Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Family Time

So, as you know, I've been a couple of weeks late in reporting my gaming.  Something that I have finally been able to remedy this week.  First of all, here is the reason that I was unable to report at least one of the games earlier:

This is me (in the BCGs) and two of my guys on top of the 'hill' that took us two and a half hours to climb.  This was when we were about to descend it after a 28-hour mission (that unbeknownst to us was about to turn into a 36-hour mission and which followed a 24-hour mission with a 2 hour 'break' in between) - thus the joyful looks on our faces. 

I do have to admit that we at least had some nice scenery to enjoy while feeling like a rewarmed pile of miserable doggie doo-doo. 

And the week did start with a 20-minute 'insertion' by Black Hawk. 

Funnily enough, I was not told we were being 'inserted' prior to the flight so it came as something of a surprise when I was told to determine my location and call in the 8-digit grid for a pickup.  Instead we just told them we were at the village and ready to be picked up, but then got lucky when a passing motorist on a different mission gave us a ride back to base. 

The week after that, I traveled across the country to attend a class then returned home.  The class was held on a joint Army-Air Guard post and I never bothered to venture onto the Air side of it, but passing the Air side on the outside, there is a B-29 sitting near the gate.  Next time I'm there, I'll have to take a pic to add to my collection.  So that was part of my big adventure and why I was unable to post at least of my game reports on time.  But enough of that.  The real reason I was posting here today was to tell about some more family gaming. 

The day after I got back (late Friday night - so on Saturday), my 6-year-old wanted to play a game.  When I asked him what he wanted to play, he said, "Robo Rally!"  Really?  We had tried playing it once before and decided it was beyond both the 6- and the 9-year-old (perhaps a year or so younger at the time), but my wife and I both love it.  Well, I thought, we'll see how long this goes on.  I pulled out the game and set up a simple 3-point race covering  two boards.  I also modified it so that instead of laying out all five segments (a difficult concept for a 6-year-old brain to keep track of) I let him play his cards one at a time, based on the results of his previous move.  The result?  The little bugger almost beat me!  I got to the final flag one segment ahead of him!  He was then enamored with the game and spent the next two days laying out impossibly difficult courses.  We tried to actually play one of them and several hours later we still weren't done.  He eventually put the game away on his own initiative admitting that he needed the table space for a game of Milton Bradley's The Lost World: Jurassic Park with the daytime kid-sitter. 

So, as pleasant as that turned out, even more heart-warming was my 9-year-old daughter asking me that same evening if she could go to game night with me.  You see, she had had a sleepover spa party with several of her friends the night I got home (it was actually for her birthday, which isn't until August, but one of her bestest friends is moving tomorrow and she wanted to make sure the girl was included) and was so wiped out, she spent most of Saturday afternoon asleep.  When bedtime rolled around she was wide awake.  I recognized this dilemma and consented to taking her to game night with me. 

At game night, there were only five of us, including her, and we ended up playing Risk - one of two choices that were decided upon prior to us arriving.  This was her first experience playing Risk.  She had decided a few weeks previously that she didn't want to play it with her brother and me.  She ended up doing all right and holding her own for most of the game.  Unfortunately, she was strongest in North America (which wouldn't have been a bad choice for a base) and Asia (which, as everyone knows, is almost impossible to hold early in the game).  She tried to reinforce everything evenly across the board and ended up thrown out of North America (by a sixty-something-year-old man who found it appropriate to taunt a 9-year-old girl when he beat her by the luck of the dice).  She and I were peaceably cohabitating in Asia for the moment so I built up my forces and quietly trashed North America via Alaska.  The boob sat there dumbfounded as his superiority failed him and he lost all but one possession.  Doug, bless his soul, knocked out the last possession in his turn immediately following mine. 

Anyway, we ended up calling the game a few turns later as we were playing on the porch and she was both chilly and finally feeling the effects of tiredness.  Looking at the board, we proclaimed Perry victor (his base was Africa and he had just taken South America from Doug, had a solid presence in Europe and was holding firm to the Middle East; while I held Australia and roughly half of Asia, Doug having thrown me out of North America in turn).  Fortunately she enjoyed the game time with daddy and his friends (the second or third time she's played with us). 

So, the point is two new gaming experiences resulted in positive results for the kids and a lot of fun.  It won't be long before they are both gaming more hard-core games.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of either of the games described above, but I assure you they were as described.  I don't know when I'll have another battle report - I'm training for a new job and they're working me nearly 60 hours a week for the next couple of weeks and at the same time, I'm supposed to start some extensive on-line military training.  At any rate, Happy Gaming and I'll see you around the table.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The HMPS in Norway

Had a small battle with an unusual force three or four weeks ago.  Here's the set-up:

Two HMPS trawlers (His Majesty's Patrol Service - made up of fishing trawlers converted for M/S and A/S work) are anchored on opposite sides of a narrow inlet in a fjord, when they are surprised by a Ju-52 fly across the inlet - almost directly on the line between the two trawlers.  In the few seconds they have, they open fire with their Lewis guns and are quite surprised to see the Ju-52 begin to smoke as it clears the second mountain range and disappears from sight.  They think nothing more of this, aside from gloating that it was their fire that hit the plane, but a short time later, a Norwegian fishing trawler sails up, hails the boats and announces that they saw a German transport crash and asks if the Brits would you like to investigate the wreckage.  The HMPS sends six armed men (five with rifles and one with a Lewis gun) from each trawler, all under the command of a lieutenant, on the Norwegian boat and it takes them to the site of the crash (on an island in the fjord), where they hope to capture the pilots, if they survived.  It chugs up to the shoreline near the plane, which, aside from having skidded some distance on its belly, appears to be amazingly intact. 

As they begin to disembark, all seems eerily quiet around the plane and they are disappointed, believing that the pilots must have died in the crash.  (This was a real event - described as closely as I can recall it.)

As the HMPS men get halfway up the beach, they see German heads disappearing from sight over the crest above them and begin firing. 

The Germans return fire with gusto and the British sailors, stalwart though they are, find themselves stonewalled, and eventually, they begin to get Out of the Fight results at an alarming rate as the firepower of the MG34 begins to tell.

As it is the British are outnumbered 3 to 2, but since the Germans completely misread the situation and set up two-thirds of their force on the plateau above, and only one-third on the crest, it looked like the sailors might have a chance.  Unfortunately, in the end, the British are almost wiped out to a man advancing towards the crest and trying to take down the German half-squad that they can see, while the Germans only lose most of the men on the crest.  The Germans had two more half-squads, plus the three aircrew (one of whom was wounded) from the Ju.

That's pretty much what happened in the real battle as well.  All of the sailors were captured or killed, except for two who jumped back onto the Norwegian trawler as it pulled away from the shore just after the fighting started.

In the pictures above, you might notice a couple of Germans in light brown coveralls - those are Peter Pig German aircrew.  The British Lieutenant, highlighted in the picture below the trawler, is a repurposed Peter Pig U-Boat officer.  The HMPS sailors are Eureka Early War US Marines.  I cut the American canteens off their heinies, but otherwise painted them up as is and they worked wonderfully as sailors in civilian clothes (the 'uniform' of the HMPS) and enough kit to get themselves in trouble with.  The Tante Ju is from Armaments in Miniature and the trawler is an HO scale resin model.