Sea Lion Begins

Title:  Sea Lion Begins

Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: WWII

Description:  France has fallen.  Though invasion is expected, the people of Little Basely by the Sea are nonetheless surprised when a barge full of Germans appears on the beach. The Home Guard and other auxiliaries take up arms and rush to repel them.  Will they be able to throw the Germans back into the sea, or will the Germans secure their first foothold in England?

Germans land on the coast of Little Basely by the Sea

In a continuation of our Thursday night scenario, Greg and I ran a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game Friday morning in which the Germans landed on the coast.  We used the ending situation (with minor adjustments) as the starting point for this scenario.  The Home Guard had been badly mauled in the Thursday nigh game as had the Land Girls and the church ladies.  We reset some things a little and then had the Germans hit the beach.

German landing forces were supported by two Czech 38(t) tanks.

The German bomber crew and few remaining Fallschirmjaegers occupied the town.  A platoon of British regulars arrived to throw them back into the sea.  The remaining Home Guard and ladies of town with improvised weapons pitched in.  The Land Girls had been wiped out Thursday night and so didn’t participate in Friday morning’s action.

The church ladies pinched the vicar’s car and headed off to “fight them on the beaches.”
The few remaining Home Guard troopers are flanked by Germans in a copse near town
The Germans destroyed the British Rolls Royce armored car with a lucky shot from one of the 38(t)s

The game was a lot of fun and came down to the last couple of card flips.  Unfortunately when Greg and I were resetting the scenario we forgot to remove a machine-gun from the German side, and we were part way through the scenario before we realized we had done so.  The German player took full advantage of the extra gun and really tore up the advancing British.  This skewed our play balance a bit, but the game still went well.

This game won an award from the Historicon convention staff.

Title:  HE-111 at Little Basely by the Sea

Title:  HE-111 at Little Basely by the Sea

Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: WWII

Description:  France has fallen.  The Germans are blitzing London.  Invasion is expected any day.  Rumors of parachutists and fifth columnists are rampant.  An HE-111 has crashed at the outskirts of Little Basely by the Sea.  The Home Guard and townspeople rush to capture the crew.  The crewmen gather up their weapons and prepare to fight their way to safety.  But are the crewmen alone?

Notes:  Rules will be taught.  No booze, please.

After the bomber drops its passengers and crashes in the field near town, the crew unloads and heads for the safety of one of the buildings in the town.

Greg and I ran our first game of Historicon 2018, and it was a success.  The HE-111 crew crashes into a field outside Little Basely by the Sea after dropping Fallschirmjaegers nearby in preparation for the upcoming invasion.  A squad of Home Guardsmen were out on maneuvers with a squad of Regulars.  The Land Girls were out working in the fields.  The ladies of the town grab improvised weapons and have at the Germans.

The Vicar is having tea with the ladies of the church when the kerfuffle begins.

At first the Fallschirmjaegers took some casualties at the hands of the ladies from the town.  First blood was spilled by a woman with a pitchfork testing to see if her “Hun roast” was done.  The Fallschirmjaegers and the bomber crew headed for the line of buildings that constitute Little Basely by the Sea’s High Street.

Three German scouts land on the beaches where they are immediately taken under fire by an alert Regular squad.

At this point the vanguard of the upcoming amphibious invasion hits the beaches.  An alert lady coast watcher in a bunker (blurry at the top of the image) sounds the alarm, and the squad of Regulars turns from the Fallschirmjaegers and heads for the beaches where they incapacitated about half of the squad.

The Land Girls turn from quail hunting to German hunting. (Figures from Bad Squiddo)

The Home Guard performed valiantly.  One team headed for town and engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the Frog and Firkin pub with the Germans.  The Germans got the better end of the engagement.  The only casualty to the bomber crew was from friendly fire from one of the Fallschrimjaegers.  Captain Mainwaring lead his small headquarters forward to stop a group of Fallschirmjaegers from getting to their equipment pod, but he and his men were cut down in a tomato patch.  The final Home Guard unit boarded the small truck and maneuvered around the Germans at the beach.

Home Guardsmen load a lorry to advance on the Germans

It was a splendid afternoon and welcome break from drill, drill, drill for the the people of Little Basely by the Sea.  In the end, the game was determined to be a German victory as the bomber crew (and their sensitive information) remained at large.  Their only casualty came at the hands of friendly fire.

Today’s game starts where this left off.  A German landing barge will hit the beach with two Pz 38(t)’s and the rest of the infantry platoon.  More British regulars will arrive with some support weapons and a re-commissioned Rolls Royce armored car.

Then players all grasped the rules very quickly, relegating Greg and me to calling cards and answering occasional questions.  All the players seemed to grasp the “feel” of the scenario and have fun with it.  We had one player who thought “no booze please” in the event description didn’t apply to him and got wet rings on my ground cloth with his cup, but otherwise all went well, and we are looking forward to the second game this morning (Friday).  (I am no prude, but gamers who are drinking during convention games are not nearly as funny as they think they are, and they tend to disrupt the games.)  It was a good first game of the convention.

Combat Patrol(TM) at Historicon 2018

Here is a listing of the games that will be run at Historicon 2018 with Combat Patrol(TM): WWII and some of its variants.  Get into one of these games to learn more about this terrific set of rules and see how intuitive it is to play.

HAWKs Tankfest Tour (part 4 – The Main Event!!)

The Russian encampment before Tankfest opened for the day

As with yesterday’s post, I took hundreds of pictures and videos, but only a few are presented here.

This whole trip was built around Tankfest 2018.  We had tickets for the director’s enclosure so we had an assigned area to sit and didn’t have to worry about staking out a hunk of ground early.  Nonetheless, we got up early and drove to Bovington, arriving over an hour before the gates were scheduled to open, because we didn’t know what traffic was going to be like.  The re-enactors were set up near the gate, so we got to see some of their morning activities as we waited.  Interestingly, the organizers had brought in a bucket loader to dig a trench for these Russians.

German A7V tank in the tank park.  This is a replica.  The only known A7V was captured by New Zealanders and now resides in Australia.   The outside and the engine speeds are authentic, but the inside is modern.

As soon as the gates opened we beelined to the tank park.  Here is where all the vehicles that were going to be driving during the day were parked and ready for the show.  This was only open for about 90 minutes, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the opportunity.    What follows are a series of pictures I took in the tank park.  There were no “do not touch signs.”  In general you couldn’t climb on any of the vehicles, but you could walk up to them and fondle them.

Don in front of a Honey

An M-16 halftrack. This was fitted with quad .50 cal machine-guns for anti-aircraft fire but was quite effective against ground targets as well.

A Universal (a.k.a. Bren) carrier
Some paragon of studliness in front of the Universal Carrier for scale. This vehicle is MUCH larger than I imagined.
A Lancaster armored car
A Marder and crew waiting their return to the tank park
Duncan and Eric took a ride in this cargo carrier based on the M113 chasis that has been converted for tourist transport.

The live portion of the show began with a demonstration of the three German Leopard tanks.

They then showed some modern British tanks and vehicles.  The next “show” was of a number of light reconnaissance vehicles.

This has the “Berlin” camouflage pattern.
A scorpion or scimitar light reconnaissance vehicle.

A million years ago, when I worked briefly with the 15th/6th Queens Royal Lancers I was able to get inside one of these.

The British have a lot of light reconnaissance vehicles, while the US has never really embraced this concept in the same way.  The announcer partially explained this as a need for lighter, cheaper vehicles to police the empire, but this doesn’t really explain why the US concept doesn’t generally include these kinds of vehicles.  These would seem to be useful in the cavalry regiments in the light units.

This seems like it would really expose the crew to indirect fire, weather, and the sun.

The recon vehicles were followed by armored personnel carriers.

A crew dismounts an APC and assaults across an objective

Then they brought out a couple of British engineering vehicles.

The engineering vehicles actually did work laying the bridge, picking up debris, and laying a fascine.

Then came my favorite part of the show, in which the WWI and early WWII tanks drove around the arena.

Click to see a video of the German A7V.

Click to see a video of the French Char B

Click to see the French FT-17 and British Mark IV

Click to see video of the Stuart and Sherman driving around the arena.

It seems to be agains the anti-sedition act of 16 something for a British historian to ever say anything good about Americans, but the announcer did a great job debunking all the myths about the Sherman and actually talked about both the Sherman and Stuart in positive ways.

And more German WWII vehicles:

German Panzer III
German StuG
German towed 88mm gun
An another view of the Stuart
Matilda I

Matilda I being towed off the field after it overheated

The day culminated with three mock battle scenarios from WWI, WWII, and Iraq.

WWI infantry following a Mk IV

The presentation was unabashedly pro-British.  Some of the history presented clearly presents a British bias.  I have no problem with this.  This is the British Tank Museum on British Armed Forces Day.  Americans are pathologically self-loathing and self-destructive, so it was refreshing to see people touting their military history and accomplishments.  Actually, it was refreshing to see people who even knew anything about their history.  As the US Armor Museum is reconstituted in Columbus, GA, I hope the curators were here today seeing this for themselves.  THIS is what the new Patton Museum should be like.  The fact that the vehicles were moving I think really made this accessible for younger people in the audience without resorting to special effects or cuteness.  This was tank history in action.

This was a GREAT day, and I am very glad that we came to Bovington for Tankfest.