Sunday, September 21, 2014

Breakthrough At Nijmegen - AAR

Today I headed over (along with Roy Scaife) to Adam Clark's place to play a game of Bolt Action in honor of the anniversary of operation Market Garden.  The scenario we played as "breakthrough at Nijmegen" which pitched a US airborne force against a mixed force of Germans (Fallschirmjager and Panzer Grenadiers).

As a personal side note, I really needed this game.  The past week at work was perhaps one of the most stressful weeks of my career and I was sick all week (hacking up a lung) - unable to take work off and in fact working late every night and through most of last weekend. So it was just about the worst week I've had in my professional career ... egads!  So heading over to roll some dice and push some lead around the table was just what the doctor ordered. Anyways ...

Adam's table consisted of a city layout that uses his custom laser-cut buildings which make an imposing battlefield.

The German forces consisted of:

  • 2 x Officers
  • 2 x Medic
  • 1 x MMG Team
  • 3 x PanzerSchreck Teams
  • 1 x Medium Mortar Team with spotter
  • 2 x Fallschirmjager sections (1 x SMG, 2 x assault rifle, 1 x LMG, 6 x rifles)
  • 3 x Panzer Grenadier sections (2 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 7 x rifles)
  • 3 x SdKfz 251/1
  • 1 x SdKfz 251/10
  • 1 x SdKfz 234/2 Puma
  • 1 x Panzer V (Panther)

The US Airborne forces consisted of:
  • 2 x Officers
  • 2 x Medics
  • 3 x Bazooka Teams
  • 1 x Light Mortar Team
  • 1 x Medium Mortar Team
  • 5 x Infantry Sections (2 x SMG, 1 x BAR, 9 x rifles)
  • 1 x M8 Scott Armoured Car
  • 1 x M10 Tank Hunter
  • 1 x Sherman 76mm

The Germans defending choose the table edge and deployed at least 1/2 of their units.  Almost all units started on the table with some armoured units left in reserve.  The opening bombardment was not very effective, putting a pin on a few units which was shook off quickly in the first turn.

Adam employed his now famous "feint in force" tactic (which is just a joke for overloading one side).  All five US airborne sections got deployed on the "near" corner of the table (in the first picture).  The Germans spread the 5 sections across the deployment zone but used the advancing turns to bring 4 of the sections over to counter the US build up.

Victory points got awarded for dice destroyed and for the US units - 2x for units ending the game in the German deployment zone (18" up from their table edge) - 3x for units exiting the table edge of the German deployment zone (not the sides, the back edge).

The Panther did almost nothing the whole game ... the armour on both sides really didn't have an effect on the outcome of the game.  The US and German infantry had a series of deadly assaults for the buildings and roads of the near side of the table (again, in the first picture).  The US managed to have an officer unit in the German deployment zone and got a single infantry section off the table.  That was by the end of turn six and was game deciding.  One of the Fallschirmjager sections took out several small teams on the far side flank - putting the Germans ahead by a few dice - but not enough to offset the eventual breakthrough on the near flank by the US infantry sections.

The German medic jumping in a SdKfz 251 and MMG'd a US infantry section (hoping nobody could see his white helmet I suppose) --- it backfired on him --- the M8 Scott armoured car blew up the SdKfz 251 and the medic perished in the smoke and flames ... karma is a bitch.

Overall it was a very near game right up until the end ... pictures below.

More to come soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ACW Confederate Infantry - 57th Virginia

Finished basing my first Confederate infantry unit - the 57th Virginia (Pickett's division, Armistead's brigade at Gettysburg).  The unit is all Perry Miniatures from their plastic Confederate infantry boxed set.  The amazing Steve Dake is painting through my ACW stuff and is doing a great job.  This is a good start on my ACW collection here and should be playing my first games using Black Powder by the end of the year if all goes to plan.

That's all for now --- more to come!

Friday, September 12, 2014

ACW Union Artillery Battery

I've made progress on my ACW project.  I just finished painting the limbers and guns for my first Union artillery battery (crew and horses painted by Steve Dake).  I'm using Black Powder for my ACW games, and for my armies the standard artillery battery is represented by 2 gun models when unlimbered and a single limber team with gun when limbered and on the move.

To paint the green for the guns I used GW Castellan Green, a black wash, then GW Castellan Green again, followed by Death World Forest highlights.

All of the models are from Perry Miniatures.  The limber team is all metal while the unlimbered guns and crew are almost all plastic (two crew are metal).  The six horse limber team looks outstanding on the tabletop.  It's long though ... the base is 50mm x 250mm.  I'm really happy with how these guys turned out!  I hope you all like them as well.

I'm just about done basing my first Confederate infantry unit as well - so the next post will cover that (hopefully I'll have that up tomorrow).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

General Update - September 2014

Hello fellow wargamers!

Well, it has been two years since I launched this blog, and what I ride it has been.  For all of you whom have decided to follow my blog I must give you a heart felt thank you for sticking with my ramblings!  Especially for those of you who have been following me since the beginning.  Your comments and views give me the motivation to get projects completed and put that little bit of extra effort into them.

For those of you who may ask, what's next or what's coming up, I have the following to share with you.  First and foremost, I'll be continuing with my blogging and hopefully bringing you more creative and interesting wargaming pictures and ideas.  From a period/project perspective, here is what is keeping me up at night:

  • Brecourt Manor - I just purchased a large number of trees and the final trench bits I need to flush out the table.  Between Roy Scaife and myself we have all the troops done, with the exception of the 4 German artillery units.  I've ordered 4 x LefH 18 guns from Warlord and once they arrive I'll be sending the crew off to be painted by Artmaster while assembling and painting the guns, trees and trenches myself.  I hope to have a mock game up in the next few weeks --- which I'll use 4 x SiG33 guns for (yes, I have 4 of those laying about as well).
  • DundraCon 2015 - This is a local convention that is held on President's Day weekend here in the US.  That is February 13-15, 2015.  I was approached by the convention while I was attending CelestiCon and asked if I would consider running some miniature games.  I had a bad experience at the convention many long years ago and never returned, but I've decided to give it another go (especially since I've been told the staff I delta with back then has all turned over).  So, with that being decided, I'll be running the Brecourt Manor game on the Friday, Pegasus Bridge on the Saturday, and a bank robbery game of Dead Man's Hand on Sunday.  I'll also have SAGA and Sails of Glory in tow unofficially at the con.  Good times ahead!
  • La Haye Saint - I have this outstanding set from 4Ground that I need to put together.  I have an existing fully painted set from Hovels, but I'll be selling that in favor of the 4Ground set.  This is going to take a while to assemble, then get based and all finished, but I want to get it done and wrap a Black Powder Napoleonic scenario around it.  Right now I'm tentatively thinking I'll try for that at the KublaCon game convention (late May).
  • Dead Man's Hand - I have some remaining stuff to complete my collection here.  I have 6 more gangs to finish and a few buildings.  I'm going to wrap up the buildings here over the next few weeks between working on Brecourt Manor stuff.  Two additional gangs (Pinkerton and Banditos) are being sent off with the artillery crew for my German guns.  I may finish painting two other gangs myself (Cowboys and Outlaws) for DundraCon.  That just leaves me with three gangs left (civilians, cavalry and renegade Indians).  I also have the stagecoach set and smaller civilians sets on order.  So maybe a lot more to do here ;-). I'm still waiting for 4Ground to do a large corner style hotel .... but no rush on that guys!
  • Black Powder ACW - The first units are done for this!  In fact, on the paint bench right now is 3 limbers and 3 guns that I need to finish for a Union artillery battery. I also have a Confederate infantry unit that needs to be based - right after I finish the standard bearer.  There are five Confederate units in progress with another 5 Union infantry units on their heels.  I hope to be playing the first games of this in the new year.  I'll be doing some period specific terrain (fencing, a few buildings) once I get closer to being ready with enough troops.
  • Desert Afrika Korps - I have an initial army getting painted now by Artmaster (well, next month - he's got some other projects to finish before this one).  These are all Perry Miniatures and I'm excited to be getting them done.  I already have several desert terrain sets from Architects of War that I need to finish for my North Africa table setup.  I also have a British 8th Army list ready to be sent off to Artmaster once I get them sorted and packed.  Right now I hope to run a North Africa Bolt Action game at KublaCon in late May, 2015.
  • Napoleonic Spanish Buildings - I have several of the awesome Spanish buildings from Empress Miniatures that I need to finish.  This includes an enclosed orchard.  Roy Scaife has plans to finish up his Portuguese and maybe add some Spanish units next year to his collection - but we already have more than enough to run several Black Powder scenarios for the Peninsular campaign.
  • KublaCon 2015 - My plans for KublaCon are not fully locked down at this time.  I'm thinking I may want to go a little "big" this year given this is the largest local convention.  That may include pulling out my Fort William Henry setup for Muskets & Tomahawks, a North Africa game for Bolt Action, Pegasus Bridge, and La Hayes Saint or a Peninsular campaign Black Powder game.  I'm not sure yet ... bringing many different game systems tends to be a bit difficult (packing/space wise ... and playing through so many rule sets throughout a single weekend).  I'll lock these plans down after I clear DundraCon in February.
  • Bolt Action Japanese - Roy Scaife has finished a sizeable US Marine army for Bolt Action and I have a large Japanese army as well.  Realistically this will likely be a CelestiCon 2015 objective for running a Pacific theatre game.  There is a lot of assembly needed for this army before I send it off to Artmaster.
  • Normandy Beach Landing - This one is a dual-purpose project.  I have the landing craft, but more importantly I want to build the water/beach section so that I can change the land part to be either Normandy landing or Pacific island.  I have form board that I'll be using to make a few large bunkers as well as lots of beach obstacles.  I really want to do this table ... it is going to be fun and should look imposing!
The above are all active or near to be active in some way, shape or form.  Clearly this past year has seen Bolt Action as the primary period.  It will be prevalent through the next year, however you'll see a shift starting to happen while the ACW stuff gets done.  I have a few others projects I'm starting to think about or that I've collected miniatures/terrain for:

  • Modern US vs. Russia - This would be similar to "cold war gone hot" with modern day Russians and US fighting it out in Europe.  This would be primarily Empress Miniatures.  I haven't settled yet on the rules to use here.
  • Additional WW2 Naval - I actually have several ships for Victory at Sea ... and love the game.  Just haven't dusted them off for some time.  I have some additional British, German and Italian ships I need to get done to cover all the scenarios in the Victory at Sea book.
  • Sails of Glory > Signal Close Action - I'd like to perhaps use the Sails of Glory ships with the quick play Signal Close Action rules ... Roy seems open to this as we both like those rules better.  But for now we'll continue to play Sails of Glory.
  • Zulu! - I have all the figure (Empress) that I need - as well as terrain - to do both Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana.  I even have around 50 Zulus and 20 British painted already.  Just haven't been able to get this prioritized yet ... but the time is coming for this.
  • HYW or WotR? - I have had some thoughts of doing either 100 years war or War of the Roses using Hail Caesar or perhaps another set of rules.  Definitely longer term plan here.
  • More SAGA - I still have to get my Anglo-Saxon army done ... I have the lead ... just need to get paint on it ... but that will likely happen at some point over the next year.
If all goes well over the next year, I'll have a series of Normandy/D-Day scenarios done (Pegasus Bridge, Brecourt Manor, Bocage Fight and Beach Landing), North Africa and the Pacific - which essentially finishing my WW2 projects.  ACW should be in full swing - with my intent there to run a full Picket's Charge scenario (15 Confederate infantry units - 3 brigades of 5 units - with 30 figure units).  I also want to do Buford's action on the first day with support showing up to relieve him (1st day of Gettysburg).

It's a good thing I don't have a day job ... crap ... I do!!!

Of course, you'll see games of Muskets & Tomahawks, Bolt Action, Dead Man's Hand, Victory at Sea, Sails of Glory, and more over the next year.

So there you have it ... all the madness that can currently fit into my tiny brain.  For those of you that have read this far, thank you --- I hope you stay with me for the journey ahead!

Best regards,

Jay White

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bolt Action Scenario: Brecourt Manor Assault

On June 6th, 1944, 1st Lt. Winters of easy company, 506th parachute infantry regiment, lead an assault against a German artillery position located very near Brecourt Manor.  This assault was made popular by the Band of Brothers TV series episode Day of Days.

This scenario recreates the key elements of that assault.  The US reinforcements (infantry section) is meant to represent Lt. Spears showing up to assist with the assault.  Spears lead the assault against the 4th gun position, running towards the objective from outside of the trenches in the open!  I've also added some special rules to make it a little more historically accurate with the US starting the game (first dice must be US) and the first action is to grenade an MMG position.  During the assault, Winters found extremely valuable intelligence on German positions throughout the area.  This is represented as well in the scenario.  All that being said, as with any historical scenario, there is some fudging needed in order to make the fight challenging for both sides.

Brecourt Manor: Assault by 506th PIR on D-Day

Objectives & Game End

1VP is awarded for each destroyed gun position (to the US airborne).  For each gun position not destroyed by game end, the Germans get 1VP.  Each eliminated enemy order dice is worth 1VP.  The game lasts 6 turns.

Scenario Special Rules

US Start – The first dice of the game must be a US dice that is used for “kickoff” of the assault (see Kickoff special rule).
Kickoff – First US dice must be used for the assault team (5) which resolves a special grenade attack against the nearest German MMG position.  The grenade attack is resolved as an automatic hit with D6 hits (no penetration) against the MMG position.
US Reinforcements – arrive on any US dice pulled after the second gun position is destroyed.  US reinforcements enter from the table edge at the indicated spot on the map (#7/arrow entry point).
What’s This?! When the US officer enters any gun position for the first time, roll 1D6.   On a 5+ he has found valuable intelligence worth 1VP.  This can only be rewarded once.
Spike the Guns! – any US airborne infantry section (4 & 7) can spike a German field gun.  To do so the unit must spend a “fire” action within 1” of the field gun with no enemy units present within 6” of the gun.
Trenches – are “in the ground” and do not block LOS, additionally:
->  MMG positions can fire 360°.
->  Units in the trench are in hard cover from units outside of the trench.
->  Within the trench, units don’t suffer shooting penalty unless crossing the walls of the
      trench to target unit.
->  Figures from the same unit can draw LOS through figures from their unit.
Light woods – all woods/tree lines can be seen through and provide light cover if LOS is drawn through the tree line to a target.

Order of Battle - Germans

1 x Regular Officer (1st Lt., pistol) + 2 men (rifles)
1 x Regular Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 4 x rifles)
1 x Regular Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 4 x rifles)
1 x Regular Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 4 x rifles)
2 x Regular MMG Teams
4 x Regular LefH 18 10.5cm Gun Teams (4 x crew each, rifles)

All teams are deployed as indicated on the map.

Order of Battle - US Airborne

Primary Assault Units (#4 and #6 on map)
1 x Veteran Officer (1st Lt., rifle) + 2 men (rifles)
1 x Veteran Medic
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 5 x Rifles)
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 5 x Rifles)
2 x Veteran LMG Teams

Assault Team (#5 on map)
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 2 x Rifles)

Reinforcements (#7 on map)
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 5 x Rifles)

All teams are deployed as indicated on the map.  See the "US Reinforcements" special rule for arrival and deployment information.

Table & Terrain

The picture below shows the map, objectives and terrain elements used for this scenario.  The table size is 4'x6'.  Key locations and starting deployments as well as special rules are summarized below as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bolt Action Scenario: Pegasus Bridge

In the early hours of June 6th, 1944, British airborne troops in gliders landed and secured the Bénouville bridge (later renamed Pegasus Bridge) and Ranville bridge.  The operation was successful with the code words "ham and jam" being transmitted to command indicating both bridges had been taken intact.

From a wargame perspective there is balance necessary to introduce as the historical engagement was extremely one sided.  The German garrison didn't wake up through the assault (German exercises and regular bombing of Bénouville down the road had them used to shooting and explosions at night).  That isn't to say there wasn't a fight at all, just a very brief and generally one sided fight.  The German "counter attack" in the evening wasn't really a counter attack and more of a probe.  With all this in mind, I've strayed a little from the historical forces to create what I think is a more balanced and fun game that still represents the key objectives and actions of the historical event.

Pegasus Bridge - British Airborne Assault on D-Day

Objectives & Game End

There are four objectives as indicated on the map (see Table & Terrain section below).  To hold an objective there must be no enemy units present within the objective area (denoted by the model/terrain) and at least one friendly unit must be present.  Each objective is worth 1VP, and each eliminated enemy dice is worth 1VP.  The game lasts 7 turns, with an 8th turn played on a 4+ (roll at the end of turn 7).

Scenario Special Rules

Surprised! – German garrison units count as inexperienced until the start of turn 4 at which point they become regulars.  All German reinforcements are veterans.
Behind Enemy Lines – German reinforcements roll for their entry point when activated and moved onto the table for the first time.  Roll for each unit separately.  On a 1-4 the unit enters from the table edge at the designated arrow on the map.  On a 5-6 the German player selects which entry point can be used.
Night Engagement – The entire engagement takes place at night.  The night fighting limited visibility rules are in effect.  At the start of turn 2, and on each turn thereafter, roll 1D6.  On a result of 4+ a flare goes up and visibility is normal until the end of that turn.  The Bolt Action night fighting rules (Flare!) can be found here.
Cautious Advance – German reinforcements moving onto the table must use an advance order and cannot run (they can move normally from their next turn on-wards).
AT Gun Position – Unmanned to start the game.  Any British or German “team” unit can occupy and use the position (medium at gun, 360° LOS).

Order of Battle - German Garrison

1 x Regular Officer (1st Lt., pistol) + 2 men (rifles)
1 x Veteran Medic
1 x Regular Infantry Section (2 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 7 x rifles)
1 x Regular Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 4 x rifles)
1 x Regular Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 3 x rifles)
2 x Regular MMG Teams

The officer (+ 2 men), medic, and larger (10 man) infantry section start in Café Gondree.
The remaining troops are positioned as indicated on the map.

Order of Battle - German Reinforcements

1 x Veteran Marder III Ausf. M
1 x Veteran Panzer III Ausf. L
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (1 x SMG, 2 x assault rifles, 1 x LMG, 6 x rifles)
1 x Veteran SdKfz 251/1C Half-Track

German reinforcements enter at random locations.  See the "Behind Enemy Lines" special rule.  The infantry section enters the board mounted in the half-track.

Order of Battle - British Airborne

Glider Assault Team #1
1 x Veteran Officer (Major, SMG) + 2 men (SMGs)
1 x Veteran Medic
1 x Veteran PIAT Team
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (4 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 5 x rifles)

Glider Assault Team #2
1 x Veteran Light Mortar Team
1 x Veteran PIAT Team
1 x Veteran Sniper Team
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (4 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 5 x rifles)

Glider Support Team
1 x Veteran Medium Mortar Team
2 x Veteran MMG Teams
1 x Veteran Infantry Section (4 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 5 x rifles)

All teams are deployed as indicated on the map.

Table & Terrain

The picture below shows the map, objectives and terrain elements used for this scenario.  The table is a 4'x8' table and the game is played down the "length" of the table.  Key locations and starting deployments as well as special rules are summarized below as well.  You can see my own table layout for this scenario here.  Some "in action" pictures from a convention where I ran this game can be seen here.

That's it - I hope you all enjoy this scenario as much as I have!