Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Approach to Walcheren Playtest - WWII October 1944

Last Friday evening seven of my friends came over for a play test of the game I'll be running this month at our club's monthly game night. The scenario is called 'The Approach to Walcheren'. It is a what-if scenario based on the days leading up to the battle of Walcheren Causway. In the scenario British armor supported by infantry need to clear a river crossing guarded by German 'Osttruppen' and Luftwaffe ground troops responsible for protecting a nearby radar station. Thanks are due to Ed of Ed M's Wargaming Meanderings blog for donating photos of the game. I was a bit too busy running the game to take adequate photos.

The British forces included a good selection of armor, a platoon of Royal engineers, and a platoon of  No. 41 Royal Marine Commandos.  Orders for the British were to secure a crossing across the river, either by clearing the central bridge and pillbox, or by clearing one of the two fords.

German forces were three platoons of kampfgrupped infantry, mixed Lufftwaffe and Ostruppen. The command elements included a 120mm mortar, an RSO Pak-40 self-propelled anti-tank gun and a Flak 37 anti-aircraft battery. The defending German forces also received some pre-prepared emplacements to deploy as they saw fit.

Wargaming dog Lola seemed to be slightly more partial to the German defenders. Bribery is suspected....

This is the view from the British jump-off point. The commandos had captured the small farmhouse overnight while the defending Germans would be waiting on the far side of the river. The rules used were modified Iron Cross. I've made some changes to make multi-player game play faster. I also adjusted the morale system, to make it less variable.

The attacking British. Bob commanded the engineers, Byron the armor, Jeff the commandos and Charlie the HQ assets and Lieutenant.

Me at the end of the table pulling a command token to start the game. Ralph commanding German 2nd platoon and Rob command German 1st platoon. Behind the camera Ed with German 3rd platoon and HQ.

Early in the game Jeff's commando machine gun and infantry pushed off some of Ralph's Osttruppen in the woods opposite the ford. Bob rushed a unit of engineers up to the dragon's teeth planting a satchel charge. The crazy engineers set the charge off too soon and took a morale marker from the blast, but cleared the obstacle. Later on in the battle they would be eliminated.

Continuing his aggressive play, Bob rushed his universal carrier over the cleared ford carrying his flamethrower detachment right up to the craters outside of the village. Ed and Ralph's defending Luftwaffe units combined to wipe out the carrier with a panzerfoust blast and then killed the flamethrower team before it could unleash hot fire on the town or bunker. British engineer casualties continued to mount as another squad was eliminated by combined counter-attacks from all three German players as the Engineers attempted to attack the rear door of the bunker with another satchel charge.

Keeping Rob's AA battery and infantry honest, Byron's armor can be seen coming up the road in the distance of this shot. Byron's command armored car engaged Rob's Osttruppen while his Cromwell dueled with the Bunker. Both the Cromwell and M-10 tank destroyer dueled briefly with the RSO Pak 40 with neither scoring a hit. In the end, the Germans inflicted many more casualties to the attacking British, but the British did secure one ford and had a good start on pressing home the attack on the bridge and pillbox. This resulted in a narrow British victory.

At the end a successful play test and I received great feedback on how to make the scenario even better for our club's upcoming game night. The multi-player changes were well received. The players recommended good constructive changes to the scenario victory conditions and morale check system, both of which will result in improvements in the game.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

28mm British WWII Engineers

This month I'm running a WWII skirmish game at my club using some house rules added on to Iron Cross to aid in faster multi-player game play. The game will be a British assault to capture a bridge defended by a German garrison and a pillbox. Think Pegasus Bridge with a much more modest bridge. The action is set around the dash from Carentan into the heart of France.

With a pillbox as a primary terrain feature, I really wanted the British to have tools to assault with. To me, this means some engineers and primarily a flamethrower team. This is Warlord Games pack WGB-BI-49. Nothing particularly special, with the paint job. It is my normal block paint with sepia wash. Quick and dirty, finished just in time for the play test tomorrow night. They still need a coat or two more of flat varnish to cut down the sheen. They're likely to get that after Friday night's play test game.

These will count as five figures in my annual painting totals. Painting has slowed to a stop for me during the spring, as I coach high school pole vault. Now that track season is over, and the summer heat wave has hit, I expect painting to resume to it's normal (aka slow) pace. Next up on the painting table, 16 crusades spear-men to act as warriors in my Saga crusades army.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Woodman Museum 12# Napoleon Restoration Unveiling

This past Saturday, four members of our wargaming club went to Dover NH's Woodman Museum to attend their unveiling of their recently restored original Civil War 12# Napoleon cannon.  The Woodman Museum has a complete colonial-era garrison house in its collection which was relocated from nearby Dover point in the 1850s, a nice collection of historical artifacts from it and the surrounding area from both the colonial and 1850s era when the house ceased to be occupied. The museum also hosts several other collections including John Wilkes Booth artifacts.

The 12# Napoleon cannon was recently restored and according to the Museum's website, "was forged in 1863 by Henry N. Hooper & Co. of Boston, MA and was one of four acquired by the New Hampshire National Guard after the conclusion of the Civil War. The original limber and carriage were manufactured by the Woodman Brothers of New York.  The limber itself includes rare and original sabots (cupped wooden projectile holders)."

There are a lot of original Civil War cannons remaining, but precious few retain their original carriages, caissons and hardware. Although this restoration had to replace many pieces of the original wood, the original hardware, including the copper caisson cover remains. The restoration looks beautiful. The cannon will be housed in a sealed garage at the museum which will be opened up for public viewing and the cannon pulled out for special events. This should protect it from further damage from the weather. For those interested in helping the Woodman Museum recoup the cost of this restoration, they have a gofundme page for you to support the effort.

The reveal included an initial salute by NH reenactors firing a 10# Parrot cannon in salute, followed later by two full firing demonstrations. All three can be viewed below, videoed by me at the event.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Northern Conspiracy July 2019 Game Night

Last Friday night was the Northern Conspiracy's July game night. Two larger games were run. I played in Charlies 28mm Napoleonic game featuring his rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. Ralph, Kevin, Byron and I played the outnumbered French trying to link up around a Spanish held Town. Mark, Rob and Dick did a good job of keeping Ralph and I controlled and surrounded while fending off Byron and Kevin's repeat attacks. Good fun!

On the other Table Phil ran a very popular 15mm Fire & Fury civil war game. The ever popular rule set brought out some faces we haven't seen in a while which was great. UPDATE! More photos taken by Rob available here:

Monday, July 15, 2019

Owl's Head Transportation Museum

This past week my wife and I vacationed in Thomaston, Maine visiting family. While there we visited the Owl's Head Transportation Museum in nearby Owl's Head Maine. My primary interest in the Museum was the collection of flying replica WWI aircraft as well as several original WWI items, including Crosses from a German plane shot down by Maine WWI ace and former Maine Govenor, Sumner Sewall.  This is a well maintained and active museum. The collection includes a running gnome rotary engine that they run for demonstration purposes and flying WWI replicas in 1:1 scale. The collection also includes many WWI-era cars and trucks as well as other era vehicles. Well worth a visit for any fan of turn of the century transportation.

For many more photos, see this Google Gallery.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Northern Conspiracy July 2019 Game Night

This past Friday was our Club's monthly game night. Being the 75th anniversary of D-day it was decided to do a D-Day theme night. It seems that it was an EXCELLENT idea as attendance was very good.

I played in Mark D's Cruel Seas game which re-created the German attack on the southern screen of the Allied armada. I was put on the Allied team and was assigned the task of piloting the target ships, mainly to eliminate the possibility of me running more ships aground (see my prior two X-wing posts). My command consisted of a landing craft gun boat, a control craft, an armored trawler and a tanker. The landing craft gun boat ended up being a VERY capable ship.

Mike and Art filled out the allies taking our PT boats and Fast 'D' boats. Ross and Chris took the Germans each with a larger craft and a fist full of German Fast 'E' boats.

Early on long-range torpedo shots FILLED the seas. While most of these were dodged, a few would bear fruit later in the game.

My Landing Craft Gunboat took some long-range pot shots with its 4.7" guns and scored some lucky critical hits on the German destroyer neutralizing it for a couple of turns. I kept pouring on the firepower and Mike eventually finished off the crippled boat with a torpedo from his D-boats.

In the center Ross' E-boats took out one of Mike's D-boats with gunnery, while Art exacted revenge doing similarly to one of Ross' E-boats with his American PT boats. In the end the sinking of the German destroyer sealed the engagement for the allies.

Dick and Greg teamed up to host a beautiful looking game of Chain of Command. The battle was the classic capturing of the outskirts of Carentan features in the HBO Series 'Band of Brothers' episode 3 of the same name.

According to Dick this one was in the balance right up to the end when the Germans pulled off some gutsy defense blunting the Airborne defense in the building complex.

Filling out the trio of land, sea and air, Phil ran a game of Bandits High in the air over the invasion. As this game was coming to a crescendo I was busy dodging torpedoes in my game and unfortunately didn't get any good photos of the furball  at the end.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Another Shameless Plug

I've listed a bunch of lots of un-painted 15mm WWII figures on Ebay. Time to clear out some of my 'dead lead' that I don't think I'll ever get to now that my eyes are going and I'm mostly painting 28mm for WWII.

Please check out the auctions here. I've also included some teaser photos in this post.

Monday, June 3, 2019

More 'Deadeye Jedi' X-wing Games

Friday we played some more X-wing 2.0. First game pitted Rob and Bob against Ralph, with Charlie and I facing off. I played Darth Vader and a cluster of Tie Fighters against Charlie's four X-wing list that includes a couple of Red squadron aces. Charlie jousted my four Ties with two X-wings, which I foolishly accepted thinking I had the upper hand. The engagement lost me a tie instantly and another a turn later. The rest of the game was clean-up for Charlie. I never touched him! Well played, he even kept away from Vader mostly making him irrelevant.

Game two Charlie and Ralph teamed up with Charlie's four X-wing list, each taking a blue squadron pilot and one of the better pilots. I brought an Imperial Aces list with Vader, Soontir Fel and Whisper.

I was pretty sure this list required far more skill than I posses, but I managed to not mess too many things up. Ralph and Charlie out-played me early with a quick turn on Vader and Soontir which forced me into hard decisions barrel rolling out of some arcs, but insuring I'd be going spelunking over some asteroids the following turn. I got lucky with my evades and mostly got out unscathed.

Following my rock adventure, I was able to use the Aces' maneuverability to my advantage. K-turning over the rocks ahead I was able to eliminate one of Charlie's X-wings. I think Ralph and Charlie mostly expected me to turn out. The trip over the rock cost me a health on Soontir and Vader, but was worth it for the surprise factor. Following this, Ralph's Wedge made an aggressive move K-turning over a debris cloud (maybe it was a sloop? not sure), double stressing him. With Whisper on his six, that made him a primary target for Whisper who took him out in a couple turns before he cleared all the stress.

On the other table in the second game, Bob's four fang fighter squadron Took on Rob's YT-2400 Outrider and two X-wing list. Bob jousted the YT-2400 and chewed through it in a single turn pumping out 11 damage in total. Fangs do love to joust! Rob's remaining X-wings made it close in the end taking out a fang for revenge.

Fun night again with X-wing 2.0. Next game might be a larger group on my 'big table' that can handle up to four separate games simultaneously.

Not miniature related, but on Saturday I did a little woodworking for a charity auction that's at a conference my wife will be attending in a couple weeks. This bottle opener and wine stopper set are turned from an interesting wood - the root of a fruit apple tree. I recovered this root and some of the branch wood from a storm damaged apple tree that blew down on a friend's property.