Friday, 31 January 2020

Chain of Command AAR Aussies vs Japs

Aussies crewing a Vickers cover the crossroads...

On the Monday public holiday, we gathered for some CoC action, not really a game but a rules play through. Before hitting the tabletop in reverence of Australia Day we partook some Chicko Rolls which were cooked to perfection!

The idea of this catchup was to refresh ourselves with the CoC rules before commencing our Malaya 1942 Campaign. We naturally pitted Aussies against Japs using the Probe scenario. Dave went on the offensive with the Japs; they had a Force Morale of 11 and a Type 94 Tank and a Flamethrower Team in support. George took up the defensive with the Aussies; they had a Force Morale of 8 and a Vickers and a 2” Mortar Team in support.

Our battlefield, I'm slowly getting the jungle terrain organised...

Both sides deployed their sections quickly aided by slick rolling of multiple 2s and 3s. The Japs putting their support in on their right while trying a ‘Coup de main’ in the centre with a section going hell for leather through the village. The Australians deployed their three sections evenly using the rice paddies ‘walls’ for protection and using the Vickers Team to virtually wipe out the Japs central thrust. The battle then pivoted around the Japs right. They advanced under a thick pall of smoke and launching a well-coordinated attack; a Flamethrower attack followed up with a charge into close combat saw the Japs smash the Aussie Section guarding the flank. But in their moment of glory a double phase allowed the central Section of Australians to redeploy push back the attackers with heavy losses and restore the situation. Excited with their success the Aussies pushed forward and were defeated the broken survivors retiring allowing a much-reduced Jap Section and their Ha Go Tank (!?) to achieve victory for them.

Some Pictures...

The battlefield at games the foreground is the remnants of the Japanese right flank Section...

The Jap Flamethrower Team advance cautiously...

The mighty Japanese Type 94 Ha Go Tank, the Aussies ATR Team fired several shots at it but failed to score a hit!

The quiet flank...

An enjoyable afternoon was had and we feel confident we can move onto the Malaya 1942 Campaign soon.

A couple of points;
1. Jap Sections can take a lot of punishment and keep moving on, in this game they started with 57 men and 31 became casualties but their Force Morale only drooped 3 from 11 to 8 (mind you their leaders seemed to lead a charmed life suffering only 2 light wounds despite the carnage around them).
2. We had an issue with working out how a Flamethrower Team defends itself in close combat and could find nothing quickly with a search online to resolve it grrrr...George did some research after the event and we’ll probably go with one of these two options next time;
The support crew fight and The flamethrower guy hides. He surrenders if his friends lose the fight.
The whole team buggers off 3D6 and take 8 points of shock.

The next game we'll play is Tripods & Triplanes!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

TSOGers Escape from Colditz (Again)!

Last Monday we played ‘Escape from Colditz’ (original version) and enjoyed a rollicking night featuring multiple escape attempts, a dead British Lieutenant, four successful 'home runs' and the transfer of several German Guards to the Eastern Front. Here’s how it panned out over two and a half hours...

Picture thanks to Boardgamegeek!

Autumn 1944; as the days began to draw shorter and the temperature grew colder Oberst Neudegg’s tyrannical reign as Commandant of Colditz Castle reached it’s zenith. He boasted not even a mouse could get out of his Camp! The Castle Escape Officers from the British and French contingents, Captain Copley and Sous-lieutenant Gauloises respectively disagreed with the arrogant Commandant and inspired their men to engage in the spirit of what they announced as Super September. It was every mans duty to score a ‘home run’ and thumb their nose at Hitler in the process!

On September 2nd while news was picked up on the prisoners Crystal Set that Jerry was getting his butt kicked at the front the British and French inmates of Colditz Castle furtively moved around the grounds under the eyes of their inquisitive captors. They were secretly hatching plots to get over the walls and through the wire to freedom! The British quickly assembled all the gear required to make up an Escape Kit for their men while the French wasted no time and started acquiring Escape Equipment. The Guards watched on concerned with how often the prisoners were visiting the Water Closet and other rooms around the compound, was there an escape attempt afoot?

They didn’t have long to wait to find out! The very next day alerts rang out in the depths of the night, a prisoner was outside the walls! Jean-Claude had emerged from a tunnel near the Canteen and was making a dash for freedom via the bridge…a short time later he was in the cells a Guard caught him whilst he was still on the bridge.

 Jean-Claude heading for freedom...

Jean-Claude in the Cells!

This did not deter the inmates!

Two nights later exiting the vestibule near the Guards room thanks to the 90 feet of ‘rope’ he had hidden in his trousers Frenchman Captaine Dejavu found himself outside of the wire with Feldwebel Schultz in hot pursuit! Unfortunately he was apprehended only yards from safety! This was expected by the Escape Officers though as he had tried this very same escape just a week earlier and then just a week before that! But there was no rest for the Germans that night as while Dejavu was being escorted to the cells Lieutenant Carothers had left the Castle from a window in the Dentist's Room and was soon outside the wire sprinting towards the woods…he was dead moments later with a German bullet in his back!

Lieutenant Carothers meets a sticky end!

The prisoners were riled up! They were determined to score a ‘home run’! On September 10th Dejavu made another French escape attempt once again emanating from Sick Bay and he was again foiled! Jerry was certainly running a tight ship…err…Castle!

Then there was a quite literally a break for the Allies! on the 15th Captain Smithers donned a German tunic and made a dash from the Orderlies Quarters to the German Car Pool, there he hot-wired a Mercedes-Benz 770 and cruised through the main gates and to safety! Days later he was sipping wine in Switzerland and the two gate Guards were on a train to the Eastern Front. Success to the Allies!

Captain Smithers escapes, you can hear the champagne corks pop (in Switzerland!)

This initiated a flood of escape attempts, on the 21st and the 22nd Frenchmen Yves and Charles both scored ‘home runs’! Yves used a tunnel emanating from the Chapel and Charles using rope made from his hair trimmings and wire cutters fashioned MacGyver style from two old forks from the Dentist’s Room!

French Escapees stacking up!

Annoyed by the escapes, unrest amongst the prisoners and roll calls drawing fewer attendees each time the Germans cracked down. Soon there were more inmates in the cells than in the Castle courtyard!

The Escape Officers were not discouraged by this and on the 29th Captain ‘Biffo’ Babbage successfully decamped from the Castle via a tunnel he dug with a tea spoon located under the stage of the Theatre. A final September attempt to escape came on the 30th. A French NCO, Hugo fled through one of the windows in the Dentist's Room but he was quickly apprehended by several Germans, as he was escorted to the cells while being given an earful of guttural German expletives!

French Captaine 'Hugo' made a dash for the wire he was nabbed by a swarm of Jerries!

Germans; stopped six escape attempts
British; two successful ‘home runs’
French; two successful ‘home runs’

A win for all sides I’d say!

Once again a great time was had by all, so much so we decided we should revisit Escape from Colditz again in June rather than wait until January next year!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

CoC Malaya PSC Terrain - Jungle Huts

Captain Albert Ross and Sergeant Holt over watch supplies being moved into their new Jungle Outpost...

I'm continuing to prepare for the TFL's Malaya 1942 campaign and some Jungle Huts are required. Keeping to my limited budget I decided to build my own and loosely based them on the old Airfix Jungle Outpost kit!

My huts were to be made from card, ice-cream sticks and kebab skewers all held together with PVA glue. I cut floors, rooves and the walls out of card. The four wall were all in one long piece and I cut the windows and doorway into them before folding them into a square (scored the bends). To this structure I added some thinly sliced ice-cream stick 'beams'. The rooves were covered in roughly cut ice-cream sticks then the dried walls were fixed to the base which was reinforced with a piece of balsa wood. Where required I added wooden kebab skewers to hold up roof overhangs. Some plastic tube was used to represent the huts support poles. The rooves just rest in place.

Here's how the cut out walls, rooves and floors look for the first two huts...

All four huts assembled, they are actually very sturdy (I still wouldn't like to step on one!)...

A couple of Airfix 1/72 scale Aussie Diggers included...

A lick of paint added...

...and put in a 'jungle' setting...

Hope you like them and you can see how easy it is to build Jungle Huts!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Song of Drums and Tomahawks AAR

Posted for George, it was a good gaming night!

The Last of the Moccasins
An After Battle Report for Song of Drums and Tomahawks
(For two eastern woodlands warrior forces, some agriculturally minded women, and a score of village youths)
(with accompanying whooping noises)

Along time ago (Monday night) in a war games genre lost in time (the beaver wars) in a location so remote that it doesn’t appear on any maps of North America (Plympton) the early morning  dawn cast its rosy fingered glow over a small Miami village.

The sachem of the Seneca had received intelligence (probably through some of that peace pipe smoking) that a Miami Village nearby could be vulnerable to a raid as their warriors were all preparing for a big hunt. Gathering his tiny but tigerish force of young initiates and Not so young Warriors he set out to win fame glory and possibly some new neighbourhood watch friends.

Approaching through the broken terrain he Noted the women doing womany things in the field, the children and young men doing things to each other near the camp, and little or no evidence of any warrior defenders at all. The only thing of concern was some bloke dressed like an eagle.  Confident that this could be the easiest raid yet he stared at the distant figure of the woman known in the valley as orenda of the big breasts and wondered how he was going to sneak her home past his existing main wife. Splitting his force into two groups under himself and his war leader achak he led the men and boys towards the village…In Indian file surprisingly enough.

Things immediately went gourd shaped as the right-hand group under achak became bogged down in reeds, broken ground, and difficult undergrowth. Sachems main group was faring little better as his warriors seemed to forget how to move through the undergrowth at all. He ordered some youths to crawl forward so that contact could be established. The eagle-eyed Miami scouts immediately spied achaks rather inept attempts at attacking from a concealed position and opened fire with bows and the odd musket (not to be confused with an even musket or an even dozen). Though ineffective it drove the Seneca further into cover.

Wahta the shaman took control and barked orders about the camp. Given he was dressed as an eagle some of the women wondered why he was barking…but chose not to query such details as they had to concentrate on getting back across the stream. Wahta ordered the young men into a firing line in front of the camp while sending several boys across the stream to allow the women to escape. He correctly deduced that the Seneca would be moving in two groups even though the second had not shown itself yet.

The women in the fields started back toward the camp arming themselves as they went with scalping knives and large gardening implements.  More of this later in the story.

In the far distance kitchi and hadawako the two Miami war leaders heard the gunfire and turned back from the hunt. They urged their small but experienced party onward hoping to return before too much damage could be inflicted.

The race was on.

On the right, movement was still being held up by boggy ground, reeds, shrubs, the bad omens of the dice gods, and the  inexplicable ability of a young Miami youth soon to be called musket boy to avoid any and all objects of the missile variety slung in his direction. Defending the Ford Crossing he seemed to  jeer at  every attempt to bring him down.

Singing ‘I’m musket boy, I’m musket boy, I’m not afraid, your weapons are toys’ he danced on the bank of the ford. Being harsh critics of ad lib song composing the Seneca redoubled their efforts to bring him low…but to no avail. Several of the youths moved across the stream to cover the women as they fled across the fields. Wahta realised it was all taking too long as the Seneca closed through the scrub. Sporadic shooting resulted in several wounds but no real damage.

Despite the urging of gallantry tempered with caution, one youth raced across the path into the clearing to engage a full blood warrior hand to hand. With one mighty backhand swing the youth was struck from his feet and his blood mingled with the dust of the field. Watching in horror a new sense of revenge girded the Miami loins…along with the realisation that a huge difference in stats could see all of them mingling in the dust.

A Seneca brave overcome with blood lust surged from the line to claim the scalp of the recently departed Miami youth. He plunged forward ignoring everything in his desire. He was knocked down by fire from the Miami line.

Desultory fire was directed at the youths by the camp. Several were knocked down but no serious wounds were inflicted. Wahta knew he must hold out until the hunting party returned.

Miraculously or so it seemed; after much running kitchi urged his men into the clearing and formed a rough firing line shielding the village from the advancing Seneca. They had arrived in time. Not knowing the true size of the raiding party he urged his men to fire calmly and to fight as if this were the end of the world. His men caught the odd word of his rousing speech; several wondered what he meant by ‘fill up the breeches with our English dead”…. Mainly because the enemy were Seneca and more importantly because almost no one was wearing breeches due to the the rather warm weather. 

Exhorting his men to ‘shake a spear’ (an old Miami battle encouragement line) a rippling rain of musket balls and arrows ploughed into the Seneca lines; men slumped to the ground, some dead, some dying, some merely trying to find cover to avoid the vengeful Miami fire. One brave launched himself through the maelstrom directly at the Miami sachem who clubbed him to the ground mercilessly. Resisting the scalping urge he shouted encouragingly to his troops “thus perish all who seek to destroy and enslave our people”.

It was a good line but “di(ga) tilvsdi” (‘let’s get em lads’) rolled off the tongue better so the leading warriors screamed that instead….it made little difference as the Seneca didn’t speak Miami and probably wouldn’t have cared about the intended sentiment even if they did.

His men surged toward the increasingly hesitant Seneca line.

On the right the Seneca cleared the obstacles and had some women clearly in sight ready for hostage taking. They ran swiftly past musket boy heading for the ensuing women. Musket boy retreated back toward the village. One Seneca warrior positively glowing with exuberant masculinity broke though and confronted one of the slower women. His intended prize turned like a frightened deer in the fire light…and smashed him senseless with what appeared to be either a large cooking pot or a two-handed scythe. He didn’t really get to identify which as he passed from this world without reaping his prize. As is the way of savages everywhere the woman set to work to claim his scalp as a prize. She was joined by one of the other women who thought it might look good over the window lintel and had a sharper scalping knife...because trying to scalp someone with a scythe is a tough gig in anyone’s book.

Another youth had taken musket boys place at the ford and accounted for an ill-advised charge by one of the less skilled Seneca. However, he was in turn felled by the Seneca war leader; who immediately felt the scalping lust rise in him that made him oblivious to everything except bringing back a prize (at this stage any prize at all would be good). One last warrior tried to recover the body of his comrade currently experiencing the Miami equivalent of an extreme short back and sides. With one great whoop he attempted to fall on the stooped Over women: and was swiftly felled with the aforementioned dangerous scalping knife. Whoop and stoop soon became poop and scoop encouraging the women to start signalling across the stream for the others to join in the fun.

The right wing had realised the situation was hopeless and started to break off before the rather nasty women could get an opportunity to break off anything else. Pursuit was relentless by both the women and youths on that flank. Retreat was equally relentless and mercifully fast.

In the centre the situation was equally hopeless but with more bodies.  The Seneca were slowly being squeezed in a huge vice…a Miami vice. The war leader dodged fire to get a good look but could only see two or three warriors following him from the field. The warrior with the scalping lust from earlier managed to get his prize but was immediately surrounded by whooping savages.
His fate did not look promising and probably did not include making it home for dinner.

This was a disaster. No saga could be written about this. In fact the less people who knew about this debacle the better. Given his force had been reduced by nearly half…the Seneca war leader realised that fewer people did know about it. The chances of even fewer people knowing about it before their return to the village was very high…in fact at one stage it looked like no one would know about it.

Around the Miami campfires that night it was agreed that the luck of the gods had got the hunting party back at the earliest time they could arrive. By keeping their order and placing themselves where they did, they were able to outfight the main Seneca battle group.

Wahta had organised his meagre resources well; the youths were brave and their fire accurate, and the women vengeful. The gods had smiled lovingly on the village resulting in the Seneca getting bogged down on the right flank. This allowed the youths to get between them and the women and exchange fire.

At the Seneca camp that night the conversation drifted inevitably to the subject of who would be the next war leader once the current one departed for a long holiday at Niagara Falls. Someone commented that the current war leader was to dice rolling what Herod the great was to the Bethlehem child care association. Hardly anyone understood the reference but they did understand that the whole affair was an abysmal display and shouldn’t be spoken about again.

And in the way of warriors everywhere discussion turned to the appropriateness of the rules of war…the sun set as it always seems to do, drinks were drunk, food was chewed, and talk turned to the next test of strength in the future….and things best left forgotten started on the inevitable process of being inflated into super heroic deeds…as is the way of the warrior.