Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Friday, 15 November 2019

Operation Martlet – Attack on the Hauptkampflinie

Another game from the TFL Operation Martlet supplement. This is scenario 3 in the campaign

At this point in the campaign both sides were low on troops with the British missing 9 and the Germans missing 10. With their support points the British had available another section, a Vickers team, 3" mortar support, a medic and an adjutant. The Germans with their limited resources took a rifle team, an adjutant and three entrenchments for a team.

The patrol phase was about even for both sides with the British managing to get jump off points quite far forward with the Germans not able to get into the Barn on the outskirts of the village. The British deployed first with two sections; one in front of the barn and the other next to the woods in the south. 

The Germans deployed their support MkIV and a full section just behind the barn. 
The Germans were able to get into the barn (just) whilst the British section moved up under the cover of smoke. 
Instead of close assaulting the Barn the British poured fire through the doors and windows into the hapless defenders. Luckily not many casualties were taken but the defenders thought better of staying and bugged out into the farmhouse.
The MkIV opened up on the Barn with H.E. and caused enough damage to make it unstable and thus ensuring the British would think better of using it as cover.
Meanwhile the section to the south had crept up into the building to the south of the Barn and were threatening the German deployment point. 
The British section at the Barn now threw smoke grenades to cover their crossing of the road.
 Unfortunately the Germans managed to end the turn (thus removing smoke) and now the British were left vulnerable in the middle of the road. 
The MkIV opened up with MGs as well as the two MGs in the farmhouse and another MG that deployed in the house to the south. This should have been very bad for the British but they were very fortunate only to lose the section Bren team.

The British section in the southern house then close assaulted the solitary MG team but things were going from bad to worse as this failed and the survivors broke and ran.
The British mortar spotter finally got his head out his funk hole and called in a very accurate barrage on the farmhouse. Things were looking very dicey for the few remaining survivors and thus they thought it would be better to find somewhere else to hide. Thus the Germans managed to retreat out of the village but there had been severe casualties on both sides and morale wasn't good.

Friday, 20 September 2019

La Gleize 2019 - What a Tanker

So, after our short break in the Ardennes, it was back to Hitchin on a Thursday night. 

Elsewhere in the club, there was a 6mm Jacobite rebellion game, using a adapted FK&P rules, looking very nice. Fred, Chris and Malcolm also played a sci-fi game using FUBAR. It looked nice but seemed slow. As we were close to finishing Chris told me that they had just finished turn 4!

Inspired by our recent travels, Phil put on a WAT game set in La Gleize, December 1944. I supplied my pristine “Frostgrave Autumn” mat to give the appropriate wintry feel, which almost immediately Tony decided to add a coffee stain to!

 So to the game. A Panther and King Tiger faced 4 Shermans, an Achilles and a Stuart. My Panther started in the centre of La Gleize and Greg’s King Tiger on the outskirts.

Phil’s initial foray saw his Recce Stuart skirt round the village but foolishly gave my Panther a flank shot. One dead Stuart. Not really worth a kill ring. Tony hid behind a wood much to Greg’s frustration. Dave then attempted to attack with his two 76mm armed US Shermans, but another well-placed Panther flank shot saw another “Ronson”.

Tony still cowered behind the wood but now Greg was coming to get him... With the Yanks taking a beating Phil decided they needed the Achilles help and he raced towards the village covered from the King Tiger by a low hill. A cunning move.

“Bang”.....the Panther hit Dave’s 2nd Yank M4 causing heavy damage. However, now we had a Panther vs the nippy Achilles in an urban environment; this could be hard!

Greg's lumbering King Tiger now attacked Tony's two Sherman's hiding behind the wood. One dead Sherman and one running for dear life.

 Finally, the Achilles got behind the Panther and dispatched it with a shot in the rear. Posthumous Iron Cross for Simon! Tony and Phil then decided to take on the remaining big cat head on. Miraculously Greg rolled exactly what was needed for two shots. Result a dead Sherman and a dead Achilles! All that was left was Dave’s crippled M4 to take on the King Tiger. With these odds the Allies....or is that Ally singular.... it withdrew, allowing Peiper to escape. A most enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Swamp Fox - Game 2

This is the second scenario from the Too Fat Lardies Swamp Fox supplement and again we have Swamp Fox Buchanan pitted against Major May. In this scenario the table is covered in large areas of swamp with a river running through it and a road crossing it.
The scenario is where the Rebels are attempting to disrupt a Crown force column. Thus the Crown forces deployed in a column on the road and attempted to exit at least half their force off of the far edge of the table.
Two groups of Rebel militia quickly deployed and started harassing the tail end of the column
The rear group of Loyalist militia turned and returned fire, acting as a rearguard whilst the rest of the column headed for safety.

Numbers soon began the tell and the rearguard were driven off. Meanwhile the rest of the column had used the time wisely and had managed to reach the ford over the river.
However out of the swamp came Swampy Buchanan to try and out flank them. However the dice gods were not with Swampy this time and even with a bonus move his forces floundered in the mud.
The British regulars deployed into line and prepared to pour fire into Swampy's troops.

The Crown forces closed in whilst Swampy failed to get his forces into any sort of order with only a single group able to return fire.

Things were not looking good for Swampy with poor dice rolling not helping and the militia were taking too long to advance up the road.

Soon the Rebels were down to just one group and this wasn't able to slow up the Crown forces. So the Crown forces were easily able to get most of their forces off the table edge and win the game.

Another good game of Sharp Practice which Looked as if it would be all over quite early but the moveable deployment point used to get ahead of the Crown forces brought the initiative back to the Rebels. Had it not been for some truly atrocious movement dice it could have had a completely different outcome.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Trees from China

I had purchased some trees and when they arrived I was a little disappointed in that the foliage was quite brittle and didn’t appear to be very well attached; quite a lot had fallen off in the post. However, Tony had bought some similar trees although of a different species and these appeared in the recent Swamp Fox game. They looked superb so I had to know how he had transformed them. This is what he did:

  • Make bases i.e. layers of MDF and use a hole cutter on a drill. Or order some pre-cut MDF circles
  • Drill hole in middle of base and glue tree in with glue gun
  • I also put some dabs of plaster on the base and used my (wet) fingers to make up some roots.
  • Change the colour of the trees
    • Put down some baking paper on the work top you are using.
    • Get a large old style ice cream container (rectangular type).
    • Mix up PVA glue, forest green paint and water. A fair amount is needed, more than half but less than 3/4’s of the ice cream container
      • Got the forest green paint from “The Range” and used most of a tube.
      • Mix the PVA and Paint first and then add the water.
    • Dip the top of the tree.
    • Tip the container at an angle and spin the rest of the foliage (note you do not need to full cover all of the foliage about 3/4 or 5/6th is good.
    • Hold it above the container to let a bit of the mixture to drain
    • Put on the baking paper and let dry takes about 1-2 days
  • Paint the root structure in a suitable structure and the accessible bit of the trunk and dry brush
  • Flock
  • Sit back and enjoy your new forest

So I first drilled holes in some 25mm discs from Warbases and glued the trees in place; adding a metal washer to the base to give it some weight to help prevent the trees easily toppling over.
A number of the trees were looking a bit bare in places due to some of the foliage having fallen off so I glued the loose foliage back into place using PVA and left to dry.

Tree with missing foliage

Tree with foliage replaced

Next I mixed up a batch of green paint, PVA and water as per Tony’s instructions, using paint I had from a previous project. The green was a bit too bright so I added brown. 

Instead of dipping the trees as per Tony's method I used a large brush and applied the paint to all the trees and left to dry for a couple of days.
Then it was just a matter of adding filler to the tree bases, painting, dry brushing and adding flock.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Battle of Montgomery 1644 – For King and Parliament

Dave and Tony played a game of For King and Parliament (FK&P), sort of umpired by myself (when not making tea and coffee).  We used the scenario of the Battle of Montgomery 1644, which is straight out of the rulebook and I think it worked very well.

The scenario saw Tony’s initially smaller Parliamentary force facing Dave’s Royalists with some Parliamentary foraging cavalry due to return to the field of battle sometime in the game.
Initially the battle was a clash of cavalry, with the infantry surprisingly slow to get off the mark.  Units were lost but Dave, with superior numbers seemed to be winning the day. With Tony sitting between Eileen and Greg his chit drawing went downhill fast and matters seemed to be getting a tad sticky. But he held on.

Dave’s infantry finally got moving and began to put pressure on Tony’s line……
Turn 6…..the Parliamentarian foragers finally return and are now flanking the Royalist infantry.  Oh dear! Tony manages two attacks into the rear of Royalist infantry regiments but on draws of 10 chits each manages a paltry 2 disorders. However this is beginning to have an effect, and with Greg and Eileen gone Tony’s musketry chit-drawing improves immeasurably. Dave loses two infantry regiments plus his Forlorn Hopes and is in big trouble.

With Dave down to one Victory Medal and several units on double disorders we called it a day and a Parliamentarian victory.

So, what did we think? We got through 10 turns in two and a half hours. With one query about the direction pursuers have to go we had no issues with the rules. It was a lot faster than the game three weeks ago, and we had introduced slightly more complexity. All in all a satisfactory evening’s gaming.

Yesterday Mr Miller published another smallish ECW scenario of the 1646 battle of Stow-on-the-Wold in his TTS/FK&P newsletter. I think you will be seeing this re-played in the near future.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Swamp Fox - Game 1

Last Thursday we played the first scenario from the Too Fat Lardies Swamp Fox book. This is based on the Francis Marion campaign in South Carolina during the American Revolution.

In the first scenario the Rebels (Francis Marion) is attempting to rescue prisoners whilst driving off the Crown forces. The Rebels deployed from the left hand side of the table near to the building.

The Rebel militia rapidly arrived on the road and spread out with the skirmishers taking advantage of the cover in the swamp. 

Once the sentry had raised the alarm the Crown forces started to deploy from the plantation house and proceeded to move the carts to make a blockade. 

However the Rebel skirmishers were making this difficult for some of the provincial troops and they eventually gave up and retired to the plantation house.
Meanwhile the British regulars had formed up at the edge of the orchard to prevent an outflanking manoeuvre by Marion.

In the centre the main militia force slowly trudged towards the farmhouse, eventually getting to the cart barricade and poured fire into the plantation house causing severe casualties.
Marion meanwhile nervously advanced through the orchard towards the steady British line. 
With a hurrah the British charged towards Marion’s troops and stopped at point blank range, ready to pour in fire. 
However, luck was with Marion as he managed to fire first with a devastating volley. 
The British were reeling and even with superior musketry skills were unable to stand against the Rebel Militia. 
The Rebels cheered as at first the British faltered and then broke in front of them. At this point the British morale was plummeting and with little chance of holding back the Rebels they retired from the table.