I'm a bit late to the party with this blog, both Dave and Martin having already got something posted - check out the links on their names to see their blog posts.
While we normally meet in Scruton near Northallerton (a 30 to 45 minute drive away), I wanted to try and find something more local to Teeside that could be booked regularly and give space for big games. Mainly because I've only had the chance to do a few games with my FoW stuff in the last year or so. We'd also discussed doing some linked games and the like with both mine and Dave's large collections, and the bits everyone else has (like Martins big 28mm ACW stuff).
So, having found a local dance studio in Billingham willing to let us use the hall for a day on a Sunday at a pretty decent rate, we had our inaugural game. I decided, as we had 12 foot by 6 foot of table to play with, to set up what one of my collection goals is - to have a full Battalion of British/Commonwealth infantry on the table. Flames of war v4 rules in use.
To do this, I dipped into the collection of Martin's and Scottie's respective Paras. As it turned out, just about all the infantry we fielded were para's masquerading as Jocks!
|Sorting out the forces - this wasn't the deployment!|
The table consisted of a railway embankment made by laying some polystyrene strips under the cloth, with a carefully crafted ramp section for the level crossing. British objectives were the farm, T junction, both villages and to 'secure a vehicular crossing'.
The forces available were:
Battalion commander (might need to think about what this unit would consist of, we went with one command stand).
4 x Rifle Companies (3 platoons each, each platoon with 6 rifle teams, 1 x 2" mortar, 1 x PIAT and 1 x command)
1 x Support Company (Pioneer platoon, 6 x 6 Pdr A/T guns, 6 x 3" mortars, Carrier platoon)
HMG and 4.2" Mortar Platoons
1 x Squadron Shermans
'Funnies' (Flails, Crocs, AVRE, Bulldozers)
So we had to slowly bring stuff on, despite the size of the table. Defending was a German rifle company with support (I had planned to bring more stuff on, but was limited by model availability. The hidden German deployment also keeps the players on their toes!).
I'll just charge on with photos:
Despite the forces arrayed, the Brits really struggled to take the farm (beside the level crossing), which contained an HMG platoon and Fusilier platoon. Ensconced in the building the resisted all attempts to shift them, and probably killed the best part of a company of British infantry. To be fail, Ian was struggling with mine fields and the fact the other two commanders had stolen all the best support assets. There were also issues with syncing up the pinning of the building with the assault attempts, but Ian's not familiar with the rules, so I could probably have helped more with that.
We used my 'random events' tiddly winks again, which worked nicely giving some really nice thematic moments. Using these to pay for off table artillery support also works well to keep the advance going.
Both flanking Brit players managed to get into their respective towns (Martin a turn early due to his platoon getting 'lost' on a tiddly wink roll and ending up a few inches from the buildings he was carefully working towards). Engineering vehicles were used to put down a bridge on the embankment or (for the dozers) to build a ramp. Dave used his Fascine AVRE to gap a ditch. He also used his Crocs to good effect, as they cannot be penetrated from the front by the 75mm Pak40's and Panzer IV's.
Again, we found that against dug in units or units in buildings, artillery kills very little other than pin, even with re-rolls on saves for repeat bombardments. On the other hand, a British platoon got hit by Nebelwerfers in the open, and it was pretty nasty.
All in all, a good game I think, and we were all pleased with the venue (even more pleased once we got the loo unlocked!). A few more learning points for me, as I got into such a panic over setup time I forgot building boards, then forgot a couple of German units that should have been on the table but didn't make it. I'm pretty sure the chaps still felt suitably challenged though.