Sunday, 7 April 2013

Fall Gelb in Kriegspeil mit Einweg Heldern

"Case Yellow (the invasion of France) in wargaming with Disposable Heroes" for them what don't speak/read/understand German. (as if I really did.)
The place: The Hamilton Road Gaming Group at the Crouch Branch Library
The time: April 6, 2013 or sometime in 1940 if you prefer.
The players: Stu, Stephen, John, Derrick, Tyler, Rob, and Martin
The Kibbitzim: Andy (who designed the scenario) and Kevin

I, for one, wanted to play this so I could see Martin's DH French army and the vehicles (a Char B, Renault-35 and -40, a Somua, an AMR-35 ZT, a 'Matilda', and a handful of Bren carriers.) That was fun!
The Somua - I can't help it... I REALLY like the look of these early war French AFVs!

Char B - not too active in the game, but when it did, it acted decisively!

Renault -40   brewed up early, thanks to the Stukas.
Don't you love the "Shoot here!" rondels?

Renault-36  ditto the above
{Martin, I may have the proper designations confused. My apologies!
I just take delight in how good they look!}

AMR-35 ZT  "Tinfoil armour with a machine gun."
The German forces (two infantry platoon with the usual mortar/HMG/Pak cannon attachments, a motorised infantry platoon with mortar/HMG/Recon, 2 PzIV medium tanks, 2 Pz 38t light tanks, 2 SdKfz 251s hauling LMG teams) advanced up a road toward a bridge over an impassable-to-vehicles river/stream being held by a mixed French-British force.  Lots of activations ~ maybe too many. Oh, yes, and three Junkers Ju-87 Stukas which did incredible damage at the beginning of the game, knocking out the Matilda, the Somua, and both Renaults.
the Allied side of the table, with French troops lurking in the ruins.

One Stuka ---- Scratch one Matilda

Second Stuka ---- Scratch two Renaults

The Matilda and some Tommies with a Vickers gun in better days.
The German troops advanced all along the front, with tanks leading the charge up the road. It wasn't really a "charge" but a rather deliberate advance at moderate speed. Machine guns on both sides caused a lot of casualties. The German Pak gun and one mortar crew were taken out quite quickly.
The HMG section was badly hurt. The green bingo chip means the unit is "activated" while
the red chip means it failed it's morale and cannot advance. 2 chips - fall back; 3 chips - rout!
The paper/cardboard figure now are being used to show casualties. We used to either leave the figures
which clutters the board or put down blue bingo chips... which is too abstract for my tastes.
A visit to the "Junior General" website (paper soldiers and models) gave me some casualty markers.
We're really not that blood-thirsty; it just helps us to see where the casualties were taken.

The Wehrmacht advance. Andy said later that the hedges were supposed to be
HEDGEROWS, which would've made a big difference in both casualties and movement.
Stu got one 38t and a PzIV over the bridge at one point. Then it got really interesting. (By this time, Andy was suffering from a bad back and had been just watching the game. Kevin arrived late and opted to moderate and provide colour commentary. I dropped out of the game for various reasons and took photos. Derrick took over my command.) By interesting, I mean "close assault by infantry on armour". Rob attacked the 38t with a squad of Brits and Martin swarmed the PzIV with a larger squad of French. Nobody had EVER seen this before... except for me! It was a Soviet vs. German game 5 years ago at a local hobby shop. Stephen was looking through the DH  rule book in a fever when I said I'd run the assault judication. ("Oh, thank God!" he said.) It ended up that Rob's Brits failed to truly assault the 38t and were machine gunned. The French hit the PzIV and immobilised it! (In DH, the first attack is called an 'improvised assault' and the most damage it can do it immobilise the tank. Immobilised means no more movement. The second assault is the time for firing through view slits and grenading the engine covers and hatches. That's when the tank can be destroyed.) As it was, the PzIV was immobilised on the bridge and lost 3 of five crew. The second assault failed but the tank was stuck on the bridge. The 38t was stuck on the other side of the bridge. The second 38t was on the edge of the woods at the stream and the main gun of the Char B took it out. The PzIV on the bridge was later knocked out by Tyler with a mortar round. (Once a year, Tyler hits paydirt and does something really wild in a game. This time he knocked out a tank with a mortar round through the top armour. Last year, he knocked out a Hetzer with a US bazooka - just barely, but knocked out is knocked out.)
The 38t takes cover behind the immobilised PzIV. The survivors of the British
assault are in the middle of the road.

The memorable assault! The Brits have failed morale and the French are busily
assaulting the bigger tank.

Ah! The sniper in the bell tower! How cliche!

A photo of the German advance from earlier in the game.

The French Hotchkiss HMG. It earned it's pay in this game.
It fires very slow, slower than the Russian Maxim.

More French infantry, preparing to assault the tank.

A Boys Anti-tank rifle hiding in the rubble.
The game ended soon after because of curfew. (The library closes at 5 and we all like to be out by then.) The Allies DID hold the German advance to their side of the stream and they could probably have staged an orderly withdrawal. The German infantry could've crossed the stream but none elected to. They sort of hopped from cover to cover. Mortars on both sides dropped smoke a lot, except for Tyler's lucky/skillful shot on the tank. (You decide which description to use.) The Germans had a lot of infantry squads almost untouched and if we had been more aggressive earlier, the game might have turned differently. (I say "we" because at the beginning of the game, I was running the motorised infantry.) The use of Stukas at the beginning of the game was a surprise and one that the Allies did not at all like.

  • I've got to learn to be more aggressive. I'll ask my wife - a veteran Renaissance player - to teach me. Since I play Napoleonic Austrians a lot, aggression come hard for me in some instances.
  • Push your tanks; they can move fast.
  • When you play, make sure you have not been up since 5:30am that day. Being tired really takes the edge off and makes the eyes blur.
  • Note to self: When you play, define your terms! Make sure everyone knows what the terrain represents. Maybe label it somehow?
  • I'm beginning to think that our games might be getting too big. If I recall correctly, the Germans had to go through 30 or more activations every turn. Since there were 3 players, we did them 3 at a time, but it still got tedious.
  • Now that the ice is broken, expect more aircraft in the game. Rob has 2 P-51s on his painting board. Yeah. I've got a Typhoon in a storage box somewhere, too. I might be time to find a Sturmovik as well.
Maybe a few more photos. After all, that's why you come to the blog, right?
The French '75' lurking in the churchyard. It didn't do much since it attracted fire.

French mortar - Tyler's tank killer!

Rob's British infantry

A suitably suave French officer. I don't know if he survived.
His smoking would've killed him eventually. 

German HMG team and a recon squad --- camo helmet covers gave them away.
Bren Carrier by Martin, painted for his Sikhs
British infantry painted by me.

Traffic jam at the bridge and infantry advancing slowly through the woods.

The unlucky German anti-tank gun, anti-tank rifles and other infantry.
Next week -baring anything unforseen, Martin and I intend to bring out the Pike and Shot troops! I like that period as well. We've both been secretly working on armies in our hidden lairs.
10mm ECW/TYW cavalry. We'll be using 15mm armies.


  1. Great blog John,

    Just a few thing.
    The R36 is an R35 (off by one year)
    The AMR35ZT3 is tin foil with a 25mm AT cannon on a machine gun carrier chassis.

    1. Also, can't wait for the Pike and Shotte.

      I saw this a few weeks ago and I can't get it out of my mind (Armies of the Penguish Civil Wars in specific)

    2. Thank you, Your Grace. I was hoping you'd clear up my confused designations.

    3. Penguin Civil Wars... ...Um... You're a sick puppy.

    4. But they look so cute and inoffensive with their icicle pikes and snowball shotte.

  2. Nice. I got my son's feet wet with the 10mm Axis and Allies tactical game and now he has started painting as well (28mm Texian: 1835). Looking forward to doing more early WWII.

  3. Early War WWII has some very interesting hooks for gamers.