Thursday, 28 February 2013

Playing away at home

The first away fixture at Shedquarters was put on by Chris K of Not Quite Mechanised who specialises in operational level WW2 games.  NQM is more of a set of umpire guidelines that are included or excluded, promoted or amended as the scenario requires. The whole purpose is to focus on the big picture and refight really big actions in a manageable fashion. NQM to that extent has a lot in common with Tim Gow's Megablitz (although I note at the moment he is blogging about H G Wells-type games).

Anyway, the game was supposed to start on Monday, with a full complement of MNG-ers more or less, but I ended up having to call for a postponement as my mother had to be taken into hospital. We eventually re-convened on Tuesday and were down to me, Chris & Phil.

The evening didn't start auspiciously as the shed blew a fuse (literally) and I had to hunt round for a  13 amp replacement. Eventually took a plug apart to find one.

Chris was soon on site and rearranging the scenery and getting out toy boxes as we headed into the Western Desert to refight Gazala. For those of you not familiar with the battle, here's a map of the layout and plans of both sides.



Chris is a great extemporiser. He produces lovely models when he chooses, but also isn't too fussy at times as to what he uses. He was no longer unloading his boxes of toys then he as asking me for trucks and armoured cars. When Phil arrived he contributed a brigade of Free French, to defend Bir Hakeem. Here's a picture of him trying to work out of he's got all of the bits he should have:


The far end of the table is the north. The various boxes and mine fields are delineated by stretches of barbed wire, previous prepared for my Western Front (as opposed to Western Desert) games. Hence the green bases.


Phil's fine fellows were soon lined up to await their fate. As he was supplying some of the defenders he took command of the British. I therefore took the Italians and Germans.

The first thing I did was bypass the Free French who looked a bit tough and drove the Italian Ariete Division at the more lightly defended position held by an Indian brigade. This was possible only after successful recce rolls to ensure I didn't get lost in the desert. Unlike the Trieste Division....


My tanks were soon on the defences, pummelling the poorly prepared defenders. A succession of lucky dice rolls ensured my success.



My Bersaglieri quickly dismounted and were all over the hapless Indians, driving them off the position and leaving them to flee into the desert. It looked like it was going to be a long evening for the 8th Army.



NQM games never have all the toys on the table at the start, even if they're not reinforcements in the traditional wargaming sense. Chris sort of rolls the bits and pieces out as we go along.


Here he is deploying 15 & 21 Panzer, who have again swept round the French and are soon to be storming up towards the coast, Tobruk, and the British supply dumps.

Next up some of my Italians, -Trieste, I think, - blundered into the central box manned by 50th Div. Or was it Brigade? One or the other. In the picture above they're not out on the board yet, but are in the zone just to the north of the French.

Overwhelming armour and the elan of my troops suppressed the defenders and we stormed over and round the mine field.

You can see my infantry breaking through a slight gap. The red pins indicate damaged stands. Stands can take three red pins, if overloaded they're eliminated. If you reorganise out of harm's way the red pins are halved and turned to black, representing permanent damage.

Across the other side of the table some British armour counter punched against 15 Panzer.

Here they're just coming on to the board. There were a lot more and they forced my chaps back.





However they were just about to over stretch themselves and expose their flanks to 21 Panzer:

You can see my Teutonic heroes lined up south to north in the middle of the table. The counterstrike achieved its aim, but not before a large number of 15 Panzer's armoured fist was smoking.





The picture above shows 21 Panzer wheeling round and the remains of the British breaking through past the wrecked Panzers to seek sanctuary in the deep desert. The picture below shows them being pursued by 21 Panzer, which was great fun but alas had them pointing in the wrong direction.







 At which point we closed the game for this evening. More action next week, - probably on Wednesday.

With a bit of luck Phil will post some pictures of the game over at P B Eye Candy.

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