Monday, 5 July 2010

COW 2010 - Part 2 - Saturday

Saturday morning began, as always at COW with a splendid breakfast.  The first session I took part in was OP-14, presented by Richard Brooks.  Regular readers will be aware that I have done a fair bit of work on this game system myself, but I felt that it would be useful to play a game Richard was running himself.  Learning at the feet of the master, so to speak.

he scenario Richard had chosen was The Battle of Gette.  This was elements (well, most) of German 1st Army advancing from Liege to Antwerp.  The Belgian forces consisted of 1 and 3 Divisions, with 2 Div rushing to reinforce while a cavalry division formed an advanced screen.  This may not sound much but this paltry force amounts to half of the Belgian Army!

Photo - the Germans unsportingly use infernal machines to spot for their guns.
The Germans (3x Corps of the buggers!) were commanded by Bob Bowman, John Curry and Bob Cordery.  Known throughout the game as 'Two and a half Bob'.  Ian Drury appeared as von Kluck but disappeared at half time to visit his Kaiser/mistress/bookie.  The plucky Belgians were commanded by King Graham Evans (1st Div) with Gavin Parnaby (Cav Div), me (2 Div) and, er someone else (3 Div).

Photo: The Belgian 2 Div advances to contact.  In contrast to my use of 6mm toys and hexes (see my previous Op14 posts), Richard used 15mm toys and squares.  Here we see a division of 3 4-figure brigades, a 2-figure HQ stand and a (weak) artillery brigade.

The cavalry div managed to delay 2 German Corps for nearly half a day.  Here they are about to be pushed back by some Germans who were temporarily unable to find any babies to bayonet or libraries to burn.

The cavalry fall back as 2 Div rushes forward.

2 Div's situation deteriorates just before night (thankfully) fell.

While all the real action was going on, the King came under pressure from a third German corps.  Clearly, this was a great Belgian victory, as we were able to skulk off to Antwerp overnight.

During the morning tea break I was able to look in on Wayne Thomas's 'Contact Tanks East' game which used his 'Externals' game system set in 1991.  The game saw the (6mm) French Daguet Division getting stuck into the Iraquis.  Wayne's games are always worth a look and I try to play if possible.  Sadly COW always involves clashes where I want to play in at least 2 sessions as a time!  Bloody Conference Organiser!  Oh hang on, that's me....
Wayne's terrain features are always an inspiration!

French Division(?) HQ with AA and AT assets.

Saturday night saw the unveiling of two of my games.  The first was billed as 'Spock's Shameful Secret'.  Nothing to do with Sci-Fi, this game was an attempt to  recreate the Black Buck raid on the airfield at Port Stanley during the Falklands War. 

The game featured an inflatable Avro Vulcan with a crew of three.  Matthey Hartley acted as pilot, with gun-toting Chris James as bomb-aimer and Peter Grizzel as flight engineer.  10 other volunteers acted as tankers.  All aircraft were equipped with a 'fuel tank' - a plastic pint beaker with a hole drilled in the bottom.  The 'fuel' thus drained away in about 15 seconds, so the players needed to devise a refuelling plan.

My thanks to Judith Rawle and Matthew Hartley for the photos of this game.
The Victor tankers take to the skies...

The moment of crisis!  The flight engineer is jettisoned to save weight.  Well OK, he fell over.
The bombs are dropped.  The 'stick' of bombs was represented by Chris firing a burst from an automatic airsoft pistol - hence the crew's safety glasses.
The umpire displays his hand crafted scale model of the airfield and analyses the damage.  One bomb went a bit close to the runway.
The game showed how difficult it was to co-ordinate the refuelling and the sheer effort involved in getting a single aircraft to the target.  Nearly.

I then ran my 'Tank Terror' game.  This was inspired by the purchase a few months ago of some 20mm motorised tanks.  I had run a couple of playtest games where the tanks were set up an pointed at a position defended by a platoon on plastic US infantry armed with AT grenades and bazookas.  For the game at COW I was assisted by Jerry Elsmore and John Armatys.  The US players comprised (left to right) Pvts Huband. N, James. C and Cartwright. F, with Lt. Wallman. J and Cpl. Rawle. J.

The glassy-eyed diehard Nazi fanatic tank crews were represented by Lt. Rapier and Hpt Hartley.
The 10 tanks were released while the US players flung grenades (Coke cans) and fired bazookas (pens).  Players had to declare which tank they were firing at and 'dead' tanks were switched off.
In both games the infantry manged to kill all the tanks but not before the main defensive position had been overrun.  This was aggreed to be a fun game which produced real panic!


Trebian said...

Sounds to me like that King of the Belgians is superb General and a douty fighter, as well as obviously being very plucky.

Excellent update, Tim.

Tim Gow said...

I'd have liked to say how much the King helped the direction of the battle. But I reported the truth instead! See you in Antwerp your Maj!