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Tuesday 27 January 2015

It is a bad habit to let Germans into a house (Early war minicampaign, game 2)

As French defences had collapsed around the church, their whole battalion was quickly falling back to avoid being flanked. Kronthaler's recon platoon was hounding them and as soon as the tail element of the French battalion formed a defensive line, he ordered his men to attack. Enemy's force composition was unknown, but a hunch told Kronthaler that he might expect armour, too. So in addition to company's integral armoured car (SdKfz221), he was supported by a PanzerJäger I, whose 47mm gun should be able to penetrate almost any allied tank from the front. The French commander had chosen a good position for defence. Mostly open fields with a couple of stone buildings  - the defenders could conceal themselves in the heavy woods, anchoring both flanks. But, woods would also allow Germans to infiltrate on their right flank. That would hopefully keep the French attention on that flank, leaving the other flank open for a quick motorized attack on the 2 jump off points. At least that was Kronthaler's plan.

Situation after the patrol phase. French outplayed me, but I managed to keep him out of the centre buildings

These buildings would be the key to the victory - at least so I thought.

Even the best plans fall apiece quite quickly - the leading SdKfz221 reported that an enemy tank, Char Bis to exact, was sighted. By some miracle the poor armoured car actually survived a direct hit from the monster and scooted to the relative safety of the houses. This threw a major wrench to the German plans, as the tank dominated the centre of the area, forcing my infantry to skulk in woods.

Advancing through the woods, French player left his middle section overwatching in very precarious position.

Meanwhile the flanking section, reinforced with Feldwebel was slowly trundling through the woods, making absolutely certain to stay out of sight. Going was very slow, but section pretty much locked the French flank in place. In the centre, the French point section decided to wait for the Char Bis to clear enemy armour before occupying the central buildings, this gave the Germans an opportunity for an audacious rapid deployment via half track mounted section. SdKfz251 advanced forwards pedal to the floor, using the buildings as a shield against the enemy tank. French infantry took the bait of a lone lmg team harassing their flank from the woods and stood in the open, allowing the central German section to secure the houses - they had no intention to go inside while the tank was prowling the area, just to deny fortified position to the enemy.

Houses denied, one lmg team manning the halftrack.

A decoy team keeps the French occupied.

French countered this by moving the Char Bis laterally to a better position - the steel monster showed it flank for a moment and Germans grabbed the opportunity, deploying a PanzerJäger I - the puny self-propelled AT-gun had enough punch to take out the monster from the side. Unfortunately the first shot glanced harmlessly off the armour. The steel monster started to turn and Germans used a precious CoC dice to interrupt. The second shot barely hit, but scored 5 penetrations, of which Char Bis countered only 1. 4 net hits and the steel beast exploded - in the middle of French infantry, knocking several of them senseless. This was the beginning of the end.

Two shots, one kill!

And this is why infantry should stay away from tanks. Meanwhile, Germans rush the building and start wondering where all the windows went..

The German middle section immediately rushed to the house and opened fire on the French troops, now in the open - the French middle was now effectively pinned and flanking troops started their advance. Few phases of grenades shocked the French troops guarding the hilltop, SdKzf251 routed the Hotchkiss mmg and Feldwebel gave the order "Handgrenaten!" and the flanking section charged in. French fought well, taking their number down, but superior numbers did the trick and French morale reached 0.

And it ended with grenades and bayonets.

This was quite a blow to the French player; he lost the VB team, one full section with JL and remains of another section. Poor platoon leader got a carpet parade from the battalion commander. Fortunately little birds say that the British troops nearby are not sitting idle, but preparing to attack the German flank..

One of those games, where one roll of dice decided everything. We had pretty much a stalemate on the German right flank, with neither side being able to do much else that taking pot shots. Rest of the map was open, so advancing without smoke would have been bloody, particularly as the French had a mmg available. I had been planning a rapid flanking manoeuvre with halftrack and 221, but the enemy heavy tank pretty much prevented that. The Char Bis closed the centre, so I was already thinking of withdrawal, when opportunity presented itself in the shape of Char Bis' flank. A game decided by one shot. The French player's new motto apparently is "A German inside a house is a bad German."

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Kronthaler goes to the church, first game of a French vs German 1940 minicampaign.

St. Cyr, May 1940
 7th Panzer division in advancing and the motorized recon troops are prowling at the point. One of the platoons is lead by Leutnant Kronthaler, few years a go a doktor of engineering from Hamburg, now a motorcycle recon platoon leader. Several days of merciless driving, occasional sharp firefights and no rest, so he had very little idea where he actually was, some idea where the rest of the division was and inkling where he was supposed to go. Some hours ago, as platoon was napping and fixing vehicles, a French civilian vehicle had been stopped - a spy had been shot and interesting papers been examined: Frenchmen were trying to hide valuables at the church of St Cyr! Somewhat interesting tidbit, but most of all poor Kronthaler again knew where he was. A quick radio message to company HQ told him to go ahead - a single assault gun as lost as them and barrage from company mortars would support him, anything heavier was still marching.
 (He is leading a type B motorcycle platoon from here. Notably 2lmg per section.)
 Approach to the village was heavily forested and allowed defender ample ambush position. So the mortars were instructed to fire a preparatory barrage and platoon went in directly from marching order, allowing defender no time to deploy. (Patrol phase went as planned; defender took nice defensive positions but allowed me to gain initiative.)
The setup. German JOPS in red, French in blue. Most of the area is at least lightly forested.
 1st section dismounted and took strong firing positions from the heavy stone building. As soon as the machine guns were ready, French defenders were seen running from the forest towards the village proper - concentrated burst of fire from section was enough to immediately put them to ground on the open. A second French section revealed themselves from sandbagged position in the tree line, but their return fire was ineffective.

1st section taking position.

First mg salvo lands, lots of shock and a wounded JL.
 2nd section was meanwhile advancing towards the church, prompting the French to reveal their 3rd section. This went exactly as planned, as now enemy had revealed his hand, while Germans still had plenty of uncommitted troops. As the defenders on the German right flank were now in immobile position, FOO was called up. He came with feldwebel Ross, young Sturmabteilungsmann from Koln, a stern and stoic man. Under feldwebel's directions company mortars were dropping shells on the defender almost immediately - scoring some hits, but most of all pinning whole enemy flank in place, allowing Germans freedom of movement. On the other flank, Germans vaulted over the high church wall and took positions inside the church, machine guns hurrying to the tower. Of course, at this point company HQ decided that lone platoon would not need mortars anymore ((French player ended turn with 3*6)).

Barrage lands.
 As soon as dust from barrage lifted, machine guns took the hapless 1st French section under fire again and immediately broke it, killing the sergeant. At this point French morale was plummeting towards 0, Germans had suffered no casualties and were commanding the area from 2 stout positions, so French player decided to cut losses and withdraw.

The end
 I am quite happy with myself with this battle. I was able to ping whole enemy flank with combination of bait section and indirect fire and then use the other flank to start enveloping the enemy. That said, had the French player invested in tank or two, it would have been a completely different story, as now only had one StuG to deal with them.

Sunday 4 January 2015

Stonne campaign begins

14th May, 1940. North of village of Stonne.

The Maginot line has been pierced and the French defence is in shambles. Individual units are either putting up a fierce fight, or running away. No one knows what the French high command is doing and the BEF is just starting to understand the magnitude of the disaster at hand. German generals have pulled a trick that has few equals in the military history, but are now reigned in by the high command who fears a trap. Guderian was ready to resign, Rommel would cut his own communications so orders would not reach him and panzers are still on the prowl. German sickle cut is aimed at the channel coast to trap the northern part of the Allied armies, but Guderians' south flank is wide open, so he launches 10th Panzer Division to cover it. The French try desperately to seize the initiative. This is a fictional story about the battle of Stonne, also called Verdun of 1940.

Area of the Stonne, Germans are attacking from the north through the woods. First scenario depicts a fight at a small stream crossing.

The table. Stream is in a small depression, offering some cover. Similarly road and field side offer some cover in small ditches. This does not have the anti-tank ditch which was shown only at the start of patrol phase. In our games, supports are chosen after map is shown, but before patrol.

The unbreakable Maginot line has fallen and confusion is reigning. 3rd DIM (Division d'Infanterie Motorisée, motorized infantry) is moving towards Stonne along with 3rd DCR (Division Cuirassée, armour), but they are not yet there, so the enemy must be delayed. Fortunately some tank obstacles have been prepared in suitable choke points and your men have just arrived to reinforce one of them. Just a platoon of men and few recon troops from 3rd DCR, but your men are brave and your mission is important. Stop the attacker here if you can, otherwise fall back towards Stonne and make them pay for every inch of ground.  Artillery is just now setting up, but is unlikely to be able to support you. Your left flank is officially covered by 2nd platoon and there might be some pioneers on the right, but no contact to either has been made - make absolutely sure you are not surrounded, we cannot lose more men. There is a 25mm antitank gun carried en portee on a laffly truck further back the road in a concealed firing position.

Lieutenant Vernet St Mortimer, leading the 2nd platoon, 10th Company, 51st Motorised Infantry Regiment had entrenched himself along the tree line, covering the stone bridge spanning a small river. The engineers had mined the bridge and Panhards of the recon troop were screening him, when observers on the hill reported approaching German tanks. The Panhards were caught between the rock and hard place, in this case river and enemy tanks - St Mortimer was quite sure they would beat a hasty retreat, but was surprised to see how they drove forward to stop the German advance, driving through the mine field just as the last lanes were closed. Tankers had also examined the stuck Somua by the bridge, but declared it a loss, so engineers had mined in, too. ((French recon player had the option to crew the stuck Somua, German player did not know if it was active or not. Similarly, Panhards started the game deployed at each JOP, presenting a hasty recon screen.))

In the recon phase, French recon had 2 options, either to press forwards to stop the Germans, or withdraw and get more defensible position. He chose the aggressive option, pretty much dooming his tanks. All his Panhards would start the game deployed. Unfortunately the French infantry commander chose a static defence position, so they would fight piecemeal. French players were allowed to discuss tactics before the game, but not during the game, whereas Germans were allowed tactical discussions at any point - this approach was chosen, s during the Stonne battle French infantry and armour had great difficulties coordinating event the most obvious actions.

French recon and German JOPs. As can be seen, Germans were forced to start at the table edges after very aggressive French patrols. Small stream marks the ditch.

German lead with a dismounted recon squad and a lone tank. Landsers quickly took positions in the copse of woods, training their machineguns on likely French position and trying not to attract the attention of 3 enemy Panhards. The leading PzIII stopped while its' commander Grueber gleefully told the gunner to take aim and dispatch the puny armoured cars. The leading puny Panhard shook off 37mm armour piercing grenade and returned fire, knocking holes in the gun mantel of the panzer, slightly wounding the gunner. The rest joined and very quickly Grueber was forced to give orders to abandon the tank. Armour mostly held, but was spalling badly and any sort of cohesive reply was impossible. Platoon leader Kreutzfeld could barely believe his ears at this point. Mined bridge combined with a tank ditch and infantry informed his that pioneers were not necessary, his lead tank knocked out by a light car and Frenchies finally making a stand. This was not good.

Panhards giving and taking. The stuck Somua can be seen on the background.

First PzIII is abandoned, but more panzers follow.

The Panhards gave a very good account of themselves, but finally the heavier guns and armor of panzers begun to tell and one by one the recon cars were abandoned. After that the German infantry started a cautious advance, while sporadically grenades fell at their positions, causing few casualties. Unfortunately for the French, their position offered great field of fire both way, and German tanks took their time shelling each position. St Mortimer had no other option but to pull back, secure in knowledge that the Boche would be at least slight delayed by the mines.

The inevitable

The German scouts push forwards

And the French infantry abandons hopelessly exposed positions. It is over

So ended the first game of the campaign. French really took the initiative in patrol phase, but their deployment was piecemeal - armoured cars could only attack and were not supported by the infantry of the anti-tank gun and the infantry was in a very exposed position after Panhards were knocked out. German made a very serious mistake in not taking any pioneers, even if the map had an obvious choke point at the bridge - had the French deployed at covered position, German infantry would have been completely stripped of their support. It is a good lesson, open field offers good field of fire, but attacker can usually bring more guns to bear on the point of contact.

Open field like this would have been hell to cross under fire.

Next game will be entry to the village proper. German morale improved a bit and French dropped somewhat, but nothing serious yet. One German tank will miss next game due to casualties and maintenance.
All in all a bit lopsided game. French armour gave a good account of themselves, but overall the French fought and fell divided, unable to use their advantages.
Historical outcome: German attack on Stonne started only on 15th, as the resistance around bois du Mont Dieu was so strong. The woods itself were only finally cleared on the 20th. So much for the French army being unable to fight.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Santa Clause is here

I had the pleasure to participate in the Santa Clause event run by Chris from Wargamer's Odds and Ends  - had I known quite a few other participants were either professional painters or professional-level, I might have thought twice, but it is a fun idea to be given a random participating blog and paint a figure for the owner. Santa selected Ben of Little Tin Men to be my painting target - as most of you are probably aware, most of his stuff is truly inspirational so bar was more than high enough. I paint mostly 15mm and he of course games in larger scales, so selecting the right miniature was somewhat challenging. In the end I decided to try my hand at vikings - found a suitably imposing Gripping Beast miniature to be a modified standard bearer and painted him to stand with the dread raven standard. (The story usually goes so that the banner brings victory to the army, but certain death to the champion who dares to unfurl it.) I drilled a hole into the right hand so that a banner pole would fit, but otherwise it is not modified. Also, I noticed only after painting that figure is truly imposing, standing head and shoulders taller than Perry foot knights. I am reasonably happy with the results, as I had to relearn many techniques for painting larger miniatures.


On the return, Ken of Blue Moose Arts was to be my Santa. I got a box few days before Christmas and after receiving it, my gaming buddies have been badgering me with regular SMSs to hear if I have already opened it. Santa finally visited tonight, so I got to open the box. Inside I found gorgeously painted Russian 45mm anti-tank gun (I think, I am bit hazy on details of different atgs)  and Panzer III, perfect stuff for early war games! Thank you so much, Ken! And apologies for poor quality picture, I have nothing but camera on phone and very dim lights available - particularly the infantry looks lovely.

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Saturday 13 December 2014

TFL 2014 Christmas Special is here!

TFL Christmas Special has arrived again. Chain of Command is being expanded to both WW1 and ultramodern periods, lots of scenarios for various TFL systems and an overview of Lardom 2014. What is there not to like? African Bushwars miniatures were mostly painted anyway, now it is just a choice between WW1 and modern stuff..

Sunday 9 November 2014

1940, somewhere near Hannut

May 12th, 1940, near Hannut, Belgium.  4th Panzer Divisions is tasked with securing the flank of 6th Army by taking the area around Hannut while the French Brigades Légères Mécaniques counterattacked and one of the biggest tank battles of the early war was on. This is a fictional scenario near the village of Dieu le Garde, just south of Hannut. A small German panzer force of 2 depleted platoons is pushing forwards, while French Somuas supported by recon armored cars counterattacks them to secure the village. Germans had 3*PzIII and 4*PzII in 2 platoons with full radion networks while the French had 4*Somua and 3*Panhard AC in 2 platoons with no platoon radios.

The German plan was simple: French would likely commit his armored cars to the village proper using their superior road speed, while the slower Somuas would likely support from back and take the leftmost hill overseeing the fields. It was highly likely that neither the PzIII nor PzII could go toe to toe against Somuas, so half of the PzII would either try to slow down the advance on left flank, or situation permitting flank the Somuas using the hills and woods. Meanwhile PzIIIs would bottle in the Panhards and rest of PzII would hit them in the flank.

Things don't alway go according to the plan. Brown circles are hills, blue lines German advance and red lines estimated French axis of attack.

This did not work completely according to the plan, as the enemy was not in the expected place and French gunnery was much better than expected. The leading PzIII went on overwatch to cover the entrance to the village and was promptly KO'd by the first shot from French Somuas. The second PzIII was a tad more cautious, inched to a hull down position on the central hill and immediately received a penetration through the gun mantel, losing the main gun. Not the best possible start to the attack. It was also clear that enemy was committing the Somuas to the village and using Panhards to screen their flank - so it was 4 Somuas against a lone PzIII in the village and 4 light panzers against 3 almost equally heavy Panhards on the flank.

First shot, first kill.

French show their hand almost immediately.

So much for showing only the turret..

Achtung, enemy panzer straight ahead, distance 100, fire!

On the left flank the leading PzII and Panhard fired almost simultaneously, both losing their drivers to first hits. Unfortunately for the Panhard, rest of PzII did not stand idle but forced the crew to abandon their well-ventilated armored car. Meanwhile the proud chevalier commanding the Somua platoon decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery, only to have his tank throw a track while crossing the heavy stone wall. Situation was still favoring the French, but getting more balanced.

Germans switching their attention to the village, fight will be decided there in the knife fighting range.

Wall was tougher than expected.

One of the Panhards decided to scout the village for the heavies and parked in good cover by the main crossing, exchanging ineffectual fire with PzII hull down by the central hill. Unfortunately, the lone remaining PzIII with platoon leader was flanking him. The poor Panhard was momentarily saved, as the lead Somua climbed the rightmost hill to start a duel with his German adversary and the AC platoon leader inched forwards to make sure that the PzII on the left flank would stay put. 

Hide and seek

Meanwhile behind the poor Panhard, hunter is approaching.

And yet another hunter arrives, French mad minute starts.

This started the French mad minute, during which they pumped endless amount of rounds towards the Germans (both French players got 2 phases and then 3*6 ended the turn, giving them one more phase.). Unfortunately for them, Somua was unable to score a single hit while the Panhards scored multiple hits with no penetrations. After this the Germans coolly opened fire, PzIII putting a round through the Somuas cupola, wounding the commander while the leftmost PzII knocked the Panhard platoon leader out - French morale took a big hit and initiative switched to the Germans. French tried to plug the gap with another Somua climbing the hill and shocking the PzIII into withdrawal by wounding the commander. They were unfortunately not able to capitalize on this, as the lone remaining Panhard went up in a ball of fire after a flanking move from the leading PzII.

Last 2 intact French tanks went into attack, on the German left by taking hull down on the hill, threatening the lightly armored PzII while on the right it was tank against tank in the village. At this point the advantage from German radio network was apparent, as the lighter PzII moved with great coordination. The driverless one took the hull down Somua under fire - well knowing that he would lose, but giving platoon mate time for a flanking maneuver and the 2 near the village moved in to support their heavier friend. Again the French gunnery failed, with both PzII and III remaining intact, while the Somua on the right was immobilized and the PzII that flanked it knocked out the one on the left. Somua platoon leader could do exactly nothing when all the enemies made absolutely sure not to show themselves to him. After this it was just the formalities, as all French tanks could be flanked from both sides.

PzII bounds from cover to cover and flanks the heavier French tank. 

While the Panhard in the village brews up. In the background, heavier tanks play hide and seek.


Almost embarassing flanking manouver, fortunately the Somua was not able to activate next phase.

Our first big CoC game, with 2 armored platoons per side. 2 players on the French side, 1 on German. The initial phases were a disaster for the German player (pure stupidity and underestimating the French guns) after which the god of dice decided that the French had had enough and abandoned them. First the Somua platoon could not get the necessary die combinations to activate much anything (1,1,4,4,6 is particularly useless when you radioless SL is stuck in the church wall.) and then they could not do any damage - multiple shots with 2d6 against 4 or 6 and no effect. The radio net allowing the German to keep at least most of the PzII active every phase was a great asset, as it allowed the German player to quickly shift the focus first to the left flank and center and afterwards to flank the lone Somuas. This played pretty much the same way as the memoirs from the period read - French tanks were not used massed but alone and while their armor and weapons were superior in any one on one engagement, they slowly succumbed to flank attacks and unfair numbers.  A great game all in all, many nail biters and showed how much fun big CoC can be - tank action has also very different feel to your normal infantry combat, with quick shifts of focus and jockeying for keyhole positions.

Monday 29 September 2014

Church of Stonne

Most of the village of Stonne was completely levelled in the battles of May 1940.  Some pictures of pre-war village were floating around the internets, so it was quite easy to see that buildings were quite average for the area. So the water tower and church remained - water tower is shown on the background in one of the period pictures and looks to be like others in the area - size is hard to guess from a blurry picture, but the village is not that big. Of the church, on the other hand, I had no picture, apart from the top of the spire - but yesterday I managed to find a good picture!

Most 15mm churches are of the Norman stone variant and this one is clearly different - and surprisingly big for a smallish village. The surviving churches in the area are either of red brick or yellowish gray stone, both of which look pretty same in b&w picture. So it looks like I need to do bit more scratch building - shape of the roof promises some interesting times..

Friday 19 September 2014

Point platoon ready to dismount

The early war Schützen platoon is ready for games, just needed jump off point markers. I decided to go with mainly vehicles, representing troops that have hastily dismounted when contact is made. Vehicles quickly camouflaged with tree branches and zeltbahn shelter pieces, motorcycle quickly abandoned behind a rock and some ammo supplies.

Gentle prodding worked, as the high command intelligence department has reported that the French platoon are ready and itching for a fight. Last of armoured assets arrived from the painting line and unfortunately the dreaded Somuas and Char Bis are also ready, so we are ready to start. 

Truck hastily hidden under tree branches.

Kubelwagen camouflaged with a cut down tree, zeltbahn and an ad hoc air recognition panel on the other side warning friendly flyboys.

Motorcycle was just abandoned behind a rock when lead started flying.

One should not go far without supplies. Gulash cannon, some ammo and a map for that proverbial young officer to figure out where the poor platoon actually is.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Frelimo camp raid, 1975

A RLI platoon consisting of 3 sticks (HQ and attached 3.5" RL, rifle and mg) and supported by a stick of Grey's Scouts and Alouette g-car were tasked with conducting a raid at a Frelimo camp as a part of larger operation. The camp was known to be guarded by some AA assets, but otherwise enemy composition was unknown. (We agreed that RLI would have a helicopter and insurgents at least some AA, for playtesting.) The camp itself consisted on an old missionary buildings (hard cover) with the other buildings being mostly of mud and straw (soft cover), one reinforced dug-in covering the road and parade grounds were also identified. The intelligence reports confirmed that inserted troops would be able to close in to camp reasonably easily and the tactical crest of the hill would allow good protection from the obvious guard positions. (Picture does not really show it, but the bottom side of white buildings is covered by large mounds of earth. This was a very obvious entry point, so 2 sticks (mg+rifle) would act as a decoy, hoping to draw the enemy defence to the obvious place, while HQ stick would cover the other end of the camp with mg and rocket launcher, allowing Grey's scouts to flank enemy. G-car would act as a gunship support as soon as enemy positions were identified.

The position after deployment and initial plans . JoPs in circles, filled red circles mark dispersal points and triangle marks the AA position.

Decoy sticks went in without a hitch - mg formed a base of fire, while the rifle stick inched forward. The idea being to get close enough to shower enemy with grenades from behing the earth mounds, so they would either show themselves in open or try to close in - at this point first enemy section had already been identified in the missionary complex. They fortunately had only semiautomatic rifles, no lmgs or AKs, so closing in was an option.

Decoy deploys

And has a short discussion when it is noticed that comms have been lost. Only one way, forwards!

At this point the decoy sections noticed that they had no radio contact to HQ or g-car any more and enemy was taking the initiative, slowly tryingto surround them with another section, while heavy AAMG and recoiless rifle covered the other end of the village.

More and more enemy appearing.

Enemy flanking movement seems probable, so decoy starts to take a defensive position.

(Dice completely deserted me for a while, throwing mostly 1 and 4, so I could not active more than 1 stick at a time. So they just leapfrogged  forward, biding time. At this point the defender made a mistake, showing himself to the mg stick and instead of firing, went to overwatch. The mg stick opened fire with 2 mgs at close range, and as expected the frelimo fighter started to suffer, even with their hard cover. The return fire took one man down, but medic was fortunately able to patch him up.

At this point contact was established and HQ gave a go-ahead sign. Rocket launcher and mg opened fire at the recoiless position on the roof of the stone building and cut the team down, leaving only the leader alive. Meanwhile the mounted Grey's scouts started the flanking movement and decoy troops went closer behing shower of grenades. Enemy return fire caused only light injuries.

Comms re-established, Grey's scouts go in.

On top of this, the g-car got the signal to suppress the enemy mg position. (In reality the situation was such that bringing helo in was a silly and needless risk, but we had agreed to air assets would be used.) So he swept in amidst tracers and swooped by the AAMG bunker, killing few crew members.

A needless gambit in the name of testing.

Enemy flank suppressed.

Baiting enemy with grenades, automatic weapons cover both approaches.

Enemy HQ position was identified in the stone building and the HQ stickkept showering them with everything in hand. Meanwhile the Grey's scouts dismounted to flank the building. Unfortunately they came too close to the lone leader from destroyed recoiless rifle, triggering close combat. A lone sergeant with a makarov-pistol decided to sell his life dearly. He took down 3 riflemen before the stick leader brought him down with a quick double-tap. Suddenly RLI had 3 men down, so heliborne casevac was called in. G-car again managed to evade the aamg fire and landed in a tight spot to evacuate the wounded.

Casevac called in. It really should have landed in the field, no idea what I was thinking placing chopper there.

At this point frelimo morale was getting dangerously low, so he decided to risk a frontal assault. The mg stick had kept the head down from the flanking unit, so the section guarding missionary got the task - they already had some shock and casualties from grenades and were met with overwatch fire while closing the last meters, so the attack  failed before it really started.

Eliminate that aamg, chopper needs to lift off!

Hearing the distress calls from casevac, the decoy rifle team pressed on through the village and with another shower of grenades, stormed the aamg position. (2 consecutive phases for the the RLI in exactly right place.) Just as the wounded were carried to helo, point stick declared village center cleared, with one man wounded in the process. Frelimo morale had reached 0, so enemy withdrew to the bush.

AAMG eliminated, casevac lifts off

Friday 12 September 2014

Another shade of green and brown, welcome to the bushwars

Chain of Command will have a Rhodesian Bushwars supplement at some point, so some new miniatures were in order. Bongolesian irregulars do nicely for insurgents, but we were little light on regulars and helos, so I started with those. Chain of Command needs only a reinforced platoon and Rhodesian platoons are usually quite light on manpower, so task is not that huge.

Old Glory supplies me with a platoon of Fireforce 15mm Rhodesian (sculpts are nice and lively, cast was terrible. Lots of flash and those annoying lines where halves of the miniature do actually not meet.) and an Alouette III from Little Flyin' Fockers-range. Probably the worst kit I have seen in ages, even if the result is passable. around 30 unnumbered pieces of metal and resin, so much flash that it is sometimes impossible to see what parts should be cleaned and what binned. And instruction sheet that actually had my wife laughing out loud when she saw that. Half a dozen reference pictures and lots of dremeling later the result is ok'ish. Fortunately the resin was on the soft side, so easily carved with knife and dremel. And a platoon of Grey's Scouts from Peter Pig. These were standard PP stuff, next to no flash and ok poses, much preferred after the previous lot.

Rhodesians and some quickly cobbled together huts.

Bobby the gunner suffered a lobotomy and lost parts of his backside to actually fit inside the g-car gunner position, but hey, groundpounders will appreciate his sacrifice.

First test game pitted ZANLA cadres against Rhodesian army regulars. Both forces were patrolling along a small river. SF forces were tasked to find and engage, whereas ZANLA did not want a heavy engagement.

Patrol phase saw a brilliant trick pulled by SF commander as his advances strongly along one flank. Taking the higher hillside allowed him to fully utilize his significant firepower advantage.

Jump off points in circles, dispersal points in solid red. Of course, plans rarely work fully. ZANLA suffered horrible casualties, but clinged on while their sniper kept the SF forward section pinned. And when it looked like ZANLA had finally had enough with a Fetter AC hitting them in the flank and base of fire running away, the braves of the forward section charged forward and cut down the SF rifle team to man. SF player promply failed all possible morale checks and was forced to fall back, leaving bloodied ZANLA as the victor.

The deployement below cost the game to SF. By deploying in the cover of elephant grass, SF troops left ZANLA a small and narrow passage out of LOS (coming from the bottom of the image) , which they promptly used.

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