Sunday, June 25, 2023

Op Epsom at Ulster Wargames Society

Club meeting and I partook in a WW2 game run by Phil and son Adam. 

Game was loosely based around opening of OP Epsom in Normandy with elements of 12th SS HJ facing units of 15th Scottish.

Game played using Phils home brew rules (armour rules used old WRG set as basis) and his excellent 20mm kit and terrain.

Adam and I (and for a period Dave Pentland) commanded the HJ defenders with a mix of Recce and PzGr units. 

Brits were led by Leslie with Paddy, John and Chris.

Ubermensch had 2 PzIV and a Stug the rest of our 'Panzers' being a variety of armoured cars (Pumas and Sd234/4) and half-tracks (Sd250, Sd250/9 and Sd250/10 and a Sd251/22) with a couple of Hotchkiss with Pak40 on loan from 21st Pz and support from a battery of 105mm.

Numerous Jocks had usual mix of infantry with Shermans and Fireflies in support (and a bunch of Churchills which never made table much to Phils chagrin as he had just finished painting them previous evening) with copious support from several 25pdr batteries.

Both sides would lose when half there 'heavy' armour (anything sporting a gun of 50mm or over) was ko'd.

Fun fast playing game but once lowly German AFVs were spotted or deployed they did not last long as pretty weak in old armour thickness department and one of the Hotchkiss succumbed to a stray artillery round hitting open compartment.

With Huns having lost 5 of their 10 eligible AFV they retired, Jocks had lost a couple of Tanks but not sure they even had enough of their big stuff on table for Huns to succeed.

Hun right flank defended by PzGr with Jocks advancing 

Left flank defended by SS Recce (the numbered red dots are hidden German locations)

Centre sector of HJ line with a revealed Hotchkiss lurking behind building

Action hotting up on right with PzGr entrenched on wooded rise and a PzIV hunting a Firefly

Paddy advancing with some armour on Jock right

Leslie, Phil, John and Chris working out some artillery stonks

Hotchkiss has just taken out a Stuart on road (this was Hotchkiss later ko'd by artillery)

Second Hotchkiss under Daves command about to duel with an Achilles (and lose)

Footnote: Phil had the excellent Steel Inferno book with him which I had to refer to as I could not recall the British tactic of spearheading their advance with unloaded trucks and kamikaze drivers to draw fire/reveal defenders and we unsurprisingly failed to find any such reference maybe its in a newer edition ?

This was variously termed, a brilliant Ruse de Guerre, utter gamemanship or of containing a strong whiff of Gorgonzola depending on point of view :-)

The truck 'spearhead' on Jock left with Firefly support (this was later ko'd by Adams PzIV)

Much kudos to Phil and Adam for putting on a fun eye catching game

Also at Club was another Team Yankee and a Dead Mans Hand game but I did not get to see/capture any of the action in these.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Another favourite board wargame gets some solo table time: WW2 Barbarossa To Berlin

Another solo board wargaming session this week (no minis game in pipeline due to Stephen on hols) and I wheeled out BTB for a play through.

I do love this game despite its numerous special rules and exceptions with the CDG style a solo boon.

Germans had decent Barbarossa offensive cutting deep into mother Russia but Allies were fortunate to get reserves into play quickly.

Leningrad and Kharkov did fall (along with several other cities) but not Moscow as Taifun card late into Axis hand.

Very little action in N.Africa (bar one mandated Allied offensive) until early Op Torch saw Allies roll up Italian  forces in theatre with Afrika Corps withdrawing to Italy. 

As Total War deck additions appeared in mid 1943 the Germans decided to use Totaller Krieg (essentially going on strategic defence posture) but suffered on Ostfront and were very open to Allied invasions in West. 

Husky hastened Italian collapse and with Overlord in Allied hand I called it early in 1944 for Axis as just not enough strength to fight on three fronts.

Great stuff

Up next No Retreat! Russian Front or maybe a minis game not decided as yet.


Friday, June 16, 2023

O Group - Counterattack at Grainville scenario

Game at Stephens and we played another O Group game with the Grainville scenario from Normandy supplement. This seemed inevitable as Stephen just back from trip to Normandy.

Of course discussion of his trip took up a 'bit' of time before we commenced game :-)

Thereby we failed to complete the game but still enjoyed it.

Opening deployment rolls were interesting with Stephen (German attacker) rolling 3 ones thereby losing me a Platoon, a Section and an HQ order. I then duly rolled 3 ones (4 actually) meaning 3 turns of interdiction. Essentially best opening an attacker can get ! 

Thankfully I also rolled 4 sixes allowing me to place 4 units in Ambush or things might have been disastrous. 

Also on first turn I rolled a further 3 ones making a Company Hesitant but this is not such a bind for defender and so early in a game.

As always with O Group pics not many toys to see on table in early turns

British right with B Coy CO showing Hesitant status (just behind BUA to right of church) 

Germans advancing (2 x PzIVh just visible in wood to rear)

Patrol phase still in full swing


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

A bit more solo board wargaming

Whilst treading water (O Group game scheduled) and having been bitten by COIN bug again (so easy to set up and play) I had another couple of solo sessions, this time with 'A Distant Plain' and 'Colonial Twilight'

A Distant Plain (medium scenario) was a fast and furious affair with Coalition winning on 3rd Propaganda card by judicious use of Surge special activity to 'bring the boys back home' en mass.

Colonial Twilight (full scenario) still ongoing but French in ascendancy at present, which can however change very quickly, and mainly due to Propaganda card coming up immediately after FLN had played 'Suez Crisis' pivotal event card card which saw the 6 removed French troops coming back tout suite followed swiftly by a full Mobilization.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

A bit of board wargaming for a change

With no game scheduled this week I decided to give a couple of board wargames a solo run out as its been awhile since any of my copious cardboard warriors have seen the light of day.

First up I tried venerable 'Thunder At Cassino' an area movement style game from Avalon Hill (RIP), which I enjoyed despite not being really that solo friendly. 

I had forgotten how tough it is for Allies to get through the town to VP areas especially their tanks (so much rubble) or indeed how the Germans must cover slopes of Monastery massif once deluge of Allied reserves arrive on turn 2. 

The small counters and fonts a tad retro but such a nice board and system. 

Am sure it must be 20 years plus since I had this on a table !!

Then it was the ever fun 'Fire In The Lake' from GMT's COIN series, a system and game style which I do enjoy immensely. 

Forgot how completely immersive this game can be (time simply flew by) and still love the myriad amount of decisions one has to make on each card and the topsy turvy nature of faction actions trying to 'catch the leader'. 

Lots of historical (and not so strictly historical) events enacted and cant help whistling Ride of the Valkyries from time to time.

VC have been very close to victory a couple of times but ARVN creeping close at present (am in last 'campaign' phase of full scenario and its going to be close). 

No problems with fonts or counter sizes in this one although some areas quite crowded with pawns at times especially when NVA crank up troops levels.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Battle Command - SYW game with Le Duc

Le Duc attended for a game (first in ages) and we used Battle Command to give him a taste of it.

I used the Morning Attack at Zorndorf scenario again (as I had troops still organized for same) with Le Duc as Prussians and I as Russians.

Another cracking and quick game (3 hours or so) played to a definite conclusion with plenty of action, with Le Duc quickly assimilating the new 'Action Matrix' and reduced deck size of Battle Command compared to FOB3.

Game saw similar events to Club game with Russian left wing imploding pretty quickly (the Ivan musketry was absolutely awful the whole game) but their right wing pushing forward after having pushed back the Prussian Grenadier Brigade (but failing to Rout any units).

Seydlitz command was activated on 5th Move option but despite managing to swing Cuirassier Brigade from left flank to centre he had little effect on outcome although he was threatening the Russian baggage camp at end.

Russians lost units in swamps and saw other destroyed in place and were soon gifting morale chips to enemy (although not as many as on Saturday). They survived first Army Morale test but I soon yielded the field as no way back.

Le Duc enjoyed Battle Command (it is still essentially FOB which he loves) liking the decisions of the Action Matrix but like me not sure if it is 'better' than FOB rather just somewhat different.


Initial deployments

Russian left under pressure from start

My right wing fairing better as Prussian Grenadiers repulsed

Russian left and center in real difficulties as Prussian Cuirassier head to middle and Russian right pushes forward

Prussian Cuirassier pushing forward toward camp at game end.