Posted by: T.A.G. | 14/01/2018

10mm WW2 Normandy Game (Part 1)

I was invited to participate in a 10mm Crossfire WW2 game based around an actual battle that took place near Caen during the Normandy campaign in 1944. The game is ongoing which means that this post is about part 1 of the battle only.

The situation was that the British 50th (Northumberland) Division had advanced and captured a village but a German counterattack had retaken a part of the village. Overnight then, both sides were occupying different parts of the village.

The British needed to be taking ground and so they committed two companies of infantry, supported by a tank squadron (Shermans), and fire support from the battalion’s own mortar and carrier platoons plus extra fire support from the Divisional support battalion and the Division’s artillery allocation.

The Germans, meanwhile, had also committed two companies of panzer grenadiers, supported by a platoon of tanks (Pzkw V Panthers) and some mortars.

The game opened with the British having the initiative. Early manoeuvring was slow and the fire brought down on exposed German troops was not particularly effective whereas the Germans were better able to make use of cover and attack the British. Fire support was well employed and the Germans made up a reasonable amount of ground quite quickly, albeit without having secured it.

The British, having deployed for an infantry battle, found themselves in a tank battle when a Panther successfully entered the village and destroyed a Sherman (after the Sherman had first failed to disable the Panther). The Sherman caught fire and hampered movement for the rest of the game.

The battle for the village hotted up with extensive firefights between opposing infantry in buildings. The British were unable to bring effective enough firepower onto the Germans to halt their advance and its associated gains before the late hour forced a halt for the evening. The battle will continue in two weeks’ time.

Below are some photographs of the game.

T.A.G.

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Posted by: T.A.G. | 10/11/2017

The Second 10mm WW2 Wargame

Earlier this week, I was able to introduce another of my group to 10mm WW2. We spent some time going through the game mechanics within the Crossfire rules before having a go with a company of British being pitted against a couple of platoons of Germans. This initial try-out was hesitant but served the purpose showing my opponent how flexible and challenging the rules are even whilst they bring out a real sense of the period and encourage a more realistic set of tactical choices than do many other rulesets.

Later we reset the terrain and I adjusted the balance of forces for a second game. This one flowed much faster and the adjustments made to troops and terrain threw up a different set of challenges that required some clever employment of tactical options to overcome, including the use of smoke screens to cover movement across open ground. We also began to learn that firing at everything that moves is not necessarily the best choice and began to calculate when to open fire at which targets. My opponent was not best pleased when my German snipers took pot shots at his officers and was relieved when their aim was poor.

The first game was not about getting a result but the second game was won by the British who successfully pushed the Germans back to liberate a little more French soil.

The day after the game, my friend purchased a copy of the rules and ordered some 10mm figures. This means that it is no longer “my” 10mm project; it has become “ours”.

Below are some pictures taken during the games described above.

T.A.G.

 

Posted by: T.A.G. | 28/10/2017

MG Platoon from a Divisional Support Battalion

The latest addition to my 10mm WW2 collection is a British machine gun company from a divisional support battalion. These support battalions provided mobile fire support to infantry battalions within the division’s infantry brigades. They comprised three machine gun companies (of three platoons, each equipped with four Vickers guns) and a single heavy mortar company (of four platoons, each equipped with four 4.2 inch mortars). Every infantry division had a support battalion which was split up and detached to the division’s infantry brigades as necessary to help them achieve objectives assigned to them as part of specific operations.

My previous British units were from the third of three infantry battalions within the second of three infantry brigades that each infantry division contained. As such their vehicles are denoted by unit serial number 62 on a green background but the support battalion is a divisional asset and so its vehicles carry unit serial number 64 on a black background.

The platoon displayed in the photos below is made up of Pendraken Miniatures’ infantry figures and Pithead Miniatures’ models. One of the photos compares the scale of the figures and models against the size of the new pound coin.

T.A.G.

Posted by: T.A.G. | 30/09/2017

The First WW2 Practice Game

Finally, I have managed to bring the 10mm WW2 concept to the wargames table. After more than two years of planning, collecting and false starts, the dice have been rolled!

This was a “learning game” and meant to be little more than to put some figures on the table as an opportunity to gain some familiarity with the Crossfire rules, their flow and to begin to appreciate their subtleties and nuances. My opponent seemed particularly impressed with the absence of tape measures and with how the game turns are variable and flexible, being controlled by combat results rather than a rigidly defined turn sequence as is the case with many other rule sets.

The game itself was set up with a British force of an infantry company augmented by a Vickers MG platoon and supported by a 3” mortar platoon attacking a weakened German company, augmented by a HMG platoon and supported by an 8cm mortar platoon. Actually, this is pretty much the totality of the troops I have available so far. A basic terrain was laid out and off we went.

Slowly at first but ever faster we moved and fired, fired and moved, learning quickly that the rules punish any unit caught moving in open ground (which is the way it is in real life).We found that the rules begin to have a rhythm such that, whilst there is no set sequence for doing specific actions, it is better to undertake certain actions early in the turn and better to leave others until later. We made good use of smoke rounds, fired by the mortars, to screen tactical movements especially across open ground, which is something that, using other WW2 rules sets, we haven’t previously done in quite this way. The rules then drive the players to think carefully and look to safeguard their soldiers whilst working towards gaining that crucial advantage from which victory will be secured.

A good, fast game played in a compact space and set up, played and packed up in around 3½ hours. My erstwhile opponent is enthused and I think another game will take place quite soon. This is a good outcome because, having invested heavily in something new, I was concerned that my gaming circle would not embrace the new approach and scale (we normally game in 25mm/20mm rather than smaller scales). Phew!

Some photos from the game are below.

T.A.G.

Posted by: T.A.G. | 14/09/2017

German Infantry Company

The latest addition to my 10mm WW2 collection is a company of German Wehrmacht infantry. The company comprises the company HQ containing a commander and two snipers, three rifle platoons, each comprising the platoon HQ, three rifle sections and two panzerfaust anti-tank weapons.  Fire support is available in the form of a mortar section of two tubes (one model) plus observer. The mortar section was not always present in the order of battle due to the exigencies of fighting a war on three fronts (Russia/Eastern, Italy/Southern and France/Western) beginning to stretch the Germans’ logistic capabilities beyond their ability to function effectively.

The significance of this unit is that my 10mm WW2 wargaming concept is now viable with both sides, at long last, having sufficient forces to begin gaming. I am hoping to hold the first 10mm WW2 game during October…

The Germans are not that easy to paint. Their equipment is intricate and the colours are both drab and lacking in contrast, meaning that there is no exciting change to the figure (that is to say, when a new colour brings the figure to a new appearance of “almost-completeness”) until quite late in the painting process. The motorbike and mortar team were fun though. I had never before appreciated that German mortar bombs were painted an unusual maroon colour.

Pictures of my new Germans are below.

T.A.G.

Posted by: T.A.G. | 24/08/2017

The First of the 10mm Germans

I have now finished the transport for the WW2 German infantry company that I am currently painting. Here are some photos of an Opel Blitz truck.

T.A.G.

Posted by: T.A.G. | 13/08/2017

Introducing B Company…

Well, after 8 days of splashing paint around, my first 10mm WW2 infantry company is varnished and in the box, where it awaits the completion of a German company to oppose it.

My “new” 1944-45 North West Europe WW2 project has been “slow burning”. I am amazed to realise that I’ve been at it for almost two years. Now, after a couple of false starts, it is properly underway.

This company is organised and based for the Crossfire rules which I’ve played a few times and think are superb. The company has a HQ, comprising the company commander, a 2” mortar and a Jeep, as well as three rifle platoons, each comprising a platoon commander, 2” mortar, PIAT, three rifle sections and a 15cwt truck. Each section is represented by three figures giving nine in total of which one is a Sten SMG and one a Bren LMG. Having seen the technique used elsewhere, I’ve trialled putting labels on the bases to avoid having to pick up bases to find out where, organisationally, they belong. I have to say I’m quite pleased with the look of them.

The trucks featured in my previous post have now gained their unit serial numbers, in this case “green 62” which indicates the second battalion within the infantry brigade attached to an armoured division or the third battalion of the second brigade (of three) in an infantry division.

Some photos of the finished company are below.

T.A.G.

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