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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Berkeley 2017 day 2 action

In the morning of day 2, I took the opportunity to take some shots of the Kiel Canal table.  All I knew of this one was the Soviet forces radio network, telling us that Soviet forces had crossed the canal in strength, throwing a number of bridges across.  While they were mopping up some Canadian holdouts, hiding in the cellars, the bridgehead had driven inland and secured a perimeter.


This was the additional table added to the Soviet right flank to place the action in a more central part of the table.


Soviet bridgehead from the Canadian and Belgian side.


Dutch arrive on NATOs right flank on the Kiel Canal.


Back on the Polish landing table, the Brits on NATOs left flank continue to hold solidly.

 
In the centre, Polish marine engineers hold the UE building in the distance.


On the Polish left, units make best use of concealing terrain to survive and hold the perimeter.






Back at the canal, the Soviets continue to cross the river.


On the Polish table, the marines are dismayed to find they are now facing a regiment of Challengers!!  Now what are they doing assigned to Landjut one may ask.  The marines had been told to expect light screening forces and here they are facing the latest generation of British heavy armour.  At least that's another heavy armoured regiment not engaged at the Kiel Canal or available to Northag.


As they were unwilling to commit suicide, the Poles decided to hunker down in cover and see what developed.  An artillery duel began with the British using 105s to bombard marines in the centre, while the Polish used counterbattery fire to silence all 4 batteries in 2 turns - good shooting lads.  Air support also came screaming in, but iron bombs had little effect on Challengers.


Simon even called in strategic assets on Nicks Brits, but even the 12 dice this rained down had little effect on the Chieftains;.


The Polish marines hunkered down in cover.




The last flings of the day involved the Poles finally getting some meaty air support with a strike from cluster bombs, air delivered ATGMs and iron bombs.


At the same time, Gordon, the umpire, released the Polish reserves, a T-72 tank regiment, which flank marched onto the far left of the table, into the flanks of the Challengers.  Another close range knife fight was about to break out with the Brits needing to turn to fire back, and face close range op fire.  Unfortunately, their excellent saves would make them a tough nut to crack, but Polish armour was now loose in the British rear.




Nick's Brits on the right still holding out with no bother.


Meanwhile around the Kiel Canal bridgehead, stalemate on the Soviet left flank next to the bridgehead.


The Soviet bridgehead at the end of day 2.


Soviet right flank on the Kiel Canal.


All in all a great couple of days gaming.  The Polish marines had secured their beachhead and were starting to expand with the aide of the T-72 regiment reserves, albeit at the cost of about 1/3rd of their effective strength.  Simon's Polish infantry had suffered extensively and were present in little more than reinforced battalion strength on the right flank, but still securing the key town and river crossing point, splitting the British defenders.  News from the Kiel Canal also seemed to be promising, with at least one of the Soviet commanders claiming the roads to Hamburg and Copenhagen were now open and booking his ticket to see the Little Mermaid.  The other Soviet player seemed less confident of total victory and is no doubt currently mining salt in Siberia, or Droitwich.

I can't praise the organisers enough.  Richard's great terrain is always a pleasure to play on, and we were all truly sorry he had to miss out on attending.  Gordon did a great job as sole umpire, while Mark F organised the event brilliantly.  Ian and I managed a clandestine meeting with Richard at a secret location in Shropshire to hand over maps and terrain features.  Apart from that, it is the players who make the event for me, we're all competitive and like to win, or at least lose gallantly, but always played in a spirit of fun and friendship.  There are a lot of players could take a leaf from the Cold War Commanders book in terms of maintaining a good happy atmosphere and avoiding the win at all costs approach.  Thanks to all the players for making the game such a great experience.  Special mention to Simon for fielding some great looking troops and then rolling some truly diabolical dice rolls, all with a smile on his face.

Thanks to you for looking.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Berkeley 2017 day 1 action

Couldn't resist popping one of my PSP ferries onto the canal, just to see how it looked.


The coastline - but not a good day to visit the beach.  Fast approaching out of a Baltic mist come troop transports, tank landing craft and all manner of support vessels.



 


At the same time, the Kiel Canal looks quiet, stirred by a gentle breeze, no sign of the storm to come.



Turn 1 and the Polish 7th Lusitanian Marine Assault Division crashes ashore on the Warpact left flank, landing in good order and quickly pushing inland, making as much use of terrain and programmed smoke a possible.  Infantry regt on the left, another in the centre woods with an improved T-55 regt behind.


 
On the Polish right another infantry regiment, with an engineer battalion advancing to secure the big blue UE store.  Further to the right, one of Simon's Polish infantry batts advances.


More of Simon's infantry secure the town and bridge, while a battalion of the 6th Polish Pommeranian Air Assault Division have dropped to ensure the capture of the town and key bridge.


Looking back along the Coast at the end of turn 1, the Poles are moving forward well.  Unfortunately, they encounter British heavy armour in the form of at least 4 Chieftain squadrons, plus infantry and ATGM supports with artillery support.



The action really began to hot up.  NATO used their TI capability to full effect, taking pot shots at the Poles through the smoke screen and punishing any vehicles crossing open terrain, especially Simon's forces on the Polish right.  By the end of the day, the Polish marines on the left flank had reached the middle of the table and were trying to disrupt NATO troops on the ground with HE barrages and counter battery fire while taking full advantage of terrain to hide from those lethal Brits.  This ended when the British armour decided to advance at the Poles to get better shots around the cover terrain.  In the centre, as the Chieftains advanced, the T-55s advanced and exchanged fire.  Although they couldn't manage kills, the T-55s kept the Chieftains suppressed, with the aide of HE barrages.


On the Polish marines left flank, the Chieftain squadron there advanced too close to the Polish infantry in their APCs.  The supporting PT-76s managed to obtain flank shots and suppressed some, then the APCs advanced, taking a couple of platoon losses to op fire, before dismounting and close assaulting the suppressed Chieftains.  Scratch one Chieftain troop and another pushed back from suppression.  In their turn, the surviving Chieftains tried to retire, only to lose another 2 platoons to massed RPG fire.  A real knife fight!  Enough to cause the surviving Brits to decide discretion was the better part of valour and bug out, leaving the left flank to the Poles.


On the right, Simon had trouble getting command rolls in and spent a lot of time being shot up in the open, losing a lot of troops.  The paratroopers suffered a lot attempting to close assault the Chieftains in the central wood in the photo below, but suffering because of the intervening concealed minefields and being largely eliminated.  Only one company successfully close assaulted the recce skulking in the buildings lower right and then spent the rest of the day holding up there.


At the end of the day, the Poles were pretty smug, as they had secured the right flank town and bridge, which effectively isolated NATO forces to the right of the river, albeit at the cost of the combat effectiveness of Simon's forces.  In the centre and left, the marines had caused enough damage to the British to cause them to pull back, less quite a few Chieftains, at the cost of c. 1/3rd of their force.  All this with the added knowledge that there was one Chieftain regt that wouldn't be interfering with the Kiel Canal crossing or appearing in the Northag area.

Day 2 to follow.  Thanks for looking.

Berkeley 2017 - the table set up

This weekend gone, the Cold War Commanders laid on another big game, the opening salvos of a Warpact invasion of Denmark, taking on NATO's Landjut command.

First, the centre piece of the Kiel Canal table was this rail bridge over the canal, built by Richard Phillips from, I think, a Remagen Bridge model.  Unfortunately, Richard couldn't attend the event, although he did pass us his terrain, most of which is used on the table photos that follow.  I sent this image to Richard on Friday night to make sure we'd put it together correctly.


We had two tables (12x6ft) set up in the Skittle Alley of the Tudor Arms pub in Slimbridge.  The image below looks along the coastline table (coast to the right).


Another view of the table with coastline.


View showing the river which cut across the table, reaching the coastline by a town with the only bridge across.


The other table, with a very muddy looking Kiel Canal running across it.  Warpact forces would start on the right, NATO on the left.  Note the road ferry to right of the gas plant alongside the canal in the foreground and the rail bridge in the distance.


Further along the canal.  Another car ferry in the distance.


The rail bridge and embankment in the context of the table.


One of the car ferries.


Built up area in NATOs deployment zone.


The coastline table, looking at the mouth of the river with the coastal town and bridge.


The coastline further from the town.  The large open area needed some woods, but we ran out of felt in the evening set up, so finished it the following day.


Great looking tables, almost totally due to Richard Phillips great scenario building skills.  Thanks Richard, sorry you couldn't be there.

Thanks to you too for looking.