Friday, 29 January 2016

Team Yankee - The First Day!


On Wednesday at the Hall of Heroes, Campbelltown, my mate Bryan and I held our first demo game of Team Yankee...


Calling it a demo game was possibly a bit of a stretch, because with Australia always last in the queue for Battlefront products, whilst we had received and painted some of the necessary models...


...we had to use stand-ins for others - this Skytrex BRDM, for example, represents a GOPHER SAM unit.


And these Zvezda T-72Bs will serve to flesh out my burgeoning Soviet tank force whilst I continue to assemble and paint my legion of BF T-72As...


Anyway, you have to start someplace and at least we generated a bit of interest.


Which we attempted to feed with an idea of some light background reading...


I knew I'd kept these old rec guides for a reason!


I'm glad Bryan, a long time FOW player, is as enthusiastic about Team Yankee as I am, because we think the key to Cold War gaming is to modernise the terrain and landscaping to the 1980's, and here Bryan's skills came into play, with lovely modern roads and autobahnen, and modern looking buildings...

Containers filled with hardcore will keep Soviet sappers busy for a few precious minutes....



Since this would be our first game of Team Yankee, there really only could be one scenario to pick - the First Day! In this scenario Captain Bannon's Team YANKEE are sitting in a wooded hillside

looking across a valley to where a Soviet Tank and Mech company are attempting to cross the valley and head down the re-entrant to reach an autobahn intersection. For display purposes we placed the autobahn running North South on one edge, but this didn't factor in our game.

We played 'The First Day' as a 100 point Hasty Attack, which meant that Bryan with the US forces could deploy half his platoons, including one in ambush, the rest in Delayed Reserve. I as the Soviet player was attacking with half my companies, the others coming on in Reserve. (Which meant I could commence dicing for them straight away). I led off with two tank companies, and Shilka and Gopher AA platoons. In good Soviet style these headed for the objective at best 'Terrain Dash' speed.


As luck would have it, I was successful in getting one of my reserve platoons on first round, so brought on the Hinds!
These were used to support the left flanking T-72 company by attempting to whittle down the M1s in the treeline - not much joy though, a couple of bails...


The right flanking company had to go in initially without any support, but by dint of dash moves and lucky cross checks, soon got close to the centre objective...


Meanwhile Bryan used his rotary aviation to systematically wipe out my AA assets - cunning...


Fortune continued to send me reserve options, so it was time to introduce the Motor Rifles...(again, pending the arrival of my BF BMP2s these models are Skytrex BRMs, but I don't think anyone noticed...)


I sent them in to support the right flank, unlike in the novel, as my left flank was being used for target practice by the M1s, who were beginning to find the range...
And destroying or bailing most of the platoon. However owing to our initial misreading of the morale rules, this company remained in good order. (To remain in good order, not only must you have 2 tanks as runners, they must also be with 6 inches of their leader!)


Therefore when my third T-72 company arrived, I kept them in the centre, in column, to hedge my bets - this was pretty much my last on-table reserve...

This was just as well, as at this stage Bryan unleashed his ambush - a platoon of 3 M1s in the tree line opposite my right flanking T-72 company, which hitherto had been cruising nicely onto the objective without so much as a thunderflash being chucked at them....

I'd love to show you some photos of this ambush being sprung, but clearly I must have been shaken as I didn't take any pics for a while....




However by the time the survivors had managed to regroup and seek out the flank of the ambushing M1 platoon, I was once again able to record their revenge...




At this point Bryan's delayed reserves were becoming available...His first platoon was his M901 Improved TOW Vehicle (ITV)platoon. Fortunately I received my final reserve unit immediately after - a flight of SU-25 FROGFOOT, which were able to send his ITVs packing with their ATGWs fired from stand-off range - nice to be able to snipe the snipers!

(However, we subsequently discovered that we had been using our Air and Aviation assets a little too freely as regards avoiding enemy AA zones - both our AA assets had been hampered by our incorrect use of the range given on their cards. This 20 inch range is for use in the ground role. Against Air, they use that specified in the Radar special rule, of 32 inches. Clearly this would have hampered Air to Ground indterdiction ops...)


So at this stage, I was still feeling confident - sure both my lead tank companies were in poor shape, but the objective seemed within my grasp....(its the red blob achingly close to the T-72s....)


However Bryan had also been using the better mobility and cross country ability of his M1s to shift them across to cover the centre objective when he realised what I was going for....


These immediately brewed up my lead T-72s in shockingly short order...


And to add insult to injury he brought on his next reserve platoon, a battery of M109 155mm howitzers, in the direct role charging down my lead column just as it was on the objective, horse artillery style....

Once they had helped the rout by chasing off my Motor Rifles with direct fire, and I had no more viable ground platoons, it was game over for this Soviet offensive...So close, and yet so far - we were on the objective, but far from being uncontested, it was crawling with armoured dropshorts - who have even more attitude than the wheeled variety....


Now for a plug, to do my bit to support two local small businesses - if you were as impressed with Bryan's modern roads and autobahn as I am, then they are on sale from the Hall of Heroes Campbelltown. Which in itself is a great FLGS, obviously!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Spirit of Anzac comes to the Gong


The Spirit of ANZAC Centenary experience Australian War Memorial's travelling exhibition is in my city of Wollongong - the 'Gong - this month, indeed its hosted by my university! So I had long booked tickets for myself and the long haired Brigadier to go and see it - a 10 minute drive away and today was the day...


Carried on over 100 large trucks, the exhibition has taken over the entire university gym - a much better use of this resource in my view!


The exhibition contains much that you might expect - mannequins in uniform, surrounded by props, of all the branches of service and of the gallant foe...




Lots of beautifully executed scale models of the larger artefacts of war...


And some 1:1 scale hardware, some were real, captured or liberated from the battlefield,




and some were carefully executed replicas, like this tank:











Inevitably, perhaps in this centenary year, the emphasis was on the First World War, and to a certain extent upon the Gallipoli campaign, but the Western Front and Palestine and Sinai received ample coverage too, as did matters naval and aerial.






The exhibition was honest and confronting in its approach to the horrors of war, with some disturbing images of horrific wounds and scars some of the Anzacs came home with, and with reference to those wounds that don't show scars...



I was particularly impressed with the technique and care that had been taken with the various periscope and binocular views that dotted the exhibition...I found a rare detail of a Vickers machine gun being fired in a high angle, indirect fire role in this trench view, the detail below:

 

WW2 and subsequent ANZAC engagement across the world was covered more through the use of audio and visual aids, although the entire tour was accompanied by a well crafted audio guide.
 
 
 

No, despite the outcome of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Australian forces have not been committed in a combat role across the Tasman Sea - this canine served in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes...



So, anyway, if the Spirit of Anzac exhibition comes anywhere near your part of this earthly paradise we call Australia, please go and see it - highly recommended!