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Tuesday 31 January 2017

Flying Solo

Real life reared its ugly head on Monday and curtailed the planned Great War game, however as I had already set up the table it seemed rude not to play a game. We had already decided to use Bolt Action rules, we had both had long weekends so wanted something we were quite familiar with, not having played Through The Mud And The Blood for a while. Either rules would work solo, but I decided to stick with Bolt Action, although I enjoy games with them I still feel they lack something, not being constrained by time I could sit back and digest the game more playing solo .
I randomised where along the base line the German units would enter, the stormtroop sections and teams would enter first with the follow up troops entering on turn two, again their entry points being randomised. In hindsight I should also have, for the storm units anyway, randomised how far the units would start in from the baseline rather than the edge, starting at the edge gave the German forces a lot to do.
The Germans had a preliminary bombardment. this put pins on all the British units, however these effects were partly negated by the the first four order dice out being British, rallying is so much easier in second edition, to easy I think, this enabled them to rally all the pins on four units before the Germans moved on from the base line. There was no firing in the first turn, in turn two the British came out with the first two dice, firing on the approaching Germans but not doing to much damage at the range fired at, in turn three the Germans only managed one hit, but it did knock out one of the Lewis guns. Elation was short lived the British SOS bombardment arrived, smack bang in the middle of the advancing German units, this really stooped the German attack in its tracks causing maximum pins on all the units in the blast radius.
In turn four the German flamethrower team managed to avoid the carnage and make it to the British wire, only to find the wire uncut, so had to seek refuge in the nearby building. Here they were subsequently close assaulted by the British bombing team, the British had seven dice causing no hits, it was looking good, but no the Germans caused none either, next round was two - one to the British, goodbye flammenwerfer.
Due to the pins inflicted by the SOS stonk there was little German advance in turn five, by turn six they had only made it half way to the British line, there was a turn seven, which I played out although after turn five it was obvious the attack had stalled, so a win for the British and Dave in absentia.
I have been on and off tinkering with a Bolt Action, Battlegroup, CoC up for our Spanish Civil War games, I hope to try these out next Monday if Dave is willing. Based on my observations of the solo game I may well try them out for the Great War too.
More pics of the action below.............................................
The German Advance

About To Be Halted By The British Barrage

The British Bombers Give The Flammenwerfer Team Short Shrift

The Extent Of The German Advance

The Confident  British Advance To The Wire To Give Fire

The Whippet Out Of Fuel Provides Covering Fire

The British Relatively Safe In The Ruins Pour It In

Monday 30 January 2017

Beaten But Not Disheartened

I had a most splendid weekend at Battlefield Hobbies Daventry, taking part in the Battlegroup Campaign Weekend.
Although doing my best to prevent the Germans from holding the town of Mundenburg by losing all of my four games, the Germans held the town by one victory point. This was in no small part to the efforts of our visitors from Finland, Mikael , Juuso and ? (Sorry can't remember the name) earning almost half the campaign points.
Organiser and Battlegroup author Warwick will be posting a report on his blog Move To Contact in due course.
I would like to thank Warwick,  my opposing Generals, all the other fine chaps and Battlefield Hobbies for making it such a fabulous weekend. I hope circumstances will allow me to attend another in the future.
Here  are a few pics of the various games, you can see a few of my burning vehicles in the bottom left of the first, although you can see from the other vehicle aflame I went down fighting.

Monday 23 January 2017

Gas! Gas! Gas!

This is one of those pieces you don't need for a game, but which adds to the look of thing on the table. However I will use him as a sentry in our games as well.
The figure is from the Great War Miniatures, Leach Catapult set, I got this in a trade with Colonel Bill's, Dave was after the catapult for his VBCW collection but did not need the crew. The bell and post were from my bits box, Dave gave me these a while ago so I do not know the origin of them, he may of course remember and reply accordingly. 
I had a splendid Indian Mutiny game over at Dave's today, despite coming second, well I an used to this position now. This is ahead of a WI photo shoot later in the week, for Dave's article in a forthcoming issue, be sure to check out Tales From GHQ in due course for some shots of the debacle.

Next weeks game, Counter Attack At Chateau Pleque. The Germans will endeavour to re-take the hamlet, this time we will be using Through The Blood And The Mud rule set.


Monday 16 January 2017

The Assault On The Hamlet Of Chataeu Pleque, 1918

Game Balance, now there is a thing, I don't mean that both sides should have an equal chance to win no, but on the other hand no one wants a game where your opponent or yourself have no chance of winning at all. Tricky, more so in the Great War where at some point you will be up against an enemy in trenches with probably well placed fire power and you have to attack with most likely than not, little cover and barbed wire obstacles to boot.
In this scenario I attempted to "even" things by giving the British attackers more points and included a tank to aid the infantry attack, I also included plenty of shell holes in no-man's land to give some available cover, the attack would also be a dawn attack making them less visible early on. To temper this advantage in the first turn the British units had to pass an order test to move on table, this was to reflect units going astray in the gloom, in Bolt Action after turn two you dice to see if the light is up this can also help the defender, an early result of it doing so could mean that the British were a bit tardy in the advance. The Germans although having some trenches and buildings have to defend across the front initially at least and are unable to bring all their fire power to bear from the buildings. Despite coming second I think it worked anyway.
Of course nothing can cover occasions like below, an example of German fire dice!
Enough food for thought on with the pretty pics and narrative......
Aerial Recon Photo
Turn One. Dave got all but the Whippet and a Lewis Gun section to move on table, the Germans could see nothing at this distance.
Turn Two.  The Germans managed to spot and get a shot in while the British advance continued, not a lot happening this turn.
Turn Three. The sun was up all was clear, the attack began in earnest, at this stage Dave was having to move and fire so the Germans got off lightly, as you can see by my firing dice result above so did the British :~)
Turn Four.  The Germans began to take a beating, especially the MG and field gun, the sections in the buildings having no real targets of opportunity, having seen that the British attack was concentrating on the right I should really have moved the section in the far building earlier, something I would regret later.
Turn Five. Things were looking grim for the Germans, the only real success was eliminating the mortar spotters so at least the off mortar could not change targets. Although by then the damage was done, combined with concentrated rifle grenade and lewis gun fire both the field gun and the MG08 were eliminated and the section in the trench was taking pins, making them virtually ineffective.
Turn Six.  The section from the far building was stuck in the road, it could run and gain the trench or advance and fire, either way the amount of British fire against it meant it was doomed really. They opted to fire hoping to inflict some casualties to lessen the opposition for the counter attack by its comrades. We threw for an extra turn and got one, so I had another chance to inflict more casualties but so did the British and with more fire power to do it. The game was lost though, the German CO bugged out and the section in the other building surrendered. The scene is set for the German counter attack.
An enjoyable game, Dave played the British well, although the dice were unkind I should have played a lot better than I did. Balanced? I would like to think so, as much as one can anyway.
The German Trenches

Ajax Lends Support

Ajax Leads The Attack

The Germans Seem Happy To Stay In The Buildings

The Brits Enter The German Trenches
The Sepia Shots

Off to GHQ next week for a foray in the Indian Mutiny, Gad Sir the heat!


Saturday 14 January 2017

Bolt Action, More Great War Modifications

For the the game on a Monday, I will trial the following......

MMG's - With early tanks having thinner armour than their WWII counterparts they can pin tanks with normal ammunition, if a hit is scored, on a D6  roll of 1 -3 the tank receives a pin.
They can also be supplied with armour piercing ammunition which will give them a +2 penetration modifier, use the standard rules for this.

Grenades - Squads can have dedicated "bombers" they are treated as tough fighters and can re-roll any wounds scored in close combat to score a further wound. They can also throw their grenades at enemy in cover up to 6", the distance in inches as to be equalled or beaten on a D6, if a hit is scored the target receives D2 pins.

Close Combat - Now that pins are not lost when units engage in close combat, if you have less pins than your opponent you can roll an extra D6 for each pin marker you have less than your opponent.


Friday 13 January 2017

Chateau Pleque, Western Front Late 1918

After the success in neutralising the German OP on Church Hill, High Command were keen for the advance to continue before the Germans could rally for a counter attack. Orders were issued for an attack on the hamlet of Chateau Pleque a possible springboard for the inevitable counter attack. The task would fall to Col. "Tubby" Bykleighs command, knowing that the hamlet would be stoutly defended, the Colonel opted for a dawn attack, the poor light although hampering the attack would hopefully also ensure lighter casualties on the approach which was fairly open from the aerial reconnaissance photos.
Leading the attack would be Oliver Hamptons platoon, the sections would be the of recent reorganisation, two Lewis Gun sections and two rifle sections which would include three rifle grenadiers each. These would be supported by a Whippet light tank and heavy mortar support on request.
There is no news of Leutnant Weiss and his men, we must assume they are either dead or captured, we have been ordered to hold the hamlet of Chateau Pleque, it may be required to launch a counter attack from. I have three gruppen and a MG08, a granatenwerfer team are enroute and we have been promised a field gun by dawn to counter any panzers Tommy may throw at us, a position has been dug ready for it.

The scene is set for the next game here at OHQ, Monday weather permitting, we will use Bolt Action 2nd Edition with mods for the Great War.
AAR to follow, stay tuned...............................


Tuesday 3 January 2017

The Road To Minsk Is Open

You may glean from the title that things did not go well for my German forces today, in fact "did not go well" is a vast understatement, we were well and truly, as a well known TV person is won't to say, mullered, own up you have least watched one of the programmes ;~)
Things started badly from the off, I deployed expecting Dave's usual approach with the Soviets an all out assault straight down the middle, I was well wrong footed here, he went down each flank. Now I might have been hoist by my own petard here, I was a Stug short and forgot to ask Dave to bring one of his. So I thought, lets inject a bit of Tiger fear here and plonked a Tiger I down on the crossroads in disguise, of course this may well have had no bearing on Dave's choice of attack.
Dave got all his force on the table from the start, he sent his IS2 with his tank rider squad and a lorry with a rifle squad off to his left through the wooded hill, his foot patrol went to the top of the rise on the right to spot for his off table 120mm mortars, while his T34s and remaining rifle squads together with his AA HMG skirted it. I was in a bit of a quandary, a tempting gap in the centre but I would then be open to a side shot or rear shot from the IS2, why I did not manhandle the Pak40 round to engage I do not know, my spotters could not really see anything worthy of calling fire down at this stage, so I backed the one Stug up to face the flanking T34s. Turn 2, Dave's T34 rounded the hill and fired at my "Tiger Stug" side on, kaboom!Dave also called in his 120mm mortars, taking out my Pak40, it was not looking good already, never mind my reinforcements could appear, did they? sort of, one unit. I bought on my Panther, I moved twice not wanting to waste a long range shot, this again was probably a mistake as it allowed Dave to get his other two T34s into action as well. I will not ramble on here, my firing was abysmal, further reinforcements failed to appear until turn 5, again one unit, Von Mulligan again was in charge of the off table mortars and the air attack chit failed to come good for me, a beyond the call of duty test enabled me to get in four shots with the Panther, hurrah! result not a scratch! to sum up I knocked out one T34 and killed one infantryman all game. By turn five Dave could see the chits building up and called in his artillery support getting a Katyushka strike, that was it good night Minsk, my BR was exceeded.
The dice gods continue to frown on me, helped along by some poor deployment and tactical decisions along the way, the same could not be said for Dave, he seems to be getting the hang of this tank lark ;~)
Anyway enough waffle on with the pretty bits................

Morale Fail The Panther Is Abandoned!

Pick On Someone Your Own Size

A Visit From Little Kate Seals The Germans Fate
Next week will be a VBCW or Indian Mutiny game over at GHQ.


Monday 2 January 2017

The Road To Minsk, 1944

Our planned game at OHQ tomorrow is a bit of a mash up, it was inspired by the Rapid Fire, Assault On The Minsk Highway scenario in the third supplement, Scenarios For The Russian Front. The actual scenario I have used is the Roadblock scenario from the Battlegroup, Wacht Am Rhein supplement, it will be a platoon size action with both sides having around 500 points.
The German force is made up from the Battlegroup, Overlord book, whilst the Russian force is made up from the Battlegroup, Fall Of The Reich book, I think this should equate to the status of each of the fighting forces at this time and give a reasonably balanced game.

The Table

Be sure to look out for the AAR soon after.....................................................


Sunday 1 January 2017

And We Are Off!

Yes a new year begins, will we start new projects? finish existing ones? clear out ones we know we are never going to finish? we will all endeavour to do one or the other or maybe all I imagine.

Busy with commission work over Christmas but I did manage to finish this Brittannia Bren carrier with a Soviet crew, for my Soviet forces.

All being well the first game of 2017 will be here at OHQ on Tuesday, a Battlegroup game is planned, set in the aftermath of Operation Bagration, a crippling blow for the Germans, an offensive by the Soviets which was overshadowed by the Allied landings in Normandy.
A report will follow in due course, until then may I wish all my followers and visitors a happy and prosperous new year and may the dice gods be kind to you all.