31/12/2020 at 03:46 #148915
First, my apologies for the lack of blogging over the past six months or so. I haven’t had much time for wargaming, and what time I have had has been spent painting, but I’m ready to kick off (another overly) ambitious campaign. 2021 was supposed to be the year of the Western Desert, but… I couldn’t leave well enough alone. The forces I’d completed for the Western Desert weren’t suitable for the early part of the war in North Africa, so I went and bought a bunch more stuff. Work continues on getting it all table ready and, of course, my wargaming butterfly got out and convinced me to try and run about five more projects simultaneously.
I’m happy to report that I’ve actually finished one, and I’m ready to back into gaming with both foot. Or, hopefully, six feet: mine plus those of my two boys. And where are we going? A massive campaign to play out the bulk of the “Battle of the Bulge,” in 15mm. It’s not perfect, but here’s a look at the forces and my plan.
The whole mess, with Yanks on the left and Germans on the right. You can see a bunch of winter terrain above them. And it’s quite a mess; the vast majority is from Battlefront, with some Plastic Soldier Company vehicles and a couple Old Glory guns and crew thrown in. The keen-eyed will notice that none of the vehicles are ‘white-washed’/painted in winter colors; sorry, I want to be able to use these for Northwest Europe as well, and there’s no way I’m doing all these vehicles twice. I’m already way too far into 15mm WWII, just wait and see (for the posts about other 15mm WWII projects I’ve been working on)! And here I’ll admit, all of this is not my work. I did my fair share of cleaning, building, painting, and basing, but I also bought quite a bit of this force online. Some of it was bought off Ebay or the TMP Marketplace from fellow wargamers, about half the infantry came from Gajo Minis, and quite a few of the vehicles came from AJ Rice, a professional painter. Both Gajo and AJ are fantastic to deal with; nice cost, very responsive, great looking minis, and packed well to make sure no damage.
Some M7 Priests.
Some US infantry.
Some Panzer IVs.
And some German infantry.
Now, for my plan! This might seem funny, but long before I ever got into miniature wargaming I played wargames on the computer, and my favorite computer wargame(s) was “Close Combat,” particularly the 2nd one, “A Bridge Too Far,” which is definitely on the docket for stuff to game. In any case, I also had the 4th Close Combat module, “Battle of the Bulge.” It doesn’t cover the entirety of Wacht Am Rhein, but a good portion of it, and it has an outstanding campaign map and details all the units, their composition, their locations, and the reinforcement schedule.
And here is the Day 1, Phase 1 positions for the Yanks and the Germans. There are eight ‘overlaps,’ meaning there will be eight tabletop battles. The campaign will be ten days, and each day has three ‘phases.’
And for the first battle we have chosen Losheim, a duel between the U.S. 14th Cavalry Group and the German 8th Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjager Division. My winter table, a humble stab at Losheim. North is up, the Germans will attack from the east (right) and the Americans are defending in the west (left). It’s funny, I may have picked the only map in the whole campaign that is flat! And the one thing this photo shows me is, you can never have enough trees…
To see a bunch more pictures of the troops and table, and for a detailed explanation of how I intend to carry out the campaign, please check the blog at:
Just a reminder, I post pics of my completed minis and the odd batrep here, but I have a dedicated blog for WWII in the European/Mediterranean theaters, so all the battles of this campaign will be posted to my “Little Lead Crusade in Europe” blog, located here:
Little Lead Crusade in Europe (hakunamatatawars.blogspot.com)
So, there it is, new forces and another campaign, let me know whatcha think. The stage is set, everything is set and ready to go, the boys and I kick this off first thing in the morning!
Jack31/12/2020 at 06:59 #148917
At long last. Thank you Jack and thank the boys as well. Really looking forward to following this.31/12/2020 at 09:01 #148926willzParticipant
A very nice looking campaign game with lots of tanks, you can never have enough AFV’s in a WW2 game.31/12/2020 at 09:45 #148940GazParticipant
Wow, really impressive! Look forward to following this one.31/12/2020 at 18:55 #148960
Thanks guys, and the first fight is in the books, with the Germans pushing the Yanks out of Losheim. I hope to post late next week, and we’re playing game 2 tomorrow.
Jack31/12/2020 at 19:35 #148961
At least I have something to look forward to!!!07/01/2021 at 04:36 #149160
0600-1400 local time
16 December 1944
US 14th Cavalry Group vs 8th Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjager Division
So, this is it, the first battle to kick off our extraordinarily ambitious campaign to play out the “Battle of the Bulge.” I will admit, before playing even the first game, that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. This is a campaign that lasts ten days, with three phases per day, involving 27 different ‘battlegroups’ on each side. There is no set number of battles per phase, but the first phase is set up and there are a total of eight tabletop fights scheduled. If that holds to be the average, that puts us somewhere in the neighborhood of… 240 fights to finish this campaign. Not sure I could actually pull that off, but let’s get this going and see how it works out.
So this is it, the very opening of the German offensive in the Ardennes (historical note: I know that, chronologically, this fight occurred after numerous other fights beginning around 0530, but I’m playing the campaign in eight-hour phases, and from that standpoint it doesn’t matter what order I play the ames in). In this fight we shall see German paratroopers, backed up by some light armor, attacking a US Cavalry unit consisting of some light infantry with some light armor. Somehow it has ended up that my older son is playing the Americans, while my younger son and I are playing the Germans. We are playing this game using a mashup of Ivan’s 5Core rules and Warlord’s Bolt Action rules. I’d intended on adding Battlegroup Wacht Am Rhein’s “Battle Rating” and chit-pull morale system as well, but I did not as I wanted to keep the game moving as quickly as possible in an attempt to keep the boys’ attention.
With armored cars burning on the road and under heavy fire, the Germans push forward to the outskirts of Losheim.
Braving German mortar fire, Colonel Denver wades into the mess and rallies the troops!
A Panzerschreck screams in at an American Stuart light tank.
To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
Next fight coming up soon!
Jack07/01/2021 at 21:13 #149193
A good fight but a rooky move by the oldest Boy.08/01/2021 at 03:46 #149194
Yeah, he’s a boot 😉
Jack08/01/2021 at 21:02 #149240ThomastonParticipant
I wasn’t hopeful when the 8rads were dueling with M8 and took first casualty, but the Germans did really well. Kept pushing into town. Pinning US 2nd plt still in their halftrack was even better. Did you think US had a chance after 2nd plt got pinned? Felt like once that happened victory was assured, SPG or not.
Tired is enough.10/01/2021 at 02:20 #149263Rod RobertsonParticipant
The minis and vehicles look great. Well done. I’ll read your first bat rep soon. It’s good to see you back in the mini saddle again, WWII wargaming thanks you.
Cheers and good gaming for both you and your boys.
Rod Robertson.10/01/2021 at 07:34 #149264
Thanks very much Jack, good report. What would you have done with the Priests?10/01/2021 at 10:43 #149268Norm SParticipant
Jack, the thing that I like about this most is that it is hugely inspirational to those of us with smaller game spaces, to see just how much good gaming can fall from our own domestic tables.
After reading this, I went straight to my lead mountain and started painting 15mm German infantry. A post can’t claim to do better than that!10/01/2021 at 15:51 #149272
Thomaston – Yeah, the firefight between the German armored cars and American light tanks had an auspicious start, and the US light tanks were never really defeated; I think only one out of five were actually knocked out. Having 2nd Platoon pinned in their halftracks certainly didn’t help, but it wasn’t a showstopper, they still could have been rallied if he’d have used the M7 Priests to put up a fight, rather than charge them through the woods.
Rod – Thank you, and yes, it feels good to be playing again, especially with my sons.
Whirlwind John – I liked the boy pushing the Priests out to the right flank, but I wouldn’t have advanced them past the road. I would have kept them there and fired laterally (to the northeast) at the Germans coming across the fields. I thought he was going to push 2nd Platoon out there on the right, into the woods, to screen the Priests, which wouldn’t have been a bad idea, even though I would have dismounted them in the northwest (and fallen 1st Platoon back) and made the Germans fight for every inch of the town. That theme shall present itself again in the second battle.
Norm – Wow, thank you for the kind words! I’m glad to have such an effect, and I look forward to seeing your 15mm troops.
Jack10/01/2021 at 18:02 #149274
One quick question for you: how big (roughly) is the game table area supposed to represent?10/01/2021 at 19:25 #149277
Insofar as any of my games are ‘simulations,’ these, in which I’m playing with an 11-year old and 6-year old boy, certainly are not.
I’m generally a fan of 1:1, ‘what you see is what you get’ in any case, making it easier for the boys to translate what the rules to what they see. I’ve lengthened it a tad, I suppose, only letting bazookas fire about 6”, so if I had to put a number on it I suppose I’d say the 6’ x 4’ table is about 300 yds x 200 yds.
Which makes a lot of stuff point-blank range in real life, but I’m still treating weapons values as operating at some distance (even though pretty much every weapon can reach the entirety of the table), particularly AT/armor values. It’s very much ‘toy soldiers.’
Maybe only slightly more than my normal games 😉
Jack11/01/2021 at 10:01 #149305
Cheers Jack, that is very helpful, many thanks.14/01/2021 at 14:44 #149470
0600-1400 local time
16 December 1944
US 110th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division vs 77th Regiment, 26th Volksgrenadier Division
Here we are for the second fight of our ‘Battle of the Bulge” campaign. The first fight saw German paratroopers move up and toss the US Cavalrymen out of Losheim, and now we’ve got a pack of Volksgrenadiers looking to do the same to a bunch of Pennsylvanians in Hosingen! In an attempt to speed the game up a bit I have changed the force structure: instead of each stand/vehicle being a game ‘element,’ now each group of stands (representing a platoon) is an element. For example, the US has seven platoons comprised of 21 stands; instead of 21 game elements we have only seven, which I’m hoping will substantially shorten the game time. Additionally, instead of using Bolt Action’s ‘dice draw’ method for activation we are using 5Core’s activation rolls (with normal, scurries, and firefights).
Overview, north is up. Another flat map, with a river running roughly east/west, paralleled by roads in the north and south, until they run into Hosingen itself. Lots of thick woods to the east, with a couple buildings in the southeast (bottom right), and some stone walls in the fields at center and bottom left. Hosingen is a substantial village, severely bombed out (maybe not in real life, but all the buildings in my campaign are bombed out).
Looking west down the road into Hosingen.
The Germans cross the Line of Departure.
US mortars (bottom left) begin working the Germans over (top right).
But the Germans are into the town and engaging the US tanks at close range.
To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
Anyway, fight number three coming soon.
Jack14/01/2021 at 14:57 #149473
Great stuff Jack. As you say, an interesting conundrum as to what to do with the US tanks. And I agree with you, maybe not have those US infantrymen out in the open14/01/2021 at 17:47 #149486ThomastonParticipant
3rd platoon, I think this is the first time I saw mortar kill something in you 5Core games.
Tired is enough.14/01/2021 at 22:29 #149500PaintingLittleSoldiersParticipant
Very cool15/01/2021 at 02:52 #149505
John – Thanks man, and some of it is my fault, changing rules on him, going from rules where everyone acts each turn to rules where only a couple units do. Whatever it takes to keep my edge 😉
Thomaston – Get outta here! Certainly mortars don’t get used as often as you and Kyote wish, and when they do they’re mostly suppressing the target, but they get their fair share of kills! As I recall, there were a few fights in Cuba Libra’s “Operation Chunky Bandit” where mortars proved quite deadly; fight #50 actually had a landmark which became known as “Mortar Hill,” due to all the infantry of each side slaughtered!
PaintingLittleSoldiers – Thanks, I appreciate it!
Jack16/01/2021 at 02:31 #149570
Mortars never leave home without them !!!16/01/2021 at 14:39 #149607
That’s what I hear 😉
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