Des’ Shed Game 1: WW2 IABSM

Back in December I was invited to Des’ inaugural big game in his new shed-o-war, that I haven’t posted about it yet has been bugging me so I’ll try and remember what happened to get something down at last. The game was a WW2 Normandy bash using I Ain’t Been Shot Mum by the Lardies and Des’ lovely 20mm collection.

I was in charge of the Canadian forces (the first mistake made by our side!) and I was ably assisted by Andy and Daren. We were tasked with advancing and clearing the immediate area to our front of some nasty Boshce that were led by Des and Ian. After a quick ‘O’ group with the chaps we decided that Andy would take the dismounted infantry company through the fields along the left flank supported by the flail tank. I would be in charge of the Recce detachments and would barrel up the road in the centre and scout the right flank, I was also in charge of the reserve of a tank Squadron. Daren would take another tank Squadron with a Kangaroo mounted infantry platoon along the right and would react to what the scouts found. The idea was to keep things as simple as possible and hold on to the reserve until either one of the two flanking groups were in dire trouble or to exploit any success that they had.

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12 feet of Norman countryside.

We got lucky with our 3 pre-game stonks setting fire to 2 of the buildings that we targeted, one of which being the church thus negating the use of its steeple to any Fritzy FOO’s, and Andy started things off by advancing down the left while the scouts cars nosed along the road in the centre and the right. Andy’s lads were quickly engaged after running into some enemy infantry and a fierce fight swiftly ensued and pretty soon it looked like it was time for an assault to go in to clear some of the Germans out. As the reserve Sherman’s were not being let go from the reserve (their card was not coming up) to support the impending attack Andy chucked his attached Sherman Flail into the fray and mighty impressive looking it was too as it churned its way through the hedgerow where the enemy lay. Unfortunately the attack faltered due to some heroic defending by the Landser (absolutely jammiest of jammy dice throw!) although they didn’t hang on too long afterwards and withdrew to the rear just as a couple of StuG’s opened up and dispatched the Flail.

While this attack was going on Andy was keeping more infantry located by the burning farmhouse pinned down in a firefight with one of his platoons which let the Daimlers work their way gingerly down the road onto the flank of the dug-in defenders. Unfortunately one of the cars was taken out by a German anti-tank weapon fired by the infantry but the survivor managed to get round the flank and revenge was served by brassing them up. The Jerries didn’t like this much and they soon broke and the left flank was looking open for the reserve tanks to start moving through with only the StuG’s seemingly in the way. However, things weren’t going so well over on the right.

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The Daimlers creeping down the lanes spent quite a while nosing gingerly forwards expecting any moment to be on the receiving end of general German nastiness in the shape of a Panzerfaust or ‘schreck. When it did come it was more of a massive clang as one of the cars was hit by some high velocity 75mm from a Panther hiding in a stand of trees. The surviving car was in somewhat of a pickle as it was immobilised with the next shot so decided to have a go back with its 2pdr and a seemingly one sided duel ensued. What seemed like a futile gesture on behalf of the recce types ended up being one of those great gaming moments as the German gunner couldn’t land a hit whilst the Armoured Car kept on hitting the target eventually causing enough shock to the Panther crew that it had to withdraw! The cheers of the watching Canadians were quickly silenced however when another Panther opened up knocking out the gallant Daimler, just not cricket really but medals all round.

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Panther ambush!
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Take that Jerry!
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Panther about to pull out.

While this was going on Daren had moved his armoured infantry up and they were cruelly ambushed by another German infantry platoon and pretty soon most of the Kangaroo’s were burning due to attention from the remaining Panther and Panzerfaustings although some of the infantry survived to fight on. A terrific close range firefight then ensued across the hedgerow which the Allies finally won thanks to the HMG’s on the surviving APC’s which tipped the balance and finally saw the German footsloggers break. Unfortunately we still hadn’t managed to get any of our Sherman’s into action yet and were unable to as we had to stop due to time getting on.

So at the end of play we had managed to break the initial line of resistance and force the German infantry to bug out but at no small loss to our own infantry and Armoured Cars, we still had 2 units of tanks that were uncommitted but still had a couple of Panthers and a couple of StuG’s to worry about and as we found out that the Germans also had a couple of Tigers lurking around the church we were sort of  glad that we didn’t carry on as we didn’t fancy our chances much! We reckoned a draw was a fair result, we broke into their position but sort of got stuck doing so.

It was a great days gaming and a cracking way to christen Des’ shed. Big thanks to him for putting the game on and a keeping us fed and watered all day and a massive thanks to Mrs D. for the fantastic lunch too. As usual cheers to the chaps for making a great day’s gaming better by being their usual fun selves, a pleasure as always gents. Stay tuned for the next instalment from chez Darkin as we grind our way through Dennewitz in 15mm.

 

Salute Swag

I forgot to put what I managed to acquire in my last post and as it is like a Wargaming Blog law to do so I shall rectify it straight away!

My major purchase was at Heroics and Ros (as usual), and mainly it was bits and pieces to round out my Alt-History Polish units now that I’ve eventually settled on a TO&E for them. So some Vickers Mk.1’s, Grizzly APC’s, some Fox’s and Ferret/Vigilant for some kitbashing. and some ARV’s and minerollers. I also got a bunch of T-62’s for my Soviet Tank Regiment as I’ve decided to go 3 platoons per company instead of 2 per company as in the rules as it was just bugging me, it’s just too restricting for the Soviet player and not ‘realistic’.

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Vickers Mk.1 – old sculpt but ok especially as no-one else does one
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Kitbash: Fox with a Ferret Vigilant turret posing as a Swingfire turret!

My ‘off list’ purchase with Andy and Ian was some of the new Sisu APC’s and a G.91. Both of which, in keeping with all of their new releases, are cracking little models. They will be soon appearing in a Baltic State’s armed forces pretty soon! Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the new Danish Infantry were available as I’d have had some of those too as I’m a big fan of the new sculpts. Yes they are a bit bigger than the old ones but are belting figures and great to paint and, if we are honest, the older stuff seems like its on its last legs.

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Sisu APC, love the tyres and open hatch on this.
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Fiat G.91 – sorry about the half arsed priming, just had some left on the brush!

I also bought an Austrian Infantry Booster pack from Baccus for some 6mm Napoleonic shenanigans that we have planned for later in the year. Nice figures and look easy to paint up so I’ll be looking forward to doing those sometime soon, and a bargain at 288 figures for £19.80.

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Lastly while with Comrade Noakesavitch at the PSC stand he chucked me a box of their new 15mm T-55’s that he picked up as his buy-4-get-fifth-free. Daren has some Team Yankee kit that he picked up a couple of years ago in a raffle at the club and although we have absolutely zero interest in those rules (and even less after Dan and I watched the game being put on at Salute – nice enough models but tanks jammed together in rows and M109’s and Rolands on the table, niet tavaritch) we are looking forward to the release of either ‘I aint been nuked Mum’ or ‘Battlegroup NORTHAG’ rules to get them all on the table. I also got to check out the Armies Army range as well and they are lovely too so worth investing at a later date in some of that kit too.

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Salute 2018

So Salute has been done and dusted again for another year and I’ve finally recovered. This year I have been on the committee of the South London Warlords and can tell you that the work done by people in their spare time to put this show on is quite fantastic, the planning taking all year and a hell of a lot of effort. If you add to this the efforts of all the members of the club, and the chaps from the Reading club who help too, that pitch in on the day and the day before (most taking time off work to do so) to get the traders and games in and set up on time, running the doors and info stand etc. I think we as a club can be very proud of our efforts.

So this year I was helping Phil judge the games and making sure that all the gamers had everything they needed before we started. This was great to do, as someone who has put games on at other shows I enjoyed going round speaking to the gamers and checking out the games (well 95% of them anyway, there’s always one or two) but it did mean that I was constantly walking round the show – I had done 26,748 steps by the end of the day! – and didn’t take too many photos.

Judging the games was a great thing to do, especially when we went round to hand out the prizes as it was fantastic seeing peoples reactions to receiving them. I won’t put a list up yet of who won what as I don’t think the club has posted it yet but will add a link once it has happened, there will be a shedload of pictures too so will make up for my paltry efforts. I can absolutely scotch one of the common misconceptions of the show as well after judging the games – 95% of all games put on by clubs or individuals are NOT sci-fi/fantasy, indeed we found it hard to come up with more than 4 for that category. Most of those types of games are the small demo games from the larger traders, it might just seem like there are more of them but, sorry, not true.

As for the standard of games this year, we thought (and it is a sentiment seemingly shared by a lot of people going by the blogosphere) that it was very good with a couple of real stand out, show-stoppers – Bill Gaskin’s AWI game and Ian Smith’s ACW fort game in particular – and some nice innovative ones – the RAF lads Toy Box fight, and the Salute Zombie ones for example – and on the whole you could tell that a lot of time and effort had been invested in putting the games on and we thank all involved for their work as frankly it wouldn’t be a wargames show without you! The spread of periods was nice too with everything from Ancients to Cold War on display, although strangely the WWI games were outnumbered by the Pirate themed games which was weird given the theme of this years show.

Before the pics a quick couple of things to answer comments on other posts.

Lighting: Yes it is murky, we all agree but it is beyond the control of the club and to try and put a stop to a growing internet rumour there is definitely no different lighting brightness depending on what you pay, if there was we’d pay for it to be brighter.

Why can’t it be 2 days?: I’ll refer you to the first paragraph for one. Also I think people forget that we are just a Wargames Club. The show is a mammoth task for a bunch of blokes that play with toy soldiers, none of us are professional events organisers and it is absolutely knackering and time consuming putting it on for one day let alone two. Add to that the costs to hire the venue for another day, and probably more importantly the costs for the traders and those putting on the games for a 2 day show and it is just not viable.

Anyway some pics of my favourite games at the show – sorry that I didn’t take pics of all of the I was completely done in and was finding it hard to concentrate on taking photos and some of the ones I took of the others were rubbish, as indeed were some of these ones!

First of all the venue on Friday afternoon, if you think it is big with everyone in it you should be there when it’s empty!

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Next up, ‘Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’ by Maidstone Wargames Society. Raid on Zeebrugge, 1918. Just cracking and a participation game to boot.

The Battle of Kawanakajima 1561 – Loughton Strike Force. For that miniature Kurosawa fix.

Berks and Bucks Occasionals – ‘Blood and Bridges’, brilliantly executed transference of the Cold War gone Hot boardgame ‘Eisenbach Gap’ board game to the tabletop in 1/200th-o-rama.

And last, but definitely not least, Ian Smith & Friends truly fantastic ‘Glory! from the Halls of Montezuma’. The details in the fort was remarkable and the rest of the table wasn’t shoddy either. Oh, and in 40mm too. There were people taking pics of this all day.

Bleeding Hell, that was a while!

As my regular reader might have noticed I haven’t done a stitch on here for ages now and for that I apologise (once again!). As usual my health issues decided to get the better of me for a while and I really did not have the wherewithal to get anything done, I even stopped going to the club for about 6 weeks after we went to York for the Vapnartak show as I just didn’t have the physical or mental energy to do so. I seem to be getting better (relatively speaking) now though and normal service should resume from today onwards.

I’ll be trying to catch up with some Batreps and will be having a re-jig of the Modern pages but first up will be a quick post about Salute from the weekend.

York, Vapnartak 2018

Last weekend saw myself, Des, Martin, Ian and Paul all travel up to York for the Vapnartak show as we were putting on a ‘Sands of Sudan’ participation game. Martin and I were travelling up in Martin’s car during the day on Friday carrying most of the kit for the game and on the way we stopped off at Caliver Books. I’ve never been before and what an experience it is, I was glad Daren wasn’t with us as his Health and Safety trained brain would’ve flipped out! Anyway in amongst the chaos I spotted ‘First Clash’ by Kenneth Macksey and duly picked it up as I lost my copy sometime in the 90’s and have wanted a new one for ages now – I can see some WW3 style Canadians getting bought very soon so we can fight through the actions described. Then I found something that must have been put there by the pixies as I never knew it existed and I must be one of only a few people who’d be interested in it (there were 2 copies on the shelves) – ‘Das deutsche Bundesheer’ a reprint (in German) of a book about the German Federal Army in the 1830’s containing everything you need to know and 421 beautiful colour plates covering everything from the Lichtenstein infantry to Austrian Lombard Gendarmes, and for only £20! I did haver about buying it at first but Martin persuaded me to get it, as he said I’d only regret it later if I didn’t buy it, and I’m so glad I did as it’s possibly the best book I’ve ever bought.

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We all made it to York without any mishaps and spent a pleasant evening supping a few beers and after a decent curry we all tried to get some rest. Saturday saw us all going our separate ways to spend some time mooching about York before we headed over to York Racecourse in the afternoon to set the game up for Sunday. Des and I decided to visit the York Army Museum, and we were both mighty glad we did too. For the paltry sum of just £5 (a ticket that you can use anytime in the next year by the way), we spent a couple of hours walking round this small but excellent museum dedicated to the Yorkshire Regiment and the Royal Dragoon Guards (and all of their predecessors). I’ll let the pics tell the story here, I really can’t recommend it enough, if you have a spare hour or so please support it by dropping by, you won’t be disappointed. (click on pics to view larger versions)

After a, thankfully, drama free set-up of the game we once again popped out to the excellent ‘Pheonix’ pub that is also well worth a visit – a cracking little establishment with good beers, a lovely atmosphere and even a bar billiards table, if I lived near it I’d be down there all the time! – and then on to an Italian before heading back to the hotel early as we were all a bit knackered and a long day loomed ahead. Sunday saw us up and at ’em early and after a lovely big brekkie we set off for the show.

L to R: Paul, Des, me, Ian and Martin.

We got there without any fuss and promptly got everything ready once we made some last minute purchases and awaited opening time and our first game (sorry for the lack of in-action pics but we were just too busy). Thankfully it didn’t take long for us to fill the spaces and pretty soon the game was well underway with all involved seemingly having a whale of a time trying to carry out their varying missions whilst being interrupted by dastardly Mahdist types. The first game lasted from about 10.30 to 13.00 and saw the British column thwarted by constant pressure from the Mahdists, suffering heavy casualties in the infantry and having the cavalry completely wiped out. The Egyptian force sent out from the camp to assist the British came completely unstuck as well and died to a man whilst the Royal Navy guarding the ladies in the camp came very close to being overwhelmed by waves of angry locals but just managed to hold out so we declared a win for the Mahdi this time.

During the break we all darted off round the show to have a quick look and make purchases, which only amounted to a pack of lovely 15mm Imitation Legionnaires from Empires at War to start off my Pontic army for the clubs Sword and Spear ‘League’, I’ll be buying some more from them very soon. Pretty soon we had donned our hats again and the afternoon game got underway, again the chaps involved had a good time all round with the Imperial troops doing tons better this time, by the end of play the Egyptians and Brits had very nearly met up and had crushed all attempts to stop them so a resounding victory was declared. I didn’t get much time to check out the show really and so won’t comment as I don’t think my rushed spins round gave me a good idea of it but it was nicely busy and even the weirdness with the emergency drill false alarms didn’t spoil it for us.

So, thanks all round to Martin, Des, Ian and Paul for a great weekend, completely knackering but well worth it. A truly fantastic game was played, great fun was had, brilliant conversation and company was enjoyed, a cracking museum was visited and I got to wear a Pith helmet! Happy days indeed – here’s hoping the next one is as good.

 

Off to York at the weekend….

I have been invited along with Des and Ian to help Martin put on his truly fantastic Sudan game at the Vapnartak show on Sunday. There have already been some pics of it on here before, and it will be featured in the February edition of Miniature Wargames.

It is a large participation game in full colour 28mm-o-rama so if anyone is around and fancies joining in we will be on the bottom floor over in the corner – there will be big SLW banners and we will be sporting Fez’s or Pith helmets so we should easy to spot. The rules are easy to grasp and a right blast and you will be asked to carry out jolly wheezes such as escorting gentlemen of the press or rescuing some ladies whilst dodging the attentions of Mahdist types and dirty post card sellers.

Anyway, to whet your appetites here’s some pics from recent practice games, (click on them to see bigger versions)