Brecourt Manor June 1944

This small battle found recent fame in the excellent Band of Brothers series, but is of course far more important than that to the US Military, and to all military historians, the assault on the 6 June 1944 (being a part of the U.S. parachute assault of the Normandy Invasion of World War II)  often being cited as a classic example of small-unit tactics and leadership in overcoming a larger enemy force.

It was therefore begging to be the subject of a participation game at one of the wargame shows my club WyreForest does shows at. The one chosen was the one run in Halesowen see http://wargamershow.tripod.com/id1.html

The set up

The four gun emplacements with linked trenches can be seen here, one of the two German squads being in the trench at the bottom right. Brecourt Manor is top left.

the-set-upThere is no doubt that many a wargamer has played this battle, but I wanted to use the BattleGroup rules, at least as a base, and thus turned to the WargamersGuild forum where help in the shape of Warwick (one of the authors of the rule set) came to my assistance.

the-set-up-2This view gives a better overall impression, one of the two MG42 nests being visible in the hedge at the bottom. A better view is shown below

mg42-positionsFrom a wargame perspective I had to overcome the problem that using ‘normal’ rules would simply not work, as the US forces would be out numbered (even in this scaled down action) whilst the Germans were surprised (something that is hard to mimic with the ‘Gods eye view’ that wargamers most often have).

I also wanted the game to be really fast and easy to play and thus dropped the ‘Area Fire’ pinning mode (although pinning could occur via Morale tests, the effect lasting for one turn). Plus it was necessary to take into account the panic that set in when Easy Company stormed in and also the fact that the artillery men would not be as good at fighting at close quarters as the US troops.

Pinned Paratroopers

pinned-paratroopersThe BattleGroup method of winning via BreakPoints also I felt, did not suit this short battle, so I opted for Victory Points instead, these being won in various ways.

To make it an even fight (in wargame terms) the Germans were to be given Victory Points for just firing the guns plus 2 points for every gun still firing by Turn 15, the US forces getting points for every gun spiked (this being automatic if their Close Assault was successful).

To mimic the real thing, about a third of the US troops (under Lt Spiers) did not come into play until turn 4. Other important rules were that :-

The Germans could only fire the guns until the assault started.

Once the fighting had started, all of their units had to roll to see whether they would take an order, in some cases this resulting in them opening fire on the nearest gun (as happened on the day at one stage). Here the one German officer added a +1 to the dice if with the unit.

Taking Orders D6
Squads & MG
1 = Fire on nearest gun
2 – 3 = No Action
4+ = Do as ordered

Gunners
1 = Do Nothing
2 -3  = Have to Fire Guns
4 + Do as Ordered

Gunners when Close Assaulted D6
1 – 2  = Run for nearest gun (no casualites on US troops caused)
3+ = Fight (hit on a 4+)

The Gunners would if close assaulted roll a D6 to see if they would stand or run. In the former case their ‘hit’ roll being reduced by -2 (making for hits on 4+), whilst in the latter case they just took casualties while inflicting none, the gun of course being taken and spiked (3 VP’s to the Yanks).

The number of Offices for the USA was 3, but these could be lost if their unit took a casualty, a roll of 17+ on a D20 meaning the officer was hit (and thus an order dice lost). This meant that the USA troops could normally move all their units, whilst the Germans could not, this being an attempt to replicate the command chaos that was evident on the day. Similarly the German officer could be lost when the unit he was attached to took losses.

Every casualty was a VP for the other side.

The Forces used.

USA

3 squads of 5 men plus an Officer

2 * 30cal Machine guns

Germans

4 guns in emplacements with 5 crew each

2 * MG42 to the rear in trenches

2 squads of 5 men, one with an Officer.

How it went

The game was played about 6 times in all, each one taking about 35 minutes, with the first one being played by a 5 year old (his first ever war game). It seemed to go down a treat with all players too.

2 Guns Down – 2 to Go

2-guns-down-2-to-go

Going for the Third Gun

Only two men from the command squad of Germans left here..

paratroopers-making-for-the

The USA troops were successful in all but one game, this being the time we reduced the ‘panic’ effect on the German troops (plus there being some bad die rolls).

About to Close Assault the Fourth Gun

paratroopers-4th-gun

I think this shows how tweaking the rules a little here and there can make all the difference, so would suggest that anyone who wants to play it has a go to find the ‘right balance’ from their point of view.

All Guns Spiked

However, in this action, only a few US troops survived..

all-guns-spikedThe VP system meant that you always played to a conclusion, this being all the US troops killed (happened once), all the guns spiked, or when turn 15 was reached (never happened).

Making Cheap ‘Explosion’ Markers for War Games

When it comes to wargaming, every little thing you can do to make it look that bit more ‘real’ makes the whole game that bit better, both to play and to look at.

So, when it comes to ‘marking’ those ‘dead’ tanks and vehicles, what better than an ‘explosion’ marker. It looks so much better that taking the turret off, or playing the unit on it’s side.

You can of course use some cotton wool, or something similar, but what if you want to use something that looks a bit more realstic (without setting the games table on fire of course)?

Well you can but some really good looking explosion markers and they are not too dear at about £2.50 each, but what if you could make something that looked pretty good for as little as 50p?

Well you can, at least for as long as HobbyCraft keep selling their candle tea lights  for £1 for 4. Then, all you need is a bit of white and some brown or black toy stuffing / hair, and with a lick of grey paint and some glue you have your very own ‘explosion’ markers.

The ones I have made are far from perfect and others will do a LOT better with the same materials, but they are still good enough for my oppenent to comment “it was almost worth losing my tank to get that on the board”, which was a really nice thing to say.

Check out the pictures and if you feel like making some, head over to HobbyCraft (or their website) and get some tealights (you even get the batteries for the £1).

The bits and the finished article

 

flames2 flames1

 

Holding Carentan

Had a very interesting game on Sunday using the ‘Holding Carentan’ scenario, I played the US side, whilst Tony, who is learning (fast) the rules.

I think I took the ‘holding’ part of the title a little bit too litterally as I placed my troops (and there are not a lot of them in this scenario) at the front, whereas I reckon a sensible commander would have kept them back, but hey you have to try these things out.

I also have to point out that I had to use Brits for the Paratroops and did not have enough Stugs, but heh it still looked good.

initial-set-up

 

 

 

 

 

ready for the germans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

awaiting the attack

This first map shows how the USA troops were deployed, thecommand squad in the centre with the 2 squads being shown, one having started out with the idea of covering the road soon having to run for cover when the Stugs arrived (black lines). Meanwhile the German troops (black blocks) pounded and pinned the command squad and set up their own OP in the house on the bottom left.

Carentan first turns

stugs deploy to bombard

The problem for the US side is they only have about 35 fighting men, with no re-enforcements until turn 5. All the while from turn 2 the Germans get stugs and more men, all of which makes it an ‘interesting’ game.

carentan under attack

As I said, I had placed my Command Squad in the very front of the action, the idea being that I would be able to drop the arty support I had on the German front line, but needless to say, it was repeatedly pinned and soon wiped out.

second wave of stugs appear

The second squad was forced out of one of the other buildings by determined fire from the stugs, this eventually being wiped out by some German arty strikes. The last squad was reduced to hiding in the trees, the fact that they had a bazooka keeping the stugs at bay.

The US side was taking chit after chit in the game, but did manage to hold onto the East side of the village, eventually moving from the woods into a building that was shielded from stug fire as they retreated in the face of the appearance of the first wave of Shermans.

shermans-advance

carentan invasion

 

The second map shows the Stugs moving forwards and the USA’s last squad moving into the Eastern building. The Stugs moved to cover the village as they had heard the rumble of Shermans. The German infantry advanced, but only really took the Western house by the time the game ended.

Carentan mid game

 

Then more  Shermans came on, together with an armoured platoon, but we ran out of time before we could complete the game.

usa-armoured-push-forward

The last map shows the Sherman advance, the Stugs holding their ground but starting to take causualties. The Armoured platoon was also advancing and starting to cause casualties, would have been good to have been able to conclude it.

Carentan end game

On a points basis, it was a very good win for the Germans, but I consoled myself with the fact that the Germans never took the village and were forced to withdraw from their high water mark.

final-positions

Great game, but I should have played it better and placed some units out of harms way at the start, that way I may have got some more arty into play.

A-german-victory

Road Race BattleGroup BlitzKrieg 10mm Game

Very interesting game was played last night, with no less than 6 players, three as the Germans and three as the intrepid Brits.

The British player controlling the staff car and escorts tried to lure the Germans forward and then make a cross country dash with the car, but with the Vickers only being able to PIN (and then at 10cm – we replaced all inches with cm’s as playing at 10mm) the battle was unequal and the staff car was lost.

In the map below we see the route taken by the Brits, the staff car and 2 tanks moving towards the EXIT, with the other one trying to distact a German Recce unit. But it was to no avail…

Road Race - Staff Car Stage

The German advance their Recce units…

German Recce advanceSo, the real game begun, the Brits advancing on their right, the Germans pushing forwards in the centre and then holding position whilst a daring thrust was made around the back of the Brits position.

The Brit main ‘battle tanks’ deploy

A13s-and-A10s-deployAnd ready for action

British left flank ready for actionThe map here shows the route the Pzr2 platoon took (in red), with the centre group of 3 T35’s taking the road in the middle (black arrow). They took a lot of fire and the lead tank was Pinned 3 times, but survived.  The other platoon of T35s took the right wing (dotted blue) and by using Reserve Move kept the Brits wondering where they were really going. The last unit to come on was the Pzr 4 (dotted black line), this also used Reserve move, but it did not work out, more later….

Road Race 3The Germans bring in their T35’s

The-T35s-arrive

Meanwhile, on the British Right Flank, the A10’s move towards the weak German left, one armoured car having to withdraw due to no ammo, and the tanks being only Pzr 2s…

A10-and-Vickers-deploy

More A10 deployment

A10's move round church

But soon the A10’s see the centre group of T35’s

A10 spies the 35ts!

The T35’s then started to take fire from both the A10’s and the A13’s, but despite being pinned three times, they all survived..

With the right and centre of the British line engaged (and the Vickers tanks all hiding in the bushes), the T35’s started their pincer movement…

T35s-starting-their-pincer-

Reserve Move was used to confuse the Brits…

Reserved-T35s

A13-on-Ambush-T35-on-Reserv

The Brits weren’t fooled though and stated putting units on Ambush (the swines… – anybody would think I was a German player).

To counter the Ambush actions and to divide attention in the centre, the German Pv4 was moved into action, using Reserve Move to get into a firing position (without being fired upon), but it did not work, two misses meant the end when the A13’s guns spoke..

Pvr-4-on-Reserve-Move-T35s-Meanwhile on the British right flank, the A10’s were moving up on the hapless Panzer 2’s, whilst the last MG equipped Vickers tried to cause problems… It did distract things and it ended up in quite a brawl..

Mk VI trying to avoid Pzr II's

Vickers-trying-to-survive

A charging Panzer 2 met its end attacking an immobilised A10

German Pzr II's burn up

But the resulting Chit drawn by the Germans was a ‘Call of Duty’ which they played on a Pinned T35, one of the ‘pincer movement’ tanks having been hit. This really turned the whole battle, the T35 taking out an A13, and two Vickers in short succession.

Call-of-Duty

 

T35-on-the-rampage

The-T35s-Strike

The Brits Left Flank collapses

Pzr 35t's demolish British left flank

And the Chits are all just too much.

The-british-chits-and-rapan

So the battle ended, it all really hinging on that ‘Call of Duty’ chit and some really good luck (the battle plan was not bad either though, well I would say that….)

Pictures courtesy of Richard and ‘SteamingDave’

Another GREAT BattleGroup Game..

How to make bases with bombed trees?

Hi everyone.

If you have read my previous post, you would have noticed the three terrain boards I made for a WW1 project we are preparing on our gaming club.Today, I’m going to show you, some complementary terrain pieces, made from old cd’s, some off-pieces of foam and some twigs.
1st step:Take some old cd’s, glue some scraps of foam on them and then with a hot glue gun, place the twigs on the foam pieces (or the cd’s surface if you want to).


2nd step:Cover the cd’s surface with kitchen paper, by using PVA glue, wall filler, and water – the consistency is up to you to decide (not too ”runny” not too ”bulky”). After the materials application, you let the pieces dry for at least 24 hours, otherwise you risk of ruining your brushes whilst painting afterwards.


3rd step:After drying, I used the same technique for painting them (Dark Brown, Brick Red drybrush, Brown drybrush and Medium Grey drybrush).







Below, you see how well they blendwith the rest of the pieces. I am sure that the attacking forces, will think of them as a light cover, from the menace of the machine guns.

The cost for making these five bases, was about 2 euro – a fair deal wouldn’t you say?
Have a nice Monday evening everyone. :-)
T.http://miniaturesterrainpage.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default via: How to make bases with bombed trees?

 

Upcoming Spearpoint 1943 Releases from Collins Epic Wargames

Always good to see some activity on the new wargames front.

 

Good period too

 

Enjoy

 

Collins Epic Wargames has some new releases they’re working on for Spearpoint 1943, their popular WWII card game. One takes us to the Eastern Front, where the sleeping bear that is Russia has awoken, being poked by Hitler’s forces, and has decided that such a poking cannot go unmauled. The other is a Heavy Weapons expansion, because big guns are fun.

The Eastern Front set will come with 220 new cards, focusing on the Russian and German forces that were used during the war. Also are 12 historic scenarios taken from battles that raged during the war. There’s also new Event cards and more. The Heavy Weapons expansion brings 25 new German and Russian units that bring the “heavy” to “heavy artillery.”

Source

via: Upcoming Spearpoint 1943 Releases from Collins Epic Wargames

 

Table Top Gaming News

Interesting post from TGN, with lots of goodies for us wargamers to buy…

The items on sale include some new 28mm Koreans, not to mentinon some interesting 15mm figures to use in SKIRMISH SANGIN

, a game which really does seem to be very realistic…

Happy Reading

 

Soldiers in Sangin

Image by Al Jazeera English via Flickr

 

 

Wednesday. The previous weekend is two days behind us. The next weekend is two days ahead of us. We are perched atop a precipice. Which isn’t to say “it’s all downhill from here,” but I guess you could consider it as such.
At the very least, I hope the first half of the week went smoothly and that the rest of the week follows suit.

In the meantime, we’ve got our collection of bite-sized stories we want to present to you now.

In this batch we have: Adarga Castings releases new 28mm Korean War Communist Forces, Heroic Maps Releases Wardenhale: Docks, The Gentleman’s Query, A Refined Coin Series – Coin #1 on Kickstarter, Voodooworx Miniatures Launch New Website, Warfighter/Skirmish Sangin “Hearts and Minds” Free Scenario Releases, 15mm Orc Buildings pre-order offer at 15mm.co.uk, Punkapocalyptic Previews Stretch Goals on Indiegogo, Monster Dice by Trilania up on Kickstarter, Brigade Models – new 2mm English Forts, Red Duke Games Announces Upcoming Kickstarter for Numinous card game, Dungeon Revolutions by Brickerium coming soon to Kickstarter, and Free Robot Stretch Goal Added to Ramshackle Robots Kickstarter.

via: Midweek Snippets

 

Painting Contest – One for your diary??

One of the great things about the Wargaming hobby is that it has so many facets. For some the most important part of the hobby is the actual playing of the battles, the fun for them being in the pitting of their wits against an opponent whilst also battling ‘Lady Luck’ who so often seems to be on holiday when you need her most…

For others it is ensuring accuracy in the battles that they play, some wanting to re-enact the battle so that it comes out as in history, whilst others want to try out some ‘What If’ scenarios or to see if they could have done better than the general of the day.

Then there is the creation of the scenery, this being a really important issue if you want to have a realistic looking battlefield. This area is of course closely related to the issue of building and painting the models we play with. By the way, there are many people who build tanks or soldiers and that never intend to ‘play’ with them, their hobby being to re-create a model or a scene that all will marvel at and love to look at.

Competitions like the one detailed here are for those hobbiests that want to create stunning looking models (something that is way beyond me by the way). so if you feel like having a go, read on!!

 

CMON Expo is 2 months away. Each week it gets a little closer. And each week we give you another look at all the awesome things that’ll be happening. This week’s update lets you in on the Painting Contest, as well as a bio of special guest Bobby Jackson, plus we’ve filled out the Special Guest page to show all the great people we’ll have at the show.

From the announcement:

Welcome to another CMON Expo Update! It’s hard to believe that Expo is still 2 months away! Or, conversely, Expo is only 2 months away! As is our custom, we’ve got another announcement about the great events and guests we’ve got coming to the show.

This week, we’ve got the announcement about and rules for our Painting Competition, a profile feature on another special guest, and a list of all the guests we’ll be having at the show!

First up, we have our Painting Competition.

2014 winning entry from Rhonda Bender, 'Maybe I Should Have Bought Some Armor'

(image courtesy of tabletopgaming news)

 

2014 winning entry from Rhonda Bender, ‘Maybe I Should Have Bought Some Armor’

Our Expo’s painting competition is a Road to Crystal Brush contest. Bring out your best work for the public, and our panel of judges, to see. The top overall winner will receive his or her choice of $100 in CMoN gift credit, or round-trip airfare to compete at the Crystal Brush Awards 2016, during AdeptiCon, in Chicago!

Submission deadline is 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. Complete category descriptions, entry procedure, and rules are available here.

The ceremony for painting competition and FrankenFest awards will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 21.
Contest is open to people age 14 and up.

 

Source

via: Painting Contest, New Guest Spotlight, and Guest List Filled Out For CMON Expo