Sunday, July 27, 2014

Friendly, Fun Bolt Action

One of the local gamers I've played with a few times kicked off a Bolt Action escalation league today.  This month is 300 points and the league will work up to 1000 points in November.  Win/loss records are being tracked for points which will reset each month.  Points are also awarded for things such as painting and presenting multiple army lists.  I got in two 300 point games today.  I was lazy though and only took two pictures.  Check out the Bolt Action page if you want to see them.

But now for the big news:  I had decided a few weeks ago to start a mid war Soviet army for Flames of War.  I got in on a group order from Old Glory with some local guys and was able to get 40% off of everything.  I ordered guns and infantry.  I wasn't sure if I had ordered quite enough infantry, but the guns were covered and I was beginning to amass tanks from various sources.  Today I closed a deal for a Soviet army with a guy who was getting out of FoW.  Here's the list of what I got:

3x AA halftracks
12x T34/85
5x SU76
T34 objective marker
Komissar Dedov
5x SU85
30 stand sapper Co. w/2 trucks & command
an Udarny Strelkovy Bat.
2x Sturmovik
unopened sapper Co.
Mortar Co.
2x captured Pz Iv
5x PSC T34 with 76 and 85 turrets
Battlefoam case
Red Bear book
assorted templates, bits, and scenic bases

Everything is in various stages of painting from unopened to completely finished.  The stuff that is finished (probably about 15% or so) looks really good.  A lot of it (60%) or so is basecoated and won't take a whole lot to finish off.  All of this I got for . . . $180.  Not free, but dirt cheap.  Maybe I'll put some pics up tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Hello again for more front-line reporting from Glendale, AZ where for the last several weeks things have been heating up between the despicable Hunnish forces of Germany and her British and American opponents.  This week found those tough German FJ bottled up and surrounded in the outskirts of a small village.  The German paras had been pushed into a rough spot but were far from finished.  The British mechanized force, headstrong after a series of victories, sought to crush this pocket and put an end once and for all to German resistance.

British infantry, armour, and artillery approached the trapped Germans from two sides.  In typical British fashion, the commander devised a cunning plan composed of several intricate moves that depended on the successful resolution of several unknowable variables.  If it worked - it would be glorious!  The idea, basically, was to conduct a feint around the more heavily fortified northern objective while advancing on the southern objective from two directions.  The German plan was to hold and create an escape route from the pocket.  The FJ force contained PaK40s and StuG IIIs to support their infantry.  British artillery was able to bail one of the assault guns early on.

The British plan hinged upon occupying a wood near the southern objective.  This would serve as a jumping off point for the British infantry as they cleared the dug-in defenders.  German infantry was able to make it into the woods first - they were also supported by a machine gun platoon.

The armoured platoon operating in support of the diversionary force began to take losses.  Their gunners did little in return.

A second Cromwell platoon was slated to attack the southern objective from the opposite direction of the infantry attempting to take the woods.  This platoon moved forward under the covering fire of a pair of Achilles TDs.  The Germans responded by dividing the fire of their PaKs and StuGs to counter both armoured platoons.  

Despite taking heavy losses and being pinned down, the FJ in the wood were able to concentrate fire and offer a ferocious resistance.  The British assault was repulsed.

Jerry tried to follow up his success by launching his own assault against the British infantry, but the British were still strong enough to resist and eventually succeeded in destroying the tough German platoon.

Meanwhile, the northern armoured platoon had continued to take losses and the remaining crews eventually abandoned their remaining tanks.  It is rumoured that vicious lies were spread by enemy agents regarding the interruption of the company's tea ration.  Infantry in this sector began to shift towards the south, hoping to bolster the attack on the main objective while keeping the majority of the German forces in place in the north.

The British attacking force had managed to finally take most of the wood, but a portion was still being held by German machine guns.  Additionally, the British artillery had been largely ineffectual and had abandoned its bombardment role in favor of rolling forward to keep some pressure on the massed infantry around the northern objective.  The FJ holding the target objective moved towards the recently lost wood in order to challenge the British infantry that remained.  

Relieved from the harassing artillery bombardments, the remaining German StuGs and Paks were able to operate almost at will.  This resulted in the destruction of  the armoured platoon attacking the southern objective.

So, with one prong of the attack destroyed and the other very weak and facing overwhelming odds, the British commander prudently decided to withdraw his force, allowing the remaining Germans to break out of the encirclement.  Both sides lived to fight another day.  And the tea, while cold, was very much present.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pics from 7/13/2014

Infantry hold the village

Early action

British Artillery arrives on the field

                                                              German armoured thrust

                                                       Big TDs working the artillery over

Trying to flank the Jagds

Jagds continue forward

Jerry rolls into town

Tank scrum before

                                                                   Tank scrum after

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Run-Up to Market-Garden Campaign

OK, so for the last few weeks my local gaming group has been running FoW games from the Market Garden and equivalent German book in preparation for a campaign kicking off in September.  This, of course, will mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden.  Today, Tom's Germans were matched against Tim's US Airborne, and my British faced off against Robert's tenacious Fallschirmjaeger.

I ran my company as mechanised infantry and used the exact list from two weeks ago:  2 infantry platoons, 2 Cromwell/Challenger platoons, a battery of Sextons, and a platoon of M10s.  The FJ consisted of several infantry platoons, recoil-less rifles, PaK 40s, mortars, and a platoon of 3 StuG IIIs,  And a machine gun platoon.  We drew the Free-for-All scenario.  At the end of deployment, my lines from left to right were:  1 tank platoon concealed in a wood, a platoon of infantry clustered around an objective, the second infantry platoon arranged in a position to occupy buildings in the town, the second tank platoon concealed in a wood, and the Achilles on the far right.  The Sextons were drawn up in the center, behind the second infantry platoon.  As best I can recall, the Germans were (from my left):  infantry, machine guns, and mortars around an objective; two more platoons of infantry and the StuGs in the center, and the Pak 40s on the far right planted on an objective.

The British moved out first:  Cromwells drove hard up the left flank, infantry moved into buildings along the southern end of town, and the tanks and TDs maneuvered towards the right looking for targets.  The Germans responded by firing a smoke bombardment to deprive the tanks on the left of targets while advancing towards the center of town with infantry and the StuGs.

In the center, the StuGs soon destroyed the Cromwells's platoon commander along with a second tank. After a bit of confusion, the British CO was able to sort out the remnants of the tank platoon and appoint a new platoon commander.

Meanwile, the tanks on the left continued their advance, machine gunning Germans who were unable to dig in.  Simultaneously, the Achilles on the right were attempting to turn the German left flank, but were slowed by the lack of tank support due to the previously mentioned dead commander.

An Achilles was lost during this action.  While they did manage to destroy an AT gun, the remaining M10 crew decided to get out of the line of fire and wait for the arrival of more support.

The Germans had been rolling the PaKs towards the center of town to add their fire support against the British that had made their way into the buildings.  They were forced to abandon this to address the threat developing on their left, and had to retire towards their previous positions in order to defend their objective.

By this time, Jerry had gotten his infantry into buildings facing the British postions.  The British attempted to root them out hand to hand, but the assault was repulsed with heavy casualties.  The second British infantry platoon were moving towards the center of town to support the position.

On the left, Cromwells continued their work against German infantry.  The FJ suffered horrendous losses but refused to abandon their position.  The StuGs changed their facing to try and lend support to the desperate German paras and took out one of the Cromwells.

In the town, FJ charged from their positions in an attempt to finish off the British who had been badly mauled in the previous assault.

The Germans were caught in a massive barrage of defensive fire as they ran into the streets and the assault failed to materialize.

The remaining Germans were too demoralized to continue.

The German assault guns had gotten themselves into a tough postion trying to contend with multiple threats.  A combination of fire from the two Challenger tanks destroyed the StuG platoon.  The German right continued to suffer terrible losses.

The German commander decided his position was no longer tenable and conceded the battle to the British.

This was a great game.  Even though I was able to do a lot of damage almost from the beginning, I really did not feel in control until the unlucky German assault failed and the StuGs starting taking damage.  Although the Allies took this village, the American paratroopers were unable to hold the next stop up the road, so who knows what next week will look like.  It's making me really look forward to the campaign.

So, I'm starting to feel like I've got an adequate understanding of the game.  I still have a ways to go, though. I continue to make procedural mistakes which are sometimes costly.  But, I think that's the nature of the game, and to some degree, mimics history.  Thanks again to my patient gaming buddies Robert, Tim, and Tom  for putting up with me while I learn this game.