27 February 2021

Battle in the Wilderness 1756

  

Last week after a two week hiatus, I got a game in with Pierre-Yves in Montreal. I had been away so I was looking forward to the game, getting used to at least a game per week during the pandemic. Indeed, I had 2 games last week. What was especially cool was that my old friend Iannick, zoomed in to get a "look see" at Virtual Tabletop Wargaming. We are planning to have a game within the next week or two and it was good that he had a look, we did not get a chance to talk about the Habs and their travails, but it was all good. Pierre-Yves and Iannick, although both living in Montreal had not met each other, so I believe it was a good wargaming connection for each.
 
It was my turn to host, and I had finally got together a 4x4' terrain which is the recommended size for 400 point games with Muskets and Tomahawks II. The mat still needs a little work but I was happy how it came out. In this game, I decided to go with a Wilderness scenario. We added all the whistles with both Intrigues and Commander's Gifts. We both decided to go with Battle Missions.
It was quite a good game, around 3 hours and it went back and forth but P-Y's British Allied Indians were able to break my French Canadiens. A few photos.



Getting back on schedule now, with a What a Cowboy game, possibly a game of SAGA (my first in-person game in a year) at the Hobby Bunker this Thursday and the next chapter in UBOOT this Friday.

24 February 2021

UBOOT-Patrol #11

A week ago, we had our 11th Patrol on our voyage to the Scarpa Basin, as you can see it is quite eventful.

Patrol 11

0300 journey continues in darkness of night, full speed ahead on surface.


0700

Radio message from HQ: “urgent assistance needed for fellow German submarine chased by two British Destroyers in grid AE86.”

Seems to be right on the way, so there we go…


0800 Rudder hydraulics cranking up, needs to be repaired


1000 SPOTTING 2 vessels

#4 seems to be destroyer, #5… not merchant vessel

Distance to #4 is 7 NM , UBOOT can be spotted on surface in daylight at 2,5 NM so UBOOT not spotted… 

continue on course keep watch

...order to load rear torpedo tube


Ships likely heading toward the battle grid given in previous radio message...


1400 

new position… #5 identified as smaller corvette with 1 gun battery on rear deck… #4 is destroyer with 2 deck guns fore and aft, and depth charge rack at the rear… 

CAPTAIN DECISION: change course to parallel the ships course, ships going 12 knots so UBOOT on surface running 17 knots will overtake them, and then attack with torpedoes 

 

1400

RADIO MESSAGE - update on political situation

“Since Hitler signed pact with Franco, Germany has gained access to Spanish ports. Hitler plans to occupy Gibraltar with German troops. UK evacuates all British nationals from Gibraltar.”


FOOD CRISIS

3000 eggs are in danger of starting to rot. Whole crew will be feasting on only eggs for one day: eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch, eggs for supper, eggs for snack.


BORING ROUTINE

Unending cycles of watch duty and condensation water dripping into your bunk, and eating eggs during rest of the time... Stress on the nerves. Seamen fight for nothing.


1930

UBOOT reached attack position in darkness on surface, after careful planning with officers, Captain orders 2 electric torpedoes to fire, one at each ship… torpedo at destroyer produces nothing BUT corvette gets hit… dead in the water, fires erupting and hull damage…


Destroyer makes immediate course change toward UBOOT location… still out of visual spotting range in darkness so they must be operating on estimation of which direction torpedoes must have come from, based on left side of corvette was hit...


Tight angle, but… no pain no gain - Captain orders 1 bubble torpedo from forward tubes to be fired…

Torpedoes shoot forward... FO starts counting seconds on stop watch… at the same time bright searchlights from destroyer pick out UBOOT periscope position and while torpedoes are running, destroyer forward deck gun battery starts firing…


Periscope takes a hit and is destroyed, another close hit bangs on bridge tower and causes short circuit on electrical control panel…


UBOOT is now blind but everyone can clearly hear loud explosion - torpedo has HIT destroyer… hydrophone reports propellor sounds halting… destroyer must be stopping… sound of metal breaking and creaking…



2000

Captain takes UBOOT to surface to observe… in darkness clearly visible that destroyer is in trouble, midship hit on hull with gaping hole taking in water and ship listing to side, fires erupting inside, explosions… corvette further away is already going under…


Engineer crew report on periscope repair: not possible, periscope prismic part with measurement controls is destroyed, we do not have new prism on board.

Partial damage on electrical system causes damage potential to battery functions also, needs to be repaired.

Repairs begin for electrical systems.


Captain orders course on surface toward previously received battle site grid.


2200 

HALSSCHMERZEN 

Captain is frustrated. He is plagued by severe case of “sore throat” symptom common to many young officers; this condition can only be cured by carrying Knight’s Cross around the neck.

CAPTAIN takes 2 STRESS DICE.


2300 

approaching battle site

Hydrophone reports: battle sounds, creaking, sinking, propellor moving further away


2400 

No sounds, sea is quiet, propellors vanished into distance.

UBOOT surfacing at grid AE86

searching flash lights on water… some debris, oil slicks, pieces of wood panneling, some clothing floating on surface… 

no sight of survivors. 


RADIO MESSAGE TO HQ:

Repeated contact attempts with other Uboot… no luck.

Evidence of sinking found on meeting grid.

UBOOT in desperate need of supplies, food other than eggs, tobacco, and spareparts and new prism for periscope.


While waiting for reply, UBOOT continues on previous course

Torpedo crew assisting engineers in repairs.



0100

TORPEDO CORRECTION

Torpedo crew discovered fault in torpedo settings: ventilating torpedoes leaves extra air pressure in torpedo balance chamber which contains guiding controls, causing torpedoes to deviate from set course.

CAPTAIN gives eventually order to adjust torpedo settings, so Current load of torpedoes has +BONUS HIT %ODDS… RADIO MAN sends message to HQ about this finding and made adjustments, so HQ can spread the word among all Uboat crews to do same

CURRENT LOAD: 

3 bubble torps & 1 electric front, 1 bubble rear

3 bubble torps in storage

0300

RADIO MESSAGE FROM HQ:

“no message from friendly Uboat, last heard around 1900 yesterday. Supply ship MILCH KUCH with new periscope and repair parts available at grid AF48 starting 0600 today.”


UBOOT continues forward


0500 weather turns to North Atlantic storm, waves 5 meters high wash over the bridge tower


Engineers would really need cigarette break, suggestion from engineer: “we could start rolling cigarettes from officer’s socks… their aroma is ripe enough”


CREW EVENT - GHOST WRITER

One seaman from NAVIGATOR CREW is good with words and provides service for crew: he writes their love letters for them.

2 crewmen remove activations because they lose their stress of how to properly express their feelings to fiancees…


1000 weather clear, grid AE68

1600 weather turns to heavy rain


1700

CAPTAIN chooses one new card from several options…

Captain chooses to skip Panzerchokolad for now…


1800 RADIOMAN contacts supply ship

gets reply ”we are waiting, no sighting of enemy around here”


1900 storm breaks out again

2000 storm diminishes to heavy rain

2100 weather turns to rain, sea becomes more peaceful

2200 weather clears… NAVIGATOR determines location, UBOOT has drifted somewhat to the side of meeting point but close enough so…


2300 meeting with supply ship



Stay tuned for Patrol 12, as you can see we are now due north of our destination.

23 February 2021

Drive on Minsk-Game 2


A couple of weeks ago, we played another game in our campaign with the rules Battleground Command. I have been away so I am getting a little behind in my posting, indeed I have played a game of UBOOT and Muskets and Tomahawks since. Just about to play game 3 so I am trying to get this off.

In this the 2nd phase of the 3rd game in this campaign, we had quite a bit more action, although I have a sense that there are still many more German units yet to be revealed. You can find Eero's usual scintillating report on the Wargamer's Forum.

Here is photo of my tanks here:
T-26's

BA-11

The position of the troops at the end of the game....have fun figuring it out.

04 February 2021

Virtual Lard IV

This past Saturday, I played in Virtual Lard IV. This event started last summer and now has increased in size markedly, I believe there were 23 games, some played in two time slots and with 4 players a game, that is pretty big.

I played in a Chain of Command game, put on by John E in Virginia and I have to say he put on a great game. You can see by our pensive looks at the top of the screen, that there was a lot of heavy thought. I was teamed up with Tom from Ireland who was playing his 1st CoC game but as an active serving military officer had a lot to offer. We had the Germans. The Americans were played by Jeff in Wales and Greg in the US, they were extremely cunning opponents. The Germans were approaching from the east and had the objective of taking the church. 
I have put a link to the scenario with John's permission here. Let us say this was a well thought out, fun and balanced scenario. Neither side new what the other had, even down to the type of platoon. The game went back and forth for 4 hours. I thought we had lost it early but we were able to build an excellent base of fire to the south with an attacking force to the north. I believe then that the "dice gods" started to favour the Americans. Every time we had to roll for an officer he was killed and the Americans had some great defensive rolls. Not withstanding though each side's Force Morale was knocked down. The Germans had to abandon their attack when their FM went to 2, while the Americans were still at 3! It was really a terrific game and kudos to Jeff and Greg for playing a great game. I am not big on writing detailed ARs but here are some photos that John had taken.












Many thanks to John for putting on a great game, for the other gamers for playing and for Jeremy for organising another great Virtual Lard event.

31 January 2021

Rumble in the Jungle


Over the last 2 weeks, we have played a couple of games set in WWII Burma. Virtual Lard IV took place yesterday and my friend Pierre-Yves was presenting a Chain of Command game with his recently painted Chindit and Japanese platoons. P-Y created an amazing jungle terrain over 2-3 weeks and we needed to play test his scenario and the terrain. We played 2 games, alternating sides. I will not go into the details of either game but suffice to say the Japanese won both times. In the first game the win was hard fought, in the 2nd game maybe less so. We used the regular Chindit and Japanese Platoons with minimal support. The Chindits had a 2"mortar and a Boy AT Rifle, while the Japanese had a Type 94 TeKe tank, a lorry as well as a Flame-thrower Team. 

We also played our first game using Jitsi, another addition to the growing list of video-conferencing programmes. Also we also tested P-Y's new CoC Patrol playing ap, he certainly is a mother of invention.

Jitsi Close up
Jitsi Overview
Standard Zoom from 2nd game
All our gaming is with old iPhones that have been cannibalised for gaming, I believe the oldest we use is an iPhone 4 but P-Y has one iPhone 11 in use. I am using several iPhone 5's as well as an iPhone 8. The Jitsi delivers a superb image but we did find quite a bit of lag, we also found more difficulty managing the settings on the older iPhones. From looking at the above photos, I believe the benefit is marginal and I think I will stick to Zoom for now. 

The most interesting new development was P-Y Patrol Phase ap for CoC. When we first started playing CoC on line at the beginning of the lockdown, we found it important to have a direct overhead camera as moving the Patrol Markers really requires an aerial view. I felt P-Y's overhead camera always delivered a good picture, maybe mine a little less so. It was interesting to note that we would almost play the whole game just looking at the Overhead view rather then the 2 tangential flank cameras we had both set-up. As you can see above in the last photo a high oblique camera delivers a similarly useful view of the terrain but I think I find it a much better view. It is also much easier to manage! But back to the PP ap, which makes it unnecessary to have a ceiling mounted camera.
Now how is that for cool. From what I understand P-Y takes a photo of the terrain and the ap converts the photo to an orthographically correct view. You then move the Patrol Markers (large circles), the ap automatically restricts movement to 12" maintaining the daisy chain of 12". Automatic locking occurs, and as you can see it automatically generates the arcs to place the JOP's. It is adjustable to allow for varying movement, the Japanese can move 14" while the Finns can move 12" but are not limited by the daisy chain of 12". I felt it worked quite well.

Anyway that is enough for now, what follows is some photos in no particular order of P-Y terrific terrain and figures.

Game 1













Game 2