Saturday 30 October 2010

Colonel Katukov's Panzers

The German Army ripped into the Soviet Union in 1941, aided by Stalin's convoluted peasant cunning and paranoia. In the late thirties, his NKVD thugs murdered almost all the Red Army's Officer Corp and Stalin himself forbade the Red Army to take any measures against a German invasion on the grounds that it was all a plot of the SIS, the British secret service.

Only a handful of competent officers were left. One was, of course, Zhukov, another was Colonel Katukov, commander of the 4th Tank Brigade. He had trained his tankers in ambush tactics and fire and movement. One of his battalions was equipped with T34 medium and KV heavy tanks, the finest armoured fighting vehicles in the world.

On the 6th October, 1941, Kakutov laid an ambush for Guderian's 4th Panzer Division, which was advancing up the Mtsensk road as part of Operation Typhoon, the ill-fated attempt to capture Moscow. 4th Panzer was equipped with Pz II's, III's and IV's.

The Germans were horrified to find themselves attacked by tanks whose frontal armour were impervious to their short barreled anti-tank guns.

Following standard tactics the panzers retreated back into cover of their anti-tank guns that were positioned on a ridge behind them. Katukov took the bait, sending his light tank battalion up the road behind the panzers. But his highly mobile, fast, wide-tracked T34 battalion made a right hook through the mud and forests to catch 4th Panzer in the flank. The 76mm cannons on the Russian tanks proved equally effective against anti-tank guns.After a short and bloody tank and gun duel, Katukov withdrew to fight another day, having halted 4th Panzer in their tracks. Guderian had to visit 4th Panzer personally to repair their shaken morale

Shaun and I recreated this battle, using the Rapid Fire rules.

The picture above shows the start of the Russian pursuit, from left to right.

The first tank losses occured after an exchange of long range fire. The 88mm Flak Battery opens up on the Russians taking out a T26 light tank.

4th panzer charges the Russian T34s, closing down the range to try to penetrate the Russian armour. T34s take out the fearsome 88mm flak battery with HE fire.

The Panzer IIIs outmanouvre the Soviet T34s and Kvs, firing into their rear armour and causing losses.

The Russian light tank battalion is massacred and Katukov withdraws his remaing T34s and KVs.

Shaun, alias Col Eberbach of the 35th Panzer Regiment, 4th Panzer Division, wins on points as he had knocked out more than the Russian force. On the other hand I had given 4th Panzer a bloody nose and two thirds of my T34s and KVs were still runners, so I did not think Stalin would be displeased.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Grey Knight Squad

I bought and painted these around five years ago and have never used them in battle. So tyhey have gone on my eBay pile.

What I found amazing was the cost if you bought these new from GW. There are £33 of models here. I think I paid less than £15 (from memory so may not be entirely accurate). That's a 100% inflation rise in five years. Astonishing.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Crappy Mini or Not

I stumbled across this page, which is part of the minipainting guild site, while surfing.

It is about reclaiming and renovating old minis. Here is a reworked Princess Leia by Harry Colquhoun.

Monday 25 October 2010

Some Early Efforts - Daemonhunters

I have been ruthlessly weeding out my back catalogue again for eBay fodder (my credit card bill has arrived) and came across a Daemonhunters Army. It's kinda interesting to see how I painted five years ago.

I think layering has made my more recent efforts somewhat better - although I am never going to win any awards.

What do you think?

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Environmental Sequencing

A marine nematode 'roundworm'.

Second-generation environmental sequencing unmasks marine metazoan biodiversity

I retired from active scientific research a few years ago but had initiated projects that are only now reaching a conclusion.

This paper is the culmination of a long programme and core to the work on which I spent thirty years. At the moment it can be downloaded for free here:

This is part of a revolution in taxonomy and environmental research and environmental monitoring.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

SELWG 2010 - More stuff

On the way home, I short circuited the power supply to my sat nav and got caight in the Catford Triangle.

We drove around Lewisham for forty minutes until energy levels changed in the multiverse and I was able to escape through a wormhole to Bromley.

Jim Booth had a stand showing his superb large scale military models.

Look at that Praetorian!


My old friends Frontline Miniatures from Gibralter Farm with their superb range of WWII 20mm. Many places up here on the River Medway have 'imperial' or military names. We have roads called Grant, Crusader, Centurion, Cromwell - anyone spot the link?

Panthers attack the west. A big 1/72 1944 game.

A German headquarters.

In the trenches of WWI. French troops over the top; "attaque a l'outrance!", Jeffre

German troops brace to repel the attack.

Blackadde: Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.
General Melchett: Are you looking forward to the big push?
Baldrick: No sir, I'm absolutely terrified.
General Melchett: The healthy humor of the honest Tommy. Don't worry my boy, if you should falter, remember that Captain Darling and I are behind you.
Blackadder: About thirty-five miles behind you.
General Melchett: There is, however, one small problem.
Blackadder: That everyone always gets slaughtered in the first ten seconds?

Another view of the Hall. Is that you, scratching your bum?

Some of my loot.

Monday 18 October 2010

Selwg 2010

And off to Selwg for the 2010 Autumn wargame show at Crystal Palace, now known for the TV mast but it was once where the Crystal Palace, the site of the first World Fair, was moved after the show in Kensington closed down. The stone base is still visable. The glass and steel structure was completely destroyed by fire.

Crystal Palace now has a large, if somewhat decaying, post war sports complex, in which SELWG (South East London Wargames Group) is traditionally held. It had to be abandoned for a couple of years while they fixed the ferroconcrete rot.

SF & F games are definitely out of fashion. This was one of the few SF demonstration games.

What was in was WWII in 15 to 20mm scale. This was one of the more interesting ones: Nazi flying saucers. This one has a cloaking device.

A more traditional WWII game: Western Front, 1944. A Thunderbolt unloads on an unfortunate panzer.

Pireme were there selling Hammers Slammers: The Crucible.

A view from the balcony.

More pics tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Spay on Mud - A Review

I have bought a bottle of spray on mud used by railway modellers. See below.

I am very impressed. It is a fine spray of die, which is water-wipable, at least for a while. The flow is easy to control so can be directed onto set areas, like tracks. It dries in about sixty seconds. This is a really fast way of putting mud on the tracks. I have used it for my 1/72 Eastern Front models: see pics.

The tray at the bottom shows what a heavy application looks like - really dirty, oily mess. Luvverly.

The picture at the top is a PzII. Germany were still using a few as a battle tank for Barbarossa, although it was rapidly phased out in favourof the PzIII. Opposite is a Russian T34/76, which was in production at about the same time. Every modern tank can trace its pedigree back to the T34, simply the finest tank of its era. Shame Stalin had all the designers, engineers, and instructors shot as dangerous radical thinkers.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Plastic 28ml Nazi Zombies

A small British Company, Studio Miniatures -
makes metal and resin 28ml zombies.

They are about to release a new pack of plastic Nazi zombies. I can think of many uses for these.

They are multipose and will retail at the reasonable price of 15 for £20.

Thursday 7 October 2010

The Alternative Wargamer

This has been knocking around the web for a while and it is appears to be in the public domain. I think it refers to the fashion, a few years ago, for getting modern authors to write sequels to historic novels - sometimes the choice of new author was, shall we say, controversial. Anyway here Sven Hassel, author of Legion of the Damned and Wheels of Terror, writes the sequel to Peter Rabbit.