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Erwin,

If you exclude fantasy and SF from wargaming with minis (power houses being GW's WH and WH 40K), then you're probably right, but WL's BA has tons of younger players, as does FoW, especially in the UK. Naturally, we who play CoC seek to recruit them to a much higher fidelity, more realistic game. We consider BA the unintentional gateway drug to TFL's CoC--and make the most of it, a seduction aided by the fact most CoC players also play BA (more playing opportunities) and tend to draw various comparisons and make observations! Have no figures on BA or FoW and not much more on CoC, which is doing well enough that new supplements and whatnot keep coming out from what I'd call the BFC of battle with minis--tiny firm that puts out hit after hit in its niche markets. BA and FoW drive huge arrays of minis, including AFVs, artillery, soft-skins and the like. There, the rules are there to sell minis, where TFL is all about the rules, some playing aids and TFL swag. As for me, no CoC warfare for some time now, as I slog my way to game table IOC. What I really want, though is to be functional enough to play CM, which is several orders of magnitude more demanding than CoC. Haven't been able to play since last August, I believe. Gah! 

Regards,

John Kettler

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48 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

WL's BA has tons of younger players

I wonder how they can afford it...  Maybe it's a middle class thing?  

 

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Erwin,

The going rate for a box of 30 28 mm figures is USD $40. This is far less than the going rate for any mainstream computer wargame, such as CoD or Halo. Depending on type, AFVs are USD $30-40 per. Of course, if you have/have access to a 3D printer, then costs plummet. If (note conditional) a player sticks to one country and timeframe, then costs can be reasonable, but it's easy to go hog wild and buy many, ahem, armies for nations and periods. BA is about optimizing force structure, whereas CoC follows the CMx2 approach of a per TO&E core force, plus some support options. You've been around long enough to remember what CMx1 was like, with players cherry-picking like no tomorrow following excruciating analysis of firepower numbers at various ranges. In both the BA case and CMx1, in many instances, the battle was decided before a single unit was placed on the board. Am absolutely convinced CoC and CMx2 are the right ways to go. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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7 hours ago, John Kettler said:

The going rate for a box of 30 28 mm figures is USD $40

Painted?  All the models I see are so beautiful  Am still surprised that youngsters can afford anything but a few items.  Or, perhaps the historical wargamers are a different (older and with more money -  like RR modelers) market from the fantasy gamers.

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5 hours ago, Erwin said:

Painted?

God no!  :o

I'd charge more than double that for a single tank.....Painting to a high standard is very time consuming and requires a considerable investment in equipment on the part of the modeller.  I have five good or excellent quality airbrushes (two each for two different jobs & a backup for my nephew to mess with) and a compressor with a reservoir.  My desk has a veritable battery of lighting and is flanked by two filing cabinets full of paint, brushes, masking materials etc. etc., the list goes on & on & on!  :rolleyes:

 

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Posted (edited)

Missed this earlier, but the AS-12 Losharik is a FSB GRU asset with truly remarkable capabilities. The closest US equivalent would be the earlier and much smaller, lighter and fewer crew NR-1 (a vital capability presumably replaced after retirement in 2008 with something far more capable hidden in a black program). See also Wiki via Losharik search. It has info not in either of the articles.

https://futurism.com/russian-sub-fire-internet-cables

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-submarine-losharik-undersea-cables-media-speculation-2019-7

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

After tweeting about this sub incident, I was surprised to receive several tweets from Paul Stonehill, whose well-respected work translating and analyzing Soviet military articles during the Cold War and since I've enjoyed and found highly useful for decades. He's put out several highly detailed videos on YT covering the Losharik incident, which may not be an accident per se, but something else. Unfortunately, many of the graphics have legends only in Russian. Even so, still useful. To be on the safe side, I'm posting titles only.  The two named videos will take a bit under an hour to watch.

STRANGE FIRE ABOARD MYSTERY RUSSIAN SUBMARINE

LOSHARIK: REVELATIONS OF RUSSIAN SUBMARINERS

 

Regards,

John Kettler

 


 

 

 

Edited by John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

Erwin,

There are quite a few painting services out there. Indeed, the UK seems to be awash in them, but I've seen a guy in Poland, another in Italy and a third in Turkey! The closed FB group (just follow simple procedure to join) Chain of Command Wargame. has many ads posted from such people, and there are some on the Historical Wargames Buy, Sell, Swap, which is open. There's a BA specific site for that gear, and BA is 28 mm. People play CoC in 15 mm, 20 mm, 28 mm and whatever 1/48 is. This is, save for 1/48, much cheaper, than 28 mm but you may need good eyesight at smaller scales. For 15 mm, it also closely conforms to CoC ground scale, resulting in an altogether more realistic appearance. This also provides a lot of scope for maneuvering, especially on large tables. There are sometimes great deals available when people sell entire units or sell off chunks or individual items.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

 

Edited by John Kettler

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John, my point was simply that miniatures are very expensive and am surprised that anyone other than well-heeled older generation can afford it - similar to the way RR modeling changed from a toy for kids to a very expensive hobby.

Maybe if kids only have a few fantasy items for roleplaying,...but for wargaming where you needs hundreds of miniatures (and they all seem painted when I see pics)...  

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Posted (edited)

Understand what you're saying, but disagree with the premise to a degree. Be it WH, WH 40K, BA, CoC, Sharpe Practice, WaT and more, most games with minis don't require large numbers of figures. Seldom do people go out and buy large forces at once. Rather, it's incremental but adds up over time. I used to play D&D with a grand total of two figures, a hobbit and a human fighter. The rest of the players were similar. The GM had a large toolbox worth of figures, but he's been playing fantasy games for a long time, too. Also, as I noted, a platoon size force (unpainted) of 28 mm miniatures can be had for ~40.00, which is cheap compared to what first line computer games go for. Warlord has a starter pack for $79.00 which includes US, Germans, a German vehicle, full rulebook, HE template, pin markers and and a brochure on examples of play. Glue on arms with various weapons, glue to bases and you're off, though not in style, since no paint or nicely done bases! The PC version of the new CoD: Modern Warfare due August 1 has three different options, with the basic game being ~$60 and the all-up ~$100. CM money and then some! Most kids have at least several computer or. PS/4 games, but many have more than that. If their families are willing to provide such resources, that same expenditure for minis  can bring decades of play, as opposed to say, fifteen hours to play through all the levels of a computer game like CoD.

Received my first platoon as a gift, paid for figures, paint, basing material for a second (but not painting or basing), and got the third for a song because that brother got a super duper deal on 140+ troops already painted and based, so needed only minor tweaks. He simply handed me a platoon, and that was that. I will say, though, that these games can, absent strong fiscal discipline, be real resource gobblers, but that's true of just about any hobby. Oh, watch out for rule books. BA's is gorgeous, with hardcovers, enameled stock throughout, tons of color plates of eye-watering vignettes using the figures and vehicles, plus artwork from Osprey, the rulebooks being a joint venture of Osprey and Warlord. Said marvel is $30+. My economy is presently tiny, and in a game group I used to belong to I found that even though I could use someone else's figures for non- WW II stuff, the sheer number and variety of periods and rule sets made for ruinous outlays. For example, these guys played a whopping five different sets of rules for Napoleonics alone, another batch for ACW, still more for American Revolution, etc. They also played fantasy, SF and who knows what all else. The cheapest rules I can recall were $30 or so. Adds up fast!

It's certainly true there are people with hundreds upon hundreds of figures, all lovingly painted; most people have a few platoons worth of troops, which may represent much more, depending on how the game is structured. Each figure might represent 10 men or a small troop stand a battalion; a cannon, a battery. 

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Though it probably seems weird to military types, I think this makes great sense, especially since many times writers have been prescient in anticipating all sorts of situations the authorities hadn't considered. Fresh perspectives can be exceedingly valuable. In military aerospace we used to have Red Teams to wring out new weapon designs, using every trick we could come up with as the threat. We had a case where one of our managers and the head of our Air-to-Air Section got to go play a Fleet Air Defense scenario at Naval Weapon Station China Lake. Each side had its own war room, with the umpire in a third and the only one with the big picture. Believe the prize was a bottle of whiskey, and the manager was bragging about how he was going to win. Instead, cruise missiles from the Tu-22M BACKFIRE bombers sent his carrier group to the bottom, because the wily Red player made a big show with standoff jammers, generating jam strobes on the tactical displays. The manager sent his CAP haring off to deal with the presumed threat. A bunch of jammers died, but the bombers came in from the opposite side and launched pairs of AS-4 KITCHEN ASCMs unimpeded, massacring the carrier battle group. Believe all the bombers got home unscathed.

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/scenarios-of-disruption-french-army-hires-science-fiction-writers-for-ideas-to-fight-terror

Regards,

John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

When I was in the biz, DoD went to Hollywood decades ago to talk to visionary writers (eg Spielberg) to find out what sci fi ideas they may have that would be useful for future wars.  So, not a new idea.  But, interesting articles.

Also, when I was doing stuff for DoD agencies we played a wargame with wargamers/designers vs real life military officers.  The wargamers easily beat all the RL soldiers in the wargames - the moral that was learned (learnt?) was that wargamers are much better at playing wargames than RL troops.  

 

Edited by Erwin

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Posted (edited)

Just learned the Marines have a new to me vehicle-borne drone jamming system which downed that Iranian drone when used aboard the USS Boxer. The jamming vehicle and associated command vehicle are placed aboard a vessel needing protection as needed. Normally, the system operates feet dry, though, in support of both mobile and static Marine units and important installations. Terrible to pronounce acronym! LMADIS is the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System. Though the article claims the system jammed the drone. Those high gain antennas strongly suggest enough ERP (Effective Radiated Power) to simply fry the radio receivers on the drone and probably lots of other onboard electronics, too. If I'm right, this is a HPM (High Power Microwave) system. Worked on analyzing such things during my Soviet Threat Analyst time at Rockwell. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/weapon-that-destroyed-iranian-drone-lmadis-marine-corps-2019-7

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Wanted to pass the word about the site and FB page for a UK-based living history group depicting GD's recon force. Shows all kinds of weapons and gear, much unknown to me, using historical pics, color photos (including StuG commander in hatch: crisp color pic), vehicle artwork, brief descriptions of various things and topics, some OT but interesting. Site's well done but hard to read. Tech and weapon performance data minimal, though.

http://www.panzeraufgd.co.uk/index.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

Brother George sent me this fabulous video on the WW II German helicopters, their stack of world records, operational use (!), and a post war trans Channel flight the narrator deems as significant as Louis Bleriot's fixed wing first crossing. Never have I seen so much on German helicopters.
 

Regards,

John Kettler

P.S.

Back in the 1970s, I was a rabid player of AH's Panzerblitz, for which someone developed a German helicopter air assault module. Never did get to play it, though. Sigh. Could've really ruined Ivan's day with those counters.

Edited by John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

While researching something else I found Soviet Hammer, an info packed blog on scads of Soviet and Russian topics, primarily military, from as far back as Suvorov's march to Paris and at least into 1991.

https://soviethammer.blogspot.com

Last night I found the amazing site COVERT SHORES, which deals chiefly with global naval Spec Ops, but it also covers other types of small subs, stelth craft and other littoral warfare goodies. The Soviet Naval Spetsnaz article is terrific. But did you know that Italy's renowned Decima MAS--the frogman unit which sank the HMS Valiant at Alexandria and attacked British shipping in Gibraltar on their two-man chariots, very nearly attacked New York City in 1943? Gasped aloud when I read this, having never seen or heard so much as a whiff. 

http://www.hisutton.com/Decima-MAS_attack_on_New-York.html

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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While researching something else I found Soviet Hammer, an info packed blog on scads of Soviet and topics, though primarily military, from as far back as Suvorov's march to Paris and at least into 1991.

https://soviethammer.blogspot.com

Last night I found the amazing site COVERT SHORES, which deals chiefly with global naval Spec Ops, but it also covers other types of small subs, stealth naval craft and littoral warfare goodies. The Soviet Naval Spetsnaz article is terrific, but a major shock came when I learned the same renowned Italian unit that sank HMS Valiant in Alexandria and attacked British shipping in Gibraltar--nearly attacked New York harbor in 1943.

http://www.hisutton.com/Decima-MAS_attack_on_New-York.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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Did you know Kubinka's Panther is a runner? This is glorious, for the tank is still in its original paint and Zimmerit. Must see! The Comments offer some pithy commentary on certain things said in the video. Nevertheless, am still in a state of treadhead bliss!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

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Posted (edited)

Found this little treasure of a biography of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, with 309 kills, the most lethal female sniper in recorded history, and third overall. Pproperly speaking, she killed 311, but two were from qualifying to graduate from the otherwise all-male sniper school.
 

Anyone for the real Indiana Jones? May I present the amazing Giovanni Battista Belzoni.
 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Writing as someone who grew up reading C.S. Forrester's Hornblower series, later Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels and many others, not to mention a stack of films, many old B/W types, this was quite the recalibration to watch--in a marvelous and most informative way. Have also been a student since childhood of the actual warfare, tactics and weaponry of the period of the Age of Fighting Sail. Even so, this doc exposed me to veritable worlds of new information, sources previously unheard of, perspectives never before encountered. Can't say enough good things about this doc. My sole issue is that they didn't make it a series!
 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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Just finished the superb and superbly named "You Have No Choice" which has pretty much everything lacking in most American war films. Wehrmacht, SS, partisans, NKVD reydoviki and so much more figure into the complex, richly detailed plots and subplots. The sheer ugliness and brutality of the Eastern Front is unsparingly depicted, too, starkly contrasting with the beauty of Russia in the spring, in a nation torn within itself. 
 

Regards,

John Kettler

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One of my CoC colleagues brought up the Russian battlecry, which led to turning up this. Putin initiates the ura, which is then chorused back with stunning force and fervor. Gave me the chills.
 

Regards,

John Kettler

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