CARRONADE 2015 – RED DAWN DEBUTS

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What a great day! I have always had a soft spot for Carronade – the Falkirk Club are great people and really do work hard to put on an excellent day – but it is also the first show of the year for me and it’s great to see all those old friends emerging after their winter hibernation!

This time I was showcasing Red Dawn, the upcoming Cold War supplement for Chain of Command. A huge amount of work has gone into this so far with numerous playtests and so I felt it was ready to be exposed to the wider public.

I ran the same game though twice on the day with all places occupied. Here is the table:

From the Soviet left flank:

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From the Soviet right flank:

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From the British left flank:

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From the British right flank:

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Sorry I wasn’t able to take any more photos but I just didn’t have the chance as I was so busy running the games. Anyway, the story! The Soviets have attacked and, after several days, have reached the River LEINE. The lead echelon, after some hard fighting (as evidenced by all the wrecks on the table) have got across the river and are pushing on. We join the action with the Second Echelon, a BTR equipped Motor Rifle battalion, mopping up the remnants of the British defenders. The Soviets had 2 dismounted teams already on the table – one in the woods top centre, as we look at this table:

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HITACHI HDC-1491E

and one behind the fields in the centre. The Platoon Commander is in the woods and the Platoon Sergeant with the men behind the field. Their one BTR is coming on the road at the rear. The British have a GPMG team in the right hand building, a second GPMG team at the edge of the woods and an anti tank team with a Carl Gustav held back in the woods. The Platoon Sergeant is with the men in the woods.

In the first game the Soviets pushed the BTR well forward to support the team moving through the field. This proved their undoing as the British in the building let rip with their one M72 LAW. Some excellent dice throwing and the BTR exploded! This also left the Soviet team in the field exposed to the fire of the 2 GPMG teams and the riflemen of the anti tank team and they just could not match this, gradually being whittled down. The rearmost team played little part in the action and the Soviet Command Dice limited their options and forced them to focus effort on the forward team. Game 1 to the British.

Game 2 was the same set up but played differently. The Soviet player kept his BTR well back, masked from the Carl Gustav and out of range of the M72. He proceeded to use the HMG to target the GPMG team in the building and some excellent dice soon saw the team wiped out. The Platoon Sergeant had tried a quick dash across to help once the Team Leader went down, but only got as far as the cover of a wrecked BMP before realising that the team was no more. He returned to the woods.

The Soviet player was now in a difficult position. The obvious course of action was to move the BTR to engage the British in the woods but doing so would require him either to significantly close the range or expose himself to the Carl Gustav. He chose the latter course and moved at speed into a new firing position. It was a sound decision – he was at longer range and moving fast, so would be hard to hit, but the Carl Gustav gunner was on fire – 11 on 2 dice! A good, clean hit and the BTR was knocked out.

The Soviet player now moved his rearmost team forward and engaged the British in the woods with the team in the field. Both sides had cover but, as elites, the British were harder to hit and the GPMG gave them a significant fire advantage, especially when the Platoon Sergeant was able to direct their fire. But they missed the effect of the second GPMG and a more drawn out firefight ensued. The second Soviet team moving forward was caught in the open and cut down, but casualties were mounting all the time on the British. In the end, the last Soviet team was down to only a handful of suppressed men and the British advanced to take their surrender. A British victory of sorts. They had stopped the Soviets but the Soviet task was to clear the home bank and there were so few British troops left that they had effectively achieved that. Okay, at some cost, but men and BTRs are cheap in the Red Army!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

SITREP 005

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I know I’ve been a bit quiet of late, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been busy here at Monty HQ. Quite the contrary and I now have quite a few photos to tantalise!!

First up we have more mats, starting with Papua New Guinea, including coastline:

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And then we have Crete:

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Going to the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, we have some 28mm Germans all ready for winter:

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And staying with WW2, we have some 1/300 scale US and German aircraft:

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And, in parallel, I’ve been developing an extendable flight stand, which I hope to have available for sale soon:

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We have more Sci Fi tanks:

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and, finally, some 15mm Napoleonics:

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Monty the Desert Rat

CLAYMORE!!

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And what a great day it was! It all went very smoothly – a tribute to the obvious hard work of the chaps of SESWC – and the show seemed very well attended as usual. There were 3 Lardie games there (Dux Brit and ITLSU as well as my CoC game) and we were all grouped close together, which was ideal.

Anyway, the game. I had 2 people who had not played CoC before and who were keen to give it a go. This was yet another scenario in the ongoing WINTER STORM campaign and, by this stage, we are well into the German drive on Stalingrad. The main defensive lines have been broken, 4th Cavalry Corps, which had posed a threat to the left flank of 6th Panzer Division, has been dealt with and the Panzers are driving north. They have crossed the Aksay River and pushed ahead to meet the Soviet reinforcements rushing to the area, aiming to defeat them in detail as they arrive.

The scenario itself saw 11th Panzer Regiment clash with the lead elements of 13th Tank Corps in an all armour battle. The Germans has 3 x Pz IIIJ (one with a senior leader) and one Pz IVG. The Soviets had 3 x T34/76 (one with a senior leader) and 2 x T70. The Germans had a radio net and a pool of 4 extra Command Dice to use one at a time at their discretion and this command and control advantage was to prove key!

We ran a patrol phase first – it suited the meeting nature of the engagement and I had tanks deploying from JOPs, which also worked well. The Soviets pushed forward hard on both flanks whilst the Germans held the centre. First on were the German Senior Leader in his Pz III and the Pz IV. Both deployed right centre. Two T34s then appeared on the Soviet left taking advantage of a forward JOP and they proceeded to try and turn the German flank on this side. The combined fire of the PzIII and PzIV gradually dealt with the second T34 – it’s main gun went, it was immobilised and the crew finally bailed. This prompted a Section Breaks throw on the Bad Things Happen Table. Meanwhile, the other T34 had turned the flank and engaged another Pz III that had come on in the centre, wounding the tank commander. That Pz III moved into dead ground and started towards the German left/Soviet right – more of this in a moment! The Senior Leader’s T34 then engaged the German senior leader’s Pz III, finally knocking it out (a Section Lost throw). The senior leader dashed across to the Pz IV and the duel continued with the T34 taking gun sight damage.

The other flank proved, however, to be decisive. The 2 Soviet T70s had come on here and tried to turn the German left, where there were also some vulnerable looking JOPs! They pushed forward hard and all the Germans could do was deploy the last Pz III to counter them. A firefight ensued with the Germans taking hits and being immobilised but the first T70 went up in flames (Section lost and Junior Leader lost tests! Soviet force morale was dropping). The second T70 forced a bail out but the other Pz III from the centre, shock recovered and with its commander slowly bleeding into unconciousness, had put itself into a prime position and KABOOOOM! Up went the second T70 and Soviet morale failed.

What of the 3rd T34? It made it on in the centre, but was not able to influence the action. So, another German victory and the march goes on!

How did the rules work in this all armour clash – brilliantly! No adjustment was needed at all. I didn’t use the more devastating advanced rules and this proved sound in this case; with more tanks, I would have done just that. The real difference was the C2 – the Germans on average activated 2 tanks each turn, although one was often by radio – to the Soviet’s 1 1/2. The Germans used their extra dice well to try and seize and maintain the initiative, allowing them to exploit opportunities better and it was this C2 that made the difference. The Soviet commander found it all a bit more disjointed, as it should have been. Overall, a great success – who said CoC is only for infantry!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

And here are the photos:

 

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DURHAM – WENT THE DAY WELL?

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Very much so! The lads of the Durham Club were great hosts and extremely helpful, especially to a one man/one rat band trying to do it all on their own! The atmosphere was very open and friendly, I thought the layout worked well, using the space to best effect, and I really do recommend a visit if you can be in the area at the time.

I had my Eastern Front Chain of Command set up there as normal (at least for this year!) along with my ‘pre-order collect on the day’ setup for Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company. And here are some photos:

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Hope to see you there next year,

Monty the Desert Rat

CARRONADE 2014 – WENT THE DAY WELL?

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The short answer has to be YES!!

First off, hats off to the guys at the Falkirk and District Wargames Club for a great show. I asked myself the question, what could they have done differently to make the experience better for me, and the simple answer was nothing! I arrived in good time, I was able to park close to the hall, I was quickly directed to my table, which was exactly as requested and perfectly set up. I had some help carrying everything in and was ready with over an hour to go. I can’t comment much more on the show as I was tied to the stand (not literally!!), but it seemed very busy.

And what of the games?

Game One, here’s the table from the German end

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And from the Soviet end:

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The scenario saw a German Panzer Grenadier platoon with a PaK 40 in support (played by Rob) defending a collective farm against 2 dismounted Soviet cavalry platoons (2 squads each and commanded respectively by Gerard and Roderick of the McHighland Brigade) with a T34/76 along for the ride. Things did not go the Soviets’ way from the start. As cavalry they had the chance of additional, free moves in the patrol phase but none of their 4 dice gave them anything. That did mean the Soviets would not be able to press the farm as closely as they might in the Patrol Phase. Anyway, the Patrol Phase gave the Germans JOPs on their left in the woods, and towards the rear of the village. The Soviets had theirs in dead ground and, crucially, in scrub well forward on their left. Here we see it all post Patrol Phase:

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This left hand Soviet JOP was to be key for them and they progressively brought all four squads on from this JOP and pushed hard to break into the village, attacking the large, foremost building first. A sound plan as the German JOPs were too far back to allow them to deploy in this building. The Germans countered by bringing 2 squads on to cover both flanks of the farm. The right hand squad had both LMGs at the windows of one building and were able to bring the Soviet cavalry under fire. However, the Soviet use of tactical movement and the cover of the fences limited the impact of this.

Meanwhile, the German PaK came on on the left and positioned itself to cover the open approach. The T34 also appeared and was intended to come to the left, using the dead ground to avoid exposure to the PaK, and then bring the farm under fire to support and cover the advance of the cavalry. Clearly there was some decadence apparent in the crew as their advance was far from swift (2 on 2D6!!!). This left the cavalry exposed. The 3rd German squad came on on high ground behind the right flank of the farm, but was badly exposed and suffered from the fire of three Soviet squads and decided to move down the hill and into the cover of the farm. Various pictures of the Soviet attack:

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And then the battle really swung. The Germans managed to bring some accurate and concentrated fire down on the cavalry squads – one was wiped out with the Junior Leader killed and a second Junior Leader had already been wounded. To hurry the games along, I had decided to add 1 to all ‘Bad things Happen’ rolls and this saw Soviet force morale collapse – a German victory!!

The Germans had lost a couple of men, but they got these back immediately as they had a sufficient difference in force morale. The Soviets lost 10 men, 1 Junior Leader and 1 Junior Leader wounded. This left them with 5 KIA, 3 missing for the next game and 2 back immediately. The wounded Junior Leader came back straight away, but Andrey Kuznetsov had to take over 2 Squad from the now dead Serzhant Yegor Popov. This left 1 and 2 Squads looking like this after all men came back:

FIRST SQUAD

Serzhant Igor Volkov

A worker in a factory in Kiev producing much needed armaments. He volunteered for the Army when his factory was moved to the Urals to save it from the rapacious invader of Soviet soil. One day he will return a hero of the Soviet Union!

Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable.

WIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
LMG Anatoly Zaytesev
ASST Dmitriy Novikov  
RFN Aleksey Popov  
RFN Segey Sokolov  
RFN Nikita Kozlov  
RFN Yuri Smirnov  
RFN Maxim Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Mikhail Petrov  

SECOND SQUAD

Serzhant Yegor Popov

The son of a small shopkeeper in Eastern Russia, he fights for Holy Mother Russia in her hour of need.

Age 21, An intellectual looking man of average to short height.

KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Acting Serzhant

(command radius 3″)

Andrey Kuznetsov

A musician in the State Orchestra from Bryansk. Your fingers are now scarred and dirty, but the work you

do now is of greater importance than music. You fight for the rights of the workers and

peasants of the world!

Age 24, As broad as he is tall. A barrel of a man.

 
LMG Artyom Petrov  
ASST Yegor Kozlov  
RFN Maxim Morozov  
RFN Ivan Golyubev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Yuri Lebedev KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Segey Bogdanov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42
RFN Nikolai Vinogradov KIA POKHELBIN 5/12/42

Fortunately, neither squad was needed for the second game and Squads 3 and 4 were untouched.

And the post game discussion? Really it focused around 2 issues – the failure to gain extra Patrol Phase moves leaving the Soviets more open ground to cover and with the Germans further forward, and the failure of the T34 to shoot the cavalry in. Had this been able to take up a good position out of the PaK’s arcs, it could have used its guns to progressively reduce the defences and soften them up for the cavalry to move in and mop up.

Game Two. We now moved forward to cover the events of the afternoon of the 5th December 1942. The positions we had been dealing with in the morning were still held by the Germans, who were increasingly under pressure. Soviet forces had also bypassed them and moved to clash with German forces further south. Having been stopped, they were now regrouping on some low ground ready to push forward again. Meanwhile, the Germans were pushing North to re-establish contact with their surrounded comrades. Here’s the table from the German end and then the Soviet end:

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So, we had Paul with a dismounted Soviet cavalry platoon (2 squads) with a Maxim, a 45mm ATG and a T34/76 in support against Stuart’s Panzer Grenadier platoon with a Marder III in support. Paul got an extra Patrol Phase move as dismounted cavalry (his 2 dice giving him the average result this time!). He pushed hard up on his right and we ended up with German JOPs pretty much on a line across the board in dead ground and scrub. The Soviets had one well back on their left centre behind the crest and they then ran forward in a diagonal line through some scrub (with a JOP) to a final JOP on the edge of the board but very far forward on their right. We spent a bit of time talking about this – using that Patrol Marker to place a JOP was a bold move and was to set the whole tone of the game. These show the end of the patrol phase – notice the Soviet JOP in the bottom left of the right hand photo – it’s the small circle on the table edge:

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Paul brought a Squad on over on that extreme right and, in due course, brought his ATG on on his left on the crest to cover the road, with his Maxim deploying in the scrub right centre to cover the open ground and crest from that side, and his T34 coming on the road and moving forward as quickly as possible. However, back to the scene of the action and the Germans! Stuart was very clear that the Soviets had seized the initiative and that the deployment on his flank was a critical threat – if the Soviets got onto the crest they would dominate his whole deployment zone and have 2 of his JOPs in easy reach. Something had to be done! Whilst one Panzer Grenadier squad deployed in cover in the centre, a second was deployed to counter the first Soviet squad and the 2 LMGs ripped into the Squad. Men went down like flies, but Paul brought his second squad on – his JOP placement was bold and an all or nothing act – the combined fire cut down half the Panzer Grenadiers. This was a real close quarter affair at about 50 yards range! Even the Squad Leaders’ SMGs were involved it was so close. Stuart felt he had to bring on his final squad to win the firefight, which he duly did with the first Soviet Squad wiped out and the second reduced to 2 men and a wounded Junior Leader and they duly broke off the table. By this time the Marder had made it on to the table, but only just!! Some shots of the action. The first 2 show the Soviet depth positions with the 45mm ATG. The next 3 show the brutal firefight on the German flank.

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By this point, Soviet Force Morale was pretty much broken and the Germans were very well placed to capture the forward JOP and complete the victory.

And what did we think of it all? Paul’s aggressive JOP placement made a significant portion of the battle irrelevant – it would all be determined by the fight for that insignificant and unnamed bump in the ground on the Don Steppe. The fire power of panzer grenadiers was key in winning this for the Germans, leg infantry would have been less robust in this respect. On reflection, I also wonder if the Soviets weren’t quite bold enough!! This really was an all or nothing gambit; perhaps the deployment of the MMG and 45mm to the same JOP with the senior leader would have beefed the Soviet force up. The additional firepower certainly would have tipped the balance back and Stuart would have been hard pushed to get more Germans on the ridge, although he would, perhaps, have been able to bring his 3rd Squad over to replace losses. Much to ponder!

The Germans had lost a five men, but they got these back immediately as they had a sufficient difference in force morale. The Soviets lost 12 men, 1 Junior Leader killed and 1 Junior Leader wounded. This left them with 6 KIA, 3 missing for the next game and 3 back immediately. The wounded Junior Leader came back straight away, but Yegor Petrov had to take over 3 Squad from the now dead Serzhant Nikolai Sokolov. This left 3 and 4 Squads looking like this after all men came back:

THIRD SQUAD

Serzhant Nikolai Sokolov

A mechanic from Minsk. He trained on engines and there is nothing about the internal combustion engine that he cannot fix.

Age 27, an average sort, unremarkable.

KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN

Acting Serzhant

3″ command radius

Yegor Petrov

A former seminary student from Sosnovy Bor, you escaped from the Solovki Special Purpose Camp, thereby avoiding death. You now serve in the Army under an assumed identity. You fear exposure each day. Add +3 to your roll for age.

Age 27, An average sort. Unremarkable.

 
LMG Andrey Vorobyrov  
ASST Yuri Vasilyev  
RFN Anatoly Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Vladimir Sokolov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Maxim Petrov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Igor Vinogradov  
RFN Alexei Semyonov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42

FOURTH SQUAD

Serzhant Daniil Vasilyev

A worker on a collective farm near Belgorod producing food for the Soviet people and their fraternal allies. The Army has been a harsh school, but he has survived and killed many fascists. His men look to him for leadership as they know he is one of them.

Age 23, A strapping six‐footer.

WIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
LMG Yuri Vinogradov  
ASST Vladimir Morozov  
RFN Mikhail Smirnov  
RFN Segey Ivanov KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Alexsandr Golyubev KIA MAJORSKI 5/12/42
RFN Yegor Kozlov  
RFN Dmitriy Golyubev  
RFN Dmitriy Zaytesev  

Overall, however, I am really grateful to Rob, Gerard, Roderick, Stuart and Paul for coming along and giving my games a go. It was a real pleasure to meet you all and it was a great atmosphere round the table. It was also great to meet old friends and new ones – thank you to everyone who took the time to stop and chat, when I was able to free myself up.

And as for my perspective? The key conclusion was that running participation games, fronting a stand to the public and trying to show case your business is just too much for one man, even with a rat in support! I was VERY lucky that a good friend covered the stand to allow me to get some lunch and then came back and helped me clear up – cheers, Jimmy, I owe you one. But it was a very hard day and I was left feeling that neither the players nor the public had had the attention they deserved. What to do about that? I have no idea as cloning is not an option!!! More thought required.

HOWEVER, next up is Durham on the 14th June (I will also be at Deep Fried Lard on the 7th but Durham is the next show). This is a new one for me but I am really excited. I know Durham well and it is a lovely place and I have heard only good things about the show. The campaign will now move on and we will see the start of Operation WINTER STORM proper now 6th Panzer Division’s buildup is complete. I’m sure some will be concerned that the Soviet forces have been badly written down already – but will the cavalry be back or will 6th Panzer be facing a new and fresh foe? Watch this space!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat.

BRRRR, CHILLY!!

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Preparations for our participation game this year march on and I took the opportunity of the game last week to take some photos of the stuff I have been preparing, so here goes!!

First off, a village in Russia. The buildings are Kerr and King and I have really enjoyed painting them – they are lovely buildings and I really do like the damage effects they have, especially as they have gaps. The trees are Woodland Scenic tree armatures and the fences are from Ironclad  (nice pieces and very good value). The wagons are Battlefront.

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And now Soviets advancing through the village – a PSC T70 and Peter Pig infantry (lovely sculpts and easy to paint too!!)

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Svetlana the Sniper (Peter Pig) and a PSC 45mm ATG with Peter Pig crew lurk in the woods!

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While the Germans prepare in another village. First up, a Battlefront Sdkfz 10/5, then Battlefront wagons and a PSC Sdkfz 251/C in the centre of the village – this time with some Ironclad buildings added in – these are also very nice and good value.

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And now for the Panzers!! A PSC Panzer IV covers whilst a Panzer Keil of 3 Mark IIIs advances across the Steppe. The 2 in grey are Battlefront and the camoflaged one is from Peter Pig. A Battlefront Marder III also provides cover from some trees (Noch pine trees).

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I’ll be posting an update on show dates in the next few days – we really do hope to see you on our travels and, if you fancy a game with us, please do let me know and I’ll reserve you a slot!

Monty the Desert Rat

MONTY’S MARVELLOUS MATS AVAILABLE FOR ORDER!!

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Title says it all! See the website www.montywargamingworld.co.uk for more details.

 

Monty the Desert Rat

FROZEN COC!

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A most enjoyable evening at Monty  HQ last night as an old friend came round for a game of CoC. Dave (a different one!) asked me if I would run a starter game of CoC for him and I was, of course, delighted. It also gave me a chance to set up the basics of the demo game and see what yet had to be done.

Anyway, the game!! It was set in Russia in Dec 1942. An overview of the table:

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From the German side:

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and from the Soviet side:

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The scenario was that, off the German table edge, there was a village of absolutely no tactical significance whatsoever! However, even Ukrainian hovels are better than being in the open in winter so the Soviets are determined to capture the village for reasons of personal comfort! The Germans had an infantry platoon and the Soviets a rifle platoon and an MMG. Both sides started with a Force Morale of 9.

This shows the end of the patrol phase with the Patrol markers in place (you may notice I didn’t have any Soviet ones ready! Doh – I make them for others and forget to do my own – much ragging resulted!!) Both sides were pretty happy – the Germans had one JOP in the small wood to their left front, one in a crater on the reverse slope of the high ground on their right and one in the centre at the rear table edge (please don’t ask me to annotate photos – I have enough trouble taking them!!). The Soviets had the destroyed supply cart by the road, a crater centrally on the reverse slope and a final one in some scrub on their extreme left.

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We went through a couple of turns VERY quickly (my dice throwing – lots of 6s!!). But we then got into the meat of it and had a good run of phases. This isn’t going to be a blow by blow account with all the dice throws, I didn’t have time to log all that and play, but it will cover the main points and provide a commentary.

The Soviets kicked things off with the deployment of a squad on their left and the MMG in the centre, moving the latter forward to try and gain the cover of a shell crater. The Germans responded by deploying Gefreiter Oberkamp’s section on high ground to their left centre and giving the MMG a good pasting! The MMG continued to try to get to cover but the Germans burnt a CoC dice to interupt and give them some more of the good news. End result – one broken MMG team. Here we see the Soviet squad in the foreground advancing from the JOP (the tree stump by the scrub) and the MMG team in the centre (right at the top of the trees).

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And here is Gefreiter Oberkamp and his men:

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Meanwhile, over on the Soviet right, the squad probed forward into the scub and Gefreiter Schulz and his men deployed to give them a warm welcome! Over time the Germans continued to pile on the hurt and the Soviet squad leader was burning all his command initiatives just to try and keep shock down against an ever dwindling number of men. A losing battle as they too finally broke. Here they are taking fire and with shock mounting:

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The whole table showing the 2 German sections, the Soviet squad in the scrub, the MMG team in the centre and a third squad over on the Soviet right – the start of the buildup of their assault force.

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The Soviets were really feeling this now and deployed their senior leader to try to address the situation. They also brought on their remaining troops, forming a ‘mass’ of 3 squads on their right whilst the senior leader headed off to sort out the left flank. He rallied the MMG team (although we agreed it was now too fragile with just 2 men to be a reall asset) and also rallied the broken section by the Soviet JOP in the scrub. Here is the Soviet ‘masse de decision’.

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And now for glory!! Gefreiter Schultz saw his moment – the Soviets were committed to their right and the left was vulnerable. He ordered his men up and down the slope at the double! They took the shock on the way with Schultz only able to rally the odd point and it took them 3 phases to get there, but they JUST made it into close combat range. The Soviets burnt a CoC dice to interrupt and fire as they closed and did some damage, but not enough and the Germans closed. The Soviets, although rallied from broken, were still pinned and it was a one sided fight with all 4 Soviets, including their junior leader, falling. Cue 2 Force Morale tests. But that was not all, Gefreiter Schultz and one of his men fell in the combat as well (but there is an Iron Cross 1st Class on its way!) but their victory allowed them to move forward and occupy the ground held (formerly!) by the Soviets – and this was a JOP! The German player then used his CoC dice to end the turn and force a 3rd Force Morale test on the Soviets. It did not go well and their morale plummeted to zero and off they went! A clear German victory, much to the relief of Schultz’s men, who had shock equal to men on both teams and no junior leader to rally them.

The end of the charge! The Soviets at the back with the pinned marker are the dead from the close combat!

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You can just see the Soviet senior leader to the left by the trees with the remnants of the MMG team.

So, conclusions? First off, this was a learning game and so there was lots of debate as we went through. We agreed Dave’s plan to draw out German sections on both sides  of the table was sound – he needed to spread them out. The problem was that the punishment he took robbed him of the initiative. He was throwing LOTS of 4s and with only one team (the MMG) and that gone early, ones were only useful to combine with other dice. It was a real challenge getting the Soviets to do much on any one phase and that activity became focused on rallying broken units. We agreed his MMG team was wasted – he was trying to get into a good position but we reckoned in retrospect that it would have been better kept back. It also forced him to commit his senior leader to rally it, and thus deprived his main body of leadership and activation. The squad on the left also presented a problem. Once under fire the junior leader was fixed removing shock. Looking back, I think his priority should have been to get out of the killing zone, probably by a hasty withdrawal, and then take time to rally shock without the Germans piling more on. We also discussed the use of scouts to push forward with the main body of the section held back – this would create a threat forcing German deployment but without too much exposure.

We also discussed the problem of the German section on their left, which had got onto some high ground with excellent fields of fire – how to cross the open steppe? We did some maths! Dave could easily have got 2 squads and the MMG onto the crest of the ridge on his side and the Germans could have thrown their last section in too. Fire dice would have been about equal, but the Soviets would have had the numbers to take the losses with a 3rd squad available (and possibly also able to get into the firing line). What could the Germans do then? The odds would have been against them and they would have had to withdraw, probably back to the enclosure. That would have exposed a JOP, so a CoC dice would have had to have been used to move that. And then would it have just been the same again – Soviet firepower forcing the Germans back?

And what of the preparations for Carronade – our first show of the year! All seems good – I need to do the Soviet Patrol Markers (!), make some new shell craters (I’m not happy with the way these look – too ‘prominent’) and I need some wintery shock markers. As for the Mat – hmmmm. Some of the scatter seems to have formed a ‘skin’ on the top rather than sticking to the gunk. I think this is just excess flock that didn’t come off on shaking and I need to brush it off to see what it looks like underneath, but it seems there may be some more work needed on this mat before Carronade and on winter mats in general before offering them for sale.

But, overall, a great game, lots of fun and challenges and we are already talking about meeting again for round 2.

Monty the Desert Rat

MONTYS MATS – MORE VARIANTS!

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I’ve been pretty busy here at Monty HQ working on my Winter Mat for the demo games I’ll be running around the shows this year (more of that in a future post!!) and also on some samples for a client and I thought I would share some photos with you. The winter mat first. This is designed to represent an area that is not thickly covered – it could be an area that doesn’t get deep snow or a time of thaw or the early part of winter, hence the grass and mud showing through. Anyway, the photos!

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They were taken in the garage, so not the best lighting, but I hope you get the idea.

The next one is a desert mat sample. In this case I was looking to create an area of rock and scrub rather than pure sand. The idea is also that, with the addition of scattered greenery, this could become a more fertile area, such as nearer to water. And here are the pics:

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And, finally, a jungle mat. As many of us know, the floor of primary jungle gets little light and so not much grows, we therefore wanted dead leaves, earth, detritus etc but with some low level growth. Again, the idea is that the addition of scattered bushes would turn this into secondary jungle. And the pictures:

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I hope you like them!

Monty the Desert Rat

A KINGDOM SAVED!

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What a great game last night. Long term opponent and friend, Dave, came over for the latest game in our Dux Brit campaign. He is playing Angles raiding the coast of East Anglia whilst I am playing the Romano British defenders. We had a battle last year, also at the end of the campaign year, and declared it a stalemate. I know there’s no provision for that in the rules and, given the Angles didn’t win, it should, perhaps, have been a Romano British victory, but that just didn’t seem right, so we had a stalemate. Anyway, early the next year the Angles were back again for another go. I should also add that we are not using ‘book’ forces – given this is a cross club campaign, we mixed up the forces for variety.

Now 2 apologies at the begining – the table set up was a rush job at the end of the day, so is not as I would like, I also still have some older terrain to replace, so please forgive me that. My photography is also, quite frankly, poor, but I will improve – honest! But the mat IS a Monty Marvellous Mat, and I’m really quite chuffed with it.

Anyway, to the action!! We rolled about 4 sets of drawn terrain dice so should have had a river, but mine wasn’t to hand so we dropped that. We should also have had about 7 large pieces of terrain, but agreed that that would have made it too cluttered, so we agreed on 5. I won the Pre Battle Initiative and went straight to battle, my Force Morale was a poor 7 and I didn’t want any risk of lowering that further. Dave was up on 9.

We deployed in opposite corners, me on my left and Dave over on his left. I knew he had to come to me so I set up a shieldwall anchored on a thick wood on my right and some heavy, broken ground on my left. I put my archers in the broken ground, 1 group of levy refused to cover my left, another group in reserve and my light cavalry over on the extreme left.

Here is the main Romano British line:

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Dave came on with all units grouped closely together:

 

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Dave advanced, swinging his archers to his right and they began to cause some shock on my light cavalry. His centre came forward and then halted whilst 2 units swung wide left.

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I quickly realised he was going to bring them through the thick wood to attack my flank so I bravely withdrew! Wheeling back using the broken ground as a pivot and reforming facing the wood. I also brought my light cavalry across to harass the flanking groups and advanced my levy on the left to cover the gap between the broken ground and another wood.  Whether Dave had intended this or not, the result was my left flank levy became more exposed. He quickly disposed of my light cavalry, catching them with a Carpe Diem card, and then pushed 4 units forward to mask my shieldwall and sent 2 (the maximum he could get in given the size of the gap) against the levy. His plan, and very sound it was too, was to smash the levy and break my force morale whilst masking my main force so it couldn’t intervene.

So how did it all go? The Angles launched an aggressive charge on the levy shieldwall, but they countered, bracing for the impact. A hard fight followed but the levy bounced the first attack and caused quite a bit of damage. His archers had weakened me before combat (mine had been USELESS!!), but I held and won. Dave’s 2 groups were weakened but he also knew my levy were not as robust as they had been, so he detached a group away from his masking force to finish the job.

The levy after Round 1:

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And my right being fixed by the Angles:

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Was this a risk – clearly. He left his left flank outnumbered 4:3 and with me having a stronger noble contingent, but he had quality on his side and I would have to break shieldwall to get to him in any sort of time. The odds were in my favour but it would probably have been a hard fight and taken time for me to win through (assuming I did). That would give him the time to destroy my left and break my force morale. So all seemed sound. What he didn’t and couldn’t know was that I had been busy amassing a very good Fate Card hand. My Lord activated, bought another card and then ordered the charge! Everyone made it for one grand fight and I duly played my 5 suited cards, adding another 13 (!!) dice to my hand. Dave’s face was a picture! My dice throwing was also better and I sent one of the groups of Angles packing (routed) complete with the only noble, one other was looking pretty shabby with only one still looking okay. The Angles had lost and fell back, my discipline held so no wild chase, but next round I followed up, not quite getting there, but the writing was on the wall even with the Angle Lord moving to take charge. It was clear I would catch them and the odds would be massively in my favour.

Meanwhile, Dave’s second assault crashed into my left flank levy and sent one group and then the other packing. Absolutely key, however, no hits on the noble, so no force morale test for that and I managed to get no impact results on the tests for the levy breaking – both times!

At that stage, we called it – a Romano British victory. We were clear Dave’s left was doomed – it wouldn’t break his force morale, but my luck with the force morale tests for the levy meant I wasn’t too weak in that respect either, so would probably survive that fight. Dave’s right could come back and join in, but it would all be over before they could get there, they would be subject to the attentions of my archers on the way, further weakening (possibly!!) a force that was already weakened, and so we felt they wouldn’t do it for the Angles either. Overall result, a +4 victory and the Angles out of it for 5 months!

Another great game, much fun and very challenging with lots of decisions to make and it all felt very much as it should. Roll on the next one and roll on Dux the Raiders – due out at Salute, can’t wait!

Monty the Desert Rat