26 September 2020

Black Seas

I had a nice game of Black Seas with Adam a couple of days ago, I had not played for a while. Adam set up the game. I played the Brits and he played the French.

It was a simple scenario, we had 3 ships each and the British goal was to move 2 ships from the southwest corner of the terrain to the northeast corner in 6 turns. Victory could also be obtained if the British were able to take out 2 French ships in 8 turns. All other outcomes would result in a French victory. I am not 100% sure what the Order of Battle was for the French but I suspect it was similar to the British. I had 2 large 3rd rates and one small 3rd rate.

I think we played 7 turns and I have to say I had the most amazing dice, throwing criticals almost every turn. I suspect this was the cause of the British victory rather than my excellent seamanship! We played the game virtually, and it worked well. I believe Adam has hosted several virtual Black Seas games now and he has the process down. I forgot to take photos at the beginning of game but the below snaps sort of illustrate the progress, the Brits are to the left of the photo in the initial shot.




The British were able to destroy 2 French ships, thus achieved victory. I have to say I quite enjoyed the game.

23 September 2020

Holzthum Captured...Barely: Bloody Bucket

Another game in our Bloody Bucket campaign last night, an attack on table 2 by a fresh Sturm Platoon from Table 1, I decided to go with the Attack and Defend scenario this time rather than the Probe. I had the advantage in supports so a morale victory seemed a better choice.

Sturm Platoon #4
CD 5 Green FM9
1 SL
3 man rifle grenadier team
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 LMG Squad w/JL 

Supports (24)
Sniper x 2
Pregame Barrage
le. IG18 x 2
LMG squad
SL
?

American Rifle Platoon
CD 5 Regular FM9
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL (less 1 rifleman)

Supports (table2)
Minefield x2
Barbwire x3
Entrenchment x2
0.3cal MMG team
Sniper

We both started with a FM of 9, but Pierre-Yves got the first move when we diced for the tie. The game started off slowly as I got a number of double phases early on so was able to place the 2 Anti-Infantry Guns, 2 snipers, a LMG team, as well as a SL on the table very quickly, all on overwatch. P-Y had the worst dicing I have seen, in respect to Command Dice, he did not get one double phase in the whole game. So at this point it was looking good for the Germans, they had overwhelming supports and a pregame barrage, but as usual my deployment was quite effected by the placement of 2 minefields. I had not taken an engineering team but I really needed my ones for the multiple teams/snipers I had, so this was not a big deal. 
I was able to get the American FM down to 6 by taking out the American 30 cal MMG, but then I had no targets left as the only American unit on the table was a sniper. Some double phases came up and I wanted to make something happen, so I placed a Sturm Squad in the open with the plan to run them towards an empty entrenchment, they moved ahead and got in the entrenchment, looking good. The forward entrenchment was close to an American JOP. I got another double phase, so I advanced out of the entrenchment and was quite close to the JOP but was in the open, it was OK as I could roll again. I then decided to deploy the 2nd Sturm Squad in front of the hedge, with a plan to advance to the entrenchment just vacated.  Two squads in the open but it was going to be OK as I had the next phase. I rolled a 6,4,4,2,2. Sturm Squads do not have teams so, I needed a 1 or 3 to move them!
The Americans put down a Rifle Squad, the Germans were shattered, a 2nd American squad came down the 2nd Sturm unit took multiple hits. Now my FM was 6! What a mess of things I made. I realised after the game that I could of interrupted as I had 2 + CoC dice. The Sturm squads are lethal at close range as they throw 24d6. What a miss!

I was now in a dire situation, but I still had a lot of fire power and I now had targets. Shots were traded back and forth, I was able to weaken the 3 American squads behind the hedge. I killed 2 JL and caused one squad to break.
American FM was dropping, I was able to temperance their fire back with smoke grenades.
P-Y was able to fire back and destroyed one of my IG, my FM was down to 4. I fired back the American FM dropped to 2, P-Y decided to withdraw. 

This should have been a much easier game for me to win, but I got inpatients and as I usually do miss things, like failing to interrupt twice. Unfortunately my plan to Blitzkrieg Table 3 does not look as attractive, but I am still thinking about it. Two full Sturm squads and an IG down makes it a challenge.

19 September 2020

April 9th: A Virtual Campaign from Finland

 

I was recently invited by some gamers in Finland to join a Chain of Command campaign based on the German invasion of Denmark in 1940. The campaign itself can be found here. It is based on the Danish film appropriately called April 9th. I can highly recommend the film, I was able to stream it on Amazon.

Tuesdays, is the GeMiGaBok club meeting night, so we gathered this week virtually through Discord for our first game. Somehow or another, I ended up being the Danish SL, which I suspect after our first game will be a very tough task. I was assisted by 2 JL's, Alessandro from Italy and Sabbath, a club member. Opposing us was the German team, headed by Petri, with assistance from Janne and Bill, again all club members. The game was GMed by Eero, with whom I have been communicating with for some years. I have always been interested in the Winter War between the Finns and the Soviets in 1939-40 and he has been an excellent reference for me. I was quite happy, that  I was invited to join the game.

I had not played a full game through Discord before and I was impressed on how well it worked. You can run multiple cameras through the server and at the same time in the text channels roll dice and post still photos of the action. It is also possible to send private messages while the game is ongoing to members of your platoon and the GM. I will be looking at this further for sure. The below photo gives you a sense on how it looks. As you can see there was an overview camera with 2 other cameras, each showing the opposing sides edge, this was followed in the right panel by the avatars of each player, I am the Revenant!
Anyway on to the game, we had played the patrol phase a couple of days before and the starting map with the JOP's is as below. The German approach is marked by the red dot on the road, with the blue circles being the rough position of the German JOP's, while the red circles were the Danish JOP's.
The above game was the Probe scenario from the CoC rulebook, the Germans diced for support and got a 1, I took a Medic and I think the Germans took an adjutant. You can find the Danish Platoon composition in the campaign booklet, but to simply describe things, we both had regular platoons with 4 squads each. The German platoon was a 7th Wave Division platoon from Army Group C as laid out in the CoC Blitzkrieg 1940 sourcebook. The main difference between the platoons was that the Danes have 2 SL's and the Germans one, but the Germans have MG34 LMG (8d6) while the Danes have a Madsen M24 LMG (6d6). The German squads were 10 men, while the Danish squads were 8 men, but the Danes had bicycles! The Danes started with a FM of 9 and the Germans 8.


Rather, then redoing the report here, I will direct you to Eero's superb AR with plenty of photos. Things did not go that well for the Danes, but where there is life there is hope!

17 September 2020

Chain of Command Training Game

I held another training game for the WWII ruleset Chain of Command yesterday. We used the same scenario, Approach to Mirfeld, as I had used previously. This time we had 3 players, Alessandro who is based in Italy, Adam here in Massachusetts and Gavin joined us again from Poland. 

All 3 players had their own dice trays and the game went quite smoothly. Alessandro and Adam took the American attackers while Gavin played the German defenders. We played for about 3 hours and it was a clear German victory this time but some nice tactics were exhibited by the Americans including good utilization of Covering Fire. I also learned a new rule yesterday that a Bazooka Team firing HE can only be commanded by a SL (thanks Gavin).

No need to go into the details of the game but here are a few photos. I think this would be a challenging game for the Americans generally but it does demonstrate a lot of basics.







I will be using this game for Virtual Lard 3 on October 3rd, I think I will then put it to bed!


16 September 2020

Germans fail to take Holzthum Village-Bloody Bucket

 


We played turn 5 in our Bloody Bucket campaign a couple of days ago. This was the first German attack on Table 3.

Sturm Platoon #3
CD 5 Green FM8
1 SL
3 man rifle grenadier team
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 LMG Squad w/JL 

Supports (12)
PzIV
Sniper
Pregame Barrage

American Rifle Platoon
CD 5 Regular FM 8
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL

Supports (?)
Minefield
2 Barbwire
Entrenchment
0.3cal MMG team
Mortar Team

The JOP's are above, we played the Flank Attack scenario for this game, as it was a choice between this and Attack and Defend. It was an interesting game and my dicing was quite good and I felt my set up was good. I made two major mistakes that cost me the game though, first I laid down an LMG squad in the south essentially in the open on a double phase, hoping that I could make it to cover behind the central hedges putting me in striking range of an American JOP. The Americans however cleverly had blocked my path with 2 sets of barbed wire and I really had not taken that in account. I got away with it though and was able to crawl them tactically to the hedge in the above photo just in front of my PzIV and then behind the building to rest up and remove shock. They were then deployed back into line behind the hedge in front of the Panzer. 

I put a 2nd Sturm squad behind the hedge to the east, but really they are no match for an American Rifle platoon in the same cover. Essentially 14d6 vs 8d6, they are great in combat or at close range but not any good in a long range fire fight. I am having a tough time learning that. In the meantime P-Y had planted 2 platoons behind the hedge in the centre, as well as a Mortar team and a Bofors ATG. He had additionally placed his 3rd squad in the house where is middle JOP (light green) was. At this point the game really slowed down and we were just firing at each other. I lost my Sturm squad in the east as they broke off the table but my FM was holding and I was able to drop the A,erican FM to 4 while I was 5. I then made my 2nd mistake, I think I was getting tired, we were 4 hours in, and got my Sturm squad who had been paddling away in the large barn to the the northeast to leave the barn and try to take the American JOP to the north, I had a CoC dice and if captured I could end the turn and drop the American FM even lower. 

But again I misjudged things and got chopped up in the open, this time I did not get away with it. I believe in the ensuing combat I got the American FM down to 2 but I dropped to zero and lost the game. I did not get away with it this time. We did make quite a few mistakes in rules interpretation especially in respect to sharing hits and when one can enter combat, both these cost me and I suspect that I might have won the game especially with hits distribution (essentially the Americans were distributing hits among 4 teams rather than 2). But I felt my 2 mistakes were pretty stupid so I deserved to lose! As you can see below it was quite a bloody battle and the Americans actually faired worse than the Germans.

The Summing Up: Battle 7 /Turn 5

Americans 10 dead, 5 wounded
German Sturm Platoon #3: 7 dead 4 wounded

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Men's Opinion -5 (-1FM)
Overall Commander Outlook Sociable (+1 FM)

Americans
Not tracked

So on to turn 6, I rolled up a 2, so VG Rifle Platoon (1), so positions are as follows at the beginning of turn 6.

Turn 6-German Force Position and Strength 
Sturm Platoon 1 unknown (11 dead)
Sturm Platoon 2 unknown (10 dead)
Sturm Platoon 3 unknown (7 dead, 4 wounded
Sturm Platoon 4 unknown
Sturm Platoon 5 unknown
Rifle Platoon 1 Assembly Point A

Next game Tuesday, it looks bad but it is not as bad as it seems. I have already told P-Y that I am attacking Table 2 and since this is my 4th go at this table, I have 24 points of support.....maybe we will see a Panther!

It has been quite a week of gaming, I played the start of a new CoC campaign virtually in Finland detailing the invasion of Denmark by the Germans on April 9th, 1940. I am having another train game today shortly with a players based in Italy and Poland as well as my friend Adam here in Massachusetts. 

And I almost forgot here are some photos from P-Y of the game.


















11 September 2020

Consthum Village-A Bloody Bucket Blitzkrieg

 

We had another battle in last evening in our Bloody Bucket campaign. This was a Blitzkrieg from Table 4 to 5, so I was going with the same supports and troops I had on Table 4.

Sturm Platoon #2
CD 5 Green FM8
1 SL
3 man rifle grenadier team
1 Sturm Squad w/JL
1 LMG Squad w/JL 

Supports (12)
Captured Jeep
Sniper
LMG Squad (down to a JL with 1 LMG with 2 crewman)
le IG.18 w/ JL

American Rifle Platoon
CD 5 Regular FM 9
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL

Supports (?)
Minefield
Entrenchment
0.3cal MMG team

This time it was Pierre-Yves who got the jump on me, with an excellent Patrol Phase in addition to having the higher Force Morale. As you can see below, I really did a poor job.
So things did not look good, this was an attack and defend scenario so the only way I could win was to force the Americans off the table, while maintaining my FM at 3. P-Y then through in a real ringer and put down a minefield next to my most westerly JOP. 
At this point it felt pretty hopeless and as you can see from above P-Y over the next couple of phases placed a 30cal MMG in an entrenchment to cover the whole eastern edge and then placed 3 squads just north of my JOP's. I was able to get a sniper in the building just north of the minefield, and I placed a Sturm Squad and tried to get into the barn and even though only a single American rifle team was able to see them, they were broken in 2 phases and routed off the table.....very quick game and well played by P-Y.



The Summing Up: Battle 6 /Turn 4

Americans no loss
German Sturm Platoon #2: 2 dead, 2 wounded

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Men's Opinion -5 (-1FM)
Overall Commander Outlook Affable (+1 FM)-went up 1 for Battle 5, down 1 for Battle 6.

Americans
Not tracked

So on to turn 5, I rolled up a 6 so another Sturm Platoon (5), so positions are as follows at the beginning of turn 5.

Turn 5-German Force Position and Strength 
Sturm Platoon 1 unknown (11 dead)
Sturm Platoon 2 unknown (10 dead, 2 wounded)
Sturm Platoon 3 unknown
Sturm Platoon 4 unknown
Sturm Platoon 5 at Assembly Point A

Next game Monday.