Club night and getting back into the old routine, my first foray into WWII since my solo games at the beginning of the present nightmare, well, for 90% of us. Hey ho, Rob was up for a game and we settled on a German/Russian spat somewhere in the Ukraine in '44 as Operation Bagration rolled over Army Group Centre, quite a jump from two platoons going at it but that's wargaming.
I had taken some buildings along and simply threw them down along with clumps of tall wheat/corn/grass (delete where applicable), it was my first foray into the club terrain cupboard since the old Queen died and I gave no thought at all to trees, tracks or roads. The terrain then was pretty open and Rob choose his side which was a good choice as it gave him enough cover to set up several fire bases, I on the other hand found the country quite sparse. The rules were Chain of Command and the scenario was The Probe where I had to get a unit off the opposite table edge, support points were not growing on trees but for a moment I thought a nice little armoured car could scoot up and off the edge with bullets pinging off the sides but then thought, no, they will have panzerfausts and that damn panzerschreck they get for free and that thing could knock a hole in the door of hell under these rules. I settled for a Scout squad and a lady medic.
I did not get far with the Patrol Phase and only gained about 18 inches, so sure enough Rob popped a squad down on his left flank in some long grass and settled in for some long range mayhem, a second squad followed on the right, ensconced in houses this time. Once he had let rip with the MG42's I realised caution would not help me here so shortly had all my squads on the table, 4 against 2, but I had not counted on the ferocious die rolling of Robs men, I have never seen so many fives and sixes in one game. I did not lose a lot of men but the Shock began to climb alarmingly on all my squads my own morale began to tumble, there was no end to the rain of lead. Then, out of nowhere I managed to get a couple of double turns and I pushed my Scouts as far as they could go and started to hit back at the enemy in the long grass with my heavy squad. My shooting was not great but I had soon broken the rifle section and my Scouts moved in close to finish off the MG crew, German morale began to tumble, especially as the Junior Leader had bit the dust. The Scouts followed this up by wiping out the routing survivors and I brought the turn to a halt so that Rob had to take another couple of tests.
The Scouts were supported by an infantry squad but I lost my heavy squad, it was not enough at the end to cause me any hassle so they gave their lives for the Motherland while my Scouts made a bee line for the win. If I had not had the elite Scouts I don't think I would have even got halfway across the table, no matter I got back into the swing of things and next week it is Eastern Front Bolt Action.
Our Atlantic WWII naval campaign has just finished today, there was a climactic battle just off the coast of Iceland where despite heavy losses the Royal Navy won a decisive encounter which has left most of the German fleet at the bottom of the Atlantic. We began the campaign seeking to counter the Scharnhorst and Gniesnau which were supposedly breaking out into the Atlantic, to this end I ordered a submarine and cruiser watch on the likely routes while keeping my heavy units at Scapa Flow until I got decent intelligence on their whereabouts. Reports came in of several heavy cruisers spotted all over the North Atlantic, then out of nowhere news of a German landing in Iceland and a British brigade there falling back under attack. Although we lost the Hood we sank all of the German heavy cruisers and damaged the Gniesnau badly enough that she fled to Brest. The Scharnhorst and her escort were spotted by aircraft and the battleship badly damaged and slowed, now was the time for a final battle as I set my battlegroup to intercept. I got reports of the action on Facebook and mobile phone as Stuart and Rob fought the battle out under a blazing sun across the bay in Cumbria. The full report has still to be sent but the Scharnhorst went to the bottom along with the Repulse and at least two of my cruisers, the Luftwaffe put in a supreme effort against my ships but did not do enough to save their own ships. A satisfying end as the British invasion fleet nears the island and my gunners destroy everything German in Reykjavik harbour, a disaster of Stalingrad proportions awaits the Germans ashore, eat rotten shark Jerry. A big thanks to Rob who ran the excellent campaign and the players Simon, Dan and James, also to Stuart and his beautifully printed 3D ships and for his efforts in fighting the battles.
I still have some French to complete as I have been overwhelmed with map projects recently, however I am seeing the end of the tunnel, or at least a slowing down and as my new tanks arrived today (PzII and StuH42) from Blitzkrieg I need to get painting again.
I was going to pop up to Duncan's tomorrow as I have not had the time recently and I especially wanted to see his new 'little tank' an Sdkfz 222 armoured car, a replica but if the photo is anything to go by a super machine. Sadly he is not available and neither is the armoured car as it arrived on the Monday and was immediately hired for the next four months on the Friday once it got a coat of panzer grey. One day.