Wednesday, 30 May 2012

100 Posts

It seems de rigueur for blogs to post when they reach milestones so here goes. This is my 100th post on FFF.

I started on the 6th March so that's 100 posts in 84 days, not too shabby. A few other stats, I've had 4,632 visits with an average of 2.92 pages viewed per visit. The total number of page views is 13,521 so about 161 page views per day on average. The average visitor spends 1 min 18 secs on the site and I have 34 followers.

So is any of this important? Well no, not really as I'm just doing this for fun. Sure it's nice to be noticed and at first you do obsess about how many visitors you're getting. I used to check Google Analytics a ridiculous number of times a day and was stupidly happy when my visits number had gone up by one! Now I'm sort of settling into it and just enjoying being part of the blogging community. And it is a community. We check out each others blogs, post encouragement, steal good ideas and appreciate the hard work the other person has put in to produce some of their posts.

Have I learned anything from producing this blog? Yes I have, updating every day is a stupid thing to do! Sometimes trying to find a topic worth posting about is a nightmare and it feels more like a job than a hobby. But I've managed it so far.

The other thing I've come to understand is how much work goes into writing a blog. Before I started on this I'd read through various blogs and not give a moments thought to the amount of effort the blogger had made in producing the post. Now I can appreciate the time and effort they've put into creating a post purely for the benefit of others. That's right, apart from the ego boost (which is nice), bloggers are producing material for the benefit of others, we don't get paid. So when you visit a blog you like every now and then pop a 'Nice post' or 'Interesting, thanks for posting' in the comments below the post. After all everyone likes to feel appreciated.

Ok, enough about me. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, when I will be posting about... well I'm not exactly sure yet but I'm sure I'll think of something :-)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Blast from the Past: Space Hulk

I fancied a change of pace from my usual tabletop gaming so I arranged to play a board game at the club this week. After a bit of discussion Matt and I decided to give Space Hulk a run out. I think the last time I played Space Hulk must be 20 years ago or more. But I still remembered the horror of weapon jams and being eaten alive by Genestealers.

We decided to play a mission where you have to go collect a relic and then get back out. The layout of the board can be seen below.

Things started out ok for me as I got to grips with the rules again. I had a couple of guys doing sterling work on overwatch near the entrance and the rest were moving forward with no problems. Then I cocked things up and lost my Flamethrower guy. But I felt I was doing ok. I had my escape route sorted and my dice were doing well.
The board just before I grabbed the Chalice

I managed to grab the Chalice and started to head back out. That's when things started to go wrong. I rolled 6 pairs of dice for overwatch shooting without a single kill and lost my second Terminator. Now I had to watch for Genestealers coming from behind and in front. Gradually Matt whittled me down until I just had the Terminator with the Lightning claws left. He had to move over to the centre of the board to try and pick up the chalice dropped by the Librarian. I didn't hold out much hope at this point and nearly conceded.
The chalice has just been picked up and a horde of Genestealers
 blocks my way to the exit with more arriving all the time

But, miracle of miracles I managed to fight my way through waves of Genestealers and make it to the exit for a win! The two dice for the Lightning Claws and the +1 made all the difference.

The heroic moment of victory captured for posterity.

Needless to say Matt used his much greater experience of playing the game to give me a good stuffing in the return match. He used the flamethrower and Psychic powers of the Librarian much better than I did. Although it must be said he had some great die rolling as well. He was in a strong position until a jam let me in and he quickly lost two Terminators. Unfortunately for me he pulled a high command chit and managed to get his Termie carrying the chalice to the exit before I could reach him.

So a good night for both of us with one win each and more surprisingly two wins for the Marines. The game was just as good as I remembered and I look forward to playing it again.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Wargaming Addiction Update 3

Back in March I did a post about being a wargameaholic. In the post I said I was going to keep track of my spending on a spreadsheet to try and control my addiction.

So how's it gone? Well in the 65 days since I started keeping track I've spent £358.58 on wargaming related purchases. That's more than I would have liked but if you break it down to amount spent per day, £5.52, it doesn't sound too bad, sort of :-)

So what I have bought? Bear in mind that my plan for this year was to not buy any new rules/game systems the breakdown is as follows:

  • Three rule books. So much for no new systems, but I did sell my Saga rules so it's only really 2 new systems.
  • Four new armies. Two FoW, one of which is even painted, and two 10mm WSS armies for use with Maurice.
  • A whole bunch of terrain. Roads, rivers, buildings (10mm & 15mm), bunkers etc. Having sold all my stuff years ago when I quit gaming I've had to replace all my terrain so this is completely justifiable right.
  • Miscellaneous. Stuff like dice, templates, bases, paint and decals. Like the terrain most of this is necessary and will last me years without needing to be replaced. I mean it's not like I'm going to throw out my dice because they are crap and buy new ones every few months. I mean what sort of crazy person would do that!
I can't possibly find anything else I'd need to buy this year so my next update will show no more purchases. Except for replacement consumables like paint of course. Ohh and I still need some hills and Pendraken are putting up their prices later this year so I'll need to buy a couple of their ACW army packs before they do to save money, and Zvezda are bring out a load of new 15mm tanks I'll have to grab. But that's it, although Bushido does look interesting.....

Sunday, 27 May 2012

New Sci Fi Terrain

It's been pretty hot here the last few days so yesterday I decided to buy myself a cooling fan for the office. A quick trip down to the local retail park saw me get fixed up with a nice big tower fan. But while I was down there I decided to pop into the 'Pets at Home' store for some new scifi terrain. Trust me I haven't been driven mad by the sun. I've seen a few posts around the 'net where people have been using aquarium features as alien terrain. So I thought I'd have a look and see what they had.

As a bonus they were having a 3 for the price of 2 sale and after a bit of browsing I decided on these three pieces. First up is a ruined Greek style temple as shown in the picture below. The models shown in the pictures are a Rebel Minis 15mm Mech and some 15mm infantry.

I suppose this temple could be used on any 15mm or even 28mm board as it's the least alien of the three. Perhaps as part of a Strange Aeons or Malifaux game.

Next up is the skull. This is obviously too big for a normal 15mm game but perfect for the remains of some giant alien beast!

Last up is a piece described as a volcano but it works well as either an alien rock formation or some kind of alien plant.

All the pieces come prepainted and are made from a durable looking hard resin. The total cost of the three pieces was £10.99 which I think is a pretty good deal considering their size. I may even go back for some more.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

FoW: Operation Sea Lion - Fair Fight

I managed to get in a second Operation Sea Lion FoW game this week. This time I was playing Dave (Hangfire from the Exiles Gaming Group) and his German Recon force. Dave was on a high after handing out a beating to Adam's Manitoba Dragoons. So the allies were looking for some payback. I'd finished off my new 1500pt Russian force so I decided to give them a run out. The battle was taking place near Cirencester in the Gloucestershire and my list was as follows:

Guards Heavy Tank Regiment - Fearless trained
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk HQ - 1 KV-85
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Company - 5 KV-85
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Company - 5 KV-85
Priority Air Support - Il-2 Shturmovik

While Dave took:

Recon Co - Confident Veteran
HQ - 1 Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
Panzerspah Plt - 3 Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
Panzerspah Plt - 3 Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
Panzerspah Plt - 3 Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
Heavy Tank Plt - 3 Tiger 1E
Assult Gun Plt - 2 StuH 42
AA Plt - 3 Sd Kfz 7/2

We rolled for the mission and got Fair Fight, so nice and straightforward. The terrain was set up as shown below. I set up on the left edge while Dave set up on the right edge.

The terrain layout

With only two platoons set up didn't take me long. I placed one platoon covering each of the objectives (Panthers without turrets) in my half of the table with the CiC behind a wood halfway between the two platoons. Dave set up his Tigers, CiC and one plt of Pumas on my left. The StuH's, another plt of Pumas and the AA in the centre. On my right flank he set up two more Puma plts. Those of you who can count may have noticed that Dave deployed four plts of Pumas instead of three. He was so used to playing at 1750pts that he just put them out automatically. He didn't notice this until he was putting away his forces at the end of the game. Did it affect the outcome? Well read on and see!

My left flank after deployment

The centre after deployment

My right flank after deployment

Dave did his recon moves and then we rolled to see who went first, it was Dave. With only having two platoons Dave's mobility posed a real problem for me as I needed to both guard the objectives as well as capture one to win. I decided to sit tight and use my RoF 2 to thin out the opposition and hope my thick armour would bounce his shots.

He did a general advance with his units. The recon units staying close to cover to give them some protection. But his main threat, the three Tigers, moved menacingly over the hill towards my left flank KV-85's. Luckily for me all his fire was ineffective.

In my turn I stayed where I was and opened fire. Ten shots from my KV's only managed to bail two of the Tigers. But I was luckier on my right flank knocking out two of his Pumas forcing a morale check which he passed. My Sturmis got shot down by Dave's AA whilst trying to attack his StuH's.

My left flank at the end of Turn one

Dave's left flank at the end of Turn one.
The two brewed up Pumas are on the right

The view from Dave's right flank at the end of Turn one

Turn two saw Dave manage to remount his Tigers and his general advance continued elsewhere. In his shooting phase his Tiger's 88's showed their worth knocking out three KV's and bailing a fourth. Luckily I made my motivation roll due to being Fearless.

I was in serious trouble now with only one active tank to contest the objective. Of course my Fearless Russian tank crew failed their remount roll to make things worse. So I called in my Sturmis to attack his Tigers, moved my CiC over to the left to support what was left of the platoon and the right flank KV's started to head towards their objective. I was just hoping I could hold on at this point. In the shooting phase I got a big slice of luck. Despite a bucket load of dice Dave's AA only got one hit on the Sturmis and he failed his firepower test. The Sturmis rained bombs down on the Tigers and when the dust cleared there were two destroyed Tigers. The third showed his true nature and ran off the battlefield. The rest of my shooting was ineffective but at least I had given myself a chance now.

My left flank at the end of turn two.

My right flank at the end of turn two.

Gratuitous close-up of the Sturmi's attack on the Tigers

Turn three saw Dave press his assault on my left flank with his Pumas and StuH's closing into to kill off the last KV's. On my right another Puma plt started to head round my flank to threaten the objective that was now open after the defending KV's had advanced. Thick Russian armor protected the KV's on the left from the Hitlerite fire enabling them to hang on for another turn.

I again failed to remount the bailed KV-85 and decided to remain stationary and hope to get a couple of hits to thin out the opposition. The CiC moved back towards the right flank objective hoping he could get there in time to contest it. The right flank KV's continued their advance towards the objective firing on the Puma in the fields but missing. The Sturmis swooped in on the AA as it was the only eligible target and survived their fire to knock out one of the AA trucks.

For some reason I don't have any photos of the situation at the end of turn three.

Turn four saw Dave still advancing on my left flank objective and his other Pumas continuing their sweep round my right flank to grab that objective. The shooting phase saw more frustration for Dave as his puny guns were no match for good Russian steel.

In my turn I at last remounted the bailed KV and moved it back to also be in a position to contest the left flank objective. Elsewhere my slooow advance on Dave's objective continued. I needed to do something to stop the flanking Pumas so I decided to call in the Sturmis. It would mean they had to range in as the Pumas were close to buildings, but I figured I had no choice but to risk it. The dice was rolled and came up a four so they had ranged in successfully. The subsequent fire saw one Puma brewed up.

Turn five and the battle over the left flank objective continued unabated. Concentrated fire from the Hitlerites finally saw the one of the KV's brewed up. Thankfully I made the motivation roll. Shrugging off the previous attack from the Sturmis the remaining two Pumas finally took my right flank objective. The situation partway through turn five can be seen below.

My left flank after Dave's turn five action.

On my left flank the lone KV fired at the Pumas in the field but missed. But on my right flank I managed to kill the Puma hiding in the field with a lucky shot while I continued my advance on Dave's objective. The Sturmis again rolled in to attack the Pumas now holding my objective but only managed to kill one of them forcing a motivation check. Luckily this wasn't needed as my CiC opened up and brewed up the last Puma.

Miraculously it looked like I now had a chance to win a game that seemed well beyond me in turn two. But if Dave could clear out the last KV the odds were still in his favour.

The Sturmis continue to wreak havoc on Dave's forces

My right flank KV's nearly at their objective.

Turn six saw Dave surround the last KV and hit it with everything he had but to no avail. Out of options on his left flank Dave had to move up the AA trucks to contest the objective.

My left flank after Dave's turn

My right flank after Dave's turn

I decided to stay where I was on my left flank and the CiC and the last KV put four rounds into the Pumas sandwiched between them knocking out all three! On my right flank I moved up one of the KV's to contest the objective and then fired seven shots into the two AA trucks destroying both of them.

It was at this point we called the game, with me as a very surprised victor. Dave had to make a company check as he'd lost all but two of his platoons but this was irrelevant as he had nothing that could stop me claiming the objective while I still had my lone KV contesting mine.

My left flank at the end of the game

The Kv's hold the game winning objective.
The AA in the background being destroyed

A really fun game and one I never thought I would win after Dave's Tigers had decimated my KV's. The Sturmi's were the star of the show having removed a platoon of Tigers and a platoon of Pumas. I would like to say the win was all down to skill but it wasn't. I was very lucky with some key die rolls and Dave could easily have beaten me. Still a win for the Allies 6-1 and revenge for Dave's mauling of the Manitoba Dragoons

Friday, 25 May 2012

Operation Sea Lion: Letters from Cletus 3

It's Friday so it must be time for another letter home from Cletus. This week he talks about meeting his first Russians.

Dear Mom,

Hope y'all are doing fine. Thanks for sending me my lucky coonskin cap. I wore it when we went on parade on account of it still being real cold here in England in the morning. The Sarge wern't too happy though. He come over to me looking fit to bust. Turns out I can't wear cos it's agin regulations or sumthing. The rest of the guys keep yankin ma chain 'bout it though. They's taken to callin' me Davy Crocket.

Seeing as how we done lost a bunch of guys in our last fight with them Nazi fellers we've been moved back to wait for replacements. We'd only been there a few days when the Lieutenant come up to me and told me I'd been detached to go babysit some English feller. I asked him how come I'd got to go and he said it was cos I was the best shot in the unit and this feller was real important.

Turns out this feller is some kind of expert on Russkies and he's been sent to a Russkie tank unit as their liaison and I get to go along to take care of him. I was real surprised when I met him on account of him being older than Grandpa. I could see why he'd need someone to look after him.

Things didn't start out too well between us though. We was riding to the Russkie unit in this truck and I tried being polite and introduced myself and said 'Howdy, Mr Don'. He looks at me real funny and says why are you calling me Mr. Don? I dun told him that I'd been told he was Oxford Don and I was brought up to respect my elders and not call him by his first name. He just looked at me for about a minute then burst out laughing. I was worried he was going to give hisself one of them heart attacks. But he didn't, then he 'splained to me that he was an Oxford Don which is kinda like a college professor and that his name was Professor Jolyon Peregrine Montmorency Mountjoy. Boy I sure felt dumb. But he didn't seem to mind and I think he took a liking to me cos he said I could just call him Prof.

Seems that the Prof was there to translate for the Russkies on account of them not speaking English much. I was to take care of him when we's away from the camp cos we'd be going into action with the Russkies. I asked the Prof what we was goin to be doing and he said he'd be handling the Russkies calls for air support and translating any radio traffic once the Russkies got into action.

The prof spent most of his time talkin bout stuff with the Russkie officers. He said it was all 'need to know stuff' and I didn't need to know. So I spent most of my time catching up on my sleep and wandering round the camp looking at the tanks. The Russkie tankers were friendly enough 'til they saw I had me some Lucky Strike cigarettes. Then they treated me like I was some long lost cousin. Seems Russkie cigarettes are terrible and they can't get Lucky Strikes. So I shared what I had with them and they shared this liquor they had called wodka. Can you believe it they made it themselves from potato peelings! It wasn't smooth like Pappy's 'shine, in fact it was like a porcupine being shoved down your throat.

We got to talkin best we could seeing as how I don't speak Russkie. I was trying to tell em how we make our moonshine but I couldn't make em understand. Then this feller called Vassili come over and he spoke some English. Seems he used to be a school teacher back in Russia. Anyways once he explained that I knew about stills they took me off into the woods next to the camp where they'd got their still. Boy! I could see right off that they was amateurs. They had the coil all wrong and a bunch of other stuff. So I told em I could fix up their still real good iff'n they could get me some stuff.

Well they took off like their tails was on fire and soon came back with the fixin's and we was a tinkering with their still and soon it was running slicker than spit on a doorknob. When they tried the first batch they couldn't believe how smooth it was. Everyone was slapping me on the back and toasting me and calling me tovarich, which the prof told me means friend. Boy those Russkies love to drink and we'd soon finished off the first batch.

We didn't get to drink the second batch though. I told the russkies they had to watch the still real careful like and they fixed it so that one of them was always there. Anyway that night I was sleeping in my tent when there's this big explosion. Well all hell breaks loose. The guards are shooting at something and there was tracers lighting up the sky like the 4th of July and the tanks were starting up their engines. I ran to make sure the Prof was alright and he was. Things calmed down soon after once the officers took control. A while later the officers come back to their tents looking real tee'd off. The Prof spoke to them and told me they'd found an illicit still in the woods and that it'd blown up and caused the whole shooting match.

Well the officers got all the men on parade and it seemed like they was tearing them a new one. But no one owned up about the still. I talked to Vassili later seems the feller s'posed to be watching the still had been pulled in for guard duty so no one was watching the pressure in the still. So, of course, she blew.

It was a real shame too because a few days later we could really have used us some shine. I was talking to Vassili when everyone got real excited because someone had just shouted that they was getting mail from back in Russia. Seems they ain't had no letters for months so everyone rushed down to mail call. Vassili was real pleased when his name wuz called, he's got hisself a wife and a little girl back home and he ain't heard from them in a coon's age. Everyone was settling down to read their letters when I noticed Vassili had gone real pale like. Then he starts crying and shouting and swearing and everyone's trying to calm him down and see what's wrong but he just stormed off. I asked Viktor, one of his friends, what was wrong. Seems Vassili's village was overrun by the nazi's and his family killed. The letter was from a friend of Vassili's who'd been out in the woods when the nazi's arrived. He'd said it looked like they'd lined up everyone in the village, including women and children, and then just machine gunned them and set fire to the village. I wanted to say something to comfort Vassili cuz he's my friend, but I couldn't think what to say. So I just said a prayer for them.

I saw him the next day and I've seen me some angry fellers in my time but the look on his face almost made me pity the first nazi he meets. Almost.

I have to go now cuz it looks like were fixin to head out somewhere. I'll write you agin next Friday.

Your lovin' Son,

I'm not sure about the ending of this letter. I've always tried to include a dose of realism in each of them, but I'm worried I've gone too far this time. I'd be interested in your opinions of whether this is too dark for what is essentially a fun campaign or if I should continue in this vein. It's just that I think we shouldn't forget the effect the war had on the people involved, both military and civilian.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Quick Review: Zvezda Sturmovik IL-2

I wanted some air support for my Russian tank force so I bought a Zvezda Sturmovik IL-2 from the Plastic Soldier Company. As usual there's a nice painting of the model on the front of the box.

The back of the box shows pictures of the assembled model and also on the right hand side the length of the assembled model. In this case it's 8 cm which at 1/144 is just about the correct length of the real thing.

The contents of the box are shown below. There are two sprues containing the parts making up the model and it's flight stand, a sheet of decals, a blurb about Age of Tactic the Russian game the models are designed for and the stat card for the model to be used in the game.

The model went together easily but there's a couple of things to bear in mind while you assemble the model. Firstly there's lot's of thin aerials and guns etc sticking out from the wings and fuselage. You are going to break these off, they are so thin that they'll get bent as you manoeuvre the model while you're assembling it. Secondly some parts only go in one way round so test fit before you glue or read the instructions (yeah like you're going to do that!). You also get the option to model the plane with the undercarriage up or down. So make sure you sort out the correct parts before you start glueing. I went with undercarriage down to help protect the propeller when the model is packed away

Plan view of the assembled model

Side shot, sorry about the poor picture

I like the model, it went together fairly quickly and should look much better once its painted up and has the decals on it. It went together much easier than the Zvezda Stuka I built (if you want a review of the Zvezda Stuka Anatoli did one on his blog here). Overall I'd give it 8/10 easy to assemble but not a lot of detail on it however they do include the decals and at £2.99 you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Quick Update: Great Service from Arcane Scenery and Models

I needed some small FoW bases for the PSC Russian infantry I bought on Monday. I normally buy from Warbases but I found 'Arcane Scenery and Models' on eBay who are much cheaper, £3.29 for 40 bases inc postage as opposed to Warbases £5.04 for 36 bases inc postage. Plus I ordered them on Tuesday and they arrived Wednesday morning.

Arcane Scenery and Models have a range of products for sale on eBay so they're worth checking out even if you're not after FoW bases.

FoW: Operation Sea Lion - Fighting Withdrawal

Monday saw another battle for our part in WWPD's Operation Sea Lion campaign. This time my Panzerkampfgruppe Group was taking on Adam's Canadian Recon force. We decided the battle was taking place in Wiltshire, south of Swindon. The forces were as follows:

HQ - 2 Panther D's
Panther Platoon - 3 Panther D's
Panther Platoon - 3 Panther D's
Anti-tank Gun Platoon - 2 PaK 40s
Rocket Launcher Battery - 3 Nebelwerfers

Not certain of the make up of Adam's force but it was something like this:

HQ - CiC, 2iC & 2 Staghounds
Armoured Car Plt - 3 Staghounds
Armoured Car Plt - 3 Staghounds
Armoured Car Plt - 2 Staghounds & 1 Scout Car
Armoured Plt - 3 Shermans & 1 Firefly
Tank Destroyer Plt - 4 M10's
Infantry Plt
Field Bat (SP) - 4 Sextons
Light AAA (SP) - 3 Bofors 40mm
Limited Air Support - Typhoons

We rolled for the mission and got Fighting Withdrawal. Neither of us had played this one before and that was to have a big effect on the outcome of the game. I started out pretty confident in the staying power of the Panthers and Adam said he had no idea how he was going to win. Only his second run out with this force meant he hadn't learnt how to best utilise it yet.  The only thing I was worried about was the Typhoons. Last time I'd faced them they'd turned the tide against me knocking out four of my eight Panthers. Luckily there were lots of woods that would give me some cover. The terrain layout can be seen in the photo below Adam was defending the right hand side of the table.

The calm before the storm

Wiltshire is famous for it's vineyards ;-)

The mission calls for three objectives to be placed on the table, one by the defender and two by the attacker. I placed one of mine in the centre of the table between the village and the field. The second was placed by the ford on my side of the river on the right of the table. Adam placed his on the hill on the left of the table. As he was the defender Adam then deployed all his troops then I deployed mine. The initial deployments can be seen below.

The right flank after deployment

The left & centre after deployment

I'd had little experience fighting recon troops so I was surprised when Adam did all his recon moves after deployment. I was hoping for some easy kills but that was not to be.

The Staghounds move into the woods on my left but one bogs

The Staghounds move into the woods on my right

Being the attacker I went first. I moved my Panthers up on the left but their fire and that of the PaK 40's did nothing. However on my right the 2iC knocked out two of the AAA trucks and the Panthers and CiC knocked out two of the three Staghounds in the woods. My nebelwerfers smoked the Sextons observer Sherman in the field. Things already looking good, but Adam made the two morale rolls. On the left Adam then manoeuvred his Staghounds looking for side armour shots. In the centre he moved up to threaten the rear of the Panthers on my right as well as the 'werfers. His fire was largely ineffective. He did bail one of the Panthers on my left but the dreaded Typhoons swooped in and destroyed the 2iC's Panther.

The left at the end of turn one.

Close up of the centre at the end of turn one.

The right at the end of turn one.

Close up of the carnage inflicted by the Panthers

Turn two saw me move my Panthers to the objective near the ford on my right while the CiC moved up to finish off the AA trucks. On the left two of my Panthers swept round the left flank of the village to engage the Shermans the other Panther moved into the south of the village. In the shooting phase on the right flank the CiC destroyed the last AA truck and the other Panthers finished off the last Staghound in the woods. On the left the Panthers knocked out one of the Shermans in the village and the PaK 40's bailed a Staghound near the bridge.

Adam now had to contest the objective near the ford or I would win at the start of the next turn. So he moved forward one of the Staghounds he had held back near the baseline. He also decided it was time to pop the ambush with his four TD's, which he placed at the edge of the field near the village. On the left he manoeuvred his Staghounds, Sextons and Shermans to threaten the flanks and rear of my Panthers. In the centre his Staghounds moved up the road to threaten the 'werfers. His Typhoons then swept in and pinned the 'werfers, the TD's opened up destroying one of the Panthers on the right. and his Sextons ranged in on the Panthers near the objective but did no damage. So one of his Staghounds hit it with smoke. On the left the fire from all the Shermans and Staghounds either bounced off or failed firepower tests, a theme which was to haunt Adam throughout the game.

The right at the end of the turn

The centre at the end of the turn

The left at the end of the turn

A close up of the action at the ford, near the objective

Turn three saw me move to counter the direct fire threat from the Sextons on my left. On my right the panther moved out of the smoke into the small copse of trees. The CiC moved up and joined the platoon while the last Panther moved to get into position to attack the Staghound on the central road. Fire from the Panthers on the left was devastating, destroying one Sherman and two Sextons. The Pak 40's opened up destroying one of the Staghounds near the river. On my right the Panthers destroyed the Staghound contesting the objective and the Staghound on the central road.

As it was turn three Adam had to withdraw a unit. So he decided to remove the central Staghound company. On the left he move the Sextons back into cover behind the hill while the remaining Shermans and Staghounds manoeuvred for side armour shots. On the right he moved up another Staghound to contest the objective. In his shooting phase the superior armour of the Panthers resisted all his attacks.

The position on the left at the end of the turn

The position on the right at the end of the turn

Turn four just saw my Panther on the right move up to join the others near the ford. The rest stayed put to maximise the number of shots. On the left the Pak 40's knocked out two Staghounds while the Panthers knocked out another Sherman, Adam made his morale rolls though. On the right I managed to knock out one of the TD's in the field.

His left flank in tatters Adam decided to move the last Staghound, his CiC, into the cover of the wood. The last Sherman, the Firefly maintained it's position in the village. On the right nothing moved. All his fire manged to do was to bail one of the Panthers near the ford.

The position on the left at the end of the turn

The position on the right at the end of the turn

Turn five saw me move two of the Panthers on the left forward to claim the objective on the hill. This would force Adam to move something from his Sextons to contest it. The right was sit and shoot again. The Panther which hadn't moved on the left flank opened up on the last Sherman and destroyed it. Adam had now lost four platoons with only seven left on the table he had to make a company morale check which he passed. On the right my 'werfers knocked out another of the TD's and the Panthers knocked out the Staghound near the ford.

On the left Adam moved up a command team from the Sextons to contest the objective. On the right he moved up his 2iC in the last Staghound to contest the objective again. In the shooting phase he at last managed to kill one of my Panthers on the right and it was the CiC so both my command elements were gone.

Turn six had a nasty surprise for me. I'd read my victory conditions but I hadn't read Adam's. There was an event table which showed that in turns six and seven Adam could remove an objective! Even though it wouldn't give me the objective for sure I killed Adam's contesting team on the hill. On the right I bailed one of the TD's but couldn't kill his 2iC's Staghound contesting the objective.

In his go Adam removed the objective on the hill which was much harder for him to contest than the one near the ford. His fire this turn had no effect.

The left at the end of turn six

Turn seven saw me move my Panthers on the left round the hill to give me LoS on his Sextons. I didn't move anything on the right. In the shooting phase I knocked out one more Sexton and mg'd two of his unit command stands forcing a morale check and a company check, which he passed. On the right my 'werfers killed another TD forcing a morale check which he failed and a company check which he passed, again! I also killed his 2iC which was contesting the objective. But it was too late as Adam could now remove it in his turn. Which of course he did.

At this point Adam won. He'd held out till Turn 8! All he had left on the table was his intact infantry in the village contesting the last objective, his CiC and one Sexton and it's staff team. I'd lost my CiC, 2iC and one Panther. So a 4-3 win for Adam and the allies although his Canadians have ceased to exist as a force. A really weird game but fun.

So things I learned, read the mission briefing properly and think more about objective placement.

The left flank at the end of the game

The left flank at the end of the game

Oh, I used my new Chessex dice for this game and I'm happy with them. They have a nice weight to them and don't seem to roll particularly high or low. Even though I lost I'm claiming it as a moral victory for the new dice. :-)

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