Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Loss of a Gaming Buddy

Last week sucked, no other way of putting it. It is Sunday, the start of a new week and I hope it is better. Late last week I received multiple messages on Facebook dealing with the loss of a member of my gaming club. As he was younger than I, I was shocked and surprised, more so when I found out he took his own life. I cannot judge him for this action but I was sorry, as his loss will be felt from the community.

Last night we pieced together the puzzle last night over beers and sushi it was like the conclusion of an Agatha Christie mystery. Looking for clues and reason. Many members of the club had a few small pieces not enough to complete the full picture, but a glimpse. There was a comment here, a message; some strange nothing so out of character. But there were questions of what we could and should do. No one had any real answers.

What I learned was that many of the people we call friends we do not know as well as we could or should. It is important to take the time to get to know people better. When we asking someone how are they doing, listen to the answer and if asked, fine is sometime not the right answer. Other times we may need silence but if the quiet goes on for too long, that is not good either.

I have been touched by suicide on several occasions and it shocks me how common this really is, if we look. Take the time to get to know your friends and mates. They may be in need of a friend.

Good bye Al, you are missed.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The September War

It does not matter to me if we are talking about the Battle for Warsaw 1939, Poles crashing back with the Soviets on the Eastern Front or those that flew with the 303 Squadron over Britain, the Polish armed forces are a great interest to me in my studies and gaming. These are stories over men fighting for their country and honor. A Poland many would never see again.

It was a great surprise when I received the email from Mr Avery that the first of two supplements would be coming out the next day covering the German/Soviet Invasion of Poland. Well I was reading this the next day over breakfast and I thought through the purchase carefully and immediately payed the sum of $12 for The September War this 240 page reference material. It covers in detail the history, Big Men  stories and so many scenarios with several for my beloved Black Brigade.

Rules are for IABSM but this will be useful for any company level game (not sure why anyone plays with anything else :-) or even Chain of Command. While I have only read through half of the scenarios these would be interesting to play as designer or for any of the early war powers as many of the weapons were similar.

My only problem is I need to buy more Poles and Germans figures. No problem there, I see an order to Peter Pig and Forged in Battle in my future.  Lucky for me I recently purchased a few TK and TKS and an odd armoured car. The painting table will be getting a bit more crowded. After Action Reports soon to show up.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Osiak's Story 9/39

Senior Private Osiak was proud of his rkm wz. 1928. This light machine gun looked and was powerful. While he knew it was a copy of the more famous Browning BAR he cared little, it was his. He was good with it and in a small way made him feel strong like the gangsters in the local movie theaters. But for his corporal Osiak was an efficient soldier, his equipment always clean and well maintained rarely getting caught with an infraction during parade.

When he was called from his garrison to a defensive position in early September 1939, he was concerned for his squad and his family. He was going to do his duty to protect them both. As he was to young to see anything of the fighting against the Soviets in 1921, he was uncertain how well he was going to do against the Germans, a perpetual enemy of his Poland. His Sergeant laughed at his concern and told him, “You will do your duty, if not the corporal would kick his ass. “

His platoon reached the farms near the boarder shortly after the war had started. Set up along the farm road in shallow trenches, the Sergeant came along the line checking the men, their equipment and positions. If any of the troops seemed unsteady he pointed to the anti-tank gun that was being put into position at the left end of their line. He and the Lieutenant were happy for the added support. The only other anti-tank weapon was the newly arrivied wz.35 an anti tank rifle. The section that received that instead of their Browning would fire it for the first time today. It was going to be a long day…

As the morning moved along the troops kept near their guns waiting. They knew the time for battle was fast approaching as they could hear artillery in the distance and it was getting closer. Around mid-morning one of the scouts returned saying that a German infantry column was approaching, and they had tanks.

The private soon saw the Germans approaching across the fields deploying, as they must have seen movement in the fields and along the tree line. There was not going to be an ambush today.

The Germans came on the Polish line quickly with troops crossing both fields and armoured cars coming down the path. Luckily no tanks so far, but there were a lot of infantry. Senior Private Osiak watched a German section advance on the anti-tank gun but his Corporal hit his helmet and yelled, watch your front here come the Germans. While he could hear gunfire to his left he watched the approaching Germans.

“Steady” was the order and he held his fire and then the entire section opened up. The Germans halted and deployed the rifle team to their left and the mg34 opened up on his well-entrenched team. Bullets flew overhead as the Germans advanced. Two quick rounds from the anti-tank gun and one armoured car was a flaming wreck and another was reversing away from the Poles.

And then it happened; the Germans came at the Polish position on the run. Both sides fired as quickly as possible and than it was shovels, bayonets and rifle buts swinging. When he ran out on ammo for his Browning he picked up a shovel and went at the German that just killed one of the comrades. It was loud and bloody. It was also quick. The section to his left was taking the Germans in a cross fire and they broke and ran. Senior Private Osiak made it through his first fight with only a few bruises. His section was not so lucky.

His platoon sergeant ran to his position now that the Germans on both sides of the road were pulling back. The medic checked the members of the section; two needed to be patched up at the aid station and two needed the priest. “Osiak are you OK”, called out the Sergeant, “I’m good” came the reply. “You did good Aleksy. You may even get a medal if we survive this war.” And than the Sergeant headed to the next position. Aleksy only wanted water and a chance to see his village. One he would receive sooner than the other.

Monday, March 6, 2017

10. Brygada Kawalerii v. LSSAH

Along the Carpathian Mountains elements of the German Army pushed Polish forces away from the boarder hopping to isolate and destroy the boarder units.  These German forces included the LSSAH regiment of the SS. Facing them was a screen thrown out by the Black Brigade, the 10. Brygada Kawalerii. This motorized cavalry unit was both well trained and motivated for the contest along the roads and fields of southern Poland in 1939.

A Nice Shot
This Chain of Command scenario tests two very unlikely units from World War II. The Polish 10th Cavalry Brigade was motorized and trained to the highest standards of any similar unit in the inter-war period. Facing off in a quasi-historical scenario is the LSSAH regiment of the SS, attached to an infantry division. The LSSAH was not up to the level of training found in 1944 but was motived nonetheless.

In this Chain of Command scenario we have a platoon on both sides with the Germans having a pre-game barrage and four armoured cars (2 of Sdkfz.222 and 2 Sdkfz.13) and the Poles an anti-tank gun. While the Germans do have numbers on their side the Poles had quality.

Was it worth it?
The Germans advanced on a wide front sending the armoured cars down the road with two sections on the right and one on the left to protect the flank. One note, the table was set up for the first von Luck scenario. A distant firefight happened with the Germans losing three men from their two sections causing only shock to the Poles.

The Poles deployed two of their sections on their right putting pressure on the two German jump off markers. The use of the Polish copied BAR in a march step was found to be effective on the advance and in a withdrawal. At this point the Germans tried to capture one of the Polish jump off markers on the Polish left. After a furious fight in the country fields, including a close assault that the Poles beat back, the German held on their right and tried to turn the Poles advancing on the German jump off markers.

Getting ready for the charge.
With armoured cars in support the Germans attacked across the fields for the loss of a Sdkfz.222 and one disabled and a rifle section routed the German looked at their current moral, only a 2 compared to the Polish 5 and decided they needed to regroup. I think a wise move. Infantry losses were heavy on the German side 17 to 10 but both sides lost a high proportion of their junior leaders.

Now I was playing the part with the Germans as an SS unit so tanks were not allowed. I will give this another go with a different selection of support options. It was fun and look forward to putting the table to use real soon.

Fritz - next time we need to bring tanks.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10. Brygada Kawalerii

Also know as the Black Brigade. While I am waiting on the von Luck campaign to kick off I figured I would put the 10. Brygada Kawalerii against 1939 German forces.

10. Brygada Kawalerii in the wheat field
Now to say that this is my favorite Polish unit may get a few snickers, but think there are many famous Polish units fighting in North Africa, Poland 1939 and 44, the East Front, France 1940 and 44 and defending Scotland from the Germans so there is a lot to choose from.

The Chain of Command force list that I am using is awesome. Then I found out how hard it is for the Germans to hit anything as the 10th is an elite unit. I know they are better than regular but I am not sure if they are elite and there is nothing in between.

Half way through the game the Poles are doing better than most would think, with the Germans losing an armoured car and three soldiers.

I will have an after action report soon-ish.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What a Tanker

This latest game from TOOFATLardies is in development and I look forward to its release. It has me thinking what a great game for all of the one off vehicles we have on the back shelf. You know the ones, the vehicle you had to have but never had the right game to bring it out.

While it would be possible to play this game with a Sherman a Panzer IV or a Stug that may be too vanilla. There is also Panthers, Tigers and the Russian standard, T34/85.

After that it gets weird.

Do you have an Elefant, why not use it? How about a Maus, inquiring minds do want to know.

Is that a Brummbar on the shelf? Lets get that on the table.

I also have an IS-2 or could it be JS-II (if I go retro), a King Tiger, and an ISU-152 to dust off. I am so looking forward to getting these rules. They look to be well thought out and a great way to have little used armour on the table.

Thank you Rich and Company.