Tag Archives: Wargames

Trees in 30 minutes!

I had an email a couple of weeks back about the trees in my games.

I know I posted a blog a few years back but thought I would do a quick one, again.

Step One – Find Trunks

I do not spend hours making wire armatures, i don’t have the time or the patience.

I am lucky enough to have a  Rhododendron (I think), my wife is the gardener. When pruned, I keep the cuttings to make tree trunks. The stem/branch has just the right look of a fully grown tree.                  

Stage Two – Help Them Stand

In my last article I glued the trunk to a large washer. Now I tend to drill the base of the trunk and glue in a nail or spear wire. They are small enough not to leave too visible a mark on the terrain tile. I just fill the drilled hole with cheap superglue and push in the wire/nail. It also helps during the construction. I normally have a piece of polystyrene sheet handy to stick them in like a production line.

Stage Three – Foliage

Get your “Rubberised Horse Hair” and cut circles out of it. Mine are normally about 3″ or 75mm in diameter but do not worry if they are not a perfect circle or 3″.  Then pull the layers that make up the Horse hair apart.

Take these de-laminated layers and glue them to the trunk. Keep adding the layers until you have a foliage you like. This is why size and shape do not matter too much.

I bought recently a brilliant rechargeable glue gun for a few pounds at a “budget” supermarket. Not having the wire really helps. It takes five minutes to charge before you can use it.

Stage Four – Leaves

What ever show I go to I look around for cheap scatter material. At the last show there was someone selling bags of home made scatter (coloured sawdust) 4 for a £1. I never worry too much about colour matching I just throw it all together for this type of use. I put all the scatter in a carrier bag inside a bin. the picture is not great but the scatter fills a Christmas sweet tin in size.

Next get some spray glue and wearing a glove on my left hand, I hold the trunk while screening the trunk from over-spray apply the glue until it foams white. I tend to only spray the tops. This leaves the underside bare and I think it looks more like branches.

I then transfer the tree to my right gloved hand to immerse in the scatter material. The fresh gloved hand stops scatter sticking to the over-sprayed glove. Shake off the excess back into the bin and you have a tree.

There you have it.

In 30 minutes I made 8 trees. I worked out the cost to be about £6 for all 8. This size of tree is usually on sale for about £10-12 pounds each at shows, so give it a go and save a fortune.

The dearest part is the Rubberised hair but I have had a 6×4 sheet from a local upholsterers, for a while now and it is still going strong. I make my trees large but  if you like smaller, then smaller trunks mean smaller diameter circles. Here are some 28mm ECW for scale with the rest of the trees.

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Filed under Terrain, trees

AWI Campaign Ideas – Part 4 The Terrain Generator

As promised a while back here is a little bit of info on the troop and  terrain generators.

 

Troop Types

AWI Campaign Army selection rules

 Each chit is worth 100pts

Select units and assign them to a chit, each chit is to be numbered. Casualties can be carried from battle to battle.

When a battle happens the CinCs rating  is increased by 1 level for each previous battle he had a major victory in or reduced by one level for each major loss.

 

British

Brigade commander Average 15pt +/-5pt per level increased or decreased.

Cost per SP

Guards C/B/A @12pt

Grenadiers C/A/A @ 13pt

Lights C/B/B @ 12pt includes skirmish ability

Highlanders C/A/B @12pt

Line C/B/B @11pt

Rangers C/B/C @10pt

Lt Dragoons C/B/B @11pt

Loyalist Line C/C/C @9pt

Loyalist Cavalry C/C/C@9pt

Militia B/D/D@8pt

Militia Cavalry C/C/C @9pt

Indians in Open D/C/E in woods D/C/C @ 8pt MOB formation only

Artillery B/E/B @9pt per crewman (Lt=2, Med=3, How=4 and Hvy=4)

 

Hessians (Max 2 Brigades)

Only allowed if reinforcement arrive!

Brigade commander Average 15pt +/-5pt per level increased or decreased.

Grenadiers C/B/C @10pt

Line D/C/D @7pt

Jaegers D/C/D @9pt Skirmishers and rifles

Artillery C/E/C @7pt per crewman (Lt=2, Med=3, How=4 and Hvy=4)

 

Lt Guns 10pts, Med guns 15pts, Howitzer 20 pts or Heavy    25 pts

 

Promotion/Demotion

If British win a major victory (see below), then any unit that engaged the enemy may increase any factor in a unit by 1 level (no factor may be greater than A).

If British receives a major defeat then all unit that did not engage the enemy must drop by 1 level, all units that engaged enemy drop 2 factors by 1 level (no factor may be lower than E).

 

Americans (Min 25% Militia)

Brigade commander Average 15pt +/-5pt per level increased or decreased.

Cost per SP

Continentals C/D/D @7pt

Lights (1778+) B/C/B @12pt includes skirmish ability

Lt Dragoons C/C/C @9pt

State Militia B/C/C @10pt

Riflemen A/D/D @11pt skirmish formation only and rifle armed

Militia B/D/D @8pt +1pt if skirmishers

Militia Cavalry C/C/D @8pt

Artillery C/D/C @8pt per crewman (Lt=2, Med=3, How=4 and Hvy=4)

 

Lt Guns 10pts

Med guns 15pts

Howitzer 20 pts

Heavy    25 pts

 

If Americans win a victory (see below), then any unit that engaged the enemy may increase any factor in a unit by 1 level (no factor may be greater than A).

If Americans win a major victory (see below), then any unit that engaged the enemy may increase any 2 factors in a unit by 1 level (no factor may be greater than A). All other units may increase any one factor by 1 (no factor may be greater than A).

If a side receives a major defeat then all units must drop by a factor by 1 level (no factor may be lower than E).

 

Reinforcement – only when a major victory has been achieved

 

French (Max 2 Brigades)

Brigade commander Average 15pt +/-5pt per level increased or decreased.

Grenadiers C/B/B @11pt

Line C/C/C @9pt

Light C/C/B @11pt includes skirmish ability

Hussars C/B/C @10pt (Max 1 unit)

Artillery C/C/C @9pt (Lt=2, Med=3, How=4 and Hvy=4)

 

Lt Guns 10pts, Med guns 15pts, Howitzer 20 pts or Heavy    25 pts

 

Victory or Major Victory

After a battle unless obvious count the (total of points lost/original points value of army) x100 = % of army lost

E.g.: 175 point army of two brigades (Obviously has lost a battle before so now weak) loses 25 pts, therefore (25/175) x100 = 0.143×100 = 14.3% casualties.

 

Greater loses is the loser.

If loses are twice the winners loses, than a major victory/defeat has occurred.

 

Optional Rules

Defenses – Any army indicated to move may not move and instead build defenses. This allows 100 points of defenses to be built. 2” of light defenses or 1” of heavy defenses=5pt. They are only applicable in major battle not skirmishes and only if the side who built them is the defender. If left unoccupied they are removed from the board.

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Terrain Generation

To help with this I have built two random terrain generators, one for plain terrain and one for rough terrain.

I do not claim to be  good at Excel so please excuse the simple approach. Please feel free to modify percentage of availability as you see fit.

I play on a 9’x5’ table so I generated eastings of 0-108” and Northings of 0-60”. These are measured from the bottom left corner.

Here is an example of a plain generated table top.

plain-terrain-gen-awiThis gives a table like this

demo-terrainHope you get the idea. If you really don’t like it then hit F9 and it will generate another.

Here the actual files for both Plain and Rough terrain generation.

terrain-generator-awi-plain terrain-generator-awi-rough

 

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Filed under American war Independence, AWI, AWI, Boardgames, campaign, Campaigns, Fields of Honor, Naval

AWI Campaign Ideas – Part 3 The first battle

I know I said I would talk about the terrain generator but Saturday was here and it was our game day.

Nathan came around early and we set about building his British brigades for the campaign, as his computer had broken.

The Board-game

We then sat down to play the board-game. It was only turn 3 when things started to go against the idea of how the game would play in our heads.  I rolled “snake eyes” which meant that I was unable to move any of my units. This allowed Nathan the chance to catch one of my two state militia based armies and force a major battle. My plan had been to avoid a major battle until I had consolidated my forces. Well we all know about plans and what happens to them! Well it did.

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Nathan

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Turn 3. Nathan nominates the land unit at the top of the picture near Boston and unfortunately I had “snake eyes”.

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With Nathan’s roll of a two in lands straight on my unit.

The Forces

That said this is what campaigns are all about though. Nathan had a strength of approximately 500 points while I not only had inferior troops but only 300pts worth. I am not sure that if we were doing a normal game we would ever have fielded forces like these. Not only did Nathan have better troops but when we got his forces out for the table top he also had a Howitzer and a large artillery piece in the force. These are very powerful on the tabletop, if they hit. This made me feel very intimidated as I had militias and a light field piece.americans-14012017 british-14012017

The Terrain

The terrain generator also threw up a battlefield I would probably never layout normally – a river down one flank a ridge splitting the table, a farm and some woods all added to the next dilemma. Where to set up as the defender?  Do I take the open side to the South and force the British to be crammed up in and around the farm although they would have the ridge to sit that heavy gun on or take the farm with its defensive fencing but allow the British to almost deploy along the whole Southern edge. In the end it was the ridge that sold it two me for two reasons.

  1. If I placed my artillery up there it should have a good field of fire
  2. The elevation sort of protected my right flank but would also slow down any British advance due to the reduced movement uphill.  This may allow me the time to turn on my heels and get away before melee.

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My new plan!

I deployed my stronger brigade on the ridge so they were easier to extradite but this did leave them exposed with no fencing to hide behind.

My weaker brigade occupied the farm and lined the fencing.

I gave orders that all units are to engage the British in at least 3 round of fire but if they closed too quickly to break off and leave the field.

The British set up gave me hope! They concentrated all their forces around the centre except for the lone cavalry unit out on their left flank. This I guessed would be used to  flank the woods and attack me from my right flank. This I thought would take about 5-6 turns depending upon the activation cards ( They would not be able to be activated on the CinC’s card once they were out of sight). This left my left flank over flanking the British right. Should I advance my 2 left flank militias and swing them in on the flanks of the advancing British?

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Turn 1 Steady advance by the British across the whole line.

Their artillery inflicted a total of 3 hits between them luckily all were saved.

I advanced my rifle on the hill a little closer. They have a 24” range while the British have a 12” range.

My artillery fires and hits a line unit which is unsaved so first blood to the Americans.

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Turn 2

British again steal the march with all their units getting activated and the artillery hitting and inflicting 2 hits which I cannot save.

My centre fire and take out one the British Light infantry units.

My left flank jump the fences to advance on the British flank

My artillery fires but hits nothing.

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Turn 3

The British get the draw again with the activation cards. Only half of mine get activated.

Their left flank hold back to allow their large gun to fire. This flaw in their deployment does not stop them destroying my riflemen!!!!!!

Their right starts to engage my units behind the fence while their right most unit swings around to face the threat of my two militia unit on their flank (my plan is working)

I open fire against the highlanders and inflict 2, both unsaved. While that would normal be the end of any unit as it would be only 1SP strong so would roll only one die but  due to the large size of this highlander unit (5SPs) they are now the size of a normal unit!

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Turn 4 Only the British get activated and move ever closer before the End of turn card is drawn. While I can fire I cannot make any moves. The British are too close for comfort, I cannot allow them to get into melee with mine.

I do manage to inflict another hit on the Highlanders but take another couple of hits from his guns.

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Turn 5

End of Turn card drawn immediately.

Both sides fire and I take another 3 hits which convinces me it is time to leave the field.

For this turn I can only respond with firing and hit again the highlanders  as well as a loyalist unit.

 

Turn 6

First bit of luck, I get my army activation card. The plan was to run but………………… if I fired and caused casualties, I believe a number of the British units may fail their morale. If I don’t hit or they don’t fail their morale then when the brigade card are drawn I can extradite them then.

My boys had their eye in as every unit caused a hit. Unfortunately every hit was saved!

The next card out was the End of Turn so I had nothing to fire, having already been activated but the British opened up and caused another hit wiping out a state militia unit in my centre leaving a gap in my line.

Turn 7

The first cards out were all American so I managed to start the extraction process although one unit did get caught up on the fencing so were shot in the back by the British.

Their cavalry had just started to appear around the back of the woods so definitely time to go.

End of Turn card frustrated the British and allowed me to slip away, bruised and battered but happy that a good fight had been put up.

sam_4004 sam_4008 sam_4007 sam_4006 sam_4005Outcome

The British lost 105 pts of infantry and the American 112 points.  A draw on points as neither side inflicted more than 10% than received,  but as the British held the ground a minor victory was awarded to them.

As it was a minor victory it did not amend any of the units rating, a major victory or loss is required to do this for the British.

We rolled to see was reinforcements were available to bring the units back up to strength and called it a day.

We both agreed that the system had worked well and gave us a really enjoyable game with pressures that we would not normally feel in a standard table top game.

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Filed under American war Independence, AWI, AWI, Boardgames, campaign, Campaigns, Fields of Honor, Naval

AWI Campaign Ideas – Part 2

Since the last post I have been very busy but have still managed to add a bit more to the campaign idea.

We have agreed that the campaign will:

  • Play the boardgame “Skirmish” as normal until there is either a major battle or a naval battle. This is when both forces end their move in the same area.
  • Transfer this to the table top –  Each counter (Land or ship) =100pts
  • Before the campaign starts each counter is numbered and a force representing it is picked (see below).
  • After the battle forces are reviewed and consolidated with surplus counters being removed.
  • Each unit is to be tracked and their ratings can be modified depending on things such as: winning/losing/ engaged enemy.
  • The boardgame  has a watermark effect which shows hills, very subtle but this will be used to determine if the tabletop game (Land) will be set up as plain or hilly.
  • I have also used an Excel sheet to generate the terrain layout.

Here is the initial layout with a few of the counters numbered

sam_3956sam_3963Here is an example of what the counters represent.

american-awi-costs

Army Lists

eg-american-brigade

Random Brigade

If anyone would like the spreadsheets then here they are.

awi-american-brigades awi-british-brigades

When the battle is to be played I transfer the units to their tabletop organisation.

british-table-top-organiserThis allows me to copy the cells from the bottom depending upon the units in the brigades and paste into their tabletop structure above. One of the Brigadiers becomes the CiinC. This can then be printed and used to track units through the game.

Here is the original excel sheets for both the British and Americans

dummy-record-sheet

I have also been painting a few units ready for our first game

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A heavy gun and crew from Foundry

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Militia

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Militia

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Militia Brigade

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Lee’s Legion in Skirmish formation

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State Militia

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Riflemen

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The Grand battery. L to R Light,Medium,Light,Howitzer and Heavy

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Howitzer

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Medium with Light to the left

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Light

sam_3968 The British view hopefully

Hope this is of some interest. Next blog I will cover the terrain generator.

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Filed under American war Independence, AWI, AWI, Boardgames, campaign, Campaigns, Fields of Honor, Naval

Battle of Godfrey’s Cottage

Following the recent death of Jim Perry , I had a desire to watch a few episodes of his perfect creation Dad’s Army.

It also got me thinking about putting on a Dad’s army game for the regular monthly game. The only issue was that I did not want to play the large version I have taken to a number of shows as only two could make it this weekend. During the week I was in the shed looking for something and came across a set of WW2 skirmish rules called USSR – Ultra Simple Skirmish Rules. These are a small A5 booklet which I was given for free by Bolt Action in 2004 when they first started to sell their range. I am not sure if any of the boys have ever seen or even played these rules and I have to admit that apart from one game 12 years ago neither have I.

Having re-read the rules I saw something different in them which excited me. Yes they were simple, something I like but they also try to give a sense of camaraderie. This is how firing is done.

When any shooting happens a no. of D6 are rolled by the firer depending upon weapon, rating above  and modifiers are added to each die. The defender rolls a single D6 adds rating above and modifiers. Totals of each die are compared and from that a result is achieved. This depends upon the highest score compared to opponents lowest score. Very simple, but this is the clever bit. When defenders are in a group(1″) of another figure the rating added is of the highest member of the group. Therefore a group of conscripts with a sergeant add +4 not +2. This is explained in the rules as the sergeant communicating with his team and ensuring they learn  from his experience.

Yes I am easily pleased but I like this idea so

The Rules

ussr-rules

The main aspects

  • The table size is 1m x 1m, so terrain is important.
  • Simple mission generator – Not every game is necessarily a firefight
  • Casualties, as in looking after them is a key factor
  • No weapon ranges – you see it you can hit it.
  • Importance of senior officers and or training
  • Groups/Teams did not get the importance of this in game play until a couple of re-reads in.
  • Suggests no more than 1 squad per player, to maintain the command experience.
  • Targets infantry only games

Figures are classed as :

  1. Civilian
  2. Conscripts
  3. Veterans
  4. Sergeants
  5. Elites

I set about developing a simple test scenario. I laid out a simple 3’x3′ board. A  He111 carrying out a pre-Seelowe invasion, reconnaissance crashes and the crew and invasion plans must avoid capture and await rescue. The local home-guard have been sent to round up any crew.

In the terrain below the plane is in the NE corner, Godfrey’s cottage is the SE cottage and in the SW corner you can see the home-guard entering the table.

Battle of Godfrey's Cottage Briefings

German

Capt. Hertz Von Rental

Damn fools in Berlin.

The day before the planned invasion of Britain and they get you to do a daylight sortie. Just your luck, on the last run a lucky shot hit an engine and you have had to land. Most of the crew seem OK. In your last communication Berlin advised you sit tight and await help.

Group 1

Yourself – Veteran

2 crew – Conscripts

Group 2

2 crew – Conscripts

Group 3

2 crew conscripts (LMG)

British

Capt. Mainwaring.

At 17:00 hrs June 5th 1940 you have received an alarm that a German bomber was seen coming down, just outside Walmington. In fact, in the field next to Godfrey’s abandoned cottage.

You called the platoon out and have instructed the 2nd squad to wait at the Church Hall while you go with the first squad to round up the crew if any survived.

Godfrey reminded you to be careful as all the services were still connect to his house. Although the toilet may be a welcoming sight for him!

Your Squad consists of:

Yourself – Veteran

Wilson – Veteran

Jones – Veteran

4 soldiers – Conscripts

3 soldiers – Civilians

Due to ages, all move at max 4”

Objective

Reconnoitre crash site and capture crew.

 

Here are a few pictures of the game

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Godfrey’s Cottage

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Godfrey’s Garden

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The home guard cautiously advance on to the table and at the bend in the road split into two parts , one to survey the plane while the other continues on to the house.

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Crew mingle around the aircraft

sam_3915 sam_3917 sam_3920 sam_3925 The rules have no ranges for weapons due to the scale but this started to feel wrong especially as the crew had pistols only. A quick discussion and it was agreed that:

LMGs Normal 36″ Long 72″

Rifles  Normal 18″ long 36″

SMGs Normal 12″ long 24″

Pistols Normal 6″ long 12″

all would suffer a -1 when firing at long range.

As the home guard inspected the plane the crew who were now in the other damaged cottage opened fire with the LMG they had removed from the plane.sam_3929

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Pike is down and Walker is suppressed.

sam_3926 sam_3933The LMG rattled around the group and caused a couple of suppressed results and a down result! Good die throws from the Germans and poor from the British.

It took a couple of turns for Walker to recover and apply first aid to Pike.When a figure is classed as down the nearest figure must perform a first aid action. This enables them to check the down figure for their status; Dead, still down or recovered.  I thought this was a good aspect and while trying to “first aid”, a number of figures running the blaze of fire from the LMG ensured they also became victims or hid in cover.

Anyway, the home-guard recovered their nerve and returned fire eventually on the LMG team. Due to their leaders and some great dice rolls both crew became suppressed.

sam_3932Eventually one of them becoming Down and dead upon first aid from another crew member.

The other home-guard group came under fire from the crew located upstairs and having had another member die, sent a runner back to the church hall for reinforcements ( if they could have got to Godfrey’s cottage they would have found the telephone still connected and could have called).

This is where we finished for a break and some lunch. Everybody thought the rules were OK but would benefit from a little bit of additional detail.

I enjoyed it all and will certainly be adding a little more detail, so maybe watch this space for some suggestions.

Figures are all from the brilliant Foundry range

Buildings are Sarissa and Foxtrot Charlie while I scratch built the greenhouse.

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Filed under Charlie Foxtrot Models, Dad's Army, German, Sarissa Models, Skirmish, USSR - Ultra Simple Skirmish Rules, Wargame Rules, World War 2

Pegasus Bridge 1940 Part 3 – Legionary Show, Exeter

I may be a little biased but my local show Legionary is a great show. I do not think any one thing makes it great but what I do think helps is:

Trader Variety – too many other shows have multiple traders selling similar items. This is not too much of an issue at large shows but at small shows it is annoying. While this can be good for a buyer i.e. bartering, the rest of us wish an alternative supplier attended. I guess the trader is not too happy either as his profit margin gets hit.

Good games – good coverage of eras with good quality figures and terrain. New games appear every year, not just same games rehashed.

Good Parking – Not many shows where you can unload your game from the car at the table! For visitors plenty of level, free parking and only a 45 min walk from a park and ride.

Helpers – loads of people on hand to help and the start and end of the show.

Food – Fantastic canteen facilities run separately and professionally  Great hot and cold food served nearly all day at great prices.

 

The Game.

As usual, living only 5 minutes drive away I was there on time and with the help of Steve, Laurie  and Nathan the game was set up and we broke for a well deserved breakfast.

The format we normally have at shows were we have put a game on  is a bit of wargaming and a bit of shopping while trying to keep an eye on the bring and buy, with at least one of us at the table to answer any questions.

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The scenario was based on the Pegasus bridge raid of 44 in reverse, with Homeguard units holding key bridges from invading Fallschirmjager who once they have captured the bridges have to hold them against British reinforcements while holding out for German reinforcements.

The Germans landed and luckily the homeguard were on the ball, and first thing they did was race to the bridge control room and raise the bridge. There was a vicious exchange of fire and the homeguard started to receive a few casualties. They held on for a few more turns before having to retire.

The British reinforcements started to arrive but almost immediately so did the German ones. This caused a panic in the British as the first lot  of Germans appeared on the same table end as the British having made good time from Exmouth beach, while others appeared at the other end having traveled from Dawlish. The only thing stopping them linking up was the bridge still be up! A group of Germans tried to board the boat and cross the canal. A yes/no/maybe dice was rolled and unfortunately Jerry could not start the boat. No worries, as a unit in rubber boats came up  the canal and storming the control room they managed to lower the bridge.

The British reinforcements made slow progress though the town as Pz IIs were now arriving. The British Matilda even had to contemplate with a 5th columnist Policeman attempting to destroy it with a sticky bomb. He was soon dispatched with a burst of MG fire.

The game was eventually declared a Minor British victory as the Germans were either being pushed back or lacked reinforcements being unable to grab anymore ground. That said though, they had managed to hold on to the beaches!

A big thank you to Steve for the canal and Laurie for a last minute painting effort for the dinghies and lorry passengers. Cheers GUYS.

Many people stopped and chatted and a few were surprised that the bridges we based this game on were used to practice the Pegasus raid  and that they were only a mile from the show.

 

Everything else was from my own collection.

Buildings – Charlie Foxtrot, Sarissa or Homemade.

Trees and Hedges – Homemade. see blog elsewhere.

Figures – Mainly Foundry with a few Artizan, Blacktree and Warlord.

Vehicles – Tamiya, Frog, Stronghold, Blitzkrieg, Blacktree and homemade (Beaverette MKIV).

Rules – House rules. They need a little refining so may be uploaded soon.

 

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Filed under British, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Dad's Army, Demo game, German, Legionary Wargame Show, Sarissa Models, Traders, Uncategorized, Wargame Rules, Wargame Shows, Warlord, World War 2