A few years ago, a group of wargamers started to frequent Firestorm Games here in the Welsh metropolis of Cardiff. Led by their sensei Gunny B and “organised” by Mr. Colin Cavanagh, they were an eclectic mix of ex-military, serving constabulary and two librarians. A number had seen combat ( in Cardiff Public Library 2002, charges since dropped). One is reminded of the opening scenes of the Return of the Magnificent Seven when Chris reunites the scattered heroes, as Gunny is on a three year camping holiday somewhere East of Suez…Colin called and the lads assembled….
The one thing this disperate band has in common is their love of wargaming as it’s meant to be played, with a disdain for measuring millimetres and accompanied by loud insults and references to your opponent’s sexuality. We didn’t have our ‘Chris’ but Colon C stepped up to the mark…..
If one follows the Bros Challenge training manual, one is encouraged to adopt suitably manly tactics and that means tanks!
My choice was American ‘Armor’. With 1500 points in Mid-War, you don’t get many of the ruggedly reliable Shermans but they are worth their posts cost. I went for two Shermans in the CHQ and a platoon of four in the first platoon. To seize objectives and hose down infantry I went for another platoon of four Stuarts. If I had to dig entrenched enemies, I had a half battery of Priests and a pair of M10s for ambushes and SPAT. To complete the force and shield me from air attack I chose two M16 AAA. This gave enough points for a small recce platoon of jeeps and a half track ( useful to prevent ambushes).
The tactics were simple and, as you might expect with yours truly, based on a 1970s children’s television series……CHAAAARGE!
So Saturday morning dawned and it was off to Firestorm Carpets Wargames Emporium. Unexpectedly😳 I was drawn against Colin for my first game by erm…….Colin!
The potential ambush by Marders persuaded me to advance cautiously initially. Then my recce and tanks were held up by a single 50mm AT gun. My choice was to assault the central farm complex with the Stuarts. A brilliant manoeuvre that pushed back the defenders but at the cost of their platoon commander. What followed was a remake of Fury, with less dead Nazis…..and more dead tanks!
Not to be deterred by the smell of burning tanks, I threw in my Shermans on the right supported by the recce infantry. Three shots later from the German proto-Brummbarwagens and there was no supporting infantry! The Marders arrived and a duel ensued. My arty struck the ridge line of Nazi nasties but all were bailed but not destroyed! Game one, a disasterous six-one loss.
Game two saw me facing a Panther company that the umpire, Colin, thought might reasonably be expected to change into an infantry company by round two. Stugs and infantry in the open are no match for Patton’s finest ( it also helps if your opponent is thirteen)
It was now the end of the afternoon and I had amassed the grand total of seven points. Steve was next up with defending US infantry. My brilliant plan was Priests give short barrage, as two tank platoons assault simultaneously……..brilliant…….absolutely brilliant….
Sunday dawned and I now had a massive eight points! Mr. Evans next, a local lad with a penchant for removing his shirt to expose his tattoos. Unfortunately for him he had half his platoons off table. This left him with a handful of Shermans to defend two widely spaced objectives.
It’s funny how things work out. In all our local competitions I always have the pleasure of facing MarkM invariably on the second day. He always gives me a run for my money. He had chosen a Mixed Tankovy Battalion. My only hope was to use the central town to get side shots on Stalin’s monster KVs.
As the Soviets reached the crossroads, with the aid of some terrible rolls from Mark, the advance was stopped.
In combination with the heroics of their command tanks we held off the reserves. In the centre and on the left, Ol Uncle Sam claimed victory!