Monday, August 24, 2015

Pont-de-la-Crouix

Operation Warboard (David MacKay Company, 1976) was the first wargaming book that I purchased and was one of the books that influenced, along with those by Donald Featherstone, my neophyte wargaming career. We quickly incorporated many of the Operation Warboard rules to our own rules which were up to that point were mainly a combination of Donald Featherstone's and Lionel Tar’s rules. 
Operation Warboard began with an account of a wargame. 

Pont-de-la-Croix
Late August, 1944. The Allied armies have broken out of the Normandy bridgehead and are rampaging eastwards through France. Paris is about to be liberated, and, further south, General Patton’s 3rd Army has passed through Orleans heading for Troyes. To cover his open right flank, Patton- who doesn’t much care about his flanks- has sent off a few small battlegroups, barely more than armoured patrols, like quills sprouting from a hasty hedgehog.

One of them winds south on country roads towards the village (fictional but typical) of Pont-de-la-Croix, which lies across a bridge over a tributary of the river Loire. The American group consists of a platoon of infantry in trucks, three jeeps (one the command vehicle) and a troop of three Shermans- their objective to take and hold the bridge, and if possible the village beyond.

Defending the village is an even smaller element of the Hentzau brigade- two platoons of infantry, one panzershrek (bazooka) team and a company HQ unit including a few riflemen- backed up by a lone panther tank. There’s no way of blowing up the bridge; no explosives, let alone engineers, have arrived. The commander’s objective is to hold the bridge- which he doesn’t think is likely- or at least try to block it, and hold enough of the village (by wearing down the American strength) so that reinforcements can start a counter-attack from there- if such reinforcements ever arrive...

 For some time now I’ve wanted to refight Pont-de-la-Croix  in 28mm using Bolt Action rules. The engagement itself lends itself to Bolt Action and should make for an enjoyable afternoon or evenings gaming. I’ve started the project in that I already have purchased the Shermans and will finish them in the next week or so.

Kent is keen to do a multiplayer game in the next few weeks and so I think a refight of Pont-de-la-Croix may be in order using the forces we can assemble.  

Below is the original map and a photo from the book


I think we'll run with something like this:

US Forces
·         1x Reg 1st lieutenant + NCO
·         3x Reg Shermans
·         3x Reg Jeeps (one of the commander, 2x  HMG jeeps)
·         3x 10 man (Reg) infantry squads
·         1x M3A1 scout car
·         1x 2 ½ ton truck

German forces
·         1x Vet 1st lieutenant + NCO
·         2x 10 men vet squads
·         1x  vet panzershrek
·         1x reg tiger (I don’t have a 28mm panther and tigers are cooler!)
·         2x MMG teams
·         1x 81mm mortar

Reinforcements: From turn 4 onwards we will roll for some German reinforcements (5+ on 1d6)
·         1x 251/1 hanomag half track
·         1x 10 man Vet infantry squad
·         1x 222 armoured car


Craig

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BA Free French vs Fallschrimjager

Kent popped round tonight for our much anticipated game. We rolled up Hold Until Relieved so Kent attacked since he defended last time

My Free French
  • Reg 1st Lieutenant and NCO
  • 3x 8 man vet squads with BAR and 2x SMGs
  • 1x 9 man veteran (tough fighter) squad- Goumiers
  • 2x Reg MMGs
  • 1x Reg Medium mortar + observer 
  • 1x Vet bazooka team
  • 1x Reg 57mm AT gun
  • 1x Reg Greyhound armoured car
  • 1x Reg 105mm Sherman 

Kent fielded his FJ:
  • 1st lieutenant + NCO
  • 2x largeish squads (8-9 men one squad was tough fighters)
  • 2x small squads (at least one was regular)
  • 1x pioneer squad with flame thrower
  • 1x MMG
  • 1x sniper
  • 1x mortar
  • 1x 105mm recoilless gun
  • 1x panzer III(F
  • 1x 222 armoured car
Kent had gone for lots of infantry so was very different to his typical force, quite a few SMGs and assault rifles so made for an aggressive force. He also took a panzer III instead of his more usual stug. 

Kent's FJ are briefed on their mission.

The two story house in the centre is the objective and holds one of my squads, the ruined building holds a second veteran rifle squad.

Kent's pioneers and a small assault squad (assault rifles up the wazoo) start in a woods on my far right flank.

A look from the woods towards the objectives.

A 4th squad start behind the ruined building (or the far right of the previous picture), a sniper and mortar observer are in the ruins.

Turn 1, the 57mm AT gun and bazooka have reached the walled field, the greyhound is nearby and the Sherman can be spotted near the woods (where it missed the assault squad)

A close up of the Sherman and German squads.

 The FJ move out of the cover of the treelined paddock. They are supported by the 222 armourd car.

Germans fan out and prepare to assault the ruin held by my squad.

After laying own plenty of covering fire the assault goes in.

It was a bloodbath. We both lost 5 men in the first round and the German survivors then slew my remaining man to capture a jump off point to the objective.

A good start by Kent! His infantry advance to take advantage of the situation.

Another view of the assault

 Meanwhile the two MMG teams have set up in the barn and both are on ambush. With 6 dice each (BA Net rules) suddenly this makes them something Kent is wary of. Respect at last for MMGs!

My lieutenant checks out the barn. Unfortunately the Sherman has been hit my the mortar and pins are mounting so the lieutenant races out to command the tank but is cut down for his troubles! The Sherman is then neutralised and pinned out of the game!

Still we are holding the objective and I'm quietly confident my troops will hold.

The Mk III has moved out to take on the Sherman so my greyhound advances and takes a snap shot, but misses!

A rifle squad advances to support the armoured car.

Th goumiers have reached the walled field beside the objective. The MMG teams have just ambushed the pioneers.

 Goumiers and pioneers face off.

The tough fighting goumiers assault and destroy the pioneers.

Unfortunately the Sherman fails to pass its order test and continues to be hit by the panzer, the 105mm artillery and the mortar!

The goumiers do their best to ignore the panzer.

 The German infantry in the building continue to pin the greyhound, as does the 222 armoured car.

Things are not looking good for the greyhound.
 And the pins mount up.

Finally a 2cm cannon shot from the 222 penetrates and destroys the greyhound.

The panzer III snipes at the 57mm AT gun- which goes down and refuses to return fire two turns in a row. Grrr....

Finally, the Sherman is pinned out of the game.

Turn 6, the fallschrimjager prepare to assault the objective. My squad in the building has 4 pins and its NCO killed.

Kent times it perfectly.

 The very last dice of turn 6 his squad passes its order test and charges the objective and routs the squad in the building, capturing it.

The 4 survivors after the assault.

We then rolled to see if there was a turn 7 but there wasn't. So Kent had grabbed the objective but I had two squads also contesting so the game was a draw. I lost 5 squads, Kent 4. 

A really enjoyable, and close game. The 6 dice MMG teams was a bit of a game changer in that two on ambush made a very effective deterrent- at last! 

I am looking forward to using these forces again in a couple of weeks.



Monday, August 17, 2015

BA Free French Reinforcements

Unfortunately I've been had a bad cold for a couple of weeks that I couldn't shake so Kent and I have had to cancel a couple of planned games. Hopefully this week though we'll finally get a game in. The plan is to use my Late War Free French vs Kent's Germans and hopefully I can change my current run of losses).

To that end I painted up a few reinforcements last night- a MMG team, officer and observer for my mortar team. All are Artizan Designs- the MMG team are their great coated US infantry, the observer and officer are part of the Devils Brigade special characters range. .

MMG team

 Observer for the medium mortar team.
 I will be running:

  • Reg 1st Lieutenant and NCO
  • 3x 8 man vet squads with BAR and 2x SMGs
  • 1x 9 man veteran (tough fighter) squad- Goumiers
  • 2x Reg MMGs
  • 1x Reg Medium mortar + observer 
  • 1x Vet bazooka team
  • 1x Reg 57mm AT gun
  • 1x Reg Greyhound armoured car
  • 1x Reg 105mm Sherman 

I'm looking forward to the game.

Craig

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Preparing for this week's game- Free French

Kent and I are planning for another game of Bolt Action this week. Time to put my Germans aside for a while and try something different, my Free French.

I did a wee bit of rebasing today. I wanted the force to look more of a hodge podge of uniforms to represent troops that had fought their way through Tunisia, Italy and possibly into Europe. So I've mixed up my second Goumier squad with one of my US infantry in great coats ones so the units have a nice mix of US helmets and equipment, as well as British and French (Adrian helmets) equipment. There are a couple of great scenes in the movie Days of Glory where the troops are being addressed by officers and they are wearing a variety of US, British and French uniforms, that is the kind of look I'm trying to get.

A couple of shots of Days of Glory- the final battle is a bit Saving Private Ryanish but an otherwise enjoyable film, which highlights the issues (such as institutional racism) faced by native troops in the French army during WWII and afterwards.


Goumiers in Italy- djellabah being worn under US webbing. Note the British and US helmets.

I'll use my one unit of djellabah wearing Goumiers as tough fighting mountain troops (vets). The whole tough fighter thing is well and truly overdone in Bolt Action so I'm going to limit myself to a ratio of 1 in 4 infantry squads. I've tried and tried to make regular troops work for me but slowly but surely my troops have been finding themselves upgraded to Vets as they are more survivable vs small  arms fire and in assaults.

And the finished product: 2 Squads of Free French veterans.



I simply run them using US lists/rules and use the French LMGs as BARs.

Looking forward to the game.

Craig

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BA: German infantry rebased

Tonight I decided to rebase the last few double stands of German infantry. I've decided only team weapons like LMGs, panzershreks and snipers will be double based.

The rebased stands. All the figures except one are Artizan miniatures, the other is a Black Tree D-esigns.



And the entire squads- each are 8-9 men strong, including 1-2 LMG teams and 2 or 3 SMGs



Now they are all ready for a game next week vs Kent.