Monday, December 31, 2012

A Guilty Little Pleasure...

Alright fellows, I have a confession to make.  I've been neck-deep in a new Japanese anime cartoon, complete with the subtitles, the mousy screeching of over-excited Asian adolescent girls in school uniform, the whole thing. Yet there is a twist, the tanks.  I've been on the edge of my seat watching installments of "Girls und Panzer" for about a month now and am loving 99% of it.

For those to whom this in new, G&P is a story of a Japanese secondary school "tankery" team in international competition. Yes, you read right, "tankery", the time honored tradition and art of using tanks to close with and destroy the enemy. Hokey and implausable, perhaps, but what makes it so cool is the hyper-accuracy of how the tanks are depicted, referenced, and used. Whomever the technical and historical adviser is for the show, they deserve a raise.

I've watched 10 episodes, and I've seen accurate (inside and out) renditions of the PanzerIVd, 38t, StuGIIIf, Char 1b, type 89, Grant, Sherman, Matilda, Churchill, T-34/43, T-34/85, KV2, JS2, Panzer IIIm, Tiger, Panther, Porsche Tiger, JagdPanther, JagdTiger, JagdPz IV/70, Type 3 Chu-ni, and a Kingtiger.  It is pure tank-nerd eyecandy as they seem to go all-out making sure they look right.

The story is not a bad one either, lots of coming of age sort of arcs but the main story does have me hooked. Miho Nishizumi had left her family's school, and tankery team after choosing to save her teamates from drowning instead of finishing the match. Shunned by her family, she works to rebuild her self confidence as well as the respect of others, including her estranged sister and mother. 

I did say 99% loving it, as honestly, the high-octave squealing does grate of the nerves, but if that is the price to pay for the next tank engagement, so be it.

You can watch episodes 1 - 10 for free here at .  They are in Japanese, subtitled in English, with a few unavaoidable commercials.  I do look forward to the English over-dub DVD version due... whenever, but it will be on my shelf at some point.

-the Komissar

Saturday, December 29, 2012

CONTACT!! North Africa, 1940...

Mark and Mike put on an outstanding game of Battlefront WW2 this past Friday at our new hangout, Strategy and Games, 6th St. in Moscow.  Battlefront WW2 is a tactical rules system for battalion-level combat on the tabltop using 15mm miniatures, released by the same group that designed the Fire and Fury ACW rules set. This day the winds of war blew in the African desert, pitting a heavily guarded supply column against an Italian mobile recon force in ambush.

Using a 6x8 ft table, the British had to enter and then exit the table using the wadi as practicable. The Italians were to deny this movement, and destroy as much of the British force as possible. The table was very open, and aside from dust issues the visibility and spotting wasn't difficult.

The Italian commander opted for a classic "L" shaped ambush with a dug in infantry platoon holding the end of the wadi, and the mobile forces (armored cars, tankettes, and light tanks) ready to move from behind cover. Here we see the "commandante" checking final dispositions as the British vanguards enters the table (left).

Italian support was rather gossamer with a remote possibility of air support, and little effective AT assets. However, the battery of 75's on the hill dominated the wadi and gave good account for itself against softer targets.  The white square in the lower left is the blast template for smaller guns, one template for each section (2). The firer has the option of using a two template blast area, or a single, "thickened" blast area.

From the artillery vantage point, we see the British column entering, and the Italians waiting in readiness.

Immediately the tankettes and armored cars spring their attacks and keep the British from progressing down the wadi. Good plan, but the platoon of Matilda tanks made this a risky option. Most of this delaying force would not survive. The Brit supply trucks hug the hills to keep clear of Italian armored cars.

As the British make for the gap out of the wadi, the Italian infantry get into firing position. A platon of light tanks block the gap, but wont last long against Matildas. The British infantry are stacked up behind the bren carriers, but the guns on the hill do take their toll and whittle down their numbers.

It's hard to say what the outcome was, as early-war engagements are more noisy than lethal, but the important thing is that fun was had by all, and some new prospective club members were intoduced to the system, and historical gaming.

Moscow Front would like to welcome Ken and Robert, and are happy to see you at the game. As things wrapped up, there was much talk of future plans, interests, rules systems, and periods.  The clatter of musketfire in the Virginia plains may not be too far off in the club's future.

-the Komissar

Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Meeting a Success...

The ranks of the Moscow Front grow, as two new recruits came to see what was happening, shoot the breeze, and make plans. The breeze wasn't the only thing that was shot, the official photographer was "summarily dealt with" as he failed to take any pics of the demo Flames of War game.

It was probably a good thing, the game not being documented, as T34's stand little chance against a company of King Tigers!  The only real hope the Soviets had was to get flanking shots on the Tigers, and pray the Sturmoviks could lay some arial-rockets into their steel hides. It wasn't to be. The crafty German covered his flanks well, and the "Red Air" just couldn't get the range to be effective.

The struggle continues in the North African desert, on Friday, December 28 at 10am. Marks Rounds will present a WWII game using the solid "Battlefront WW2" rules. Not to be confused with "Battlefront Miniatures", this rules set is brought to you by the designers of the "Fire and Fury" ACW rules.

We hope to see you there!

-the Komissar

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Demo game for first meeting...


the demo game for our first meeting will be a 1250pt Flames of War scenario between a Late-war German and Soviet army.

Spectators will be encouraged to participate, as they are introduced to the system, and tabletop historical wargaming.

Stay tuned for photos!!

-the Komissar

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Komerade? Where are your papers??

Greetings Komerades!! 

We are the Moscow Front, a new wargaming club serving Moscow and Pullman, as well as the greater North Idaho/Eastern Washington region.  Our focus is historical wargaming, be it tabletop miniatures, boardgames, card games, or even RPG's centered in historical fact. 

Our hope is to revive the historical gaming community in these parts, and do what we can to support those who support our hobby.  The group is in its infancy, but we believe it will grow and prosper.

Club meetings will be the third Saturday of the month at STRATEGY AND GAMES hobby shop, 3rd street, Moscow.  The plan is to take a quick muster, make some announcements, and conduct a demo Flames of War game.  The meeting starts at 10am, and we hope to see you there.

-The Komissar