Hello there! I had planned on doing a couple of posts recently but got hit with a double whammy of us moving flats and my PC dying. I might get something done using my phone (like now!) when and if I get some spare time after the move on Saturday.
Once again I made my way round to Des’ magnificent Shed o’War for another game and this time it was for a game of my first wargaming ‘love’, ACW. We would be using Des’ lovely 15mm collection and the new edition of the excellent Fire & Fury brigade level rules.
The scenario we would be playing is the Battle of Prairie Grove where a small Union force of 2 brigades from the Army of the West is chasing a Reb force from the Army of the Trans-Mississippi that has turned to engage at the great defensive position along the wooded ridge and hopefully destroy the pursuing force before the rest of the army catches up. The Confederates had more bases in their units but the Union had a qualitative edge, I was taking the role of the Union commander. The one thing changed from the scenario as written was the dismounted cavalry was replaced with infantry.
My plan was quite simple: I was going to take the Rebs under fire with the batteries of Herron’s Division from the Knoll and once I had seen off or destroyed their batteries, I would advance Orne & Huston’s brigades to ‘The Bench’ and try and work round the flank or assault their line if it had been weakened by my artillery once it had switched targets from the enemy guns. I was expecting another Division to enter the battle between points A & B on the map and would direct them as required but my initial thoughts were to use them to aim towards the Morton house to threaten the other flank of the Rebel line and tackle any reserves that might be lurking along the road.
The first few moves whizzed by as I moved my 2 batteries onto the knoll and edged my infantry forward to support them whilst engaging the Rebel artillery with Murphy’s battery from Crawford’s hill which was not going very well as they constantly failed to do much damage, luckily for me though neither was the enemy guns and soon the Knoll guns were in place. I used these to hit the small brigade of McDonald at the very end of the enemy line and soon I had caused it enough damage that it fell back out of the line and the guns turned their attention to Blocher’s battery and Shelby’s Brigade. The Rebel artillery was giving as good as it got however and one of the batteries on the Knoll became damaged but the concentrated fire of both batteries did manage to damage Blocher’s battery too and cause casualties on Shelby’s brigade which also fell out of the line, whilst further along the ridge Murphy’s battery had finally got the range sorted and had forced West’s battery to fall back damaged. Taking advantage of the fact that the Rebel guns were now weakened and another brigade had fallen back I pushed the infantry to the bottom of ‘the Ledge’ where they were in dead ground and unable to be fired at from the ridge above. Now I wanted to soften up the defenders with my guns before advancing and I also moved Orne’s large Brigade to the left to take advantage of the space where McDonald’s & Shelby’s brigades used to be.
It was about this time that my first reinforcing Brigade appeared over on the right but this good news was tempered by the sight of a mass of Confederate Infantry & Artillery appearing on the roads opposite, I quickly ditched any idea of attacking obliquely into the flank of the enemy before me and realised I’d have to use the reinforcements to tackle the newly arriving enemy forces head on. I therefore advanced my new Brigade forward a short distance and shook it out into a supported line to wait for the rest of its Division. Pretty soon the rest of Husson’s Division’s brigades with their attached 3 batteries of guns had arrived and I wasted no time in advancing them towards the masses of enemy advancing down the road, shrugging off the attentions of enemy artillery as they did so. My own artillery was also now in play and the concentrated fire of all 3 batteries was beginning to tell on the green rebel troops, causing them to become disordered and silencing their batteries.
Now, as twilight started to fall, the battle moved into the final stages as the infantry started to get to grips with each other. Over on the left I had decided to launch Huston’s brigade forwards in a charge on Fagan’s Brigade to tie them in place while Orne’s Brigade got into position on the left, unfortunately this attack which was stopped cold by the fire from the enemy infantry and the remaining guns across the road and a quick counter attack saw my brave boys retreating back to the safety of the foot of the shelf. However the Rebel infantry was now disorganised and Orne’s fresh and large unit slammed into the enemy line, bundling them back at an angle with some loss and destroying the remainder of Blocher’s battery. This did leave the victorious Union troops with enemy troops moving up on their flank but they were still fresh and in good order so would easily be able to turn to face the new threat with confidence.
On the right two separate attacks went in. The small but veteran left hand brigade of Husson’s Division attacked the equally small enemy brigade in front of the Morton house and won the contest handily but was then counter attacked by a newly arriving Rebel Brigade and even though they saw off the first attack, they were then hit in the flank and were forced to retire back to the gun line. Meanwhile, over on the right of the Division the other, larger, veteran brigade moved up to tackle the huge, but green, Confederates deployed near the Wilson house. This contest was in the balance for a while with the Rebs holding firm initially (I rolled a 1!) but the better experience of the Union forces began to tell and the Arkansas boys were soon falling back through the Brigade behind them.
It was at this time that Des decided that he would use the failing light (we had played 12 turns of 15)to cover his retreat and fall back as he had taken significantly larger losses than me (15 Infantry & 2 Guns vs 8 Infantry) and I had 3 fresh and better quality brigades plus a distinct advantage in guns with which to carry on the fight with, and so I managed to take the victory. As usual, many thanks to Mr Darkin for the game, it was a great blast and an interesting scenario plus it was great to be involved in some ACW action again – we’ll definitely have to play it again but switch sides.
I was perusing some photos the other day and I came across some from a game from a couple of years ago which I couldn’t post about at the time as I had run out of space to upload more pictures and I’d forgotten I had! As it was a bloody great days gaming and a fantastic spectacle to boot I thought I’d rectify that now. I can remember enough to give at least a broad outline of the events but there is tons of lovely eye candy to get your mince’s round so there is that at least!
I had been invited along with Des & Andy over to the Loughton club to take part in a large General d’Armee game which I happily agreed to. I’d been over to one before and had played in GdB games with some of the chaps from there before and they’d always been great games plus its always nice when you get to play with the author of the rules too. So it was an early start and I schlepped it across town to the leafy end of the Central line in the fair county of Essex and met up with Des who was on the same train. Upon entering the room that the game was in we were greeted with a satisfyingly huge table with an unmistakeable looking battlefield laid out. I must say I was a tad confused as Des had told me that we were doing a FRW game and that was definitely the field of Waterloo, but apparently it wasn’t the first time that French, British, Dutch and Hannoverian troops had fought over the same ground.
Des, Andy & I were all assigned to the Allied side and we were basically setting up in the same positions as the battle from 1815, along the ridge south of Mont St Jean with a garrison forward in Hougmont (apparently the lads in 1815 used loopholes made in this battle!). I was in charge of an Anglo-Hannoverian Division holding the far right of the line and also tasked with holding the famous châteaux complex and had Andy to my immediate left with a Division of British troops, as with all of these proper big battles I have no idea about what was going on elsewhere as soon as the action started apart from the fact that Des was in charge of the troops to Andy’s immediate left and that Martin was on the extreme left with a force of Dutch troops. Opposing us was the French Army of the Sambre et Meuse under Jourdan, with Dave Brown donning the large hat for the rascally sans culottes with a team of Loughton chaps taking various Divisions ready to smite us with revolutionary fervour.
The side table had Austrians taking the part of Prussians attacking the French at Plancenoit but apart from popping over there to take these photo’s I’m afraid I have no idea what happened there at all!
As to the battle, things are far too hazy for me to remember all the details but I do remember my defence of Hougmont didn’t go as well as the later battle’s defence did. I did manage to hold for quite a bit and caused the French attackers some problems in taking the complex but I was bundled out after a spirited defence. I do remember (as it is painfully seared into my brain) Andy and me both noticing a large gap opening up between the troops attacking the châteaux and those to their immediate right that we tried to attack into but were stymied by faltering units. Before we could sort the attack out however, Dave launched and an attack by ‘Panzer Dragoon Division Brown’ which steamed into the junction between our two formations and proceeded to carve through our units like a hot knife through butter whilst suffering next to no discernible damage, eventually ending up on our side of the ridge after causing multiple units to rout all along it’s route of mayhem. Elsewhere determined French attacks by the frenzied revolutionary levee en mass and excellent cavalry battered their way into our positions and although we had some local successes, particularly over on the extreme left early in the battle, we were forced back off the ridge in places and the battle was lost.
The game was great fun to be involved in, so many belated thanks to the chaps at Loughton Strike Force for allowing us to join in, and special thanks have to go to Gary who not only did a marvellous job of umpiring the game all day provided the figures which I’m sure you will agree were a joy to behold, it’s just a shame I couldn’t write it up at the time.
A fortnight ago I finally managed to get the first game of the year in round at Des’ magnificent shed o’war, and it was a cracking way to hopefully start up face-to-face wargaming again. We would be having another crack at a D-Day game (rude not to really as it was near enough the anniversary!) using Des’ lovely 15mm collection of figures & terrain and our mash-up rules that combine IABSM with the dice activation of CoC which we have, in true Lardy style, entitled “I aint been Coc’d yet Mum” or IABCYM.
In this scenario myself and Andy T. would be assaulting the strongpoint known as ‘COD’ to the allied planners with orders to neutralise it then move forward to clear the exits from the beach to allow the follow on forces to barrel off down the roads to points inland, Des would take control of the dastardly defenders and try to prevent us from doing so. To achieve this task we were given identical forces which were based upon A & B Coys, 2/East Yorks with each of us taking command of a company assault group, both consisting of:
- Wave one
- 2 platoons infantry in LCI
- 1 assault section RE, for beach obstacle demolition
- Troop, 13\18 Hussars (4 x DD Shermans)
- Wave two
- LCT with 22nd Dragoon’s and 79th Assault RE. 1x Flail, bulldozer, AVRE bridgelayer, AVRE facine.
- Wave three
- 3rd platoon and HQ section of each company.
- 2 x Vickers HMG sections
- Mortar platoon in Bren carriers
- 6pdr AT troop with Bren carrier tows.
The defensive nest (Wn20, ‘COD’) that we had to take on consisted of 1.Komp/736 Inf Regt/716 Division manning the following defences:
- 2 lmg in tobruks
- 2x 50mm mortar in tobruks
- 2 ob posts
- 1 hq
- 2x 37mm ATG open positions facing the rear area
- 1x 37mm ATG in the 180 degree bunker
- 2 x 50mm ATG in 90 degree bunker
- Trenches, wire.
Further back and to the rear of the main defence nest were these additional positions:
- Beach house 1 complex
- 37mm tobruk
- HMG bunker
- Beach house 2 complex
- 37mm open top bunker
- Two sections in trenches
- 1 lmg in tobruk.
- Rear command bunker
- lmg tobruk
Our plan was quite simple: hit the beach and Andy’s right hand platoon and my left hand platoon would concentrate on the defensive position whilst the other ones tackle the flanking positions. The DD tanks and ‘Funnies’ would support this effort depending on if they make the beach or not with reserve platoons to be fed in where needed. One of the great things about these D-Day games is the absolute uncertainty in just how much of your force either 1. manages to just arrive on the beach and 2. makes it up the beach to get to grips with the defenders. So with everything ready we launched our attack.
For once the run in to the beach went (ahem) swimmingly for both of us with none of the DD tanks being lost to swamping or crashing into each other (you have to roll each time you move in the ‘deep’ parts to check for swamping and there’s a chance that you can drift too). However upon hitting the beach 3 of my DD tanks promptly hit mines which unbelievably they all managed to survive my LCI’s also made it past the submerged obstacles safely and all my lads managed to exit them without serious losses from enemy fire too. Over on the left Andy had slightly less luck losing one DD tank to a mine and one to AT gun fire and one of his LCI’s also went up which caused serious casualties on his left hand platoon, killing the CO and reducing the unit to little more than an overstrength section. The defending Germans then started up a hail of fire which again I seemed to dodge the worst of whilst Andy’s already battered platoon suffered even more. Notwithstanding this we both pushed our troops up the beach as quickly as possible supported by the fire from the now defrocked DD tanks from the surf whilst our assault pioneers started to clear obstacles.
Pretty soon the assault troops had passed the obstacles but now had to cross the mined area of the beach. It was here that my right hand platoon’s luck ran out somewhat taking the worst casualties yet from mines, however the left hand platoon heading for the bunker complex carried on with their run of good luck and made it to the wire completely unscathed by the mines. Unfortunately for Andy’s left hand platoon they seemed to be absorbing all the bad luck from my lads and by the time they hit the sea wall they had lost so many men that they were broken and completely combat ineffective although his right hand platoon managed to make the wire without too many more casualties from mines.
The next phase of the battle saw our central platoons successfully cross the wire and start to clear the bunker complex, again with the great help from the DD tanks back at the shore, and soon were nearly through the position. My right hand platoon tried to assault the FT turret Tobruk which lay to their front without success but I started to take it under fire from the DD tanks and as the ‘Funnies’ were now inbound I reckoned we’d be able to by sort it out pretty soon. Unfortunately time was getting on at this point and so we called the game but it was clear that ‘COD’ had fallen and the reserve platoons would be used to push through to help clear the exits whilst the DD tanks could have shot up the positions in the beach houses with impunity until the defenders broke. I think that the Germans suffered from some bad luck with their activation dice and had problems stemming from the initial bombardment and us getting a lucky hit on the CO which all helped hamper the defence and our great luck in managing to get nearly all the DD tanks ashore safely helped out immeasurably.
I am looking forward to is the next time we play it in an all-dayer as Des’ plan is to have a further table set up with the area behind the beach so we play through to that table after the defences have been cleared. Having said that these games are so brilliantly unpredictable I bet we get stuck on the beach as all the DD tanks drown and we get slaughtered by mines! Anyway, whatever happens it’ll be ace.
It was a cracking game, just look at the table and toys we got to play with what’s not to like there!, and a fantastic way to get going again. Massive thanks to Mr Darkin for allowing us round to play and to Andy for always being a great bloke to have at the table (and thankfully on my side for once!), I’m a very lucky chap to have wargaming mates like these! Onwards and upwards now, here’s to more games in the near future.
Hello again all, if anyone is still there that is, hope you are all doing well.
With the world slowly starting to return to some form of normality and I’ve finally managed to get a game in I thought it was high time to dust off the blog and get posting again. I’ll be writing up the fantastic game of IABCYM round Des’ the other day tomorrow but before that and to help kick this place off I thought it’d be nice to post some pics of the 6mm Napoleonics I’ve been slowly doing. I am really keen to get cracking on a lot more of these and have some prepped ready for painting after I have finished a 20mm AB WW2 British force for CoC for Dan (which should be done in the next couple of weeks) so expect to see quite a bit more over the next few months as I want to put on a game of my ‘Elegant Chaos’ rules sometime soon so need to get cracking on painting up forces for that.
Anyway without further ado here’s the figures: the Saxons are Baccus and everything else is Adler. I really wish I’d started with the Adler figures as I really enjoy painting them and although basing them can be a right royal pain in the Aris’ I prefer the more dynamic look the units have once finished and I prefer the sculpts too – the cavalry are quite beautiful! Flags are from the marvellous Maverick Models.
First up the infantry component of the Lutzow Freikorp – the chaps in green are the Jager component of the Reiche Jager Battalion photobombing! I’ve decided to paint up the lesser used units of the Prussian and allied army of 1813 so the force will be loosely based on Walmoden’s Korp plus some extra Prussian units.
Next up the Bremen & Lubeck infantry battalions of the Hanseatic Legion: the Lubeckers are in the fetching Green & Light blue, Bremen in Black & White. I am still trying to decide whether to paint up the Hamburg battalion in the early uniform as worn by the Lubeck infantry or the more boring later uniform which is basically a Russian one. The group shot contains the Reiche Jager battalion, another of the short lived volunteer units raised in 1813 and which was also in Walmoden’s Korp in northern Germany.
Now for a quartet of French battalions. I bought a Division pack off of Richard, a Twitter chum, and when it arrived some of the figures were already painted so I only had to add the command figures and elite companies to get them up to strength – worse thing was that Richard had painted the brilliantly so it meant I had to up my own game a bit, I think they have come out quite well so many thanks for the inspiration Rich! These are the 1st battalions of 4 different Line Regiments and I’ve decided to use different voltigeur plume and epaulette combo’s as distinguishing marks as much as possible – especially for the 1st battalions, some units will be in a more campaign attire but its nice to have some with their best clobber on too!
Next up some Prussian guns and some Saxon Hussars – in my rules a gun model represent a half battery of 3 or 4 guns and a cavalry stand is 2 or 3 squadrons but a total of 200-300 men. The cavalry figures are just magnificent sculpts (Austrian Hussars) and the next in the queue is another base of these and limbers for these guns – I really love the simple elegance of the Saxon Hussar uniform, the blue is just lovely I think.
Finally a couple of group shots including one of the 8 Saxon Line infantry battalions and single artillery base currently finished.
A couple of weeks ago I managed to get the first game in since early March round Des’ shed o’war. Sadly it looks like it will also be the last game in this year as new Covid restrictions have hit London, with my health problems and the ban on households mixing it is a non-starter (and rightly so). Anyway, Des had decided to lay out one of his lovely Eastern front winter tables and that we’d have a game of Chain of Command which was a big thumbs up from me in both accounts. We spent the first 45 minutes or so having a good chat as it was only the second time we’d physically been in each others company since March also so had a lot to catch up on/moan about! So with that out of the way and Des’ birthday beer opened we got to it.
I was the glorious Red Army liberating a village from the fascist invaders and to do so I had a bog standard rifle platoon with a paltry number of support points that I blew on a lend-lease Churchill that I thought would come in handy against the flimsy structures in the village and might have more chance surviving a ‘fausting or ‘schrecking from the German infantry (it was also in honour of a Twitter chum DiceDad and his love of the brutes!). The patrol phase went ok, I ended up with my JoP’s spread out a bit but nearly encircling Des’ which were grouped quite tightly. I was planning on using typical Soviet subtlety by running the infantry forward on the left to make the enemy deploy then bring the tank up, stand off and blast the crap out of them – I was quite confident the Churchill would be safe in this as I figured Des wouldn’t be able to afford a PAK40 from his support points. (you can click on following pics to make them bigger)
The game was bags of fun, albeit one lacking in much finesse as I struggled to get forward with the first section I deployed due to the nasty attention of a MG42 and a lack of cover so decided to try and engage in a long range firefight whilst working another squad down the left. I did have some success chipping away at Des’ lads causing a MG42 team to break (this was due to us forgetting to count the shock across the section and not just the team!). I did manage to push the left hand squad up but Des deployed another one of his and a viscous close range firefight broke out with us slowly whittling each other down, lots of shock was going on and JL’s were getting hit which slowly brought our morale levels down. Eventually though my first squad stuck in the open had enough and broke whilst nearly all the remaining troops on both sides were pinned causing a stalemate.
On my right I had moved a section forward hoping to force Des’ hand to deploy his last section whilst supporting them with the Churchill. This sort of worked but Des sprung an ambush with his Panzerschreck which luckily for me missed, I was very confident that a touch of HE would put paid to the AT team but I completely missed! The next few bounds saw a frankly ridiculous set of misses from us both as we both tried to get the first telling hit in, although the ‘schreck did score a glancing blow on the Churchill that luckily just shocked the crew. My infantry joined in and managed to cause some shock whilst taking fire from a MG42 although the Churchill did finally knock out the ‘schreck team whilst they ran back to acquire some more rounds after using up all of their initial load of rockets.
With the threat of the tank and an infantry section closing in on them Des’ last infantry squad ran out of the building they were in and round the corner out of sight, and it looked like it might go all Benny Hill for a moment with us chasing each other round the house! However I decided to hold the infantry in place to take on the Landsers while I moved the Churchill up to take the JoP located nearby and hopefully catch the same Germans in a crossfire. Unfortunately I forgot that taking on a MG42 at close range even with light cover was a really bad idea and before I could get the tank in a position to brass the enemy up my infantry had taken a right mullering and broke.
With that my morale was down to 6, I had one section of infantry fit to fight and a train to catch we called the game as a German victory. To be fair I don’t think either of us was too bothered about the result it was just great to be sat round a table again, having a couple of beers and playing a game with a mate, it has been much missed. The only real down side was that I had to do it all with Des’ bog standard kit on his half-arsed table but we all have to make sacrifices in these troubled times!
Hello again all.
Obviously the world has been a very weird place since my last post and wargaming has taken a big hit during the lockdown. I have managed to get some stuff done but to be honest having to stay in constantly for 4 months (I have been shielding due to my blood condition) started to get a bit much and a huge wave of ‘cant be arsed’ happened, and picking up the ‘War in the East’ PC game very cheap on the Steam Summer sale didn’t help either!
However, one of the things I have managed to do was to take part in Per’s 6mm Charity paint along thingy which was ace to be a part of. A full rundown of what this entails can be found on Per’s blog (if you haven’t seen it already it can be found here and it is well worth the effort – https://rollaone.com/category/charity-project/ ) but basically the idea is that two identical forces would be split into units and each person signing up would be sent a unit to paint which would be used by Per and his son to fight a battle or two and would then be raffled off and the money will go to charity. The figures were donated by Peter Berry at Baccus which was a lovely touch, but not a surprising thing to happen really as Peter is a cracking person, and we were all sent a rough guide to colours to be used for our units.
After the Covid inspired postal delay my figures duly arrived and I got to work on them straight away. The period is one that I have never had an interest in hence have never painted any figures for it but I must say slapping some pigment on these little fellas was a joy. The figures were nicely proportioned and were a breeze to get done – I even got over the disappointment of having light brown facings picked for me!
I believe the project is virtually completed and I must say seeing all the figures photographed en masse was something special, I’m very pleased to have been a part of it. Anyway without further ado, here’s the finest body of men in the Siarus Army the Fulvhukin’s Regiment of Foot…
At this horrible time it is great to have a distraction or 12 so to help us through Jonathan has kindly started up another PBEM game of Fistful of TOW’s. He did the same last year and I was going to do a full write up once we had finished but the game unfortunately fizzled out. However, we did get through a few moves and it was cracking fun so I am really looking forward to this one. Obviously as the new one is ongoing I can’t post anything about it yet as Des might get some good intelligence about what I’m up to so here’s some of the stuff from last time so you can get an idea of how we are going about it, hopefully it might be of interest and give you some ideas for doing something similar.
First of all Jonathan set out the terrain on his table in his lovely, lofty wargames chambre at his place and sent out a map and briefing to each of us. We wrote our orders and emailed them back and he played out the moves either until orders needed changing or there was some decision point that needed input from either of the players. He then sent out a SitRep that contained pictures from the game obviously taken to restrict the view and we sent new orders back.
It worked a charm and added a great level of friction to the game, best example of which was me completely screwing up a movement order that basically put one of my battalions out of the fight when they could have made a telling intervention, and the not knowing where your opponents units are until you run into them was great, very tense.
So nice and simple really but a bit of work for the host to set up, hopefully Jonathan will say how much in the comments?
Here’s the Maps, briefings and SitReps that we received so you get an idea of what actually went on. One thing I have done for the new one is I’m making situation maps after every SitRep so to avoid a balls up like last time (and it’ll help in the write up)
Well, I was expecting to have finished off the CoC campaign with Dan by now but obviously that has been shelved for a while, I do have one last report to do but haven’t really been in the mood lately for some reason.
I’ve been trying to get some painting done but had hit a bit of a wall and couldn’t be arsed until the other day when I got stuck in to basing some of my alt-history 6mm ‘Cold War’ kit in an attempt to kickstart something and it did!
After basing some bits up I then started ruminating over a new force – the Ukraine – and have an OOB and TO&E sorted now so pinged off an order to Scotia and will be looking to get that done as soon as they get here. This has led me to get all the 6mm Modern kit out and have a good old sort out and I’ll be cracking on with tarting it all up over the next few weeks, painting up some missing bits and ordering some more. Apart from that there’s the small matter of an epic rebasing job to do as the new basing looks so much better than my old ones and I know I just won’t be able to have both types in the collection, my slight OCD will do my head in! I’m going to be sensible though and its going to be done unit by unit in manageable batches in between painting sessions. It’s really good to have a bit of impetus again, which is probably down to something I’ve just finally figured out.
Since the success of Des’ ‘I Aint Been CoC’d Yet Mum’ rules merging the dice activation of CoC onto IABSM I’ve been thinking about trying the same thing with FFT3 as the lack of command and control friction has always bugged me and I’ve recently started to want to get away from strict IGO-UGO turn sequences. I had a bit of a eureka moment the other week and decided to have a run through today so had a quick playthrough. The basics worked well and I’ve made some tweaks already which I think will work better/well. I’m going to have another go this evening and if it goes alright I’ll be posting them on a separate page on here – I’m quite excited as I think its going to work very well.
Anyway, I hope you are all keeping well and safe and all the best.
Oh, and obviously there’s only one thing you can call a mash-up of ‘A Fistful of TOW’s’ and ‘Chain of Command’ isn’t there….
“Don’t worry sir, we’ll get it done”, and with that Leutenant Hitzelperger gave a smart salute and left headquarters to see to his men. After 1.Zug had been beaten back, 3.Zug were supposed to have had a go at kicking the Yanks back door in but had been prevented by a Jabo attack. Hitzelperger was still smarting after his unit had suffered the same fate earlier and also wanted to show the CO and that upstart Beckenbauer that he could be successful where others had failed, and if he had been able to carry out his initial attack they would be on the objective by now.
He had taken advantage of some better patrolling and also didn’t want to make the same mistakes as the initial attackers had so had decided to concentrate his attack along the right, hopefully crossing from ‘his’ hedgeline to the ‘American’ hedgeline at the place where the distance was shortest and was out of the view of any men stationed in the houses. As the patrolling had identified this spot as a likely place the enemy would be manning he decided to take it under fire with one of his Gruppe and an Infantry Gun from the support chaps. When this force had won the firefight here another Gruppe spearheaded by a Flamethrower team would advance and secure the hedgeline before rolling up the enemy position. His remaining Gruppe would face across the field to the end of the wood where the wire was located as it was also likely that the enemy had forces there and hopefully they could cover any nasty surprises popping up. He entered the building where his men were waiting, quickly went through the plan again with his NCO’s and that grinning idiot Klopp from HQ who was coming with them to assist, and waited for the guns of the artillery to start up before leading his men out.
As soon as they reach the forming up point the Leutenant turned to his men “Right, Krankl move your men over to the left and cover that flank, the rest of us will be moving out soon but we need you to cover us first”. The wiry Austrian’s heart sank, ‘cover us’ actually meant ‘draw the enemy’s fire so we know where they are’ but orders were orders and so he moved off through the orchard and across the next paddock. Soon afterwards some Americans were spotted along the hedgerow and the young officer motioned to Klopp to join him, “Feldwebel, take 2.Gruppe and the gun, get up to the hedge and blow those Yanks away. I’m going to stay here with the rest and wait for the right moment to attack. Understood?”. Klopp nodded grimly and moved his small command out knowing full well that the enemy would have the drop on them.
Just then the horrible sound of exploding mortar shells erupted where 3.Gruppe had moved off to and an agonised scream was heard as they were caught in a well aimed stonk. Pausing for just a moment Klopp told Rumminigge to get his men up to the hedge and to start firing whilst he saw to the siting of the gun. As 2.Gruppe reached the hedge his fears were realised and they were hit by a terrific volley which ripped through the cover momentarily checking the men with the shock of the sudden, violent contact. They quickly regained their composure, however and poured their own fire back which was joined by the fire from the gun. This combined fire must have been effective though as the enemy mortar fire started to slowly shift towards them so as to neutralise the threat they must have been on the enemy infantry. Klopp made sure that they ignored the approaching barrage and kept firing although, unfortunately, 2.Gruppe was not having the best of luck with quite a few men being hit including Rumminigge who suffered a slight wound.
Then all of a sudden the mortar barrage stopped. Hitzelperger immediately left the Flamethrower and 1.Gruppe with the Adjutant to await his signal to advance and ran over to see what had happened to 3.Gruppe. He found Krankl wounded but organising his men and helped to restore order. They had lost a few men but were reasonably ok and he ordered them forwards telling the Stabsgefreiter to make for the wood across the road and to try and work round to the left when he thought it was safe to do so. Meanwhile over on the right Klopp and his force had finally won the firefight duel with the Americans who’s few survivors broke for the rear dragging their wounded NCO with them, and he grabbed one of the wounded men from 2.Gruppe telling him to let the Leutenant know now might be the time to launch the attack on the enemy.
Before this could be organised however another squad of the enemy appeared in the same position along the hedge but Klopp and his lads had the range good and proper now and laid down a furious fire that seemed to do great damage to the enemy if the slackening in return fire was anything to go by. When the flamethrower then hit the enemy as it came onto the line it helped finish off the survivors with that the flame team surged forwards followed by the newly arrived 1.Gruppe. Klopp was just thinking that the end must be in sight when all of a sudden the world to his left and front disappeared in a maelstrom of noise, dust and metal as another mortar barrage hit. Luckily it didn’t last very long and had missed both the Feldwebel and the attacking force, as well as only hitting one of the gun team but it had destroyed the survivors of 2.Gruppe, all were casualties apart from one dazed landser.
As this was happening on the right Krankl had began to move his men towards the wood when they were caught by the combined fire of both a squad in the first house and an Anti-Tank gun that suddenly revealed itself in the wood by the wire. His men were pinned under this murderous crossfire and pretty soon the surviving member and the wounded NCO were running back to where they started. Hitzelperger had also thought that the Americans must have been defeated and now he was worried that his men would be the ones breaking but luckily all enemy fire stopped and soon the men advancing on the right sent back a message that they could see the Yankees streaming for the rear They had done it, only just, and at a terrible cost but they had done it. The road to L’Abbaye Blanche was open.
This was one of the tensest and bloodiest games of CoC that both Dan and I had played in a long while with both of us having periods where we were on top and both desperately trying to get that final hit on the other to cause a rout.
I very nearly pulled out early doors after the first gruppe was caught by the initial mortar barrage and the second gruppe started taking casualties from the enemy squad across the field, especially as both their JL’s were wounded too. I managed to roll a triple 6 though and then it was my turn to start racking up casualties on the Americans and I thought the tide had turned. However Dan carried on his great rolling on the BTH chart from last week whilst I carried on my bad rolling which was of some concern as he started with a FM of 11 and I started on 9.
After seeing off the first American squad Dan chucked another into the grinder at the same place definitely looking to finish off 2.Gruppe but I lucked out again with some double phases and poured fire on from the gun and remaining MG42’s with a dash of help from the Flamethrower and some appalling luck on Dan’s rolling for hits saw the second squad finished off with only the wounded SL and JL’s present remaining. I really thought it was game over for Dan but he managed to get the mortars into action again, virtually wiping out 2.Gruppe. He also battered 3.Gruppe, that I had stupidly left hanging out in the open whilst I concentrated on destroying the enemy to the front, with a terrible crossfire virtually wiping them out before they broke. Again, luckily, I managed to cancel the mortars, this time by using a CoC dice which also saw the surviving members of his first squad rout off the table and it was now the last chance saloon for both of us with his FM at 3 and mine at 2.
My intact section with the flamethrower were in a great position to take a JoP and then take on the American’s in the house with the Infantry Gun helping out and I was hoping that would be enough for the win, as long as Dan’s mortars didn’t start up again. When he failed to get the mortars again and wouldn’t be able to call on them for the rest of the battle Dan decided to pull out much to my relief. The one thing I did learn in this fight above everything else was this: if you are playing Germans get yourself a le18 75mm IG, why has it taken me this long! Dan declared it the man of the match, it only has 6 HE but the ability to drop cover by 1 and hitting on a 4+ makes it punch well above its weight.
As for the state of 2.Zug. Their opinions first, they started on 1 & 1 and after the battle these had dropped with the CO’s opinion on 0 and the men’s (not surprisingly given the casualties taken) at -3. They are also pretty much a spent force with 4 men dead in both 2. & 3.Gruppen so I’ve decided to consolidate the survivors into one full strength Gruppe under the surviving 3.Gruppe JL and am sending the 2 ‘spare’ men to 1.Gruppe/1.Zug to replace their losses from the last fight. Next up is the village fight in L’Abbaye Blanche with the full strength 3.Zug taking on what I estimate to be a full strength American platoon backed up with a bunch of MG’s and AT guns so, should be easy?!