IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #04: Take the Heights

Another great Sealion AAR, but not this time from Karim and friends at the Stipsicz Hussars. No, this time it’s Tim Whitworth and his friends at the “Like a Stonewall” wargames group who are playing out the action.

Click on the pic below to see whether the Hyde Home Guard Platoon, under the watchful eye of their daring commander Major fforbes-Cole MC (retired) can defend Paddlesworth against the Fallschirmjaeger Hun.

IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #03: Capture the Port

Another great AAR from Karim Van Overmeire and friends at the Stipsicz Hussars, again from the Operation Sealion scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!

This battle report features Scenario #03: Capture the Port, in which elements of the London Irish Rifles defend the small sea side village of Seabrook against the German 21st Infantry Regiment. The Germans had to capture this position on their way to Folkestone: securing the port of Folkestone was necessary to allow German armour to be brought ashore.

Click on the picture below to see if Seabrook will fall under the Nazi jackboot!

IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #02: Rearguard at Pevensy

Karim van Overmeire and the Stipsicz Hussars are continuing to play through the Operation Sealion scenario pack, this time they fight scenario #02: Rearguard at Pevensy.

Will the British hold the bridges, or will the fearsome Hun get in amongst them? Click on the picture below to find out all…

Searchlights (literally) in 28mm

Those of you who have the The Defence of Calais scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum, and those who have read the Blitzkrieg: The BEF theatre supplement, will know that during the fall of France campaign the British were often forced to use Searchlight Infantry (i.e. line of communication troops whose purpose was to help anti-aircraft units hit enemy ‘planes by shining big searchlights into the sky) in the front line.

Up to now, unfortunately, there’s been no way to differentiate Searchlight Infantry from normal, run-of-the-mill types: after all, they wore the same basic uniform. Now, however, at least in 28mm, Sarissa Precision Ltd has produced a portable searchlight and generator.

Now the model is actually not quite right for the Searchlight Regiments (they used the searchlights either mounted on trucks, or carried on lorries with a slightly different stand) but is the closest thing I have seen so far.

Credit where credit is due: I didn’t see this on the Sarissa site, but on the Bad Squiddo games site, where Annie has created a Home Front female crew for the spotlight, and is selling the Sarissa model for them to, er, man.

Apologies if you’ve seen this before (the model is not marked as a new release on the Sarissa site) but I thought it worth mentioning. You never know, Sarissa might produce a 15mm version as a result or, equally good, Annie might start doing some of her Soviet female infantry in 15mm!

IABSM AAR: Return to San Marco

Tim Whitworth and the Like a Stonewall Wargames Group had a second go at the “Attack on San Marco” scenario from the “Cymru Am Byth” scenario pack.

Rather than start a new AAR, I’ve added the words and pics to the bottom of their first attempt.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: Sidi Ahmed

Another great battle report by Carojon and the Devon Wargames Group.

This time they have ventured into the Western Desert, with a version of the battle for Longstop Hill: the encounter that opened the way for the final Allied advance on Tunis.

What’s great about this AAR is that the forces are detailed as well: so it will be easy for you to replay this encounter yourselves should you want to.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: Sealion #01: The Fight for the Military Canal

It’s been ages since we saw anything from the Stipsicz Hussars, our friends in Belgium/Flanders, so I was really pleased when the following battle report dropped into my Inbox.

Here we see the first game from the Operation Sealion scenario pack: the British defending a vital bridge against assault from German Paratroopers.

Click on the picture below to see all, and it’s great to see the next generation of wargamers pushing lead round the table…

It’s hard to reach the middle of the table when you’re only nine!

It’s hard to reach the middle of the table when you’re only nine!

IABSM AAR: Happy Christmas!

This weekend just gone, John, Dave, Bevan and I re-fought the Battle of the Bulge scenario that we played a couple of years ago. You can read the AAR for that game here (opens in a new window).

I played the Germans in that one, but played the Allies today. A cracking game that was action, action, action from the moment battle was joined.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: The Pimple

Here’s a few pictures from a recent game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum played by Dan Albrecht and his chums at the Vermont Gamers Group.

The scenario was #21: The Pimple from the Operation Compass scenario book (written by Yours Truly). Dan says:

“True to form the Italians took it on the chin. With Brits in hull-down position and Italians with only two Actions, no Big Men to remove Shock, after 10 turns most all M13/40s were knocked out or their main gun was damaged or immobilized. Still, good way to learn the rules, practice shifting artillery fire with FOs and besides…no American football on the TV this past Sunday!”

IABSM AAR: South of Cherbourg

Here’s a quick AAR taken from the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum Facebook group, posted by the Chevalier de la Terre. The scenario used is the South of Cherbourg scenario from IABSM v3 rulebook; and has resulted in a beautiful looking game.

Click on the picture below to see all:

I’ve also added an even quicker AAR from fellow Lardy Julian Whippy, also from the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum Facebook group. You can see the rest of Mr Whippy’s pics by clicking on the picture below.

IABSM AAR: Sint Jooth, Day 2

Another great battle report from Tim Whitworth and the ‘Like a Stone Wall ‘ Wargames Group, this time put together from several Facebook posts mostly from the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! FB group.

This game is a continuation of their fight for the village of Sint Jooth in Holland in 1945. The British pulled out their war weary infantry on the night of 20th of January and re-grouped for an attack the next day (you can read the AAR covering the previous day’s action here).

Click on the picture below to see if the British had more luck on Day 2:

AAR: First Game of the Year

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.

Click on the picture below to see what happened:

IABSM B.E.F. Photographed

Continuing my re-photographing of my collections, next up is the BEF: the British Expeditionary Force of 1940.

The album portrays a Regular Infantry Company plus its battalion, brigade and divisional support; plus the various options available for supporting armour.

This was actually the very first WW2 army that I painted up, and although the infantry have withstood the test of time (and many appearances on the battlefield), the armour could do with a complete refresh. In my defence, however, when I started this collection many years ago, there weren’t the range of cheap, plastic tanks available that there are now. Were I starting again, I’d be going for a complete company of each type of tank available from Zvezda!

Click on the pic below to see all:

The OB for the collection is taken from the second of my Blitzkrieg in the West theatre books for I Ain’t been Shot, Mum!

 

IABSM AAR: Cymru Am Byth #13: Swanning Up To Brussels

Tim Whitworth and the lads from the Like A Stone Wall wargames group played another game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum the other day, this time using the Cymru Am Byth scenario pack.

The scenario pack covers the operations of the Welsh Guards during WW2, and includes sixteen unique scenarios and a mini-campaign.

The LASW chaps played scenario #13: Swanning Up To Brussels: a German heroic rearguard action versus 1st and 2nd Battalion elements of the Welsh Guards Group that took place on 2nd September 1944.

Tim’s general comment was: “I'll just say the British found it hard going. In these rules the tactics that you employ certainly matter!”

IABSM AAR: Normandy Breakout

A few pictures from the Like a Stone Wall wargaming group playing a Normandy 1944 break out game. The British are defending against a German counter attack. 

Note the use of the Lardage measurement sticks. The LASW chaps have swapped from using inches to Lards, with one Lard being equivalent to 1½ inches.  This allows them to play on their rather swanky 12 foot long table!

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust! #3D: Saint Melotte

Bruce Romanick has been learning the IABSM ropes whilst playing some of the scenarios from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack.

He’s posted a few photos of his latest game, scenario #3D Saint Melotte (where the British are defending a small French village against German armoured attack) on the IABSM Facebook page, which (and I hope he doesn’t mind) I reproduce here.

Apparently the plucky Brits managed to hold off the Germans…

IABSM AAR: An Affair at Gazala

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!

The 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 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

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 [4] 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 [5], 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.

Not good!

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 [0] and I had won!

Aftermath

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.

Robert Avery