And so finally...
|Striped units are cavalry, triangles are artillery.|
3.Left Flank Cavalry
|Ready for action.|
|With the armies set up in close proximity, fighting commenced straight away. |
Here the Prussian cavalry gets stuck in, brushing aside the Austrian light troops then
charging 2 artillery batteries in flank.The grenadiers arrive in the background.
|The Austrians attacked across the valley and the clash was bloody: my rules are designed to move things along quickly. By move 3 this was the result - 4 out of 6 attacking Austrian infantry units done for. You can see 3 of them fleeing back over the ridge to the right of the photo. The Prussians had been pushed back from their positions but had only lost one unit. The Austrian cuirassiers in the foreground were supposed to sweep the opposing Freikorps and Hussars from the field before attacking the Prussian flank - an idea that didn't work out due to poor command rolls.|
|The main Austrian cavalry force, led by their dithering commander, didn't react quickly enough to stop the Prussian grenadiers getting over the bridges. The grenadiers deployed into line and advanced, leaving the opposing cavalry with little choice but to steadily give way.|
|A rather bare looking Austrian centre. The Austrian cuirassiers have at last been successful, but without infantry support they can do nothing against the Prussian infantry behind the ridge. However, the Prussians themselves can do little more than shelter in the dead ground behind the ridge crest, which is still swept by Austrain artillery fire from 3 batteries. In the background the lines of opposing infantry reform after confused fighting on the Prussian left flank.|
|Final positions after 5 moves. Prussian fire and the unstoppable advance of the Prussian grenadiers have triumphed, with the Austrian reserve seen bested in the background. The Austrians had lost 12 out of 22 units, and so their army was officially broken under my rules. The Prussians had lost 6 out of 19.|
|Those funny coloured uniforms are Dutch Army.|
|I think the tripods are bit too high, but I only had standing figures available.|
The Timecast house is also complete, as you can see. I think it makes a believable
airfield office/workshop, as well as being a useful general building to add to my collection.
|These guys look angry. Should be perfect for storming that airfield. |
But how many can you get in a Ju-52?
|How many chutes to drop a dinosaur?|
|For the Dutch M36...|
|...substitute the Polish Wz.29. Simples!|
|Burning Ju-52s at Ypenburg. German aircraft losses were heavy.|
|Ju-52 hit by Dutch AA fire.|
|Destroyed Ju-52s at Valkenburg, showing the type of grass airfields involved.|
|That's Craig, third from left.|
|The commander and turret hatches had to be added, as well as the 2 machine guns,|
the unusual arrangement of which is a distinct part of the vehicle's character.
But not a bad model for its age, and the only one available in 15mm size.
|A little frightening to see one's opponent's baseline stuffed with so many troops. The important thing to note is that all the Prussian cavalry was on their right flank, the other flank being held by light troops. My own small cavalry brigade would have its work cut out.|
|And so it transpired. The Prussian cuirassiers forged ahead of their comrades, who were impeded by a wood, and charged into the thin but valiant line of Austrian horse. My own cuirassiers scored first blood and the leading Prussian unit was quickly done for.|
|Here we see the advance of the Prussian grenadiers. The Prussian line infantry (being moved in the background) proved reluctant to advance beyond Langensalza for a number of moves, with a hesitancy which (in my opinion) bordered on cowardice.|
|The cavalry melee intensifies as the dragoons of both sides clash. There really was only one possible outcome, but I felt I had little choice but to fight it out and hope for the best.|
|Overview around mid game. In the distance you can see that my cavalry have been overcome and the Prussian dragoons are preparing to attack the flank of my infantry line. In the foreground, Prussian light troops and the grenadiers make steady but unspectacular progress. The line infantry brigade is stuck at Langensalza, whilst the Prussian artillery on the Langenburg fires at the Austrian entrenchments, with surprisingly little effect so far.|
|Again my forces are overfaced, this time on the right flank. Two grenz units do their best to hold off Prussian jager and grenadiers. Once more, the eventual result was not in doubt but the Austrian light troops had the pleasure of seeing the Prussian Garde Grenadier battalion leave the line and hasten to the rear, as a result of their steady fire.|
|Another overview around the same time. The noose is tightening around my troops, on both flanks.|
|And so to the awful denouement. Here you can see that the leading Prussian dragoon regiment has driven one Austrian infantry battalion from their entrenchments, then continued on to charge the supporting artillery unit. The gutsy gunners saw them off but there was plenty more Prussian cavalry to come...|
|... as you see here. The Prussian cavalry threw a double move, and now charged the guns in flank, as well as charging 'Loudon's Grenadiers' who were attempting to come across the table to prop up the crumbling Austrian flank. The Prussian hussars exploited the work of their comrades by galloping over and capturing the western bridge. No prizes for guessing that my artillery battery was destroyed, along with Loudon's battalion, which had been caught in march column.|
|Prussian artillery fire had also now dislodged the Austrian units manning the eastern end of the entrenchments, and the attacking grenadiers are seen here cresting the rise to the astonishment of a lone Austrian staff officer. The Austrian artillery battery at this end of the ridge struggles to extricate its guns.|
|Oh, please make it stop! The second unit of Prussian cuirassiers, having hacked down my artillery unit, moved on to charge the last remaining infantry unit on this part of the ridge in flank. Already softened up by a blast of canister, the white clad men were quickly done for. The Austrian light gun in the foreground predictably did little to bother the Prussian hussars crossing the bridge.|
|And that was about it. Only the light troops on the Austrian right flank still held their original positions. This overview shows the situation around about move seven, though by this time I had given up counting moves as unit after unit headed off the table for their storage boxes. Oh, the shame!|
|The Prussian line brigade is seen here finally leaving the outskirts of Langensalza as the game ended. They hadn't been needed in the end, but their threat had helped to pin my own infantry in their entrenchments.|
|Another Austrian staff officer has an unexpected encounter with advancing enemy troops. The bridge is a new one acquired at 'Colours' in September.|
|Address deliberately obscured - thanks Steve.|
|Yes, my painting standard isn't really designed to cope with close up shots.|
You'll just have to put up with it.
The Set Up
Well now. Up until a few weeks ago I'd never ever played a board wargame. Ever. They didn't have the visual appeal I wanted in my wargaming (too many weeny cardboard counters), and I'd heard the rules tended to be fiendishly complicated and long winded. But they do have the advantage of taking up a small amount of space, and there's no painting involved. Now, my friend and wargames buddy Paul is a bit of a board and parlour game enthusiast - loves inviting people round for a spot of Monopoly or some such - and so when I happened upon the Flames of War 'A Bridge Too Far' boardgame a few months back, we agreed to go halves on it. What the heck.
We ordered from Maelstrom Games, and paid £27 including p+p, which is about as cheap as you can get it (RRP £30). A reassuringly big box was delivered in the post a few days later. Of course, I'd done my online homework so knew more or less what to expect, and I was not disappointed (apart from the corny artwork).
The game board is good quality and very nicely printed out. It comes in 3 sections and measures a total of 48" x 22" (120cm x 55cm). The playing pieces are vehicle models in around 1/285th scale, and infantry figures in about 1/100th scale. They are hard plastic and could easily be painted up if you wanted. Overall they are quite nice representations: they certainly satisfied my own need for 'real' miniatures rather than counters. There are some cardboard counters, which are nicely made from thick card, some themed dice (you can never have too many dice) and a few other bits and pieces. The rule set is full colour with loads of the type of illustrations you would expect from FoW.
You can play the 'historical' game, where deployments are made according to those of 1944, or you can choose your own deployments and see how your ideas work out. Paul and I have played one of each type of game, and both were very enjoyable. I won't bore you with a detailed run down of the rules. We found them complex enough to make an interesting game with some mild intellectual stimulation, but simple enough not to be a drudge. The various moving, deployment and fighting phases interlock well. Chance has a significant role, but good tactics and thinking things through will give you a good prospect of success. We found no glitches or problems during play - this seems to be a well worked-out and well play-tested game.
Games have a standard length of 5 turns. The box claims games take 60 - 90 minutes. Well, our first game took 3.5 hours, with the usual learning process and frequent reference to the rules (which are well laid out and well explained). The second game a few weeks later seemed much quicker and easier, but still took the best part of 3 hours. This was not a problem - the time flew by. But I reckon playing a game in under 2 hours is unlikely, unless you play on a really regular basis.
|After a tough three and a half hours in command, Paul needs a snooze.|
|Infantry of the 45th Volksgrenadier Division advance bravely towards a Russian held village, |
covered by a smoke barrage.
|The 'Double Six Gamers' hard at work. |
Dave (foreground) arrived by motorbike and is suffering from a bad case of helmet hair.
Personally, I believe this was the reason we missed out on the 'Best Demo Game' prize.
|You can have as many tanks as you like,|
but breaking through veteran infantry in hard cover is a slow business.
|The Volksgrenadiers have taken the village. |
As usual with the Germans, command units are in the forefront of the attack.
|Overview at a later stage of the game. Russian air support appears over the table.|
|Agincourt in 15mm.|
|28mm Napoleonic action. |
Bedford Gladiators I believe, and a game related to the 200th anniversary of Borodino
|Detail of the above game. Ah, the old 'base too wide for the bridge' problem...|
|Borodino in 6mm, by 'The Old Guard'. |
Look at the extraordinary effort that went into the terrain.
|'Borodino, The Grand Redoubt'. 15mm game by Loughton Strike Force. Another outstanding effort.|
|Detail of the above game.|
|Belgium 1914, by the Whistable and Herne Bay Wargamers (20mm). |
An example of a 'model railway standard' layout which created a magnificent spectacle.
|Another view of the 1914 game. The church and town hall were particularly impressive.|
|Just one corner of the 28mm 'Very British Civil War' demo game. A table packed with interest .|