Duncan’s Napoleonic Game with Combat Patrol at Historicon 2018

From Duncan Adams:

[Here are two long shots of the table to help provide context for Duncan’s narrative.]


“On Friday afternoon I ran ‘Welcome to Sunny Spain,’ a Peninsular War convoy ambush using Combat Patrol: Napoleonic Supplement.
“The game starts with the French convoy warily entering the town. Bill Mollineaux had the lead infantry, a new player (forgot his name:( ) had the cavalry, and Robert, who played Dave’s Zulu game and wanted more CP, played the infantry in the rear. There was a guerillo band, divided into three groups of six, controlled by Jeff Kimmel of the Rogues, a platoon of Cacadores (2 sections of 8) controlled by Terry (one of my groupies) blocking the road ahead, and a platoon of Portuguese light infantry (2 sections of 8), controlled by Mike waiting to close in behind the convoy after the trap was sprung.
“Things were quiet until the Guerillos card came up, then the French forward contingent moves out to clear the way.
“The new player, due to his inexperience, thought that this six man cavalry troop could clear eight elite cacadores out of the woods by charging them. It didn’t work very well.
“Bill brought up his infantry platoon to try and clear the way ahead by defeating Terry’s cacadores. He was repeatedly undone by morale checks that went very badly for him while Terry’s had minimal effect.
“Meanwhile, Robert’s French infantry was using superior numbers to get the better of Mike’s Portuguese at the rear of the column, while sending a section to clear some buildings of guerillos.
“In desperation, hoping to finally put a bad morale result on Terry, Bill sent the French commander charged the woods.
“Despite having impetus and a better M value Bill lost the fight.
“Though at the end the French had just about won the rear and center fights, the cacadores were holding strong and it was far from certain that the whole remaining French could have driven them off over time. So we called it an Allied victory. Everybody seemed to have a good time.”

Duncan’s Zorro Game at Historicon 2018

From Duncan Adams:
“On Sunday morning I ran “Zorro and the Dastardly Plot.”  I had seven players, so one played the tavern staff. I actually prefer that because the staff can do more interesting things under player control than I can do as the GM. Tom Veilott and his dad Jim Veil, a dad with a son and daughter, Joe Procopio and a friend of his were the players.
“This was a Blood and Swash scenario with the usual overlapping objectives, but most players wanted to get the treasure of kill Zorro. But first, Bernardo had to discover the villains’ plans and report to Zorro.  [If you are a fan of the Disney show like Duncan and me, you know that Bernardo pretends to be deaf.]
“Bernardo innocently loiters near the room where the baddies meet.
“But having overheard their plans, he cannot get past them to use the stairs.
“So, in a scene that reminded me of Yoda doing cartwheels with his lightsaber, Bernardo jumped off the balcony onto the bar.
“While the villains put their plans in motion, and Don Alejandro and the tavern staff mix it up with El Comandante, Zorro emerges from the tavern cellar to put things right.
“He is immediately accosted by Sgt Garcia and lancer Perez who want the reward for his capture. Why don’t they ever get him from opposite directions?
“Zorro breaks away from Garcia and Perez – making both saves – and attempts to get through the baddies at the foot of the stairs. Garcia rejoins the fight – now he’s getting somewhere, coming in from behind!
“Zorro was played by Tom Veilott who has been playing Blood and Swash as long as any of us. He knows that staying in a fight to avoid the free hit when there are objectives to reach is a sucker bet. So, Zorro breaks away from three attackers, making two full and one half saves and runs up the banister, making another save. I can just picture Guy Williams doing this.
“On the balcony, Zorro finds more baddies, and those from the bottom of the stairs have followed him. This is getting ugly.
“Meanwhile, in the tavern, Teo the bartender has picked up a bench and is bludgeoning one of El Commandante’s lancers.
“After turning the tables on a minion who tried to push him off the balcony, Zorro has made it into the room with the villains’ ill gotten gains. However, the numbers are catching up to him – too many enemies, too few activations.
“In the end it was to much for Zorro to endure. Better luck at FALL IN!”
This looked like a good game with all the usual Blood and Swash hilarity.  Perhaps Zorro will try to escape from the Quartel with Bernardo’s help at Fall In?

Other Historicon 2018 Games

Tank ran a Bear Yourselves Valiantly game featuring Carthaginians versus Romans.

Tank also ran two iterations of his immensely popular brawl on a train using Blood and Swash.  I just love this game!

Dave ran two iterations of his Zulu ambush scenario using Combat Patrol(TM): WWII.  Dave is working on a British colonial supplement.

Chris ran a fantasy game using the under-development feudal version of Combat Patrol.

Star Wars with Combat Patrol

Title:  Rear Guard at Outpost Priebe

Rules: Star Wars Supplement for Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: Science Fiction – Star Wars

Description:  Clones are advancing toward the Republic base camp on the planet of Christophsis.  Supplies are running low and the Trade Federation is refusing to let any through to the Clone troopers.  Droid forces advance steadily.  Lieutenant Boomer and his Clone platoon conduct a delaying action at Outpost Preibe to give time for supplies and reinforcements to arrive.  Can Boomer hold long enough?

Greg and I ran our sixth game of Historicon Saturday evening.  We used a modification of the France 1940 scenarios we had run in the morning and afternoon.  We swapped out the terrain a bit and replaced the Germans with Droids and the British/French with clones.


Starting deployment for the Clone Wars game

I don’t have enough droid tanks to exactly replicate the earlier scenarios, so the droids had two tanks, and the clones had shoulder-fired AT rockets.

Droids advancing
Clones take up defensive positions atop buildings

This was probably our least successful game of the weekend.  We are still struggling to get the balance right in these Clone Wars games.  Sometimes the clones just shred the droids and people complain.  Other times the droids don’t die fast enough, and the clone players complain.  We had a critical clone player who didn’t quite understand the activation sequence, and as a result the anti-tank rockets never really played a role.  The droid tanks shelled the clone positions with impunity.

Cones defend the roofs despite heavy casualties. You can see a rocket launcher in the center of this picture. You can also see Obi Wan Kenobi has jumped on a droid tank to destroy it.

The clones needed to draw in the droids.  Instead they sat on the roofs of the buildings and just got shelled over and over.  Lots of lessons experienced, but no lessons learned.  Had the clones dropped down behind the buildings out of sight, the droids would have been forced to advance to where the shoulder-fired rockets could have taken out the tanks and where the high rate of fire and accuracy of the clone small arms fire would have been decisive.

Despite taking cover properly, the clones were torn up by HE fire from the droid tank.


France 1940 with Combat Patrol at Historicon 2018

Saturday Morning

Title:  The BEF in France

Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: WWII

Description:  The Germans have swept through France and Belgium with dizzying speed.  Lieutenant Fotheringay and his stalwart platoon form the BEF have been assigned the unenviable task to holding a small rural crossroads to delay the German juggernaut.  Can they hold long enough for their battalion to take up defensive positions, or will they be overwhelmed?

Saturday Afternoon

Title:  A Skirmish in France

Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: WWII

Description:  The Maginot Line has been outflanked and bypassed. The Germans are dashing through France to the coast.  Lieutenant Carnot and his small platoon have been tasked to hold a small rural crossroads to buy time for his battalion to form a new defensive line to the West.   Can the small band of Frenchmen hold back the German juggernaut long enough?

Notes:  Rules will be taught.  Younger gamers welcome with a participating adult.

On Saturday, Greg and I ran two games on the same terrain.  The setting was a small French town in 1940.  The German forces were tasked to seize the town and eliminate resistance in preparation for the battalion following them.  The two scenarios were the same, but in the morning the defenders were British, and in the afternoon they were French.

German deployment for both scenarios

The German forces were the same for both scenarios.  Two squads (dividing into two half squads) were forward ready to cross the stream.  Behind them were four Czech 38(t) tanks and two more squads in trucks.  It is subtle, but you can see that the table with the river bed is slightly shorter than the other tables to provide a look of flood plane.

The lead German squad
The British (and French) deployment

The British (and French) deployment had one squad in the village (but outside the buildings), a machine-gun team in a corner of woods to cover the avenue of approach for German infantry, two Matilda II tanks, and two more half squads just to the left of this picture.  The Germans had twice as many tanks and twice as many infantrymen as the defenders.

A Matilda’s eye view of the battlefield

The Germans got three unanswered shots from their 38(t)s on one of the Matilda’s, failing to penetrate with every shot.  Then the Matilda opened fire and quickly brewed up both of the 38(t)s it was facing.

The Germans begin to move forward
First dead 38(t)
Third dead 38(t)
British infantry caught in the bowling alley taking HE fire from the Germans
The Germans suppress the British machine-gun with HE fire
The Germans advance to storm the town (top) while their infantry establish a base of fire on their left

After losing a tank on the German left, they advanced to the cover of a ruined building and established a support-by-fire position.  They traded fire with the British machine-gun and a half squad of infantry for several turns.

Last dead 38(t)

The Germans to to the town and began to close assault the defenders.  The Brits had an ATR in the second story of a building, but it bounced off the 38(t).  A Matilda finished off the last German tank.  The German infantry seized two of the four village buildings.  With the loss of their last tank, the Matilda’s could maneuver with impunity.  They backed off and began shelling the towns.  At this point, we determined that while the Germans held the town, with now support, they couldn’t hold it.  We called the game a British victory.

In the second running, with the French defenders, the Germans won.  The French lost one H-35, and the Germans lost two 38(t)s.  The Germans were able to seize all four buildings through close assault.

Both games were a lot of fun for the players, and we enjoyed running them.

Sea Lion Begins

Title:  Sea Lion Begins

Rules:  Combat Patrol™: WWII

Period: WWII

Description:  France has fallen.  Though invasion is expected, the people of Little Basely by the Sea are nonetheless surprised when a barge full of Germans appears on the beach. The Home Guard and other auxiliaries take up arms and rush to repel them.  Will they be able to throw the Germans back into the sea, or will the Germans secure their first foothold in England?

Germans land on the coast of Little Basely by the Sea

In a continuation of our Thursday night scenario, Greg and I ran a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game Friday morning in which the Germans landed on the coast.  We used the ending situation (with minor adjustments) as the starting point for this scenario.  The Home Guard had been badly mauled in the Thursday nigh game as had the Land Girls and the church ladies.  We reset some things a little and then had the Germans hit the beach.

German landing forces were supported by two Czech 38(t) tanks.

The German bomber crew and few remaining Fallschirmjaegers occupied the town.  A platoon of British regulars arrived to throw them back into the sea.  The remaining Home Guard and ladies of town with improvised weapons pitched in.  The Land Girls had been wiped out Thursday night and so didn’t participate in Friday morning’s action.

The church ladies pinched the vicar’s car and headed off to “fight them on the beaches.”
The few remaining Home Guard troopers are flanked by Germans in a copse near town
The Germans destroyed the British Rolls Royce armored car with a lucky shot from one of the 38(t)s

The game was a lot of fun and came down to the last couple of card flips.  Unfortunately when Greg and I were resetting the scenario we forgot to remove a machine-gun from the German side, and we were part way through the scenario before we realized we had done so.  The German player took full advantage of the extra gun and really tore up the advancing British.  This skewed our play balance a bit, but the game still went well.

This game won an award from the Historicon convention staff.

HAWKs Tankfest Tour (part 4 – The Main Event!!)

The Russian encampment before Tankfest opened for the day

As with yesterday’s post, I took hundreds of pictures and videos, but only a few are presented here.

This whole trip was built around Tankfest 2018.  We had tickets for the director’s enclosure so we had an assigned area to sit and didn’t have to worry about staking out a hunk of ground early.  Nonetheless, we got up early and drove to Bovington, arriving over an hour before the gates were scheduled to open, because we didn’t know what traffic was going to be like.  The re-enactors were set up near the gate, so we got to see some of their morning activities as we waited.  Interestingly, the organizers had brought in a bucket loader to dig a trench for these Russians.

German A7V tank in the tank park.  This is a replica.  The only known A7V was captured by New Zealanders and now resides in Australia.   The outside and the engine speeds are authentic, but the inside is modern.

As soon as the gates opened we beelined to the tank park.  Here is where all the vehicles that were going to be driving during the day were parked and ready for the show.  This was only open for about 90 minutes, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the opportunity.    What follows are a series of pictures I took in the tank park.  There were no “do not touch signs.”  In general you couldn’t climb on any of the vehicles, but you could walk up to them and fondle them.

Don in front of a Honey

An M-16 halftrack. This was fitted with quad .50 cal machine-guns for anti-aircraft fire but was quite effective against ground targets as well.

A Universal (a.k.a. Bren) carrier
Some paragon of studliness in front of the Universal Carrier for scale. This vehicle is MUCH larger than I imagined.
A Lancaster armored car
A Marder and crew waiting their return to the tank park
Duncan and Eric took a ride in this cargo carrier based on the M113 chasis that has been converted for tourist transport.

The live portion of the show began with a demonstration of the three German Leopard tanks.

They then showed some modern British tanks and vehicles.  The next “show” was of a number of light reconnaissance vehicles.

This has the “Berlin” camouflage pattern.
A scorpion or scimitar light reconnaissance vehicle.

A million years ago, when I worked briefly with the 15th/6th Queens Royal Lancers I was able to get inside one of these.

The British have a lot of light reconnaissance vehicles, while the US has never really embraced this concept in the same way.  The announcer partially explained this as a need for lighter, cheaper vehicles to police the empire, but this doesn’t really explain why the US concept doesn’t generally include these kinds of vehicles.  These would seem to be useful in the cavalry regiments in the light units.

This seems like it would really expose the crew to indirect fire, weather, and the sun.

The recon vehicles were followed by armored personnel carriers.

A crew dismounts an APC and assaults across an objective

Then they brought out a couple of British engineering vehicles.

The engineering vehicles actually did work laying the bridge, picking up debris, and laying a fascine.

Then came my favorite part of the show, in which the WWI and early WWII tanks drove around the arena.

Click to see a video of the German A7V.

Click to see a video of the French Char B

Click to see the French FT-17 and British Mark IV

Click to see video of the Stuart and Sherman driving around the arena.

It seems to be agains the anti-sedition act of 16 something for a British historian to ever say anything good about Americans, but the announcer did a great job debunking all the myths about the Sherman and actually talked about both the Sherman and Stuart in positive ways.

And more German WWII vehicles:

German Panzer III
German StuG
German towed 88mm gun
An another view of the Stuart
Matilda I

Matilda I being towed off the field after it overheated

The day culminated with three mock battle scenarios from WWI, WWII, and Iraq.

WWI infantry following a Mk IV

The presentation was unabashedly pro-British.  Some of the history presented clearly presents a British bias.  I have no problem with this.  This is the British Tank Museum on British Armed Forces Day.  Americans are pathologically self-loathing and self-destructive, so it was refreshing to see people touting their military history and accomplishments.  Actually, it was refreshing to see people who even knew anything about their history.  As the US Armor Museum is reconstituted in Columbus, GA, I hope the curators were here today seeing this for themselves.  THIS is what the new Patton Museum should be like.  The fact that the vehicles were moving I think really made this accessible for younger people in the audience without resorting to special effects or cuteness.  This was tank history in action.

This was a GREAT day, and I am very glad that we came to Bovington for Tankfest.