Sunday, 20 April 2014

New Kid In Town "Blogging"

Hot tip check out TWTRB "Tomorrow when the Revolution Begins":

A very good read over a variety of subjects, from WW2 Matildas and Chi-Ha's to atomising city blocks and terrain scaping them into ruins (Sci-Fi but usable for WW2 and the like). Also mentor to 16 Platoon's new commander in the Normandy Chain of Command campaign.

I am waiting keenly for when his attention turn to Impetus and other gaming systems

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Project and Painting Table Review:

"Who am I?", "what an I?" and "Where am I?" are my most confusing questions. As of January 1st 2014 I certainly did not think I would be donning a "Napoleonic Naval" cap in March/April, but as the old adage goes "variety is the spice of life!")

Active Projects:
  • Playing and Making: Napoleonic Naval (1/1200)
  • Playing and Making: (1/72:20mm) WWII 'Chain of Command' Skirmish (Normandy + others?)
  • Currently Reading: Ancients Marathon/Xenophon/Sparta and Thebes
Projects "To Pick back up": 
  • Ready and Waiting: WWII (1/200) Battalion Attack (Phil Sabin) v Miniature Rules (time to test some miniature rules [Spearhead, BGC, CDIII] against the same scenario)
  • Ready and Waiting: WWII "Plastic Kit" construction Backlog aka "The Plastic and Metal;  Mountain" - paused for respite and ready for second wind
  • Ready and Waiting: Ancients: Peloponnesian War (15mm) "The First Battle of Mantinea"  418BC using BBDBA (Big Battle DBA)
Future (and de-hibernated) Projects - "The Shape of Things to Come"(?): 
  • More Preparation Required: Circus Maximus (6mm) Avalon Hill Board (Ancient Race Horse in Chariots) Game
  • Undercoated and Ready to Start Painting: Impetus Army Unit Expansion: (25mm/28mm) Mounted Harquebusier Unit for Renaissance Period "Maximilian-Landschneckts" 
  • Army in Early Stages of Collection: (25mm/28mm) ECW Covenanter/Montrose Armies
  • Naval Musings (1) Ships Acquired but Intellectual (Rules)/Historical Reading Required : WWI/WW2 [Jutland/Bismarch Chase/Early Pacific War] 
  • Naval Musings (2) In Minds Eye Only: A strange attraction with sailing ships seems to be developing [Napoleonic has started (see above)] but then there is the Spanish Armada, Dutch Wars and Salamis to contend with (the latter been a "project" I know I must do)

"That's all for now folks" ... but like every other wargamer I can think of I would be very disappointed if I could not find even more material in the "loft" that I had totally forgotten about that goes actibe (did I mention my 2mm Napoleonics or 15mm Franco-Prussians?)


Friday, 18 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (6) - Cold Sheffield Steel and Shrapnel Hell

The End Came Quickly:

Another unexpected twist in the Chain of Command sequence of play. This time the British gained the advantage by throwing three sixes in their 'command phase' meaning they get a flip-flop turn and 'go again', which meant more "mortar hell" for the Germans. Pity (a rather insincere comment from the British Commander) as the Germans were waiting patiently to play an 'end of turn' Chain of Command die to stop that "mortar barrage" smothering their baseline squads. Instead their baseline morale started to crumble with British Infantry (Second Squad from 16 Platoon) poised ready for a close assault (see below):

In Second Squad went, but there was nobody left! A couple of skull markers representing KIA but there were no German defenders, the mortar barrage had certainly done its job (see below):

Meanwhile the 'cheeky' German Panzer Grenadiers had inadvertently left themselves exposed to Third Squads counter attack led by the Senior NCO from 16 Platoon. It is lucky that British Platoons find themselves with an abundance of NCO commanders who have earned their stripes at the 'sharp end'. Although no kills were scored, half the Panzer Grenadiers were left incapacitated in a severe state of shock and the threat to the British Right Flank was abated (see below):

The Britisg victory was sealed when the British Commander personally took control of "Grey House" second floor Bren section, having judiciously re-positioned it and with a deadly burst KIA'ed a Panzer Grenadier. The will to fight on departed from the Germans and the German Commander decided to bail out (see below):

As Wellington said "It was a close run thing". In this instance the breaks went to the British just when they needed it most.

The next campaign scenario follows up the British advance through the village on the heels of the retreating Germans. 16 Platoon's adventure continues.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (5) - Mister Mortar Unleashes Hell

Darkest before the Dawn: 

It seemed like it was well and truly falling apart for the British. The advance of the German Panzer Grenadiers on the British Right seemed to suggest 16 Platoon were going to go the way of 12 Platoon in a viscous MG42 crossfire. Even the first attempt at bringing in a ranging shot for the mortar landed off-table somewhere near Caen. This did not translate to a portent of good fortune.

However the second ranging shot was "spot on" (see below):

This was translated into an immediate "Fire For Effect" (see below):

This had a devastating effect on the Germans, not just the German Squads underneath it but the German player morale. The German defensive strategy was suddenly scuppered. They had already used their scenario freebie "Chain of Command" dice to gain a tactical advantage earlier on and could not simply end the turn, which would stop the murderous barrage.

Each German team (two teams to each German squad, so four teams in total were effected) caught in the barrage was attacked with 4d6 with a 50:50 chance of a 'hit' and then a subsequent 'roll for effect' with a 50:50 chance of attaining an effect (shock or KIA), thus hurting the affected team. Nasty odds in an gaming system. Hunkering down in hard cover was no longer a sound defensive option but more of a coffin-maker.

The only way out the German Commander could see was to squeeze the hard pressed British right flank even  harder with the German Panzer Grenadiers to enfilade the whole British position (see below):

Just as the German commander's morale was wilting the German luck gets a lucky break and he gets his long sort after "Chain of Command" dice to to end the turn and the three inch mortars, what had been thought of as the saviour of the British PBI, falls deathly silent.

The situation was critical. The last thing the British needed was the German baseline infantry squads to recover and suppress the British Infantry in "Grey House" while the Panzer Grenadier enfiladed them from the rear.

The young British Commanding Officer called to his FOO in the upper floor. "We need those mortars now FOO!" To which the cool reply came, "We need to register again, I've got a new battery on the net, they'll be firing off co-ordinates." The young Lieutenant knew this would take too much precious time. "Now 'Bomber'! Now! I need them now! We don't have any bloody time!" Again a cool calculated composed response from the FOO, "Risky 'Sir'?" This time the Lieutenant's response was cool and calculated but rather curt, "My call, bring it in."  

The most important roll of the game was made, needing eight or more on 2d6 (slightly against the odds). The umpire nodded at the call, it was desperate times and risk now could make the difference. A nine was rolled, hell was once again unleashed on the German baseline squads, the German Commander grimaced and the British Commander gave a sigh of relief (see below):  

Using the cover of the barrage and direct-fire smoke from the platoon's integral two inch mortar, 16 Platoon's Second Squad moved down the hedgerow to get into an assault position (see below):

Crossing the open ground at a run was not without misfortune though as a rifleman was dropped in a KIA result from what defensive fire the Germans could muster. However Second Squad managed a perfect assault position (see below):

It was now the Germans who were feeling the pressure despite their wonder weapon MG42s.

Next: For Who the Die Rolls

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (4) - Fritz Wakes Up

The German Response:

Was immediate and potent. A German Panzer Grenadier Squad (that's two MG42's and some riflemen to you and me) sitting on the British right flank, the newly deployed Third Squad and Senior NCO from 16 Platoon along with the Sniper Team underneath the wrecked Churchill Tank (see below):

As intimidating was the sight of the numerous grey clad figures of two full German Infantry Squads appearing in the baseline (hard cover) buildings (see below):

The German Panzer Grenadiers soon showed how deadly they could be by moving into position and pouring murderous fire into 16 Platoon's Two Inch Mortar Team, killing the loader. This was an introduction to the "if you are on table and I can see you then I can shoot at you and kill you" concept of Chain of Command. The only thing that can potentially save you is the amount and quality of cover you are in (see below):

The deadly German ("b@$|@&d") Panzer Grenadiers shown in their 'killing posture' (see below):

Being on the receiving end of concentrated fire from two MG42 is not a nice experience. I have to admit to a certain admiration for the weapon though.

Meanwhile the Second Squad of 16 Platoon shuffles slightly left using tactical movement (which increases their use of cover and thus makes them harder to hit) while the First Squad receives a "shock" marker from the attention of the German Infantry Squads in the baseline. The 'hard cover' of "Grey House" saving them from further casualties (see below):    

Then tragedy strikes on the British right flank as Third Squad from 16 Platoon becomes another victim of the German Panzer Grenadiers and their MG42's, sustaining three KIA's (including their NCO) from an unexpected angle. My inexperience of Chain of Command 'line of sight' showing here. The hedgerows were only light cover as I was moving (non tactically) in them and the 'line of sight' extended six inches into them. My confidence was being rocked as I had lost four men in a matter of murderous minutes (see below):

Trying not to panic I tried to hurriedly gather my rather confused thoughts, much to the amusement of the umpire and now gleeful German player. If the call had come for a "Taxi at the bar!" I think I would have taken it at this point.

Next: The British Regroup and introduce the Germans to "Mr Boom, Boom" (a three inch mortar meteor asteroid shower)!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (3) - Initial Troop Deployments

The jump-off position touching "Grey House" is a God sent gift and is quickly exploited by First and Second Squads from 16 Platoon. First Squad's Bren team is deployed the second floor with its Rifle Section half in "Grey House" and stretching across to "Brown House".

The Plan: 

Second Squad deploys behind the hedge to the left of "Grey House". First Squad should provide covering fire while Second Squad will manoeuvre down the British left flank (see below):

A sniper team deploys ad-midst the wreckage of "Ken's Tank" formerly of the 9RTR. The sniper fubnnction function is to take a pop at anything German moving down the British Right flank with the hope of hitting a German NCO (see below):

The German's meanwhile have a MG42 Team, in hard cover on their baseline, gulp. The first of many I expect to see today no doubt (see below):

The "Mortar Man" (FOO to you and me) takes up position in the second floor of "Grey House". I have high hopes for this off-table support asset although in an urban setting it could as well be a curse (see below, second floor, man standing up in a full length coat):

In the opening exchanges, first blood goes to the Brits as a lucky Bren strike kills two Germans of the MG42 Team despite its hard cover. A great start, I just hope the dice stay with me for the rest of the battle: (see below)

Finally  the last action in the 'opening stage of the deployment' is 16 Platoon's 'two inch' mortar section. This is a useful smoke bellowing piece of kit bestowing cover and breaking line of sight. You cannot have too many of these useful little things to hand (see below):

The British are still holding off table their Third Squad, a senior NCO and a PIAT Team (which unless I see a Tiger coming down the street they will stay off table drinking tea and smoking cigarettes). The British Right Flank still needs to be secured. This is being Third Squad's role when (or if) they get on table. Nothing can be said to be 'for certain' in "Chain of Command" which is one of its 'strange attractions' to me.

Next: The German Counter-Attack

Monday, 14 April 2014

Chain Of Command: Normandy Campaign Game (2) - Infiltration of the Enemy Frontline

Chain of Command: Patrol Phase

The scenario allowed the Germans to deploy their picket screen just under half-way across the board (see the line of crosses below). The Allied (British) player advanced from the baseline 1d6 x (twelve inch) moves. The tricky bit is keeping a continuous string of patrol counters as they cannot wander more than twelve inches from another friendly unit. Then both sides moved alternatively until all the patrol counters became "fixed" as they came within twelve inches of an enemy counter. Thankfully I rolled a decent "4" and could advance away from the baseline to extend my deployment area options (see below):

As seen fro the British baseline, the "Tommies" have almost made it to the ruined houses, which is rather alarming for the German player (see below):

As seen from the German baseline, the Germans had concentrated their efforts against the British right whee they attacked last time. I think their intention was to pin the British right flank but they gave me an opening in the middle, which on the advice of 12 Platoon commander I took with "both hands" (see below):

Now the fiddly bit, one by one I convert the four patrol counters into three jump off points through a complicated byzantine trigonometrical process involving sticks. Thankfully other better, more capable  souls were in charge of the process. The result is shown below, with the key point being the small Allied circle in the "Grey House". This allows the British a 'route one' into a 'hard cover, two story' position (see below):

The Germans on the other hand are forced back to the 'hard cover' position on their baseline and one left side (dangerous looking for the British right flank) out-flanking position in the hedgerow (see below, top left side of the picture):

The British jump-off positions without the clutter of the patrol markers (see below):

The British have a clear advantage moving into the deployment phase. The German player realised by a combination of fortuitous dice throw (the "4") and his fixation on the British 'right flank' the Tommies are about to deploy in strength in 'hard cover' in the middle of the battlefield.

Next: The Deployment Phase