Saturday, 15 October 2016

Normandy 1944: Chain of Command Game at The Exiles (Part 2 of 2)

Things are looking a tad "dark and dangerous" for the Brits.

British perform a Dunkirk style tactical retreat (aka mad scramble away from the enemy, as quick as you can), with thankfully relatively effective and good defensive fire (courtesy of the Bren, it does have its merits in skilled hands or rather good dice) on both centre and southern areas, followed up with a "quick call" for reinforcements from the Third Squad in the north. Annoyingly for the Germans they are left rather pinned in the woods which somewhat stifles their creativity and means more of a rebuild option. (see below):

Germans try and hold it together in the middle and press on to push an advantage in the south but then started a rather hideous run of strange dice (and it was not just me getting the rules wrong this time. The British kept getting flip-flop rolls of double sixes on their "Chain of Command" dice. Once was good fortune, twice was laughing in the face of adversity but three consecutive times was like slapping the German Commander across the face. That way shock can really build up on the Germans (see below):

Bang it then just goes pear shaped for the Germans as the unwashed northerners storm the woods and the Germans take to flight which sends them straight through "friends" which does not help the German morale and cohesiveness situation. A German jump-off position is in dire danger on being overrun and that would be very bad for German Force morale (see below):

As German forces tend to do the Germans rally and counterattack which shocks the British but then the British Commander does his favourite flip-flop trick and a whole German squad and the senior German Commander disappears from the Axis Order of Battle, Definitely not good for the German Force morale (see below):

As the British recover it is clear that a "rout the enemy" is in progress. The best the Germans can do is to relocate a jump-off point (this is just putting off the inevitable) bu tas their force morale is really flagging, having e lost a whole squad and a host of officer types (well a NCO, Medic and Senior NCO), the best they can do is form an Alamo hunkered down in a salient (see below):

At this moment in time discretion seems to be the far, far better part of valour and the Germans quietly slip off the board so this one goes down as a British win.

Many thanks to "The Exiles" for their hospitality and generosity, as well as the good game. Hope I can stage another game sometime in the future,


Friday, 14 October 2016

Normandy 1944: Chain of Command Game at The Exiles (Part 1 of 2)

One extra added bit of spice to the UK Connections Conference was that it allowed me to visit my old London wargames club "The Exiles" situated just round the corner from KCL near Waterloo, my wargaming "Alma Mater". This is where "I won my spurs and "came of age" as a wargamer. It was my delight to host a simple Chain of Command WW2 Skirmish Game, scenario one "The Patrol in No-man's Land", to some old faces and some new. I hope the pictures are not too confusing, a large hex based play mat with smaller mini-hexagonal terrain pieces inside them representing Line Of Sight (LOS) obstacles.  The houses are 15mm FOW and trees from the terrain collection of "The Exiles" than spans nearly thirty years of wargaming history [from spikey Xmas tree decorations to state of the art vignettes] (see below, the empty CoC game board waiting for the troops to appear):

Note/confession: I was responsible for many times  misinterpreting various Chain of Command dice rolls during the night (alas my memory for the rules blurs, CoC does not yet have one of those nice quick reference sheets [Hint: A pointer to one would be appreciated]), but the players were blissfully unaware and carried on in great spirit. I think it was the "strong London beer" at work, coupled with advancing age so I will term it, alcohol induced "Fog of War" (see below, this should have been 'End of Turn" but I interpreted it as a 'Random Event' which meant that there were probably one too many random events on the night - aka Heavy Rain fell twice when in reality it should not have appeared, but it made for an interesting game):

Much fun was had figuring out the Patrol Phase and the placement of "Jump-Off" markers. The sides (Brits/Germans) came at off-set ends which meant through game play that the Germans were clustered to the bottom-left of the picture (central wood and the rough above and below on the LHS) while the British had three points spread to bottom (top-right, central house and bottom-middle-right). The British got on first and tried a dash from the central house with covering Bren team, to the (at the time) unoccupied central wood. As they did so the first Germans appeared at the wood line and hosed them down with MG42 fire. The resulting fire-fight saw the British  "shocked but not routed" desperately seeking to make it back to the relative safety of the central house. Meanwhile the other British squads were slinking round to the South in a "cunning plan" sort of way (see bottom of the board/photo) while others were massing in the North (see below):

The Germans stabilised their position in the south by bringing on a second squad up to strategically defend their jump-off point. They were also making it very uncomfortable for the Brits trapped just outside the "safe" house in the centre. Uncomfortable but not killing them (see below):

Can you spot the difference (from the above to below)? Answer: It is the chilling effect of the second British Bren team opening up and taking out two Germans in the central wood. Just when the British troops stuck in the open seemed to have their "goose cooked" some good shooting put the jitters up the Germans and the British began to rally (see below):

This wave of British optimism was instantly washed away on the next German turn as the Germans deployed their final third squad south (to disrupt on the dangerous flanking move) and sent in their senior commander to the wood to take charge. He quickly straightened things out, reduced/removed all the accumulated shock and let forth a devastating fire killing (KIA) three Tommies and thus pinning the rifle team, i.e. more shock [5] than remaining men [3]. Worse still the British rifle team down south was also caught in the open with their pants down, losing two men but just avoiding the same deadly "pin" result (see below):

From the initial thoughts of a 'bloodless' quick win, the British commander was facing two thirds of his "rifles" being subjected to one way traffic
. The open bright spot seemed to be that the Germans seemed to have left the garden gate open to his squad situated at the top of the board. If only he could get them in the game, but they seemed to be a long, long way away and woudl everything be over by the time they showed up?

Can the British regroup or will the Germans get a "quick win" instead.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Wargaming Podcasts .. Directions to one please ;)

Can anyone help me with directions to some god wargaming podcasts?

Reason: I have long car journeys and I am quite taken with listening to audio books and the Connections UK (2014-2016) conference series and was wondering if there was more "hobby breadth" I could tap into

Any suggestions (aka links) appreciated, thanks in advance :)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Just Playing with my "Sea" (and some old Napoleonic Ships)

Just laid out this British squadron to see how they looked (see below):

I like it ;)

Note: I might have to point them down the hex spines instead of at the face of a hex. That may be a better way to "Box the Compass" ;)

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Semple Tank

Just when you think you know enough about WWII tanks a little gem like this comes along:

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Sea Project: Ideas Appreciated ...

I have a "new toy" of sorts (see below):

A naval game looms .. the only decision is whether is should be:
  • Ancients (new kit required, but I have always wanted to play Salamis with David Manly's Greek Fire and Roman Fury rules)
  • Napoleonic (time to bring out Avalon Hills "Wooden Ships and Iron Men" with a small squadron of British versus a mixed bag of French and Spanish)
  • World War One (General Quarters II, Dogger Bank or Jutland Battle Cruiser Clash)
  • World War Two (General Quarters II, Narvik [done once already] or Mediterranean, or even a "Convoy"?)
  • Modern (although this means I would need some new kit, but I always wanted to play Larry Bond's Harpoon)
Logic dictates that in the 100th year of Jutland it should be WWI, quite fitting as the corners are held down by Jutland books (and research wise a god excuse to try and sneak some of the new '2016' Jutland books in), but somehow Napoleonic seems so very, very tempting (lovely models to make).

Thoughts and ideas appreciated