Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Monday, 1 January 2018

Battle of Britain

As a prequel to the Winterton-on-Sea Chain of Command game, we played another game of the PSC Battle of Britain game. Despite Simon donning the correct RAF headwear, the RAF sadly lost this game.
The Luftwaffe struggled with some challenging early missions, but a wealth of Me109 escorts quickly cut a big swath through 11 Group. This enabled the Luftwaffe to then mount some effective, lightening raids, devastating Canterbury, Bristol and Birmingham.
Special mention must go to Tony's 5 Luftflotte, who managed to tie up 13 Group and half of 12 Group, by fruitlessly trailing up and down the North Sea!

Winterton-on-Sea, 1940, Chain of Command

From our intrepid reporter from Picture Post reports, “somewhere” on the coast of Norfolk.

"Yesterday saw a remarkable battle between the elite Hun Paratroopers and our own intrepid Home Guard.  Although shrouded in secrecy we have learned that a crack force of German Fallschirmjager had been despatched to rescue a shot-down Luftwaffe bomber crew. Vey strange, but the military are tight lipped about the true facts.
We have heard from some of the civilians caught up in the fighting that the Germans advanced quite rapidly through the gardens parallel to the main street, leaving one squad covering main street from the hedgerow near the churchyard.
Things looked bad for our boys as the Germans managed multiple activations without a chance for reply.  Eventually the British Lieutenant rallied some men and they rushed out to take cover behind their hastily prepared barricades and pour rifle and Lewis gun fire into the German ranks.  But these Germans were a tough nut to crack and difficult to kill. 
They also had formidable firepower with MG34 machine guns, MP40 machine pistols plus rifles. The volume of fire seemed overwhelming.  Eventually the our gallant lads also managed to take over a house that enfiladed the German position in the gardens.  Slowly we whittled away the German numbers although it is reported that one of the Home Guard squads was wiped out.  The Luftwaffe crew decided to make a break for it but were cut down in a hail of bullets.
The German squad by the Churchyard eventually decided to enter the fray and walked arrogantly up the high street towards another British unit defending barricades thrown across the Street.
In a fit of anger they turned their weapons on the civilian population and the much respected Miss Pugh-Critchley was cut down in a hail of bullets. Beastly behaviour!  Further up the High Street the Home Guard decided to unleash their secret weapon , an improvised armoured truck with armed with a Lewis gun.  As it moved into position disaster struck.  German rifle fire cut down the crew of the Lewis gun thus ending its ability to fight.
Things were looking decidedly sticky for our chaps as the Germans finally pushed through our defences in the Gardens rushing the survivors in a hail of hand grenades and cutting them all down. The Lieutenant decided discretion was the better part of valour and he retired to sensibly lead the defence of the other units in his force.  The German senior officer was wounded by sniper fire although he still managed to give orders.  The Village cricket team reportedly entered the fray by finishing their tea in the pub early, picking up their rifles and pouring fire into the German unit on the High Street. Not terribly effective but that unit had lost many men and appeared pinned down in the road.  Just desserts for men who fire on innocent civilians!
At the end the Home Guard were battered and bruised but the local top brass were highly pleased with the performance, and especially the successful interdiction of the Luftwaffe.  We understand the Lieutenant has been recommended for a gallantry award and several others have been mentioned in despatches.

The German prisoners were accorded their right under the Geneva Convention and their dead will be buried with full military honours.”

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Baden, Extra Pics

The British watch the Saxon advance.
Artor's somewhat impetuous charge on the British right.
Bor's more cautious but remorseess advance on the British left.
Kay holding the British centre, not long before being forced from the hill and cruelly slain by the Saxon invaders.

The moment of Artor's death, as a Saxon counter charge crashed into Artor's exposed flank!

Friday, 29 December 2017

The Battle of Badon Reprised

“And so the army of God lead by Ambrosius and inspired by Artor met the heathen host on the field below the fortress of Mons Badonicus…..

The out-scouted Saxons set up first, and seemed scared of the Romano-British artillery located on the walls of the fortress . Strange given the ineffectual use of artillery in previous games  Tony took the Saxon left with their cavalry and some infantry. Dave the Bretwalda took the centre and Colin the exposed right.  The British set-up saw Pete complete with “Great Leader Artor” face-off to Tony, with Phil and Fred taking the infantry in the centre and Chris the predominantly cavalry wing which by dint of the Saxon deployment had plenty of manoeuvre room.  Would Chris be able to use it??

The early turns saw the Saxons trudge forward trying to make the best of their deep units of Warriors, but were somewhat slowed by the drawing of “1s” at the most inopportune moments. Eileen was truly at the club in spirit! Pete tried to take the battle to Tony, and a desultory cavalry battle soon broke out on the Romano-British right.  On the British left Chris was finding it not so easy to advance and turn his massed cavalry so as to attack Colin’s flank.  The relentless Saxon advance in the centre continued, but the British maintained what must have been a frustratingly solid-ish line of spearmen and took the deep units on with only a few “disorders” being inflicted.

By half-way through the game casualties were surprisingly few, being a skirmisher per side lost plus one Saxon cavalry unit.  Finally Chris managed to turn Colin’s flank and attack with cavalry into the side of the deep Warrior units. The loss of a Saxon warrior unit  torn a gap in the Saxon line and a unit of light cavalry galloped through heading for the Saxon camps. It seemed game over as Colin’s warriors began to take multiple disorders and appear on the verge of collapse. The Saxons muttered darkly about the power of the Christian god and this view was reinforced as in trying to re-dress the line the Saxons managed to pull a series of “1s” at just the wrong moments. Chris took two of the camps leaving the Saxons with only a handful of Victory Medals.

With the right Saxon flank in peril the Saxon left (Tony) and centre finally started to achieve results.  Phil’s General died under the hammer blows of the deep warrior units, and thanks to some bizarre manoeuvering Artor, having killed another Saxon cavalry unit, managed to expose his flank to a Saxon cavalry charge and he too was wounded. Dave was finally pushing the Romano-British spear line back towards their own camps on the table edge.  Between them Fred and Chris managed double disorders on two of Colin’s deep units and seemed on the verge of carrying the day but couldn’t land the killer blow.  Back on the Saxon left Tony killed Artor and the Saxons re-captured one of their camps, but were still down to 3 Victory medals.

As night fell both sides licked their many wounds and claimed victory.  The Saxons had certainly lost more men but the British two leaders including the allegedly inspirational Artor. If the game had gone on one more turn the British should have won by killing Colin’s units, but they had been saying that for the last three turns on the game.  If they hadn’t Dave may have steam-rollered over the British spear and into their camps.

Overall a close run thing….

As a “neutral” it was good to see my Saxon and Romano British armies finally on the table.  The Romano-British were painted nearly 20 years ago and “refurbished” with metal spears, LBM shield transfers and re-based about 4 years ago. The Saxons were painted about the same time.  For both armies this was their first major outing in battle. The Grand Manner “Dark age” palisade was purchased soon after Grand Manner started back in 1998. Again this was maybe only the 2nd time on the table.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Tanks! at Christmas

Well, it was Christmas games night, so while a large game of Spartacus raged in one corner and a rather raucus game of Robot Rally in the other, Brian, Dave and I were indulging in the game that lets you get those lovely 15mm tanks on the table and roll some dice, Tanks! (By Gale Force Nine).
Brian fielded 2 Tiger Is and a Panther. Dave and I were fielding 2 Sherman Vs, a Sherman Firefly, a Cromwell and an Achilles. The game was 'king of the hill', with the aim of having one of our tanks within one arrow length of the objective uncontested for 3 turns.
The Germans cautiously advanced into the village, while the Allies dashed forward, the 3 Shermans seeking cover among the houses, while the Cromwell sprinted around the German right flank and the Achilles sought to snipe and cautiously retire at the Panther.
What started as a good plan, quickly turned into a melee. The Panther was knocked out first, closely followed by a Sherman. By this time the 2 Tigers were sitting contemptuously on the objective, with the backs to the remaining Shermans. After losing the second Sherman V, the allies were forced to throw all the remaining armour into the scrap and the Tiger's 8 hit points was going to win out.
Gulp! Sherman discovers that the village is occupied!
Closing melee / forthcoming tank graveyard scene!

Friday, 15 December 2017

PSC Battle of Britain, 2nd Playing – 14th Dec 2017

This was our second playing of the new Plastic Soldier Company rendition of Richard Borg’s “Battle of Britain” and a much closer run thing it was too. 43 VP vs 42 VP, in favour of the Luftwaffe. For this game Pete adopted his best Goering impersonation, while Kevin & Phil took on the roles of Dowding and Park.
Pete opened with some well escorted initial raids, starting a process of remorseless erosion of the RAF defenders. However, he was hampered by his initial mission selections, which featured quite a few raids suitable mainly for Luftflotte 5, from Norway!? Pete did however manage to knockout a couple of radar stations and a couple of RAF airfields, giving him a slightly easier run-in for raid 2. But, these were rapidly repaired, which along with a couple of choice interceptions, did manage to thwart a few of Pete’s later raids (otherwise the RAF would not have gained another 8 VPs from aborted (incomplete) missions) and the result rather less knife-edge.
Overall thought to be an enjoyable game, well worth playing again.
A few points noted and adopted for this game;
  1. House Rule: Permit the German player (on turn 1) to allocate aircraft cards to Groups / Missions, after seeing them, not blind. This avoids packs of Ju-87s being sent, unescorted to attack Manchester!?
  2. Key Rule Missed on Game 1: The “dogfight” and “interception” counters are dual sided and hence the RAF player only has the potential for 5 air combats per turn, interception or dogfight. This does force the RAF player to prioritise the German raids to be intercepted.
  3. In game 1, the PSC flight stands were used, but proved rather hard to read for the aging gamers present. Hence for game 2, I had created to rather easier to read set of flight stands. These proved very popular, especially when coupled to my painted metal aircraft minis, which are acting as stand-ins until the new PSC re-mouldings appear. Next are some small croupier sticks!
Elsewhere in the club we had a Chain of Command game, with Dave leading some Americans against Tony’s (“didn’t I tell you these were elite SS Panzergrenediers”) Germans. The result was as one might have expected, with a lot of telegrams being sent out afterward by the Department of Defence!

Further down the hall John was running an ECW game, this time not using TtS, while opposite there was an attractive looking 15m Ancients game (sorry chaps, did not get the rules being used).
Elsewhere, off the premises, carefully behind closed doors, for consenting adults, Chris, Rob and Mal were playing Wild West Exodus. Chris & Rob are known for such perversions, but to lead Malcolm astray is unforgivable! Apparently Version 2 of WWX was much streamlined compared to Version 1 and the most concerning thing about the game was Rob’s rather unnatural dice rolling. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

From “honest Simon, an educated, upright god-fearing man”……

And so, the forces of God and Parliament met the army of the Godless and Tyranny somewhere in England.  Parliament looked outnumbered; but right would prevail.
And so it looked after turn one. The Royalist left wing cavalry under Goring ( or was that Goering) decided that fighting was not for them, and so left the advance to their cavalry in “the left centre” and the infantry on the center-right.
The Parliamentary Cavalry , fortified by the Lord advanced on the Royalists, and aided by the Godlike Umpire’s rules interpretation, soon seemed to be destroying the front rank. Aussie whingeing pointed out that the umpire had made a tiny mistake and units were restored.
The infantry battle became a true slugging match, with the Parliamentarians stoutly defending the ridge. However ultimately, numbers told and the Royalists broke the line capturing objectives. On the Parliamentarian right the forces of God held the water mill, but could not hold the church which anchored their left flank. It did not matter. It was an Anglican church (a tad early in history) and hence a nest of vipers.  
The cavalry battle too became a war of attrition albeit with more manoeuvre. Swedish tactics battled Dutch tactics in the pell-mell of combat, and no clear victor despite the Royalist advantage in numbers. Will Goring ever command again or will he retreat to his booze and bordellos?
As darkness closed in the battle ended with a marginal Royalist victory which even the slothful Goring described as “Pyrrhic”.  A moral victory for God and Parliament.
An interesting game. It obviously took far longer than a TtS ancients game.  We hadn’t actually finished by the time we “drew stumps” at 10.00. That said we had far more units in play.  I reckon the Parliamentarians had a minimum of 30.  The mechanisms and “record keeping” seems more time consuming than ancients, but that could be just unfamiliarity with the rules.