Saturday 19 November 2016

D-Day + 1 - a BKCII AAR

The planets for once aligned themselves favourably for Craig and I to get a game of something in. After an exchange of e-mails, we settled upon BKCII and some action set in North West Europe in 1944. It was around a couple of years ago since we last played and about a year since I had a solo game. It would be interesting to see how much we remembered. 

So after mulling some ideas over, I came up with the following scenario: 

Scenario Details
7th June 1944 and the British are pushing on towards Lebisey, near to Caen. The 1st Royal Norfolks have been tasked with left flank protection of the Brigade.
Germans trying to stop British and to breakthrough towards the beaches.
Low cloud cover has prevented any air support being available.
Naval support stretched so none available.
Both sides choose forces up to 2,000 points.
The scenario is a basic 'Encounter' engagement as per Scenario 1 in the rulebook.

References Used
Osprey Campaign 143 Caen 1944 by Ken Ford
Monty's Ironsides by Patrick Delaforce
Panzer Grenadier by Kurt 'Panzer' meyer
British & Commonwealth Armies 1944 -1945 OOB 2 by Mark Bevis
Bigot Map 40/16 NW Ouistreham re-print
WS&S Issue 87 article 'An Autumn Storm' by Piers Brand as inspiration for the table layout.

OOB 1st Battalion Royal Norfolks, 185th Bde, 3rd British Division, Lt-Col Bellamy CO
1 x CO
2 x HQ
1 x FAO
1 x Recce Daimler (3rd Recce 8th Northumberland Fusiliers)
12 x Regular Infantry (4 units with PIAT upgrade)
2 x MG (2nd Middlesex)
1 x 6 pdr ATG with tow
1 x 3" Mortar 
4 x Sherman 75mm (Staffordshire Yeomanry Div Armoured Regt, 79th Armoured Div)
1 x Sherman Firefly (Staffordshire Yeomanry Div Armoured Regt, 79th Armoured Div)
1 x 25pdr Arty Support (7th Field Regiment RA)
1 x 4.2" Mortar Support (7th Field Regiment RA)

Both sides set up using mobile deployment, with the British on the right and the Germans on the left.

Boths sides decided to deploy the bulk of their forces South of the farmhouse and the crossroads.

The British had all their weight behind a planned left hook past the farmhouse and into the countryside beyond the railtracks.

Turn 1
The British got off to a good start, with their Shermans pushing up towards the railway line, with the infantry lagging behind in support. The central unit failed to move off but the CO managed to push the Sherman Firefly and 6pdr A/T gun towards the woods.

In response the Germans moved off rather smartly, with their right flank moving up to the railway line and ready to threaten the Shermans with flanking fire. True to form Craig rolled a Blunder, leaving all of his command units on -1 CV for the next Turn.

The action develops in the Southern sector of the table.

Opportunity fire from the Shermans sees them suppress a Panther, but their flanks are very much exposed to the German PzIVs.

The German right flank in a good position to bring fire onto the British left flank.

Turn 2
The British HQ on the left flank failed its command roll, which was not good considering the threat from the PzIVs. The central unit moved up to support the left flank whilst the Firefly advanced through the woods and suppressed a Panther.

The German Turn got off to a poor start, with their left flank Blundering, leaving it with a CV off 5 for the rest of the game. Well that was them pretty much done for (or so we thought). On the German right flank, their tanks saw the demise of one Sherman with the other with only one hit left before it too would brew up. The Shermans certainly lived up to their reputation as 'Tommy cookers'.

The tanks battle it out as the infantry on both sides pushed forward where possible.

The Sherman 'Tommy Cookers' in action.

The PzIVs that were causing all of the trouble.

Turn 3
The British FAO got off to a flying start, with artillery strikes leading to the loss of one Panther and an infantry unit, with another one all but done for. Sadly it went a bit downhill after that, as the British left flank once more failed its command roll. The CO moved some infantry towards the crossroads, but all of the action was happening 'Down South' as it were.

Craig kicked his Turn off with an attempt to activate his CV5 command; he rolled a Double 1. Then another. And would 'Adam and Eve it' another Double 1. Well we were both a bit speechless by this point as his units had moved off the baseline all of the way into the farmhouse BUA. 

Hmmm, things were not looking too rosy for the Brits at this point. Hopefully their FAO would come to the rescue next Turn...

The Germans are dominating the Southern battlefield area.

Three sets of 'Double 1s' see the Germans dominating the crossroads and railway crossing.

Unsuprisingly the other Sherman brews up in short order.

Turn 4
The British kicked things off with their FAO in the hope of bringing down more artillery fire to turn the tide on their left flank. Sadly it was not be be as he blundered, leaving him on a CV of 5 for the next Turn. Things went from bad to worse as another Sherman brewed up along with the Firefly. The to add insult to injury the German mortars zeroed in on the infantry which saw the loss of one unit.

Things aren't going well for the Brits...

The British armour brewed up along the battle front.

The British left flank looks pretty defenceless from the German point of view.

Turn 5
A last gasp attempt by the FAO failed, along with most of the Brits, with the exception of the CO whose mortar fire managed to suppress a Panther. In return the Germans finished off the last sherman and another infantry unit.

A pall of smoke drifts across the battle field from the British armour.

The British infantry wisely start to retreat.

The smoking wrecks of the British tanks.

The Germans simply look on, satisfied with a good days work.

With all of their armour gone, the British wisely conceded the game and the battlefield.

Post Game Thoughts
Well, despite it being around a year since I had last played and two for Craig, the game went very smoothly. Despite it being rather one sided, we had great fun, which is what it's all about at the end of the day. As always a few thoughts on the game:
  • BKCII is certainly still my favourite WWII game. It just ticks all of the boxes for me.
  • After playing so many 'Black Powder Era' games of late, everything moved so quickly and units degraded so quickly, which was a bit of a suprise, mainly because I hadn't played for so long I had forgotten this.
  • The British artillery was certainly very powerful, when I was able to call it in, which felt historically accurate.
  • In contrast the German mortars fulfilled the same role and again the same historical accuracy.
  • It was nice to be playing with tanks again, but the Sherman tanks brewed up all too quickly, which again felt historically accurate.
  • Interestingly neither sides infantry got involved in the game, other than providing supporting fire from mortars and infantry guns. It was very much a game of tank vs tank. But when you look at the terrain that was fought over, which was very flat and open, you can understand why tanks and the larger calibre A/T guns dominated the battlefield.
Next week is likely to be back to some 'Black Powder' games with Dave, but as I'm on holiday next week, I hope to be able to get some more games in of BKCII. Whether it will be some AVBCW or WWII remains to be seen.