Sunday, 29 March 2015

Planning the Easter Week Break

Easter Week in Spain is traditionally a big holiday break. In Madrid we'll be from Thursday to Sunday on holidays; but the first three days of the week I don't foresee much activity at work, with everybody travelling or planning to leave to the beach or the ski resorts on Wednesday morning, most likely I'll be returning home pretty early in the afternoon.

I’m not leaving the city so I was thinking this afternoon how best employ this lull of activity. Current plans include the possibility of playing 3 days at the club, as two of my gaming mates will also remain stranded here; I have proposed to umpire the 29 Let’s Go! pint-sized campaign for Chain of Command as we shall be able to play between 2 and 3 games until the weekend. Alternatively we may play some casual games

Painting wise, as I’m somewhat delayed with my El Cid project, I expect to recover some of the time lost and finish my Moor warband. Currently painting some Berber infantry and noble cavalry, I definitively want to finish these guys and idelaly start a levy unit of archers. We aim to start playing using The Crescent & the Cross by late April

On the reading front I’m about to finish the fourth book on the Arnhem campaign in the next few days. I managed to go through the classic A Bridge to Far, Urquhart’s and Frost’s memoirs and currently 70% progress of another great work It Never Snows inSeptember.  I have bought some excellent guides from Pen & Sword and want top do some planning for our club’s collective visit in November to the area coinciding with Crisis 2015 in Antwerp.

So these are my plans but you never know what I may end up doing. Any plans the rest of you guys? Would love to hear.

PS: Specially for those far from Spain, the photo above is not a celebration of the Ku-Kux-Klan, This is the typical dressdown in Easter Week in the country (serious!)...

... well not everybody dress like this but almost...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Old Hickory - New Campaign Book for Chain of Command

TooFatLardies has released a new campaign booklet for Chain of Command in its "Pint-Sized" campaign series. From its website:

Focusing on the action north of Mortain during the German counter-attack, Operation Luttich, we follow the action around one potion as Der Fuhrer Regiment of Das Reich attempt to push the US 30th Division aside.  Historically this is a much studied gritty defence by the yanks, Staff colleges aorund the world still conduct staff rides to look at the events.  We have foillowed the usual format, with historical background and period maps, then a selection of six potential battlegrounds to fight over. 

Thirty pages long, "Old Hickory" contains an overview of US operations in Normandy and beyond from Operation Cobra to the German counter attack at Mortain, Operation Luttich.  It goes on to present a mini-campaign covering the defence of L'Abbaye Blanche, a key position to the North of Mortain where the US 30th Division stood firm against 2nd SS Das Reich, and Der Fuhrer regiment in particular.   

The campaign is a total of six game tables with the duration running between three and eight games.  Briefings are provided for both sides, along with measurable objectives, period maps, force and support option listings and everything you need to play this campaign through to its conclusion.  

Like all of our Pint-Sized campaigns, this is available for the price of a pint in our local pub.  We're sure that you'll agree, that is great wargaming value!  

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Playing Kampfgruppes with Chain of Command

You may have noticed a lack of activity in the blog over the past two weeks. The fact is that I have not been idle at all, but after all the flurry with the last North African Desert campaign, I was longing to stay away from organising and managing the logistics of the games and to concentrate in roll myself some dice  on a wargaming table. Thank God, my club mate Alfredo took the lead and have been umpiring a couple of Normandy-based games over the last two weekends, ending with my abstinence period.

Besides playing, these two games have been helpful to discuss and test a couple of topics not fully covered in Chain of Command: fighting in build-up/urban areas and the use of kampfgruppes.

As you probably know, the German army used extensively ad-hoc fighting groups combining forces from different arms and units, the combination depending on the type of mission that the kampfgruppe had to undertake. As the war progressed and the units were below the OB theoretical complement (due to casualties or insufficient reinforcements), the use of this special groups increased, usually named after the commander in charge.

FJs and Pz IV in support attacking a Norman Village

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Desert Campaign # 5: The Empire Strikes Back & Grand Finale

With the British Empire counterattack today, our Desert Campaign started mid-January concluded with a failed attempt to take the Axis main HQ position. A long game this morning where continuous blows from both sides to the enemy had the battle unresolved almost until the last minute, when one of the British infantry platoons (Polish) moral level fell to zero, leaving the Allied side with no other option but to concede defeat.

The scenario today was the third rung of the campaign which corresponded with the "Attack to an Objective Scenario 6" of the Chain of Command main rules book. In this case the objective was the main HQ of the Axis armies located at the oasis of Wad-de-Fak and the prize was to capture Rommel himself! Alas it was not possible despite a daring and aggressive attack of the Empire troops.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Desert Campaign Game # 4: Revenge of the Sij

The stunning Axis victory in the third game of the campaign, with the destruction of 2/3rds of the British tank force and the Indian infantry taking significant casualties, made the Axis players to be bolder than anticipated and instead of reinforcing the positions recently won, they launched a counterattack that could be decisive to win the campaign.

With the British now cornered in the first rung of the campaign ladder (see At the Sharp Endcampaign book for more detail) it was expected to be an all-out fight: a defeat in the game today would put an end to the campaign with the Axis emerging as the victors.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Desert Campaign Game # 3: Panzer Battles

The North Africa desert campaign continued today with the third in which the Axis troops after being badly mauled in the previous encounter, were now to conduct a defensive retreat action (scenario 4 of the Chain of Command book).

An what an epic struggle it was: the DAK Panzer section won several iron crosses and other garlands, taking revenge on behalf of the beating received lat week by its brother infantry platoon. The Panzers on its own sent the enemy Indian infantry platoon reeling out of the table, destroying almost two sections and then  almost totally wiped-out the British armour assets.

The Heroes of the Day

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Desert Campaign Game # 2: When the DAK melted like ice in the heat

The second game of our Desert Campaign resulted in a total disaster for the Axis player, whose DAK platoon received a severe punishment and lost almost a full section. This time the Indian troops were much more cautious than in the first game and took revenge from the shameful rout suffered.

The Axis players decided to take a defensive stance and not counterattack;  they had one DAK and one Italian infantry platoons, this time supported by an anti-tank section instead of an armoured platoon. The ATG section had one 88mm guns and two Pak 36 guns.

The table was similar to that of the previous game: the Axis deployed on the left of the map below, in a  position at the foothills of a defile in the desert; this side of table edge  is dotted with hills (up to two levels) representing the area just outside the gorge. The Empire troops should move in a relatively flat terrain before reaching the enemy positions.