Sunday, 23 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 7

Got my first game with these figures (well two games actually) at Tring Club on Friday. Great fun, The Men Who Would Be Kings is an excellent set and work well for games like this. Each game took less than an hour to play, we could have managed a third game but Bill had an early start as he was running a game at Salute the next day.

The Scenario

The RCMP have picked up a convoy load of American bootleggers they had been tracking, but all the trucks were empty. A local farmer reported seeing a group of vehicles parked up by a river crossing, so they must have hidden the booze somewhere nearby. Perhaps they had realised that they were being followed. A group of Mounties have been dispatched to collect the evidence so that the gangsters can be charged accordingly. The area is close to the border and frequented by American patrols, so a military escort has been provided.

The Americans are making a routine patrol across the border when a scout returns to report seeing a group of men burying the contents of four trucks along a stream bank. Presumably they are bootleggers hiding illicit booze. Standing orders are clear, any bootleg liquor is to be destroyed, so the patrol set off to destroy the stash.

On a 6x4 table, the two forces enter along the short edges. The table has a stream running across the middle of it, 4 markers are placed approx 6" from the stream, 2 on either side of it. Roll 1d6, the highest scorer is the attacker, the defender deploys first and the attacker takes the first move.

In order to recover/destroy evidence a unit must spend a Stand To action in contact with the marker. Once this happens the marker is removed and the player draws a chit (we used a set of 6 chits marked from 1-6). This is the value of the evidence gained/destroyed. At the end of the game the winner is the player with the highest score of evidence.

The Forces

Army Infantry - Regular Infantry + Veteran
RCMP - Regular Infantry
Naval ratings - Regular Infantry + Unenthusiastic
Lewis Team - Crewed weapon +  Well handled

Army Infantry - Regular Infantry
BAR Team - Crewed Weapon + Poorly Handled
3 x Militia - Irregular Infantry + Modern Rifle

I am using the Skirmish Level of TMWWBK, which does not usually allow for crewed weapons, but I am allowing lmgs. These are as per the rules for machineguns, with a 2-man crew, but I do allow them to Skirmish and move At The Double

We played the scenario twice, swapping sides for the second game. Both were great fun. Both games finished when one player conceded and said that he would withdraw because he had too few men left to achieve anything useful. In the first game the Canadians withdrew after searching two stashes, but won on victory points 8 to 4. In the second game the Americans withdrew when they were down to 6 men, but only destroyed one stash so lost on victory points by 10 to 1.

                                          American Infantry advance supported by the BAR
                                                                 American Militia
                                                Canadian Lewis gun team
                           Canadian Sailors take a pounding from US militia, down to half strength
                      Canadians attempt to cross the stream under covering fire from the Lewis gun
Kudos to Bill for taking the character of the RCMP to heart. As his unit of Mounties splashed across the stream, the BAR team rushed up the other side of a rocky mound and took position right in front of them. With a cry of "A Mountie always gets his man!" he charged up the slope into melee.
It should have been a walkover, 6 men against 2, the Mounties fight on 5+ to hit, the BAR team need a 6. Both sides lost one man so the Mounties went tumbling back down the slope and the surviving BAR man cut down 2 more of the redcoats when he activated!
The Mounties passed their Pin Test, so decided it was safer to just shoot the Yank in the head, which they did in the next turn.
                               The Mounties prepare to charge (the second BAR crewman is hiding in the rocks).
                                          And the view from the American perspective

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 6

Just in time for tonight's first game, I've painted up some naval ratings and all-important RCMP in red tunics. Yes, it's not the most practical dress for fighting in the Canadian winter, but they look good. Plus Mounties are tough!

The sailors are from Tiger Miniatures' Ice Station Lima range, unfortunately no officers are available yet. I debated which colour to paint their hats. Painting them white look right, but marked them as Americans. I went for blue in the end for two reasons. I wanted them as Canadians for this game and I plan on mixing them in with some civilians as a bootlegging ship's crew for a future game and blue looked more generic. I could always repaint them if I needed to, or, once the officers are released have a unit of each.

The postman's just delivered a largish box, Huzzah! The snowy hills and rocky outcrops I ordered from Products For Wargamers, just in time for tonight's game.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 5

I've now got the Canadian and US Regular Army figures all finished. I also managed to get to the local fabric shop and pick up some white fleece fabric for a table cover. I quite like the effect, so the latest figures are pictures in their "natural habitat" as it were.

                                                                Canadian Army

                                                                       US Army

                                                         The entire cast to date

I now have enough for a game of TMWWBK at the skirmish level, although not a full 24 points on each side. I can muster 18 points of Canadians and 20 points of Americans. For the time being I can upgrade a unit of Canadian army to elites and balance it out for now. I've ordered some more British Infantry and Mounties to allow a variety of choice on the Canadian side, plus some sailors in winter gear to boost the American side.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 4

The next batch of figures are finished, some regular army types this time. I've still got a whole bunch to finish basing, but hopefully I'll get some done today (although looking at the glorious blue skies this morning, real life may get in the way a bit).

I have set myself the task of having a game's worth of this project table-ready for 2 weeks time, when I'm running an "Introduction to The Men Who Would Be Kings" game for one of the guys at the Tring Wargames Club.

                                          Some Canadian Army officers (with faithful dog)

                                                           US Army BAR team

I have also bought some ready-made terrain pieces, the Frozen Ponds from the Battlefield in a Box range. They are intended for 10mm to 15mm, but fit quite wells as smaller areas of bad going, or even impassable terrain (depending on how thin I treat the ice as being).

Monday, 3 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 3

Just a quick post with another batch of figures for my project. This time some fur-clad hunters and trappers...or are they bootlegging gunmen?

And the whole cast so far.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 2

In order to play these games I have in mind, I need something to play on, so let's get on with terrain. I started looking at gaming mats, there are quite a lot out there now. I rejected US companies because of the cost of shipping across the pond and I could also discount a lot of the winter mats that are aimed at Frostgrave, I don't want paving or ruins showing through the snow. Both Deep Cut Studio and Tiny Wargames make snowy tundra mats that look really good, but still did not feel like winter on the Canadian/US border to me. So I have decided to go for a simple white cloth, I can pick up 2 metres of white fleece from the local sewing shop for a tenner (my wife does patchwork and quilting, so I know where all the fabric bargains are), which is a lot cheaper than the £60-£70 I'd be paying for a good gaming mat. The money saved can go to buying some ready-made terrain and save me the time and effort of making too much myself.

I do fancy a small river, or at least a stream and have seen a nice one on the Emperor Toads Emporium site (and I am saving money on the gaming mat!). But I do have two box loads of small scale rivers in the loft for my 10mm games, which would make a good stream in 28mm. as I have more than 24 feet of small river (perhaps a touch excessive, but they were a bargain on Ebay a few years back) I can afford to donate a few pieces to my new project.

So after a good going over with a stiff brush to loosen as much of the green flock as possible, a couple of coats of white paint and a few dead looking clumps of grass, I now have some suitable wintry stream pieces.

I've also picked up some vehicles from my local Tuesday Flea market. There's a stall that specialises in diecast models, usually the more expensive top-end stuff, but he usually has a couple of bits boxes of cheap stuff. After a bit of a rummage I got these three for less than £10 the lot.

This does mean that I have to think about roads now, as I don't think these would get very far trying to drive cross country in snow!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 1

I've started on a new project on a little known engagement between the USA and Canada in the 1920s. Both governments hushed this up and buried all relevant files where the sun would never shine. However, in the last batch of official US documents released by Wikileaks was a long forgotten file.  

In 1920, the the Jones Act required all goods entering or leaving Alaska had to be transported by American carriers and shipped to Seattle prior to further shipment. This caused outrage in Canada and led to Canada initiating border trade controls in retaliation. In remote areas this caused issues for those who regularly crossed the border as a part of their occupation, such as hunters, loggers and bootleggers. As tempers flared, violence broke out between armed civilians on both sides and Canadian customs officials came under fire. They sent for the RCMP to restore order. Americans complained about high-handed behaviour towards them by the Mounties, after all not ALL Americans worked for Al Capone, in response American military units were moved to the border to protect US citizens' rights. Canada countered this move by sending their own military to support the RCMP.

Intermittent violence continued until a group of Mounties challenged a US Army patrol, who had wandered across the border in a snowstorm. A US soldier slipped on ice and accidentally discharged his rifle, hitting one of the Mounties, triggering a firefight which left two Mounties and three US servicemen wounded. Over the next few days there were numerous low level engagements between the US Army and Canadian soldiers and the Mounties until the respective governments managed to resume control and stop the fighting. After frantic negotiations, peace was restored and all those involved interviewed by government officials, who made it quite clear that the whole thing had NEVER HAPPENED!  

So much for the "history", on with the game. I was inspired by Tiger Miniatures "1919 Winter War" range of US and British troops in winter kit, plus Tiger also do Mounties and miners/trappers. I bought a few packs as samples and liked what I saw, so I bought some more figures from Tiger's "Ice Station Lima" range of 1920s soldiers/gunmen in polar outfits. I was thinking of using Chain of Command as a ruleset. Major house refurbishment last year meant the project stalled and the figures spent 9 months in the loft, part painted and unbased. 

I thought it was time I got on with this idea, but still wasn't sure about rules. To field two platoons plus supports will need well over 100 figures and I've only got about 44 figures so far. I really want to play some smaller games with what I've got and I'm not sure Chain of Command will allow for the more irregular types of gangsters, hunters etc. Then I picked up The Men Who Would Be Kings and was inspired. Although they are written for 19th century conflicts, I used them for early 20th century games with no problem. They cover regulars and various irregular types, plus the skirmish-level option only needs six-figure units. These rules will allow me to fights engagements between regular army on both sides, as well as clashes between loggers and trappers, bootleggers and police etc.

First up are some terrain/objective markers.

Now the first figures, a group in skin jackets, these will work for any non-military types like hunters or bootlegger gunmen.

The next batch are some RCMP in winter gear. I will probably get a few Mounties in the classic red uniforms, realistically not very practical in cold weather, but you can't not have Mounties in red jackets, can you.