Saturday, 7 June 2014

Pegasus Bridge: AAR

Thursday evening, 5th June, Maff and I replayed the taking of Pegasus Bridge in 15mm. The game took place only a few hours short of when it had actually happened 70 years before. In truth, the game owed more to the classic scene in the film The Longest Day with Richard Todd playing Major John Howard, than to the history books but it was a great wargaming experience for all that!

The Pegasus mission was about 'dash' so I wanted to keep the game moving and decided that SWATTERS would fit the bill, especially as we have built up experience playing them.

The Ox&Bucks consisted of the compliment of Glider No.1 and Major Howard to make 20 figures in total:

Group 1: Lt Den Brotherridge & 3x Close Assault
Groups 2&3, 4x Rifle each
Group 4:  Bren team, 4x Support
Major John Howard, & 3x Close Assault/Sappers

The German defenders consisted of 3x MG42 positions (2x2 man, 1x3man),1x rifle and 1x SMG team (NCOs) .

Operation Deadstick as the mission was called, began with Maff texting me with the message "Casting Off". Onto Skype, I use my iPad to give Maff a pilots eye view of the glider coming into the objective. Crash..........


First blood to the Oxs & Bucks! The very first men out of Glider No.1 shoot the unsuspecting German sentry with the luckiest of long shots. Even luckier, the German garrison fail their activation rolls....obviously having trouble getting their jackboots on!


 The red berets begin pouring out of the glider 'Denny' Brotheridge in the lead group. His blood well and truly up Maff decides to take the bunker and bridge control building (doubling as main German bunker/HQ).

The lead Close Assault group manage to grenade and Sten the Germans manning the MG pit, but themselves including Denny Brotheridge are cut down as they make for the control building.


The following Ox & Bucks rifle group make short work of the Germans with some well placed grenades but this diversion has bought time for the defenders on the west bank to man their MG42s. One in an emplacment in front of Cafe Gondree, the other in the rear garden which could and did bring devastating enfildaing fire on the bridge.


 The second rifle group rushes the bridge but have two pinned and lose two men to withering MG42 fire from both German guns. Then the defenders dice run out of luck and with that run out of activations! Gott in Himmel!



Major John Howard (Richard Todd) is now on the scene. A quick order, a shed load of activations and the Ox & Bucks race across the bridge under covering fire from the Bren (Support) group who are nicely ensconced in the control bunker/tower!


Two more men fall to point blank German fire before Howard leads the final charge on the jerry MG42, grenading it into oblivion. Maff sends the code word "Ham and Jam", Benouville bridge is secure and goes into the history books as a cracking game!

Figures and terrain: 

Ox & Bucks are Peter Pig, Jerries are pre Flames of War, Battlefront panzergrenadiers. Pegasus Bridge is an MDF kit from Ed at Wargamestournaments (eBay seller), the Glider and Cafe Gondree are MDF kits from Warbases (the cafe has moulded plastic tiling added), barbed wire from GF9, and entrenchments SB_Minis (eBay seller). To add that retro 'authenticity' the terrain was very old school. A grass mat laid over books.

Note that I removed casulaties for the sake of clarity during the game. Had it been a face to face game, I would have left them in place for colour.

Final thoughts:

Loved it!  Two nights of painting and constructing terrain culminated in an exciting game that was touch and go. By delaying in getting boots across the bridge in the first rush, only poor activation dice rolls on behalf of the Germans saved Maff from failing to get take the west bank of the Caen Canal. Of the 20 Oxs & Bucks who started the game, just 12 remained when the "Ham and Jam" signal was given. Despite the fact I never finished the detailing on Cafe Gondree or managed to weather the bridge, it was all forgotten and never mattered an ounce during the game.

I'm sure Maff will appreciate a re-run sometime and it's a perfect scenario for solo play or the opening game of a mini campaign.

Cheers
Mark

Friday, 6 June 2014

Pegasus Bridge

We rebooted our weekly gaming in style tonight with a fitting tribute to D-Day. Pegasus Bridge in 15mm using the core mechanisms from Swatters for a fast, furious and above all, fun game!

 Peter Pig airborne make a rush for the Duty Free

More abut the game later when I have some time off over the weekend, together with my thoughts on how choosing a pragmatic approach over 'realistic' allowed me to complete this project in just two nights with no  reduction in game quality.

At this point, let me say a big thank you to Bill at SB-Minis on eBay for helping me out at short notice with those defences. A great guy and recommended eBay shop!

Cheers
Mark

Friday, 23 May 2014

Hong Kong Garden Takeaway

First off, apologies for the lack of pictures. The light is spectacularly poor tonight and my carefully taken photos look too horrible for words. Anyway, I'm not traditionally a fan of martial arts films - or martial arts in general. Concerned to head off any bullying in school my Dad did take me to scope out the local judo classes as a kid but it just looked to much like a PE lesson and I think he suspected that if I did use that kind of skill in school I'd be painted as the bad guy who couldn't control himself. As it was he passed on a few nuggets of wisdom he'd picked up in the RAF. My favourite was always get your head through a pullover as quick as you can so you're not blind, closely followed by the good old knee to the groin. His other advice - basic boxing tips - meant that when an older kid did once approach me aggressively, I went into a crouch, put my guard up and he looked at my as if I was a maniac and hoofed it. That's a long winded way of saying that I never really expected to play a game based on Kung fu.......but there you go. Last month I bought "A Fistfull of Kung Fu" by Ganesha Games and two boxes of Northstar figures (cops and yakuza), followed by some Foundry street violence SWAT. The figures had their first outing tonight - cops vs yakuza and then SWAT vs yakuza. My tendency is to be shooty and so there was a lot of running about and "hails of fire" and not much "crouching tiger, hidden wombat". The great fun is the reaction roll....stuff up your activation and the enemy protagonist can try for a free move for each of your missed activation rolls. That's how in game one, Det Sgt Chang leapt through a window and shot gunned a yakuza to win the game. The second game ended even more Hollywood. The SWAT team had failed to make any real impact but had managed to wound the yakuza boss.....his bodyguard fluffed three activations. Sgt Kylie (a Foundry street violence pack contains at least one female) rolled three successes to react. One hail of fire took out a bodyguard, a flying kick took out the second, leaving a clear LOS for the sniper onto the yakuza boss.....and he botched it too. The yakuza boss reacted, stood up and promptly botched an activation giving Kylie a chance to empty her compact H&K in his direction, down he went and the cuffs went on..... The fisticuffs are more decisive than the "gun fu" but the grunts in your gangs won't last long, your protagonist can usually take about 4 wounds - so they are tough but not invulnerable as a hail of bullets at close range is good for one wound as long as you roll high.....and the SWAT were all in body armour which helped a lot. Actually most of the yakuza were as well - that does explain the hint of a standoff that developed. I'm not sure if I'll go the whole Bruce Lee and buy martial artists in 28mm. I'm more inclined to a cyber-street-samurai kind of thing a la "Neuromancer". Still it is a fun set of rules and I'd say that if you are a fan of the genre then you really do need to get the rules, it's as simple as that. And a final bit of advice from Dad, once you've kneed them and they are gasping for breath, run like hell. Cheers Maff

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Winter of '79 on the Cheap

It's silly sale season.........and a good time to start your Winter of 79 / Cold War British.

Elhiem is having a 10% off Not Going to Salute Sale - this includes their BAOR and very nice COP5 set of  1970's British TV cops and vilains.

Meanwhle Hannants is clearing existing stocks of JB Models Cold War British kits for just £1.99, including the Saladin armoured car, Saracen APC and L118 105mm Field Gun.

And completely by chance, I found that HMV have bought much of Model Zone's old stock and selling it in store. I picked up this Corgi 1:72 Westland Wessex HU5 for just £14.99! These normally retail at around the £50 mark. Even Model Zone were selling it at £29.99 in the final days of their clearance before closing. Heather had tried to buy one of these for my birthday whilst Model Zone was still very much on the go and was just met with a wall of indifference. Result!

Best of luck finding your own bargains.

Cheers
Mark

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Random Encounter - hex row 2379

Back in the day, I played a lot of D and D and much of it in the City State of the Invincible Overlord; as a DM I ran a few games in the surrounding Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I still have the Wilderland map and can trace the route the party took as you filled in the player map as you went along. One place they visited was Haghill - I ran it with undead berserkers attacking them in the Tavern and black clad riders stalking them along the road; its only reading the game background now that I appreciate what a nasty piece of work the Squire, Huberic, was. So.....with a new copy of Song of Blades and Heroes, some nicely painted Citadel Feudals, some skeletons and a pre painted vampire, it seemed like a good idea to try to do something vaguely related to CSIO and Wilderlands and so, without further ado, here is a tale of horror......

Ambush on the Rorystone Road!

Huberic's retinue are marching up the Rorystone Road looking for peasants to tax when a creaking noise from the undergrowth warns them that the undead are upon them. One skeleton lumbers forward and is chopped down by the soldier in the lead. Another tries the same trick and is cut down. Seizing the initiative, Huberic sends the retainer forward but he is killed messily by a skeleton. Seeing this, most of the retainers, including Ochall Cateye, the "trusted lackey" run for it. Huberic stands his ground - odd for a coward - but he has a crossbow of speed and uses it to kill or knock over three advancing skeletons. He then calls his remaining retainers forwards to take the attack to the undead but the Haghill troops are inveterate looters and being greedy, stop to search the skeletons for anything of value. The undead leader, Milady La Vampyra tries her bolt of dark fear and one retainer simply runs away instead of dropping dead with fright. Huberic is reluctant to get closer, she's running out of skeletons. Both decide to claim victory and retreat......


Huberics lads stroll up the road.....
It's all going wrong for everyone...... This was a fun game just made up on the spot and it probably shows. I'd thought up stats for Huberic in the week,in all honesty the crossbow of speed - which allowed him to shoot more than once per turn was a bit excessive. Then again that's a magic item for you. I may change it to a one or two use item. This has given me a taste for fantasy skirmish again though and I'll probably think up more games in the Wilderlands. I've found Searchers of the Unknown - a very basic stripped down set of D and D rules which may be useful too.... Cheers Maff

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday, Coffee and The Archers

It's Sunday morning, the sun has emerged after 6 months of winter darkness. Time to revel with a cup of coffee, the Archers Omnibus and a quick fight in the Winter of  '79 for a hamlet in Borcestershire.

 Somehwere near Ambridge. A Government section 
debussing from a Saxon APC (FV432 standing in).

The road is the 'ready to drive roadway' from the Early Learning Centre - picked it up on sale for under a tenner in September. You get forty-six 2mm thick laminated jigsaw carboard roadway pieces which include a roundabout, crossings, junctions, long and short straights and bends. Enough to full my kitchen table and more.

ELC 'ready to drive roadway'

Each straight piece is around 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. It also works for 28mm as a smaller B road. Cheap and effective. Worth looking out for on eBay, where you might even find it cheaper.

Cheers
Mark

Monday, 10 March 2014

de Winter of 79 Commando

6th of June, the Shore of Western Europe

D-Day


X Troop 79 Commando wade ashore - their Objective GBH Bunker. Confusion reigns and the HQ, Bren and rifle teams are intermingled. Capt de Winter leads the way....



 Across the wire, in the distance the bunker cover party appear and open fire




The Commandos are held up by the wire, bren fire, grenades, sten guns all have no effect on the machine gun team in the bunker - but one burst of fire does injure the loader and the rate of fire slackens. To the right a lone rifle armed commando takes on three schutzen until his mates clear the wire



At them with the bayonet! A volley of shots and X Commando go in to clear the cover party.


Too Late Chum! de Winter deals with the MG42 team....

This was an impromptu game with pretty - ok, very, basic terrain. The figures are Warlord Commandos painted by myself while the Germans are warlord FJ painted up in "full on late war camo madness" by Jim Brent. Mark and I have speculated over using IHMN for WW2 and this is the result. I gave de Winter marksman with pistol, inspirational and leader with the stat line of a Captain from IHMN, the lads were rated as Guards/Royal Marines with a couple of NCOs. The Germans were jager from the book; the MG42 was presumed to be brassing the beach up in general with one unlucky commando getting its attention each turn. This really meant that until they cleared the wire, one trooper was being lost most turns. That was until the turn the bren gunner was hit; then a sten gunner was fired at and survived, he managed to clip the MG42 No2 after which it didnt hit anything. 

Due to internet wobbles this took longer to blog than play and does raise a question in my mind - just what did X troop get up to before D-Day?

Cheers
Maff