Monday, November 27, 2023

Tactics 2 = Desert Campaign Allied Move 1, Game 2 - Raid & Prisoner Grab.

Having seized the town of Karalaan 1st Armoured Brigade were tasked with raiding the outskirts of town to unsettle and push back the Axis forces. They can been slow to react and had reached Karalaan only to find it in Allied hands.

The 9th Colonial Infantry Regiment were deployed in the pumping station over looking the town, the concentration of blinds gave a good defensive position with barbwire and slit trenches to bolster the line. However the Allies had some luck and were able to call in a preliminary bombardment hitting the pumping station which put the Vichy forces automatically under pressure.

The Allies picked a full platoon, reinforced by a further section and supporting elements, together with a spotter from an off table artillery piece, more than enough for a raid and prisoner grab?

Unsure of the weak spot in the line, the Allies opted for a couple of section across the entire front with the mass of troops filtering through the mosque. That seemed the closed to the enemy positions as else where there was simply to much open ground to cover.

Rather worryingly the CO spotted a H35 Light tank parked up, that could be problematic as the allies only had a single boyes rifle and no one thought that AT Grenades might be an idea.

Several moves in and the British Infantry moved ever closer to the enemy lines, the spotter for the 3inch scrambled on to the roof top, to get a clearer view of the defenders.

The attackers started to make their move under cover of HE rounds.

As the shells landed, the first section rushed across the road the colonial infantry were unable to raise their heads long enough to supress the Brits, who had their eyes firmly on a light mortar team who were valliantly throwing the occasional round towards the attackers, in a sharp firefight the team was over powered and bound up for a race back to the allied lines.

Meanwhile having sensed this was not the full blown assault they had been expecting, the French Armour rolled forwards chasing down the flank section who were forced to fall back, the 3inch turned to fire on the tank but it was difficult to score a hit. The two HMG's were really taking their toll on the allies.

Over confident perhaps. The Boyes AT team popped up from the mosque wall disabling the French tank and allowing the British to slip away. It would be repaired but it was enough to force the French to call it a night.

The 9th are forced to fall back having sustained losses totalling -346 points to the allied -80 another good showing for the allies. Let's see what the next round brings as the Axis forces take look to respond to the allied opening moves.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Big Bashes.....

Sometimes you just want to line them up and knock them down....

A couple of big games, with plenty of toys on the table. First up a stand up fight between the Brits and French, the whistle of cannon ball and the clouds of black smoke as the French columns looked to break the British line.

In true French style the heavy cavalry charged down the meadow looking to break the thin red line.

Will the British line hold?
Should they have formed a square?
Will 3 rounds a minute put paid to the valiant French attack?

Several hundred years earlier and the Ancient Brits aim to hold back the Roman invaders.

A blood soaked field.
But the Romans hold the line, drill and training beating naked (literally) aggression.

Next up back to the desert.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Africa Korps Support Sections.

Having completed the Commonwealth forces, the German Africa Korps clear the paint table, a mix of Warlord and Artisan Miniatures.

A great addition to the German forces and perfect timing as the campaign games are calling.

The German Light AT Gun - 37mm should be ok for stopping some of the lighter armour the allies have. But might struggle against some of the larger peices.

The battle word 75mm IG will be a valuable addition to the Axis assault.

The main stay of German defences the MG42, the Artisan figures are a little more bulkier than the Warlord figures but they blend in well once based up.

Next up..... a couple of BIG games.... and a green table for a change.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Tactic II - Campaign game one - Patrol.

Despite the mass manoeuvre on the map the wargaming gods only spat out a Patrol game with the 14th Foot - The Yorkshire Regiment probing enemy territory and bumping into elements of the 2nd German Mountain Division.

Orders from the higher ups are simple sweep the table visiting the 4 corners and give the Germans a bloody nose if they encounter any enemy combatants.

I opted for a mix of light supports and 3 Bren Carriers to give me some mobility. A low roll on the support table give me a support element with an FAO. The table was rather open but fortunately a couple of adobe buildings were on my side of the table.

Despite the desert expanse the random deployment of Axis forces put them right opposite the British forces.

The Germans were slow to deploy, allowing the Brits to take up strong positions amongst the buildings and crops.

The mountain troops being veterans of previous campaigns they were on the wrong end of some lucky British rolls. The light mortar put the debussing Germans under fire, whilst a lucky 25 pdr shell off table hit the Sdkfz 222 before it could bring it's Auto Cannon into play. 
The Germans withdrew as quick as they had appeared.

The Bren Carriers and a section of Infantry set off to complete their patrol.

A good opening encounter for the Brits losing a mere 30 points to the Germans 180 Points. The Mountain unit are pushed back from the settlement of Abu Qir.
Advantage to the Allies as Abu Qir gives them a strong position to defend or strike out from as the campaign opens up. 

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Tactics II - A WW2 Desert Campaign.

Back in the height of lock down I had the idea to play this over zoom, it went back in the cupboard as we got back to normal. Every now and again I have opened the box and thought about turning it into a fully fledged table top game, but never had the volumes or variety of troops to cover all the units. 

IMG 2134

Then chatting after the last club night I raised the idea of a campaign to link the games together, up until now we have linked the leaders in games, which is great for a big skirmish type affair but it does not give you that strategic feel, I mentioned Tactics II the 1950's classic and one bright spark suggest  it did not have to be western Europe - It could be a desert kingdom, so there you have it Vichy French and Axis Forces vs Commonwealth. Mixing in elements of Platoon Forward, Chain of Command and Bolt Action.

This could be a solo campaign or a mix of club night games to keep it flowing... Not sure right now but it should keep the brushes working... and give the figures a run out.

Tactics II is a real piece of board game history. It was first published in 1954 and whilst lacking the mechanics of more recent games it has a simplicity to it, with matches forces of Infantry, Armour and specialist units of Amphibious, Parachutists and Mountaineers. 

The board is squares with than hexes, Infantry units only have a rating of 1 point, with Armour a 2, it's a simple IGO - UGO with some variation for movement based on a simple weather chart. You cannot stack units so areas of control are important.

I thought I would tweak things a little, with each HQ holding a zone of command which can influence troops moving, so not all troops could be guaranteed actions and force players to protect HQ counters. Useful when adding in that solo map movement as plans can quickly fall apart. A HQ nearby would give you off board artillery in game, counters would only move if passing an order test, this would improve if close to the HQ's.

Every counter would carry a 1000 point value in Bolt Action and games, maps and opposing forces would be generated using Platoon Forward.

So on with the game.
The Commonwealth obtained the initiative and manage to activate a number of their forces more quickly to move forward although frustratingly one of the main forces in the centre failed to moved, which allowed the Axis forces in red to seize the small city in the centre of the board, although they had their own similar troubles with their main force also failing to activate, so were left with only a single counter to defend the river line.

On the right flank I opted for a swift advance seizing the port city of Karalaan before the axis troops could get a garrison inside. I also dropped parachutists behind the Axis troops to block any reinforcements getting to the city.

The forests on the map represent dense scrubland and rocky undulating terrain definitely not tank country. The rivers some a kin to the Nile, others Wadi's and the like.

Focusing on the centre whilst the Axis forces had managed to bring limited forces up to the river line, my Commonwealth troops outnumbered them 2-1 and had a HQ and Artillery in support. The 14th Infantry The Yorkshire Regiment are first to the fray,

Rolling on the mission chart a very limited scenario - a Patrol. The Terrain was classed as moderate as it contained a river. The randomly generated terrain below - The allied patrol will need to visit the Oasis, rocks, road and village..... Some where out there is a German patrol from the 2nd Mountain Division.
Whoever wins the game pushes the opposing counter back on the map.

Before we play that out, over in the mountainous west the Axis forces had reinforced the city but were facing my advancing Infantry down the coast road with Armoured forces picking there way though the narrow mountain passes. Now that does feel like Operation Exporter.

Not a bad way to spend an evening..... Now to put some toys on the table.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Warlord Games Bren Carrier Patrol.

I finished the Bren Carriers a few weeks ago, but they were lacking crew and did not look the part as empty shells. As I near the end of the Operation Exporter project time to clear up some of the last elements and clear the extras.

Nice simple kits to put together from Warlord Games, I mixed up the head gear with a mix of slouch hats, tin bins and turbans for the Indian troops.

Each of the carriers is armed with a Bren gun rather than a Boyes AT rifle. A great addition to the allied forces, I do have a couple of extra Bren Gun's to add to the top for air defence but worry that protruding out of the top of the vehicle they might imply drop off vs game play. Let's see......

Fire up the V8's and let's see how they do in battle.