Saturday, 11 September 2010

Wargames Weekend: West Germany 1979

Our last tabletop game was a playtest of the Cold War Commander rules using Lenin's new 1/600 Oddzial Osmy kit.

I took the US forces facing Lenin's Soviet onslaught.

Fortunately for me the Soviet advance didn't start too well with their right flank immediately rolling a Command Blunder and began to withdraw. On the following turn they rolled another Blunder and opened fire on their own command.

Unfortunately these problems for the Russians didn't last long and their advance soon began to gain momentum. As soon as they came into view of my tanks on my right they opened fire and we began to properly test the rules.

With their superior numbers and artillery support the Soviet forces, whilst taking some significant losses especially for the infantry, overwhelmed my US troops and the game ended with what was left of my forces reaching their breakpoint and withdrawing.

The rules were not all that clearly laid out or comprehensive as some obvious issues which came up in our game were difficult to resolve. The mechanics were a little too clunky for my taste (I've never been much of a fan of saving throws) but they produced a reasonable game. My overall impression of the rules were that were OK but didn't contain any particularly special ideas or mechanics and so whilst we may well use them again (probably in their 2nd edition Blitzkreig guise) I doubt they will make it into our preferred category.

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Monday, 6 September 2010

Wargames Weekend: Jariban

Our second Two Hour Wargames outing was a 28mm modern game using an adaptation of FNG to cover a GIGN operation in Somalia. Lenin had designed the game to enable us to both to play the French against the system.

Initially we landed by helicopter in some rough ground near the habitation where the Somali pirates had been located. Unfortunately the pirates spotted the landing and we soon came under fire - fortunately not too accurate as it included an RPG7!

My group put down some covering fire to keep their heads down and to allow one fire team to advance on their position. Meanwhile Lenin's group advanced to search the first building on his side of the road.

I managed to deal with the two Somalis I had initially encountered but didn't discover anything else in my building, most particularly no sign of the ransom we had come looking to recover.

As we began to advance building by building we discovered more of the pirates and some gave us some trouble, not least those with the RPGs.

Unfortunately, we lost a couple of men whilst clearing the buildings but we either killed or captured all the pirates and recovered a small part of the ransom.

Wargames Weekend: Arctic Assault

Having spent the first day of gaming using the Lardies' rules we decided to have the second as a Two Hour Wargames' day. The first game was a 28mm WW2 scenario designed to allow me to field a few toys which had not seen the table before including my Bolt Action Soviets (which are all Lenin's work BTW).

As part of the Petsumo Offensive the Soviets were an advance force which had been pushed through the German defensive lines under cover of the poor weather to assault and, if possible, capture the Luostari/Pechenga Airfield to hamper German air operations in the area.

The Soviets initially began with a Leitenant and two squads of Razvedchiki (Rep 4 Scouts) with the possibility to being joined by parts of the main attack force. The Germans had an Obergefreiter commanding a single squad and the flank crew in defence.

The initial fog lifted but it continued to snow reducing visibility (to 16") and hampering movement (-25%). With the conditions and the Razvedchiki's camouflage and training (stealthy) they were hard to spot initially; however when one of their snipers moved forward to engage the German gate guards he was spotted! The Germans tried to open fire with their MG42 but found the mechanism had frozen and were forced to take cover. The Soviets took advantage of the gate guards' predicament and rushed forward to the perimeter fence.

With the alarm having been raised the German forces let into action; however the troops in the buildings near to the gate had something of a shock when they came under fire when leaving their barracks!

Fortunately the flak crew were not within sight of the Soviets and reached their position unscathed. After a couple of near misses one small group of German troops reached the gate position but under fire and having to leap for cover. A Soviet grenade quickly followed but fortunately casualties were light for the Germans.

The other German group, who had been trapped in their barrack block by the advancing Soviets used a rear window to escape, disappear into the falling snow and take up a covering position behind some trucks near the ammunition store and fuel dump.

Meanwhile a Soviet sniper trying to get a bead in the Flakvierling was spotted and regretted it! The German unit at the gate decided to return the favour to the Soviets and tried dropping a grenade over the sandbags onto them. Unfortunately he fumbled the grenade and it landed back in amongst them! One of the Germans managed to leap out over the sandbags but the others were caught in the blast.

More Soviets had now joined the attack but reluctant to move forward on the left flank in the face of the flak unit they used the masking of the falling snow to move to the right flank where a hole had now been cut in the perimeter wire.

With the Soviets through the fence there was a last desperate fire fight between them and the German unit by the trucks. The Germans gave a good account of themselves but were overwhelmed by the Soviet numbers.

With clear access to the ammunition and fuel and with no reinforcements appearing for the Germans (so much for 7 being the most common number rolled on 2d6!) the Soviets achieved their objective.

Wargames Weekend: Firebase

Our next game was our first chance to try out the published version of Charlie Don't Surf! The new Vietnam rules by the Too Fat Lardies. We had tried a playtest version of CDS some time ago and it was interesting to see how they had changed.

I took the role of the Free World player whose objective was to clear the area of hostile forces to allow the construction of a new firebase. I was given an infantry company and a mechanised platoon in M113s for the task.

The VC began the game on blinds in the jungle - something which made the APCs rather redundant as the jungle was impassable to vehicles! Despite several attempts I entirely failed to spot the first two blinds and allowed one of them to ambush me, which resulted in one squad being eliminated and a second withdrawing after suffering heavy casualties.

I continued to press forward and managed to engage one of the enemy units in the front and flank but my flank was exposed in a clearing which didn't do much for that squad!

I managed to get some co-ordinated fire in from two platoons plus one squad of the one who got the pasting earlier and it began to take its toll on the VC (not least due to their lack of Big Men). Eventually the VC decided they managed as much of their objective as possible and fell back.

In the end the game was a draw militarily but a political victory for the VC.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Wargames Weekend: Furia Francese

Our latest weekend of wargaming was a little later than intended but once again Lenin was kind enough to pop over and gaming commenced.

The first game was Great War and so gave a chance for me to use my new trench along with my Brigade and Scarab late WW1 figures. Lenin took the Germans and the trench with me on the attack with Les Poilus. Through the Mud & the Blood are our rules of choice for this scale and period.

The game started with a French artillery barrage, first on the German wire and then moving onto their trench line. Meanwhile the French advanced up the table, trying to make best use of the cover available from earlier shelling.

Initially the I had difficulty spotting the Germans, probably not surprising after the barrage but they soon recovered and we came under fire. Unfortunately for Lenin the Germans didn't have the benefit of a heavy machine gun and, whilst their Maxims gave the French a few problems, they were still able to advance.

Having specially picked up some VB grenade launchers from Scarab (Brigade only release their's after I had bought the Scarab ones) I was somewhat less than impressed by their performance. With a decent range and treating cover at one level lower than normal, if they hit, they do have some advantages; however, losing half the dice for acquiring a target and only having three in the section hampered their effectiveness. The Chauchats proved a little more reliable than usual, actually laying down some fire rather than simply jamming each time they were fired.

The French slowly advanced across the table, mainly due to the card turns rather than any special ability on my part. The Germans, who had sensibly taken cover in their dugout, eventually plucked up the courage to move up to the fighting step.

However, a squad advancing up the communication trench had to cope with one of their original units deciding they had had enough of shelling and French fire and were attempting a withdrawal. The resultant confusion gave the French a chance to move up with only limited return fire.

The French platoon sergeant was hit which slowed the advance on the left flank but the Lieutenant kept things going in the centre with the Grenadier section.

Eventually the French reached the wire, which hadn't been cut by the barrage but was crossable. Fortunately the Germans had taken a bit of a pasting and weren't able to take advantage of the French being hung on the wire. The Lieutenant and his men made the German trench and despite a heroic counter attack by the German Feldwebel and a couple of men the French held on.

With more French crossing the wire the Germans decided to withdraw and make ready for a more serious counter attack - which will have to wait until another weekend (not least because I need to build the rest of the trench network!