četvrtak, 30. listopada 2014.

Just another friendly game at Zmaj club


Mid War 1485 pts
Vlada, German Pioneer (Afrika) vs. Dule, Mixed Tankovy
Mission Encounter (Fair fight)
Mission Special rules: Delayed Reserves, Meeting Engagement and Scattered Reserves

This was my first game against Vlada. Like all generals, we were prepared for battles that we have already played (and lost) in the past. So, Vlada was utterly prepared against Russian tanks because he recently had terrible losses against Milan who also leads them. He had pioneers with Tank Assault 4, artillery, minefields, and many AT guns. On the other hand, I have an old complex from Dorian’s nasty veteran artillery and AT guns, which severely influenced my way of playing and more or less, my list.

Somehow I though that this was going to be a quick victory for Vlada since his list was the perfect counterpart to my list.

Even though the dice chose a fair fight mission it was obvious that I was going to attack since Vlada`s list was very static with only one small recce platoon. In this mission reserves are quite important because we don’t know when and WHERE they are going to show up. I have put in reserves my T-34s, T-26s and BA-64s and put on the table KVs, infantry and mortars. So, I have decided to make first move at the double with my KV and strelkovy platoons and then to stop and wait to see what was going to happen. My strelkovy were spread across the table to minimise losses from German artillery and to threaten both objectives since I did not know where to expect my reserves.

Nothing of note had happened for some three turns since I halted advance of both strelkovy and KVs at some point. Strelkovy suffered some losses but nothing significant. They never managed to dig in but nevertheless survived the whole game, at least couple of them. I have tried to destroy some PaK 5cm (AT 9) guns with my KVs but with no succeess. Reserves came neither for Soviets nor Germans at turn three.

And then something finally happened at turn four. My reserves did not arrive once again but Vlada got two of them and just in the right place, so he put four PaK 40 (AT 12) in front of my KVs. At this point things looked very bad for my tanks, since it was clear that if Germans can handle Russian KVs, the rest will be a peace of cake. Especially, since Soviet reserves have not yet arrived.

Still, my KVs suffered no casualties (one was bailed out) and in turn five my reserves (T-34 and T-26 platoons) finally arrived on the opposite side of the table which was not bad at all. And even better, my KVs managed to destroy two of the four PaK 40 guns! At this point things did not look well for the Germans.

On turn six, we had all our reserves on the table and the game finally started moving. I cautiously moved T-34 and T-26 tanks and managed to destroy one PaK 5cm gun with machine guns! That was pure luck. On the other side, KVs, still undamaged, managed to destroy the entire PaK 40 platoon. At this point things looked very bad for Germans and since we had already been playing for more than three hours we were on the verge of calling the game a draw.

Still, we decided to play a bit more just to see what would happen. I have advanced T-34, T-26 and BA-64 platoons and managed to destroy another PaK 5cm (should I say, again with MGs) and Panzerspah platoon. I have decided to save my infantry and return them to the rear. They deserved it.

Finally, on the right flank I launched an assault with KVs. They killed nothing (they are conscripts) but did not suffer any losses either, and German pioneers did not to pass Tank terror and have broken off. I placed KVs on the objective. I have played very cautiously but this time I made a mistake that could have cost me a lot since I left all three of them under artillery template. Of course I rolled two „1“ for saves and had one bailed and one destroyed tank.

On the left flank assault with T-34 was much more effective, since one pioneer platoon was destroyed and the objective was taken.

Generally, I can be satisfied with a game, although it lasted a bit too long. I did not like the fact that I had to play cowardly - I had been constantly checking how many tanks were under the template. Had I not done that, I would have suffered many more casualties. I have learned that artillery CAN make artillery bombardment after they try to dig in.



    Vlada about the game
Every friendly game, starts, with a "friendly" list. At the moment, most popular incarnation of friendly list is Russian tank horde. Being German army list player, learning how to cope with this kind of list, is one of my top priorities. So far, I played (and lost) several games (in fact, I lost all of them), and most of the time, I was trying to battle the horde with mixed infantry/tank list composition, with little success. Now, I tried different approach. I tried to maximize anti-tank defense and play without the tanks.
To do that, in mid-war list, I choose pioneer infantry list, with 5 pak 38 guns (distributed in 3 infantry platoons) and additional 4 pak 40 platoon, backed up with light artillery platoon (LefH guns) and recce 8 rad platoon. Being defender, I put half of my platoons on table (2 pioneer platoons, with 4 pak 38 guns, 2 minefields, and artillery platoon). The opponent fielded 3 KV1 tanks, mortar platoon with 6 mortars, and infantry platoon in front formation. My idea was to try to neutralize KV tanks, and then deal with other threats. 
For three turns, I had to lay low (concealed and gone to ground) with my infantry platoon, since pak 38 cannot harm KV1. Being veteran, he had to come within 16" in order to shoot at me, so I waited. On the other side, artillery had a shoot at KV tanks almost every turn, without any luck (Having AT 4 in bombardment, and KV Top 2).
When my reserves arrived, I quickly deployed 4 pak 40 AT guns, at left flank, to counter KVs. Having AT 12 against Front 9 is just a bit better than trying to put them out of action with bombardment, and in next few turns, I managed to loose all 4 pak 40 guns, without destroying any KV. 
The rest of the game was a fight for survival. His reserves arrived, managed to kill 2 pak 38 guns, with MG fire, and then he assaulted me, on both flanks, chasing my platoons from objectives. 
Next time, I will try to play with 2 flak 88 guns with extra crew, instead of pak 38 or 40. 
At the end, It was a great game. And if someone, has any idea, how to manage defense against Russian tank horde, please share them with me. :)

srijeda, 8. listopada 2014.

War Museum at Thessaloniki, Greece

September 2014

Every year my school organizes an excursion with graduation classes in Northern Greece. Since this year I have graduation classes I went with them. One day is always planned for visiting Thessaloniki. Since I am not interested in shopping I made some research on the Internet and found what I had been looking for - the War Museum!


The War museum is located some 50m from Egnatia Street which is the main street in Thessaloniki and everyone knows it. Since there is quite a chance that there is no War Museum on your Thessaloniki map you should know that it is very near Thessaloniki Fair. Once you see the barbwire on the walls of the nearby military base you know that you are in the right place.


The first impressions come from the courtyard. I have to say that military “touch“ is obvious since everything is so orderly, the grass is mowed and the exhibits are shiny. In the center of the courtyard dominates Northrop F-5 from the Greek Air Force , but there is also an armoured car, a couple of jeeps, a torpedo and some artillery and anti tank guns. The building is very nice and freshly painted. So, my students and I went in.

We were welcomed by a Greek soldier. He was very kind and after consultation with his supreme officer they allowed my students to visit the museum free of charge! I asked for a guide and then the other soldier named Dimitrios came and took us for a tour. I must say that Dimitrios has a remarkable knowledge of history, speaks English very well and has an exceptional gift for narration. So, when you come, you should definitely take a guide (it is free) since only this way you get the maximum of the museum.

What you can see in the building is plenty of different military equipment such as weapons and uniforms; documents, maps, paintings, newspaper articles, caricatures, dioramas and so on. Most of the exhibition is of course dedicated to the Greeks, but you can find many things that belonged either to their enemies or allies like the Turks, Bulgarians, Italians, Germans, British, Russians, Serbs and others.

We started the tour from the almost five centuries long Greek struggle for freedom against the Ottoman Empire. After many unsuccessful uprisings came the First and Second Balkan War in which Greece was finally liberated from the Ottoman Empire and formed the state with the present borders. Greece was involved in World War I without its will trying to remain neutral but finished it on the Allied side.

The main part of the exhibition is dedicated to WWII and heroic struggle against the Italians in 1940-1941 and later the Germans. Among all the uniforms and weapons there are books with the names of all killed Greek soldiers, pilots and marines as well as exhibits concerning some war heroes and their act. After the WWII Greek Army was involved in Korean war (on American side) and in humanitarian missions in former Yugoslavia so there are photos and exhibits concerning this.
Going this way you get a well documented history of Greek army and people in the last two centuries. But at the lower part of the museum there are other things to see like a collection of small fire arms and traditional dresses.

My students and I had a wonderful time at the museum. Everything was great. The excursion lasts for one hour and that is brilliant. Adults pay 3 Euros for entrance, but as I said, my students did not pay anything. For some categories of visitors the entrance fee is 1,5 Euros. They allowed us to take photos freely but without a flash. The notes on exhibits are written in the Greek, English, Russian and German languages I think, but with a guide you do not really need to read them. This War museum is definitely a must see when you visit Thessaloniki.