Saturday, 22 April 2017

GF9 Tanks Practise Games - Part 1: Balance

Before you even put your tank models on the playing mat, you should take a little time to study and understand the tank balancing mechanics of the game. I noted that on my first game at the Scarborough Games Society they ignored tank balancing altogether (albeit to allow four people to join in a friendly game, but in tournament competitions, this would not be permitted)...

Balancing is fairly straight forward, it is a points based system where each type of tank is given a points value. For example, my Panzer V Panther has a points value of 32, while my American Sherman 76mm gunned tank has a value of 25...

These points values represent various positive attributes of the tank in question, it's perceived effectiveness, attack and defence statics, armament, etc. But also, importantly, it's 'initiative'.

Balancing a game of GF9 Tanks is a matter of trying to ensure that both sides in a game have as equal a number of points in their force as is possible. The total points value would be agreed upon between the players before you start the game. So, for example, a typical beginners game might be set at 50 points - which would allow me a couple of 'cheap' basic Shermans, for example, or a single more expensive tank with some points to spare.

However, what if you can't make your tank forces add up to the same points value of your opponent?

The answer is Upgrade & Character Cards...

Balancing My First Practice Game
The Tanks starter set pretty much dictates that you have a Sherman versus Panther game, this makes things a little easier as it takes some of the pressure off (you will get to chose from a wide variety of esoteric tanks as you get more experienced). So all I need to do is decide on a points level for my game.

Now (in theory) I could simply pitch one Sherman 76mm against one Panther and use some upgrade or crew cards to bring the Sherman up to the Panthers value of 32, but a slightly more historically accurate scenario might be to pit two Sherman 75mm tanks against one Panther. (Historically the Germans often found themselves outnumbered by the 'inferior' Shermans. It's a bit of a cliche but makes for an interesting skirmish.)

As the Shermans each have a value of 20 points (totalling 40 points) and the Panther has a value of 32, I decided to make my practise game a 50 point game so I could play with some upgrades!

Here's how I decided to make up my American team...

What I have done is added a 'Hero' crewmember upgrade to one of my Shermans (7pts) - 'Ground Hog' Oller and a 'Dead-eye Gunner' (3pts) to my other M4. You can only have one 'hero' crewman in your whole force.

Both these cards give me the ability to positively influence my chances of a critical hit...A much-needed upgrade to my piddling short 75mm gun. This makes my force exactly 50 points in value.

And here's how I decided to configure my German team...
With my Panzer V Panther worth 32 points, this leaves me a whopping 18 points of upgrades that I can make. This means I can really go to town to level the playing fields against two M4s...

I went big with a hero commander and chose the infamous Michael Whittman (a whopping 11 points). Whittman gives my Panther a chance to rectify a failed attempt to repair Bailed Out and Stunned Crew effects and also adds one extra dice to my Attack. (He also adds +2 Initiative, but the Panther already has the advantage with Initiative anyway.)

Additionally, I added a 'Precise Loader' (4 pts) and a 'Bloodthirsty Gunner' (3 pts) to this tank. These both add the ability to increase the Panther's attack in different situations.

Tank with upgrades = 50pts total

Summing Up
Well, that was easy. But whether - as a newbie to this game - I understand the full potential of my choices (there were quite a few of the upgrade cards that I didn't understand, so I restricted my choices to those I did) is a different matter. As I get more experienced and understand what different upgrades mean - in action - I may very well choose differently.

For example, I do not yet fully appreciate how 'Initiative' can influence combat so I did not take the opportunity to use upgrades to increase the Shermans' Initiative values over the Panther. With experience, I may feel this might be a good thing to do...I don't know (yet).

Anyway, those are my choices, the next thing is to see how these affect the run of play.

Next: Setting up the playing mat

Monday, 17 April 2017

My GF9 Tanks Starter Set Models

Well, I completed the basic construction of my GF9 model tank kits this morning and so I am now ready to try our the basic game, learn the rules and practise some tactics!

I built the tanks using some small magnets so I could swap over turrets so in order to give me a bit of variety in the tanks I can play with. Using this method I can have two variants of M4 Sherman and two variations of the Panther...

M4A3 76mm gunned Shermans versus Panzer V Panther
M4A3 75mm gunned Shermans versus the mighty Jagdpanther!
I'm really pleased with this configuration because it allows me to play with the formidable Jadpanther assault gun (or tank destroyer, depending on what you prefer to call this type of tank).

I'm a bit of a fan of tank destroyers and so this will be fun to play with, although the inherent weakness of this type - the fixed turret - will make for some challenging game scenarios.

Now that I have my tanks built, I may look at improving some of the starter set's 2D (flat) scenery, as - when I played my first games at the games club - I did find that flat scenery did give you a false impression about what was and was not in 'cover' sometimes. So, my preference would be to use 3D models of scenery to better simulate obstacles to line of sight.

I'll be posting up some notes on my first practise games soon.

Friday, 14 April 2017

First game of GF9 Tanks - Got Thrashed!

Hilarious, and humbling at the same time, I played my first game of GF9 Tanks last night and was the thrashed...By one of the gaming club member's young daughter! TWICE!

Humiliation aside, it was a good chance for me to see the game mechanics in action and confirm that I have read the manual correctly. Not that's there are lot's of rules, the simplicity of the game is part of its charm (though, this same streamlined approach to 'wargaming' with tanks might also be said to be the games biggest weakness at the same time)...

Setting up a game of GF9 Tanks
The simplicity of setup is one of the attractive features of the game, and as I showed in my previous post everything you need is in the starter box. The play area is only 3' x 3', so you do not need a huge table and this small size also has an effect on the length of the game, which is estimated - on average - to take 30 minutes to play.

We opted for - perhaps - the most rudimentary way of playing the game which was a straight forward 'deathmatch' style of game, either side starting from opposite sides of the table. We also played with four played - two aside - with each player controlling one of the tanks (this actually worked quite well, I thought). And we did take some liberties with the rules by going for a 2 v 2 tank setup, as we made no allowances for tank balancing and nor did we use any of the crew upgrade cards.

But, all our compromises were made so that we could just get the game going and learn the central factors of play - the game phases, how to move and how to shoot.

Game 1 saw some rather over-confident play on the part of the Panther! The
Shermans are actually 76mm gunned models so are a better match for this cat.
In our first game, we did play a little more aggressively than we should have. In this, you cannot help but compare the 'arcade' format of GF9 Tanks to its computer counterpart 'World of Tanks' and this affected our initial attempts at playing the game (we went in a bit 'gung ho'). In fact, jokingly, the question of whether ramming was allowed in the rules came up at one point (the answer is NO)!

We're doomed! With our prized Panther destroyed, the Sherman force split to
trap my Panzer IV in a pincer...Mercifully, it was all over quickly.

Tactics and the use of terrain
By game two we had learned our lessons - one of which is that the Panther is NOT a magic tank - and we started to devise a more tactical approach (the teams swapped factions and we played the Americans this time).

One thing I felt about the flat 2D scenery was that - while adequate and convenient for transporting the game - was that is somewhat detracted from the immersion of playing the game. The fact that you could always see you opponents, despite them technically being behind solid cover did take some of the shine off the game.

I see no houses! In reality, the two German tank are technically 'behind cover'.
Unfortunately, the 2D 'houses' do not immediately give this impression.

But this observation wasn't just an aesthetic preference, I di feel - on occasion - that the flat scenery did make it hard to judge whether a tank was or was not in cover, or how much it was in cover or whether a tank had a direct line of sight to a target. Obviously, it was a simple matter of discussing and agreeing with your opponent what effect the 2D houses or woods had and it caused no particular debate, but I think that proper 3D scenery would make any such issues easier to resolve. (And I'm not just saying that as an excuse to make some more models! LOL)

Rules and complexity
There isn't really, initially, a lot to learn to play this game. The two main things are learning the game 'phases' or order of play - which are movement, followed by firing, followed by a 'command' phase and what number of dice you need to attack and defend.

Movement - or the 'speed' of your tank - is set to a maximum of two lengths of the supplied measuring ruler. In short, the further you move - up to two lengths of the ruler - the faster you are travelling (and so pose a harder to hit target). The game ruler is 10cm long, so you could pull off a straight line 'charge' of 20cm (2 moves) if you wanted to, though you can change direction (not during a single ruler movement, but by turning your ruler for your next movement)...

In this close-in encounter, you can see the 'speed' markers next to the tanks. The
Panther, for example, has just moved '1' (half of its maximum movement).
You have to be aware of the effects of obstacles, but moving is as simple as that. Firing is a little more complex (though that's a relative thing with this game)...

Shooting and the 'Command' phase
Firing at the enemy - and defending against attack - is all down to the vagaries of dice (not good for me, as I am notoriously a bad dice thrower, as game two proved). A roll of 4, 5 or 6 score a 'hit', while the 6 indicates a 'critical' hit.

Each tank has a set 'attack' dice allocation - the Panzer IV has an attack of 4 (so 4 dice). Various tanks - and whether you have special rules or special crew abilities - increase or decrease this figure, roughly in line with how 'powerful' a tank is perceived to be (so, for example, the Jagdpanther has an attack of 6 while the lowly 75mm Sherman only has an attack of 4)...

One notable feature of shooting in this game is that there is no range effect...If you can see the tank you can hit it!

The modifiers to this all come in the defence of a tank. Each tank also comes with a basic defence attribute (number of dice), this is augmented by whether it has moved, whether the attacker has moved, whether either of you are in cover, at what angle the target presents itself AND whether you are in close range (within one ruler length of each other)...Working this out is as complex as this game gets.

So, as an example, the M4 Sherman has a defence attribute of '1', so it starts with 1 dice. If the Sherman has moved in its move phase you add one dice for each move and if your attacker moved you add a dice for his move...

This may seem strange, but what this is trying to simulate is the effect of fire between two moving targets.

Now, if the defender is in cover you add another dice BUT if the defender is within close range you subtract a dice! (There are additional modifiers and situations where you modify, but basically, that's the gist of the shooting phase. This is enough to get you started.)

Example: The Panther attacks with 5 dice and scores a 2,3,5,5,6 - so that's 3 hits (one of them a 'crit). BUT the defender - a Sherman - gets to roll one dice as his base defence, another because he moved 1, another because the Panther moved 1, and another because he is in cover. He rolls a 1,3,4,6 - a 4, 5 or 6 is a successful defence so he has countered the Panthers 5,5,6.

OK, that was a whirlwind tour of the mechanics and I have skimmed a bit. But hopefully, I have shown that this is not a difficult game to learn.

I found that the basic game of tank kill tank will prove to be a bit over-simple for most people and will get very samey very quickly. But, I have not covered the crew upgrades not tank balancing features of the game, which we chose not to incorporate in our first attempts at playing.

Aside from this, there are also objective and mission based games and GF9 - the creators - have published free to download 'Ops' kits, which include special mission rules and even more special printable terrain features. I've downloaded their Normandy campaign Ops kit and it looks terrific as it adds things like minefields and anti-tank bunkers, which will certainly add to the challenge of the game.

It is, at its heart, a simple little game though, and is like an appetiser which you could easily play before you start something more complex, like a Bolt Action game, just as a warm up. It's also a nice introduction to 15mm armour tabletop gaming and is intended - I believe - to be a gateway game to the more substantial and in-depth 'Flames of War' war game.

Next: I will set up and explore the 'advanced' rules in depth in a solo practise game

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

GF9 'Tanks' tabletop game

The ideal tabletop game for any fan of 'World of Tanks', I spotted this being demo'd last weekend and liked the look of it so much I ordered it from Amazon...[Apologies for the quality of photos, but I was impatient to get this post up that I hurried my snaps!]

The cost of the starter set - Panther vs Sherman - was £17, which I suppose might seem a lot (though compared to some large boxed tabletop games it isn't) but just look at the amount that's stuffed inside...

Aside from the manual, dice, various types of game cards and several sheets of cardboard markers and scenery, there are four plastic sprues so you can make your 15mm (1/100) scale German and US/Allied tanks! That seems good value for money to me.

So, let's have a look at the contents of the box...

The manual is a very nice full-colour A4 booklet which covers the basic rules and gives you some ideas for your first set of missions and also tells you a little about the tanks that are available and how to put the plastic models together.

 The playing cards are central to how the game mechanics work and are divides up into three types; the combined tank & faction cards, the critical damage card and the crew upgrade cards....

These are tank/faction data cards, they determine your tank's 'strength'.
 They show your tank's initiative (blue), attack (red), defence (green)
and damage points ('lives' or armour if you like).
(I will describe their uses - as with all these game items - in more detail in my next post, where I run through a quick demo game.)

The next set of items in the box is a pack of 3 cardboard game and 'scenery' token sheets. These 2D markers come need to be detached from their A4 cards...

As with the manual, these are wonderfully illustrated and are all the markers you need to get a game started on your tabletop (the basic size of play-area is 3' x 3'). The tokens are fine as they are, but some may find the 2D printed scenery items a little mickey mouse, but remember these are only so you can get up and running straight 'out the box'....

(Sorry about the photo - but I'm busting to play this game!)
I imagine modellers, like myself, will soon be thinking up ways to make better battlefield furniture in 15mm scale, but in case you are stuck for ideas, might I suggest you check out this YouTube channel: The Terrain Tutor

And last, but definitely not least, we have the actual eponymous TANKS!

The are two different sets of 15mm scale tank sprues. Naturally, for a US/British/French/Polish (let's call them 'Western Allies') force you have the good old Shermans...

I was really surprised at just home many parts you get just to make two tanks. There are plenty of optional bits and pieces, the main choice being whether to make a standard 75mm Shermie or to make the up-gunned 76mm version.

However, you do get two examples of each turret so you can opt for a vanilla 75mm Sherman unit, a 76mm unit or a mixed force of one of each. Moreover, there are other smaller detail options, such as open of closed hatches and a nice 'hedge cutter' so you can make the specialised M4 Sherman 'Rhinoceros'.

To oppose your M4s, the Germans have the just one tank - although you get the choice of two alternative versions - and that tank is the fearsome Panther!

Note that you get two hulls, one the standard Panther and the other the
Jagdpanther tank destroyer variant!

Now you may wonder about game balance - two Allied versus one German tank - especially as you have the option to make two 76mm gunned Shermans, but fear not. The way the game works you can add special crew upgrades to you takes to an agreed points level so that both sides - in theory - field a balanced force. We shall see.

(I'm buying some small magnets so that I can experiment with making the Sherman optional turrets and the Panther's optional hulls swappable. That way I can have an extra bit of variety to my game.)

And talking of variety, it's worth mentioning that the tank/faction card included in this starter set don't only include the data/attributes for the Shermans and Pather variants you are given the models for. The manufacturers supply you with a total of 19 tank cards covering four factions - US, British, Soviet and German - which means you can easily add additional tank models to your set. This is particularly good news if you are already a 15mm scale modeller (or player of Flames of War game) as you will likely have a little garage of tanks ready to add to this game.

I think that was a wonderful idea, and for the cost conscious among you, you could even just print out tank 'markers' and use the stat cards supplied to have a decent game with a variety of different tanks until you can buy the corresponding plastic model!

I'm very excited about this game, particularly as I have found some solo rule additions so I can try out a few practise games before I try a 'live' game a the Scarborough Games Society! :)

Next: I put together the tank models and try a practise game.

Monday, 10 April 2017

SGS demo games at the Scarborough Sci-Fi Fest

It's been a very busy week for me - and several other members of the Scarborough Games Society - as we prepared for some demonstration games that the club was running as part of the local Sci-Fi festival. I got the job of painting a lot of WW2 French buildings for a Bolt Action game...

Cafe Rene! One of the half-a-dozen 28mm scale building models I painted as
my contribution to the club's exhibition.
Scarborough's Sci-Fi event goes from strength to strength and they couldn't have had a better weekend for it as the weather was fantastic...

View from the Spa Complex - where the Sci-Fi fest was held - across the South
Bay. A brilliant day of sunshine for Scarborough's visitors.
The demos put on by the SGS were a wonderful showcase for tabletop games and was a chance for 'game curious' members of the public to have a quick go. It was a very popular attraction as the interest in board and tabletop gaming has seen a boom in recent years and has become a mainstream family pastime.

Getting new young players involved in gaming was the main goal of the demo,
showing that kids can be prised away from mobile phones and consoles!
Aside from Bolt Action - the game I'm primarily interested in - there was a host of other games on show, from good old Dungeons & Dragons to Warhammer 40,000 and a plethora in between...

Terrific Dr. Who themed Dalek invasion game in 1/32 scale!
One of the games on display that I was pleased to see myself was 'Tanks', a 15mm scale WW2 armour skirmish game. I'd heard about this recently and was hoping someone from the club had it so I could see how easy it was to get into...

I was very pleased to discover that the game is very simple to play, so even a numpty like me could get started pretty quickly and have a game. The manufacturers - Gale Force 9 - do a 'starter set' for about £17 which includes three tanks to get you up and running, the rules, and other bits and bobs, so I may invest in this as it looks like a great little game.

The weekend was a real winner for all involved and I may actually have a go at setting up a demo game myself for next year - have an idea for little retro sci-fi/fantasy skirmish game...Luckily I have a whole year to work it out and build the models! :)

The SGS display was just one small part of the Sci-Fi fair and there were lots
of other things to see...Including plenty of Cos-Play characters milling about!
You can keep up with the news about this year and future Sci-Fi Scarborough events by visiting their official Facebook page: Sci-Fi Scarborough

And The Scarborough Games Society has it's own Facebook page too: Scarborough Games

Friday, 17 March 2017

Goodbye BIG clan!

A bit of a sad day today. BIG clan - that little group of computer gaming friends of mine - formally disbanded!

After several years of anarchic, drunken dumasery, the consensus among the group was that we wanted to do something 'a bit more serious'! And so we looked around to find a bigger gaming clan so we could get some competition matches going in World of Tanks.

Well, we found a clan, H5VOC...I'm meeting them online tonight for my first session (other members of BIG having already joined)...

While - for me at least - this is a little bittersweet, as I have enjoyed our 'we just don't try' (amid raucous drunken laughter), attitude I have to admit that it will be nice to have a bigger pool of players available so there's always someone to team up with (one of the downsides of our tiny clan was that - as we all have different jobs and activities - there wasn't always someone around when you wanted to play).

Still, I will miss the old 'just fecking about' days. Goodbye 'BIG'...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Tabletop Game Report #3 - A Trench Too Far

After last week's session as a spectator, I was very excited to be offered a playing part in these week's Scarborough Games Society Bolt Action game. My host - Craig - really pulled out all the stops with his scenario and terrain design by putting together a very impressive looking trench system...

Apparently, Craig had only just finished painting this modular trench system on
the very afternoon of our game. Kudos to him for some terrific modelling!
Overview of the game table - Brits attacking for the bottom...Oh-er, Matron!

The scenario - The Germans Dig In
Tonight's mission was for the Germans to defend their HQ, which was protected by a very intimidating trench system. But, the challenge didn't end there, as on top of this the attackers would have to negotiate a line of tank traps AND two secret minefields!

The German lines, at the back of which you can just make out the primary
objective - the Jerry HQ.
To balance out this -frankly - formidable set of defences, the British contingent was a very experienced and highly trained and motivated veteran Airborne force.

The Opening Assault - "Utrinque Paratus"
Without knowing the exact composition of the attacking force I - playing the German defenders - had supposed that the British force would include some sort of armoured support in order to break through the entrenched defences. A Centaur IV CS (Close Support) or Churchill Mk V CS - armed with a 95mm Howitzer - seemed the logical tools to crack my entrenchments...

The MK. IV Close Support version of the Churchill tank, specifically designed
to break down fortifications and allow infantry to advance. Source: Wikipedia.
But, the motto of the Parachute Regiment is 'Ready for Anything' ('Utrinque Paratus') and while I had arranged my defensive forces in anticipation of an armoured assault on my left flank - thus avoiding the centrally placed tank traps - I was in for a very big surprise...

'CHARGE!' - The Para's 'Welbike' scooters zip through my tank traps!
'[The Welbike]...has the distinction of being the smallest motorcycle ever used by
the British Armed Forces...some were issued to the British 1st and 6th Airborne
Divisions and some were used at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.'
Source: Wikipedia
The Paras played their ace in the hole, and made a direct assault on my foremost trench right through my tank traps with a squadron of scooters! The Welbike riders rushed my positions, dismounting and getting stuck into my forward infantry positions, gambling that their veteran status would overwhelm my troops...

However, luck was not with the Brits (and neither were the dice gods) and after reeling from the initial shock of the Para's audacity, the Germans recovered and came off best in the desperate close quarter's action. I was helped along with a string of 6's, thus incurring the 'exceptional damage' rule, which allowed me to dispose of the Para's LMG team. After that, it was curtains for the sneaky Red Devils...

Round One to the Germans.

ROUND TWO - A change of strategy
With the Brits opening gambit in tatters (phew, it so nearly paid off) The Paras changed tack slightly. They had already set up some support in the woods to their right, with a medium mortar and a sniper team...

The Paras support teams hiding in the woods harassing my lines on the left.
But now, they decided to switch this presence from a harassing force to something a bit more aggressive by adding their Recce Jeep unit and the withering fire of its twin Vickers 'K' guns...

But the Germans were in luck, partly due to ineffectual incoming mortar fire (in truth, the effectiveness of the artillery of both sides turned out to be abysmal all night) and the failure of their sniper team to make a hit on my MMG team. But the biggest piece of luck for the Germans was that the Paras Jeep ran straight into the first of the 'secret' minefields!

This was hugely significant, from the German point of view, as blocking a potential breakthrough at this point effectively closed off a route straight down to the main objective. Had the Paras managed to negotiate my forward-left trench there was a clear run for them to pour in additional units and rush towards the German HQ. But the mines put paid to this avenue of attack!

The Willys jeep was referred to in documents of the 6th British Airborne Division
as the "Blitz Buggy". Armed with a bevvy of Vickers .303 'K' gun, which had a
high rate of fire, these were powerful, highly mobile, jeeps packed a real punch!
With the rug pulled out from under them, the Recce Jeep had no other choice but to pick its way - quickly - back out of the minefield. Which, much to the German's annoyance, they managed to do unscathed! But, still, during this melee the Germans managed to score a direct hit with their MMG on the British snipers in the woods (I figured that this was an important unit to take out, as snipers have the ability to target specific individuals and so could have taken out my MMG post with - in theory - with a single lucky dice roll).

ROUND THREE - Back to Plan 'A'

Their cheeky flanking attack rebuffed, the Brits switched back - again - to tackling the German centre trench. It was a case of 'if at first, you don't succeed...' as my opponent unleashed a second wave at my front lines!

This time the weight and sheer persistence of the Paras attack paid off as they closed in on my trenches. With the German defenses spread so thinly over a wide front they couldn't bring all their firepower to bear on a focused assault, and so - finally - the Paras breached my lines!

In and at 'em - The Paras break through!

ROUND FOUR - A Second Front
Things were starting to look a bit shaky for the Germans as the Paras breached their forward lines. But the trenches were still loaded with enough defenders to make it a very hard fight for the Brits, and so my opponent took advantage of some favourable order dice draws to push his more positive position and open a second front...

The most disappointing German unit, from my point of view, was my mortar team.
They failed to make a single critical hit all evening. The British mortar team didn't
fair that much better but did manage to - finally - decimate my left front line
With a parcel of Paras keeping my front line defenders busy, the British Commander (Craig) diverted some of the units - including his Command Jeep - to a possible weak point in my Right flank. With the Germans having to move troops to try and plug the hole in its centre - with the loss of its forward defenders - they had to leave the right side of their trenches virtually unguarded!

Luckily, it was time to bring up some reinforcements, as the Germans had been assigned a small mobile reserve for just such a breakthrough...

The Germans had - initially - an MMG-armed Kubelwagen, which was rushed into the fray on the right. But this was in real danger of being brushed aside as the Paras countered with a PIAT anti-tank team, which was pushed into the advance...

The Kubelwagon's intervention was timely, and its MMG blunted the Paras push and - crucially - held them at bay until further, more potent reinforcements could be brought to bear. The Germans dodged a bullet - literally - as a PIAT round whizzed past the Kubelwagon ineffectually, and then took revenge with a hail of MG-42 fire which dispatched the British AT team.

Help arrived in the form of a Sd.Kfz. 251 Halftrack, with its dual MG-42 machineguns. In one last desperate effort to nip around the German's outer defences, the Paras managed to get their damaged Command Jeep back into service, destroyed the German jeep and attempted to run their last remaining vehicle past the half-track into the German rear!

Sprayed full of MG-42 fire, the Para's Command Jeep is destroyed.

Meanwhile, back in the trenches...
Simultaneously, while the British flanking attack was going on, there was a desperate struggle going on in the trenches as the Paras aggressiveness had threatened to see them actually break through all the way to my mortar pit...

Pulled over from the right flank, German infantry
eject the Paras from the trenches...
The Paras slowly whittled the German defenders
down, and could still break through to the HQ!

Conclusion...Nothing left to give...
It was so near and yet so far for the Paras. The arrival of German reinforcements - the half-track on the right and a fresh squad of infantry to the centre - put paid to any hopes of a breakthrough to the main objective.

The main objective - the German HQ.
And so, despite a very brave effort on the part of the British, they had nothing left with which to press what small advantages they had. Ironically, despite their mobile flanking moves seeming to represent the Brits most likely means to circumvent the German lines, in the end, it was vicious close quarters infantry action in the centre that got them closest to a breakthrough.

With no more reserves to call upon, however, the British advance was doomed (I had one more unit of regular infantry still in reserve, just in case). So, at this point, my opponent graciously conceded defeat...

Kudos to Craig for such a valiant effort.

The Debrief
Once again, I must congratulate Craig of the Scarborough Games Society for putting on such a terrific game for me. The scenario was exciting and a real tactical puzzle as I had no idea from which direction the British would commit their forces, which forced me to spread my defenders equally across all my front.

I really have to commiserate with my opponent, though, as - despite the ingenious introduction of the Welbike squadrons (which took me completely by surprise and very nearly broke my lines) - the British were foiled, in the end, by some very uncharacteristically lucky dice rolls on my part!

Furthermore, with the absence of any armoured close support, the Paras were very reliant on artillery to help make the breakthrough which just didn't materialise for them. In fact, effective artillery support was conspicuously absent on both sides throughout the game, as either side's off-board artillery and on-table mortar support couldn't seem to hit a barn door!

Just not enough supporting fire, or rather, not enough
effective supporting fire on the night!
I feel that the next time this scenario is played the Paras could use either additional artillery support - perhaps in the form of an airmobile 75mm Howitzer - or some additional armed jeeps to make or capitalise on a breakthrough.

1st Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery fire their 75mm Howitzer.
Source: Wikipedia
It was a very enjoyable evening, though I feel - as the beginner - I was given the easier job to do. Even so, I was pleased I pulled off an effective defence and pleasantly surprised that I actually managed to roll some crucial 6s at the right time. But, the highlight of the evening must have been Craig's ingenious Welbike attack, which caught me completely by surprise and nearly turned the course of the game, but in the end, it was a trench too far...