Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy 2014 and New Year Resolutions

In a few hours, 2013 will be history in  Europe and I'd like to wish all my blog readers and wargaming pals a most prosperous and happy 2014. Time also to think about plans for the New Year, although I have little trust in these being any more sustainable that an ice cube in summer time ("plans do not survive contact with the enemy" as Molkte's adaggio goes) .

For this reason and in order to be realistic for once in life, I'll set myself limited targets to guide my  activity over the next 12 months, taking also into consideration potential events happening in the wargaming landscape.

My main objective this year will be to conclude successfully the Afrika CoC project that we launched a few (literally) days ago. Momentum was good due to coinciding with the Christmas period, as most of gorup's mates involved have invested in models and had time to paint during the holidays. I'll say that success is 99% guaranteed and will start playing in late January or early February.

Monday 30 December 2013

Chain of Command España: A One-Stop Source


As mentioned a few days ago, TooFatlardies started the publication of materials to play the Spanish Civil War with Chain of Command (CoC España), an herculean task undertaken by fellow Lardites ("Lardistas"?) Jim Hale and Rolf Grain.

Over the Christmas period TooFatLardies official blog "Lard Island" has been releasing new lists covering in high level of detail the different actors of this conflict. In this  post I want to make the compilation of all the available materials, aiming to become a one-stop point to any person interested in the period. This post will be republished and updated with the release of new materials.

In addition to the lists, each specific entry in the Lard Island blog has a very interesting introduction that provides useful background information, that I strongly recommend to read in conjunction with the lists.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Charlie in Chez Barrage Miniatures: A Vietnam Riverine AAR

What a wonderful way to end my year of wargaming! I was invited by the owners (...and good friends too) of Barrage Miniatures to umpire a riverine game in Vietnam with Charlie Don't Surf and had the privilege to preview the new US 28mm transport boats to be released for sale in a few days.

We used the advanced riverine rules published in the 2011 Summer Special, that I did not have the opportunity to play before because of lack of materials, and one of the specific scenarios included in the same publication.  I must say that the advanced rules are really good and I only regret not having played before one of these games

What's the monk on the right doing with a lighter?

This morning's scenario was a HUGE one involving four VC regular platoons reinforced with a weapons section (mortars+ HMGs) and two AA machine guns sections vs 3 US infantry platoons riding in ASPB Alpha Boats, 3 patrol support boats, one AVRN Rangers platoon riding in Hueys and two attack helicopters.

The small delta fishing hamlet is being transformed in a key VC base-depot where food and weapons were stored for the incoming offensive. In the meantime, the US command had decided to launch a combined arms operation aiming to preempt the enemy attack and to destroy their offensive capacity.

Villagers attending their peaceful(?) trade

Friday 27 December 2013

Taking Stock of 2013

As I did last year, it is time now to assess my 2013 wargaming performance in 2013. And the first conclusion: plans are good... for NOTHING. Reading again the post where I revealed my resolutions for the current year now I realised from minute one that I was bound to accomplish little or nothing of what I was looking to do: neither I consolidated IABSM as a main playing set, nor I played a single (!) game of Through the Mud & the Blood along this year. Worse thing of all, my very modest objective of starting just  ONE new project (Dux Britanniarium) was not even initiated!!

But on the other hand, I cannot really complain of this year as a wargamer considering the complexity I faced in my working life (started and consolidated my own new company after losing my job) and my family life (with my father in-law suffering a long and serious illness, still unrecovered, bringing increasing stress to my wife and her mother).

So why the satisfaction?

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Prezzies Arrived!

Anibal Invictus was a good boy and last night Santa rewarded him with some nice additions to his lead pile: Italians and British Perrys to start our Afrika CoC project!!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Chain of Command España **UPDATE**

An anticipated Christmas stocking filler from TooFatLardies this morning: the new special rules and QRS to play the Spanish Civil War with Chain of Command have been released for downloading at their official blog Lard Island.

This follows a set of outstanding articles written by Jim Hale and Rolf Grein included in the recently published Christmas Special. One of the best materials I've read for years, extremely informative, well written and structured, showing a clear knowledge about the period and long hours of research. I can't recommend more.... time to take the dust out of my 20mm SCW armies and returning to the wargaming table!

UPDATE: Just on the same Christmas Day, Santa brought a new present: the Falange Militia lists, now available to download at Lard Island. Thanks Jim and Rolf again

Merry Christmas

On this special day of the year, my family and I would like to wish you all a most Happy and Peaceful Christmas in the company of your beloved ones, and may your wishes come true!

Sunday 22 December 2013

Where Victoria and Iron Crosses Grow: A Chain of Command Report

Today, the British forces dealt a decisive blow on the enemy, storming a main position of the defensive lines and sending armoured troops through the gap to the rear of the enemy. Both, the lack of depth in the defence and the exhaust affecting the Germans after so many days of combat, contributed to crumble the moral of the enemy forces and the ensuing panic followed.

So it ends our fourth game, and to all effects the mini-campaign fought in Normandy over the past few weeks with Chain of Command. Recaping:

First game:  breaking from the beach area, the British established a forward position at Gruyere-sur-Mere (a key cross road directing inland Brittany) that survived a ferocious counterattack of the Germans.

Second game: the British detached a platoon in scouting role to test and gather intelligence about the configuration of the following line of defence held by the Germans. Unfortunately it bumped with another German group looking to seal the gap created after the failed counterattack. In the ensuing battle, and with the odds clearly against the British in unknown bocage country, the British backed with heavy losses.

Friday 20 December 2013

Launching Operation "Afrika CoC"

To the new project!! Cheers mate!!

As every year this time, we all start pondering by now our new year resolutions list and, of course, deciding what new wargaming projects to pursue. And also by this time of the year we feel somewhat frustrated as many of our so carefully laid plans had been derailed as real life tend to interfere with our dreams more often than not.

In any case, I have the feeling that my plans for 2014 are going to work. It was just early this week that I was thinking how nice would be to play the North African theater of operations with Chain of Command, after seeing TFL’s report in the Antwerp Crisis gathering.  I was also quite attracted by the Perry’s plastic boxes and have been in the verge of buying both the 8th Army and the Afrika Korps several times visiting my local (drug?) dealer in Madrid.

So why not giving it a try? And even better... why not checking with some of club mates to see if anyone interested? To my surprise, I was overwhelmed with the response  and not 24 hours has passed when I had already 8 eager souls shelling me with emails and asking how and when to start. And our desire has only increased after reading the two first reports of the Desert Campaign currently being played at the TooFatLardies HQ!!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Penguin giving away toys!

Fellow Penguin Nordic Lardie Leif Erikson's blog has reached one of those milestones worth a celebration... and great one it is!. He's giving away a number of useful and interesting bit and pieces of material in the most popular scales (15mm and 20mm) that would fit in most wargamer's collection of II WW armies.

So don't hesitate to leave a nice comment and become a follower, not only because of the shiny toys but also because of the intrinsic interest of the blog content: exhaustive analysis of X-Wing releases, lessons in building and painting PSC models...  

Monday 16 December 2013

The View from my Window

Sun setting in Madrid.
Clear skies in a beautiful winter evening. 
Our Sauronesque towers look in flames!
It smells Christmas

Sunday 15 December 2013

Blazing our way in! - A Chain of Command Battle Report

We played the third game of our mini-campaign in Normandy with Chain of Command. As I mentioned in my previous post, this campaign was unintended, as I realised that it was easy to link the events of the first two games into a structured and cohesive narrative.

The story unfolded as follows: after successfully breaking from the beachhead on D-Day, Lt Lozano (commanding a platoon of regular British infantry) established an advanced position in the small hamlet of Gruyere-sur-Mere in a key cross-road. In our first game, a German counterattack with a hastily made kampfguppe of different infantry units failed to eject the invaders and the German commander decided to pull out and move to a new defensive line.

Encouraged by the success in repelling the Germans, the British sent an advanced party to test the location and configuration of the German defensive positions. Unluckily they bumped head to head with a recon enemy force with the mission to seal the gap in the lines. A ferocious battle in the bocage developed, with tragic consequences for the British, who lost half of the force and broke in panic.

In the game today, Lt Lozano was given the task to penetrate the German defences after intelligence reports indicated a weak spot in the lines. In this case we used Scenario 2 “The Probe” in which the attacker must place at least one team   in the defender’s base line. This base line comprises an area 12” wide and the table side long (see maps below).

Saturday 14 December 2013

Closing with the Enemy: Book review

Michael Doubler: Closing With the Enemy: How Gis Fought the War in Europe 1941-45, University Press of Kansas (1994)

I got interested in this book after reading a review in one of the blogs I regularly follow (unfortunately cannot remember who did it: if you happen to read this, please stand up to give you the full credit).
As it can be inferred from the title, this book deals with the tactical approach of the US Army in the European campaign, mostly focused  around the battalion and company organisational levels, although making frequent deep dives into smaller unit actions.

The author attempts to dispel  the popular belief that US won the war thanks to overwhelming material and human resource, fighting along the lines provided by the field manuals and allergic to introduce any tactical innovation in the way of conducting the operations.

“Totally the opposite” writes Col. Michael Doubler. He founds an army that tore into pieces the tactical notions learnt in the training camp as soon as the first GI put his feet in North Africa, marking the beginning of its involvement in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). He also describes an army not only geared to innovation as requested by the tactical situation at each moment, but who also spread the tactical lessons learned with gusto and high efficiency across all levels of the army organisation, having produced in the 10 months running to VE day a staggering 1.500 documents of tactical value.

Saturday 7 December 2013

US Forward Artillery Observation Team

Today I finished painting and basing a US FAO team from Warlord to reinforce my Chain of Command US forces. These minis are a real joy to paint, full of character and with really nice detail: from the watch being observed by the officer (center) also holding the telephone, to the compass held by the figure in the rignt plotting the fire coordinates onto a map. The figure of the left carries a wireless radio on his back (the antenna is still work in progress!)

FAC teams are a must to play CoC in order to direct your big mortars (battalion assets) on the table.

I'm also finishing a similar team for the Germans that I will show here in due time

Monday 2 December 2013

Probing the Enemy Lines - A Chain of Command Report

Following the success defence of Gruyere-sur-Mere and the reject with high casualties of the German counterattack, Lt. Lozano was ordered to move forward and probe where the new enemy lines were established.

Today we played a second game of Chain of Command confronting British and German forces in Normandy. For this second stage of what unintentionally is emerging as a mini-campaign, we chose the “Patrol Scenario” of the book. In this scenario, two enemy forces advance towards the no man’s land with the intention of conquering the area in preparation for a follow-on attack.

According to the scenario instructions, each side has a base force (a 3-squads infantry platoon) and then die a roll to obtain reinforcements. Unfortunately I roll a “1” which allowed both players to buy a very low-level asset. From my list (German) I only saw as minimally useful to attach an adjutant (helps deploying forces on the table) or a medical orderly (to attend wounded leaders). I opted for the former as this would allow me the option to deploy my senior leader early on the table without penalties when attempting to put on play the rest of my force.

The View from the British Side

Ehrhardt E-V/4 Armoured Car

Barrage Miniatures has just announced a new vehicle to its growing range of WWI "rarities" in 28mm. Time now for the German Ehrhardt E-V/4 armoured car mainly used in the late war battles and which saw service almost until the IIWW.

A nice model to add to your Christmas wish list!