Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Game--Zombies in Normandy

Check out this excellent write-up from our Halloween game over at The Rogue General Hunter!

Thanks to Bob for the excellent report and to John for the excellent game.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

John's Normandy Game

Go check out John and Rhett's Normandy game here.  Sorry I missed this one.

Game well.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Guadalcanal Table and Battle Report

Today we played the long-awaited Guadalcanal game.  Expectations were high for this one, and Rhett did not disappoint.  He definitely delivered a very tight scenario with solid mechanics that conveyed the situations in which the USMC and Imperial Army historically found themselves in this fight.

The scenario was intended to represent the final Japanese offensive against the Henderson Field perimeter.  While the wargame was definitely representational rather than literal, it certainly captured the feeling of the USMC gaining dominance on the island while the Japanese hurl the last of their dwindling, but very hard-hitting force against a tough defensive position.  It was a very fun game.

First things first, though, here's how the table turned out.  It was OK.  If the Lungga river looked more like muddy water and less like butterscotch pudding left too long in the sun, it would have been a really great table.

The waves worked pretty well.  I used snow flock to produce bubbly wakes trailing out behind each wave.  Definitely lends motion to the ocean panel.  I ended up applying three coats of acrylic gloss medium over the initial water effect laydown.

The volcanic soil turned out to be just the right color, and I like the way the the light sienna pigment produced some dusty contrast in high-traffic areas.

The go-to move of dry pigments fixed using denatured alcohol again produced amazingly realistic runoff effects.

And then there was the river.  The sad, cracked, lumpy, bubbly Lungga River.  Well, when you are starting out not every water effect gets to be the best water effect.  This was a definite miss.  I will fix it with acrylic gloss and pigment if we end up taking this table to a competition, but for now I'm just chalking this up to a learning experience.  I think I need to use less acrylic gel medium in water effects that are meant to be smooth.

On to the game.  Gavin, Drew and I played the Japanese attackers.  Rich and Owen played the USMC defenders.  The scenario called for two attacks on successive nights.  We treated the first attack as a reconnaissance in force to see how the Marines would react to a penetration of their perimeter.  We advanced with my platoon on the right, Gavin's platoon on the left, and Drew's platoon in reserve.

Because it was a night attack scenario, no units could be targeted at a range of over 18" unless there was an illumination flare in play.  Both sides used flares to varying degrees of success.

Rich and Owen use a flare to illuminate the lead squads of the Japanese attack.

The Marine firepower took a pretty good toll on the Japanese as they advanced, but not enough to knock out any squads.

I have to say that Owen was rolling hits and wounds like a Boss today.  Definitely had the hot hand.

The first wave of Japanese assaults hits the USMC line.  Once in close combat, the Japanese were devastating and Marines started to fall like wheat before the scythe.

But the Corps had an answer for that shit: flamethrowers.  They would take a decisive toll on the attackers over the course of both attacks.

Our support position on the ridge south of the airfield did not play a decisive role in either of the attacks.  Very hard to get after the Marines in buildings and hard cover.  A few pin markers, but only one or two casualties.

The Japanese sweep the Marines from the perimeter.  In the center you can see a single Japanese soldier attacking the building with explosives, which causes sufficient damage to cause secondary explosions inside the structure, killing the Marines inside.  Boom.

This is how the first engagement ended.  The Marine perimeter is compromised, but forces are repositioning to meet the threat.  Here, the lone remaining Japanese troop, armed with explosives, is hauling ass toward the remaining structure to blow it up.  But the Marines deployed another flamethrower team and, well, that was that.

During the following day, the Marines got busy restructuring their defensive perimeter.

The Japanese launched their second attack form the same place, but narrowed our front to limit our exposure to the USMC direct fire.  Which worked very well...

...but did not work very well with regard to indirect fire.  The Marines surprised us with artillery support in the second attack, which played holy hell with our densely-packed attack column.

Even with the addition of infiltration teams (our game 2 surprise) flanking along the river to the West to take advantage of the Marines repositioning to meet our main attack, the second game was never really in question.  The initial Japanese assault hit very hard and again cleared-away the first line of USMC defenders, but the Marines had more than enough capability left to recover and deal with the attackers.  Flamethrowers.  Daaaaaamn.

The victors and the GM.  Well-played, fellas.

All in all this was a very fun game with finely-crafted special rules.  Big props to Rhett for a high-quality event.  During the post game discussion we talked about the challenges GMs face in developing scenarios that remain true to history while at the same time keep players emotionally invested in the outcome.  As Gavin rightly pointed out, no battle is ever balanced and fair.  Any general that seeks a fight with even odds is doing war wrong.  Turing that imbalance into a fun wargame is our art form.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Things that Matter in Wargaming

I was looking for a pirated copy of WSS #78 so I could share the full text of Phil Dutré's excellent article, 'The irregular - It's the figures, stupid!'.  While searching (and failing), I came across this gem posted on Big Andy's.

Always fun to encounter those with a healthy perspective on the range of possibilities our shared hobby offers beyond the tournament.

Back to  Dutré's article, reading it reminds me of one of the most distrurbing trends I encountered while slogging around in the 40k scene: people building an army tooled-up for the current edition and then discarding it on eBay once it was no longer the 'it' army build.  I understand the constraints of budget, especially with regard to obscenely overpriced GW product, but this practice occupies the same piteous place in my heart where I contemplate destitute unfortunates selling their blood to buy food.

I do believe that people for whom the miniatures are simply a means to an end are missing out on one of the greatest elements of our hobby.

And Andy, I'm with you, Sir.  Wargaming without umpires is like drinking beer without beer.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Guadalcanal Table Part 2

So, things are not going real well.

I tested super heavy acrylic gloss gel medium, and I thought it would work great, which it would, if I had three months to let the gel dry and clarify.  Not going to work this time around (although I am excited about the prospect of working in heavy gel medium in the future.)

Here is what the test panel looks like with a thick schmear of super heavy gloss gel.  I'll show you another picture in late Autumn, it may have dried by then.

But now I am out of time.  I could go small and lame and douse the water with varnish and call it good.  But that's not my style.

I really want to make the spot where the muddy water of the river mixes with the clear ocean water work, and the only way to do that is with a medium that gives some depth to the water effect.  I went back to the art store and bought some Liquitex medium acrylic gloss gel and a tub of acrylic gloss medium/varnish.  I mixed about one part gel to two parts varnish, and rolled the dice.

I kind of sucked.  Applying the gel totally disrupted the modulation pattern I had carefully laid down with the blue pigments and turned the whole ocean part into hodge-podge impressionist seascape.

Nothing to do but move forward.

I next mixed about 1 part gel with 4 parts varnish and about a half-tablespoon of light sienna pigment, and carefully poured the river.  This went OK, but I am very nervous that it will dry with a concave surface (if it dries with any body depth at all).  I have also accepted the reality of bubbles in the river due to mixing the medium, but I'll worry about those later (I went through and popped the big ones).

Thoroughly dissatisfied with the way the ocean looked, I scooped some medium gel medium directly onto it, sprinkled the lumps liberally with snow flock (foam and bubbles), and stirred them into waves using a toothpick and a "sideways tornado" stirring motion to replicate water turning in waves.  Finally, I filled the lagoon with acrylic gloss medium.  I have absolutely no idea what I am doing at this point.  Here's how it looks right now:

If I am very lucky, the waves will dry and clarify by game time next Sunday.  The river and lagoon should dry in a couple of days, so I can go back and fix them if they are too assed-up to live with.

Alia iacta est.  Tune in in early September to see how it turned out.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Guadalcanal Table Part 1

I've been working on a table for Rhett's Guadalcanal Game for a couple of months.  Compared to the North Africa table, this one has been pretty straightforward, with the exception that I need to figure out how to make a good blue water pacific beach.

I started out with three 3'x5' wood panels and glued 1' thick pink foam to them.  Then I carved out the beach, a lagoon ("alligator creek") and the Lungga River using a wire brush.  I had some spare hills lying around, so I glued one to the table to represent the high ground near Henderson Field.

Studying satellite images of the island, I went with a dark green textured paint as a base color to represent the dark volcanic soil.

I then applied dark pigment for the roads and slightly lighter pigment for the soil.  I used ochre colored pigments for the riverbed.

Fixed the pigment with denatured alcohol.  Great stuff.

I Let all that dry in the basement for a good long while while I went on vacation in Maine with my family.

Back from Maine, I added flock to the panels.  I used some Woodland Scenic stuff that has been in the basement for years, and I cannot remember what colors I bought, but I used dark green for the jungle areas and a light green (burnt grass, maybe) for the open areas near the airfield.

Layered and blended blue pigments on the ocean parts, leaving the runoff from the Lungga River flowing into the sea.

I used ochre pigment to replicate vehicle wear on the roads.

Now I am faced with a water effects project the likes of which I have not tried yet.  Going to do some testing with acrylic gloss gel medium and then go for it later this week.  This needs to be dry and ready for the game in two weeks.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

WIP: Virtue for the 2015 NOVA Narrative

NOVA 2015 is fast approaching, so it is high time I got to work painting the exciting new Virtue model created for the NOVA Narrative.  Thanks Mike!

Cleaning the model did not go well, as I uncovered a gaping air pocket in the human's head as I scraped off mold lines.  Unfortunately, the resulting hole obliterated the model's right eye, which is beyond my sculpting skills to repair, so I am just going to proceed and pretend it is not there (and take pictures from the left side).

I am going to use an additive layering technique for this model, which is something I have not tried since I was a kid.  We will see whether my application of the technique has improved at all over time.

I started the model off with the basic palate of blue and brown undercoats and will build from here.  I want the human to represent, literally, earth (his warm palate will blend with the earth tones planned for the base) while the Virtue warrior will provide a cold contrast of blue and silver metallics to signify the other-worldliness of the Virtue.

Here's the model with the undercoat.
Primer: P3 spray white
Virtue: P3 Coal Black/water/flow enhancer 4:2:2
Human: P3 Umbral Umber/water/flow enhancer 6:3:1

Updated picture: 6 August, basecoat
All paints diluted 50% with water.
Virtue armor plates: P3 Pig Iron
Human uniform fabric: P3 Thornwood Green
Human armor plates: P3 Cryx Bane Base
Human pouches and straps: P3 Cryx Bane Highlight

Updated picture 13 August, highlights and finish
Armor highlight 1: Reaper Honed Steel
Armor highlight 2: Vallejo Model Color Silver
Armor finish: Very dilute glaze of P3 Coal Black with additional coats in shaded areas.  Went back and hit select plates with silver over the glaze to add some variety and movement to the plates.

Uniform highlight: P3 Gun Corps Brown
Armor highlight: P3 Traitor Green
Pouch and Straps highlight: P3 Trollblood Highlight
Flesh: P3 Midlund Flesh with Citadel Leviathan Purple wash
Hair: Citadel Chestnut Wash Ink

The base is a mess of Secret Weapon pigments fixed with mineral spirit.  Violet pigment on the bottom and in the cracks; my own mix of dark green pigment on the slate tiles; yellow, clay, and bright sand pigment on the pillars.

This may be as far as I get with this one.  If I have time I will touch up the base and add some icons to the Human's armor, but I'm probably going to call this done and move on to another looooong neglected project.

Updated update...I had to fix that base...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So this happened...

Over 30 years after I gave away the best game ever in a fit of youthful ignorance, I finally got another copy.

Looking forward to once again campaigning across the haunted glens and blasted wastes of Minaria.

Anyone want to give this a shot at Historicon this Summer?

Thursday, June 18, 2015


So here it is.  To observe the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo and the beginning of the end of the Napoleonic wars, I am officially taking up the hobby of Napoleonic wargaming.  It's on like d'Erlon.

 Here are my first two brigades.  4 minis/stand, 6 stands/infantry battalion.  Cavalry is 2 minis/stand, 10 stands/squadron.  Artillery is 1 gun/stand, 1 stand/battery.

So I chose to go with AB Napoleonics 18mm.  I'm a little concerned that they are too large, because I want to scale my games at the battalion level at a ratio of around 20:1, and 15mm or 6mm seem more practical for that scale.  That said, I think AB Napoleonics are excellent miniatures and also a good compromise for my inclination to go with Perry 25mm, which would be pretty unwieldily in battalion scale games.  Can you imagine how cool it would be to play Quatre Bras at the battalion level with perry miniatures though...?

Then there is the (unanswerable) question of rules.  I have played, read, and rejected Napoleon at War.  I have also played and rejected Shako.  I have read Black Powder and Napoleon's Battles, and have ordered Volley and Bayonet because I will be playing two games using those rules at Historicon.  Still, I'm no closer to knowing what to do for rules that will enable big battles at the battalion level.

The bottom line is that I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm doing it.  What is the consensus out there?  If I'm building battalion sized units, what are the rule sets out there that will enable a large scale battle?

I'm stupidly excited about this.  It's been coming for years.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Omaha Beach, The Cocktail

"Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd."

June 6, 2015.

At 0630, 71 years ago, the 116th Infantry Regiment, comprised mainly of Virginia National Guardsmen, assaulted prepared German defensive positions at Omaha Beach in Normandy near the towns of Vierville, les Moulins, St. Laurent, and Coleville.  They charged from their amphibious landing craft headlong into a storm of fire, smoke, and steel.  These men were the first wave of the Allied invasion that opened the second front in western Europe.  The 116th took horrific losses, but they fought hard and gained the high ground beyond the beach, paving the way in their blood for the rest of the invasion force to launch the liberation of Europe.

I am proud and fortunate to have served in the 116th in combat (Afghanistan).  Each year around Veterans' Day, veterans of the 116th gather in Staunton, Virginia, to celebrate the regiment's proud history and honor those D-Day veterans whose bravery and sacrifice is beyond measure.  We call this event the 116th Regimental Muster.  I look forward to the muster each year for the chance to talk with the D-Day veterans and thank them for what they have done.  The first year I attended the muster there were a couple dozen D-Day veterans in attendance.  Last year, 2014, there were three.

At the muster, the tables of the D-Day veterans include an exclusive libation-a bottle of Calvados-the regional spirit of Normandy, distilled from apples.  I can imagine that my predecessors got into a few bottles of Calvados as they fought their way inland through the Bocage, the dense hedgerows of Normandy, in the days and weeks following their assault on Omaha Beach.

Here, then, is my small tribute to these great men and a salute to their bravery.  The ingredients of this cocktail are not necessarily the best available in their class, but each carefully-chosen ingredient is symbolic in some way of the experience of the 116th Regiment on Omaha Beach and beyond.  Enjoy it, and remember the 116th on Omaha Beach.  Ever Forward!

Omaha Beach
1 shot Virginia Gentleman bourbon
1 shot Calvados
1/4 shot La Belle Orange
3 dashes aromatic bitters
Twist of lemon peel
Dash of salt
Dissolve salt with bitters in old fashioned glass. Add ice and all the booze. Stir. Twist lemon peel over the top. Serve and remember the 116th Infantry Regiment's assault on Omaha Beach, 6 June 1944. Ever Forward!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bolt Action Battle Report: Sollum, January 1942

Been looking forward to this battle report for a while.  I'm not going to capture the whole fight in detail, but I will relay the critical bits that I saw as the GM.

This past weekend our gaming group played a North Africa scenario on the table that John and I built over the past few weeks.  At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, the table looked really good and I was eagerly anticipating this game.

Here are some shots of the table set-up for the game.  The South Africans would enter and advance from the high ground on the left of the photo.  Their objective was the port on the right side of the photo.

We used a scenario generally based on the 8th Army assault against the besieged Deutsches Afrika Korps garrison in the small frontier port of Sollum in January 1942.  It was one of the final acts of Operation Crusader.  Our scenario was designed to capture the flavor of a small, desperate force trying to hold out against a larger attacking force.

The defenders represented a single platoon from the 300th Oasis Reserve Battalion defending in urban terrain.  Their mission was to interdict the 8th Army forces attacking toward the port.  The DAK platoon was comprised of a platoon HQ and four infantry squads:

Veteran 1st Lieutenant
1 Veteran Rifleman
2 Veterans with SMGs
1 Veteran Light Mortar Team

1st Squad:
Veteran NCO w/ SMG
2 Veteran LMG teams
3 Veteran Riflemen

2nd Squad:
Veteran NCO w/ SMG
Veteran LMG Team
5 Veteran Riflemen

3rd Squad:
Veteran NCO w/ SMG
Veteran LMG Team
5 Veteran Riflemen

4th Squad
Veteran NCO w/ SMG
Veteran w/ SMG
Veteran LMG Team
4 Veteran Riflemen

The DAK team consisted of one assistant GM acting as the Platoon Commander and four players, each taking the role of a Squad Leader.

To enable the kind of game play intended for this scenario we gave the DAK some game-specific special rules.  Each DAK player could break his squad into any number of 2-4 man teams.  Each of these teams would generate an activation die (this was the fundamental mechanic we used to balance the difference in activation dice between the South African company and the DAK platoon).  Each 2-4 man team had special rules that allowed them to move quickly and unseen around the game board.  In addition, 2-man rifle teams gained the sniper special rule (24" range) and also had the ability to snipe the enemy with a low chance of being detected.  Finally, small teams were allowed to break contact, which gave them the chance to shoot first, and then run away using an ADVANCE order.  The intent was to create a defense force that lacked mass, but maximized mobility, protection (buildings), and surprise.  A "death from a thousand paper cuts" kind of approach.

Which is exactly what the DAK team planned.  They devised a scheme with three squads forward and one in reserve with the platoon HQ.  The forward squads would engage and then break contact to fall back toward the port, sniping the enemy as they withdrew.

On the other side of the board was a company from the 6th Infantry Brigade, South Africa.  The mission of the South Africans was to clear a route through Sollum to the port to enable the Brigade main effort (in this case a company of Valentine tanks) to assault and seize the port.  In an effort to balance the nimble, unseen, and hard-to-kill snipers of the DAK defenders, we gave the South Africans an "Overwatch" special rule.  This allowed them to use an AMBUSH order to focus on a specific target area no more than 6" in width.  If an enemy unit fired from or moved within the target area, the Overwatching unit got to fire at that target, adding +1d6 to hit for each weapon shooting.  This rule was intended to give the South Africans powerful "hammer" to use against the "thumbtacks" of the small DAK teams.

The attackers were broken into a company headquarters and three platoons.  The company commander would be played by an assistant GM, and the platoons would each be controlled by a player.  In addition to the infantry company, we also added a tank company to represent the brigade main effort, positioned to roll into town as soon as the infantry cleared the way for them.  The tank company was controlled by two GMs, and would not actually engage in this scenario (though it was this GM's hope that the tanks' presence would frustrate the South African players, much like that scene at the end of A Bridge Too Far where MAJ Cook berates a XXX Corps tank officer for refusing to enter Arnhem).

Company HQ:
3 LMG Teams
Engineer Section (attached)
Morris Truck

3xInfantry Platoons:
HQ (2nd Lieutenant, Rifleman, Light Mortar, AT Rifle)
2x Squads (NCO w/ SMG; LMG team; 8 Riflemen)

The South Africans devised a radical plan to accomplish their task.  Instead of advancing along the intercoastal highway (as tasked in their order), they planned a sweeping maneuver around the outskirts of the city followed by a penetrating assault straight through to the port.  Casey's platoon would provide support-by-fire while Mike's platoon conducted the assault.  Dan's platoon would escort the engineers to deal with obstacles following the assault.  Rhett task-organized the company to best accomplish their assignments, loading Casey down with LMG teams and giving Mike a ton of riflemen to use in the assaults.  He would need them.  Dan had an economy of force with one squad (plus PLT HQ) to escort the engineers.

Rhett also consolidated the mortars into the company HQ, which proved critical to success as the assault proceeded.

Below, the battle begins with a toast between Mike and Dan while Casey moves his forces onto the board.  You can see the tanks of the brigade main effort on the left.  It didn't take long for their presence and inaction to frustrate the attackers.  Heh, heh.

Dan moves his breaching element onto the board while Mike fortifies himself for the assaults ahead.

Mike moves his platoon to his right flank to position for the assault.

South African infantry advancing down the escarpment toward the town.

It was right around here when Drew took the first shot of the game, dropping Casey's lieutenant with an undetected sniper shot.

Mike continues to shift his platoon to his right.

Rhett, the South African company commander and assistant GM, reacts to one of his lieutenant's requesting additional forces.  At least that's how I'm imagining this scene.

The South Africans are poised to start the assault.  Mike's forces are mobbed up on his right (our left). Casey's forces are slightly forward in the center, providing overwatch.  Dan's forces are still on the escarpment in an attempt to keep the engineers (in the truck) safe until they are needed.  Drew's snipers, now visible in the center building, prepare to break contact.

At this point the DAK started to increase the volume of their sniper fire.  Here is how we handled all the hidden setup and movement on the DAK side:
This is a screened battle board with the buildings drawn onto it.  The DAK team used it to maneuver their hidden units.  If you try this mechanic, which works well, I recommend numbering the buildings so the DAK GM can call-out the overall GM where the shots are coming from.  We spent a lot of time going back-and-forth between the table and the DAK battle board to make sure we understood what was going on.  The buildings with dark outlines are sewer nodes, which DAK forces could use to redeploy quickly from one part of the battle to another.

Below, the DAK snipers are forcing the South Africans to seek cover.  What the DAK commander wouldn't give for an air strike right about now.

Gavin and Sean started to pour in sniper and LMG fire from the right of the DAK defensive line, drawing the attention of Dan and Casey.  Drew continued to pepper Mike's advancing assault force form the DAK left, and then suddenly the South Africans were all up in the DAK's grill.

In the picture below, Mike's assault on the right sweeps Drew's DAK teams out of the front line of buildings.  On the left the South African commander uses smoke from his mortars to screen a secondary attack by Dan and Casey into the town.

The DAK were caught flat-footed by the SA assault and several sniper teams died before they could break contact.  The effective use of smoke by the South Africans allowed assaulting forces to penetrate deep into the town.  On the DAK right flank, Gavin sprung an ambush on one of Casey's squads, while Dan, in turn, plastered Gavin's ambush with an overwatching squad.  Sean did a lot of shooting and running around, which concerned the South Africans hardly at all.  Bad dice. 

But the DAK defenders recovered and fought back hard.  Keith and Drew annihilated one of Mike's squads as they assaulted their final objective without the benefit of obscuring smoke.  Birger dropped a perfect mortar shot and totally disrupted the South African attack through the center of the town.  Mike's final squad made an assault, away from the company objective and across the town center, and got cut down by one of Gavin's teams.  With Mike's platoon down, Casey and Dan assumed the assault role, with only marginally better results.  Using the sewers to redeploy undetected, Keith, Birger, and Gavin surprised the South Africans' second assault against the "hotel" with three times as many defenders as they expected to find.  This move caused more than a couple of "WTF" reactions from the South African players.  Thing of beauty.

Here, The South Africans' last assault squads are poised to continue their rampage onto the "hotel" that became the de facto final objective for both sides.  They are about to discover that there are more DAK defenders inside than the two dudes on the ledge.

In the end, the South Africans succeeded in gaining control of the hotel, but at a terrible cost; only 2 of their 9 infantry squads remained combat effective, and the remnants of the assault were in danger of being isolated deep inside the town.  Meanwhile, Dan's engineers were able to remove a couple of obstacles, but they started to take losses from DAK snipers still hidden throughout the town and would be unable to continue until additional infantry arrive to provide security for the breaching operations.  The South African commander would have had no choice at the end but to request reinforcements so he could fight his way back into the city to extract the remnants of his company before they got cut off entirely.  Meanwhile, the brigade main effort is backed-up on the intercoastal highway, unable to proceed until the route is cleared of mines and anti-tank obstacles.  The impending conversation between the South African company commander and the battalion and brigade commanders will not likely go well.

On the DAK side, they were severely bent, but not broken.  Each of their 4 squads took substantial losses.  Although there was not much fight left in them, they still possessed a few key weapon systems in good positions. They would be able to prevent the existing South African forces from breaching any more obstacles, and might succeed in isolating and destroying the remnants of the assault element in the hotel, but another company attack would likely prove too much for them without diverting reinforcements from another part of the town.

Both commanders will have some tough decisions to ponder tonight as they prepare for the next battle.

Below you can see the remnants of Dan's lone infantry squad on the South African objective at the end of the game while a nearby DAK squad prepares to cut them off from their comrades.  Dan's other squad, the engineers, remained behind (and unprotected!) to try to locate and remove mines on their own.  They quickly learned that the DAK still had weapon systems covering the obstacles.  One of Casey's squads is deployed in the background outside the town, while his last remaining squad is barely visible on the building to the far right of the picture.  Behind them, you can just make out the radio operator from the South African company HQ behind a building.  The square panels represent minefields, which the South Africans hilariously (for me at least) managed to avoid against all odds during the game.

This shot says it all.  Lots of intact obstacles on the road to the port with some lonely engineers in the backgroud, while the brigade main effort sits stalled on the highway in the distance.  It will take another company attack to rescue the remnants of the attack, and still another to clear the route, though the DAK resistance against follow on attacks will be greatly reduced.

This was a fantastic game.  Both teams enjoyed some degree of success.  While the South Africans failed to accomplish the mission assigned to them, the manner in which they executed their own rogue plan was pretty well-done, and they deserve some credit for that, at least.  Their coordination of direct and indirect fire support and obscuration allowed the assault element to get on top of the DAK defenders before they could initiate their withdrawal.  On the DAK side, redeploying teams to critical points late in the game allowed them to slow and disrupt the South African attack.  The DAK almost blew it early by waiting too long to reposition their forward squads, but they had just enough Schlitz left at the end of the game to force the South African brigade commander to change his plan.  Tactical success for the South Africans, operational success for the DAK.  The 8th Army will have to divert resources to complete this mission.

There was a lot more to it than that, and I'm sure I do not have all of the facts straight, but this report gives you a general picture of how the game went down.  Bottom line, by cheating/breaking/making rules to fit this specific scenario, the GMs gave the players a format that allowed for some fun and dynamic play between two severely imbalanced force organizations.  Going by Bolt Action army composition values, the attackers enjoyed a better than 2:1 point advantage (not counting the tanks).  After seeing the way this game went down, I would go back to a 3:2 point advantage for the attacker.  A couple of dismally unlikely assault rolls at the end of the game prevented the South Africans from sweeping the DAK off the table, resulting instead in the annihilation of Mike's platoon.  So as a GM, I got lucky with the way it worked out.

Great game, Gentlemen.