Happy New Year!

Well another year done and dusted, and one in which my wargaming has properly taken off again, which I’m really glad about.

Since I decided to go to Salute and got back in touch with the Warlords I haven’t really looked back – even having a bone marrow biopsy didn’t stop me from getting down to the club one Monday! In fact I reckon that getting involved with the club again has actually been beneficial health wise as it has given me something to focus my energies on which I have been missing since I have been unable to work. Apart from the impetus it has given me to get cracking on the collecting and painting side of things I have made some good friends and taken part in some really enjoyable games so thanks to all at the South London Warlords – much appreciated chaps!

So what is my plan for the New Year. Chain of Command, and lots of it probably! I’ve got all the figures for my German platoon and supports now so just need to finish off the painting of those which should be done quite quickly. I’m probably going to get a British force next so that will be the next project but I will be mixing that up with some Napoleonics for General de Brigade, I’ve got quite a stash to paint up and am determined to get some done – I just lost my mojo for them these past few months. I’ll also be adding to the 6mm Cold War kit I have, still have a few bits and bobs to do for the Austrians and Poles and will be adding a new force or two sometime over the year. The only new thing that I have a mind to do is to start a Spanish Civil War force (again for CoC), something that I’ve wanted to do for ages.

I’ve really enjoyed doing this blog too, again it has really helped me deal with my situation and made me remember just how much I enjoyed writing. I have been pleasantly surprised that nearly 1,500 people have ‘visited’ since I started back in August – even though only 2 people have ‘liked’ anything! I’d like to say a big thank you to all who have taken the time to have a look at my ramblings and I hope that you have enjoyed the words and pictures and will come back for more over the coming year.

So, here’s wishing you all a great new year and may the dice gods smile on you (well, at least once eh!).

Club Night 14/12/15: British Grenadier, AWI.

I was meaning to write this up over the weekend but my illness came and bit me on the arse in a big way which has meant that I’ve been stuck in bed or just plain unable to function very well for the past few days. Oh well.

Anyway, last Monday I had the pleasure of joining Martin and Ian in a game of British Grenadier and I had a great time doing so. The rules are written by Dave Brown of General de Brigade fame and I really liked them, they have a great mechanic for introducing friction to movement which can also, possibly, cause ‘Disruption’ that gives some knotty problems to solve during the course of a game.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photo’s in this report, this is due to 2 causes: 1, I was dealing with new rules so had to concentrate a wee bit more and 2, we were having Christmas Pizza night at the club and I was also busy stuffing meat and bread based circular food down my neck! (Many thanks go to Dave in organising the Pizza and pop).

The scenario was pretty straightforward I, as the British commander, had to destroy a force of traitorous colonials, commanded by Ian, who were encamped near a river. All the figures were from Martin’s lovely collection and he umpired the game too. The terrain was slightly difficult with swamp areas making the field resemble a funnel which would benefit the defenders no end so getting to grips with them quickly seemed to be the best plan.

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Our brave lads ready for the fray.

I had three brigades at my disposal, the first consisted of 2 Line battalions with a Veteran battalion and 2 guns. The second had a Line battalion and some Light Dragoons whilst the third had some Loyalist militia types and some militia cavalry. The plan was for the strongest brigade to engage the rebels whilst the smaller regular brigade supported from the rear as a reserve, the Tories would support the attack on the left flank.

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Traitorous Colonial types get ready to be all rebellious.

So, without any further ado I stepped off to engage the Yanks and to exact revenge for the dastardly raid on my Mum’s home town of Whitehaven by that blaggard John Paul Jones. Straight away I started to appreciate just how difficult just marching straight forwards would be in this game. Movement is randomised by a die roll – I never have a problem with this although I know some people do – with the added problem of the possibility of adding Disruption Points if you roll a 2 (these negatively effect combat and firing and don’t help with morale either!).

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His Majesty’s forces set off. The rock behind the centre unit is a Disruption Point marker.

As you can see from the photo above my right hand battalion (also the veteran unit) was in a good position to outflank the rebels if they decided to hold the line that they were currently in. Luckily for me they had decided to do just that whilst their second brigade decamped down the defile between the swamps (the lighter green areas to the sides of the camp). Just after this photo was taken I suffered a slight set back when the rebel artillery fired on my central unit. Ian rolled really well and I had to test to see if anything happened to my C-in-C as he was close enough to the unit being fired at. I duly rolled disastrously and my chief Rupert’s horse bolted and he ended up in the American, captured and no doubt having to be stared at maniacally by Mel Gibson.

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My C-in-C is captured.

This did not stop my advance, however, and whilst my 2 line battalions kept the main line busy, my veteran battalion slowly manoeuvred into place to take the Yanks under fire from the flank. This firstly destroyed the rebel gun and started to hurt the large militia unit holding the centre. My artillery had also move up and was starting to whittle away at the militia unit holding the other end of the line whilst piling on the Disruption points. Pretty soon it was time to get stuck in with the old cold steel (like I said disruption points are not good) and I launched a double attack. Over on the left the militia cavalry hit the wavering minutemen who fell back but rallied, then the veterans on the right charged forwards with levelled bayonets in a flank charge which duly swept the yanks from the field and caused the rest of the defending brigade to disperse, including the recently rallied militia from the other flank!

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My flanking battalion about to sweep the enemy from the field.

Now all I had to do was to advance into the funnel and destroy the remaining rebel units which Ian had been busy retreating whilst their comrades had been holding me off and now had formed a line between the swamps to the rear of their camp. I re-organised my force into a column with the veterans to the fore and the other battalions arrayed behind them and advanced to finish the Yanks off.

Unfortunately we then run out of time so the next part of the battle couldn’t happen which was a right shame as I thought I had the upper hand and was sure of victory! Martin said he is up for running this game again so hopefully next time we will have slightly longer.

I’d also like to congratulate Martin in winning the painting competition held on this night too – his India Service Light Dragoons saw off the challenge from some lovely Saracens and Crusaders and an assorted collection of Space Marine and other sci-fi/fantasy types much to his surprise! Take a look, they are properly nice.

 

Workbench no.4: Panzer Grenadiers

Since I got the dreaded lurgy a couple of months ago my painting output virtually stopped altogether, no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t get into it – sum total has been one 6mm Drakken for my Austrian force, shite basically.

So, it has been nice to get the jazz back for painting again. There are two reasons for this I reckon. Firstly I have been put on a drugs trial for my Polycythaemia which has meant that I have stopped taking the chemo drugs that I’ve been on for the past 3 years which seems, touch wood, to have given me back some energy. Secondly, I have discovered the joys of Chain of Command by the Too Fat Lardies and have been so enthused that I’ve bought enough kit to make a late war Panzer Grenadier platoon. (If you are into WW2 and you haven’t tried these rules out, give them a go as they are seriously great, one of the best rulesets I’ve played).

They will initially be used as 21st Panzer in Normandy as it looks as if me and a couple of the guys at the Warlords will be playing through a couple of the Pint Sized Campaigns in the New Year, so I’ve also bought a couple of their funky French half-track conversion jobs!

The figures are a mixture of Blitz, which are really, really nice, and AB, usual great work by Mr Barton. They both go really well together and I’ll be happy to mix them within sections to get variety. I’ve also bought a couple of MG teams from SHQ, which are OK figures but seem a bit on the thin side next to the Blitz and AB’s so not sure if I’ll keep them yet – I’ll paint them up first though and see how they look then. I’ve got some more figures on order, some Fantassin/Warmodelling/Capitan, some Kelly’s Heroes and more Blitz so I’ll have enough for a platoon and all of the support options. I’m hoping to get the whole lot done by the new year, I reckon that’s a realistic target.

Here’s a few pictures of the initial paint-slapping. I’m trying to go for the scruffy, differently kitted out, veteran look so uniforms will be a mix of Field Grey, Camo and Brown Violet. I’ve done a basic skin, jacket, trousers, headgear job on this batch so the next session will be adding camo and then equipment (I have done the equipment on a few figures to test out colours so I’ve a head start there!).

The half tracks are from Ready to Roll and are quite nice. The Somua with the Pak 40 was a bit of a faff to put together as for some reason the spigot that should have been on the bottom of the breech to allow placing on the pedestal in the fighting compartment had been cut off so a bit annoying, also the photo of the model on the website didn’t have the gun-shield on it so that caused a wee bit of confusion – good job we have the internet!

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Somua with Pak 40 – who needs a Hetzer!
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Unics half track. I’ll be starting on this next week.

 

 

Club Night 07/12/15:Bolt Action, France 1944

Whilst Philip and I were battling it out there was a largish game of Bolt Action going on as well. Mac (the Warlord’s el Presidente) and Bill were putting the game on so that two new members could have a game and it looked like they were having fun – apparently the Brits weren’t having as much fun as the Germans due to their tanks blowing up all over the place!

Anyway, I included this as the game featured Mac’s magnificent scratch built French village so I had to take some shots of it! Hope you enjoy them.

Club Night 07/12/15: Command Decision, France 1940

First of all, sorry for the delay in getting this update posted up but I had a bit of a hectic week last week and didn’t have the time and then the inclination to blog owt. I did manage to get a couple of games in though and have been planning and purchasing figures for my first Chain of Command platoon (more of which anon).

Last Monday’s club night game saw me face Philip again in France, 1940 with his 10mm collection. This time though we were doing a practice game as  Philip wanted to try out the Command Decision rules. The scenario was simple as were the forces involved to keep things running easily as there would be referencing of rulebook to be done.

I had a French Infantry regiment of 2 battalions with a couple of H-35 platoons attached, a regimental mortar battery and MG company in support with which to eject a Bosche infantry battalion from a village that controlled a road junction.

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The Field.

 

Philip had deployed his forces with 2 companies around the village and one company in the wood to the right. I decided to go up the right with a company to try and take the Germans in the wood in a flank attack and then try and roll up the position from there, the remaining 2 companies of the battalion, with a tank and MG platoon, would move forwards to engage the enemy from in front of the wood and the hill to put pressure on the defenders as well. The other battalion would move one company between the hill and wood to its left supported by a tank platoon to directly threaten the village whilst the remaining 2 companies, with 2 MG platoons, moved along the road on the left towards the village and try to either fire the other platoon in or to attack themselves.

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The attack develops.

First blood went to Philip as his village people managed to score some push backs and eliminations on the left hand battalion whilst my right hand battalion managed to move the flanking company into position to take the wood without him reacting to it at all, the pinning force to their front seemed to do their job well. I had opened up with my MG platoons at far too long a range though and had to move them up to effect the Germans more.

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Flanking company attack is initially successful but comes under intense and jammily accurate mortar fire.

The flanking company managed to beat the defending German company quite handily but were not able to capitalise on their victory and completely take the wood due to a devastating mortar barrage which caused them to break and run! However the rest of the battalion was moving forwards and had secured the hill and was now poised to threaten the village.

Over on the left the Germans were forced back from the BUA nearest the left flank due to some intense fire, although they did manage to get some payback on the company to their front, which encouraged me to charge in with a company from the left. Unfortunately this didn’t go quite to plan and the Bosche saw them off but suffered in doing so and although they still held on they were quite weakened. We had to end it there as time was getting on, all in all my plan seemed to work ok although it did eventually fall short of immediate success with a few more moves it might have just managed to secure a victory.

As for the rules, I quite liked them – nice and easy to grasp the basic mechanisms and combat/firing was nice and straightforward – in fact I reckon I like them better than Blitzkrieg Commander which we usually play and I’d happily play again.

Here’s the obligatory eye-candy shots. All are from Philips 10mm collection as seen before in this parish.

 

 

Chain of Command: First Impressions

Over the weekend Mike and I have had a couple of games of Chain of Command to try the rules out and I have to say we both had a great time and really liked the rules. I didn’t take any photos as we were busy scrolling through laptops checking up on things.

We tried the first scenario from the Operation Martlet campaign both times. As the first game was the initial run through of the rules we both decided to have another bash once we had genned up a bit on where we might have been going wrong, so yesterday I went round and we did it again!

I must say once you get into the swing of them they are a really nice set of rules, with some great mechanics and inspired new concepts – patrol phase and jump off points, why hadn’t anyone else come up with that before! The game had a nice flow to it and the inbuilt friction keeps the tension, joy and frustration all bubbling away nicely. Great example of this was in the second game.

Fortunately for me Mike was having a devil of a time actually getting his guys on the table due to my pre-game barrage and for a while I only faced a MG42 team in MMG mode which he was trying desperately to move into a barn that was reinforced to ‘bunker’ status, however he kept rolling low for movement so it was taking a while. Meanwhile I had managed to push a rifle section a long way up the table, I had thrown some hefty movement dice, until they were just in front of the same barn.  I had laid smoke in front of the barn but it only obscured one of the firing positions, and it wasn’t the one that was in front of my section so as Mike had just set up his MMG things were looking a bit ‘sticky’. Fortunately it was my phase next and I luckily rolled the dice I needed to split the section into 2 teams, so they could go either side of the barn and thus out of the danger zone. The other reason for doing so was to take control of two of his Jump Off Points that were close by, so the Bren team and Cpl. Hoskins went left to occupy a building and the rifle section went right to advance over the road to a hedgeline. Both didn’t reach in this phase but both were very close.

Mike still hadn’t managed to get any more troops on the table in the next phase and I was confident my plan was about to be successful and would probably win me the game (I had another section just about to capture another Jump Off Point elsewhere). Again I rolled the activation dice I needed, rolled for the Bren team and they easily moved the 2 or 3 inches they required to move into the house, the Rifle team had about 8 inches to go and I elected to only use 2 dice – got 3 and so the section was left 5 inches short of the hedge. Of course Mike then managed to get one of his sections on the table next phase and they set up right in front of the Rifle team. We then discovered that 2 LMG teams firing at close range is a bad thing if you are on the receiving end, most of the men were dead and the rest, quite rightly, legging it. From this point on the balance of the game swung to the Germans as after the turn finished Mike no longer suffered from the barrage so brought the rest of his chaps on table and his superior firepower started to tell – I had also managed to lose a third of my force in the fog! – and I was soon whittled down to 1 Morale point so conceded. If only I had got to that bleeding hedge………

So we will be definitely doing more of this, now I need to decide what platoons to get!

Club Night 30/11/15: IABSM Normandy, 1944

I had a great, fun game of I Aint Been Shot Mum down at the Warlords on Monday night. Unfortunately as it was a ‘training’ game and there was a lot of action in a confined space I only managed to take a few photo’s!

Des and Ian had devised the scenario and were running the game as they were the old hands at the rules and so they left the actual dice rolling and decision making to the rest of us which made for a well run game as they could devote more time to answering our newbie questions.

So the scenario was this. We (myself, Martin and Daren) were a force from the 82nd Airborne who had to secure a crossroads from Mike’s Nazis. We were told that there are ‘some infantry and non-horse drawn vehicles’ in the vicinity to make things difficult for us to do so, our entry points would be randomised to add to the fun too.

I split the force out thus:

Daren took 1st Platoon of:

  • Big Man
  • 3 rifle squads
  • Bazooka team

I had 2nd Platoon of:

  • Big Man
  • 2 rifle squads
  • MMG team
Martin took the HQ Platoon of:
  • Big Man
  • 2 Lt Mortars
  • 1 rifle squad
 So I rolled for our entry points plus a couple of dummy blinds and we got to it.
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The crossroads, our objective. 1st Platoon entered along the road and next to the wood ‘above’ the building. 2nd Platoon with HQ behind to the right of the wood along the road heading right from the crossroads.
So the first card was drawn and it was a ‘Teabreak’ card meaning that the turn was over and any unactivated units could fire on any units within 9″. Unfortunately both of our platoons had entered the table at just those precise positions!
1st Platoon was directly in front of one of Mike’s platoons, whilst 2nd Platoon took fire from the wood to their front. This was going to hurt!
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Surprise for 1st Platoon!

After taking casualties and, unsurprisingly, quite a bit of shock Darren and I took two completely different approaches to the problem. I elected to stay where I was and pour fire onto the Bosche position that had opened up on me with one section and the MMG whilst the other one had taken a lot of hits so went to ground, this caused a few casualties and put on some shock. Darren took the ‘proper’ Airborne approach and piled in straight away close assaulting with 2 sections whilst pushing the 3rd section (with Bazooka attached) up the road. This managed to push the Germans back and caused them a lot of casualties and piled on the shock – Geronimo!!

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Ze Germans – the survivors of Darrens assault on the wood, shaken AND stirred!!

In the next move the US cards came up first and Darren’s guys charged in again and after another close assault they managed to remove their opposition from the game completely, first blood to the Amis! I was still going down the fire supremacy route and that paid off too as my opposition was forced back due to losses and the shock accumulated. Darren’s squad moving along the road then came under fire from Mike’s remaining section located along the wall by the house which luckily did little harm at all. The section that was still on the edge of the wood being reorganised by his Big Man (taking shock off) did take some casualties from a MG42 opening up from the house.

True to form, Darren decided to assault the Bosche along the wall which, again went very well causing casualties and lots of shock so that the Germans decamped into the house. Over on my flank Martin brought the HQ platoon on, set up the mortars and sent the reserve rifle section hurtling through my position into the middle of the wood and caught the retreating Germans forcing them back into the crossroads with a bucketful of shock! I moved my intact section with the MMG around the wood towards the road between the crossroads and the Y-junction whilst de-shocking my shot up section.

By now  we were in position to see the ‘non-horse drawn vehicle’ – it was a StuG. The one good thing was that it was facing away from where the Bazooka team was so if we were lucky they could get their shot away before it got a chance to turn round and shoot it up the jacksey.

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StuG makes an appearance. Darren’s section with the Bazooka is directly behind it forcing a section from the wall into the house.

However, war is a cruel thing and Mike lucked out activating the StuG first and managing to turn and unleash MG fire on the section in the road. This fire was devastating, causing the complete destruction of the section AND the Bazooka team! Darren then moved his remaining men deeper into the wood to prevent any more casualties from the MG42 in the house and to try and get some shock off before the next round of combat. Martin’s rifle section took out the remnants of the German platoon that they had chased into the crossroads with a withering volley so now the score stood at 2 sections to 1 removed from play in our favour, with the last German section badly shot up and cowering in the house along with the MG42. The big, noisy, lethal problem we did have though was the StuG and what to do with it as we now had no AT assets.

Mike helped us out somewhat as he decided to drive the beast along the road through the woods towards the position of the HQ platoon, I think to take out our chaps in the open. This uncovered the crossroads so Martin elected to assault the house with his rifle section, obviously flushed with success from their drive through the woods and they duly steamed in. This is where we learned that trying to take a house with a unsuppressed Spandau in it is a bad idea, a very bad idea – scratch one rifle section. With the StuG now sitting with its arse facing Darren’s lads in the wood it was duly close assaulted by one of his squads which unfortunately did no damage. I also moved my reduced strength squad up to near the edge of the wood to have a go at the StuG in the next move and managed to reach the hedge by the road and bring the house under fire.

We had sadly run out of time by now and so had to end it there, we all had a really great time. The Amis had failed to take the crossroads but we had gutted the infantry force defending it, although the continued presence of the StuG  swung things in the Jerrie’s favour, so a slight victory for the Germans would be a fair result. The rules are immense fun whilst having a great flow to them and quite a few lessons were learned for the next one. Many thanks to Ian and Des for putting the game on and apparently there will be a continuation game in the new year so looking forwards to that!

Again, apologies for the lack of pictures, but I was having too much fun!