IABSM AAR: The September War #60: Szack

Great battle report from Tim Whitworth and the Like A Stone Wall wargames group, this time featuring a recent game taken from the September War II scenario pack.

Here’s the background:

Soviet troops consisting of the 112th Infantry Regiment, some 13.000 soldiers supported by fifteen T-26 tanks and fifteen guns, arrived at the village of Szack on September 28th.

The Polish force near the village numbered 4.000 men of the Border Protection Corp, including General Wilhelm Orlik- Rückermann, and sixteen anti-tank guns.

Having taken the village, the Soviets then charged the Polish positions with infantry supported by the T-26 tanks. The Poles waited until the Soviets were right on top of them before opening fire with their antitank guns, destroying eight tanks.

The Polish troops now launched an all-out counterattack: covered by their artillery, the soldiers of the Border Protection Corps charged at their enemies with bayonets fixed. By the afternoon the village was back in Polish hands.

The game played last Friday takes up the story from that point on. Charged with the task of retaking the village, the Soviets again attacked in force. Click on the picture below to see all…

[I still can’t believe that, using Anton’s materials as a starting point, I wrote 60 scenarios for Poland 1939!]

AAR OML7 Game 2: IABSM: Recce vs Recce

My second game at this year’s Operation Market Larden (the Evesham Lardy day) was a rather exciting game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum. The scenario, written and umpired by Mike Whitaker, involved a clash between British and German reconnaissance forces somewhere in Italy in around 1943.

Click on the picture below to see all:

15cm Nebelwerfer Battery

Another unit almost certainly destined never to see the tabletop except as an objective for attack!

One of the new Late War box sets from Battlefront, the 15cm Nebelwerfer Battery consists of six plastic rocket launchers with three sprues of six crew each.

Very easy to build and paint up, and I like the extra ammo stowage you get to dress the bases. My only real problem is with the crews. The number of figure provided is fine: you get six figures per rocket launcher, but only four per launcher are actually suitable, the other two being obvious artillery- or anti-tank-men. That’s not the problem.

My gripe, and it is a small one, is that three of each set of kneeling crew members are wearing their full equipment: backpack, gas mask case, haversack, satchel etc. Now, fair enough, you don’t want to lose your stuff by putting it down somewhere and then forgetting it, but these are behind-the-lines artillerymen. I can’t see that they would go about loading their weapons with full pack on…but maybe I’m wrong, maybe they did. Anyone know? Anyhow, looks a bit weird to have all these heavily laden chaps servicing their guns.

But it’s a small gripe and don’t let it put you off buying. When it comes down to it, the set does exactly what it says on the tin. Now all I need to do is to get a table big enough to cope with their minimum range!

IABSM AAR: Sealion #06: The Road Inland

Tim Whitworth and friends recently played scenario #06 from the Operation Sealion scenario pack: The Raod Inland.

It is day S2 of the German invasion and the reconnaissance battalion of the Wehrmacht 26 Infantry Division is heading towards the sleepy village of Herstmonceaux. The reconnaissance unit is light in vehicles and most of the troops are mounted on bicycles ‘liberated’ from a sports shop in Pevensey.

So far British resistance has been patchy comprising of pockets of home guard and the occasional unit of regulars but the British are now frantically attempting to form a solid defensive line to the north of the landing beaches.

What will this day hold in store for Hauptmann Ralph Sturmer and his company? Click on the picture below to see all…

AAR OML7 Game 1: Chain of Command in Malaya

The first game that I played at this year’s Operation Market Larden was a game of Chain of Command set in Malaya 1941 put on in 28mm by Mark Backhouse.

The British, played by Matt Slade and I, were represented by a platoon of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. We were defending: our mission was to prevent any Japanese troops exiting the table on our side: Mark, in the picture above, is standing behind the British baseline. A sub-plot also involved us getting a senior officer to the knocked out ambulance to rescue certain vital supplies.

As mentioned, we had a full platoon of Scottish infantry at our disposal: three sections, a light mortar team and a Boys anti-tank rifle team led by lots of officers. In support, we chose a Lanchester armoured car (mainly because this theatre is about the only place you can use one) and a roadblock, which we used to prevent the Japanese bringing any tanks on from the side road on our right flank.

The Japs, played by Jeff Davis and Ian Gilbraith, had the opposite idea. Their aim was to capture two thirds of the table (horizontally) allowing them to exit troops off the British baseline. They also had a secondary mission: explore the two huts in search of rice supplies.

The Japanese also had a full platoon to field, but their sections were enormous: fourteen strong IIRC. In addition to their three regular rifle sections, they also had a grenade launcher squad with three Mk89 teams. In support, they had a Chi Ha tank: something we were not looking forward to facing.

Patrol Phase

The Patrol Phase happened quickly, with the Japanese ending up with their Jump Off Points largely on their left side of the table. We had two of our JOPs on that side of the table too, but as we’d had to protect out entire front instead of being able to schwerepunkt along one road, we had another behind the hut on our left hand side of the table.

The Main Game Begins

The dice really fell for the Japanese in the early stages of the game. I’m not quite sure of the mechanic, but something about them rolling lots of 6’s on their Command Dice twice in a row meant that they shot up the battlefield until there was a section in the jungle to our right, the grenade launchers behind the hut just in front of our positions, and another section right in front of us in front of the hut.

The Japanese opened fire, promising huge amounts of devastation on our lead section. Fortunately (me rolling lots and lots of very low dice) the potential for large numbers of deaths was never realised. In fact, our only casualty was a junior officer knocked down…who promptly got back up again. This did, however, cost us two Force Morale points: the officer was obviously deeply unpopular!

Now the dice swung our way, and we had the chance to pour fire into the Japanese squad out in the open: which we did, knocking their strength down by half. At the same time, our Lanchester appeared, and promptly shot up the Japanese squad to the right.

It was all going so well…then this happened:

The Chi Ha took a shot at the Lanchester, hit it, and almost knocked it right back off the table. One more of them and we’d have no Lanchester left, and a dwindling number of Force Morale points.

Our light mortar popped some smoke down on the road between the Chi Ha and our armoured car, which gave us a little time to breathe…but what to do? There were still lots of Japs on the table, albeit half of them were pretty bashed up, but we needed to do something quickly and decisively if we weren’t going to spend the next four years building railways!

There was nothing for it: we would have to go forward and take the fight to the Japanese!

Bursting from the undergrowth, one of our sections rushed across the road to the right shouting strange Scottish epithets as they closed with the enemy. There were more Japanese there than we expected (the figures were hiding in the scenery!) and we lost the first round of close combat. This boded ill, but then Mark reminded us that as we were Scottish, we could ignore a loss by a mere one man, and carry on fighting until we were properly wiped out!

Back in went the Argylls, and in another two rounds of fighting (the Japs weren’t giving up the ghost easily either) we killed every enemy solider except one senior leader, who fled the field not to be seen again until 1966, when he finally emerged from the jungle not knowing the war had ended in ‘45!

The loss of so many of their men was too much for the already battered Japanese to survive. With a Force Morale of zero, they melted away back the way they’d come. Another successful Argyll ambush: time to fall back and do it all again tomorrow!

Aftermath

A cracking game of CoC, and one after which I am actually starting to remember the rules. I don’t think I’m switching from gaming companies in 15mm (IABSM, CDS, Q13) but I shall definitely play CoC again when I can.

Thanks to mark, Matt, Jeff and Ian for making it such a great game. Here are a few more piccies:

M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyers

I’m still working my way through all the stuff I bought in the Battlefront sale. The next box set pulled out of the pile was a platoon of M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyers.

These are lovely pieces of kit: the traditional resin and metal mix rather than plastic, and well worth the money. They go together very easily indeed, and even my usual bugbear of fitting the crew in to the turret compartment was easily solved with a pair of clippers!

I built two of the M18s without a muzzle brake (left hand picture above) and two with the post-1944 muzzle brake (right hand picture above).

Painting them was easy. I began with a quick spray of a slightly darker shade of green: more a British colour than an American one. Once that was properly dry, I painted all the things that wouldn’t be green at the end of the process: the crew, the tools, the stowage etc. Then I washed the whole vehicle in Agrax Earthshade and, when dry, highlighted everything. The main vehicle body was heavily dry-brushed with brown velvet: this gave me the contrast I was after with the darker and washed green below. The tracks are my usual mix of a steel colour with a flesh wash.

To make sure the crew stood out, I actually painted them in a very light green uniform: not quite accurate, but when washed gave a nice effect. You can’t see it very well in the picture, but the crew member on the left (as you look at the picture) is actually giving someone the finger. Just one of the vagaries of casting, but a nice touch!

One note, the box set does come with some extra stowage and a decal sheet. The extra stowage is great, and the small stars on the turret and the vehicle number are just right, but the aerial recognition stars (the ones within the circle that go on top of the back of the turret) are way too big. I had to use left over decals from another set and, because the top of the turret has got all sorts of knobbly bits on it, loads of decal softener to get a nice fit.

These get a highly recommended from me, which is actually a shame as I’ve just realised that the reason they were in the sale is that Battlefront are relaunching (today actually!) everything late war, so this box set probably isn’t available any more! Shame.

IABSM AAR: Pegasus Bridge Playtest

This year is the 75th anniversary of the successful assault on Pegasus Bridge by glider infantry of the 2nd Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard. The successful taking of the bridges played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the Normandy invasion.

The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (SOFO) is putting on an exhibition to celebrate the anniversary, and it looks as if a few of us might be able to run a demo game of IABSM one weekend at the museum to help bring the event to life for the general public.

All the running for this is being done by friend Dave, so all I had to do recently was to take part in a playtest of the game to be run. Click on the picture below to see all…

IABSM AAR: Sochaczew

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…

IABSM AAR: Return to St Aubin (again, again)

Another superb AAR from Desmondo Darkin based on his D-Day St. Aubin scenario.

This time, he and the South London Warlords are using a bigger piece of coast and a sandy beach instead of shingle. For rules, they used I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with Desmondo’s Chain of Command-modified activation system.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: Winter Attack!

Fellow Lardy Desmondo Darkin and gang have played their first game using their new winter terrain.

They had just over three hours to play a German attack on a Soviet held village in 1944, and used I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with Desmondo’s Chain of Command-modified activation system.

Both sides had a core Infantry Company and each side then picked support options using a Support list which is basically the Chain of Command list but sized up to IABSM-sized games.

Click on the picture below to see loads of pictures of Desmondo’s superb terrain and some shots of the game itself:

IABSM AAR: Bashnya or Bust! #2A: Osen

Another great battle report from Captain Cliche this time featuring action from the second scenario from the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack.

After a Soviet victory in the first battle of the campaign, this clash takes place around the small town of Osen. The Germans are holding out whilst their engineers set charges on the last remaining bridge , before withdrawing their remaining troops over the river and blowing the bridge to bits. They are outnumbered and face a swift Soviet attack that features plenty of T34s and SMG-armed tank-riders. The Russians need to drive through and capture the bridge.

Click on the picture below to see if the Soviets took the bridge.

Type 89 Japanese Tanks

Some of you may know that I am currently writing the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum theatre handbooks for the Far East, starting with the Japanese armies that invaded the Pacific region: Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies etc.

All the research, particularly into the 7th (Medium) Tank Regiment that fought in the Philippines, inspired me to finally get around to painting the two boxes of Type 89 Chi Ro tanks that have been sitting in my lead mountain since Salute two years ago. These I bought from Troll Trader for the princely sum of £12 each: a huge discount off ratecard at only £2.40 per tank.

These went together really nicely: even the back sled-things weren’t too hard to build. Not only that, but this makes 23 tanks consecutively from Battlefront without a single piece missing. Given my previous rants about quality control, this is a real (and very welcome) improvement.

Painting was just a matter of following the patterns shown on the box art. I now just need to tone down the gloss lacquer a bit with some mat spray.

My only disappointment was that when I went to enter my new Type 89 tanks into my Japanese roster, I found that I already had five of them, bought and painted some time previously. Ah well: you can never have too much of a good thing!

Recommended.

IABSM AAR: St Aubin

A lovely and impressive set of photographs from Desmondo Darkin that first appeared on the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum Facebook group.

Desmondo and friends play a slight variant of IABSM where dice rather than cards/chips are used to govern unit activation. Now whilst we don’t countenance such heresy here at VL, if it helps spread the Lard, then go, Desmondo, go!

Click on the picture below to see the action: