Tuesday, 13 December 2016

TW&T (Troops, Weapons & Tactics) Play Through

I have played a few solo tests of The Two Fat Lardies Troops, Weapons & Tactics rules and last night rolled it out for our Monday Night game. These rules have been superseded by Chain of Command but after reading both I had a leaning towards TW&T especially because of the way Leaders/Big Men are treated. The other reason it appealed to me is many of its processes parallel the I ain't Been Shot Mum rule set which I like too!

Everyone seemed to be happy with how the game played but it was a tad slow as we were all learning the rules as we went. I umpired and we had single German player defending against two attacking British players. I made a few blinder mistakes while umpiring/training, not adding a German squad's card to the action deck when it entered play was he biggest (this meant it spent a few 'rounds' taking punishment idly sipping on ersatz coffee), also I missed some end of turn units reserved actions, I didn't have a reinforcement section available for the attackers when that random event occured (crikey a 1 in 36 chance!) and lastly not going through the pinning fire process...if the other guys want another game set up I'll definitely organise one, as it is I'll continue to play it solitaire in the hope of mastering the rules.

The scenario was kept simple no vehicles and a minimum of complicating rules i.e. only integral squad/section snipers were used etc:

Operation Wuzburg, Belgium August 1944

Late August 1944 the British 11th Armoured Division pushed toward Antwerp against stiffening German resistance from the 15th Army. The 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment from the Divisions infantry support Brigade was assigned the mission to clear their left flank.

A coastal Wuzburg radar station that had survived an air raid was in the Herefordshire Regiments area of operations. Divisional Intelligence reported the radar base was lightly held by troops from the 712nd Fusilier Battalion, 712nd Grenadier Division LXXXIX Corps. A reinforced Platoon was detached to take the radar station...

The British
A Reinforced Platoon
1 x Platoon Leader
4 x Infantry 'Good' Sections (each with a leader)
1 x Light Mortar

2 x under strength 'Good' infantry squads (each with a leader)
Variable reinforcements - deployed at the discretion of the Umpire
1 x Platoon Leader
1 x under strength 'Good' infantry squad (with a leader)

Victory Conditions
The British must occupy the Wuzburg radar station or break the German forces.

Some pictures, I took very few as running the game kept me busy!

The battle field, the road runs east west with the west edge of the gaming area closest in the picture, the radar station defences are aligned against an attack from the north i.e. the coast...but the British will be entering from the west!

The first phase of the of the battle the 'Blinds ' manoeurve the British seek out the Germans true positions while the Germans 'lay low'...

The first Jerries are spotted an LMG team!

Overall view of the game with all the British and most of the Germans on the table, 

Germans left flank unit cunningly using a hedge for protection...

View of the battlefield from the Wuzburg Radar station, the centrally placed German LMG have been knocked out and in the background the Poms are just visible...

In the game the British held back and preferred to wear the Germans down with fire rather than rashly rush into an attack on the radar station, it slowed things down but with no time limits on their attack made sense, I added two German HMGs onto the field to liven things up a bit but time beat us and the game wasn't concluded, mind you it was just a rules run through so I wasn't fussed.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

VSF AAR, Model Landship and Terrain

Hey All I have posted some stuff over at "Captain Darling's Miniatures Emporium" as they are VSF themed..

Our last game The Battle of Denmark Crossing"...


Some Statues for the FUBAR VSF PULP scenario I'm working on...


And my new Landship model...


Hope you take the time to have a look!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WWII Desert: Operation Brevity – Top of Halfaya Pass - 15th May 1941

Operation Brevity – Top of Halfaya Pass - 15th May 1941
(1/72 using Rapid Fire 2 rules)

Operation Brevity was conceived by General Wavell as a preliminary offensive in mid 1941 to gain control of the Egypt-Libya border, as a starting position for a larger offensive (Battleaxe) to break the siege of Tobruk. The strategic situation is shown in context of all engagements in Fig 1. 

Figure 1

This scenario played out the action at the top of Halfaya Pass inside Egypt, near Sollum. Dave was scenario designer and umpire, Stu played the Axis, and Pete and Alan the Allies.

TSOG had previously played the action in Operation Brevity at the bottom of Halfaya Pass and it was an Allied victory, as per history. The location of Halfaya in the border region, the terrain at the top (north-east) and bottom (south-west) of the pass, and some images of the escarpment separating them are shown in Fig 2.

Figure 2

The terrain at the top of the pass is shown in Fig 3. The Western Desert Force is attacking from the right and initially hold one control point. The German-Italian defenders hold four control points. Hence the game commences as an Axis substantive victory.  

The solid line road up the escarpment, through the Village and south is a ‘good track’. The dotted road running south-west from the Village is a ‘poor track’. The yellow area is soft sand, the dotted areas rough ground, and the dashed ovals are rocky outcrops. Each square is 12”, representing 600 metres.

Figure 3

Order of battle;

Elements of the 22nd Guards Brigade Group – 4th Indian Div – Western Desert Force

  • No overall HQ on board, but command & control derived from the Allied control point.  C2 level: 1D6 = 4,5,6 (50% success chance). 24” range to Infantry Battalion or tank squadron HQs which have a 12” range to their companies or troops.
  • 2nd Battalion Scots Guards: 3 rifle companies (A,B,C) and Support Company (D) [Pete]
  • C Squadron, 4th RTR (3 troops of Matilda II and HQ troop of Vickers MkVI) [Pete]

  • 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards: 3 rifle companies (A,B,C) and Support Company (D) [Alan]. (An optional reserve selected by Allies)


Elements of 15th Panzer Div   

and Ariete Div  

(C2 level: 1D6 = 3,4,5,6 for DAK (66% success chance) and 5,6 (33% success chance) for Italians)

  • BHQ for the 15th Kradschützen Battalion (overall command & control)
    • 1st Kompanie
    • PaK Kompanie (section of 37mm PaK-36 and section of 50mm PaK-38)

  • 2nd Infantry Company (reduced), 12th Bersaglieri Btn, 8th Bers. Regt, Ariete Div.
  • Artillery Battery, 1st Gruppo, 24th Artillery Regt., Ariete Div (100mm 100/17 battery)

The above Axis units can be deployed dug-in.

  • Optional Reserve: Intended for the entire border defence. So if taken for the top of the Pass then certain Allied losses must be inflicted or a penalty is incurred, as they are not defending another point on the front. Deployed in the open (not dug-in).
    • Batterie, 18th Flak Regt., 15th Pz Div. (88mm Flak 36/41 battery)  [Taken by Axis. Penalty of having to heavy damage or destroy two troops of Matildas.]
    • Batterie, Artillerie Regt 33, 15th Pz Div (105mm FH-18 battery)  [Taken by Axis. Penalty of having to destroy or rout two companies of allied infantry]

So the Axis were outnumbered, but commence mostly dug-in. The Allies were on a static command & control anchor, with only 50% success chance and range just short of the road and control points. The Allies also had a time constraint of only 6 guaranteed turns (4hrs 30min) with a sliding chance of operations being stopped after that.

As usual we commenced with a briefing shown in Fig 4 before the Axis defenders deployed.  The new DAK and Ariete symbol dice can be seen on their first outing.

Figure 4

Battle opened with C Squadron 4th RTR advancing on the centre, between the sandy ground and rocky outcrop seen in Fig 5.

Figure 5

The Axis gunners knew the Matlidas formidable reputation and held fire until they were within medium range (1500 m) of the dug-in guns along the road. The 88mm battery could engage at much longer range (3000m) but with low probability of hits, and so also held fire until the other guns commenced.

Figure 6

The fearsome 88’s did not live up to their reputation and the section of PaK-38 50mm took first blood, brewing up troop A of 4 RTR, seen in Fig 7. For the first time the Western Desert Force realised the Matlidas were no longer ‘Queen of the Battlefield’ as they had been in Operation Compass.

Figure 7

4 RTR survived their morale check and lumbered forward aiming at the Village and subsequent axis AT gun attempts on them were unsuccessful. The Scots Guards entered and drove at full speed towards the broken ground on the Axis left flank, before disembarking into cover on the rough ground, shown in Fig 8.

Figure 8

Meanwhile, the Coldstream Guards had entered on the southern side of the soft sand, to attack the Bersaglieri on the Axis right flank, shown in Fig 9.

Figure 9

The weaker Allied command & control began to let them down and slow their movement as they reached the end of the automatic C2 ranges.

Fig 10 shows the entire action as the Coldstream Guards on the Allied left are closing with the Axis position behind the control point at the southern edge. The Scots Guards were working their way on foot through the rough ground on the Allied right covered by their 3” medium mortar section deployed in the open. 4 RTR positioned themselves behind Halfaya Village, to block line of sight from 18th Flak Regts 88’s.

The Axis gun line of PaK-38s and Italian 100mm behind the road continued to engage the Matildas but with no luck. The PaK-36 ‘door knockers’ and anti-tank rifles had no hope against Matildas and engaged the transport of the Coldstream Guards support company D, destroying their trucks and forcing them to disembark. The Axis infantry are holding their fire due to not being able to see the Scots Guards in the broken ground and waiting till short range to reserve fire on the Coldstreams.

Figure 10

Figure 11 shows two companies of the Coldstream Guards disembarking to close assault the under-strength 2nd company of the 12th Bersaglieri Battalion. Reserve fire slightly depleted the Guardsmen, but the Bersaglieri were annihilated, heavily outnumbered in epic hand to hand fighting.

Figure 11

Fig 12 shows the action from the view of a Fiesler Storch. The control points in the Village and at the head of the Pass (behind barbed wire) can be seen still in Axis hands, although the Coldstreams have overrun the point at the southern end (2-3 = Axis marginal victory).

Figure 12

Two companies of Scots Guards, the MG section and BHQ can be seen in close-up in Fig 13 working their way through the broken ground. The reserve company is still en-trucked.

Figure 13

The Matildas advanced over the control point on the edge of the Village (3-2 = Allied marginal victory) engaging infantry with hull MGs, seen in Fig 14. The Vickers MkVI of the HQ troop joining in and losses amongst the 1st Kompanie in the Village forced a morale check. The Scots Guards reserve company also drove forward to disembark and attack the Village.

Figure 14

The Scots Guards breached the wire near the head of the pass and took the control point on the northern end of the road (4-1 = Allied substantive victory, plus 2 victory levels as 2 Matilda troops and 2 infantry companies had not been destroyed despite the optional reserve gun batteries).

So history was repeated, with the Allies taking the top of the Pass. Their considerable numerical superiority meant the Axis were probably less than 50% likely of winning.

However, a stunning platoon level victory was achieved by the Pak-36 crews of the 15th Kradschützen Battalion who, after their guns had been destroyed by mortar fire, repelled a close assault by a company of Coldstream Guards, despite the gunners lack of training in close combat and the Guards elite status.  Iron Crosses all round !!!

Figure 15

The next game was the Axis counter-attack in Operation Skorpion to try and re-capture the Pass.

Monday, 21 November 2016

28mm & 6mm Crop Fields

Like a lot of people I just use fibre door mats to represent crop fields when using my 28mm figures...yeah boring...

But while on Lead Adventures, TMP or one of those sites I saw a picture of a partial corp field that looked okay so I visited the blog and followed the guys steps to create my own partial crop fields...

The bonus was that after I had trimmed off some of the fibre mat to scatter on across the crop fields the resulting cut down fibre mat looks good for fileds with my 6mm figures!

Sorry I didn't bokmark the blog I found this on so can't give you that link but here's soem other guys instructions...

ploughed fields allotments

straw doormat wheat barley fields

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Longstreet - Four Player Mini Campaign Game 2 AAR

This is the AAR for Scenario 2 of our four player three game Mini Longstreet Campaign.

For those of you who don't know in the 1970's Axiom released an anti war song 'Arkansas Grass' here is a selection from the lyrics:
So gaily we marched with the Grey and the Red,
To lick 'em first time like the good General said,
With nary a thought that so very few would go home...
and regarding this game never were there truer words written!

The History
After the meeting engagement at Grey’s Farm on June 29th between the forces of the USA's Vth Corps and Early's Division of the CSA's IInd Corps the two units re-joined the fray the very next day. Despite orders to both Generals on the scene from their Commanders to hold off on any action until more troops could be concentrated the battle was resumed with great fervor!
After receiving a bloody nose at the Battle of Grey’s Farm the Vth Corps had withdrawn northwards to new defensive positions and the Confederate forces pursued them cautiously while their regiments  regrouped after the battering they had taken.
Confederate General Early disregarded the suggestions of his subordinates regarding his plan of attack. General Skyes had picked good ground on which to fight and they believed they should use a flanking manoeuvre of force the Bluebellies out in the open. Early ignored their entreaties and announced, ”I have these Yankees in front of me where I want them! We’ll beat them here and now!”
Hay’s Brigade were ordered to advance on the left and push the Yankees off the two hills known as the Little and Big Round Tops While Gordon’s Brigade would attack the Northerners anchored in a walled farm area on their extreme flank and “Roll ‘em up!”
Amongst the Union regiments the smell of fear filled the air as the massed Confederate ranks streamed forward toward them, it looked like nothing could stop the Rebel 'wave' from crashing over the Union’s defensive line and swamping it!
As it turned out the Federal’s proved their metal and their line held, but just! The Yankees on the Big Round Top and their cavalry on their extreme right flank were pushed back, a great roar of success echoed across the battlefield as the Rebels crested the crucial hill top. Meanwhile around the walled farm even though the Federal artillery and cavalry were aggressive and moved forward slowing the Rebels there was little the men in blue could do as they were pushed remorselessly back and looked on the verge of breaking.
After successfully clearing the high ground Hay’s mean entrenched themselves on the Big Round Top. but the Federals of the 2nd Division of the Vth Corps weren't done they counter charged and broke the right of Hays line and started to turn the flank of the attackers the action for the hill tops was in the balance!
At the farm USA Brigadier General Crawford’s Division held its ground against three determined Rebel assaults form Gordon’s Brigade they were pressed back but refused to break.
At this point Yankee reinforcements arrived reinforcing both the their flanks and the artillery of Arye’s right flank unlimbered in perfect position to rake the Confederates on the Big Round Top the balance was tipping in favour of the Northerners!
Despite fresh Union troops appearing on the field Gordon urged his men forward again, this was their forth attack and despite their fury all the grey clad regiments were held except for the men of the 60th and 61st Georgia Regiments. These brave men broke through the Federal lines and were just yards from their objective the farmstead but they found themselves alone as every other regiment in the Brigade were halted and White cavalry guarding their open flank had been brushed aside by fresh Yankees…meanwhile at the Big Round Top even though the Rebels held the hill top there right flank was being driven in by relentless Yankee pressure and was only a whisker from collapsing…

The battle was over, the Confederate forces especially those of Gordon’s Brigade facing the walled farm had taken extensive casualties and as the last actions of the battle unfolded the Rebels morale collapsed and the Rebel regiments streamed southward ending the Fight For Round Top Ridge!

USA victory
CSA gained and held one objective (Alan)
Alan 6 Epic Points, lost 14 bases, Epic Points running total is 9
Dave 3 Epic Points, lost 12 bases, Epic Points running total is 7
Pete 8 Epic Points, lost 23 bases, Epic Points running total is 13
Stu 4 Epic Points, lost 11 bases, Epic Points running total is 9

The game ran smoothly even with four people talking at cross purposes. I blew acouple of things fogot a roll for danger when a personal trait was employed and also short changed two charges a few dice (one didn't mater though 2 bases v 2 units totally 10 bases).
A couple of crucial interupt cards helped save some lives but there were no game changers and across the game no one was helped by lucky dice. The Rebel Yells helped the Confederates get a bit further than they would have. Alan asked me advice at one point on whether to use a Rebel Yell card or Charge Bayonets I should have been more forceful and forced him to use the Rebel Yell but he went with the latter and it delayed his advance for a turn, ya live and learn.
Once I saw my chances of any victory were gone and the other Confederate force was fading I just charged and charged again...Epic Points here I come!
Having the camaign in a single year is also helping keep the games closer with both sides having similar decks, same number of cards but I still believe the 1863 deck slighty favours the South.

Some Pictures!
Gordon's and Smith's CSA Brigades deploy on the Rebel right to attack the 2nd Division of the Union Vth Corps, commanded by Ayres located around the walled farm...
Hay's and Avery's CSA Brigades deployed on the Rebel left advance to attack the 3rd Division of the Union Vth Corps, led by Crawford defending the Big and Little Round tops...
The men of the Rebel left get their first sight of the Bluebellies in the distance as they crest a hill!
Close up of the right flank of Hay's Rebs attacking the Federals guarding the gap between the two 'Round Tops'...
Gordon's Confederates advance from left to right toward the walled farm and its stout defenders...
Ayres Union men left of picture face the Rebel horde, note the right of the Confederate attack line looks a bit thin on men...
Crawford's Division of Federals looks like they are about to be overrun by Rebels but looks are deceiving and even though pushed back they hold the line! You can just see top left the Yankee guns being taken in the flank by CSA infantry as they boldly advance to delay the attackers!
The defenses of Big Round Top and Union flank are successfully pushed back in the foreground of the picture, ominously for the Rebs in the background of the picture Hay's men are being given 'what for' by the Bluebellies...
Gordon's Rebel's at the games end, General Crawford's Fresh regiment can be seen bottom right ready to disperse the depleted Rebels!
Brigadier Hay's Confederate position at the Big Round Top at the game end, they are in peril as the Union regiments top right in picture push back their right flank and are close to cutting them off!
The 'High Water Mark' of the Confederacy, Gordon's 60th and 61st Georgia Regiments break the Union lines...but are ultimately unsuccessful as all their supporting troops are pushed back!

One game left in the Mini campaign and we're playing it next meet!

Oh and the link to the Axiom classic on Youtube is...

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Little Wars Canberra 2016

Well I was visiting the A.C.T. and as it happened my stay coincided with Little Wars Canberra so I thought what the heck I'll drop in! It was good fun and several hours well spent though my partner Kathryn for some reason decided she wouldn't go...I just don't understand that. Kudos to the organisers and to those who took the time to set up and run the games, well done all!
I looked around, played a couple of games, spoke with a few 'table owners', spent some money and kept a low profile...no Captain Darling name tag hehe!
my vote for best terrain of the day was the World War I table but it was a close call. Odd it was a great table but had a strange mix of different era figures in use on it i.e. early hun infantry, later Entente infantry, tanks, cavalry charging across no mans land etc I think it was et up mainly to promote a set of rules and range of figures but no one was at the table when I visited it so I'm not sure..
figure wise many tables had great ones but the unplayed display only SAGA Viking table got my vote there, the fantastic looking Viking Long Boats especially added to the effect. The CnC 28mm Greek Ancient figures (Battle of Gabiene) were a really close second for me.
And a special mention to the guys who ran the Crimean war Charge of the Light Brigade game, I didn't see it being played but the figures and table were very good looking and I'm sure it would have been a spectacle to watch. Having russian heritage it was cool seeing spike helmeted Russian infantry and the the cavalcade of various colourful horsemen set up...
Remember all the above are just my opinions!
Game wise I played Dead Man's Hand it's a fun wild west ride, I'll definitely pick up these rules at some stage! Also I played a beer and pretzels WW 2 Stalingrad game qith 54mm Airfix figures and carboard building that was a real hoot! I took a set of the rules away with me, there's plenty of room to cutomise them but it was fun as is!
Lots of money was raised for 'Soldier On' as well I believe so well done there too!
Here are some pictures sory taken with my phone so not the best quality...

The Viking Raid table

The World War 1 table, I can't remember the rules fut the figures were 18mm

The Dead Mans Hand Game the second game I played and my 'gang' got their asses whooped!

Stalingrad 54mm Figures with cheapo Cardboard Buildings that looked quite good, I played this and my Ruskies beat the Facists...just...

CnC Battle of Gabiene

The Arnhem Assault Bolt Action game, you'll see a Tardis and Dalek amongst the 4Ground Buildings 

A Rome v Carthage game with big figures

A Sharpe's Practise 2 game, Retreat from Leipzig

There were other games but my pictures were worse than the ones above...

I'll be adding a Longstreet AAR next time I post...