Brief sojourn en France, part 1….

Jonathan has been living in France for a while now and has slowly but surely been converting a room in one of his outbuildings into his gaming room. He recently finished the work (all bar the roofing and installation of the skylight windows was done by him) and invited me over to spend a few days and play a couple of games. I was booking flights as soon as I had finished reading the email! So, Monday saw a bleary eyed and knackered me fresh from the Ally Pally weekend head off to Stansted for the short hop to Limoges. Jonathan met me at the airport and a couple of hours later we were at his place bang in the centre of the country in the lovely, sunny Allier department. I won’t go on about his abode too much (the memories are just too recent and raw at the moment) but will let the pictures speak for themselves, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and muddle through. I live in Peckham and have come to expect a certain level of noise and grime and I had contend with this for 5 days….

If that wasn’t bad enough Jonathan plied me with nice beer and pastis whilst I was forced to eat lovely food, some of which didn’t even come from the supermarket but some strange place known as ‘the vegetable garden’. I know, right. Then to cap it all I was expected to actually partake in a couple of games of Fistful of TOWS in this space…

 

Game 1: Soviet vs Swedish 1985 (FFT3 Rules, 6mm)

As Jonathan had just finished painting up the Swedes he was keen to get them on the table for a run out. I was happy to try smiting them with some good old fashioned Soviet smityness so I got busy rummaging through the 4 or 5 boxes of Soviet kit (he’s got a LOT of stuff!) to get a force together while he set the terrain up and pretty soon we were good to go. A quick aside on the terrain: Jonathan is still getting this into shape as it were but as the room was ready he really wanted to get some games in so what we used isn’t the finished article. But, as you can see by the rest of the room I reckon it’ll be very nice once it is all done!

We decided to play across the table so each of our forces would have to cover a scale frontage of 12km (120″) with the Swedes defending and on hidden deployment. So I had plenty of room for manoeuvre as there was no way Jonathan could be everywhere with the forces he had, however, as my mission was to secure the roads exiting off of his table edge he could afford to concentrate to thwart me.  To achieve my mission I had the majority of a Category 2 Motor Rifle Division, the Recce Btln and the BMP’s were obviously off doing something else! :

Tank Regiment (Quality: Fair)

  • Recon coy
    • Brdm-2
    • BMP-2
  • AD Coy
    • ZSU-23-4
    • SA-9 Gopher
  • Off table SP 152mm Btln
    • 3 x Batteries
  • 3 Tank Btlns
    • 6 T-72
  • Motor Rifle Coy
    • 3 Infantry + BMP-2

2 x Motor Rifle Regiments (Quality: 1 x Poor, 1 x Marginal)

  • Recon Coy (in 1 Regt)
    • Brdm-2
    • BMP-1
  • Recon Coy (in 1 Regt, the poor one – a Reserve unit no doubt)
    • 2 Jeeps (yeah, my mistake but thought it’d be fun!)
  • 3 BTR Btlns
    • 1 120mm Mortar + Truck
    • 1 Sagger team + BTR-60PB
    • 1 AGS-17 AGL + BTR-60PB
    • 9 Infantry stands + BTR-60PB
  • Tank Btln
    • 9 T-55A
  • Off table Towed 122mm Artillery Btln
    • 3 Batteries

Off table Divisional 152mm Art Regt (This could only be called in by the FOO or Recce stands)

  • 3 Btlns of 3 batteries
  • 1 BM-21 MRLS battery

Aviation assets

  • 2 Mil-Mi 24

To face this Jonathan had a full strength Armoured Brigade which we were both keen to see in action as they are kind of an unusual force with mixed companies, lots of jeeps, recoilless rifles and, of course, the S-Tank.

Swedish Armoured Brigade (Quality: Good)

  • Bgde HQ
    • HQ com stand + truck
    • truck + 40mm AA gun (attached div asset)
  • Arm Recce Company
    • HQ com stand + jeep
    • 2 x APC + inf stand
    • jeep with 90mm RCL
    • jeep + LMG stand
    • jeep + inf stand
  • AA unit
    • HQ com stand + jeep
    • truck + Redeye stand
    • truck + towed 20mm AA gun
  • AT Company
    • HQ com stand + jeep
    • jeep with 90mm RCL
    • jeep + Bantam ATGW stand
    • truck + inf stand
  • 3 x Armd Battalion
    • HQ com stand + Pbv-302A
    • 2 x inf stand + jeep
    • 2 x Armd company
      • 3 x Strv103
      • 1 x inf stand in Pbv-302A
    • 2 x Mech inf company
      • 3 x (inf stand + Pbv-302A)
      • 1 x jeep + 90mm RCL

In support this had :

  • 1 Off table Brigade towed 105mm Artillery Btln
    • 3 batteries
  • 1 Off table Divisional towed 155mm Artillery Btln
    • 3 batteries

My dice throws for the quality of my units was quite bad whilst Jonathan rolled up a bunch of Viking beserkers which meant my numerical advantage was nicely balanced by the qualitative advantage held by the Swedes. I was allowed a pre-game barrage and we agreed that I’d roll a d6 for the number of moves that it would last, I duly rolled a 1 so this was definitely a hasty attack! This had a bearing on my plan of attack (plan he says!!) as the short duration of the artillery strike and the shite quality of my troops meant any semblance of patience, finesse and subtlety would go straight out of the fenetre! Here’s what the plan was..

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Left Flank from my POV

The left flank was to be the responsibility of the really crap Motor Rifle Regiment. Initially 2 Battalions would assault the town then survivors would be used to clear the wood on the left, the remaining Motor Rifle Battalion and the Tank Battalion would pass through the town once it was secured and attack up the road between the hills. The town would receive the attention of the Regimental Artillery Btln, a battalion of Divisional artillery and the BM-21 battery during the pre-planned strike just in case it was garrisoned.

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Centre (unfortunately for me Jonathan is not signing surrender documents)

Here I was going to commit the Tank Regiment, with the BMP company and the recon lads first of all securing the first wood then crossing diagonally over to the next one to do the same there. The far end of the first wood would be struck by the regimental artillery with a divisional battalion hitting the far one. This initial attack would be followed by 2 battalions of tanks, one to advance on the farm and one to swing round the wood to the left and head for the long ridge (the idea being to help the attack on the left). The remaining T-72 battalion was going to be held as the Divisional reserve once it entered the table.

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Right Flank

On the right flank I was, again, going for the hammer like approach. 2 BTR battalions would advance either side of the road, one to clear the hills either side of the marsh, 1 to clear the wood. Again the remaining MR and Tank battalions would be then passed through to continue on along the road past the crossroads. The pre-game stonks here were on the wood and the hill by the crossroad. I was didn’t want to commit the helicopters until I had an idea on where the Swedes were as I was wary of their Air Defence assets. So without further ado, I got the lead elements on the table once we got the initial (frankly underwhelming) initial barrages out of the way.

Over on the left the jeep recce company raced hell for leather along the road and managed to get through the town and out the other side before they got brewed up by Jeep mounted Recoiless Rifles arrayed along the little hill beyond the town, however they did manage to locate a Swedish Air Defence company before they bit the dust – sometimes ‘recce by death’ does work! Over on the right the better armoured recce lads managed to exchange fire with more Jeep/RCL types in the wood there before copping it too. In the centre the BMP assault on the wood was ready to go in. Then things started to unravel.

On the left the jeeps that ambushed my recce lads sat tight whilst an armoured infantry company burst from the wood and raced into the town. The crafty sods had dodged the initial barrage and now held the exit from the town so I’d have to winkle them out, I decided that one battalion should suffice to do that while another one swung round the right to take on the jeepy types on the hill. However, I soon realised that the combination of the better trained Swedish infantry with good LAW’s and MAW’s and backed up by the auto-cannon armed Pbv’s were absolutely too much for the semi-literate conscripts that seemed to have difficulty figuring out which way round their rifles went and pretty soon my assault company was a shambles. To add to the misery when trying to go round the left of the town to try and flank the position the remainder of the battalion came under fire from S-tanks in the wood and pretty soon burning BTR’s littered the place. There was nowt else for it but to start trying to bring artillery down on the tanks and mass the second battalion to try and take the town.

In the centre the infantry dismounted from their BMP’s and advanced into the wood where they were comprehensibly beaten by the rock hard Swedish recce company, who eventually did succumb but only after some danger-close artillery was called in to help convince the survivors to sod off out of it. Then things got even worse as the T-72 company executing the left hook round the wood was shot up by a S-tank company lurking in the swamp in front of the long hill they were aiming for. The high rate of fire of the Swedish tanks (we had bumped them to ROF 3 as we reckoned the auto-loader wasn’t the same as the Soviet one) and the low quality of the Sovs soon saw them reduced to a couple of platoons through either KO’s or quality failure bug-outs and the survivors reckoned that facing the repercussions of retreating were much more favourable than continuing on to certain death so left the field. There was some success in the centre though (actually perhaps the best all day for me!) when I managed to call in a heavy artillery strike on some tanks that had fired on the second T-72’s as they advanced on the farm. These Swedes were holed up in the wood and just didn’t like the stonking they got, 2 platoons retiring due to Quality check failures and the remaining one failing the formation check and also buggering off.

Over on the right the slightly better quality of the attacking infantry and the fact that I was able to gang up on the defenders by more than 1 to 1 odds that the attack on the wood actually managed to eventually succeed and it was cleared after a tough fight, I only had 1 infantry stand and 5 BTR’s left out of 9 each at the end of it. The battalion on the left of the road was slowed up considerably by crossing the marsh but some good artillery shoots forced the Swedes holding the hill beyond the marsh to re-locate to the farmyard where they attracted more artillery attention. With my initial assaults foundering it was time to get the remainder of my Regiments on the field as well as the choppers. I had suffered the loss of one complete T-72 battalion and BMP company whilst one BTR battalion was just about wiped out and about to break whilst another was gutted and combat ineffective, in return I had managed to force a S-tank company to leave the field – not a good return in anybody’s book!

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Success of the day 2, clearing the wood on the right flank.

All too soon the initial assault battalion attacking the town on the left broke when it lost another platoon trying to take out a recoilless rifle jeep but the second battalion was now ready to get stuck in and managed to take advantage of the few casualties the Swedes had suffered during the initial attack along and the support of cannon fire from the Mi-24 and made enough headway that Jonathan disengaged the remnants of the defending company and retired back to his line in the wood. I had started a sustained heavy barrage on the Swedish tanks in the treeline beyond the town and this coupled with the threat from the Hinds saw them relocate also. I planned to hold the town with the remnants of the 2nd Battalion, push the newly arrived 3rd Btln into the wood where the tanks had just left and use the T-55 battalion to attack the S-tanks in the swamp as they refused to succumb to Swatter fire from the Infantry support company.

In the centre the remaining two T-72 battalions started a duel with the remaining S-tanks in the wood past the farm whilst moving up to take the farm and hence getting out of the line of sight of the deadly Swedish vehicles, this wasn’t going well for the lead unit who suffered about 50% losses against one platoon lost for the Swedes (the S-tank has a modifier for being in cover that makes them devilishly difficult to deal with!).

Over on the right I had managed to scare off a company that was holding the crossroads and it relocated for to the woods at the rear, and slowly started to grind through the mech infantry company defending the fields behind the newly liberated wood by stonking the crap out of them with artillery. I also planned to use the other Hind flight to take them out and would have done too as their first rocket strike was quite successful, unfortunately once I closed the range to engage the Pbv’s with my auto-cannon Jonathan opened up on it with a Bofors which managed to scare the chopper off! It was about this time that Jonathan brought on his 3rd Armoured battalion forcing me to deploy the T-55 battalion on this side along the ridge by the road to cover the flank of my troops here.

The next action on the left was the deciding one of the day. Things seemed to pick up as I had managed to knock out two of the ‘Swamp tanks’, even though the third platoon refused to quit I was confident that a mass of T-55 attention would finally see him off, but in the woods disaster lurked. I launched my 3rd BTR battalion at the space vacated by the retreating S-tanks and backed them up with the Hind but the lead company ran smack into another mech infantry company that were craftily held back from the edge of the wood behind where the tanks were originally. This company and another company positioned along the treeline to the right completely decimated my attacking units and in short order my last untouched infantry unit on this side of the battlefield was in tatters and broke, routing from the field.

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End game on the left…
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.. and on the right

With the arrival of the full strength Swedish battalion in the centre, which was already knocking out T-55’s over on the right with dead-eye long range fire, I decided that enough was enough and threw in the towel. Jonathan said he wasn’t planning on counter attacking anyway so we reckoned that I’d have just about held the town but that I’d probably fall back to the wood on the right whilst maintaining my position on the ridge. My only intact units were the 3rd BTR battalion here and the reserve T-72 battalion in the centre whilst Jonathan had quite a lot of kit left. I had only managed to knock out 2 S-tanks, 1 Pbv-302 and a Jeep/recoilless all bleeding day and hadn’t managed to cause many more quality losses either and had lost 1 1/2 T-72 btlns, about 3 1/2 BTR battalions plus the recce and BMP companies as well. So the Swedes had held the Soviet attack and secured a victory!

All in all, and even with the shiteyness of my troops, it was a great game and a good one to christen Jonathan’s table I reckon, and I think it would have been pretty bad form to beat him anyway!! We decided to leave the terrain as it was and go WW2 for the next game, stayed tuned for the write up sometime this week.

 

 

Tabletop Gaming Live Show.

We were invited as a club to take a couple of games to the new Tabletop Gaming Live Show at the lovely Alexandria Palace last weekend. Alongside John Treadaway and team’s great UFO themed game I was part of the mob putting on Martin’s absolutely spiffing ‘Sands of the Sudan’ game. So Friday saw Des, myself, Martin and Paul finally ensconced in perhaps the weirdest located Premier Inn in the country ready to get along to the Ally Pally early Saturday to finish off setting up. Even though he was travelling up from South London on the train Ian managed to get there before us and pretty soon we were all ready for the first punters of the day.

We had a cracking day, with the two games we ran having both lots of interest and, even better, participating players. What was particularly nice was one young chap called Christopher, that played in both the morning and afternoon sessions as he enjoyed the game so much! Special mention goes to the chaps from Sudbury & District Wargames club, and also Ed and Neil who also loved playing and apologies to all that I didn’t get the names of, we were very busy running the game and taking people through it as well as talking to others. One of the things that I found pleasing was that people who might not have seen a historical wargame before seemed very interested and we might have got a few converts so all in all a great result. Mind you it did help that the game looks like this:

 

We were all absolutely knackered by the end of the day and after an early night got to it again on the Sunday which was a bit of a washout to be honest with not that many people around although having said that we did manage to get a few people round the table by the end of the day. As for the show itself, it was a cracking venue but I’m not sure that it was really for miniature wargamers. After speaking from some of the wargame traders we found out that the organisers had difficulty filling the vending spots, indeed they reduced the prices twice which meant that some vendors were being charged different prices to others which didn’t go down well. Also, there was a feeling from the figure sellers that they had been sold a lemon, promises of more punters and no advertising about the show in any wargames media or sites, indeed one of them telling us that they had lost a lot of money by attending. All doesn’t bode well for the future of the show.

Anyway, I didn’t have much time to worry about such things as the next day I was off to France to visit one of my South London Warlords chums as he had a new wargames room to christen with a couple of games…..

Club Night 24/09/18: 20mm IABSM, Belgium 1940

It’s has been far too long since I’ve done one of these but an going to try and get back in the habit of doing them again. Anyway, Monday saw Ian put on a nice 20mm WW2 game of IABSM. Daren and I were taking the part of the filthy Bosche whilst Des got to take the plucky Tommies. We were tasked with securing a small hamlet and had quite a nice force to do so with having the following:

  • 1 Heavy weapons platoon of:
    • 1 75mm Infantry gun
    • 1 37mm AT gun
    • 3 Sustained fire MG34 (we attached 2 to the Infantry platoons)
  • 2 Infantry Platoons
    • 3 8-man sections with attached MG34
  • 1 recce Platoon
    • 2 Sdkfz 222
    • 2 Sdkfz 221
  • 1 Pz-38t Platoon
    • 4 tanks

After looking at the terrain we hatched a devilishly simple plan. Daren would take the tanks and one platoon and head straight up the road whilst I would take the armoured cars and the other platoon and try and flank the buildings along the right hand road. Daren would take the Heavy weapons too to help neutralise any opposition.

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Table looking from where ze Germans entered.

So with our plans ready we got to it. Daren advanced through the trees to near the Y-Junction with his tanks and drew the fire of a 2pdr located between the houses on the road and a Boyes AT rifle team hiding in the hedges at the junction. In the meantime my Armoured Cars were making their way forwards along the right hand road heading to the T-junction. Daren’s luck was in as the fire from the Brits failed to knock him out but did cause his lead panzer a mobility loss and so he had blocked the road. As his weapons were ok though he returned fire on the Boyes team and the following tanks deployed amongst the trees. Our infantry platoons were still advancing behind on blinds.

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‘Keep a look out mit ze Minzi Pies Hanz!’
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‘It is all a bit quite, Dieter!’

Things settled down to a duel between the Boyes and 2pdr and the Pz-38 platoon for a while, Daren made short work of the Boyes team and started firing on the 2-pdr which managed to brew up a tank. The return fire from the remaining tanks managed to kill all of the AT gun crew bar one brave soul who stuck to his task and kept up the return fire as best he could (obviously with an eye on getting himself on the cover of Victor Book for Boys one day!). Indeed this stout son of Albion eventually knocked out another Pz-38 before he was finally made to retreat, in the process earning himself the admiration of us all and no doubt a citation for a fanny magnet from his CO too.

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‘Lumme Corp, don’t bleeding well miss.’
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‘Bugger!, you knocked my arm you clumsy sod, now we’re for it!’

Whilst all this was going on we had spotted a rifle section lurking along the hedges where the Boyes was and I duly made short work of them with the combined fire of my cars. I also moved my infantry platoon up into the hedged enclosure between the junctions to prepare for an assault on ‘my’ side of the hamlet. This drew some ineffective mortar fire which was lucky as the infantry were pretty bunched up and fire from a Vickers in the wrecked roof of one of the houses, I managed to get away with only 3 casualties and a few bits of shock and spread the Landsers out and headed for cover.

‘Himmel, Tommies in ze hedges, make mit ze shootings schnell!’

The battle then developed into a firefight as another British rifle section popped up along the stone wall on the right of the buildings and we got the second infantry platoon and the heavy weapons into action too. Unfortunately for Des our lads were better shots and assisted by the automatic weapons of the recce boys and the HE fire from the tanks and guns pretty soon gave the Germans the upper hand shredding the second British rifle section and knocking out the Vickers.

‘Tally-ho lads, lets get up and help out, oh…..’

The Brits did have one hope though as a reinforcing platoon of Infantry accompanied by an A9 appeared on the road on the right, unfortunately my armoured cars hit the infantry pretty hard causing them to scatter and go to ground whilst taking shack and casualties. With time running out and the German weight of fire being so strong we called it a night. All in all a nice straightforward scenario which would have turned out very different if we had stumbled on Des’ other 2pdr and it had taken out the rest of the tanks or some of my armoured cars. Thanks to Ian for putting the game on, he has a fine collection of toys which are always a joy to behold, and thanks to the chaps for making it fun. Hats off to my Armoured Car boys whose devilish shooting helped us secure a win although man of the match was definitely secured by the plucky Tommy on the 2pdr.

EDIT: Some more pics that I forgot to load up in my hast to get the post up!

 

 

Colours 2018 – Show Report

As the game write up was a bit long and I didn’t get much time to get round the show I’ve decided to do another quick post.

I thought the show was a bit better this year from a game point of view, we seemed to have more space around the table this year although it did get a bit cramped when the B&B was in full flow. Apart from being down in the programme as SELWG (have I mentioned that already?) I thought that the organisers might have had a tad more interaction with those putting on the games. Apart from getting our badges and them making sure the table was ok we never had a thing for the rest of the day, it would have been nice if someone had popped by to ask how it was going. Even at the end of the day no-one asked us if it went well, indeed as soon as we took the cloths off the table they were whipped away, and I mean as soon as! That aside it is a nice venue and from reading some other blogs the traders had a good time and the games seemed to have gone down well.

As for the rest of the games, I personally didn’t think that they were better than last years ones. There were a few crackers but not as many that made you go ‘wow’ as before with too many ‘line ’em up and have a go’ type games on pretty basic terrain for my liking. Having said that though the modelling and painting standards were very high, I just think that the old foam square approach has had its day what with all the great mats and cloths available today, and the basic terrain spoils things somewhat.

Unfortunately I seem to have lost my notes about what was what but here are the photos that came out ok, I was rushing a bit and the light was a bit crap in places hence no pics of the lovely looking Bosin Wars game which is really annoying as it was very cool!!

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General d’Armee – Loughton Club
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Cracking WW1 game…
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.. lost who by…
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… but was splendid..
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.. with added Rollers!
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6mm Zeebrugge raid, saw this at Salute. Lovely.
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Too the Strongest game I think. Beautiful figures.
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20mm WW2 Goodwood with Rapid Fire rules…

 

bit too ‘cramped’ for me but splendid models
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10mm Cold War…
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.. seen in this parish before…
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..converted from a board game..
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..dig this terrain!

Colours 2018 – game report

Right, now I’ve sorted out some technical issues I can get this post done!

Saturday saw me up and at ’em at 5 o’clock so I could get the first train to meet Daren at Tulse Hill so we could get on the road to Newbury Racecourse to attend Colours. We were putting on Daren’s cracking game centred around the fighting for Son Bridge during the Market-Garden operation in WW2 (the Arnhem campaign if anyone doesn’t know). Unusually for us we hadn’t had a chance to do a full run-through as both Dan and I were on two different Mediterranean islands when the club was last open for an all day game but we had discussed solutions to some issues in the few partial games that we had so were confident things would run smoothly.

Luckily we had no problem on the journey to the show and were in and ready to set up by half 8, even though we were down as being from SELWG (oh, the horror!!) on the organisers sheets and in the programme which caused a touch of confusion when signing in, and pretty soon the table was ready to rock and Dan and Bart arrived pretty soon after too. After Daren had finished setting the forces on the table it was time for a quick tea/coffee and obligatory bacon roll and a quick spin round the traders before the public were let in. I had a quick chat with Ian at the H&R stand about some of the planned Swedes in the pipeline (no plans for the BILL atgm but I’ve been in contact with Andy since and it might be a goer, fingers crossed for that!!) and checked out the models for the up-coming releases, there’s some very nice trucks coming soon that’ll make Warsaw Pact and ‘non-aligned’ players very happy! Then a quick visit to Pete at Baccus to get a few bits and to have a quick chat about next years Joy of 6 as there’s been talk of more than one Warlords game being taken and I wanted to check it’d be ok – apparently the more the merrier so all good there.

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So with everyone back from the traders we were ready to go and started the game just before the doors were open. Dan and I were in charge of both the Irish Guards advancing along the road and the US Paras dug in around the bridge, Bart was trying to stop us with Kampfgruppe Walther and was expecting some reinforcements later. Our plan was quite simple – barrel up the road as quickly as possible and by pass any tough pockets of resistance. Before we get stuck into the action though some shots of the battlefield before all the nasty shooting and stuff started! (as usual you can click on pics to make them bigger)

Dan had developed a fire plan for the first 5 moves which we thought would allow us to get past the PAK-40’s lurking in the first wood and maybe neutralise the second line of defence. We were also allowed to deploy the ‘Purple Smoke’ from the off to bring in a Tiffy strike too. Unfortunately things started to go wrong from the off. First of all the Typhoons didn’t make any impact on the waiting anti-tank gunners and neither did the application of HE from the 25pdrs, and soon a couple of armoured cars were brewed up whilst the long line of traffic behind them slowly started inching their way forwards. We decided to push the recce types forward hell for leather and they fell prey to, as Dan said, ‘A filthy Hun trick’ of being ambushed by Panzerschrecks. Bart also started calling in artillery onto the head of the column behind the Armoured cars and unfortunately for us his shooting was very precise causing the lead vehicles to become disorganised and supressed which slowed things down for the following units.

We did mange to knock one of the Pak 40’s out with an artillery strike but the other one led a charmed life and started taking out the lead Shermans. Our problems then went up a notch when we realised that we had miscalculated just how fast the Armoured Cars would be able to move and they were hit by our own guns when they lifted forward from the wood, a situation that was exacerbated when some RAF type missed his target and dropped his bombs smack on the survivors! Just to make things even nicer for the Irish Guards Bart’s artillery had a particularly effective couple of stonks in which he took out the majority of one of the infantry platoons when their carriers were knocked out. So a sticky start to say the least, so we decided it was time to get off the road.

We managed to eliminate the pesky infantry and their nasty anti-tank weapons and the last surviving PAK-40 finally succumbed but only after being shot at by a whole troop of Cromwells! However it had taken about 4 moves to get past the wood along the road and the Cromwells that were now free to go round the other side were having problems with the boggy ground (we had to dice for each model more than 4″ off the road and not in fields to see if the bogged down for a move) which slowed them down somewhat. Once past the wood however meant that we were now in range of the 2 Panthers deployed along the left hand road and they soon started taking out vehicles with gay abandon. So, we got the Purple smoke out again and trusted in the RAF to sort them out. Unfortunately we didn’t account for the German ack-ack boys who were on fine form, the first mission saw the Tiffy’s manage to miss both of the Panthers albeit unscathed but the second pair off the cab-rank weren’t as lucky, one copping a hit from an 88 that caused it to explode whilst the other was badly damaged by the Quad 20mm that was accompanying the Panthers. The Yanks by the bridge did have some success though with their mortars and artillery making short work of the quad 20mm halftrack and 88 that were posted on the other side of the river. The only other notable success was the taking out of a Marder around the hamlet but at the cost of a couple of Shermans.

Not happy to sit in the edge of the field that he was in waiting for more attention from the Brylcream Boys, Bart decided to attack the head of the column with his Panthers and they set off for the junction merrily dispatching more British tanks whilst laughing off all attempts to take them out. We did manage to supress them and their accompanying AA  once but that was as close as we got to a victory all day where they were concerned, even repeated strafes from the RAF didn’t work, and pretty soon the area around the road junction was a terrible scene littered with burning vehicles. The right hook around the wood by the Cromwells didn’t fare any better with a StuG and a Marder soon taking out half their number for the loss of the Marder. Luckily for us time was running out at this point and we decided to call it a day, with Daren declaring a victory for the Germans. For the loss of 2 Marders, 2 PAK-40’s, an ’88’, a Halftrack mounted quad 20mm and a few infantry teams Bart had destroyed: 6 Armoured Cars, a Platoon of half tracks plus their infantry, a Typhoon (and badly damaged another), and 20 odd tanks – we were running very short of knocked out markers by the end!

 

To be fair the dice gods were with Bart for most of the day but it did show just how difficult it must have been in real life, once the road was blocked it slowed the advance to a crawl not to mention ‘suppressed’ and ‘disorganised’ vehicles also slowing things down. It was lucky for us that the Germans were limited to only 4 rounds of artillery fire as it would have been so much worse for us if they had more. We spent some time discussing ways that we could improve things and are all keen to get the game on at a club Big Game Saturday to really get stuck into it and are thinking of maybe taking it up to Joy of 6 next year.

Apart from the playing of the game it was really cool to see the interest in the game, we had people around the table nearly all day long and some were coming back throughout the day to check on the progress of the advance (or lack thereof!). It was also great that we solicited as many quotes from ‘A Bridge Too Far’ from people, racking up 8 ‘this is the wide bit’ during the course of the day, it was a major inspiration obviously. It was genuinely nice to engage with everyone, (thanks for introducing yourself Greg by the way!), with people saying nice things about the game, models and terrain and thankfully we didn’t have any rivet counting annoyances this year!

Of course big thanks go out to the chaps who made it a great day out as usual and a good humoured game played in the right spirit, although Dan did look a bit twitchy at one point after yet another of Barts dead eye dice rolls! Special thanks must go to Daren for all his brilliant work in making the terrain and for coming up with the scenario as well as letting us use his terrific models. Mind you I did the Purple Smoke so, you know….

 

Son Bridge ’44 at Colours – Preview

Just like last year an intrepid band from the South London Warlords are heading off to put on a display game at Colours tomorrow (we when I say intrepid I mean me, Dan, Daren and Bart). Again like last year we will be using Daren’s lovely 6mm kit and his spiffing terrain to try and recreate the action around Son bridge during Operation Market-Garden.

Unfortunately I was away on hols for the final dress rehearsal so haven’t got my usual teaser photo’s but will post what I do have, rest assured Daren has come up trumps again with the terrain. Both the village of Son and its bridge are brilliant and done with the usual level of meticulous detail we’ve come to expect from the good Bombardier (he’s just a massive show off really!!). Anyway, as usual, please stop by and say hello if you are around – the organisers have put us down in the programme as being from SELWG (oh the sacrilege!!) but we’ll be sporting our spiffing new club attire and should have a ruddy great big SLW banner up as well so it’ll be hard to miss us.

Again apologies for the lack of numbers but here are the teasers, full report and pics Sunday or Monday.

Quick trip down memory lane…..

I was reading on the club forum about the closing down of an old model shop that one of the members used to use and it started me thinking about the first place that fed my miniature figure collecting and so I thought I’d get all dewy eyed about it on here.

I used to live in a place called Elm Park in the 70’s and every Saturday my Great Grandad Joe and Great Nanna ‘Nosey’ would look after us while my Mum went round the shops in Romford (they lived opposite the market so very handy). Sometimes this would end up with me receiving the princely sum of 50p as either of them might slip the huge coin into my hand with the rejoinder of “‘Ere’s 10 bob son, don’t tell your Nan/Grandad” (depending on who was doing the gifting!), indeed on very lucky days I’d get double bubble as they both snuck me some cash! So when we got home the first thing I would do was to tear round the corner clutching the fantastically shaped currency tightly in my hand (you daren’t put it in your pocket as the weight would tip you over, I were a small lad back then!!) until I made it to this wondrous place….

The Hobby Shop

Yep. ‘The Hobby Shop’.

The right hand window was full of Matchbox cars and Airfix kits and boxes of ‘soldiers’, the left hand window tools and other DIY kit that a 7 year old just wasn’t interested in (much as the 49 year old still isn’t today!). Once inside the place smelled fantastically of wood shavings as they would cut wood out the back for customers, indeed whenever I smell the same today I automatically think of this place, and the whole of the left side of the shop was a long counter with about a million wooden boxes stuffed with screws and bolts and all manner of uninteresting stuff and behind the counter would be one of the two gents that ran the shop resplendent in their brown coat (obviously worn over a shirt and tie). The chap on duty would get a perfunctory hello as I sped past on the way to the glass counter at the back that held the real wonders. Airfix.

If ‘the man’ was serving a grown up it meant I’d be waiting for ‘ages’ although that gave me more time to decide what to get: the new German Mountain Troops or the 8th Army to fight the Afrika Corp I bought the other week, or one of those Centurion tanks in the white and yellow box like that DUCK thing? Whatever it was, I’d leave happy clutching some new part of my collection and looking forwards to next week when I’d be doing the same again.

 

P.S. When I started thinking about writing this I did a quick search online for the photo and the truly fantastic news is that the shop it is still there and nothing has changed apparently which has really cheered me up no end. Long may it continue.