Zulu Game AAR.

Yesterday Evan brought round his Zulu collection and a quick scenario for us to try out, also to see if we can get the hang of the 2HW ruleset- Colonial Adventures.

The scenario was a simple one, I took the part of the British, I had 2 platoons of infantry and 2 platoons of Natal Native Contingent troops which had to protect a wagon train that was experiencing difficulty crossing a ford. The Redcoats set up across the river the NNC behind, I placed 4 outlying pickets to cover all avenues of approach. Brian and Evan took on the Zulus with several large groups and some smaller ones armed with Martini Henry’s looted from Islandwana.

As usual I provided the scenery and Evan brought all the figures (he swapped them for an old washing machine- no really- that’s how we operate up here in t’north we have a barter economy, no trust in that there paper money)

The basic table with the wagon train stuck in the middle.

The basic table with the wagon train stuck in the middle.

Better detail of the wagons. Evan reckoned that the figures are up to 20 years old .

Better detail of the wagons. Evan reckoned that the figures are up to 20 years old .

The British force in its entirety.

The British force in its entirety.

The Natal Native Contingent.

The Natal Native Contingent.

The thin red line.

The thin red line.

The British troops in position to defend the wagon train.

The British troops in position to defend the wagon train.

General view of the table. Can just see some NNC holding the wall to the left.

General view of the table. Can just see some NNC holding the wall to the left.

Zulus break the cover of the trees into the teeth of the (ineffective) NNC fire.

Zulus break the cover of the trees into the teeth of the (ineffective) NNC fire.

The other groups try to move round the back to get to the wagons.

The other groups try to move round the back to get to the wagons.

Meanwhile on the other side of the river Brian's Zulus crest the hill quickly taking out my 3 man picket and begin to bear down on the British.

Meanwhile on the other side of the river Brian’s Zulus crest the hill quickly taking out my 3 man picket and begin to bear down on the British.

As they charge down the Brits loosen off a volley.

As they charge down the Brits loosen off a volley.

Violent fisticuffs ensue with the British bayonet getting the edge over the native spear.

Violent fisticuffs ensue with the British bayonet getting the edge over the native spear.

General shot of the board, the NNC are being hard pressed but the British are holding their own.

General shot of the board, the NNC are being hard pressed but the British are holding their own.

The brave NNC draw the ire of the Zulus to protect the wagon.

The brave NNC draw the ire of the Zulus to protect the wagon.

At this point we called the game as a minor win for the Brits as time was getting on and more snow was coming down.

All of us really enjoyed the game and are looking forward to the next one. The mechanics were similar enough for us to pick them up quickly but had enough period feel to be different to all the 20th century games we’ve played.

At first I was confident that my massed rifle fire would hold the line but the poor showing of the NNC tempered that thought somewhat, however the redcoats could hold their own but the Zulus are pretty potent in close combat. Gives us plenty to test out next game.

Cheers,

Pete.

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Update. Plus free sweets….

I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties for a while- apologies – so thought I’d do a quick update.

Not posted much recently for several reasons- not had a game in a while due to a combination of real life and the weather (had 12″ of snow on Friday night but the roads are clear at the moment). Also I’ve not had chance to get much done in the shed as most of my free time has been spent preparing a talk for the local history society which I did last Wednesday, went well and they have asked me to do another.

That said Evan brought over his Zulu collection this evening and the three of us (Brian was there too) had a great game so I’ll be doing a full report on that tomorrow.

The only thing I’ve got done in the shed all month has been four WW2 German guns. Rather than tell you what they are I’ll send out to the first person to correctly identify them a bag of sweets- probably wine gums.

Guess the guns- win sweets.

Guess the guns- win sweets.

Cheers,

Pete.

Afghan Rescue- AAR.

This weeks game saw us game the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The basic scenario of the game, set in 2007, saw a British squad, commanded by Evan, pinned down in a compound by Brian’s Afghans. Chris was the second British player and had a second squad being carried in a pair of Snatch Landrovers supported by a pair of WMIK Landrovers. He had to come to the aid of his beleaguered colleagues. I ran the umpired the game. The game allowed us to test out some more of my modern modifications in a very recent setting.

British Briefing.

Date: 2007
Location: Helmand province Afghanistan.
Situation: A small foot patrol has been conducting a standard route through the green zone. It has taken fire and sought cover in a compound. You are to take a squad and WMIK to rescue them. The roads are clear but there may be mines/IEDs in the vicinity.
Initial Deployment: Fire teams A and B start in the compound. The Reinforcements enter on the road on turn D3.
Victory Conditions: Rescue the two fireteams and exit them off the board.
Special Rules: All men carry 2 fragmentation grenades each, Squad leaders also have 2 smoke grenades each. All men wear modern body armour. Each UGL had 4 rounds. LMG gunners don’t need assistants.

Forces:

Fireteam A: NCO REP 5 SA80, Gunner REP4 SA80 + UGL, Gunner REP5 SA80, Gunner REP 5 Minimi.

Fireteam B: NCO REP 5 SA80, Gunner REP4 SA80 + UGL, Gunner REP5 SA80, Gunner REP 5 Minimi.

Fireteam C: NCO REP 5 SA80, Gunner REP4 SA80 + UGL, Gunner REP5 SA80, Gunner REP 4 Minimi. Carried in Landrover Snatch.

Fireteam D: NCO REP 5 SA80, Gunner REP4 SA80 + UGL, Gunner REP5 SA80, Gunner REP 4 Minimi. Carried in Landrover Snatch.

Landrover WMIK: NCO REP 5, Driver REP4, Gunner REP4, 1 HMG + 1 LMG

Landrover WMIK: NCO REP 5, Driver REP4, Gunner REP4, 1 HMG + 1 LMG

Taliban briefing.

Date: 2007
Location: Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Situation: You have ambushed a small British foot patrol, after a short firefight they have taken cover in an abandoned compound. Move in and finish them off before more arrive.
Initial Deployment: Set up 2 units 8” in from the 2 board edges parallel to the road. The rest enter as they are drawn from either of these edges (mark before game starts), 2 random units per turn enter.
Victory Conditions: Kill/ capture the British forces, even a few KIA is enough for a propaganda victory.
Special Rules: All men carry 1 fragmentation grenade each. LMG gunners do not need assistants, RPGs have 4 rounds each. Place 2 dummy IED markers before play.

Forces:

1- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 4 men REP3 AKs, Gunner REP3 LMG, Gunner REP3 RPG and pistol.

2- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 2 men REP3 AKs, Gunner REP3 LMG, Gunner REP3 RPG and pistol.

3- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 2 men REP3 AKs, Gunner REP3 LMG, Gunner REP3 RPG and pistol.

4- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 2 men REP3 AKs, Gunner REP3 LMG, Gunner REP3 RPG and pistol.

5- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 2 men REP3 AKs, Gunner REP3 LMG, Gunner REP3 RPG and pistol.

6- HMG team: Leader REP4 AK, Gunner REP4 AK and HMG, 2 assistants REP3 AKs.

7- Squad: Leader REP4 AK, 3 4 Gunners REP3 AK and RPG.

8- Sharpshooter: ‘One eyed Omar’ REP 4 SVD has the following attributes- Stealthy, Quick reflexes, Marksman.

The game table, Evan's squad set up in the far compound on the right. The Afghans entered from either long board edge. Chris' rescue party enter on the road at the bottom.

The game table, Evan’s squad set up in the far compound on the right. The Afghans entered from either long board edge. Chris’ rescue party enter on the road at the bottom.

One of the initial Afghan squads ready to throw itself against Brits.

One of the initial Afghan squads ready to throw itself against Brits.

Evan set up his Brits for all round defence, cleverly covering every angle.

Evan set up his Brits for all round defence, cleverly covering every angle.

Brian set up another squad of Afghans on the other side of the board.

Brian set up another squad of Afghans on the other side of the board.

After Brian had lost a lot of men attempting to close on the compound he decided on a different tactic with the arrival of Chris' forces at the start of turn 3. The bloody smear is the remains on 'One Eyed Omar'.

After Brian had lost a lot of men attempting to close on the compound he decided on a different tactic with the arrival of Chris’ forces at the start of turn 3. The bloody smear is the remains on ‘One Eyed Omar’.

Chris sent half of his forces down the road, with some concern over the IED marker, and half down his left flank.

Chris sent half of his forces down the road, with some concern over the IED marker, and half down his left flank.

Having past the (fake) IED a crucial insight was now taken, unfortunately the Minimi gunner out of the top hatch of the Snatch lost to ....

Having past the (fake) IED a crucial insight was now taken, unfortunately the Minimi gunner out of the top hatch of the Snatch lost to ….

... an Afghan RPG gunner. Who let a shot off.

… an Afghan RPG gunner. Who let a shot off.

Bang on target taking out the Snatch. This proved to be the turning point of the game.

Bang on target taking out the Snatch. This proved to be the turning point of the game.

General shot of the table. Complete with game clutter.

General shot of the table. Complete with game clutter.

Chris moved half of his forces round the flank to intercept Brian moving up his reinforcements. The WMIK and the Brits in the compound did a good job of neutralizing a HMG that Brian was trying to set up.

Chris moved half of his forces round the flank to intercept Brian moving up his reinforcements. The WMIK and the Brits in the compound did a good job of neutralizing a HMG that Brian was trying to set up.

On the other side of the road the second WMIK got its revenge on the Afghan with the RPG with a burst from its GMG.

On the other side of the road the second WMIK got its revenge on the Afghan with the RPG with a burst from its GMG.

Sadly for the Brits Brian got lucky with his reinforcemnts and activations bring on his RPG heavy squad right behind Chris' force with rather devastating result. At this point we called it quits.

Sadly for the Brits Brian got lucky with his reinforcemnts and activations bring on his RPG heavy squad right behind Chris’ force with rather devastating result. At this point we called it quits.

The game went pretty much as expected, very hard for the Afghans to make progress against the initial defending Brits, Brian lost about 20 men before deciding to focus his efforts on Chris’ advancing reinforcements. Once things started to go bad for the Brits the whole game plan fell apart. Whilst Evan’s squad was secure in his compound by splitting up and arriving late on the board (the dice’s fault not Chris’) it was easy enough for Brian to capitalize on the fortuitous arrival of his RPG squad to end the game in his favour. The Snatches proved to be very weak- I can see myself picking up a few Mastiffs next show that I’m at.

Plenty of new ideas came out of the game. A table of support options for the British one to reflect the amount of assets that are available in theatre. Also some house rules on IED are needed. As the war in Helmand progressed the threat of IEDs grew year by year as techniques were imported from Iraq. Parallel to this I can see some rules on Military Working Dogs being written too.

Cheers,

Pete.

More Fletcher Pratt Naval gaming.

Last Sunday Evan kindly invited me over to his for another go at the Fletcher Pratt naval game, given how much I liked the last run through of it I jumped at the chance for another game of this old school classic.

The scenario was simply each of us had a Cruiser and a pair of escorting Destroyers; I took on the role of the Italians with the Raimondo Montecuccol and the Carabineri and Legionario Destroyers. Evan had the Sirius AA Cruiser and the Ashanti and Somali Tribal class destroyers.

The main purpose of the game was to try out the torpedo rules, something we omitted from our earlier River Plate game, so we both picked opposite corners to start in and steam towards each other at top speed.

IMG_5154

The Brits adopt a similar start to the game.

The Brits adopt a similar start to the game.

The two small fleets get into range (just), we used the small ranges from the Featherstone section of the rule book.

The two small fleets get into range (just), we used the small ranges from the Featherstone section of the rule book.

The opening shots are fired and hit home. Given that we were using 1/300 scale ship Evan has decided that any round that touches is a hit but then the actual location damaged is diced for.

The opening shots are fired and hit home. Given that we were using 1/300 scale ship Evan has decided that any round that touches is a hit but then the actual location damaged is diced for.

Things get messy as we close in, and I've launched the first salvo of torpedoes.

Things get messy as we close in, and I’ve launched the first salvo of torpedoes.

Not as bad as it looks - honest.

Not as bad as it looks – honest.

The Legionario fires off a quartet of torpedoes and on of the Tribal class Destroyers.

The Legionario fires off a quartet of torpedoes and on of the Tribal class Destroyers.

They streak toward their target and two hit....

They streak toward their target and two hit….

...and promptly sink their her.

…and promptly sink their her.

By this point in the game a few good hits from the Italian Cruiser Sirius had stripped all the guns of the other British destroyer so it fled off the table.

If you've got time careful maneuvering can avoid the bothersome things.

If you’ve got time careful maneuvering can avoid the bothersome things.

With one of my destroyers damaged but still in the fight on fell to a torpedo fired at very close range which it couldn't avoid. However the Sirius has suffered slightly and with it's two escorts gone it had to turn away from the battle to avoid the rest of those torpedoes still running.

With one of my destroyers damaged but still in the fight on fell to a torpedo fired at very close range which it couldn’t avoid. However the Sirius has suffered slightly and with it’s two escorts gone it had to turn away from the battle to avoid the rest of those torpedoes still running.

At this point we called the game as a victory to the Italians, and something of a black day for the Royal Navy. The clash would have evolved into a stern chase with the slightly faster Italian cruiser closing on its British counterpart.

We both found that torpedoes are very nasty weapons especially against the smaller ships. However to be sure of a hit you have to get almost suicidally close to your quarry… risking your own destruction in the process. Something that is anecdotally referred to in the History of Wargaming rule book. All in all a great game and quite a quick one too. Hopefully we’ll be returning to the med soon.

Cheers,

Pete.

More bits from the Shed.

I’ve had a burst of productivity- not as sustained as I wanted but something is better than nothing in my attempt to reduce the lead mountain.

First up is a Dragon 1/72 NeuBauFahrZug ready for an action in Norway (I’ve no real plans for a Norway game, well hadn’t I suppose):

IMG_5193

Then there is aBT42 to support my small Finnish forces for the Continuation War. It is an old WW1 ear British Howitzer shoe horned into a new turret on the old Russian BT chassis.

IMG_5194

Now for something more modern… a group of Chechens I got from Under Fire Miniatures.

IMG_5196

Also one of each of their packs of generic militia:

IMG_5198

And finally a quick paint job on a Hornby house I picked up cheap:

IMG_5199

Cheers,

Pete.

A Chechen Village AAR.

Based on the previous weeks comments of too many tanks and not enough infantry I worked out a Russian assault on a Chechen village, no doubt located in the mountains of the south of the area.

Chris and Evan again too the Russian side while Brian took on the job of defence.

The game table, the Chechen player had to prepare for all round defence.

The game table, the Chechen player had to prepare for all round defence.

Russian Briefing.

Date: Early 1995.
Location: Chechnya.
Situation: Your reinforced platoon has been tasked with clearing out a village on the flank of a regimental level attack. Expect a prepared defence.
Initial Deployment: Enter on any road, you may enter on foot or mounted.
Victory Conditions: Clear the village of Chechens.
Special Rules: All men have 2 fragmentation grenades each. RPGs have 3 shots. Engineers wear body Armour. T62 has 6+D4 each of HE and AP and DAv smoke.

Forces:

1- Rifle squad: 2 NCOs REP 5 AKs, 2 Gunners REP 4 LMGs, Gunner REP 4 AK and RPG, Gunner REP4 SVD, 4 men REP3 AKs, BTR80.

2- Rifle squad: 2 NCOs REP4 AKs, 2 Gunners REP4 LMGs, Gunner REP3 AK and RPG, 5 men REP3 AKs, BTR80.

3- Rifle squad: 2 NCOs REP4 AKs, 2 Gunners REP 4 LMGs, Gunner REP3 AK and RPG, 5 men REP3 AKs, BTR80.

4- Support squad: 2 NCOs REP4 AKs, 2 Gunners REP 4AKs and AGL, 2 Assistants REP 4 AKs, 3 men REP3 AKs, BTR80.

5- Engineer Squad: 2 NCOs REP 5 AKs, 2 Gunners REP4 LMGs, Gunner REP 4 AK and RPG, 5 men REP4 REP 4, BTR80. D4 disposable LAWs.

6- T62: TC REP 4 and 3 other crew REP 3.

Chechen Briefing.

Date: Early 1995.
Location: Chechnya.
Situation: A Russian assault on your village is expected, you are prepared to repel this assault on your home.
Initial Deployment: Set up anywhere on the board.
Victory Conditions: Keep control of the village at the end of the game.
Special Rules: One building may be booby trapped (1st figure to enter rolls as per mine), 1 command demo charge may be hidden (activated by the command squad within LOS) use demo charge stats. All men carry 1 fragmentation grenade. Each squad has D4 molotov cocktails. There are 4 RPGs to be assigned as wished.

Forces:

1- Command group: Leader REP5 AK, 2ic REP5 AK, Gunner REP4 LMG, 3 men REP4 AKs.

2- Infantry squad: Leader REP5 AK, Gunner REP4 LMG, 4 men REP4 AKs.

3- Infantry squad: Leader REP5 AK, Gunner REP4 LMG, 4 men REP3 AKs.

4- Infantry squad: Leader REP4 AK, Gunner REP3 LMG, 4 men REP3 AKs.

5- Sniper: REP4 SVD, has the attributes Marksman, Quick reflexes, Stealthy.

Brian plotted the positions of his forces, he favoured a robust forward defence, an all or nothing strategy. The Soviets decided on a pincer, entering the table on the roads on the two long edges.

Upon entering the table Evan's Soviets have a very messy melee in the woods with the Chechens. Casualties are heavy on both side with both units pushed out of the wood.

Upon entering the table Evan’s Soviets have a very messy melee in the woods with the Chechens. Casualties are heavy on both side with both units pushed out of the wood.

BTR80s attempt to flank the woods. Evan intended to set up his two AGLs on the big hill.

BTR80s attempt to flank the woods. Evan intended to set up his two AGLs on the big hill.

On the other side of the board Chris makes good use of smoke to cover his advance.

On the other side of the board Chris makes good use of smoke to cover his advance.

In a near suicidal rush the Chechens enter the woods for a second time.

In a near suicidal rush the Chechens enter the woods for a second time.

The gamble pays off, the Russians are pushed back and a Molotov Cocktail takes out a BTR80.

The gamble pays off, the Russians are pushed back and a Molotov Cocktail takes out a BTR80.

Chechen's move out of cover to engage the Russians. Sadly against the 14.5mm Machine Guns they don't fare very well.

Chechen’s move out of cover to engage the Russians. Sadly against the 14.5mm Machine Guns they don’t fare very well.

Slow and steady were Chris' watch words as he winds his way into the village.

Slow and steady were Chris’ watch words as he winds his way into the village.

Chris' infantry take cover after reaching the centre of the village.

Chris’ infantry take cover after reaching the centre of the village.

After clearing out the RPG team the BTR80 goes forward to meet up with the T62.

After clearing out the RPG team the BTR80 goes forward to meet up with the T62.

Soviet forces enter the village. Her the game was finished as Brian conceded. The Russians though bloodied have moved into his village, the booby trapped house and IED were not able to be triggered and his forces were scattered.

Soviet forces enter the village. Her the game was finished as Brian conceded. The Russians though bloodied have moved into his village, the booby trapped house and IED were not able to be triggered and his forces were scattered.

There was a different set of lessons to be drawn from this game. From my perspective as umpire I need to do more prep before the game. A set of maps for all players would speed up play greatly. Both for the defender to plot his initial placements and the attacker to show intended points of entry and lines of advance. Need to get get sketching before the next game.

Game wise, molotovs proved to be very powerful in built up areas, very useful for filling in the space underneath an RPG’s minimum range. The Engineers with body armour proved to be quiet resilient too; another aspect of the rules that could do with playtesting. As for the scale of the forces being used everybody agreed it was at the upper limit of what is practical given space issues, so that at least gives me something to work with.

All figure, vehicles and terrain were from my collection.

Cheers,

Pete.

WW3 what if? AAR- Tank Skirmish 1989.

Another week, another Monday night of playtesting my NUTS! modern modifications. Chris said he wanted to play with lots of tanks and I like to think that I’m an accommodating host so I knocked up a quick scenario.

The year is 1989: the fall of the Berlin wall has launched the USSR into a state of great upheaval, conscious of their position in Europe being threatened hawkish elements in the politburo launch a limited offensive as a show of force. As a Soviet armoured probe rolls into West German a mixed group of Brits and West Germans push forward to meet them.

Chris and Evan played the Soviets with 1BRDM2 and 3 T80s (Chris’ command), and 1 BMP with rifle squad and 3 T72s (Evan’s forces). Brian was the British commander with a Scimitar and 2 Challenger Is, I took the West Germans with a Marder and infantry squad as well as 2 Leopard 2A4s.

The table as seen from the NATO base edge.

The table as seen from the NATO base edge.

A view of the little German village straddling the road.

A view of the little German village straddling the road.

Chris' part of the Soviet force.

Chris’ part of the Soviet force.

Evan's units.

Evan’s units.

The Soviets push forward but soon take heavy fire from the Challenger's 120mm gun, destroying one and forcing one back.

The Soviets push forward but soon take heavy fire from the Challenger’s 120mm gun, destroying one and forcing one back.

Brian's Brits advance.

Brian’s Brits advance.

My German's enter the table late, I put the tanks down the NATO left flank to meet the T72s and try to get the infantry to dismount in the wood before moving yup to cover the wood.

My German’s enter the table late, I put the tanks down the NATO left flank to meet the T72s and try to get the infantry to dismount in the wood before moving yup to cover the wood.

Evan has a similar idea with his infantry, our tanks begin to trade shells.

Evan has a similar idea with his infantry, our tanks begin to trade shells.

Trying to use the hill as cover I begin to engage the Soviets.

Trying to use the hill as cover I begin to engage the Soviets.

With my notoriously bad dice rolling I didn't do very well. However the Brits were more than holding up their side of the game. With the majority of the Soviet tanks out of commission we call the game there.

With my notoriously bad dice rolling I didn’t do very well. However the Brits were more than holding up their side of the game. With the majority of the Soviet tanks out of commission we call the game there.

The game was pretty useful as far as playtesting is concerned, it did show up a slight over sight in not making the Challenger I’s 120mm gun more powerful than the frontal armour of the Soviet tanks, this was corrected as soon as it came up in the game. Given how well the Challenger I performed in Gulf war 1 I think I was justified in this.

Otherwise the game proved several things I suspected. Firstly my 6 foot by 4 foot board isn’t big enough for this number of tanks, too crowded by far and consequently the game turned into a bit of a shooting gallery. Secondly modern tanks in NUTS! work far better as an adjunct to the infantry rather than the main focus of the game. Thirdly small numbers of better trained troops will hold off a numerically superior enemy; I had rated the Brits highest followed by the West Germans then the Soviets last. The Brits could have probably won by themselves with out the German’s help at all… Which leads me on to my last point…

The later one sets a Cold War game the harder it is for the Soviets to win, the discrepancy in the quality of kit shows too much. 1989 is the worst case scenario by far and we didn’t even have M1Abrams on the table which are better again than the Challenger Is. If the game had been set 10 years earlier things would have been very different; the difference in guns, armour and general performance between the T64 compared to Chieftains and Leopard 1s is much less than what I had set up for this game. Definitely something I want to explore further.

Cheers,

Pete.