Posts Tagged With: Too Fat Lardies Yahoo Group

Guns of August


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.


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.


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.


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!


The French Line


 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.


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!


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

Another Jarama Fight

This weekend brings another Williamsburg Muster to the Williamsburg, Virgina area and again the world of Lard is being represented by myself (and actually a few others this year).  The conference began today and tonight I provided some people a chance to try Chain of Command Espana.

The players were Brian, Derrick, Ross and Gunnar.  I mentioned above that I was giving them a chance to try, but that wasn’t completely the truth.  Ross had played one of my earlier Espana games, and Gunnar had experience with CoC and in fact is also on the ever popular Lard Yahoo group.

In the past I have tried to represent a particular fight, but this year for my Chain of Command games, I have decided to just use the generation system in the rules.  Originally i intended to let the players actually roll everything up as if they were playing a friendly game at home, but I decided it might be quicker and easier to do all of that beforehand myself.  the fight was to be an attack upon an objective.  I decided that would be a fictional village,  Santa Katarina, somewhere in the Jarama valley.

The table consisted of a shallow valley with very little cover.  just a little scrub, some scattered trees and then of course the town on the left and a small walled olive grove in the middle, along the dirt road that crossed through the area.

Brian and Gunnar commanded a mixed Army of Africa platoon.  Until tonight I haven’t owned enough legionnairios to field a full Legion platoon.  Thanks to Steve at Age of Glory, Now I need to buy more soldatos so I can field a full Moroccan Regulare platoon.  Anyway, the Legionnaires were supported by an adjutant, a bilbao armored car and a 75/28 artillery battery with a forward observer.  The orders were to push the defenders from Santa Katrina and take the village.  They began with an amazing Force Morale of 11!

Derrick and Ross were defending as the Lincoln Battalion of the 15 International Brigade.  They were to hold Santa Katrina and had the aid of an anti tank gun and a Russian made T26B to do so.  Their mortar squads and light machine gun squads also had been supplied with their intended weapons which is not always the case. They also had dug in with three squad sized entrenchments.  They also rolled well for morale and enjoyed a +1 as volunteers, placing their Force Morale at 10.  This would be a long game!

The patrol phase was mostly straight forward, with both sides cautiously moving pretty much straight forward.

Early in the Patrol Phase

Early in the Patrol Phase

From the very start luck smiled upon the Nationalists as they controlled the first three phases of the battle.  This allowed the to deploy two of their sections. One moved immediately forward to the olive grove and the other up towards the small house on the lower left of the pictures and by the entrenchment.  They also deployed their forward observer who impiously called for a barrage on the church!

The 1st section moving to cover on the Nationalist"s left.

The 1st section moving to cover on the Nationalist”s left.

When finally able to react, the American’s were forced to defend their jump of points from the aggressive advance of the Fascists.  They defended their right with the AT gun and the left with a light machine gun section, both defending from the entrenchments.  Another section took a positions in the church and its tower.  From these positions the place a withering crossfire onto the exposed 1st section.  Their tank also rumbled up the road and fired on the position of the Legion’s Platoon commander.   The shot was lucky and wounded the Legion’s command, leaving him out of action for the rest of the turn.  This also caused a reduction in the Legion’s Morale.

Probably should have been waving that flag!

Probably shouldn’t have been waving that flag!

The Legion’s battery finally landed but it was long and overshot the enemy positions in the church.  A squad of the 1st section bravely ran forth in an attempt to silence the republican AT gun.  Bullets rained down on them as they crossed the open ground and when the hit the position their numbers had already been halved.They assault failed and a squad was lost.  The legion’s morale sank again.

The bold AT Gun crew!

The bold AT Gun crew!

On their right, the Legion was finding more success.  Having moved up and through the Olive Grove, they began to fire at the Light Machine gun squad and were slowly reducing its numbers.  their forward observer also walked the artillery fire forward silencing the supporting squad in the church.  Soon the light machine gun was also silenced, but this time it would prove permanent.

2 Section advancing to the grove

2 Section advancing to the grove

This section eventually was able to advance on the house along the road which was defended by the Lincoln’s Senior leader as well as a squad of brave volunteers.  The Lincoln’s fought bravely and pushed the Legionnaires back killing 8 of their men.  this victory was Pyrrhic however.  Having lost half that number themselves they would not be able to defend if the legionnaires came a second time.  Furthermore their squad leader was seriously wounded.  Now it was their turn to have their morale waver.

The legion tries to capture a house

The legion tries to capture a house

Finally deploying their 50mm mortars, the legion began to concentrate on reducing the AT Gun’s position. Shock and casualties from the mortars and the Bilbao that finally joined the fray finally was to much for the brave crewmen, causing them to rout from their positions.  At this point, the republican commander realized that his position was untenable, and he conceded defeat.

The game was long and neither side had been reduced below 5 on their force morale. The forces appeared to be well balanced and it took some time before it was apparent who was winning.I think this battle could easily have gone either way. All players seemed to have a good time and honestly so did the I.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

Also, a special shout out to Empress Minatures.  I received their Spanish Church as a Christmas gift this year and am very pleased with the product.  Think I need to buy more of their Builder’s Yard Range.



I will be back soon, until then Cheers!


Categories: Age of Glory, Chain of Command, Convention, Empress Minatures, Too Fat Lardies, Williamsburg Legati, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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