Monthly Archives: June 2014

Panzer Grenadier Deluxe (08/06/2014 – Solo)

British Platoon

British Platoon

A couple of weekends ago, with the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaching, I was thinking I should run a Normandy game. Initially I was considering of a Chain of Command 28mm skirmish, but I’ve played a lot of skirmish games of late and wanted something bigger. Then I remembered my neglected 10mm WW2 collection and decided that a bigger battle would be more what I had in mind – but what about rules? I have been a long-time Blitzkrieg Commander player so could use them, or could use the shiny new-ish Battlegroup Overlord which were given to me as a freebie last year (thanks David!), but looking at the army lists and the way my troops were based there was going to have to be some re-jigging and figures purchased and painted and I didn’t have the time for that – further digging in the rules pile revealed that basing and extra troops would also be needed for “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum”. Then when I was checking Vassal opponent and fellow Ulsterman Sgt Steiner’s blog, I saw he had been enthusiastically playing and detailing the changes in the new version of the Panzer Grenadier rules by Dave Brown. After a few email exchanges where he took the time to explain the scale and basing scheme to me, I realised that by painting up a few command stands I would be in a position to lay on a game in time for the anniversary of the start of the Normandy campaign – off went the order to Caliver Books for an early birthday present, and here we are.

Germans entrenched in Cintheaux

Germans entrenched in Cintheaux

Clearly the thing to do with a new rule set is to start small and get to know the rules before diving into battles with loads of tanks – not this time. I wanted all the toys on the table so I went for it. The scenario was Cintheaux from the “Battles for the West” scenario book for the 1st edition of the rules which has 3 Tigers, a Panzer IV and an 88mm against loads of Shermans, so a gentle introduction to the rules then 🙂 .

Shermans advance

Shermans advance

On Turn 1 the Germans won initiative but obviously made British move first. The infantry platoons rapidly advanced needing the addition of 2 out of 4 impetus to keep them moving (more on command and impetus later). The rearmost platoon failed but I was unwilling to spend 2 impetus to get them moving. Just as well really, as the Shermans on the hill also failed by 2 so the impetus was spent on them. I then advanced the HQs to keep in contact with the rapidly advancing platoons – the rules emphasise Command Contact in activation rolls so this seemed like a sensible thing to do. While all this was going on the Germans had the option of defensive fire, where a player’s turn can be interrupted to allow enemy units to respond to their movements. I chose not to do this, reasoning that would give the British something to shoot at and they could activate at greater effect during their turn. Having nothing in sight to fire at, the British turn ended.

Germans in the village

Germans in the village

The German platoon in the village activated first on a fire order. The LMG base plus one other fired at the British to the left of the village. There is a choice between concentrating fire entirely on 1 base or nominating a lead base and spreading any excess results amongst other bases within 4″. An LMG and a rifle base generated 3 section fire points and at effective rather than close range.  They got a +1 modifier as the British were rapidly advancing.  The total of 9 gave a disengage and a suppression test. 5 was rolled for the disengage, meaning the section had to disengage – suppressed and fall back 6″. The other section easily passed the suppression test.  The MMG in the field fired at the infantry to its front – 4 sections equivalent with another result of 9 gave 2 disengage and 1 suppression targeting all 3 sections. The disengage roll was a 12 so the LMG Section immediately got to return fire, rolling another 12 causing it to disperse and leave the game – first blood to the British.

MMG dispersed

MMG dispersed

The second suppression roll was a 4 so not so good, a British stand dispersing as well, with the 3rd section suppressed (miss a turn basically).  The German Company commander tried to bring in mortar fire on the same British platoon but needed to add an impetus to succeed.  The accuracy roll was for a near miss, landing in open ground to the left.  The Germans on the hill were the next to activate.

88mm in the trees

88mm in the trees

The 88mm was at long range so it was probably worth intensive firing it? Nope – one of the rolls was a 4 so the 88mm would be low on ammo for the rest of the game. The other shot hit with a 7 after range adjustment with an AT factor of 8 for a total of 15. The Sherman’s armour of 4 left a final result of 11 so a damage test and a roll of double 1 brewed it up. The Tigers on the hill could fire then move, so did so targeting the same group of Shermans – they rolled a 4 for activation so did nothing. The Panzer IV also failed to activate but on a 5 could add 2 impetus and moved off the hill to seek cover behind the copse of trees – more impetus was spent getting the inexperienced Wehrmacht platoon to run towards the village, and there the German phase ended.

Lurking Panzer IV

Lurking Panzer IV

The initiative roll for next turn was kind to the British with a 6 rolled against 2 – this gave them 9 impetus which could come in very handy.  Unfortunately no-one was in spotting range of the 88mm on the hill, but the British commander spent an impetus point to successfully call up an air attack on the village. The accuracy roll was a predictable double 1 giving a deviation 15 ” to the left of the target into the open fields beyond the village.

Wayward Spitfire

Wayward Spitfire

Undeterred the British tried to call in artillery support at the cost of another impetus, but failed. The flanking force of tanks and a 6pdr was out of command range, so another impetus was spent getting them to move and a further 2 spent bringing the roll up to a success.

Flank attack

Flank attack

The remaining tanks split up, with half advancing to meet the Tigers while the other half turned their attention on the German infantry in the field. Unfortunately  this allowed a panzerfaust a flank shot as a defensive fire action without activation as it was within close range. A double 6 guaranteed a hit and a 6 AT minus the side armour of a Sherman of  2 meant destruction.

Panzerfaust springs trap

Panzerfaust springs trap

The HQ had to spend an impetus to get the remaining Shermans to fire at the infantry who had just brewed up a Sherman, but 5 shots including from the company HQ did absolutely no damage.  The other company HQ tried to get the MMG to lay down fire on the village by spending 2 impetus.

MMG

MMG

One MMG rolled double 1 sending it low on ammo but the other hit causing the German section to fall back suppressed. The infantry followed up to take the vacant building, triggering some defensive fire which had no effect.

British foothold in village

British foothold in village

Taking exception to this the CO unsuccessfully ordered his mortars to fire on the village then reinforced success by committing his reserve platoon at the double (a 17″ move!).  The last British impetus was spent rallying the 2 suppressed sections which meant they didn’t have to be rallied in the Morale phase and risk failing (or else by this point in the game I had forgotten there WAS as morale phase 🙂 )

The first German action was to call in the Nebelwerfers before the British got too close but couldn’t roll the 8 required to activate.  The Tigers on the hill activated to move then fire, and succeeded in destroying 1 Sherman at the cost of 1 Tiger going low on ammo.

Tigers advance

Tigers advance

However, the German squads in the field massacred the British sections in front of them, wiping out 2 and sending the 3rd running back suppressed. In the village, concentrated German fire forced back another section.

Burning Shermans litter the field

Burning Shermans litter the field

I had to call it a day there. Though the British could potentially win the tank battle, the objective of taking the village was probably unattainable due to their lack of infantry – also they would soon be forced to take 25% morale tests if they took many more losses, and these seemed inevitable when looking at the intact Tigers and strength of the German position in the village.

I had tried out most of rules (except for close assault and recon) mostly by abandoning tactics and making head-on charges at the enemy with the British. Although I hadn’t used hidden units (I couldn’t really fool myself) I did abide by the spotting rules so couldn’t shoot at units I couldn’t see or hadn’t revealed themselves. The command and control system is excellent, allowing you to mitigate a command roll which has only failed by a 1 or 2 to a degree by spending impetus (a finite resource) to make it work. Firing is detailed enough without having to roll buckets of dice to get a result, though you can find yourself having to roll 3 or 4 morale tests based on shooting outcome.

End of the battle - black beads=destroyed, red=suppressed & white=low-on-ammo

End of the battle – black beads=destroyed, red=suppressed & white=low-on-ammo

I really like these rules and playing them has made me want to play more larger scale WW2 actions. There is painting to be done before “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum” and “Battlegroup Overlord” ever hit the table, though I’m not sure I want to invest any more time in 10mm figures, so I may look at doing this on a budget with 15mm plastic from the Plastic Soldier Company.

Germans tanks on the hill

Germans tanks on the hill

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Chain of Command Espana (05/05/2014 – Solo)

The table with jump off points shown

The table with jump off points shown

I have been meaning to get a game of Chain of Command Spanish Civil War ever since the free rule additions and army lists were published by the Lardies at Christmas. I really enjoyed Scrivs’ SCW campaign and am also jealous of his ability to quickly paint minis even when on holiday – I haven’t been able to manage that since a wet October half-term week in a caravan in the New Forest with the newly released Tau army from Games Workshop. I’m sure there was a Dreamcast bought at a knockdown price in Salisbury involved as well, so that shows you how long ago it was – (2001?). Anyway, for a quick solo game on a Bank Holiday I chose the Delaying Action scenario with the Moors defending against a Republican counter-attack of a mixed force of 5th Regiment and Assaultos. The objective for the Republicans was to capture the jump-off point behind the walled garden and hold until end of that turn. Force morale turned out pretty good for the Republicans at 11 while the Moors only had 9.  With their 15 support points the Republic went for a T26, an armoured car, a mixed section Security Services & an LMG for 2 sections. The Moors had a Panzer I & Tank Hunters and a total of 6 Command dice against the Republican’s 5.

Armoured car deploys

Armoured car deploys

The Republicans got to start as they were attacking. They rolled fairly well and deployed the armoured car on the road and a section from the furthest forward jump-off point, putting the LMG behind the wall covering 2 squads advancing towards the objective.

1st section deploys

1st section deploys

The Moors rolled 2 sixes so got the next phase as well. Knowing this they deployed an LMG squad at their furthest forward jump-off point and fired at the exposed  Republicans but scored no hits or shock.

Moor's position behind wall

Moor’s position behind wall

Their Sergeant deployed in the walled garden, hoping to direct more squads from the jump-off point.

Jump off point behind walled garden

Jump off point behind walled garden

Again, the Moors rolled 2 sixes so got the next phase, deploying a section by the objective to defend it.

1st Moor section arrives

1st Moor section arrives

They also deployed the Panzer 1, firing its twin LMG at the advancing Republicans, resulting in 2 dead and 1 shock.

Pz I deploys

The Moors roll failed to give them the next phase for a change. Their Sergeant moved the deployed LMG squad into position in the walled garden, with another squad making ready to advance in support of the Panzer I.

LMG defends doorway

LMG defends doorway

The Panzer I advanced slowly and fired again, this time with more success, causing 4 shock and pinning the leftmost squad.

Republicans under fire and pinned

Republicans under fire and pinned

The Republic couldn’t rally the shock off the squad as it was in the open, but did retreat the unpinned squad to join the LMG behind the stone wall. They would really have liked to bring on the T26 to dual with the Panzer I, but didn’t roll a 3, so instead fired the LMG at the walled garden with no effect.

Unpinned squad retreats back over wall

Unpinned squad retreats back over wall

It was the turn of the Moors to roll poorly. They were only able to activate the Panzer I to move and fire, causing 1 more shock on the exposed Republican squad. A Moorish squad did manage to advance in support of the Panzer I.

Combined Ops

Combined Ops

The Republic roll now included a 3, but they held back on the T26, moving the armoured car and firing at 1/2 effect to put 1 shock on the Moor LMG behind the stone wall. They also deployed the Assaultos behind the hill on their flank, hoping to draw more Moors onto the table.

Security services arrive

Security services arrive

The Moors rolled fairly badly again, only moving and firing the Panzer I and the LMG from its supporting infantry against the the pinned Republicans to cause 1 shock. Their LMG behind the wall shot at the armoured car but missed.

The Republicans rolled three ‘5’s – great for the Chain of Command dice total but not for activating units. In the end they traded fire with the Moor’s LMG and caused 1 shock.

In retaliation the Moors rolled and got the next phase as well – the Panzer I fired again at the pinned squad – a further 1 shock meant it broke (8 shock on 4 men). Their LMG behind the stone wall hit the armoured car, caused 1 shock and forcing it to retreat 6″. They chose to play a waiting game in their next phase, only loosing off some ineffective fire.

Squad broken

Squad broken

With their right flank and armoured car making no headway, the Republicans brought on the T26 in the centre.

T26 arrives

T26 arrives

Then the Assaultos advanced over the crest of the hill and fired, causing more shock on the Moor LMG in the walled field.

Assaultos on hill

Assaultos on hill

Again the Panzer I targeted the section in front of it, killing 1 man behind the wall of the field, while its supporting infantry moved tactically to avoid casualties.

Pz I reaches the road

Pz I reaches the road

The appearance of the Assaultos on the hill had the desired effect, with a Moorish rifle squad deploying in the walled field and firing at them, inflicting 1 shock. The other Moor Senior Leader deployed in the walled field to rally shock off from the LMG team.

LMG under pressure

LMG under pressure

Senior leader and new squad turn up

Senior leader and new squad turn up

In response the Republicans rallied the armoured car and fired with it but with no effect. The T26 lumbered up the road trying to gain line of sight to the Panzer I.

The next Moor roll ended the turn with three ‘6’s, but they put the remaining 3 activations to good use. The newly-arrived squad in the walled field caused 2 dead & 1 shock on the nearest Assaulto squad which was now pinned. Meanwhile the Panzer I put 2 more shock on the squads behind the wall, and the end of the turn routed the broken Republican squad resulting in -1 to force morale.

Having ended the turn, the Moors got the first phase of the next turn. The combined fire from the walled field felled another Assalto while the Panzer 1 inflicted another casualty and added 1 shock. The Moors also brought on their small HQ squad to reinforce the depleted LMG squad.

HQ squad bolsters LMG squad

HQ squad bolsters LMG squad

For a change, the Republicans rolled well, getting to activate in the following phase as well. The T26 advanced and fired HE at the walled garden as it couldn’t yet see the Panzer I, but for no effect.

In the next phase, the T26 moved into line of sight of the Panzer I so fired an AT shell at it. The roll of double 6 meant that it received 3 extra dice in the strike roll and 3 hits against the Panzer I with no saves rolled meant it brewed-up, causing -1 to force morale and reducing it to 8.

In response the Moor Senior Leader rolled for 2 phases in a row. He joined the HQ squad to the LMG squad, then laid down fire on the hill, breaking an Assaultos squad. He then ended the turn with a CoC dice, destroying the broken Assaultos squad for a -1 to Republican force morale, but only bringing it down to 9.

Assaultos squad breaks and runs

Assaultos squad breaks and runs

The Moors rolled badly but brought on their remaining reserve with a Junior Leader to bolster up resistance in the walled field. The Senior Leader again ordered fire on the Assaultos resulting in 1 dead and 1 shock.

Finally the Republicans got the perfect roll to complete their deployment from off-table. The final section deployed and fired at the Moor section ahead of them in rough ground. This resulted in 2 dead and 2 shock, with the armoured car killing another from the LMG section in the walled field. The T26 then added its fire against the Moors in the rough ground, causing enough shock to pin them there. The Assaultos rally off shock, then shoot at the walled field, killing another Moor there.

2nd section arrives

2nd section arrives

Suffering mounting casualties in the walled field, the Moors Senior Leader pulled back the whole section from the Jump-Off point. The Republicans picked that point to roll another two 6’s so were to get two phases in a row.

The T26 shelled the walled garden, picking off another of the  LMG squad. The Republican Senior Leader arrived from off -board, ordering the section to pour fire into the remaining Moors pinned in the rough ground.

Republican officer is the last to deploy

Republican officer is the last to deploy

It was all too much, and the Moors broke and ran past the still burning Panzer I. The Republicans used their CoC dice to end the turn, removing the broken squad from the table, so reducing the Moors force morale by a further 2 points to 6.

Moors run

Moors run

In another great roll, the Republicans got the next phase again, so the Senior Leader ordered a general advance while the T26 fired HE into the walled garden forcing the defenders to keep their heads down (i.e. caused 2 shock).

The Republic victorious

The Republic victorious

In the final command roll of the game, the Republicans got enough for the Senior Leader to advance a section to nearly out flank the walled garden, moving to within 12″ of the target jump-off point. Too far away to prevent the capture of the jump-off point, the Moor Senior Leader withdrew, conceding the field to the Republic.

The Chain of Command rules gave a great game as always, though the lack of squad leaders in the Spanish Civil War amendments made command a challenge, especially for the Republicans. With the Moors rolling 6 command dice, they were regularly getting 2 or 3 order phases in a row which allowed them to string together some decent moves – unfortunately they had no answer to the T26 and as it never left the cover of its supporting infantry, their tank hunters weren’t able to get to it. The Republicans were really lucky in the end to get 3 phases in a row (on 5 command dice) which allowed them to deploy and co-ordinate an advance before the Moors could react – also, rolling double six to hit for the T26’s first shot on the Panzer I wasn’t too bad either!