Sunday, 21 October 2012

Game 5 - Turkey Shoot

Another scenario from the Ambush Alley ruleset. A mobile sniper team is escorted into position by a marine recon squad, with LVTP 7 is support. In game terms, the sniper team must 'sit' on the roof of the target building, engaging offboard targets for three turns, then be escorted off table.

We found this one very tough on the insurgents, who couldn't get the right numbers in the right position, for a concerted attack. A D10 quality dice on the part of the regulars, and very lucky casualty rolls, made a real difference here.

The Marine APC moves straight down the main road.

Marines came under immediate fire as they disembark, with one KIA in Team Bravo.

Bravo were caught on the wrong side of a wall as they came under further fire from the nearby rooftops. Amazingly, despite taking three further casualties, only three scratches were taken. (Gobin was amazed, Faulkner-Fitzwilliam...more amazed!)

Pressure begins to mount as marines are taken under fire by massing enemy. A combination of overwatch and those lucky d10s, keep the enemy at bay however.

As the sniper team get to their position on the target building, ready to engage targets in the nearby...bookcase!

 A UAV onhand to photograph the developing firefight. 

A lull in the battle allows Alpha to gain overwatch position on the target building. The sniper team spends its three turns engaging, then turns to help the marines, by taking out insurgent reinforcements who are about to outflank Bravo.

The resulting pinning of insurgent units and containment of reinforcements allows the marines to use fire and movement to move from building to building, as the snipers and Team Alpha leave with the APC. An excellent facet of the game mechanics here, we saw a combination of movement and overwatch permit the remaining fire teams to move up the street with mutually supportive fire. The insurgent reinforcement schedule simply could not put the right numbers in the right place at the right time. Had Bravo  not made those lucky recovery rolls, or been hit by another unit, it might have been a very different story.
Great game.

Next time...Private Contractors in Dawala. I'm sure nothing will go wrong ? (Alternatively, we might have a Volley & Bayonet game...decisions, decisions.)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Game 4 - Contracting Trouble

This scenario first appeared in the precursor to 'Force on Force' back in 2007. This was before Osprey started publishing the rules. The original 'Ambush Alley' focused on the mechanisms from an 'asymmetric' viewpoint, and would later develop into FoF. Being completists, we want to try out the original rules before moving on to the Osprey rules and scenarios. We also want to develop our own very specific scenarios, for a somewhat neglected side of modern conflict (watch this space).

So, all in all, we're a little behind the curve with Ambush Alley/FoF game - time to catch up. The first thing that struck us was the reaction system. Being used to traditional style systems is a real stumbling block here. By the second run through however, we were starting to get to grips with things. By that point, we were only neglecting basic elements like movement and morale(!), though firing and reaction mechanisms were becoming intuitive.

Marines move into the zone to rescue the contractors...

...who are stuck, wounded and running low on ammo.

 RPGs were prevalent, and managed to pin down the marines for far too long.

And pockets of insurgents also didn't help. It took us the first game to work out how the interrupt sequence both worked, and could benefit both sides - in different ways. marines dash from cover.

RPGs make a mess of things. (Nice touch here where insurgent leaders could make more rapid decisions than the 'troops'. It will be interesting to see the regular vs regular engagements in FoF when we make it that far).

We had a few issues with movement and firing...

2nd go at the same scenario and the marines go up the left flank.

Finding an overwatch position on top of the hotel turned out to be very helpful, and allowed Bravo team to command the battlefield (although again, we missed a few quality checks that they should have made before getting the drop on the insurgents).

They even got away after the contractors had been secured by Team Alpha.

All in all, we still have some rules to sharpen up on, but it's easy to see the appeal and the unique approach of the game. We also got two games in, in less than 3 hours, which has to be a record. More to come from this one.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tanks for the Memory...

 By the time we had reached Brussels during the 1999 trip, we had expected only to see the bland insides of the airport. Finding the massive museum, very near the centre, which housed both vehicles and aircraft, was a genuine surprise. If only I could remember the name of the place. All of the tanks were outside, and rather than leave them as rusting hulks, obvious attempts at genuine colour schemes (for the most part) had been made.

I had heard of the low profile design on the T72/T80 when I was a schoolkid. I hadn't appreciated just how short the driver would have to be to fit inside. When I saw this, I understood why WRG rules didn't allow hull down Soviet vehicles.

The Panzer IV was also remarkably 'petite'.

Though the massive SU152 more than made up for it. Watching these monsters roll toward you must have been terrifying.

 Inside...and the Hind. Again, when you see the model versions, you think that there is great difference in size between the Hind and the Huey or Blackhawk...
Again, the gunners position looked very cramped. Getting this close to a Hind made up for any disappointment though. Mind you, screaming low over the ground, being tracked by radar, as you man the gun with no control over this machine, must have a damned high pucker factor.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Party Like it's 1999...

While clearing space for more figures (sigh...) I discovered some pics from my 1999 Belgium trip, where in addition to squeezing in the Belgian Grand Prix (and avoiding all the insane Ferarri fans), I managed to follow part of Jochen Peiper's route during the Ardennes offensive, together with other 'Battle of the Bulge' attractions, AND visit the second finest tank museum in all Christendom - in Brussels. Here are the pics...

You might think these first shots uninspiring, but scroll down. This is the Kaiserbaracke crossroads in 99, followed by a rather famous shot from film recorded at the time.

The crossroads has changed dramatically over the years (and yes, with the spirit of wargaming in mind, I gathered twigs to make trees *sigh*). This was the exception however. Stoumont station was eerily quiet. Had I continued down this road for another few hundred metres of course - facing away from the pic, I would have stumbled upon Peiper's last abandoned Panther by the road. I found out about that a month afterward, while reading another book. Damn.

In contrast, Parker's Crossroads was almost a tourist attraction.

This Hetzer (I think in Bastogne) was tiny. We fail to appreciate the size of some of these armoured vehicles I think...

Until that is, you go to La Glieze and see the Tiger II ! Apparently a local woman persuaded the US engineers to leave it there for a few bottles of plonk. Go on Missus!
Next from the tank museum.