Thursday 29 February 2024

Marnach - Ardennes 1944 - part 2

 The German forces had by now all arrived - two battalions of dismounted Panzergrenadiers (less their heavy weapons) and another two companies from the recce btl.  I used different styles of figures to help differentiate between the units.

One of the recce companies - deployed on the left.  And behind them...

...the second such company.
As the German advance elements reached the village, the US rifle company defending simply melted away.
Trudging along from the south, meanwhile, was the relief column...

...with artillery firing in support.
The Germans on the left dashed up the hill to stop the US reinforcements reaching Marnach.
The Colonel had seen fit to drive forward from Clervaux to order this AA battery into the fray.
Shermans grinding slowly forward.

Germans entering Marnach!
The German recce troops again...
... but what's going on up ahead?
Find out the final score in part 3 - coming soon...ish.

Monday 26 February 2024

Marnach - Ardennes 1944 - part 1

This was the first in a planned series of games set during the Ardennes campaign.  Regular readers will recall that I visited Marnach a few months ago - and having walked/driven the ground was very helpful when setting up the game.  Having set the game up, I emailed out briefings to players and they joined in by Zoom over the course of two evenings.

Marnach atop the NE the SW ridge.  The buildings are 15mm resin by Hovels.  The church bears more then a passing resemblance to the current building...

The field of battle - on my 72 by 39 inch table.  A white fleecy throw was er, thrown over a carefully laid out arrangement of boxes.  North is to the top of the map.

This being a quiet sector(!), the rear area traffic is light.  Here a US traffic controller looks hopefully for some 'trade.'
At the rear (to the west), the US HQ skulked in an eastern suburb of Clervaux.
Here come the Germans!  A full battalion - actually dismounted Panzergrenadiers - surges forward.
The US garrison consisted of a rifle company and a platoon each of MG and AT
Off to the south, US reinforcements trudged forward while artillery prepared to fire in support.
In the woods on the NE corner - another btl of Germans!  Deetail figures and veterans to a man!
From the German point of view it was a bloody long way to Marnach.
The German assault looked very impressive and their sheer numbers dented US morale.  Well, the players' morale anyway.
Would the US reserve arrive in time?
German MG plt in position to support the attack.

We leave the action there for the moment and will return as the German assault goes in.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Pfaffing About - part 2


As we rejoin WW3 in Austria we find the engineer brigade 
parked up and awaiting a safer road to the west.
With the lead elements of the Czecho 62 MRR heavily engaged, 68 MRR sweeps round to the northwest.
62 MRR deploys it's artillery

An overview - all still to play for.
elements of 62 MRR bypassing the town
An airstrike goes in on the tank destroyers...
...who promptly fail a morale test!
Meanwhile the plucky motor riflemen of 62 MRR are pushing forward

The attached battalion from the divisional artillery rgt deploys their 152mm Dana SP guns.
Another airstrike - on both the Kurassiers and M-60s...
....with very new (this being 1981 remember).....
...and very old aircraft!
The result of the air strikes - the Kurassiers have fled and the M-60s are looking very battered.  The Austrian infantry are also withdrawing while the Czecho infantry keep up the pressure.
At this point we drew a veil over proceedings, the Austrians shoving off to the west to the next and final (in Austria at least) defence line.  Here's the final overview.

"Comrades, start your engines!" At last the order comes through to move forward the engineers.

A nice game which went every bit as well as I'd hoped over only two and a half hours of playing time.  I'm already working up the next game in the series.

Monday 19 February 2024

Pfaffing About - part 1


This was another of our 'Cold War gone hot' games set in the early 1980s and saw the debut outing (not counting solo games) of both my Austrian mechanised brigade and my Czech motor rifle regiments.  Above is a Czecho motor rifle battalion - GHQ infantry and Scotia OT-64.  I've owned the OTs for over 20 years but painted them only in 2020.  It doesn't do to rush these things...

The field of battle.  In NBC a hex is 1km across and a stand generally represents a NATO-style company or a Warpact half-battalion.  The game featured units of the Czecho 15 MRD - part of 4th Combined Arms Army - sweeping through northern Austria and up towards Bavaria.  While casting around on Google Maps for suitable terrain I spotted the area of Pfaffing and the scenario name suggested itself!  I ran the game and hosted the Zoom call.  John A led the Austrians while Martin and Michael provided direction to the Czechos.
NATO air recce photos shared with the Austrians showed mechanised columns advancing.  This is a whole motor rifle regiment.
62 MRR trundling on from the east.
The Austrian forces represented their last remaining Mech Bde.  And advance battalion of JagdPanzer Kurassier was soon joined by a battalion each of M-60 tanks and Panzergrenadiers, as well as a battery each of AA and artillery.
The town of Pfaffing was soon swarming with motor rifle troopers.  They were immediately under fire from Austrian infantry just to the west.
The Czechos were very pleased to see their attached T-72 battalion!
Things were soon pretty warm - with the MRB in Pfaffing exchanging fire with the infantry in the marsh - though the latter declined their commander's invitation to close assault - hence the yellow marker.
Meanwhile the Au tanks had deployed on the major road junction and were exchanging fire with T-55s and Sagger operators.
But here come the T-72s!
Another MRB advances.
By now the T-55 btl was losing the battle against the M-60s - would the Czechs be able to concentrate sufficient force to prevent the advance stalling?
In Pfaffing the original MRB was looking very tatty and the engineer co had also suffered (stands can generally take two hits)
While the M-60s had taken a hit...
...the T-55s were down to 50% - but the T-72s were in range!
When the last of 62 MRR had cleared the eastern area, the bridging units came plodding on.  The Czech CO wisely sent them to park up on a side road so they didn't get in the way.

The game was played over two evenings - this brings us pretty much to where we left off on Tuesday.  What will happen next?