The Polar Bears

The Polar Bears
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Battle of Centreville Pt. 2 US Army Strike Section

Have you ever had one of those "lightbulb" moments? You know the one: you make a sudden and sometimes deep realization about something? I had one of those earlier and it was my son, Jeremy, who gave it to me.

My original plan for my US Army collection was to follow the TO&E from the Tomorrow's War book. However as I looked deeper into the miniature requirements for this unit I realized that it is going to take quite some time to assemble the needed miniatures with my current budget (roughly less than $50 per month- usually more like 25!). But I decided to move forward with the plan anyway and be patient.

That was until yesterday! Apparently my son, Jeremy, showed me that a little impatience wasn't such a bad thing. You see, I stated painting the pieces that I have : a few GZG bot conversions, a squad of Khurasan's Exterminators, a pair of Rebel Minis Apaches, and an old FASA VOR Ares battlesuit. Really only the Exterminators and the bots were to be part of my Army platoon, the others... well, I always wanted to paint the battlesuit but never found the time and the Apaches were originally for my USCMs. So it was just a mixed bag of minis that I assembled to paint. I wasn't out to paint up a complete force.

Jeremy fixed that.

While I was painting the little guy came over and asked me what I was up to. After I explained what I was doing he asked me if he could paint some miniatures. I normally don't let him do this because I don't want him to ruin anything. But... I did have some extra Rebel Minis' Americans that were pretty low on my painting schedule so I let him have them. I helped him clean, base, and prime them but then I made him paint them himself.

You know, the little guy didn't do half bad. I'll post pictures of his work in a separate post.

Anyway, when he finished he asked me an odd question.

"Hey dad, could we play a game with these miniatures when you're done?" A very innocent question really. I scoffed at first! Hey, this wasn't a complete force! I didn't have an organization set for this group... they were basically a random mix of troops, vehicles, and an "out of scale" mech! So my knee jerk reaction was a solid "NO".

But then I asked myself: "Why not?" It's not like I'm playing a GW game where I have to have the right combination of forces before I play. Ambush Alley doesn't care! I can play with what I want. A "Duh" statement to say the least, but honestly, it never occurred to me before this.

So I looked a bit at what I had and realized that I had a nice force right there. With some switching around I could field a very different looking section of troops that was similar to the USCM organization, but again, very different from it. The Apaches would be the APCs, the Exterminators would be the grunts and the APGs would round out the section. When I was done I found that I had this unit:

Here's the basic organization for the force:

US Army Strike Section

1 Sergeant Section Leader (SSG Shaffer)

1 Ares Battlesuit (28mm VOR miniature, nice mech in 15mm). I used stats for the M2 FS "Chesty" but all Tech 2

1st Squad with Humvee with AGL, 1 Sgt with ACR, 1 SAW, 1 trooper with ACR, two 2 APGs w/launcher.

2d Squad with Humvee with .50 HMG, 1 Cpl with ACL, 1 SAW, 2 troopers with ACRs, and 1 APG w/launcher.

I decided that the force would be Training D8, Morale D10, Regular supply, and Confident, and 2D Armor. I used the basic stats for the US Army in Tomorrow's War but reduced the tech levels to fit in better for my Liberty Campaign. So the weapons were the same but just Tech 2. I used the basic stats for the USMC's Chesty mecha and I grabbed the up-armored M1117 from Force on Force, just updated to Tech 2.

So what did I have here? A pretty well rounded force actually! This unit has a very different feel from the USCM and the Liberty rebel/republican forces. The bots added hugely to the firepower of the squads- one squad had 10+ firepower dice! I can see that really. Fewer troops, more kit, more firepower! My section of GIs has as much, if not more, fire power than an old style US Army platoon! It's very mobile, has some striking looking units, buckets of firepower, and was just plain fun to play with. I'm sure that there are gamers who could max/min better than me and could have come up with a "better" force. But I don't care! with a little thought I came up with a force to play with in a game with my son.

AND! This force would have never come into being if it wasn't for Jeremy badgering me into playing a game. Odds are they would have gone strait into a carrier and put away until I had all of the figures collected and painted. July would have been the first time that they would have seen the light of day. It would have been worse for poor VOR Ares. I've had him for several years now and yesterday was his first time on the gaming table! Jeremy loves that mech and is begging right now to play another game!

I'll probably post a more formal post later with "fluff" for these guys. So here's some pictures of this force for now.

Time now charlie mike...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Battle of Centreville Pt. 1 Introduction

Well, I'm done painting and putting things together. I also had time today to play a quick game with my newly painted treasures! There's a new one for you: painted and on the gaming table within 24 hours of being based and primed!

My little boy was so fascinated by what I was doing that he asked me to give him some miniatures to paint, so I gave him a squad worth of Rebel Minis US troops to paint and the little guy actually did a decent job painting them. When he finished his squad he begged me to play a game! So we used the miniatures that we just painted up and played a nice game of Tomorrow's War.

It was a blast and he really enjoyed himself… and he's only 8! Get 'em when they're young and you have them for life. So maybe my little guy will be my regular OPFOR too. Not yet, but later down the line perhaps. Today's game was co-op with us both playing as the Americans against my Republic of Liberty forces.

It was a hard fought action too, and yes, I have plenty of pictures to show off. I'll get a full blown battle report up maybe tomorrow.

Here's what I gamed with:

US Army Strike Section

1 Sergeant Section Leader (SSG Shaffer)

1 Ares Battlesuit (28mm VOR miniature, nice mech in 15mm). I used stats for the M2 FS "Chesty" but all Tech 2

1st Squad with Humvee with AGL, 1 Sgt with ACR, 1 SAW, 1 trooper with ACR, two 2 APGs w/launcher.

2d Squad with Humvee with .50 HMG, 1 Cpl with ACL, 1 SAW, 2 troopers with ACRs, and 1 APG w/launcher.

My US Army troops were Tech 2, so I used mostly US Army stuff from the book but scaled back to Tech 2. I also borrowed stats from Force on Force up scaled it up to Tech 2 as well. Shaffer was a positive leader and I rated the sections as Training d8, Morale d10, Confident and Regular supply.

So yes, it was a bit different from the book units, but it was a lot of fun to play. I also have to say, the force was very well armed and dished out the hurt pretty well. But it was shot up pretty badly too!

Like I said, it was a hard fought game. The more I play it, the more I love Tomorrow's War.

Friday, November 25, 2011

US Army Light Infantry for Tomorrow's War

So like many others out there in 15mm land I grabbed my copy of Tomorrow's War almost as soon as it came out.  Tons of other bloggers out there have reviewed the book, so I won't spend much time talking about the rule book other than to say it's well worth your money.  As you've probably seen, TW was the rules set I used in my last game and I see it being my primary rules set for platoon scale battles for now on.  I do like  Chain Reaction and I plan to use it in the future for man-on-man combat though

So I'll just jump into what I want to do with it.

While flipping through the book I stumbled across Appendix 2: Organization Examples and its section on the US Army.  In particular, I was impressed with the US Army Light Infantry Platoon with its mixture of conventional troops and robots.  That's a pretty original force and it's nothing like I've ever seen on the gaming board.  Yes, I've seen a bot here and there and maybe a mech or two.  But I've never seen a force that uses bots so heavily.  You don't have to be a genius to see how much firepower this unit has AND how many models it needs!  To me it appears to be a very visually striking force with lots of units and a serious ability to lay down some hurt.

So I'm planning to build a US Army Light Infantry platoon for use on Liberty.  Yes, it's blending two backgrounds but what the hey, it's my game.  So here's what I'm looking for miniatures wise:

1 Platoon HQ with six humans: One command, one medic, one techy troop, and three rifle men.  Bot wise I need 1 mule (with 3 recce drones) and 1 AMU (medical unit).  I'm thinking about using GZG's MULEs for both of these units with the AMU having a red cross or something.  I'll just leave out the human drivers.  

3 Rifle Squads with 7 humans, 1 MULE, and 7 AGPs.  That breaks down to one squad leader, a MULE, two light infantry fireteams and team called "AGP Contact Fireteam".  Each team has two riflemen, one SAW gunner, and one AGP bot.  So that's five riflemen, two SAW gunners, and two AGP bots per squad.  The AGP Contact Fireteam is all bots: 4 AGPs with GPMGs and 1 with a MPPC Do the math to see what I need total here... the troops aren't a problem, but the bots/MULEs could get expensive!

1 Light Infantry Weapon Squad with one squad leader, 4 AGPs, two gunnery techs (riflemen) and 3 MULEs. 

So miniature totals look something like this:

30 humans, 1 AMU, 7 MULES (one with 3 sensor drones), 6 AGPs (fireteam level with "launchers"), 12 AGPs with GPMGs, and 3 APGs with MPPCs, and three recce drones.  

That's a BIG PLATOON!  I have the troop side of things done with the Khurasan Exterminator troops:

I'm going with these guys because the do match-up reasonably well with my QRF Deep Space Marines.  The gear looks similar enough to be the same nation, but different enough to show that they are two armed forces.  Also, the Exterminators look more "high-tech" than the QRF marines which works fine.  The US Army always gets the pick of funds, gear, and other perks.  Whereas the marines always have to make due with older gear and obsolete weapons.  

Bots are a different story.  GZG seems to be the only game in town for wheeled bots.  I like wheeled stuff and they "match" with my wheeled AFVs/Tanks, so why not stay with the theme?

These GZG bots are for the squad level AGP contact teams and the weapons squad:


And these GZG bots for the fire team level AGPs:

That is two different models to do the "same" AGPs, but I figure that I needed two different units for the GPMGs and the team level "launchers", whatever they are.  The $$ isn't too pretty with the bots running bots running about a quid each.  The MULEs are going to be worse: three quid each!  I might buy a couple and then slowly add them over the coming year.  

Right now I have three packs of Khurasan's Exterminators, three AGPs, and a single MULE.  Not quite a full squad although I do have most of the humans needed.

That's going to be quite an outlay for miniatures so I'm going to stretch this project out a bit.  I'll grab bits of this force at a time with my goal being to have the full platoon done by this summer.  I'll probably start with the platoon HQ squad and a rifle squad, then I'll start with the other combat elements as I purchase the needed figures.  Perhaps at a rate of one squad per month?  I may do orders every other month with GZG to save on shipping and I plan to hold off on my first purchase until I see what I get for Christmas ($$ wise) and to get a feel for what Jon will do sale wise.  He always does a Christmas sale and he usually tosses in a free mini or two that goes with your purchase theme... so I plan to wait a bit to see what happens here.

I'm off today and the weekend, so I'll use some of this free time to get going with painting.  Perhaps I'll have a few units done by Sunday and post what I have.  

I'm also figuring out my organization chart stuff for the USCMs so I can use them in Tomorrow's War.  I'll probably post that later next month along with stats for my APCs and tanks.

Anyway, enjoy the holidays!

Semper Fi,  Carry on...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011