Monday 24 December 2018

A WWII Contrast Two AARs

Last post of the year perhaps, certainly last before Christmas.

We had two very different WWII games this week.

The first pitched two battalions of Germans with some support in the form of 4 Stugs a half track with short 75mm and a panzer Jaeger with long 76mm against a defending force of Russians. The Russians had plenty of artillery and reinforcements in the shape of a couple of T35's.

It wasnt a big game and was played  on a six feet by six feet table in Steve Shanns gaming room.

Steve is still play testing to tweak his home grown rules, this game shows some of the limitations of card driven games although I still like them a lot, for more on his rules see his blog, Steve also gave the Russians a whole regiment of artillery to see how effective that would be . Very turned out to be the answer.
So for the initial card we had "move one command" and decided to shift the front company of infantry, they marched forward and quickly came under fire from the first building. A following card of "Close Assault allowed us to throw two platoons of infantry at the house and dislodge Steves Russians.

After that though the cards did not go our way.  Most of our firing cards came out when we had literally nothing to fire at and a further close assault card was of no use either. What we really needed was a move card.
Unfortunately for the Germans the Russian in-direct fire card came out first. Two mortars and a whole regiment of artillery came down on my German battalion which was all still clumped up at the edge of the table ready to start. The results were devastating as the majority of the two companies were all in the burst circle. All units took suppressions and casualties started to mount. When we did get a move card I couldnt remove the suppressions on most units so a second Russian indirect fire card had equally devastating effect nearly 50% casualties on my two companies and even more suppressions.
You get a view for the amount of damage the template is going to do here. Having declared a target Steve rolls for deviation and then a directional dice for the centre of the template, even being four inches away from the target area hasnt helped me much here.  Lesson learnt, spread out guys.
The triple six was for removal of suppressions, unfortunately as Steve dropped artillery back on me before I could move they all went straight back on!
The results of two rounds of indirect fire can be seen here and are not pretty. 6 suppresions and 14 casualties.
My two Stugs did also take some time to get moving. They are lovely though arnt they?
After getting the right cards and rolling well for movement we finally have the Stugs and some of the infantry shifting. Those that are suppressed of course are left behind. Despite getting a lot of chances to remove suppression my dice rolling was dreadful and half of my remaining command stayed at the table edge all game.
Finally some good luck, as I came in range the armour firepower card came out and I was able to start inflicting some damage on Steve.

At the other side of the table Chris Flowers had made steady progress despite the poor cards with very few casualties. However as we had not managed to close, Chris had no targets so we had randomly been dropping in-direct fire on some random buildings in the hope of doing some damage. Unfortunately though we had spent too much time trying to get off the base line and discussing the painful Brexit negotiations whilst chomping biscuits and it was now time to pack up before we had really got to grips.

An interesting game which shows how damaging large formations of artillery can be. I am sure Steve can use that to even forces up in some games and I certainly will be deploying differently in future.
Our second game was on the following Sunday and played at Chris Flowers in not so sunny North Yorkshire.

This was a larger game and a bit unusual. Two large forces of Americans were closing in on either side of a large ruined German experimental factory and town.

Rapid fire are our go to rules for WWII a bit like Black Powder they lend themselves to big multi player games like this one.
The town and factory were very large and very ruined. The blasted terrain looked fantastic.
The premise of the game is that the Americans have bombed the factory but the Germans are attempting to remove as much of the tech as they can by river, no doubt along with any stolen goodies from the rest of Europe they can manage (do I see a fallen madonna with big boobies? Perhaps not)
An American battle group starts from either end, Derek and I commanded two armoured infantry battalions with a tank battalion of Pershings and a recce company between us. Richard had 3 battalions of airborne in trucks and a further armoured battalion including a unit of super Pershings. We needed to get to the river and prevent the boats leaving by turn 11 or earlier. Although we didnt know it was turn 11 just that we needed to "Get a shift on".

The Germans commanded by John and Mark were a mixed bag and had various independent companies of both Grenadiers and Volksturm along with a few anti tanks guns (including two dug in panther turrets), some artillery and a number of rather nasty experimental tanks dug into the ruins. They also had a number of spot mines. We had far more gear but they were only looking to buy time and slow us down. Should be interesting.

Before I go any further I should admit I am not an expert on this part of the war in any way and I cant remember what each of the experimental tanks actually was called so for those of you that recognise the the AE100 or the Mouse vehicles please bear with me when a call it a "chuffing great tank"!
Turn one saw Derek and I push through the woods to establish a gun line facing the ruins and the barbed wire entanglements that fronted them whilst Richard moved most of his force forward behind the hill on his edge. Again I was engrossed in my game so didnt pay much attention to Richards game at the other end of the table, sorry Rich.

Once we had lined the edge of the woods my recce pushed forward followed by my infantry, Derek moved some of his elements into the open too and the fun began.
John managed to roll for a German aircraft which was something of a feet, unfortunately he rolled a six for the one foot legnth of table it would attack down and we didnt have a single thing in it for the whole length of table. The jet screeched off not to be seen again.
The opening shots were from artillery with little effect and then the dug in panther turret took out one of my perhsings. Damn! We were also starting to encounter spot mines although we were fortunate that they caused little damage initially. We dropped smoke on the first blocks of houses and pushed the recce and infantry up close with a gun line of Pershings to cover them.
The company of infantry in the house opened fire causing minimal casualties and we were able to return fire with a mass of tanks guns, artillery and mortars to clear them out in short order. Unfortunately though on Dereks tank a chuffing great tanks was dug into the road to his front, it was massive. It fired and missed and we had something like seven shots back at it leaving it heavy damaged.
Derek and I were now able to push forward to the barbed wire. This was pretty tough going a unit of infantry or a tank had to spend one full move clearing the wire in order to get through. Infantry in the open were not entirely happy moving slowly through the wire in front of that beats of a tank.
In front of me another chuffing great tank fired and took out another of our vehicles, however two rounds of artillery immediately destroyed it. The Panther turret fired again and the return fire took that out too. On the down side four close range shots on the chuffing great tank all bounced off with no effect and Dereks mine clearer was damaged in return. We had an air OP and kept getting bombers which were no good as we were too close to the target and would probably receive more damage than we inflicted.
I advanced my Pershings up to the Wire only to be hit by an anti tank gun and then run over an anti tank mine taking a second of my main battle tanks out. I passed the morale check but we were getting hurt pushing forward.

At the opposite end Richard was pushing forward under a mass of smoke from his artillery and mortars and hooking in on the German left. With few troops Mark had spread them over his entire front and was now trying to rush them from his right where Richard had completely ignored the German defences. Marks dice were not great but Richard was having the best dice of the year and had actually started apologising everytime he destroyed yet another German vehicle!

The German boats were loading as fast as they could but it was looking to be a close run thing.

I had now broken through the centre and as we advanced were ambushed by three companies of Volksturm. Unfortunately for John over the next two turns I was able to concentrate the fire of four Perhsings two armoured cars and 4 heavy machine guns on these companies, along with the mortar and a battery of 155mm artillery. Before long all three were destroyed with relatively few casualties to the Americans.

Derek was still firing away at the Chuffing great tank and now managed to get a single light damage. We must have hit it two dozen times by now!

Richard was pushing forward and carrying everything in front of him and Mark had little left to stop him. All but one of the German vehicles were now burning and a few companies of Volksturm were not going to stop the Americans.

I did have to get a quick shot of possibly the best and worst dice of the day from Mark. Firing at Richard he got a double six to hit but followed with a double one for effect causing no damage or casualties at all. "Story of my game" he commented!

I was now less than two feet from the river and Derek had finally cleared the wire and was trying to flank the chuffing great tank in the road.

Richard was in an Even better position less than a move from the rive rand nothing on this side to stop him. Apparently only a company of dug in Grenadiers remained guarding the far side.

The last of Richards reserve and gun line were pushing forward but I dont Mark had more than a company or two of infantry to stop him. I doubt they would be of much value against the monster super Pershings!

It was move 9 and Richard was inches away from the river, I was perhaps a move or two away and there was nothing more than a company of infantry between us. Derek was still struggling to destroy the monster tank at the edge of town and break in, John had a pair of machine guns and a company in support too so it would be a tough nut to crack, but from a game perspective the Germans could not win at this point and John and Mark conceded.

It had been a really good game. Apart from the chuffing great tank (I must find out what it was) the Germans had very little luck and the Americans had plenty. If things had gone slightly differently 11 goes might just have been enough for the Germans to steal away with their ill gotten gains. In the event it was a pretty through victory for the Americans.

I enjoyed both games thoroughly and both systems give interesting games. If you want it to be simple and multi-player then Rapid Fire is the best bet, but for smaller games Steves set gives a different take on the period for sure.

Enjoyed them both and I hope you did too.

See you again soon. Have a great Christmas everyone.


  1. Some lovely pictures to browse through there. Thanks for the ring-side seat :-)

    1. My Pleasure Norm, enjoy the festive season

  2. Excellent game photos, Roger! I am envious of your set up. Merry Christmas!

    1. Cheers Jonathan, not mine but as they say its not what you know but who you know! Enjoy your Christmas.

  3. Suns t me lie the first game shows the limits of your friends version of card riven systems not s much the limits of card systems in general.

    1. Perhaps so, we still enjoyed the game though, have a good Xmas.

  4. Happy Christmas Aleksey from my family to yours!

  5. An enjoyable looking and sounding game Roger...

    Have a fantastic Xmas

    All the best. Aly.

    PS... The massive tank was a Panzer VIII Maus...
    Which means mouse in German...

    1. Thanks Aly I knew one of them was! Merry Xmas.