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.

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