Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 1 Background


So I have been casting about for something to make after completing my Arnhem model. After looking at a range of projects I have finally settled on a Brécourt Manor board. Brécourt Manor is the site of the famous D-Day action undertaken by Lt Dick Winters and Easy Company against a battery of German artillery firing on Utah beach. Here’s a handy video from the TV series Band of Brothers.

I decidedly this looked like a decent project because it was different from Arnhem, was small enough to fit within my household space constraints, could be fought in 6mm, and would make a decent diorama or participation game. I know a number of people have modelled it before but none I've seen are in 6mm.
Whilst Arnhem was designed to be as accurate as possible I have taken a much more flexible approach to the design and build of this project. 
I started with the aim of fitting it onto a single 600 by 900mm board. I intend to represent each soldier and weapon on both sides individually using Adler and GHQ models in 1:285 or 6mm. The ground scale though is closer to 1:600. I have ignored the Manor itself which would be just off the board.


I looked at a number of very helpful websites to provide information on the battlefield and the battle. A review of all the information I could find resulted in a number of additional choices and compromises. 
A contour overlay from a very useful website, https://contourmapcreator.urgr8.ch/, clearly indicates that the entire battlefield is essentially flat. The contours are at 1m intervals and this combined with the high zoom mean the info is very much indicative and approximate. I have therefore decided to leave the board flat.
The location of the actual German positions were not in the field as shown in the TV series but within the hedgerow, most likely using a pre-existing drainage channel. Photos from the day and shortly after show minimal indication the Germans were there at all. However I don’t want the game to be any more fiddly than is has to be so I have moved the German positions out of the hedgerow.

There are also two schools of thought on the location of the guns themselves, with the position of the 1st gun disputed. Many sources, including the TV show, place the 3rd gun away from the other and facing west rather than north. Others place all the guns facing north. I’m not going to make a big deal about it but I’ve decided all 4 guns in the diorama will face north in a single line.
I have also moved the location of the bunker and ammo store to fit better with the model layout. I have helpfully stolen a trench map and overlaid it on my contour image as the basis for placing the trenches.
Adjusted sketch map of the trenches overlaid on satellite image. Squares = 10cm on the board
I am also unconvinced that the guns were covered by camo nets, but I’ll probably try and make some just to give it a go. They are likely to be removable and come off the model very quickly in a game because they will be fragile and just get in the way.

Next time I’ll talk about the building of the base board.

Keep your dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller

Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 Year in Review


Please bear with me whilst I indulge myself, a little bit late maybe, in an end of year retrospective but Xmas was a busy time. So at the end of my first year blogging I thought I’d have a review of the year and a look at what I hope to achieve wargaming wise over the year to come. 

2019 achievements

  • I managed to post 25 blog entries across the year - almost 1 every two weeks. I’m very pleased that my initial enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed and that I can still find things to talk about!
  • I completed a scale model of Arnhem and it got lots of appreciation from those that have seen it including exhibiting it at a couple of shows.
  • I took my eldest son (he’s just turned 11) to Joy of Six and watched him have a most marvellous time with the games put on by Peter Riley and Dan Hodgson. Subsequently he joined me at Recon manning my participation game. I have high hopes he’ll engage more in the hobby over the next few years.
  • Helped my friends develop a set of war game rules.
  • Written and played several big piece WW2 scenarios including the Bulge and Arnhem
  • Made a lot of trees
  • Substantially completed the painting of my WW2 Russian army - just cavalry still to paint. Of course, until I need more. Obviously.
  • Painted a small force of WW2 Americans
  • Acquired a substantial amount of WW2 Germans
  • Helped my son build a scale model of an Andersen shelter for his school homework, but really as an excuse to interest him in modelling.
  • Ended the year as enthusiastic about wargaming as I was at the start. 

2020 ambitions

  • Exhibit at the Joy of Six, hopefully alongside my friend Roly and his Chateau la Londe game
  • Engage my eldest son more and teach him some basic war games.
  • Introduce my other son to wargaming and modelling.
  • Continue to produce this blog
  • Produce another model or two - I’m currently thinking about building a small board to refight the battle at Brécourt.
  • Paint up my early war German forces
  • Refight some BEF and Barbarossa games
  • See the war game rules published
  • Play a lot more games and maybe expand the periods I game in. 

Keep gaming!


Charles the Modeller

Brécourt Manor - Part 9 - Camouflage Netting

Experimental 6mm Camouflage Nets The final piece of development work on the Brécourt board has been completed. The episode of Band of Brot...