Sunday, 26 February 2017

Action at the Corinth Canal - Chain of Command

Our third game featured at this month's meeting was this lovely looking Chain of Command game recreating events in Greece in 1941.

Chain of Command (CoC) Game Report by Nathan (Gamemeister for the day), Pictures by JJ.

A rag tag British platoon are holding a village on the road to the Corinth Canal Bridge, with a Bren gun carrier and light tank as support, requiring to use CoC dice and then randomise where it arrived. They had five command dice and one CoC dice in hand and were commanded by Steve H.

Greece 1941, Chain of Command style
The Fallschirmjagers are attacking with two platoons, and various support options.

The two commanders Ian and Jason decided to take a 37mm ATG, FF assault team, and two MG34 MMG's; they had five command dice due to dispersal rules, and also had to roll twice to get anything on the board after the first roll. They were only informed of this when they tried to bring anything further on table. If they had taken battalion command support option this would have increased their
command dice to six.

With the drone of passing JU52 transports and occasional ack-ack, the British defenders stand to
The British deployed in and around the village, with wire defences across the board. The Germans then diced to see where they entered the board, with a chance that this could have put them in and around, and behind the British lines; as it turned out this did not transpire and the Germans came on the board with each player sending forward sections to call out the British positions.

The Germans advanced and a shout of ambush rang out as the British HMG opened up on the FJ in the open, pinning down a section.

The Germans had to get fire suppression on the British positions which they managed to do, but had to call in nearly the whole platoon and support weapons to do so. Jason’s platoon was being used to pin the enemy infantry whilst Ian sent his whole platoon around to the right to gain access.

FJ sections and weapons teams prepare to move into the assault

This went on all day with the German 1st platoon morale dropping to three at one point, with multiple leaders being hit and wounded and one squad routing. The British, in hard cover, had a hard time with the amount of fire coming in, and once Ian had got around the right and started engaging with another platoon they started taking more and more casualties.

Assaulting heavy cover means putting down plenty of suppressive fire to keep the defenders heads down

Right lads, listen up, there are Jerry paratroops out there and it's our job to stop-em!'

'Looks like they're trying to turn our flank Sarge!'

The British morale folded to four and in the last turn of the game they took more casualties forcing them to give up.

The pressure builds as the fire crackles across no man's land

A bit of extra fire support couldn't do any harm

The road to the Corinth canal bridge was open.

Not part of the game, but I couldn't resist grabbing a picture of one of Nathan's pretty Crusader tanks - JJ

Great game with swings both ways, thanks to Ian, Jason and Steve.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

15mm Old Glory 7YW Russians Un-Bagging

As previously threatened I am back with more un-bagging pictures from Old Glory's 15mm 7YW range , this time its the Russians  who are going to be the opposition to the Ottomans we have seen un-bagged already. To forestall the howls of complaints from my fellow club members I will attempt to get as much into this post as possible.
Fortunately this is helped by there not being that many variations in this army to show you. I will however add on some extra figures I have used from their Renaissance range to complement the pictures already on their website , purely to give you an idea of what you actually get in each pack.

First are SYR1 Russian Infantry Defending

Next we have SYR6 Russian Grenadiers :

Next : SYR7 Russian Artillery
My pack was missing two large Gun Carriages which were sent on later by Timecast. So to confirm, you get the 4 medium carriages shown in the picture plus 2 bigger ones.

SYR13 Russian Generals

SYR 9 Russian Dragoons

Finally I want to add in quite a lot of Cossacks but there aren't any in the 7YW range so I had to pick from the Renaissance range.OG have done pictures for these but I am adding them in purely for completion purposes.
RC03 Cossacks with Melee Weapons
RC01 Mounted Cossack Command

Thats it for the first muster but I have already given some thought about expanding the armies later which will probably include some more new packs to show you such as Hussars, Horse Grenadiers , Light Infantry and Secret Howitzers.
This has been a Mr Steve production.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Battle of Wijnendale 1708 - Beneath the Lilly Banners

Chas took us back in time to his youth in Queen Anne's army, running a recreation of the battle of
Wijnendale, to the excellent "Beneath the Lily Banners - 2nd Edition" rules.

League of Augsburg - Beneath the Lilly Banners

In 1708 Marlborough had the city of Lille under siege. He relied on supplies being brought up from the port of Ostend to his siege lines by cart.

A convoy of seven-hundred wagons was en-route with a strong guard of 7500 men, when the screen of dragoons spotted a French army over 20,000 strong marching across open country towards the road. The one hundred and fifty British dragoons aggressively harassed the French, forcing them to deploy. This allowed the convoy guard to form up in three lines between two large woods, in the open fields flanking the road. More infantry was deployed in the woods on either side of the Allied line. The scene was set for the start of our scenario, with the French coming on in force towards the Allied lines, which stood between them and the vital convoy.

Chas and Steve M took the French (boo !), whilst myself and "Lucky" Andy commanded the Allied contingent.

The French gun line fired a volley, before the infantry masked their fire. The first casualties fell on
some luckless Dutch infantry. The French infantry stepped forward, leaving their cavalry on the flanks and rapidly fell to "first fire" from the steady allied ranks. Several French units retired, causing
discomfort and disorder to the successive lines behind them.The next French line re-ordered and
stepped up to take fire, but now the casualties were starting to mount in the Allied first line and the
French pressed on.

The French command looking very happy with their day

Both sides were now struggling to get fresh units into action, without ruining the discipline of their new troops. A melee was fought in the centre and both sides suffered badly, with several French units
routing or retiring. Meanwhile the Allied troops in the woods stared at their opposite numbers, with the Allies unwilling to leave cover and the French unwilling to step into the woods. The Allied right
exchanged fire with their opposite numbers, but on the left both sides sat out of effective range.

The convoy crawled slowly past the scene of carnage.

The second lines of infantry clashed and both sides took losses. Now an Allied unit was cut down and
one retired. Seeing a chance to force the issue, the British dragoons charged a reduced and shaken
French battalion. The French suffered, but stayed locked in combat. Now French horse joined the fray
and musketry rippled along the line. The dragoons broke, as fresh Allied infantry moved from the
woods towards the centre in an effort to support the third line.

Lines of French horse were now visible through the gaps in their infantry line. The Allied third line of foot stood ready, as they eyed the fresh horse and a fresh Allied battalion from the woods fell into line.

There we called it a day. An honourable draw and a very close fought game. The main problem suffered on both sides was that the close terrain made getting shaken troops out of line and fresh ones in, was no easy matter.

Many thanks to Chas for making the refight a balanced contest and to all involved for playing in a
"gentlemanly" style. I let the side down with my dice rolls, but Andy more than made up for it. He
threw a bucket full of sixes at every asking. Last I saw Steve was still inspecting the dice he was

As a footnote, General Wade's Allied force suffered 900 casualties and inflicted 4 or 5,000 on the
French, who quit the field. For his efforts, Wade received the thanks of parliament and the queen.
Some years later he was set aside from command for "being a Scotsman". No one said life is fair.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Battle for Stonne 15th - 16th May 1940 - Fireball Forward

One of the games played at this month's gathering of the DWG was this 1940's clash in the Battle of France when French tanks counter-attacked the Sedan bridgehead at Stonne, 14km south of Sedan overlooking the Meuse river valley.

As German armoured spearheads carried out their charge to the channel it became imperative for the German infantry to move into the Sedan bridgehead to secure the German lodgement and protect the supplies that would follow.

German infantry was still the foot-slogging, horse powered entity that had entered the first war and it would take time for them to catch up the rapidly moving motorised elements thus providing an opportunity for French forces to counter-attack before the German lodgement could go firm with the infantry defences in place.

The town of Stonne with it's strategic position overlooking the Sedan crossing soon became a focal point as 10th Panzer Division along with Gross Deutschland (GD) Panzer Grenadiers were quickly moved to secure the area in the face of significant French forces including their heaviest tanks.Ɵdeutschland

Over the course of several days of heavy fighting, the town would change hands several times as both sides struggled for dominance and with the German attack in the west very much in the balance on the outcome of this battle.

In the end, despite French heroics culminating in the single handed attack by French tank commander Captain Pierre Billotte in his Char B1 who penetrated the German defences destroying two Panzer IV's, eleven Panzer III's and a couple of guns whilst receiving 140 non-penetrating hits on his tank, the town was held by the Germans when Stuka dive bomber support was brought to the defenders aid.

Our game was representing one of these attacks as French infantry having been forced out of the town were back on the offensive as they were joined by yet more French infantry supported by tanks.

In the town was a company of Gross Deutschland (GD) infantry with company assets including an HMG, light mortar, infantry gun and anti-tank gun platoon.

At some stage they could expect reinforcements of a StuG company and a further two platoon company of GD infantry.

The table for our game showing the initial set-ups and moves together with German reinforcement points
The rules we were using were second edition 'Fireball Forward!', a set I had seen in action last year at the Devizes wargaming show and was keen to try out, being more familiar with the Lardies, 'I Aint Been Shot Mum' thus keen to compare and contrast.

Fireball are modelled on the next level up with bases of infantry representing sections and companies as units, but as far as I could see they would be easy to use at the IABSM level of groups and platoons.

Activity is driven by drawing out playing cards from a standard deck with red and black suits determining which sides forces get to activate, thus four black suit cards, followed by a red suit card would allow the German player to activate four units(companies) one after another unless interrupted by use of a limited number of initiative grabbing chits. The initiative would then revert to the French and continue for every further red card drawn and so on until all units had activated.

Our game was time limited to eight turns to put pressure on both sides to be holding the majority of the built up area on the northern edge of town held by the GD infantry at the start of play.

The French attack began with the French infantry that had been pushed out of the town earlier by GD infantry, moving to a hedge line on the western approaches and whilst taking infantry gun fire and light mortar attacks pushing over the road into the first block of houses opposite the grey house held by GD 3rd Zug.

French infantry move in of the western edges of the town
Eager to try out a combined assault the GD with a combination of three activation cards laid down yet more mortar/IG fire on the French suppressing three of the four French infantry bases, before launching a close assault by the GD 3rd Zug from across the road.

The GD got the worst of it as they came to grips in the houses and were repulsed a platoon leader and section/squad lighter as the survivors fell back towards their company HQ.

Meanwhile French heavy tanks deploy on the road to the south
With all the fun of infantry close combat going on in the west-end of town, French heavy tanks entered stage right or on the road from the south, moving slowly and rather cautiously.

Knowing the difficulties my anti-tank gun assets would have dealing with the French monster tanks and the likely ill-effects my infantry in the buildings might suffer from their 75mm guns, the GD wisely held their fire.

French infantry come under well directed artillery and mortar fire from the GD company support platoons
The Char B's were soon followed up by lighter but no less formidable Hotchkiss models with French infantry following.

My French opposite commander was conducting a French infantry tank attack, with his armour moving at infantry speed to stay in close proximity to his foot troops but buying the Germans much needed time.

Yet more French armour arrives in the wake of the heavy tanks soon to be supported by French infantry
With the defeat of the GD 3rd Zug, the forward defences under 2nd Zug started to come under sustained and heavy tank fire as the French tanks "brassed up" the buildings in front of them.

In return GD replied with small arms and HMG fire aimed at the French infantry following the tanks as the 75mm IG and mortars bombarded the French infantry trying to move through the houses in the west of the town.

As German small arms and heavy machine gun fire rake the slow advance, casualties mount on both sides
However by turn three with weight of numbers favouring the French and with the three GD infantry sections and a platoon commander destroyed the German company was looking decidedly wobbly as the French threatened to close with the defenders.

The French attack was carried out slowly and cautiously
Relief couldn't have come at a more opportune time as with the fourth turn German StuG's drove into the town from the west shelling the buildings on the road and destroying two French infantry sections in the process and forcing the  others to fall back to the forces attacking from the south.

The counter-attack by the StuG's had relieved the German company commander of one headache allowing him to redirect the fire of his IG and mortars towards the French main-force attack.

As the French attack closes on the town a German Pak At gun opens fire by the grey house in a desperate attempt to stop the Chars
The StuG's now had control of the road running across the face of the French attack from the south and threatened any French units from the flank that attempted to cross in front of their guns.

A Char B attempted to deal with the threat by firing down the road with its 37mm gun only to see the shots bounce off the StuG's heavy front armour.

Relief as StuG's clear the west of French infantry and stymie the French attack into the town from the south
Following close on the heals of the StuG's a second reduced strength GD infantry company (Two Zugs with AT Rifle and HMG support platoons) arrived on the northern outskirts of town having climbed the steep road up from the valley below.

These infantry reinforcements allowed the GD to move in to secure buildings on the eastern and central sectors of the town backing up the forward elements of the initial defenders.

Suddenly a French tank explodes as a German Pak finds its mark
As the French tanks and infantry edged ever closer to the the forward buildings manned by the GD, the German AT guns held their fire waiting for the best opportunity of surprising the French tankers.

One of the two gun teams had little choice but to open up frontally as French infantry closed in on the grounds of the grey house held by 2nd Zug.

They managed to squeeze off two rounds which bounced off the oncoming Hotchkiss before succumbing to the fire of the approaching French infantry.

All the GD defending infantry could do was hunker down and keep firing
Throwing caution to the wind and with the eighth turn rapidly approaching the French went for it, standing off with the Char B's to provide covering fire on the buildings occupied by 1st and 2nd Zugs, the Hotchkiss tanks and infantry moved against 2nd Zug.

The battle reached its crescendo as the French and Germans fought bitterly in hand to hand in the house occupied by 2nd Zug. Clearing the ground floor the French took the fight upstairs as the lower floor was then counter-attacked by 1st Zug GD infantry from the house behind.

With the Hotchkiss tanks now presenting their flanks the last of the German PaK's opened up from an orchard on the eastern town-approaches and gained an early success as the first target exploded sending its turret up in the air.

The French tankers ignored the surprise fire and their armour shrugged off further insult as they poured their fire on the buildings to their front in support of their own infantry.

Despite the early success the German AT gunners kept seeing their shots bounce
The game was called at the end of turn eight with the grey house still contested and little chance of the French making further headway in the time allotted. Thus GD were deemed to have done enough to secure their hold until the next French attack.

The high-water mark for the French attack as the grey house remains contested at turn eight 
This was a great scenario with the battle in the balance for much of it as the weight of French fire battered the Germans and the French infantry threatened to overwhelm them. Perhaps if the French had moved some of their tanks forward more rapidly and closed unsupported, the German defence might have been unhinged by the follow up attacks.

The rules play very well and both Tom and I were soon getting our heads around the different dice combinations used to calculate hits from the various weapons. I particularly like the use of D20 or D10's to randomly determine effective range from one fire to another thus preventing the predictable, "I'll stop my advance right here to be just outside of effective range" approach to gaming where weapon ranges are constant, but allow that unreality of combat to occur.

Our playing of the game for the first time was greatly enhanced by having Si B as our game-meister for the day and thank you to him and Tom for a very fun day.

Sources referred to for this post