01 August 2018

Early War CoC-Narvik

Gerbirgsjägers at Narvik
Last Saturday I travelled out to Concord, MA to have an Early War Norwegian Front CoC game with Greg. Greg is an aficionado of the Early War especially the border confrontations that took place in 1939-40. He has quite a terrific collection of EW troops in 28mm many of which I have yet to see on the gaming table. Greg had travelled to Salem about 6 weeks ago and we had a great Winter War game.

The scenario was centred around the land battle that took place during the Battle of Narvik. I know almost nothing about the Norwegian Campaign so this was a nice introduction. What is especially fascinating is the different forces that were involved as you can see in the OB below. The scenario was number 5 from the CoC rulebook, The Flank Attack. This is a bit of a challenging scenario which I had not often played. We tossed for sides and I ended up as the Defender.

Allied Attacker (starting FM 11, CD 5+1):
2 Senior Leaders
2 squads of Elite French Foreign Legion
1 squad of Norwegian Regulars
1 squad Polish Regulars
1 VB Launcher Team with Junior Leader
MMG Team
1 Hotchkiss H35 Tank

German Defender (starting FM 8, CD 5+1):
2 Senior Leaders
2 squads of Elite Gerbirgsjägers
1 squad of Regular Kriegsmarine
1 5cm Mortar

As usual, I forgot to take many photos but I have a few which will help tell the story.
The right quadrant in the foreground was the defender's area. Both the Patrol Markers and the Jump Off Points are still on the table. Hard to see I know but you can see 3 of the German JOP's encircling the area I was defending with the 4th JOP in the group of trees in the centre of the farground of the table. The 3 Allied JOP's were in the trees to the left foreground with 2 in trees in the right farground. My JOP's did not serve me well as you see!
I put my Gerbirgsjägers to defend the long axis with my Kreigsmarine defending the short axis of my ground.. You can see the Norwegians advancing in the right farground.
Greg had placed his Polish regulars in the trees with the MMG team and then deployed 2 squads of the Foreign Legion on his far right flank. He deployed his smoke grenades to good affect. The VB Launcher team are in the rear. The red and grey discs represent HE grenades and smoke grenades respectively. We both had a limited supply.
The Norwegians continue their advance towards the Kreigsmarine but it ended up being a feint!
The Foreign Legion advance behind the smoke throwing grenades as they go.
The Norwegians race to capture one of my JOP's, I am able to send in my Kreigsmarine , a major combat takes place, which I lose but both our Force Morale drops as a consequence. 
Greg in his next phase makes one of the more brilliant moves I have seen, he is able to advance his troops on 3 of my JOP"s in one phase and use a CoC dice to end the turn. Three Force Morale tests! My FM drops to two while Gregs is 8, time to withdraw.
I really quite enjoyed the game but I have to say losing 3 JOP's at one time was a novel situation even for me! It was a lot of fun to play these different forces. I did not play my best game and Greg played well. Greg also makes great use of grenades as well as Covering Fire, tactics that I have not used much in my previous games. Interestingly enough there was no double phases in the game. I felt the dice throws were pretty equal.

We are planning to meet again for another Winter War game at the end of August, which should be interesting as I am planning a Soviet Armour vs Finnish Infantry game, but more on that later. Otherwise on the CoC front, I am hoping to start the Von Luck campaign with my friend Mike, although I am having some problem tracking him down. I am also hoping to restart my Thursday evening gaming with Adam in the next week or two.

30 July 2018

This Very Ground-French Indian War

Two weekends ago I got my a FIW game in with my friend Iannick in Montreal. It is always good to catch up with him and talk Wargaming and Quebec politics. It was the last day of my vacation and it was a nice way to finish.

We played at Iannick's although I am slowly setting up for wargaming in our flat in Montreal. I now have a table and mat as well as some hedges and roads in place. I suspect my wargaming there will be confined to 28mm FIW as well as 15mm Napoleonics so it is simple enough. I would like to have it so I just have to transport the troops.

Th scenario was one of Iannick's design and oddly enough was set in Massachusetts. I believe we played a variation of this several years ago. We played using the This Very Ground rules, it had been some time since I played them and on a read-through they seemed a little complicated but the game actually played very well and it was fun.
As usual, I was the dastardly Americans and Iannick was the French. I only took a few photos but I will describe the action in association with them.

I hav eto defend these 3 homesteads, Iannick set up to attack from my right flank
I had 4 groups of militia, I put 1 in each fenced enclosure and 1 group on my right centre
The dastardly Hurons advance
I was able to repulse the combined Huron- Milice Canadienne units and was still standing pat in all 3 homesteads after 8 turn, but I have to say Iannick came quite close and it could have went either way. 

It was a fun game, and I will certainly play the ruleset again. It is tough having 3 possible rulesets for FIW Skirmishing, especially as I like them all. This ruleset is very easy to set up and gives a nice game.

23 July 2018

Yes..........Another Non Wargaming Post

Finally got around to putting in another blog entry, it has been 6 weeks but I have a good excuse as I had been away for a month. Each year myself and my wife Jennifer usually plan one big trip which involves hiking or cycling. This trip was actually planned for 2017 but had to be cancelled as I ended up being quite ill last spring with a prolonged hospitalisation. To prove that I was all recovered, we decided to take a hike in the Bernese Alps.

The hike itself was 9 days, but we attached a week in France before and after, and I then spend the last 2 weeks in Montreal with my daughter and son. It was really a great trip although I have to say that hiking was much more arduous than our walking trip through Tuscany 2 years ago. We did about 16-20 km of walking per day (10-12 miles for the metrically challenged).

We have been to France many times but not to the south east, aside from the Côte d'azur. There is a very convenient direct flight from Montreal to Lyon which is quite close to Switzerland so it was a good choice as a starting point. Anyway, I will let the photos do the talking, my apologies for so many.

View of the Rhone and the Saône Rivers from the Notre Dame de Fourvière
We stayed in the Vieux Lyon which was quite nice
Somewhat of a peculiar hotel, I fell down a staircase in our room on the first day and was not even drunk, a bit of an inauspicious start as I really as I got a pretty big hematoma on my hip and flank!
But as you can see this did not stop me and I was quickly in good fettle
Lyon Hôtel de ville, je crois.

Parc de la Tête d'or.

I was surprised at how many animals there was in the zoo

I am not sure why my wife so liked this wall painting

One of the highlights of the city is the museum detailing the Roman city of Lugdunum. Really quite impressive 7 floor display. The amphitheatre has been restored as above and hosts a major festival each summer.
Of course the reason I wanted to go to Lyon as it is regarded as one of the major gastronomic cities in the world, this restaurant was so good my wife made us go twice!
The Hike

So on to the hike, we rented a car in Lyon and made the 4 hour drive to Lauterbrunnen.  We could of easily taken a train but our trip back from Switzerland involved a somewhat complex detour so we went with a car. Wengen is car free so we had to park in Lauterbrunnen and take a 15 minute train to Wengen. This sounds complicated but it was very simple as Switzerland is probably the best organised country in the world.

There are really no words to describe this part of Switzerland so I will just present our photos with a very occasional commentary. I believe this was the only cloudy day.
Walking to Kleine Scheidegg

The path to Grindelwald, we spent 3 nights in Wengen hiking about.

View of the Eiger from our hotel room
Sunsets were quite spectacular
A trip by Jungfraujoch to the Jungfrau is a must, 4000 metres! 

Eiger on the Mönch, finally no clouds
Gondola to First

Wetterhorn to the right and Schreckhorn on the left.
Add caption

One of the lakes around the First
Walking from the First back to Grindelwald, this was a relatively easy descent but some of them were quite tough on the knees, especially when you were dropping 1500 metres in 1 day!

Start of the hike from First to Meiringen
Going to Meiringen was a really an important part of the trip to me as would be known to any fan of Sherlock Holmes

Reichenbach Falls

The red star marks the spot where the final struggle between Holmes and Moriarity took place

I thought I had more photos of Annecy, a lovely small city but very crowded when we were there and very, very hot. We rented a boat and went out on the lake, the swimming was great.
An interesting walled hilltop medieval city which we stopped at on the way back to Lyon

It was good to put my feet up after 2 weeks
Well this was a fantastic trip, I could go back to Switzerland tomorrow. My friend Nick pointed out to me that we never made it to the Schilthorn, next time! If I was a younger man, I would think of immigrating there. I know it is expensive, but it was nice to be in a place where everything works and I have to admit the older I get the more I appreciate civic pride and respect for one another that the Swiss people so clearly demonstrate. I was in Basel some years ago and I really thought I was hallucinating but it was not so. I found it quite difficult this time to return to the US.