Saturday, 8 December 2018

Operation Infamy - a BKCII AAR

Slightly later than planned, Adam came over for a game of BKCII. We had met quite a few times at Keith's house, where we tended to be on the receiving end of Prussian fire, but we enjoyed the challenge of playing the Austrians. So it was nice to have the chance to meet up and play something different and against each other.

Adam left the choice of scenario etc to me as we would be using my toy soldiers. After toying with the idea of Sicily or Italy '43, I plumped for good old Normandy 1944, mainly because I had just finished reading the excellent Stopping the Panzers by Marc Milner, about the first few days of the Canadians in Normandy. It also gave Adam a wide chocie of troops types to play with in terms of selection.

Scenario wise I wanted to try something I hadn't played in a while, if at all, and so went for Scenario 3: Counter-Attack from the BKCII rulebook. Recent games had featured some dug-in troops, so this stood out because the Defender has no access to any Field Defences, which would certainly be a challenge when almost certainly facing quite a bit of Allied air and ground support. I send Adam some pics of the table layout so that he could plan his attack as well as aid him choosing his Battlegroup, which can be seen below along with my German one.

German OOB
1 x CO (9)
2 x HQ (8)
9 x Fallschirmjager Infantry units
3 x MG units
1 x Pak-40 ATG unit
3 x 81mm Mortar units
1 x 120mm Mortar unit
1 x LG 40 IG unit
3 x Stug III units
1 x StuH-42 unit

British OOB

1 x CO (9)
2 x HQ (8)
2 x FAO (8)
1 x FAC (8)
1 x Recce Infantry unit
2 x Humber A/C 37mm Recce units
8 x Veteran Infantry units
1 x MG unit
1 x 3" Mortar unit
2 x 6pdr ATG units & tows
2 x Churchill 75mm units
1 x Churchill Crocodile unit
2 x Sherman Firefly units
2 x Typhoon (rockets ) units
3 x 25pdr Artillery units
1 x 5.5" Artillery unit
3 x HE Assets
1 x Smoke Asset
2 x Groundattack Assets

Having got Adam settled in after his drive down in some torrential rain and after the usual pre-game chat, we pretty much got stuck straight into the game. I didn't take any notes, but quite a few pics which should jog my memory and if nothing else, give an idea of how the game played out.

The start of the game, with the British arriving via the Western table edge using mobile deployment. Adam chose not to use flank deployment, which i had been expecting and had deployed my forces as a result of this.

Originally I wasn't going to occupy the town, but changed my mind at the last minute. Hmmm, big mistake!

Another Company deployed in the wood, expecting flank deployment and wanting to be hidden from view at the start of the game.

My reserve in the centre, deployed slightly in depth, trading space for time.

The view from the British jumping off point.

The British battlegroup in all its glory.

The start of Turn one, with scheduled air and artillery strikes a plenty.

The Typhoon did some damages straight away as they strafed the town unhindered by AA fire as my HQ was in the town. Adam was right and I should have had some AA units to hand.

The 3 25pdr batteries annihilated a Company of infantry and a Stug III. Ouch! with a Breakpoint of only 10, this was a bad, bad start.

Smoke shielded the British advance, although their left flank didn't arrive.

The British infantry pushed up nice and fast although the Churchill support was a tad tardy.

The end of Turn 2 and the British are pushing up right across the board.

More Typhoon attacks see the infantry in the town stay suppressed and therefore unable to fire on the advancing British. Damn those Jabos!!!

The Churchill tanks arriving to try and lend support to the attack.

The British armour on the left flank arrives, with infantry support, and pushed on towards the town.

As the German troops dig-in, their mortars have taken out the British 6pdr ATGs, which is small comfort indeed.

The end of Turn 3.

Failed command rolls sees the British attack start to falter.

The left flank pushes on through the town.

The end of Turn 4 and still the British are stalled in front of the town.

More 25 pdr fire has wiped out the German dug-in troops and the Stug III is suppressed and unable to fire on the advancing tanks. Not good at all.

The end of Turn 5 and the British attack starts to get moving, but only just. The Typhoons however have continued to decimate the German troops in the town. the Germans have reached their Breakpoint, but manage to pass the Command Roll with flying colours!

At last, the Germans start to fight back, with combined arms seeing the destruction of a Firefly and Humber A/C. With the British Breakpoint at 9, their losses are starting to mount. 

Turn 6 and it's 'Gotterdamerung' for the Germans.

Adam, determined to get his Churchill Crocodile into action, only manages to Blunder and inflict hits upon himself, which is more than the Germans have been able to do!

The way is open for the British to advance deep into German held territory.

Post Game Thoughts
Well that was a fun and rather bloody game, where the Germans might have sneaked it towards the end, if they hadn't lost so many units in the first turn.We didn't have chance for a post-match chat, as Adam had to dash off to get home in time for the end of school, so instead I'll just post my thoughts on the game:

  • Adam was a great opponent and we will resume hostilities in the New Year. It's always nice playing against someone new to see how they approach force selection, troop deployment etc. It certainly keeps things fresh and is way more fun than solo games.
  • As Adam stated, this is quite a tricky scenario for the Defender, as they have no access to any field defences. We used the optional rule from BKCI where troops can dig-in as an Inititative action, but we gave them a 5+ to hit roll and a 6+ save. I think I need to play this scenario again just to see how it pans out.
  • I deployed my troops expecting at least one flank attack, which failed to materialise. This led to me being somewhat isolated and struggling to get into the game due to the omnipresent British artillery. But that's the fun and challenge of the game, hainvg to react to these unforeseen circumstances.
  • The British artillery was deadly, but then it was historically. Enough said.
  • The same could be said of the air support. As Adam said, you really need AA units and boy was he right! My HQ in the town was simply unable to try and limit the Typhoon attacks as you cannot fire out of BUAs against air attacks. Lesson learnt and AA units have now been assembled in advance of our next game.
  • At one point I had the opportunity to try and withdraw from the town, which may have helped my situation, but I decided to stay and try and fight it out, only to lose my HQ unit which put pay to that plan.
  • The optional Dig-in rule worked well and will certainly carry on using this in future games. this is slated for a return in BKCIV and so will be interested to see how this works.
  • I know BKCIV has quite detailed plans for Recce, as currently it really doesn't work IMHO.
  • One of the good things from BKCIII was that you could shoot at any Command units if they were the nearest unit to the enemy. I though this was good, especially as it stopped you throwing your FAOs and FACs forward with (almost) impunity. I know I do it and so may re-visit this for my games. I don't know if BKCIV will address this or not or even if it's a big issue for other players.
  • My mortars, when they got their few opportunities to fire, are deadly, but this game I just didn't get the chance. So my newly painted 120mm mortar had little impact and my LG 40 none at all, so both had the the curse of newly painted units. C'est la guerre.

Well this game has certainly spurred me on to finish off lots of stuff I've had in the painting queue for an embarrassingly long time, such as Recce units and AA units. All are now assembled, cleaned up and ready for priming. The plan is then to either kick off my Market-Garden campaign, carry on with my Normandy one or start afresh. There is also the small matter of my 'The Pikemen's Lament' campaign and painting as well. So many choices, so little time...


  1. Thanks again for a really great game and excellent hosting Steve.
    Excellent report - and quite right - if it hadn't been for such a good start in the first couple of turns...The British could have been in real trouble with such a low breakpoint.

    Very good pictures ….I particularly like the 'before and after' shots of the Southern Town and Northern Woods (pics 3 & 9...and 8 & 13) ...just goes to show what a bit of Scheduled fire can achieve!

    Nice to play on such a good table and expertly painted models too - Bravo!

    Hopefully we can do it all again soon.

    1. Looking forward to crossing swords with you again Adam:)

  2. Nice action, as I read it, I did wonder and was going to ask whether you felt the artillery strike to be representative or too over-powered, but you cleared that up in your conclusions.

    Good to hear that IV will give some attention to recce, this seems an area lacking in quite a lot of rules.

    1. Thanks Norm. The British artillery calling in a concentration on the woods meant each unit had 18 dice to deal with which, when hit on a 5+, meant a high chance of annihilation, which is what happened. I've seen other games when the bucket of dice hasn't hit a single thing!

      I'm toying with how to tweak the Recce rules as as they stand, frankly they are not much use.

  3. Enjoyed reading your battle report

    Take care


  4. Looks like a realy enjoyable game guys. Nice to see you back in action Steve!

    1. A great game and nice to be back in action as you say Keith.