Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Fall Gabel - NQM report

Just catching up with my battle reports. Last Tuesday we had another game of NQM, - an Operational WW2 game - although this time we were on the Eastern Front, not in the Western Desert.

Chris Kemp has been running an Eastern Front campaign for nearly 20 years, or perhaps more. In that time I have played the Russians a lot.

There was some misunderstanding prior to this game. Chris was intending to run over several nights, But I had only allowed for one night in Shedquarters as a lot of the NQM regulars were going to be away for subsequent nights & I didn't want the table tied up preventing me playing other games. In the end it worked really well, with a lot of action crammed into a short period of time.

As ever I took the Russians, defending a railhead this time. The set up was done in a bit of a hurry, and Chris couldn't find the box of Russian infantry divisions. Whilst I substituted with figures from my RCW collection Chris set up and briefed Will & Harvey who were playing the Germans. Having got the position sorted Chris
 then produced the box of Russians, which I swapped out and alas got the figures muddled. Chris said it wasn't important, - unfortunately it turned out this wasn't the case. Two of the positions had no artillery support and the third was light on infantry.

The game started with a German heavy bombing raid on the position. I had a few interceptors, but these were ineffective. As I was still sorting some kit out I didn't see the result of the attacks on the ground troops and Chris marked up the hits on his new Divisional Status boards (you can see one in the bottom left of the picture, behind the entrenchments).

This proved to be a further mistake. Unbeknownst to me the bombing run was very effective and I was carrying a lot of damage. I should have reorganised this off, but I thought I'd only taken one or two hit points and didn't bother.

Will & Harvey then pounded in with a severe artillery barrage and stormed in on the position. My right hand position completely misfired, lost the firefight and then was close assaulted. In the ensuing hand to hand action I think they failed to inflict any damage at all.

Phil then turned up with what I believed to be my reinforcements. However it transpired he was actually bringing more Germans, who started to swarm in on my left flank.

There were a lot of German new arrivals, armour and infantry. My shiny looking emplacements turned out to be only the same strength as a normal built up area and counted as medium, not heavy. Being Russian my artillery were unable to switch targets to support my other positions. It was starting to look a bit grim.

By this time I'd been thrown out of my position on the right, and I was under heavy pressure elsewhere. Phil's armour was off-setting the advantage my entrenchments gave me until I had a lucky barrage from my artillery that had finally found the range. Liberal amounts of hamster bedding were then applied.

Some relief now came into sight, with the arrival of an armoured division of BT5s, and supporting infantry. Things were looking up for me, or so I thought.

However, at that point the Luftwaffe came back:

They plastered my artillery. This was when I discovered how much damage I'd taken earlier on, and the guns started to withdraw.

I had been comprehensively evicted from my front right position, inflicting very few casualties. However, I fell back on the Army HQ and reorganised. I then discovered that my chaps preferred to be fighting in the open, rather than have any cover. I won  the firefight and launched a successful counterattack. On the front left all my good work against the armour was undone by a misunderstanding between me and the umpire. I thought I'd won the firefight. It turned out I hadn't won it well enough and the German infantry swarmed over the parapet.

My final disappointment of the evening was delivered by my armoured division. Phil had dropped off a small flank defensive force as you can see below.

Much to my surprise this position, consisting of four infantry bases and a Wespe turned out to be a really hard nut to crack. They counted as being as well dug in as my troops that had been in place all game and the guns on my armour were rated lower than expected. This meant that, despite overwhelming numbers, I was unable to win the firefight and so prevented from close assaulting a position I expected to just roll over.

At this point the game was wound down as we needed to pack away. It was action packed, and tense. I was guilty of a number of mistakes in my set up, and was caught out a couple of times by an umpiring decision. I can see why it went the way it did, - Chris had an end game in mind, and it isn't time yet for the tide to turn on the Nazi hordes.

Not a problem. I can wait another 20 years. After all, the march of history is on our side. Our victory is inevitable.

(The official, unbiased, report can be found at: TAMBOV Rail junction AAR)


  1. I'm sure your unbiased readers will be surprised that you expected just to roll over *infantry in buildings* with your armour - it was the 'buildings' that gave the troops a similar edge to your *entrenched in the open* positions.

    I'm not at all convinced it was a Soviet victory - much though I would like that to be the case ... but a lot of the confusion over what happened and what was thought to _have _happened seems to stem from the attenuated game, lack of logistics and lack of player input - none of which I thought enhanced the game.

    Still ... I think your version has gone down better with the umpire and I am pleased other people got a good game from it.

    1. I expected to roll over that position because I had a massive advantage in infantry numbers and tank guns to "shoot them in". Ho hum.

      Did you mean to say "German victory" and not "Soviet victory"?????

    2. I know that I'm doing something right when both sides think that the umpire 'swung it' :O)

      I think most of the cracks in the scenario were due to the pace and lack of time (and set up etc.)

      I've had a few thoughts about the combat phase after the GAZALA car parks and TAMBOV. Watch this space! I think we should crack the campaign in the next 20 years, it's been going since 1986 now.

      Regards, Chris.

    3. Al fair comments, Chris. However I think that we should try ot keep the pace and deal with the issues that give us cracks.

      Hadn't realised we missed the 25th anniversary of the campaign. We must make sure we celebrate the 30th in style. Is that enough notice for you?

  2. Replies
    1. Chris did a limited production run of "Panzerblitz" which was given out at CoW. The rules are available on-line via Chris' blog: http://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/

      I think they warrant a proper publication, but getting Chris to sit down and do them may be a challenge!

    2. We should speak if you are offering, John.

      regards, Chris

  3. I would echo Treb's entire last paragraph :)