In case you don't know, Royal Mail has applied an arbitrary restriction on the number of pots of water based paints that can be sent in a single package to 4. If more are sent they will destroy the package. If you order paints by post, or even if you don't but would like to be able to, please follow the link to the petition site below and sign, as Royal Mail will only be persuaded if enough people complain - market forces and all that! Please do sign even if the target signatures has been reached as RM are more likely to act if they think it will adversely effect business. If nothing is done, this will directly impact on some of my favourite suppliers like Baccus, Minibits and Pendraken as well as many others.
This Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to join a select group of 28mm ECW gamers at the Community Centre off Dover Drive in Ellesmere Port. The event was organised by Aiden, who supplied a large slice of the troops and scenery, while Michael, Dennis and John brought along the remainder of the forces involved. The table was set up with an impassable river along the eastern edge (River Fowey?), with a fortified village on the western flank. Us Royalists entered from the northern table edge, while the treacherous Parliamentarians deployed along the centre of the table. The Parliamentarians aimed to exit their infantry off the southern table edge, representing them making it onto boats in Fowey and getting back to safety, while their horse aimed to get off the northern table edge by breaking through Royalist lines, with a view to riding north to Plymouth as fast as possible. The game was broken up with a series of event cards, which Aiden played whenever he felt things needed livening up. We played using Warlord Games Pike and Shotte.
Setting up, looking east with Royalists on the left and Parliamentarians on the right. Dennis (Royalist) is placing his gleaming infantry, with little to indicate the massed hordes of extra shiny cavalry he has waiting to the rear. John (Parliament) is frantically garrisoning the village and fortifying it with anything he can lay his hands on.
Some of the Parliamentarian forces waiting for deployment.
Looking west from the banks of the Fowey. Dave is placing a battalia of foot which caused me no end of trouble in the centre.
The game ebbed and flowed nicely. Early Parliamentarian efforts to charge cuirassiers into the Royalist centre came to naught when they were repulsed, although this pinned one of my battalia of foot into a hedgehog from which they couldn't escape for most of the battle. Having failed to get the horse out, the Parliamentarians tried, with varying success, to withdraw to the south. In response, the Royalists signalled a general advance with Dennis' infantry storming the fortified village to the west, Mike and I taking on the centre (Dave and Aiden) and Chris keeping the east occupied and putting pressure on the small village at that end. Ammunition was in short supply, each time a unit fired a card from a deck of 54 cards was removed. These cards were placed in table in carts of buildings, which acted as arsenals for the armies. In trying to move one of the carts off table, Aiden threw a double 6, resulting in a colossal explosion, destroying almost half of the Parliamentarian arsenal. At the same time, a thick fog decended, reducing visibility to 12", greatly restricting the ability of artillery to support. The ebb and flow of battle dwindled the remaining Parliamentarian ammunition supply to zero, just as a card was drawn which suggested reinforcements had arrived in Fowey and that they needed now to hold on and secure the field of battle. Simultaneously, Royalist cavalry and infantry arrived on the western flank and attempted to roll up the Parliamentarian flank and storm the remnants of the defenders in the fortified village, respectively. The end came, by mutual agreement at the point where the Royalists had achieved a minor victory through destroying more units than had managed to exit the table prior to the change in battle plans.
Dennis' cavalry (commanded by Chris) flowing around the rear of the fortified village in the west.
My unit of infantry in saffron coats, still in hedgehog at the end of the game. Dave's infantry in red were responsible for keeping them and the infantry in blue pinned more or less where they started.
Chris's Royalist cavalry flowing around the eastern edge of the battlefield and around the back of the eastern village.
A general view of the battlefield at the end of the day.
All in all a fun game and day out, played with a friendly bunch of gamers. I'm going to have to add a 28mm ECW battalia to my collection to keep my end up so to speak. Thanks to all involved, especially Aiden for the organising.
It was nice for the German player to be able to use the limited artillery to good effect, multiple suppressions and occasional outright kills of the infantry in the open was about the only effective way of slowing the relentless advance. Especially when the British could call air strikes, Naval gunfire and two Priest Regiments worth of artillery down on anything that fires.
Day two of our games weekend dawned to a typical foggy November morning. We got on with the action, which largely consisted of the various elements of 21st Panzer hunkering down in any suitable obscuring terrain (mainly Lebisey woods and the outskirts of Caen and Epron), while the British artillery (both Naval and Field) and Typhoons plastered anything in the open. II Abt of PzRegt 22 lost a couple of PzIVs and Somua S35s to this, but they mainly made it into the woods and took up positions on the northern edge of the woods. The Pz-pioneers eventually debussed at the edge of the Caen BUA and deployed along the edge of town, with 88mm Heer Flak assets in support. The 21st Panzer FAOs called down battalion barrages on anything that looked like a concentration of infantry and any armour they could include in the beaten zone. A recce Stuart stand tried to locate infantry in the woods, but was close assaulted by a pioneer and panzergrenadiers, becoming a casualty.
We called it a day in the early afternoon, having reached c. 6pm in game time, with the 21st Panzer firmly establishing a stopline in Lebisey woods and the edge of Caen and still contesting Epron and Blainville, both of which, especially Blainville, remained vulnerable to British advances, although probably at a high cost. In the end we agreed that the British and German artillery, while unpleasant to be on the receiving end, was probably pretty realistic. We thought the use of air power was probably too effective and discussed possibly allowing a random sortie to be available on a random basis, say a 50% chance, but still needing to be called in as usual. We also felt that the game would have benefited from a wider table layout to allow more room for 21st Panzer to sidestep the advancing British, as they did in the actual battle. We also considered using a more random appearance for the British (e.g. 6 on D6 on turn 1, 5 or 6 on D6 on turn 2, etc.) and German (6 on d6 on turn 3, etc) off table forces, to simulate delays getting off the beach for the British and Allied airforce interdiction delaying the Germans.
All in all a really enjoyable game with quite a nice flavour for the period.
The British infantry suffering the effects of suppression from artillery as they advance between Mathieu and Epron. Losses were particularly high in infantry and supports in this area.
Epron and Caen to the right with Lebisey woods in the centre background/.
Looking north showing 21st Panzer deployed in Lebisey woods and Epron, with one stand surviving in Blainville (to the right and behind Lebisey woods).
21st Panzer troops at the edge of Lebisey woods and the stalled British advance beneath Perriers Ridge.
It's a Deeside Defenders games weekend. We (Ian and I) had planned a big Sword Beach game incorporating airborne and beach landings plus the push for Caen, but we would have needed about 6 players. In the event, Will joined us for the day, so, with three players we scaled the game back to 3rd British Divisions push for Caen by 185th Brigade and the counter attack by 21st Panzer.
The photo below shows the view of the table looking south with Perriers Ridge at the far end, the eastern table edge representing the Orne River and the outskirts of Caen in the foreground.
Looking north. A parachute battalion started the game dug-in in Benouville, east of Perriers Ridge, with a company from II Battalion PzGren Regt 192 in Blaineville just beyond and the remainder of the battalion in Lebisey woods. 88mm AT gun assets were placed with the II Batt and in the outskirts of Caen along with Heer AA assets. The game was scheduled to begin at 3pm game time with the three battalions of 185th Brigade, plus an attached Sherman regiment, entering the table using mobile deployment from north of Perriers Ridge (at the bottom of the photo).
View along Perriers Ridge, looking west at the end of turn 3. The British battalions have crossed Perriers Ridge and are approaching Lebisy Woods.
View looking south at the end of the third turn (3:45pm). Elements of Kampfgruppe Oppeln are on table moving along the east bank of the Orne, while Kampfgruppe Rausch are partially on table in the suburbs of Caen.
KG Rauch moving into Epron and the eastern edge of Lebisy woods.
I and II Abt from PZ Regt 22 moving up behind Lebisy woods anchored on the Orne River to the east.
By move 6, the Germans had learned the power of British artillery and air support. KG Rauch had lost most of its armoured transport to 105mm Priest artillery barrages, while I Abt of 22nd Panzer had been eliminated by repeated strikes by Naval artillery, Priest barrages and Typhoon strikes. In the photo the void left by the demise of 22nd Panzer I Abt is to the east of Lebisy woods in the right mid-ground. KG Rauch has been reduced to dismounted infantry hunkering down in Epron and Lebisy woods, II Abt Pz Regt 22 and more Pz-grenadiers are moving up behind the woods. In the distance, the British battalions on the German left and centre have both experienced some Hun hate in the form of concentrated 105mm and 150mm arty barrages, which have hurt the leg infantry quite badly, stalling their advance up to now.
Looking east, the killing zone between Lebisy woods/Epron and Mathieu/Beuville where movement for both sides is currently a problem.
Looking south towards Caen in the distance.
This is where we called it a day for Day 1. Tomorrow will be an interesting contest between the might of British arty and air assets and the pluck of Jerry infantry trying to hold the stop line around Caen. Interestingly, this is where the 21st Panzer did stop 3rd British Infantry Division historically, although they did manage to get a company of Pz-grenadiers onto the beach before pulling back to Epron at the end of the day.
All in all a fun days play with some interesting thoughts and experiences, particularly the frustrations of getting moving for the British and the devastating effect of British arty for the Germans. Thanks to Ian and Will for a great game.
I've not been up to much this week with family visiting at the start of the week and a trip to hospital to remove a foreign body from my eye mid-week - I have no idea how it got there! Since then my vision has been a bit blurry while I've been using antibiotic ointment, so not much point in trying to paint anything.
So, for want of anything more positive to share, here's a picture of the current status of my Fallschirmjaeger Brigade for Rapid-Fire. I've so far completed the jaegers for three companies for each of the three battalions. The back row are undercoated command figures, six for each of the battalion commands, plus 6 figures for the brigade command and a two man artillery observer team. The regular jaegers are Airfix, while the command figures are from SHQ with a few Airfix figures. I've still got SHQ MG and mortar teams, plus some engineer figures to complete, plus three Zvezda Pak 36 AT guns - I haven't decided whether to modify the regular infantry Zvezda crew or modify some Airfix infantry to act as crewmen.
I did manage a brief game of Flames of War on Thursday night. My US paratroopers were taken aback by a pair of SS flamethrower half tracks, cunningly disguised as regular half tracks, which allowed the SS to seize an objective and hold it. Still think it's a good game, but has very little to do with WW2 other than some really nice models.
Hope to be back to normal soon. Thanks for looking.