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Omaha Beach – IABSM with the Little One

 

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On Saturday the Little One and I had a real treat as we were invited to Mike Whittaker’s Mill Studios (@TaTM_blog on twitter) to play the eminent Omaha Beach game that we had missed to play at Salute this year (see link here). The Little One, Andy (who built the terrain but never played the scenario) and I played the American Side, we were being skillfully empired by Mike who also played the Germans. We

The scenario is from the excellent IABSM scenario book called “Where have you been boys” and can be bought from the Too Fat Lardies website here.

Where the Hell Have You Been Boys?
21 Scenarios for £7.80 – that is a good deal! Whether you are using IABSM or not it is an excellent source and contains a lot of varied scenarios.

This is scenario Six and in the book and promises “The game will be nasty, bloody and gritty, it shouldn’t be anything else”.  It takes place at the eastern end of Omaha beach (Colleville-Sur-Mer) and  involves the US 1st Infantry Division – the Big Red One.  This is very much the scenes from Saving Private Ryan stuff. The scenario shows the difficulties on the day and for this kind of operation in general. The Germans have relative little Firepower but are in very good protected position whilst the Americans are mainly in the open up to the shingles of the beach, then protected by the cliffs before having to be in the open again trying to get through the wires and mine fields.

The US forces, just like on the day come in waves, and basically first wave took a lot of damage, so did the second but managed to clear some wires and take out some of the nests form a distance, then the final and third wave started to turn the balance.  It was a different wargame in that most of the time, from our American side, was spent hoping that the next barrage of artillery, HE guns, sniper fire and MG would not wipe the whole section out and that some of the men who survive and get to the shingles and momentarily be safe.  The two Sherman tanks who had made it to the beach did provide some initial fire power but they were soon taken out. It was very sobering and certainly kept to the promise in the scenario book, as it was indeed “nasty, bloody and gritty” and leaves you with a lot of reflection on the terrors facing the men on that day.   We had to leave just as the third wave had arrived, but at this time it looked like the first part of the job was done, at least on the side of the beach I was not responsible for (luckily Andy and the Little One had cleared a lot of wire on their side of the board).

Mike had added a few features like General Norman “Dutch” Cota, coming as part of the second wave, who was useful in rallying and getting some moving on where needed and also Robert Capa who took some iconic photos.

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The Famous Capa Photo
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The one take during the game (actually when leaving rather than arriving) – taken by Mike

A few other memorable moments was the first shot from the Sherman leading to one of the guns in the bunker getting out of action and the off–table German 88 being taken out by some Royal Navy guns very early.  In addition the effect of artillery and the way it works is really effectful and realistic (as is the use of HE weapons) leading to units becoming pinned and stopped in their tracks – not based on casualties in itself – I really like this (keeping your head down). Some of my units arrived without leaders and it was difficult to get these men up to beach to do their job – the unit with the leaders fared better but I was let down by some bad dice rolling (rolling ones, who would have believed that!).

What follows are a lot of pictures from the day.  I believe that Mike will be doing a write up of his thoughts from having played the scenario a number of times in the upcoming Lard Magazine that will be out later in the year.

All the miniatures were from Battlefront!, except for a few Peter Pig casualty markers.

As for the Little One and I? I think we both would be tempted to do something similar perhaps in 6mm?, one day!

It was a great day indeed, thanks for having us Mike.

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Prepping with Chocolate and an Osprey
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Preparation is everything
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The calm before the storm, just a few engineers on the beach.
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Initial rolls for what is coming and a where? – will the boats come with medic of big men, will they arrive in time and will they have taken casualties and in which sector will they arrive?
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Two tanks had made it to the beach!
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Mike had a very effective and clever management system for getting the waves organised
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First boats incoming, one taking damage.
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First shot of the Game a Sherman knocking out one of the Bunker guns.

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One of the first wave boats deploys
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Robert Capa being onboard

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One of the Shermans quickly gets take out of action
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More boats arrive

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Movements then starts up the beach – slow and deadly!

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The Germans have easy targets
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It is a long way to go

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Some of the teams manage to get to the shingles relatively early – safety can be found here for a while.

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Engineers getting up the slopes trying to get rid of the Wires
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Mike doing some Capa shots!

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General Cota is inspiring the men but a lot of kills and pins are being delivered by the German continuous firing!

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Build up on the beach!

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Artillery was scaring and kept pinning and draining men!
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They are not having rest Corporal!

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Some early wires being dealt with!

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Guess who!

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Constantly pinned down – it was difficult to get forward.

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A bazooka team is getting closer with the objective of taking out the other bunker with the Gun (eventually they would be successful).

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At this point we had to leave, we had been playing from around 10am to 6pm, with a break for Lunch.  Finally we had broken through the wire in Section 3 and the third way were just starting to come in.

 

/ Hope that was of some interest!

Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

This weekend I and the Little One tried out a version of the Men who would be Kings rules by Dan Mersey, we played the Skirmish version (kind of, we actually played it like we had 12 figures per unit although we only used 6 models, but we needed two figures worth in terms of damage to remove a model) with some borrowed items from the FOCH WW1 rules adaptation that you can download from Wargames Illustrated here (covering Tanks, anti-tank guns and squad LMGs).  We call it the Mutants who would be Emperors – as it is set in the weird world that is my take on the Mutant universe as presented in the Swedish Rpg from the 1980s (your Mutant may vary, more here).

Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the early 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

In short anything goes, it is a world that has started to re-build itself with a technology level of about 18th century give and take but there are some old tech weapons floating around – this is represented by the three different level of firearms in the rules (antiquated rifles, rifled muskets, bolt action rifle, basically differing in terms of range. We may review this moving forward and consider some reloading rules), basically giving each model using one of these a 2d6 (as we are using 6 per unit) in terms of rolling for damage.  For other weapons (automatic weapons, lasers, etc) we assume them having a damage of 5d6 (each LMG costs 1 point) – this gave some units we used a very high fire power rating – being difficult to take down but not impossible for a unit prepared to charge in and fight hand-to-hand. We also used a tank and anti-tank gun in line with the FUCH rules.

The scenario was a straightforward fight between two border detachments, one from the large Pyri-Commonwealth and the other from the small but proud Jemtland north of the Pyri-Commonwealth, during the short but eventful Yran Hostilities that almost led to an outright war in the year 96 (or 2550 if you still count in AD).

The Pyri-Commonwealth side has stopped to re-supply at a depot that is well stocked with water and other essentials, very close to the entrance to a small forbidden zone in the Hamra region in the northern part of the Pyri-Commonwealth. The depot is run by the Nicholas von Rijn trading company and a good deal has been made, a few drinks have been had and there are rumours that Furir Dozibugger has had a few too many already (Typical for the Pertorian Guard – elite status in what?, drinking and hazard gaming).  There has been reports about some mutated monsters in the area – a walking murder tree and a giant beetle – both are very aggressive towards humans and extremely dangerous.  There is enough firepower in the detachment to take them down but invariably a few men or women would have to put their lives on the line in case of an encounter – and they do not fight with caution.  Suddenly the Rifle units comes back running, they  report movements on the other side of  the old ruins – “It is those damn Jemts again. Prepare for engagement…. to arms, man the tank and attack!”.

These are the units we used for this battle:

The Pyri Commonwealth Detachment

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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link here, and female officer of unknown origin bought on Ebay).
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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link above, and female riflewoman of unknown origin bought on Ebay).
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The sharpshooting Pertorian Guards – armed with Repeater Berry Rifles.  Only flaw is the section commanders habit of being drunk (models from Ironclad Miniatures with a conversion, link here)
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A tank – this is an experimental model with a steam engine and armed with a machine gun. There are only two things that can cause it any major harm the AT rifle carried by the Cocks or the strong jaws of the Giant Beetle. Tank from Ironclad miniatures (link here)

The Jemtland Detachment

 

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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions, link here)
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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (again, ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions)
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Bullet Spitter (Kulspottare, Gatling Gun unknown make, with crew being made from Perry ACW plastics)
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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)
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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)
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Doodle’s Cocks (mercenary unit) – models from Interloper Miniatures (link here)

And of course the wandering monsters, they will attack anything moving within 6 inches and anything firing at them with a movement of 6″+1d6, attacks at 4+ and will deliver 12d6 worth of damage as well as taking 12 points of damage (both counting as being in light cover due to protective bark and scale). The murder tree is from Fenris Games (a dark young of Shub-Niggurath – link here) and the Giant Beetle a plastic toy (made in China) that I was gifted by Michael Leck.

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What follows in not a AAR but a set of pictures from the fighting, with some comments, as we were mostly using this to try out the rules – we had a blast playing and the craziness of it all really adds to the fun!  What made it even better was that the Little One had done most of the planning and I just had to, more or less, sit down and play. We plan to run the game again and perhaps we will do a better narrative of the battle then.

 

 

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The men of the Pyri-Commonwealth ready for Action!
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The set-up the Jems coming in from the right and the Pyris on the left with the trading station and the water tanks.  The Giant Beetle ended up in the middle of the table and the Murder tree in the top of the picture next to the old truck and the ruin.
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About there..
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The Jemts are advancing!
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Tank Gliding in to action with the intention to put itself on the road and put down some fire down the road.  First getting rid of the Giant Beetle.
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Following some really bad dice the Beetle just got angry and went for the tank, starting to damage the hull with its strong jaws. The Machine Gun firing another burst and jammed, it would be up to the muskets to do finish the job.
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Meanwhile a steady advance on the other side of the table
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Some good shooting later from the men of the Pyri-Commonwealth and the Beetle flipped over dead. But the tank had sustained substantial damage from the beetle.
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The other group of Pyri Rifles set to take out the Mercenary Squad
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…behind the cars

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A skirmishing action trying to take a few of the Cocks out!
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Only one Cock lost and the retaliatory fire with a team full of machine guns took the rifle team down from 6 to 1 – game over.
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Overview…
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The Cocks are waiting to take out the tank and anyone else coming into their view!
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The Pertorian Guard were slow to get going as the had started drinking early that day.
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The tank with an unjammed MG moved over the dead Beetle (made in China).
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Pyris finest managed to press on but managed to irritate the murder tree.

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Another bad firing from the Tank’s MG and it jammed again.
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Some fine shooting by the remaining rifles and the Murder tree went down after a few exchanges.
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House to house fighting! I have to agree it looked really weird with all these different uniforms and the setting – absolutely loved it.
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The Cocks maneuvering around to take out the tank (like if it was a threat anyway)
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Hey mate stop waving the flag – they will know we are here!
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This is also the moment when the Cocks used their Anti-tank ability and knock-out the tank (it had already taken some damage and just needed a small push to go useless) – we could not find any of the smoke markers so I let you use your imagination.
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Nothing more retro than Wimpy! Uber Delivery – the boys are gaming!
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It became a dragged out firefight!

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…until only one Pyri group were left standing and pushed back into the ruins!….
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THE END – the last firefight before all the Pyri-Commonwealth gave up!
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Some more pictures the Little One took before we tidied it all up!

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Absolute blast. It is funny that I am playing a game with my son being the same age I was when I first adventured in this world 35 years ago. / hope that was of some interest!