When Postie suggested putting on a WWI game on Remembrance Sunday, both Lee and myself were a little concerned. We didn't want the game to make light of the special Centenary commemoration, thinking some people would think it was in bad taste?
We arrived at the Shed O War and Postie handed out the info above and below about his Great Grandfather. The little booklet was sent to his Great Grandmother, informing her of her husbands death.
Private James Till 6th Battalion Queens Own ( Royal West Kent regt) was killed somewhere if France on Tuesday 17th July 1917.
It was quite a poignant start to the day, bringing home that personal side to the war that you don't usually tend to think about. I for one and none of the other Rejects had never seen a WWI death notice, I don't know what I expected perhaps a telegram or letter of some kind?
Postie also had a large collection of these postcards that James had sent to his family from the trenches. I took a photo of just four of them, the bottom one, Kisses for my Darling, was sent to his daughter Winnie (Posties Nan) who was a baby in arms at the time. It was also very humbling reading James' messages to his Mum, wishing her a Happy Birthday from all those years ago.
At 11 o'clock like lots of others from the UK, Europe and the Commonwealth we listened to The Last Post and held a 2 minutes silence.
On a personal note, my Dad's cousin Roger, took this photo yesterday at the War Memorial in Gravesend, where I live, showing the names of two of my Great Great Uncles who were killed during WWI. William J. Dadson, my Great Grandmothers brother, who was killed on the Western Front and Arthur Dryden, my Great Grandfather's brother, who was on board the Merchant ship the Minnihaha, which was torpedoed in 1917 in the Irish Sea.
Myself and Lee picked out the British with Lee being our Commander while Smiffy and Surj picked out the German forces with Surj in charge.
We were given the above map of the battlefield, Postie told us had 4 objectives marked as crosses.
- Gain air superiority.
- Get any unit or part of in any German trench.
- Get any tank off the German baseline.
- Get any unit off the baseline by the town.
If we got 1 objective only the game would be a win for the Germans, 2 objectives would be a draw, 3 would be a British victory, while 4 would be an emphatic victory.
So our plan was to attack the 2 flanks and hope for the best.....
13 Male/Female Tanks
1 Field Gun
2 Battalions of infantry
1 unit of Stormtroopers
1 Staff Car & Brigade Commander
1 Rolls Royce Armord Car
1 Sopwith Camel
2 Captured British Male/Female Tanks
2 Trench Morters
2 Field Guns
2 Battalions of infantry
1 Unit of Stormtroopers
1 Brigade Commander
1 Fokker DR1
For the first time in quite a while Postie rolled down the Fog of War curtain, saying the battlefield
was covered in fog. This also meant that our map may not be truly accurate???
We decided to bring on our Camel on turn 2, in the centre of the field
With only a 4 inch move for the tanks, we thought we'd be playing until well past midnight,
until Postie informed us we'd have a free move with every tank. We threw a dice and could advance either 20, 24, 28 or 36 inches forward. Phew!
Surj takes a peek through the curtain and is very shocked what he saw.
as were we!
We didn't realise we'd end up so close to the trenches and luckily for me, the trenches actually
extended further over to my left of the field. So to gain Objective No 2 may well be a tad easier??
The town was around 4 times the size than the one on our map. Lee was definitely
going to have a bit of trouble going through there and trying to gain Objective No 4 with
so little forces.
The German's get first turn and immediately blow up Lee's only Male Tank
in front of the town!
Then Smiffy does the same to one of my tanks and we haven't even fired yet either.
The woes continued
Another of my Male tanks breaks down without even moving for the rest of the game.
But it can continue to fire.
My Whippet has a Partial Breakdown until Turn 4
My Infantry abandon the tank and move forward without any cover.
And another breakdown....... this was even worse though. A breakdown until turn 6
and it was a tank with fascines!
Lee gets our one and only fieldgun, which is luck as he lost his tank last turn.
So our plan hadn't changed too much, with what we could we moved forward.
My tanks on the left.
And Lee's on the right
Turn 2, on came our plane. I wonder if we can spot anything in the trenches?
I pushed my 2 faster 8 inch movement Whippets forward to the right, to allow my tank to fire at Smiffy's bunker, but also as a ruse, I planned for one of these tanks to German baseline and win an objective.
As there was no trench (at the bottom of the pic) this was the ideal place to try and
push for the basline.
Its really not going well for Lee, on our right, Surj's Captured tank blows up 2 of Lee's Whippets.
While our plane is making a bee line for the trenches.
Posties really making this difficult for us!!
Surj reveals his AA gun!! With a massive range. All he has to throw is a 8+ on a D10!!
Lee's infantry is dropping like flies, There's also a German sniper, picking away at his infantry.
to hit he needs to throw a 2,3,4,5 on a D6
Ay last our first bit of luck, Lee throws well (for once!)
And destroys Surj's one and only tank. But can Lee get to the town unhindered now or not?
Last turn I finally managed to hit the bunker! But did no damage what so ever!!
So I whipped my Whippets over to the barbed wire and started to cross.
Across the field, things were going ok for me, but Lee was still suffering big time, we decided to push his remaining tank over to the town to help him try and take it.
But he lost another tank in doing so.
But Smiffy then lost his A7V, it can just be seen in the distance, where Surj is standing.
And of course here!
I reached the trenches and dived down to a lower and more dangerous altitude
and shot down the trench line, killing a few troopers.
One Whippet bites the dust, but the other clears the wire and makes off for the baseline.
During the game every odd game turn if a tank wishes to move, you have to throw
for breakdowns. 2 x D6, anything above a 10 and your buggered!
The British Stormtroopers head for the unguarded trench, all they have to do is drop down into the trench to gain the points.
It was at this point that Surj started to fire his hidden infantry from the
beige building in the centre, shooting Lee's infantry.
The Fokker DR1 makes an appearance.
Now both planes were on the table,
We had to throw for our grade, I threw a Novice, great!
Surj threw an Ace! Here we go again!!!
Hmm? There not a lot to challenge me here?
Lee loses another tank!!!
As my tank gets closer to the wire and the Whippet gets closer to the table edge.
Smiffy fires at the Whippet but misses.
Another tank goes up in smoke, and now I've blocked the safe route
through the barbed wire too!
I'm through the barbed wire, My tank crew fire machine guns down either side of the trench clearing the way, but I fail the movement test and ditch in the trench.
My Tank crew disembark and set up a machine gun in the trench, while my infantry follow up drop down into the trench on the other side.
Well that's Objective no2 done now as well!
So we need either to gain air superiority or Lee needs the town to win the game.
Its not looking very likely?
The German's move another captured tank out of the town and more of Lee's infantry are shot
while cutting the barbed wire.
Lee crosses the barbed wire, with his Command vehicle hiding behind.
We've already got the objective but I charge the enemy anyway.
Surj makes a fatal error, he shoots his last burst from his Fokker, trying to get rid of Lee's artillery.
He's now out of ammo and has to leave the battle to resupply, giving us air superiority.
Postie stops the game, we've won!
What a great game that turned into, both myself and Lee were very worried at the start of the game, we've played the rules before and experienced the way thanks break down. Surj and Smiffy dice throwing was great at the start blowing up 2 tanks the first turn, Surj carried on battering Lee, but for once Smiffy's dice deserted him. Which helped me to gain the first 2 objectives.
It was another very close and very enjoyable game.
Well done Postie!