CoC: Scottish Corridor Campaign. Game 3, More Probing at Bas de Mouen. 12:00

After the fiasco of the attack by Unterfeldwebel Hohman’s Zwitte Zug it was the turn of Erste Zug to have another crack at pushing on to Mouen and to get the assault on the Britishers underway properly. Feldwebel Haringer was under pressure from the old man to succeed this time as the delay in cracking this first position might mean that the whole offensive would falter. After the first attack the Zug was down 3 men so each Gruppe now had 7 men each instead of 8 which hopefully wouldn’t be too much of a problem. To help out Haringer had a MG42 on a tripod and another PzIV (my support points were down to 12 now), intelligence suggested that the enemy were not as well supported as before too which boded well, if true of course. Unfortunately even though our morale had improved (9 instead of the 8 last time) the Tommies were buoyant after their recent successes (they rolled 11 and were +1 from men’s and CO’s opinion!).

The initial patrolling went much the same as the last two encounters and the first actions were similar too. The Brits deployed a section in the orchard to the left of the road and Erste Gruppe entered the fray along the road near the wheatfield and started to move over to prevent the British advancing too close. The plan now was to hold on the left with that Gruppe and the two remaining ones and the panzer to go for the breakthrough across the field to the right of the road. This was only to be done once the Tommies had showed their hand and if it was safe to do so, there would be no suicidal charges forwards this time, lessons had been learnt.

The fight developed well from the off with initiative being held onto at every chance (I rolled a lot of double 6’s which helped a lot – although the number of double 4’s rolled were more!). Once again there was a hot action along the hedge row by the left-hand house but this time it was handled a whole lot better. Surviving nearly being caught out crossing the road to get into position one of Erste Gruppe’s MG42 teams replied with a searing volley and then threw out a smoke grenade to cover the gap between the house and hedgerow allowing time to get onto overwatch. The other team then engaged the rifle team from the enemy section in the orchard which had worked its way round the house to execute the, by now, standard British manoeuvre in this part of the battlefield. This fire stopped the rifle team in its tracks and caused them to go to ground, not pinned but badly shaken up.

Meanwhile 2. Gruppe had deployed in the middle of the central hedgeline with the mission of identifying Tommy positions and taking them under fire. This they did with great effect. First of all causing a PIAT team to break after causing a casualty and then getting the better of a duel with the pesky 2″ mortar, although they did suffer one casualty from a well fired HE round the deadly return fire again caused the Tommies to break after suffering a casualty (they scored 10 hits on their first roll and consistently rolled well thereafter). The PzIV made an appearance as well and began a slow advance to take up a position next to Unteroffizier Janes’ boys to help out with their mission.

The enemy had now deployed another section into the orchard and 2 more PIAT teams in response to their losses. However, by careful use of ground the ‘heavy’ MG42 and it’s crew appeared next to 1.Gruppe and unleashed a volley at the riflemen in the orchard which caused them to be pinned and they subsequently broke after another volley (I played 2 CoC dice, one to move a JoP point and another to spring an ambush). The Britishers tried to counter the loss of this team by deploying the Bren team from the newly arrived section but this too failed in after the heavy MG dispatched them with another deadly barrage of bullets (I managed to get another double 6 and enabled me to get the shots away before they did).

Over in the centre one of newly arrived PIAT teams bravely took a long range shot at the PZIV once it reached the position by 2.Gruppe and even though it scored a hit which temporarily dazed the gunner the deadeye shots of the accompanying PanzerGrenadiers again did their work well and caused them to go to ground pinned. 2. Gruppe then turned their fire against the surviving Rifle team in the orchard and put some casualties on them whilst shaking them up quite badly. 3.Gruppe now deployed to add their weight to the battle and to start preparing the way for making the dash for the objective along with the Panzer now that the enemy anti-tank threat was being nullified.

The Britishers were suffering quite badly from casualties (their morale was now at 6) and after an attempt by both their reserve rifle and Bren teams to ambush the relocated heavy MG42 only resulted in a couple of casualties it looked as if it just wasn’t going to be their day. Shortly after the broken rifle and mortar teams routed off the table (I played a CoC die to end the turn) they decided that they had held up our advance long enough and withdrew before suffering any more – even though my PzIV had got stuck again on the hedges (a double 6 as well!). At last the way is open for the KampfGruppe to advance on Mouen and achieved with only 3 casualties, which turned out to be only superficial wounds, whilst the defenders had suffered a whopping 11 casualties and 4 men routed.

Feldwebel Haringer was pleased with his lads, they had fought well utilising their strengths – the devastating firepower of twin MG42’s – and had not stupidly exposed themselves to enemy fire whilst taking every advantage to hold on to any initiative gained. They would be ready for further action without any more casualties and OberLeutnant Albrecht’s opinion of him had improved (back up to 0) even though the lads were still smarting from the losses in the first fight (stayed at -1) another fight like this should see their opinion of him get back to normal.

I took on board the lessons of the last 2 games this time out and was determined to try and reduce Des’ force before attempting any rash moves – I was aided by the amount of double 6’s rolled but the amount of 4’s, which are usually useless if German and no SL on the table, evened that up I reckon. I seem to have hardly taken any photo’s of the game but here are the ones I did take:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next up KampfGruppe Weidinger get into action…..

 

Club Night 20/03/17: 6mm GdB, 1813. Wussians!

There were two firsts for me in this game put on by Ian on Monday. First game of 6mm Napoleonics and it would be the first time I’ve ever commanded Russians so I was really looking forward to it.

The scenario was nice and straight forward, the Russians had to advance and secure a village that commanded a gap in the line of hills that the French were in possession of. To do this I had under command an Infantry Division, a Grenadier Division and a Brigade of Light Cavalry, my Infantry Division had a battery of 12 guns and the Cavalry had a battery of 6 guns attached. The French were in about a Division in strength with no visible Cavalry.

My plan was quite simple. Des would take the advanced guard consisting of the Jager and Cavalry Brigades with the Horse Artillery and engage the French in the village and on the hills on the right. I would take the rest of the Infantry Division (2 Brigades of 4 btlns each) and take the hills to the left where the French forces looked weaker, I could then roll the position up from that side. Ian would take his Grenadiers (once they arrived) and support the Jager, they were also to be the reserve in case any problems arose or to deal the coup de grace once my attack had developed. The French were led by Andy and Martin and, as mentioned, seemed to have the bulk of their forces either in the village or on the hills to the right – both of their batteries were posted in these locations too. On the left flank it seemed as if they only had a couple of battalions and no artillery which augured well for my planned attack on this side of the field.

So we commenced and Des immediately sent the Hussars and Uhlans of his Cavalry Brigade off to the right to engage the French posted on the hills to pin them in place. The Horse battery went with the horse hoping to cause discomfort to any squares that were formed and, if possible, to enable the cavalry a chance to charge home. His Jager Brigade advanced gallantly towards the village, throwing out a screen of skirmishers as the went consisting of a company from each battalion. I started my advance on the left when I arrived on the field and then the French started some long range artillery fire against Des’ command which resulted in some casualties due, no doubt, to Andy’s famous blue ‘devils dice’ that always roll well (a 9, 10, and a couple of 11’s wasn’t it Des?).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Apart from a message from Ian telling me that his Grenadiers were going to be delayed a while things seemed to be developing well, Des had forced the French infantry on the hill to either form square or retire and his Horse battery had commenced battering one square that guarded the flank of the battery there. The Jager had started trading shots with the garrison of the village and the French suffered a setback when Andy’s dice failed him (allegedly because Martin had used them) and came up with snake-eyes when rolling for the battery in the village which meant that they were now low on ammo. Over on my side of the field I was having to pass through the defile caused by the woods but my advance rolled on even though it was slowed down a tad. I also dispatched half of my guns to the Jager to help take on the French batteries.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was about this time when a large cloud of dust appeared behind the village which by its volume and could only mean one thing, French cavalry had arrived. Never mind, we would stick to the plan as it seemed to be going ok, indeed Des now launched his Hussars against the decimated French square hoping to break it and carry on onto the battery behind. Unfortunately this didn’t come off quite as planned, the French infantry did break and retreat but the Hussars bounced back to the Russian guns enabling the French guns to make their escape. The French cavalry then put in an appearance, moving to counter the Russian horse, with one of their Dragoon regiments starting a charge up the hill which the Uhlans countered with a charge of their own the result of which was that both units refused to contact each other! A cloud of dust could be seen moving rapidly across the rear of the French position to the left flank so it was obvious that the French had another brigade of cavalry. Things had started to look a bit more difficult for us, however, the Grenadiers had now arrived and were marching rapidly to the front to support the Jager.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The French then seemingly became emboldened with both the failure of the Russian cavalry to charge home and the arrival of their own heavies. The battery that had retired on the hills returned to their position and began taking the Jager under fire again, the heavy cavalry brigade then started a series of advances and charges that didn’t give the Russian horse time to rally and effectively took them out of the action, pushing them further and further back. I had finally reached the hills to the left of the village and as my first Brigade advanced to engage the retiring French infantry my second Brigade started to march around the extreme flank of the enemy position.

It was now that the French infantry from the hills on the right and the village assaulted the Jager to their front, who had been suffering from artillery fire, before the grenadiers arrived to reinforce them. This attack was carried out with the usual French elan and it succeeded in pushing the Jager back. I then discovered that the French did indeed have another Cavalry brigade and had to stop the outflanking manoeuvre of my second brigade and put them into square. At the same time my lead battalion in my first brigade  was forced to retreat due to a devastating volley from two French battalions and I was having trouble making the other battalions charge home, (couldn’t manage to change the brigade orders to assault).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So things had not turned out so well for us: the cavalry was in full retreat on the right pursued by French cavalry, the infantry attack on the left flank was stymied by the presence of the other French cavalry brigade and our inability to close with the bayonet on the weak French infantry. It all hinged on us breaking through in the centre. The French infantry attack here had caused the artillery to retreat and did manage to break a Jager battalion and force the remainder back. However, the Grenadiers were finally in position and they launched a counter attack on the lead French battalion, surely this would see us embark on a glorious counter attack that would sweep the enemy from the field. Alas, it was not to be and so wioth that final throw of the dice failing we decided that there was no use continuing with the attack, we would have to try again another day (we had run out of time too!).

All in all it was a great game. Things were in the balance for a while, I really did think we were going to win for most of the game and it is the small margins that decided the outcome: taking the French battery on the hills, being able to assault the infantry on the left, not having two brigades of heavy cavalry turn up, that sort of thing. As usual it was a pleasure playing with the gents and an absolute joy to be using Ian’s 6mm kit, very nice indeed and does suit Napoleonics so well. Thanks all round.

 

 

 

 

 

Club Night 13/03/17: Yankee CoC!

After his first game the other week, Paul was keen to get another game in so we arranged a game for last Monday. This was going to be a first for me as I haven’t faced an American force before so it would be a learning experience for both of us. We set the table up and diced for a scenario from the rulebook resulting in ‘attack on an objective’. We the flipped for who would be attacking and Paul ‘won’. He managed to roll up a whopping 10 points of support and I was quite worried but as he was using an Armoured Infantry platoon I managed to swag an extra 5 points of support due to the difference in Force Rating so we ended up with 10 a piece which was nice for me but not for him! I opted for a HMG MG42, an 81mm FOO and the obligatory Adjutant and Paul went for a Half Track, another HMG team and a Sniper I think which was a surprise as I was expecting a Sherman. (I did initially want to go for a HMG and a PAK38 but had forgotten my AT gunners! So I took the FOO instead). Morale wise I got an 8, which seems to be par for the course lately and it’s beginning to be a tad annoying, and Paul would be starting on a 9. Apologies for the lack of photo’s but as it was a training game I was busy helping Paul out so missed some bits of the action

 

20170313_195351
The round copse by the road was Paul’s objective.

The patrol phase went well for Paul I think, he used his 3 free goes to advance his 3 markers quickly down the table and we ended up twisting round so that he was coming on more from the long edge of the table with one at the table edge, and the other 2 quite close to the road. Mine were nicely grouped together, one behind the house, one in the copse (which was the objective) and one next to the copse along the hedge facing the house. Paul’s JOP’s being on the table edge in front of the hose, in the middle of the ‘wheat’ field and one by the road. Paul kicked off and started by deploying his Sniper by the road covering the house and one section advancing through the field. I replied with a double 6 so tried to get a section into the house, but came up short and ended up at the back waiting to go in. Paul then countered this move by deploying his MMG section across the road and put one team on overwatch, this completely stymied me taking possession of the house as I didn’t fancy taking 10 dice of doom once I hit the windows on the other side followed by 20 the next time the MG’s were activated, oh yeah there was the sniper too. Well played Paul.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Amis then brought on their second squad and started to move them off towards my right flank whilst I deployed my FOO to try and call in a risky ‘danger close’ mission to target the MG’s, Sniper and first Yankee section that were lining the hedges opposite the house. I also deployed a second section along the hedge facing the house to prevent any attempts by Paul’s rifle section there advancing too close to the objective, and my 2 JOP’s. I did take some ineffectual sniper fire during this period (before realising that I was actually out of LOS!) and not much else happened. My FOO did manage to call in the mortars but he could only call it in at one point due to his own rubbish LOS and his calculations were out of whack too bringing in the spotting round short and very near to some of his comrades! I decided that it was too risky and needed to relocate the FOO before trying again so binned the barrage for now. Paul’s first section was moving along the hedges lining the road but I managed to have a good go at them with the MG42 from the section covering objective, wounding their JL , Paul couldn’t put any effective fire back so covered the gap with a smoke grenade, which admittedly helped me too as it covered my open flank.

Paul then decided to advance his MG’s by the road as they didn’t have a target and so one team dutifully legged it to the next hedgeline whilst his mates wisely stayed put on overwatch to keep my back-door lurkers where they were. Unfortunately the advancing gun team were met a with volley from my section facing the front of the house who put some shock on them and caused a casualty. Paul’s squad that had been moving on the right were now nearing the hedge opposite the copse so it was time to feed in my last section.

20170313_201437
Yankee 2nd squad moves off to the flank.
20170313_202217
My FOO get’s on the blower

In the next phase saw the action really hot up. My section that had just fired retreated from the hedge to allow my HMG to deploy there, whose fire wasn’t as good as I hoped and the Ami gun was still in place which meant a brutally short range HMG duel was on the cards! I also deployed my final section to take on Paul’s flanking squad, these boys were at it from the off causing casualties and shock straight away which stopped the advance cold. The HMG duel got under way and surprisingly we both survived one round of firing before my lads triumphed wiping out the whole team, the Yank section over on the right also had their NCO killed – Paul did have good luck on the Bad things happen table though and only lost 2 from his morale.

20170313_203849
2nd Squad get a shock..

The yanks then deployed their halftrack but didn’t move it again which was a slight relief to me, although I was confident my Panzerschreck and ‘fausts would have easily dealt with it, and moved the last HMG team forwards across the road to engage my HMG again. At the same time their initial section was tear arsing along the hedge to come to the aid of their mates who were learning the lesson of not taking a MG42 on across a road – being slowly whittled down and pinned to boot. Paul was desperately running a SL over to take this squad in hand as their lack of JL was a real problem – I think I managed to pin them just before he was going to pull them back. I then moved my lads from behind the house along the side of the building hoping to grenade the advanced HMG team to help out my gun team in their fight (I should have gone the other way round though to take them in the flank in a charge – dummkopf!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The HMG firefight was surprisingly ineffective, both of our teams suffering casualties and shock with my chaps eventually becoming pinned, my newly deployed SL started rallying shock off like billy-o though and soon had them rallied sufficiently. The American pinned squad soon broke due to relentless close range fire and I played my CoC dice to end the turn which routed them off the table, the loss of morale this caused (down to 3 dice) caused Paul to wisely call it a day. I think this was wise as my HMG was now unpinned and a good burst of fire from it on his gun might have seen that off too leaving my gun free to take on his surviving squad, add in the fact that I’d only suffered a few casualties from my gun team to boot so had 3 full strength sections made Paul’s decision a good one.

It was a good game and even though it didn’t go too well for Paul he said he still enjoyed it and learned some things (MG42’s at short range hurt being the main point here I think!). We had a good discussion about the game afterwards, I said I would have brought some armour as his half track and other HMG team didn’t get into play and the sniper was useless in the close terrain. He could have sat off with the Sherman and HE’d my lads, firing his infantry onto the objective and with the 2 HMG’s already in the platoon the extra one was a bit unnecessary I think. Having said that, I would have used the half track and the rifle team in it to get round the back of my position, granted it might have come a ‘cropper from a Panzerfaust or ‘schreck but it would have forced me to worry about it splitting my force in the end it was just wasted points. Taking on this American platoon was unusual, their lack of squad MG is a bit strange (and puts you at a strict disadvantage if trying to take on German’s) and only having the two manoeuvre squads was a hindrance too I think. I can see it being good on the defensive with the 2 HMG’s but I’d personally prefer a Rifle platoon for an attack myself as that 3rd squad gives you more flexibility. Hopefully we can get another game in soon, and good to see another person digging these excellent rules.

Club Night 06/03/17: FFT3 bash.

As Dan and I found ourselves sans game last week, we decided to have another of our 6mm FFT3 ‘get some tanks on the table and have fun’ games. So My trusty Alt-history Poles and Austrians once more were about to engage in another round of battle. As usual we just whacked some terrain down, diced for what table edge we’d start on and got to it, simple meeting engagement with nominal objective of finding enemy and securing road network.

We each had a roughly same sized force with roughly equal number of tank bases, Dan had a slight advantage in infantry but I had the advantage of having a AT Heli which he didn’t, we both had aircraft support too.

We were using my house rules for activation, initiative and suppression with a slight twist, this time as an experiment we would be saving any unused pips from the initiative rolls and we only used a single d6 for testing for activation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dan won the first initiative with a whopping 5 pips and wisely allowed me to move first and straight away the saving of the pips came into the game with Dan banking those pips for his next go. This has been an idea for a while as it seems a shame that you lose pips sometime, you might not have a chance to use them (first move being a good example) so why not save them up for later. I duly barrelled my Armoured car company down the road towards the far town and splitting my force into two halves advanced towards the stream on the left and to the ridge on the right. Dan’s first move was similar and things looked good for a nice even fight on both halves of the board.

First blood went to Dan as his Jeep/RCL recce chaps took out one of my AML’s then a couple of more were lost to deadly fire from M-60’s on the hill to the left. There wasn’t much other action during the first part of the game as the rolling hills made LOS hard to get shots off so we both jockeyed for position. Over on the right we had both halted on ridgelines overlooking the farmland and we tried to take the other under fire with me having the best of it as Dan’s Kurassier’s were just out of range and couldn’t reach my ridge, so my Vickers mk3’s and Striker attempted to pick them off – although my gunner’s sights were off a bit (Dan kept making the saving throws). Keeping one tank company on the ridge along with my Striker platoon to take on the SK’s I moved the other Vickers company and the infantry company behind the ridge towards the wood on the extreme right flank with an idea of using it to launch an attack from later, although I did suffer the loss of an infantry platoon by stupidly driving along the edge of the wood and straying into long range of the covering tank destroyers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dan was initially having the best of it rolling for initiative and was using his pips to activate his artillery battalion each turn, which was doing a good job of supressing the tanks on the right hand ridge and the infantry by the stream on the left. My artillery support was woeful all night, with me only managing to call some in once or twice, the Austrian Electronic warfare chaps must have been playing a blinder, jamming my comms. My rolling was not any better when I finally secured the initiative and blew all my pips in attempting to call in an airstrike on the SK105’s, failing miserably and having the mission aborted.

Over on the left I managed to hit the stream without losing any vehicles from Dan’s good position on the ridge across the valley and de-bussed the infantry whilst one tank company started to probe along the streamline towards the village hoping to utilise the cover from the stream. Dan countered this threat by advancing an infantry and tank force towards the village which was very successful, my tank company was reduced to one surviving platoon hiding behind the village. Along the stream the action developed into a bit of a stand off as Dan didn’t want to move off of his ridge and I didn’t want to leave the cover of the stream so we both started trading shots but our respective terrain advantages prevented any knock outs taking place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I did keep the initiative from then on but usually only with a draw on the dice, using the odd point I did get for another activation which helped my advance off the right hand ridge, after I had finally seen off the covering SK105 company. This company moved forwards along with the company from the wood and engaged Dan’s units that had advanced against my probe along the stream, destroying or seeing off the tank company. My infantry positioned along the stream had used their APC’s 20mm to take revenge on the recce Jeeps, although they and their tank support had started to be whittled down by accurate Austrian artillery and direct tank fire and pretty soon there was nowt left after the surviving platoons bugged out due to formation tests although they did manage to take out one of the Austrian tank companies. This is where we had to stop due to time getting on, and the battle had begun to pivot around the central village, I had the upper hand on the right slightly whilst Dan had easily won the battle on the left so I conceded to a losing draw as I think I’d have pulled back if possible, Dan’s stronger infantry and their deadly BILL atgm might have tipped the balance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All in all it was a nice little fight, just about right for a quickly organised Monday night game. Dan was a cracking opponent as usual, not only sporting but a good laugh too. He liked the house rules, which was nice, as he said it added enough to the standard game without slowing it down and we both agreed that being able to save the pips was a positive change – Dan didn’t hold the initiative that much but his first two rolls were so good he managed to eke out his pips over many moves which helped in keeping his artillery going. I do really need to start painting some of my other 6mm kit to get another force together, will go Soviet next I think…

 

CoC: Scottish Corridor Campaign. Game 2, Another Probe at Bas de Mouen. 11:00

After the failure of Erste Zug to breach the British lines an hour before it was now the turn of Unterfeldwebel Hohman’s lads to try. This time they would be assisted by a Tiger 1 that Oberleutnant Albrecht had managed to rustle up from somewhere, he had also secured the services of a sniper to help as well.

Unfortunately the road through the Tommy’s position was blocked by the knocked out PzIV from the previous attempt so that meant that the Tiger would have to go either through the orchards or across the hedges, both options that the big tank’s commander was unsure about, the first through worry about anti-tank ambushes and the second due to fear of getting stuck. Hohman therefore decided to use the Tiger as a mobile pillbox being able to use its large gun to help take out any pockets of resistance to aid his lads get forward – it might also scare the crap out of the British just by its presence!

Further patrolling between the two actions had resulted in a new covered approach becoming available quite far forwards on the right flank. It did end in the open but might just be useful for initiating a rush to the objective if possible, or to draw out the Tommy forces for the big cat to deal with. The morale of the platoon was not too great however, with the defeat of the first attempt obviously playing on the minds of the men and the lack of food being brought up due to the damned JaBo interdiction playing a part too. The British on the other hand would probably be raring to go as intelligence seems to indicate afresh force waiting for them. (I rolled 8, and Des got 11!)

The action started with the British pushing a section down the right flank around the house in the orchards which was countered by Obergefreiter Heidemann’s 2.Gruppe, unfortunately only one of the MG42 teams was in a position to engage them but they did so with some effect, causing a casualty and worrying the advancing men somewhat. The Brits then deployed their pesky mini mortar near the knocked out PzIV which looked quite silly after the Tiger lurched into view along the road. Heidemann pushed his second MG42 team towards the house hoping to get them in a position to take the advancing British section under a flanking fire. The firefight being carried out by the other team against the flanking section was going ok so there was nothing to worry about here for the moment.

The next phase in the fight was an important one as Hohman thought he could take advantage of a brief lull in the action (I rolled a double 6) to order Obergefreiter Noack’s 3. Gruppe forward through the advanced JOP on the right with orders to push aggressively ahead to the furthest hedgeline in an attempt to break a team through. This order didn’t go down too well as it was very risky and some argument happened before the young man from Hamburg reluctantly called his men forward and they ran for the hedge as fast as possible, reaching it but slightly disorganised by doing so (rolled 3 movement dice and suffered shock for doing so).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Brits reacted to this bold action by deploying their last two sections, one in the farm building at the back of their position and one along the road and around the knocked out PzIV. The combined fire of both of these sections wounded the unfortunate Noack, which luckily did not affect morale, and caused both casualties and shock to his men who became pinned. Now that the Britishers had shown their hand Hohman ordered up Unteroffizier Munzenberg and his 1.Gruppe’s fire combined with that from the Tiger soon caused the section around the knocked out tank to break but sadly not before they and the section in the farm got off more shots on poor Noack’s men causing them to break first which saw morale plummet quite badly (dropped 2 to 6). Revenge was also meted out by 1.Gruppe on the 2″ mortar that was plonking HE rounds down on the poor lads stuck in the open field as they tended to their wounded Obergefreiter, causing the Britishers to break after one of the team was hit. Things did not seem too bad at this moment even with the defeat of 3.Gruppe with Tommies fleeing and the Tiger getting ready to start pumping 88 shells into the farm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Events over on the left in the orchard would decide the battle though. The sniper had deployed in the building and after causing a bit of panic in the section on the road before they ran only managed to get off an inaccurate shot at the British Lieutenant who was desperately trying to rally his men at the far edge of the orchards so his contribution was minimal in what unfolded next. The outflanking British section was still boldly moving forwards, even though they had suffered casualties, and caught the advanced MG42 team of 2.Gruppe still inexplicably outside of the house. Although their comrades behind the hedge tried their best to help by laying down fire as they advanced (I played a CoC die to interrupt) it seemed as if their gun jammed as the fire wasn’t as effective as it should have been leaving the Tommies to lay down a withering fusilade which wiped out the men fannying about by the house. This caused morale to plummet even further (now down to 4) and things started to look really bad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then 3.Gruppe decided that it was best to get out of the fight altogether as the wounded Noack couldn’t keep them together enough to stay, in his wounded state he couldn’t rally them at all. It was about this time that the British mortar team routed too, although the previously broken section had been rallied (Des played a CoC dice to end the turn) The rout of 3.Gruppe coupled with the defeat of 2.Gruppe on the left, the survivors were pinned and about to be assaulted,plus the now dire state of morale (now at 2) Hohman decided that it was time to withdraw and called the men back.

This was quite a costly fight for Zweite Zug. Both 2. and 3. Gruppes lost 6 men each meaning that they will both lose 3 permanently but will get 3 men back the next time they are in action. Unterfeldwebel Hohman didn’t cover himself in glory and his ‘Happy’ outlook might change once he learns what his men’s and Oberleutnant Albrecht’s new opinions of him are (we will be rolling for these next week as we didn’t have ATSE with us!).

Again, a couple of stupid mistakes on my part cost me the battle here. On the left I should have just moved the section there laterally along the hedge to get both MG42’s into action against Des’ section, the one team was doing ok but as witnessed by what happened to his section on the road, two of the buggers and a good die roll can really ruin your day. As it was I left one team hanging and maybe should have used my interrupt to move them out of the way, a bad roll whilst firing didn’t help at all.

As for the charge by 3.Gruppe, if I had just sent a couple of men forwards from the section and put the rest on overwatch at the JOP I could have forced Des to deploy at least a section, as he’d have to stop them sneaking across to the table edge, and then I could have taken them under fire from the rest of the section. If I could have added the fire from the last section and/or the Tiger they’d have stood no chance as happened with the section I took out on the road.

Lesson learnt from this battle: if rolling crap morale at the start of the game NO STUPID GUNG HO MOVES. Utilise the advantages in firepower you have with 2 MG42’s per section and try to force your opponent to deploy to take him under fire, whittle him down and then go for the run to the edge of the table.

 

 

 

IABSM, Eastern Front, Winter ’41

This game was a great laugh to play in and had everything. Monster tanks, heroic last stands, futile human wave attacks and a cavalry charge! And snow, lots of snow.

The scenario was quite simple: Andy, Ian and I had to liberate some of mother Russia from the evil clutches of Des and Daren’s Germans. To do so we had the always fun T-35 and T-28 tanks, a T-26 company, an infantry company and a Cossack company. The filthy fascist, imperialist invaders had a well dug in force liberally equipped with HMG’s, AT guns and a few tanks in reserve.

Our plan was nice and straightforward in a Stavka approved way. Andy’s Cossacks and the T-26’s would advance quickly on the left and engage the Germans to cause them to reveal their positions whilst our heavy tanks rolled forward down the middle to take them out. My infantry company was to work along the right flank, move one platoon through a wood to take out an advanced German position in the flank and use this as a jumping off point to roll up the rest of the position whilst the other two kept them busy – this flanking had to be done by the infantry as the deep snow present there made it impossible for the cavalry or tanks to do it. Obviously if Andy’s T-26’s could do the same over on the other flank so much the better.

Things didn’t go well from the off for either myself or Ian. Ian started to receive fire early on and his tanks suffered straight away without managing to do much harm themselves, I recall turrets being taken out and a terribly glacial rate of advance which wasn’t helping the cause much. I did start to advance well but once I come off my blinds after being fired at I seemed to just sit there for ages without my cards coming up. It took a few rounds before I asked our glorious leader if they had actually added my cards to the deck, no was the answer and thus I could get moving once more. Andy was not having any such trouble and had leapt forwards and was soon trading shots with the Germans but was beginning to suffer from doing so whilst our remaining tanks got more involved in the fight but not in a really effective manner, indeed some dead eye shooting from the German PAK gunners and intervention from a Panzer 38 soon put paid to Andy’s tank force.

I eventually managed to get my chaps moving but came a cropper when executing my flank attack when an Iron Cross winning display from the battered German defenders put paid to my glorious charge and held on! It was about this time when Andy decided that some drastic action was needed if we were to carry out our mission and went all Dr Zhivago, mounting up his remaining lads and led them in an all or nothing charge on the German line. Surprisingly this didn’t end well either, the few remaining survivors limping back to cover and the battle was over for us as we decided we couldn’t break through.

Bags of fun to take part in and great to see something different played, hopefully we will do some more sometime this year.

French Revolutionary Wars GdB

In the absence from blogging I had the pleasure of taking part in a couple of FRW games put on by Des and Martin using their lovely collections of figures.

The first game was a cracking evenings entertainment with the glorious sons of the revolution (guess what side I was on) trying to overcome Austrian and Piedmontese troops somewhere in Italy. Des had devised a seemingly straightforward mission for the French, advance to take control the villages from the clutches of the Austrians and Savoyards. It certainly was a tough fight with the flank being held by the Austrians putting up a good defence, even though they were eventually pushed off of the ridge that they held initially the French losses were so bad that, if I remember correctly, they were pushed back by a counter attack (let me know if that is right chaps and I’ll edit it later!). Meanwhile over on my flank I had more room for manoeuvre and got ahead quickly only to be attacked by the Piedmontese aggressively handled by Martin and after a brutal fight that swung both ways I just held on to my target village (I think, again, sorry details vague so let me know if wrong someone!). A draw was declared and it was a cracking battle, Des’ figures were lovely and even Daren enjoyed it and he usually never dallies in the horse and musket period. Here’s the customary slideshow of 18mm goodness, figures from Des’ collection I believe with maybe a few from Martin’s?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The second game was equally as good and even had some pre-battle movement which added to it greatly. Martin contacted me a few days before the game and asked me to split a force to cover some passes and also to denote the composition and placement of a reserve. He had also asked the attacking Austrians to do similar for their attack therefore our decisions would impact what forces were present on the table. The resulting battle was brilliant fun. A plucky French covering force (led by Andy) at one of the passes, above a broad plain surrounding a town, was pressed in front (by Des) whilst being outflanked by an advancing Austrian column (Martin). Help was on the way though as the French reserve column (moi) was also making its way to the point of crisis and along a parallel course to the outflanking Austrians. This led to the fantastic sight of two opposing forces marching virtually alongside each other whilst being totally ignorant of each other.

Once they both debouched onto the plain a fantastic swirling fight erupted as more and more of mine and Martin’s units entered the fray whilst Andy’s units covering force skilfully disengaged and retreated to join my column, all the while making things difficult for Des’ kaiserlicks to push through onto the plain too. The fight swung both ways all through the battle and I believe a draw was called at the end as although the French were forced back on the town the Austrians had received a bloody nose and would have had to retire to regroup. We all agreed that it was a cracker and discussed maybe doing it again but maybe extending the size to fit another pass in and to have more time to fight to a definite conclusion. The scenario could also be used for many other periods, Wellington vs Soult in the Pyrenees came to mind straight away. There is a Revolutionary Wars campaign being planned for this year and I can’t wait to get involved.

Here’s some eye-candy shots from the game. I haven’t got any decent ones of the bigger picture I’m afraid (either my phone was out of juice or I was too busy dealing with all those Grenadiers!) but enjoy Martin’s lovely figures all the same!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.