Wednesday 17 September 2014

Meeting at Longlier - CDTOB AAR Part 2

We continued our slow progress through the Meeting at Longlier scenario once more. The fighting is becoming more intense, Longlier is occupied by entire battalions from both sides and the Germans are desperately attempting to march around the French flanks.
The situation at the end of Turn 6
As can be seen from the map above, the French advanced rapidly to form up a line centred on Longlier. The Germans are trying to flank the French on the right with a battalion or more of infantry (it feels like more at the moment!) and the German recon cavalry is in the north-west of the map attempting to gallop around and capture the built-up areas behind French lines. Not all units are shown on the map, for the sake of clarity.
The view from the German lines at the end of Turn 4
Turn 4 saw the French artillery deployed and ready to rain all-out thermonuclear heck on the Germans, while troops of both sides marched towards the front at full speed. We set to and I gleefully rolled for artillery response for my first artillery unit. No response. I rolled for the second. No response. What were these idiots up to? I cursed my gunners as they failed to fire at all.

Meanwhile Longlier was becoming the Stalingrad of the Lorraine area. Both armies occupied it but neither was making much headway as new troops were fed in from the rear. On the German left flank forces were building up and things were starting to look dicey for the French.
View from the French end of the table at the end of Turn 5
Turn 5 began with the artillery stonk that I had hoped for on the previous turn. It was much better than the planned stonk from the previous turn because the Germans had parked all their artillery in the walled field to the east of Longlier (top of the picture above). A couple of artillery templates covered the artillery and some infantry, and some lucky dice rolling destroyed the entire artillery battalion. BOOM! The infantry were not happy either. Suddenly the field was empty.

The fighting in Longlier continued as more troops were fed into the meatgrinder, and the German left flank continued to march around towards the French artillery. It looked like they would be able to charge the artillery on the next turn, which would probably not go that well for the guns and the gunners.
End of Turn 6 as taken by an observation pilot in a Bleriot plane. North is to the top of the picture.
The start of turn 6 went well for the French. All the guns fired, suppressing infantry in Longlier and blunting the flanking attack. Better yet, the French won the initiative and were able to charge the first flanking force, destroying part of it and causing the rest to become shaken. The fight in the eastern woods dragged on with honours being even on both sides, but the French troops became pinned by their opponents. Next turn may not go well for them and reinforcing companies are also advancing rapidly around the flank. It may be too late for an orderly withdrawal from that side of the battlefield, but there are no strategic objectives there, so sucking the Germans into a drawn out firefight might actually work in the long run, but at the cost of some brave poilus.

In Longlier casualties mounted up but no progress was being made. Meanwhile the French had a company advancing around both sides of the town. It will be tough digging the Germans out, but it is still a possibility.

To the north of Longlier, German infantry and cavalry were advancing round the flank. A battalion of French infantry was deployed to try to cut them off. The French cavalry who had held part of the town from the start mounted up and moved out through the infantry lines to try to catch the German cavalry and sort it out.

We've made mistakes with the rules along the way, but the scenario is turning out to be good fun. Fog of War cards add something to the chaos without unbalancing the game, and the forces seem fairly evenly matched. Steve is showing his tricksy side with his flanking manoeuvres while I have focused on driving through the middle in best Viking berserker tradition. It's a shame that we cannot play more and finish it sooner but overall I think I have sold Steve on CDTOB now.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Norway 1940 in 15mm

Many years ago I converted a bunch of Peter Pig and Old Glory 15mm DAK troopers into a Norwegian army for PBI2. Since those heady days, the figures have languished in a box file awaiting a return to PBI2 or any other game system that will permit their use. Then, earlier this year, my friend Nathan suggested playing the scenarios from the Skirmish Campaigns Norway 1940 scenario book. I had the book, I had the figures, and I was sold instantly. There was just a small matter of buying a few Brits and some Frenchmen for some of the scenarios, but I could live with that, so I dug them out and began transferring them from multibases to skirmish bases. More recently, Feathersword on the Command Decision forum was asking about Norwegians so I responded, and he responded by asking for photos. These are some photos of my Norwegian army in response to his request. Hopefully it will not be too long before I get the scenarios played too, although my friend has inconveniently decided to breed a proto-wargamer in the meantime which is likely to mean reduced opportunities for gaming.


I think both of these are pretty much straight from the PP DAK officers pack

Officer and LMG Gunner
Officer as above. The LMG gunner is a British Bren Gunner with pack removed and head swapped for a DAK head, which is close enough to the Norwegian cap for my purposes.

MG Gunners
The LMGs in this photo are a British Bren Gunner and a Japanese LMG. The number 2s on the guns are both Japanese. The MMG is a British Vickers with the barrel end cut about a bit. The gunners had their packs removed and their heads swapped. It's close enough to the Colt for wargames purposes. I think I may have the ammo feed from the wrong side, but it's hard to tell in the photos I've seen because the same photo is printed both right way round and reversed, and there is nothing to tell me which is which.

For the riflemen I mostly used DAK riflemen, but I also used Germans and Russians in greatcoats for that winter chic. The guys on the left are partisans or RCW types who I use as local volunteers with no military equipment. It may not be entirely right, but it is romantic.

Ski Troops
It's not Norway without skis. These are German ski troops with helmets removed where necessary and caps added.

A German sniper straight from the PP pack painted in Norwegian uniform.

More DAK troops to provide support. This time a medium mortar. Let's hope that gunner is carrying tins of ammunition and not more lutefisk.

75mm Gun
This 75mm gun is the bastard offspring of a British 18lber and a Krupp 77mm from the PP WW1 range. It has the old-style wheels because apparently only a very few 75s were converted to pneumatic tyres for towing by vehicles. The crew are more PP DAK troops.

Looking at these guys, I now have a nostalgic urge to play PBI2 again, and a strong desire to cover my gaming table in snow.