Monday, 10 June 2019

BRIGADIER GENERAL COMMAND aboard USS Texas commemorating D-Day (08 June 2019)

Omaha and Pointe Du Hoc - Story of a Landing
06h00 Standard British Double Summer Time (the official clock of Overlord)
The Royal Navy has failed to deliver the US Rangers to Pointe du Hoc (or Hoe as it said on the US maps). Blown like most of the invasion fleet to the East, the Rangers, realizing the error, decide not to storm Pointe de Percée and head West for their original goal.
Delayed by the storm, the Omaha landings begin as the Rangers arrive at Pointe du Hoc. For the Rangers, the innovative technology does not work as planned: All four DUKWs with ladders loaned by the London Fire Brigade find the beach too unstable and topple in the wind. The ropes to assault the cliff have all become drenched with sea water and under the weight the rockets fall short, leaving the Rangers no choice but to climb the hard way, one hand grip at a time.
At Omaha, the Seabees are tackling the German obstacles, with some success. Fortunately, the naval bombardment has kept the bunkers closed while they land, but too many fall prey to the booby traps.
Partial clearance allows landing areas on Fox White and Easy Green beaches. The others are impassable, leaving landing craft blocked on their approach. None of the Army Engineers have made it ashore, so no one has mine clearing equipment at the ready. At Fox White, remembering the training, “Die on the beach, or get off the beach”, men of the 116th Infantry charge and find a path where no mines explode.
Over at Pointe du Hoc, under machine gun fire from concealed bunkers, the Rangers are having a tough time searching for a way up the cliffs. Many wounded need treatments on the rocks at the bottom.
Cross fire along Omaha beach is intense. Nonetheless, two platoons of deep wading Sherman tanks and three individual Duplex Drive tanks have made it ashore. Crowded by Infantry units that are seeking a way off the beach, the Sherman tanks set to their task of picking off the bunkers on the bluffs.
Lacking engineer support the infantry choose to rush the defenses. Minefields take out many, but paths are discernable, and platoon after platoon make the courageous choice to climb the bluffs.
Over at Pointe du Hoc, clearing the cliff tops, many of the US Rangers fall foul of minefields deviously placed along the cliff path. Attacks on the nearby fortifications will have to wait as wounded are lowered down the cliff to the medic station below.
The US Army Air Corps report success. Artillery of the German 312 Division that Allied intelligence had not previously detected were sighted and destroyed.
The regimental head quarters units aboard LCI(L) ships, decide the situation on the beach is too crowded and confused, so opt to continue command operations from offshore, thereby delaying the landing sequence.
US Rangers, under penetrating crossfire from both East and West, have reached Pointe du Hoc and report by signal lamp that it is unmanned with no artillery present.
Brave troops of the 116th Regimental Combat team have either found their way behind the German bunkers overlooking Omaha or chosen to assault them directly. Hard fighting is in progress.
Exceptional Progress. The Rangers opted to storm the enemy positions that were out-flanking them to the West and despite heavy losses took the positions. Mortar shells continue to rain down upon them, so they know they must advance inland.
On Omaha beach, the rush of the incoming tide engulfs the last Sherman Tanks, leaving the poor bloody infantry alone to take the fight up the bluffs. Paths through the minefields are lost and regained, at a heavy toll, yet many strong points are taken, and all are being engaged, thus suppressing every strong point from firing at further waves of landing craft.
That said, the Germans still have officer units in the town sectors above the beach, AA units (including a platoon of the dreaded 88’s) in the bocage overlooking the landing approach, and an armored grenadier battalion of reinforcements fast approaching.

Monday, 7 January 2019

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Sunday Jan 13, 2019, Allied paratroops must assault the Arnhem bridges.
Will you take Command?
All Brigadier Generals, experienced to novice will see action. Remind your buddies.
At Table Top Generals

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Next Official Outing

The next official event game of Brigadier General Commands will be at Texas Broadside 12to14 October 2018.
As we will be running the Arnhem end of Operation Market Garden, here is a reproduction of the original orders.


To: Major-General R. E. Urquhart, DSO Commander 1 British Airborne Division, with 1 Polish Parachute Brigade under Command.
Your Primary task is to capture the ARNHEM bridges or a bridge.
Your Secondary task is to establish a sufficient bridgehead to enable the follow-up formations of 30 Corps to deploy NORTH of the NEDER RIJN.
During your operations immediately after the landing of the first lift, you will do all in your power to destroy the flak in the area of your DZs, LZs and ARNHEM to ensure the passage of your subsequent lifts.
(a) In order to preserve your southern bomb line, no attempt will be made to effect a junction with 82 US Airborne Division to the SOUTH. (b) At the southernmost point you hold on the main axis of 30 Corps, whether NORTH or SOUTH of the NEDER RIJN, you will establish a liaison party who will organize the reception and pass through of the follow-up formations (most probably the Guards Armoured Division; this however, will be confirmed when known for certain). This liaison party will have full information of the enemy dispositions, your own, routes open, etc. The rank of the Officer in charge of the liaison party will be Lieut-Col or above. The time at which you are to expect Junction with 30 Corps leading troops will be notified to you from Corps Headquarters as soon as it is definitely known. This information may not be available to you until some time after you have landed. 
30 Corps plan will be made available to you by, at the latest, Friday evening 15 September.
The latest Intelligence will be sent to you up to the time of take-off.
(Sgd) F.A.M. Browning. Lieutenant General. Commander British Airborne Corps.
13 sep 44.
HQ Airborne Troops (Main) c/o APO England 

Friday, 3 November 2017

Monte Cassino Update

The mountain, topped by the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino, towering high above the town of Cassino in Italy, was the linchpin of the German defensive line at the end of 1943. From January through May of 1944, the Allies tried four times to break through into the Liri valley and highway 6 that led from Cassino to Rome.

I have designed scenarios for all four of these historic battles, as participation games, in 6mm scale, using Brigadier General Commands rules.  They played successfully in October at Texas Broadsides and are on the program again at MilleniumCon in November. Montecassino will also be at OwlCon in February.

Making the terrain has been a labor of love. Carving of the mountains, sculpting the hairpin bends that wind up to the monastery, building the fort half way up that road, which the Germans have reinforced to be practically indestructible. The piece-de-resistance is the monastery, which I have both in pristine condition and wrecked by the Allied bombing.
In the first battle, U.S. 36th Texan Division (yes, we’re playing at home) attempts to take a bridgehead across the river downstream of Cassino, around the town of Sant'Angelo in Theodice. Historically, this was a disaster, inciting an investigation by Congress to establish responsibility. Crossing a rapidly flowing river in wooden assault boats, when opposed by a well-prepared enemy took courage, yet cross they did. The battle continues with a right hook by U.S. 34th Red Bull Division, aiming for the monastery.
The German defense in the first battle was successfully conducted by 15 Panzer Grenadier Division. They had prepared their positions, clearing fields of fire and digging in, not to mention many concrete fortifications. For the subsequent battles the Germans brought in the elite parachute unit, 1st Fallschirm-Jäger Division and on the fringes 5th Mountain Division. These are tough nuts to crack.

Prior to the second battle, the controversial massed bombing of the monastery took place. The Germans had declared they would not occupy this historical building, but once it was in ruins, they made a fortress out of it. Now, the second attempt was made by 4th Indian Division, repeating that right hook up the mountain.

I have a personal interest in 4th Indian Division battle, as my Dad was there. It was one of the few war stories he ever told (and he told it with pride). As a Royal Artillery spotter, with his radio, he was amongst the first to reach the top of the mountain above the monastery. Although that was a dominant position from which to call in fire, they couldn’t hold it and had to fight their way out!

For the third battle, the air-force was once again called in to assist, with the bombing of Cassino town, before New Zealander Division moved in. Up on the hills, still held by 4th Indian, an ad-hoc armored column had been assembled, but this too was to no avail.

Finally, in the fourth battle, British Royal Engineers pushed Bailey Bridges across the rivers, to facilitate the thrust towards the Liri valley. Meanwhile, despite horrendous casualties, Polish 3rd and 5th Divisions, took the monastery, forcing the Germans to withdraw beyond Rome.

I hope this summary has sparked your appetite to play and see how well you fare.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Check Point

Today, while experimenting with the scenarios for the Battle of Montecassino at Texas Broadsides, we had what my wife calls a "Check Point" moment. A party of people passed by and asked if we would have the Polish in the battle. YES, of course, on Sunday for the Fourth Battle, the Poles will take center stage. At the time, we had the Texan Division attempting the Crossing of the Rapido.

And what about Wojtek they asked?  I needed to confirm the pronunciation of Wojtek, but fortunately knew the story of the bear.

The Anders Army were the Polish soldiers whom Churchill had negotiated release from the Soviet Union to fight Nazis. On their way through Iran, they adopted the Syrian Bear, that they named Wojtek, which means "Ordinary Soldier". For administrative reasons, he had to be enlisted and went on to serve with the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy, where he proved useful loading ammunition into lorries. Hence he was adopted as the emblem for the 22nd Artillery Supply Company.
As it turned out, the party were Poles from Boston in Houston for a wedding. They knew about the bear and the Polish memorial at Montecassino. They told us the grand-daughter of Wojtek now lives in Boston Zoo.

What a check point for our game.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I love 6mm, so why don't others?

Peter, of Baccus 6mm, raised a strong discussion topic. I love 6mm, so why don't others? I've a few answers to contribute:

Never under-estimate the power of sex! For example, take a look at the Salute painting competition pictures. Yes, there are a few "historicals" there. However, in the main, if they are not scantily clad females, of which there are many, then certainly the majority include bare flesh. The hunky hero can be just as thrilling as the godess. Sadly, such features, even if you wanted them in 6mm, just don't come over with the clarity of 28mm. Publishers need an audience and know what sells.

As a new entrant into the commercial world of wargaming, I'm learning slowly about marketing. We, in the 6mm domain, are pretty bad at it. Take a look at the JoyOf6 website, for example. I'm pretty sure there will be another event next year, but is there a webiste for it? Maybe just a date? Even if we are trying to build the conversation with our prospective audience, we are not making it easy for them. [I should take a look at my own websites tomorrow, with the same cricism in mind!]

Content is king. I put on many participation games, traveling to clubs and shows, including some great historical battles fought at JoyOf6 this year. However, writing them up is low on my to-do list, overtaken by my desire to get the next show on the road. (Incidentally, that will be Montecassino 1944 at the Texas Broadsides show, local to where I live in the USA -

Now, follow the money! If the evil giant of Warhammer had on average one new customer each day, they wouldn't be the giant we know. Peter sounds pleased that Baccus6mm has that running rate. I conclude 6mm is a niche in the market. Ok, let's not forget it.

Many comments in this thead have expressed how little wargamers spend on their hobby, often figuring at less than a hundred (Dollars, Pounds, or Euros) for a project. That wouldn't buy you two tickets to a decent concert or sporting event these days. So what do you think you are buying? A hobby or a pass-time?

The specialist magazines take money for advertising and naturally publish articles to support the adverts. Logically, even if they have "free" content, they will favour content that has advertising money behind it. Don't complain - they have to earn their keep too.

For me, 6mm is the ideal scale for fighting historical battles. My game rules (Brigadier General Commands), including explanations about how to make historical wargames from battle narratives and maps, took far more effort to compile and publish than I had imagined. I have projects to publish the scenarios that I've played at clubs and shows, but wonder if the market would reward my effort.

I'm not giving up. In deed, Peter's thread encourages me to do a little bit more to push the 6mm agenda.

Daniel T Shaw

Games At War

This post originally published on the Baccus 6mm Forum

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

More Joy of Six

Very pleased with the Baccus 6mm write-up of BRIGADIER GENERAL COMMANDS coming to The Joy of Six show (Sheffield 16 July 2017).

Looking forward to playing the Battle of Montélimar.

Have a read at