Category Archives: Flames of War

FOW at Challenge 2016

Decided to skip Britcon this year.

I can recommend the BHGS Challenge event. Easy to reach airy venue on the outskirts of Oxford.Good friendly atmosphere and competitive gaming. Flushed with near success at Britcon 2015 I decided to take panzer pioneers and mixed tankovy  to the mid war tournament ( the pioneers have never won a game but are cool – pity I got the list wrong). My delusions of competence soon evaporatee


Pionier deployment game 1 Hiding from 3.7in AA guns

Game 1 Fighting withdrawal   New Zealand Infantry Lost 6-1

Forgot people bring big toys to tournaments 4 3.7 in AA guns in the ground role on a ridge Gulp Assaulted on foot rode my luck against 25 per bombardment. Killed one platoon defending objective before matildas in ambush got me and my infantry died in a hail of 1s and 2s under bombardment.

He looks happy He’s got 7 Panthers


Game 2 Free for all Kursk Panthers  Lost 6-1

See above re big toys Needed a shturmovik  or artillery Got my heroic  T 70s on his objective before  my army broke in a hail of 75mm L70  fire

Game 3 Cauldron    American Paratroopers   Lost 4-3

That’s a lot of yanks


Decided to cruise on in my half tracks  and got half bailed or ko’d by howitzers and big mortars. Girded my loins and went again on foot after reducing the enemy mortars and guns. Killed  a platoon of infantry defending the objective and 3 other platoons not bad against america’s finest dug in in a town Things were looking up

Day 2

Yes like a fool I came back for more

Game 4  Breakthrough German panzers   Lost 4-3

Hiding again this time from Tiger I don’t think it’s working


I could have had this lot if they hadn’t bought a Tiger. Spent half the game hiding from the big cat Excellent shoot out between mark 4 s and 3 s on the left flanks which the matildas won  if we could have got one more mark 3 we would have been looking at a company test for the germans. In the end my last KV1 was on the enemy objective when his commander and 2 mark 3 s overran my gallant infantry in the churchyard

Game 5    Cauldron Russian Tankovy   Lost 6-1

Too many Russians to kill with my limited AT Got one company of T34 S with Hornisse and 88 fire . But my platoons had to scattered widely and the isolated depleted one got overrun by stuarts after a fierce dose of tanks fire Only one tank off maybe breaking the other t34 company so not all one way traffic

Excuses  , excuses,

The pioniers need more AT and more half tracks for the command elements and the tankovy need artillery or a shturmovik to play in competitions.

Great weekend All of my opponents were sporting friendly and fair – happy to allow rolls where phases were missed and knew the rules well I will be back next year with the pioniers.IMG_1104

Victory can do this to a man

Great War – Flames of War

By way of a change we played ‘The Great War’, the Battlefront WW1 FOW version of the rules. Cousin Mark came over and brought his toys to give them a run out. The Great War (GW) is just a simple derivative of FOW. The scenario we played was 1918 trench battle – The Big Push. The two armies were Germans consisting of 2 rifle platoons of infantry with attached MG and anti tank rifles, an HMG platoon and finally 2 A7Vs (5 platoons strength). They were all classed as confident trained. The British consisted of 2 rifle platoon, with MGs attached, and 3 Male tanks. All of whom were rated veteran. The Germans obviously have picked the wrong bit of the trench to attack!


Full AAR on my Blog

lurkio blog



So, now that I’ve collected the figures, I set out to paint them. The BAD Club has some frighteningly accomplished figure painters. I am not one of them. What follows is a version of a paint job by someone mediocre who’s created something that looks competent from a distance and is certainly good enough for wargaming (if not for winning painting competitions).


The materials I used for the project were:

  • Vallejo: All non-metallic paints;
  • Army Painter: Undercoat spray; Matt Varnish;
  • Games Workshop: Ink wash; metallic paints; basing materials (sand, snow and grass tuft effects).

Some “serious” wargamers are a little snobbish about GW products but I find their metallic paints and ink washes some of the best on the market.


Peter Pig figures are relatively free of flash, so cleaning them up was a relatively easy business. The next part of the process is to score the underside of the figure bases, plus top of the Battlefront FOW bases, to ensure that the PVA glue I use works effectively. PVA doesn’t really like smooth shiny surfaces.

Unlike Ancients or Horse & Musket period figures, the WWII bases for FOW lend themselves to contriving the figure locations so that it’s easy to get at for painting. So, much to the horror of purists, I base my WWII figures in their final position BEFORE painting.

Once the glue is dry, I then glue the sand on. Once that’s dry, the figures can then be spray undercoated. A couple of years ago I used a brown spray for a Hunnic army I assembled, because so many of the elements (horses, bows, spears, clothing) were brown anyway. However, I noticed that brown seemed to make a great base for every colour, so I’ve used it for all periods ever since.

After the basecoat has set, I then put on the first coat: flesh, followed by uniform, followed by equipment. My approach to the uniforms was based on photos in the Steven Zaloga book on the Bulge (plus of course the TV series Band of Brothers!). In effect, units seemed to have a hodge-podge of winter smocks (in white), greatcoats (in Feldgrau) and some poor souls in standard uniform. The Feldgrau I painted in the appropriate Vallejo colour, and the smocks in a sort of dirty grey.

After the first coat is set, the next stage is an ink wash, in GW’s Gryphonne Sepia. Good ink washes are such a bonus for mediocre painters such as me!

Volksgrenadiers #6

Once that has dried, it’s the final coat. This involves painting the raised areas of the figures in a lighter colour, so white in the case of smocks and Feldgrau (with a little white, but not too much) for the greatcoats.

Volksgrenadiers #8

I then tackled the bases. I simply glued on some GW snow, and then 1-3 grass tufts on each base. When the grass tufts has set, I glued some snow to those as well to give a frozen feel. All done…

The units I have finished are below. From back to front, they are: HQ (with the Major Moldenhauer equivalent to the front); first Sturm platoon; Schutzen platoon; second Sturm platoon.

Volksgrenadiers #7

Close up of one of the infantry bases:

Volksgrenadiers #9

And the Major Moldenhauer figure:

Volksgrenadiers Major Moller

Obviously, Moldenhauer was in 12 VG Division; I’ll need to research another officer for my 26VG, but otherwise use the same stats.

Next comes the tanks and guns.

Refighting the Attack on Bizory 19th December 1944: Part One Creating the 26th Volksgrenadier Division


A perhaps throwaway remark by Pete Gregory (a.k.a. Dr Doom) that the Burton club should maybe refight part of the Battle of the Bulge to commemorate its seventieth year, suddenly brought back memories of my first ever wargaming. In the early 80s, armed with a bunch of 20mm Airfix and Esci tanks and figures, the Ardennes was the first figure gaming I did. So I was more inspired by this proposition than I otherwise would be and threw myself into this project. OK, so Flames of War is a little more sophisticated than the rules I developed back in the heyday of the new Romantic movement, but no less valid nonetheless.

This is the first in a series of projects setting out how I went about the project. The object of the project is to get both an army and terrain ready for shows in the latter half of 2014, as part of a demonstration game.


The Choice of Battle

Taking my lead from both the FoW supplement “Nuts”, and also Steven Zaloga’s contribution to the Osprey Campaign series “Battle of the Bulge (2)”, and of course episodes 6 and 7 of “Band of Brothers”, I decided that for me the scenario I chose had to be part of the larger Battle for Bastogne.

A lot of the fighting round Bastogne was grinding, a battle of artillery with little movement. However, one of the exceptions was the fight for the village of Bizory, which guarded the eastern approaches to Bastogne. This has quite an exciting narrative: an attack on the village by the 26th Volksgrenadier Division, supported by elements of Panzer Lehr. The village was defended by an Engineer Battalion, who managed to hold on until they were rescued by the 501st parachute Infantry Division of the 101st Airborne, supported by accurate artillery fire. This fight seems ideal for my purposes.


Designing the Army List

And not for me the glamorous Panzer Divisions or the SS…no, I decided to go for the workhorses of the Wehrmacht in the Ardennes, one of the Volksgrenadier Divisions. The 26th VG Division was the one that attacked Bizory. There is no list for the 26th in “Nuts”, but there are options for both the 12th VG Division (very good) and the 277th VG (poor). Given that the quality of the 26th seemed excellent (described by Danny Parker in “Hitler’s Last Gamble” as the “best German infantry Division in the Ardennes”, I decided to model the list on the 12th.


The army I’m putting together comprises:

  • Volksgrenadier HQ (plus Panzershrek squads)
  • A Sturn platoon (with 3 sections)
  • A Sturm platoon (with 2 sections)
  • A Schutzen platoon (with 2 sections)
  • A Mortar platoon (80mm)
  • A machine gun platoon
  • A Volksgrenadier Scout platoon
  • A Tank-hunter platoon with StuG G’s
  • A Panzer platoon with PzIV J’s
  • An Anti-tank platoon with Soviet PaK36(r) guns

This is first and foremost an army for a demo game not a competition, hence many of the choices. So, the 26th, in its attack on Bizory, was supported by Kampfgruppe Fallois of Panzer Lehr (whose tanks were PzIVs, not Panthers. And the 26th had an embedded Panzer Jaeger Company, comprising StuGs, not Hetzers.

An observer will also notice the lack of heavy artillery, aircraft and AA capabilities. Well, at 15mm scale, artillery always looks better off table. And the weather on the 19th December didn’t permit any aircraft intervening.


Assembling the figures

Keen to assemble an army at a modest price, I looked to see what I had already. I still have a horde of Peter Pig Germans from the late 90s. They formed the basis of the army, but to those I added a load more new Peter Pig’s in Smocks and Greatcoats, to give a winter feel.


I was also fortunate enough to already possess the StuG’s I needed. In fact all I had to get on the vehicle front were some PzIVs. And I’ve already bought these, with the lovely panzers designed by the Plastic Soldier Company. Now all I have to do is paint the things!