Friday, 1 March 2013

2014 Game places

As things currently stand the plan is to have the following number of places available.

German:Eastern front x 5, Romanians x 3, Afrika Korps x 6, Italians x 2, Japanese x 3.

Russian x 8, British/Commonwealth x 8, American x 3.

At this point I am fairly confident that we can run a small Pacific campaign, but this will be dependent on bookings. The Air and Naval games may be run as evening games, however if we have the player capacity, we could run these during the day and have players in bespoke roles. These options are not on the booking list, but if you are interested (and I know a couple of names who probably will be!!), then let me know. There may also be the chance for players to move from one front to another, if guys are happy to swap around.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Planned Games for 2014 to 2016

Dear All

These are the outline games for 2014 to 2016. The dates and price of the 2014 game has been decided, the dates and prices of the subsequent games will be confirmed at a later date.

 2014 Game – 1942

Following on from the 1941 Campaign, this game will feature two mini campaigns designed to run from the start of 1942 to around June or July of the same year, depending on strategic decisions made by the command teams.

 The Eastern front game will be set in the Crimea and provide both sides with a number operational challenges. The game will also contain an Air game and some use of Naval assets. The Axis forces will contain German and Romanian forces while the Soviets will have a variety of Mechanised formations and some very interesting amphibious forces. The number of players for this campaign will be around 8 per side.

                The Western Desert and Mediterranean campaign will start with the Allies in control of Crete and the Axis in control of Malta, as at the end of the ’41 game, and the ensuing problems that this will cause. Again an Air and Naval campaign is planned with a variety of the forces available to both sides for the Western Desert. The number of players for this campaign will be around 10 per side. There will also be options to add in a Guadalcanal campaign but this will be dependent on bookings. If we add this option it will be a 4 player per side campaign.

Dates –

Arrive Saturday 18th January 2014

Depart Saturday 25th January 2014

Cost £400 (includes accommodation and meals)

Additional nights from £40 per night including evening meal, £25 Bed and Breakfast only.

2015 Game – Operation Sealion 1940

September 1940: The Battle of Britain rages on but the RAF has been forced to retreat to operational bases North and West of the capitol. In the channel, the Home Fleet is about to be engaged by the combined might of the Kriegsmarine the Regia Marina, and remnants of the Marine Nationale. The skies of the English Channel will be thick with aircraft from both sides while in the ports of France an invasion force of German and Vichy French forces are poised to sail. All that stands between this Blitzkrieg across Britain and death of Empire is the hastily reformed Army which escaped from Dunkirk, stranded Free French troops, newly arrived Commonwealth forces, and the Home Guard.

The time to fight on the beaches, landing grounds, streets and fields has arrived.   

This game will contain Ground, Air and Naval games designed to run concurrently. The game is planned for between 20 to 25 players per side. Dates and prices TBA.

2016 Game- Red Storm Unleashed 1984

In a new venture, we currently have a group developing ideas and rules for a Modern Campaign. As soon as there are some firm details these will be unveiled, but the aim is for a game which provides an integrated Air campaign. Lots of fun with modern armour, fast jets, and helicopters…and no nukes…well only if the other side uses them first…. The game is planned to for around 20 to 25 players per side. Dates and prices TBA.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

More snaps...Briefings....

To misquote Samuel Johnson...When one is tired of briefings, one is tired from far too much little model soldiering. Look I am not trying to convince you for one moment that this is in any way a physically tiring activity (although most of the blokes are gaming, talking about gaming and involved in the process about 16 hours a day!), however it is a mentally draining process at times...And just remember people do this for a Holiday!!

German Command Briefing

Despite the serious faces this is actually a good news briefing, however not all of the German ones were. Andrew (standing near the map) is giving a fairly upbeat assessment of the day's play while Philip (standing on extreme right) updates his operational map.
The news from this day was linked to the 116th attempted entry into Bastogne. The command team often had to make difficult decisions. Divisions were critically short of fuel, ammo, or replacements (or all three)...116th had been on a charge the day before for wanting to retain the services of 14 Reg (5FJ) and had now completely disobeyed orders in breaking off an attack on Bastogne. The commander had decided to turn north after running into the Glider Reg of 82nd Airborne during the night of Dec 21. The 82nd were dug in and holding the road...116th Panzer was driving on fumes, and nearly out of ammo. The best choice was turn turn back and drive through the rear area of 82nd ( South of Houffalize) and hopefully find some spare fuel... However the Recce Btn found something more vital to the unguarded bridge in the area of Bertogne (North and parallel to Bastogne)...

While the team brief was going on, Tim (as German 7 Armee Commander), was making some tough choices about the strategic operations of his forces... (yes those are boxes of sweets in the foreground, but that was part of an umpiring ploy to sugar coat bad news, at least it always seemed to be, to me)...
However the state of play was that 7 Armee, previously tasked with seizing Bastogne and road networks west of there (Neufchateau in particular), was about to develop it's own mini offensive and bypass Bastogne. 2nd Panzer (also in XLVIII Pz Korps with 116) was also now low on fuel and ammo. Despite dragging a Nebelwerfer Korp formation from the start line, no ammo was ever allocated for the Werfer brigades. 2nd Panzer was to go on the defensive, 116th would hold the bridge at Bertogne and hold on long enough to pass 9 Pz and LVIII Pz Korps (9th SS and 12th SS Panzer) over and on the the Meuse...and of course victory....


A few odd snaps from the camera ....Houffalize

A variety of happy memories from last week...


Alex (doing his best to look intelligent and unruffled)....This was part of a game where 82nd were holding a vital bridging point at Houffalize. Alex's regiment were dug in around a hill and wood and causing problems to the plucky panzertruppers of 116th who were coming on around the road to the left of the board and dog-legging past Alex to take the exit top right toward least that was the plan....

Talking of plans the white snow based troops were a regiment of 5FJ who found themselves stranded on the wrong side of the river. In the previous day while some of 116th had been shot-up trying to rapid advance across the front of 7th US Armoured, 14 Regt had yomped steadily across the board in an effort to reach the other side of the river....However the only bridge for miles was at Houffalize..which was held be the Americans. Of course we could have just asked them to let us cross, but where's the fun in that??

And don't be fooled, despite Adam's warm and friendly look, he would have said "No!". However 13 and 15 Regt of 5 FJ must have been keen to get their mate's back, as the launched a simultaneous attack which was being fought on another table, and eventually spilled onto ours. Houffalize fell and sometime on game day 2 (about Dec 21) and remained in German hands for the next 6 or 7 days....

Monday, 28 January 2013

Now that this year’s game is over…

So that was the week that was, when:

  • Armee Gruppe B’s Panzer spearhead reached, but did not cross, the Meuse at Dinant - it was sadly lacking both fuel and equipment.

  • Montgomery’s 21st Army Group severed the Germans’ Main Supply Route at Manhay, XXX Corps winning a hard fought battle against SS Panzers in the process.

  • Patton’s 3rd US Army kicked in the Bulge's Southern shoulder at Diekirch, despite the best efforts of the Fuhrer Begleits Brigade (better known in the Allied camp as the 'Furious Bag Ladies'), and were poised to drive North across Armee Gruppe B's line of advance.
German armour repulsed at Diekirch
All that remained was to thank the players for their participation, with the traditional awards ceremony:

Armee Gruppe B pose for the camera
Nearest the camera on the Axis team is Tim, voted "German we most liked playing against" by the Allied team. Axis award citations included "continuous fortitude in the face of adversity", "putting the wreck in 'recce'" and "promoting hiking to the Panzerwaffe". 
Philip, German CinC, receives the thanks of Dom (right - in the low-vis hoodie) and Umpire Tony (left)

Allies together, British and Americans side by side
Second from the left on the Allied team is Sean, voted "Ally we most enjoyed playing against" by the Axis team.  Allied citations included "unfailing patience and wonderfully developed stiff upper lip", "quietly slipping the stiletto between the ribs of the German hopes for victory" and "mastery of Operational Deception".

After which the Umpires give us their verdict on the week's gaming - giving all the players an overview of how their individual struggles have combined to produce the overall result.

The Umpire team share their view of the week
Of course, even after the awards are handed out, the tables taken down, scenery and figures gathered in and put away, there's still time for one last game of something... 
Just because the battle's over doesn't mean we have to stop playing...
So, what's in our Operations folder for next year?? Well, we're still thinking about that, but stay tuned for further developments.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Ardennes Campaign 2013 Update 4

Christmas Day dawns, the Allied Air Forces find themselves the recipient of an unexpected Christmas gift, Operation Bodenplatte is launched to a mixed reception across Holland and Belgium.  The chief effect for the tabletop gamers on either side is that their Close Air Support is tied up in air battles overhead and East of the Rhine.

Starting with the spearhead, the Germans are still trying to press on from Buissonville to Dinant.  They shook, but did not break, the Allies ranged against them on Christmas Eve.  The Allies have rallied overnight and reorganised their front to meet the German attack.

The Allies (left), look on as the Germans check their sources (open rulebook) and make their weather roll, hoping that the fog continues to cover their advance toward Buissonville.
Way back in the South East of the Bulge, the pressure on the Southern shoulder of the Bulge continues, as fights rage on four tables.  Here the Americans hope to celebrate Christmas in Diekirch. 

Eric (German, left) closely observes Neil's (American, right) assault.  Diekirch lies in front of Eric.
Togs (American, left) and Andy (German, rght) dice for the outcome of the incoming artillery to the North of  Diekirch - the German here deployed on the inside of the L formed by the two rivers flowing through Ettelbruck.
The Germans at Diekirch have been granted support from the 501 Schwere Panzer Battalion – this is a landmark for one German commander, as it’s the first time in his 7 megagames as a German player that he’s commanded an SS formation.

Occasionally games get quite personal; here we have the Powell brothers, Adam (right) is an American defending against Chris (left).  Chris and Gordon are looking to drive 9 SS through his Armoured Combat Command and so stem the threat to the shoulder at Diekirch.

Chris (German, left) and Adam (American, right)  debate the situation while Gordon (another German) looks on.
On a nearby table, adjacent on the map, Sean and Steven seek to drive home the American armoured thrust into the Bulge, while Jonathan and Tim eye up their forces. 

Sean and Steve (American, left), Jonathan and Tim (German, right)
This is a frequent feature of the Megagame Holiday campaigns – multiple tables present different aspects of the same overall operation, but players have a very fractured view of the current state of play.  Into that confusion step the Corps and Army commanders to allocate their respective reserves, hopefully where they’ll do the most harm to the enemy’s cause.

A sample of what's in the German Army reserve - in this case a Jagdtiger (GHQ).

A US formation, freshly unpacked and waiting to be deployed to the tabletop (GHQ vehicles, Adler figures).

Heading back up North, toward Manhay, the SS Panzers have been pushed southward but are resisting stubbornly against XXX Corps.

The British (left of the table) have deployed their forces on, the Germans (right of the table) are deploying their forces in a defensive posture on to the table.
The games are all fought in a good humoured fashion - one of the Holiday features is the closing ceremony, where awards are given for good sportsmanship - and we do take time out of an evening for more light-hearted entertainment:

Here is an Umpire (head in hand) at play - in a 'friendly' game of Zombies - caught as he returns his 'survivor' to the start point, having failed four times to beat the Zombie that finally got him.  Adam, Tim and Andy look on sympathetically.  In the background you can see the diehards of XXX Corps plotting the downfall of the SS around Manhay.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Monty has a list...

The British are now on the tabletop in force, fighting on the Northern flank of the German bulge.  This gives the Germans some fresh headaches as, in place of machine gun firing P47 Thunderbolt jabos they now, when the skies are clear, find themselves on the receiving end of cannon armed rocket firing Typhoons jabos.  

A 2 Tactical Air Force Typhoon engages German armour (SS Panthers) on the edge of the woods outside Manhay

German flak is still present, and the great majority of allied air sorties at this time are actually being flown against the Luftwaffe and the supply choke points.  The flyboys do lay claim to kills on the tabletop though, which the Germans cannot afford and cannot replace.

We've now reached Christmas Eve in campaign time.  Fighting in the Bulge is focussed on three sectors;

  • In the South East, at the foot of the Bulge, around Diekirch and Ettelbruck, where the US are pressing hard to break through into the German rear and sever the flow of supplies to the columns advancing to the West

Fighting at Ettelbruck - The Germans are on the far side of the river, the Americans are seeking to expand a bridgehead and then pass their armour through a breach in the German front.
  • In the West, the Germans are still seeking to clear the path to the Meuse in the face of US opposition, if they can a) defeat the opposition and b) obtain enough fuel to move onwards...
A nail biting moment for the Germans, driving on Dinant and the Meuse, fighting their way toward  Buissonville.
  • In the North West the British are working to narrow the bulge and counter any German success to the West,
Andy (German) studies the British deployment in the area around Manhay.
So, with two game days left, the Germans are almost in sight of the Meuse, but are being pressed hard on both shoulders.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Christmas is coming...

But the Heer is not getting fat.

The first campaign tabletop games have been concluded:

  • The opening battles around Elsenborn saw the US rescue their threatened artillery parks, but lose the better part of two Infantry Divisions.  
  • The Eupen road stayed firmly shut to the Germans. 
  • Houffalize did not fall but was masked and the roads to Bastogne seized. 
  • An attempt to seize Malmedy on the march was rebuffed.  
We're now part way through the second set of tabletop games, and these have seen the advancing Germans encounter British opposition for the first time, as well as their regular American opponents.

Under the eye of an Umpire the German (Left) and British (Right) table captains conduct the Recce Game in the area around  Manhay
Once the plotting of Corps/ Divisional Operational Areas and Combat Command boundaries has been done, and Battle Groups have been plotted both sides then deploy their recce forces in a bid to see beyond the enemy front line and give them an informed artillery (and air of the weather permits) fire plan.  The number and type of assets committed to the fight is relevant here. The Germans with their doctrinal emphasis on fighting recce have an edge here, if the area is densely populated, whereas the Allies tend to go with Recce by stealth, so can swarm all over the front.

Sometimes you just have to look at a really big map to know what's important on your table.
At the end of the first set of games the Umpires reassess the situation, adjudicate the supply state of the units involved, update the command staffs and players, receive the orders for the next set of battles and then issue out the force lists, table briefings and terrain notes so the terrain can be rebuilt for the next day's battles.

A table about to be rebuilt, an Umpire hard at work
The main actions for the 22-24 December lie around:

  • Diekirchen - in the bottom left of this picture.

The Americans are once again intermingled with the advancing Germans

  • Werbomont, where the British meet the Germans for the first time.

Both sides have deployed on the tabletop, the British (left) seem quite relaxed.
  • Wiltz and Eschweiler, Wiltz is at the far end of this shot, Eschweiler in the clearing.  The Germans are advancing into shot.
German Army commander in a front line role advances his troops toward Eschweiler
  • Bastogne, as the Germans seem quite keen to take possession
Flanked by German players the American seems quite unfazed.

Monday, 21 January 2013

And they're off...

We've done all the map movement and now its down to the tabletops:

  • Setting out 6 to 8 gaming tables, varying from 12 x 6 up to 24 x 6, 
  • laying out road networks, forests, hills, rivers, settlements, 
  • Unpacking the forces and cross checking what's in the box with the OOBs
  • issuing rule-packs, national doctrine and table briefing notes to the players, delineating front lines

We've played 6 games for the opening stages of the campaign - the games themselves last two real days and cover three days (and two nights) of campaign time, and the situation, when viewed from either HQ, is fluid.

Wargamers in action! - note the rulebooks being studied, heads being scratched, lips pursed... this is tense stuff
Although the games are all separate there are links between them, so a breakthrough on one table does not result in troops heading off into the void but, rather, reappearing (with a little adjudication from the Umpire team) on a game somewhere else in the room.

Thrusting German Panzer Commanders (Gordon and Andy) consider the  route to Bastogne
Here at Houffalize, it seems to be in American hands, though perhaps not for long.  US troops face attack from at least two directions, and are unable to stop the Germans using the road to Bastogne.

American troops in Houffalize face Fallschirmjager and StuGs (entering stage left)

German Panzers (the greyhounds of 116 Panzer) have cleared a path to Bastogne

This demonstrates the links between the tables, the 116 will leave the area of Houffalize and, after a suitable interval, appear on the Bastogne table.  The American defenders will have some idea of its approach, as they've posted OPs on the approach roads, but for the moment the guys there seem quite relaxed - those nearest the camera are commanding the German assault on Bastogne, those furthest away are its defenders.

Fallschirmjager attempt to divert the Americans' attention from approach of 116 Panzer.
Players assume the major command functions, CinC, Army  and Corp Commanders, making key decisions and briefing/ inspiring the other players.  However that's only part of their job, they also get to run troops on the tabletop. In this case, somewhere near Elsenborn.

German CinC (left) takes an active part in the tabletop game too.
Though, as force commander, one is also occasionally invited to consult with the Umpires as the situation updates itself.  This one seems to be going quite well...

German CinC meets an Umpire for a friendly chat about the war plans.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

It's nearly time....

Membly Hall Hotel

Well it's nearly here...and nothing says it more than looking out of the hotel window at the view across the bay, that is if it's not obscured by snow, which is the current forecast for the weekend.

There are still a number of tasks on the 'to do' list, including about 1800 platoons still to label, and a couple of building tasks, but all should be done on time.....

However, I had wanted to repaint some units, but that is looking increasingly unlikely. Still these are tasks for the next few months, although I might try and sneak a repaint session during the week, especially if there are volunteers around to help...

Despite a few last minute cancellations, we are ready to rumble...

Updates of the game on a day by day basis are planned, but information may be vague as 'careless blogging may cost lives'...