Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CWC Game at GAJO

Russ staged a huge Cold War Commander game on a non-club night, pitting Israelis against a coalition of Arabs in the 1970's. He used a modified scenario from the old Avalon Hill boardgame Arab-Israeli Wars. I get a strange satisfaction from playing the Jordanians, so I got that part of the coalition, which also consisted of Iraqi and Syrian armor. Mine was the smaller force. The main view above is from the Syrian position as their armor and mech infantry head for a town in the center of the board. The Israelis will be coming down the open area along the ridge on the right. The Iraqis are attacking toward the town from the left. My Jordanians are in place off table to their left (close to the store door).

Above is shown the Israeli deployment. Vast Quantities of Centurions and mech infantry race towards the town and the Syrian side of the table in the background, while a task force of M50s and halftrack-mounted infantry move to intercept Iraqi armor skirting to the left of the town. 

Syrian armor advancing to meet the Israeli threat. Not only was there a ton of Russ-provided minis, but Bart and Dennis supplied a huge number of minis as well.  Unfortunately, the Syrians would experience difficulties with command orders today. Their advance was slowed.

The M50 group encounters Iraqi tank battalions coming at the Israelis from the flank. Some of the Super Shermans and infantry got caught deploying and suffered casualties.  Notice that there is no sign of the Jordanians yet, which are sitting off-table at the bottom of the picture. In the distance, the Israelis were first into the town and were fighting off Iraqi assaults.

The Shermans give back as good as they get. These Shermans were able to hold back the Iraqi flank attack while the Centurions off camera to the left engaged the Syrians at long range. And why no Jordanians yet?  Because I had secret orders to hold back. It seems that the Jordanians in the real battle that this scenario represents held back in real life. You see, their brigade general refused to take orders from the lower-ranking Iraqi commander. In the very far distance the Syrians are sending a real general to give the Jordanians their orders. So got to sit and throw a quiet tantrum at my fellow players!  Actually I'm just the kind of player to give such a command, I love these little role-play bits.

From the Israeli left flank point of view. The Centurions are dueling at long range with the Syrian tank hordes while infantry repulse Iraqi infantry from the town.

Syrian mech infantry finally getting near the town. They still had trouble getting in. Faulty memory at work here, but I believe they were held off by artillery.

Israeli infantry deployed in town. The Centurions in the background will be shortly suffering severe casualties.

Syrian armor taking occasional hits and more often than not insufficient command rolls. However, their long-range fire is taking a steady toll on the Israelis.

Finally, a BTR with a Syrian general arrives and issues battle orders to the Jordanian brigadier. Satisfied at last, the Jordanians drive forward into the flank of the M50s. The Jordanians were blessed with very good command rolls, and the mech infantry battalion surged forward hoping to seize rocky terrain to the left of the picture. Their job would be to blunt Israeli reinforcements, seen assembling in the distance. The Jordanian Centurions attacked what was left of the M50s, practically destroying everything left. They would next encounter a counterattack of Israeli Centurions. Unfortunately, time ran out and the game was called slightly in favor of the Arab coalition.

Figures and vehicles are 15mm Quality Castings, QRF, and Old Glory. Terrain mostly hand-crafted and set up by Chris and Dennis at GAJO. Sorry for some of the fuzzier photos. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

SNS Gamenight - March 2009

The Saturday Night Skirmishers met for our monthly get together at GAJO's. The subject was Flames of War 15mm WW2. Specifically, I created a scenario representative of the British battles around Caen in 1944. The beautiful table terrain you see in the photo above was put together by Chris at GAJO's the day before we were scheduled to play. Big points for him, the table looked fantastic and was battled over with much enthusiasm.

This was a bigger game than originally designed, we ended up with three visitors for the game: welcome Pat, Casey and Norm. Norm just recently returned from duty in Afghanistan, and he gets extra points for putting up with a billion questions from all of us (especially me). Casey gets extra points for being Gary's son and putting the crunch on his dad: his British infantry (my figures, ta-da!) made a mess of Gary's PanzerGrenadiers.  And Pat gets points merely for deploying more Tigers than your average zoo.  Any one else want points? They're free...

I used scenario 1, Hill Defense Line, from Charles Grant's book "Programmed Wargames Scenarios." I used the random terrain generator, and some of the random orders and objectives.  The Germans were assigned to hold the ridge in the photo on the left, and specifically not to move beyond it... which they promptly disobeyed. They evidently figured on a more successful outcome if they were to counter-attack the attacking British.  Of course, if you know your history, that IS in keeping with German tactical doctrine. Dave B's Fallschirmjager moved down the flank of the hill (affectionately named "Fromage Ridge") and among the nearby fields and hedges. Gary's Stugs and Panzergrenadiers in Sd 251's moved down the paved road in the center, followed by Pat's Tigers. Dennis valiantly marched his Luftwaffe field troops off the hill into a meatgrinder among the bocage.  His Stugs evidently caught the atention of the British FAC.

In the picture, Dennis is doing his best to shoot down Russ' Typhoon before it rockets his remaining Stugs. His triple-A did all right, scoring hits on several planes, but enough hits got in to cripple the Stug force. By the end of the game, the LW troops had taken severe losses and Dennis felt he might have to withdraw.

Lucky for the Germans then, that we did not finish the game. We started a little late, and that meant we ran out of time to reach a conclusion.  So no one really won, although the Brit players (Russ, Casey, Lynn, Norm) get a points advantage for following orders!

Most everybody in the group loves FOW and the guys want to play more. Good. We all need to learn the rules better. GAJO is setting up a large FOW mega-battle next month.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wasatch Wargamers

The first group I gamed with in Utah was the Wasatch Wargamers. For those of you outside of Utah, Wasatch refers to the Wasatch Front of the Rocky Mountains which runs the length of the populated valleys north, east, and south of Salt Lake City. It does not refer to a big hairy beast (although we've all met gamers like that). The informal club met in the home of Dr. Whit Young in Bountiful (north of SLC). Along with his two enthusiastic sons there were about a dozen of us who rotated in and out of the group.

The WW gamed exclusively in the Napoleonic period, in "old scale" 25mm. Many of the figures were older Hinton Hunt, Minifigs, Phoenix, etc.  Today's plastic 1/72 figures can be used alongside them without too much noticeable difference.  Rules used were home-grown "Eagles and Empires."

What made this gaming different was the scale ratio - 1:12.5!  A typical French 720-man battalion would have about 58 figures in it! Figures were based on company stands except for skirmishers, which were mounted 2 per stand.  This made for quite the visual spectacle as big battalions maneuvered about the table - and cavalry regiments were impressive!  Because of the scale, the game table was enormous - we filled the basement family room! And in fact, sometimes we simply used the floor.

The photos I've included show a "small" game... small because we didn't pack the table with figures.

In this view I've sent out a battalion of French allies to put pressure on the British battalions near the bridge in the distance, who themselves are under pressure from French cavalry. Of course my movement triggered a rush by nearby British cavalry who thought they'd pick my battalion's bones for dinner.

In this last view, even more cavalry has joined the fray and it's getting very dangerous out there. So I sent in another battalion to support the first battalion.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the outcome of this one, as it was quite a while ago.  I'll bet I soon formed square, though.

Anyway, this gives you an idea of gaming with the Wasatch Wargamers.  Sorry about the disjointedness of the photo placements, as I'm just getting used to editing this stuff with photos using html.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Mini Wars - A Start

Welcome to my new blog! 

My Mini Wars is dedicated to covering the exploits of little lead or plastic armies and navies fighting it out for world - or galactic- domination. Miniature wargaming has its roots going back to H. G. Wells and his book "Little Wars" which detailed his hobby of playing simulations or games with model soldiers. Similarly, in the inter-war years between WW1 and WW2, Fletcher Pratt and Fred T. Jane invented naval wargaming using small model ships to simulate naval maneuvers and warfare. Of course it all goes back to the German Generals and their use of Kreigspiel, or the wargame, to plan their upcoming battles.

The nice thing about miniature wargaming is that there are no little lead widows.  After a game of miniature combat, the generals shake hands and brag about their exploits. What I find remarkable is that most wargamers I know have a profound understanding of history, a deep appreciation for our fellow citizens in the actual armed forces, and a genuine desire for actual peace. If only the rest of the world would follow suit.

My ramblings here will sometimes cover the activities of several wargames clubs active in the area of Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as my own battles with friends and our support for the best wargame store in Utah, GAJO GAMES (

Photo above is of 25mm Napoleonic British from action with the Wasatch Wargamers club in Bountiful.