Thursday 28 May 2020

Important COW 2020 Announcement


I have just been informed by the management of Knuston Hall that they WILL NOT be able to host COW2020 this July.

As a result, WD will be running Virtual COW (VCOW) in its place over the COW weekend.

As further information becomes available, it will be passed on to interested parties.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Plugging the Gap - part 4

As we return for the final instalment of the action the US position on Hill 401 looks increasingly precarious.
At the autobahn junction Richard's tank battalion looks well placed to fend off a T-64 battalion -  even with the RHQ in attendance.
Further south, the tank btl from the MRR seems poised to outflank the US renmants.
Having seen off the T-64 attack, Hill 403 receives some unwelcome attention from the MiG-27s.
As Tim's battered M-113s scuttle out of the woods they run into advance elements of the MRR
Martin was having a lovely time sorting out the traffic jam
Just south of Fulda the Cobras had another go but missed!
In desperation, lacking functional tank battalions and no doubt mindful of the looming presence of the Division Political Officer Simon committed his motor rifle battalion...
...which to everyone's surprise overran the M-60 companies.  Crushing the Polizei VW seemed a bit unsporting though!
This meant that Soviet hopes now rested on Martin's broad shoulders as his tank and MR battalions rushed to exploit the breach
Endex.  There were sufficient Sov tank/MR btls to get at least two off down the A66 towards Frankfurt and next to nothing the Yanks could still do about it.  A solid Soviet victory marred by the piles of burning T-64s....
Interestingly, the game ran for a similar number of game turns and took up almost exactly the same real time as the earlier game.  So as long as everyone is on the case it was just as slick with six players as two.  Well done everyone!

Sunday 24 May 2020

Plugging the Gap - part 3

This was essentially the same scenario as per my earlier posts here and here. This time the US players were John, Richard and Tim C while the Soviets were Jerry, Martin and Simon. Above can be seen one of several Soviet planning maps. Both Scud strikes were on Fulda while Spesnatz again secured Hessische.
The US deployment on Hill 401. John had asked for and been provided with a TAC HQ, seen here in the woods.
Soviet air recce photo. 
As extra ‘scenery’ I’d created this West German Police detachment, seen here directing traffic at the autobahn junction.
Turn 1. The fleeing US cavalry are being encouraged by the HQ, while a few mortar shells have been lobbed into the woods.
The US reinforcement Battalion arrives. John has swapped out one of the M-60A1 companies for one of M-60A2. Would they work?

As more Sovs appeared, so too did a flight of MiG-27. They missed....

While Tim’s chaps on Hill 401 came under pressure, Martin’s 29GMRR was arriving and swarming over Hill 402.
By now Richard’s US tank battalion was in position on the junction of the A7 and the Fulda-Dirlos road. A very sensible location as it was clearly on the line of march of Simon’s 1GTR.

Artillery fire lands on Hill 401 but 1GTR seem disinclined to press home a further assault.
Nearest the camera, 29GMRR continues to arrive.
TOW-armed Cobras eventually arrived but they were notable less effective than had been the case in the earlier game.
A change of regimental boundaries meant that 29GMRR plunged into the remnants of the US Mech Btl and the cavalry.
Tanks for 29GMRR work their way round the southern flank.
The HQ (left) of 29GMRR, along with AT, AA and mortars companies, while the artillery trundles through Hessische. At this point we paused, with everything still to play for. We resumed the following evening.....

Saturday 23 May 2020

Big name for a tiny tank

I picked up this set a few months ago as I had a (vague and as yet unrealised) idea for a game. As the photos suggest, the box contains the makings of three figures and two Goliaths, making it a pretty handsome buy for under £10.

Friday 22 May 2020

Lebanon 1982 - part 2

I set this game up few weeks ago but subsequently forgot to post my report.  If nothing else, this game has reminded me that I really don't care for this genre!  But luckily I only really bought it for the map and orbats so no harm done.
Above - turn 1 and the Israelis have crossed into Lebanon.  The blue counters are Israeli, green Syrian and tan PLO.
 Turn 2 (probably).  The Israelis have made an amphibious landing and are pushing north.
 The game is a real slogging match, like the original campaign....
 ...and it's easy to get surrounded by the numerous Syrian units!
 The circles on the may mark the Syrian SAM umbrella which limits the use of Israeli air power
 By now the PLO are in flight back to Beirut but the Bekaa is proving a tough proposition
One clever mechanism is the variable game length.  Israeli losses shorten the game, Syrian losses can extend it but not by as much.
 This is as far as I went.  Although Syrian units seem pretty thin on the ground and several SAM sites have been overrun, the Israelis have suffered significant losses.  It's a real challenge for the Israelis as they have to aim for a quick victory - which is costly - while minimising casualties - which is slow.
So it is a good little game and reflects my understanding of the campaign.  The map is lovely and the counters well presented.  However, playing a game on a paper map with fiddly wee bits of cardboard doesn't really do it for me.
So recommended if conventional board wargames are your thing.  Or if like me you want it for the map and find it at a sufficiently low price...

Thursday 21 May 2020

Plugging the Gap - part 2

As we return to the action, with all of 1 Guards Tank Regiment present, 29 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment is sweeping round to the south.
1GTR's victory parade on Hill 401
US forces gather around Dirlos and the autobahn junction...
...but the woods are increasingly infested with Sov infantry.  And here come more Frogfoots!

By now US artillery was falling on Hill 401
The bigger picture
More Cobras firing TOWs.  Whoosh!
Bang!  More smoking T-64s

Meanwhile the MRB in the woods near Dirlos (bottom left) have decided that close assaulting Americans in woods is a bad idea.
More of the MRR arriving.
Some of the Americans near the autobahn junction have suffered a morale failure and on seeing which way the wind is blowing, the US commander decides that now is the time to withdraw.  At this point I received another air strike request from the Sovs (we used WhatsApp and text messaging for such things).  It read 'Autobahn junction tanks'.
Soviet frontal aviation duly obliged....
...but by then the tanks at the junction were T-64s.  Oops!
Endex.  We agreed that while the Sovs were struggling to find two intact tank or MR Btls to drive west, the Yanks hadn't quite eliminated a btl for every company they lost.  A narrow Soviet victory - Forward to the West, Comrades!
In all we played ten turns over two sessions totalling about two and a half hours.  As each turn represents 15 minutes we were able to play in real time.

In a post game email Betrand said - "A very enjoyable socially distanced game - always recommended on the wrong side of the Pennines - with a Soviet attack across the 'good going' of the Fulda Gap.  And a close call, made even closer by the dice rolling of the umpire.  Good to see the toys and a very handy system for an afternoons gaming.  Go West, young man!"

As mentioned at the start, I have now run the game again  - this time with six players.  My write-up of that version follows soon.