Well another Wintercon has come and gone with what appeared to be a good attendance and dozens of great games and comps with Flames of War, Bolt Action, Impetus etc, etc as well as the usual hordes of fantasy gamers and even some rather attractive cosplay 'actors'(?) were observed. Myself, Andrew, Jason and John put on the 'Air Assault' demonstration / participation games with scenarios for the famous parachute drops at Pegasus Bridge, Normandy June 6, 1944 and the German drop on Galatas on April 21, 1941 the final part of their Op MERCURY air assault on Crete. Andrew did a sterling job devising the scenarios for both and adapting the excellent Two Fat Lardy's 'Chain of Command' rules for them. Both scenarios consisted of two games each - the first being the actual landing and the second the fight to hold the objectives seized.
This worked extremely well with the Pegasus Bridge scenario, mainly because the elite British paras landed right next to mainly third-rate German troops - mostly dozing Osstruppen (Ukrainians, Poles etc, none of whom had much enthusiasm for the war and couldn't speak German!) The German commander was also happily tucked up in bed with his French mistress (historically accurate!) so all in all the paras were not faced with much opposition in the first game and predictably rolled the German defences on one side of the canal, seizing all their objectives and capturing all but one of the German's drop off points, making it impossible for them to deploy and fight back. One of the Para commanders was Jason's son Andrew (AKA the Boy Who Rolls Boxcars). The 37mm AckAck and a HMG in the bunker were opposite the crashed glider which had only disgorged half its compliment and both threatened to brass up the paras before they could get into the entrenchments. But young Andrew did what he does best - rolling consecutive double sixes - and put a Piat round right through the bunker door, taking out the pesky MG and crew. At this point all German opposition on that side of the canal ceased with any surviving Osstruppen surrendering.
|Detail of Jason's magnificent bridge model.|
|All but one of Jason's beautifully made Horsa gliders landed perfectly.|
|This time the bridge guard didn't stand much of a chance as Howard's paras quickly rushed the bridge.|
|The paras quickly overwhelmed the German defences who couldn't deploy, only the gun crew fought back.|
After blowing up my bunker and everyone in it, young Andrew calmly contemplates the fact there are no Germans left to eliminate on his side of the canal. [Photo: Greg Blake]
|The German reaction on the other side of the canal (the last remaining jump-off point!) could do nothing to stop the paras from seizing their objectives. The blazing tank is part of the scenery!|
|British positions, Game 2. They have taken the town on the other side of the canal and rapidly dug in entrenchments as well as occupying the buildings, turning the large hotel/chateau into a strongpoint.|
|The German heavies arrive - cautiously. They all have a pin marker as they are convinced the paras are bristling with AT guns. They aren't of course, save for the captured one next the bridge - but there's plenty of Piats to compensate!|
|The para's 2" mortar soon zeros in on the German commander & HQ section. The accurate fire killed half the HQ section and caused the CO to flee for the relative safety of the trees.|
The German assault on the village rolls on after British morale collapses and they flee after the death of their commander. Temporally covered by laying smoke, the SS begin their dash across the road to take one of the British objectives.
Jason got to roll-off the smoke for one turn, enabling him to catch the SS section sprinting across the road to seize the objective on that side of the canal. The Paras opened up with every available gun (nearly 30 x D6 worth!) and knocked off nearly half the squad before the Germans could lay down more smoke. That was to be their last success as the Germans finally took out the captured 37mm and half the crew of the PAK38 on the other side.
|Germans assemble for the final assault after taking the objective on this side of the canal.|
|The captured 37mm Ack Ack finally bites the dust. The Paras put both it and the PAK AT in the fortified emplacement on the other side of the bridge to great use against their former owners!|
The Germans line up to pound the village but the British have already fled (oh OK 'withdrawn'!) A Pzw IV rolls over the entrenchment in front of the hotel from which the surviving paras have definitely fled! [Photo: Greg Blake]
This did not bode well for the next two games on Sunday. The scenarios are great and all but the first Pegasus Bridge one would be enough for an entire day's gaming. It became apparent that we would be lucky to get through both Galatas scenarios the next day, which indeed turned out to be the case. That's not to say everybody who played didn't have a good time - they did. The games provided a unique gaming spectacle that was commented on by dozens of spectators at Wintercon - even attracting the attention of some of the Flames of War and Bolt Action players. Almost forgot - one thing that attracted their attention was the flashing explosion markers that I made from little tea lights. Can't say its an original idea as I saw it somewhere in Blog-land but I'm pretty happy with the result!
German mobile artillery concentrate on the hotel strong point [Photo: Greg Blake]
Here I must pay tribute to our mate Andrew who devised all the scenarios and was a driving force behind making the CoC 'Air Assault' games work. He's had the roughest trot of late battling debilitating personal injury and then family tragedy which saw him have to leave the game halfway through the first day. Not only that but just a week or so before Wintercon he suffered the disaster of all his carefully crafted terrain boards being ruined by water following a heavy rain storm. Such things would have defeated a lesser man and I wouldn't have blamed him from cancelling it all together but that was clearly the last thing he wanted to do. Its due in large measure to his efforts that it was such a huge success at Wintercon. Our thoughts are with you Andrew and I'm sure the sentiment is shared by all your wargaming mates.
The good news is that John, Jason and myself decided not to run the second Galatas scenario but to do the whole thing properly at the Lanyan club in a few weeks time, when I'm sure Andrew as the rules guru will be better able to come along and guide us all as we re-fight the Kiwis' heroic counterattack on Galatas.
My next post will be devoted to Andrew's terrific second scenario, the German air assault on Galatas.