June 16/17th 2012 @ Triple Helix Wargames
Round 1 saw three doubles games and one singles game with the Allies attacking the surprised Germans in each game. A FearNaught twist had all German forces pinned down at the start of the game due to the huge artillery bombardment prior to the launch of Operation Lightfoot, even the tank crews where hidden in bunkers and had to remount to get going. Also, in keeping with Op. Lightfoot the Allies had to negotiate a number of minefields at the start of (both) Saturday’s games. Paul Bellamy lost a Churchill before the game begun and the less said about Mark and Derek’s tanks, ther better.
Due to the lower and the uneven number of players for this event I , for the first time, joined in the fun, digging in to face Graham and Steve’s Allied forces. Mark Martin and Nigel Emsen played against Mark Roberts and Derek Marshal’s heavy & light tanks while in the last doubles game we had Tom Hall and newcomer Simon Davies’ Germans fighting two more newcomers to the event in the shape of Ross Thomas and David. In the sole singles game we had Paul Bellamy’s Brits attacking Byron Emsen.
The games were 2 x Hold the line and 2 x No Retreat.
The singles game came to an end quite quickly in the Germans favour so they both set up again and played another to record the opposite result. The doubles games saw the Allies record a sole but convincing win in the North sector while Allied forces in the center made absolutely no headway against the resolute German defence.
Saturday afternoons pairings were as follows:
My good self (Alex Storch) attacking the forces of Paul and Ross in a pincer movement (in theory). To reresent the fact that the Axis wanted to take advantage of the temporarily extended and exhausted Brits.
Tom and Byron played an Encounter with Derek and Mark as their forces were threatening to run riot in the North so they met tehm head on.
Nigel and Mark attempted to Breakthrough the forces of Graham and Steve.
Finally, Simon faced David in another Pincer movement.
It was clear that after the disappointment of the early Allied attacks that they’d very much pulled themsleves together and got their plans just right as they won all four of the afternoon’s games, two them handsomely.
Saturday evening saw someone propose that on Sunday it would be good fun to play some bigger games. Consequently, over a very enjoyable meal a plan was formulated for the introduction of six player games.
Therefore Sunday saw me return to my organiser role ‘full time’. Sportingly, Ross swapped sides and used my German Panzer Kompanie. The teams were as follows: Mark, Tom and Ross against Mark, Paul and Derek in the first game and in the other we had Byron, Simon and Nigel against Steve, David and Graham. Both these games had the Germans back in their trenches waiting for the enslaught. The photos will show that on one table the Allies, (Mark R) specifically, wasted no time in launching forwards with Mark attempting to push the Germans off the central objective on turn one. Needless to say, they came in for a little 88mm loving. The rest of the game saw repeated action around the central objective. The German’s clearly having decided to more or less give up their right objective in the face of all Derek’s light tanks and a platoon of Mark’s heavies. In the middle Paul was up against it, even with three Churchills which unsurprisingly drew a lot of fire. Ultimately, with Mark’s early but ultimately costly gambit the Allies had an uphill struggle to hold two objectives. Added to that were Ross’s 4 Panzer IVs who led a charmed life while cutting a swathe through the allied armour. A big Axis win because the Axis did not suffer many losses.
On the other table the Allies showed a lot more respect to the German 88s that proved very tough, sticking around much longer than anyone would expect with that amount of attention from the artillery. The 88s did what they did best; restricting allied movement there and picking off tanks when the opportunity arose. Even so, there was once more much combat around the central objective and all three were threatened at the end, however with the time limit looming the Allies conceded defeat and sportingly admitted that even with a little more time the Axis were under no great threat of losing their grip on two objectives. Another Axis win.
For those of you who haven’t attended a FearNaught event it’s important to know that although a rough record of actual victory points is noted the game is judged on historical objectives reached. At the start of the weekend I clearly outlined that the Allies had to do what was expected of them in Operation Lightfoot, namely keep the Germans pinned with huge Artillery barrages, negotiate the minefields and get them on the run. After a slow start the Allies did push the Germans back but, once more the well drilled Germans got their act together and held tight for the last push, repulsing attack after attack and forcing the Allies to pull back once again. After much deliberation (and it was close), the Allies simply didn’t take advantage of their (entire weekend) advantage in artillery and air cover and make noticable gains.
Result a Minor Axis Victory.
Had this happened historically there’s little doubt with the huge numerical advantage the Allies held it would only be a matter of time before they would have broken through. But in our little window of History the Allies didn’t quite do enough.