sunnuntai 27. joulukuuta 2009

Near bloodbath in Lappland

At GeMiGaBoK's traditional pre-christmas party, Mr. V ran us a Battleground WWII scenario that was situated in the Lappland War in 1944, when Finns were driving the former allies, Germans, out of the country. Some rare appearances of club members were also performed by Eero and Andy, although the latter soon got a call and swiftly obeyed his mistress' voice and vacated the premisis.

This evening's scenario started with a squad of Janne's Finns operating behind enemy lines returning from their scouting mission which had kinda ended bad -on a swamp snow/ice had broken under two squad members had been soaked and needed help from other guys. The squad was led by a veteran Ensign but the remainder of the men were green conscripts. They were in a hurry to get back to own lines and thus were not using the cover of the forest even though it was broad daylight outside.

The squad trampled onward right next to a track, which they didn't use since as Germans had vast amounts of explosives in Lappland which they were unable to carry with them to Norway they used these extremely liberally to mine all tracks and roads. After a short while the side of the frozen lake revealed a small hut with few pair of skis propped along its back and smoke coming from the chimney. Soon more observant squad members could notice the smell of fish soup as well as the sound of German music coming from the hut. More curiously, someone was singing on top the music, in Russian...

Ensign however decided to nick the skis, even though it was found that one pair hand broken bindings. The soaked men were put to the skis and started off along a ski track that started off from the cabin. On the other side of the hut a lone Eero's Russian came out of the door and found himself staring at the Ensign's Suomi SMG as well as a rifle of one trooper. Luckily the Ensign knew some Russian and could deduct that the man was a war prisoner of Germans who were somewhere in the forest.

Almost immediately the first skier ran (skied?) across a mine which stopped him cold. At the same time a voice boomed from the forest and said that he was Oberleutenant something and the Finns should surrender and audible cocking of a machine gun was also heard. The moving Finns kept on marching onward and the Ensign and his assistant trooper decided to call the German bluff by trying to flank the German voices, which tuned out to be no bluff at all as the wooded ridge held a squad of Mr. H's Germans armed with a captured Russian MMG as well as rifles all of which were pointed at them at point blank range.

The Ensign saw little chance of winning and decided to surrender. This totally changed the tone of the Germans who wished Merry X-mas, apologized for wounding the one trooper with the mine and offered a medic to tend to his wounds. Everybody was invited to the hut and got a helping of the fish soup as well as generous helping of schnapps. Not to mention dry clothing to those that needed some. After the hearty supper, being an enthusiast, he suggested a little game of Fußball -the loser would have to leave the hut and head up toward their own lines.

Which lead to us playing a follow-up game of Soccer!! on the frozen lake with the same figures and make shift goals (the two pairs of skis). The oberleutenant decided that it would be unsportsmanlike if he as a keen player would participate and thus let his underlings play while the Finnish Ensign who in his youth had dabbled football a bit didn't have any such qualms. During the exciting match's first inning Ensign managed to score twice and almost did so once again in the second inning but the actions of the alert German goalie hampered this. On the final moments of the 2nd inning the Germans managed to score their first goal but the Finns still won 2-1.

Mr V had been inspired by the German-English Christmas truce of 1914 and he based the scenario on the events of First World War. Everyone was quite impressed how well the Soccer!! rules worked even if we used more or less a quarter size field and half sized teams -you clearly couldn't rely just on brawn to get yourself through the opposing team. Perhaps when the quality of players is more varied and there are more of the better quality team members around the game plays a bit differently (now both sides had one +2 player and the remainder were +1s). I certainly wouldn't mind trying the game with regular field and teams even if I've played soccer the last time some 25+ years ago...

Merry Yuletide & Happy New Year to each and everybody!

torstai 10. joulukuuta 2009

Finished the Battleground WWII bridge scenario

This Monday we finished the second scenario from the last time. Flow was very good and both players seemed to be streched for resources and struggling to fulfill their objectives, although I guess that for the Russian player this is quite a stationary a scenario...

Cleaning up the last of the dazed Ruskies form the German side took few turns. Funnily enough, from his own trench a German NCO started cleaning the nearby trench by throwing grenades, only to fumble and have one bounce back and explode in his own feet. This, however, was a German ploy as the effect was a morale check that resulted in making the Jerry an elite hero!

As planned previously, the Germans put the captured MGs into use and peppered the Russian MG pit with continuous suppressing fire from two LMGs, and on the other side of the bridge the fire to the trench and the AA gunpit came from a LMG and MMG.

Luckily, after the initial pile of casualties it managed to cause, the MGs finally were able to keep the AA gun crew suppressed, but if there had been just one gun doing it this wouldn't have been possible. This effectively settled the game and gave the Jerries a fighting chance by keeping he Russians mainly prone and causing an occasional wound.

This didn't leave that many Jerries on the bridge to continue the assault to the Russian side. The fact that the house directly looking towards the bridge also housed some Ruskies didn't actually help. The Jerries set up their last LMG on the bridge and proceeded to give the Ruskies lead in abundance. However the stubborn Russian resistance soon resulted in continuous flow of German casualties and the last MG was almost immediately operating with partially wounded crew which meant that it could't lay suppressing fire.

The Jerries still stubborny threw whatever guys they could towards the Russian side and despite the heroic and effective efforts of the MG pit's squad leader as well as the Russian officer against the charging Jerries (the officer shot at least one German with his pistol even though he was wounded) these managed to gain a foothold on the trench.

This trench was effectively cleaned by one furious Jerry whom we named Sven. Yeah, most of the Russians were kept prone by the suppressing fire from the MGs, but nevertheless this one rifle armed guy finished off the whole trench with the use of grenades, close combat (against multiple opponents) and rifle shots! At one point Ruskies managed score a solid hit against him with a grenade but the effect was just a morale check which made him a minor hero just like the NCO during the start of this session. Lesson learned: don't use grenades on Germans -they'll just shrug of the shrapnel, sprout some hair to their chest and become heroes which is kinda bad for you... !

When the turns ran out, Germans had managed to get a noticeable foothold on the Russian side of the river, and the few remaining Russians in the gunpits or trench were either wounder and prone, dead, or running away wounded (their officer). The house did have few guys in OK confition. Then again the Germans had like 4-6 guys in good order on the bridge or the Russian side, the remainder were either wounded or dead. The suppressing fire from the MGs was wery effective (and lucky as during 6 or so turns only one jammed) but it did tie up a dozen Jerries and I did think that I'd run out of soldier before I could gain foothold on the Russian side... Luckily I just barely didn't.

A thoroughly enjoyable game!


sunnuntai 29. marraskuuta 2009

Another set of two Battleground WWII scenarios from Mr H

This Monday we gamed yet another two Battleground WWII scenarios.
Actually the first was a leftover from the last session which we then didn't have time to play. Mr H just wrote another new scenario so we'd have enough gaming to go around for the whole evening. Actually we didn't finnish the latter scenario since some time had to be used to dismantle the Lapua 1808 gaming board from the gaming table -the previous gaming evening Janne had played Lapua with a quest from Canada, Ross.

Back to the BGWWII, the first scenario involved a German recce unit (a command section, 8 wheeler, a PAK36 and two squads in Hannomags) getting a rude awakening in the rear lines as suddenly two KV-1's and a KV-II burst in. Trying to stop these behemoths that are trundling forward in a breakthrough with the 37mm and 20mm guns is, well, more or less an impossible task. Making close assaults with satchel charge/grenade equipped infantry against these moving tanks isn't any easier.

Mr V who played the Russians used the KV-II as fire support and after few shots managed first to kill some of the ATG crew and later of blow the gun to smithereens. Some infantry managed to creep close and do some damage to it but the only effect was slowing it down a bit. Close assaults in a wheatfield against the two forward wheeling KV-1's were, hardly surprisingly, not succesful and both managed to trundle off board granting Mr. V game win.

It was a fun game partly because it most certainly wasn't balanced or fair. Until the Russians managed to see Germans the Jerries were kept hidden. The only grievance I have with the game is the ridiculous numbers of the crew served support weapons -in real life MG and gun crews tended to be as big as regular infantry squads so that possible losses wouldn't cripple the weapon usage. But for some reason vast majority of the miniature rules have crews of like one third the size of regular infantry squads. I see a house rule coming up for this...

The second scenario was inspired by a book, for the death of me can't recall the name of it right now. Germans are supposed to take a bridge intact from the Russians that are guarding it and, as they fear that the Russians will blow it up, they have to use subterfuge. Thus they use captured GAZ trucks and drivers dressed in Russian uniforms to infiltrate Russian lines. To similate this the Russian player uses the trucks as his own troops for the first three turns (without knowing the fact that the trucks are jam packed with Jerry elites) and the German player has the option to take control of the trucks at any time he deems fit and reveal the truth.

We managed to game a few turns and the initial German assault of the German side to of the bridge was extremely successful. Having SMG armed troops dismount first from the last two trucks and lay supressing fire against the Russians worked extremely well, especially as in some instances the Germas were able to negate the cover from the trenches since they were essentially raking them. Also grenade usage was very efficient. After two turns, out of the 15 or so Russians one wounded sergeant was alive and fleeing in the reeds, some three soldiers surrendered and the remainder lay dead. Germans lost like two soldiers.

However the first truck had it really bad as it was trying to negotiate the remainder of the bridge -it was gunned down by HMG and 37mm AA gun fire, crashed against the bridge railings and burst into flame. The driver managed to become a hero but perished in the HMG fire as did the commander of the German troops who was the first to dismount.

We'll see how the game finishes in the next game evening.

If the Russians have managed to place explosives on the bridge then the Jerries don't have a chance of capturing the bridge intact. If not, the Germans have a chance -I guess that using the three of their own MGs as well as the captured HMG and LMG to lay supressing fire should prove pretty effective even against Ruskies in dug in positions. Luckily the Russian HMG also jammed on its last action, although I kinda recall that one of the German MGs did likewise.

All in all this scenario seems to be a winner!
The action started immediately in close quarters and there's plenty of dilemmas for both sides. The beginning works also great (having the Russian discover that his extra troops aren't actualy Russians at all!) but this time the surprise effect wasn't as big as Mr V, who played the Ruskies, had read the same book the GM (Mr H) had used for the background of the scenario. Nevertheless Mr V played like a true gentleman and didn't start doing anything silly with "his" troops...


tiistai 20. lokakuuta 2009

Mr H tries for three -gets two

Yesterday Mr H tried to run three Battleground WWII recce scenarios for Mr V and Janne, but we managed only to complete two of them.

As we haven't used the system for quite a while the first scenario was an easy rumble where two similar forces of a light tank supported infantry squad run across each other in a terrain dominated by very high grass and some light woods.

It immediately became clear that Mr V seemed actually retain the best grasp for rules while Janne just fumbled onward getting his PzKpfw II shot by Mr V's T-26 in the 1st round. After this Janne's Jerry squad ran into the forest to get some cover from the tank but got so close to Mr V's Ruskies that they became a target for selected charges of superior numbers. However Janne was able to kill at least one of the attackers from each combat and after geting his next turn he started of shooting the remaining Russians. One poor fellow got wounded and tried to crawl away, but the bloodthirsty Jerry squad leader and mg assistant followed him with their Lugers ablaze. Mr V's T-26 entered the wods but Janne spread his troops and made close assaults using grenades and soon the tank was a burning wreck. Jerries 1, Ruskies 0.

The next scenario started with Jerry recon force (sdkfz 232, a squad in sdkfz 251 led by a command section in a Kubelwagen) entering quite similar looking terrain and seeing a burning wreck of a Kubelwagen burning in the turn of the road. The Jerries advance carefully looking for Ruskies hiding in the forest but find none. Circling the unclimable steep cliff the Jerries encounter a KV-1! Immediately this monster squirts flame (it is a flamethrower model) against the 8-rad which is disabled fortunately with just one casualty. Meanwhile the Hannomag squad decides to dismount and hide in the tall grass while the halftrack presses on -and gets two dozes of flamethrower after the tank turns in its place to face these attackers from the rear. Again the Jerry crew manages to flee the burning wreck.

The remainder of the game the Jerries slowly crawl or dash towards the tank (that has its left track disabled and thus it can only pivot in place) with their satchel charges and grenade bundles while its crew tries to blindshoot them with the flamethrower, coaxial machine gun and with the occasional burst from the commander's submachine gun -the last actually having visibility. Finally three Jerries manage to climb on top of the tank and its turret after the tank commander got shot. As the turret hatch was left open from the dead tank commander they rake the insides with a MP40 and a rifle fire and finish the job by throwing a grenade bundle in. Jerries 2, Ruskies 0.

Otherwise quick fun games but I REALLY hate the way how attacks against tanks are performed by infantry in the game. Even with an immobilized (large) tank you need to roll around 10 or perhaps even less if you try to place the satchel charge on top of the engine compartment when you are standing adjacent to the bloody thing (and after misplacing it the thing somehow drops into the lap of the placer or his buddy standing on the other side o the engine compartment)! I mean the engine compartment of a KV-1 isn't THAT high after all and when you're behind the tank it is rather accessible. Heck, you are able t climb on top of the engien compartment by rolling under your morale. I more or less am able to swallow that you need to score 2 or less when throwing something from a distance especially if the tank is moving, but placement of explosives kinda blows.

Also the range of the flamethrower was, erm, rather incredible! Mr H used some unofficial rules for this and the extreme range for the weapon was 52 inches or something. Rather incredible if you consider that, for example, the range for a submachinegun is parhaps 26 inches and I'm willing to bet that a SMG can shoot longer than a flamethrower. Normally flamethrowers just use a template template of 7-8 inches which is more in scale with the other distances of the game...


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The main purpose of the blog is to enable the club members easily write reports of our semi-weekly gaming dates etc.