The Field of Battle (note Lyons in the centre)
This game was a rather large affair played on two "Breakthrough" board pushed together. I had intended to borrow a board from Du Gourmand, but when gameday rolled around he was uncontactable and presumably is dead in a ditch somewhere, so I improvised with the paper matt from "The Cadets of Samur" set. This was fleshed out with some cork hills and 1/300 scale woods and buildings. We used the hex tiles that come with the game for roads, rivers and the tea plantations.
Lyon's Tea Plantation
(note the pile of boxes indicating a victory point)
(note the pile of boxes indicating a victory point)
The figures themselves were my Irregular Miniatures Russians facing Donogh's Irregular Miniatures Americans. The buildings were a mix of Timecast and Irregular. All painted by me for a change!
The game began with us breaking into two teams of three players. One player would take the role of Commander in Chief and the two others Field Generals. You can read a little bit more about how Overlord games are played here.
As the defenders we gave the attackers the room and retired to the drawing room to make our plans. I often take the role of Commander in Chief in these games, but it was decided by mutual agreement that it would be good to allow one of the other chaps a go, so I commanded the right flank. John took our centre and Dominic took the left. We had some key decisions as we had two very powerful assets to deploy (or not). The Field Hospital would allow us to replenish depleted Infantry units and the Supply Dump which would give us six Supply Trucks per day.
Supply Trucks are counted as an infantry unit and may when activated remove one of their figures to replace a figure in an adjacent unit.
Deploying these units would be a great asset, but each of them was worth a victory point to the Reds.
Donogh in atypically ebullient mood
Our plan was to try and defend the built up areas with our infantry, so that the Reds would have to deploy and burn cards to shift us. We were playing for time and were hoping to run through the deck as quickly as possible, but with nearly 120 cards - it could take a while.
Kildare snipers prepare to take a heavy toll on the PRC infantry
(Barry's Tea Plantation to the right)
On the right my job was to hold the Barry's plantation (right), I took great pains to keep my armour and artillery back from the plantation as I didn't want them to be targeted by Sydney's far more numerous armour and guns. I held the plantation with infantry in the hope that he would have to clear them with the bayonet - he could blast me out with guns, but doing so would take longer and would hopefully take time.
The snipers above did an excellent job of picking away at the PRC infantry, until Sydney lost patience and flattened them with a three battery strong barrage of 203mm shells. From a brutally pragmatic point of view, I was willing to accept this as it bought the Commonwealth another turn at the cost of the sniper's lives.
The PRC throw the first of what feels like many endless waves of T-34s and KV-1s down the road
There followed a hard fought engagement around the Barry's Tea plantation. I ended up committing my few tanks a little early in an effort to wipe out the exposed PRC infantry. I also sent my reserve armour over to John in the centre, where they were used to good effect around the Lyons Tea Plantation. The inevitable counter attack was savage and took half my armour and decimated the rest, but again it tied Sydney up and forced him to bring his infantry into the open to try and shift my boys.
The Loneliest KV tank
I didn't take as many pictures on the left as I was busy with my own flank, but from what I saw Dominic and Comrade Pedro were hotly engaged. Dom spent most of the time hugging the terrain and trying to avoid the barrages of 203mm shells that prepared the way for Pedro's attacks. Pedro did fall into trap that befalls many inexperience players of being too aggressive too early with his armour. He outnumbered Dom and had heavier armour (KVs versus Shermans), but he allowed them to outrun their infantry (see Exhibit CP1 above).
And Dom took no chances, cutting off and eliminating the isolated units. Note my masterfully improvised roads, cut from a manila envelope after I realised that I hadn't brought enough.
Pulling back behind the Barry's Tea Plantation
Having done everything in my power to grind down Sydney's offensive force, I pulled back and established a new line at the choke point on the road between the tea fields and the forest. I pulled my infantry back and settled down for some long range shelling using my 75mm pack guns. This meant that I had to surrender the victory point to Sydney, but I thought it better to maintain a force in being rather then set up a thin defence that he could just punch through and then blitzkrieg his way to Enfield.
Things hotting up around the Lyons Tea plantation
In the centre, there was a massive tank battle around the Lyons Tea plantation. Donogh and John set at it with guns, tanks and infantry for several hard turns. Some poor dice rolling on Donogh's part couple with some well times counter attacks by John, effectively blunted the PRC advance. Clever use of the Field Hospital to refresh depleted infantry units and husbanding the Supply Trucks to refresh weakened armour also played a key part.
Commonwealth and PRC infantry fighting house to house
With both sides armour staying out of the plantation, there followed a savage infantry battle as both sides attempted to take the crossroads. I was reminded of the village of Ponyri during the battle of Kursk, which was so heavily fought over that it became known as "Little Stalingrad".
Night falls over the battlefield
As the last cards are drawn, it emerges that we've bungled an opportunity to stage a night attack and have to settle for replenishing our troops and digging in. We've held the PRC rather better than we expected - which in some ways is a disadvantage as it means our supply lines are stretched more than we expected. With more Communist reinforcements on the way, including it is rumoured one of the latest Russian supertanks, there is little optimism in the Commonwealth ranks.