Saturday, June 3, 2017

Another Project: Greeks 1940

I have a soft spot for the rules systems of the Two Fat Lardies. Perhaps the best fun for my money I ever got was the combination of Kiss me Hardy with Valiant 1:2000 Napoleonic Ships. Lots of fun was had. I am aware of the rest of their rule systems as well, but it never happened that I wanted to do a period that was covered by them. The exception was WW1, and I tried to steer Mehemt towards using the systems created by the Two Fat Lardies for it, but Mehmet decided he wanted to try his had at rules design. This is totally defensible, and a good decision, and the resulting rules "Trial by Fire" are worth a look. The second chance has been World War 2.

Now I have a weird relation with WW2. Due to the Greek participation of the war, and the continuous drumming of the war in national parades and celebrations when I was growing up, I never really got interested in it, the same way I got interested in the less well known in Greece World War 1, or the Balkan Wars, or Greeces "unkown", "unlucky" War of 1897. A made an abortive attempt at WW2 gaming using the NUTs system of rules and 28mm figures, but I was not able to beguile people away from their Warhammer 40k. So the figures got sold.

After that there had been no contact with WW2 outside of some board-wargaming. It just does not pique me the way other people do. It also does not help that I do not like most of the popular rules out there (Flames of War, Bolt Action etc). But a lot of people here in Turkey love WW2. Flames of War and Bolt Action have avid gaming bases in Istanbul. So in the end I decided to try and beguile some of the people interested in WW2 to the Two Fat Lardy logic. To do this I decided to build two small forces for I aint been shot Mom, the Two Fat Laries system built for company level actions in World War 2.

The reason I chose this systems is because it offers coverage of the period of World War 2, that most interests me, which is the early Blitzkrieg (1939-1940). Within that period I decided to focus on the Greek-Italian War of 1940-1941. There are some reasons for this: 1) it is a conflict you do not often see played by war-gamers 2) few people I know of have WW2 greek armies in their collection.

Since IABSM is a company based game that uses a 1:1 ratio , I decided to peruse the project in 10mm. This is for reasons of costs, terrain size, and time availability. It turns out that the only company that makes Greeks and Italians that are proper for the 1940-1941 campaign is Pithead Miniatures . So I put an order in for two understrength companies (one Greek and one Italian), with some support weapons. The service was excellent.

It turns out that painting these figures is a really fast job. I finished the Greeks in essentially 3 days. I have two full strength platoons and one under-strength, plus two guns for support, and 2 machine gun batteries (8 units). If there is one thing I did not like about the Pithead figures is that they have too many command figures for this level of game. But beyond that they are good.

So without further ado here are the pictures. Next in this small project are the Italians and then doing a demo game at the Karargah Club. (CLICK ON PICTURES FOR LARGE IMAGE)

The Regimental support guns

Another view.

The medium machine guns

The squad support light machine guns

Poor,bloody infantry

The whole force.


Steve J. said...

I look forward to seeing how this develops. I have just finished reading 'The Hollow Legions' by Mario Cervi which was very informative. Not much detail in terms of battles fought etc, but great on the Italian infighting, politics, lack of planning etc. Osprey are due to release a book on the conflict in the Autumn, which might be worth a look?

Norm said...

An interesting project. Even at the tactical boardgame level you would struggle to get representational forces except in ASL and would likely get some good scenario information from that system. I owned Hollow Legions many (many) years ago and can't remember what the scenario mix was like.

Steve J. said...

Norm, a broad brush would be:

- Initial Italian advance goes well as Greeks withdraw before them.
- Atrocious weather leads to supply issues right across the board for the Italians, both on land, in the air and by sea. This leads to Italians having to attack often without any heavy weapons. Weather prevents any co-ordinated air support.
- Greeks on the other hand have internal lines, a friendly population and a strong will to fight etc. Their mortars are often referrred to as excellent.
- Greek counter-attack drives Italians back into Albania. A combination of the weather, terrain and leadership issues prevents Greeks from capitalising on this success.
- 1941 and Germans enter, game over.

Terribly simplified I know but that's my take on things. In terms of gaming this, I want to do it with BKCII and probably use a bit of 'what if?', such as better weather for the Italians to make more of a game of it. Attacking up a valley at an entrenched enemy is not that fun to be honest, especially with the low Italain CVs.

Konstantinos Travlos said...

The primary problem was a the level of operational or theater strategy, Mussolini simply assigned very inadequate forces for the task at hand. Thus Italian division were assigned extremely hard tasks (Julia division at Pindus). You do not attack a country that can raise a 150000-200000 army with a 200000 army. He completely underestimated the will of the Greek state to resit, and the support it would get from the people (do remember only 5 years ago the country was very close to civil war). Thus he approached this as secondary quick campaign, and doomed himself to failure. If he had committed the necessary forces from the start he probably would had gained some of his objectives. A very badly planned out campaign, with very badly planned out objectives. On the other hand, Greek goverments since at least 1934 expected a war with Italy and Metaxas heavily planned for it (they also expected Bulgaria to join Italy.)

On the German assault the Greeks completely overestimated the ability of the Yugoslav Army to resist. The whole warplan rested on Yugoslavia holding the line at the center, and Greece at the flanks. So a nice massive gap, perfect for armor along the Vardar Valley opened leading right to Thessaloniki and separating the Armies in Albania and Thrace/East. Macedonia.