Tuesday 28 December 2021

The Left Bank 1916 part 5 - we’re on a roll….

 …a casualty roll.  The German players wisely invested in an improved field hospital.  After tonight’s action it is being kept very busy!

Various old solid and hollow cast metal figures.  The wagon is a repainted plastic toy. 

The Left Bank 1916 part 4 - German preparations

Pioneers and machine gunners march forwards under the watchful eye of a staff officer. (painted metal figures by Tradition of London)
77mm field guns fire a few ranging shots. (modern Britains painted metal castings)

Further back super heavy guns are manoeuvred into position using the latest petrol tractors. (gun is an ancient tinplate toy, tractor a recent 1/43 plastic & diecast model)

This big-budget production even has sound effects!

Monday 27 December 2021

The Left Bank 1916 part 3 - the war in the air

Sunday, 1620hrs.  Reports are coming in of a major air battle.  The picture is confused as there is low cloud but several machines are reported downed in the area south of Forges-sur-Meuse.

Sunday 26 December 2021

The Left Bank 1916 - part 2 - French preparations


Units of the 67 Infantry Division have been in this sector for some time.  Support units include several batteries of the ubiquitous Seventy-Fives.  Above - a fairly recent Britains model - diecast and pre-painted.  Lovely!
A pair of ancient tinplate & diecast models with hollowcast crew.  Rather more rough and ready then their more modern fellow but with lots of charm.  Of unknown provenance, this was part of an eBay buy from a bloke in France last year.  Real veterans!
Infantry march up to replace a unit in the line.  More veterans from the same purchase.  I kept as much as possible of the original paintwork.

Saturday 25 December 2021

The Left Bank 1916 - part 1 - introduction

I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas.  And what better way to celebrate the season of peace and goodwill than by a desperate struggle on a cold muddy hill.  Welcome then, to 1916.

Next week’s game is set during the Verdun campaign, with a German attack attempting to seize high ground from which French threaten the flank of the main attack.  So far I have asked the German and French teams (divisional staff officers) to prioritise resources for the coming struggle. As well as military objectives, their goal is to emerge with their prestige much enhanced. Some elements will be resolved in the next couple of days, giving me many opportunities for photos of gratuitous toy soldier porn. The actual assault will be played as a toy soldier game run here by me with the players joining by Zoom. 

Here then is the main area of operations.  The map is approximately 7.5km across.
German staff officers confer. 
German field guns preparing. 

Monday 20 December 2021

Rommel at Hill 325

Played as usual over Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, this was the second of the Rommel's Route to Verdun series (see the first one here) and was another recce mission.

The field of Mars.  Hill 325 is to the right (east).  The trees are open woods and the bits of old towels and doormat are fields of waist-high crops.  Rommel had to locate at least one French unit and exit 8+ men in good order from the West edge of the table.
Rommel leading his platoon HQ and 2 rifle sections.  Again, I had reduced the figure numbers in the book to make the game more manageable.  We used A Fistful Of Lead.  Pete was again Rommel, with Martin and Simon (the latter unavoidably absent on Tuesday) as the section leaders.
The figures were all metal castings, some of considerable antiquity.  I did notice that some of the German figures are looking rather tatty so maybe it's time for a repaint.
The French. A 7-man rifle section under Sgt. John and a detached 3-man patrol under Cpl. Jerry.
Jerry's guys were in the north...
...and the main section on the SW.  All were dug in and due to heavy fog no French troops were placed on the table until they were spotted or fired.  Visibility was a mere 10 inches!
The Germans surging heroically over the crest of Hill 325.

Martin's section in the distance on the right flank, Simon's closest to the camera.  Plt HQ in the middle.
The Germans were under pressure to move quickly and duly did so.  Soon a brisk firefight was underway between the French section and (mostly) Martin's section.  Meanwhile Jerry's chaps had cracked open the wine ration.
While Martin took on the French, Simon's section (led in his absence by Pete) pressed forward
Yellow markers are shaken, small red are wounds, large reds are KIA.  Oh dear.
Rommel directed the firefight in person...
...ensuring the safe exit of Simon's entire section.
Leaving Martin to deal with the French, Rommel and his HQ team rushed forward and successfully exited to the west.  A clear, is not inexpensive German victory.  “But what” I hear you ask, “about Jerry and his gallant 3-man patrol in the north?”  The final score there was: enemy spotted - nil.  Two men dead drunk and one dancing in front of the trench, underpants on head, singing lewd about the Kaiser.  It’s going to be a long war.  

Speaking of the horrors of war....

Sunday 19 December 2021

Rommel at Cosnes again!

Yesterday I ran again the Rommel at Cosnes scenario.  The three part post of the first game starts here.  This time the players were Jack as Rommel and Paul as the French.  We started the game (played over Zoom) at just after 1600 hrs and finished by 1755.  Over by Christmas indeed!

Lt. Wiltz on the German right flank.
Rommel's chaps boldly advance down the road
Wiltz sweeps across the hill
Meanwhile the French have emerged from the safety of the orchard - very aggressive!
The Sgt stays safe while he sends his men forward
A 2-man French patrol appears from the north
But what's this - Wilt'z appears to be down to four men....
'cos one had been killed!  And on the road one of Rommel's lads is down.
The French still going for it 
Wiltz engages the patrol
A brisk firefight underway betweek the French section and Rommel's team
The wounded German has recovered to find his mates have legged it into the wood.
Wiltz brings the French under fire

The blood flows freely!  More losses for Wiltz.

Wiltz manages to carry out his observation - by now he has only one rifleman left!
Carnage in the woods.  Two French dead and one wounded.
The final score:  A German victory but at a cost of 4 KIA (a 40% casualty rate!). The French - 3 escaped, 3 captured, 3 KIA.
The price of victory!

A very enjoyable game to run again and far bloodier than either the earlier game or Rommel's reality.