Thursday, 29 March 2018

IABSM Test Game: Turns 18 - 23 ENDEX

View from 3 Pl. 1Pl attacking from right to left

Well that ended quickly. 3Pl provided a mediocre fire-base as they couldn't really see the target - certainly not after the smoke went down. 1Pl started moving though the open orchard but started taking casualties from the German Zug. 3 Pl started laying smoke late, but the wind was pushing it back towards 3Pl, so they couldn't adjust well to cover the rear of the building (off image to left above).

1 Pl (centre top) raked by fire on leaving the orchard by Germans at upper left

As a result as 1Pl emerged they were due to edge of table too much in line with the German defence (especially as the reserve Gruppe had moved to close the back-door), and not obscured by the smoke. In one round the reserve Gruppe inflicted 3 hits on each unit, which added to the 3 they already had reduced each section to 2 men, and so no longer effective. With only 3Pl left, and that a bit battered, and the German Zug more or less untouched and in a strong defensive position the Company Commander decided to call it a day. Game over.

Overall not bad. Quite a realistic result, I remember being taught that a good MG position is a Platoon attack target, the Germans had 2 of them, plus the two platoons which are each Coy attack targets, so trying to do this with one unreinforced company was always going to be a tall order!

What I liked about IASBM:

  • The blinds - but is the CoC patrol phase better?
  • The very simple modifiers
  • Spotting
  • The mortar and smoke mechanism
  • The variable movement
  • The tea break card
  • Card based activation
  • Bucket of dice - becoming a convert
And playing at 1:1 figure to ground scale. But 6mm is just too small for 1:1 men, and looking forward to using the new 10mm figures and happy to have only a ~2:1 error ratio.

What I liked less:

  • Suppression seemed secondary to damage, not the other way around
  • Shock and damage didn't seem to achieve much different, in this game damage dominated
  • Big Men rarely got the change to use their range of actions (since a small game?)
  • Not sure that every Pl needs a Big Man, if the Pl activates as a unit anyway - gets confusing
  • The damage table - you have to look everything up

I think overall CWC/BKC is closer to what I want, but neither is ideal so may be back to writing my onw, but more influenced by IABSM/CWC than WRG!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 13- 17

The British attack finally goes in. 3 Pl is providing the smoke and firebase, everyone else is going right flank, bags of smoke, with 2 Pl left and 1 Pl right.

2Pl realise too late that making a full 2-3 activation move to reach the enemy will lose them dice in the melee, so they stop short in the smoke to await the next turn. 1 Pl has swung nicely wide and sends 2 & 3 Sections against the Gruppe lining the hedge ( a flank guard recently moved up), whilst 1 Section goes in against the rear of the dug-in  MG42.

2 & 3 Sections get surprisingly bounced, but inflict a fair amount of damage. A Sect also has a tough time and takes 2 rounds to get the MG42 team (well 1 man) to retreat.

Next turn 2Pl finally goes in, and again take a lot of damage from assaulting the emplaced infantry head on. 2 & 3 Sections are going against the Gruppe lining the hedge, and 1 Section against the weak Gruppe in the house.

1 Section gets bounced - unsurprisingly, but 2 & 3 manage to secure their objective and the German Gruppe is reduce to 1 man, pulls back, and loses it's Big Man.

In the next turn the smoke finally clears.

2 Pl activates first and sends 2 Sect left against the building and 3 Sect right against 1 Pl's opponent. Despite their losses 3 Sect wins out, but 2 Sect is repulsed - although only one man is left in the building (and only 1 shock so OK!). 3 Pl then activates it and pours in all its firepower, which ends up being far more effective than earlier in the game (was I doing something wrong?) and kills the brave bloke!

1 Pl and 2/3 Sections recover in the Orchard whilst 3 Sect/2Pl finishes their work, right

The 3Pl firebase and target house

A quick regroup and then its time to turn the British focus on the 2nd German Zug, still on a blind in the other house the other side of the T junction. 1 Pl is just about battleworthy (2 men down per section, so only 2 activations each). 2Pl has lost one section and has quite 2 weakened, so they'll join with 3 Pl (which has lost 1/2 section) to provide the firebase. It might be nice to swop 1 & 3 but 1 is in a better position to go right flanking and get right behind any German emplacements. 2Pl can also provide 3Pl with its smoke for the screen.

The next objective - the remaining German Zug, still on blind!

Overall this phase went quite nicely. Juggling men lost and shock seems a pain at times for no real benefit. Also I ended up with quite a few units at 2-3 men, so that meant they had no actions, so could only sit and be assaulted - so I decided to just remove them from the table if they weren't in a good defensive position. I also forgot about the 2" mortar rapid HE fire in the assault - I think that might be needed as its now a pretty even match for the last fight and the Germans can hole up in the buildings if they want. Could be a close run thing which is about right given the ratios.

Aim to finish this week so I can clear the decks for Easter and Rommel.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

6mm North Africa force for Rommel complete

I've finally completed my 6mm North Africa force for Sam Mustafa's Rommel, and most of the scenery. Just the coast lines and hills to go, and to draw up the 15cm squares on the cloth! Should be ready to play after Easter.

The larger town - 1/1000th to better match the ground scale

8th Army infantry - note the knees!

Another view of the town

Afrika Korps infantry

Monday, 19 March 2018

West Midlands Military Show - WMMS 2018

Braved the snow for my annual trip to WMMS - my local wargame show - at the weekend. The overnight snow-fall (c.2-3") had a big impact, and I'd estimate about 25% of traders and 50% of demo games didn't make it. On the plus side it was the fastest drive I ever had there as once I was off our road and onto the city B roads and then the M6/M54 the roads were clear and the traffic light! And the car park was actually usable (rather than having tens of soccer teams in and playing).

It must have been a tough call for the organisers, but I think they made the right one. And all the traders I spoke to thought it had still been worth the trip. So thanks to everyone for making the effort!

The main traders I did make it, Pendragon, Magister Militum and Tumbling Dice, so that was good.

From TD I bought my first batch of metal 20mm ECW. They look good alongside the plastics (if headless!), and nice figures with separate and multiple heads, so I'll be buying and painting up 6-12 units this year (flash not removed yet!).

I'd planned to get some trial medieval 20mm from MM, but they weren't carrying any on the stall, and it sounds like an old range. But TD did 20mm WOTR (which I'd missed), and they looked really nice. Didn't buy any but I think it's where I'll start in the next couple of months.

I'd also planned to get some trial 10mm WW2, but Pendraken only had big unit packs. But MM had smaller packs and nice looking figures so bought some of those. They'll fit OK with my existing 6mm scenery (and I usually used buildings one scale down anyway), so I can see myself doing a Coy or even Bn of WW2 North West Europe next year, and using those instead of the 6mm I'm currently using for IABSM and BKC.

10mm Magister Militum figures with 6mm building (Baccus?)

Other purchases included:

  • A couple of nice small stone buildings (grottos) for use as objectives (MM again)
  • Some 10mm haystacks from Pendragon for 6mm objectives
  • A deviation dice
  • Daniel Mersey's Wargamer's Guide to the Desert War
I probably bought less than planned, but more ECW figures!

As I said there were a lot of empty wargames tables, so slim pickings in terms of games to dwell on. The ones that caught my eye were :

  • A nice Wars of Religion game from the Wyre Forest Wargamers using "Twilight of the Sun King: Birth of the Age of Reason" - they have an ECW version coming!
  • A nice 10mm Lace Wars game by the same group (pics below)
  • A nice 12mm Crusade era game using Hexon terrain and Hordes and Heroes rules - nice scale 12mm (pics below)
  • The card driven Napoleonic game (NapPoker or something?)

It did strike me that 10mm/12mm was around in far more profusion than normal - just easier to cart through a snow-storm? My brother is heavily into 10mm, and I can increasingly see its merits, but having just finished as shed-load of 6mm I'm not about to redo them! But the 10mm WW2 will be a start. Perhaps I should have (should?) decide to go metric and standardise on 10mm/20mm/30mm!

Some nice MM 10mm Napoleonics....

All in all well worth the trip over, and again thanks to everyone who turned up and made it happen.

Friday, 16 March 2018

8th Army Armour off the bench!

11th Hussars Honeys

The British armour for Rommel is mounted, labelled and off the work-bench. Also some of the scenery items. Last big tasks are the infantry and hills, and then time for a game!

The latest batch - just waiting for the Matildas - Caunter takes longer!

Crusaders of 7th Hussars - fond memories of the Airfix 1/72nd kit!

Grants of 2RTR - far nicer than the Lee!

An oasis - scenery only, and the "budget" palm trees

Supply base - one for each side

Thursday, 15 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 8 - 12

After about another turns of damage which forced 1 Section of 3 Pl to withdraw under the "loss of bottle" rule (and down to 3 men!) the Platoon Commander finally managed to get the 2" mortar to lay a smoke screen in front of the German position.

At the same time 1 Pl (still on blind) and 2 Pl started to swing right behind 3 Pl ready to launch a right-flanking, bags of smoke assault.

1 Pl in position, 2Pl almost there. The screen is now fully stoked so has 4 turns left, and the German Zug 2 commander has brought up his reserve Gruppe to cover his left flank in expectation of a British assault.

Should be time to test the hand0-to-hand rules next time.

In other news, almost finished all the North Africa armour, and its the West Midlands Military Show this weekend!

Monday, 5 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 1-7

Going well so far. The effectiveness of the initial (corrected) stonk was blunted somewhat by the first few turns having Tea Break cards after the  Axis Big men (removing Shock - ah, are they allowed to do that to Blinds?) but before the Brits could move! Eventually the Brits got going, using the cover of the corn-field and in two turns were crossing the small hedges into the first orchard. The Germans spotted the far right British blind - but that was revealed to be the dummy (1-3 on D6). The next left British 3 platoon were also spotted by the German blind in the forward house, but spotting back this was revealed to be a dummy - so there were no Germans in the first two buildings. The Company Commander doubled 3 platoon towards the house, and they quickly moved in, spotted the German blind in the next house, and  tried to get off some rounds but not being at full effect caused no damage - interesting how simple the IABSM fire chart is - no modifiers, just 3 range band and 3 target/shot categories - seems very odd! 2 Platoon also pushes forward and into the left hand near house - being spotted as they do so. Spotting working well and love the blinds.

Now that the situation was clear, the German's defending the two rear houses (left and centre) and his forces balanced also to the left it was time for the company commander to sit down and do his appreciation or Tactical 7 Questions. In "normal" wargames mode the Brits might just push on, squaring up against the two German strongpoints, and their two MG42, and probably get wiped out. All the Sandhurst training though says to focus on the right building, leave 3 Platoon as a fire base and then go right flanking with Platoons 1 and 2 with bags of smoke. So our gallant company commander calls for 1 Platoon to swing across to the right, followed by 2 Platoon (do they leave the 2nd house vacant?) to make their way to an FUP and start line. We'll see how it goes.

Situation at end of Turn 3. Only 1 Platoon is left on a blind on the British side. At the 1:1 scale 3 Platoon by the right near house is only just visible.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

First North Africa WW2 Units - German Armour

The first elements of my 1/300th North Africa WW2 project (with Rommel rules, and probably Blitzkrieg Command), have made it out of the workshop.

  • Two Panzer Abteilung, one with PzKfw IIs and IIIs, one with PzKfw IIIs and IVs
  • The 605th PanzerJager Abteilung with PanzerJager 1
  • One Kompanie of Sd Kfz 231 8-Rad
Lots of terrain, British armour, and infantry for both sides to come over the coming weeks.

Friday, 2 March 2018

North of Caen - IABSM Test Game Setup

I've been wanting to try out IASBM for ages, particularly when Chain of Command didn't "float my boat". Knowing how long it would take to set up (and tear down) a 20mm game I decided to go for 6mm instead, using my 8 man section hexes as half-sections, so I've got 16 figure sections but who cares.

One of the nice things about doing in 6mm is that with ~30m = 4cm hexes its almost 1:1 ground to figure scale. Needless t say I'm converting the rules to hex!

The overall layout looks really nice. Both sides start on blinds (like the blinds idea). A weak German platoon is defend the village from an advancing British platoon.

The Brits get 3 12" square ( 3 x 7 hex) stonk at the beginning of the game. But I then discovered that since all the Germans are on blinds then all the Brits can do is reduce German activations for next turn (BUT: see Update below) - which they do for two of the blinds, despite one salvo being so widely off it picks up the next target (like the deviation dice). Doesn't look like the arty rules give any benefit from being entrenched that I could see either (whether on Blinds or not).

Preliminaries out of the way then, on with the fight...

Long shot - Brits at Bottom, Germans in village at top

German blinds in the village

Update: Realised that "stonk" is a specific thing in IASBM - doesn't mention that at the start of the Indirect Fire chapter. Far nastier. Rolled for the damage on the two blinds that got it - one twice. Not revealing to myself which of the two blinds are real troops til I need to (by dice), so (as a German) hoping that the Germans are defending forwards!

Stonk results: red marker = Shock, White Puff = dead