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.



  1. You know, the idea of a series of "mini battles" at very close quarters is ridiculously appealing. I may dust off some 6mm guys and give a "pocket game" a try.

    Sounds like a brutal fight though with a lot of back and forth. How's those new morale rules shaking out?

  2. Ivan,

    The 'mini-battles' is definitely my plan (it was before, I just didn't stick to it), and I plan to get some games this weekend.

    This fight was a lot of fun and I'm happy with the morale rules, but with the mini-battles I'm going to go back to activating only two men (on 2-5), as opposed to what I was doing with the larger games.


  3. Just before I comment, can I say I hate you :-) Ivan will think you are great though. I did purchase 5MiN and do like the fast nature of it. Annoying so as I have written a streamlined NUTS! I have played once, tweaked a bit more and want to try out in a third game. But I think 5MiN will be faster than my streamlined NUTS! and be just as unpredictable (which is handy for solo play).

    So as this week draws to a close I can see a 5MiN game coming on real soon. I, like you, like to try out different rules anyway (some may see that as I weakness, I see it as a strength!) so I have rationalised it that way. It will be 20mm figures on a 2'x2'. For NUTS! I halved the distances. I think I will try 5MiN with the same distances to make it fast! I will use the PEF rules from NUTS! though. Work is still busy, and life outside work is busy too but I am getting real close I think to finding time.

    From your excellent report, it seems a 5MiN generates a good narrative, which is what I am looking for.

    And if you keep going like this, I am not sure how much payback you may be able to take from Panda-John!

    1. You hate me, eh? I'm sure we'll find some way to move past this ;)

      I think you'll have a good time with the rules, they've been good to me. I'm looking forward to your batreps, as this weekend I was unable to get any gaming in...


  4. Thanks for the purchase! Let me know if you have any questions.