I am enjoying the wargames put one from time to time by the Little Wars guys. Little Wars has become my favourite wargaming channel. I enjoyed the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame in early November. This week it is the Battle of Kharkov.
The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.
The commander of the German forces for this campaign was Erich von Manstein, with Paul Hausser, Hermann Hoth, E. von Mackensen and Theodor Eicke. The Soviets were led by Filipp Golikov, Nikolay Vatutin, K. Rokossovsky and Vasily Koptsov. Manstein’s. Wikipedia has a reasonable description of the Battle of Kharkov.
The battle was technically a German victory – against hugely overwhelming odds if Manstein’s report is to be believed however with the German losses in materiel and men, I think overall this can be considered a strategic victory for the Soviets, especially as by this stage of the war the Soviet tactics of attrition were really starting to pay off.
The Little Wars guys were refighting the battle using 1/285 scale vehicles and aircraft and 6mm figures. The wargame rules they used were A Fistful of TOWs. I had always thought of a Fistful of TOWs as modern wargame rules but I see that version 3 has extended the period covered from 1915 to 2015. As they are available in PDF form as well as hardcopy, I am thinking of downloading a copy for reading on my upcoming travels to Oz.
Enough of my rabbiting on … enjoy watching the wargame!
I had prepared one Japanese World War 2 infantry battalion along with three AA elements. I decided to prepare the next, as well as starting to set up the third for painting along with the rest of the heavy weapons, the artillery and such.
The first battalion was made up of GHQ models. The second is from Ros and Heroics. There is a nice flag bearer in the Ros and Heroics pack so that does for the command base. I also glued to a base three Medium Machine Gun (MMG) units. As the base is large compared to the figures I based some transport with the MMG.
Next prep will be the third infantry battalion and a large chunk of heavy weapons. I want to be able to start adding sand to the bases next Thursday whilst the APEC holiday is on here.
I mentioned before that I got some time on Saturday. Apart from setting up the trees, I also managed to finish prepping a battalion while reading some stuff on then Internet (OK, I was looking for some information somewhere else in Thomo’s Hole).
The organisation I am using for Blitzkrieg Commander II, the rules I am using, is 12 bases per battalion, three battalions per regiment. This compares to the 9 bases per battalion of the Russians.
I’m also going to mix up as many different types of infantry on the bases as I can for variety, and because it looks so good.
The bases contain a mix of standard infantry, some officer looking chaps just standing to attention (why do you make figures like that GHQ, in a mix of other figures in action poses?) as well as some light machine gunners and Type 89 grenade launchers. They are the things that look a bit like a small trench mortar.
Lastly, a close up of the 20mm anti-aircraft bases. Gunner plus truck for transport.
Figures for the infantry are all GHQ, the 20mm AA and trucks are from Ros and Heroics.
I decided that I would start to finish my World War 2 Jaanese. This way I’ll have a local opponent for my early World War 2 Russians. As the armour is mostly done, and the aircraft half painted, it is time to put together the infantry and artillery. Where the Russians are based around 9 bases to the company/battalion, whatever the level is I am playing at, the Japanese will have 12 bases.
Added to that then the heavy weapons support, artillery from the 75mm Field Gun as well as the 70mm and 105mm howitzers, some 20mm anti-aircraft guns and trucks, loads of trucks, 43 of them, then this force will be ready. I also have some fun stuff to add to the army but more on that later.
First off it will be the infantry heavy weapons and artillery. I’ll worry about the trucks and the pack animals later.
Oh, one largely anachronistic item for this army is the beautiful Mistsubishi G4M3 “Betty”. It did not fly over Manchuria/Mongolia but it is a great little aircraft never-the-less.
Back on 26 June 2014 I noted that I was working on the The Type 97 TeKe, a Japanese tankette used in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) against the Soviet Union and Mongolia, and in World War II generally.
The photo to the left indicates where I had got up to with regards to painting these vehicles.
I got some time this week so finished them off yesterday. The photos below show how they look in their full camouflaged glory.
The tankettes were reasonably new as they were designed in 1937 and a total of 616 of them were built. They were small, however, only being large enough for a crew of two (a commander and a driver).
Anyway, these are the last of the Japanese tanks to be painted. On the painting queue for the Japanese are two aircraft and all the infantry. The infantry still needs to be adhered to bases and prepared for painting but that may need to wait for a week or three, depending on (I hope) new work.
I will photograph all the Japanese armour later this week once varnishing is complete and dry.
The Type 97 was a Japanese tankette used in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) against the Soviet Union and Mongolia, and in World War II generally. It was classed as a light armoured car even though tracked. It is a small vehicle and was designed as a fast reconnaissance vehicle.
They were designed in 1937 and a total of 616 of them were built. As I mentioned, they were small, only being large enough for a crew of two (a commander and a driver). The armour was between 4-16mm thick and the armament was a 37mm Type 94 gun. The vehicle itself was capable of a speed of up to 42 km/h and had a range of about 250 kilometres.
The vehicles being painted have been based, then base coated in Army Painter brown, then covered in a desert sand colour before doing the yellow contrast stripes. Some green, brown, rust and dark earth with a dark brown wash and then some weathering to finish them off will see the armoured component of the Japanese finished leaving two aircraft and the infantry to do.
These models are CinC. I’m not sure why I bought two boxes of them but I did and so I have 8 🙂
It was back on 5 April 2014 when I last put paint brush to metal. The stress of the unemployment, finding some money, any money, for rent and the bills whilst receiving no benefits (and no retrenchment package either from my previous employer) has not really left me in the frame of mind to try and relax – so “stressed” has been my middle name for the last few months (4½ months to be accurate). There have been moments in that time when there was the prospect of work but those evaporated, generally slowly over time.
It now seems like there is a good possibility of work, although we will need to fund ourselves for another couple of months (sigh). To celebrate, and after not having painted since 5 April 2014, I put some paint on some metal last night.
I decided that the Type 97 ChiHa tanks I had started back then should be finished. All that was needed really was to finish the camouflage scheme, add a wash, touch up the machine guns with some gun-metal (it makes them visible rather than having them disappear into the tank camouflage) and then weather the tanks. I could not, however, remember the weathering process I used on the first two so I mixed it up – some sandy, some dusty, all dirty.
The pictures below show the differences. The models with the grass on their bases are the ones I finished in April. The ones in the centre are the ones weathered last night. The ones on the left are the tanks before weathering so you can see the difference the weathering makes as it not only makes the tanks look dirty, especially around the tracks, but also fades the colours on the top surfaces as the Mongolian, Manchurian, or Pacific sun tends to do.
I hope to get into another hour or two’s brushwork over the weekend and finish all remaining Japanese tanks. Then when starting work I can start on the infantry.
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
I should note as well that the tanks in the rear are GHQ models, the ones to the front are CinC. Even on the phone’s camera you can see the greater level of detail in the GHQ models. As far as vehicles (and WWI, WWII and Modern Ships) go, they are by far the best models on the market in this scale. I like the CinC and the Heroics and Ros models but the GHQ models are just a class above (with a price that reflects that).
I finished two of these, as a sort of prototype. I have some that are GHQ models and some that are CinC. When viewed alone, the CinC models look fine. When you put them next to GHQ they look, well, a little simple. The photos below are of the two. The GHQ model is the one on the left in all photos.
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Note (20 June 2014): These are, of course, Type 97 ChiHa tanks – not the Type 95 originally labelled. Too much sake in the write-up stage!
This is a really neat one. A big tank for the Japanese and amphibious — although to be amphibious pontoons had to be fitted for and aft. The tank was actually the amphibious version of the Type 95 Ha-Ho with some additional modification. The tank was operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy and interestingly, the only amphibous tank vs amphibious tank battle occurred off the coast at Leyte where several Ka-Mis were destroyed by US LVT-1s — both vehicles having similar armour.
There is a surviving Type 2 Ka-Mi at the Russian Kubinka Tank Museum just outside of Moscow – a place I would like to visit one day, if only to see the only surviving PzKpfw VIII Maus.
I have the Japanese modern fleet in 1/3000 ready to paint but that is a small task and really will be a filler between the early Soviets being completed and the next 6mm project. One option is to finish off the Soviets with mid and late World War 2 troops. This is the lead-pile ready for that.
Lots more AFVs – 20 or so T34/85, 10 JS-2, KV-2s, more KV-1s.
Also more artillery, Katyusha rockets, some later war aircraft (Yaks) and a bigger artillery battery or two.
Lastly, in case one finds oneself near a river, some floating vehicles would be useful so we have some boats 🙂