29 March 2010

Mega Game

Well this weekend saw the coalescence of three seperate motivating factors for myself and my gaming group. First is the MOC weekend which is basically two days of rubbing arms with top brass in the army (or air force or navy if your not as awesome) and briefs on the current and future status of the army. Note that I was more than pleased to attend lectures on new equipment aquisition projects. In any case with this taking up some of our time this weekend we wanted to do something different from the previous two days on Sunday, mostly playing with miniature armies (what a strange group we are). Second, this weekend, along with a stubborn chain of command, prevented us from attending Hotlead. Third this weekend saw the completion of all my papers and assignments until exams.

So I decided, with input from Phil Wright, to play a mega game on Sunday. When I say this I would like to make it clear that I mean the entirety of Sunday. Phil and I set up the table, 24ft of it, on Saturday over some scotch in the mess. This table in scale represented 3.6km of battlespace to play in. For the game we pulled out a truly ridiculous number of figures. For anyone who is not familiar with the normal size of our games, we normally play with a company to a battalion at most as the rules use individual vehicles and sections or weapons teams. The mega game saw the inclusion of hundreds of vehicles, even more infantry sections, and ungodly amounts of artillery and air support.

The basic scenario was based around the deployment of the Canadian 4th Mechanized Brigade Group in central Germany around 1985. The game had multiple levels to it. Elements of the 3rd American Armoured Division, those that had survived initial contact, battled it out with remnants of the Czech 1st Armoured Division in and around a small German village. Following behind the Czechs was a tank brigade from the Soviet 79th Guards Tank Division hoping to exploit the disintegration of the Americans. 2km from this front line a small group of Soviet airborne held a key bridge crossing that the Soviets required to facilitate their advance. Combating this blocking force was a small element from the German 7th Panzer Division. Arriving from the far end of the table were elements from the Canadian brigade. The overall focus of the game was on speed and violence (all the current or former armoured corps guys out their will recognize this). The Czechs needed to dispatch the Americans quickly so as not to slow down the Soviets. The airborne needed to vigorously defend their position so as to not allow the Canadians and possibly the Germans to establish a strong defensive position. The Soviets needed to penetrate and push for the bridge with all the intensity and violence they could muster.

The result of the game was a Soviet victory. This came through a series of events. First the Americans folded quite early in the game (they lost half their armour in the first 60 seconds of combat). Second the airborne did indeed put up a tenacious defence that cost the Germans dearly. However, as a note the Canadians did manage to do what the Germans had difficulty with and at the loss of only two cougar recce vehicles. This minor victory was in vain though, as the Soviets were able to advance quickly enough to hit the Canadians in a less than ideal defense. Credit must go to the NATO players as the defense they intended to establish had fate granted them the time was quite formidable. In this intended case the Soviets would have needed to advance across 1500 metres of difficult terrain (freshly tilled farm fields) with long range tank gunnery and TOW missiles facing them along with well placed and in depth artillery and air support. As the game ended, with several firing batteries of 152mm howtizers and 122mm rockets striking into the Canadian rear including the battalion command post, the game became quite clearly a Soviet victory. Honorable mention goes to a troop commander of the Royal Canadian Dragoons who with his three Leopard C1s scored several kills on moving Soviet T-80Bs at over 2500 meters. Phil, myself, all those playing the game walked away with nearly the same sentiment: "That was cool, lets never do it again." The game ultimately played for a significant portion of Sunday and had to be set up the night before. It was fun, but tiring too.

The table certainly looked impressive in size.

The American battlegroup.

The German contingent.

The Canadian battlegroup.

The all important bridge.

The village.

The Germans enter the fray.

The airborne in their initial positions.

The Canadians race to the scene.

The Americans sit ready.

The Czechs prepare to advance.

The Soviets begin their push.

And so it begins.

The first 60 seconds of fire saw devastating results as infantry fought house to house while scant meters away tanks engaged each other at ranges that would have made the Panzer Corp nervous.

The airborne put up a stiff resistance and gave the Germans a bloody nose.

The view from the Canadian end.

The view from the Soviet end.

The Canadians advanced confidently and had an entirely different encounter with the airborne. At one point the RCD troop commander found himself the target of an AS-12 tank missile from a Soviet aircraft but narrowly missed a fiery end by destroying the unit that was laser designating him.

The Americans lasted barely two minutes under the onslaught.

The Soviets advance past the wrecked hulls of American vehicles.

The full force of the brigade. Yes that is an entire brigade in 1:1, minus units off screen.

The Soviets push into the farm fields earlier than the Canadians planned.

At this point the result was mostly obvious.

As the game ended I decided to take a general count of destruction. The game began with well over 300 vehicles and 24 platoons of infantry. As the game ended their were over 120 burning vehicles on the table. I actually ran out of smoke after tripling my amount earlier in the week in anticipation.

11 March 2010

Open Gaming Wednesdays

Well my time as of late has been spent on administrative work surrounding the Wargames Club. Phil, Daniel and I have gotten a lot of work done on the club room over the last couple of months. Our biggest success seems to be the activities and interaction of the membership. One aspect of this improvement is the newly introduced Open Gaming Wednesdays. Every Wednesday the clubroom is open for any member to stroll in and play a game. Last night was the second Wednesday we had held and turned out to be a great success. A rousing game of munchkin was played, Star Munchkin version, followed by a few rounds of Bang!. It only took us a few minutes to see the possibilities of this game of sherriffs and outlaws as a drinking game. In the end everyone seemed to have a great time which speaks well for the future of the club.

01 March 2010

Spring Break

Well I just got back from spring break, an opportunity to get in some skiing and some drinking, and to celebrate Phil and I played a game of 6mm WWII on Saturday night. The game saw a counter attack by German forces in the first month after Normandy. The German force consisted of a company of panzergrenadiers, a company of recce, and a heavy tank company (read: 3 tigers). This force was required to push an American force out of a small town divided by a river and bridge. The American force defending the town consisted of 3 platoons of infantry, 1 platoon of M18 hellcats and a number of support stands. The Americans also had 2 batteries of Mortars on call and the occasional incoming airstrike.

The battleground.

The objective.

The Germans.

The American defenders.

The first turn saw two pushes by the Germans, one on the American left towards a defended chateau, and another towards the orchards near the front of the town.

The German recce units were given an early blow by an American infantry platoon in the orchards.

The panzergrenadiers saw more success against the American left thanks to the support of some Stugs.

The second turn saw the American infantry falling back from their forward positions along with a vicious gun duel between the Stugs and the Hellcats, however, the hellcats Green quality would prove to be fatal.

After the initial shock the Recce made headway on the American right in the second turn.

The second turn also saw the arrival of the Tigers.

By the end of the third turn the American left had folded with one German platoon across the river and others soon to follow.

The third turn also saw the Recce push their opponents across the bridge simultaneous with an airstrike that damaged a platoon of armoured cars.

The American left was completely in German hands by the fourth turn.

At the same time the situation at the town was quickly becoming apparent.

At the end of the fourth turn the American player threw in the towel. As it stood the Germans had crossed the river on the left and were in a cross river gun duel in the center. While the tigers had never fired a shot, their slow but steady advance towards the front line was also a motivator. As always the game was enjoyable regardless of outcome. This game also made it apparent for both Phil and I that we really enjoy this set of rules and that I should get around to posting them.

18 February 2010

Double Whammy

Well it has been a couple weeks since my last blog post. This is due mostly to the commandant's inspection which occurred yesterday. For those not in the know, this is an occasion where the commandant of RMC, in this case Commodore Truelove, and a number of inspection teams perform a thorough inspection of every squadron. Why is this considered important, because it is worth a number of points in the commandant's cup, an annual competition between squadrons consisting of athletics, academics and military proficiency. Thus the last two weeks have been occupied by meetings about standards, daily squadron inspections, shining parties, ironing marathons and cleaning frenzies. Not only have I not had the opportunity for a game in two weeks but for the sake of the inspection all my wargaming supplies were removed from my room leaving me with no opportunity to paint any figures.

With the inspection finally over Phil and I determined that we would have a victory game last night. This was aided by a cancellation of class this morning and no pressing obligations before 12:00 hours. In the end, with the arrival of my brother we played two games, one of 6mm WWII and one of cowboys. I will detail each of these in order.

The game of WWII saw the use of my new port (we declared the game to be in Holland as an explanation). The table was designed with three terrain objectives, a village and port, a farm complex, and a bridge. The winner was to be determined by whomever controlled two of the three objectives at games end. The German force began in a defensive position occupying all three objectives. The Americans were detailed to push them out of these positions, however, the force balance was such that only a 3:2 advantage in numbers was enjoyed.

The table

The village

The port

The farm

The American force consisted of 4 platoons of infantry, 1 platoon of shermans, 1 platoon of stuarts, plus an array of .50 caliber MGs, Bazookas, a sniper, 105mm howitzer shermans and other support vehicles.

The German force consisted of 3 platoons of infantry, 1 platoon of Stugs and an array of MG42s and support elements.

The game began with an American push on the village and a push directly between the farm and village designed to separate the defending platoons.

The thrust into the town encountered heavy resistance from a German infantry platoon with a supporting pak40 and an MG42 team.

The center thrust, however, encountered little resistance as it prepared to overtake a platoon of Stugs.

The attending audience looked on in confusion as the German defensive positions managed to appear both strong and weak at the same time.

After some intense bombardment of the German held buildings using every weapon that could be found, the American thrust begins to gain a foothold.

The thrust in the center saw the destruction of all 3 stugs and all the shermans but the dividing wedge was successful. The arrival of a reserve platoon of infantry failed to impede this thorn in the German defenses.

The fighting in the village soon became more desperate with the arrival of a flanking American infantry platoon on the left and soon followed by the arrival of a German infantry platoon. After intense street fighting the Americans held the town with a solitary German infantry section left to oppose them.

At the games end it had become clear that the Germans could offer no real resistance. One of their infantry platoons was completely wiped out and the other two were badly mauled. The Stugs had been destroyed and the Americans now occupied the town. In addition a fresh American infantry platoon was near occupying the farm. The game proved to be a quick but bloody affair that challenged both players with tense decisions. I intended the game to be a more infantry dominated scenario and it ended up being one of the more fun games we have played proving that you don't need lots of tanks to be challenging and enjoyable.

With this game over my brother decided that we should play a round of cowboys using the rules we had developed previously to modify Legends of the Old West. He had made some improvements since the last game which proved to work quite well. For this game Daniel had completed work on his new Livery.

The town as always looked spectacular but this time Daniel added his new wild west ground sheet and dried bushes along the river.

Two horsemen race towards the bridge.

A not so lady like lady lies unconscious in the aftermath of the gunfight.