Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Keep Down or You Might Get Shot in the Foxhole

Yes, keep your head down because the mosquitoes are vicious this time of the year

And that's because during the past couple of days I finished off some aircraft and some entrenchments for the Western Desert (WWII).

I'm not very good at making aircraft and it's been quite a few years since I made one. As it is, with Battlegroup players' get the chance to use direct air support and, in my opinion a model aircraft looks much better than a token. So I made a couple. Not the best but good enough for my needs.

To be honest, if I could get my hands on a few 1/100 diecast aircraft, I think they's fit much better in a game.

And here are some entrenchments/foxholes. I made these things a while back out of SuperSculpey. I was thinking of making molds and casting them in resin. I wasn't in any hurry so I took my time and I eventuallu got the materials and cast some.

They're not the best casts (it's been a long time since I last did any casting) but they look okay for a battlefield - A little beaten up and rough. I painted them for the desert but they could also do for Sicily or Italy by placing a little bit of lichen on them.
AB Figures for scale:

I also made some barbed wire:

Monday, 26 August 2019

More G.I.'s ~ I shouldn't have, & I knew it...

As I mentioned in my previous post about U.S. infantry I said that I bought some AB Figures. I knew that if I painted them they would make my plastic Italeri look second rate.

I knew it. They look really nice and they're really easy to paint too. And, to make matters worse, they are really easy for me to get direct from Eureka.

Now I have to get more AB miniatures. Oh well...

I bought two section packs and some support units to get myself started.

 There are a couple of PSC plastic figures, that I inherited, mixed into the command and FOO bases.

 I also got a couple of vehicles painted. Some recce and some AA.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

We calls' that an MG34, Boyo!

T'was a fine day in Croydon and, once again the Welsh Guards bumped into the Boche. This time around Battlegroup were the rules being put to the test.

My opponent, this time was Tom. Like me, Tom had a very tenuous grasp of the rules. This was his first game and I've only played about 3 or 4 games over the past couple of years. The problem is that the games I've played are so far few and far between that it's difficult to retain very much of the rules (what with several other sets of rules all vying for space in my limited brain).

The Set Up

We decided that this would be a learning game and, if it turned out well we'll make sure to play more often so that we can really get a good grasp of  the various nuances of the rules. It would be nice to play a limited campaign or something similar.
Once again I played the Welsh Guards:
Motor Infantry Platoon - Cromwell Troop - Carrier Section and some supports.
Von Tomaz had a
Panzer Grenadier Platoon - StuG IIIG Battery and supports.
(I left the German trucks at home so they used captured vehicles.)
We played the Recce Screen scenario from the Battlegroup Overlord rules. Looking at the table below, the Brits came on in the bottom left corner and the Germans from the top right.
The view from the von Tomaz's perspective.

The scenario started with d6 turns of recce units trying to out maneuver and gain the edge on each other. We rolled 2 turns so after these see who had won the recce phase which would result in the loser drawing a Battle Rating chit (BR chit) and the winner adding their difference to the initiative dice roll.

Note: Some of the details of the game are a bit muddled. I'm writing this from memory after a long day, but the general gist of the game, the overall events and the final outcome are all pretty much accurate.

The Guards came on first with their two recce units, moving bravely into no-man's land intent on finding the enemy and destroying him.
 The Hun came on sneaking and hiding unlike my brave Welsh lovely boys!

There's a Gerry halftrack waiting behind that bombed out building but we're ready for him (the scout car is on Ambush Fire).
The SdKfz 250/9 did poke it's nose around the corner and the Ambush Fire did absolutely nothing. A shot from the halftrack missed and drilled into the church wall.

By the end of the Recce Phase all of our units were still in good order. Von Tomaz's mounted recce patrol managed to sneak into the church and set up a good OP in the steeple. I tried to pin them with the scout car but I didn't have enough firepower. On the other side of the churchyard my White Scout Car did manage to pin the Gerry SdKfz 251 with their .50 cal MG.

After the recce my lovely brave boyo's got the initiative and started to push onto the field. We rolled 1d6 each turn to determine reinforcements.
I pushed into the field to my right with two sections in M5 halftracks. One section dismounted and moved quickly across the fields. In the center I pushed up the PIAT team from the Carrier Section. The team dismounted and took a shot the SdKfz 250/9 and blew the front wheel off (I rolled snake eyes = Immobilised!).
I also brought a Cromwell on to the road to support the center.
Then we started to see the Hun moving around in the distance. They came up from behind the town and started investing the buildings and surrounding hedges.

 "And what's the coming up the blummin' road, mun?"
First things first: Deal with that halftrack - "Bring up the PIAT."  They shot again at teh halftrack and this time they aimed true and knocked the thing out of action. Then the Cromwell moved up. It was a risk and it would only have one chance before the StuG to it's front retaliated. Unfortunately... The Cromwell missed.
The platoon HQ came on and deployed it's morta as did the carrier section. So a bit of mortar fire resulted in two German casualties but Hauptman von Thomaz kept his men in good order.
My infantry in the fields we not doing well. Casualties were minimal thanks to the cover of the hedges and walls but they became pinned. Harassing fire into the buildings from the halftrack's .50 cal's helped to keep the German's heads down too.

Another StuG appeared on my left flank and targeted the M3 scout car that had been trying to shoot up the German transports.
 The commander adjusted his sights. 
"Eine little bit to zee right, Gunther.
 "Back eine little bit to the zee left..."

Bloody 'ell. That wasn't very nice.

Then the StuG on the main road took aim at that Cromwell that had one chance... Well it never got a second chance.

So far this turn I had pulled 2 BR chits  and I now had to pull another as one of Von Tomaz's teams took an objective. All of a sudden my healthy looking attack was not looking so healthy.

One thing that I did have in my favour was that I had moved up a second Cromwell to support my infantry on the right. It managed to get into position behind a hedgerow where I put it onto Ambush Fire with a StuG directly to it's front.

I also brought up a Firefly on the main road. It has no HE but it did use it's MG well and dislodged the German OP in the church steeple.
More movement. More fire from my halftracks. I managed to kill an MG34 team (in the building on the left in the above pic). I also managed to pin a rifle team behind the hedge. This was good and at the end of the turn I pulled another BR chit to rally my infantry. It was time to assault the bloody Hun!

Meanwhile, my little scout car had moved up to try it's hand at harassing the German transports (going for easy BR pickings). And boy! Did it pay off?
I missed everything and then the StuG took notice and brought it's gun to bear on the little scout car. When damage was rolled Tom needed a 3 on 2d6. He rolled box cars.

Then the StuG on the main road stuck it nose around the corner into the field of fire of my Cromwell on Ambush Fire. So, Sgt Jones took the bait. Took aim and FIRED!

 Good shooting Sgt Jones.
While all of this tank fighting was going on the infantry were getting stuck in. My PIAT team had moved up in the center and had been shot to bits by MG34's. The platoons own PIAT team had moved up with a section on the left and taken on an SdKfz 251 but couldn't get a hit and they too paid the price. 

The section in the pic below were supposed to assault the pinned German section in the opposite hedge but they decided to stay put (failed their Experience Test) and became pinned again as a result.

After shooting the StuG on the road his friend beyond the hedge moved up and took out the Cromwell. Luckily revenge was on it's way in the guise of a Firefly. The big 17pd'r roared and the StuG brewed up. 

Things were looking up again. I still had another plan up my sleeve. I moved up the Bren team of my carrier section and got them into the church steeple. The idea was to clear away the Gerry's as take that aid post (one of the objectives).

Bren team v's MG34's. Not a very even match up.

First: the last remaining StuG fired HE at them. Three direct hits. Three saves.
Second: MG34 fired - One kill - Moral Roll - Beyond the Call of Duty. They shot back and reduced the German MG team to 1 man. Second shot missed the bren team.
Third: A second MG34 fired - One kill - Moral Roll - Beyond the Call of Duty. They shot back and reduced the German MG team to 1 man. Second shot missed the bren team.

Eventually a HMG team got the last Bren Gunner - Pte No: 6, Evans.
Four hits and he only managed to make one save.

This all happened in the area of the innocuous little pic below. It was very close quarters. And I did not manage to capture the aid post.
Then von Tomaz finally got his off-board mortars firing. He had tried a couple of times before but kept on running into comm's problems (failing the comm's roll). It was only 4 shots but they managed to cripple my right flank. One halftrack was abandoned. One infantry section routed and another was pinned.
By this time it was getting late and my men couldn't go on. They were pretty much spent so it was time to withdraw and regroup. Von Tomaz's men weren't in much better shape. But the squareheads held two of the objectives and I held one. So it was a hard won victory to Tom. 

Ymladd yn dda!
(Well fought!)

This was a great game. We started off a bit slow because we were uncertain about the rules. As mentioned above, I'd played a few games but not nearly enough to be competent with the game. But we picked it up pretty well and the turns started to move along pretty well. What we both need to do is read through the rules as an after battle exercise and find all the bits that we got wrong. 

As with any rules, more games will mean a better understanding. The game played really well. It was a good hearted game thanks to my opponent, Tom. There was enough tension to keep things exciting and enough toys to keep things interesting with plenty of command options available. Plenty of laughs and silly voices also made the game a lot of fun.

And before I go I must say: The much prayed for Typhoon never did arrive to save the day.

Bloody RAF!

A quick edit:
Russel from Nunawading Wargames Association posted some pics on the NWA facebook page. So I stole some of them and here they are: