- Gavutu-Tanambogo CG 2nd Assault Period (Night Landing), Turn 9
- J146 Ragnarök, Turn 3 German
This is December 1942. The Australians are looking to dislodge the IJA from the Gona mission in 5 CG dates.
Alan Findlay at Broken Ground Design, followed his sample sheets of German, Polish, Partisan and Axis Minors counters with a sheet of French vehicles last week. In case you are not aware, Mr Findlay is looking to release an big suite of redesigned Advanced Squad Leader counters which includes “standard” nationalities as well as “new” nationalities.
I took a careful look at the Vehicle counters this weekend. In the process I placed a few of my Avalon Hill French counters side by side for comparison.
Let me show you a few photos first:
My first impression is that the vehicle graphics are too small. When I put the Broken Ground vehicles next to the old Avalon Hill counters, the graphics are indeed smaller. The smaller graphics is unfortunately combined with a camouflage pattern that completely, well, camouflaged the outlines of these vehicles.
My next thought is then, can I tell which vehicles are Open-Topped ?
You can see for yourself from the upper set of photos where I compared the Avalon Hill counter for the Open-Topped AM Dodge against the Broken Ground one. You can still tell that the AM Dodge is Open-Topped from the Broken Ground counter but it’s not as easy.
I wonder if it will help if the vehicles are made bigger, the camouflage tuned to a lighter saturation and shading added to bring out the vehicle contours. Then again, I would be asking Mr Findlay to conform to a different style and would probably be asking too much. A way to better communicate “Open-Topped” will help though. Perhaps we can make the Movement Points a light blue (it’s on a white background anyway) like certain SS vehicle counters.
Flipping over the counters, I like the fact that Mr Findlay decided to use a bold font on the back to improve readability.
The improvements to readability are even more pronounced on the front. Mr. Findlay decided to put a black outline around the white symbol that is the background for the Movement Points. Now it’s much easier to tell whether a vehicle is Fully Tracked [D1.13], Half-Tracked [D1.1.4], Armored Car [D1.12] or Truck [D1.15].
Mr Findlay has also made it much easier to tell, by accentuating the difference and adding black outlines, the difference between Fast Turret [D1.31], Slow Turret [D1.32], Restricted Slow Traverse [D1.321] and a One Man Turret [D1.322].
Both of these improvements will certainly speed up play.
These vehicle counters and the infantry counters that I have previously reviewed are both very well made. I would even suggest that the printer did a better job with these vehicle counters than it did with the sample batch of infantry counters – evidence that previously mentioned issues are addressed.
- A much more readable set of symbology and text on the counters
- Quality components
- An affordable way to gain access to full sets of counters
- Make it easier to discern Open-Topped vehicles
- Tone down the camouflage so we can see the vehicles.
(All Photos are Copyrighted to the Hong Kong Wargamer. Do not use without permission.)
Shortly after Mr Paul Weir lent his expertise in CPVA firearms. The chief designer for Forgotten War: Korea 1950-1953, Kenneth Katz gave us even more details. The following is reprinted with his permission.
CPVA Initial Intervention MG
The CPVA entered the war with a little bit of everything, which made their logistics a nightmare. That is why their Initial Intervention MG are B11. I assumed that the MG which were acquired in the 1930s were mostly gone by 1950, either destroyed in war or worn out beyond repair. So the most common types of LMG in service with the CPVA in 1950 would have the the weapons that were either manufactured in China during the 1940s (the ZB-26 in 7.92 x 57mm), captured from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) (Type 11 and Type 96 in 6.5mm and Type 99 in 7.7mm), and supplied by Lend Lease (mostly Canadian-manufactured Bren Mk II in 7.92mm). The LMG counter artwork is for the ZB-26, probably the most common weapon.
Using the same logic, the most common MMG/HMG was the Type 24, which was a Chinese-manufactured Maxim design in 7.92 x 57mm. Just as with the German MMG/HMG, the MMG and the HMG are the same weapon, with more ammo for the HMG. The CPVA also used Japanese MMG/HMG in 6.5mm and 7.7mm, and assorted other weapons.
CPVA Soviet-Armed MG
The artwork on the counters represents the standard Soviet MG of the period.
LMG = DP-28 or DPM or Type 53 (Chinese-manufactured DPM)
MMG = SG-43 or SGM or Type 53 (Chinese-manufactured SG-43)
HMG = PM1910
0.50 cal HMG = DShK-38 or DShKM (Chinese-manufactured DShkM was the Type 54, so first entered service after the Korean War)
How difficult was CPVA logistics?
The CPVA was using 7.92 x 57mm (Mauser), 7.62 x 54R mm (Soviet), 6.5mm (Japanese), 7.7mm (Japanese) and smaller amounts of 30-06 (American) and .303 caliber (British) ammunition for rifles and machine guns at the same time.
Kangzhan: Guide to Chinese Ground Forces 1937-45, Leland Ness with Bin Shih, Helion & Company, 2016
Chinese Civil War Armies 1911–49, Philip Jowett, Osprey Publishing, 1997
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1949, Benjamin Lai, Osprey Publishing, 2012
The Communist Chinese Army (DA 30-51), Department of the Army, September 1952
Counter Art : Hong Kong Wargamer
Photos : 抗战机密档（中日军队轻武器史料）
Having gotten Forgotten Wars : Korea 1950-1953, I asked about the machine guns I see in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army’s (“CPVA”) OB. The following is Mr Paul M. Weir’s response, reprinted with his permission. I researched and inserted the illustrations – so any errors are also mine.
(By Mr Paul M. Weir)
There are 2 sets each of LMG/MMG/HMG as well as 1 0.50″.
One set is Soviet LMG, MMG and HMG in CPVA colours, the other set are the MGs from the GMD/NRA in CPVA colours, the .50″ being common to both Soviet and GMD in values.
The 2-7 LMG represents Czech ZB vz 26/30 (the Bren’s predecessor), a widely exported weapon, also locally manufactured versions, as well as odds and sods like Madsens.
The 2-6 LMG(r) represents the DP aka DP-28 or DPM Soviet LMG.
From both text and photos the Chinese, all sides, had very few air cooled MMG/HMG until either supplied in WW2 by the US with M1919 or captured Japanese MMG/HMG. Most seem to have been versions of the classic Maxim design, the German MG08 being the commonest but you would also see Schwarzlose, Browning M1919, Vickers and even some Italian (possibly part of the shipment that brought the L3/35 tankettes) MG. If a MG ever saw production, it is likely at least a few saw service in Chinese hands.
Now that I think of it, the PLA had large number of Japanese MG, the 2-6(r) being closest match to the Japanese LMG., the non-(r) MMG/HMG to the Japanese MMG/HMG. Note that the Japanese 50mm mortar comes in CPVA and ROK/KMC colours.
The multitude of Chinese factions prior to 1949 got whatever they could whenever they could and the PLA inherited that mix. The eventually standardised on Soviet pattern stuff but that took time. So apart from the non-dm Soviet MMG/HMG ‘feature’, you could use whatever mix you want and you would not go too far wrong. The potential mix of weapons was really that bad.
As for 0.50 cal type MG, there were really only 3 moderately common designs; the US 0.50 cal Browning, the Soviet 12.7mm DShK and the French 13.2 Hotchkiss. The British had their own lower powered Vickers .50″ round that was also used by the Italians but their guns were mainly used in aircraft (Italians), multi-gun AA mounts and in tanks (mainly British). The Brownings and DShK have seen use everywhere since WW2, but in WW2 were really only issued to US+US Lend Leased forces and Soviet forces respectively only. The Hotchkiss was used by French, Belgian and Greek forces and license built by the Japanese. Unlike the Browning and DShK and while the bare gun was about the same weight as those two, the Hotchkiss mainly saw use in weighty AA mounts and AFV, plain infantry style ground mounts seem to be rare.
The CPVA had anything and everything that was left over from the Chinese Civil War period. German, Italian, Czech, US, Soviet and Japanese as well as locally manufactured rifles, MG and mortars. A very common rifle was the German Gewehr 1888, locally manufactured as the Hanyang 88. Ditto the German MG 08 was locally manufactured in Hanyang as the Type 24 and the Czech ZB-26 done in Gongxian Arsenal. Of course as the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (’37-’45) dragged on, increasing number of Japanese weapons of all types were in use and likely copied. The Japanese 50mm MTR seems to be one weapon copied, though I could not swear on that. The Chinese seemed to really like the US 60mm MTR and various RR and eventually produced their own clones as well as using captured stocks.
Counter Art : Hong Kong Wargamer
Photos : 抗战机密档（中日军队轻武器史料）
Kenneth Katz, chief designer of Forgotten War: Korean 1950-1953, gave us more details here … CPVA Machine Guns in Forgotten War – the Designer’s Supplement