General de Brigade: Plancenoit, 1815

A couple of Sundays ago I had the absolute pleasure in having been invited round to Andy’s shed of war for a large 15mm Napoleonic game of General de Brigade. To say that I was looking forward to this game from the moment that I received the invite and the date was set for the game is an understatement. I had heard about the quality of the games that he had put on in the past so was chomping at the bit to be involved. I’m extremely glad to say that I was not disappointed in any way, it was a truly fantastic days wargaming.

As soon as I entered the shed that the game was being played in (I reckon these places should have a snappy name as ‘shed’ doesn’t quite cut it really, does it?) I was confronted with a truly great spectacle. Even if I didn’t know what battle was due to be fought I’d have known straight away from the terrain on the table, it could only be Plancenoit. Andy had done a marvellous job in constructing the bespoke terrain for the refight, really bringing to life all the maps of the area that I’ve studied in the past. The thousand or two figures already lined up ready would have given another clue if needed. Honestly I’m afraid my pics do not do the scene justice!

After a bacon roll and a cuppa, supplied by Mrs T. and very much appreciated, Andy got to the briefing and explained the ADC rules that we would be using to us – we were using standard GdB rules but with house rules concerning ADC’s to activate/change orders – and both sides got their heads together to plan the upcoming fight.

I was on the Prussian team with Del and Martin. We would be taking control of Bulow’s IV Corp tasked with taking the village of Plancenoit and we had 20 turns in which to do so. Del wore the C-in-c’s hat and would be responsible for the assault on the village with 15th and 16th Brigades under command. Martin was to take the right flank responsible for defeating the French to our front with the 13th and 14th Brigades.  I was to take the Cavalry reserve, Corp Artillery and Tipplekirch’s Brigade of II Corps when it arrived, my orders being to support Martins assault on Lobau’s line whilst seeing off the French Reserve battery in the centre with our own Reserve artillery to hopefully open a gap in the centre of the French position to be exploited later. The dastardly French were controlled by Andy, Simon and Des who just had to hold on as best they could and prevent us from taking the village. They were in command of Lobau’s VI Corp with some Young and Old Guard types scheduled to turn up some time or other to make things harder for us.

So with plans made, tea and bacon consumed we got at it. The first thing that we noticed as the Prussians was that we would have problems making our numerical superiority work to our advantage as the terrain and troop density meant that we would have to attack in ‘waves’, passing one unit through another. This was certainly the case for Martin and myself as our units were activated to a schedule so we had to get moving with what we had on hand first and then follow up with the rest when it became available, which was actually quite a realistic problem to have and added to the flavour to the game I thought. Anyway Del started by moving forward to the village and started prepping the defenders for the assaults that were about to start and then continue for the rest of the day and Martin launched his lead Brigade towards the line of French on the right flank. I opened the bombardment of the French battery and started off well inflicting losses straight away whilst my huge Landwehr Cavalry Brigade advanced to support Martins lads by covering their open left flank.

The battle soon turned into a proper slogging match with both Martin’s and Del’s Brigades repeatedly coming to grips with the French defenders before narrowly being beaten back. In the fight for the village Del managed to take the church a good few times but was always pushed out immediately by fresh French units or a swift counter attack from a rallied battalion. Much the same was happening in the fight for the rest of the village, as soon as he managed to defeat one battalion another countered his disorganised men and bundled them back. With the cramped frontages available to deploy in he just couldn’t make his superior numbers tell against Simon’s defenders and when Andy’s Guard turned up it made it even harder. This to and fro action went on all day and showed just how hard the fight must have been in reality and followed the pattern in accounts of many village fights I have read from the period.

20170910_11391520170910_11400320170910_124105

Outside the village Martin soon came to grips with Des’ Division guarding the northern part of the line and here too a tough fight broke out. Des was taking advantage of the terrain and had his men behind hedges which was helping in his defence and Martin couldn’t quite get to grips with the French in a co-ordinated manner enough to break them. This was mainly down to the difference in quality of the units I think with some of the Prussian battalions failing to charge home a few times leaving those that did in the lurch somewhat. All was not lost though as the defending French had been steadily losing men and once Martin’s lead Brigade was hors de combat he committed his fresh one.

Meanwhile I had managed to destroy the French Reserve battery in the centre and had advanced my Landwehr cavalry forwards as ordered and pretty soon were confronted with a mass of French Cavalry that had appeared to the rear of Des’ infantry. I knew I didn’t have the qualitative edge but my idea was to tie them up so as to prevent them from attacking Martin’s lads and maybe wear them down before my Regular Brigades could be brought forwards to help finish them off. With the loss of the French Heavy artillery Simon was forced to re-deploy forces from the defence of Plancenoit to cover the approach the gap made and managed to seal it off before we could get any forces forward to take advantage, again thwarted by space issues – we just couldn’t move our units quick enough.

After a lovely lunch that battle carried on in much the same vein, Del and Martin bravely grinding forwards but just not breaking through whilst I had been involved in a cavalry scrap and had charged a couple of Des’ battalions with my Landwehr Cavalry (which nearly went my way even though they were in square!) before they broke and the fight was taken over by the Regular brigades. I did manage to get Tipplekirch’s Brigade on the table but the were stuck in a ‘traffic jam’ of units so it took ages to get them forward, some command and control problems didn’t help either! Pretty soon though it just started to feel like that we weren’t just going to do it and when it got to 6pm we called it a day with the French holding all along the line even though they had taken a battering, especially outside the village.

20170910_15053620170910_15054920170910_15285120170910_152901

The main problem we had, we thought, was that we just couldn’t get our units into the fight quick enough. With such a large density of force on such a constricted front all it took was a bit of friction and everything snarled up, not that I’m complaining about it a game without this sort of thing is just too easy I reckon and wargaming is supposed to be a problem making exercise as well as fun. The battle also showed just how difficult it must have been to take a village in this time, I’m sure Del was knackered by the end of play! There were also those close calls that luck just favoured the enemy and if they had gone the other way might just have led to a different result but c’est la guerre as those Frenchies might say.

Even though we didn’t come away with the win it was a truly great days wargaming and I can’t thank Andy enough for the invite, and big thanks too go to Mrs Thomlinson for the fantastic hospitality and for keeping us fed and watered all day. As I’ve mentioned before the terrain was absolutely superb and the figures we used from the collections of Martin, Andy and Del weren’t too shoddy either. But, as always, the thing that makes these days really great are the chaps that you share them with so many thanks go to Andy, Martin, Del, Simon and Des in playing the game like true gents. Hat doffed all round, and very much looking forward to the next one already!

PS Some more pics taken by Des can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/247145792126789?view=permalink&id=784110201763676

 

Advertisements

Colours 2017

Saturday saw myself, Daren and Dan take the Neustadt game out on the road again for its final outing, this time to Colours at Newbury Racecourse. Getting to the venue and getting set up was quite straightforward, with no traffic problems on the way down to Newbury and without the one-way system hell of Sheffield to contend with, and pretty soon we had everything set up. After the usual cup of tea/coffee and bacon roll (not the best it has to be said!) we started the game just as the first waves of people rushed past to stampede toward the Bring and Buy.

We were short handed as neither Warren or Jonathan could make it so we were not expecting to get much done with regards to finishing the game at all so Dan and I decided on a new tactic of chucking everything on the table as quickly as possible to see if that worked. It did, and even though we only played around 4 or 5 turns we had managed to capture half of the supply convoy and destroy all of the defending Chieftains and secure a win as Daren admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to stop us from reaching the river with what he had left. We are planning on having one last go at this game at the next Big Game Saturday at the club so that we can really do it justice which is fitting I think.

The game seemed to go over quite well with lots of praise for Daren’s terrain, especially for the river which received praise from a few chaps I spoke to as to the simple ingenuity of it being suspended between two tables. Unfortunately we did suffer from a couple of know it all types who loftily told us their opinions on what we were doing wrong and how it was all totally unrealistic as they were in Germany and it wouldn’t have been like that – funny how bell-ends like that never seem to actually give the rest of us the benefit of their superior knowledge and put games on themselves aint it. Fortunately they were vastly outnumbered by the well wishers and so, overall, we enjoyed the day from a game point of view. The one slight gripe we did have was that the tables did seem to be a tad close together. Once you had a few interested people round the tables it was very tight space-wise: add to this the occasional bad mannered,  more well timbered and backpack sporting members of the gaming fraternity barging through and the chances of someone getting knocked onto a table was quite worrying.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to check out the show all that much but I did manage to slip away for a bit to pick some kit up from Heroics and Ros (which I have already posted about) and to have a good shufty at the games. Most of the other games were well presented and there were one or two which were ingenious – the one next to us that involved an underwater adventure was particularly good, we all agreed that the way the boat was done on a plinth to get depth was cracking. It also seemed to have a gone over very well with the constant stream of people joining in, particularly the younger ones who were having a hoot which was great to see. Unfortunately the pics I took of this game were absolute rubbish, so I can’t show any and I lost my note about who put it on – apologies!

The only two games that I was interested in seeing before we went was the Franco-Prussian game being put on by Bruce Weigle as I’d seen plots of pictures of his fantastic terrain before and was keen to see some ‘in the flesh’. I wasn’t disappointed as the snowy battlefield was expertly depicted, with the snow being realistically muddy where it should have been and the contours of the hills beautifully sculpted. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to Bruce himself but it was a pleasure to see it, maybe next time he is over at a show I’ll be a punter and will get to have a go myself.

The other game that I was interested in seeing was the Eisenbach Gap, 1985 another Cold War game being put on by the Berks and Bucks Occasionals. I had seen some pics of this game on the Wargames Website and was intrigued as the game is a boardgame that has been changed into a miniatures game. I must say, I thought it was done really well with both the 1/200 Skytrex kit and the Kallistra hex based terrain fantastically well done. The miniatures and terrain complimented each other very well and was a great example of the board/miniature game crossover I thought. Hats off definitely chaps!

The largest, and to my mind, most impressive game on display was the ‘The Assault on Ali El-Muntar, 1917’ put on by Adrian Shepherd and Friends. A true work of terrain artistry I thought with the trench systems being particularly well modelled. Apart from the terrain on show the figures were also amazingly well done and chuck in the aircraft and tanks into the mix it made for an absolute cracker – the chaps involved seemed to be having a blast playing it too. Unfortunately my photo’s suffered from the weird light in the venue and only a couple came out well – hopefully John Treadaway managed to get some good pics for MW and has done the game the justice it deserved!

20170916_15204620170916_152052

As for the other games, I liked Dave Brown’s Marengo game which was being played with his new ‘General d’ Armee’ rules. There was another WWI game from the early period which included Belgians which are a firm favourite of mine from that period using ‘Through the Mud and the Blood’ rules, (again I’m sorry as I can’t remember who put it on if you let me know I’ll edit this!). There was a cracking table which, although seemingly simple, was very effective by the Battlegroup chaps which had a hilltop German defensive position that had clearly been the attention of some heavy Soviet fire. The trenches and battle damage modelled was top notch. Also one of note was the Palestro 1859 game by the Friday Night in Crawley team which, apart from the period being of interest – 1859 Franco-Austrian, had some well painted figures and a fantastically modelled castle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well that’s it for our ‘away days’ for this year, we’ve been talking about what we will be doing for Joy of 6 next year and you never know we might have a go at one or two more shows too but it will be nice to attend as a punter to a couple!

 

 

6mm Danish Armour, H&R DK-1 and DK-2

Just a quicky post as am a bit busy today painting some bits up. I have always fancied making a Danish Cold War army but never did so as no-one made the super cool looking Danish M41 upgrade, the DK-1. Therefore, it was great to see that H&R had done so and I saw a couple of sample models on display when we were at Joy of 6 back in July. So whilst I was buying some Soviet kit from Andy and Ian on Saturday at Colours I asked when the new Danish M41 and Centurions would be ready. Ian gleefully showed me a couple of boxes stuffed with the blighters and I just couldn’t resist getting a few (3 Cent’s and 1 Bulldog – best to start small!). I must say they are probably the best H&R models I’ve ever seen: lovely, crisp detail on them, you just know that they’ll paint up lovely! Its just annoying that I won’t need too many of them for my FFT Danes so they will definitely be drafted into my alt-history forces somewhere. It looks as if we are going to see some new cracking models released over the next few months. I, for one, am a very happy camper!

Here’s a few pics of the bare metal models for a quick preview, will do some more pics when I’ve slapped some paint on them.

The M41 DK-1, alright it still had a 76mm gun but just look at it. How cool is this!

20170917_13441220170917_13441720170918_14321720170918_14344320170918_143152

And the Centurion DK-2, the only thing better than a Centurion in my opinion is an updated Centurion! And the Danes have done well with this…

20170918_14061820170918_14050320170917_13435820170917_134346

 

 

Club Night 04/09/17: Israeli vs Russian, 6mm Micro Armour Modern

For the first game back after our annual August break Daren had come up with a slightly left-field scenario so that we could pitch ultra-modern Israeli forces against Russians. The back story was this: After emerging victorious from the long civil war, the Assad regime was looking to gain some much needed prestige with the population. With American focus concentrated on events in Korea and their military stretched dealing with that, Iraq and Afghanistan Syria contemplates trying a grab for the Golan heights. When their new Russian chums do not warn them not to try they launch an attack. As usual, however, it fails and the Israelis advance down from the heights to set up a buffer zone against any further attacks.

With the situation tense and the UN frantically attempting to prevent any more bloodshed a Russian task force advances to ‘rescue a downed helicopter crew’. That the task force entrusted to do this consists of tank and motor rifle companies backed up by Havocs and MiGs does seem a tad robust. That it is headed straight for an Israeli Tank company combat team ordered to secure a village at the edge of the buffer zone seems like a recipe for disaster…

I was taking the Israeli’s (as I used to live near the Golan, it’d be rude not to really!) and Daren the Russian ‘rescue and retrieval team’. The terrain was a series of low ridges that gave way to a plain where the village was located, the Israeli’s held the higher ground whilst the Russians advanced across the flat. Littered in front of the Israeli positions was the wreckage of the last Syrian attack.

20170904_190024
View from the Israeli lines with still burning Syrian vehicles.

The action started with an advance on a broad front by the Russians whilst the Israeli’s moved forwards to take control of the village. I had planned to race a mechanised infantry platoon forward to secure the village whilst the Merkava’s and the rest of my infantry and anti-tank assets took up covering positions amongst the ridges. Unfortunately for me I was having trouble moving my command due to some effective EW interference ballsing up my communications (I was rolling terribly for orders). This allowed the Russians to race forwards and take control of the settlement. At about the same time a MiG came screaming over my forces and my anti-aircraft defences immediately let fly causing the plane to drop its ordinance and bugger off sharpish. The fight was now well and truly on.

Daren had a platoon of T-90’s in the village with another leading a platoon of BMP-3’s round the left (from my view) of the village and another similarly sized force advancing round the right. I had managed to advance one of my Merkava IV platoons onto a long ridge and soon started firing at the Russki’s on the left. Pretty soon T-90’s were brewing up as the Israeli tankers got the range. Unfortunately for the Russians the combination of being hull down and the Merkava’s impressive armour was preventing any return fire being effective and pretty soon all the Russian tanks on this side of the battlefield were burning – the gun on the Merkava is a beast, any hit resulting in a KO. Daren countered with an artillery strike which supressed a couple of the Israeli tanks and took out the TOW vehicle with them.

I had called in my own artillery strike on the centre of the village which forced the T-90’s there out towards the left hand side of the settlement and into range of the Merkava’s on the hill which soon took care of the new targets and started on the BMP’s. Whilst all this was happening I had pushed another platoon of tanks forwards to take on the right hand Russian force and they too started brewing up enemy armour, however they did not have things all their own way over on this side as a combination of T-90, BMP-3 and Helicopter launched ATGM managed to take out a couple of the seemingly invincible Israeli armour. Daren also launched another air attack which again was seen off with the MiG trailing smoke but after it had dealt a blow to some Israeli personnel carriers.

Unfortunately for the Russians they were now down to only a couple of tanks still in working order and the BMP’s being slowly taken out by a combination of tank fire and fire from a flight of Cobra helicopters from the Rosh Pinna ‘chopper base. There was one more interesting part of the fight at this time as a convoy of white Nissan pick-ups entered the area along the road from the left. At first I didn’t want to engage them as they could have been either UN, Oxfam or a news network convoy but when they swerved off the road and headed straight for the forces arrayed on the long ridge it was obvious that they were local fighters hell bent on martyrdom which the crews of a couple of Israeli tanks duly obliged in assisting them with. After the first few pick-ups were taken out the remainder turned round and ran for it. This was the last hurrah and as I was about to enter the village with some mech infantry and the Russian ‘rescue attempt’ had well and truly failed we called the game.

20170904_214835
Charge of the pick-ups

It was a fun scenario and was good to try out a couple of forces that you wouldn’t usually see against each other on the table (and it gave me an excuse to let forth a few curses in Hebrew that I haven’t said in a long while!). The Merkava proved itself to be an absolute beast, virtually impossible to take out when hull down unless attacked by multiple systems to pile on successive suppressions until knocked out and with a gun that takes out everything that it hits. The BMP-3’s were also a bit of a handful, their gun is quite impressive for an AIFV and its ability to fire a hard hitting ATGM makes it quite dangerous. Lastly the game was played with Daren’s lovely GHQ kit which he has done his usual great job on, playing with great looking kit always makes a good game even better.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Club Night 28/07/17: Flaming Big CoC….

I have been quite lax in posting this and as I have some more to get done here’s a quick AAR of a fun game of Big Chain of Command that was played just before we broke up for our annual August break.

Daren is still ambivalent when it comes to a bit of CoC and so to try and change his mind we decided that what might make him enjoy it more was to make the CoC bigger, after all, size matters right? So a nice straightforward scenario was devised whereby a German Kampfgruppe would be attacking a British position with the aim of securing a T-Junction. Daren and I would be in charge of the Germans and Mike would be looking after the plucky Brits. The forces were the following:

Germans:

  • PanzerGrenadier Zug
  • Infanterie Zug
  • PzIII Flammpanzer
  • StuG IIIF

British

  • Infantry Platoon
  • Churchill Mk.VII Platoon of 2 tanks
  • Vickers HMG
  • Scout Carrier Section

After a not very successful patrol phase by myself we hit upon a simple plan. Daren would take the PzGrens and the Flammpanzer and advance up the right flank making use of the cover there and would assault the objective whilst I with the Infantry and the StuG would attempt the trickier left flank. Not only was the left flank more open but it was also where the British armour platoon was due to enter the table, with this in mind I decided that I’d lead with the StuG and see if I could somehow take on the behemoths headed my way. We were expecting Mike to keep the Churchills back supporting his infantry so I was hoping for a couple of lucky shots to at least keep them occupied and to draw the attention onto the StuG and away from the PzIII. Luckily for us this is exactly what happened, and then some!

20170731_191138_LI
Looking from the German lines: German JoP’s in Red, British in Blue.

Daren was developing his attack along the right very nicely, moving a couple of sections forward and slowly advancing the PzIII whilst trading some fire from a section of Tommies and slowly getting the upper hand and pushing them back. Whilst this was going on I was engaged in an armour duel with the 2 Churchills. However, to our great surprise, instead of hanging back and encouraging us to come on Mike was very aggressive with his tanks pushing one well forward. I kept on having a go at the lead tank but neither of us could get a killing shot away – Mike’s armour was too much for me and his gun was just too weak to do me in – but eventually my brave StuG succumbed to the fire of both of the Churchill’s as I had been immobilised and one of the Churchills had worked its way round for a flank shot.

Whilst Mike was pushing ever closer to the StuG to get that better shot I had advanced a JoP and duly deployed a section close to the lead Churchill and had a go at short range in the flank with a Panzerfaust bagging the tank and causing it to brew up. This meant that we were without our long range anti-tank weapon and Mike still had a Churchill left which we presumed he would use to go after the Flammpanzer. Mike had different ideas though and moved the massive tank forwards parallel to the road to start to take on Daren’s PanzerGrenadiers  in the  Orchard which were giving Mike’s infantry section in the field across the road a right mullering with their 2 MG42’s. However, Daren played a blinder, he too had moved one of his JoP’s forwards and used a CoC dice to deploy his Panzerschreck which couldn’t miss and duly brewed up the second Churchill.

With his armour gone and one section close to breaking we now had a surge in confidence and started to advance again. My lads that had taken out the Churchill left the cover of the field they were in and were surprised by a Vickers which caused them to fall back behind the hedges again to lick their wounds and recover. I reinforced them with another section and with the help of some of Daren’s chaps quickly got revenge, virtually wiping out the crew and causing them to be pinned after a few rounds of firing. Whilst this was going on Daren advance one of his sections and caused Mike to deploy a section to counter this and protect the objective. This is exactly what Daren wanted as the Flammpanzer let fly and quickly destroyed the British lining the road with 2 bursts of it’s terrible weapon.

20170731_214324
Daren’s ‘bait’ section advances
20170731_215407
The final Flammpanzer burst seals a Tommy section’s fate: 4 casualties and 18 shock!

All in all things weren’t quite going Mike’s way: both tanks were burning, his Vickers was out of action, one squad was had taken a mullering, one was virtually destroyed and broken, senior and junior leaders were wounded and his force morale was shot to bits but he hadn’t totally given up. Much to our surprise he launched his Carrier Section down the road in a crazy attempt to capture a JoP but it was doomed from the start and both carriers succumbed to a good ‘fausting and ‘shrecking from mine and Daren’s lads by the road. With this it was game over and he finally admitted defeat.

20170731_222301
Mike’s last, valiant, crazy carrier charge …
20170731_221610
… ends in disaster

It was a cracking game as usual with Chain of Command and Daren and I were actually quite surprised that we managed to pull off a victory, given what support armour we decided on as we had thought about taking a Tiger or Panther so that we could tackle the Churchills but both fancied trying out the flame tank. This was a gamble as if Mike had decided to take it out with one of his tanks or had managed to get a PIAT shot at it we might have been screwed. Similarly we were relieved that Mike decided to be so aggressive with his tanks which played into our hands somewhat as our short range anti-tank capability was so strong, if he had kept them back and used them as mobile pill boxes we didn’t think we would have been able to have done so well. Daren really enjoyed the game though which was good to see, so maybe we could entice him with some more CoC action in the future?

 

 

 

Colours 2017 anyone?

I will be at the Colours show at Newbury Racecourse this Saturday with Daren and Dan putting on the Neustadt Cold War game we have done at Salute and Joy of 6. We will have a stonking great South London Warlords banner up by the table, please stop by and say hello if you are there as it would be great to meet anyone who reads my drivel!

Border Regiment Museum, Carlisle

Well it has been a while since I have put anything on here due to a combination of a few things but mainly due to my blood thing which has been making me feel shite and not in the mood for posting anything. Sorry about that but there will be lots coming in the next few weeks as I’m feeling a tad better and there’s a few cool things to report on in the offing.

One reason for not posting was a trip up to Cumbria for a cousins wedding and whilst waiting in Carlisle for the train home I managed to convince the mem to schlepp round the castle which is also home to the Border Regiment museum. The castle itself is perhaps one of the most complete ones I’ve ever been to and is made of a nice local Sandstone so also has a different hue to most as well. Housed in one of the former barrack buildings is the museum and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by it, there were some nice exhibits and it was set out very well with a couple of interesting pieces on display – a young lad was particularly intrigued by the jeep being driven out the front of a glider – and I liked the 2pdr which I’ve never had the chance to see before. It was also good to see very well painted metal Napoleonics being used in a diorama instead of plastics, chapeaux raised to whoever was responsible. So well worth a visit if you are in that part of the country, it doesn’t take too long to have a good look around both castle and museum and the whole place smells lovely due to the proximity of the massive biscuit factory!

20170830_145719
Cracking Napoleonic diorama
20170830_145653
Love a Belgic, very smart
20170830_145641
Nice looking later shako
20170830_145841
Russian drums captured in the Crimea
20170830_145318
Boer War Yeomanry cavalry kit
20170830_150205
2pdr Anti-Tank Gun
20170830_150214
2pdr breech detail
20170830_150708
More modern AT kit, MILAN.
20170830_150901
6pdr awaiting renovation
20170830_150925
Sad looking Ferret