Beyond Le Plessy, Normandy 1944. 15mm IABCM

Sunday saw myself and Philip pitch up at Des’ shed o’war to play the second game in his set of linked battles of a (fictitious) British attack on German positions north of Caen in 1944. I had played the first game against Des a few weeks ago but I stupidly forgot to charge my phone so couldn’t take any pictures hence the lack of report on it! Figures and models are all 15mm from Des’ stunning and impressive collection and all the lovely terrain is his as well. Rules used are our dice activated version of IABSM -I Aint Been CoC’d Mum, as seen in the 2019 Lardies Annual.

‘O’ Group, Btln. HQ, 14 Essex Regt, just North of Plessy:

“Right then chaps, listen in. Yesterday ‘A’ Company tried to break through and suffered a bloody nose from some very determined defenders from Kampfgruppe Darchin. However they did manage to write down the Jerry forces (we expect the defenders to be short at least one platoon and definitely 2 Panzer IV’s) and secure a good start line for todays attack running through the two orchards and the village. 1 Platoon from A Company has remained in the north part of the village and will be under command for today’s action, you will also be supported by battalion 3″ mortars and a troop of Churchills from Brigade’s attached Squadron, I have ordered up a stonk from the Gunners too which will be your cue to get the ball rolling. Your task is to take the remainder of the village and breach any further defences to open the road to Caen. I’ll leave you to co-ordinate with mortars and tanks. Good luck.”

‘O’ Group, C Coy. 14 Essex:

“Alright then everyone it’s our turn now. When the artillery starts to land on the orchard behind the village I want 9 Pltn to push forward a small patrol from their position in the right hand orchard through to the end of the orchard across the road to try and spot if the Jerries have anything in the Farm complex or along the hedges between there and the orchard that is getting stonked, once patrols are back then to advance through orchard, take any enemy under fire and develop attack either on the farm or into the central orchard beyond the village. 7 Pltn is to move through the orchard it is located in on the left to the end nearest enemy and then locate any enemy in the wood to the front. Once located enemy is to be engaged with fire then assaulted if feasible. 8 Pltn is to deploy behind 7 Pltn and pass through on my order to carry on the attack on the left flank which will be the main effort. Once they are moved through then 7 Pltn will act as Coy reserve. 1 Pltn, A Coy is to clear the rest of the village and then will be deployed to either support the attack on the woods or to the right flank. Troop of Churchills to be deployed as I see fit to either shoot infantry into positions held by enemy or tackle any armour. Once the line of the wood to the farm has been secured then await further orders. All clear? Good. Questions?”

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And so we began…

There was a German blind in the village immediately to my front which I quickly scouted out to find it was nothing more than a few stay behinds making noise as cover for the enemy to withdraw. With that knowledge I started moving 1 Pltn forward all the time trying to spot any nasty surprises in the wood to the left. At the same time I moved my own patrols forward on the right (dummy blinds) to try and spot any Germans in the farm or in the vicinity of the central orchard. As both dummy blinds spotted nothing I then moved 9 Pltn forward until they reached the end of the orchard where they finally were fired upon by the survivors of the enemy section that had withstood the pre-game stonk of the orchard. They also drew the attention of a Panzer IV lurking next to the farm! 1 Pltn had also spotted a Panzer IV lurking in the wood and both platoons swiftly got their 2″ Mortars busy smoking the enemy tanks to block their view. 1 Pltn quickly dashed for cover in the houses and gardens to avoid the incoming HE fire from the tank but also sent their PIAT team forward in a dash to the garage building at the end of the village. This building looked like it could be used to get a tricky shot away on the tank in the woods and 216 Jenkins on the PIAT quickly made his way up stairs and to the window. Having a spring action bomb thrower came into its own as he managed to get a couple of shots away (try doing that indoors with a Bazooka or Panzerschreck!) which didn’t do any damage but this attention and the smoke blocking its view caused the tank to withdraw. Meanwhile 9 Pltn was quickly winning the firefight with the Germans in the central orchard whittling the defenders down quickly.

Next up 7 Pltn advanced through the orchard and spotted an enemy AT gun and immediately took it under fire from 2 sections and the platoon 2″ mortar, pinning the crew and causing casualties. About this time too the Company CO along with the 3″ Mortar FOO moved into the rear of the village and immediately got on the blower to bring down fire on the German section in the central orchard to help nullify the threat there and to help the attack progress. The mortars came in quickly and bang on target (a feature of the day happily for me!) and with the combined efforts of the fire from 9 Pltn and the stonking pretty soon the defenders were all killed with only their NCO seen legging it for safety. Now that this position was cleared 1 Pltn was ordered up out of the village to move towards the vacated enemy position. I also called the Churchills forward to advance between the village and 9 Pltn on the right as I now knew the location of the enemy tanks and thought this position would be a good one to hold them in before committing them further.

Over on the right 9 Pltn pushed a section along the hedges towards the farm to check it out which was countered by the Germans moving their Panzer IV across behind the farm on our right flank and firing on them, which was quickly countered by a smoke round from the 2″ completely blocking it’s view causing it to withdraw and allowing 9 Pltn to move the PIAT team forward under its cover. With that threat dealt with 9 Pltn then advanced the remaining 2 sections out of the cover of the orchard aiming for the hedges to the left of the farm which unfortunately wasn’t as empty as I thought and erupted with the terrifying sound of a MG42! The resulting fire decimated one section and caused casualties in the other one supressing them both. However fire from the third section lining the hedge, the platoon mortar and supporting fire from the tanks and 1 Pltn quickly eliminated this new threat and the lone survivor was seen abandoning the MMG and making for the rear.

Meanwhile, over on the left flank, 7 Pltn had slipped a section out of the orchard tasked with working around the flank of the enemy AT gun which was still being shot up by the rest of the platoon to assault what remained. Unfortunately they instead were taken under brutal close range small arms fire from an enemy infantry section located just inside the treeline. Although the section suffered terribly the enemy also suffered from a withering fusillade from the remainder of the platoon which quickly either killed or routed the ambushers. With the threat of the enemy infantry gone and the AT gun also neutralised 8 Pltn pushed quickly through 7 Pltn’s position and deployed ready to push through the woods with 7 Pltn now moving into reserve as per plan. 8 Pltn were soon in action as their left hand section made contact with the retreating crew of the AT gun and much to everyone’s surprise came off worse in the ensuing close combat! Then the tank that had been in the wood earlier appeared at the rear of the wood and started lobbing very inaccurate HE shells about (poor Philip had terrible luck doing this all day much to my amusement). 8 Pltn quickly pulled their men back and the shout went up “Bring up the PIAT”, and with that the plucky team dashed forward through the trees but couldn’t quite get into a position to get a shot off. Luckily for them though the German tanker ordered his vehicle to reverse and the driver gave it a bit too mush and the metal beast presented itself side on, the first shot from the PIAT missed but the team worked quickly and got another off which slammed into the tank and caused it to brew up immediately! With the enemy seemingly cleared from the wood 8 Pltn then sorted itself out into formation to await further orders.

And then the tank battle started. After being thwarted in its attempt to chew up 9 Pltn by judicious use of smoke the Panzer IV on our right moved round to the left of the farm again and started to engage the Churchills and a tank duel quickly started which seemed to take over the battle for a good while, and resulted in one Churchill being knocked out but the Panzer IV suffering slightly from non-penetrating hits that caused it to briefly pull back out of line of sight of the remaining two British tanks. This was also when a third Panzer IV revealed itself and lurched forwards making for the right of the wood and looking to insert itself between 8 & 1 Platoons whilst using the orchard to cover itself from my tanks. Once again the shout went up for the PIAT and the ever ready Jenkins from 1 Pltn rushed forward into the road through the orchard and with his last 2 rounds dispatched the advancing Panzer. With the death of this tank the Churchill troop commander ordered his other surviving tank to sweep round the orchard along the main road to try and take the remaining Pz IV in the flank either dispatching it themselves or in concert with his tank. Sadly this wasn’t to be as the Germans had a Jenkins of their own and it was ambushed by a hidden Panzerschreck team as it neared the burning wreck of the recently brewed up panzer.

Taking stock of the situation I knew that I had wiped out one enemy section, one was reorganising and badly shot up in the cornfield on the left past the woods, one MMG and an AT gun were also kaput and 2 tanks were knocked out but I knew the enemy must still have some troops left so I decided to soften up some possible locations before renewing the attack. I had already been mortaring the wood to the rear of the battlefield as I figured that is where I’d place an AT gun if I was defending but now decided to switch fire to the two buildings either side of the road just past the wood. After I had stonked this position for a bit I was going to push 8 Pltn through the wood to take the buildings and hence secure the exits from the village. 7 Pltn were to get ready to advance through 8 Pltn once this was completed whilst over on the right 9 Pltn, whose two sections still stuck in the open were now taking harassing fire from the remaining panzer, would try to go for the PIAT hat-trick whilst the remaining Churchill moved up to help. 1 Pltn was to wait for the last Pz IV to be taken care of before moving into the central orchard and setting up a base of fire to help 7 & 9 Pltns to advance further.

Unfortunately for me my mortars, which had been spot on all day, now decided to go way off target and the stonk on the two houses landed way off over on the left flank landing on the shot up enemy section in the cornfield. More misfortune followed as the two sections from 8 Pltn that I was moving up under cover of the barrage stepped out a bit too lively and just broke cover from the woods triggering an ambush by an enemy section lurking in the flowerbeds, the devastating close range fire saw the PBI take casualties and they fell back to the edge of the wood. Luckily the mortars were dragged nearly back onto the original target and the ambushing German section now found themselves under the fire of the battalion mortars. However this didn’t mean the end of the suffering of 8 Pltn as a MMG configured MG42 now opened up from the edge of the cornfield further piling on casualties and causing the 2 sections to break back through the woods. While this sanguinary scene was playing out over on the right 9 Pltns PIAT team had worked its way along the edge of the farm through the pigsty and was ready to fire a shot off on the last panzer. Philip was now fully suffering from PIAT terror and switched the tanks full attention on the plucky team killing one of them and causing the survivor to fall back into the pigsty (insert own jokes here!). What this did do, however, was to allow my Churchill to move up into a position to take the German tank under fire again which it did, and whilst hitting the target didn’t cause it to brew up it did convince the already rattled crew to bail out and head for the rear.

With this action we decided to call it a day. Philip’s lads had put up a very spirited defence causing a lot of casualties to my lads with both 8 & 9 Platoons suffering a section+ losses each and my supporting Churchills down to 1 tank too. However with my mortars now on target and causing casualties to the Germans in the flower beds and the largely intact 1 & 7 platoons ready to move forwards once the mortars had finished their work we said that the Germans would have withdrawn and the Brits would have consolidated on the line they held from the far edge of the wood, the central orchard and along to the farm. So the scene is set for the next battle when B or D Company take over but will probably be facing a fresh German unit.

Many thanks again to Des for putting the game on and for Philip for being a cracking opponent as usual, it was a tense but fun affair with a grate narrative and some fantastic bits of action. Also I do have to say again what a joy it is playing on such a terrific table, top work Des!

Club Night 01/04/19: France ’44, 15mm IABSM/COC

After the last game of IABSM I was moaning about the card activation and how I thought it slowed things down and increased the chance of you sitting there doing nothing for large parts of the game if you were unlucky in the card activations (or if, as happened to me once, someone forgot to add a card into the deck after coming off the blind). Des had a think about it and came up with a very simple but ingenious way of combining the dice activation from CoC with the core rules.

Activation was much the same as in CoC, 5 dice being rolled, but scaled up: 1 activated a team/section, 2 a platoon, 3 a Big Man 1 or 2 (i.e. a JL), 4 a Big Man 3 (a SL), 5 added a pip to a ‘Bonus’ die, and 6’s went to a ‘Tea Break’ dice. Multiple 6’s were treated the same as in CoC so 2 gave you another go (we used our system of decreasing the activation dice by 1 die every time). The ‘Bonus Dice’ was added to until you hit 6 pips (basically a CoC dice) whereupon you could pick a card from the bonus card deck. As soon as the ‘Tea Break’ die hit 6 – which was added to by both sides’ rolls – a Tea Break was called.

As well as the activation system from CoC we were using a similar support points system and so both sides had a core infantry company and a set amount of points that we could spend to beef things up. We would also be using the Force Morale system too with points lost for ‘Bad Things Happening’.

The scenario we would test these out with was nice and straightforward. Andy and I had to take a small village somewhere in the Bocage country. Facing us was the all singing and dancing  ‘Kamp Gruppe Bartram’ led by Daren. We managed to set up a rather spiffing table with the club’s terrain and Des’ lovely ‘Empires at War’ Normandy buildings (the 15mm versions of the ones seen on this blog before). The main picture below shows our view of the battlefield, and we hit upon a nice simple plan. I would take 2 of our platoons of infantry and push through the orchard to the right of the road whilst sending our recce jeep along the right flank whilst Andy would take our Sherman platoon along the left supported by the remaining infantry platoon. The enemy would be pinned in place once discovered then destroyed.

Things started very well with all of us getting into the swing of the new activation system easily enough. We decided to push my attack through first and soon I had 2 platoons in the Orchard and the jeep barrelling around bocage as it headed for the lateral road on the right. Then the shit hit the fan. My lads in the orchard must have been fresh from England as they failed to spot the PanzerGrenadiers that lined the hedge at the far end of the orchard until they opened up a murderous fire on my Napoleonic looking column. Pretty soon I was in all sorts of trouble as the German machine guns chewed through section after section and soon one of my platoons was pretty much out of action. My return fire was not the best but I did manage to cause some casualties assisted by the company mortars but I was forced to pull back out of sight to regroup and re-asses whilst the Germans slipped away to take up new positions in the village.

Just when I thought things were pretty bad they got worse. My recce jeep bumped into something along the road and I actually felt my jaw drop when Daren gleefully put out 2 Tigers – indeed both Daren and Des laughed at my re-action. I did have a go at one of the behemoths with my .30-cal before scooting back desperately trying to get into cover but both efforts were futile and one of the giant beasts pumped a HE shell into the plucky Jeep.

As the right flank was now well and truly shut down we decided that Andy best get forward on the left so he pushed his Shermans forward followed by the infantry. However pretty soon the sharp crack of an 88 signalled the appearance of 2 more Tigers! The American tankers tried valiantly to take on the big cats but pretty soon their Platoon commander and one other tank were burning. There was one small glimmer of hope though as the remaining infantry platoon managed to creep forwards whilst the tank duel was going on and soon a couple of bazooka teams were in position to get a flank shot at one of the Tigers. If they could get a successful shot away we might just be able to overpower the remaining one with the concentrated fire of the surviving tanks. But it wasn’t to be, the GI’s manning the rocket launchers were just too jittery and their missiles either sailed harmlessly past the massive tank or glanced off the thick steel (how they missed is still puzzling me, just how do you miss a Tiger side on?!!). Daren then turned the Tigers turret on the hapless bazooka men who would have been blasted to atoms if they weren’t close assaulted by a fresh platoon of PanzerGrenadiers.

With this further defeat Andy and I decided that enough was enough, most of our infantry was knackered and our tanks had been well and truly assaulted by the Tigers so we decided to concede defeat. Strangely though the surviving tanks disappeared during the retreat, and even stranger when we tried to get them on the radio to ask where they were we received this message back: ‘Woof, woof’. Odd.

Despite the defeat it was a cracking game and we all agreed that the new activation system vastly improved things and even I said I’d love to have another game so hats off to Mr. Darkin for coming up with the rules, we did come up with a few tweaks here and there but nowt too much which shows how well they worked.  Apart from the rules more thanks to Des for putting the game on and for bringing his lovely village set, the figures and models were Daren’s but now in the collection of Andy which is great as we  will still get to play with them as they are crackingly well done.

If you are interested in the new activation rules at all you can find them here – Des has called them: ‘Oh what a total bummer’: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216703912095462/files/

(I think: ‘I aint been CoC’d Mum’ was better but apparently that’s a bit rude?!)

As it was so nice and we didn’t get anywhere near it in the fight here’s some gratuitous shots of the lovely village! (available from here: https://www.empiresatwar.co.uk/15mm-NORMANDY-KITS.html)

 

 

 

 

Club Night 18/03/19: 20mm IABSM, France 1940 – Motorbiking!

I really should have posted a report on this game a lot earlier but was suffering from a bit of a fug at the time and hence now the details are a bit hazy which is a shame as it was good fun and it led to something which is potentially brilliant. Oh and it had tons of Motorcycles and sidecars.

The Germans (my side) were tasked with clearing a village of French types and had the following to do so: a platoon of Kradschutzen, a Platoon of Sdkfz 221/222’s, a PanzerGrenadier platoon, a platoon of 8-rads and a support platoon of Infantry gun, MG and Mortar sections. Things were going quite well for ages with our infantry and Hells Angels bumping into defending Poilus and blatting them with fire from supporting Armoured Cars until they buggered off – it’s the second time that I’ve used these cars and both times the 20mmm Auotcannons and MG’s they are armed with have made mincemeat of the opposition. We did suffer a bit from some defensive infantry and AT gun fire and artillery stonkage but we thought we were gaining the upper hand and then the Somua’s turned up and ruined everything, trundling about nonchalantly with a Gaulois hanging out of their gobs shrugging off our feeble attempts to damage them whilst brassing up everything they could. We prudently decided to withdraw and let the Stukas take over.

Good fun was had though and we got to use Ian’s lovely early war kit but Des and I got talking about the rules afterwards and I mentioned (again) how much I really don’t like the card activation aspect – slows the game down every time you have to add cards to the deck, if the GM forgets to add any it is a disaster and you are forever trying to remember who is who. A few days later Des emailed us all to say that he thought he’d come up with a cunning plan to weld the dice activation from CoC onto IABSM and should we try it, we all agreed so stay tuned for that, coming up next.

Before that though here’s the pics of the game. Remember you can make images larger by clicking on them.

 

Club Night 24/09/18: 20mm IABSM, Belgium 1940

It’s has been far too long since I’ve done one of these but an going to try and get back in the habit of doing them again. Anyway, Monday saw Ian put on a nice 20mm WW2 game of IABSM. Daren and I were taking the part of the filthy Bosche whilst Des got to take the plucky Tommies. We were tasked with securing a small hamlet and had quite a nice force to do so with having the following:

  • 1 Heavy weapons platoon of:
    • 1 75mm Infantry gun
    • 1 37mm AT gun
    • 3 Sustained fire MG34 (we attached 2 to the Infantry platoons)
  • 2 Infantry Platoons
    • 3 8-man sections with attached MG34
  • 1 recce Platoon
    • 2 Sdkfz 222
    • 2 Sdkfz 221
  • 1 Pz-38t Platoon
    • 4 tanks

After looking at the terrain we hatched a devilishly simple plan. Daren would take the tanks and one platoon and head straight up the road whilst I would take the armoured cars and the other platoon and try and flank the buildings along the right hand road. Daren would take the Heavy weapons too to help neutralise any opposition.

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Table looking from where ze Germans entered.

So with our plans ready we got to it. Daren advanced through the trees to near the Y-Junction with his tanks and drew the fire of a 2pdr located between the houses on the road and a Boyes AT rifle team hiding in the hedges at the junction. In the meantime my Armoured Cars were making their way forwards along the right hand road heading to the T-junction. Daren’s luck was in as the fire from the Brits failed to knock him out but did cause his lead panzer a mobility loss and so he had blocked the road. As his weapons were ok though he returned fire on the Boyes team and the following tanks deployed amongst the trees. Our infantry platoons were still advancing behind on blinds.

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‘Keep a look out mit ze Minzi Pies Hanz!’

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‘It is all a bit quite, Dieter!’

Things settled down to a duel between the Boyes and 2pdr and the Pz-38 platoon for a while, Daren made short work of the Boyes team and started firing on the 2-pdr which managed to brew up a tank. The return fire from the remaining tanks managed to kill all of the AT gun crew bar one brave soul who stuck to his task and kept up the return fire as best he could (obviously with an eye on getting himself on the cover of Victor Book for Boys one day!). Indeed this stout son of Albion eventually knocked out another Pz-38 before he was finally made to retreat, in the process earning himself the admiration of us all and no doubt a citation for a fanny magnet from his CO too.

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‘Lumme Corp, don’t bleeding well miss.’

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‘Bugger!, you knocked my arm you clumsy sod, now we’re for it!’

Whilst all this was going on we had spotted a rifle section lurking along the hedges where the Boyes was and I duly made short work of them with the combined fire of my cars. I also moved my infantry platoon up into the hedged enclosure between the junctions to prepare for an assault on ‘my’ side of the hamlet. This drew some ineffective mortar fire which was lucky as the infantry were pretty bunched up and fire from a Vickers in the wrecked roof of one of the houses, I managed to get away with only 3 casualties and a few bits of shock and spread the Landsers out and headed for cover.

‘Himmel, Tommies in ze hedges, make mit ze shootings schnell!’

The battle then developed into a firefight as another British rifle section popped up along the stone wall on the right of the buildings and we got the second infantry platoon and the heavy weapons into action too. Unfortunately for Des our lads were better shots and assisted by the automatic weapons of the recce boys and the HE fire from the tanks and guns pretty soon gave the Germans the upper hand shredding the second British rifle section and knocking out the Vickers.

‘Tally-ho lads, lets get up and help out, oh…..’

The Brits did have one hope though as a reinforcing platoon of Infantry accompanied by an A9 appeared on the road on the right, unfortunately my armoured cars hit the infantry pretty hard causing them to scatter and go to ground whilst taking shack and casualties. With time running out and the German weight of fire being so strong we called it a night. All in all a nice straightforward scenario which would have turned out very different if we had stumbled on Des’ other 2pdr and it had taken out the rest of the tanks or some of my armoured cars. Thanks to Ian for putting the game on, he has a fine collection of toys which are always a joy to behold, and thanks to the chaps for making it fun. Hats off to my Armoured Car boys whose devilish shooting helped us secure a win although man of the match was definitely secured by the plucky Tommy on the 2pdr.

EDIT: Some more pics that I forgot to load up in my hast to get the post up!

 

 

Des’ Shed Game 1: WW2 IABSM

Back in December I was invited to Des’ inaugural big game in his new shed-o-war, that I haven’t posted about it yet has been bugging me so I’ll try and remember what happened to get something down at last. The game was a WW2 Normandy bash using I Ain’t Been Shot Mum by the Lardies and Des’ lovely 20mm collection.

I was in charge of the Canadian forces (the first mistake made by our side!) and I was ably assisted by Andy and Daren. We were tasked with advancing and clearing the immediate area to our front of some nasty Boshce that were led by Des and Ian. After a quick ‘O’ group with the chaps we decided that Andy would take the dismounted infantry company through the fields along the left flank supported by the flail tank. I would be in charge of the Recce detachments and would barrel up the road in the centre and scout the right flank, I was also in charge of the reserve of a tank Squadron. Daren would take another tank Squadron with a Kangaroo mounted infantry platoon along the right and would react to what the scouts found. The idea was to keep things as simple as possible and hold on to the reserve until either one of the two flanking groups were in dire trouble or to exploit any success that they had.

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12 feet of Norman countryside.

We got lucky with our 3 pre-game stonks setting fire to 2 of the buildings that we targeted, one of which being the church thus negating the use of its steeple to any Fritzy FOO’s, and Andy started things off by advancing down the left while the scouts cars nosed along the road in the centre and the right. Andy’s lads were quickly engaged after running into some enemy infantry and a fierce fight swiftly ensued and pretty soon it looked like it was time for an assault to go in to clear some of the Germans out. As the reserve Sherman’s were not being let go from the reserve (their card was not coming up) to support the impending attack Andy chucked his attached Sherman Flail into the fray and mighty impressive looking it was too as it churned its way through the hedgerow where the enemy lay. Unfortunately the attack faltered due to some heroic defending by the Landser (absolutely jammiest of jammy dice throw!) although they didn’t hang on too long afterwards and withdrew to the rear just as a couple of StuG’s opened up and dispatched the Flail.

While this attack was going on Andy was keeping more infantry located by the burning farmhouse pinned down in a firefight with one of his platoons which let the Daimlers work their way gingerly down the road onto the flank of the dug-in defenders. Unfortunately one of the cars was taken out by a German anti-tank weapon fired by the infantry but the survivor managed to get round the flank and revenge was served by brassing them up. The Jerries didn’t like this much and they soon broke and the left flank was looking open for the reserve tanks to start moving through with only the StuG’s seemingly in the way. However, things weren’t going so well over on the right.

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The Daimlers creeping down the lanes spent quite a while nosing gingerly forwards expecting any moment to be on the receiving end of general German nastiness in the shape of a Panzerfaust or ‘schreck. When it did come it was more of a massive clang as one of the cars was hit by some high velocity 75mm from a Panther hiding in a stand of trees. The surviving car was in somewhat of a pickle as it was immobilised with the next shot so decided to have a go back with its 2pdr and a seemingly one sided duel ensued. What seemed like a futile gesture on behalf of the recce types ended up being one of those great gaming moments as the German gunner couldn’t land a hit whilst the Armoured Car kept on hitting the target eventually causing enough shock to the Panther crew that it had to withdraw! The cheers of the watching Canadians were quickly silenced however when another Panther opened up knocking out the gallant Daimler, just not cricket really but medals all round.

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Panther ambush!

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Take that Jerry!

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Panther about to pull out.

While this was going on Daren had moved his armoured infantry up and they were cruelly ambushed by another German infantry platoon and pretty soon most of the Kangaroo’s were burning due to attention from the remaining Panther and Panzerfaustings although some of the infantry survived to fight on. A terrific close range firefight then ensued across the hedgerow which the Allies finally won thanks to the HMG’s on the surviving APC’s which tipped the balance and finally saw the German footsloggers break. Unfortunately we still hadn’t managed to get any of our Sherman’s into action yet and were unable to as we had to stop due to time getting on.

So at the end of play we had managed to break the initial line of resistance and force the German infantry to bug out but at no small loss to our own infantry and Armoured Cars, we still had 2 units of tanks that were uncommitted but still had a couple of Panthers and a couple of StuG’s to worry about and as we found out that the Germans also had a couple of Tigers lurking around the church we were sort of  glad that we didn’t carry on as we didn’t fancy our chances much! We reckoned a draw was a fair result, we broke into their position but sort of got stuck doing so.

It was a great days gaming and a cracking way to christen Des’ shed. Big thanks to him for putting the game on and a keeping us fed and watered all day and a massive thanks to Mrs D. for the fantastic lunch too. As usual cheers to the chaps for making a great day’s gaming better by being their usual fun selves, a pleasure as always gents. Stay tuned for the next instalment from chez Darkin as we grind our way through Dennewitz in 15mm.

 

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.

6mm IABSM

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

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

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Club Night 18/01/16: IABSM Normandy ’44

As you might have gathered if you have been reading this blog, I have been getting heavily into Chain of Command of late and painting up my force, writing up the campaign posts and playing through the campaign games with Mike has taken up a bit of time. Also Football Manager ’16 is out so that is getting a hefty look in too! All this combined has meant that I have been slow in getting this post done, 2 weeks is not on though and I will attempt to return to normal service asap.

Ian was putting this game on and it was a follow on game from the one we played before Christmas (see here: https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/club-night-301115-iabsm-normandy-1944/  ). I was in charge of the US Airborne again and had been reinforced with a 57mm AT gun so was expecting to tackle some armour. I had also been informed that the Germans had dug a line of entrenchments when they had controlled the area and that they were still ok to use, which was nice.

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The battlefield. I held the side nearest the camera.

The entrenchments ran from the copse on the right (by the rulebook in the photo) to near the road so I placed one platoon in there as a forward line. The other two platoons were placed in the wood by the crossroads and along the hedgeline in front of the building facing towards the Y-junction. My HMG was in the building with the mortar in the ‘garden’. My ATG was placed on my right facing towards the gap between the copse and the Y-junction hoping that any armour would come that way. In case it didn’t I put the Bazooka team in a reserve by the crossroads opposite the building.

Mike and Daren were taking the Germans and they had a force comprising some Fallshirmjager (or maybe Luftwaffe FeldDivision – I can’t remember, sorry) and a platoon of armour. My plan was simple, wait for the Germans to get close and let fly once they get into close range – Mike and I had been playing the first 3 games of the campaign over the weekend and I think I was all gamed out to be honest!

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I spot the Jerries as they cross from the road.

I managed to spot a German platoon early as they crossed from the road to the field in front of my entrenchment, although they failed to spot me back. I let this unit creep along the hedge popping some ineffective mortar fire at them until they got close enough and let fly with the guys in the trench.

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Pour it on boys! My guys in the trenches let themselves known to the encroaching Germans.

This surprise fusillade did some damage to one section but brought down a heavy weight of return fire and I lost the firefight quite quickly with the surviving members hot footing it along the trench to the safety of the copse on the right. The action then settled down to a gradual German advance with me waiting on overwatch for the time to fire. In fact all I did was to swing my 57mm round to point up the road to cover the crossroads as the armoured support had been spotted and they weren’t coming the way I’d hoped but over on the left.

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German armour spotted on the left flank. Lovely Pz III models (PSC I think?).

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Watch out, Tigers!

I also decided to withdraw the chaps in the wood to the left as the PzIII’s were headed straight for them and they had an uncovered blind moving along with them too, didn’t fancy taking them on with smelly socks and swearing so thought discretion and all that.

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German return fire clears the trenches, and the advance continues.

I think I must’ve got a bit bored waiting for the Germans to get a move on because I opened up on the them in the road with my HMG when they weren’t quite in close range. I failed to do any damage apart from to myself as the Germans let fly in return and the weight of fire put paid to the MG team. My mortar had been plonking rounds on the road troops too but to no real effect.

The panzers and their accompanying blind hit the wood but I had managed to withdraw the lads there across the road and that is when we ran out of time. All in all a nice enjoyable game, and many thanks to Ian for putting it on – even though I had to put up with a bit of stick due to the drubbing I had suffered at the weekend from Mike – so it was nice that I managed to not technically lose this game, I may have lost a few casualties but had slowed the Germans down enough that they had failed to take the crossroads. It might not have ended like that if we had more time mind you!

Also at the club that night was this 7YW game that caught my eye – Alan, Phil and Paul were trying out the new Osprey rules. Very pretty figures as one would expect from the period I believe it was a French vs. Imaginations set up with some very dashing gunners in a lovely claret and light blue combo!

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

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

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

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

I split the force out thus:

Daren took 1st Platoon of:

  • Big Man
  • 3 rifle squads
  • Bazooka team

I had 2nd Platoon of:

  • Big Man
  • 2 rifle squads
  • MMG team
Martin took the HQ Platoon of:
  • Big Man
  • 2 Lt Mortars
  • 1 rifle squad
 So I rolled for our entry points plus a couple of dummy blinds and we got to it.

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The crossroads, our objective. 1st Platoon entered along the road and next to the wood ‘above’ the building. 2nd Platoon with HQ behind to the right of the wood along the road heading right from the crossroads.

So the first card was drawn and it was a ‘Teabreak’ card meaning that the turn was over and any unactivated units could fire on any units within 9″. Unfortunately both of our platoons had entered the table at just those precise positions!
1st Platoon was directly in front of one of Mike’s platoons, whilst 2nd Platoon took fire from the wood to their front. This was going to hurt!

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Surprise for 1st Platoon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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