Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Return to Shedquarters

With the snow melted and the roads clear we had our first meeting of the New Year in Shedquarters. The weather has interrupted us badly and the game has sat on the table for two to three weeks, waiting to be played.

Still, that’s the benefit of having a dedicated area for your gaming. No need to pack away. Alas I seem to have a small amount of damp seeping in at the base of one of the walls following the torrential rain we’ve had since completing the build and the ensuing snow. I think the answer may be guttering, but I’m not sure what to do with the downpipe as there’s no drain in that part of the garden.

Anyhow, back to the game.

This is another SCW game using “If You Tolerate This”, my latest rules for the period, recently published in Nugget and soon to be available from here. The scenario here is a Republican counterattack to the North West of Madrid, tying to seize the main highway and disrupt Nationalist supplies. The attack is designed to show the effectiveness of the Communist Party organisation, featuring two three battalion brigades from the “Fifth Regiment”, supported by squadrons of T26s, a couple of BT-5s, some armoured cars and a decent chunk of artillery. To ensure international support an International Brigade of three battalions have been added, together with three battalions of Anarchists in armoured trucks. Finally, a fairly strong air wing has also been provided to support the attack.

The table all set up. Must find somewhere to put all the junk underneath it
The defence centred around two fortified villages, one controlled by a couple of units of Civil Guards, and a smaller one defended by some Falange. The main road and the town located at the cross roads was defended by a few battalions of regular army, supported by some Condor Legion AA.

The fearless Civil Guards take up position
 Will & Phil were given the Republicans and I took charge of the defence. I did this to ensure the players have a decent amount to do, as the defence at this point is fairly static.

Phil took the Communists and Will the rest. I think they had a tacit agreement that Will would get armour support when he needed. Poor trusting fool....if Phil followed his historical predecessors.

They started by pushing the armoured car recce up the main road. The Civil Guards in the big village opened up with a field gun firing in an anti-tank role and knocked out one of the lead squadron (each model represents three vehicles). I should have savoured that more than I did as it was one of the few high points of the evening for me.

First blood to the Nationalists. Black ring on the roof of the front car
Phil was given the task of taking the right hand village (from his perspective), whilst Will focused on the left. The intention of the scenario was that they should get bogged down with these two and lose focus on the overall objective as happened historically. It seemed to be going quite well at first as they adopted a "maximum force" doctrine and diverted the entire force to the task.

Phil veers to the right
They decided to skirt the olive groves and just go straight at the objectives, reasoning that with armour support they could cover the open ground effectively. Luckily for them the Nationalists were short of covering artillery, otherwise they might have suffered heavily. Even given the lack of heavy weapons their tendency to cram as much as possible into a square effectively simulated the Republican assault technique of attacking, Russian style, in a form of column. Under the rule system when firing you allocate hits to a square and then resolve all the hits against all the targets in the square. No sharing out here. 

The other challenge of the game is to get units to co-ordinate with each other if they are not exactly the same. Thus when you move from one troop type to another (say Communist infantry to Communist armour) you have to roll to activate the next unit. This roll gets harder depending on the types of units. For example it is easier to switch in the previous example of Communist foot to armour than from Communist foot to Anarchists.

This mechanism had the effect of making Phil's advance more stumbling than he had intended. He got his infantry in front of his armour and kept failing to switch to the armour. This enabled the defenders to get in a round or two of firing at the unprotected infantry before the armour pulled up.

Will had a similar problem, exacerbated by his slightly weaker armour force. He didn't have enough to cover his entire assault, so the Civil Guards were able to shoot up his anarchists quite effectively when they dismounted from their armoured trucks.

The Anarchists on the Left start to take some fire.
 The International Brigade were another matter. Their lead unit took a bit of a pasting, but the BT-5's then drove up in support and together with the IB's overran one of the Civil Guard units in the village.

The BT-5s lead the way through the wire
 The BT-5s performed very well in this action, starting out in the roll of self propelled guns just outside effective anti-tank range before driving through to  support the close assault. Text book stuff.

The village is occupied

The communists finally got their act together and ejected the Falange from the other village with maximum prejudice. I may have to look at the hand to hand results table when this type of thing happens. Perhaps the defenders should be allowed to take another step of damage rather than retreat.

The Falange retreat under severe pressure
Flushed with success in against the first unit of Civil Guards, the IBs launched another combined attack on the remaining unit. They were ably assisted by the anarchists who drew most of the defensive fire. On reflection the Guards should have kept their powder dry for the assault, and they were ejected from the village in the same style as their Falange colleagues on the other side of the board.

At which point we called it a night. There's enough juice in the game for another evening, so we'll be back next Monday.


  1. You could run downpipes into waterbutts with taps, and then draw off the rainwater for use on the garden.
    Alternatively, run the downpipe down to a ground level corner ao that the water is deflected away from the shed and won't splash back onto it.

    1. The waterbutts is a good idea. As I have such a big roof area I'd need some big contaioners and draw it off regulalry.

      Because of where it is I'd be running the water into my neighbours gardens which might not be too popular.

  2. Good to see the Shedquarters back in use.

    1. It was a relief to me. Having built it the fear is that it'll turn into an enormous White Elephant as commuting and chasng around after my psrents at the weekend eats up my spare time, and one of our number is retiring to the west Country.