Over the June 4th weekend Rob and I traveled to Sydney to participate in Bryan's D-day themed event. The event was held at a fantastic venue, the South Coogee bowls club, and was hosted by Company of Dice. I was eagerly awaiting this event as I'd never attended a themed event before. My lists had been written in stone for quite some time and Rob and I had both signed up to fight for the allies against the vicious and stubborn Hun.
We each had two lists, both of mine were made up of the US 101st Airborne, while Rob's first was a British Red Devils paratrooper list and the second was a British armoured platoon backed up by British paras. The missions were themed around specific encounters and battles on D-day and the first few days in Normady, with the lists reflecting this well. For weeks before the event the Allied and Axis generals had been rousing and rallying the troops with stirring words, fortifying encouragement and practical advice. In total there were 26 players, 13 on each side, ready to duke it out on specific D-day themed boards.
And how pretty were the boards...
The slew of photos that accompany this article will stand testament to the quality of the terrain on offer. Company of Dice have some amazingly talented terrain builders, who went well above the call of duty and provided us with some of the best tables I've ever seen! Especially awesome were the beach tables. Seeing Allies storming up the beaches and being pinned back by hordes of Germans was a sight to behold indeed! I was finally able to live out my dream of the assault on Brecourt Manor and Rob played a very themed board and attacked Pegasus bridge with gusto and vigour.
The day started early and the weather seemed to be against us from the get go. The event itself had
fallen on a weekend when Poseidon decided to make a full scale invasion onto land and there was about 6 weeks of rain that came down in 1 day. The wind was something to behold and there were times I found myself looking over at my opponent and thinking, "If this is it, I'm glad I'll be going out playing Bolt Action".
My first game had me squaring off against the dreaded Wehrmacht as they defended 5 artillery pieces. The mission was Nuts! and the plucky 101st came in at daybreak and set about the task of spiking the vicious guns. Led by Dick Winters himself my paratroopers set about their task quickly, moving up aggressively and putting the pressure on. My opponent, the very talented Luke Emmerton, met the challenge with a storm of indirect fire and with a light howitzer and medium mortar running decently hot I found myself taking pins and casualties at a rate I couldn't control. By turn 3 I had
captured 2 of the guns and was aggressively moving toward the centre piece. Luke had other plans and started to reinforce the position. Just when things started to seem a little grim for me, I put out the call of "REINFORCEMENTS!" Our sterling General Andrew had written a 1000 point reinforced infantry platoon and each player could request something from the that list to reinforce them. I had lost my mortar and was short on support options. Compounding this issue was Luke's sniper that had put a hefty number of pins down. I requested and was approved for a sniper of my own and at the start of turn 2 he came on... And did nothing. In typical fashion for a sniper when they work they're stunning, when they don't work, it's most days of the week. My sniper managed to weakly put down 1 pin and failed to wound anything.
From turn 4 onward, Luke continued to pick apart my infantry and by turn 5 it was a foregone conclusion. I played on to the bitter end but by then I didn't have enough bodies to be able to move Luke's large 9 man regular squad from the objective. The one highlight for me was when my bazooka, taking a -1 for moving on top of the shaped charge rule managed to hit and destroy a half-track. It was great to see a bazooka finally do what it was supposed to do but it had very little impact on a fantastic game. My hat went off to my opponent, who played a historically accurate and fun army and was gracious in victory, even offering me a consolatory drink!
Round 1 turned out to be a decisive victory for the Axis forces. With only two Allied tables securing a win. Two of the three beaches remained in German hands and from the battle reports it seemed that the scenario assigned FAOs had played merry havoc with their general with a record number of 1s being rolled in the first round.
But D-day wasn't won in a day! No sir! The Allies rallied around our fearsome general and after some stirring words about excessive moral fibre, we squared our shoulders and prepared to take the fight to the enemy yet again!
Round 2Round 2 had me fulfilling a dream. I was battling against 3 tiger tanks (2 regs and a vet!) in a built up town with three bridges. The mission was Tank Wars, and I looked across and shuddered as my opponent assembled his big cats and veteran infantry. My own force was not insignificant however. It was comprised of large seven 10 man veteran paratrooper squads, 2 medium machine guns, 2 officers and a medium mortar. They were backed up by 2 regular 75mm Shermans. From the outset I knew full well they wouldn't be enough. I requested reinforcements and HQ decreed my need was genuine! I was assigned a Sherman Firefly AND my newly painted Rubicon Achilles. These two bears levelled the playing field somewhat and I rode into battle feeling somewhat more confident. From the outset the Tigers proved difficult. Yes they're over costed. Yes they only really get the one shot. Yes they make for an enormous target. But by the beard of Zeus they're thematic, intimidating and pretty! My opponent also had reinforcements of his own. He was assigned a Panzerwerfer, a STuH42 and some additional infantry. Additional reinforcements were deployed for my opponent at the conclusion of turn 1 with the addition some more veteran infantry and 2 Horches.
All three tigers rolled onto the board and the shooting began immediately. My opponent and myself attempted to keep our big tanks off for as long as possible but someone had to run out of dice first and it was me. I deployed a Sherman and took some very long range shots at some infantry to no effect. The next dice saw me bring my other Sherman on and again some fruitless endeavours were undertaken. Then the Tigers came. Luck was on my side with some near misses. I pulled the next die and brought my Firefly on. My poor Firefly (which I'd never fielded before) rolled on, missed it's shot at the Tiger and then was mercilessly shot at. The Tiger had moved up and so with only a movement penalty being awarded the big cat struck hard. The hit was landed and like a prizefighter landing that massive haymaker, I thought my time with my Firefly was over. However my opponent merely glanced my armour, setting some stowage on fire. I hastily passed my morale check and was left with nothing more then a smattering of pins. The Panzerwerfer then moved on and scored a direct hit on my poor Firefly. Whilst my opponent failed to penetrate, his did pop on an additional 2 pins and therefore rendered my beautiful tank useless and impotent.
My Achilles then moved on and with all the force and gusto it could manage. Despite only needing a 4 to hit the menacing Tiger, I rolled a 1. The second turn saw many misses by many big tanks. Infantry ducked for cover and my opponent made the folly of running a car halfway up the board and provided me with the opportunity I need, moving a veteran squad up, I opened fire with rifles and LMGs and quickly blew the wretched krautmobile up. Giving the men inside something to think about. My fearless opponent responded my using his Panzerwerfer to deadly effect, dropping rockets on a vet squad and reducing their number to a single lone NCO! My mortar decided that was enough of that and put a round right through the steel roof of the Panzerwerfer and destroying it with relative ease. Meanwhile my Firefly failed its order check and backed up despite Dick Winters banging on the side of it with his helmet! My Achilles hit a tiger but failed to penetrate and my opponent, perhaps suffering from battle fatigue made the same mistake and moved up a truck with some guys inside, only to have it destroyed by another squad of eagle-eyed vets!
Turn 3 saw my Firefly again fail it's order check. Dick Winters was now threatening to "pull a Spiers" on the crew if they didn't pull their act together. The Tigers started to close in and things were starting to get a little tight. A Tiger lying in wait with an ambush immobilised a Sherman and the StuH 42 evaporated a veteran squad of 10 down to 3. My mortar proved again why he warranted a promotion by landing a perfect hit on a squad that was already pinned and cleaning them off the board. My Achilles missed it's shot and my other Sherman missed as well. The Tigers (thankfully) missed too.
Turn 4 saw the tide change. I rallied my Firefly and dropped all 4 pins, my Achilles put a well placed shot directly through the front of the veteran Tiger and despite losing a Sherman, I started to apply pressure. My infantry moved up and captured 2 of the 4 objectives and my support options started to move about to acquire new targets of opportunity. Two veteran squads started to put down fire and put pins on my opponents remaining squads and I was starting to turn the tide of the advance! The next turn saw my Achilles continue to roll hot and it took out another Tiger. My Firefly moved up and missed its shot on the remaining Tiger but at least it was moving. My infantry, emboldened by the fearsome might of my armoured advance, moved up aggressively (some might also say foolishly) and started to hold the remaining objectives. Turn 6 saw my Firefly land a direct hit and destroy the Tiger that had rumbled it in Turn 1. My Achilles, proving to be man (men) of the match moved up and destroyed the menacing StuH 42 and my infantry consolidated on all of the objectives and began laying down fire to pin my determined enemy. By the time the game was over, my tank destroyers prowled the battlefield victoriously. My other Shermans hadn't been so lucky. One needed the engineers to get it moving, the other needed the meat wagon.
My opponent Mathew was a sterling chap and anyone brave enough to bring three Tigers is an terrific chap in my book. The end result for round 2 was a resounding success for the allies!! However it wasn't enough, the domination handed to the Axis forces in round 1 was too great to overcome.
All in all, it was the best event I've ever attended. Big shout out to Bryan Cook for being an excellent TO. Also massive thanks to Joe Simone from MiniWar store for the tables and the vouchers. Also big thanks to Battlefield Accessories for our stunning trophies. Lastly thanks to Company of Dice and the South Coogee Bowls Club for hosting and supporting us. It's an an amazing venue and I'd encourage any Sydney based wargamer to link in with this club. They're welcoming, friendly and supportive of the community in a way that is stand out and very encouraging!
The Baconburgers will be talking about this events on the next podcast and we'll be making the trip for the next themed event (rumoured to be Eastern Front) when it comes up!!
Until next time, roll your 6s and have fun.