Friday, July 22, 2016

Convergence and Divergence

Reading Bob Cordery's blog recently - as I do regularly - my ears pricked up when I noticed that his attention had devolved upon Napoleonics.  What particularly piqued my interest was the sort of army organisation he was planning.  It bore a remarkable resemblance to my own, designed for my 'Big Battles for Small Tables' project (now somewhat stalled).  But there are differences.
A French infantry Division in line of battle.  More of this later...

Commenting on his blog, I seemed to be making a blog posting, but now that I am here, I find myself with all sorts of things I could talk about.  Rather than split them up into several postings, this will be a longish one.  I hope it is as interesting.

The motivation here is to play 'Army Level' games on a small table.  That means that your tactical units will be Divisions or Brigades, and/or your regiments and battalions will have a mere handful of figures.

The 'small battalion' notion has a long and respectable pedigree, beginning with R.L. Stevenson's 4-figure units in his games with his step-son.  My first introduction to wargames featured something similar.  I will mention here one Philip Allen, 1970s law student at Auckland University (where I was purportedly completing a degree in Mathematics), who had begun building his Napoleonic Armies whilst still at high school, and used a version of Young and Lawford's Charge! rules for his games. Unfortunately, I lost contact with Philip a long, long time ago.

III Corps again, this time in colour;  Four infantry Divisons
(Numbered 7th to 10th), a light cavalry Brigade (3rd,
represented by Chasseurs) and artillery park (1 model 8pr
cannon with 4 gunners). Minifigs.

Philip favoured 9-figure infantry regiments - one officer and 8 men - organised into Divisions of 4 regiments. Every regiment had its own number. Cavalry regiments were 5 figures strong, but not formally organised into higher formations.  The 36-figure Divisions were mounted, but not fixed - upon movement trays in a columnar formation, 4 ranks of 9 figures, the officers standing on the right of each successive rank.  Divisions rarely departed from this formation, even when defending.  That suggests, perhaps, that the 1813 campaign was pretty much the focus of Philip's battles and wars.

Three such Divisions formed an Army Corps, of which there were four (actually, I think I Corps had only 10 or 11 regiments, one or two Divisions being under establishment). The Imperial Guard was an independent 5-regiment Division.  The Army Corps did not include in any formal sense artillery or cavalry, which were attached on an ad hoc basis, depending on scenario or campaign.  In the great War of 1975/1812, my first Napoleonic 'Division', painted as Westphalians, added to the Strength of the French, also as an independent formation.  As Philip favoured the Continental wars, he had built up a huge allied force of Russians, Prussians and Austrians.  Even with my 'Westphalians' added, the French found the Allied numbers too great to overcome when combined.

III Corps on the road.  I wanted to see how much
 roadway would be taken up by the Corps to determine
how long it would take for it to deploy into battle formation.
It was partly in fond memory of those days that I sought to recover that sense of fighting wars rather than battles.  Some years ago. I had seen what Paul Leniston had been doing in this regard.  His Army organisations are elegantly simple:comprising 4 Corps, each with 4 infantry brigades of 8 figures, a 4-figure cavalry brigade, and a park of one model gun with four crew on a stand.  Including the Corps commander, that is an Army Corps of 41 figures.  Having played in one of his campaigns, I could appreciate the simplicity of Paul's approach, and the kind of command discipline it enforced, particularly in the field of logistics.  

The infantry (11th to 14th Divisions) of IV Corps.  Figures of
mixed provenance: early Minifigs plus figures from two or
three manufacturers I can't identify.
17th Light Infantry representing 15th Division
of V Corps.  Front Rank figures.

A 4-Corps army (166 figures including the army command) is a respectable number to field on a 6'x6' table, but for the strategic wastage built in by the need to establish and garrison supply depots and distribution points.  As there were no subdivisions below a whole brigade, if you wanted to advance any distance, you had to count on at least a quarter of your infantry to be detached upon garrison duty!  That made for some challenging decision making, and I don't think I ever did fully grasp Paul's campaign rules. At least it was the poorer quality units that were detailed for such onerous tasks!

Fortunately, my Prussian Army seized its objective early and held on (just!) against several strong French counter-offensives.  I declined to participate in further campaigns, despite temptation, as I found that being 'out of phase' with everyone else it wasn't always easy to keep up with what was going on.

The system adopted by Bob Cordery, and my own, lie somewhere between those used by Philip Allen and Paul Leniston.  Bob has gone for divisions comprising four  6-figure infantry regiments, a 4-figure cavalry regiments, a gun with 2 crew figures, and a commanding general.   Normally Napoleonic all-arms formations were at Army corps level, so the inclusion of cavalry at this level is a bit unusual.  The effect, though, of grouping two or three such Divisions together is to create Army Corps with a realistic ratios of all arms, depending on how one looks at the artillery.  In addition to the Divisional holding, does one add a Corps Reserve artillery park?  I suspect not.  But however you do these things, there has to be a compromise somewhere!  One of the problems I have with the otherwise fine rule set Age of Eagles, is the sheer number of model cannon you need.  I am quite content with ten model cannon for 720 figures of the other arms.

Where Bob has organised his army around Divisions, I have mine about the Army Corps.  The result is surprisingly similar.  The 24-figure infantry battalion/regiments and 12 figure cavalry regiments of my standard Corsican Ogre game become Infantry Divisions and Cavalry Brigades, without having to make any change to the way the figures are organised. 

Although, I have no formal regimental 

15th Division in column with skirmishers brigaded together,
 and extended in grande bandee.

organisation below these levels, yet their composition suggest they exist in potentia.  My 24-figure French units comprise 4 grenadier, 4 voltigeurs and 16 centre company figures that will include flag bearers, officers and musicians. In the pictures accompanying this part of the text one can see how a Division might be arranged internally in all sorts of ways.  I have long taken the view that it ought to be possible to depict this kind of activity, below the nominal 'tactical unit' level of the rule set in question.  I have always had a bit of a problem in this regard with rule sets like Volley and Bayonet, and even to some extent Age of Eagles, which fudges these, rather. 

15th Division with double the usual allocation of skirmishers
deployed in grande bandee.  Divisions represented by light infantry
figures are the only ones permitted this.  See text.
My French Army Corps comprise three (I, II, V, VI, Imperial Guard) or four (III, IV) infantry Divisions, one light cavalry brigade (represented variously by units of hussars, chasseurs-a-cheval or lancers), and - here's where Bob and I diverge - a single gun.  The Imperial Guard includes a heavy cavalry Brigade (represented by Horse grenadiers) as well as the light (Chasseurs-a-cheval).  It also holds two gun models each with 5 crew figures, a park overall of 80 cannon.

Division deployed in successive lines with skirmishers forward,
represented by voltigeurs and carabiniers-au-pied.
This single cannon in my line formations represents not only the Corps's reserve park, but the whole of the Corps artillery. The crews will normally vary from 3 to 5 figures, each crew figure representing, as it were, an 8-gun battery or company.  The 3-figure crew might equally well represent four 6-gun companies of, say, horse artillery.  The standard, however is (for the moment) a gun with four-figure crew, representing a park of 32 cannon.  This is probably a little on the light side for a French Army corps, and a 48-gun park might be a better number.  That could be depicted by two guns with 3 crew men apiece.  However, I did want to keep gun models down.  I would require at least fourteen cannon, and that not counting horse guns for my Cavalry Corps.

Built into this system is the flexibility to depict single gun companies if the need arises.  This is simply a gun with a single crew figure.  I am thinking of a situation in my Retreat from Smolensk narrative, in which a single Division flung out as a flank guard, is about to come under attack by a large body of Russian cossacks, foot and guns.  It seems reasonable to suppose this Division will have taken its artillery - a single company - with it, and with it awaits the storm, or relief from elements of Davout's Corps...  Of that, more another time.

I did ask Paul Leniston whether he had considered the idea of Cavalry Corps.  I had seen the notion in Paddy Griffith's Army Game from his Napoleonic Wargames for Fun book, and of course from my reading of history. I gather Paul was vaguely tempted by the idea, but decided it would over-complicate his game system. I think he's right that it would not be a good 'fit'.  My French Army has two Cavalry Corps, each comprising 3 Brigades. At present, I Cavalry Corps comprises three brigades of Cuirassiers (with the possible addition of an orphaned 'regiment' of 4 Hinchliffe figures), and II Cav Corps 3 brigades of Dragoons, with a light horse gun attached with 3 crew.  Of course, Marshal Murat commands the former.  I will probably attach a light gun to the Cuirassiers as well.

Division in ordre mixte, with skirmishers deployed.
So far I have omitted mention the fourth part of my Army Corps: the logistics element. Unfortunately I have also omitted them from my pictures.  This can be any kind of wagon, cart or caisson that must accompany the army corps into battle.  I would probably omit a logistic element for the Cavalry Corps as likely to have been left well behind, or else subsume the same into an Army HQ logistical element.  I'll have to think about that. 
Division in advancing  battalion or regimental columns
with skirmishers deployed forward.

Work in Progress:
Imperial Guard: Heavy and Light Brigades, Sapeurs of the Guard,
Old, Middle and Young Guard Divisions, Guard artillery.
Below are pictures of my Imperial Guard, all 115 figures, not counting the absent ADC to the Marshal commanding.  That personage is an early Minifigs model of Marshal Bessieres. When I got him, he was painted up as a French General (one Marcel Douchenois), but now there is good reason and motivation to repaint him as he should be, resplendent in his uniform of the Guides.  

The lone mounted general is in fact an early Minifigs
Marshal Bessieres, who has spent his life hitherto as one
General Douchenois.  He will be repainted in his proper dignity
as Marshal in the uniform of the Guides...

As you will see from the pictures, this is still very much a 'work in progress' with a few figures recently bought to beef up the Old Guard to 24 figures. They need to be painted, as do the bearskin hatted gun crew to the right of the pictures.  The plumed shakos of the other gun crew I have deemed worthy of Guard status. One has yet to acquire his plume.

As the 5-man crew of the near gun represents a park of 40 cannon,
a broader base seems to be indicated. 

To make a plume, I drill down the front of the shako at a slight angle, into which hole I shove in a length of wire.  Over this I slip a short length, 8cm, say, of the end of a cotton bud.  To get the effect and the shape that I want, I strip perhaps half the cotton from the bud.  Dobbing on the paint tends to give the thing the right sort of shape and feathery look.  I have an idea the trail-spike man at the rear of the left-hand gun (as you see it) has received that treatment.

In these pictures you will notice the guns placed, but not fixed, on triangular bases.  This is really part of my flexibility fetish.  The 'unequal'  side of the isosceles triangle is the battery frontage; the other two sides form an angle that define the battery's arc of fire.  The flocked base measures 7cm across the front and 7cm in depth.  On my ground scale of 1:3600, 7cm (about 252 meters) is a bit of a squeeze for 32 guns - not too bad for 24 - but there is a way around this.  One is as shown, placing a figure at either end of the front edge. As my figure bases are 15mm, that extends the frontage to 10cm - 360meters - which is much closer to the likely frontage required by a 32-gun park. Having said that, the arc of fire remains defined by the angles of the gun base.

The shape of the wider base is more apparent in this pic.
The angles from the front edge indicate arc of fire.
The base made from carpet tile has been fashioned into more of a pentagon.  The frontage of this one is 10cm.  Extended to 13cm by the bases of the gunners on either side, represents a frontage of 468 meters.  This is close enough to the required frontage of the 40-gun battery this represents.  The arc of fire is still defined by the angles of the sides contiguous to the front edge.  

I Corps d'Armee: 3 infantry Divisions, light cavalry Brigade
and an artillery park representing 32 cannon.
 I have omitted the logistics element, which can be any sort of
wagon, cart or caisson.

Finally, a look at my more 'standard' French army Corps.  The following is I Corps, comprising three infantry Divisions, one light cavalry Brigade, and the artillery park.  Absent its its logistics element.

You will note that the 10th Hussar regiment is standing in for the whole Brigade, and so the whole army is constituted in that way.  One could mix up the formations, but it seems to me tidier not to do so.  In a whole different game, this force represents a Brigade strength column of all arms, comprising 13th Light, 17 and 30th Line Infantry, 10th Hussars and a half-company of artillery.

Work in Progress:
Commander of I Corps, Marshal Davout - on a borrowed horse...
Have barely begun painting him.
The Corps Commander, Marshal Davout, is still a 'work in progress', requiring painting, and, for this picture, he is riding a borrowed horse.  The picture below shows my dual labelling for the figures: my initials, the regiment number and the Corps/Division identity for use depending upon the scale of the action I am fighting.
Marshal Davout's ADC is a spare Minifigs
elite hussar figure.

Flexibility.  How the units might be battalions or regiments
for one type of game, and a Division for another.

Pic taken indoors, without additional effects, of a sunny late July day
 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Even in winter the light can be very strong in this part of the world!

I close with this picture, that was going to be  discarded.  I was struck by the strong light from our winter sun (it wasn't all that warm a day, neither) even through a double-glazed window.  This was taken and recorded with no additional effects other than a little cropping.  

In a future posting I will discuss how my other Napoleonic armies are organised.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Army Men Scratch Builds and Adaptations.

My previous posting being concerned with adaptations and scratch-building equipment for my WW2 armies, it seemed appropriate this this one focused upon my Army Men project.
Kiivar field howitzers.
At last I have assembled a 3-gun battery of Kiivar field howitzers.  The trails, breech blocks and such are made of balsa; lollipop sticks have gone into other parts of the construction.  The gun barrels are exhausted felt-tip pen barrels. I have yet to add tow loops to the ends of the trails.

Kiivar field howitzers in battery...
The wheels have been slowly collected from small spice and herb jars bought at the local supermarket.  Future collection might go into limbers.  The measuring/surveying staffs (?) I added for a bit of colour,  Only the centre piece has one on its left-hand side as well.
With tractors.  Limbers yet to be built.  That will probably
require collecting more road wheels...
The over-scale jeeps I acquired with some Army Men soldiery I bought a couple of years back have become the prime movers for these howitzers.  One is lacking a windscreen, and I'm thinking of placing a card or paper tilt on all of these.  Two used to be in Raesharn service,  but I figured that they were needed more to draw these.

Towards the end of 2014, Brian gave me the dark green vehicle below.

Comparison of sided between the AA vehicle and the
Army Men tank.

Very soon I gave it the addition to the sides of the vehicle to disguise the
flush casting of the hull side and road wheels.
It was pretty battered, had no tracks, and the whole side skirt and road wheel assembly was one flush piece.  I began at once by cutting and pasting a length of card plastic along the bottom edge of the skirt to suggest that the road wheels were behind.  I also added a cardboard shield.  As the shield was a bit flimsy and flollopy, I recently added side pieces better to protect the crew and to make the shield firmer.

The vehicle has been painted in Raesharn's distinctive camouflage pattern.  Having been added later, the side pieces of the shield will need to be painted also.

How the finished tracks look on the AA vehicle.
The underside of the vehicle I made from lollipop stick braced to push the inward curving sides outwards.  The ends of the lollipop sticks I hoped would suggest drive sprockets and such.  I then enclosed all this with balsa to give the thing an overall solid look.  The tracks are made from non-slip matting - a different design from that which I used for the vehicles in my previous posting.  Blue again, I slolloped black paint over it and added a silver coating semi-drybrushed over it.  
Hasn't turned out too badly, methinks.  I may add a rust coloured wash over it all later.
That gun shield does need some tidying up...

At the moment, there is but one crew man visible.  This is from a NATO figure wearing a beret.  I decided that Raesharn tank men wear red berets (again, just to add a bit of colour).  I have yet to find another figure I am willing to sacrifice to place on the other side of the gun.  I'd like him to sport a beret as well..  These figures I cut with wire cutters at roughly the upper half or third of the torso, then jam them in beside the twin AA cannon.
AA vehicle traversing rough country...

HQ radio lorry.
This here is an HQ Staff Radio lorry in Kiivar service.  It started out in life as a 'Fort Knox' truck, complete with a combination lock rear door.  I have done nothing about that door - I find the feature attractive for no other reason than that it's there.
Div HQ:  Radio lorry and staff car.
The HQ lorry in the company of a General Officer's staff car.  Some touching up needs doing on the latter.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Scratch Builds and Extempores

Second hand Tiger I with new gun and mantlet.
Once again my blog spot has been too long neglected.  Maybe one day I'll be able to devote more time to it.  It is not as if I haven't the available time.  Motivation is far from abundant coin right now. Well, that is enough of whingeing.

Where the mantlet came from.  The inky bit was shaved down
that the gun barrel could fit over it so it could be glued firmly.
Some weeks ago I expressed (commenting on someone else's blog) my admiration for the scratch building skills of  the late John Sandars, of  Sandskrieg fame.  Someone suggested that I post something about my own scratch building efforts.  I have done on occasion in the past, but I do have some recent efforts to show.  Most of these are really fixes to models that had bits missing, rather than scratch builds per se.

The above Tiger II came into my possession minus gun and mantlet.  The whole thing had to be constructed from something.  An exhausted felt-tip pen provided just the thing, as you see, the gun barrel formed from plastic tube (cotton bud with the buds removed).  The muzzle brake was carved from a larger bored plastic tube.  Normally I have used ball pen reservoir for this, but though the plastic is softer, the harder plastic of the tube gives you better definition.  It isn't perfect, but I'm happy enough with the way the muzzle brake turned out.

Add caption
 These pictures show my new method of fashioning tank tracks.  I have been experimenting with strapping, recently.  Though it has its points, I found it not quite satisfactory.  Brian of A Fist Full of Plastic has used this method, but added strips to the visible bits to add to the 'trackish' look to the tracks.

The Fujimi StuGIIID and ESCI JagdTiger in these pictures came without tracks.  Not sure why in the former's case, as it was a mint kit still in its plastic wrapping when I bought it second hand.  I'm not complaining very hard, though, as in the same box was a StuGIIIG, and that did have tracks.  I have yet to build it.
Trackless models with their new tracks.
 I used the type of rubberised matting used in crockery cupboards to stop stuff from sliding about.  I have used it for much the same purpose for my war games stuff, but have discovered a downside.  it tends to stick to whatever is placed in it, with rather irritating consequences when you pick them up.  But cut to a reasonable width, I find they make very good looking tank tracks.
Showing off the matting tank tracks:  blue matting cut to width
and length and draped around the running gear, painted black
and dry-brushed over with silver.  I'll probably add a water
'rust colour' over all later on.
You can get this stuff in black, but what I used, as you can see from the background of some of these pictures, the mat I used is blue.  This stuff doesn't take paint all that well - you really have to slop it on thick.  In my view that is no bad thing!
The JagdTiger in rough 'factory finish' showing its paces...

To conclude this posting: a couple of genuine scratch builds.  These are two portees from the Western Desert campaign, that I build maybe twenty-odd years ago.  The 6pr portee was a direct copy of a John Sandars design, I think from his Airfix book on the Eighth Army.  I just used whatever bits of cardboard, wire and balsa that came to hand.  only the wheels are rubber wheels, very slightly over-scale, actually, but not by much.  The overhead rack could use a tidy-up, and the covered wheel should have been centred, but at the time I made this, I couldn't work it out from the diagram, and had no other informative source to hand.
AT portees.  The 6pr is Airfix.

The 2pr portee was done from photographs.  It turned out OK, I thought, but the gun not quite so satisfactorily.  I was going to make the shield in one piece, but noticed that occasionally the hinged top was placed 'down'.  Not the best option.  
I still have to stick a driver in the cab, and the gun crew is around
somewhere.  It can fit under the trails of the gun for mounted

More on this topic to come...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sort this lot out!

Having neglected my WW2 stuff for so long - in fact hardly looked at them at all since the big earthquakes of a few years ago, I thought it high time I had a look to see what was what. I began with my Red Army.  It took two or three days of fossicking to find all my Russian infantry in particular. They are badly in need of reorganising and buffing up, as you can see from the picture above.
The preceding picture shows the most organised bits.   The fact is that an army organised per Command Decision (CD)  rule sets is not easily adapted to Panzer Marsch! (PM). What you see above is the bulk of the infantry of one Tank, one Mechanised and three Rifle Brigades under CD, They barely make a single rifle company with its attached machine-gun company for PM.

The lead row comprises the rifle battalion of my Tank Brigade, less some of the heavier equipment. The medium Tank battalions comprise T34 (I) and  Shermans (II), and KVs heavy (III: KV1 and 2s, or KV85s - more on these another time).  

The following block of three rows are the rifle battalions of my Mechanised Brigade.  This was the first formation I built up for this army, and is the only one that has seen real CD action.  It never lost a battle, though in all honesty it probably won fewer battles than it drew!  In about 1992 I entered a rather truncated version of this Brigade (its Tank Regiment reduced to 7xT34/76 tanks) into a Club competition.  It fought all of its battles to a draw.   That was not a bad achievement when you consider no opponent had fewer than seven tanks, and of the only one that had that number, three were King Tigers.  I couldn't hurt those, but his PzIVs were all gone by the end of the action!

It was also the only army on the day whose quality was classed as 'Experienced'.  Everyone else turned up with 'Veterans', and one (British) even had 'Elite' paratroops.  Of course, as this was a competition, my guys encountered that outfit (must have been June 1945), and fought it to a standstill, too - the only army that managed it (that army won the competition).  Challengers and Comets will succumb to a surprise flank attack by T34/76s, even if they are lurking behind a hill crest! If there is one thing I like about CD, it is that you can, without too much difficulty, pull off an on-table surprise.

That is so even with Russians, whose command structure in this rule set is far less flexible than those of the German or Western Allies.  I've never been quite convinced of the fairness or accuracy of this, but it does make for an interesting challenge. If 'pointing up' an army as we did with the competition mentioned earlier, I should think a fairish 'points' premium should attach to command and command/infantry (etc) stands.  At any rate, owing to its war record so far, this Mechanised Brigade has been, deservedly, awarded 'Guard' status.

Be that as it may, the three distinct blocks behind them are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Rifle Brigades. These have never seen action so constituted, and the Brigade numbering will change (probably to 23rd, 24th and 25th in the service of the Pan-Andean People's Republic).  The troops have been up at the sharp end as part of a rifle company in PM battles (see e.g. here). On the other board are a whole mess of machine-gun companies (2 stands each), anti-tank rifle companies (also 2 stands apiece), SMG platoons, SMG recon patrols and command stands, radio operators, and draught horses and mules.  In addition a couple of GAZ (Zis?) trucks (one resin, one scratch built from balsa and cardboard), anti-tank and field guns, and a Chinese kit SU85 that I built back in December.  Paul 'Jacko' gave me that some time ago, with the story that, judging by the external packaging (as you do) he understood he was buying a Sherman tank.  It also seems to be missing at least one of its tracks, so I've used plastic strapping for the time being.  Otherwise it was quite a nice little kit, I thought.
The picture below gives a closer look at my three 76.2mm (3-inch) field guns, all scratch built from card, balsa and plastic cotton-bud tubing.  In addition to other bits and pieces are the 4 SG-43 air-cooled MMG stands, each representing a platoon.  These are metal figures and models.  Most of my Maksim MMGs are ESCI, with half a dozen Airfix, and I think 8 metal ones.
Below is a close up of 76.2mm field gun completed long ago, but which hasn't yet received a paint job.  Even the wheels are cardboard - 3 thicknesses cut out and glued together, with a paper thickness with a centre cut out glued to the outside.  Mine are based on the M1939 Divisional Model field piece.  I would quite like to find a basis for building or buying older artillery models for my less well-equipped Rifle Brigades. 
These field guns were quite big guns, considering.  The Germans thought highly enough of them to reissue captured examples as PaK 36(r) anti-tank guns.  Finding over the years that such scratch-built ordnance is less than ideally robust, free standing, I have glued them on to beer-mat bases.  The crew figures you see here aren't yet based themselves, but will be placed on a separate stand.  
In the picture below is the 5th Rifle Brigade as work in progress.  Unlike the Airfix, ESCI and Hong Kong knock-offs that make up the other brigades, this has metal figures.  These have been eked out by using flag bearers in the middle companies of each battalion.  
Included in the picture below is a pair of 45L66 anti-tank guns picked up from I think the sale of someone's surplus gear several years ago.  They are simple modifications of I think ESCI PaK35/36s with an extra-long gun barrel.  All my Russian 45mm AT guns are in fact ESCI 1:72 scale German PaKs modified simply by painting them green.  The 1:76 scale examples remain as Wehrmacht 'door-knockers'.

You might be getting an inkling from that pictures (above) what is (sort of) wrong with much of this army: over-large and inconsistent base/stand sizing.  The stands for the 45L66 ATGs are (necessarily, to protect the gun barrels) huge, and the figures are permanently attached, too (though I'd rather they weren't).  My own view is that it doesn't actually matter very much, but I am aware that others take a less .. erm ... liberal view.  The base for the 45L46 ATG in the picture has the figures fastened, but the gun itself not.  That still makes for an over-large stand.

In my view, the slight advantage in drawing line of sight from over-sized gun stands could easily be neutralised by a local rule drawing the line of sight (LOS) from the line of the axles including the wheel hubs.  Or one might suggest, gently, that the outgoing LOS is matched by the incoming.  The large bases make the weapons more vulnerable to incoming artillery fire, something to which one's opponent could scarcely object.  I agree, though, it is not fully satisfactory, but I see no solution.  My mechanised brigade infantry I based without  having possession of the rule set at the time.  I simply guessed, and my guess was well off.  Their bases are also too large.  I have not had the heart to modify them.

I have repeated this 'mistake' with the 5th Brigade.  Frankly, for the minor convenience of being able to place a stand in a vehicle (to determine whether loaded or not), I find the tiny 2-figure 7/8-inch x 5/8-inch stands inconvenient for several reasons.  These I will go into another time.