the notion that the PLA would stand and fight until neutralised, it did not allow for the rapid advance and exploitation that 72AG was suddenly (and unexpectedly) able to achieve.   According to the initial plan, by the time of the Gionvuar massacre, in terms of domination of the ground, the advance was 147 days ahead of schedule. 

Of course 4* General Zukhov’s plan assumed that the PLA would have ceased to be a fighting force by this time, having stood its ground and been pummelled by 72AG.  Of course it had done nothing of the sort and left Imperial forces slapping bitter stings and punching at shadows.  Coupled with the monotony of the Acre landscape and absence of apparent civilisation[6], the morale of 72AG was slowly being leached away into the grey-brown prairie.

What was needed was time to regroup and allow the supply chain to catch up.  Railways carrying the army’s requirements were being laid across the continent, a testimony to the DM Engineering Corps ability to re-prioritise and renew efforts to cope with the changing requirements.  It was of course, appreciated that the PLA would use this time to improve their own positions, however, it was also acknowledged that this might give the army something to attack; to shrug off the apathy and banish the ennui of the prairie.

The planned hiatus, Operation RESTORE would allow the formations to re-brigade, the supply line to catch up, possibly for XXXVIII Corps to become ready for front line deployment.  Morale would be restored and the campaign for Western Benq would be renewed with vigour. 

[1] Vostroyan dogma dictates amassing fighting power into concentrations to effectively win battles through attrition. Whilst sufficient for some situations, this did not offer the best solution for either the defending separatists or the invading Imperial forces.
[2] The PDF’s 2nd “Hunter” Division – 4 BCTs, an Aviation Bde and Support Bde.
[3] The Corbanian 1st were a specialised Urban Assault regt, supported by many and varied equally well equipped and well drilled attachments.  These were to be XVII Korps spearhead into Xyphonica.  However, the frontal assault over open ground against well prepared defences was not something that their aptitude, equipment or training could help them with.  XVII Korps would need another plan for Xyphonica.
[4] Pallumgovski was immediately decorated for commanding so clear and decisive a victory.  He was promoted and on his way to Cadia within a week.
[5] The retraining by now is getting units used to working in new formations, alongside others they have not operated alongside before, rather than combat training, although major attacks are still rehearsed in detail where circumstances permit.
[6] Advancing from one pitiful hamlet to another, with names like ‘Urineton’ ‘Tannery’ and ‘Slaughter’ did little to inspire soldiers.  Difficulties with supply, sabotage and occasional frustratingly brief contact with the enemy were found to be very wearing. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Air War Over Devos IV

The Separatist Devos IV PDF’s air battalions were configured to fight a defensive delaying war; one designed to harass and disrupt an invader pending an Imperial relief mission.  There was categorically never any intent to take on an invading airforce in open battle.

The separatist’s air effort included T-65 strike fighters; these were fast and stable at low altitudes with the wings deployed in attack formation.  Quad las cannons and an internal missile bay were designed to take apart invader’s armour.  The T-65 is, when used for this role, a good aircraft.  It is not maneuverable enough to dogfight and lacks the wing surface to make for a stable weapon platform at anything above 1000m.  

Voss pattern lightenings were tasked with intercepting and disrupting bomber flights.  Their SOPs included measures such as fleeing enemy fighters and not chasing bombers out of their TAOR.  Both measures designed to preserve the lightening force for a long campaign.

Later in the war, the lightening would hurtle through formations of Devastator strategic bombers without firing a shot.  The bombers would jettison bombloads and fuel and begin to evade the agile and potentially well-armed short range interceptors.  Their job done already, the lightenings would quickly scurry back to their bases before the Thunderbolt escorts could respond.   This would never work with the invader’s Marauders, who flew low and fast and whose crews tended to have a more aggressive outlook.

Separatist Marauder tactical bombers were included to run interdiction missions in the invader’s rear echelons.  Once again, these are not winning strategies, but disrupting measures designed to rob the enemy of initiative or stall their plans by denial of valuable stores or resources.   It was these bombers who crossed the ocean to destroy the 72AGs communication hub at Bruboxville (publicly ‘an accident’ in territory controlled by the invaders).

Unsurprisingly, both sides lost Marauders to friendly fire.  After the Cudlip Defence Line was breached 72AG issued a blanket ban on AAA engaging Marauders, It was thought that the Separatist Marauder fleet was down to the low tens in terms of serviceable air-frames and that the fighters were better placed to correctly identify (IFF) Marauders and make the call to engage them or not.  Invaders losses were by this time being adequately made good by the conveyance of material to Devos IV, including replacement air-frames and crews. 

The Devos IV PDFs preparations included using many remote radar stations instead of airborne EW assets.  The lower quality data was indeed sufficient to inform the missions that they planned on running.  Scattered, camouflaged, hardened and designed for only short term occupation, the PDF air battalions had dispersed to their wartime locations (as practiced on exercise many times) and once the resources at one location were used, they would fall back to their next location, in line with the pre-war plan.  Some locations were only resourced for one mission, others for many as six; most only held sub-units.

Often sub units would take off, rendezvous, fly their mission and disperse back to a scattering of hidden bases, serviced by a local network of EW assets. Their pre-war orders told them where to fall 'back' to in each case and included simple caveats based on the actions of the invaders, These were carefully matriculated to avoid unwanted conflicts of interest between PDF assets.  Essentially, the defenders were autonomous, hidden, dispersed and consequently extremely hard for the invaders to pin down.

The Invaders.

Orbital Commander Amodis (Imperial Navy) enjoyed air superiority on a day to day basis.   This may have been threatened or overturned locally for brief periods, but generally speaking, the skies above 72AG belonged to the Imperial Navy. 

Lord General Zukhov would have liked to re-embark one of his three Corps (it would have been 38 Corps) and land it beyond Xyphonica, opening up a second front.  However, the navy would not countenance exposing its landers un-necessarily.  Given that the war was proceeding according to plan and the defeat of the separatists assured, the tactical advantage was deemed superfluous.  The Imperial Guard could batter its way through on a carpet of its own dead soldiers, it did not require the Navy to give it an easy victory.   The Orbital Landers went elsewhere with the fleet as it left the system, leaving 72AG to prosecute the war.

38 Corps would include a significant air mobile element, which would come with integral close air support, but in the main the invaders relied on Thunderbolts kitted out for ground attack either with bombs or unguided rockets.  The long nose of the Thunderbolt made it imperative that the airframe made it attack runs at the correct angle.  Too shallow and the pilot would not get a good look at the target and miss, too steep and there was a very real risk of getting mud in the cockpit.

"Getting mud in the cockpit" first appeared in one Thunderbolt pilot's log book and quickly spread throughout this theatre of war as a euphemism for an unplanned terrestrial interface.  

Having a pair of Thunderbolts ‘in the cab rank’ was nonetheless a reassurance to commanders on the ground and there was a widespread perception amongst separatist soldiers that these ground attack ‘planes were more lethal than they actually were.   As with a lot things, experienced pilots could be battle winners and life savers.  Inexperienced pilots could make things worse.

One issue with the Thunderbolt fighter bombers was of course that they all wanted to be fighter aces.  If a separatist aircraft was spotted within reach, the fighter-bombers would jettison their stores and chase after their target.  Whilst the 72AG could deal with the loss of munitions well enough, on occasion these bombs or rockets were salvaged by the separatists for use on their own aircraft or as raw materials for booby traps.

In the air to air role, one marked success came when a Thunderbolt wing (44 airframes, two squadrons of 22) flew towards Xyphonica at the same speed, altitude and formation as a Devastator raid, using Devastator call-signs.  The cellular nature of the separatists, which meant that they were hard to cripple, having no central C3 hub, meant that each lightening formation that the Thunderbolts overflew took off to intercept ‘the Devastators’ and was taken apart by the Imperial Navy’s best (on this world) fighter wing.  As the separatist interceptors did not communicate with each other, this tactic worked on more than one occasion.

Combat Air Patrols by the hard working Thunderbolt wings, effective control and early warning by specialist Devastator and Marauders, kept on station over the FLOT meant that separatist air power was never allowed to be more than a nuisance to 72AG.  Many missions were deliberately launched to seek and destroy separatist air assets - numerical superiority and the vigilance of the hidden watchers in the sky meant that a lot of the time, battlefield airspace was something that 72AG on the ground did not have to worry about. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Dry January ?

This is Jo in the rain in Italy earlier this year.  Sorry boys, the photo was taken by her husband.


Do have a look if you get a minute.  Like she says, a drink is a drink, it could be coffee or a smoothie; it doesn't have to be alcoholic.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2014 reinforcements - Brothers of the Lostwithial

Black Templars - like space marines, but with more festooning and less common sense.  What's not to like ?
Some of these guys were painted by Golem, some by Raven's Nest Painting. 

Arrayed for a shopping trip somewhere near the Eye of Terror.  Their favourite shopping day is of course Black Templar Friday.  The only guys catching a bus are the ten or so initiates in the middle at the back, everyone else has wheels or the opportunity to deep strike off the table and into history*.

Eight Templinators (so a word).  Delivered by LR Crusader.  If you don't stop it before it gets to your deployment zone, you'll need a monstrous creature (or another bunch of termies) as a counter attack unit.  Unless I roll normally, in which case these guys are just extra crunchy dog food.

I love these guys - especially the guy with TL chainswords kneeling for a blessing. According to my codex the red edges are for assault squads.  I meant for these guys to be sword brethern.  Oh well.

More of them.  Including one shrugging.  I dunno why, they seemed fine when I did them, perhaps he's just fed up with being angry all the time. And all those vows.  I will brush my hair 100 times when I get up. I won't dry my socks in the toaster. I will smite heretics.  I will not listen to Nena Cherry on my walkman under the covers after lights out.

I know that Castellian Brodeep himself is slightly out of focus here, but Brother Moon (on the left)< the Emperor's Champion, is always ready to step up to the plate and take over should Castellion Brodeep feel at all off colour.  And he'd lead them into the fiercest warzones, not swan about the civilised imperium hunting heretics - that's gurls work.

No Neophytes, I just didn't want any - they're not being allowed of the ship because they've been naughty (?).  So no exo-suits, wolf cavalry, Thunderfire pistols or anything that does not feel like it belongs here.  Just bolter and chainsword, almost. Looking forward to a future iteration of the BT codex (mine is Mar '09), which apparently will be crusade focused and turn them into knights in space.

*Mr Lee once asked why I'd bothered with a reaper cannon on my 'Zerkinators (and by extension, why an assault cannon in the DS BT squad).  I think the weapons are present in the squads to mitigate against scattering off target and potentially not being able to play any part in the battle.  Tactical Dreadnaught armour and TL lightening claws might be really kill HTH, but if you're too far away, you need something in the squad to make up for it.

Pre publication update:  I was thinking that this bunch were finished - I had no intention to add anything more.  Then FW did this:

Oooooh, pretty.

Monday, 5 January 2015

2014 reinforcements - 17 Korps Command "AT - Chimera - AT"

Just in case you thought it was an illusion:

Quite a clear indication of scale next to a Land Raider, a Knight Paladin and an office block.  I still intend to base it.

This shows where there's still work to do; black plastic covers on the smoke launchers, work on the lights and lenses and a bit of appropriate paint splashed on the auto cannons.

I've just previewed this and realised that it's actually no-where near finished really.  But I know that some of you out there like it, so I'll leave it up.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

2014 reinforcements. 7th Mordian Iron Guard

The 7th Mordian Iron Guard are in 905 Div with the Palladian Guard; General Commandant Welbahn like to keep formations with similar temperaments together, he believes that it gives better cohesion than mixing up different cultures.

A rifle squad in front of their Chimera.  A large portion of the Mordian 7th are recruited from a penal institution for criminal pyromaniacs.  Mordia has a problem with fire starters in the Hives on the dark side.  some of those who are caught end up in penal institutions and when the tithe is due, the prison system is one of the first places looked at for recruits.

This does not mean that Mordian Regiments favour flamers.  Far from it, these man are now professional soldiers.  The only set fires in public buildings when they're on R&R.

And I hope you know who painted these guys, if you don't, put down your device right now and step away from the internet.  Oh and those funky chimera are available here.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 reinforcements. Death Riders.

Death Rider Platoon (Platoon ?!?!  They're Cavalry FFS - this is Troop, three Troops to a Squadron)

Command Squad.  These fellows were all painted by the Vanus Temple.  PCS and three squads.

And slightly more detail of one of the squads.  These guys are Divisional Recce for 902 Div. Ooh - ha.

Friday, 2 January 2015

2014's reinforcements. 2nd Corbanian Infantry Regiment

These fellows are from the 2nd Corbanain Infantry Regiment.  Corbania's 2nd Regiment is a Cadian searchlight pattern infantry regiment*, unlike their 1st Regiment, which is a specialised urban assault regiment.  These  two units plus supporting detachments form 17 Korps 904 Div.

A close up of one of the Platoon Command Squads.  Rifle platoons of four squads.  This det has two rifle platoons an anti tank squad (three las cannon) fire support squad (two AC and one HB) and a seven man Storm Trooper squad.

A Rifle Platoon.  All painted by Raven's Nest Painting.

* Like the Cadian 266 Infantry Regt in IA4.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2014's reinforcements. DKK 262 Line Regt

Here they are all together.  Two rifle platoons of six squads plus command squad and a support platoon of nine auto cannon, nine laser cannon and attached field artillery - three trench mortars and three quad launchers.

Representative Platoon command section. These fellows were all done by Possum Painting, who are now doing websites, rather than minis.

Quad Launchers.  'coz you have to if you have a DKK army.  It's in the rules.  Like giving them vaguely Germanic monikers and calling your tanks panzers and so on.

The whole bunch of them again, just because.  The epitome of utter dedication and self sacrifice. In blue trench coats, moved around by quasi derelict relic space ships. No reprieve, no going home.  Tough gig. Their names are entered on a ceremonial record ("The Honoured Dead") the day they leave.  Dead men walking indeed.

Slightly more detail on the rifle squads.  The beauty of using official DKK lists is their stubbornity and BS4.

There'll be a post every day for the next 6 days, at about 11ish.  Like this post, it's all figures that have been on Devos IV this year (with one exception, but they arrived on Christmas Eve eve and therefore count as 2014 reinforcements), but re-shot to show them off a bit.