Tuesday, 23 February 2010

WW2 Airborne Drop at Ayton Bridge.

We gathered at Hairy Dave's Musical Mansion for a WW2 game, ably planned and put on by Alex, using his Rommel's Battles Rules (Plug-Available from the DBN Site!) and 6mm H&R figures and vehicles. The game was played over three sessions, and was both a learning and enjoyable experience.
The basics were that there was a weak German Brigade billeted around the local town and area, enjoying the easy life in Occupied Ayton, with a pillbox on the bridge. Reinforcements were available but a distance off, and had to be diced for. They varied between militia Naval Btns, and Tiger tank Btns. The main battle front was miles away, and the Germans thought that they were going to have a quiet time of it.
The British Airborne had a plan though ... to land by Parachute and Glider, take the bridge, storm the town, eject the defenders and then await the relief column coming up the main road. The necessary supplies were brought in from all four corners of the nearby shops, and the game was afoot.

The British at the planning & briefing stage.. including a lesson in how to land Paras and Gliders (with the use of rulers and small pieces of paper- may sound odd, but it worked really well). They had to decide on flight path, height, and where to drop their various units. This all makes a realistic difference, as to casualties incurred and the "drop spread" of the units. Basically, the higher you drop, the less casualties you have, but they end up more spread out and more unformed.

The Germans, having already placed their initial meagre forces by map, went off to eat pizza and drink beer.

The initial set up, from the road to be used by the British relief column. Looks really peaceful doesn't it.

But all of a sudden, to the Germans surprise, whilst halfway through a crate of beer and with all the pizza eaten, the Brits landed, almost silently. The smaller paper represents Para Co's, and the larger represents the Gliders. All this happened without too much crashing into each other, but did cause a few casualties.

The paper drop comes off, to be replaced with the Glider models, which were pretty nice I have to say.

The Brits had decided on one massed Glider landing, which is initially dangerous due to overcrowding, but then good to have the troops all gathered together, and three separate Para drops. The drop nearest to the camera just happened to be in front of German MG's and a Tank Co, so got massacred, but the others did ok. The pillbox was taken out by a so very lucky shot from a 17pdr, and the Paras stormed over the Bridge, into the town from two directions, and quickly overwhelmed the over fed and half drunk German defenders.

The Brits were joined by young Jordan, who has an unnatural ability to throw 5's and 6's, (and is ALWAYS on the opposite side to myself). In my gaming frustration, at one stage I enquired of him," And just who invited you then eh!" To which, he replied," My Dad did." Well, you can't argue with that can you. Swapping his dice around made no difference either.
However, in the general chatter and and laughter we were able to sneak in a German spy, cunningly dressed in red, to listen over the British midway planning briefing, which was," Hold the Town and Bridge until relieved." So we didn't actually learn anything new there, and Doug got his butt verbally kicked for listening in. There was, at this stage, the chance of the Brits having a further drop of the Polish Brigade, but that would have meant they could only claim a draw for the game, so they decided to try and hold out without them.
For the Germans, the game was lost unless some decent Reinforcements appeared, the Naval infantry Btns etc having already appeared and been demolished by the Hard-As-Nails Paras.

Here was a funny-at one point, Alex the Umpire cried out,"Dave, throw one dice for your Artillery Comms" .... having two Dave's on the British side, they both duly obliged simultaneously and without conferring ... and both threw a One. It was the beginning of the turning of the tide..

The Germans finally got some decent stuff on the table, and after a prolonged bombardment of the Para Occupied Town, stormed in at close range with Tanks and Grenadiers. The Para Piat teams tried their best, but were overwhelmed. (They even had names, like Fearless Fred, Courageous Colin, and Runover Ryan). This was a game with a lot of humor and laughter in it. A serious game, seriously played, but as usual without the gamers taking themselves seriously.

The Paras had no choice but to leave the Town and retire over the Bridge, perhaps wishing they had called upon the Poles for assistance. Note the Casualty Station in the background, a nice touch which enabled the Brits to claim back some casualties overnight. The German one was miles away, so didn't count.

The German Armour had a right rampage through the town, flushing out any pockets of resistance from the brave Paras, but neatly avoided mixing it with that Gun on the Bridge. Well there's no point chucking in a winning hand is there, despite the Brit players taunts, cajoling and cries of "Bring it on then, take the Bridge if you're Tanks are good enough."
As the third session ended, it was a narrow win for the Germans, as the Brits had failed to hold the Bridge and Town for the required number of turns. They did still have the Bridge though, and had that relief column arrived..or the Poles..or had one Drop not been massacred at the beginning, it could all have been so different.
A valiant effort by the British Airborne, a decisive counter-attack by the Germans, and a damned good game all round. Well done Alex for the planning and putting it on, and thanks to the gamers Dave, Dave, Richie, Doug & Jordan.
Naturally, we were all a tad whacked after some prolonged and intense gaming, and so retired to the local Forge for refreshment and a good old witter.


paulalba said...

Very nice Mr Peeler,
Although I couldn't image painting 6mm figures it looks perfect for wargaming campaigns.

Alex said...

Cracking report Mark

Alex said...

and I've been able to get back onto your blog

Peeler said...

Thanks Paul, thankfully Alex already had them painted up from yearrrrrs ago. As you say, they are good for campaign type games, or just large scale ones.
Alex!! Good to see you on again!

Adelaide Gamer said...

Mr Peeler, this brings back sooo many good memories of a 6mm game once did of paras at plimisole bridge (Sicily). We also used the 'drop paper squares' for initial lay out, chance of being shot down increased the lower you dropped them from. Then played the first two or so turns by a blue light and suffered some friendly fire casualties. Anway, that's another story. Glad to see you guys are keeping up the old traditions in the back room...

Peeler said...

Hello AG, nice pair of Blogs you have! Glad you enjoyed the write up and that it brought up some happy memories. We're finding that often, the "old ways" work just as well, and give a more enjoyable and entertaining game. :-)

johnpreece said...

That loos like a really unhealthy selection of snacks. I am envious!

I remember dropping the squares, great fun which is what it is all about.


Peeler said...

Hi John, yes indeed, the fun & enjoyment factor in our games is an important part of it. And the unhealthy food & drink side seems to be taking on a life of its own too. :-)

Conrad Kinch said...

Looks well Peeler.

I must commend you on your choice of refreshments.

Big Andy said...

You and your tiny men!!! Look good though- Not sure there was enough beer.....

Peeler said...

Thanks both, good Blog Conrad by the way.
Andy, I'd agree, though some of our gang are ...... teetotalist chaps. I'm working on them.

Conrad Kinch said...

Many thanks, I was wondering by the way if the name of your blog was a clue as to your profession?

Peeler said...

Conrad, yes it is a bit of a clue :-)
When I first joined a wargames site several moons ago, I was advised not to use my own name, though now I can't really see why not. So I went for the first thing that came into into my head (apart from "I'd better hurry up and register as it's almost pub time"), and it's just stuck since then really. I've linked to your Blog by the way, it's a good read.