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)
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…
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.
Another week and another FFT3 game. This time I was playing Mat who has played quite a few games at the club but had all been in multi-player games so this was a chance for him to have more space and units to play with. As they seem to be on such a roll I figured that the Lithuanians deserved another run out, this time they’d be facing off against a couple of Polish Regiments. I set out the terrain and we diced for which side of the table the attacking poles would come on from. Mat wanted to defend, which I was quite happy with as I wanted to have a go with the Poles as it has been a while, so I dispatched him to his side and he got to it working out his positions (we always have hidden deployment if defending). Which he deployed thus:
The Poles would be attacking with an Armoured Cavalry Regiment which had the following units:
1 Blowpipe team
4k 7fa gr81 sp81mm Mortar
2 x Sqdns
3 x Scorpion-90’s
2 x Sqdns
3 x PT-78m (Vickers Mk.3)
2 x Sqdns
2 x Infantry
1 x Infantry with BILL atgm
3 x Stormer/20
followed by an Armoured Regiment of:
Cmnd 4k 7fa
4k 7fa gr81 sp81mm Mortar
4 x Coys
3 x PT-78m
2 x Coys
2 x Infantry
1 x Infantry/BILL
3 x 4k 7fa/20mm
They would be supported by quite a bit of artillery: 2 battalions of 155mm and 3 APR-21 MRLS batteries. There would be AD defence in the shape of a platoon of SP quad 25mm adg and helicopter support from a Mangusta armed with ZT-3 ATGM.
Each of the forces would be able to call on air support in the shape of Jaguars and L-39’s for the Lithuanians and Jaguars and Alpha Jets for the Poles these would be rolled for, with the greater chance for the Jags turning up for both sides, the planes also had random loads. Both forces were rated as ‘Regular’ so differences in quality wouldn’t be an issue.
I planned to do a phased advance along the right of the table as I wanted to give the town a wide berth, I figured it would be crawling with infantry and I know just how hard they are to extract from buildings in FFT. The long ridge in front of the village (farm looking building) would also probably be manned so I wanted to bound forward to this whilst pushing a Scorpion and Infantry company through the woods on the extreme right to get some eyes on the hills to the rear of the Lithuanians position and cause any units on the ridge to fall back once outflanked. Once I had consolidated a line roughly from the hill between the two BUA’s along the ridge and into the wood I would bring the Armoured Regiment on along the road as by then I should have a good idea of where the enemy was and could act accordingly.
Like all good plans (!) it of course went completely tits up as soon as I made contact with the enemy. I managed to move onto the table without any problem, the right hook force headed for the trees and didn’t trigger any fire. In the centre of the push, the other Scorpion squadron and the Regimental HQ took up positions along the hill to the left of the right flank force. To their immediate left a PT-78 company advanced on the ridge whilst the remaining tanks and infantry squadrons advanced to the left of the road. I had also done well in the initiative roll and had 5 command pips banked for use as soon as the action started.
The peace didn’t last long though and soon an artillery barrage fell on the Scorpions and Striker arrayed on the crest of their hill. This didn’t do much damage but did supress a couple of platoons and this shock completely threw the whole battalion and coupled with some effective Lithuanian EW the advance halted for a period (I failed my activation and had to halt for a move). Being stuck in place allowed more accurate artillery fire to fall and more suppression, this time on the Scorpions on the right. The first shock of contact was quickly shaken off though and the Poles started moving again, although having failed to shake off the accrued suppression, it was a tentative advance. All of a sudden a flash appeared on the ridge to the front and MILAN missiles flew towards the slowly advancing tanks in the centre which, although they didn’t destroy anything, caused one platoon to drop out of the battle after failing a quality test.
Unfortunately for me Mat then grabbed the initiative which meant he could get another round of firing off before I could reply. This was even more effective than the first round as the VAB/Milan chaps got their eye in and soon another of the tank platoons was gone, this time brewing up a platoon from the second tank company which had just taken up post along the ridgeline of the hill near the bend in the road. Then the Lithuanian VBC-90 joined in and their excellent 90mm guns dispatched another platoon from the first tank company, the surviving platoon of which then decided that any further action on their behalf was useless and withdrew from the field. I was down a whole company of tanks and hadn’t even engaged the enemy yet! I did get some payback though as the Striker dispatched the VAB/Milan platoon with some overwatch fire although my return tank fire from the surviving tanks on the armoured cars failed to do any damage but did suppress them.
Mat sensibly decided to withdraw the remnants of the Cavalry team from the ridge which allowed me to advance the Scorpions and Strikers toward the now unoccupied height. Whilst this was going on his gunners continued to play havoc with their accurate and concentrated fire suppressing my remaining tank platoons which waited in place for news from the advancing light tanks. As this was happening my right flank force had reached the edge of the wood. I debussed the infantry and having failed to spot any enemy forces from there pushed the Scorpions forward. This went very badly. All of a sudden the hill behind the village lit up as a company of Chieftains opened up with predictable results – 120mm sabot vs aluminium armour = burning Scorpions.
So I was down another company but at least I had found some of the enemy armour. I still didn’t want to bring on my other Regiment yet so spent some of my saved Command Pips to release my helicopter support and my Mangusta entered the fray keeping near my starting position so as to try and avoid being fired on by enemy Air Defence assets. This meant that I was just out of range of the Chieftains so would have to risk moving forward to engage them. I did manage to do so with the Striker platoon that had now arrived at the ridgeline in front of the village which suppressed a platoon. The escorting Scorpion-90’s engaged the VBC-90 now ensconced in the village and a duel started which the Poles won quickly.
Then, remarkably, the Chieftains started rolling forwards, looking to re-take the ridgeline and maybe to prevent another strike from massed MRLS, which had done nowt but suppressed a platoon but might be worse next time round. Unfortunately for them I let loose with a plethora of missiles and spoilt their day completely. Over on the right the infantry in the woods let fly with a BILL whose top attack ability brewed one platoon, the Striker had a pop from the ridge which caused another platoon to fail a QC test and lastly the Mangusta was now in range so it had a go with it’s ZT-3 also brewing up its target. The surviving Chieftain platoon saw the futility in carrying on and left the field at this point. So things suddenly looked up for this side of the battlefield, if I could neutralise the village then I could push forward with the remainder of the Regiment as I guessed there were no more tanks on this side of the battlefield.
I decided that the best way to do this was from the air so called in an airstrike, whilst taking the village under artillery fire too that only supressed the defenders. Unfortunately for me the only aircraft available was a flight of Alpha Jets (all I had to do was roll 1-5 on a d6 for a lovely Jag chock full of ordinance but no) who failed to make any impact. This was down to both the small load they carried and the attention of the Lithuanian Air Defence assets. On a positive note I now knew the location of these which was meant I could move the Mangusta safely.
I had started to move the surviving tanks and infantry forwards to the ridge whilst screening the town with smoke – I had wanted to do this earlier but had a bugger of a time getting any available artillery, those bleeding Lithuanian EW boys again – and decided it was time to bring on the Armoured Regiment. With them strung out along the road heading into town Mat decided it was time to call in an airstrike of his own and, luckily for me, also failed to call up a Jaguar flight but his L-39 did more damage than my strike suppressing the two lead platoons and then banking to have a go at my helicopter with his guns next. Unfortunately we had run out of time at this point and had to stop playing but I conceded to a defeat.
Although we didn’t fight to a finish we both enjoyed the game, it had the lot – helicopters, air strikes, counter battery fire due to the SNAFU chart, and lots of tanks going bang! My advance on the right was much too cautious after reaching the ridge, I was reticent to get the surviving tanks moving before smoking the town to prevent any further loss from any nastiness lurking there I also should have waited to have the tanks and Striker platoon on the ridge in an overwatch position before moving the Scorpions out of the wood on the right. Mat admitted that reason that the Chieftains from the hill advanced was to clear the ridge and take on the surviving tanks before moving across to deal with my new Regiment once it arrived. This was going to be running into quite a bit of missile and tank fire as I was planning on swinging left of the town and right into his ‘kill sack’ so probably best we ended when we did.
Another good thing about this game was that the house rules had finally worked properly, they got a good testing and Mat liked them as well so I think I’ll stick with using them from now on as they have had good feedback from all that have used them so far. I’ve yet another game slated for Monday and this time more time to develop the battle as we have access to the club all day so looking forwards to that.
I have been busily painting up a couple of new forces for my Modern FFT3 project, concentrating on the Alt-History Lithuanians and the first part of the Soviet forces. As I had volunteered to get a game on and they were ready to go it meant that it was a no brainer that they met on the table.
The scenario was a simple one, a Motor Rifle Battalion reinforced by 2 Regimental Tank battalions and the Divisional Tank battalion was tasked with breaking through to Vilnius. The remainder of the Division was busy taking on the 3 Lithuanian Infantry Brigades whilst this force had slipped through and was launched at the capital. Unfortunately the Lithuanian Armoured Brigade had been deployed to prevent this happening. The Soviets would have a near 3-1 advantage in tanks and artillery but the Lithuanians had managed to throw up hasty defensive positions and lay a quick minefield to help boost their efforts, they also had 2 dug-in tank turret positions for the enemy to worry about. The Lithuanians were of better quality too, being rated Regular (QC4) vs the Soviet Conscript (QC 5). The Soviets were commanded by Dan and Daren, the Lithuanians by Phillip. Unfortunately due to having to umpire I didn’t get any time to take photo’s during the game so only have a few but here is the battlefield from the Soviet perspective (the dark squares on the 2 round hills are the dug-in Conqueror turrets):
I had allowed the Soviets pre-planned barrages for the first 2 turns which meant that they didn’t have to roll for the availability of their guns but were limited to 3 out of the 4 fire units available to each battalion. They used these to hit the 2 dug in Conqueror turret positions with a 152mm battalion shoot each whilst the 122mm battalion hit the front of the left hand wood behind the fields. Both turrets were supressed as was an infantry platoon in the treeline. Dan brought the first of his units on in a manoeuvre straight out of ‘Comrade Noakesavitch’s Instructions to Armoured Troops’: Belt some tanks straight up the road and see what happens, plenty more where they came from! So the ‘spare’ Regimental Tank Battalion was duly dispatched for this reconnaissance of death duty. Elsewhere, over on the left, Daren brought on the Recce company (one BMP-R and one BRDM-2 platoons) and headed for the wood just targeted in the barrage.
The Soviets then piled more units on, the Divisional Tank battalion entering along the road whilst the other Regimental Tank battalion entered behind the recce company along with the BTR-70 battalion in a scary looking phalanx of Communist might. Their pre-planned barrages continued to hit the turret emplacements on the hills, knocking one out, and re-arranged some more of the lovely Lithuanian forest. However, no Lithuanian troops had revealed themselves yet although their artillery had supressed a T-72 platoon on the road. Phillip then gained the initiative off of the Soviets and, bagging himself 3 command pips, he duly called in a strike from his air support. This saw a plucky flight of Jaguars brave the Soviet air superiority and head straight for the mass of armour arrayed along the road. Unfortunately for Dan, he his AA assets were stuck at the back of the traffic jam and couldn’t prevent the attack from hitting home. When the dust had settled 2 T-72 platoons had to retire (failed QC checks) and another was supressed. One of the Lithuanian VAB/Milan vehicles also opened up on Daren’s attacking horde and ko’d the BMP-R from the recce company whilst an artillery strike supressed a couple of BTR-70 platoons and the BRDM-3 AT platoon. It was quickly dispatched by one of the supporting T-72’s though.
This suppression had a massive effect on the rest of the game as Daren consistently failed to roll high enough to clear the suppression and move the Motor Rifle Battalion more than half speed for the rest of the game – even when Daren spent one of their command pips he failed, a terrible sequence of 1’s and 2’s – which basically stymied his advance and the action here was limited to the BRDM -2 nosing close to the wood and shooting up an infantry platoon so bad that it retired (QC fail). The brave Recce chaps inside then spent the rest of the game calling in artillery fire on the wood that eventually caused another Lithuanian platoon to fail a QC roll and the survivors to retire back to their waiting VAB’s and start to bug out.
So the action was all over on the other side of the table and along the road in the centre. Dan was also finding it difficult to unsupress the survivors of the Div. Tank battalion and also get them moving again as they recovered from the air strike so swung the huge 5 company Battalion of T-72’s with their attached ZSU-23/4 and Engineer company off to the right aiming towards the hill with the now kaput Conqueror turret on. This manoeuvre was carried out well and shrugged off attempts to disrupt it from the Lithuanian artillery, which Phillip was having trouble calling in now, until all of a sudden the unmistakeable crack of tank guns were heard. One of the Lithuanian Chieftain companies stationed along the stream opened up and had caught the Soviets in the flank too and soon a few platoons of T-72’s were burning. The Lithuanian’s also opened up with their TOW launcher but this was not as successful, only causing one suppression I believe. Dan reacted bravely to this new threat, taking the Chieftains under fire with half the battalion whilst surging forwards with the survivors of the other half to gain the hill.
The return fire did well enough, causing a suppression, and the attention of nearly all of the supporting MRLS artillery supressed another platoon and caused one to quit the field. The arrival of a Hind really began to tip the balance though as it sat at the back of the battlefield immune from Lithuanian AA fire and started to pick off the Chieftains with long range ATGM fire. Meanwhile though the Chieftains were knocking out T-72’s so it was imperative that the companies of tanks heading for the hill got there quickly to help out. Unfortunately for them they ran smack into a dug in Infantry Company at the base of the hill, which saw some bloody close combat. This fight actually went a lot better that it could have done for the Soviets, admittedly they lost a few platoons but they did succeed in punching through and caused the Lithuanians to fail a formation check – probably due to the survivors watching the ZSU take out a platoon with ground fire. The T-72’s duelling with the Chieftain company had closed the range, bravely driving through a minefield to do so without a scratch on them, and with the help of the Hind had finally eliminated the last of the brave Lithuanian tankers.
In the meantime Dan had finally got the stuck remnants of the Divisional Tank Btln sorted out and the leapt off down the road whereupon they were duly ambushed by some Lithuanian Recce types hiding in the wood by the road junction, this resulted in another platoon gone and one more supressed. Phillip now started to move his second Chieftain company from its position on the right by the stream over to engage the T-72’s of Dan’s battered command. With time running out we decided that the Soviets had shot their bolt and would have to retire to re-organise before trying again as Dan’s units were all close to triggering formation checks which, given their QC rating of 5 might be tricky to pass and Daren’s were effectively out of the fight. Daren’s awful luck activating his chaps had a large bearing on the outcome we felt (as all the troops on the table were newly painted one lot had to have rotten luck as is the first law of wargaming) and we believe that the commander of his MR battalion was called to a ‘meeting’ with the Regimental Commander and the Commissar. Philip had lost half of his tanks and nearly half of his infantry but had held on just, medals all round, especially for the Jag pilot as we all enjoyed seeing one on the table!
Hopefully the game went alright for the chaps involved, and I’d like to thank them for taking part and putting up with my sometime befuddled handling of things – it’s been a while since I played the rules and I did make a few mistakes! I will be tweaking the activation rules a touch to try and prevent what happened to Daren’s force happening again. I’m hoping to put on a big FFT game at the end of the month so this helped an awful lot in planning for that. Cheers gents!
I was picked up by Daren at 7 a.m. yesterday and I wasn’t feeling too great to be honest as my blood condition had chosen the past few days to be a complete bastard and make me feel shite so I was hoping that I would be able to last the day. A quick and easy drive across the water into Docklands saw us parked up right near an entrance to the Excel centre in about 20 minutes and so we were at our assigned table before 8 which was good. Dan arrived shortly after us and between the three of us we pretty soon had the game set up and we were munching on much needed Bacon baps and wondering where on earth the 4th member of the team, Tommo, was!
Tommo arrived at about 9 and after some much deserved ribbing he took over command of the NATO forces ready to cover the evacuation of the supplies at the Neustadt rail depot and to defend the river crossings from the Soviet breakthrough force collectively led by myself and Dan. I won’t go into the details of the game itself as it is still too painful! Suffice to say that the addition of 2 FV438 Swingfires, Warren’s brutal use of concentrated artillery and aggressive use of the Jagdpanzer Kannone’s ensured that what was seriously looking like a NATO defeat at one point ended in a defeat for the glorious Red Army.
It was really cool engaging with the people in the show who stopped by for a butchers or a chat about what we were doing. I didn’t hear a negative comment all day and there were some really nice things being said about the game with a lot of justifiable praise going to the excellent terrain made by Daren. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, we hope that you enjoyed it. One person said it was ‘elegant’ which I thought was really nice and completely understood where he was coming from and some lads from Germany took one look and said ‘is this game set in Germany’ which has got to be good! I did end up drawing people’s attention to the river though, I don’t think people realised that it was set between two tables which was a shame as I think it really is quite ingenious.
There was one interesting theme I noticed whilst talking to people, the younger punters were the ones that asked ‘is this Team Yankee’ whilst the older ones were happy that it wasn’t. There were a few people that mentioned that they might get their old collections out again which was nice and we also converted at least one chap to 6mm Cold War gaming, he re-appeared at the table with a great big smile on his face blaming us for the fact that he’d just spent £40 at H and R!
I got to meet a couple of people who said that they’d stop by which was cool too, really good to put faces to names and I got a chance to pop over to Baccus to talk about the Joy of 6 and grab some fliers but we didn’t get a chance to have a good look around the show ,which was a bit of a shame, as we were too busy running the game and chatting to people but from what I saw it looked like it was a good one. I did get to stop Richard from Too Fat Lardies as he walked past before the doors opened to say thanks for ‘Chain of Command’ and to have a quick chat about what is planned for it in the future, which was nice. Loot wise I just picked up some kit from a very busy Andy at Heroics and Ros and got a chance to have a look at their new Cold War infantry figures – I’ll definitely be putting in an order for some Brits and East Germans very soon. The day went very, very quickly and it was a great blast, apart from feeling knackered I even managed to head out for a beer and a curry with some of the other Warlords so my worries about staying the course earlier on were unfounded.
One last thing: I have to say many, many thanks to the three other chaps involved. Warren played a blinder and was a pleasure to play against as usual although he did pick on my lads quite unfairly! Dan was great to have as a teammate, apart from the many laughs our collectivism was unflinching even in defeat. Last but not least, Daren, who not only worked really hard making the game possible by his great terrain building skills but umpired the game too, we even forgave him for saying ‘we’ when referring to the Brits!
Gents it was a pleasure and a privilege, bags of fun was had and I am already looking forward to June and the Joy of 6.
Yesterday saw myself, Dan and Daren meet up bright and early at the home of the South London Warlords to have a run through of the game that we are putting on at Salute this weekend. The game is set during the Cold War and sees an outnumbered British force holding a collection of river crossings in the face of a Soviet tank heavy force.
The rules we will be using are GHQ’s Micro Armour ones so the scale is 1:1, all the vehicles are GHQ and, bar most of the buildings, the terrain is hand made by Daren and it is quite something!
I won’t go into detail about the game as it was just a practice to see if everything was working ok and if the force balance was right but Comrade Noakesavitch and myself succeeded in breaking through to bring peace, prosperity and freedom to the poor oppressed workers of some more of Germany by the use of overwhelming numbers and firepower!
We have decided to add a randomly arriving force of FDR Leopard 1’s that have escaped fighting to the flank to bolster the NATO defences (there are already a platoon of JagdPanzerKannone available to the Brits) as well as a couple of FV438’s that I found in my leadpile as the 5 Chieftain’s currently assigned just weren’t enough! We have also decided that the point of the scenario should be the evacuation of the supplies from the rail depot by a convoy, hence why the crossings haven’t been blown yet.
It should be a cracking game so please stop by at table GG05 and have a look and a chat.
Any way here’s a lot of pics to give you an idea of what is in store, I might not get to take many on the day so there’s quite a few. First up some of the action then a slideshow of the terrain (you can click on the pics to see them bigger).
As Dan and I found ourselves sans game last week, we decided to have another of our 6mm FFT3 ‘get some tanks on the table and have fun’ games. So My trusty Alt-history Poles and Austrians once more were about to engage in another round of battle. As usual we just whacked some terrain down, diced for what table edge we’d start on and got to it, simple meeting engagement with nominal objective of finding enemy and securing road network.
We each had a roughly same sized force with roughly equal number of tank bases, Dan had a slight advantage in infantry but I had the advantage of having a AT Heli which he didn’t, we both had aircraft support too.
We were using my house rules for activation, initiative and suppression with a slight twist, this time as an experiment we would be saving any unused pips from the initiative rolls and we only used a single d6 for testing for activation.
… Austrian recce jeeps move out…
Initial moves, from my perspective…
.. more Austrians
Dan won the first initiative with a whopping 5 pips and wisely allowed me to move first and straight away the saving of the pips came into the game with Dan banking those pips for his next go. This has been an idea for a while as it seems a shame that you lose pips sometime, you might not have a chance to use them (first move being a good example) so why not save them up for later. I duly barrelled my Armoured car company down the road towards the far town and splitting my force into two halves advanced towards the stream on the left and to the ridge on the right. Dan’s first move was similar and things looked good for a nice even fight on both halves of the board.
First blood went to Dan as his Jeep/RCL recce chaps took out one of my AML’s then a couple of more were lost to deadly fire from M-60’s on the hill to the left. There wasn’t much other action during the first part of the game as the rolling hills made LOS hard to get shots off so we both jockeyed for position. Over on the right we had both halted on ridgelines overlooking the farmland and we tried to take the other under fire with me having the best of it as Dan’s Kurassier’s were just out of range and couldn’t reach my ridge, so my Vickers mk3’s and Striker attempted to pick them off – although my gunner’s sights were off a bit (Dan kept making the saving throws). Keeping one tank company on the ridge along with my Striker platoon to take on the SK’s I moved the other Vickers company and the infantry company behind the ridge towards the wood on the extreme right flank with an idea of using it to launch an attack from later, although I did suffer the loss of an infantry platoon by stupidly driving along the edge of the wood and straying into long range of the covering tank destroyers.
Dan was initially having the best of it rolling for initiative and was using his pips to activate his artillery battalion each turn, which was doing a good job of supressing the tanks on the right hand ridge and the infantry by the stream on the left. My artillery support was woeful all night, with me only managing to call some in once or twice, the Austrian Electronic warfare chaps must have been playing a blinder, jamming my comms. My rolling was not any better when I finally secured the initiative and blew all my pips in attempting to call in an airstrike on the SK105’s, failing miserably and having the mission aborted.
Over on the left I managed to hit the stream without losing any vehicles from Dan’s good position on the ridge across the valley and de-bussed the infantry whilst one tank company started to probe along the streamline towards the village hoping to utilise the cover from the stream. Dan countered this threat by advancing an infantry and tank force towards the village which was very successful, my tank company was reduced to one surviving platoon hiding behind the village. Along the stream the action developed into a bit of a stand off as Dan didn’t want to move off of his ridge and I didn’t want to leave the cover of the stream so we both started trading shots but our respective terrain advantages prevented any knock outs taking place.
I did keep the initiative from then on but usually only with a draw on the dice, using the odd point I did get for another activation which helped my advance off the right hand ridge, after I had finally seen off the covering SK105 company. This company moved forwards along with the company from the wood and engaged Dan’s units that had advanced against my probe along the stream, destroying or seeing off the tank company. My infantry positioned along the stream had used their APC’s 20mm to take revenge on the recce Jeeps, although they and their tank support had started to be whittled down by accurate Austrian artillery and direct tank fire and pretty soon there was nowt left after the surviving platoons bugged out due to formation tests although they did manage to take out one of the Austrian tank companies. This is where we had to stop due to time getting on, and the battle had begun to pivot around the central village, I had the upper hand on the right slightly whilst Dan had easily won the battle on the left so I conceded to a losing draw as I think I’d have pulled back if possible, Dan’s stronger infantry and their deadly BILL atgm might have tipped the balance.
All in all it was a nice little fight, just about right for a quickly organised Monday night game. Dan was a cracking opponent as usual, not only sporting but a good laugh too. He liked the house rules, which was nice, as he said it added enough to the standard game without slowing it down and we both agreed that being able to save the pips was a positive change – Dan didn’t hold the initiative that much but his first two rolls were so good he managed to eke out his pips over many moves which helped in keeping his artillery going. I do really need to start painting some of my other 6mm kit to get another force together, will go Soviet next I think…