At this horrible time it is great to have a distraction or 12 so to help us through Jonathan has kindly started up another PBEM game of Fistful of TOW’s. He did the same last year and I was going to do a full write up once we had finished but the game unfortunately fizzled out. However, we did get through a few moves and it was cracking fun so I am really looking forward to this one. Obviously as the new one is ongoing I can’t post anything about it yet as Des might get some good intelligence about what I’m up to so here’s some of the stuff from last time so you can get an idea of how we are going about it, hopefully it might be of interest and give you some ideas for doing something similar.
First of all Jonathan set out the terrain on his table in his lovely, lofty wargames chambre at his place and sent out a map and briefing to each of us. We wrote our orders and emailed them back and he played out the moves either until orders needed changing or there was some decision point that needed input from either of the players. He then sent out a SitRep that contained pictures from the game obviously taken to restrict the view and we sent new orders back.
It worked a charm and added a great level of friction to the game, best example of which was me completely screwing up a movement order that basically put one of my battalions out of the fight when they could have made a telling intervention, and the not knowing where your opponents units are until you run into them was great, very tense.
So nice and simple really but a bit of work for the host to set up, hopefully Jonathan will say how much in the comments?
Here’s the Maps, briefings and SitReps that we received so you get an idea of what actually went on. One thing I have done for the new one is I’m making situation maps after every SitRep so to avoid a balls up like last time (and it’ll help in the write up)
Well, I was expecting to have finished off the CoC campaign with Dan by now but obviously that has been shelved for a while, I do have one last report to do but haven’t really been in the mood lately for some reason.
I’ve been trying to get some painting done but had hit a bit of a wall and couldn’t be arsed until the other day when I got stuck in to basing some of my alt-history 6mm ‘Cold War’ kit in an attempt to kickstart something and it did!
After basing some bits up I then started ruminating over a new force – the Ukraine – and have an OOB and TO&E sorted now so pinged off an order to Scotia and will be looking to get that done as soon as they get here. This has led me to get all the 6mm Modern kit out and have a good old sort out and I’ll be cracking on with tarting it all up over the next few weeks, painting up some missing bits and ordering some more. Apart from that there’s the small matter of an epic rebasing job to do as the new basing looks so much better than my old ones and I know I just won’t be able to have both types in the collection, my slight OCD will do my head in! I’m going to be sensible though and its going to be done unit by unit in manageable batches in between painting sessions. It’s really good to have a bit of impetus again, which is probably down to something I’ve just finally figured out.
Since the success of Des’ ‘I Aint Been CoC’d Yet Mum’ rules merging the dice activation of CoC onto IABSM I’ve been thinking about trying the same thing with FFT3 as the lack of command and control friction has always bugged me and I’ve recently started to want to get away from strict IGO-UGO turn sequences. I had a bit of a eureka moment the other week and decided to have a run through today so had a quick playthrough. The basics worked well and I’ve made some tweaks already which I think will work better/well. I’m going to have another go this evening and if it goes alright I’ll be posting them on a separate page on here – I’m quite excited as I think its going to work very well.
Anyway, I hope you are all keeping well and safe and all the best.
Oh, and obviously there’s only one thing you can call a mash-up of ‘A Fistful of TOW’s’ and ‘Chain of Command’ isn’t there….
My friend Jonathan lives in France and is bereft of any opponents and when I was over there last year he suggested he was thinking of setting up a Play by Email (PBEM) game and would I be interested once we had sorted out another person to join in. The idea is this:
Jonathan comes up with the scenario and sends out a map and forces involved to me and my opponent (which is Gavin, a lapsed member of the club which is good in a way as I don’t have any contact with him!)
Gavin and I send back orders of march and our orders
Jonathan fights out the battle on his table sending us updates and requests for new orders when needed which he then acts upon
It has taken a while to get things going but we have started it recently and the first moves have just happened and I’m actually quite excited by it as I like the concept and it is giving Jonathan a nice spin on solo gaming to keep his games room busy!
I’m going to just copy the scenario briefing and map for now as I don’t want to give Gavin any information than he might not know about already. I will be adding more posts as the battle moves along but it will be a few moves ‘behind’ as it were, so again and to not give Gavin any info that he might be able to use to his advantage (that is if he even visits here!), so bear with me but there will be some pics going up in the upcoming weeks once the shooting starts. Bonus points for those that recognise where this scenario is from.
Scenario Briefing: (This has been edited to prevent any precise intel for Gavin!)
Title: First contact at Kostanjevica
Date/Time: 2nd August 1985, 0730.
Forces: US Marines meet Soviet Motor Rifle troops for the first time.
Location: Yugoslavia, somewhere West of Zagreb.
Weather: Clear and dry, visibility is good with a light wind from the SW. General Background
Relations between the East/West blocs having been fraught from some time and Yugoslavia has become one of the flashpoints.
The post Tito regimes have not proven capable of keeping a lid on the nationalist aspirations of the various groupings in the years following his death in 1980.
Following a failed attempt by the pro Soviet Federal government to suppress the, pro Western, Slovenian provincial government the Committee for the Defence of Yugoslavia has called for assistance from the Warsaw Pact.
Specific Background – Soviet
The Soviet Union has once again responded to the calls for help against Western Imperialism by its fraternal brothers. Using Warsaw Pact forces based in Hungary (2 Motor Rifle Divisions) and an airborne division from the strategic reserve first Belgrade and then Zagreb have been secured and the pro-imperialist, secessionist forces forced to retreat. Soviet forces are now following up into Slovenia in order to bring the area back under the control of the legitimate federal government.
As the Commander of ******** the invasion so far has proven to be nothing more than a drive through the towns and villages of Yugoslavia, with the main issue being the number of vehicle breakdowns in the initial move to make contact with the airborne forces.
Unfortunately it seems that the Western powers are not willing to let the people of Yugoslavia make their own decisions but are determined to impose capitalism upon them as intelligence reports indicate that US forces from the Sixth Fleet have landed on the Adriatic Coast of Yugoslavia and are even now headed towards Zagreb.
Your ******* has been tasked with acting as the advance guard for ******* move West to establish contact with the invading forces and secure the area necessary for the rest of the ****** to deploy to defeat the enemy. Your command is currently approaching the town of Kostanjevica on the roads from the North and East, with the rest of ****** behind you.
Somewhat to your surprise (and annoyance) your HQ unit has arrived in Kostanjevica ahead of ********* with only your advance guard ahead to the West. Contact with the ********* has been sporadic (radio issues in the valleys of Yugoslavia?) but you are assured that they are not far behind you.
Initial reports are that elements of the USMC 26th MAU have landed at Fiume and are headed towards Zagreb on your line of march using the roads to the West and South of Kostanjevica.
The air situation is reported as favourable with Soviet, and fraternal comrades from the WP, fighter and air/ground units established in Belgrade and operating over the divisions march route providing support.
In between coughing and spluttering for the past month or so (and indeed for a few weeks before) I have been pootling away at some 6mm stuff. The majority of it has been for the good comrade Noakes, it took me ages to do a Soviet force for him as I was trying to ‘get’ drybrushing and wanted to make sure that I didn’t ruin them. I’ve been quite pleased with the results and here are some pics (models are all GHQ).
Unfortunately having painted these up my own collection now looks a bit shite so the next month or so will be spent re-doing them. This will just mean a wash and drybrush for most models but some are being stripped down to start again – I bought some 99% Rubbing Alcohol to do this with, trying it out now and will report how it goes – but all of them will be re-based as I want to start using the Baccus basing grit/sand to add some texture.
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):
1 HQ stand
1 ACRV FOO
1 SA-13 Gopher
2 recon BRDM-2
3 Tank Btlns
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
The valiant Austrian ‘Kampfgruppe Grüber’ consisted of the following, rated as ‘Regular’ (Quality 4):
1 HQ Stand
2 recon Jeeps/MG
1 M42 Duster
1 Gr81 sp81mm Mortar
3 Sk-105 Kurassier
2 x Panzer Coys
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Just a quicky post as am a bit busy today painting some bits up. I have always fancied making a Danish Cold War army but never did so as no-one made the super cool looking Danish M41 upgrade, the DK-1. Therefore, it was great to see that H&R had done so and I saw a couple of sample models on display when we were at Joy of 6 back in July. So whilst I was buying some Soviet kit from Andy and Ian on Saturday at Colours I asked when the new Danish M41 and Centurions would be ready. Ian gleefully showed me a couple of boxes stuffed with the blighters and I just couldn’t resist getting a few (3 Cent’s and 1 Bulldog – best to start small!). I must say they are probably the best H&R models I’ve ever seen: lovely, crisp detail on them, you just know that they’ll paint up lovely! Its just annoying that I won’t need too many of them for my FFT Danes so they will definitely be drafted into my alt-history forces somewhere. It looks as if we are going to see some new cracking models released over the next few months. I, for one, am a very happy camper!
Here’s a few pics of the bare metal models for a quick preview, will do some more pics when I’ve slapped some paint on them.
The M41 DK-1, alright it still had a 76mm gun but just look at it. How cool is this!
And the Centurion DK-2, the only thing better than a Centurion in my opinion is an updated Centurion! And the Danes have done well with this…
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.
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.
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.
Just a quickie to show what I picked up at the Joy of 6 the other week (I would have done this sooner but had a terrible time of it health wise last week but feeling better now).
First up from H&R, enough kit to do the ‘teeth’ of a Soviet Tank regiment for FFT3. T-64’s and BMP-2’s. Both are nice models in my opinion, the T-64’s are primed and I should have both tanks and IFV’s done by the end of the week.
I was also picking up some planes and helicopters from Jonathan that he had going spare, I definitely needed the Soviet kit as I was lacking air support for my growing forces. Need to maybe do some repainting and slight repair work on them and add ‘my’ flight stand fixtures but not a bad haul for £15, cheers Jonathan!
First of all, very sorry for not posting this any sooner but I’ve had a bit of a rough week or so, been feeling down and shite so haven’t had the urge to post owt. Hopefully this has passed now, London is basking in glorious sunshine and it is hard to feel down when that happens aint it!
Righty-o, to the game. It was supposed to be a one to one game between me and Alex so his Soviets were going to be coming up against my Austrians (who need to get on the table again really) but Dan and Daren were without a game so I said to them to join in with us. Unfortunately this meant using different forces as I didn’t think my Soviet kit was right for the second player on their side (OCD kicking in here I think). So, it was back to the Poles against the Lithuanians.
Edit: As requested here are links to TO&E’s, the Polish one doesn’t reflect 100% what was on table but was nearly there.
I set up the terrain loosely based on a quick look on Google Earth of a piece of Lithuanian countryside and as Dan arrived first he got the plucky Lithuanian defenders. I ran him through his forces and he got to marking his positions on a map. Daren and Alex were given their armour heavy force consisting of an Armoured Regiment and an Armoured Cavalry Regiment, so lots of tanks which I thought would enable them to punch through the defence. The scenario was simple, the Poles had to exit off the opposite table edge, the Lithuanians had to stop them. This time though the attack was coming in along the wider axis of the table which meant that the Lithuanians would be spread out and also unable to have any depth to their defence.
The Poles came on with the Armoured Regt under Daren on the left-centre and the Armd Cav under Alex on the right from the stream to the wood on the table edge. They began speculatively shelling the big wood in the centre between the roads and the hills between their start line and the Lithuanians table edge but all to no effect. The first Lithuanian barrage in reply saw some of Daren’s tanks become supressed and this resulted in each of his companies spreading out to their maximum cohesion distances – the first artillery strike managed to cover all 3 platoons of a company so it was good to see someone taking measures to prevent this happening again. Daren shrugged off this slight setback quickly though and he soon had a company of PT-78’s on overwatch on the small hill in the centre. Alex was continuing to advance cautiously along the right flank, expecting an ambush from the trees there he had dismounted his infantry and was combing the wood for any nasty surprises whilst slowly advancing his Scorpion-90’s as well.
Dan was contenting himself with shelling the advancing Poles, again supressing some of Daren’s tanks on the hill but not doing much else to hinder the Polish advance, to be fair he was having problems calling up enough batteries to do any more damage. Then Alex and Daren did something that I’ve never seen before and I was quietly pleased that they did – they had 5 Command Pips to spend and decided to use 4 of them on a counter battery strike, this thus stripped Dan of a third of his available artillery in one stroke. They then gained another 4 Pips in the next initiative roll and did the same again so Dan was down to one Artillery battalion and was beginning to look a bit glum!
While this was going on the Poles were still grinding forwards and soon the whoosh of ATGM was heard as Dan started to engage at long range with his Cavalry Squadron’s VAB/MILAN. Obviously trying to keep the Poles at arms length he also opened up with a Chieftain company in the central woods too, making good use of the mighty range on their 120mm guns. Daren started to take casualties in his tank platoons from KO’s and failed quality checks and started to move to the left across the stream to get out of the LOS of the Chieftains, whilst bringing in a big MRLS strike to try to neutralise the threat that they posed – which did result in suppressing some of them. Unfortunately for Daren his potential left hook come to naught as he ran into Dan’s TOW platoon and one of the infantry VAB/MILAN platoons stationed in the wood on that side of the stream which started to score more hits on his units.
Over on the Polish right though things were going quite a bit better. Suffering from a combination of some effective artillery strikes and the attention of Polish tank fire Dan’s Cavalry Squadron was beginning to suffer with the MILAN vehicle being lost as well as one of his VBC-90 platoons. Indeed it looked as if the Poles were about to break through over there and Dan was worried enough that he started to move his reserve Chieftain company out from behind the big wood to counter this threat (which did however suffer casualties from another MRLS strike) although if the Poles won the initiative in the next turn he might be too late to prevent this from happening. It was then that his luck changed and for only the second time in the game he won initiative and did so with a mighty 5 pip advantage. It was time for drastic action so he decided to call in an airstrike.
His good luck with the dice held and he rolled up a Jaguar flight with a great load of Heavy Cluster Bombs and Heavy Rockets (basically the best he could have gotten) and his brave pilots managed to dodge the superior Polish air cover and AD defences to unleash their ordinance on the tightly packed units of Alex’s Armoured Cavalry. After the dust had settled from the devastating strike the Polish commanders decided that enough was enough and they conceded the game. Daren’s force had suffered about 40% losses and couldn’t get to grips with the Lithuanians facing them whilst Alex’s command was still reeling from the Jag attack and didn’t feel confident in making it off the table before the Chieftains intervened.
So all in all a quite satisfactory game, it really could have gone either way. Although Daren’s unit had taken a beating Alex’s lads were within a whisker of winning the game, if they had made it to the Lithuanian table edge I was going to say that they would have to pull out. Dan was quick to admit that he was lucky in calling in the airstrike when he did, also that he rolled up the Jaguars and not the L-39 Albatross’. The chaps seemed to enjoy it so that was good too and thanks to them for making it a pleasant experience as usual.
We had access to the hall that the club meets in for the whole day on Monday so there was a chance to have a proper big game of FFT3. Alan was keen to dust his forces off for a game and Bill wanted to try the rules out so the game was on – unfortunately Des who was slated for a command too couldn’t make it on the day so it would be the 3 of us (once Bill had finished with his Dystopian Wars game!).
Alan would be bringing the 14me DLB so a decent sized force for an all day game with French Divisions being in between a ‘standard’ division and a brigade in size. To counter this force I would be bringing the majority of an alt-history Polish Mechanised Division. This gave about the same number of tank bases each although the French outgunned the Poles by dint of their 105mm armed AMX-10RC’s and plethora of Milan atgm.
Both forces had Jaguar aircraft in support, with the French having Gazelle helos armed with HOT and the Poles Mangusta armed with ZT.3 atgm and 20mm Cannon available too.
The scenario was a classic wargamer friendly meeting engagement: The French had intervened in the Polish invasion of Lithuania (see last game) and the 14 DBL was tasked with finding and stopping the advance of the Polish 5th Mechanised Division as it moved north around the west of Kaunas. We diced to see what table edge we came in on and ended up thus:
We would be starting the battle with some forces arriving on the table on the first move (1 Regt for the Poles and 2 for the French) and all subsequent units had to be paid for from Command Pips won during initiative rolls. Alan chose to start by bringing his Armoured and Light Armoured Regiments on first, I went with the Cavalry Regiment. Luckily for me I won the initiative for the kick off and belted my column of vehicles down the road, the plan being to get the infantry component into the town along with a company of Cougars whilst another Cougar company and an ERC-90 company fanned out to the left of the town, taking the hill there (‘the Pimple’) to enable observation of the French deployment. The remaining VBC and Cougar companies would be held at the edge of Raudonas Wood on ‘my’ side of the stream as a reserve. The idea was to hold the French up as long as possible and bring on the Mech infantry next to shore up the defence where needed, then counter with the Armoured Regiment once the French had hopefully been softened up.
Polish Cavalry enter the table..
..and winds forward to the stream
Alan started off by advancing half of his AMX-30 regiment along the road towards Miestą Sankryžos with 2 companies advancing towards the small ridge to the left of Pilkas (as you look at the above photo) with the AMX-10RC’s advancing to take position along the large L-shaped hill on the right. I feel Alan made a bit of a mistake here as the wheeled Armoured Cars might have made use of their greater road movement and managed to get to Miestą Sankryžos before me which would have really put me on the back foot. However, as I had secured the town I was feeling quite happy as it would, hopefully, take Alan some effort to winkle me out of it.
First blood went to the French when they took out a Cougar platoon that was on ‘the Pimple’ trying to get eyes on the advancing enemy and Alan decided to spend the Command Pips that he had just won on bringing on his AMX-10P Regiment too so I was now quite outnumbered but not too disheartened. I could have countered this straight away by bringing on another unit myself but I decided to spend my saved Pips on an airstrike as the sight of the French armour arrayed along the road from Pilkas was just too much of a temptation. So the call went in and a Jaguar flight duly arrived belting along the road and dropping its load of iron and cluster bombs on the foremost AMX-30 company. The effect of this strike was amazing, I managed to eliminate the whole company by a mixture of KO’s and failed quality tests but it did come at the price of the brave airmen as I rolled a SNAFU that resulted in my flight being shot down after their run. I had also managed to take out a MILAN armed Jeep company with Rarden fire from the village at this time too so things were looking rosy!
The next stage in the battle saw the fight to take control of Miestą Sankryžos which seemed at one point seemed to be drawing in every French unit on the table. Alan was determined to take the town and started to pound it with artillery whilst moving his Mech infantry forwards to take it from one direction whilst he also advanced from another with his AMX-10 armoured cars. His tank Regiment was used to clear ‘the Pimple’ which was achieved quickly and resulted in the loss of one of the Polish Cougar companies as I left them in place too long. I withdrew the 2 surviving platoons of the ERC-90 company back to the safety of Raudonas Wood and redeployed them to cover the left flank as I was worried about a French advance there. The remaining Cougar and ERC-90 companies were deployed to the stream from their reserve position in the wood to engage the French Armour from its cover for as long as possible.
The actual fight for the town was over quicker than I had hoped but it had wasted a bit of time which helped me as Alan continued to keep the initiative preventing me from gaining the pips needed to bring on my other units, indeed I was starting to wish that I had had done so earlier when I had the chance instead of making the air attack. Luckily for me my brave lads in the companies along the stream, helped by a savage MRLS barrage, were holding their own against the French armour (I was continually lucky with my saving throws and Alan was having awful luck passing quality tests). Alan was also having a terrible time sorting out his units involved in the fight for Miestą Sankryžos, being unable to clear his suppressions, and this helped me no end as I knew my luck in holding the stream couldn’t last forever. Indeed just as it looked as if the French were finally ready to launch an assault on the stream I finally wrested back the initiative and by a 4 pip margin too which meant I could release both my other units which could hopefully save the day.
Bill was now ready to join in at this stage so he took command of the Armoured Regiment and I took the Mechanised Infantry and a mass of Polish units now moved into view behind Raudonas, armour on the left and infantry to the right and both advancing quickly. This new threat seemed to upset the French as they now seemed to decide to go on the defensive even though they had started to whittle down my defending Cavalry units. The Poles now kept the initiative and brought on a Mangusta attack helicopter flight to further add to the pressure as it sat to the rear of our position looking for targets. Bill had wasted no time in advancing his tanks towards the confluence of the two streams in front and to the left of Raudonas Wood. He started to engage the French tanks whilst pushing forward one of his Mech Infantry companies forwards to outflank the French position on the hill covering the extreme left flank, again aided by a massive MRLS barrage that virtually wiped out the AMX-30 company there.
I had moved my Mech infantry to the hill to the right of Raudonas Wood and placed my ATGM and VBC-90’s there hoping to engage the French across the stream. I pushed my tank company towards the bridge between Miestą Sankryžos and Dvaras looking to engage the French armoured cars stationed there. The infantry was split with 2 companies heading into Radonas wood to relieve the Cavalry holding out there and the remaining two companies heading for wood near Dvaras to go on a long right hook around the French flank. Alan did manage to inflict some damage on me, taking out the tanks and armoured cars but elsewhere things weren’t going so well.
Even with his newly arrived VAB mounted infantry regiment taking up a defensive position along the low ridge by Pilkas it looked as if his right flank was about to be turned and Bill’s tanks would soon be free to exploit in the French rear. With his losses to the other Regiments and with the Poles starting to move around his left too Alan decided that enough was enough and before his position turned into a ‘sac de mort’ we called the game as a, albeit narrow, Polish victory.
Things could have gone much differently though, the heroic (and seriously jammy at times!) sacrificial stand of the Polish Cavalry along the stream really knackered the French plan as did their problems getting the units sorted out after winning the town. In the end I gained enough time to finally win back initiative to enable me to bring my other units into the fray which tipped the balance at last to the Polish favour. It was a tough fight all round and many thanks to Alan and Bill for taking part, I hope that they enjoyed it too.