We’ve been busy here on Lard Island, primarily finalising the layout for young Chris Stoesen’s Eastern Front Great War supplement for Mud & Blood, but in snatched moments of free time I’ve also been prepping for the first “Pint Sized Campaign” supplement for Chain of Command I’m writing called “29, Let’s Go!”. It’s a quote many fans of WWII will recognise as it relates to the 29th Infantry Division who landed on D-Day and fought their way into the heart of the Reich. The campaign I have been working on focusses on their opening up the road from Omaha Beach to Carentan in the days immediately after D-Day and covering a geographical patch I know very well from countless visits to Normandy and the Isigny area in particular.
Part of the fun has been putting together my US forces, but my thoughts have also turned to Normandy terrain and getting some nice buildings together to represent that very beautiful part of the world. After my recent positive East Prussian experiences with MDF buildings (see my brewery project in an earlier set of posts) I took the plunge with a company I’d not used before, Sarissa Precision, a Derbyshire based company whose web site tells me their models are “Part of the game, not of the table”. Whatever that might mean.
The model I chose is marketed as a chateau. I’d really suggest it is a maison bourgeoise, but my missus thought it was a Mairie when I showed her, so really it’ll do for any substantial building in France. The model is supplied unpainted in 2mm MDF with some cardboard parts. I shan’t bore you with pictures of a fat bloke sticking the model together, but suffice to say that the kit is assembled in four sections, as we can see here.
Fairly obviously, we have the ground floor. first floor, attic and then a roof platform to top it all off. The front and rear steps are somewhat fiddly to put together, the rest is very simple. I would recommend having some decent elastic bands to hand to hold the various sections in place while they dry as the chances of the model going a bit wonky without them is pretty high, and if that happens the various floors wont fit at all well.
I should point out that the roof was, as with the East Prussian brewery in fact, the weakest part of the model. Somehow MDF roofs really don’t work for me, so here I have tiled this one with the superb laser cut roof tiles from Warbases. I used two designs to add some variety, with a seam of different tiles running around the roof at one point, something I think adds some additional interest. I also used paper as lead flashing on the ridges and above the dormer windows. I feel very strongly that adding the new tiles and the flashing goes a long way to strengthening the basic model and making it more robust due to the healthy application of a dollop of PVA glue to hold it all in place.
In the above pictures I’ve put a couple of Artizan figures and a staff car so you can get a feel for scale. Below you can see how the stairs at the front and back compare.
I have to say that for twenty-five quid, which is what I paid for this model on E-Bay, this is a cracking addition. It is a really imposing structure which could be a Dutch hotel near Arnhem (for readers of the latest Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine), a large Mairie or Hotel de Ville in Normandy or anything in between. I must commend Sarrissa for their eye for detail, my only concern is how long the beautiful but delicate balustrade on the steps, front and rear, is going to last with the usual bashing that wargames buildings get in my house, other than that it is a superb model at a very fair price.
Its been a year since Chain of Command was published and what an exciting 12 months it’s been. We’ve certainly had a great time playing our games as well as getting forces assembled for the Spanish Civil war and modern variants. Of course, Chain of Command is a “platoon plus” sized game and like all games of that size there are a limited number of models on the table, and that limits how many people can play, and that has led to many of you asking us “Can it get any bigger?”. Well, you’ll be glad to know it can. And it just has!
Our notes for playing large games of Chain and Command are simple and easy to add. They allow you to field one platoon per player for some really large games, and as they are so simple we’ve given them a simple name: Big Chain of Command. They are a no-frills set notes which, in truth, leave the main game rules are pretty much unchanged. We just have a few tweaks to the Force Morale in order to reflect the various platoons reacting to what is going on with friendly forces on the same table.
For the most part Big Chain of Command is really just notes to be read before the game. They show you how to rate your armoured platoons – tanks have always been support options in the past, you can now field whole platoons of them – and how to run through the patrol phase and game set up for the bigger version of the rules. The great news is that as the turn sequence in Chain of Command is not reliant on drawing chits, cards or dice, the system doesn’t slow down with multiple players and the core rules remain exactly the same throughout, so no great learning curve to embark on with Big Chain of Command!
To make things easy, we have added a number of pages to show how the various nations organised their armoured platoons so that you can follow historical precedent or just form an ad hoc “kampfgruppe” from the vehicles in your collection. However you enjoy your games, you’ll find that Big Chain of Command allows you to play these great rules in a more sociable big game atmosphere. You can download the Big Chain of Command notes for free here: Big Chain of Command
With the release of Operation Winter Storm for Chain of Command, Lard Island News thought it would be a good idea to have a rigorous look at Editor Monty, just to make sure! So, we invited him to our studio for a good probe.
Lard Island News: So, Monty, why are you called Monty? This surely wasn’t the name you were born with?
Monty: Quite right. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, my real name is Richard. That can be confusing when the large man of Lard is also called that. As I run a small wargaming business Called Monty’s Wargaming World as well as being Lardy Richard’s helper, so it made sense to find a less confusing handle. Monty stuck. A nom de guerre if you like.
Lard Island News: So, you must be excited about having your first supplement published. Operation Winter Storm looks like great fun. Tell us first about Chain of Command and your experiences with the rules. What do you like about them?
Monty:: First of all because it is probably the best rule set I have ever played and it has some very stiff competition in earning that title. For me, history is key. I find the accounts of veterans inspirational and I want my games to chime with those accounts. Of course, you can never replicate what it was really like for them, but you can create a very plausible representation and that is what Chain of Command and Lardie games in general achieve. Secondly, I want the challenge to come from the decisions I have to make not trying to understand and apply the rules! Again, Chain of Command scores here. I have had new players grasp the basic mechanics in half an hour but I have never yet had a game where I did not find myself challenged to a very great extent. It’s the focus on the men, leadership and friction that really create these challenges and I’m really taken by the way they put you in the boots of a platoon commander and avoid trying to have you playing as company commander, platoon commander and section commander all at the same time. This focus is also a key element for me. I could go on and on and on about this. It really does fit the bill for what I want from a game.
The other reason was my role as a Lard Ambassador. I am keen to help spread the Lard because it has revolutionised my gaming for the better and I’d like others to at least have the chance to experience the same. I was keen therefore to run shows at games and for these to be participation games and Chain of Command works very well in that respect. I was also keen to ring the changes as I went through the year. The show circuit up here in Scotland is well supported, but I was keen for people coming to different shows to see different games. I was inspired by the RAF Leuchars’ Club’s Band of Brothers series of games last year and I wanted to try to do the same thing; following a story through over the year. Hence the need for a number of connected Chain of Command scenarios.
Lard Island News: So Monty, what’s the general background to the supplement?
Monty: Stalingrad and the death of 6th Army. But we’re not looking at the pocket itself, rather the focus is on the attempt to break through and open an escape route for the encircled forces. I found this very interesting – it is a German offensive with Panzers galore and with a real feel of the ‘old days’ in that respect. But the Soviet side is also key. Gone are the armies of Barbarrossa and we are really starting to see the rebirth of the Red Army and its transformation into the force that would drive all the way to Berlin. We’re not there yet and so we have the Germans on the wane and the Soviets on the rise, creating a very nice balance. We see a range of Soviet forces engaged and an awareness on the Soviet part of what was going on, the risks they faced and what they needed to do about that. Of course, overall the plan failed in that the Stalingrad garrison was not rescued, but the operation itself was a success – achieving the objective it was set. Bizarrely, it was also a Soviet success as they achieved their objective of stopping the Germans where they wanted.
Lard Island News: What sort of games can we expect to find?
Monty: All sorts! We have partisans, cavalry, rifle and SMG platoons. We have day and night engagements – formal attacks, hasty attacks, desperate defences, flank attacks, link up operations, meeting engagement, a coup de main. There are some all infantry actions, some are all armour and some are a mix – including armour on one side and infantry on the other. Hopefully, there is a good mix and something for everyone.
Lard Island News: Aren’t battles on the steppes a bit…flat?
Monty: NO! Or at least, not at this level. In the context of a divisional level game, there is, perhaps, some truth to that statement. But not at platoon level. No ground is flat (unless man made), all ground has folds and dips and these are key to an infantryman it’s also true of the desert. You really don’t need that much of a dip to get into cover when the bullets are flying! Some of these dips and rises are quite pronounced – we encounter depressions and ranges of hills. There are also Balkas – wadis in other parts of the world – some of them quite minor and some major. And then some ground is rougher than other areas. We also have the man made effect, villages, farms, orchards, pastures for grazing – the list goes on. So no, not flat and not just a wide open space.
Lard Island News: So, with Winter Storm released, do you have more stuff planned for us?
Monty: Yes and no! Talking to Rich, I taken by the concept of the ‘pint sized’ campaign. The size of Winter Storm was largely a result of needing quite a few connected games for the show circuit, but I think splitting it into Chapters has helped and I think these shorter campaigns are the way to go. I have already written one (British Paras v Panzer Grenadiers on D Day) and a second is well under way (US infantry against SS Panzer Grenadiers during the Mortain counter attack). The first is with Rich for him to work his magic in turning my drivels into something slick, smart, coherent and comprehensible. I couldn’t say when that will be ready. The second will be finished, as far as my initial bit goes, this month. I have loads more ideas as well and hope to be able to keep Rich supplied with a steady flow of interesting campaigns. In terms of the bigger ones, I do have an aspiration to tackle Stalingrad itself, but I now feel that might be better as a series of smaller supplements rather than one big whopper!
Lard Island News; Tell us more about this “Pint Sized Campaigns” idea.
Monty: Gosh, well, I’m not the man to really ask, that’s Richard’s domain. However, we have discussed this and in essence the idea is to provide some short, interesting campaigns for Chain of Command with maybe five or six battles which really capture the flavour of a campaign and produce them really cheaply. In fact, for the price of a pint of beer. I think the idea of picking up something for a few quid which can keep your gaming group happy for six weeks is a fantastic idea. Hard not to be inspired by that concept, and its very much a key trait of Lard. Good value gaming.
Lard Island News: So Pint Sized Campaigns aside, is there anything esle from your pen we should be looking for?
Monty: I have been working on a number of Army Lists for Rich; Eastern Front to fill the gap between Barbarossa and the Late War lists and these should come out over the coming months. I’ve also looked at the Far East Late War, specifically Burma, following on from my Chindit list and scenario in the last Summer Special.
And I’m also working on a number of rule projects. Some of you may be aware of “Play Up, Play Up and Play the Game”, my big battle colonial set which is firmly into the play testing phase, although that’s not going as quickly as I would have liked. I’m also hopeful of getting another set out for playtesting soon, but I’ll say no more on that for now.
Lard Island News: Well thanks for joining us Editor Monty. We wish you the best of luck with your forthcoming projects.
We are very pleased to announce that Operation Winter Storm, a scenario supplement for Chain of Command, is now available. Twenty-two scenarios from the pen of Richard Morrill cover the attempts by 6 Panzer division to first stabilise the line and then drive north to relieve the Sixth Army trapped in Stalingrad.
Presented in four distinct chapters, Winter Storm covers a whole range of formal attacks, hasty attacks, desperate defensive battles, flank attacks, link up operations, meeting engagement, and even a coup de main. Five separate army lists cover both regular and irregular forces with both infantry and tank actions present for these hugely popular rules. Let’s look at the contents.
Chapter One Return to the East
The 04:30 to Kotelnikovo
Kotelnikovo Station, 27th November 1942
The Defence of Pokhlebin, 5th December 1942
The Road to Majorski, 5th December 1942
Encirclement of Pokhlebin, 6th December 1942
House by House. Pokhlebin, 6th December 1942
Chapter Two Winter Storm Begins
Breakthrough at Gremjachi, 12th December 1942
Verkhne-Yablochny, 12th December 1942
First Blood – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
Hold the Line – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
Strike Three – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
The Bear Counters – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
A Desperate Defence – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
The Final Act – Verkhniy-Kumskiy, 13th December 1942
Chapter Three The Bear Fights Back
Breaching the Perimiter – The Saliyevskiy Bridgehead, 14th December
A Tank Hunt – The Saliyevskiy Bridgehead, 14th December 1942
Holding the High Ground, 17th December 1942
A Night Attack, 17th December 1942
Chapter Four A Final Dash
Bridge over the Mushkova, 19th December 1942
Expanding the Mushkova Bridgehead, 19th December 1942
Defending the Bridgehead, 21st December 1942
Counter Attack at Mushkova, 23rd December 1942
The PDF supplement is designed to be printer friendly, with just the map for each game being in full colour and with just three sheets needed for each game: two briefing documents and one set of game notes. What is more the twenty-two scenarios are just £7 so you won’t find better value in wargaming.
You can find Operation Winter Storm at www.toofatlardies.co.uk
There can be few North of the border who won’t be aware that Scotland’s premier wargames show, Claymore 2014, will be held on Saturday 2nd August, 2014, at the Granton Campus of Edinburgh College, 350 West Granton Road, Edinburgh EH5 1QE. Doors will open to the public at 10.00am for a great day of wargaming.
What you may not know is that there will be three Lardy games on display. Our good chum Richard of Monty’s Wargaming World will be running a participation game of Chain of Command featuring scenarios from his forthcoming Operation Winter Storm supplement (published next week!) while Glasgow’s Phoenix Wargames Club will be running a Dux Britanniarum demonstration game throughout the day. A real treat will be Mike Scott’s truly splendid Great War in Palestine set up for If the Lord Spares Us which is worth seeing if only to drool over his wonderful hand-built terrain.
More information about Claymore can be found on the South East Scotland Wargames Club website here: http://seswc.co.uk/2014/06/claymore-2014/
Local inter-web celebrity, leopard-tamer and TMP exile Derek Hodge will also be present, setting out tables, organising parking and unloading on Saturday morning, then acting as a table clearer at lunchtime, cover for breaks on the control desk before he then helps pack everything away at the end. If you see “Wee Derek” don’t forget to cheer him up by giving him the traditional Edinburgh greeting:
Lard Island will be closed for the first time in two years as we take a break for the next week or so. We’ll be back at our desks on the 30th of July. In the meantime the web shop is still working, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to provide our usual speedy and personal service until we return.
In December 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour announced the entry of a vicious and sinister player into the wider World War. On the following day Japanese troops invaded British possessions in Malaya and China, threatening the strategic centres of Singapore and Hong Kong. The atrocities committed by the Japanese throughout the 1930s in China provided a horrific preview of the inhumanity which would be unleashed against the people of these colonies along with those on many lesser known islands throughout the Pacific.
Ranged against the invading Japanese were a rag-tag collection of Imperial troops and local volunteers. Their fight was without hope, with no chance of land-based reinforcements to assist them. Yet they fought on to the bitterest of ends; captivity at the hands of a most bestial power for the lucky ones, if they could indeed be referred to in such terms; a careless, brutal murder, often in hospital beds, for the weak or wounded.
The following Japanese list is a broad one, covering much of the period from 1941 to the end of 1942. If using this list for the attack on Hong Kong then no armour may be selected as supports. The British lists include Commonwealth and Empire forces and is specifically for the period of December in 1941 through to the fall of Singapore in early 1942.
The Japanese list may be found here: Japanese List 1941-2
Those for the defenders of Hong Kong and Malaya here: British Far East 1941
Last Christmas Rolf and Jim provided the superb Spanish Civil War lists for Chain of Command. We have now wrapped all of those individual lists up in one big bundle so you can keep all of that great information in one piece. Once again this is free to download and contains all you need to build your faction, select your support options and get playing. Once again, this is a free download, as are all of the standard army lists for Chain of Command. You can get your copy of Espana! right here: espana
And don’t forget, we have a whole bundle of free WWII lists on the TooFatLardies Forum here: http://toofatlardies.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=228
In the spring of 2004 the success of I Ain’t Been Shot Mum was such that people were crying out for scenarios and expansions. As a stop-gap we decided to produce a Summer Special e-magazine packed with all sorts of goodies to titillate the gaming palette. It was an immediate hit. The special format allowed us to go further in exploring ideas than a magazine article limited to a few pages, but it didn’t demand a whole book on each and every subject covered. As a result its been a fantastic vehicle for presenting “big ideas” such as comprehensive mini-supplement and expansions to open up new periods. Funnily enough, that very first special included a Spanish Civil War expansion for I Ain’t Been Shot; our last supplement back at Christmas last year did the same thing for Chain of Command with results that can be seen strewn across the web as Chain of Command seems to have become the “go to” rules for the conflict. So it is that the Special format keeps on coming up trumps.
Of course a ten year anniversary is a big deal for anyone, and we wanted to make this one a Special Special. Thanks to a wide range of enthusiastic contributors it really has hit that bench mark and even exceeded it. Amongst the glittering jewels you’ll find some real classics. Our great friends Dix Bax and Therry van der Burgt from the Netherlands have produced a superb translation of Dux Britianiarum for Samurai warfare in the 15th to 17th centuries which had me reaching for my credit card and tying “28mm Samurai” into my browser. Tom McKinney’s Dyle Line campaign is a wondrous piece which combines all I love about historical research and wargaming. Tom’s use of sources really sets the scene for what is a superb looking campaign. The same can be said for Pat G’s Home Guard campaign, again researched using the Nottinghamshire Home Guard records and period maps. What’s more, there is an interesting tie-in with Kelham Hall – the spiritual home of wargaming and host to Partizan!
But it is unfair to pick on just a few pieces that have caught my own eye. The range and variety means that there must surely be something in here for everyone. Let’s take a look at the contents:
Introduction. Nick says hello.
Westwind. A complete Chain of Command mini-campaign set in East Prussia 1945
Seven Spears. A truly magical conversion for using Samurai with Dux Britanniarum.
Do Some Dinging C Company. A Charlie Don’t Surf scenario from Operation Colorado in 1966.
Robin Hood’s Black Gold Home Guard versus Fallschirmjager mini campaign for Chain of Command based on original defence plans for Nottinghamshire.
The Siege of Augusta. A multi-player scenario for Sharp Practice in the American War of Independence.
Big CoC in Africa. A fantastic report of a post-colonial Africa adaptation for Chain of Command which has been impressing the Australian show circuit.
Carribean Broadsides. A squadron action for Kiss Me Hardy.
It’s the Chindits! A great new list for Chain of Command with several Chindit force options and three distinct support lists for the varying operations undertaken. There’s a smashing little scenario added on to give them a run out too.
Hurricanes over Hal Far. Bag the Hun looks at the siege of Malta and presents three scenarios for air war over the Med.
Circle the Wagons. A Chain of Command scenario for fighting in Benouville in June 1944. A 70th anniversary scenario.
The Roundwood Report. Blogimpressario Sidney Roundwood chats to Big Rich about how he writes rules. So top tips for would be rule designers.
Strawberries for Elephants. A spectacular full campaign for Chain of Command set on the Dyle Line in 1940. A great example of gaming interwoven with superb historical research.
Giarabub. In the deserts of North Africa the Australians face the Italians in the aftermath of Operation Compass. A scenario for IABSM
Sawrms for Q13. A look at using swarm type forces for our popular Sci-fi rules.
OML2. A report from a great Lardy Games day in the West Country. With cakes!
Vacquevill. A second 70th anniversary game, this time for IABSM as the Yanks fight their way inland from Omaha beach.
It’s 139 pages in total and each one packed with goodies. Not a single page of adverts to be seen. My only warning would be that this Special will surely have you reaching for your credit card and buying figures for new projects. It certainly lightened my bank account!
Interestingly the march of technology over the past ten years means that the Special in its electronic format appears even more ever-green. The e-format makes reading on the train to work on your tablet or iPad a real perfect combination. So, here’s to the next ten years!
Excitement abounds on Lard Island as we publish another scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum from Robert Avery! This time Robert turns his attentions to the late war Eastern Front with Bashnya or Bust!
Like its predecessors, Vyama or Bust! and Blenneville or Bust!, Bashnya is a collection of fictional scenarios set up in a five-step pyramid campaign, so Scenario 1 leads to either Scenario 2A or 2B; the result of this second game leads to one of Scenarios 3A, 3B, 3C or 3D; and so on until Scenarios 5A to 5P. It’s another whopper as well, consisting of thirty-one unique scenarios weighing in at 340 pages and just under 90,000 words.
Despite his hectic schedule, I managed to catch a few words with the author…
Clarkie: So, Robert, let’s once again start with the basics. What is Bashnya or Bust! and how does it differ from your other scenario packs?
RA: Bashnya or Bust! is a collection of fictional scenarios for IABSM set on the late war Eastern Front as part of the Kaunas Offensive. Soviet forces are attempting to drive through German defences in the Chera valley in order to break through into Germany itself, the Germans are trying to stop them.
The format is the same as Blenneville in that, as you said in your introduction, Bashnya contains thirty-one different scenarios linked in a pyramid structure but that can also be played as individual games. Once again, it’s deliberately designed to give those players who don’t have enough time to write their own scenarios a huge number of games that they can play with little or no preparation at all. All they need to do is print out the three briefings, set up the table according to the map, make up the deck from the list of required cards, break out the figures and dice, and start the first turn.
Clarkie: So it’s Blenneville in the east?
RA: Well in format terms, yes; but in content terms, no, it’s very different.
Blenneville encapsulates what the fighting was like in Normandy immediately after D-Day: bocage, large numbers of Shermans versus smaller numbers of much better German tanks, more bocage, little towns of stone houses on either side of a main road, even more bocage, well balanced forces on both sides etc.
Bashnya, on the other hand, is much more extreme. The terrain is generally flatter and much more open. Few towns, villages that are collections of wooden huts, rivers that dictate tactics and strategy…and everything is bigger, bolder, more anarchic.
There are tank versus tank engagements with hardly an infantryman in sight. A company-sized raid on divisional artillery that has let itself get too far forward. Infantry attacking tanks in laager. Tigers, Panthers, Joe Stalins, flamethrower platoons, tank-riders, panzer grenadiers with all their half-tracks. The list goes on!
Clarkie: But what about figures? One of the good things about Blenneville is the fact that all the OBs are based on Battle for Liberation. Are all these extremes going to mean I have to buy more figures to play a game?
RA: No, no: the OBs for Bashnya are based on Vpered Na Berlin so, just like Blenneville, anyone who has a company-sized force of late war Germans and Soviets should be able to play any of the scenarios. I think that all I had to buy to complete the roster were a couple of King Tigers and a Wirbelwind.
Clarkie: One thing I liked about Blenneville were the fact that all the troops came from the same fictional units. Have you done the same in Bashnya?
RA: Yes, absolutely. The Soviets are Bykovski’s Infantry Battalion and Dushkin’s Tanks; and the Germans are the same units and Big Men, although organised differently and with slightly different equipment, as from Blenneville. They were obviously sent to the Eastern Front after their performance in Normandy! I’ve also refreshed the unit badges and Blinds.
Clarkie: So, to summarize, Bashnya or Bust!, whilst being the same format as Blenneville, is very different in terms of the games themselves. It still gives you thirty-one contextual, late war, scenarios that can be played individually or as part of a campaign, but it’s eastern front in theme, feel, ethos, units and gameplay. Each scenario is designed to mimic a typical club-night pick-up game, and the whole pack is intended to make having a battle as easy as possible – just print out the briefings, sort out the figures and off you go.
RA: I wish I’d said that!
Clarkie: You will Robert, you will.
Bashnya or Bust! is now available in PDF format, along with Robert’s other scenario packs, listed below:
The Defence of Calais The events of 23rd to 26th May 1940, as 30th Infantry Brigade and 3RTR attempt to defend Calais against two panzer divisions.
Operation Compass The Italian invasion of Egypt in December 1940, and the British response, the “five-day raid” named Operation Compass.
Vyazma or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set on the eastern front in late 1941.
Fall of the Lion Gate The fall of Malaya and Singapore, December 1941 to February 1942.
Bloody Burma The Japanese invasion of Burma, December 1941 to May 1942.
Sicilian Weekend The first two days of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, 10th and 11th July 1943.
Anzio, Wildcat to Whale The first part of Operation Shingle: from the Allied landing at Anzio to the end of Operation Fischfang. January to February 1944.
Blenneville or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set in Normandy shortly after D-Day. You can read more about Blenneville in our previous Lard Island News entry at: http://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=1147