Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chain of Command AAR: Assault on the Chateau St-Come

Paras counterattack from the Chateau
Well, it seems like yet again the best laid plans have gone awry, and for the umpteenth time I’m offering my apologies for the paucity of posts over the last few months.
Life has been proceeding apace, and I’ve now finished my four year undergraduate degree, and am a few weeks away from being a fully qualified History/French High School teacher.
I’m presently on my internship, a 10 week block where  I work in a high school, teaching a full ‘load’ and getting involved in all the extra-curricular activities as well. I’ve been at the school, which is only 20 mins from home, for the last three-and-a-bit weeks, and appear to have been rather lucky in being allocated this school. The staff are great, there are loads of resources to use, and the kids are well behaved (on the whole J) and keen to learn. The only difficulty is that I’ve been allocated Geography to teach – a subject which I’d not even looked at (apart from the odd documentary) since I was at school, over 10 years ago! So I’ve been busy educating both myself and the students about topics as disparate as deserts, Australia’s physical characteristics and climatic patterns, and the issue of radioactive waste! Needless to say, any time I find which isn’t filled up by teaching and lesson planning is used to cram in as much knowledge about the topics as I can.
That said, Geography seems a rather interesting subject, and my cooperating teacher has been very helpful and supportive. It even seems like the kids might be learning something! I’ve also been able to get my history ‘fix’ by teaching some year 7 kids all about ancient China (a fascinating period by-the-by).
So, that perhaps goes someway to explaining my lack of blog activity over the last couple of months.


What little free time which I have found over the last few weeks, I’ve been pottering along with painting up British paras in 20mm, and scratch-building a 20mm model of the Chateau Saint-Côme. I finally finished off both of these projects a few weeks ago, and have managed to get in a game of Chain of Command, the highly anticipated (and soon-to-be-released!) platoon level ruleset from the TooFatLardies. 

The rules have been made available for pre-orders, both of the hardcopy, tablet and pdf bundles, together with some excellent jump-off points, markers and some nice big Chain of Command dice to help you keep track. You can check some of the details of these deals out here over on the TFL blog.  These pre-order deals offer some pretty decent savings as well. I’ve been able to preview a few of the finished chapters, and the book looks gorgeous, full colour with loads of eye candy and useful diagrams. I probably should also say here that photos of some of my figures and vehicles are in the finished rules (which is rather exciting I must say!) 
The rules are available from the 21st August, so get in quick if you want to get the pre-orders! They're available from the Lardies website here.

Rich and Nick have done an amazing job on these rules, including some pretty serious proof-reading and multiple play test groups. If you’re interested in a WWII platoon level rule set that is fast to play, very fun, and presents you with real command challenges, check out Chain of Command, you’ll not be disappointed.

This is the third of my occasional series of AARs using Chain of Command. You can check out the first two here and here.

On with the After Action Report:

Assault on the Chateau Saint-Côme, June 10th, 1944

An aerial photo of the Chateau and surrounds, June 1944
Lieutenant Edward Rawlinson of 9th Parachute Battalion was exhausted. It had barely been four days since he had taken that first step out of the heaving Dakota into the darkness of the Normandy sky. He could remember the feeling of terror and excitement, and how his parachute had opened and he’d drifted slowly down through a black sky lit by brilliant flashes of tracer from the Flak. Four days it may have been, but it felt like another lifetime ago. Rawlinson had not been at the brutal and confused fight for the Merville battery. While Colonel Otway had led the battalion through the wire into the German strongpoint, Rawlinson had been struggling his way through seemingly endless fields, flooded by the swollen Dives river. He had finally reached the battalion on the evening of D-Day, having neither fired a shot nor seen a German soldier.

But that had been four days ago. He was amazed at how quickly he had become accustomed to the horrors and absurdities of war. As he trudged back towards his platoon position he barely noticed the shattered body of a German soldier which lay in the ditch by the road.

German patrols probe the para positions
His mind was focused on other matters. He was returning from an O group, where he had been ordered to move his ad-hoc platoon to the westernmost flank of the battalion. The Major had warned that a new Jerry unit had arrived in nearby town of Bréville, and that an attack was expected against his new position. More alarmingly, the sounds of Jerry armour had been heard earlier in the evening. Aside from the unreliable PIAT launcher, Rawlinson had no anti tank support. The Major had promised him the support of Sergeant ‘Moody’ Naismith’s Jeep. It was armed with a Vickers machine-gun, but that, Rawlinson supposed, was better than nothing.

Para patrols move cautiously
“Morning Lofty,” Rawlinson greeted his Platoon Sergeant, the aristocratic Reggie Threepwood. 

“Finish your brew, then best rouse the lads. We’re moving out again and I want you to take a patrol out to see if you can’t find what Jerry’s up to”

Threepwood nodded. “Right you are guv'nor, I’ll gather the usual assemblage of ne’er-do-wells. What delightful location are we to visit to this time, and shall I pack the golf clubs?”

Rawlinson smiled wryly. “No such luck Reggie, it’s back to the chateau I’m afraid. The Colonel wants to mask the place. We’ve not got enough men to hold it, but we don’t want Jerry getting settled in either. An observer or sniper up there could cause us rather a lot of bother.”
German grenadiers form up for the attack
Threepwood nodded again, downed the last of his tea and headed off to assemble his patrol.

Rawlinson stared off into the darkness in the general direction of the imposing Chateau. Rumour was that it was owned by an English Lord, and that the surrounding paddocks had once been the breeding grounds for valuable racehorses. Now the fields were overgrown and scarred with the ugly brown smears of shell holes. Racehorses or no, in Rawlinson’s opinion the best thing to do would be to let the artillery flatten the place.

Jerry StuG moves up
The onslaught begins
Threepwood’s patrol returned at first light, the sergeant excitedly confirming the reports of large enemy movements across the paddocks to the west. He even claimed to have seen one of the dreaded Tiger tanks moving up, a prospect which Rawlinson found very unsettling indeed. Rawlinson stood the men too and sent the platoon sniper to the chateau tower to keep watch over the fields, now almost fully visible in the grey light of dawn.

Sharpton keeps Jerry's head down
Private Alf Sharpton carefully pushed back the drapes from the window and peered through the scope of his .303 calibre Short Model Lee Enfield No.4 (T) to the fields below. Lieutenant Rawlinson had ordered him into the upper wing of the Chateau where he was to use his superior marksmanship to take out any Jerry leaders in the coming attacks. Sharpton was a trained sniper, an expert marksman and an integral part of every parachute platoon. As he gazed intently through the scope, he saw movement across the Chateau’s circular drive. He carefully aligned the crosshairs on the green-grey of the German soldier’s tunic, exhaled, and as he did he squeezed the trigger.

McReedie's section rushes forward
The crack of Sharpton’s shot sounded from the chateau. The sound shook Rawlinson out of his reveries and galvanised him into action. He called over to Sergeant Douglas McReedie.

"Doug, take your section forward to the ditch by the drive. Hunker down down and hold that position. It is absolutely critical that you do not let Jerry get through. We’re all that stands between the enemy and battalion HQ. If they get through here, the whole battalion could be lost. Go to it."
The gruff Ayrshire man saluted sharply, turned, and led his section off at the run.

Germans take cover near the chateau
Sharpton was certain that he had hit at least two green-grey figures before the attacking force went to ground in the woods near the circular drive. He saw paratroopers moving to his left, led by the unmistakeable 6’2” figure of Dougie McReedie. He saw the section reach the relative safety of the ditch by the drive, then saw them open fire across the drive, the Bren rhythmically chattering away at some unseen enemy. Just then he heard a the unmistakeable whistling sound of an incoming round, and saw the single round smash into the undergrowth to the rear of McReedie’s section, throwing up a wet smear of earth. A ranging shot, thought Sharpton. McReedie’s section would soon be covered under a deluge of fire. Poor bastards, he thought, before once more peering through the scope of his rifle, searching the area to his front for any movement.
McReedie's section under fire

German observer calls in fire
The area around the driveway was like a small vision of hell. Rawlinson carefully raised himself over the rim of the ditch and gazed in horror at the place which moments ago had been a rather stately dirt driveway. Now it was a wall of dust and smoke, illuminated by the flashes of exploding rounds. He hoped to hell that McReedie and his men were in cover. Then, after only a brief moment, the barrage stopped as suddenly as it had started. Even before the dust had settled he could hear the distinctive chatter of a Bren gun. Thank God, he thought, McReedie’s chaps must have kept their heads down. Just then, he heard the distinctive sound of a Jerry MG. Rawlinson thought it sounded vaguely like tearing canvas. McReedie would be needing some help. He jogged over to the jeep which was idling just off the road.

“Sergeant Naismith, take your jeep down the road to the drive and give our chaps some support.”

Naismith’s gunner smiled a toothy grin as he cocked his nasty looking Vickers ‘K’ gun. Naismith looked more hesitant.

Naismith's jeep moves up
“Right you are sir,” he said cautiously, “Its just that Danny Reece was saying that there’s bloody Jerry tigers down that way, and if we run into any of those..”

“Sergeant, I’m ordering you to get down there and give our lads some support. So you’ll damned well get moving.”

“Sir” the chastened sergeant saluted then tapped his driver on the shoulder. The jeep sped off down the road towards the fire, and soon the distinctive ‘brrrp brrrp’ of the Vickers joined the din.

Hitchens' men defend the chateau
Rawlinson wiped his brow with a trembling hand and once more raised himself carefully above the rim of the ditch. Just then, a wide-eyed Private whose name the lieutenant had forgotten stumbled breathlessly out of the woods to his right.

“Sir, Sergeant Hitchens says to tell you that there’s a Tiger coming across the paddock towards the chateau He says sir, that if you could please send the lads with the PIAT he would be very
appreciative. Sir.” The boy looked terrified, and Rawlinson very much doubted that the notoriously foul mouthed and foul tempered Jim Hitchens had phrased his request quite so politely.
British line under pressure

“Thank you private, run back to and tell Jim to grab the spare Bren and the PIAT team, and to get himself into that chateau. We absolutely must hold the place. Tell him to get upstairs and try to get a shot with the PIAT down onto the top of the tank.”

“Yes sir.” The private saluted, and made to turn away but then the crack of a tank gun from the direction of the driveway made him hesitate.

“Well, go on then private!’
2" mortar lays down smoke

“Oh, yes, huh, of course sir. Sorry, sir” The lad saluted then ran back the way he’d came.

“Lofty,” Rawlinson called the platoon sergeant over, “Looks like things are getting rather dicey. Get that 2” mortar to lay some smoke in front of the Jerry panzer, then you’d best get down to the drive and see how McReedie’s getting on.”

The sergeant looked less than pleased at the prospect, yet he saluted as crisply as if on a parade ground, before turning without a word and disappearing over the rim of the ditch.

McReedie's section hold the line
Sergeant McReedie raised his head and peered towards where he had last seen the Germans. Through the smoke he could just make out the low menacing shape of the Jerry assault gun.  Its gun was still trained on the burning wreckage which moments before had been Sergeant Naismith’s jeep. Movement to his front drew his attention, it looked like that Jerry section was having another crack.

Sgt Threepwood moves up
“Perkins, target to your front. They’re coming again” He didn’t need to give the order, the veteran private had already drawn a bead on the green-grey shapes moving through the drifting smoke and opened up with the Bren again. The remnants of the section opened up in, the sharp crack of their rifles joining the lower chatter of the Bren. The Germans returned fire, but it was more feeble than it had been in the first assault. McReedie saw one man fall, and then suddenly the Germans were falling back.
“Go on, run you bastards” shouted Perkins, reloading the Bren and then opening up once more. McReedie peered warily through the smoke and dust towards the assault gun.

The Jeep burns
“Down lads” he shouted, as the low shape lurched on its tracks and began to turn towards their position. That bloody tank would be the end of them. It had headed for the chateau before something had made it reverse quickly. McReedie was certain that it would be the platoons PIAT projector. He only hoped that the PIAT team were stalking the tank, as his tattered section had nothing to face the armour with. The tall, elegant shape of Sergeant Threepwood lept ungracefully into the ditch beside him.
“Morning Dougie” said the sergeant, straightening his camouflagued tunic. “The guv'nor’s sent me down to see how your chaps are getting on.” McReedie made to respond but his words were drowned out by a deafening crack as a round from the German assault gun slammed into the rim of the ditch.

And the PIAT fires on the StuG
StuG fires on the Chateau 
“I say, that Jerry panzers a right nuisance isn’t it” said Threepwood, removing his maroon beret and carefully dusting it off. “At least it’s not a damned Tiger though, am I right.” He smiled a toothy grin. “The guv'nor’s sent  Jim with the anti tank lads over to the chateau. Jim being a rather resourceful chap I’d wager that the lads are already out there crawling about and looking for a half-decent shot.”
McReedie smiled and nodded grimly. He had no doubt that Threepwood was right, but he didn’t like the chances of the lads on anti-tank duty. The PIAT was heavy, slow to load, and dreadfully inaccurate. His ears rang and the ground shook once more as another round slammed into the ditch. McReedie stooped and ran to where Private Perkins was writing and clutching at his chest, blood pouring from a nasty looking wound.
The German attack falters
“Spence, look after him,” McReedie ordered, before grabbing the discarded Bren gun himself. He checked the magazine, positioned it on the rim of the ditch, and opened fire on the retreating Germans. From the north he could hear the twin chatter as Jim Hitchen’s section moved out from the Chateau and advanced across the driveway. He glanced across at the panzer, only to see that it was no longer where it had been. A private who he vaguely recognised as from Hitchen’s section jumped into the ditch beside him. The man was briefly taken aback by the carnage around him, but composed himself and saluted.
German survivors rally

“Sarge, Hitch says to tell you that the lads have cleared out the driveway. The PIAT took a shot at that Jerry panzer. He missed, but the bloody thing buggered off anyway. Looks like the worst of its over.”

Threepwood and McReedie hold
McReedie gazed around the ditch and counted the remnants of his section. Corporal Timms was nursing a bleeding arm, Darrow, Jones and Robinson looked unharmed. Only these four remained, just four of the ten men he’d trained with, laughed, drank and fought with over the last two years remained. He glanced at Perkins, but the lad lay still, his arms limp at his side and his eyes staring lifelessly towards the grey June sky.
Christ, he thought, but how much longer could they take this. The sergeant shook his head slowly and slumped down on the lip of the ditch. He was suddenly very tired.


Game end. Hitch's section is advancing to the north, McReedie holds the centre, and German survivors rally near their jump off points
So that was the first game using the British Parachute platoon. The Germans attacked in platoon strength, with an observer for a 81mm mortar battery, an unarmoured halftrack, and a StuG IIIG assault gun in support. The British paras had just a single Vickers mounted jeep in support, their only anti armour capability being the platoon’s two man PIAT team. The German attack bogged down and the paras superior training (which is represented by an additional command dice) let them react quickly blunting each attack in turn. The Vickers jeep broke up an assault by one section and turned the halftrack into a smoking ruin before falling prey to the StuG. The StuG took time to get into the action, first trying to attack the Chateau, before when taking fire from the PIAT. It then turned its attention to the jeep and then McReedies section. Perhaps if it had focused on one target, it may have carried the German attack into British lines. The 2” mortar played its role to a tee, masking the StuG and preventing it from taking a higher toll on McReedie’s exposed section.
The mortar bombardment of McReedies section caused a fair amount of shock and some casualties, but McReedie and Threepwood were able to rally and so keep it in the fight, and the British play of a Chain of Command dice ended the turn and with it the bombardment, avoiding any further damage. Hitchen’s section with the two Brens unique to the British Paras was able to bring a devastating  fire on the northern German section, before leading a counterattack which knocked out a German section and finally broke German morale. With all three infantry sections breaking and falling back, the StuG decided to follow after a second miss by the stalking PIAT team.

It was a great game, and played out in a very similar way to the desperate and brutal historical battles for the Chateau. Anyone interested in this fascinating and crucial phase of the Normandy campaign should grab a copy of Neil Barber’s ‘The Day the Devils Dropped in”, a fantastic book which covers the attack on Merville and the subsequent battles for the Chateau St Côme.
This was our debut game with the Parachute platoon, and they were really very fun and quite different to regular British platoons. Chain of Command does really show the way that different platoon structures really affected the way units fought and acted. The paras are really able to react very quickly, aided by higher rated section leaders and an additional command dice to roll each phase. Add to this their higher proportion of submachine guns AND the section with two Bren guns, and the result is a flexible platoon which is really fun field, and just like their historical counterparts are well able to hold their own even when facing seemingly overwhelming odds.
I’ve just finished painting up a tetrarch light tank and will have to get that little beast onto the table soon, perhaps with the paras attacking a defended position.
Anyway, there will be more posts coming up in the next few weeks, including some rather exciting news – particularly for my Aussie readers. So stay tuned! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Off to Church

L'Église Saint Vigor du XIIe et XIIIe siècles
After the last AAR, a few of you have asked about the church. Looking through my blog, I realised that despite posting a thread over on the guild forum, I'd never actually posted anything up about it here. Well, time to set that right.

The model is my rendition the Église Saint Vigor du XIIe et XIIIe siècles, a Norman constructed church built during the 12th and 13th centuries. This church (it IS a church, not a cathedral, despite it's size!) is in the town of Cheux, just north of the river Odon in Normandy. Cheux was  fought over by the 15th (Scottish) division and the 12th SS Hitlerjugend during Operation Epsom, and as Epsom is what I have loosely based my collection around, it seemed fitting. And every gaming collection needs a church, right?
I didn't take any work in progress photos, which I often a problem of mine. (That said, I have documented my recent bocage building exercise and will try to get a tutorial up shortly)

So, in lieu of pictures i'll have to try to describe the process as best as possible. 

The project started, as most do, with research. The superb Over the Battlefield volume on Operation Epsom provided the inspiration, having a few decent shots of the church.  The Battlezone Normandy on Epsom, along with the Battleground Normandy (confusing, isn't is) also provided several good modern day photographs from a variety of angles.

The model's central structure is built from foamcore board, with cereal box cardboard and blue foam used for the butresses and other raised details. The semicircular apse at the end of the nave is from heavy card, bent, taped and glued.

The most difficult thing was working out scales, and it involved a bit of research and cross referencing between photographs and google earth. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn't actually that difficult once I got my head around the dimensions and drew up some templates. Lots of repetitive cutting though, and I must have gone through 20 hobby knife blades. I toyed with the idea of making cardboard tiles for the roof, but as I wanted it finished this century I decided on lightly scoring the cardboard to give the impression of tiles.

That done, I mixed up some dark buff emulsion paint with fine sand, and slapped a heavy coat on the lot. Then it was simply a matter of an ink pinwash to bring out the details, then drybrushing in progressively lighter colours.

The stained glass windows are colour photocopies made onto overhead paper, which i ended up backing with white card to make them stand out. The gravestones are metal offcuts from the shed, and the crucifix in the graveyard is from a plastic necklace I found in the dollar store.
The church is 1:72ish scale, and consequently it’s a bit large, but works well for the skirmish games I usually play, and provides a nice objective. The belltower roof is removable for snipers, FOOs and such. I did toy with the idea of making a full interior but then realised I like my sanity a little too much. That said, I may go back and make the central nave roof removable, adding a basic interior.

So, some pictures… First off a comparison between the real thing and my model. I must say I’m well chuffed with the result. Unfortunately I wasn't able to replicate the dismal looking weather :)

L'Église Saint Vigor du XIIe et XIIIe siècles in Cheux, Normandy

My attempt at posing a similar photo. Except for the weather, not a bad match

Front view, Lloyd carrier and 6pdr in defensive positions
Lt. Harry Macleod leads the No.10 platoon PIAT team into action
6 pdr and an Lt. MacLeod's No.10 Platoon await the dastardly hun

Churchill Mk III in the churchyard.

Top down shot to show scale. The bell tower is great for snipers or FO teams
Speaking of... A sniper and an FO team in the belfry

No.10 Platoon defend the churchyard
RAF Liason Morris LRC 'Limejuice' in front of the apse. You can see the details made of blue foam and card in this shot.

The church and the churchyard. the wall is blue foam.

Church from behind. This shows the semicircular apse made of heavy card.

M10 3" Self Propelled gun provide some anti-tank suppport for No.10 platoon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chain of Command AAR: Battle of Route Nationale 66

British troops charge along RN66
Two posts in as many days. This must be some kind of record for me. Tomorrow I have to get stuck into the last round of assessments for my degree, so thought I should get another after action report posted before I descend back into the abyss. Over the weekend I had the chance to again get stuck into some play testing of the up and coming Toofatlardies skirmish level Second World War ruleset, Chain of Command. For those of you who may have missed it, my first AAR may be read here. After a couple of play throughs, the basic game mechanics are now all but second nature, and the game flows quickly and smoothly. If I had not kept stopping to snap photographs, this game would have taken less than an hour.

On a related note, the latest Summer Special from the Lardies has just been released. For those not familiar with the biannual specials, I'd highly recommend you to check it out. The pdf files offer a plethora of articles and scenarios on topics ranging from close air support in the Vietnam war to an excellent Sharp Practice amendment for the War of the Roses, courtesy of Pat of Wargaming with Silver Whistle fame. This latest special also includes a superb looking campaign for I Ain't Been Shot Mum by Lard-in-Cheif, Rich Clarke. The campaign is based around the Irish Guards battlegroup's attacks towards Valkenswaard during the initial stages of Operation Market Garden in
1944. The campaign breaks the action down into ten game able actions, with the british player racing against the clock and the overstretched German team struggling to stem the onslaught with their overstretched forces. I'm already planning to expand my forces to allow the local club to get stuck into this campaign. While designed with IABSM3 in mind, it seems that this would port easily to Battlegroup Overlord or Flames of War. Anyway, I'd highly recommend you check it out. 

Now, I was going to post an AAR, wasn't I? Without further ado, the battle of Route Nationale 66. I thought I might use a bit of a creative narrative this time.


The Battle of Route Nationale 66, between Caen and Villers-Bocage, mid-June 1944. 

The battleground. Brits entered from the left
The 15th Scottish Division had only landed at Gold Beach four days earlier and already they were being ordered into action again. This time their objective is to sever  Route Nationale 66, a tarmac road which German forces have been using to link forces around Caen with troops facing the Americans north of Vire. At the afternoon's O group, Lieutenant Harry MacLeod of the 6th King's Own Scots Borderers had learned that his No.10 Platoon was once again to lead the company's advance. H-Hour was set for 0530 the following morning. A half troop from the divisional recce regiment was to support MacLeod's advance. Sgt Arthur 'Neddie' Seagoon's half troop comprised two Humber armoured cars, one a mark IV armed with a 37mm gun, the other a bren gun armed LRC. Both cars were fast, but would be up against it if Jerry had any armour or '88s in the area. 

Sgt 'Neddie' Seagoon atop his mighty steed

MacLeod ordered Sgt. Arthur Campbell, his veteran platoon sergeant, to take a small group and patrol the enemy position. Shortly after nightfall, Campbell led his men towards the main road, eyes peeled for the inevitable enemy patrols. The clanking of metal and hushed conversation in German announced that enemy were located in a ruined farmhouse across the road. Campbell was experienced enough to realise that Jerry had spotted his patrols as surely as he had theirs. Returning to the friendly lines, the sergeant informed MacLeod of the enemy locations, and with this information in hand the lieutenant decided on jump-off points for tomorrows action, locations where he knew he could safely feed his sections into the coming fight. Having done all he could, MacLeod joined his men in a night of fitful and restless sleep.

The men rose in the darkness and as the sun began to broach the eastern sky, the men formed up into sections and moved off towards their forming up area. MacLeod ordered Sgt. Campbell to take Cpl. James Robson's section up the dirt track and to seize the ruined house. As Campbell and Robson;s section advanced cautiously towards the house, Seagoon's Humber IV whirred down the road past them before halting in the middle of the tarmac road. Seagoon saw the German machine-gun team covering the dirt track down which Campbell and Robson were advancing. He traversed the turret traversed towards the building and opened up on the Germans with the 37mm and coaxial BESA. He saw 2 Germans go down hit by tracer, and then Campbell and Robson's section were around him. The rhythmic chatter of the Bren gun joined the staccato crack of his BESA coax as the section's bren team, directed by Campbell, laid down covering fire. Campbell led his rifle team in a charge across the road, but just then the sound of tearing canvas erupted from the church yard down the road. A tripod mounted MG42 ripped into the rear of Campbell's men, sending the survivors running for the cover of a nearby bomb crater.
Campbell orders Robson's section forward

The textbook British advance reaches the crossroads
MG42 team fires into the British flank
Seagoon edged his car closer, cutting down the German survivors. He could swear he saw the German gefreiter fall when from nowhere a panzerfaust round slammed into the hull. His ears ringing and coughing from the smoke, he soon discovered that Hitchens, his driver, was badly wounded. Exposed and under enemy fire from a newly appeared section, Seagoon chose to rotate the turret and keep firing.

The Humber LRC joins the fray
Harry MacLeod had heard the dull metallic crash as something had slammed into the armoured car, but after only a brief pause the rhythmic chatter of the BESA had started up again. The horrifying sound of a spandau came  from down the road to his left. It was wiping out Campbell's force by degrees, so he  ordered Corporal Bill MacLaggan to take his section, cut across the road into the churchyard, and to outflank the machine-gun position. MacLaggan, still recovering from his recent wound, led his section off through the fields to the left. 
Another German section is fed into the fight.
Seagoon was giving Jerry hell. A second panzerfaust had slammed the ground only feet from his car, and still the BESA chattered its death song at the German section. He glanced behind him to see that Cpl. Bluebottle had reached the crossroads with his LRC. Good, he thought, soon we'll have these Jerry blighters on the run. So elated was Seagoon at the prospect that he never even saw the panzerschreck team which, having crept around the flank of his car, fired the round that turned the Humber IV into flaming ruin.
The panzerschreck makes short work of Seagoon's Humber

MacLeod glanced down the dusty track towards the house. He had heard the explosion and say the oily black smoke trail which was the funeral pyre for Seagoon and his crew. Christ almighty he thought, why had that bloody armoured car gotten so close to the German positions. The battle was swinging against him. He could see Sgt Campbell trying desperately to rally down the tattered remnants of Robson's section, but they all remained hunkered down in bomb crater. Worse, the bloody spandau was still firing from somewhere down the road. Suddenly, Private MacIntyre, Robson's Bren gunner came staggering down the track, blood streaming from his forehead.
"Its bloody murder sir, they're gone, they're just all bloody gone."
Lt MacLeod grasps the nettle

 MacLeod tried to get more sense out of the man but he was too badly dazed, so the Lieutenant sent him back to the RAP to have the headwound seen to.

So Robson's bren team was gone now as well. The Humber LRC sat immobile on the crossroads. He had to take the initiative or his platoon was lost. He drew his pathetically underpowered Webley revolver as he rushed towards Corporal Angus Duncan.

"Duncan, get your section and follow me. You too Peters." Duncan and his section set off at the run, with Private Peters grabbing the 2" mortar and following.

Chaos reigns at the crossroads

Sgt Arthur Campbell was not having a pleasant morning. He'd seen the armoured car go up, and the air was thick with thick acrid smoke as the car burnt itself out. Jerry had taken up position in the walled yard of the ruined house and were laying down a relentless fire on his position. He glanced around the crater at the shaken remnants of Robson's section as bullets spattered against the earth bulwark. What good could three men do anyway, he thought as he peered carefully over the rim of the crater. The other armoured car was still sitting there, engine idling and now he could see more movement beyond the ruined house. If someone didn't plug that gap, he thought, Jerry was going to outflank their entire position. He could see a German section racing across the road, throwing a hail of grenades at the small barn, their dull crump carrying above the noise of the battle. Then from barn erupted with a hail of fire.
German attack moves in on the barn

Duncan and MacLeod lead the defense

Bloody hell, thought MacLeod as he reloaded his Webley, that had been close. He peered out the door of the barn to see five Germans. A grizzled looking veteran was moaning softly and holding his stomach, but otherwise the bodies were still. He spotted movement across the road. He saw the Jerry section split into fire teams and ducked back inside as the MG42 opened up on the barn. He could hear the crump of the 2" mortar shells as Peters tried to stem this assault, but the firing did not let up.
He looked around at Duncan's section. The first assault had taken it's toll on the men, Carlyle and Rogers were dead, and the rest were badly shaken.They couldn't hold much longer, his hands were shaking and he couldn't get the bloody rounds in the revolver. Just then Duncan's voice came reassuringly steady and strong.
The German Feldwebel lies severely wounded
"Right lads, lets get ready, they're coming again. I want rapid fire, we'll hold these Jerry bastards. Let's give it to them."
The enfields cracked a rapid staccato and the Bren took up it's rythmic chatter again. MacLeod glanced out the window and fired off his six rounds in the general direction of the movement.
To his left, the second armoured car had finally gotten moving again. He could see the commander, blood streaming down his face as he calmly fired into the German position, pausing only to reload the Bren with parade ground precision.
The LRC lays down a withering fire
"Sir" It was Duncan. "Sir, I think we've got them on the run. Might be time to have a crack at the ruined house don't you think?"
Gazing in disbelief, MacLeod saw the second armoured car race across the road and towards the enemy hedge line, Bren chattering all the while. These bloody recce blokes liked to live life on the edge. He turned quickly back to Duncan.
"Right you are Gus," he turned to the men. "Right lads, bayonets and grenades. Lets send the rest of these bastards scurrying back to Berlin. Collins, you see to that wounded German, take him back to company."

The Brits take the offensive
The attack moves in as the LRC siezes a jump-off point
He led the men across the road and towards the ruined house at the run. It all seemed to be in slow motion, he saw the grenades explode in the yard like dirty brown smudges, then they were hand to hand with the Germans, he could see men down on both sides, then he saw Duncan take a bayonet in the arm.
Hand to hand in the rubble

The positions at game end, MacLeod and Duncan rally their men in the bomb crater as German morale crumbles
 "Fall back lads, find some cover." The survivors ran back across the road, but they were not pursued by fire. He saw Duncan, the last out of the yard. He trotted over, his sleeve bloody but with a broad grin on his face. He held a Schmeisser out for MacLeod to take.
"There y'are sir. It's not exactly regulation I know, but better than that bloody pea shooter I suspect." The corporal looked across the road and smiled.
"Sir, have a look at that would you."
MacLeod followed the corporal's gaze, and through the smoke and haze he could see the last remnants of the German troops fleeing for their life.


Well, that was the action. The German's eventually broke when the LRC captured a jump off point and they lost their gefreiter in the melee. The action in the other flank, where MacLaggan's section had been sent, comprised mostly of desultory exchange of fire between the Bren team and the MG42, while the rifle section took cover in the churchyard.
MacLaggan's assault moves (slowly) in

The patrol phase is a great game within a game, and played completely differently with this scenario, which was a probing attack. I also got a chance to use some of the nation specific rules, and these do add to the flavour of the game without being overwhelming. The German assaults on the barn were preceded by a hail of Grenades, causing a few casualties and some serious shock which very nearly offset their not quite getting to grips with the enemy. The British rapid fire rule gave that extra edge to the firing, enabling them to decimate the second German attack. The armoured cars were fun, in fact they seemed more useful than the lumbering Churchill in the first game. The diminutive LRC performed admirably, despite the commander being wounded by a panzerschreck round. Again, the Chain of Command dice proved very useful, allowing both the Brits and the Germans to interrupt their opponent's plans.

I've just finished my first section of British Airborne, and hope to have the rest of the platoon finished soon after i've completed this round of assessments. I've also got the blokes from the local club coming round to have a multiplayer Sharp Practice evening, so in between umpiring the game, i'll be endeavoring to snap some photos and get an AAR of this up.

For now, stay tuned for more AARs and updates in the near future.