Posts Tagged With: Chain of Command

Hell and Heroism at Hannut, by way of Historicon 2018

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Today brought the end of the 2018 Historicon up in Lancaster, PA.  As Lard America was participating with a Lard day, with guest of honor and Lard Meister Richard Clarke himself attending OI though perhaps I had better go.  Glad I did.

I decided to put on  Hell and Heroism at Hannut by Ben Fiene.  This was a three scenario mini campaign printed in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special from 2013.  These are three linked by theme only scenarios depicting some of the action at Hannut.  It also is rather atypical of Chain of Command.

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The first scenario Chaos and Confusion, has an interesting beginning set up.  Basically it is May 11th 1940.  A recon platoon of  of 3e DLM is ordered forward to probe the area around the Albert Canal.  Unbeknownst to the French the canal was already seized by the Germans about 24 hours previously.  The platoon’s commander,  Sous Lieutenant de Vasselot dismounts from his Panhard to speak with a Belgian officer.  As he approached he realized the uniform is wrong, this is the enemy!  They both go for their sidearms but the French man is a little faster and the Hun falls.

So begins the battle.  The French have three Panhards and a squad of motorcycles, the third panhard and the motorcycles are detached and will arrive later.  The French , must hold the ground waiting for the missing armored car to return and then they must report back by exiting from the side they entered on.

The Germans  have a Panzer Grenadier platoon but their Commanding officer begins the game dead.   To represent their confusion over this misshap, they not only are limited to one Senior Leader but they also are operating on only 4 command dice.  Their orders are to stop the French from reporting back.

This is clearly a hard task for the Germans as most of their weapons will do little against the Panhards.  Playtesting by Matthew Mattic on Facebook caused him to suggest the addition of a PAK 36 and requiring that the French were at force morale 4 or higher when exiting to win.  This advice was heeded.

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Germans maneuvering through the orchard

Turned out the Anti Tank Gun did little.  The village on the French side of the table provided sufficient cover, blocking the gun’s line of sight.  Shots were exchanged on both sides but casualties were light.

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Panhards Holding the Crossroads

 

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Germans reach the Outskirts of the Village

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When the missing French detachment arrived this would change.  The Panhards were immune to most of the German fire power, but the poor motorcyclists were not.  Heavy fire was thrown on them, disrupting their cohesion, routing one of the bikes and causing another to dismount.  The French took some hits to their Force Morale, but it was to late.  They got a double phase not far from tables edge and made good their escape.  The French had one, but it was close.

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The next scenario was Den Ganzen Lieban  Langen Tag.  A scenario designed around the fighting at Crehen.  The scenario’s name comes from a quote of Panzer Captain Von Jugenfeld who said the fighting continued all the love longed day.

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Crehen

This was a far more typical Chain of Command game with two platoons fighting for possession of Crehen. The French were aided by two Hotchkiss H30s (one with an upgraded long SA 38) two Belgians gates and one minefield. The Germans had a Panzer Grenedier platoon with 6 command dice supported by two panzer IIs, a Panzer III, a pregame barrage and a mine clearing team.

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This looked rough for the Germans.  Most of the village is well over on the French side of the table.   There was also a series of walls and stone structures forming a formidable looking barriers across the field.  The French placed the Belgian Gate and the mine fields in the most prominent gaps.  The Germans however were far more aggressive than the French in the patrol phase and managed to get jump of marker very far forward, allowing them to take some of the buildings easier than might have been imagined.

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Firefight

One of these positions was a house just across the road from the petrol station and a fierce firefight began.  The Germans never really committed their rifles to this action, but the MG 34s were doing fine as it was.

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On the German’s left, they sent their two Panzer IIs to rip into the other primary French position, again to very good effect.

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The French responded by dividing their Hotchkiss tanks.  sending one forward to support the firefight at the Shell, and the other to deal with the Panzer IIs.  Another squad was also ordered into the Petrol station to support that first squad which had taken heavy casualties this was a huge error.  As the darted across the street, the Germans played their Chain of Command dice and interrupted the action, catching that squad flat footed in the road at close range.  The were ripped apart.  In two phases, the French Force Morale crashed from an already unsteady 5 to 0 and the Germans took the town.

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The last  scenario deals with the crazy actions of Lieutenant Le Bel, who on the 13th of May would drive his Hotchkiss through the German lines surrounding Jauche not once, but THREE times.

This scenario is problematic.  The idea sounds  kind of fun, at Le Bell’s story is great.  as written however, the French are only required to drive two Hotchkiss tanks across the board.  Now that might not sound so tough but all the German’s have to stop them is part of a Panzer Grenadier platoon, a Panzer I, a Panzer II and a PAK 36.  The only weapons really likely to do anything to a Hotchkiss is the possibly the PAK 36 and to a lesser degree the Panzer II and the platoons Anti Tank Rifle.  I decided to give them a panzerknacker team as well.  Little damage was done to the French tanks, though there was some success in slowing their progress.

The Panzer I was mostly useless.  Or so I thought.  In the end, with the Hotchkiss tanks a good deal of the way to their objective, the obsolete little German tank raced forward and rammed one of the French vehicles.  I didn’t even know their were rules for this in Chain of Command.  The Panzer suffered more from the crash than did the Hotchkiss, as one might imagine, but in a ram the victor still rolls on the plus 2 net hit chart and the result was an immobilized Tank.  As the victory conditions called for both tanks to make it this gave the German’s the victory!

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Every one seemed to have a good time and the majority of my players were in all three games!  Thanks for playing and thanks to Lard America for this little taste of Yankee Lard.

Until next time, Cheers!

 

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Categories: Chain of Command, Convention, Fall of France, Historicon, Lard America, Too Fat Lardies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Loot!

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and we have done very well here at Cry Havoc!

I will begin with the required post.  For the last few years,l I have participated in the Secret Santa program organized by Catherine and Ian over at THE BLOG WITH NO NAME.  this is a lot of fun.  The way it works is a number of us wargaming bloggers share are information and post ideas of things we would like for about 15 GBP.  Catherine assigns us people in some unknown magical fashion and we secretly send our little packages to our assigned target.

My gift just arrived today, a little late.  I only mention this because one, my odd sense of humor finds it intriguing that these little guys were cast in England, sent off to Germany and then finally here to the United States!  They have yet to see battle but they are already well traveled.

Secondly, I have been informed that they were sent late due to a family illness at Christmas.  I wanted to share my hopes and wishes for the best of all health to you, whoever are.  I know some of the blogging community have been greatly challenged with illness this Christmas Season, and whether serious or slight I hope that you and yours are doing as well as you might.

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Two packs of fine Perry Brothers miniatures.  One Queen’s Rangers Command and one Queen’s Rangers Light Infantry.  these are destined to be the start of my new project, focussing on Benedict Arnold’ invasion of Virginia in 1781.  the Queen’s Rangers will my  Main Force for this Sharp Practice campaign using Dawns and Departures.  Thank for sending me these and thanks to Cath and Ian for continuing this Yule tradition!

I also received a number of things from Charlie Foxtrot Models.  The huge Georgian mansion, a porch house, the stone barn I have so long wanted and his pig sty.  I also received the driveway, pond and entrance gate to match the Georgian house.  More on these will appear here later.  These are mostly to be used for Chain of Command but I am sure some of them will find themselves serving double duty.

From Sally 4th, for my 7TV THE BEAT game, I have some new photorealistic row houses a Pub and Corner Store.  These are really nice and I am slowly seeing the Greendock take shape.

I am still awaiting my Blood and Plunder Kickstarter, which should arrive any day.  I know they are being fulfilled and look forward to getting mine with great anticipation.  Lastly, I have some more stuff from Colin at Charlie Foxtrot on its way, most notably his new Tidewater House that I linked to in my last post.  That is a project that I have been involved with and am very chuffed to see it come to fruition.  More on that here later as well.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

Ron

 

Categories: Chain of Command, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Crooked dice, Secret Santa, Sharp Practice, Terrain, The Beat, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

French World War Two Vehicles from Mad Bob

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Recently I participated in the Mad Mob Miniatures Kickstarter for French or former French vehicles.  This was really a no-brainer for me since I really needed one of the elusive German 7.5cm PAK auf Somua conversions for Too Fat Lardies campaign supplement KAMPFGRUPPE VON LUCK.  I do regularly  run Fall of France games for Chain of Command so some pre-converted  half-tracks would prove useful as well.  (Besides those French half-tracks are just the thing for a desert based Pulp Game!)

I have done business with Mad Bob before, when I bought my German converted Lorraine Schlepper and had been pleased so no risk there.

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The Mad Bob piece is the one in the foreground.  The other is a Warlord Marder that has been standing in for the new Somua

The Kickstarter levels were arranged by the number of vehicles you wanted to buy with no need for a decision on what those would be until sometime after the conclusion.  The Kickstarter was very successful and many stretch goal vehicles were added.  That was very important to me as one of the vehicles I most wanted was itself a stretch goal.

Furthermore, when the Kickstarter finished, Mad Bob allowed us to add any of the other vehicles to or order at the Kickstarter rate which while I did not, in the end, do so,  I certainly considered it.  I think that was a great offer and pleased that it was available.

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So my order did arrive this week.  Three half-tracks.  two were the French models, a standard P19 and a Staff model.  The other was the aforementioned and longed for Somua conversion.  All three models have very little flash and very crisp details (much better than it appears in some of these photos).

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The P19 VDP is the basic French troop transport half track.  The model consists of three pieces, the body, the windscreen and the canvas roof.  Mine arrived broken, with the some of the pieces meant to support the roof gone.  In the picture, the remaining ones have been removed by myself.  I will either build it without the roof or scratch build replacements.  Not difficult but a shame that might have been prevented by better packaging.

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staff-car The next model is the Staff car version, P19 VLTT. This model consists of four pieces,  the body, roof, windscreen, and a spare tire.

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somua And lastly, the point of the exercise, the 7.5 cm PAK auf Somua.  This model is very nice.  Mine arrived with the barrel a little bent, but a simple soak in warm water allowed that to be repaired.  This model is composed of six parts, but none of them are very fiddly and it looks like it will all go together well.  It is going to be beautiful when all painted, decaled and weathered.  So now I am off to do that!

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If you do early war, or might need some of the odd French conversions, I certainly suggest you take a look at Mad Bob Miniatures.  He does good work and a number of his offerings are unusual and hard to find models.

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Chain of Command, Fall of France, Mad Bob Minatures, pulp alley, Review, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, Wargaming, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Historicon 2015

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I must first apologize for being so far behind in my posting to this blog.  Historicon was back in July, but my work schedule is been so very crazy that I have been unable to properly report!

Historicon was enjoyable as it always is.  There were noticeably fewer venders and it appeared to me that there were fewer games and gamers as well.  The powers that be state that I am wrong on the last score, and maybe that is so.  I do hope I am wrong, as I wish this show continued success in it’s present city.  The facility itself did a far better job than they did in the previous years as did the Convention staff in my opinion.

Friday night I played Zvdeda’s Armada Invincible.  This game was a lot of fun and the models were very impressive and full of satisfying visual impact!  The fellow running the game had altered some of the rules and as I am unclear of whta changes he made I will avoid comment on the rule system.  We played with a mixture of the Zveda ships and Old Glory which made for a very impressive battle.  I had command of the White Bear and fought for Gloriana and England.

The White Bear

The White Bear

The rules were very basic and simplistic, a fun beer and pretzel set.  very easy to understand and adopt to and I am now looking to get a set, but they are pricey.  A word of warning, the Zveda ships don’t seem to be well scaled and certainly not with the Old Glory vessels.  Our GM had renamed the Zveda ships for smaller vessels which I think was wise.

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The English Fleet Tacks towards the Spanish

THE BATTLE OF STONNE

On Saturday night I ran a battle from the Fall of France Campaign I created for Chain of Command and At the Sharp Edge.  This battle would bring Gross Deutchland to the outskirts of Stonne in May of 1940.

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I ran the scenario as Attack and Defend.  My notes have unfortunately gone missing, so I will have to report from memory.  Four gentlemen played the game including two whom are active in the Chain of Command world, Malcolm and Ricky.  I had met them both before and Ricky had played my Chain of Command game at Historicon the previous year.  He is also the blogger at Making History. Malcolm took charge of the Germans and Ricky the French.

I do not recall all of the support options that were taken, but I do remember that the Germans chose a Panzer III and the French a 47mm Anti Tank gun.  I am still trying to find a 28mm model of one of these by the bye.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!  The French also took two mine fields which they placed just East of the bridge on the approach to the town.   These mine fields were very effective as their existence caused the Germans to leave the main route into town alone, and instead tried to come around on the flank,  Leaving them a long walk.

Mine fields defending Stonne

Mine fields defending Stonne

The French used their patrol phase very aggressively to quickly close the markers and to end the phase.   It is a pleasure to watch a patrol phase were the players understand the importance of this portion of the game.  I have seen games won on the patrol phase.  I wouldn’t say that happened here, but the Germans were left with some less than ideal Jump Off marker placement.

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German troops advancing from the North East.

In the end, the combination of poor German jump off sites and the ignoring of one of their avenues of approach allowed the French to concentrate their defense on the northern road.  One of the main areas for contention being the Barnyard in the center of the table.

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Poilus defending Barnyard

As the main assault approached along the North road the French took heavy fire.  Eventually this would be reduced by their deploying of their Anti Tank gun, beginning a duel of tank to gun, not to mention a good deal of small arms fire.  Eventually the gun was silenced, but not before killing a number some of the tank’s crew.

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The Panzer III supported by a section of Germans startle some sheep.

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The players and myself (pic stolen from Making History)

In the end it was a French victory.  All the players had a good time and I certainly did.  I love to see Chain of Command played well!

Categories: Chain of Command, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Convention, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, World War II | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Guns of August

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August 20-23 marked the return of local wargaming convention, Guns of August.  This local show is one of two put on by ODMS here in Williamsburg every year.  Usually there are about 200 people in Attendence and soon the venue will be changing to allow for continued growth.

I was slated to run a Sharp Practice game on Friday night, but had to cancel due to difficulties getting home from New Hampshire on a work related trip.  While that game didn’t happen I did take the time to run a add on Chain of Command game Saturday afternoon.

The game was a Fall of France game, set in May of 1940.  Having nothing special prepared, I simply rolled for a scenario following the procedures suggested in the rules.  One challenge was that I was missing my 1940 army lists which were not properly put away after Historicon.  Because of this annoyance I was forced to organize my troops as per memory and I had no idea what the proper support costs were.  I ran the game a s a probe, and decided to give the Germans the use of a Panzer II and the french a 25mm Antitank gun to counter it with,

My players were two old friends of mine, Alfred and Malcolm.  Alfred decided to play Germans and so Malcolm took command of the French.

The French suffered a bit from their patrol phase.  One challenge to Chain of Command is the learning curve attached to the patrol phase.  This phase represents the pre-battle reconnaissance of the forces involved but it is a game unto itself.  it is also pretty much exclusively a Too Fat Lardies concept and therefore unfamiliar to most players.  Very often it will take a players few games to understand the importance of the phase and how to use it tactically.  this does give an advantage to the player more familiar with the ruleset.  I think at conventions I need to get more proactive in helping new players through this bit.  the French therefore found themselves with most of their jump off markers trapped rater close together and far back, behind a stone wall to the rear of the table.  one was forward in the central farmhouse.

The French did take the very strong defensive position in that central farmhouse.  A German squad aggressively approached it to just out of Close combat range.  Their Junior Leader ordered two potato mashers lobbed into the house, but they missed the window and skitted of harmlessly.

Germans advance on the Farmhouse

Germans advance on the Farmhouse

Well almost harmlessly.  Oddly enough this aggression seemed to frighten the Poilus inside and the immediately were ordered to retreat and fall back to the cover of the stone wall that ran parallel the length of the southern table edge.  this action proved disastrous, as it meant crossing an open area in cross fire to get to that cover. The Frenchmen took serious casualties and their eventually broke and fled, causing serious loss to the French Force Morale, not to mention represent a third of their force already gone.

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Frenchmen in position behind stone wall

After this point the French settled into a static defense of the rear wall and the game turned into a long drawn out exchange of small fire.  Never the best course of action in a Chain of Command game and certainly not one when opposing a larger force also in defensive positions.

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More of the same

Either from confusion or unlucky  command dice rolls, the French command was slow to deploy his brigaded Rifle Grenades which can be devastatingly useful.  The Germans never deployed their Panzer II, and because of that the French also waited to deploy their AT gun, which may have proven helpful against the infantry onslaught as well.

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German squad takes cover in destroyed farm house opposite the French held wall

Eventually attrition did it’s bit.  The French position slowly collapsed due to casualties, shock, and dwindling Force Morale.  Just in the nick of time for me OI might add, as I was scheduled to run the Battle for Lake Tanganyika directly thereafter!

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The French Line

THE BATTLE FOR LAKE TAGANYKA

 This was the second time I ran this battle, but this was the reason it was created.  My club, The Williamsburg Legati, are commemorating the 100 year anniversary of World War One by sponsoring themed games at both Williamsburg Muster and Guns of August over the next few years.  Some of these are the major actions and other, like this one, or more unusual situations.

This battle was actually made up of a few encounters fought between December of 1915 and February of 1916 on the world’s second largest and second deepest freshwater lake in the world.  involving elements of the British Royal Navy,  Belgian Congo’s Force Publique, and Imperial Germany’s Kaiserlich Marine.

Basically, the Germans held complete naval superiority of the lake this with small ship and a couple of boats.  The British decided to challenge this by transporting two 30 foot motor boats through the Congo.  A crazy and arduous adventure on its own.  Command for this mission was given to an eccentric British Naval administrator Geoffrey Spicer Simpson.

For the game I combined what were in reality two separate actions, to allow the Germans the use of both their boats instead of letting the British attack them piecemeal as happened in reality.  The game was played in 28mm with most of the vessels built by myself with the exception of the British vessels the Mimi and the Toutou.  These are Old Glory castings.  the rules used were TVAGs Boilers and Breechloaders.  A little bit of adjustment had to be made for the two British ships (which are both petrol boats not covered by the period or rules).  The vessels are also over armed by the rules,, but I followed the history.  That might have been an error.  Having run this twice I am pretty sure that the points are not equal, giving far to strong an advantage to the British/ Belgian coalition.  If I ever do this again I will need to make some changes.

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The Congolese ex torpedo boat Netta, with Mimi and Toutou in the background

Boilers and Breechloaders is a card driven activation system.  this proved disastrous for the Germans.  Over and over again they were losing initiative to the Brits.  Besides that factor, the Kingani’s captain had horrible dice luck.  he was successfully avoiding any critical damage but is shots kept missing their target, and his 6 pounder was the largest of the German guns.  Furthermore an incredibly lucky British first shot left hedwig’s main gun crew disabled!

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The German Squadron, Kingani and Hedwigg Von Wissman

Damage was being done to the British boats.  One more hit on either would have seen them destroyed, but the Germans lost the ability to strike.  Kingani was taking on water, her speed reduced and constant machine gun fire eventually left the Hedwig bereft of her crew.

I like to report that all players had a good time, but not on this occasion.  At least one of the Germans was displeased.  I do think this game has some balancing issues, which I had warned when I begun, but it really was more luck that hurt the Germans than anything else.  I may run this on one more occasion, or maybe not.  The theme for Williamsburg Muster is Naval and the second battle did happen in February 1916 (Muster is in February).  if I do, I will either use different rules, modified rules or leave the Belgian ships out.

Categories: africa, Boilers and breechloaders, Chain of Command, Convention, Sharp Practice, The Virtual armchair general, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati, Williamsburg Muster, world war I, World War II, world war one, wwii world war two normandy buildings mdf | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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