Club Night 25/09/17: FFT3, Austrians vs Soviets.

I really need to get back into the swing of posting, been thinking of a bit of a change to a couple of things and will get started once I’m caught up with these Club Night posts. Anyway as I had just finished off painting my new T-64 Regiment and it had been a while since the Austrians had a run out I decided to get them both on the table. Comrade Noakesavitch would be leading the mighty Red Army as usual and I would be taking over Kampfgruppe Grüber to try and stop their advance. Dan’s orders were to take the road junction at the end of the table to enable the advance on Vienna to continue.

Before we started Dan and I had a quick conversation about recce and how we both don’t like the usual ‘recce by death’ that usually happens so we cobbled together something on the fly. As my forces recce element was a couple platoons of Jeeps with MG’s I said that they would have fallen back before the heavier Soviet recce element and hence Dan could place his platoons anywhere up to the line of terrain features (hills/fields) in front of the stream (the dark green line) that bisected the table. This was near enough to my forward positions without initiating close combat but close enough to maybe ‘spot’ something or get a sound contact. Dan then rolled against his QC rating to see if he spotted anything, he didn’t definitely spot anything but he was aware of a couple of my positions – we will be working on this for future games.

Dan’s Tank Regt comprised the following, rated as Conscript (-1 to hit and Quality of 4):

  • Regimental Base
    • 1 HQ stand
    • 1 ACRV FOO
    • 1 ZSU-23-4
    • 1 SA-13 Gopher
    • 2 recon BRDM-2
  • 3 Tank Btlns
    • 6 T-62
  • BMP Btln
    • 1 Cmnd BMP-2
    • 2 SP Vasliek 82mm Mortars
    • 1 AGS-17 30mm AGL (BMP-1)
    • 1 AT-7 Saxhorn atgm team (BMP-1)
    • 9 Inf (BMP-2)
  • (Off table) Regt Art Btln – 3 x sp 122mm
  • (Off table) 2 Div Art Btlns – 3 x sp 152mm
  • (Off table) 3 MRLS units
  • Mi-24 Helicopters
  • SU-25

The valiant Austrian ‘Kampfgruppe Grüber’ consisted of the following, rated as ‘Regular’  (Quality 4):

  • Kmpfgp base
    • 1 HQ Stand
    • 2 recon Jeeps/MG
    • 1 M42 Duster
    • 1 Gr81 sp81mm Mortar
  • Jagdpanzer Coy
    • 3 Sk-105 Kurassier
  • 2 x Panzer Coys
    • 3 M60a3
  • 2 x Panzer-Grenadier Coys
    • 3 PzGren (4k4f mg)
    • 1 PzGren/Bill atgm (4k4f 20mm)
  • (Off table) Bgde Art Btln – 3 x sp155mm
  • (Off table) Corp Art Btln – 3 x towed 105mm
  • (Off table) 1 MRLS unit
  • Draken

I could also call on another Kampfgruppe of the same composition (minus the Jagdpanzer company and off table supports) as a reserve.

My plan was to try and slow the advance down by placing a PzGren company in the central village near the stream and to keep the rest of my force back so as to hopefully prevent it all being destroyed too quickly then to counter-attack once my reserve showed up. Dan did a classic Soviet attack, the Motor Rifle battalion was dispatched straight up the road headed for the central village with a Tank battalion advancing on each flank with the third in reserve. He also started laying down a sustained barrage on the village which immediately caused suppressions on the defending PanzerGrenadiers. Due to his earlier recce he also brought fire down on the hedgeline to the left of the village and suppressed some of the APC’s there (these were from the lads holding the village).

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The Austrian view and deployment: Lt Green are PzGrenadier positions, Black are Panzer, Pink is PzJager and Yellow Recon. Red ‘flag’ is HQ.

These bombardments continued for a while as the Soviets moved up to the stream, all the time keeping the garrison of the village suppressed whilst Dan prepared for the assault. I, on the other hand, was having trouble calling my artillery in at all – damn that Soviet jamming of my radio nets! To make things worse Dan was consistently winning the initiative and was slowly accruing a hefty amount of command pips even though he was spending some on keeping his artillery going. Then things got even tougher for the PanzerGrenadiers when a massive MRLS barrage landed on the village taking out one platoon and supressing the rest which allowed the assault that followed to succeed at the first rush, albeit at the cost of one Motor Rifle platoon.

Whilst this was going on in the centre the Soviet tanks on the flanks had reached the stream and those on my left got busy trying to brew up the APC’s stuck by the hedge due to being constantly suppressed by artillery, with two platoons soon ko’d and one having legged it due to failing its Quality check the last survivor also made for the rear. This whole side of the battlefield was now only defended by the Panzer company situated at the hill to the rear. Over on my right flank Dan had pushed one of his recce platoons forward along the stream to recce my positions and I was forced to try and take it out with a SK105 platoon as I wanted to keep the tanks here hidden as long as possible. Unfortunately I missed with the first attempt due to the plucky BRDM-2 crews taking advantage of the cover afforded by the streams trees and bushes (bloody saving throws!). The Soviet recce types then duly located my Panzers on the ridge and got off a report to HQ.

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I was now expecting to be on the receiving end of some artillery attention whilst waiting for the mass of T-64’s advancing on the stream to surge forward to take on the M60’s but Dan had other ideas and used some of his Command Pips to call in an airstrike. He then rolled very well for the load carried by the SU-25 (mind you nearly every load carried by one of these will spoil your day!) and pretty soon I was on the receiving end of masses of cluster bombs and other general nastiness that destroyed one of the 2 targeted Patton’s whilst causing the other to fail a quality test. This convinced the remaining platoon to also re-locate in a rearward direction, bugger.

 

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Achtung, Jabo!

 

Things were now officially ‘somewhat sticky’ for the Austrians, I still could not wrest initiative from Dan and had only managed to accrue 1 measly Command Pip which was not enough to get my reserves into action and my force was down nearly 50% of its initial strength. So, what to do: I decided to re-deploy the PanzerJager company towards the centre to replace the missing Panzer company and hoped to win the initiative and then release my reserves otherwise I was onto a hiding. Whilst I started moving the Kurassiers the Soviet Tank battalion that was advancing on my right had made it to the stream and the recce platoon here moved across the stream where it was taken out by a Bill ATGM from the PanzerGrenadiers in the wood there. I also managed to supress some tank platoons when I actually managed to call in all of my M109 batteries at last.

Over on the other flank Dan had crossed the stream to the left of the village and here too I managed to score a partial success with my artillery calling in a strike from the Army MRLS battery which succeeded in suppressing the whole battalion and causing so much confusion that it caused them to halt for a turn to sort themselves out, this was however, very much a last hurrah (indeed a first hurrah really!). My hopes in calling forth my reserve was dashed again as Dan retained the initiative and as the ominous form of a Hind helicopter had also entered the field by this time I decided enough was enough and gave the order to withdraw to preserve what was left of my force for the future.

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As usual it was a cracking game with Dan, who is always a pleasure to play against, he used his artillery to maximum effect supressing my lads in the village constantly then unleashing a massive final blow with his rockets before the assault went in – textbook stuff really. He also used his command pips well, allowing his artillery to keep firing and keeping enough in reserve to unleash his air support when needed. I did suffer from not gaining initiative apart from once but that was sort of satisfying as it means that the new initiative rules work, sometimes it just aint your day. I do actually sometimes like it when that happens as it adds to the challenge, although having said that I will be getting the Austrian MANPAD bases done soon to help out against Soviet airpower in future ‘cos those Frogfoot’s are beasts!

 

 

 

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Club Night 18/09/2017: FFT3: Alt-History Hungarians vs Poles

It had been a while since Alex and I had had a bash at FFT and he had just finished the first few bits of his Alt-history Hungarian army (good to see that a few others have run with my idea by the way!) and said that he had an ‘Advanced Guard’ unit ready of about 5 companies strong so I duly picked the Polish Armoured Cavalry Regt to take them on. Unfortunately I can’t find the pics that I took, which might be a good thing!

It was a classic meeting engagement type affair which was fitting given the forces involved I thought and the plan was for us to fight over control of two villages that would secure a local road network. There were a few hills and woods scattered around to break the terrain up. I had split my force into 2 equal parts both of which consisted of:

  • 1 Striker
  • 1 Vickers mk3 Coy (3 tanks)
  • 1 infantry Coy in Stormer-20’s (3 bases each)
  • 1 Scorpion-90 Coy (3 tanks)

The Regimental HQ had the AD and mortar bases and each of the 2 battalion groups were tasked to take a village each. I also planned to do so in a similar fashion with both groups: Infantry and Scorpions to make a dash for the village if possible whilst the tanks and Strikers went into overwatch from the ridges to the rear.

I thought that this plan was sound but come acropper from the outset as soon as Alex’s Leopard 2A4 company hit the table. I’m just 2 moves they had moved through a wood on the extreme left of the battlefield, engaged and destroyed the left hand Vickers company and attached Striker whose defensive fire could do nowt but suppress the mighty Leopards. After the destruction of the first tank company the Leopards were now in the rear of my position and even though I had managed to secure the villages with my infantry the Leopards had proceeded to brew up my remaining tanks with long range fire which I just couldn’t reply to and soon I was left with no choice but to concede defeat!

So possibly the quickest game I’ve ever had (4 moves in total!!) and a good example of why everyone uses Leopard 2’s in real life, they’re bloody beasts! Thanks to Alex for the game but next time he might have to face the Polish Vickers Mk.7 which should give a more even fight!

Club Night 11/09/17: More Big CoC, Normandy ’44.

It’s been a while since we played this game, so the write up will be brief especially as I didn’t seem top take many pics for some reason which usually helps jog my memory.

Anyway it was supposed to be a sort of reverse game of the one fought out a few weeks before between Daren, Mike and myself but this time with me controlling the defending Germans against Mike and Daren attacking with the Brits. On the night though we were joined by Bart as he didn’t have a game and wanted to try out Chain of Command. The Brits had 2 infantry platoons and a tank platoon of 3 Sherman’s one of which was a Firefly. For support they brought a Carrier Section and a Churchill which just wasn’t cricket! To face this horde we had a standard Heer platoon (Commanded by me) with a HMG and Mortar FOO in support along with a mixed armour platoon of 2 PzIV’s and a Somua half track mounted PAK-40 that Bart was in charge of.

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The field of battle looking from the German lines

The patrol phase was an even affair but the Brits rolled really well for morale with 10’s and 11’s whereas we were at 8’s and 9’s, but we were sort of confident. Our plan was to engage the armour from as far back as possible and once we knew where the bulk of the infantry were get some mortar stonkiness on them to get them pinned or to at least deny as much of the ground as possible to the attackers so that we could try and take the larger number of enemy infantry on with less chance of being outflanked or over-run.

The Brits had decided on a very bold plan though getting all of their infantry sections on the table as soon as possible with the armour also getting involved quickly too. This did force us to deploy our tanks as quickly as possible and I also had to get some infantry on to prevent a JOP from being taken. We also managed to get the FOO going from our first phase and soon the mortar’s were in action catching 2 sections of advancing Tommies and a Senior Leader in the fire zone. However after one phase a triple 6 was rolled which put the kibosh on the barrage as we didn’t have a CoC dice yet. To add to our woes we failed to get in contact with the battery in the next activation and then when we tried again we rolled up the dreaded ‘not available again’ result. Things were now officially a bit sticky.

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Our short lived mortar barrage – damn those ammo shortages!

While this was happening Bart’s panzers had been engaging the British armour from long range and whilst one of the PzIV’s kept getting hits on the Churchill it just refused to be damaged due to its great armour. The other PzIV did cause some major damage to one of Daren’s sections when it caught them crossing open ground but it didn’t have any luck against the Sherman’s it was duelling with and succumbed to a long range shot from the Firefly. Pretty soon the surviving PzIV was also burning as it was ganged up on by the numerically superior Allied tanks, which had managed to survive the duel without much damage.

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Brits advance….

With the failure of the mortar barrage to help slow down the advancing infantry I was forced to get the remainder of the German infantry on table to try and deal with the British advance. This went as well as the rest of our attempts had done through the rest of the battle with me losing a section trying to win back a lost JOP. I holed one section up in a house after that but our morale was plummeting badly and the impetus was well and truly with the British. Both tanks were out of action and when the SP PAK was also knocked out it was obvious that we had no chance of winning as the Brits could just sit back and shell the crap out of us with their tanks whilst their superior number of infantry moved forward to secure JOP’s and the objective at the T-junction. We might have been able to shred a section or two but we decided discretion was the better part and withdrew.

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.. relentlessly on

So a sound drubbing for the Bosche but as usual a good fun game which lessened the blow somewhat. If we could have kept the mortars going for a bit longer it would have evened things up somewhat and also losing the armour fight so comprehensibly (no fault of Barts by the way he was very unlucky a couple of times not to brew up a Sherman) meant that we were on a hiding to nothing but c’est la guerre and all that!

 

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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Daren’s ‘bait’ section advances
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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.

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Mike’s last, valiant, crazy carrier charge …
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… 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?

 

 

 

Club Night 24/07/17: The drums, the drums!

I took part in my first ever Colonial game on Monday down at the Warlords. To be honest the ‘period’ always left me cold as I could never see the point in it really. Some seriously outnumbered Europeans boldly defending themselves against hordes of indigenous peoples (armed only with sharpened pieces of fruit and rightful indignation) but pulling through due to having far superior firepower and fantastic facial hair just didn’t do it for me. However I saw Martin’s game the other week and it looked fantastic and when he said he was putting on a bigger version I jumped at the chance as the figures were just too lovely not to!

So, here I was about to take on the Mahdi’s forces in the Sudan. The scenario was seemingly straightforward, our column had to advance across the table and secure the settlement at the far end. We could see some Mahdist types in the wadi to our front but were sure that there were more lurking in the various pieces of cover between us and our objective. The column was split into 4 commands with (from left to right) Ian taking the Dragoons, Andy the Royal Navy detachment and Royal Marines (well he is an old bootie), Mike the Highlanders and Yorks & Lancs and I had control of 3 battalions of Egyptian infantry, some skirmishers and the chainmail clad Gendarme squadron. The plan was brutally simple: the Dragoons would get free of the first wadi and then swan about looking for Mahdists, the British would boldly advance on the settlement whilst the Egyptians would have the trickier job of advancing on the guns to silence them.

Things got very sticky very quickly however as a bunch of Mahdists broke cover in the brush in front of the advancing Marines and opened fire which slowed their advance somewhat as it took a while to dispatch them, especially as the Navy’s gun jammed after 6 shots! Whilst this action was happening my brave Egyptians had advanced to the wadi and had readied themselves for the assault whilst my skirmishers tried to discomfort the lurking enemy. The Jocks to my left were attracting the attention of the Mahdi’s guns and the Cavalry on the far left seemed to be just prancing around (the first of the random event cards caused them to retire in the direction they had just come).

The Egyptians were soon across the first Wadi as the Mahdists broke as soon as the assault battalion charged whilst the British also moved forwards to take the other Wadi defenders under fire whilst the Highlanders outflanked them. The Marines seemed to be a trouble magnet though as they were attacked by bands of both Fuzzy-Wuzzies and Mahdists. These attacks were seen off with the assistance from the other battalions and soon the combined weight of shot from the Naval Detachment, Yorks & Lancs and Royal Marines soon saw the Wadi and its environs free of the enemy and they could cross over to join their allies and the Highlanders on the far side. It was about this time that the drums started up as the column once more pushed ahead.

 

At first everything was looking good, my Egyptians had advanced and  after seeing off a charge by some camel mounted fuzzies we were steeling ourselves for the attack on the first enemy gun. I had pushed my skirmishers right in front of the guns and should have started to reduce the crew by their fire if they could have hit them, unfortunately though they were awful shots and this wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, across the rest of the advance Mike’s Highlanders were advancing on the second gun and both them and the Y&L had to deal with further ambushes from the Mahdists which had disjointed their advance somewhat with the English battalion now lagging somewhat behind. This was the story for Andy’s chaps too. The Marines were still shooting and melee-ing their way forwards, racking up an impressive number of slain and routed enemies on the way, but becoming slightly separated from the Naval Detachment as they had also veered off to the left somewhat to deal with more trouble. The Cavalry meanwhile had got into a jolly hairy scrape, riding between the palms and some brush to threaten one of the enemy guns they triggered 3 separate ambushes and another Balaclava looked on the cards. Thankfully though they managed to extricate themselves from the trap with no loss. Then the drums stopped.

As soon as this happened all hell broke loose with Mahdist bands led by Emir’s appearing from all points of the compass and headed straight for us (this was the result of a random event card). Things got extremely hairy from here on in. Over on the far left the Royal Marines were girding themselves to see off yet more, fresh attackers. The Yorks and Lancs had to about face to prepare to receive attacks from the direction we had come from by a large band of Mahdists. The Navy and Highlanders were dealing with one of the guns and the forces that failed to catch the Dragoons and my brave Egyptians were surprised by two huge bands of enemy troops lead by fantastically bedecked Emirs erupting onto their right flank.

The Mahdists caught the end of one of my battalions which sacrificed one and a half companies to try and hold them long enough for the rest of the battalion to fall back and wheel to face. This is what a second battalion just about managed to do letting loose a volley before being struck by the second attacking band. A frenzied melee then ensued with the smaller Egyptian force valiantly holding off a vastly superior force long enough for their parent battalion to ready themselves, the second battalion was also holding firm and I readied the Gendarmes to make a charge into the disorganised Mahdists. At the same time another band was spied moving towards the Wadi that we had crossed earlier so a square was formed by the two battalions that were not engaged in the melee. This was none too soon as the fighting on the flank ceased with the destruction of the brave Egyptian defenders, with the charge of the Gendarmes achieving naught but delaying the inevitable briefly.

Elsewhere other desperate fighting was being conducted as the Mahdist hordes attacked although the Dragoons did manage to execute a successful charge into the rear of one band.  Although we were quietly confident of our chances there were a lot of new enemies approaching and their guns were still in operation, all of our units had been steadily losing men and I was down one whole battalion so it was a slight relief that we ran out of time!

The game was bags of fun and had moments of real tension, many thanks to Martin for putting the game on it was an absolute pleasure sir! Rules used were ‘Sands of the Sudan’ which had nice simple mechanics that were easy to pick up and the random event cards added a huge amount to the game not only in the random events but also period flavour. All the figures are from Martin’s beautiful collection and most of the terrain (bar the Wadi’s and the ruined buildings ) are his too, with most made by him too. He is thinking of taking it to a show which I think is a great idea as it would be a great participation game. I’ll definitely play another game so thank you Mr Gane for the introduction, the next one might even be reported in an appropriately Victorian style….