24 May 2017

In Memoriam - Martin Bond

Martin was a great friend and literally the first friend of podcast. I regularly enjoyed his questions for the crew, his banter over Damian's drybrushing, and the epic Age of Sigmar rants we shared offline. He was a genuine soul, taking time to share is hobby with friends and readers through his prolific and exceptional blog, The Garage Gamers .

He cared so much for the hobby that he reached out and introduced himself across the hobby from Games Workshop to indie start up designers. We regularly talked, with him in the UK and me in NZ, we always had morning chats and evening meetups about all sorts of gaming, from X-Wing to Vietnam. I’ll never forget his love of such a diverse set of games.

But perhaps the most lasting impression he has had on me was how he shared his love of gaming with his daughter, Olivia. The two had amazing and genuine adventures together as only a father and child could have. He and Olivia have given me such an amazing example to help me to connect with my own son. He was a great man and an inspiring one. He will be greatly missed.

In honor of Martin's unequalled love of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I'll close with the final words of Lt. Tasha Yar:

"Death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others. Which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes. Just good memories. Hailing frequencies closed, sir."

- with Mike.

23 May 2017

Our Friend Marty.

We're a pretty light-hearted bunch here at Behind Enemy Lines. We love a laugh and never take ourselves too seriously. That's been the key tenet for the BEL Community since day 1....and since day 1 we've always loved and appreciated the support of, what we believe to be, our biggest fan, Mr. Martin Bond.

News reached us today that our mate Marty has unfortunately passed away and we as a group send our heart-felt condolences and sincerest thoughts to his family at this difficult time, especially his beloved daughter and oft-time gaming nemesis, Olivia. We share in your loss.

Martin's passion for gaming was evidenced by his dedication to promoting our hobby through his blog, The Garage Gamers. He loved to game and he loved to talk about gaming with anyone who'd listen. A true gentlemen of the gaming community at large and we are poorer for his passing. 

So, our dear friend Martin, in whichever galaxy you now roam, know that we go with you and you're always in our hearts. We'll miss you man.

- Damo, Dan, Mike and Greg

16 May 2017

Review: Team Yankee - Volksarmee

- with Greg

With all the hoopla around the release of V4 for Flames of War, I totally forgot to get y'all a review of the East German release for Team Yankee, appropriately titled Volksarmee. This is the third supplement for Battlefront's highly-successful Team Yankee and covers of the potential East German forces in the imaginary conflict.

The beautifully laid out book comes in at a whopping 32 pages of full colour, WWIII goodness. The opening pages detail the formaion of the DDR in 1949 and the subsequent formation of the Nationale Volksarmee in 1956.

From there, you get into the guts of the book with the choices you can make to form your own version of the 9. Panzer Division. You have 4 formation choices:

T-72M Panzer Battailon

The T-72M is the Polish or Czech production version of the Soviet T-72 and as such, doesn't really have all the bells and whistles that the Soviet version has. You must select a minimum of 2 T-72 Kompanies with between 3 - 10 tanks setting you back between 7 and 35 points. You can field a 3rd Kompanie of T-72M tanks or have this filled with the T-55AM to save on points.

Your additional options here give you a few options to help protect your tanks or get them closer to the Capitalist dogs. 

You can take either a BMP-1 or a BRDM-2 Aufklarungs Zug. Both of these have the Spearhead rule to expand your deployment zone. The BMP-1 has the benefit of the AT-3 Sagger missile giving it some anti-tank capability which the BRDM-2 doesn't have. You do pay for the improvement though, with the BMP being a point each, and you can field up to 4, which the BRDM is 1 point for a pair, again a maximum of 4.

Your next option can be either the SA-13 Gopher or the SA-9 Gaskin to give you cover from those pesky tank-hunting choppers of the West. Again, the difference here is in points with the Gopher providing longer cover range and a better firepower from the SA-13 missile compared to the SA-9 missile in the BRDM-based Gaskin. Similar to the Scout troop choices, the points differences are 1 point each for the Gopher to a max of 4 and 1 point for a pair of Gaskin's with a max of 4.

If you still feel like you need more AA cover then you also have the option of taking a Shilka unit as well.

You also have the option of fielding the infantry alongside in support of your tanks with the Mot-Schutzen Kompanie. There are three sizes you can look at fielding here. 

In its largest block, you're paying 19 points which nets you 10 stands on MPi KM Assault Rifle/RPG-18 teams, 9 RPG-7 teams, 2 PKM LMG teams and 12 BMP-1's for them to rock around in, should you so wish.

The middle ground gets you 7 MPi KM teams, 6 RPG-7 teams, 2 PKM LMG's and 9 BMP-1's. This one is 14 points.

The short option will set you back 6 points but only has 4 MPi KM teams, 3 RPG-7 teams and 4 BMP-1's.

For each option though you can add either an AGS-17 grenade launcher team in its own BMP or an SA-14 Gremlin team again with it's own BMP. They're a point each.

Rounding out the additional options for your T-72M's is the artillery in the form of the 2S1 Carnation. You can field either 3 or 6 of the massive 122mm howitzer for 6 or 12 points respectively.

T-55AM2 Panzer Bataillon

You can choose to take your formation as a T-55AM2 Kompanie. Fielding the ageing T-55 (which has been upgraded with modern FCS and a laser rangefinder) in its AM2 guise, you field a minimum of 2 Kompanies of them ranging from 2 points for 3 tanks up to 10 tanks for 16 points. They're not going to be doing a lot of killing at long range though so your best option here is to get them into the flanks.

You can field a 3rd Kompanie of T-55AM's or have them supported by the newer T-72M. 

Alongside, you get the options as above with the T-72M's to have the BMP-1 Mot-Schutzen Kompanie, BMP-1/BRDM-2 Aufklarungs, Gopher/Gaskin Flak Zug, Shilka Zug and Carnation Batterie.

In addition, you can choose, instead of the BMP-1 Mot Schutzen, to field a Mot-Schutzen in BTR-60's. You again have 3 options here, as with the BMP-1 Mot-Schutzen.

At full strength you're paying 15 points and getting your 10 MPi KM teams, 9 RPG-7 teams, 1 PKM LMG and 11 BTR-60's.

Mid-range is 10 points with 7 MPi KM teams, 6 RPG-7 teams, a PKM LMG and 8 BTR-60's.

The short version is 5 points with 4 MPi KM teams, 3 RPG-7 teams and 4 BTR-60's.

For each option you can select to add:
1 AGS-17 grenade launcher in a BTR-60 for a point
Up to 2 AT-4 Spigot missile teams each in a BTR-60 for 2 points each. These bad boys are ROF 3 with AT19 and a 3+ firepower. They also benefit from HEAT and being Guided.
1 SA-14 Gremlin AA missile team in a BTR-60 for a point.

BMP or BTR Mot-Schutzen Kompanie

Your final formation choice can be either a BMP or BTR Mot-Schutzen formation.

If you choose the BMP road, you have to select 2 BMP Kompanies but one of them can be fielded with BMP-2 transports rather than BMP-1's. This takes your points up though to 24, 18 and 8 for each of the options described above.  You can also take a 3rd BMP-1 Kompanie as well.

If you go down the BTR road then you can only field BTR-equipped units, again with a minimum of 2.

All additional options are the same as the tank kompanies but you do have the option of fielding either a T-72M or T-55AM2 Kompanie in support of the infantry.

The only other additional option here is the Spandrel Panzerabwehr Zug. Again, based on the BRDM chassis, you have attached the AT-5 Spandrel missile offering a really good AT at 21 with a 3+ firepower. You can take 2 of them for a point or 3 for 2 points. These are an excellent anti-tank support option as long as you keep them protected.

Support Options

So what else can you get to help you out in your attempts to bring the West to heel?

As well as the aforementioned Carnation, Spandrel and Aufklarungs options, you also have the option to take the BM-21 Hail Raketenwerfer Batterie to rain down fire on your enemy. These are fielded in either 3 or 6 truck batteries for 5 or 10 points respectively.

In the air, you get access to either the SU-25 Frogfoot for 7 points per pair with up to 6 being available to you.

You also can wield the mighty Mi-24 Hind Battle Helicopter. You can have either 2 or 4 of these beasts (at 6 or 12 points). This also allows you access to the Assault Landing Company as well. These come in 2 options; 3 points will net you 4 MPi Km teams and 4 RPG-7 teams or you can pay 1 point for half as many of each.

So there you have it. Now, I've already started my West German force, but hopefully this can give you a bit of insight into what you can expect should you go down the DDR route.

05 May 2017

Project ACW - Update 5 May

Hi guys,

Another Project ACW update for you and things are coming along. Given the sheer volume of figures that need to be built, painted and based progress is pretty good.

I've managed to get 3 Regiments painted and ready to go, so with 2 more I'll have a full Brigade ready for Black Powder.

So as you can see, there is a shitload of blue! So in order to mix that up, I've painted up a couple of bases of Zouaves, just for some variety. These will be regiment 4 for the 1st Brigade.

Just another 4 bases to go there.

And finally, just for a bit of a treat, I manage to finish off an artillery piece.

So all in all, I'm still having a ball with this one. It's a big project, but it's coming along!