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!

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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 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….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club Night 12/06/17: Battlefront WW2, 1940 France

I have been visiting the website of the Battlefront WW2 rules for a while now, mainly to use the fantastic Cold War TO&E’s posted there and have been intrigued by the rules too, I was wanting to try them out to see if it was worth having a go at the Cold War version. I finally got to have a go a couple of weeks ago against Philip using his lovely 10mm 1940 French and German kit. Unfortunately I wasn’t really feeling at my best and was quite half-arsed all evening which is probably why it has taken me ages to get this posted.

Details are going to be sketchy I’m afraid but here goes. As the exercise was simply to get used to the rules – Philip had only had the one or two games of them himself as they were new – the scenario was nice and straightforward. My French force was counter attacking the invading Boche and needed to secure a village, they were trying to stop me. To do this I had a Battalion of Char B’s, a few R-35’s and a Dragon Portee Battalion in Lorraine carriers. The German’s had a Panzer Battalion with a mix of Mk. 1, 2, 3 and 4’s and an Infantry Battalion.

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Kick-off. French nearest camera.

I duly advanced on the village whist pushing my nippier R-35’s towards the round wood on the right which Philip started to move round with nearly all of his tanks. I started to trundle some Char B’s across to assist the lighter tanks in fending this threat off as well as placing my mighty 25mm ATG to help out as well. My infantry did manage to assault the Germans in the edge of the village and in the adjacent wood but due to me not supressing them sufficiently before launching my attacks they all failed whilst suffering quite bad casualties. I did manage to thwart the Panzer attack though although neither side lost too many vehicles, the toughness of the mighty Char B’s was a deciding factor.

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En avant! Infantry move out…
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… supported by these chaps.
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Filthy boche get moving too.

The rules were quite enjoyable to play, nice and straightforward mechanics with some nice touches, you only needed a few turns to get your head round the basics and we started to get into the swing of things very quickly. I quite liked the cards that had vehicle and infantry stats on but reckoned a data sheet would be easy to knock up – just not as pretty! Although we didn’t reach a definite conclusion to the game with a couple more under our belts I reckon we would have done, this was probably not helped by me feeling crap too.

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I really like the camo on these.
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Germans in the trees attract la Furia Francais
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Lovely limber model, came to a sticky end unfortunately.

Many thanks to Philip in putting the game on, he is a worse rules tinkerer than me and said that he hadn’t find anything yet that he wanted to change which is high praise for the rules indeed. I’d definitely be happy to give them another whirl soon and if I really like them might invest to be able to try out the Cold War version. I’m really trying hard to resist all of the lovely 15mm Cold War kit available these days, however these seem like a good set to use for that scale so it might just give me the final push into taking the plunge.

 

Club Night 05/06/17: More FFT3 action

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.

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/lithuanian-army/

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/polish-armoured-cavalry-division/

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.

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Battlefield from the Polish lines, not much in the way of cover.

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!

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Polish advance spreads out

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.

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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.

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Lithuanian Cavalry Squadron before they suffer payback.

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.

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Boom! Lithuanian Jaguar flight saves the day.

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.