Saturday, 31 January 2015

Chain of Command - "Kampfgruppe von Luck"

Rich Clarke's been busy again - another in the series of 'Pint Sized Campaigns' supplements for Chain of Command. This one covers the actions of 12 Para and 21st Panzer Division on D-Day, as the former attempt to stop the latter recapturing the bridges over the Orne, or at the very least making sure the 6th Airlanding Brigade has somewhere to land at the end of D-Day to reinforce the Paras. So, a short (in terms of elapsed time) and intense campaign.

I'm actually quietly amused, since I splurged on some Aritizan and Black Tree paras to augment my single section (originally for Op: Squad) in the sales earlier his month (so, before anyone says anything - not a new force, period or scale!).

You can't really go wrong here - £3.60 (Rich's local put the price of a pint up by 10p!) for another 32 pages of maps, background and scenarios to work with Chain of Command and At the Sharp End

You are, though, going to need some interestingly obscure vehicles, as 21st Panzer were the recipient of some of Major Alfred Becker's rebuilds of French vehicles as self-propelled guns: in particular, a Unic P107 halftrack or two, a S307 auf Pak40 half-track, and a 15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f).

In 15mm you're in luck, if you can find Battlefront's models. In 28mm? Warlord make the Unic, but you're clean out of luck for the S307/Pak40 (although the scenario does suggest an Sdkfz251/22 as a 'counts as', which again Warlord do), and the SP 15cm gun? Well... Black Tree used to do a Grille which would do as a 'counts as' as long as you don't mind something that's solid white metal and probably causes a local gravitational anomaly, or you could have fun with a conversion of the upcoming Warlord Marder I...

That aside? this looks like a fun set of scenarios...

Friday, 30 January 2015

Phew (again).

I have had a week.

I'm probably not allowed to talk about some of the work-related IT fun I've had this week - suffice it to say that the number of unscheduled breakages only I could fix had better get me a decent end of year review... :D

And to add insult to injury, at 4:15pm today, the very nice but hard-to-get Internet router that runs my network decided that it would stop routing packets - cue a teenager, a wife, and several hosted websites with no connectivity. And by "very hard-to-get" I mean that by the time I'd figured out it was the router, my next likely delivery date was Tuesday. It's like paint, I swear. You always run out just after the shops shut... (mind you, I suspect I could get Rueben to deliver....)

Made it to PC World before they shut, picked up a TP-Link which is not ideal but at least connected first buzz. Sometime in-between being the parental taxi service (20 mins to Stamford, back, work on router, 20 mins to Stamford, back), I think I have it working. I don't want to see the management side of any more computing hardware at ALL this weekend :D

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Battle Report - 24 Jan 2015 - I Ain't Been Shot Mum 3

A teaching/refresher game for the club, which saw me umpiring Dan and Gary, with a slightly understrength German company, defending against the oncoming Yanks, helmed by Carl and Andy.

The initial table
The Germans' deployment didn't match the American plan, although, in Gary and Dan's defence, I'm still not entirely sure the Americans had one as such :D The initial pre-game Allied barrage did precious little damage, but the Germans had to do some hasty redeployment/moving of sections on blinds to cope with the Amis' axis of advance (down the length of a 6'x4' table towards a small village and church nestling beneath a low ridge).

Germans on the American left coming under fire.
The opening firefight on the American left (top left of the first picture) was a good demonstration of why densely packed units get hammered - the +2 on the fire table and decent dice led to a German platoon being pinned, and the lead section of the two lots of Americans, correctly, took the opportunity to hop the hedge they'd been taking cover behind, cross the road and assault the wood the Germans were hiding in. They needed to move about 8 inches each on 2 dice (losing one for the hedge)... Whoops. Section movement rolls of 6, 4, and 3 left them hanging around in the open looking foolish... Looking even more foolish when Gary remembered he had a FOO for a section of off-table 80mms.

In went the call to the battery... and an equally frantic order from the platoon CO for that section to take what cover it could.

A steady right flank advance by the
Americans, sensibly well spread out. 
Meanwhile, on the other flank, the third American section started advancing around the edges of the marsh, eventually adopting a two up one back approach with two sections lining the hedge and a third advancing tactically across the field. The troop of Shermans headed down the road, meanwhile.

A PAK40, dug in amid the pine trees, and the FOO.
Cue the two German PAK40s, one in the village and one dug in on the ridge amid the pine trees (with the FOO). The lead Sherman was actually a pretty decent target in the open. And they even hit. They just couldn't damage it for toffee.

"INCOMING! Take COVER!"
And about that time the German FOO made contact, and in drifted a ranging shot: bang on target. Followed by a hefty barrage of 80mm mortar shells, which unsurprisingly pinned the section caught in the open.

The American support weapons (a section of 60mm mortars and two 30 cals) had by now got themselves settled in the lone intact house at the American end of proceedings, and they and the Shermans took on the PAK 40s and pinned them. For an encore, the company CO hared across to the pinned GIs, and unpinned them (with the aid of the platoon commander). There was protracted debate amongst the German officer corps whether to abandon the wood or take it to the Amis: Dan's policy of caution was, I felt, correct, but the dice made a mockery of it, as rolling 3 dice for the first section to head back out through the woods he rolled a 5. On a section with 6 shock, at -1 per dice, who clearly decided that they liked the scrapes and scratches they were hiding in in preference to leaving them. At which point Gary sort of got his way and the second section stuck around and fired.

Fire from the second platoon of Americans on the left tipped the first German section into excess shock, and then the Americans piled in. This time, the dice Gods gave them enough move, and though it was a close-run thing, the fact that it was two sections to one told in the end, and Andy's dice rolling both won the combat and did enough shock to cause the remaining section to lose its bottle.

There we had to call it: I'm still of the opinion we don't play IABSM enough to get games finished in an evening, as it's a game that the minutiae of don't stick in the memory... not helped by a QRS that I might just have to improve on, and a rulebook that's begging for an index. So we'll just have to play it more often, and who knows, I may train my lot out of lining the hedges and blazing away at each other!

Having SAID that? Still the best set of WW2 company level rules out there.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Obituary: Steve Frisby

Steve wasn't someone I knew personally: indeed, he predated me at Peterborough Wargames Club by a long way. I suspect, however, that some of my readers may well have encountered him on the tournament circuit in the past decade or so, be it DBR or Warhammer. Grahame Middleton from the club wrote an obituary for our site:
Steve Frisby was a founding member of our club back in the the late eighties. He was a stalwart of our early attempts at running participation games at shows and frequently represented the club in BHGS competitions, where he won many trophies at DBR and Warhammer, including umpiring Warhammer events at Britcon. He won several awards in some of our own campaigns and was always a tricky opponent who could come up with  very effective combinations of magic and killer troop types – you always knew you’d been in a fight after playing Steve! His passing is a loss to the wargaming community and he will be missed by those who knew him.
Steve passed away, after a battle with cancer, on Monday.

The club will be presenting a trophy in his memory at the Hereward Wargames Show in November.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

RIP: Bob Symes

A slightly belated obit., but nonetheless, I suspect for many people of my age quite a notable passing.

Robert Alexander Baron Schutzmann von Schutzmansdorff (6 May 1924 – 19 January 2015)

When I was younger, the idea of coverage of any of my hobbies on the TV (all three channels of it) was incredibly exciting, so (as a young railway modeller) you can imagine the unrestrained delight when the BBC dedicated an episode of Model World (in and of itself quite a surprise as a series) to the world of model trains.

It was presented by an avuncular, cheerful, intense and clearly keen chap rejoicing (at that point) in the name of Bob Symes-Shutzmann. Here was a grown-up. On TV. Enthusing about one of my hobbies. I mean, just, wow...

He also kept popping up on Tomorrow's World and other places, but to me he was always the model railway guy.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Chain of Command QRS - update v2.0

After much discussion here and on the forum, you should find v2.0 of the Chain of Command QRS linked from the usual place.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

WIP (cont'd): PSC 15mm Shermans

Done. Well ... done to the 'I can put 'em on a wargames table tomorrow' stage - assuming the cat doesn't knock 'em on the floor while they're drying by the radiator.

PSC US Armour spray, drybrush with 50/50 Vallejo Brown Violet/US Field Drab, wash with Army Painter strong tone ink. Commander's jacket is US Field Drab, tracks are AP Monster Brown drybrushed with 50/50 AP Uniform Grey/Gun Metal.

US stars and MicroSol/Set on order this week, at which point I'll also weather them with some of the Humbrol enamel washes I have.
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