27 May, 2012


A series of short sharp incursions into administrative centres in the town is being made by armour units backed up by infantry. This drive-by is met with stiff resistance, including a few Iraqi tanks.

The small punitive column rolls in - its targets are the two Ba'ath party buildings on the opposite side of the square.

Punitive Column Rolls in

An Iraqi Sagger team fires at the lead Humvee but misses and the return fire from the top-mounted .50 cal kills the rooftop crew.
Iraqi infantry stay hidden in the buildings to the Humvee's left and await their chance

Sagger team set up at long range

An Iraqi T-72 surges out of the shadows and advances to flank the US vehicles. It targets the Humvee (which accelerates around to the other side of the Abhrams, but the American tank seems well aware of the threat and quickly turn the turret, suppressing the Iraqi crew with a well-placed (if non-penetrating) shot

Iraqi Armour flanks them

The DShK in the square's small park opens fire on the Humvee, causing it brew up - the crew quickly get out. The Abrahms takes the time to suppress the machine gunners, while advancing into the square and calmly destroying both Ba'ath Party HQ buildings

DShK opens up

The hide behind the Abrams, but start to take fire from other Iraqi infantry nearby. Another Iraqi T-72 comes out from a side street behind the trees and a three-way tank duel erupts.

Bailed out Humvee team taking cover

The Abrahms destroys one T-72 gun, but is unlucky to be knocked out by the other (which is the last shot coming from that T-72 - variant supplied by the lowest bidder)

Abrahms brews up

However, if both T-72s thought they could turn back the American attack with their machine-guns and intimdating presence they were wrong.
A second Abrahms rumbles into the square. This party's over!

24 May, 2012

The Lost Lieutenant

A small American HQ unit has taken a wrong turn, and the 2nd Lieutenant has his GPS upside down. They need to get out fast before Iraqi forces can cut them off.

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the starting board!
An up-armoured Humvee leads the convoy with the HQ Humvee behind that. A HEMMT 8x8 truck and a Cargo Humvee complete the convoy. [Thanks to Mr. E for bringing along the vehicles for this one]

The head of the convoy makes the tight turn to head back to the main road, leading the way, the up-armoured Humvee directs its fire at a squad of Iraqis on a corner rooftop - between the .50cal and a couple of marines leaning out the windows they put paid to them, albeit taking damage to the .50cal

Convoy turns around

The HEMMT's turning circle means it's well behind, and a lurking Iraqi squad behind it open fire. It's a tough truck and it lumbers through the torrent - taking a few shots to the wheels, slowing it down and as it turns the corner one of the crewmen is badly wounded.

HEMMT lumbering along

The Cargo Humvee careens around the corner - a previously unseen AT-3 Sagger team on another rooftop are set up to take a shot, but the Marines shoot one of the crew and the missile goes out of control

Cargo Humvee careens around corner

The Carvo Humvee has almost made it to safety, as the HQ guns through the junction - the Iraqi DShK team take casualties and keep their heads down

HQ Humvee passes junction

The Iraqi infantry are moving quickly now, trying to get a bead on the convoy as it passes by buildings. The .50cal mounted on top of the Humvee is destroyed and one of the Marines is wounded - they all bail out and take cover.

Fireteam bails out

The Iraqi squads continue to concentrate their efforts and the pressure on the HEMMT intensifies

Iraqis concentrate

The bailed out fireteam of Marines tries to cover the truck, but the HEMMT brews up in the firefight. As the Iraqis move in the Marines fight their way off the junction

Covering HEMMT

So close for the Marines this time, but in the end the Iraqis clinch this 12-6.
The Marine player thinks the only chance is to get out of the ambush zone as quickly as possible, so maybe another security Humvee would even things up a little?
With two victories for the Iraqis in the morning, what does the afternoon session hold for the Marines...

22 May, 2012


Friendly intelligence assets inside Az Zubayr have alerted coalition forces to the presence of an artillery battery hidden inside the town.
A raid to destroy the guns and capture the battery HQ has been sent in.

The reinforced squad of Marines move towards the compound where the suspected artillery is located, hugging both sides of the street, the squad leader keeps his GPMG team and the attendant Corpsman in reserve

Marines move towards the artillery

An Iraqi squad lurking in an alleyway on their left flank opens fire

Iraqi on their flank

The Marines take command of the rooftops, driving the Iraqi squad back behind the small mosque but coming under fire from a .50cal hidden in the trees just inside the compound wall

Taking command of the rootfops

A second large squad of Iraqis in the palm trees takes heavy fire but holds out against the Marines' advance along the road. As the firefight with the Iraqi .50cal intensifies, it seems that the compound wall is made of plasterboard and the Iraqi defenders go down

Iraqi holding out in the palm trees

A technical arrives to help out the Iraqi forces, spewing machinegun fire as it careens down the street

Technical arrives to help out

The 4x4 doesn't last long, most of the crew is killed as it turns the corner and the engine conks out

Technical doesn't last long

Crossing the road to set up alongside the compound wall, the leading fireteam triggers an IED, which wounds two men. They take more fire, and wonder why the hell the Iraqis didn't do something about the wall and repair their defensive perimeter!

IED hits leading fireteam

A second fireteam crosses the road only to find themselves confronted point blank with a resurgent .50cal! Despite the scare of their life, they survive the torrent of bullets

Second fireteam goes toe to toe with .50cal

The Iraqi defence now starts to draw back to protecting the gun, even the HQ personnel and artillery crew have shouldered their AKs

Defending the gun

Newly arrived on the battlefield are four unusually well-trained Republican Guardsmen. Their position is immediately compromised by a fire in the building and they move across the street. They're engaged by gunfire and the Marines get the drop on them, taking some hits but killing two of the Iraqis

Some Iraqi Republican Guard arrive

The Marines break through the wall to wipe out the crew of the .50cal and the nearby HQ personnel - the fireteam behind them capture the Iraqi officer and begin to move back to interrogate him

Breaking through to the compound

The two elite Iraqis hold out killing one of the Marines and making sure the gun isn't destroyed

The Gun still up and running

A close-run affair: 9-8 to the Iraqis who despite their losses held onto the gun - the Marines claim would've surely overrun the position soon though...
[and yes - I know that the Marines are not in the right gear]

18 May, 2012

Road to Basrah

The Iraqi plan for the defence of Basrah is to suck the attackers in and grind them down in an urban battle which will dull the appetite of the British and American people for the war. The Coalition is refusing to play this game and will conduct a series of raids and psychological operations against the Iraqis, wearing down their will to fight, while the main invasion force rolls northwards to Baghdad.

Az Zubayr is a small town sitting astride a major junction just south-west of Basrah and it is here that the Coalition plan is first put into effect.

Tomorrow I'll be running five linked scenarios using Force on Force for Trinity Gamers. Originally I would have envisaged doing the Basrah campaign using my British forces, but a little counterfactual has some Iraqi regular forces sitting astride the US Marine Corps' advance...

11 May, 2012

Fear, Honour & Interest

US Special Operations Forces have been deployed to Iran to gather intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme. They have identified several noteworthy leads, and the National Security Council has given the go ahead to shut down these worrying prospects using tribal lands in Baluchistan as a base of operations.

The campaign will comprise three or four scenarios following US Special Forces targeting Iranian security around the nuclear programme, and the resultant Iranian efforts to shut down their base of operations.

Of course this is a hypothetical campaign (or at least I must assume so with my current security clearance!)

I'll be running this mini campaign on the Saturday of Hobocon. Hobocon is on from the 2nd-3rd June in the Teachers' Club in Dublin. Visit their site.

09 May, 2012

Lead Painters' League Concludes

Round 10 is underway over on the Lead Painters' League and maybe it's the fact that people have had more time to prepare for the maritime theme of the round, but there's some astounding work out there this week.

As always I'm not picking out my favourite pieces, but I'm hoping to highlight a few match-ups which are (or ought to be) very close

Pirates v Buccaneers vs. On China Station

Salty Sea Dogs vs. On the Nile

Sikhs vs. SBS vs Kriegsmarine

Capture of the Griffon vs. Frog Gigging Gone Wrong (15mm)

Return of the Mariner vs. Suebi Riders

If you have the chance, head over to cast your votes

07 May, 2012

Top Wargaming Films: #3, #2, #1

Concluding this short series of posts with my top three...

Like in all his films, Zwick is able to give his battle scenes grand scope while concentrating on the characters. He treats each battle as a scene, telling its own story. This film never fails to move.

A Bridge Too Far
An archetypical example of battlefield friction. With the best will in the world, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Uncommon valour may win the day, but sometimes it can only delay the inevitable failure.

The Seven Samurai
This one is also on my best-ever/favourite films list. I love the way it's really unimportant what weapons any of the characters are using (apart from them being a signature/style). It's the quality of the person using it that matters. And of course with the bandits and especially the villagers quantity has a quality all its own. Leadership, morale and some kind of a plan all play a role too.

Thanks for reading - I've had a few interesting suggestions in comments so far (Khartoum & The Four Feathers - perfect for those of you colonially inclined). Any others out there?

04 May, 2012

Top Wargaming Films: #6, #5, #4

The excitement builds (I can tell!) as I continue my top ten wargaming films


Probably the cheesiest film on the list - this film about the Earps' covers a lot more ground than the OK Corral, but character development is really rolled up into scene setting. It is a bit long, and without a real climax, but the major gunslingers (Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer and Michael Biehn) all play blinders, and the various shoot-outs will have you running to your nearest Old West system for a game.

Black Hawk Down

Say what you will about the man, but Ridley Scott knows how to shoot action, in fact we've commented that no one quite shoots action the same way since this film was released. The action is incredibly frenetic, though characterisation (on both sides) is lacking across the board. In many ways, I think that this film is responsible for the original Ambush Alley game and while I haven't yet gotten to play anything based on the engagement it will definitely get you into the mood for some regular vs. insurgent action.


Maybe it's only a Vietnam War allegory, but it's a damn fine one. The suspense and over-confidence factors may be difficult to include in a wargame, but I'd love to try (and thoughts of Space Hulk still give me a warm fuzzy feeling). As different as Aliens is from Alien, it's a flip-side to the claustrophic horror of the original, with more action and in-your-face terror. You'll want to catch the special edition (with lots of added background and those wonderful sentry guns!)

Top three on Monday!

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