Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Black Wolf Club Night, 16th Aug 2018

Well, lots going on.....

Corner 1, Rommel (Sam Mustafa), 10mm early WW2 Russian Front


Very nice looking game, saw Ian trying to educate a few players regarding Sam Mustafa's WW2 “Rommel” rules. I admit that I am interested enough to dust my copy of the rules off, especially for early WW2 10/12 mm.

Far corner 2, Congo

Nice looking game, without any loud expletives were heard, but maybe he was just muttering them under his breath.
Across the way John Dixon and co played a 15mm ECW game (sorry no pics).

Next up we had Frostgrave, Greek Mythology

Malcolm, Rob and Tony played several 28mm “Mythical Greek”  scenarios using Frostgrave. Simon was most impressed that Tony had both the rules and the WSS magazines open at the correct pages. That said Simon thought he was just looking at the pictures! Pretty looking game, even if “animal identification” was wanting a little. At one point Malcolm said that sadly one of the Greek characters had been killed by a giant ram, but when pointing to the site of the incident, all that could see was a large bear!?

Tony’s large Greek Temple also came into action in the 2nd scenario and mighty impressive it looked too.

It’s nice to see the Frostgrave rules, which are incredibly simple, used for a different genre.

Too Fat Lardies, Sharp Practice 2, Peninsular

Simon and Phil played a nice looking game of SP2 set in the Peninsula.  Simon's surly French conscripts had to capture a Spanish priest and the British had to stop them . The game opened well for the French and they were able to march briskly down the road and take the objective. Then things got a bit sticky……Phil managed to get 24 of his elite Light infantry into short musket range of two of my units. 27 dice hitting on a 2-6 (Controlled volley + 'first fire').  OUCH! Miraculously my two units survived.  Simon then tried to get his dragoons to charge the British rifles on the left flank.This was a bit “do or die” and the result was “die”……or more accurately retire and then break. Next turn another 27 dice crashed into the French infantry. Result one broken infantry unit and one retiring at full speed.

However all was redeemed by Simon's reserve unit snatching the priest and sprinting back towards the deployment point and victory.

This French Peninsular “victory” was bought in true Col H’Villams style. OK, the British had sadly failed to secure the objective, in the process losing one casualty, Private Higgins. The French had snatched the prize, from under the noses of the British, but leaving a trail of dead and wounded strewn across the field. When asked about the casualty rate, after the action, Col H’Villams was said to be saddened, but mainly about the cost of equipping and transporting new conscripts to the front!?

Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Tip: Oosterbeek 20.9.44

Words and pictures by Fred.

A couple of lads from our local club came over to my house last month to play another Market Garden scenario that I put together based on the attack by KG Bruhns and KG Krafft (9th SS Panzer Division) on the tip of the Oosterbeek perimeter after the collapse of 4th Parachute Brigade's position at Wolfheze during the evening of 19 September 1944. The British fell back overnight into a defensive position held by 21st Independent Parachute Company, 7th KOSB and 1st Reconnaisance Squadron. Dave and Simon (SiWi on this forum) took the paras, and myself the Germans.

Each side had 900 points using the lists in BG Overlord and MG, with all the latter's campaign-specific rules applying. Although the British set up first, we simulated the chaotic, swirling nature of this battle by dicing for initiative to decide who went first in each turn. The German objective was to destroy the British as a fighting force by reducing their BR to zero. The British objective was to survive by reducing the German BR to zero or still have un-pinned units on the board when the game finished. British units that retreated from the table were treated as destroyed for the purposes of BR.

As a special scenario rule, we modelled the benefits that the Germans obtained from the RAF's forlorn attempts to re-supply the paras as the perimeter started to shrink. On a roll of 6 at beginning of each of their turns, the British would place a supply counter at a randomly generated point on the table. Some of these were outside the British deployment zone, others within it. Capturing such counters was the only way the British could re-supply their units during the game. If they did so, their BR also increased by 1D3. If the Germans captured one, the British BR would be reduced by 1D3.

In the end, we played 11 cracking turns.

As the German player, I stuck closely to the historical orbat for these KGs using information from Kampfraum Arnhem, Market Garden Then and Now and It Never Snows in September. The board lay-out was modelled very closely on two excellent maps in KA and T&N respectively. The British won initiative and were able to put a large number of their units on ambush fire.

The Germans started cautiously by pushing an infantry platoon forward under the cover of a hedgerow. One of the surprising revelations of my research was the amount of high hedges, foliage and woodland in the area. The road in this picture went leftwards towards the famous railway crossing where jeeps of the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron had been ambushed previously.




The British deployed cleverly, with an outer crust based in these ruined buildings on the outskirts of Oosterbeek.

 

An adjacent line of foxholes along this lateral road was to prove very difficult to eliminate.

 

The British defensive lines also had good depth.





Two 6 pounder ATGs were deployed in positions with arcs of fire covering the more obvious German avenues of advance.



Sources suggest that the 9th SS Panzer Division had a couple of Jagdpz IV L48 SPGs. I haven't painted the ones that I have made yet so I fielded Stug IVs instead as the closest proxy for historical veracity. These were pushed forward carefully to avoid the ATGs.




The British enjoyed good luck with the first supply drop, which fell within their lines and was easily picked up, boosting their BR.




Panzer Grenadiers advanced behind the cover of the Stug IVs.




Their comrades continued to inch forward along the hedgerow.




To their left, other Grenadiers infiltrated a building that promised to be a good position of cover for the rest of the advance.



 

Instead, and for the rest of the game, it became a magnet for well-placed British fire, causing multiple casualties. The Germans had a dilemma - if they vacated the building, it would leave their left flank open. If they stayed there, they died.



Another supply drop landed within the British deployment zone, boosting their BR further. Things had got off to a slow start for the Germans!




Fortunes gradually turned and the build up of German forces persuaded the British to abandon the first line of buildings and retreat into the nearby woods. The Germans had placed a PRT in the centre of these houses and the paras saw little point hanging around.




An overhead shot shows the state of play after the first few turns.



 

As a reward for eliminating one squad of paras, the Germans saw the British draw a breakdown chit which was immediately placed on one of the Stug IVs. Luckily, the Germans had had the foresight to bring a repair vehicle with them.


 

Another Stug IV entered the fray.



The paras continued to pull back slowly rather than get hoovered up by the more heavily armed (and armoured) German attackers, trading space for casualties.




As the Germans were lured forwards, a salvo of artillery fire landed in the midst of their troops courtesy of XXX Corps on the other side of the Lower Rijn. Sneaky!




Having cleared the first line of buildings, with the paras falling back, the Germans applied their coup de grace in the form of a platoon of armoured Panzer Grenadiers. The first Hanomag barrelled down the road towards Osterbeek and unloaded its passengers, who immediately close assaulted and eliminated a nearby house containing some troublesome paras. It then transpired that it was sitting on a British PRT, which soon attracted more artillery fire. Miraculously, the Hanomag survived the first salvo.




On the German right, Grenadiers supported by armour had managed to get round the British flank.




The British had pulled back to form a hedgehog position around the central road.




 

The Grenadiers pressed on with the support of a 250/9 and started to roll up the British defences.



Two more Hanomags entered the board and launched a frontal assault on the British positions around the crucial cross roads, which was a key objective for both sides.




The battle swung back and forth as both sides saw both good and bad luck. One Stug, having been repaired after a breakdown, then struck a mine and was knocked out. A second received another breakdown counter and was left immobilised. The German Forward HQ (a somewhat anachronistic Panzer IIIK) saw fit to move up and direct the attack.




This German MMG team was able to get round the British flank completely and threaten the British rear positions.


 

Their comrades continued to pour forward.



The climax of the game saw Grenadiers close assault and capture the cross roads.



 

The British were clever in pulling back to deeper prepared positions rather than risk their more lightly-armed units being wiped out in an uneven battle. As a Hanomag pushed forward to force the issue, one of their 6 pounders opened fire...


 

...and knocked it out.


 

This was a fitting end to a most enjoyable game played in great spirit. We had previously questioned whether Arnhem is truly a good situation for gaming. Previous scenarios had seen the British get absolutely walloped in a serious mismatch. Our game was nicely balanced and went to the wire. We called it a draw: the British were closer to their breaking point (33/54 compared to 24/56) but the Germans had not achieved the scenario victory conditions. The British were not destroyed and had retained their tactical cohestion. The trick seems to be to build in a narrative around the battle with difficult objectives for the Germans, and plenty of cover for the British.

Our next game will involve the British attempts to break into Arnhem in the early hours following the first landings, so the roles will be reversed.

Friday, 20 July 2018

The Irish go a Raiding (Dux Britanniarum)


During the celebrations of their recent victory over the Viking invaders the eldars of Newtownards gathered their people around them to tell the sorry tale of their raiding forefathers.

A long long time ago in a land over the sea the Irish went a raiding....

Gréagóir the brave had heard tales of vast quantities of treasure to be had in the land of the Britons and so decided that the village of Newtownards needed some loot for redevelopment.

All looked well at first as the wagon train (heaving with loot) appeared to have only a small number of escorts.


Unfortunately on closer inspection these turned out to be heavily armed and armoured. This wasn't going to be easy mutterd Gréagóir under his breath. Thus he ordered his cavalry to outflank the wagon train and cut it off from the safety of the town.


The main raiding force under the personal command of Gréagóir advanced upon the personal guard of Philipus the thoughtful.




Meanwhile the city guard sallied forth to try and prevent the Irish cavalry from outflanking the wagon train.


Unfortunately for the Britons the fast moving skirmish cavalry managed to block the road to the town. The Britons would have to fight to get the wagon train through now.


In the boglands well to the right of the town the Irish skirmishers and bowmen were having the better of the fight with the lower ranking Britons, causing plenty of shock. Clearly many a night spent in the local tavern playing darts.


Philipus's personal guard struck out towards the Irish skirmish cavalry and pulling a "Carpe Diem" card sent them packing back to the ships. Thus clearing the way for the carts to get safely to town.




Gréagóirs raiders trudged reluctantly towards Philipus's guard with some truly abysmal movement dice rolling.




However the Irish Raiders eventally managed to make contact and after a prolonged fight sent the Britons running for the hills. Unfortunately for Gréagóir the wagon train was able to slip past and the town guard formed a shieldwall across the road. More unfortunately the Britons in the bogland, after dealing with the bowmen and out manoeuvring the Irish skirmishers, dealt a deadly blow by making a rapid move to attack Gréagóir in the rear whilst he was celebrating his victory over Philipus's guard. This was all too much and Gréagóir the unlucky decided the loot wasn't worth it and headed back to the ships empty handed.