Sharp Practice 2, First Impressions

Ian purchased Sharp Practice 2 at Colours last week and Mike swiftly borrowed them on Monday. I had to pop round to his a couple of times this week to borrow some magazines and return them so had the perfect excuses to get a couple of games in whilst I was doing it.

Obviously mistakes were made and the games didn’t flow very well at first but by the end of the second game things were flowing very well indeed. It is one of the things that I really love about Lardies rules, once you get the activation rules you can get cracking along with the game. The nice and straightforward shooting and melee mechanisms are also easily learnt so that after a few moves you can cut down the amount of referring to the charts in the rules. On the downside, again typical for TFL rules, if you are looking for confirmation about something in the rules sometimes it can be a bit hard to track down exactly where it is in the rules, and a comprehensive QRS with the rules would help immensely. Having said that though the Lardy ones have done it again, just like after playing Chain of Command I’d be more than happy to have another go at these, indeed Mike reckons that this version has been influenced in somewhat by CoC (which is obviously no bad thing!). We played both a Napoleonic and early ACW game and both played very well using the same rules whilst seeming right for both periods. The games have a lovely flow to them and are fun to play too, also once you get a few games under your belt and start to use the more nuanced elements of the system I think that they will be even better.

It looks as if I finally have the justification for getting those lovely 25mm Perry Confederation of the Rhine figures now, indeed I can’t see a reason not to! Curse you Lardies, curse you for doing it again!!!



Whilst I was getting my arse handed to me on one table, Des and Ian were trying out IABSM in 6mm. By all accounts it worked really well and will be pursued further in the near future. Figures were from Des’ and Ian’s collections – Des was the Canadians and Ian the Jerries. I left before the end of the evening so don’t know the outcome but it was in the balance when I left with the Cannucks looking like they were just gaining the upper hand.

Trees are from the same place in China where Des got the ones used in the big ACW game a while back and looked great, mat is from Hotmatz and, again, looked great for this scale. And, yes there are decals on those Shermans!

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Club Night 12/09/16: Oh CoC!

One of the things that I love about Chain of Command is that it makes you think. Hard. Games can be tense affairs, as they should be when you are up the sharp end of a conflict. That’s why one small slip in concentration or a stupid move can completely banjax your whole day. Last night’s game was an excellent example of this happening and sadly it happened to me. Arse.

Mike and I decided to roll for what type of scenario we were going to play after the terrain had been laid out and we got the ‘Outflanked’ one which we hadn’t done before. The table did lend itself to the scenario very well with the building tucked away in one quarter it was obvious where the defender was going to be. We rolled for attacker/defender with Mike’s Brits doing the defending. The patrol phase was over quite quickly with Mike aggressively pushing forwards towards the road to get all his markers pinned early to prevent me being able to take advantage of my extra patrol markers. Nicely done Mr Evans! Placing the JOP’s was a bit of a trial as there were some tight angles going on and we also ended up with the crazy event of us both having JOP’s in the same wood very close to each other!

Mike was defending the top right hand corner. My two JOP’s visible in the fields on the left. His just to the left of the house.
View from my main axis of advance. Just visible on far right in edge of the wood is Mike’s other JOP.

We both rolled 9 for force morale and then I rolled a paltry 5 for support points. Mike gained an extra point due to his ‘Rupert’ only having a pistol so he had a whopping 3 points. I decided to go with something a bit different for the Jerries and went for a Pre-Game Barrage and a Sniper – I had wanted to go for the Recon Team in Sdkfz250 but had forgotten it! Mike went for a surprise too and took a Dingo.

I kicked things off by getting a squad on table to take the JOP near to my own in the wood. The plan was to then deploy the other two and the sniper to engage and pin the Brits around the house whilst this section made its way round the flank. I managed to get to the JOP with no problem and as the Pre-Game Barrage was doing its thing well and Mike was having trouble getting anything on I stuck the second section on in the field and moved up towards the road hoping to maybe take advantage of the incoming artillery to sneak across the road and take either the JOP in the wood, or at least get it under overwatch before Mike could get much of his force on the table. This could also threaten his JOP by the hedge in front of the house.

Mike managed to get one section on and put them at the junction to thwart that idea he also had rolled a double 6 (this would become a theme of the evening) and managed with his next roll to unleash the Dingo. This promptly took advantage of the other double 6 that he rolled and advanced on my lads in the wood and took them under fire killing their JL and hence preventing me from having a go with their Panzerfaust. I decided that I’d best get the last of my sections on so that I could try and outnumber his lads by the junction and duly deployed them on the table. This is where I lost the battle. For some idiotic reason I place the rifle team outside of the field and the other side of the hedge IN THE OPEN.

Mike’s 1st Section deploys a the junction.

Mike duly managed to get another section on to the table and deploying along the road unleashed on the team fannying about in the open piling on the hits, causing a wound to their JL a casualty and piling on the shock. Things weren’t helped by his 2″ mortars chipping in with some well placed HE rounds and chuck in the double 6’s that he was rolling the hurt just kept coming. Meanwhile I had deployed the ‘schreck team to tackle the Dingo and they worked their way through the wood whilst the SL also deployed to help out over there too.

These lads would have a good day……
…and these wouldn’t. Just look at the shock!!

I managed to roll a triple 6 ending the turn and knocked 2 off of Mike’s FM from capturing the JOP I held, the other bonus to the turn ending was to get my JL with the section that was takin a mullering back in working order so he could now start to try and rally off some shock. However Mike wasn’t finished with the double 6’s and he piled even more hurt on ramping up the shock until the section was pinned whilst chipping away at their strength with the odd casualty. I also about this time played a CoC dice and moved my JOP on the road forwards so that my sniper could deploy on the humpback to take the British section giving my lads hell under fire – unfortunately he had picked his rifle up at a fair and he was more danger to passing birds that the great target rich environment he had in front of him and failed to hit anything all game!

Over in the wood an attempt to take out the Dingo with a ‘faust failed and when the arriving ‘schreck team survived an attempt to take them out (just about as the loader copped it) Mike decided it was time to move on and went for the JOP that I had moved forwards on the road to deploy my sniper. Unfortunately for him his demonic dice rolling luck ran out and he only managed to move forwards a few inches and revenge was meted out by the surviving member of the ‘schreck team.

Bloody stupid, annoying, ridiculous vehicle…
…the Panzerschreck moves up…..
… and Bingo that Dingo!!

This was about it though as the poor lads out in the open finally became pinned and Mike decided to get stuck in, advancing with both the section at the junction and the section on the road. Mike’s advance with one of his sections left them tantalisingly close to my section in the field but they just couldn’t do anything (I was hamstrung at this point by rolling some quite awful command dice – 4’s, 2’s and 5’s predominating which just wasn’t helping at all). They instead won the day by charging the by now broken section that had been suffering all game and the completely one-sided close combat saw the remainder wiped out and to add insult to injury he managed to take a JOP to boot.

Mike’s assault wipes out a section, takes a JOP and wins the game!

I decided to call it a day then and there as there was no point continuing with what I had left and my FM had fallen like a stone – down to 4. I was angry about this game if I’m honest, by stupidly deploying that team in the open I was asking for trouble and Mike responded well – he was helped by a fantastic run of double 6’s as well  – but if they had been in cover it would have been a completely different story. My fault completely but a valuable lesson learnt. Thanks go to Mike for the game, his aggressive patrol phase was blindingly played and the Dingo was an inspired choice so hats off to him. Next time things will have to be different…..


Colours, 2016

First of all, apologies for not getting on the blog for a while. I’ve been having a bit of a rough time lately a combination of some weird side affects from my medication and being a bit depressed too which has meant that all painting production stopped for the past few weeks (although some of this was due to it being too hot to paint). Also the Warlords have been on their summer break as the club closes for the month of August hence no games to write up!

Anyway, on Saturday Des, Ian, Daren and I met up early at Paddington and made the trip to Newbury racecourse to attend Colours. We arrived and promptly split up as we started to move around the traders, I immediately stopped at H&R’s stall and had a nice chat with Andy – glad to see and hear that he is very much on the mend – whilst picking up a few bits for my Alt-History Polish chaps. It also was a good to hear what Andy had planned for future releases and what was doable in the way of ordering bits for ‘kit-bashing’ if needed. I also got to see their AIFV/YPR-765’s in the flesh which will be needed for my next force and also a project that Daren and I are talking about for a Salute in the near future.

I didn’t have anything else much to get from my list – some decals for 20mm German armour and some black primer so spent the next hour having a look at what was on offer and convincing myself that I didn’t need any of the goodies that were tempting me! I’m particularly taking to you Pendraken’s 1866 range – next year I think for that project. The only other things that I bought were a couple of books from the bring and buy: Blandford’s ‘World Uniforms and Battles 1815-50’ by Philip Haythornwaite & Michael Chappell and ‘Napoleon’s Campaigns in Miniature’ by Bruce Quarrie for the princely sum of £5 for the pair. This was perhaps the best purchase I’ve made for a while as both books were a very important part of my early wargaming life and it was at least £20 cheaper than what they would have cost downstairs at the 2nd hand book stalls!

Unfortunately I had forgotten to juice up my phone before I left so wasn’t able to take many pictures of the games and the few I did take were not very good so sorry none to post but there are a good many on other blogs out already and they are probably better quality than mine would be anyway.

The ones that did particularly appeal to me were the Winter War game by the Loughton lads, although I had seen it before it was at Salute and I didn’t get to have a proper look or get to talk to the guys responsible so that was nice. It was good to chat with Dave Brown about his new ACW rules and also to ask him about the planned General d’Armee rules in the pipeline – his game looked nice too but I had to turn down his kind offer of having a bash with a command as time was against it. The fantastic WW1 Mesopotamia game and the Crush the Kaiser ‘Viva Zapata’ games were also belters with fantastic figures and awesome terrain pieces, unfortunately I didn’t get to chat with any of the guys putting them on and wish I had as the games were very intriguing. I also liked the ‘Axis and Allies’ inspired Normandy game and would have had a go if I could have got near it which showed what a good game it was as they were busy every time I went past.

We thought that the venue was nice – what is it with wargames shows and racecourses? – and I’d definitely be back again next year. One thing I did realise when we were chatting whilst sampling the top-notch pies on offer was that the old maxim of picking things up at a show ‘saves you on the postage’ is actually a right old bunch of yarbles. Once you factor in cost of travel, entrance, food and drink plus any ‘ooh shiny’ purchases that might be made you definitely don’t make any saving at all! So why bother going? Apart from getting to take part in or see some great games I reckon it is that getting together with your mates and having a good old nerd out can’t be beat can it, can it?


Club Night 25/07/16: FFT3 Bash

Last night was the ‘end of term’ for the Warlords as we have our summer break until September and it was planned that we would be taking part in a 6mm WW2 game. Unfortunately something came up which meant that the game had to get called off and as Dan and I were keen to get a game in we decided to just have a nice and simple straight up FFT3 scrap so I cobbled a couple of forces together. Dan took command of my alt-history Poles and I took the Austrians and we had the following forces:


2 x Armoured Btlns of:

  • 3 x Vickers mk.3 Coys (3 each)
  • 1 x Inf Coy (3 Inf – 1 with Bantam atgm & 3 4k 4FA/20mm)
  • 1 sp 81mm mortar
  • 1 Striker

1 recce Btln

  • 2 x Scorpion-90 Coys (3 each)
  • 1 x Inf coy (as above but mg armed APC)

Bgde support

  • 1 x 155mm SP Btln (3 units)
  • 1 AD unit of 1 x Spartan apc with 2 x Blowpipe teams
  • 1 Mangusta Heli with 4 x ZT-3 atgm



2 x Panzer KampfGruppe

  • 2 x Coys M60a3 (4 each)
  • 1 x PzrGren coy (4 inf – 1 with Bill atgm & 3 mg 4k 4fa, 1 20mm armed)
  • 1 x M42 Duster sp adg
  • 1 x sp 81mmMortar
  • 1 x ‘command’ M60a3 (no special function just there to boost numbers!)

1 Recce Gruppe

  • 1 x Jeep Coy (2 jeep/hmg)
  • 1 x PzrJager Coy (3  SK105)
  • 1 x PzGren Coy (as above)

Bgde Support

  • 1 x sp 155mm Btln (3 units)
  • 1 Drakken with Bombs

So the forces were nice and balanced with me having a slight advantage in infantry with better ATGM and Dan having slightly more stands but more lightly armoured. I set the terrain up and we got to it with both entering the table from opposite ends with a nominal objective of securing the road junction. We did the usual and diced to see which sides we would come on from and we ended up going along the long axis, which completely negated the ridges and hills on the table as they were all orientated the other way so there was a lack of hull down positions which increased the lethality of the battle somewhat. We were keeping it simple hence the lack of Divisional and higher artillery and played without my activation rules but were trying out the suppression check rules to see how they panned out. Also we agreed that any time we scored 3 or more higher in the initiative roll we could bring on the chopper or jets to add a bit of fun!

Dan’s lads entered from the far end.

Dan won the initiative for the first move, and also could’ve called in his chopper which he decided against, barrelling his units along the table using strat moves for everything which I did also when it was my turn – this was not going to be anything fancy this engagement!

Dan won the initiative again and carried on pushing one Armoured Btln to the wood by the crossroads with his Recce unit and a couple of tank companies secured the centre and his other Armoured Btln moving towards the village on the right. I  was slightly mirroring his moves pushing my Recce unit along the road to take the crossroads village whilst my Tank Btlns moved up the flanks, I did stop my Dusters on the small hills to my rear and put them on overwatch.

My right hand attack moves off
Recce types motor for the village

This ended up being a good decision as Dan again won initiative once more and again was able to call up his helicopter support, which he duly did moving it behind the large wood on the left. This wood was now seemingly full with troops and a Scorpion, Vickers and Infantry Company all snuck to the edge and made ready to fire. Over on the other flank his other Btln seemed to be all trying to hide behind the village with some tanks giving long range cover whilst the central units were held back in reserve. As I was now in long range Dan opened up starting the ball rolling by declaring a pop-up attack by his Mangusta, luckily for me my Duster crews on this side of the battlefield were both alert and lucky managing to down the chopper before it could unleash its missiles! My happiness was short lived however as Dan opened up from the wood and a combination of 105mm and 90mm guns and venerable Bantam missiles saw my lead tank company disappear from the table after failing QC tests.

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I decided to halt, debus the infantry and try to win the firefight with my remaining tanks whilst calling for artillery n the wood, which caused some suppression. My return fire also did some damage. I also managed to garrison the crossroads village and the Bantam team started to fire across to targets near the other village causing damage. On the right I advanced slightly to acquire targets near the right hand village and unleashed a particularly deadly fire which virtually wiped out Dan’s tanks on this flank.

Things then got very bloody as we had at each other for the next couple of moves, Dan wiped out my SK-105’s without them managing to fire a shot and as the action developed we both stared to take hits all over the place with companies failing QC’s and platoons going up. We decided to allow the chopper back on (and I was likewise allowed to ‘Unleash the Drakken!’ when I next won the initiative) and the Mangusta got to work straight away taking out 2 platoons of my victorious M60’s on the right which also fell victim to ATGM fire from the village and some deadly tank gunnery from the reserve Vickers Mk.3’s that Dan had moved across from the centre. The result of which was that my seemingly winning action on the right was crushed with me only having one surviving tank platoon and the infantry that I had placed in the wood also taking a beating from the attention of the Scorpion-90’s.

Luckily I won the initiative and got my jet on which managed to make a bomb run which sadly only caused the suppression of one platoon due to dodging the incoming Blowpipes. Sadly though I had taken appalling losses in tanks, I had none left having lost 2 companies worth to QC tests alone! i was now completely relying on my Infantry and these had had it as well when Dan’s last go saw his Artillery and Direct fire from every vehicle that could get a shot away started to whittle down the lads in the crossroads village too. I then had no other option but to concede defeat.

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Not the most brilliantly tactically nuanced battle ever fought but we had a laugh and Dan enjoyed the rules, it was only the second time he has played them so I’m glad of that and at least we got our gaming fix in before the break!









Big CoC AAR: Market Garden

Last Thursday Daren and I repaired to Mike’s house for an ambitious evening of Chain of Command. It was planned to try and get through 3 games based on Market Garden (well Mike admitted more like on ‘A Bridge Too Far’). When I arrived I was greeted with the sight of 3 tables laid out and ready for action. The first was a simple road that passed through a low wooded ridge replicating the Irish Guards advance, the second was for the US river assault at Nijmagen and the third was depicting the Para’s stand at the north end of Arnhem Bridge.and Grabner’s assault.

Looking south from Arnhem down towards XXX Corp…

I was tasked with blocking XXX Corp’s advance, the idea being that if I was forced to withdraw then Alexander (Mike’s son and my opponent) and I would move onto the Nijmegen table to fight the river assault whilst the Arnhem fight went on between Daren (as Frost) and Mike (as the Germans) – Daren would be arriving later. To defend my position I had a platoon of 2 PAK 40’s and a platoon of infantry to which I added a couple of Panzerschreck teams and a 81mm mortar FOO. Alexander was coming at me with a Sherman troop and a platoon of Motor infantry in halftracks with a pre-game barrage, another 2 sections of infantry and an extra 2 inch mortar (I think?) in support.

Pretty soon the fight got going with me putting one PAK 40 out straight away and getting shots off knocking out a Sherman with my first salvo. Unfortunately the pre-game barrage was preventing me deploying anything else and Alex countered by putting fire on the gun from his other tanks, which began whittling the crew down and putting shock on, whilst advancing the remaining 75mm Shermans. He also got his 2 inch mortars going and started smoking my AT gun preventing any fire, although it did have the advantage of saving my crew from any more incoming. I did mange to final deploy the other gun but it’s first shot missed and it was immediately smoked by the British mortars, luckily this hadn’t happened to my FOO who was also on table now and he duly got calling up a barrage. Unfortunately for Alexander he rolled a triple 6 and so ended the turn which meant that it was going to be easier to deploy my lads – we had said that if he rolled 4 sixes at any point he would get ‘Purple Smoke’ as a random event which would be a barrage on my two guns.

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With the lifting of the smoke it enabled Alexander to get a couple of rounds (due to some nifty double 6 rolling) of fire onto one of my guns whilst the other was screened by smoke finally causing the crew to leg it after suffering severe casualties. I then decided that it was time to get the ‘shrecks out and duly deployed one to take the two lead Sherman’s under fire. At the same time my mortars had started to fall and although they were short they still managed to hit the Sherman’s causing one to suffer shock as did the first ‘shreck round. Alexander then played a CoC dice to end the turn and my barrage which did allow the surviving PAK40 another shot which failed again. The ‘schreck team didn’t last too long after that and got hosed by the Sherman’s and some dismounted infantry.

The PAK 40 did managed to put one of the Sherman’s guns out of action and a hit from a rifle squad’s Panzerfaust did likewise to the other working Sherman but Alexander switched to firing the MG’s from both and they started to take out men from one of my sections whilst the other and the remaining AT gun was covered with smoke. My FOO was having trouble calling up the mortars from this point onwards (but did manage to avoid losing the battery for good) which allowed Alex the chance to debus the rest of his infantry to try and move them forwards to winkle out my infantry. My second Panzerschreck team deployed and managed to get a double 6 to hit on a Sherman so I was confident that it’d brew it up nicely, however I only rolled one hit in all my attack dice whilst Alex rolled a few in defence so the shot must’ve gone through the weak point and out the other side without causing any damage!

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I did manage to knock out the 2 mobile MG posts that the Shermans now were with a shot from the PAK 40 before the next fell to the ‘schreck team. Vengeance was swift however as the Tommy infantry did for my brave Panzer hunters and so I was down to one team left whilst the damn 2 inchers were still smoking my AT gun. Alexander was reticent to move the Firefly up as it was the only armour he had left but did so gradually as his infantry needed some closer fire support. Unfortunately for him in one of the many breaks in the smoke (we were both chalking up CoC dice quite regularly so turns were being ended by me to get a AT shot away) the lads manning the PAK40 finally realised that their job was to actually hit the enemy tanks and they managed to brew up the Firefly, not long after I managed to get a barrage on top of the infantry which caused quite a bit of shock and casualties as it managed to happen in one of the few periods that Alexander didn’t have a CoC dice to hand. I thought that he would retire from the field at this point but decided to keep going – I think influenced by shouts from the other end of the room of ‘can XXX Corp please get a bloody move on!’. Unfortunately just as he was rallying his lads for an assault on my much reduced section to his front another barrage landed on him, this was really effective and the losses and shock it caused managed to break the morale of his infantry platoon.

It was a very tough fight, Alexander (who was a pleasure to play against by the way, a thoroughly nice young man) skilfully used his activations to always ensure that he was on overwatch with something and his use of the 2 inch mortars to effectively close down one half of my line was really well done it kept the number of shots that my PAK 40 could do down to a minimum. Unfortunately for him I lucked out with my mortars by not losing the battery for the game plus the first turn finished quite quickly so he lost the benefit of the pre-game barrage early plus the extra tank Panzerschreck teams I had were very handy, if I didn’t have them I’d have been in trouble I think. Actually I reckon if he had brought some medium mortars too I wouldn’t have stood a chance. So I managed to stop XXX Corp but did that matter to Johnny Frost and his chaps?

To be honest, no it didn’t. Mike ground down Daren’s plucky lads in a series of viscous hand to hands and by the ungentlemanly use of great big tanks. Daren did manage to brew up and disable a couple of the vehicles on the bridge but he was facing quite overwhelming odds – a recon platoon, a couple of Panthers and a PanzerGrenadier platoon and he had a platoon and some supports, mainly PIATs I think, so much like the real thing then. Unfortunately we were too busy with our fight to find out exactly what happened but it was all over quite quickly as the brutal losses that close combat causes did for Daren’s morale. I did manage to get some pics though.

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These games showed that you can easily adopt CoC to scenario’s that are not bog standard ones – there were no patrol phases in either games as we were going with ‘historical’ deployment but I was allowed to deploy 12 inches instead of 6 in my game. One thing Daren did mention to me was that he thought after firing on overwatch you should be able to go back onto overwatch immediately when you are in a fight such as he was, particularly if the troops are Elites. I must say that I agree with him as you’d be assigned an arc to cover and you’d concentrate on that and firing once shouldn’t stop you doing the same again until ordered to do something else, so something to think about for any similar games in the future. Apart from that small thing it was a fun evenings gaming and many thanks to Mike and Alexander for putting it on – it is definitely something to think about doing at the club on a big game Saturday soon….


Big GdB AAR: Liebertwolkwitz

Saturday saw another Big Game Saturday at the Warlords and once again Des came up trumps by putting on a game based on the action at Liebertwolkwitz. Historically this saw Murat in command of a wing of Napoleon’s forces engaged by the advance guard of the Army of Bohemia to the south of Leipzig with the French trying to secure the villages and important high ground in the vicinity and the Allies wanting to pin the Grande Armee in place.

As the combined collections of those involved did not have enough cavalry to re-enact the absolutely huge cavalry fight that happened we would be conducting a slightly different fight, albeit one with a LOT of cavalry – indeed the phrase ‘that is a lot of cavalry’ was said by just about everyone present at one time or another, including those that weren’t playing!

The figures were from Des’ and Andy’s collections with a contribution from Martin too and the rules were standard General de Brigade rules with new order activation and command activation rules for big battles.

The sides were picked and commands were assigned thus:


  • Paul – Reserve Cavalry Corps with at least 6 brigades.
  • Martin – Corp with 2 French Divisions of 2 Brigades each and 2 foot batteries. Martin also took command of all the Reserve artillery
  • Myself – Corp with an Italian Division of 2 Brigades and 3 batteries and the Wurttemberg Division with 2 batteries (Des kindly included these for me as they are a particular favourite of mine!).


  • Andy – Allied Cavalry, I think it was a couple of Corps with just about every type of cavalry known to man, from Cossacks to Kurassier!
  • Des – Russian Corp with 2 small Infantry Divisions and tons of guns!
  • Warren – Austrian Corp with 2 Infantry Divisions, a Cavalry Brigade and attached artillery

We got cracking with setting the table up, all 17 and a half by 6 feet of it, and getting our troops down then a quick cuppa whilst making our plans and then we were ready to get into action.

The players, L-R: Paul, Des, Martin, Warren, Andy and myself.
Looking along the table from the French left, Gross Posna in the foreground, Liebertwolkwitz is beyond the wood, the massive cavalry battle would take place at the far end. (Apologies for blurriness!)
A clearer shot by Des from the other end of the table later in the action

I will only be able to give an accurate description of what was going on with my own force as once combat started I only knew what was going on to my immediate right and apart from the occasional walk up the other end to ask Paul how it was going I really didn’t have a clue what was going on over there! But first some more pre-battle photo’s:

As soon as we got ready to start I thought that I might have made a big mistake on my deployment, I should have put the larger of my two Italian brigades on the extreme left and put the Wurttembergers in Liebertwolkwitz – I blame only having a few hours kip and being somewhat hungover – however things didn’t seem to be too bad in the end.

After kick-off the wings were where it was at with both Cavalry commanders doing what they should and immediately moving forwards to contact each other, the fight here would sway to and fro all day as brigade after brigade was committed. In the centre Martin had decided to sit tight and try and win the artillery duel with the Russians before committing his command. Des opposite him decided to do pretty much the same and for a while a mighty gun battle raged here until the French finally won the upper hand and started to advance.

Over on my flank Warren had obviously received orders to quickly take the villages as he started attacking from the off. My Wurttemberg artillery did some great shooting though and managed to impede his process on the extreme left as he seemed reticent to move into effective range until the next Brigade along had taken Gross Posna and thus spent some time deploying whilst soaking up casualties. The initial attack on Gross Posna was repulsed, before bundling out the Jager that were garrisoning it at the second attempt, however the attacks to the flank of the village did not meet with the same success as they came up against strong Italian resistance.

To the right of this action Warren’s other Division lumbered forwards with one brigade wasting no time in attacking Liebertwolkwitz and the other the woods between this village and Gross Posna. My plucky Italian lads defending this part of the line were more than up to the task though, ably assisted by artillery fire from Martin’s guns to my flank, and saw off the assault on the village in some style, the number of broken battalions causing a brigade moral test which saw the whole lot leg it from the field!

The trouble with fighting Austrians is that there are just thousands of them and they keep on coming! Even though Warren’s assault had failed he was keeping up the pressure on the rest of the line and managed to start to push into the wood as the Italian Light Infantry posted there fell back before superior numbers (it was just here that one of Warren’s battalions did seem to spend the whole battle refusing to charge home on an Italian battalion and thus earning the sobriquet ‘the von Falterbergs’).

About this time Martin had ordered his Corp forwards as there was now a sizable gap in the Allied line both from the missing Austrian brigade and due to Des having to draw back his Russians after his guns ran out of ammunition. The lack of further threat to Liebertwolkwitz meant that I too could start to move some of my troops, so I ordered the reserve battalions of my Italian Division across towards the wood to counter attack the Austrians that were starting to get a foothold there. As for the cavalry action over on the right I can not say too much, although I believe the better mounts of the Allied troopers were making a difference and they were slightly winning the fight – they had definitely broken at least one of our brigades.

Over on the left I had attacked into Gross Posna to retake the village. This worked initially but a swift counter attack from a fresh battalion caught the victorious Wurttembergers unformed and routed them out of the village which forced the whole brigade to fall back, luckily, although they were broken, not all of the battalions dispersed so I had a chance of salvaging something and re-forming them. Warren then managed to charge my remaining battery in the flank as it was now exposed which he duly overran. I had no other option but to concede ownership of the village and start to fall back with my remaining Wurttemberg brigade to form a new line to protect the flank although Warren’s troops in this sector had received quite a bloody nose in the process.

Unfortunately we had to end earlier than we expected so the battle stopped at this point which was a great shame as it had reached a very interesting point with the Austrian success on the left and the Allies gaining the upper hand in the cavalry fight. However, in between the two wings the French were in command I think, Martin was surging forwards and I was about to push the Austrians out of the woods with my relatively untouched Italian troops so things were balanced quite nicely.

So another great days gaming done and I know I’ve said it before but it really is what the hobby is all about for me: thousands of beautiful Napoleonic miniatures fighting it out in the grand manner with a bunch of thoroughly lovely blokes playing the game in the right spirit, what more could you ask for!

Many thanks go to Des again for the game and  to all the chaps involved: thanks again for a great day.  A special doff of my chapeau goes to Warren with whom I had a right good ding-dong fight with all day – I salute you sir!

Here’s a link to Des’ photos of the day on his FB page – they will be in better focus than mine as he sensibly didn’t get newted the night before!!

Club Night 11/07/16: Driel, ’44.

Monday night saw Daren putting on a WW2 game using BattleGround rules. These are a really detailed skirmish set that I last played back in February.

This time the scenario was this: a small German kampfgruppe led by myself and Dan was tasked with getting rid of some pesky Polish paratroopers (commanded by Des) that were ensconced in the outskirts of Driel. To carry out this task we had: a section of both SS and Heer infantry, a Panzerschreck team, a Panzerknacker team armed with Panzerfausts, a StuG III and 2 (yes 2!) Tiger I’s. We were told to expect a weak platoon and were warned that a force from XXX Corp under command of Ian and Andy might have finally fought its way through and could be expected to arrive anytime soon. A quick and simple plan was hatched whereby the infantry with Panzer killers attached  would advance through the wood whilst the StuG would take up position on the right to soften up/deal with the expected resistance in the church whilst he Tigers did the same on the left and with the wrecked house before the infantry went forwards. The Tigers and StuG would also be on the lookout for enemy armour and would deal with that when and if it arrived.

Looking from the German edge.

First of all things went swimmingly for me, with the StuG moving into position and my lads reaching the edge  of the wood with no problems and without being spotted – well the StuG was spotted, it’d be hard not to really, so were the Tigers over on the left surprisingly enough! They then managed to spot the Poles lining the wall of the churchyard and so I thought I’d give them a volley (whilst hoping that the next activation card was either the StuG or the Tigers so that they could join in). This is when things went a bit wrong. My initial volley was ok but the stone wall they were behind definitely helped reduce the effect.of the fire, it only caused a few wounds and made three defenders leg it. The Poles then opened up as they were on overwatch so could react to my fire and they had obviously been spending their time in Blighty at the butts because the return fire was deadly, after they had finished only 4 men were left standing from the section and 4 of them had fallen back due to bricking it, with one of them wounded! To make matters worse the Vickers gun on top of the wrecked house joined in and I was finally left with only 2 men, who passed their morale test but wisely sought cover behind a tree – the only consolations being that one of them had the MG42 and we knew where the Vickers was so the Tigers could deal with them!

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The StuG got ready to deal out some payback next and loaded with HE, aimed at the church wall, the gunner hit the fire button and nothing – bleeding thing jammed! Over on the left though Dan’s Tigers didn’t have that problem and one sent an 88mm present into the Vickers position, taking out 2 of the crew and wounding another but the gunner was a triple hard bastard and stayed at his post laughing at the danger. In the distance we could now see the dust from the relieving force and they would be upon us soon so we had to deal with the infantry fast whilst we still had time. Whilst my gunner and loader were getting the dud shell out of the gun my StuG commander decided to pop up and let fly at the churchyard with the roof MG42. As he did he heard a large boing-ing sound as the Poles let fly with a PIAT round which thankfully fell short and he managed to fire the MG, which duly jammed after three wildly inaccurate rounds – who makes these weapons!

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Dan started to manouever one of his Tigers to cover the road round the shelled house and spotted a Cromwell. He duly opened up on it and it shuddered to a halt but didn’t start burning – apparently the round slightly penetrated and scared the bejeezus out of the crew which meant they had to spend 2 moves baling cack from their overalls before they could do anything else. I had spotted another Cromwell barrelling down the central road so the two Panzerkiller teams got ready for action. Unfortunately Pvt. Bigbollockofski on the Vickers (who was leading a charmed life with a Tiger having another go at him and him surviving yet again whilst again passing a morale check) spotted the ‘schreck team and let them have it wiping them out before they could get into the fight. My remaining MG42 managed to get off one burst which wounded the PIAT loader and another bloke before they too succumbed to return fire.

The StuG had managed to sort out it’s gun and fired on a Cromwell that popped into view at the back of the church brewing it up – who needs an 88, a 75 will do just fine! – indeed it blew up which caused the crew of a mortar that was setting up behind it to decide that they’d rather be elsewhere and so ran off. Unfortunately Andy had advanced the Cromwell down the central road at the same time and was placed for a deadly side shot which duly happened killing my crew immediately and brewing me up. However the Cromwell was right by the as yet unspotted Panzerknacker team and I was hoping they would get activated next so that we could take out another tank. This failed to happen and Andy duly moved the Cromwell down the road a bit and turned round to face where he suspected the threat to be, also it was the direction that the Tigers were so eminently sensible.

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This did not deter my Panzerkiller chaps and they fired off all 4 of their ‘fausts which punched through the Cromwell’s front armour and drivers vision ports, setting off the ammo inside and blowing up another Allied tank. Dan was still having trouble taking out his Cromwell, with his main gun jamming as well and we agreed that it would probably be bet if we retired from the field as we didn’t have enough troops to carry out our orders even though we had taken out the armour threat as we only had one infantry section left. Before we could do so however, Andy had been sneaking a PIAT team along a hedge on the extreme left flank and in the last action of the night boinged off a shot which somehow managed to penetrate and knock out the left hand Tiger. We definitely had to fall back now!

Bleeding ‘ell, you’ve only brewed it up!!

All in all it was a fun night with much good natured banter flying about (and yes Ian my favourite band is The Jam), and some great moments, Dan and I particularly like the look an the oppo’s faces when our 2 Tigers were revealed. Man of the match was definitely the nutter on the Vickers, Des said he was recommending him for a gong. He led a charmed life surviving 88 HE shells but stuck to his position when the rest of the crew copped it and was a deadly shot too, the git! Many thanks go to Daren for putting on the game with his lovely AB figures and great looking models which were a pleasure to play with. As for the rules, whilst they did give a good game they are very detailed, maybe a bit too detailed for me. It did seem like Daren was putting in a lot of work checking charts for everything that seemed to slow things down somewhat. Never mind though it was a nice change and we all enjoyed ourselves which is the main thing isn’t it?

Here’s a few shots of some of Des’ newly finished kit, he just couldn’t resist getting it out!

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Good week ahead……

Well after having a month off of all wargaming activity altogether until last Monday when I did manage to get involved in a game of CoC at the club (thanks Mike for letting me join in last minute),  I have a full weeks gaming ahead of me.

First up is a WW2 skirmish game at the club tomorrow being put on by Daren – not CoC though but should be good, apparently it is some recce types from XXX Corp trying to link up with some Polish Paras south of Arnhem. Then on Thursday it’s a trip to Mike’s to take part in a Big CoC game also with an Arnhem theme which sounds very interesting as I think it will be two linked fights going on at the same time. Then on Saturday it is one of the club Big Game Saturday’s and Des is doing another 1813 Napoleonic extravaganza which I am really excited about.

So a nice busy week ahead and I’ll be kept busy updating this!

I’ve also had a good think about what I’m doing with this blog and it has turned into just a log of games played – which is nice but I am going to try to use it to keep me on track painting wise, so I will try and do some posts about painting, modelling and project updates too which I think might help. Also it will keep me occupied as I’ve been a bit down recently (hence losing the painting mojo I think) and all of this hobby stuff does really help keep me sane until I can get back to work.