Thursday 25 April 2013

Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) T70 Light Tanks

I simply could not stop myself, there were too many seductive blog postings complementing the Plastic Soldier Company on their T70's, so I got a packet (see below): 

They are brilliant, the kit fits together like a dream, have cool tank crew members (turret commander and driver) giving three dramatically different versions for a lovely variety of poses. The assembly time was literally measured in minutes. One construction tip if/when you use the driver figure, 'trial' the turret carefully with it as you have to let the gun rest in a slightly elevated position to be able to traverse over the driver's hatch cleanly. I made a mistake on my first model but luckily I could easily switch turrets with another model.


They also fit it well with my existing two resin T70's from Britannia Miniatures [aka the ones already base-coated in Russian Green] (see below):

The above gives me in Command Decision/Spearhead terms a Battalion HQ tank and two light tank companies, a third light tank company can be made from two T60's (see below, Britannia Miniatures resin kits) I also have to make a full light tank battalion (1942/43/44). Alternatively it's a strong T70 troop for skirmish level "reconnaissance" games.

I just keep hoping that the Plastic Soldier Company keeps pumping out these kits. My wish list of future kits would be:
  • (British version) M3 Honey .. why doesn't Revell release this old Matchbox kit?
  • (US version) M5 Stuart (as in teh sloping armour upgrade of the M3)
  • Cromwell (OK, there are a lot of them about now but I know they will make a nice job of it and would probably give a 95mm Centaur version as well)
  • German Panzer 35t
In the meantime I intend to get more of their existing range, as I seem to be having something of a 20mm WWII Renaissance at the moment

Monday 22 April 2013

"Fire and Movement" - Battalion Attack (Terrain Version II)

I need to run the "walk through" scenario again. Firstly to get the rules correct, secondly to use a consistent terrain look and feel (I was four farms short last time and substituted in some 'brown card' which I think made the prospects of attacking the 'farm crescent' LOOK too easy) and thirdly it was challenging fun. If possible I would like to play the attacker this time.

The 'new' farm terrain (courtesy of my son's Lego collection) is shown below, British attacking left to right, moving onto the board on Turn 1 (hex row 1), with the Germans defending the right hand side board, positioned in rows 4, 5 and 6 (where rows in this photograph are running vertically up and down the page).  

The 'new look' of the formidable defensive 'farm crescent' as per viewed from the British lines looking across at the German positions, with the German 'Alamo' farm in the far distant (see below):

Note: This picture (below) is rotated 90 degrees from the first picture in this post (above)  

An aerial view of the 'farm crescent' from behind the German side of the lines, with the German 'Alamo' nearest the camera bottom-middle and away top-right of the frame is the British farm I nicknamed contentiously as 'Little Gibraltar' (see below): 

By contrast the countryside to the left hand side of the battlefield is spare and open, dominated by the German held 'Hexagon Wood' far left and the wood to the left of the 'farm crescent' complex (see below):

So the attacker has the choice of a bloody assault into the 'crescent farm complex' or a rush across open ground, hmm, the game is called 'Fire and Movement' but perhaps it would br better called 'Fire, Suppress and (only) then Move'.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Plastic Soldier Company Pak 38 (50mm AT Gun)


For a long time I have wanted a German Pak 38 50 AT Gun to service that mid-war period, but shied away from buying an expensive metal model. Hence my delight at getting my hand on (a pack of) four of them from the Plastic Soldier Company at what I consider a very reasonable a 'reasonable price'. In fact it gets better as there are two variants to make: the standard 50mm AT Gun (serving from summer/late 1941 to 1943 as the prime German AT weapon) and the 1944 France upgraded version that used a re-barrelled French 75mm (circa back to the 1940 original gun stocks that the Germans had captured from the French) on the 50mm gun carriage. Hence my plan is to have three standards and one 1944 ex-French special , as per used in the Normandy campaign.

I could not resist seeing the arms race progression (see below) from:
  • Pak 36 and it 37mm calibre (aka the German Army's "popgun") [Far Right: Esci]
  • Pak 38 and its 50mm calibre  (which looks the part, but failed on the Eastern Front horribly) [Middle: Plastic Soldier Company]
  • Pak 40 and its 75mm calibre (which was a good gun even up until 1945) [Far Left: Esci]

The Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) one is fresh off the shelf, not even under-coated and is a 'mint' model, its crew are fantastic too. I am very impressed with the pSC craftsmanship :)

For the few remaining 'gaps' in my 20mm collection, where possible I will be using PSG  

Saturday 20 April 2013

"Fire and Movement" (Battalion Attack) TO HIT TABLES

Courtesy of Phil Sabin's:
Simulating War KCL pages and the Simulating War Yahoo Group 

Message 1753

Rifle Fire "Range Bands"
  • (0 Hex)Same Hex is Illegal:
  • (6+ Hexes) NA for attack
Range measured excluding firing hex but including target hex
Therefore range of 1 hex implies the target is adjacent

Rifle Fire:
[No negative modifiers .. but see Mortar restrictions]
  • Target is in OPEN and target NOT adjacent to FRIENDLY troops or
  • Target is in OPEN but NEXT TO FRIENDLY (but from firer's own company)
Then a hit is scored on ..
(1 Hex ): 2,3,4,5,6
(2 Hexes): 3,4,5,6
(3 Hexes): 4,5,6
(4 Hexes): 5,6
(5 Hexes): 6

Indirect and MG:
  • British HMG: 2,3,4,5,6
(HMG is NEVER considered part of "same company")
  • German Mtr : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 2,3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (Ranged in) : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 2,3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (First Shot at this Target Hex): Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 3,4,5,6
(Mortars are NEVER considered part of "same company")
(Mortars IGNORE "terrain" to hit modifiers)

Rifle Fire
[One Negative Modifier (-1)]
  • Target is in OPEN but PARTIALLY OBSCURED or
  • Target is in OPEN but NEXT TO FRIENDLY (not from firer's company) or
  • Target is in TERRAIN (Ridge, Wood, Farm)
Then a hit is scored on ..
(1 Hex ): 3,4,5,6
(2 Hexes): 4,5,6
(3 Hexes): 5,6
(4 Hexes): 6
(5 Hexes): Miss

Indirect and MG:
  • British HMG: 3,4,5,6
(HMG is NEVER considered part of "same company")
  • German Mtr : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (Ranged in) : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (First Shot at this Target Hex): Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or
  • 4,5,6
(Mortars are NEVER considered part of "same company")
(Mortars IGNORE "terrain" to hit modifiers)

Rifle Fire
[Two Negative Modifiers (-2)]
  • Target is in OPEN, PARTIALLY OBSCURED and NEXT TO FRIENDLY (not from firer's
  • company) or
  • Target is in TERRAIN (Ridge, Wood, Farm) and PARTIALLY OBSCURED or
  • Target is in TERRAIN (Ridge, Wood, Farm) and NEXT TO FRIENDLY (not from firer's company)
Then a hit is scored on ..
(1 Hex ): 4,5,6
(2 Hexes): 5,6
(3 Hexes): 6
(4 Hexes): Miss
(5 Hexes): Miss

Indirect and MG:
  • British HMG: 4,5,6
(HMG is NEVER considered part of "same company")
  • German Mtr : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (Ranged in) : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 3,4,5,6
  • British Mtr (First Shot at this Target Hex): Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 4,5,6
(Mortars are NEVER considered part of "same company")
(Mortars IGNORE "terrain" to hit modifiers)

[Three Negative Modifiers (-3)]
  • Target is in TERRAIN (Ridge, Wood, Farm) and PARTIALLY OBSCURED and NEXT TO
  • FRIENDLY (not from firer's company)
Then a hit is scored on ..
(1 Hex ): 5,6
(2 Hexes): 6
(3 Hexes): Miss
(4 Hexes): Miss
(5 Hexes): Miss

Indirect and MG:
  • British HMG: 5,6
(HMG is NEVER considered part of "same company")
  • German Mtr : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 4,5,6
  • British Mtr (Ranged in) : Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 4,5,6
  • British Mtr (First Shot at this Target Hex): Check Fire (if FRIENDLY adj) or 5,6
(Mortars are NEVER considered part of "same company")
(Mortars IGNORE "terrain" to hit modifiers)

Final Note on British Mortars: 
Ranging in penalty of -1 negative modifier only applies if the mortar was firing on a different target hex last turn. Therefore if the preceding turn was a "fallow (none firing turn)" then the -1 modifier does NOT apply. The crew implicitly had time to "range in". The modifier is to penalise the British player if he jumps around all over the place. The German mortar on the other hand is "pre-registered" so is not adversely affected.   

Saturday 13 April 2013

Note to Self: Thoughts on "Fire and Movement" after the first play test

Game Post Mortem: 
  • The game was brutal and unforgiving
  • It had a different mind set from previous miniature rule sets I have played (Spearhead, Battle Group Commander, Command Decision I/II/III, Squad Leader)
  • Logistics played a prime function in the attack in stark contrast to the defence
Assumptions to follow up on: 
  • All platoons have a 360 degree arc of fire (including dug-in troops, as in their entrenchments protection and arc of fire)
Did I get these bits correct?
  • I played "dug in troops" were -1 to hit and the first casualty was discounte
  • Note: I "think" (confirmed) the -1 modifier was wrong
Interesting Game Mechanics to "mull" Over:
  • The attacker losing strength points (stands) proportional to the amount of ammunition used (per six fire combats)
  • Firing hits an area (all units stacked in a hex)
  • Firing can hit two adjacent hexes (meaning for the attacker it pays to spread out leaving a hex perimeter between platoons to minimise casualties from incoming fire)
  • Platoon removal due to fire combat (not ammunition depletion) was of the owners choice with the restriction that the stand had to have taken a casualty that round
  • A "fresh"  platoon have one action, it can fire OR move (not both)
  • "Spent" platoons (as in those having received incoming fire (as in been successfully hit irrespective of terrain modifiers) from are suppressed and cannot do anything bat automatic suppression removal at the end of the turn
  • Benefits of "company orientated" attacks (implied by good local co-ordination)
  • HMG platoon is used to supporting attacking forces, can stack with (but still suffers from -1  fire modifier when friendly adjacent troops to hex it is firing at)
  • MTR (indirect fire) will only fire within a safe zone when supporting plattons, has to stop when enemy get danger close
Things Missing::
  • The normally modelled "Morale Tests" were completely absent, troops were assumed to follow orders unquestioningly (perhaps why the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) liked the game so much) .. Note: See Phil Sabin's response.
[Phil Sabin said ..] "I do not agree that morale is ignored - rather, it is factored into the ease with which troops are suppressed by incoming fire, losing the ability to move or fire"
  • The ability of troops effectively to retire was absent. In the latter stages of the trial game the last two British infantry platoons were cut to pieces, yet retiring troops are often are ignored as threats
  • "Indirect Smoke" planned to obscure assault movement from the "defenders"
  • "Direct Smoke" to cover reactive withdrawals and involuntary break-offs
Future Actions: 
  • Make four more "Farm complex" terrain squares (visual effect of sterner terrain on tactics?)
  • Repeat scenario using 20mm figures (visual effect on game using bigger figures - skirmish feel?)
  • Repeat scenario with Squad Leader game counters (visual affect effect of 'more' counters - better visualisation of troop numbers?) 

Friday 12 April 2013

(Part 3 of 3) "Fire and Movement" - "Battalion Attack" : First Rules Outing

With the assault "stuck in the mud" the British infantry found itself perilously close to "fresh" German infantry platoons who did not hesitate to conduct three vicious close assault counter attacks. This time the dice rolled high as the British infantry caught in the open and suffered nine brutal casualty points (see below):    

With existing casualty points that meant the removal of another two British platoons, the British attack was now "gone" (see below): 

As "spent forces" cannot move (and in a controversial move) the British commander retreated the HMG platoon off table while it could rather it becoming "another casualty (see below the "missing" stand from the hill). Both remaining British platoons pull back towards the baseline but are then trapped in a withering crossfire from the German left hand side company. The additional casualties mean that one more stand is lost and the other is "spent" (see below):  .

The Germans then close in on the pinned (aka "spent") British platoon with the right hand side company. The hapless British platoon can only flip back itself back to its "fresh" status before the assault comes is. Caught in the open the British platoon is 'murdered' sustaining six casualties breaking it and ending the game (see below):

The final situation stood at four German platoons being the only troops left on the map at the end of the game (earning 4 VP) plus eight British Platoons had broken in fire combat (earning an additional 8VP) for a grand total of 12 VP for the Germans, versus the two German platoons broken (earning 2VP) but no German baseline hexes occupied, hence for the British for a Grand Total of 2 VP. 

A clear margin of victory for the Germans who are in undisputed control of the board suffering. They suffered 33% losses that means the German battalion commander is rushing much needed reinforcements to this sector in advance of another Allied attack.  

Thursday 11 April 2013

(Part 2 of 3) "Fire and Movement" - "Battalion Attack" : First Rules Outing

British Infantry assault the "Farm Complex Crescent": 

The line of two hundred British Tommies formed up in two companies to attack the "Farm Complex Crescent" (see below):   

One company (see below, top right) assaults the leading farm hex and inflicts three casualties (poor attack dice rolling as only one one platoon hits out of three, needing 3+ on a d6) while the other moves up into a close assault position for next round (see below):

Note: Platoons from different companies cannot participate in the same fire combat or assist assault combats onto the same target hex. 

The Germans respond by extracting a high price on the exposed British platoons in front of the central wood inflicting three casualties. The German platoon chose to shoot at two adjacent hexes rather than assault one hex to try and make more British units spent and therefore inactive on the British player turn.

This allowed a fresh German platoon to move up into the defensive position of "farm house crescent".

Footnote (in forthcoming turns): 
As these two German platoons are from different companies the British will protected from a nasty doubling up (as each platoon can fire on two adjacent hexes) because the two defending platoons are from different companies cannot attack the same hexes. If they had been from the same company the fire attacks would double up because of the 'extra' coordination of fire discipline implied (see below, the red British mortar marker separates the two platoons in question). The attack preference in future turns for these two platoons will be to close combat assault individual hexes.  

Stands removed from casualty losses are "1 German" and "1 British" and from ammunition expenditure (1 British, because it effects attackers only). The Germans losing the "spent" platoon in the leading farm complex, the British opting to lose one from their extreme right wing (which had little chance of making a headway) and one from the middle. There are now six active attackers to the defenders four remaining platoons: 

The British moved a infantry platoon into the lead farm complex and the Germans countered by occupying the wood adjacent to it. Crucially this meant that five British platoons have remained in the 'open' as they are flipped to the "fresh" status.

Decisive Combat Round:

After an incredible sequence of five successive ones on close assault combats which meant that both sides 'blew or missed' what were game winning chances in the fire fight for the 'middle wood and adjacent farm complex'. The Germans managed (eventually) to 'break the bad luck duck' and taking a British platoon out in a close assault.

Note: In the rules a hex stacked with two platoons on the receiving end to a close assault automatically loses one stand - effectively double casualties, six casualty points. After the return British phase the ammunition expenditure rule also removed another British platoon levelling the active platoon count at four a piece (see below):

The wind had clearly been taken out of the sails of the British attack, but there was four turns left to play. The Victory points were clearly in favour of the Germans 4 (as in the four British platoons broken by fire combat [note not removed because of ammunition expenditure])to the British 2 (for the two German platoons broken by fire combat). The likelihood of getting British platoons to the German baseline now seems rather remote. 

Next: Can the British conduct a fighting withdrawal?

Wednesday 10 April 2013

(Part 1 of 3) "Fire and Movement" - "Battalion Attack" : First Rules Outing

Bringing the new game game out into the full glare of the sun.

Despite having created my own random terrain, it made a heck of a lot of sense walking through the example in Philip Sabin's Simulating War book (see pages 215 to 220) to get a feel for the rules (as we all know rules read are quite a different thing to rules played in albeit 'friendly anger' down at the club, see pages 208 to 214 of the book). In setting up the terrain I suddenly realised that I had not quite the requisite number of "farm complexes" created, so I substituted in some blank dark brown hexes instead. I silently cursed myself for not building first the example set-up as per the book. By the time we had played through the example two player turns it seemed pointless to "set-up" again to my randomly generated terrain, so we simply carried on (see below, as per the book ready for the German turn  to start): 

To Note: The 'red' poker chip denotes the position of the British mortar attack (moving the mortar around suffers a -1 to hit modifier simulating the delay in ranging in as opposed to poring on a continuous barrage of shells. The 'white' poker counters underneath the troops denote the "spent" status. The glass beads denote casualties inflicted that turn. Finally the the little white markers on or near the British infantry denote the different companies within the battalion. The Germans are defending the bottom three hex rows above, being particularly well fortified on the right hand side "farm complex and wood crescent" salient. The attacking British have massed for an attack into the heart of this defence and are "waiting" for the oncoming fire from an unsuppressed German infantry platoon to hit them.   

The Germans pour as much fire as possible onto the advancing British infantry (PBI), inflicting a bloody three casualty hits from a German counter attack close assault from the central farm complex (see below, top middle). Long range German fire brings another two casualties on the left hand side too (see below, top left): 

The British player (I was German) has now taken over six hits (five from that round and a couple of accumulated hits from the last were "still in the bag2) so he chooses to remove a unit from his right (but the German left) electing to hold onto the unit that took three casualties because of its advanced position, despite it still being spent for the upcoming round. The German player eagerly removes his spent markers leaving all six German platoon "fresh" and giving the British player the headache of trying to suppress them (as in making them "spent" status ) so they cannot fire the next go (see below):  

The British player tries the rather risky tactic of "pushing troops" forwards in the face of unsuppressed German infantry, if he is not careful this could be a replay of the Somme (see below, top right for the cluster of massed British infantry targets): 

The British HMG (on the ridge, see top middle below) and mortar keep firing and suppressing two of the central German platoons, causing casualties which eventually causes the removal of a German platoon from the "farm complex crescent"  (see below):

An interesting feature of the game system is that the British player (the attacker) is hampered by the fact that the act of "shooting" and "expending ammunition" will cause him causalities (very sixth shot removes a British stand through the notion of ammunition exhaustion) so he must choose his targets carefully. The defender has no such concerns/fire restrictions as they are firing from prepared positions (bombed up for defence). It is assumed that the British troops have already traversed half a kilometre from their start line, whereas the Germans are still on theirs. 

The above situation represents some two hundred British infantry men are exposed in the open before the "farm complex crescent". The Germans are rushing their reserve platoons in from their right hand side and hoping to hang on in the middle (a process of 'dying hard'). The British have suffered two ammunition and one combat casualties so far (three in total, so that means nine active infantry platoons remaining) and the Germans have lost one platoon with five remaining. Therefore the scenario is hanging in the balance but with a slight advantage to the Germans thanks to the defensive terrain still in their possession and their dug in status.  

Next: The "central attack" goes in

Monday 8 April 2013

WWII "Fire and Movement" - Battalion Attack Game - A Tour of the Terrain

The basic clear battle board with coloured card marking the terrain features (see below):
  • Dark Green : Woods
  • Dark Brown : Farm Complex
  • Light Brown : Ridge Line

Basic card mounted on thick box cardboard and painted with the appropriate colours (see below):

Quantum jump to the terrain as it is landscaped (see below):

Yes, I have no shame, the children's Lego box is raided to represent some simple farm houses (see below): 

Trying to get the 3D perspective at a slight angle (see below):

A close-up on the "island" of randomly generated terrain (a farm complex hid amongst woods). The bottom right hex is looks an Achilles heel to the defender as it potentially is a hidden rout into the "island" (see below):

Across to the left of the "island" are the open 'killing fields', a albeit small protective copse of woods and two small ridges to the far distant horizon (see below):

The battle board from the defenders baseline perspective (see below):

A final look at the "farm complex" on the "island" (see below):

All that is missing is the troops and an opponent ;)

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Delium BC 424 : Part VI (The Athenian Hoplite Charge)

An opportunity arose on the Athenian right wing cavalry (or rather the one remaining stand of it) when an over zealous pursuit/exploitation by the victorious Theban cavalry left a flank exposed in an "no recoil possible position" (see below):

The Athenian C-inC seized upon this moment and scored the "first victory" in the game for Athens. Could this be the turning point and reversal of fortunes? (See below, as the recoil result becomes a kill because the Thebans stands are not facing in the same direction) 

Note: This was the first time the "generals" had seen the turn to face an attack from the flank rule in conjunction with the DBA legal recoil restrictions.

Given the auspicious start to the turn the emboldened Athenian C-inC raised his arms in divine supplication to the heavens and committed his sixteen stands of hoplite warriors to assault up the hill hoping to shatter the Thebans.

What would the 'Fates' deliver unto the supplications of the Athens?

"Like grain the Athenian hoplites were harvested by the Theban farmers". In a series of disastrous dice rolls that will live long in the memory of Athens and her allies, two thousand of the finest Athenian hoplites were lost (four stands in all). Hoplites alas Athens could ill afford to lose and losses inflicted which left the Athenian left wing totally demoralised and the Athenian army almost to breaking point (having lost 10 stands, 12 breaking the army, see below):

Note: The moment happened so fast that only the aftermath was caught on camera for posterity.

Meanwhile at the other end of the battle line the Athenian high point of the battle was recorded.

Akin to Picket's Charge at Gettysburg well over a millennia later, the Athenian C-in-C "budged2 the Thebans off the crest of the hill. Alas this was a very localised victory was insufficient and unrepresentative of the day to be anything other than an allusive footnote "on what perhaps could have been" (see below):

Further disaster followed as the Theban Psilio returned to the camp and this time pillaged, looted and burned it to the ground (see below)

The sight of the their camp burning finally broke the Athenian army (taking the total Athenian army losses to 12, the official BBDBA army break point for a twenty four element force): 

Spelling out the final act of this Athenian tragedy, and playing the turn out in full, the final Athenian casualties (another two hoplite stands) caused the demoralisation of the Athenian right wing as well (see the gap in the line below):

As means of a final reckoning the Athenians had lost 14 stands to 1 and both Athenian wings had been demoralised as well as the the Athenian army break point being reached (surpassed). It was a comprehensive Theban victory (as per history but through rather different circumstances).

Full thanks and credit must be given to the generals who gave their all to the battle, played it in great spirit and all generals were in no way disgraced by their endeavours (as it is a very hard battle for the Athenians to win). The generals have now progressed fully into the ranks of the wargaming hobby with battle deeds to recount (or rewrite) at length when tankards are full.on long winter nights.

The campaign is scheduled to continue in the autumn with the battle of First Mantinea 418 BC when the Argives will take on the Spartans. 

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Delium BC 424 : Part V (The Athenian Right Wing Collapses)

As written in the fates the left wing Athenian cavalry perish, this brings the Athenian left wing to 75% demoralisation, one more stand and its use as an effective fighting force is gone. It is use it or lose it time for these Athenians (see below)

Meanwhile on the Athenian right wing another round of epic cavalry battling is enacted (see below):

With disastrous results for the Athenians as their bellowed "light horse" (on which the Athenian C-in-C had very high hopes) perishes, bring the Athenian left wing to 50% of its demoralisation total (see below):

All four wing combats had gone awry for the Athenians. As a measure of his stoic composure the Athenian C-in-C showed no signs (outwardly) of being ruffled and merely dressed his hoplite lines into a long contiguous front, very impressive (see below)

The Theban's sensing more blood came hard and fast against the Athenian right wing again (see below):

However this time the Athenian cavalry was up to the task and regained some of its former prestige. The Athenians repulsed the Theban attack and then drew back into a better defensive position (see below):

The Athenian C-in-C lined his hoplites "eyeball to eyeball" with their Theban adversaries, enticing them to "blink" and come off the hill. Indeed the Theban command was split on what to do next but the wishes of the C-in-C held sway and they waited not wanting to forgo the defensive advantages of their position (see below): 

Meanwhile the Theban Psilio set upon the Athenian camp but were rudely awakened from their thoughts of an easy victory by the Athenian "baggage handlers, camp followers and cooks" that vigorously defended their camp possessions (see below):

Note: This was rather unexpected from the DBA novices who had never seen a camp sacked (or attempted to) before.

To the accompaniment of a chorus of jeering Athenian laughter the Theban Psilio are successfully repulsed (this time), but as there is no immediate "rescue or relief operation" in place their ultimate fate may merely be a matter of time (see below):  

Next: There must be an Athenian "Plan B" but what is it?