Monthly Archives: May 2016

Battlegroup Wacht am Rhein (10/05/2016 – Tom)

The view from the 90mm AA gun as the first Panther arrives.

The view from the 90mm AA gun as the first Panther arrives.

This was the first scenario we had tried from the new Battlegroup book. We wanted something we could play to a finish in a few hours, so the “Stoumont Halt” scenario (with 4 tanks a side and a few squads of infantry) fitted the bill.

The object was to break the opposing battlegroup and each side had exactly the same BR of 20 – we rolled for sides and I got the Germans. The German forces arrived over the first 4 turns, while the Americans had to roll from turn 3 for their tanks to arrive – their AA gun and infantry (all 6 of them!) started deployed around and in the railway buildings.

On the first turn, a Panther came on, rolled up the road and was fired on by the 90mm on ambush fire – the AP shot missed, but the HE hit and a roll of 12 equalled the Panther’s armour so it was pinned.

Pinned Panther overtaken

Pinned Panther overtaken

In the American turn, the 2nd AP round fired at the Panther failed to spot and the HE failed to dent, but luckily (as they were already pinned) the Panther crew passed their morale test.

Panzer Grenadiers arrive but are pinned as they de-bus

Panzer Grenadiers arrive but are pinned as they de-bus

The first German infantry squad came on in a halftrack straight up the railway line towards the back of the station buildings, but that were pinned by overwatch fire as they dismounted. Return area fire pinned the prime mover as it had an HMG which could ruin the infantry’s day.

The situation around the railway halt

The situation around the railway halt

As American reinforcements arrived, the Germans finally got their eye in on the shooting and quickly destroyed all the Allied armour for the loss of only one Panther.

We drew quite a few events for a change with led to some fun exchanges. For example, the 90mm fired HE at pinned the command Panther – it hit and failed to penetrate, but resulting morale test gave a “Call of Duty” test which was passed, so the Panther machine-gunned the gun crew, killing 3 out of 7. Their morale chit then gave “Call of Duty”, so they fired 2 more shots in return (HE – they were out of AP by this time) but although they hit they couldn’t get a decent morale result. This exchange probably won me the game, because I didn’t have enough morale left to risk unpinning my officer – it was nice of the Yanks to oblige. On my next turn, that Panther destroyed a Sherman.

I was lucky again as another morale chit “Out of ammo” played on a Panther rolled a 1, so I was OK for the rest of the game. The game ended when the American battlegroup broke while the Germans were at 17 and only had 3 left.

Some more photos:-

Panthers block the road

Panthers block the road

American heavy support arrives

American heavy support arrives

First blood to the Americans

First blood to the Americans

Panther commander takes on the M36

Panther commander takes on the M36

M36 brews up

M36 brews up

M10 passes burning M36

M10 passes burning M36

Panther crosses the tracks to line up a better shot

Panther crosses the tracks to line up a better shot

A bad day for American armour

A bad day for American armour

Man of the match - the Panther troop commander

Man of the match – the Panther troop commander

By game end, every American tank is burning

By game end, every American tank is burning

A great scenario and a close result – next up is an all infantry encounter “Breakthrough at Lanzerath” as we play the Battlegroup Wacht am Rhein campaign scenarios in a random order 🙂

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Battlegroup Overlord (30/04/2016 – David, Adam and Leslie)

Poles dug in on the hill

Poles dug in on the hill

I was back in Belfast for the Bank Holiday weekend, so David and Adam once again set up a game for me to join in using their beautifully painted 20mm Normandy forces. The scenario was based on a Rapid Fire Normandy one where the Poles were trying to prevent a German breakout from Falaise while a German relief force attempted to break in – effectively the Polish were surrounded but only had to stop a certain percentage of German vehicles breaking out to win. Battle group breakpoints were in the 80’s so it was very unlikely that the Poles would be broken so could more-or-less ignore losses and concentrate on being speed bumps.

Firefly and 6pdr covering German arrival points on the road

Firefly and 6pdr covering German arrival points on the road

I joined forces with Adam and Leslie – we took a Polish platoon each and we spread the armour and support weapons among our platoons on the hill. Everything on the hill was dug in, but we decided to take the fight to the Germans and send some troops off the hill to occupy a couple of buildings overlooking the road – this decision probably won us the game.

Polish forward positions

Polish forward positions

The Germans opened the game with a Nebelwerfer barrage which landed pretty well smack in the middle of the Polish positions on the hill. Bad dice rolls meant that only a few units were pinned, though one was an FAO which would cut down on the Allied artillery response. The Germans then sent a Motorised platoon up the road towards the buildings but couldn’t quite get into them, so a brave Polish squad accompanied by a PIAT piled into the building on their turn. Over the next few turns there would be a protracted fight for the building with the lone Polish squad holding out against all the odds for much longer than they should.

The fight over a key building

The fight over a key building

The Germans had supported the infantry with a lone Tiger which trundled up the road – 2 AP shots from a Firefly on the hill both spotted and hit but just failed to penetrate – the Tiger was pinned however, so that was good news for our Shermans. When a truck was destroyed by a mortar, the morale counter came up as a “mine strike” which the Poles gleefully played on the Tiger. The glee soon vanished when a ‘1’ was rolled for effect, which allowed the Germans to move the mine strike to the Sherman Firefly which had just fired – the mine easily destroyed the Sherman. The British duly took another morale counter for the destroyed Firefly, drew another “mine strike” and played that one back on the Tiger. This time there was no escape for the Tiger – it blew up and the road was blocked.

The 2nd mine eventually gets the Tiger

The 2nd mine eventually gets the Tiger

The FAO was unpinned then assaulted and destroyed by a German squad which occupied their dug-out. Every Allied machine gun which could be brought to bear opened up on them, but amazingly 3 survived and crucially one of them had a Panzerfaust. He drew a bead on the nearest Firefly and blew it sky-high.

Couldn't miss at that range

Couldn’t miss at that range

The other Allied FAO on the hill spotted a platoon of Panzer Grenadiers on an out-flanking manoeuvre and called down a barrage of 5.5 howitzers on them. Though I rolled badly for the direct hit, all 3 half tracks were pinned and the Germans seemed to forget to unpin them by taking a morale chit over successive turns – we Allied commanders never pointed it out to them either.

Pinned Panzergrenadiers

Pinned Panzergrenadiers

Also conspicuous by its absence was the next Nebelwerfer barrage, but again it wasn’t our job to point out that surely the tubes must have been reloaded by now 🙂

Firefly and 6pdr covering German arrival points on the road

Firefly and 6pdr covering German arrival points on the road

Meanwhile events had been proceeding nicely for the Poles on the other side of the hill. The German relief force attempted to clear their end of the road, but one of my squads had occupied another house along with a PIAT team, and these troops stopped the Germans in their tracks. The PIAT destroyed 2 Panzer IVs while the infantry kept the attacking German infantry pinned down. Two StuG III then arrived, but before the PIAT team could complete their hat trick we had to call time.

So ended another cracking and eventful game with David and Adam’s 20mm troops and terrain. There seemed to be a lot more morale chit draws which were events rather than BR losses then usual – in fact after 2 Mine Strikes were drawn in a row “morale chits” were renamed to “mine chits”. We’ve pretty much got the artillery rules down pat now, so there was not the usual digging through rule books when a barrage landed – I even remembered that rocket artillery get an extra dice – and I wasn’t even playing the Germans! Questions did come up around house assaults again, so we’re hoping to get these cleared up on the forum.

Thanks to all involved and I hope to get back to Belfast soon for another game – unfortunately Sgt Steiner was posted to another part of the front when this game was being played – hopefully he’ll be around for the next one.

Salute with Tom (16/04/2016)

This report is a bit late as I’ve been away (where to will become apparent in the next post), but here are a few photos from our day out at Salute. There wasn’t any London Marathon registration or Doctor Who convention this year, just a Wedding Fair and a Buy-to-Let show to get in the food queue with. We arrived by cable car from North Greenwich for a change, which was fun but probably not for those with a fear of heights and easily swayed cable cars 🙂

Nice day for a cable car

Nice day for a cable car

First up are some photos from a game using David Brown’s upcoming ACW rules “Pickett’s Charge” and played by the author. The game was commendable in the fact that, apart from looking brilliant, they were actually playing the game, so we hung around for a while to see if we could pick up anything about the rules. They do look interesting, with less morale checks than General de Brigade and should be available later this year – I’ll definitely be getting a copy.

Antietam using Pickett's Charge rules

Antietam using Pickett’s Charge rules

Antietam using Pickett's Charge rules

Antietam using Pickett’s Charge rules

ECW Siege of Bristol game – the walls looked like they were used in a game of the Siege of Worcester at Salute 2011, but who cares? ECW is still one of my favourite periods which I’ve never gamed.

Siege of Bristol

Siege of Bristol

Siege of Bristol

Siege of Bristol

Winter War – lovely depiction of snow and ice.

Winter War

Winter War

Winter War ship iced in.

Winter War ship iced in.

Vietnam

Vietnam table

Vietnam table

Napoleonics in both 54mm and 40mm – amazing brushwork.

54mm Napoleonics - awesome

54mm Napoleonics – awesome

40mm Napoleonics

40mm Napoleonics

40mm Napoleonics with Sharpe defending the bridge

40mm Napoleonics with Sharpe defending the bridge

I wasn’t sure that there were as many outstanding games as usual – this was probably down to the Steampunk theme which would have encouraged smaller skirmish games. Rules-wise, there were more things I was looking forward too which were released after Salute – Sharp Practice 2 and Dystopian Wars Fast Play for example. I did pick up a few rule books – Combat Patrol (yes, more WW2), the Saga campaign supplement, Blood Eagle (IHMN rules adapted for the Dark Ages) and the Black Powder ACW supplement. Those, plus a few vehicles from Plastic Soldier and Peter Pig and civilian from Eureka completed the shopping extravaganza. Probably not a classic Salute, but despite this I’ll still be there next year – and besides, there’s always a pint of Meantime beer to look forward to at the end 🙂

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