Monday, January 25, 2021

Two skellies in the garden

Not something you really want to find and definitely not The Flowerpot Men.

I now have five of these buggers, sadly I don't know the brand.  I like their attitude.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 11

Iran is finally conquered.  

Vichy is installed, just about everywhere!

Japan has a major offensive in China that is not very successful.

Attention now turns to the Eastern Med.

The Axis 3rd Impulse with the weather already rolled – 5, is clear weather in the Temp, rain in N Monsoon. GERM declares a combined and Italy a no cost combined as they are down to only .5 oil. With a Comb rather than Land the GERM is not going after the conquest of France – Vichy declaration it is then. The Italian NAV air flies to the Italian coast and searches, it is ‘just’ successful on a roll of 4, and aborts the French surface presence from the Italian Coast. It rebases a FTR from the French alpine borders ‘down South’ to ensure that any British CVs that want to interfere will have a least a chance of being sprung. The Germ sails its Tpt and Amph into the Baltic and embarks the Rome MIL and an AT Gun – destination Oslo. They adjust their land stacks to ensure there are no ‘freebies’ for low odds attacks by the French. Japan declares a Land Offensive and spends 11 O-points to assault Sian and break the impasse. A GS sees the Sian AT gun inverted for another +1, for a +10 attack. Declaring two assaults, one in the Southern Mtns and Sian, the Japanese launch their last offensive for the long summer of 1940. Either exhaustion, or poor coordination of the massed attacks – both fail in their objectives. The unlucky Japanese rolled a 7 on the +7 attack on the Chinese Mtn stronghold for his second ‘squiggly’ 14 – losing 3 units for only 1 Chinese, and worse, despite spending O-points on the Sian assault he rolled 6 on the +10 assault for another expensive 2/1 loss. Importantly the hexes are not taken, and the Chinese line is not dislocated. The Japanese is justifiably disappointed with the performance of his Army. This land war in Asia is becoming expensive and is distracting him from his naval building program as he is being forced to replace land units rather than build ships. It has not been a good night for Japan. The EOT roll of 1 is missed, as expected.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the CMWLTH desperate to conduct a Naval, is forced to declare a Comb instead as it must occupy an empty Cairo or risk conquest if the GERM ends the turn and wins the initiative. They sail their two fleets, Force H into the E Med led by the CV Ark Royal and Home into the W Med – the Home fleet is intercepted by a patrolling Italian SUB and rather ‘fight through’ the RN elects to go to the top box – the CMWLTH cannot afford to lose CVs on speculative rolls. In a surprise the Indian Div on board a CA in Force H invades Bardia as it is OOS and lands on the Italian aborted CA and tpt – the tpt is destroyed and the CA x managers to escape the Indian's surprise attack but is successfully intercepted by the combined French and British fleets and blown out of the water. The Indian Corps recently arrived on the Queens occupies Cairo to the welcoming cries of its populous. The French knowing that they risk little, take a land and launch their second C/atk against the GERM line attacking at a +6, the GERM elects a blitz and an average roll sees the GERM retreat a hex with the French all inverted – the last gasp of the French not so Grande Armee! The Allies fail to roll the EOT roll – 2 needed, Axis get a chance to re-establish supply to their Egyptian Exped Army. Russia moving units from Persia to Poland and adjusting his defensive line. China – moved a unit.
Axis 4th Impulse sees GERM declare a combined and Italy a naval. Italian supply convoys are sailed to re-establish the Italian convoy lanes – both for resources (Cyprus and Sardinia) and supply. The Italians have run out of oil, so the GERM lends a hand so that Italy can sail its multiple Convs and react its air if needed. The French fleet in the W Med fails to find the unescorted conv that has arrive in the E Med, and the GERM/ITAL Expeditionary Army is back in supply. The GERM Navy sails to the Baltic and embarks two Divs from Norway. The GERM launches a counter, counter attack against the French line that dared to attack them and rolled a nice 16 on a +10 blitz attack for a top of the table result to eliminate a French infantry stack. They finally Strat move a 6 factor FTR to Southern Italy to assist with securing the Med – letting everyone know that the big boys have arrived – Russia says thank you to Britain. EOT roll by the GERM of a 1 (3) needed and the turn ends, Part roll was another 7, same as last week, with no Partisan acty, again Japan breathes a sigh – he certainly didn’t want further pain this turn with more Chinese Parts turning up in his rear areas.
Interestingly, the S/O 1940 weather was all clear weather, replicating the excellent weather that the Axis had in S/O 1939. I suspect that the GERM will be well pleased if this trend continues during OP BARBAROSSA. Rebase, conquest, production and N/D reinforcement. Stalin announces the Persia is now welcomed into the greater Soviet bosom and has become a satellite nation. The occupying troops are now withdrawing by road (there is no railway) as they move West to the GERM/Polish border. GERM announces that they have accepted a mutual agreement with French Govt announcing generous terms and the establishment of the Vichy France. So convincing is Goebbels propaganda machine that all but French Equatorial Africa joins Vichy all but one! The Allies are more than a little ‘disappointed’ that De Gaulle’s promised Free French Govt is largely ignored and relegated to drowning their sorrows in the last of the Burgundy Reds in their now capital of Brazzaville. Even the US Senate is indifferent as the GERM player rolls a 9 on the US Entry for only 1 chit to the GERM/IT Pool. US Entry options deferred till next session as Roosevelt is again ‘indisposed’.
1940 N/D - CMWLTH picks up the dice as he is desperate to save Egypt, and surprisingly rolls a 9 to win over the Italian’s 6 roll to take the initiative, declaring that the Allies will take that. Weather is a moderate 7, snow in the Arctic and the Temp, rain in the Med and fine in the N Monsoon. The CMWLTH will take a Naval to finally extricate the BEF from Rouen and reinforce Egypt, but more importantly hunt the Italian supply convoys – although now the Italian NAVs have ftr cover.
Interesting review of the GERM player’s options with the fall of Paris on the first impulse of the S/O turn one, you would have assumed that the GERM would have started to STRAT move his Army to the Russian – Polish border to prepare for OP BARBAROSSA, but not a single unit has been railed East. Instead, they have been railed to the Med and Norway. One would suspect therefore that the collapse of Vichy and an attack into Spain to capture Gibraltar and seal the Med is the most likely course of action. This is supported by two actions; STRAT moves and builds. The STRAT moves have been all to the Med, 1 x HQ and 4 INF Corps and a FTR as well as to Norway (7 Corps) and with the builds, there are no GERM INF builds on the Axis build chart, rather a focus on ARM/MECH and NAV air builds. Only the GERM/Axis player(s) knows his plans, the Allies can only speculate, but it would seem that the lack of any INF build predicates a Spanish expedition rather than an underdone attack against Russia in 41, as that is always high risk. It is looking like the Allies will have some deep thinking to do in 41 to prepare for a number of interesting options open to the Axis.
Just as an aside the Vichy France rules are ‘clunky’ and even with a careful read through what happens to the variety of units, Free and Vichy is still not clear – we think we got it right, but who knows! It needs a simplified flow chart and an example or two.
Next week – a rest week – followed by the start of the last turn of 1940, which the Allies have won, rolling a 7 for Snow in the Arctic/Temp and rain in the Med. They will finally get a naval action and the BEF will be extricated from Rouen.

Friday, January 22, 2021

2nd Punic War Carthaginians versus Spanish Imperials

There are a few centuries between these armies and it shows.

I was the attacker, but didn't contribute to any of the terrain placement.  There is an impassable lake/swamp (that can be shot over - handy for those with artillery and muskets) and a wood. Oh, and a convenient table edge to snuggle up to.

Seeing how the enemy had deployed I tried for something different - an on table redeployment, to be achieved by marching up the right flank.  I knew it was going to be a challenge as there is no "face to the left" command.

Well, my deployment avoided the enemy artillery.
Their left flank is pinned on the table edge.

Into the woods!
At least I was advancing.

Turns out my skirmishers can't hurt the artillery,
either by fire or close combat :-(

Wood captured!

Both sides are redeploying.
It's not easy.

I get bold with the Numidians.

Well, the Numidians successfully charged home.
But they were devastated by one hit and a subsequent 6 for the Cohesion Test.
After that the artillery and musketry blew them away.

The Libyan skirmishers screen the deployment of the main force.
The Spanish skirmishers will be sent to deal with the musketeers threatening the left flank.

The Imperialist light cavalry tries to drive off the Libyan skirmishers,
Libyan spearmen get blasted and the chase is on to catch those musketeers.
(Whoops, my photoshopping missed a bit of table clutter)

It is taking forever to get the main body up.
At least it is now screened by the enemy cavalry.
The general with the Carthaginian cavalry turns round to go to the left flank.

Enemy light cavalry driven off (well they actually just retired).
Surely we will get into action soon?

Not yet...

The Carthaginians are slowly damaging the Imperialists, but sadly taking more losses.

The next turn saw further bloodshed, with the Carthaginians just not able to break any Imperialist units, while losing plenty themselves.  

The presence of the enemy light cavalry thwarted the charge of the Gauls, not that fighting pikes isn't hard enough.  The ability of stacked musketeers and artillery to interpenetrate each other and still fire can be deadly, even though in this game their aim was off.  However, mustn't complain about the rules, they are the Basic ones after all.  If I want more realism it means moving to Impetus Second Edition and that can be a stress to play on a Wednesday night.  However, once this league competition is finished I will give it a go.

On thing I do dislike is playing up against the table edge (which tends to be where all the clutter is).  It is artificial and worse, makes taking photos difficult.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


I was fortunate to be gifted a Welsh DBA Army as a bonus to some recent purchases I had made from the estate of a recently deceased gamer (amongst many other interests and achievements that I know he had in life).  While I had met him once or twice, I didn't really know him, but through some of his friends who I do know, I am very happy to have some of his figures in my collection.

While I like DBA, I haven't played for years and don't see myself playing again when I can play Basic Impetus to much the same effect.  The figures were based on thin cardboard that had badly warped and so they needed rebasing and that was what I did.  Very happy how they have come up and looking forward to using them in Tony's memory.  They will be joining other Dark Age troops that I have, but haven't quiet got around to organising yet.

All I've done is rebase them
and pose them around this lovely bit of terrain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Red Eagle Whites Star - At the Gates of Warsaw

EDIT: The title of the game is Red Star White Eagle.  

Richard did warn me that this scenario favours the Poles.

The Soviet West Front was getting mauled,
but an offensive was launched by the South West Front.
It even looked promising.

Second Soviet turn.
The West Front is rapidly pulling back,
some trapped units are trying to breakout
(bad move as a retreat result meant they were annihilated).
More interesting, two units have broken through and will hopefully tie up lots of Polish units.

The South West Front continues its offensive.

The rapid retreat of the West Front continues.
Gaps are bad, but stacking units is the only way to form a defensible stack (or so I thought).

The South West offensive rapidly fell back after its lead units were wiped out
in a spirited Polish counterattack 
(only at 4 to 1, but the CRT can be very fickle),

Will the West Front be able to hold?
The river line and the cities are not very significant defensive positions.  
They give a -1 DRM and so heighten the risk of a poor outcome,
unless the attacker has the defender surrounded,
as a 1 at 5 to 1 or better always produces a retreat.

The Soviets have mandatory withdrawals from the South West Front at this time.
Just what they needed! 

The Poles start to break the West Front.

The West Front has collapsed.

Followed by the South West Front.
At this stage of the game I was just trying to defend the VP locations.
They can be easily surrounded and a 5 to 1 attack will produce at least a retreat and that is fatal.
The alternative would have been to keep on retreating,
although the Soviets were getting out run.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 10

Paris falls, Tehran falls and France declares war on Italy claiming control of the Mediterranean.

Update - Deferred US entry from EOT J/A was 26 'Relocate the fleet to Pearl Harbour' - the clock is ticking - tik tock.
With the GERMs having won the initiative (rolled 10), electing to go first AND rolling clear weather (6) Paris was not going to survive - the French gave it a go though. The GERM went land and despite marginal GS – with one bomber being shot down and the other aborted his 4 factor Arty bombarded the hapless capital. The attack went in with the French HQ Georges and the GERM attacking HQ Rundstedt supporting their armies, the GERM did not commit any acft but the French flew their only Land Bomber, the GERM AA was superbly efficient, driving all 3 pts away. The GERM assault committed, and he rolled well enough a 10 on a +12.5 to capture the French Capital with only a Div lost and a ½ invert (22). Paris has fallen albeit a turn or two late, the GERM will almost certainly declare Vichy as there are too many French land and acft units and he has already taken too many casualties in this hard-fought campaign. The GERM Arty outside Rouen were successful in inverting GEN Wavell and his HQ staff as well as his defending MOT Corps, with Paris captured and little else to do they could be in trouble. Interestingly the GERM flipped all his remaining HQs to reinvert his ½ inverted Army, his Arty and a FTR and Stuka – looks like he might go after the BEF! Von Leeb was transferred to Sicily – possibly to support the Egyptian Campaign or perhaps Greece – time will tell. Italy took a Naval and sailed its Primo fleet out to the WE Med to continue supporting Axis land Ops in Egypt while the CMWLTH is distracted trying to extricate his BEF from France. Their submarines finally have some success finding the convoys outside Gibraltar sinking, 3 conv and aborting 3 others to Portsmouth, surprisingly the Sub on patrol in the N Sea does not elect to search for the BEF supply convoy, if it had the found it, the BEF would have been OOS and very, very vulnerable, especially as both the Corps in Rouen were to be inverted, the BEF Commander wiped his brow. The Italian air-force bomb the British HQ Gort and its 7 Mech Corps hoping to invert and fix them on the Rouen peninsula, Unescorted (again – the GERM just simply refuses to waste it’s FTRs to escort the Italian Bomber) it is intercepted by the RAF Hurricane’s, but they botch the intercept (again) and clear it through. Luckily, the Italians aim is put off by the RAF and the harmlessly dump their bombs outside the port. Japan took a combined and flew multiple GS, again with little success other than and importantly rolling high on the A2A table and destroying the Chinese ACFT AND its pilot – no more Chinese acft for a while. He landed another load of reinforcements to bolster his land campaign but with no inversions on the Chinese line, he elected not to attack and risked a poor weather roll on the next impulse.
Allied 1st Impulse, the CMWLTH takes a Combined and sails a substantial fleet, covered by air into the North Sea, CV’s BS’s and tpts, two tpts pick up the valuable ENG and the 7.6 MECH and safely disembark them in blighty – oh what stories they have to tell. The RAF ground strike GERM elements with mixed success, inverting the GERM 8.6 Mech that had crossed over to the Southern bank of the River Seine but at the cost of a 3 Land Bomber that gets shot down with its pilot – the GERM is rolling well. The RAF help reinvert the MOT in Rouen forcing the GERM to further GS if he wants to have a go at the BEF. France takes a land and drives to the GERM/French front line to ensure there is no breakthrough into central France. The French Arty in Metz fires its last rounds at an SS Corps attempting to outflank the Maginot line and has success, flipping the black shirts. In a surprise to all, the French Army launch their second only counter attack, led by their 7 ARMD Corps Char B’s and Mech Corps against the inverted GERM 8.6 Mech – rolling a disappointing (for the Allies) but average roll they do luckily get a 1/1 sacrificing their 6.6 Mech for the loss of the GERM 8.6 Mech – Stalin is well pleased. Speaking of Stalin – Finally the Russian Bear lumbers into action taking a paid Comb. GS the hapless defenders of Tehran they invert both and assault the city at a +16.1 led by Zhukov, the city is taken with no loss and they can now start walking back to a rail head to get back to their designated positions on the GERM/Polish border. This campaign was launched in the summer of 40, early March and has taken 4 turns to persecute. Interestingly Stalin, reports that there were no survivors of the Tehran garrison?
Axis second impulse and a 1 is rolled – clear everywhere, advance by one! The GERM in a surprise move takes a combined rather than land, sails its subs and flies air into the N Sea to hunt the British Tpts – but they are well protected with Ftrs, CVP and solid AA ratings. The GERM Subs, like the RN escorts fail all their searches but the predators in the N Sea become the hunted with a marginal surprise to the British – one shift. In an inconclusive air battle the GERM escorting FTR is aborted, one NAV bomber gets through and aborts one of the escorting CVs, but not before GERM rolls another 18 and shoots down a CVP and its pilot. With the loss of its FTR Cover the GERM NAVs (2) decide to abort the sea area as they are too valuable to lose for little probable gain. The GERM GS the BEF with FTRs and Arty, the Arty fail, but Luftwaffe bomber is intercepted by Spitfires from Dover which are promptly blown out of the sky with a 19 by escorting GERM FTR, but in reply, a 20 by the Spits destroy another 3 factor Land Bomber and its pilot – this air war is becoming very expensive for both the British and GERM. The British lost 2 Planes AND their Pilots last turn, and they have now lost 3 Planes AND 3 pilots this turn – it seems that the GERM is confidently rolling high in the A2A combat, or the British are not issuing parachutes to their pilots. The Luftwaffe losses have also been expensive, the loss of bombers during the French campaign has been persistent and will impact significantly when they go to war with Russia. It is starting to look like a 41 Barbarossa may be stalled, how long is the question, two months, or a year. Japan takes a land and again attempts to GS the Chinese line, 1 Corps in Sian is inverted, but it is not enough to tempt the Japanese as he has more planes and Infantry arriving and moving to the front. But the clock is ticking and the weather in S/O can become bad, just takes one die roll, no attacks again for the Japanese in a clear weather turn – where is the Bushido spirit. Better news in Egypt for the Axis, as the Italian air-force, needing 2’s successfully GS both Corps defending Alexandria – really – it happens, worse the S African TER is now OOS as the GERM moved forward and supported by the Italian Navy assault the city at a +17, it falls, no loss, no inversion and Cairo/Egypt is now in dire straits. The British were indeed distracted by the BEF trapped in Rouen and did not withdraw the Alexander garrison behind the eastern river defences. Not expecting both corps to be inverted they took a risk and paid the penalty – lesson learned - focus on what is important.
Allied 2nd Impulse and France DOW against Italy and takes a Naval, sailing its fleet into the E Med against the Italian fleet (now in the zero box) and the Italian Tpt which is protected by CA’s and Nav air. They also search the Italian Coast and W Med. The French search rolls are ordinary and contrast to the Italian’s rolls which were exceptional – multiple 1’s and 3’s BUT on the surprise turn that only helps you find the enemy. End result, two Italian CA’s and 1 Conv are sunk with 3 other CA’s sent to the repair pool. The New Italian BS or the Tpt were not found and it is arguable that the DOW and Italian losses were not worth the US chit loss – but probably it was. The bonus is that the Med and Italian Sea’s are now devoid of Italian shipping and conv, the GERM/Italian Exped force in Egypt is OOS which will force the Italians to sail a Conv at least into the E Med which will trigger a French search. The Italians do have several Navs available, and without aircover the French ships are vulnerable BUT the RN still has 4 Cvs in Gibraltar and they may get to play with the Italian Nav’s if the EOT is not rolled by the Axis (1). It was decided by the Allies to sail the French fleet against the Italians as it about to be interned/Vichy and any Italian loss will be helpful to the British who are struggling to find anything! Russia starts the long trek from Persia, along hot and dusty mountain roads towards Mother Russia and rail heads to be redeployed West. China does what China does – moved a unit. The CMWTH takes a Comb and ships desperate reinforcements to Egypt from Australia (DIV) and India (Corps) – will it be enough? They fly their SA Spitfire into another sea area, it has taken three turns to get from SA to Aden, one sea area per turn as shipping (Tpt) is too sparse and valuable – they are still stuck in Europe trying to extricate the BEF from Rouen. A couple of CVs in Gibraltar have their Air Gps rearranged – ship-ship trfr.
Axis 3rd Impulse next week – whether rolled 5 – clear weather again in the temperate – where is the S/O bad weather, it appears to be replicating the excellent weather that the Axis had in 1939 S/O – just as well the GERM has not elected to go after the destruction of French units and a complete conquest. The Axis can roll an EOT on a 1, but they still have some things to do – getting the Axis Egyptian Exped Force back in supply is one of them. Overall an interesting turn, Paris falling – it wasn’t guaranteed, but likely, France DOW against Italy, cost a US chit but may have saved Egypt. The air war continues to be horrendous for all, lots of high rolls and pilot deaths, makes air losses doubly expensive. Oh and Tehran has fallen.

Killer die rolls.

Stalingrad via Crossfire

Once a year around this time I like to play the Crossfire Stalingrad scenario.  The terrain and figures I have for this are a bit cheap, even cheesy, but that is part of the allure/charm.

I put the game on for the club's first Games day of 2021 and Stephen went the Soviets.  I had a cunning plan as the Nazis and it was working well, until those Soviets went all out in the factory.  No, not a strike, an attack.

The first attack.

Victorious, they prepare to take the final sector.

After a set back, the Soviets were able to get more men into the factory complex,
before the Nazis.  Then their number prevailed.

Fun game, over all to quick,
but I did have a lunch date at the Blue Duck.