17 February 2019

There are Many Rivers to Cross: The Start of Yet Another CoC Campaign

I started my second simultaneous campaign yesterday with Greg. Greg is an Early War fan so we were both keen to start a campaign using the 1940 Blitzkrieg CoC rules and army lists. This mini-campaign appeared in the recent Lard Magazine and it looks like a lot of fun.

The campaign is generic in that it can be played with any force from the Blitzkrieg book as well as anywhere in France, Holland or Belgium. Since I have Belgic forces, we set it in Belgium in May of 1940. Interestingly the campaign starts on Table 2, as the Germans (attackers) have already crossed the first river and are approaching a town. They have yet to build bridges so they are limited to infantry forces only and can not use ATG's, IG's or any vehicles in the first 2 campaign turns.  If the German fail to take the 2nd table, the Allied forces can attack back on to table 1 and if victorious in turn 2 and seize Table 1, they would have a complete victory in a very short campaign!

The German force do have a significant advantage in support in the first turn with 2d6+6 while the defender has 1d6+2. In the background of the campaign, German pioneers are building a bridge and the Allies are sending engineers to destroy it.

We got together yesterday and drew sides by chance. I ended up playing the Germans.  I am by nature a player who prefers defending rather than attacking but this sort of worked out as I have noted after 3 games with Greg that is a fairly aggressive attacker. We were both going to be challenged!
The table as set up, you can see the patrol markers. I only blew one building with the Stuka Bombardment. It was a UXB, but fortunately was in house in the mid foreground which was not going to be invloved in my plan of attack.
The light brown circles are the German JOP's and as you can see I was able to get a JOP in an advanced position. I had to be cautious though as Greg is very adroit at capturing them as I have found out in the past.
Forces

Chasseurs Ardennais
CD5, Regular, FM9
Core Platoon
Franc Tireurs
Bunker for 1 Tm
Maxim 08 MG Tm

Schutzen
CD5, Regular, FM8
Core Platoon
Jean Claude
Off-Table MG
MG34 MG Tm
Flamethrower Tm
Stuka Bombardment
Off Table Bunker Buster 
So on to the photos of which I took very few. They really are not going to tell the story but it was as follows:

To win, I had to clear 2 of the 3 far sections of the table while getting a unit off the far side or of course force the Belgians off the table by withdrawal or morale failure. Greg had almost immediately placed a MMG team in the bunker defending the T-junction on my right flank. Fortunately I had chosen a Bunker Buster 8.8 cm gun as an off-table support. We did allow the bunker to be graded as a fortification which made it quite difficult to crack even with the 88. The Stuka bombardment was relatively effective in keeping the Belgians from deploying and when they did, they did suffer not insignificant shock. Greg did throw a 3d6 on his CD early on so it really only affected 2 of his 4 units.

I was quite concerned about Greg capturing my forward JOP so after I placed a squad behind the hedge to cover my left flank, I dropped a squad in the fenced garden of the house in the photo below and quickly added a Flame Thrower Tm as well as a SL. By then Greg had a Group de Combat in the orchard in his centre. I followed with my 3rd squad on my right flank while Greg placed his DBT section behind a house on his left flank and placed his 2nd Group de Combat in the large barn on his left flank. 

Fire ensued between the 2 sections confronting each other on the German right flank, the Belgians are numerically superior and were in hard cover but I was able to keep things going by placing a SL with the Schutzen squad to remove shock. A battle between pretty equal forces, one being in hard cover and the other being in light cover was not going to go well for the Germans in the long run so it was time to make my move. I was worried though that Greg by now had 2 CoC dice and I had none. It is hard to advance aggressively even on a double phase if your opponent can interupt.

I moved my forward squad with the SL and the FT Tm into the house below on the left with a plan to exit onto the road. Greg moved his GdC behind the house on his side of the road. At the same time, I advanced my squad on the left to take his un-protected JOP on his far right flank. This was a mistake as his GdC in the centre could fire at them. By then both our FM's were down to 5, but I had  slight advantage although I now had 2 squads pinned, I had killed one of his JL's and his single SL was down for the turn. My 2 SL's were still good and industriously removing shock.

I moved my forward squad out of the house, crossed the street and was rapidly able to get them in the house overlooking the orchard. I felt I was finally in a good position to force Greg to withdraw but he fought on hurling grenades in through the windows, he caused shock but no kills and the Germans were then able to rain fire (literally and figuratively) on the Belgian troops. Greg dropped to a FM of 3 but used his CoC dice to prevent taking a FM test when his SL went down. He dicided to play one more turn but really his ability to counterattack was done and on my next turn I forced his FM to zero. Game over and a German victory.

The all important forward German JOP
Not good to get caught out in the open
A very busy SL, you can see Jean-Claude hiding just at the left edge of the barn
Bad to be caught with a flame thrower.....
.....but also tricky to be in an enclosed space with greandes going off!
The Summing Up

Well the  FM difference of 5 resulted in the following:
Germans 2 dead, 1 man missing the next turn. 1JL down 1CI
Belgians 4 dead, 2 men missing the next turn. SL down 1CI, JL down 1CI

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Commander's Opinion+1
Men's Opinion +2
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Relaxed
Belgians
Commander's Opinion-1
Men's Opinion -3 (-1FM)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Short-tempered

Well it is shaping up to be an interesting campaign, I was happy to win as an attacker. We will have to see how it goes. I can recommend buying the Lard Magazine for this campaign alone.



26 January 2019

Bloody Bucket: The Start of a New CoC Campaign

We finally got to start a new CoC campaign today, this one tracing the exploits of the American 28th Division in their defence against a late war German Blitzkrieg into Belgium in December of 1944.

This campaign will see me play the Americans against Tom's Volksgrenadiers. It is quite a complex campaign with both sides having to make a choice between several options in respect to both line of attack as well as support placement. We both have suitable forces but Tom still wants to paint up some more StG44 armed Sturmtroopers so we decided to play at my place in 20mm. This is the first time my Winter-uniformed Germans and American will see the table so it was quite exciting for me to get things going.

Essentially we find the Germans on the offensive in an attempt to capture Bastogne in the early part of the Ardennes offensive. They field a Volksgrenadier force which can be either a Sturm or Rifle Platoon while the American defend with a standard Rifle Platoon. The German force is green but are led by experienced officers and NCO's and the Americans field a regular force.

I had to make a lot of choices prior to the start of the game which I can not really elaborate on as I do not want to give away my campaign plans to Tom but I did have to pick out 48 points of support before the campaign even started and place them at 6 possible points on the battlefield. 
The Germans are attacking from the east and essentially have to capture all 6 tables within a limited number of turns to achieve victory. They can attack up to 2 tables in 1 campaign turn if they have the appropriate forces in place..........
...............as you can see however they can choose to attack each table sequentially or choose to bypass a table and attack any table in a flanking manoeuvre. The Americans have a fresh defending rifle platoon on each table while the Germans get either a new Sturm Platoon or a Rifle Platoon (decided by the roll of a die) in each campaign turn. 

As you can see it is pretty important which supports I select and where I place them, all of which I had to decide before the campaign starts. I do get additional supports each campaign turn but they are coming from the west so start on table 6. I can move forces each campaign turn from one adjacent table to the next but it is possible that they can be interdicted by the Germans with the possibility of it being destroyed. The Germans get 12 points of support each time they attack and 15 points if it is their 2nd go at the same table. The Germans can also choose if they have a strong enough force after a Victory to immediately Blitzkrieg the next table before any campaign calculations are made.
As you can see I took 12 points on my 1st table. I decided to go with an entrenched defensive position with heavy firepower by adding a BAR to each of my 3 squads and placing 2 tripod mounted MG's in hard cover.
Tom chose to move his Sturm Platoon to point B resulting in no battle in campaign turn 1. We moved to campaign turn  2, Tom threw a die and ended up getting a Rifle Platoon placed in point A. I added 10 points of supports to table 6 and also started to move some of my previously placed supports around.
So the campaign turn 2 started with the Germans attacking table 1 as laid out below, this is the standard Attack and Defend scenario from the main rulebook.
Forces

Volksgrenadiers 
CD 5 Green FM 9
1 SL w/3 man rifle grenade team
3 VG Rifle Squads w/JL
Pregame Barrage
Assault Squad w/JL
LMG Squad w/JL
Medical Orderly

Americans
CD 5 Regular FM11
2 SL's w/ Bazooka Team
3 Rifle Squads w/JL and extra BAR
Entrenched 0.5 HMG Team
Entrenched 0.3 MMG team

So on to the photos of which I took very few. They really are not going to tell the story but it was as follows:

Tom's plan was to assault me from my right flank starting off from the forest. He rapidly placed 2 rifle squads in the forest as well as his LMG squad. They all went down in overwatch. I was cautious and did not plan to place any soldiers on the table until Tom started his advance. Tom brought on his Sturm squad and started to advance tactically on my right. Here I got lucky as although I was under a pregame barrage, I was able to rapidly get down my 30 cal MMG and then my 50 cal HMG, with which I was able to deal with the Sturm squad pretty quickly. I was pretty lucky with my hit dice while Tom was equally unlucky with his save dice. With my 50 cal HMG, I was able to pound away at the troops in the forest as it reduces cover. It got a little tricky as Tom was able to pin my 30 cal MMG but by then I had a Rifle squad in the building and they were able to unload quite a few hits on the VG's in the forest. We banged pack and forth, I was able to destroy the LMG squad and by now Tom's FM was plummeting. I could see he was planning to withdraw so I dropped a second rifle squad in the open and was able to drive the VG force off the table. Final FM for the Americans was 11 while the Germans dropped to 3. A clear American victory!

Not really much you can do with the patrol phase her as really no cover, Tom did get 6 free moves, we both locked down mid-terrain. We were both careful with our angle.
3 JOP's each, the forest in the right farground was light cover and the 1 building was hard cover.
VG's trying to holdout in the forest
The well entrenched machine gunners.
Time to go, maybe
The Heroes of the day

The Summing Up

Well the large  FM difference resulted in the following:
Americans losing no troops (table 1, all supports intact)
Germans lost 2 dead and 1 wounded ( VG platoon 1-point A)

Campaign Tracker
Germans
Commander's Opinion (not tracked in this campaign)
Men's Opinion 4 (+1FM)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Affable (+2FM)
Americans
Commander's Opinion +2
Men's Opinion 0
Platoon Leaders's Outlook Relaxed

So that was the first battle in which I suspect will be a terrific campaign. Tom has elected to make a second attack in this campaign turn. He can attack either Table 2 or 3 from point B. Let's hope I have moved my supports well.

I am actually trying to involve myself in 2 other simultaneous CoC campaigns. Hoping to get the Von Luck campaign started with Mike and the 1940 Blitzkrieg campaign started with Greg. It is really too bad that I work every second weekend!

22 January 2019

A Panoply of Terrain

This has been a very slow start for me and I am fearful that it will be difficult to hit my 500 point goal for this year's Challenge. I do have some figures in the queue but have not been drawn to them yet. What I always need is terrain, so my second submission has focused on clearing off the terrain pile. This is for my WWII and ACW gaming.

Linear Obstacles

Stone Walls
75"x1" of 1/72 scale Italeri
Snake Rail Fence
60"x1/2" of 1/100 scale Battle Terrain Concepts
Every little stick was individually glued!
Sandbags 
24"x1/2" of 1/100 scale Novus Design Studio

Roads/Bridges

Dirt Roads
110"x2.5"  Novus Design Studio
Three layers of paint were on each of the 3 elements
Stone Bridge
12"x2.5"x3.5" 1/100 scale from Novus Design Studio
Using two different colours for the stones may look odd but I like the effect
Buildings etc.

Stone Fountain
4" diameter, 2" high 1/100 scale Novus Design
I may eventually use 2 part epoxy in the fountain but here I used polyurethane with green  ink
Stalingrad Nail Factory
12"8"x3" 1/100 scale Novus Design

Copper galvanised panels are wrong but wanted to try verdigris


Stalingrad Railroad Station
13"x10"x4" 1/100 scale Novus Design
Top roof is removable


So I am hoping that is it for my Stalingrad, just have to do up the mat
Well it is a relief to get all that off the terrain queue. I still have 47 tree bases, 2 more houses and another 5' of snake railing to do but this was a good start.

16 January 2019

Shout Out to Old Guard Painters

About 6 months ago, I placed an order with Old Guard Painting Service in the Ukraine. Time to start expanding my Hundred Days force for the planned Waterloo scenario book for Général d'Armée. I have always wanted to game Quatre-Bras and for this I needed some Dutch-Belgians and of course Brunswickers.

The Spanish painter I was using seems to be planning to retire as he only paints the occasional 28mm figure now and the painter I was using in Thailand was just too fussy, driving me crazy with non-sensical questions!

I saw an advert on the TMP marketplace that had some 15mm Nassau for sale for a good price but when I checked they were not AB but Old Glory. The owner Vladimir, though did offer a pretty good price to paint what I wanted. I already had decided that I wanted Perponcher's 2nd Division in the Allied Order of Battle, First Corps. This gave me a nice mix of Belgian, Dutch and Nassau. I also added the 3rd light cavalry brigade under Merlen from the Netherlands Cavalry Division. And of course I wanted the full Brunswick Corp under the Black Duke.

I decided to order half of the 2 divisions to test the waters. I believe the order approached around 300 figures. I was asked to pick out what figures I wanted from the AB catalogue, and directed Vladimir to use the centjours website to use as an uniform reference. And that was it. I recieved the figures a couple of days ago and I have to say I was enormously pleased. First up are some photos.
Impressively packed with every unit identified as well as a packing list...
....identified down to the figure.
Overview, I did not want the skirmishers, artillery or command figures based, just the formed infantry and cavalry.
Brunswickers
Belgian Light Dragoons
Silly Billy, who I may let command Perponcher's Division.
Dutch Hussars
Belgian Line and Dutch Militia
Brunswick Hussars
The Black Duke

Well I have to base up the artillery, command figures as well as the skirmishers. But most, importantly I have to attach those Flagdude standards that I have most patiently kept on hand for the last 3 years!

Once this is done I will post up some more detailed photos of the units recieved. But maybe I should say a bit more about the service.

Old Guard Painters Review
Price 10/10
Ease of Ordering 10/10
Ease of Contact 10/10 all emails responded to within 24 hours if not sooner
Accuracy of Painting 10/10
Quality of Packing 10/10
Speed of Painting 9/10 Vladimir was a bit optimistic here quoting 3 months it was 5 (additional month for shipping)!

So I can recommend this painting service without reservation and I have already almost got together my next order.

Overall 10/10