Saturday, 29 April 2017

Merseyside Anzio Campaign: The Final Game Battle of Albano, British Attacking Fallschirmjager in Envelopment

With the Allies having won the last round, the campaign result was still in the balance. I hadn't faced Jamie Sanchez before but intelligence said he would field some ghurka's, so I decided to stick with my "Defence of Italy" Fallschirmjager, although this meant no flamethrower. I was defending in Envelopment and chose the right side of the board below.

The town of Albano

Jamie Sanchez's British and Commonwealth


Regular 2nd Lt
Regular Free Artillery Observer
Regular Air Observer with P47 Thunderbolt "marker"


4 x 10 Veteran Ghurka Riflemen
2 x 5 Inexperienced English Riflemen


2 x Regular trucks
2 x regular Bren carriers with extra LMG
1 x Jeep

National Characteristic: Bloodcurdling Charge (I couldn't defensive fire)


Veteran unless stated


2nd Lt plus 1 with SMGS


3 x 5 FJ's with 1 SMG, 1 LMG
7 FJ's with 5 SMG's and 3 Panzerfausts
1 x 8 Luftwaffe Feld-division, 2 SMGS (Inexperienced)


MMG team
Sniper team
BMW 75 with MMG sidecar


For some reason, I elected to take the side with only one straight road on, leaving Jamie with two, which given the transport he had was a bit dim... But with a wood and wheat fields on each flank, he wouldn't be driving quickly down the flanks, so I set up all 3 LMG squads centrally, one on my right in a wheat field, two more behind the village. I also had the MMG 2nd floor on my left, while the Luftwaffe cooks trying to survive in the floor below. My sniper took up central building 2nd floor. With the Brits on in first wave, I decided to keep everything else in reserve.

The preliminary bombardment managed to put a pin or two on all units, killing two FJ's including my right squads LMG.


Sure enough, the British sped up the roads, with a truck on each, advancing 24" and a ghurka squad then running out on my left, within reach of the Luftwaffe next turn. My MMG failed to activate despite the golden opportunity...

The second truck in the centre...

And the ghurka's it carried, who advanced and killed another of my right squad...

On my left, the bren carrier with 5 troops advanced up the road, firing at my down MMG team in the building... I wasn't happy that's despite needing a 7, Jamie rolled the pair of sixes needed to score a hit and add another pin!!!

I was even less happy that he followed it up with the requisite 6 to wound, and a fourth to exceptionally damage and take out the gun!!!

The second carrier came up on my right, its pair of LMGs taking out another of my right squad and putting me on 4 pins. So I rallied 2 of them, and Jamie pressed home his advantage with running another ghurka squad on towards my outnumbered right.

My Luftwaffe squad managed to motivate and kill two ghurkas, which I felt deserved a photo as they were about to be kukri-ed...

My left LMG squad failed to advance, but my central one did, advancing and inflicting a wound on the ghurka's at the central crossroads. My sniper added a second pin to the ghurka's on my left...

The British officer and observers came on, the Lt in the jeep advancing behind the truck, the air observer central and out of sight of the German sniper. The artillery observer advanced ran on my right, again using buildings to avoid sniper fire. The 4th ghurka unit ran up centrally, to support either of the truck borne squads if required.

So at the end of turn 2, I had two ghurka squads in my face, and my on board firepower was an LMG and MMG down, with one unit failing to activate... I felt I was in trouble.


The first dice out was Allied, and Jamie rolled to charge the left ghurkas into the Luftwaffe. But with two pins, they failed and went down! Next dice out was Allied, and with one pin, the second squad also failed to run into the floor below the sniper! I have to admit, I was laughing, as it had given me a brief respite from what I felt would be a massacre of my forces...

Still seemed to be the case, as below, the footslogging ghurka's both ran up, making the town centre look a bad place to be a German. The truck then ran off the board, giving Jamie and early 4 victory point lead with my MMG gone. My central LMG squad added a pin to the crossroads ghurkahs and took out their NCO, while my sniper missed the left squad... My two survivors on the left went down to avoid the bren carriers LMG. My officer came on behind my left buildings, allowing the left LMG squad who had just been targetted for an air strike ran up close to the two ghurka units. I advanced the BMW 75 on and it took out the NCO of the 2nd from left ghurkas. The medic came on centrally. The British left bren carrier advanced but missed the BMW 75, while the artillery was called in to eradicate my right flank and the air in to target the left LMG squad.

With both of them used, I brought on the STuH42, advancing up my left road and toying with which "down" ghurka unit I should fire at and probably miss... then I thought, oh, the Bren carrier could get hit on  a 5+. And I spied the officer and the jeep, sitting at the back and waiting to advance and motivate his troops. So one medium howitzer shell later, the jeep went up and the LT along with it! My Luftwaffe squad caused no casualties but put a pin on the left down ghurka's


Have to say I was happy still to have a fighting chance come turn 3... The skies were clear, so no air strike. The artillery was pretty poor, put a single pin on the medic, the centre LMG squad and the remainder of the right LMG squad.

End of turn 2

End of turn 2, with German line reinforced
Turn 3

Well, first dice could be interesting. Allies, and with 3 pins the left ghurka unit fail again to assault! 2nd dice, the second left squad, without NCO and with a pin, roll a 9 to assault... Jamie was not overly happy!!!

Still, I was pretty relived and buoyed by this opportunity and ignoring those two down squads, the BMW 75 advancing around the buildings and reduced the crossroads squad to 4 men. (They tried to assault the BMW later, but perhaps unsurprisingly failed!)

With the big squads harder to hit, and the truck backtracking down the road, the STuH42 advanced up for a point blank shot at the carrier. But having moved, 3+ was needed!

The carrier and its 5 inexperienced men, moved away, sneaking up behind the BMW and causing it to explode...

The sniper and advancing Luftwaffe squad added pins to the left squad, while the LMG squad assaulted the carrier. The inexperienced Brits leapt out...

And died before their boots hit the ground!!! Elsewhere the ghurkas on the right advanced into the ruins and took me to two men in the centre LMG squad, while the carrier reduced the left LMG squad to the NCO... The observers both ran up to try and exit the board. I kept my FJ assault squad off the board for another turn. The left Bren carrier was captured at the end of the turn.


Start of turn 4 (my left)

Start of turn 4 (centre right)
The US air support finally arrived, a ground attack plan targeting my left FJ LMG squad, tucked in between two ghurka units...

The unit hit the deck, and two survived although heavily pinned. The left ghurkas also took two, while the other nearby unit took one... My units near the actual plane didn't take anything, bar one pin on the 2 remaining in the centre LMG squad.

The 2nd left ghurka unit motivated to assault the shell shocked left LMG survivors, easily killing them and consolidating up to the hedge... My STuH advanced up and missed the left ghurka unit with 7 pins, while the truck repositioned centrally onto the road, hoping to dash up and off...

The right ghurka unit advanced out of the ruins to kill off my centre LMG squad, while the crossroads ghurkas failed again and stayed down.

With an untouched ghurka squad for support, the bren carrier advanced confidently, targeting my sole NCO on my right who went down and was unscathed. So the troops jumped out and popped a pin on him!!!

The artillery observer ran up, skirting the ruins, while the air officer ran up the centre road, just behind the downed ghurka's and near the truck. 7 units facing off against a lone NCO. Time for the assault squad, advancing on and firing two panzerfausts at the carrier, both of which missed while the rest of the squad blazed away at the healthy ghurkas, killing one. Not impressive!

The medic redeployed left to avoid being over run. The sniper missed the left ghurkas which was a shame...

as the German officers and Luftwaffe had brought them down to 6 men with 9 pins!!!


So first dice out, and its the Allies again... The ghurkas roll to assault my assault squad, and promptly FUBAR, running away and blocking the road for a truck dash! Simply unbelievable!!!

Jamie got the second dice, removing 3 pins by rallying on the left ghurka's. As the next was mine, I decided I had to hold up the ghurka's behind the hedge as the would doubtless chew my Luftwaffe and get close to board edge. So I advanced the STuH 42 to point blank them, not worryimg to much about their AT grenades. The unit went down and I missed.

Action switched to my right, with the two ghurkas on the left having activated. The bren carrier backed off and pinned my assault squad, while the inexperienced Brits did the same and killed  German para. I retruned the compliment, missing the carrier with my last 'faust and merely pinning the Brits. The truck did move up near the carrier later in the turnm while my lone NCO advanced and SMG'd the Artillery observer.

Switching back to my left, the officers killed another ghurka, while the sniper added a pin. They were easier to hit having rallied so my Luftwaffe aimed to add another pin to put them back to nine, but in an awesome display of firing, they managed 6 kills on the remaining 5 men!!!



Left, start turn 6
Not wanting to break with tradition, the Allies drew first dice and then failed to assault with  ghurka unit! By this time I had nothing but sympathy with Jamie!!!

But being sympathetic didn't stop me targeting the new now left ghurkas by the hedge, killing 4 with the STuH 42 and putting on 3 pins up to 4. I then advanced up my inexperienced Luftwaffe, who got 5 hits and erm, 4 6's... the lone remaining ghurka surrendered!!!

The crossroads ghurka's finally managed to pass a test, their first move since turn 1, and ran downstairs of the sniper team. My officers moved up and added a pin on them even in the building with smgs. My left flank was secured!

Om the right, my solo NCO died to the Bren carrier, having advanced out to stop it running off the board. The inexperience Brits went down to avoid dying by SMG fire from the assault armed FJ's.

There was a chance of a seventh turn, but the roll was in my favour and the game ended! 14-8 victory to the Axis, Albano had been held...


Well, the pictures of the dice say it all. That was looking like being a very short game which I had no hope or right to win, but it turned out to be a stalwart defence for me and a stalled advance for Jamie. I was in deep trouble, and Jamie's dice saved me. He had a tough infantry force, and it was well suited to the mission. Taking out my MMG was incredibly lucky, but that was it for his dice.
7 failed assaults gave me a victory, and if he'd eve made two or three of them I would have lost. I had no right to hold back his troops and they would have battered me in close combat. But exceptional shots taking out half his NCO's early on helped, and my dice came good in the end, especially for the former Luftwaffe, now fully upgraded FJ's...

It was an awesome game, tense and good fun and Jamie handled his poor rolling well, even in the face of my undiluted euphoria...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Blood and Plunder Training Game 3: Ship to Ship, "Control the Wind"

Chris Carr and I finally got to play "thee" game: Ship to ship, with his English Buccaneers in the Sloop "Surprise" hunting my Spanish Guarda Costa in my sloop, "Sirena".

My force consisted of One Inexperienced Captain, 2 x 8 trained Marineros and 9 Inexperienced Milicianos. 

I also had a Jesuit priest, and though doesn't give you anything in the game, I now get to build a church to put him in for land battles...

 Chris's English Buccaneers consisted of an Inexperienced Captain, 4 Freebooters, 6 Freebooters and 8 Sea Dogs. We both had a sloop with 6 light cannons.

Chris's English Buccaneers consisted of an Inexperienced Captain, 4 Freebooters, 6 Freebooters and 8 Sea Dogs. We both had a sloop with 6 light cannons.

We rolled the Control the Field Scenario, which translates better for ships as "Control the wind".

Chris rolled higher than I, deciding to attack and I set up with sails set to 2" movement. Chris deployed to get in my rear, with the wind in his sails, set to 4" movement.


With 3 cards each, I pulled an event card first hand. This can cause weather changes, changes in the wind and various other "events". As it turned out, I had a stubborn unit which had no effect on anything so early.

With 3 activations each, it kept the movement of the ships simple. With my  sails set to 2", I would move in each unit activation, for  total of 6" per turn. With Chris double that, he'd soon be on my tail, so I upped my sail rating to 4" and decided to hunt the English...

The English were keen to draw first blood and unleashed a long range broadside, needing 10's to hit with his cannons. (Cannon fire v ships is worked out based on a 1+ to hit on a D10, with a +1 for each 4" after first 4", then adding the ships fortitude which is based on the integrity (rows of hits point if you like). The range and the +4 for a Sloops fortitude meant tens were required, and the cannon fire didn't even get close... I tried the same, but also failed to hit.

The "Sirena" decided to tack into the wind, my Marineros being sailors passing on a 5+
(Oddly enough, even though we discussed it before hand and now with the benefit of hind sight, the sloop has sails that allow you to roll two dice and take the highest when tacking but in the heat of battle we totally forgot about this all game..)


The "Surprise" bears hard to port to bring its starboard guns to bear...

 and I realise my tactical ineptitude, as with having to tack in the wind, I cannot reload my starboard battery...

The "Sirena" is to busy sailing into the wind, as the "Surprise" reloads and prepares for some serious short range mayhem.

With the activation cards being unkind, the Spanish have been totally outmanoeuvred.

A view from the aft of the "Surprise"


Chris's English and the "Surprise" get first activation and sweep alongside the "Sirena"

At this range, the English guns should decimate me...

Fortunately, the guns may be in English hands but the dice were in Chris's. All three shots missed on a 4+, so Chris spent "fortune" point (one of three your Captain has to spend when he feels the need). This allowed a reroll, but still only one cannon hit. As a light cannon, when it hits it does a potential additional 2 more hits, getting a pair more. This caused only one casualty on deck, but knocked 3 hull points off of my ship...

That's pretty poor at so close a range... Perhaps bringing a Priest was a good idea!!!

I toyed with attempting a boarding action, but settled for trying to pass on by to gain the "wind gauge". Alas, what with having survived such a broadside, I failed my tacking attempted and drifted into the hull of the Surprise...

An accidental collision, it could have been nasty...

But the result was fairly good for both parties, as the hapless "Sirena" bounced off the flying "Surprise"...

The English Freebooters on the aft deck unleashed some musket fire, killing more Spanish than the cannons...

The Spanish marineros successfully tacked and brought the ship windward...

"To board, or not to board, that is the question..."

Turn 4

The English continued to have the upper hands for activation, and circled around, reloading as they went...

With God on our side, the 9 Milicianos on the aft deck took aim at the aft of the Surprise, needing 9's to hit with their musketry... and scored 6 hits!!!

Chris managed to make 4 saves from 6, the remaining two Freebooters on the aft deck passed their resolve and suffered no fatigue!


I should have been ahead now, as having gained the wind advantage from Chris, he should have taken a strike point (But we were having so much fun, Chris called "No Quarter" and so we'd fight to the death...

Of course, Chris was a few inches short of a raking shot as he gained first activation again... As it was, he still unleashed his starboard battery.

Several hits, four casualties, and as one was a lucky shot (Natural 10) my aft deck caught fire... Guess the English didn't like my musket fire!!

Still, the Spanish resolve was good, only taking one fatigue point.

The English, although numerically inferior, seemed to be working like (Sea) dogs to man their guns and sail their ship...

However, they failed to tack into the wind, drifting off away from the "Sirena" rather than pursue her

TURN 6 - 8

At the end of turn 5, Chris allowed me to roll to see if the fire spread onto the main deck.. Which it duly did. This meant any activating unit on that part of the ship had to test resolve on activation, a failure causing a fatigue point.

Having failed to follow into the wind, the "Surprise" repositioned to reload allowing my "Sirena" to pursue...

while putting out the fires on the ship...

A close up of the Spanish Captain, rallying his men (under threat of pistols)...

while his English counterpart steered a course and issued commands...

The English reload in short order...

The Spanish sloop pursues the English vessel...

And so it begins again...

Turn 9

Chris flips an event card and sure enough, its wind and weather...

The rain starts, a gentle squall but harder to get the cannons and muskets reloaded.

And the wind recedes, slowing both ships...

Damage status: The "Surprise" is untouched, the Sirena has had its fortitude down to 3 and 6 hull points off in total...

TURN 10-11

The English fire again, and have a few issues with manpower.

The Spanish are still in high spirits...

Who will blink first?

Well, the Spanish fire first and inflict some hull damage, and a casualty but no fatigue is gained by the plucky English. Also, no lucky hits... The English reload and wait, while tacking successfully to get on my tail

The English hold their fire and get close, again missing with all 3 shots. Another fortune doubloon is used, but again, it doesn't accomplish much save reducing my hull points...

Chris flips his second event card, allowing his only unit with fatigue to lose it... The English also managed to reload very quickly... And it hurts!!! 6 hits to the hull, and the lucky hit didn't count as hit the rigging (which I don't have on the aft deck)

The Milicianos are wiped out, the captain having to spend a doubloon of fortune to jump down to the lower deck and the Marineros there...

Nobody is steering on the Sirena, and the English flag is high and proud...

The "Surprise" has as much damage as I took in just one salvo...

My Marineros manage to go aft, taking control of the steerage with the captain... Still in shock at my damage!!!

The English break of the attack (or rather fail to tack again) and veer off...

Having lost a unit, I have fewer activations and the English continue to exploit their tactical advantage.

Alas, the priest didn't make it, but my Marineros are still fairly numerous...

In fact, I still outnumber the English...

However, the English are again with the wind gauge, and manoeuvre to broadside again... With my Fortitude down to 2, Chris lets loose with some good dice (finally). The Sirena takes a staggering 8 hits, all 3 initial dice hitting and 5 additional, resulting in one lucky hit and 2 criticals (if you score twice as many hits as the fortitude, you gain additional critical hits!)

My 7 Marineros on the lower deck didn't stand a chance given they had saves of 6... Damn, I'm supposed to be lucky, I knew I should have kept the priest on!

Additionally, my steerage control was damaged meaning I could only turn at half speed. I also had zero hull points, meaning I would be far more susceptible to critical hits, which is the only way to destroy a vessel...

And given I had to have a unit to steer, I had no one to man the cannons...

And the English were poised to swing around and board (or obliterate me)

Outmanned, outgunned and outmanoeuvred, I struck my colours and hoped the ship wouldn't sink before we could surrender... And also that Chris didn't really mean "No Quarter"!

Well, that was truly awesome!!! Lets be honest, we backed Blood and Plunder for ship to ship battles and it didn't disappoint. It was great fun, very tactical and intense, and although we both erred with a rule or two, only Chris's dice saved me from losing early on... I should have boarded when I had the chance, but the Sea Dogs and Freebooters have tended to make a mess of me in the past. Chris gets bragging rights again, but when I get a flag atop my mast, I'm sure I'll win the next one!!!