Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Holland'44 - Conclusion

On Monday Richard and I completed the GMT boardgame Holland'44.  It went right down to the wire, but ended with an historical German victory (based on losses sustained by the Allies).

 The morning started out cloudy.
The troops hang on in Arnhem, 
as the relief force battles across the bridge at Nijmegen.

 The eastern flank is making progress,
pushing the Germans back.

 The same is happening on the western flank.

 The afternoon had clear skies.
Further progress is made on breaking out from Nijmegen.

A victory town is captured, however we need many more before we can claim victory.

There is another victory city on this flank, 
but this fighting on the map edge sucks.

Night and the British/Polish paratroopers have shrunk to just three hexes.
But relief is on its way!  
Trust me.

This flank looks well contained.
The Germans keep attacking in the hope of inflicting losses.

The same can be said for this flank.

The final day is overcast.  
Not good.
Things were going well, 
but with bad weather we lose a bit of our advantage.

We are getting ready to attack the final victory town on this flank.

Again, the same applies on this flank.

The force in Arnhem still holds
and the breakthrough has progressed well, but...

The Germans have taken a victory point location.  
The Allied attack on the other one failed.
Losses are unacceptable.

Again, same bad news on this flank.

The continued German counterattacks have paid off and passed the magic threshold which has enabled them to claim victory. There was one turn left.

Intense game.  The basic mechanics are simple, but there are a variety of exceptions and variations that mean you need to watch carefully.

Should I give it a go solo on Vassal? 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

France Late 1940


Five factories are switched from airplane production to rifles as there is a critical shortage of small arms which is limiting our ability to provide reinforcements to our division which seem to be under constant attack on every front.

5/11/40 The Germans recapture Innsbruck.

Germany is also now attacking Luxembourg after they have recaptured Koln.

More factories are switched to the production of rifles (away from tanks this time).

All armoured and motorised formations have been pulled out of the front lines and deployed along the Belgium frontier just in case and also to provide a reserve and more importantly get them out of the fighting as their equipment cannot be replaced with current factory allocations.

There still seems to be a bug that stops units retreating to be able to regain their organisation.  This leads to a collection of exhausted units on the frontline and the sudden collapse when the last unit is exhausted.  This has to be watched closely and an effort made to rotate units back and forth.

We find that in order to get Lend Lease from the US we need to get them to improve their opinion of us.  A diplomatic effort is initiated, spearheaded by cheese, wine and can can dancers.

The British Raj offers us some lend lease support equipment.  Yeah!

22/11/40 the situation in the Alps is deteriorating.  How the Germans are able to maintain their offensive in the winter is beyond me (and the capabilities of my armies it seems).

But suddenly the way is open to recapture Koln.  Are the Germans finally exhausted?  Is their collapse imminent?


A fresh appeal to our allies is made for the lend lease of rifles and artillery.

Research is completed on new small arms for the army and the MAS-38 is now available.  Rather foolishly we switch production to this new weapon which means our overall production volumes decrease.  Whoops.  (With time they will pick up, but we lost about 50% of our output.)

4/12/40 The US cancels the Lend Lease agreement.

We ask again and they agree, only to cancel the next day WTF???

The AI keeps sending British troops into the eastern North Sea where they are continuously sunk.

We try to recruit a small division for garrison purposes,but it won't proceed without rifles.

The Germans launch a counterattack to retake Koln.  So much for thoughts of their collapse.

The German attacks continue against Koln and now Bitburg is under attack as well.  Both are taken by the Germans in mid December.

Back to the Lend Lease saga.  We try the US for support equipment.  They agree.  Luxembourg and Norway agree to send us rifles.

Lend Lease is cancelled again (all except from the British Raj).  I do some research and it is revealed as a delightful game bug.  There is a proposed work around, but it doesn't work for me.  "Why are we fighting?" comes to mind or rather why am I continuing to play.

We are short 15,180 rifles by 17/12/40.

At this stage I  start pulling back French troops to let the Belgians take over the fighting (as it is on their turf).  This might also give my troops time to be reinforced (if the continual losses can be reduced).

Lend Lease takes a month to arrive, and we do actually get some supplies from the Britsh Raj.  Now we'll give those Germans curry!

24/12/40 Luxembourg is under attack.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

France October 1940

This post has been a while in coming, the reasons for which will soon be apparent,

The light green is areas held by Belgium, light blue is France while dark blue is German.
This represents the "contained" German breakthrough, after they were pushed back from Nancy.
September 1940

Session 13

During September the Axis airforce starts making a presence in the English Channel, however it doesn't seem to be long lived.  I pull the small force of patrolling destroyers out into deeper water (Bay of Biscay).

Fighting continues on the Rhine with much toing and froing.

We start to research army doctrine "Grand Assault", but it will take almost a year to complete.

Venezuela sends troops to help Germany.

Germany breaks through south of Strasbourg, but is repulsed.

At this stage Bruce suggests we play something different as the apparent bugs (units not retreating when they should) and poor performance (most likely caused by my underspec new machine that I got cheap) have lessened the pleasure.  Plus we had achieved a major outcome with France not falling and Italy being wiped out.

So we've gone on to play Europa Universalis.


But the game lingered on in my mind...

So I play with the AI controlling Britain.

First thing I find is the British abandon Strasbourg.  I am too slow to get French troops into the city and it falls to the Germans.

Just to make things really good, the US ends Lend Lease.

The British forces head to the Channel.

At least they stay put in the Alps where the German attacks are unrelenting.

There is a lull on the Rhine, but then the Germans launch a major offensive and start to make progress.  Koln is at risk of being surrounded.

We appoint the defensive general, Maxime Weygrand, to be Chief of Army.

The AI has British troops garrisoning Italy and a heap in the UK.  Not sure what they are planning (I originally thought a naval invasion of Germany) but they will need to get control of the Eastern North Sea first and I don't see that happening.

It took me an hour to play the one month.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Battle of Bulson - 14 May 1940

A Rommel scenario, not set in the desert this time.  This scenario is from this great site:


Coming out of the Ardennes Guderian’s XIX Panzer Corps fought its way across the Meuse at Sedan.   Realising they needed to crush the German bridgehead before it could expand the French launched a counter attack.  Both sides recognised that they needed to seize the area around Bulson which overlooked and threatened the German crossing point and the Panzer Divisions responded to the threat with their own attack.

Simon arranged all the models and terrain and went German, while Stephen N and myself, with minimal contributions (one tank from him and two from me) went French.

 The set up as seen from the French side.

 The first objective to be contested was the hamlet of Chehery.

 I commanded the 205th Infantry Regiment on the right, 
a relatively quiet part of the battlefield.
My aim was to defend the town of Bulson,
and the woods to the right where we had set up our field hospital.

 The attacks on Chehery continue.
The brightly painted French tank in this photo,
is Stephen's contribution.

 More attacks on Chehery, this time from the German perspective.

 What a nice little armoured car.
It's mine and by Zvezda.

 We lost Chehery, 
but with the 4th BLC recently arrived
 we were able to counterattack and recapture it, 

The game proved tense right to the very last turn.
The Germans had captured two objectives and needed another two to win.
Bulson came under repeated attack, but managed to hold out.
Chemery (on the left) was also attacked, but miraculously held out, fighting to the last tank.

Brilliant game and a scenario that we look forward to playing again.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Auerstadt Test Game with revised Prussian OOB

The cut down Auerstadt scenario again, but with a revised Prussian OOB.  Dave took on the role of Brunswick while I went Davout.

Set up.  The Prussians are very crowded.  
I should do some research into alternative deployments.

Blucher is on the move, 
while Schmettau's Division advances carefully to keep in command.

Gudin brings fire to bear on the advancing Prussians,
scoring hits on their lead cavalry and their artillery.

09:00 and Blucher makes his first charge.
The French fail to form square.

Davout and the III Corps cavalry arrive to find Gudin's division in retreat.
After routing the first regiment Blucher went on the rout a second 
(which also had failed to form square).

09:30 and the Prussians send in some Grenadiers to take Hassenhausen.
One of the regiments defending part of the built up area 
had suffered badly from the massed Prussian artillery fire.

It's looking glum for the French.

10:00 and Blucher is in action again,
this time just narrowly failing to eject the French cavalry.

But now Davout brings on Friant's Division.
It had been held off table two turns to give it time to deploy.

The Prussians waste no time and counterattack.
Again the French fail to form square 
(they have a 70% chance of forming emergency square).

Blucher leads another charge at around 10:30.

The Prussians make a massive attack on the last part of Hassenhausen.

All the Prussian attacks are thrown back.

Bleary bird's eye view.

Davout clings on to the table edge.

The revised Prussian Order of Battle:

Prussian Army Brunswick I (4) 18" A(10)+1D
First Division Orange (1) 3"A(4)+0
Brigade Lutzow 24PrLN
Brigade Prussen 24PrLN
Grenadiers 16PrGN
Cavalry Brigade Prussen 16PrHC
Second Division Wartensleben (1) 3" A(5)+0
Brigade Renouard 24PrLN
Brigade Wedell 24PrLN
Grenadiers 16PrGN
Cavalry Brigade Quitzow 12PrHC
Third Division Schmettau (1) 3" A(4)+1
Brigade Alvensleben 24PrLN
Brigade Schimonsky 24PrLN
Grenadiers 16PrGN
Cavalry Brigade Bunting 16PrHC
Cavalry Brigade Irwing 12PrLC
Advance Guard Blucher (1) 5" E(8)+3
Hussar Reg Nr. 8 12PrLC
2nd Brigade 24PrLT
Hussar Reg Nr. 4 12PrLC
Dragoon Reg Nr. 3 12PrLC
Reserve Corps Kalkreuth (2) 6" A(6)+1
Division von Kunheim von Kunheim (1) 4" A(6)+0
Garde Brigade 28PrGD
Brigade Pletz 24PrGN
Cavalry Brigade Beeren 20PrHC
Division von Arnim von Arnim (1) 3" A(4)+0
Brigade Zenge 24PrLN
Brigade Malschitzky 16PrLN
Grenadiers 24PrGN

Friday, February 15, 2019

Valentine Tanks Disguised as Chocolates

Just like a box of chocolates?
Talk about camouflage, 
but perhaps not ideal for desert conditions.

I bought a box of five Valentine tanks by Plastic Soldier Company, only to find there were so many spare parts I could create an extra five tanks, to make ten in total.  These are for a Rommel scenario take takes my fancy and I've decided to do a better job of matching kit to game.  I had hoped to have them finished for Valentine's Day, but this is as far as I got.

 The main part that needed fabrication was the lower hull.  
I settled on creating them out of balsa
 and was presently surprised how well they turned out 
(both in terms of ease of construction and final look and feel).

 The shield over the exhaust I could have left off,
 but I crafted them out of sheet aluminum.

 The two tool boxes are from plastic, 
except the top for the front one wass cast using modelling plaster.

 And now they are all base coated ready for their final paint job.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Holland'44 - The Battle for Nijmegen

The game continues

 It is the afternoon of 20 September.  
The British and Polish airborne troops are trapped just outside Arnhem.
The US paratroops are not yet organised to try and assault Nijmegen.

 The east flank is secure and being pushed back.

 While the west flank is also being secured.

 The night sees the first attacks against Nijmegen.

 The Germans are retreating in the east.

 And in the west.

 Morning of the 21st sees an overcast day.  
The good weather couldn't hold forever, but this is bad.
The attack on Nijmegen goes nowhere.  Time for a rethink.

 The eastern push is also stalled.

 And the Germans launch a counterattack from the western edge.

 The fighting at Arnhem is dire,
but with a change of strategy (and appalling dice rolling by Richard)
Nijmegen has been captured.
Then I realise it is going to be no good if I can't get across the river.

 Progress has resumed in the east with the arrival of some Netherlands units.

 The fighting continues in the west.
The city is an objective (there are two on the eastern flank as well).

 The night of the 21st has the British and Polish paratroopers still hanging on,
the Guards' Division has got across the river, but will they be able to breakout?

 Progress is slow in the east, but the Germans, 
despite their counterattacks, are being pushed back.

The West is also having its share of mixed progress.
If I lose too many units (the reason why the Germans keep attacking)
they will get enough Victory points to win.

Great game, but the dice can be cruel.