Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Last Fifty Yards, Game 2


So, with 2nd Squad having accomplished its objective, it was now up to 1st Squad to evict the Germans from their defensive positions in the village of Fondue.  In retrospect, just looking at the 2' x 2' board below, with ten Brits and six Germans looks like too much.  And it was...

I'd already played one game that took way longer than I expected (I was hoping to get four games in during the period it took me to get the above game in), and I'd had a few interruptions (I did not include these in the time accounted for), but I was resolved to play another game, even though I knew I was running out of time (how gallant of me?).

The board: the Germans, which consist of a LMG team, a German Sergeant w/MP-40, another SMG gunner, and two riflemen, are all behind the wall at top.  The Brits entered from the bottom in three groups: the company Sergeant Major, SgtMaj Travers and three riflemen on the left, the Platoon Sergeant, Sgt Freduelve with the Bren gun and his assistant in the center, and the Squad Leader, Cpl Gwydion, with a rifleman and Sten gunner on the right.

The action starts on the left, where SgtMaj Travers leads his group up on the left, drawing reactive fire from Germans behind the wall.  No one is hit, but the SgtMaj and the German LMG gunner are both hit the deck (green beads).  The German LMG gunner manages to pop back up and fire at Sgt Freduelve's group (off camera to right), to no effect.

Then the German MG-42 (top center, behind wall and between the two bushes) rakes the Brit left: one rifleman hits the deck (center left), while SgtMaj Travers and another rifleman are both suppressed and forced to fall back (bottom center, w/red beads).  Next to them is Sgt Freduelve's group, still in its starting positions.

On the far right, the German rifleman on that flank grows antsy and decides to move up (top left), opposite Cpl Gwydion (bottom right).  The two trade fire, to no effect.

Germans on the left fire at their opponents on that side, to no effect.

Then the Brits rolled up a firefight.  The Bren gunner (bottom left) opens up, suppressing the German MG gunner (top center).  Ineffectual small arms fire is traded on the left.  Cpl Gwydion (bottom right) again trades fire with the German rifleman near him, forcing the German to hit the deck.

But during the German turn, the enemy rifleman (top right) pops back to his feet and fires, dropping Cpl Gwydion in the street!

Meanwhile, the German A-gunner helps the machine gunner rally and the far left German rifleman rallies himself, while their NCO fires to no effect.

On the right, the Sten gunner and rifleman move up on the German that just shot Cpl Gwydion, but their rounds have no effect.

The Bren gunner (red base) fires at the German LMG, once again suppressing him, while Sgt Freduelve and his rifleman move over to help SgtMaj Travers and his rifleman to rally.

The German machine gunner rallies...

On the right, the German SMG gunner moves to his left (far left, in corner of wall) and fires down the street, forcing the Sten gunner to hit the deck.  The Brit rifleman returns fire, but misses, while the German rifleman shoots and makes him hit the deck (both Brits are at right with green beads).

Then the German NCO (top center) fires, suppressing one of the Brit rifles on the left.

Off camera at bottom right, the Bren gunner opens up, suppressing the German LMG gunner yet again.

While SgtMaj Tragers sprints ahead, helping one of his riflemen to rally.

On the right, the Sten gunner pops up (in the street) and fires on the far right German rifleman, suppressing him.

Then the Germans roll a scurry.  This should be a good thing, but their morale rolls don't go well.  First, the German MG gunner decides he can't take anymore and bolts.  Then, the German rifleman on the far right rolls double 6's, so I have him surrender to the Sten gunner and Brit rifleman.

On the left, a Brit rifleman pops up, then reaction fire shots snap by close to his head, and he returns to the deck.  Same thing happens to the other Brit rifleman at bottom left.  SgtMaj Travers and the German NCO trade SMG fire, to no effect.

Back on the right, the German SMG gunner fires down the street again, this time putting the Sten gunner down, but the plucky Brit rifleman returns fire, suppressing him (red bead at top left, Brits at bottom center).

On the left, German NCO SMG fire forces SgtMaj Travers to hit the deck, while the German LMG A-gunner (the gunner left with the machine gun, he's firing his rifle) fires and suppresses the Bren gun (bottom center).  Then the Brits roll firefight, but more than half their men are suppressed or have hit the deck and don't have LOS!  The Brits manage to suppress the German rifleman on their far left.

Then the Germans roll scurry.  They have two able-bodied men in the center (NCO and A-gunner), and a suppressed man on each flank.  The two able-bodied men move outward and help their buddies rally successfully.  Then the Brits roll firefight again!  The far right Brit rifleman fires and misses, and the German SMG gunner returns fire, causing him to hit the deck.

A bunch of fire breaks out on the left, but results only in one of the Brit riflemen being suppressed.

On the far right, the Brits have two men down and only a rifleman left, and he's guarding a German prisoner.  So, with their blood up, the German A-gunner (top left) fires at the Brit rifleman (far right), to no effect, while the German SMG gunner climbs over the wall.

Sgt Freduelve (center, kneeling guy with silver base) moved up to the Bren gunner to try to rally him, but he decides to fall back (bottom center, w/red base).  Since Sgt Freduelve couldn't get it done, another activation was wasted to bring a rifleman over to help the Bren gunner to rally, which succeeded.

On the far right, the Brit rifleman (far right) fired at the German SMG gunner (that had just scaled the wall), and put him down!  Finally, things are looking up!

On the left, one of the rifles tries to rally and fails, falling back, while SgtMaj Travers trades ineffectual fire with the German NCO again.  Then the Germans roll as scurry, which doesn't really help...  The Brits go again, and manage to rally some folks and build up their line on the left.

But then the German A-gunner on the far right fires (I can't believe I didn't get a pic of this), and puts the Brit rifleman over there down.  Not only do the Brits now have no one on their right flank, but the German they had captured now finds himself freed, and he picks up a weapon to rejoin the fight.

With that, SgtMaj Travers addressed the men: "Easy lads, we've had it for this go around, we'd better regroup."  And so the remaining troops fell back to regroup and reorganize in preparation for another push on the German held village.  The Germans lost one man killed, while the Brits lost one killed, while Cpl Gwydion and his rifleman were both lightly wounded and captured by the Germans.

If I'd had more time I may have kept playing, but I may have ended it there any way as I was pretty worn out.  Again, this could easily have been two separate, quick games.  It wasn't as bad as I previously alluded to, but I was frustrated not only at all the stuff I previously mentioned, but also with getting my ass whooped (again!)!!!

So, I need to have another fight or two just to crack the line at the village, then I still have 3rd Squad's task to carry out.  Hopefully next weekend.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Last Fifty Yards, Game 1


Well, I'm frustrated.  I have plenty of non-gaming reasons for such: cranky from lack of sleep, not much time (as I knew I had to babysit this afternoon as the wife is taking the kids out and I'm sitting with the baby), multiple in-game distractions I had to take care of (baby was crying so I held him while his mother was busy with other stuff, the cat puked, I cleaned it up), etc...  But I'm frustrated mostly because of the games.  I played two games, or more accurately, one and a half games, this morning, when I thought I was going to get in four games in a shorter amount of time than I actually spent.

It's not the rules, mind you, it's me.  I'm trying to do too much.  I'm calling the campaign "The Last Fifty Yards," but, more realistically, I'm really shooting for the last twenty yards, when a few men on the attacking side are at the point of actually getting stuck in with the few remaining men on the defending side.

I wrote the above a few hours ago, and now, after babysitting, I'm reminded that any wargaming is good wargaming ;)  I've been thinking about it and I wonder if I shouldn't have played this out by cutting each game in half: cut the board in half and the figures in half, so that the two games I played was actually four games.

The plan for today was that the 1st Platoon was leading an attack on the German line as part of a larger, battalion attack.  A preparatory barrage crashed down, followed by the infantry crossing the line of departure supported by tanks.  German artillery and anti-tank weapons took their toll, but the battalion pressed ahead, with 1st Platoon leading the attack in Company A's sector of the attack.  1st Platoon's plan was to have 2nd Squad seize a defended knoll on its right flank, where it would consolidate and support by fire 1st Squad's attack on a small hamlet on the left flank  The cracking of the this section of the line would be followed up by 3rd Squad moving through 1st Squad's position (on the knoll) to attack the immediate German rear area, thought to contain the enemy's supporting mortar unit.  Once secured, 2nd and 3rd Platoons, supported by tanks, would then pass through to carry through the attack.

So, fight one is 1st Squad's attack on the knoll, with the platoon leader, Lt Dillon, personally leading the assault, headed by 1st Squad's Corporal Drakengunner and containing a Bren gunner, two men with Sten guns, and five riflemen (10 men total).  The Germans on the objective have been whittled down to seven men: a Lieutenant, a two-man MG-42 team (on tripod), and an SMG gunner and three riflemen (manning a prepared position on the right and a stone well on the left, from the British point of view).  The platoon's 2" mortar has taken the time from the platoon crossing the line of departure til now to lay a relatively substantial smokescreen.

The board: 2' x 2', using "Five Men in Normandy" rules (slightly modified) and 10mm Pendraken figures.  The Brits are split into a Bren Group (bottom center, four men under LCpl "Dasher" Hawes) and a Maneuver Group (bottom left, six men under Lt Dillon and Cpl Drakengunner).  The German Lt and MG are in the sandbagged position at top center right, while the SMG gunner and three riflemen are behind the wall at top center left).

The German line: Lt and MG on the right, SMG and riflemen on the left.

LCpl Hawes' Bren Group.

The Maneuver Group, with Lt Dillon (w/silver base) at top left and Cpl Drakengunner at far right center.

First move goes to the Brits, and the entire Bren Group (bottom center) moves up.  The Germans can't see anything, so sit tight.  The smoke begins to lift.

Taking advantage of the Germans' lack of visibility, Lt Dillon and a Sten gunner move up on the left.

The rest of the Assault Group catches up to Lt Dillon.  The smoke is almost entirely dissipated, so the fun is about to begin.

The Bren gun team opens up, delivering a withering fire on the German MG position (pictured).  The MG gunner is suppressed and falls back to cover, whilst his assistant bolts the board and the Lt hits the deck (I forgot to put his green bead on before taking the picture).

On the left, Lt Dillon charges forward (silver base at bottom center), with Cpl Drakengunner and the two Sten gunners in tow.  The Germans fire on the advancing Brits, to no effect, while the Brits manage to suppress two of the German riflemen (red beads behind wall).

The German Lt pops up and falls back to help his machine gunner rally.

But at the wall, the German morale tests are not going well, and the two suppressed riflemen both fall back out of LOS (rolled two 1's in a row!).  However, Lt Dillon has been steadily capping away with his Webley revolver, and when the remaining German rifleman and SMG gunner at the wall open up, both Lt Dillon and the Sten gunner next to him receive knock-downs (black beads; they may recover, depending on die roll).

The Brits roll 'firefight,' which kinda sucks because I really wanted to keep their forward momentum going, but ces't la guerre, right?  Cpl Drakengunner and the remainder of the Maneuver Group fire on the wall, causing the German SMG gunner to hit the deck.

Meanwhile, since the German MG position is empty (due to previous Bren Group fire), the Bren Group fires on the wall as well, forcing the German SMG gunner to fall back next to his two cowering riflemen.  The sole German rifleman at the wall hits the deck, then is also driven back.  The wall is open!

The Germans roll 'scurry,' which works out great (for them).  This allows all of them to move or rally without drawing reactive fire (wouldn't have happened anyway as all the Brits had just fired in the last turn), so the German Lt and MG gunner re-occupy the sandbagged position.  Dammit!  On the left, morale checks are taken: one rifleman runs, but everyone else successfully rallies.

During the Brit turn, the Bren Group again suppresses the MG gunner and causes the Lt to hit the deck.

Seizing the initiative, Cpl Drankengunner (bottom right, on left) and one of the Sten gunners (the other and Lt Dillon are still knocked down back in the bushes) rush the wall.  They trade fire with the German SMG gunner and a rifleman; the SMG gunner is pinned, but the Sten gunner receives a knock down...

Meanwhile, a kind soul rifleman goes and checks on Lt Dillon, and he's up and back in the fight.  Of course, while this is happening the German Lt rallies his machine gunner...

Then disaster strikes...  Lt Dillon rushes up to join Cpl Drakengunner (far left) at the wall, and checks the knocked down Sten gunner; turns out he's out of the fight.  With his blood up, Lt Dillon peers over the wall, flashing his pistol, only to be immediately dropped by the German rifleman (that's two 6's in a row)!  Cpl Draekengunner trades fire with the German SMG gunner, and the German comes out of it suppressed.

Just to recap, I managed to brush the Germans back from the wall, and get three of the Brits to the wall, but two of them now lie out of the fight, including the Platoon Leader...

The the Germans roll 'firefight.'  The rifleman fires at Cpl Drakengunner, but luckily, he misses.

But then the German MG-42, with the German Lt acting as the gunner's assistant, finally gets going.  The gun takes the Bren Group under fire.  No one was hit, but the BG was forced to fall back across the road, with everyone suppressed but LCpl Hawes.  Two of the Maneuver Group riflemen on the left fired at the German MG position, but had no effect.

Then the Brits roll up a 'scurry,' so Cpl Drakengunner moves down the wall to some bushes (far left), while one rifleman moves up to check on the knocked-down Sten gunner (bottom right), who shakes himself off and gets up, while the other rifleman moves up to the wall (center).

On the right with the Bren Group, one of the riflemen runs, but everyone else rallies.

Then the Germans roll up a firefight: the MG (top left) opened fire on the Bren Group (far center right) again, causing another rifleman to run and pinning LCpl Hawes.

The German rifleman fires at the Brit rifleman (bottom right), suppressing him (dammit!!!!), while Cpl Drakengunner (bottom left) returns fire, to no effect.

Then the Brits roll up a firefight (what the hell is going on here?).  Cpl Drakengunner (to left) empties a full magazine at the German rifleman, suppressing him (top center).

Not pictured, but the Bren opened up on the German MG gunner, causing him to hit the deck.  The Germans can't return fire in the firefight because everyone's on the deck or suppressed, but then the Germans activate and the MG gunner pops up and fires at the Bren gunner, causing him to take cover.

Then the German Lt sprinted over to his two suppressed troops (top center, with gold base).  He tries to rally the rifleman, but fails, and so the rifleman falls back (to the right) into the trees.  The German SMG gunner (next to German Lt) manages to rally himself.

The remaining Brit Sten gunner sprints to the wall and tries to help the suppressed rifleman to rally, but he can't take it anymore and falls back (to the shell crater at bottom left).  The Sten gunner pops over the wall and opens up, putting the German SMG gunner down and suppressing the German Lt.  Then the last Brit rifleman rushed to the wall and fired at the German Lt, forcing him to fall back (top right, next to the already suppressed German rifleman in the trees).

Then Cpl Drakengunner charges into close combat, quickly subduing the German Lieutenant!  Having just witnessed his platoon leader being bludgeoned to death, the adjacent German rifleman surrenders!

And with Cpl Drakengunner to his rear (bottom left), the German machine gunner finds himself outnumbered and unable to fall back, so he surrenders as well!

2nd Squad successfully took the objective, killing two Germans and capturing two more.  But they suffered one KIA as well, and their platoon leader, Lt "Panda" Dillon, was hit bad enough to be out the next nine days.

The game was fun, but lasted about an hour and a half, or about 160 minutes longer than I was hoping for.  But, like I said, I believe I'm doing too much.  I could have made this two separate fights, one of the MG position, and one to clear the wall, possibly on a 12" x 12" board.  If I'd have done that, I bet I'd have gotten the games in a lot closer to my 20-30 minute goal.

I'll get the other batrep up this week, then hopefully some more games in this coming weekend.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

"The Last Fifty Yards" Table of Organization

"The Last Fifty Yards"

A Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Windsor Foresters (**with respect to the Lardies**)
France, August 1944 to December 1944

Company Commander: Major Sorenson

Company XO: Captain Legan
Company SgtMaj: Sergeant Major Travers
PIAT Gunner: Lance Corporal Leon

1st Platoon
Platoon Leader: Lieutenant Dillon
Platoon Sergeant: Sgt Freduelve
1st Squad: Corporal Gwydion
2nd Squad: Corporal Drakenganer
3rd Squad: Corporal Womble

2nd Platoon
Platoon Leader: Lieutenant Keepers
Platoon Sergeant: Sergeant Lejunfore
1st Squad: Corporal Harwood
2nd Squad: Corporal Tocapixie
3rd Squad: Corporal Tecnough 

3rd Platoon
Platoon Leader: Lieutenant Ronan
Platoon Sergeant: Sergeant Evahnkeath
1st Squad: Corporal Lemmey
2nd Squad: Corporal Herzbleu
3rd Squad: Corporal Lt Poller

Replacements (sorry fellas, there just weren't as many billets as "Hell on Wheels," but don't worry, I have no doubt you'll be getting in the game):

Tommies (I've been given a great list of nicknames for the infantrymen, which will be abstractly represented, i.e., I won't be trying to follow every rifleman in the entire company, but I'll need a good six or so every game):




Thursday, July 17, 2014

All Americans, Part 12 (Near Arnone, 8 Oct 1943)


Let the rules tinkering begin!  I changed the activations to activating between 2 and 5 troops, depending on the die roll (as opposed to the 'straight' activate 2 men on a 2-5 die roll), and I changed the morale system.  Normally, on a '1' the soldier is pinned (can't move but can shoot), and on a '6' he flees 12", and then 'hunkers' (no move or shoot).  The problem (for me) is, this keeps carrying troops off the field of battle, straightaway.  That is, there's no build-up to him running away, it could literally be the first time he was fired at, and 'poof,' he's gone.  I'm not saying this never happened in real life, and I've already stated part of the problem is with me playing on a board only 24 inches by 24 inches (he's fleeing half my table), but I'm not satisfied with how this is going.  So the way I'm playing it is, the first '1' is a 'hit the deck,' the 2nd a 'pin,' the third (or a '6') is a suppression, and subsequent 1's and 6's move the guy up the chain to suppression, or move him back out of LOS to the enemy, or, if that's not possible, he runs away.

I can tell you the former made the game much quicker (about 20 minutes, which is right up my alley), and the morale seemed a bit better, but the problem with the former mechanic change is that it's much easier for troops to shake off knock-downs and morale issues.

So, the regiment is on its way to Arnone, and has been in heavy fighting, though so far 1st Battalion has been in reserve.  The regiment has broken through the roadblock and now 1st Battalion has assumed the point, with 1st Platoon leading the way up the road, when contact is made with an enemy patrol sort of loitering about the area.  The Plt Sgt, SSgt Ford, is with Sgt Glenn's 3rd Squad at the head of the column, and surges into action.

The table, 2' x 2' in 10mm (Pendraken) once again.  The Germans will be at the top, the US in column on the road, coming on from the bottom (South).

The US forces, from right to left: SSgt Ford, Sgt Glenn, Cpl Timmons (w/BAR), then riflemen Pvt Johnson, PFC Leshore, and Pvt Anders.  The German (once again somehow) have a Lt, a SMG gunner, and two riflemen.

Initial dispositions.  The Germans are all North of the East-West road, with three East and one West of the North-South road.  The US troops are moving up the North-South road...

 In the following order: Johnson, SSgt Ford, Cpl Timmons, Anders, Sgt Glenn, and Leshore.

A German rifleman at far left, with their Lt in the middle and the SMG behind the building.

The last rifleman at far right, with SMG visible at left behind building.

I let the Germans go first this time, and they promptly roll a '1' (scurry).  This pic is looking West to East, where the far left German rifleman (bottom right) sprinted across the road to flank the US troops on the North-South road.  The German officer also moved up (far left) to peer around the building.

This pic looks East to West, where the far right German rifleman moved across the road and the SMG gunner crossed the North-South road and took up position behind the wall at far right.

This pic is looking East to West; Johnson moved left off the road to engage the flanking German rifleman, firing and causing the German to hit the deck (green bead).

SSgt Ford dashed ahead, jumped in a crater, and fired at the SMG gunner behind the wall, suppressing him (red bead), while Cpl Timmons joined him, firing at the German rifleman at far right, to no effect.

This pic is looking North to South, with the far left German rifleman at left center and Johnson at top right.  Sgt Glenn (bottom left) sprinted left and opened up with his Tommy Gun, suppressing the German rifleman.  Then the Germans rolled another scurry.  They won't be able to fire, but they're two men that are suppressed will be able to attempt to rally.

The German rifleman on the far right moved back to the suppressed SMG gunner at the wall and helped him unpin.  The SMG gunner can't act this turn, but he'll be able to perform reactive fire during the US turn.  That's SSgt Ford at bottom center.

On the left, the German Lt sprinted to the suppressed rifleman and helped him rally.  Again, he can't act, but he'll be able to perform reactive fire.  That's Sgt Glenn at bottom center.

Johnson sat tight and fired at the German Lt and rifleman at far left, missing, while Leshore (bottom right) moved over and fired, also missing.  Sgt Glenn cut loose a torrent of SMG fire, suppressing both Germans.  This should have been a decisive advantage, but because I changed the activation system both Germans would be able to rally rather easily.  Maybe I need to change how easy it is to rally?  But then I mess with the rules' patented '1 and 6' system (things are 'normal' on a 2-5, with 'different' stuff happening on 1 and 6).

The BAR moved up to take cover next to SSgt Ford and clear his lane of fire, intending on lighting up the SMG.  But the German SMG had not acted last turn, so was able to perform reactive fire, which suppressed the BAR gunner.  SSgt Ford fired, to no effect...

On the left (not pictured), the German Lt and rifleman both shook off their suppressions, while on the right, the SMG gunner fired at SSgt Ford, causing him to hit the ground, so the German rifleman hopped the wall and moved up (top center, behind bushes).

On the left, Sgt Glenn fires, forcing the German rifleman to hit the deck, while Johnson (top right) fired and hit nothing, followed by Leshore rushing up (center), firing, and also hitting nothing...

Meanwhile, SSgt Ford (center, in crater) pops up and fires at the German rifleman (top right) missing, while Anders (bottom left) moved up and fired at the German SMG (top left), missing.  The BAR gunner (far right, with red bead) remains suppressed (not because of a bad roll, but because I chose to use the activations on other guys).

Both Germans on the left fired (at Sgt Glenn and Leshore), missing everything.

While both Germans on the right did the same...

Sgt Glenn (bottom center) sprayed again, missing again, but Leshore (center) fired and put the German rifleman down (top left), while Johnson (top right) moved up and fired, suppressing the German Lieutenant (red bead at top left).

SSgt Ford left his crater, running over to Cpl Timmons and helping him rally, then firing at the German rifleman on this side, knocking him down (black bead at top right).  Then Anders (bottom left) opened up on the German SMG (behind the wall), putting him down!  Things are looking up.  However, the German rifleman managed to get back up, though he couldn't act (eligible for reactive fire during US turn).

But on the left the German Lt failed his rally attempt, so I played it that Sgt Glenn, Johnson, and Leshore moved in and captured his cowering ass.  And just when I thought I could finish this up, the US rolled a 'scurry,' so no shooting this turn...

Leaving Leshore to guard the German Lieutenant, Sgt Glenn and Johnson (bottom left) moved east down the road towards the sole remaining German (top right), while Anders hopped the wall at bottom center, charged across the intersection, and took up station behind the wall.

And SSgt Ford and Cpl Timmons fell back to cover.

The hilarious thing is that the German then rolled a 'scurry,' so he can't shoot either.  With his options severely limited, he makes a run for the border (top right), and escapes the Americans' grasp.

However, the mission is a success!  The light German opposition is brushed back, with no losses of our own, and so the advance continues.  The game was smooth and quick, easily the most enjoyable of the three I played today (and not just because I won!).

I think these rules will suffice to give a fun campaign, I just want to play a few more test games, adding in vehicles.  Hopefully I'll get them in this coming weekend.  Stay tuned, and let me know what you think of these games/rules/my campaign concept.