maandag 28 december 2009

The Battle for Hechtel

Slightly later than promised a week ago, but here are some pictures from this demo game played at the Fallen Angels meeting.

This was the weather on arrival, when we left there was up to 5-6 inches of snow on the cars.

Being there waaaaay before everyone else we had all the time and place to set up our table.

Looking at Hechtel from the south-east, the crossroads of dirt tracks to the front of the picture would become my battleground for the rest of the day.

As you can see on the picture above, even before all the houses and hedges were added, it was a big table (6 by 8 feet), covered with loads of scenery. The British enter along the western and southern edges. Being in charge of the southern command, I covered the main road from Hasselt to Eindhoven and the dirt roads with my small forces: an AT gun, a couple of squads and a MG unit and one SPAT vehicle for both of the approaches. All dug in of course and invisible to the enemy at the start of the game.

The Brits after their opening move

The Brits decided to throw everything in the south through the dirtroad crossing which was regarded as the weak spot (the main road had some wire obstacles and a small minefield as well). So it would be 4 Shermans, Eight squads in carriers, an AT gun and a recce unit vs my AT gun, MG, 2 squads and a JPzIV lurking to the back. My troops waited till they could see the whites of their eyes, so all I did was call in mortar fire through my HQ, knocking out two carriers. They would have a long way to walk...

The Brits moved their tanks into a firing line and parked the carriers in a nice row on the road. My AT gun opened fire, knocking out another carrier. Other than a little fire support from a Grille that pinned a squad, nothing much was happening yet.

After pouring a ridiculous amount of firepower over my AT gun (14 dice in a single activation and not a single hit) they at last kill it. Ah well, it did its job as speedbump admirably.However, opportunity fire from the MG in the farm had driven the suppressed squad back into his HQ, meaning that next turn he wouldn't be able to give any orders.

Two turns (and some shopping) later the Brits destroyed the farmhouse with loads of tank fire, killing the MG unit. So now I'm left with two infantry squads (that are still not known to the enemy) and a lone JPz. That one did kill its first Sherman after some long range duelling.

So the Brits hadn't gotten anywhere till now and the first reinforcements coming from neighbouring Eksel started arriving near the front line, taking positions along the road to Peer.

After a couple more turns, this is the situation in my sector at the end of the game. My two infantry squads had survived, the one in the front despite all the fire the British poured into it. Together with the support of the Grille, they killed a few enemy squads. My lone JPzIV had knocked out three of the four Shermans and was now reinforced by a Jagdpanther. This sector would become a sideshow as the real battle would be beginning in the north as well (if we hadn't run out of time). The reinforcements sent to cover the Hechtel-Peer Road would be able to turn their attention north, making it very difficult for the Brits to take the town quickly enough as not to interfere with the Market Garden timetable.

I had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed the battle. The small area and minimal forces at my disposition were not a drawback, after all this was a key point in the battle. Had the Brits broken through the line then my friend on the western side of town would have found enemy troops to his rear. I really look forward to being able to play the full battle one day, with the northern front opening up as well. We did manage only ten of nineteen turns planned to depict this six day battle.

zondag 27 december 2009

The counter goes up...

Shopping for presents for my nieces at the loacal toy store... never a good idea. The store might be getting out of GW, but there still is quite a bit of stock left.
I have way too much 40K stuff hoarded, so I plan to do some gaming with it in the coming year. And I didn't have the "Cities of death" book yet. Stage 1 of the ending sale discount earned. To get the full discount, I also bought an Ent from the LotR range. Nice model, and it will probably end up in a "Songs of Blades and Heroes" warband toghether with some of the Confrontation Daïkinee Elves (woodelves) I rediscovered in my recent reorganisation.
This brings the counter (top left on the page) to 12, thanks to the b*%£*%ds at GW who decided to put two dead orcs with the Ent. Later today it should go back to 9 as I should be varnishing my three Minabari ships later on. If I push myself a bit, the counter could reach zero before the new year. Let's try anyway...

dinsdag 22 december 2009

Taking stock...

In the last few weeks I bought some more cupboards for the gamesroom (aka pack rat paradise).
So now that I have plenty of time with the holidays I started reorganising the stockpile and decided it was the moment to draw up a detailed inventory. Better call the boss for a few more days off...

So far I have gone through my ancients collection: a few 15mm DBA packs and a enormous pile of 20mm, mainly plastic 1/72 scale soldiers.

The collection of 15mm figures can be considered reasonable:
Spanish army (punic wars era) - 43 figures
Carthaginian army - 61 figures
Bactrian army - 54 figures
This makes a total of 158 figures, sadly enough only four horses are somewhat painted by yours truly. The previous owner of the Bactrian army had painted the elephant and crew, but that's it. The first symptoms of unpainted lead syndrome...

But it will only get worse!!!

I own (hangs head in shame and mumbles) 1091 20mm figures with a grand total of 5 (five!) figures that have met with a paintbrush...
Sumerians - 113 figures
Nubians - 42 figures
Sea peoples - 42 figures
New Kingdom Egypt - 208 figures
Gauls - 134 figures
Mercenary hoplites - 96 figures
Carthaginians - 303 figures
Indians (metal) - 152 figures
Persians (metal) - 1 figure (free give away, in case you were wondering ;-)

And then there still is the 10mm warmaster ancients army and a small amount of 28mm left to count.

PS I have been doing a little bit of painting as well: Uma and Micheal (see previous post) are progressing nicely...

zondag 20 december 2009

Come Hell or High Water...

...or a snowstorm that practically shuts down the whole country, early this morning we got in the car to slide, I mean drive to Leuven to put up a demo game at the convention of the "Fallen Angels". Not exactly a big event on a normal day, let alone on a snow day like today. Several other clubs that weren't from the local area didn't show up. Quite understandable, not everyone is as mad as our group.

With one notable exception: the owner of the British forces decided to stay in bed and ride out the storm. And this caused a big problem: our demo game of the battle for Hechtel is a prelude to operation Market Garden and features Germans defending the town and crossroads against... You guessed it! We packed up some Russians and substituted Shermans with T34s, Carriers with trucks etc etc and just used the UK stats. Not the most elegant solution, but it was this or cancelling the game. More on the game with loads of pictures wil follow tomorrow...

I also picked up the last miniatures for this year. Nothing I really needed, but while browsing through the boxes with less commonly available (read: not Evil Empire) figures one blister in the Call of Chtulhu range caught my eye: a white collar survivalist. Or Michael Douglas in the movie "Falling Down". Further digging turned up a female assassin (Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill") and a hired gun (Lara Croft). Taking advantage of the "buy one, get another one free" offer I picked up two more figures that are suited as zombie games survivors and a pack of four hooded terrorists.

So even with the bad weather it was an enjoyable day out. We were able to play a great battle (though only halfway through) and I bought a few interesting figures at a discount. With two weeks of holidays ahead of me and way too much snow on the road to go out, I'm looking forward to do some painting, and maybe a solo game or two...

maandag 14 december 2009

TAP TAP TAP, is this still working?

It's been a long time since my last post, waaaaaay too long. So what's been going on? Well, hardly anything, and that was the real problem. Because of a medical problem I had to be given a new job but the people at Human Reources were not exactly in a rush to do so. And so I was left without any real work for a very long time... By the time the summer holiday season arrived this was really starting to get to me, so much that when I got home in the evenings after a day of doing absolutely nothing I just couldn't be bothered any more about any thing... Including gaming.

About a month or two ago, someone at HR at last looked at my situation and invited me for an interview. Now that I at least got some perspective again, I started waking from my hibernation and started to look at painting and gaming again. I still need to get back to the pace of operations that I achieved earlier this year, but I'm getting back there...

After clearing the painting table, this is what is currently being worked on:
-Some Minbari ships for "A Call to Arms" (I even played a couple of games with these rules in the last month or so)
-The Romulan squadron box for the "Federation Commander" game (picked that game up at Crisis 2009 in Antwerp), flanked by the good ship Enterprise (an oldie by FASA)
-A five man squad of EE Space Marines
-A couple of UK Airborne 6Lbs AT Guns for "World at War"
-A handful of "Blitzkrieg Commander" Russian infantry and mortar stands
-A couple of 15mm Russian farms and the Perry 28mm farm.

I'll be working on these first while I'm thinking about what will be the main project I'll work on in the coming months. There are two main contenders for that (aside from the BKC army): dig up my stash of Starfleet Battles miniatures and boldly go where many other gamer has gone before, or will Hannibal at last cross the Alps onto the painting table and start up an Impetus army?

Only time will tell...

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