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Friday, 22 October 2021

Setting the East Ablaze Dunsterforce game

Will, Ian, Andrew and I played out a game of Setting the East Ablaze at the club last night.  We opted for scenario 1 from the Adventures of Dunsterforce Supplement, with the British sending an Indian Army force northwards through Persia in an attempt to head off an Ottoman army heading for Baku and its' oilfields.  A large game, 8 units of Cossack infantry, 2 of Cossack cavalry and a unit of British Hussars, supported by HMGs and mountain guns and a Martindale ground attack aircraft, taking on 12 large units of Jungali irregulars, supported by HMGs.  Dunsterforce entered on the road to the left of the photo below and had to skirt or go over the ridge in the foreground, to reach the bridge and cut off the Jungali retreat/reserves.  Troops and terrain are all from Will's collection.


Detail of the river and crossing (totally unlike the real bridge) with chopped up matting representing scrub along the river banks and at the foot of the stone scattered ridge.


The Jungalis or Junglies as British troops referred to them, dug into shallow trenches and rifle pits on the banks of the river and took to ground in the scrubby areas and amongst the rocks on the ridge (hidden from British airpower).


Said British air power, here a Spowith Camel, representing a flight of 2 Martinsdale aircraft.


View from the Martinsdale at the end of turn 1.  The combined Cossacks and tiny British contingent are advancing either side of the road, mounted Cossacks and British armoured cars advancing around the Tea House near the curve in the road.  Cossack infantry form a densely bunched mass attempting to push up onto the ridge.  The Jungalis have triggered their ambushes, with one spectacularly successful ambush routing a Cossack infantry unit (dead are piled on the hilltop lower left).  Jungali reserves pile over the bridge (lower right) to form a conveyor belt feeding fresh natives onto the ridge to hold off the Cossacks.


Jungalis facing the stiff upper lip of dismounted Hussars, bolstered by a Lewis LMG.


The Cossacks still bunched up.  The two chaps in front of their main body are routing.


After a second round of play, another Cossack infantry unit has broken on the run up the hill.  However, Jungali ranks on the hill top have been spread thin, but help is on the way as reserves are fed forwards.


A big Jungali highpoint was almost wiping out the British Hussars, although they managed to pass all but one morale test, leaving them pinned.  The British armoured cars were determined to wipe out the Jungali HMG team at the end of the ridge.


Cossack mountain artillery pounded the Jungalis on the ridge nearest the camera, thinning them out considerably, but they were holding on for now.


This was a very large scenario and we were very ambitious trying it out in an evening.  However, it did let us practice using a variety of troop types, as well as artillery, airplanes and armoured cars.  The scenario looks to be a tough nut to crack for the British/Cossack forces and the Jungalis were holding their own at the end having done for 2 units of Cossack infantry and the British Hussars.  Still some questions to iron out in the rules and need to get more familiar with the rules, but lots of potential and a fun and attractive looking game.


Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Cold War Commanders Grimsby Game 2021 Sunday action

 Sunday saw the Soviets regroup for another bite at NATO.  In front of the USMC one BMP battalion withdrew completely, while a second, now reduced to little more than a company) took up concealed positions around fields and hedgerows.


Sea Cobras patrolling aggressively.



The Soviets were still plagued by poor command rolls, which meant their tank battalion eventually moved on table alone.  Intentions were revealed, when it swung away to the west (USMC left flank), but not before TOW-1s and a strike from an A-9 Intruder (10 attacks - reduced to 9 by one unsaved AAA hit) took out half the available armor.  This was a first for the marines and an Intruder strike is something to behold.


Unfortunately, the M60s tried to move laterally from woods on right to those on the left, under cover of a Soviet smoke barrage, but sadly failed a vital command roll and were reduced to one running tank platoon.  Time for the Dragons to earn their keep and two stands can be seen advancing into the woods to bolster up the left flank and support British 1st infantry. 



The empty terrain in front of the marines right flank - oh for some mobile reserves.


Over on the left, the remaining tank and Dragon teams made slow progress, while a follow-up Soviet BMP infantry battalion swings down the road in the distance, heading for the crumbling British defences off screen to the left.


What's left of the Soviet tank battalion and newly arrived BMP battalion still struggling to gain any momentum with poor command rolls.


By the end of play, a combination of long range ATGMs from USMC Tows, Sea Cobras and air strikes from Corsairs, Intruders, and Kriegsmarine Tornados, but mainly poor command roles, meant that the Soviets facing the marines were late to the party (top right in picture below).  However, Steve, the next Soviet player had got to close range and was systematically destroying what was left of British 1st Divisions Chieftain and Milan assets.  Although there could still be some costly engagements with British infantry in the town, it was felt that the Soviets had achieved a breakthrough.  In hindsight, I could have broadened my left flank and taken up some of the pressure on the Brits sooner by moving my infantry into the fields and trees to the right of the view below (2 Dragon teams and an M60 weren't enough), but at leg infantry speeds, could they have moved fast enough?


Sadly, the M60 and Dragons couldn't inflict enough pain on the armor to stop them, although they had been reduced to 50% strength, thanks largely to the Intruder strike.


All in all a great couple of days gaming played with some old and some new friends.  My AAR really only reflects what was happening on the extreme NATO right wing.  Over on the left, Mark's Danes had a torrid time from Andy and Stewart's Soviet Spetsnaz and Marines.  Next to them, Andy's German panzergrenadiers had stood up to severe pressure from repeated suicidal close assaults from Soviet infantry, so much so that their commander Ianski was visited by comrade Makarov on the Saturday night and a new version Ianski 2 appeared on Sunday, only to see his force virtually wiped out again.  Between the Germans and Americans, Chris' British stood up to huge pressure, wiping out the first of Steve's Soviet wave, albeit at great cost in materials if not in infantry, only to be overwhelmed by the Soviet second wave.  The US marines had kept Martin's Soviets at arms length on day 1 and reduced the effectiveness of 2 BMP battalions to a single company, mainly due to command rolls preventing the Soviets from getting going.  Martin's Soviets eventually made it to support Steve's attack on the Brits and I didn't move enough strength soon enough to be able to support the British.

Loads of fun, some cracking banter, good food and a few beers.  In total I think it was 11 game turns played, which says a lot about the players (new players picked up the mechanics really quickly) and the spirit the game was played in, but also the restriction of forces to brigades (or parts of) with suitable supports.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Cold War Commanders Grimsby Game 2021 Saturday action

Saturday gaming kicked off with a couple of gratuitous shots;

A pair of F-14 Tomcats flying CAP skipped across the USMC deployment area at high speed.


Followed by the more sedate drone of a Shackleton ECCM aircraft operating out of RAF Lossiemouth.


Deploying at high speed, one marine infantry battalion raced into the village on the right flank of the USMC frontage, leaping out of their LVTP-7s and sheltering in the relative safety of the built up areas.


On the USMC left flank, the other USMC infantry battalion made a firebase from the village, while the M60-A1 tank squadron (all 4 stands) took up positions to fire on the advancing Soviet BMP-1 infantry battalions - these seemed to be ignoring the USMC right flank.


The BMPs trundled forwards relatively slowly, due to some awkwardly high command rolls.


But once up close to the M60 squadron, they were given what for.  The second BMP battalion can be seen fanning out around the fields in the right distance.



So far so good.


Tow 1 unit shooting diagonally across the table into the Soviet flank.  There used to be three more units, but a command blunder wiped them out.  Command blunders plagued both sides on the eastern flank, fortunately more so for the Soviets that the marines.


View looking west from USMC end of the table, both Brits and Germans are hard pressed with close assaults going in, while the Danes at the far end are given something of a pasting.


Soviets eventually call in smoke to mask the M60s.  The two closest M60s have been driven back by ATGM fire from the Soviets.



Marine infantry on the right wondering if they should redeploy using their helicopter assets.


Sea Cobras arrive to bolster the marines.



The first day ended with me feeling relatively content that the marines had managed to keep the Soviets at arms length.  The Soviets were really unlucky with command rolls, especially for their tank reserves which were released late in the day.  The Sea Cobras seemed to be having a good effect and NATO air strikes were fun, with the MAW available, there were A-9 Intruders, Corsairs, Harriers, Phantoms and even some Kriegsmarine Tornados, which proved very effective early on.  Already though, it appeared the Soviets were looking to concentrate on the gap between the USMC and British 1st infantry.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Cold War Commanders Grimsby 2021 Table setup

By the time we arrived at the Grimsby Wargames Club, Richard, Steve and Andy had pretty much set the entire table up.  NATO were defending a stop line somewhere in Jutland, with a USMC amphibious brigade from 4th division, brigade from 1st British Infantry Division, West German panzer grenadiers and assorted Danish home guard and a mechanized brigade.

The eastern end of the table from Warsaw Pact deployment area.




USMC deployment area.




1st British deployment area - a hotly contended region with converging road networks from the Soviet side of the table.


The airfield formed the western edge of British 1st infantry deployment.


Areas defended by W German panzergrenadiers.



Danes deployment area, facing attack both from the sea and from the Soviet table edge to the right.


Another scene of hard fighting involving Spetznaz, for control of the bridge.


More airfield shots.




The harbor.


Lighthouse.



More harbor - I'm sure from the shape of the bay there should be more interference and reflection of wave fronts with ladder-back wave crests.  But seriously, the terrain was fantastic.


So Friday night was Curry night and a relatively early night, ready for the following day.