Wednesday 12 June 2024

'Battle' In The Bocage - The Plan

Many years ago now I bought Kenneth Macksey's superb book 'Battle', a fictional account of an attack in Normandy around the time of Operation Bluecoat, but one based upon his experiences during WWII. It really is a great read and shows one all the preparation and effort that is required in mounting a hasty Battalion level attack.

I've been wanting to make a scenario from this book for quite sometime, but somehow I've never got around to sorting it out, until now. It seemed a perfect time in light of the recent D-Day anniversary and the fact that I wanted to christen my games room, with a period that is one of, if not my all time favourite, periods.

So last night I spent some time skimming through the book, making a note of the forces broadly involved, the terrain fought over, the objectives for the Attackers etc. Whilst a work-in-progress, I'm pretty sure I've got it more or less sorted now.

The book doesn't have a map of the starting positions and all of the terrain, but it does include one with the action well underway, as can be seen below:

Sadly the map is not very clear in the book, but hopefully it gives you some idea of the terrain.

The objective for the Attackers is to seize the farm (where the British C.Coy is on the map) as well as the ridgeline, broadly where the German 6th Coy is. Using the ever excellent WWII rules, BKCII, the British have 8 Turns to achieve their objective.

British OOB
1 x CO
3 x HQ's
1 x FAO
9 x Infantry (3 with PIAT upgrades)
2 x MG's
1 x 3" Mortar
3 x Shermans
1 x Sherman Firefly
1 x Sherman Flail
1 x Churchill Crocodile
1 x 25pdr 8 gun Battery (scheduled creeping barrage and FAO)
1 x 5.5" Medium Artillery Battery (scheduled on the farmhouse & counter-battery fire)
1 x Typhoon Ground Attack (scheduled)

US Airborne
1 x HQ
3 x Infantry (1 x bazooka upgrade)
1 x 81mm Mortar
1 x 75mm Artillery (scheduled)

German OOB
1 x CO
3 x HQ's
9 x Infantry
2 x MG's
3 x 81mm Mortars
1 x Jagdpanther
1 x Stug-III
1 x Minefield (unmarked)
1 x Command Post (the farm)

The farm is made of stone and has been turned into a defensive strongpoint, so 6+ to hit and a 4+ save.

Two German Kompanies are dug-in, with one in reserve. Those dug-in to the Bocage banks are classed as in hard cover, so 6+ to hit and with a 6+ save.

So with the Scenario and OOB basically sorted, next up it will be the game itself. This won't happen until next week at the earliest, but at least a start has been made.


Tuesday 11 June 2024

A Dream Come True!

Over the years I've been somewhat envious of those other gamers that have had their own dedicated wargames room. Maybe I need to get out more😉? So when our son left and moved into his own flat, SWMBO kindly allowed me to turn his old bedroom into my very own games space. Happy Days!

Now I suppose Estate Agents would call the room 'cosy', 'snug', 'an intimate space' etc, but in reality it is bloomin' small, no two ways about it, but still it's my room😊! Having recently redecorated the space and added in some storage, I now have enough done to actually start getting some games in. There is still more to do in terms of adding some posters, a few decorative elements, but these can come along as and when time and motivation allow.

So below are a few photos of the space, to hopefully give an idea of how my new games room looks:

The view from the door into the room. Folding chairs are next to my bookcase to try and maximise the space when it's not in use.

The main storage units along the wall, with the trestles which will support my boards when the room is set up.

The drawers contain all of my forces with some spare for future projects. For anything without flags, I can add another level inside each one, thus doubling my space.

My reference library, with everything quickly fitted in, but it all still needs sorting out so it is easier to find what I'm after.

The room 'in use' as it were, with a 4' x 4' table. In theory I could squeeze in a 6' x 4' one, but it would mean crawling under the table to get to the other side! So bigger games will still be played on the dining room table downstairs, but I reckon over 90% of my games will fit on this table or smaller.

I'm still getting used to the idea that I actually have my own room, as it still seems a bit surreal. The greatest benefit so far has been the fact that I have all my troops (well the based and painted ones) in one place, making it much easier to get stuff ready for a game as well as remembering exactly what I have, not something that was easy to do with the collection spread across a couple of rooms and 3-4 places within those.

I have a plan for the first game to be played in my new space, but still early days of prep, but hopefully next week once some family visits are out of the way over this coming weekend.


Thursday 6 June 2024

D-Day 80th Anniversary

On this most poignant day, it is hard to sum up the mixed emotions one feels as the ceremonies begin to mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. I was going to write more, but in the end I've left it to those more gifted than I:

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

The Kohima Epitaph
When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

The Exhortation
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.