Always nice to see people using my support material to play their games, so here’s an after action report from Tim Whitworth and the Like a Stonewall wargamers using the Sochaczew scenario that I wrote for the TwoFatLardies Summer Special 2017.
Set in 1939, Polish troops are desperately defending the town as the German infantry and Panzers sweep in. Click on the picture below to see what happened…
Quite appropriately for whether we have been having recently, Tim Whitworth and the Like A Stone Wall wargames group raided the 2005 Summer Special for a scenario with which to play their latest game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!
Not much commentary, but some lovely pictures of their terrain and models. Click on the pic below to see all:
And so to the first battle of 2019: a game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! against Dave using one of the scenarios from the TooFatLardies Summer Special 2016. For those unaware of the Specials, and now the Lard Magazine, these are a wonderful source of scenarios, information and inspiration for all Lard games.
The scenario, by Richard Morrill, was called George of the Jungle, and was set in Burma, 1945. A Company, 9th Borders, part of 63 Brigade of 17th Indian Division, was tasked with clearing a small village near Meiktila of Japanese. The reason for the scenario’s title is that this action includes the participation of George McDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels, and is mentioned in his autobiography Quartered Safe Out Here. I would play the Japanese, and Dave would play the British.
The regular TooFatLardies specials are a fantastic source of scenarios for all the TFL products, including that hardy perennial, I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!
With John coming round for a game, I needed a quick bit of inspiration (sometimes you need a change from playing your own scenarios all the time) so quickly flicked through Derek’s excellent index to the Specials’ content, available for free in the files section of the TFL Yahoo Group. It had been a long time since the Italians had graced the tabletop, so I decided to play the An Affair at Gazala scenario written by fellow Lardy Klaus-Dieter Fritsch from the Christmas 2017 special.
The scenario takes place in June 1942 during the Gazala battles, but is entirely fictitious apart from the general setting.
The British are occupying a position atop a ridge. On the ridge are three hills and a few ruined buildings. Each hill represents an Italian objective: their aim being to either take at least two of the objectives or force the Brits to retreat through breaking their Force Morale (a rule “borrowed” from Chain of Command).
The situation is complicated by the conditions. The whole table is considered rough terrain, with wheeled vehicles limited to the track running up the centre. Even tracked vehicles have a chance of bogging down if traversing the rough ground, and both sides had a Vehicle Breakdown card in their deck. On top of that, the remains of a khamsin sandstorm were still around: visibility was limited to 36”, all fire at Effective and Long range was reduced, and the dust kicked up by moving vehicles a factor as well. In other words, just another day up in the Blue!
A lot of Italians!
John would play the Italians. His choice, I hasten to add!
At his disposal, he had a three-platoon company of infantry consisting of a total of fourteen truck-mounted infantry squads and three AT rifle teams. These were supported by two platoons of tanks, with each platoon consisting of three M14/41 tanks, one Semovente 75/18 assault gun, and one L6/40 light tank. The Italians also had no particular shortage of Big Men or radios.
The British (or rather Scots!)
The Scots Guards holding the hills consisted of a three-platoon company of top class, stubborn, aggressive infantry (I shall refrain from commenting any further - the mother-in-law is from the Granite City - but there was no way the Italians were having our hills!) with plenty of Big Men, light mortars and anti-tank rifles.
Supporting them was a single Vickers MMG and a single 2pdr anti-tank gun (I think I was supposed to have two of these, but settled for one gun with a Bonus Fire card) plus an attached tank platoon of two M3 Grants, two A15 Crusaders and an M3 Stuart “Honey”. We’ll dispense with this last: the Honey spent just about the entire game Bogged Down, never getting to fire a shot and barely even catching sight of the enemy!
I decided to keep my armour in reserve, positioning them on the track, out of sight just behind the ridge.
It’s quiet…too quiet!
The Game Begins
As the sun rose over the British position, Italian Blinds began snaking their way onto the battlefield along the narrow track. Despite their elevated position, the khamsin prevented the Scots from spotting anything until the Italian column had passed a rocky outcrop near the track.
The Italian Armour Leads the Way
The lead Blind proved to be a platoon of tanks, so I deployed my single anti-tank gun (in a sangar) and opened fire. I also summoned my armour up onto the ridge: if the Italian tanks headed for the infantry platoon holding the hill on the right of my line, I wanted to have more than one 2lb and a Boys AT Rifle to face them!
Preparing for the Advance of the Italian Armour
The combined fire of the Grants, Crusaders and anti-tank gun proved effective: with the crews of the two lead Italian M14/41 tanks quickly bailing out as a fusillade of shells knocked holes in their vehicles.
Unfortunately, the abandoned vehicles then provided a neat shield for the other three Italian tanks, who would spend the next portion of the game shelling the Scots infantry in front of them with, fortunately, little effect.
The two tanks at the back are bailed!
“Keep your heids down, lads!”
Stymied on that axis of attack, the Italians now switched their entire effort to their right flank, advancing two platoons of infantry, their HQ platoon, and their other platoon of armour towards the left of the Scottish position as fast as they could go.
With so many units going forward together, there was a bit of confusion as the advance began, but the Italians soon sorted themselves out and began to threaten the Scottish line.
The Italian infantry advance by rushes, protected by a screen of tanks and the Khamsin
Although fire from the Scottish infantry proved ineffective due to the effects of the khamsin, the British tanks again enjoyed an initial success: knocking out the three Italian AT Rifle teams and taking a few chunks out of the advancing infantry.
All was looking good: with the Italian Force Morale reduced down to  in exchange for only a few casualties. Then, suddenly, the British tanks lost their mojo. All their shots at the advancing Italian tanks missed or bounced off armour, and return fire caused the crews of both Grants to bail: running for home chased by the jeers of their Scottish comrades!
I looked at my Force Morale: the loss of the tanks and a Big Man had dropped me down to , enough that if the Italians, despite their precarious hold on their own morale, managed to knock out a couple more tanks or infantry squads, then I was Gone (with a capital G), the Scots being ordered to retreat.
Correction: it was a Grant and a Crusader that bailed, not the two Grants
All now depended on who managed to land the first decent blow. Incredibly (in my opinion) it was the Italians who took the initiative: their tanks storming forward to burst through the British line and threaten to shoot everything up from behind!
Two Italian tanks burst through the line. Note the Bogged Down Honey!
A close up of the same situation
Both of the Italian tanks now turned their fire onto the Crusader: one shooting it from the flank, one from behind.
Much to my surprise, the Crusader survived this onslaught, its gunner returning fire, but with no effect, and the first of the Italian infantry was now getting ominously close to the Scottish sangars.
Things were desperate, but the crew of the Crusader kept their nerve, reversing up onto the hill to keep their front armour towards the Italian tanks. The gunner calmly targeted one of the Italian tanks…BOOM!
At this point, the Italian Force Morale hit  and I had won!
Well that was a bit close!
If the Italian tanks had managed to dispatch the Crusader that they had got the drop on (more than possible given the situation) they would have been in the perfect position to start taking out my infantry from behind, with their own infantry poised to attack simultaneously from the front. A narrow escape for the Scots: who had just not been able to do enough damage to the khamsin-covered Italian advance.
An amazing game that all came down to the last few minutes of the action. Thanks, Klaus-Dieter, for a great scenario.
Fellow Lardy Tony Cane has sent me another IABSM AAR, but this time with a bit of a difference: the game is set on the North West Frontier in the early 1920's.
According to Tony, the mission creep away from pure WW2 is all down to the purchase of Lardie specials. The scenario itself is from the Summer 07 edition, the piece on Mussolini's Baubles is in the Summer 06 edition, and those two combined with his collection of WWI German East Africa war figures and the fact he happened to have Pathans in the lead pile...
One of our Planes is Missing
The scenario, with minor changes to the orbat, follows that printed in the Summer 07 issue of the Lardie special, and uses the Mussolini’s Baubles adaption of IABSM in the Summer 06 edition.
"It's India's North West Frontier, the early 1920’s, and the CO has just asked me to lead a small force for a rush job requested by the RAF. They want a downed plane in the tribal area destroyed, hopefully before it is stripped of useful gear by the locals. This is a bit of a blow as I was looking forward to playing polo tomorrow afternoon!
"A team of engineer types has been provided for the demolition, along with motor transport for the whole force, and even an armoured car has been rustled up. So perhaps if we start early it should be just a case of motoring in, destroying the plane and then back out again. With a bit of luck I may still make the polo match, and then on to the RAF club for free drinks perhaps."
Events were to prove that Lieutenant Harrowell-Clarke was a bit optimistic about how easy things would be.
The local tribe were clearly fired up by the chance to get to grips with the forces that had bombed their village. They basically opted to prevent the enemy from even getting through the pass. First into the breach was a suicidal attempt by a small team to blow up the road as it exited the pass. The fates (cards) were not kind and two volleys from the section advancing on the road block wiped them out before the charges could be set. Still their sacrifice had caused a useful delay.
The Pathan snipers were however proving to be more effective. Repeatedly stalling attempts to remove the road block and actually causing a casualty on the MG team, and forcing it to retire. They were only overcome when chased off by the eventual advance of the Imperial forces.
Pinned down by sniper fire the lead section were not going to clear the road block any time soon.
The remainder of the force was now ordered to outflank the Pathans and, debussing from the transport, started toiling up the steep slopes.
Having organised the HQ section into firing positions on the right flank the commander returned to the troops stalled in the pass and finally got the attack moving and the road block removed.
A second Pathan band had joined those blocking the exit of the pass but caught in the open, the withering fire, of the now effectively deployed Imperial forces soon disposed of them as a fighting force.
With return fire slackening and time running out for the Imperial forces a hasty advance seemed worth the risk. First with the armoured car, then with the troops and transport of the HQ section. With this rapid progress the plane was reached in time (9 out of 12 turns allowed) and destroyed without any further interference from the Pathans. The first platoon moved up the road to cover the village but were not needed.
In the end a glowing report on a mission accomplished could be written by Lieutenant Harrowell-Clarke on the lines of, despite initial difficulties the aircraft was destroyed at the cost of only four casualties to the entire force. Though he probably did not get back in time for the polo match!
It's been far too long since we saw one of Mark Luther's amazing 6mm IABSM after action reports...but I'm pleased to be able to say that the drought is over.
Mark played one of my scenarios - Wave Goodbye - taken from the 2011 TFL Summer Special: a French armor counterattack is hitting the flank of a German panzer column in an area east of the Ardennes in May 1940.
Sorry about the lack of posts for the last few days: I've been busy with another of Jack's amazing after action reports. This one weighs in with an extraordinary 239 photographs, each of which I've had to individually download and label!
The report is taken from Jack's blog, BlackHawtHet...and you'll be pleased to hear that he and I are working on a better way to transfer the content from there to VL.
Anyway, this time Jack takes Kampfgruppe Klink on a trip to the cabbage fields of Moiste: using the IABSM scenario that I wrote for the TFL 2005 Summer Special "Moiste Cabbage and a Quick Cognac".
The background is simple: The Germans have found a ford that gives them access to the French flank, the French dispatch a force under the eponymous Captain Cognac to close the gap.
Jack seems to have had a cracker of a game (239 pictures!), so click on the photo below to see all:
Here's a battle report from Mark Kinsey's blog, Daddy's Little Men. It's from a game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum using a scenario, Highway to Hell, taken from the 2013 TFL Summer Special (still available on the TFL website).
It must be magic: I only need to mention that we are awaiting the special and, like the genie in a Christmas panto, it appears!
Here's what Big Rich had to say about it:
The 2016 Christmas Special is here and it’s a bit of an unusual one in that the number of pieces is down, but the content as a whole is up to a massive 139 pages. Apologies to those who like the wide eclectic mix of articles we normally run, but we hope that the depth and quality of the content here makes up for that. Normal service will be resumed in the Summer.
So, here’s what we have in store for you.
Top Gun: A Briefing with Johnny Danger. We look at tactics in Bag the Hun
I Should be so Plucky: An Introduction to A Mere Question of Pluck
A Mere Question of Pluck: A complete set of rules for the Second Boer War. Some said they were just a myth, but here we set them free, at long, long last.
Yes, we Have No Talanas: Two introductory Boer War scenarios, Talana Hill and Elandslaagte
Bagging Bob the Nailer: Lucknow 1857 and Simon Walker looks at this classic Indian Mutiny encounter for Sharp Practice
Viva Ras Begus! Elvis may have left the building, but the spirit of the King lives on in the musical extravaganza that was our Sharp Practice display game on the show circuit this year. Big Rich talks about building the game in two weeks and his approach generally to show games.
Chain of Command: Russia 1942 to 1943. A whole raft of lists from the pen of Richard Morrill. If you want to go East, this is where to start with 39 pages of forces to choose from.
Cold Enough to Freeze Your TW&T Off. We head for the Winter War as the Russians and Finns shape up for an encounter with Troops, Weapons & Tactics.
Hot Sausage, Cold TW&T. A Winter War scenario.
Out of the Frying Pan: A Normandy scenario for IABSM from Mike Whittaker.
The Roundwood Report. Sidney questions Rich about Command & Control in wargames and the recipe for Lard Island Iced Tea is, at last, unveiled.
You can buy the special for the amazingly good value price of £6.00 by clicking here.
Here a battle report from a game played a couple of weeks ago featuring a scenario originally written for the TFL 2005 Xmas Special.
It's France 1940. A German probe has discovered an unguarded crossing over the river Moiste. They dig in and call for reinforcements, but the French have spotted them and send in Captain Cognac and his men to re-take the crossing.
Superb write-up by Carojon from the Devon Wargames Group using the Arnhem VC scenario from the TooFatLardies Christmas Special 2007.
The game focuses on the action at Oosterbeck that won Lance-Sergeant Jack Baskeyfield the Victoria Cross as he tried to hold off German self-propelled guns from the flanks of the British Para's positions.
Click on the picture below to see all. Recommended!
For those who aren't familiar with the format, the specials are a twice-yearly collection of Lard related articles and features that provide hours of good reading and gaming. Here's what's in this one:
Introduction: A Festive greeting from Lard Island.
Malaya 1942: A Chain of Comand campaign set in the jungles of Malaya sees an Australian force attempt to delay the Japanese invaders.
Chain of Command Abyssinia: Supporting the vast collection of Army lists available via Lard Island News, Rolf and Jim provide some tactical notes for the Ethiopian Imperial Guard and the French Foreign Legion.
Now That’s What I Call Magic! Providing a system of plausible Dark Age magic for Dux Britanniarum and The Raiders.
“The Reccies”: The Reconnaissance Corps has a brief existence between 1941 and 1946. Here we look at their structure, training and how to represent them in I Ain’t Been Shot Mum and Chain of Command.
The Swan: A mini-campaign for use with I Ain’t Been Shot Mum and the Reconnaissance Corps set in late 1944 as the Allies drive North through France and Belgium.
The Devil’s Garden: A Western Desert scenario for Chain of Command using the Reconnaissance Corps lists.
The Roundwood Report: Sidney quizzes Rich about movement in wargaming and chats about the forthcoming Sharp Practice v2.
Painting German Camouflage: Ben Fiene dips his brush into the complex world of German Camouflage patterns and provides some great easy to follow solutions.
Chain of Command: Undead ParanormalSid Bennet presents a thought provoking approach to Zombies and how to make your opponent’s hair stand on end when he thinks he’s playing WWII.
Division Azul: Alfredo Vitaller, Anibal Invictus and Julio Martinez of Club Dragon in Madrid present this guide to the Spanish Blue Division, lists of Chain of Command and a scenario
Mrs Slocombe Rides Again: Fat Nick tells a Christmas Tale which should probably never be told.
Going with the Floe: Building Ice terrain for the North Pole. An idiot’s guide. Literally.
One of the great things about Quadrant 13, the TFL rules for company-sized sci-fi wargaming, is the fact that you can construct and use any army from any figure manufacturer or fictional source. This flexibility, however, does come with a price.
Quite a few people have mentioned to me that they have a problem not so much with actually building the armies themselves, but with then working out what troops to deploy on each side to give a good game…especially for heterogeneous armies such as humans versus bugs.
Put simply, they can use the guidelines in the rules to give their medium tanks the right sized gun but then have difficulty in working out how many tanks to field in order to make it a ‘fair fight’ with the opposition. Unlike the TFL historical rulesets, there is no frame of reference.
The TooFatLardies Summer Special 2015 therefore contained an article, written by me, detailing a rudimentary points system for Q13. The article references a spreadsheet that can be used to easily calculate the points values for any Q13 unit. You can download the spreadsheet by clicking on the Q13 logo that can be found here.
Benito provides us with another CDS battle report, this time featuring a riverine action based on the additional rules outlined in the TFL 2011 Summer Special. Some excellent photographs of some equally excellent terrain and figures.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.