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



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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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



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:


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.