COLD WAR COC AAR – LUDERSEN 2 APRIL 2015

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Thursday saw another trip to Edinburgh for a further playtest of the Cold War version of TooFatLardies’ superb Chain of Command rules.

Once again, we saw the might of the Soviet Union pitted against the plucky Brits of 1 Br Corps. We were situated in the Main Defensive Zone as the Soviets sought to expand a breakthrough to open a route west for exploitation by their tanks. The Soviets had a full BMP mounted Motor Rifle Platoon and a section of 2 T64Bs in support. They also had an HE preliminary barrage and a smoke preliminary barrage. The British had a full Mechanised Infantry Platoon (less 432s), 2 minefields and a Chieftain positioned off table in a support role.

Here is the table from the Soviet and British ends respectively:

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And after the Patrol Phase – you can see the advanced Soviet JOP on the left (the rest were on the home table edge) and the British along the trees with one more over by the building on the right. It also shows the 2 British minefields on the left.

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And now with the Soviet smoke:

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The Soviet plan was to push along both flanks. Their armour came on over on their right flank and was pushed forward hard, covered by the smoke. Their Motor Rifle troops came on dismounted via an advanced JOP on their left flank and they were quickly in occupation of the building on that flank – one section upstairs, one down and one to the rear of the building on cover. They were also able to gradually bring on their BMPs in off table positions to provide fire support, albeit obscured by the smoke at this stage.

The Soviets moving into the house and the armour heading into the smoke:

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The British struggled to deploy. Some poor dice throwing meant they came on in dribs and drabs and, crucially, the Soviet armour was able to block the JOP on the British left flank before it could be used. This forced the British to deploy in the treeline across the centre. A firefight then ensued. The British had the numbers against the Soviets in the house, but the better cover of the house evened that out and the arrival of the Soviet armour, bristling with MGs, really swung the balance. The British were gradually worn down, becoming pinned and then suppressed with several leaders falling dead and wounded; there was only one way this was going to end. The Turn ended and the smoke duly cleared. For the Soviets, this allowed their BMPs to add their HE into the firefight, but not before the British Chieftain interrupted to destroy one of them with a well placed round. Although Soviet morale had suffered, the bombardment of the British platoon left them with few men, lots of shock and a force morale that duly plummeted. Victory to the Soviet Union!!

At the top here we see the British deploying on overwatch in the treeline and, below, we see one Soviet T64B in position and the second will come up on the nearer corner. We also see the 3 BMPs poised to give fire support.

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From a game design perspective, this game went really well. We have been working through some issues of Soviet Activation and Command to try am make sure we accurately represent the way Soviet forces operated. In the past, we have found it simply too difficult for the Soviets to work in a combined arms fashion but with the inherent friction in their command procedures still evident. This time, we think we cracked it! It felt absolutely spot on.

The firefight also played out very well with the adjustments to overwatch being thoroughly tested and proven. Again, a real feeling that we had captured that exchange of fire and the effects very well.

The Victory or Defeat process is also much better, but a couple of tweaks are still necessary.

Overall, the consensus was that it was another great game, that we really are hitting the mark now with the rules, after over half a dozen full playtest games, at a pretty well developed stage.

We will be at Carronade on the 9th of May running a Participation Game – whether you fancy taking over Western Europe or defending freedom from the Red hordes, do please come and join us or stop by to see how things are going on NATO’s Central Front.

 

Monty the Desert Rat

TOOFATLARDIES RELEASE “OLD HICKORY”

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Cover Abbaye

The latest Pint Sized Campaign by TooFatLardies concentrates on the actions around L’Abbaye Blanche between the US 30th Infantry Division and elements of 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich during the Mortain counter attack in August 1944. Although designed for Chain of Command, I feel there is something of interest here for anyone playing Platoon Level WW2 rules.

Monty the Desert Rat

ALGY FLIES AGAIN!!

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In the midst of all this Cold War playtesting, Dave and I managed a game purely for fun last Friday as Algy took to the skies yet again. We have decided to run a mini campaign and this was the first game, set in Jan 1917. We’ll leap forward in 3 month bounds aiming to get to the end of the war in about 7 games. This will allow us to see new types of aircraft come and go as both sides seek supremacy in the sky.

So, the game! The Brits had set out to photograph the German reserve trenches – there were 3 sections and they would get 2 victory points per section photographed (assuming the photos got home safe!!) This was to be done by the newly introduced RE8 with a veteran crew. To escort them, we had elements of 2 other squadrons – a pair of Nieuport 17s with an experienced and a sprog pilot and then a pair of Pups with a Junior Ace and an experienced wingman. The Germans were 3 Albatross DIIs, with a Junior Ace, Veteran and an experienced pilot.

The Brits decided to approach from the North, dicing for each formation needing a 4+ to come on. The RE8 and Nieuports duly arrived, the former at level 6 and preparing to dive to 4 (the height for photography) whilst the Nieuports were at 10 providing top cover. The Pups, due to come from the south, failed to arrive – something to become a bit of a repetitive event! The Germans needed to throw a 6 to come on first move and then a 5, 4 etc representing their reaction. They threw well and all came on together towards the middle of their baseline.

On the left, the Brits arrive with the Germans coming on on the right.

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Now to simplify the action! The Sprog failed to do pretty much anything he tried, including diving to join the other British aircraft. He duly flew off towards Germany in his own merry way, failing to complete manoeuvre after manoeuvre. He started to turn gently to try to reverse his course before heading off the table – with some success. But he still needed to turn harder and duly put his aircraft into a spin!! That said, this must have focused him somewhat – he recovered first time, ending pointing for home and duly flew back safely. In short, no contribution to the fight at all!! Here he is all on his jolly todd:

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The breakfast in the Pups’ Mess was also clearly top notch – they were VERY late, so we’ll ignore them for the moment.

So, back to the RE8. He duly dived and began his run but the Hun was soon on his tail, specifically the Veteran pilot. A first burst at some range and his rudder jammed. The Albatross closed despite some fire from the rear gunner and a second burst caused a fuel leak. The RE8 pilot finally freed the rudder and turned for home, diving again to try and outrun the Hun. The Albatross stuck like glue and closed for the killer burst. Knowing it was now or never, the rear gunner focused, took careful aim and let rip – KABOOM, the Hun exploded in mid air (double 6s are great!!).

Here we see the Germans closing, the RE8 starting his run, and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving in to mix it.

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All the time the Nieuport Flight Leader was trying to clear the RE8’s tail all on his lonesome. He got off a burst at the German Junior Ace, hitting but causing no real damage. The Hun replied and the Nieuport also sprang a fuel leak. With no other real option, he cut and ran for home, paralleling the RE8.

The German Veteran on the tail of the RE8, leaking fuel and struggling to free its rudder before breaking for home.

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Oh, and what’s this on the horizon – not a pair of Pups, surely not? Yes, they finally made it and their speed allowed them to close rapidly on the Hun. Now let’s deal with the wingman first – he failed even to dive, and then turn and then everything else and just flew off the far end of the table – useless!

The Junior Ace less so, he dived straight for the 2 remaining Huns and caused the Germans pause for thought, but their Junior Ace was a man of determination and he decided to risk facing the Pup to finish the RE8. He closed, got on the tail and let rip – the RE8 burst into flames and headed for the deck. The Pup Junior Ace had rounded on the German experienced Pilot, getting right on his tail at point blank range – he’d have to be quick or he would overfly (the Pup is much faster than the Albatross DII). The Hun was desperate and tried to pull a hard manoeuvre to shake off the Pup and went into a spin! The ground rushed up, he had one chance and he pulled it off, hugging the deck and running for home. The German Junior Ace, job done, did the same and the British Pup also headed for home, knowing he wouldn’t catch the retreating Germans.

The British Junior Ace mixing it. On the left you can see the crashed RE8 and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving for home.

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So, both sides had lost an aircraft and a veteran crew, so we ruled that equal. But the Germans had foiled the attempt to photography their lines and so took the victory. We considered the pilots and their progression. We decided the Junior Aces would need 3 kills to upgrade to Top Ace, so the German is on the way! We decided that, for Sprogs to upgrade, they had to prove their ability to fly. We defined this as successfully completing 2 hard manoeuvres with recovery from a spin counting as a hard manoeuvre and doing so first time as 2 hard manoeuvres. So the Sprog becomes experienced. For the Experienced to become Veteran, we decided he had to have mixed it – firing his guns and hitting the target. The Nieuport Flight Leader qualified so is now veteran, the German didn’t, nor did the Pup wingman.

The Germans diced and got an experienced replacement.

So, next time it will be April 1917 and I feel a German bombing raid in the offing!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

COLD WAR COC AAR – WITTENBURG 6TH MARCH 2015

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So, last Friday saw another playtest of the developing Cold War rules for TooFatLardies’ Chain of Command rules. We increased the scope of the game this time and pitted a full Soviet BMP Motor Rifle Platoon with 2 T64Bs in support (yes, I had to proxy T55s on the night!) and a further BMP without dismounts. They also had a smoke barrage and an HE barrage to start things off.

On the other side, the British had a full, elite infantry platoon and a Chieftain off table, along with 2 minefields.

The table looked like this with the British edge to the right and the Soviet edge to the left. The woods and building on the far side are the Soviet objective:

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And the Soviet task was to get at least 3 armoured vehicles (with passengers) off the table AND clear the left hand woods as they looked at it. The British task was to stop them.

Once again, we didn’t play the Patrol Phase as I know this works and I wanted to focus on the action. I therefore positioned the JOPs for the players.

The Soviets diced well for Force Morale, the British less so and the Soviets had the first move. They had deployed the smoke to cover their advance:

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and used the speed of their BMPs to close 2 of them on the objective and then debus under cover of the smoke. The British were struggling to deploy – failing to come on in time to protect the JOP in the wood, which duly fell.

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Finally on the table, the British had a section in the woods on their left and 2 sections in the open ground in the centre. The latter 2 engaged the 2 soviet dismounted teams in a firefight. This was a real dilemma for the Soviets, they really weren’t strong enough to close assault but, even with some of the British masking the others, fire power was not in their favour. They really needed some support from their armoured vehicles but their BMPs were very close and would be vulnerable both to the section AT weapons and the off table Chieftain had they emerged from the smoke. They had only managed to get one tank on the table and that was stuck a long way back and with no field of fire.

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The third BMP came on and raced along the table edge to exit – one armoured vehicle off and 2 to go. The Soviets were taking a pounding in the centre with the Chieftain also using HESH to pile on the misery. Something had to be done and they took the risk and their 2 forward BMPs emerged to engage the British infantry. One succumbed to the section’s Carl Gustav but the HE of a 2 phase run really hurt the British. By this time the Soviets were down a section – the dismounts wiped out, the Plt Sgt lying wounded and the BMP smoking by their side. But the British had also lost a section’s worth of men.

The Soviets pulled their remaining team back and brought the BMP round to board and race off board – 2 off, 1 to go. The Soviet on table tank was also now racing for the base line. It survived a couple of hits from the Carl Gustav in the wood to the Soviet right (this allowed me to test the mechanisms for infantry AT against more modern tanks than we had used before). It duly used the cover of the woods to also exit the table.

The British in the woods on their left/the Soviet right with the Carl Gustav gunner on the right by the front pines – good shooting, but his 84mm just wasn’t enough for the job at hand.

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So, another good game and all the basics are working well. The one thing it really threw up was the difficulty for the Soviets in handling a force of this size, so we are no reviewing how we do this to try to get a more realistic outcome. But, as I say, the key rule basics stood the test of yet another game and I do feel we are making some very good progress.

 

Monty the Desert Rat.

COLD WAR COC AAR – HOHENRODE 26TH FEB 2015

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On Thursday evening I took the trip down to the club in Edinburgh for another playtest of Cold War CoC.

The scenario was that the British had occupied the village of Hohenrode and that this blocked the route of the Soviet advance. It had to be cleared!

The table was as seen below with the British end being by the line of buildings.

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Neither side threw well for Force Morale but the Soviets got the initiative.

The Patrol Phase went as normal, with the British getting the maximum number of free moves and pushing forward aggressively. They ended up with their 3 JOPs quite spread – one in the building area on their right, one in the centre building of the row at the back and one on the table edge on their left. All 3 Soviet JOPs ended up on their baseline and quite close together by the road.

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As part of the support to their standard, BMP mounted Motor Rifle platoon, the Soviets had 2 Preliminary Barrages – one of HE to disrupt deployment and one of smoke to cover their advance. They used the latter well to cover a push up their left with 2 dismounted teams and a BMP in support. The third dismounted team masked their right.

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The British played a very cool game. Rolling their Command Dice but choosing to remain inactive, building towards the CoC Chit/Dice needed to end the first turn and get rid of the barrage and smoke. Of course, just as they were toying with coming on, the Soviets threw for a double phase and pushed through the smoke to block the right hand British JOP!

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However, the British ended the Turn and got rid of the smoke and barrage (the JOP didn’t fall just yet) and deployed 2 sections in the treeline covering their right flank and forward towards the Soviet team masking this area. The Soviets used an interrupt to get their on table BMP out of the way of any AT weapons, a dismounted team by the British JOP took some very effective fire and lost a couple of men and took some shock, dodging into the building to recover. The other dismount team was in cover and busily removing the British JOP – causing a Force Morale roll. The Soviet team on their right started to lay down covering fire but their firepower was no match for the British. However, the remaining 2 BMPs deployed to off table fire positions and their HE started to really shift the balance. Realising this, the Soviet commander moved his on table BMP into a fire position and let rip too. But the British Carl Gustav gunner was a cool man, he took careful aim, it was a hard shot, but BOOM, a direct hit (10 on 2 dice!!!) and a net 3 hits for a KO. The Soviets tested for Force Morale, which dropped hard. The British then focused fire on the isolated team on their left and wiped it out – more Force Morale loss. Only the Platoon Sergeant remained there, but not for long. A further wave of fire and he succumbed. This last Force Morale test broke the Soviets and game over!!

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I felt this was another really good test for the rules – the last had been with novices, these guys know CoC very well and also included ex military. The rules got a pretty all round thumbs up, although we did agree that the Soviets just aren’t right yet (many good ideas were, however, exchanged so I expect to be very close with them next time). So, excellent progress, I’m now revising the rules in the light of experiences so far and they are due 3 more runs out at least in the next few weeks, so we shall see how it all goes – watch this space!

Monty the Desert Rat

 

 

ELHIEM MINIATURES SUPERB SOVIETS

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As some of you may be aware, my focus is currently firmly on the Cold War and the development of a version of TooFatLardies excellent Chain of Command rules to allow me to represent that conflict. I’ve decided on 20mm and needed some figures, so I fired up my browser and went on the hunt – this is about the results.

First requirement was for some Soviet Motor Rifle troops. I wanted to be able to represent a platoon and all the usual supports and I wanted to be able to portray both the pre-PKM structure and the post-PKM one (the Soviets introduced PKM machine guns into squads starting in the early 80s). Anyway, first port of call was, as always, Elhiem Miniatures. I’ve always been very pleased with what I have had from them and the excellent service, so I usually go there first. However, for me to buy (literally) into a range I need to see that the range covers all the key requirements. All too often I find ranges that just don’t meet all the basic requirements. Now I do appreciate that manufacturers invest a lot in ranges and some figures will never be big sellers and that’s a conundrum. Do they make a comprehensive range and accept low sales of some figures in the hope of the range selling well, or do they just produce the ones that sell well? I really can’t answer that except to say that there are a number of occasions when I have not gone with one range and selected another based solely on the range of figures available.

However, this was not an issue – Elhiem had all the figures I needed and a good range too. I was especially pleased to realise that not all my squads would look the same and that there would be no duplicate figures in any squad. Really chuffed by that.

And so, with all the bases covered, what about the figures? For me it is all about style, sculpting and casting.

First of all, I really like the style of Elhiem Miniatures’ figures. I don’t know if all the proportions are absolutely correct, but they LOOK right and that, for me, trumps everything. There is no ‘chunkiness’ about the figures but nor do they look ‘slender’. The weapons also seem in good proportion. I know this latter is a really difficult issue for sculptors, but these weapons look far closer to the mark than most whilst also not being too delicate; these are wargames figures after all and will get handled. There was also something else about these figures that I just couldn’t put my finger on until I started work on the BAOR figures and had a ‘flashback’. The poses were perfect, bringing back the memories of soldiers carrying weapons and webbing. The latter for infantry in the British Army is defined as a standard 44lbs and weapons are not light; these figures don’t look like they are wearing webbing and holding weapons, they look like they are CARRYING them. The slight lean on the man with the Carl Gustav on his back is just perfect.

And now the sculpting and casting as, for me, these 2 go together – the former can be severely compromised by the latter. With Elhiem, both are of the highest standards. The detail of vents on the stocks of weapons is clearly visible, faces are distinct, hands clearly defined and uniforms ‘creased’ in the right places, all with enough depth to really reward a wash/dry brush method but without being pronounced. Webbing straps are precise, straight edged and distinct – just run a paint brush along and the sculpting does a good chunk of the work for you. There is also a tremendous attention to detail – on the BAOR figures I noticed a small ‘bump’ on the back lower edge of the respirator pouch – hmmmm. And then it came back, the little pouch with cord tucked in it!! Superb. And that accuracy is another of my key requirements and is something that I always find with Elhiem.

But all of this would be pointless unless the casting was of the same standard – and it is. Cleaning the figures is easy. There are a few casting run offs but these snip away cleanly and easily. You can just about make out the odd mould line, but these are not pronounced and a quick ‘tickle’ with a file and they are gone. This is REALLY important to me, all too often I find myself deciding whether to get rid of mould lines and lose detail or leave the line and keep the detail. No such dilemmas here. And the voids in the crooks of arms? Nothing major – a little thin flash on rare occasions but a quick trim with a sharp knife and done.

And I really like the thin and flat bases – no trouble to blend into the final base.

You may have guessed, but these are wonderful figures and I really like them. They are a joy to work with and are amongst the very best figures I have ever worked with. I can only give the highest possible recommendation. I can only hope these photos do them some justice.

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And how did I paint them?

First off, a spray with Plastic Soldier Company British Khaki

A base cost of Vallejo English Uniform

A wash with diluted Army Painter Strong Tone

A dry brush with Vallejo US Field Drab

Leather is Vallejo leather

Webbing is Vallejo Russian Uniform washed with Olive green

Weapons black/light brown

Boots black

Helmets Russian Green with a dry brush of lightened Russian green

Patches – Army Painter Pure Red and Vallejo Flat Yellow

Flesh is Flat Flesh washed with dark sepia

And that’s about it!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

POST WAR CHAIN OF COMMAND BATTLE REPORT – DOHRENHAUSEN 13 FEB 15

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On the 13th of February 6 of us met at the Kirriemuir Wargames Club to playtest the Post War version of Chain of Command, which is being developed with TooFatLardies.

The table was laid out as below:

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The left hand photo shows the layout from the British side and the right hand photo from the Soviet side. The line of trees across the Soviet baseline actually lines the edge of a road, so we allowed the Soviets to deploy vehicles anywhere along their table edge. The ground was all good going except the woods and cleared woodland in the middle, which were all Broken Ground. The hedges were all Medium Obstacles. This was taken just before I placed the brewed up T64 – the destruction of which set the battle in motion. The mat is by me, all the trees etc are by The Last Valley and are simply delightful, the roads (watch this space) are from Early War Miniatures and I have finally found the solution, at least for me, in terms of flexible roads – I’m really happy with them.

And we had a full, regular Soviet Motor Rifle Platoon in BMPs against 2 sections of elite British mechanised infantry, although the latter had wisely left their FV 432s back in a safe location!

We didn’t play the Patrol Phase at all – I simply positioned JOPs for both sides – this was because at this stage the Patrol Phase needs no testing as it has not altered from the core rules and because I wanted to press ahead and focus on the game play.

The Soviets went first and deployed a BMP on their left flank, one in the centre and a dismounted team on their right, pushed forward of the tree line and so a little exposed.

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The British countered by deploying a full section and opening fire on the dismounts. The latter were hard hit over a couple of phases, losing 50% of their manpower and the Platoon Sergeant with them went down stunned. Shock was mounting and, with their leader down, they could do little but hunker down and try to weather the storm. They took no further substantive part in the game. The Section’s Carl Gustav (Charlie G) had a pop at the BMP, but missed. It was actually quite a hard target – some distance away, not in clear view and a low profile vehicle. Here are the deployed Brits (figures from Elhiem – absolutely stunning! I’ll be writing more here on the figures shortly, but they really are amongst the best I have ever worked on).

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So, round one to the British and all going swimmingly well! Enter the BMP in the centre. It began to put down HE on the plucky Brits and wiped out the MG team before starting to pile the shock on the rifle group. This forced the British to withdraw deeper into the woods to escape the fire and bring on the Platoon Sergeant to do a bit of ‘encouraging!’. He also brought the light mortar with him (smoke only at this time) but a first round hit put smoke right  in front of the centre BMP and blocked all its useful vision!

Action remained in the centre. The centre BMP dismounted its team with the Platoon Commander and began to push forward. The right hand squad’s BMP also came on behind their dismounts to provide support. Worried about the open ground to their right, the second British section came on and deployed in an L shape – gun group covering forward and the rifle group, with the Charlie G, covering across the road to the right flank. The gun group began piling the shock on the Soviet Platoon Commander’s team, killing a couple and effectively halting their progress. But not without loss, with the Soviet right flank BMP using its HE to good effect, and the British Section Commander had to move a couple of chaps across to keep the gun group in action.

Action now switched to the Soviet left – a sound move. They had forced the British to deploy and then pushed them back. The Soviet left flank BMP now headed flat out for the hedgeline to their front and the British rifle group went on to ‘overwatch’. The BMP halted at the hedge to disgorge its dismounts, who took a position along the hedge, the BMP surviving a close miss from the Charlie G in the process.

But time was marching on and the Soviet commander knew it was now all or nothing. He ordered both the centre and left flank BMPs to advance as fast as possible and try to exit the table before the clock ran down to 0!

The central BMP accelerated down the road, slowing to pass the burning T64 and relying on speed to get past the Charlie G on overwatch and it sooooo nearly worked. First round missed, but the second flew true and the BMP lurched to a halt. Meanwhile, the Soviet left flank BMP also crossed the hedge and began to accelerate towards the table edge. The British Section Commander steadied his gunner’s nerves and BOOM!, the BMP exploded with another direct hit.

These 2 kills and especially the loss of the 2 section commanders in charge of the vehicles left Soviet Force Morale, despite the use of a Chain of Command Dice to avoid one test, crashing and with little time left, the Soviets conceded! Here’s the table at the end, on the left looking from the Soviet right flank (you can see the 2 dismounted teams and the BMP in the foreground). The second shows it from the Soviet left flank and you can clearly see the foremost burning BMP on the road and its colleague just across the hedge.

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So, the verdict on what was a playtest first and foremost – a great game! All the players enjoyed themselves, the game went to the wire having swung back and forth and the overall consensus was that the result was credible, that the rules had played out well and that they had been easy to grasp! There were a few issues that need tweaking and clarifying, but it was, overall, an extremely successful outing for the rules and real testimony to the robustness of Richard Clarke’s original work.

Monty the Desert Rat

 

 

 

KAMPFGRUPPE VON LUCK FROM TOOFATLARDIES

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TooFatLardies have just released the second pint sized campaign for their Chain of Command rules! This time it is the panzer grenadiers of Major von Luck of 21st Panzer Division against 12 Para in the Orne Bridgehead on D Day. Available for £3.60 at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25&products_id=157

Monty the Desert Rat

BATTLEGROUND 2014 – A SHOW REPORT

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Here I sit recovering from a mammoth journey and a day on my feet and taking a moment to pause and reflect on the events of the weekend. Battleground is, I suppose, an old show under new management, so how did the new management do? Simply excellent. Anyone who has dealt with Pendraken will, I am sure, recognise such sentiments as friendly, helpful, efficient, organised and on the ball and all that carried through to Battleground in spades. Quite simply, from my perspective, one of the best organised shows I have attended.

The venue is also excellent. It’s a large sports hall so lots of space without feeling at all empty and also light, bright and cool. The café across the car park was also open in good time and got the bacon butties on early as a special favour – I know they did good business on the day.

How did it compare to previous years? I can’t say as it was a first visit for me, but it was an excellent show and I have already asked to come back again next year, which just about says it all!

As for the game, it was Scenario 21 from Operation WINTER STORM – the Soviet counter attack on the bridgehead over the MUSHKOVA River at BOLSHAYA-VASILEVKA. The Germans had their usual Panzer Grenadier platoon with a sniper and Panzerknacker team, whilst the Soviets were a little different from usual – an Elite Guards SMG platoon of 4 squads and a T34. Soviet Force Morale was 10 and the Germans were on 8. I had 2 new players, one on each side with Ian commanding the Soviets and Luke the Germans.

The Germans started with their free patrol moves and pushed forward across the board. The Soviets countered but were held back in their own third of the table but with one JOP right over on the table edge on their left flank. (Sorry, should have taken more photos but I was too busy running the game). The Germans had a chain across the middle of the board, choosing to deploy mid table to exploit some good fields of fire.

The Soviets opened by bringing on a squad centre right and pushing into a church. The Germans countered with all 3 squads deploying in a chain and with 2 having fields of fire to the church. The Soviet squad was exposed and started taking casualties, with the Junior Leader being the first to fall. Unable to rally shock, the Platoon Commander came on to bolster the section but some exceptional and intense German fire broke the squad and the German ended the turn – write off 1 squad and the Senior Leader. Soviet force morale plummets. Game over? Far from it. Something Chain of Command does superbly well is the ebb and flow of battle. The Soviets had now got their game together and brought on a squad on their far left, using a covered approach to threaten the Panzer Grenadiers in the building holding the German right flank. They also brought on the T34, which they held well back and protected by their infantry (another squad coming on to do just that) and they proceeded to pound the German right flank. The German platoon commander was forced to rush over to help keep the squad in the fight, but losses and shock mounted. The Germans had tried to counter by bringing on their sniper to cover the exposed right and deal with the lurking Soviets, but Gunter had clearly been at the Apfelkorn and couldn’t hit anything at all!! Showing commendable patience, the Soviets softened up their target and launched a close assault, through the overwatch fire and into the building. By the end, the Soviet squad was down to one man and a wounded Junior Leader and was broken, but the Germans were wiped out to a man – Junior Leader and Senior Leader included. German force morale dropped to 5, Soviet Force Morale – no change! Clever hoarding of Chain of Command Chits (I don’t use dice, heretic that I am!!!) meant they were able to avoid the 2 tests. Much closer now.

The Germans needed to do something sharpish and they pushed their left flank squad forward towards an exposed JOP and, despite another Soviet Squad deploying as quickly as they could to counter, the Germans first closed down the JOP, then captured it and then ended the turn – more Soviet force morale loss and down to 4 dice.

But, undeterred, the Soviets stuck to the plan. The T34 switched fire to the centre squad and began to pummel that with an SMG squad poised to finish the process. Taking losses, shock mounting, an unstable building and with the Junior Leader stunned and out for the Turn, the remnants did the only thing they could and pulled back out of the line of fire.

And then the Soviets lost the game! They pivoted their T34 to fire on the German left flank squad, holed up in the building they had occupied to capture the JOP and boxed in by a Soviet SMG squad. This seems sensible – repeating the route to success from earlier, pound with the T34 and then close assault. However, this was the chance the Germans had been waiting for. They used their Chain of Command chit to ambush with the Panzerknacker team. They had been waiting for a flank or rear attack as they needed that to throw the odds in their favour; and the attack was a blinder. No Soviets on overwatch to cut down the man with the charge, no Chain of Command chit to interrupt and some excellent German dice and poor Soviet dice and the T34 was brewed up. Cue one tank destruction badge, a pat on the back for the team leader for being so patient and picking his moment, and a further loss of Soviet force morale. And so we called it, a very narrow German victory as they had held, but they had lost the best part of 2 squads and the platoon commander. The Soviets had lost similarly – 2 squads and the platoon commander and so they still had 2 squads in good order. But they had also lost their ace, the T34, and, with SMGs and lots of open ground to cover while still facing 4 MG42s and with a Force Morale of 2, we felt it was too much to ask.

And so our campaign through the Show season comes to an end. It’s been great fun, I’d like to thank all the organisers, gamers and interested passers by for what has been a most enjoyable and entertaining first year on the show circuit for Monty’s. And especial thanks to Rich and TooFatLardies for such a great rule set and all the support throughout the year. We will return – watch this space to find out more!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

OPERATION WINTER STORM – A CHAIN OF COMMAND SUPPLEMENT

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Just to let you all know that TooFatLardies have just released my Operation WINTER STORM scenario supplement – 22 scenarios for £7. It can be found at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25&products_id=153

Monty the Desert Rat