Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mad Padre vs Mad Padre

One of the great pleasures of my job working at CFB Suffield/British Army Training Unit Suffield is getting to meet my chaplain colleagues from the British Army. The UK padres I've met are all excellent, hard working fellows with difficult jobs. They come over with their units to train, live in fairly austere conditions far away from home for months at a time, minister to their soldiers while in the field, listen to their complaints, and sometimes help repair the damage when a squaddie goes into town on a tear and gets into trouble.

Last month I had several padres over to my house in Medicine Hat for a chance to rest and get away from camp. Several days later, I was having a brew with one of them, Kevin, chaplain to 2 Royal Tank Regiment, and he said "I noticed a wargaming magazine at your house last night. Do you wargame?". His tone was that of a fellow conspirator, and over the next hour we talked about our collections, favorite rules, and all the
other stuff that war gamers go on about. We checked our schedules, and found that it was possible to get a night of gaming in before Kevin went back to the UK.

Kevin wanted to try out The 3rd edition of Too Fat Lardies'I Ain't Been Shot Mum so we chose the third scenario, "Action at Galmanche". In this scenario, British infantry and armour have to push through SS infantry with a PAK 75 AT gun in support. We cut a platoon per side since I don't yet have enough figures for a company each, but kept the two British tank troops. The dice assigned me the Germans.



From Mobile
Kevin plans his cunning advance. My forces are woefully deployed in the buildings on the right, and in the woods and buildings in the centre. The woods above the road are impassable by tanks, so Kevin eiher has to swing around to my left or go through the hedgerows on the right. In fact he did both.

My pre-positioning was pretty dreadful. I scattered 1 Zug in the buildings on my left with the PAK forward in the woods, so no element could support another. 2 Zug was in the woods on my left, unable to support 1 Zug or the PAK, and the tank killers of Coy HQ were in the buildings on the left. I didn't notice the scenario rule allowing seven German elements to entrench, and I suffered badly from the opening British barrage. Kevin placed his stonks masterfully, and as a result my AT gun and most of 1 Zug were crippled with shock and/or down several soldiers before the game began.

Kevin's HQ came on first and my shock raddled AT crew were unable to hit them in their carriers before they dismounted.

From Mobile
Coy HQ in carriers advances. The PAK opens fire on them but note the red dice - 5 shock from the stonk! It misses.

The CSM, "Basher" Bishop, quickly got the Coy Vickers into action, killing the German big man with the PAK and driving off the crew. From there 1 platoon of his infantry descended on my infantry on my right, pinning and assaulting my lead two sections and bundling them off as easily as tossing out a drunk at closing time.



From Mobile
Kevin's infantry handly tosses my infantry out of the buildings on my right.
From Mobile
One of Kevin's two tank troops swings around my right as his infantry consolidate. The second tank in the column is a Centaur proxying for a Sherman. I have one section left in the little cafe below the road, but it has 5 shock left over from the stonk.

I had a little more success when his 2 platoon wandered into the LOS of my 2 Zug. I caught his lead section moving in the open and mowed them down.

Kevin watches his second platoon cross my front, unaware that my PZ Grenadiers are lining up on his lead section. Ha!

My success was fleeting, however. By then he was moving his Coy support weapons up on the south side of d woods, behind 2 Zug, and engaging it from two sides.

Having cleared the buildings on my right, Kevin's infantry and armour start to put the squeeze on me in the centre.

Matters were not helped by my four sections of off board 81mm mortars, which were unavailable for the entire game through my poor rolling. This caused us both much mirth as we imagined the voicemail greeting that the poor FOO kept getting. "Guten tag, ziss is zee artillery. Vee are not available right now, but pliss to leave grid coordinates, und vee shall get back to you. Auf weidersehen und have an ubermenschen tag!". Proof, if it was needed, that a good game is about how much you laugh, and not whether you win or lose.




Two things towards the end of the game lightened my spirits somewhat. Kevin, like a good tankie padre, pushed one of his Sherman troops hard and fast across my front and then hooked down towards the two buildings I held on my left. Unfortunately for them, they drove their pretty flanks right past my tankillers and a section of my infantry, who let loose with a volley of Panzerfausts and Panzerschreks.
From Mobile
Hello Tommy! The lead Sherman explodes in a fireball, while the Firefly behind it takes an engine hit (hence the little green spanner, one of the tokens that came with the IABSM bundle) and a point of shock. Not having any HE or MG, the Firefly is pretty helpless.

The second good thing about ambushing Kevin's armour was that I got to use some of the cool little burning markers I recently ordered from Litko. Before the game, Kevin didn't think I'd need them. Double ha!

From Mobile
A close up of a Litko marker adorning a burning tank. Such a heartwarming sight!

That was about all the good fortune I had. Kevin had an intact armour troop and 2 intact infantry sections worked behind my centre, and they were poised to shoot my infantry out of the woods and houses they still held. I conceded.

Getting set to winkle out Jerry.

So that was our game. The estimable Conrad Kinch wrote in the latest issue of Battlegames that the principle joy of wargaming is social. He quotes the late Paddy Griffiths that "a wargame [is] a social occasion like a dinner party", and that the most desirable quality in an opponent is really, "would I gladly have a pint with him?". Hear, hear, Kinch. One of the great joys of this summer was making a new friend in Padre Kevin, and then deepening our friendship with a shared passion for toy soldiers. I look forward to pitching up on Kevin's doorstep in the UK at some point for a rematch and a few more pints. That won't be for a while, though. Not only am I unlikely to make it to the UK anytime soon, but Kevin and his lads are getting ready for a trip to Helmand, and then a difficult time as the two Royal Tank Regiments are amalgamated into one. He's a good padre and will be up to that task, but if you wish, say a prayer for him.

From Mobile
Happy padres give IABSM 3 two thumbs up. I'm the chap with the double chin on the left. Two cracking moustaches, don't you think?

So, in summary. My tactical deployment sucks and needs to be improved. My Litko markers are fun to use. There is a second mad padre out there, and I've met him. God is indeed good, all the time.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

18 comments:

  1. Great little AAR, and I have to agree that the "would I have pint with them?" is the litmus test for a good opponent for a wargame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two moustache enter! One moustache leave!
    Two moustache enter! One moustache leave!

    Looks like a good game and I'm always cheered when the goodies win. Long may the "International Fraternity of Wargaming Clergymen" continue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah, that moment when you realise there's a fellow wargamer in the real world. We should have a secret handkerchief or a special conspiratorial hat to identify each other. Have to say, I'm a bit relieved, I read the title on my blogroll and wondered if this was some rending journey of self-destruction. But glad to see it's just another top-quality battle report - great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really enjoyed your AAR & you are absolutely right about the social aspect of wargaming. God Bless you both heaps in your work.
    Cheers,
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much John! Much appreciated. :)

      Delete
  5. Crikey Padre, you clergymen are thick as thieves!

    I enjoyed the AAR, but really enjoyed the tache fest. Model on!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad to hear you've found a fellow wargaming Mad Padre - looks like you had a fun game :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great stuff there Padre. I enjoyed your report.

    ReplyDelete
  8. With great moustache comes great responsibility! With two moustaches...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hooray! Cracking good post all around!
    I notice you both like the flamboyant shirts. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flamboyant? That was drab. You should see my REALLY flamboyant Hawaiian shirts. :)

      Delete
  10. Great post Padre. The second I like most from wargaming, in addition to playing is sharing some beers after each game with my club mates

    ReplyDelete
  11. A great report and post !! Very enjoyable, loved the last pic and the chins as well!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely report and photos MP. Love the Litko markers so I'll purchase some, thanks for the heads-up.

    Cheers,

    Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heln:

      Thanks. Those Litko markers are the bomb to be sure. They have larger ones for bigger scale models and also some tasty looking barrage markers.

      Delete
  13. It's always good if you can take some positive away from a defeat. An Iron Cross for that panzerfaust man! Very nice and imaginative battle set up, too.

    I find static defence very difficult, especially when so thin on the ground that a counterattack, however small, is not feasible. The lack of prepared defences probably made the thing impossible.

    But in my view, the on-table result isn't always the important thing. Given the circumstances, the Landsers were always on a hiding to nothing. I reckon they performed very well - well enough to let the Tommies know they'd been in a fight...

    Oh, please accept a salute from one more mustachio to another! Mine's a rather whiter shade of grey...
    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks AP.

      I'll personally award that Iron Cross to that fellow. He was quite brave, as were the tank killers who ran out into the road and tried to sticky bomb the Firefly, twice, while taking coax fire from the tank behind it.

      Statis defence isn't much fun, especially when your head is reeling from all that HE fire. However, if I had left the objectives (the buildings)empty (the ones on the right were almost indefensible anyway), I could have avoided much of the stonks, and the concentrated my force in the woods and hedgerows on his edge of the table. It would have been nice to have the third zug and thus a full company, but I wouldn't have taken it unless I also had a third platoon for the Brits, so that would have evened things out.

      Personally I think a moustache only adds to a man's handsomeness, though these things, like all fads, come and go. I remember being in a mess and seeing a photo of some Canadian officers sometime in the late 1930s, and over half were sporting Hitler moustaches. I suspect that by Sept 1930 those H taches were either grown out or gotten rid of.

      Delete

Blog Archive

Followers