Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Chain of Command - The British are Coming

Chain of Command game 11th Armoured Division vs 9th SS-Panzer Division 'Hohenstaufen'

I finally got to have a second game of Chain of Command. I like Bolt Action for its fast, easy and fun system but I am seriously liking Chain of Command for its more historical and tactical approach. Its starting Platoon system backed up by the force support options, give lots of different approaches to dealing with the various scenarios available.

If you had read my report from my first game you will know that we had played a Platoon Patrol meeting and unfortunately the Germans had managed to send my brave ol' Tommies packing.

This game was Attack and Defend scenario with my lads from the 2nd Platoon, C Coy, 4th KSLI yet again up against the dastardly 9th SS Panzer Grenadiers.

So onto the game.

After his humiliating defeat at the hands of Hauptman Von Slie of the 9th SS, Lt Tommykins has made plans to attack the walled farmstead just outside Le Valtru. The German's have occupied this area since forcing the British to withdraw a few weeks ago. New Intelligence has been received by the KSLI that the Germans are without heavy support and don't appear to be ready for an assault. Plans have been drawn up for Lt Tommykins to advance on a wider frontage against the farm hoping to flank and surprise the SS defenders.

Starting the Patrol phase of the game I managed to get a good roll and gained six extra advances with my patrol markers which enabled me to lock down Simon's Patrol markers and limit his deployment of Jump off points.

Taking the first phase I immediately deployed Lt Tommykins and a 2" Light Mortar Team. In the last game I never managed to deploy the mortar and it would make a significant difference this time. Deploying a small scout team on the right flank who would try and winkle out any hidden German defenders in the opposite hedgerows Tommykins could still see the wrecked hulk of the Sherman lost in the last fight around the farm.

Von Slie observing the advancing British kept his forces under cover, not willing to show his hand so early. Although he did send a section of Panzer Grenadiers to his flank to counter the scouts. A brief firefight broke out and the British scouts were cut down leaving their deployment point seriously exposed.

Lt Tommykins ordered his light mortar to fire and with its first high explosive shell it managed to kill a lone Grenadier. It then continued to lay down a blanket of smoke shells across the front of the farm to screen the advancing British Troops.

This smoke screen hampered the now deploying SS Grenadiers and seriously limited their use of over-watch and covering fire allowing the KSLI sections to deploy in the fields on the left and right. Von Slie seeing more and more British infantry advance in the fields in front of him screamed orders for his recon section to advance to contact - mounted in a Sd.Kfz. 250, they dashed around the buildings straight towards the cornfield looking to open up with their mounted MG42's.

However the Tommies were ready and LCpl Rex Splode dived out of his concealed position in the hedgerow and fired his PIAT. The shot was literally bang on target, hitting the halftrack and destroying it in a large fireball decimating the recon team inside.

The British were gaining the upper hand and pressed the attack. The Panzer Grenadiers were hemmed back unable to aim in on the British due to the smoke screen laid down. The only opening for the Germans was on the right where the scouts had been gunned down and the Germans dashed a section down the hedgerow trying to limit the British advance.

Cpl Lenow opened up with his section, dropping a few of the Grenadiers but the discipline of the SS troops overcame the shock of the amount of fire they were taking and held them in place.  Although with the fast deployment of a Bren Gun section and its weight of fire they were soon forced to hit the dirt. Casualties on this SS unit were low but they were pinned in place and all the Senior and Junior leaders could do was hold their troops and keep them motivated.

Lt Tommykins observing the SS section pinned under the withering fire now screamed "Now Maitland it's your time". Cpl Maitland and his section, being hidden in the trees now burst from cover and decimated the pinned SS troops. when the smoke had cleared only the Feldwebel and Obergefreiter were left standing and they turned and ran towards their own lines.

Maitland urged his lads forward and it wasn't long before both German Commanders were cut down close to the hedgerows. Leaving Maitland close to flanking the whole German force on the right.

At the same time as the German right flank was collapsing Sgt Jones had sent a lone Bren Gun Carrier on a fast dash to counter the SS left flank. Unfortunately when it tried to cross the low hedges it threw a track and as it ground to a slow crawl an SS Panzerschrek gained a good line of sight on it and the resulting shot saw the Carrier and crew blown to smithereens.

However this seemed like the last throw of the German dice and with the KSLI advancing on all sides the Grenadiers retreated further and further into the grounds of the farm before finally after taking more devastating fire from all sections and the remaining Carriers, Von Slie retreating with a resounding Raus Schnell!!

This was a brilliant game, not so much as I had won it, but because I had managed to get to grips with the ordering and deployment of my British Force. Having the early positioning of the light mortar really helped with limiting the German MG fire on my sections which enable me to manoeuvre more easily. Also using a Chain of Command Dice to ambush the Half track with my PIAT and the best result I could manage, knocking the whole thing out it one go caused the Germans force morale to drop quickly.

Looking forward to the next game, not sure if we will continue the adventures of Lt Tommykins (although I think he needs promoting to Capt now) or we look at playing through one of the available campaign systems. Either way it should be a blast.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Burrows and Badgers Tournament - Phoenix Gaming Club - Rushden

Last Saturday I attended the very first Burrows & Badgers Tournament in Rushden, run by the very accomplished Carl King and the Phoenix Gaming club. Arriving early I partook of some rather nice doughnuts and a mug of tea (available all day) and saw the amount of work that went into setting up some fantastic tables for our Warbands to contest over.

Considering this game is a small scale skirmish game designed by the very talented Micheal Lovejoy of Oathsworn miniatures and quite niche in that its not got the exposure of say Bolt Action/Kings of War etc a very healthy amount of participants turned up for the tournament including Micheal and his his lovely wife Jo. Added to this is the fact that attending this tournament were the most lady gamers I have seen at an event for quite sometime, which in our hobby in my opinion is a happy sight.

If anyone is not aware of Burrows & Badgers, it is an Anthropomorphic Skirmish game incorporating a various number of animal/reptile/avian species set in a Medievalist fantasy setting . See Burrows and Badgers

My Warband for the event consisted of the Crake Castle Cavaliers:

Badger Warrioress - Deagra Trufflehunter
Wildcat Warrior - Cornilius Spiteclaw
Toad Mage -Ponder Stibbons
Otter Zwiehander - Ruffgar Breakwater
Mouse Soldier - Templeton Twitch
Mole Soldier - Silas Gravelfeet
Mouse Ranger - Fletch Sharpeye

My Crake Castle Cavaliers

Game 1 vs Mike Strong and the Evil Eye (Wild Beast Rats)

Diamond in the Rough. Each Warband had two crystals that it set up after deployment in the opposite deployment area. The aim was to get your crystals off the board and possibly the enemies crystals as well. You could only get an enemy crystal once they had picked it up and you had defeated that character in melee combat.

Mike and I deployed and set everything up. With varying priority during turns Mike started to gain the upper hand with his Rats charging in and dual wielding hand weapons!

Quickly all my large Warband members started to fall. My Badger, Wildcat and Otter were summarily thumped along with my Mouse Soldier - Even with a few good healing spells cast by my Toad it couldn't save them.

However I had caused a bit of damage as well taking out a few large Rats along with his Rat Mage, with a sneak attack from my Mole who had tunnelled into a good position behind some ruins at the end of the first turn. A few good shots from my Mouse Ranger finished off the remaining Rats and I deftly collected my crystals with the Mole and scarpered off the board.

Even after defeating Mike's whole Warband and getting my Crystals, I didn't get his as he never got to pick them up. Toting up the points victory was mine.

Minor Win 4pts

Game 2 vs James Wilkinson and the Royalists (damn rebels really)

On 'Burrowed' Time. After alternately deploying this scenario saw us trying to get our models of the opponents table edge gaining points for doing so and getting double points if you got your most expensive model off.

Jack and I rolled for priority and started the game. I had a plan to try and rush my Badger straight off the table and hold his Warband with the rest of my force then get what was left off, trying to maximise points.

However a few bad rolls saw my Badger get ganged up on and it took a while but the poor thing finally went down heroically in a flurry of blows from the dastardly rebels.

My Warband were sent into a frenzy and cut into the rebels, hacking beast down left, right and centre. 

Fur flew everywhere and in the end of it I had only lost my Mouse Soldier along with the Badger.

The rest of the Warband exhausted with the massive martial display they had endured limped off the field in victory.

Minor Win 4pts

Game 3 vs Paul Wilkinson and more Royalist rebels

Stop 'Badgering' Me. Simple scenario. Take out the enemies highest point cost model. If this was by shooting or a spell you got the points equal to the model plus 50%. If it was done in melee you got double points. All other models defeated score points equal to their cost as per the other games.

Well what can I say about this game! Paul was my previous opponents Dad and his force ended up winning the best painted Warband. Apart from that the game ended up a complete standoff really. Both sides circled each other and got models into hidden/ambush positions. I was slightly outnumbered so wasn't going to commit and over reach my force, so took a defensive stance waiting for Paul to make a mistake. Unfortunately no mistake was forthcoming and the only real action came from our archers taking shots at each other which couldn't cause enough damage as our Mages threw out healing spells.

The only main combat came from Pauls Bat Assassin swooping in from its position by the large tower to try and draw out some of my force, but my Mole popped out of his tunnels and chopped him down before being dispatched himself being unsupported.

Time ran out and we shook hands on a very stalemated low point scoring game.

Draw 3 pts

Game 4 vs James and his Pantoufle Redeembers (Freebeasts) 

An Oath is Sworn. Straight forward kill everything in you path scenario.

Not taking anything away from the first 3 games but this was awesome. James really immersed himself in the RPG aspect of his Warband and I responded in kind. What transpired was a fantastic, hilarious, vocal game full of tense moments.

The game started with both sides gaining position. My force took a solid stance on the right hoping to take out his Mage and supporting Mouse. I quickly dashed my Badger and Otter on to the flank but James countered managing to get his Hound, Hedgehog and Fox into a position to surround my Wildcat.

Blows rained down on the Wildcat but his managed to shrug off damage time and time again. On the other side it was some serious Mouse on Mouse action, it didn't matter how many times I battered on James models they just would't go down.

Slowly though models started to drop. My Wildcat was over run and James Hare, Pantoufle massacred my Mole for daring to nearly wipe out his Toad. My Otter took out his Dormouse and desperately I threw my Toad Mage into the fight taking out his Mouse. Pantoufle went on the rampage and cut through my force but my Badger had go in his rear and finally silenced the pesky Toad. With James Fox finally going down under the heavy blow of a charging Zweihander Otter time was called. 
An absolute rip roaring game and at the end it was a Draw giving me 3 pts.

So the tournament ended and I had 14 Tournament Points which put me in 4th place -  technically joint 3rd but I just pipped on kill points, (the low scoring 3rd game didn't help)

Absolute awesome day, great game, great opponents and great atmosphere.

    Just some of the Warbands 

Mikes Evil Eye Rats
Jacks Rebels

Pauls Rebels