Tuesday, 9 October 2012


SWMBO was off having a girly night out with her sisters this last weekend, leaving me all to my own devices.  What was a lonely boy to do?  Play with toys of course!

I decided to catch up with the exploits of the US infantry platoon from 'Buying the Farm' (blimey, was that over a year ago?  I need to game more often!).  Both sides rolled up the same mission, which meant it defaulted to an 'escalating conflict' mission for both sides, effectively a straight meeting engagement.  I particularly wanted to try out the revised vehicle rules from the beta version of FAD 5 (which can be found through the yahoo group, here), so both forces had some armour to play with.

The scenario was that Lt Robinson and the boys had given the job of scouting ahead to find the enemy, mounted up in half tracks and jeeps, with an M8 Greyhound and Sherman in support.  Unfortunately they are about to run into a small German group heading the other way with intention of setting up an armour ambush.

US forces:
HQ - 4 models, M1, regular, jeep
1st Squad - 1 thompson, 6 M1s, 1 BAR, 'trigger happy' (+1 fire effect), M3 half-track
2nd Squad - 1 thompson, 6 M1s, 1 BAR, M3 half-track
3rd Squad - 1 thompson, 5 M1s, 1 BAR, M3 half-track
Bazooka Team (mounted in 3rd squad half track)
M8 Greyhound
M4 Sherman

German forces:
HQ - MP40s and Kar 98, half track with PAK38
1st Squad, MP40, Kar 98, MG42 and 2 crew, half track
2x StugIII
Sdfkz 222

Kar 98s have the 'bolt action' rule (only roll 1D6 for fire effect) and the Stugs are 'slow firing' (cannot move and fire)

The forces aren't exactly balanced, but to be honest I always like the 'story' side of gaming, so I go with what seems an appropriate force for an interesting game.

Aerial Recon of the battlefield

The US forces approached form the 'south', the Germans the 'north'.  The US approached in two columns, the M8, HQ, 2nd and 3rd squad advancing up the road to the hamlet; with the Sherman and 1st squad advancing up past the farm building towards the centre.  The Germans sent the armoured car and Stugs up the centre, with the infantry skirting the farm on their right flank.

 The US enter the battlefield
 German armoured column advances

The US right flank advanced rapidly up to the hamlet, depositing the platoon HQ and bazooka team in one of the ruins where they could cover the cross roads with fire.  Meanwhile the Sherman nosed into a hedgerow for cover and, as its escorting infantry de-bussed and took to the hedgerows for cover, took a pot-shot at the advancing Stugs, but with more enthusiasm than accuracy!  Fortunately the return fire was little better.

The two armoured cars both raced to contest the crossroads, with the M8 getting the first shot off, writing off the '222, only to get popped by one of the Stugs, which had veered off into cover in the farm, while the other engaged in a ill-fated gunnery duel with the Sherman (who's crew had clearly calmed down and worked out what they were doing) and the halftracks advanced down the right flank.

 Assault gun hide n seek

Aware that their best chance of success was to take out the Sherman, giving them superiority in armour, the remaining Stug risked an advance to the crossroads, placing trust in luck and armour, while the PAK38 equipped half-track advanced to the farm building where it could set up for a flank shot.  Sadly for them, the Sherman crew were now on a roll, brewing up the unfortunate assault gun.  Worse was to come, as the bazooka crew found themselves with a possible shot at the half track and made the most of it, convincingly decimating it and its passengers, despite it being hull down.

Being the only ones left, the remaining German infantry, which had started advancing through the woods on the US flank, decided that discretion was the better part of valour against a combined arms force in good cover and fell back, ending the game.

 Forwards!  Or maybe not...

 Burnt out vehicles at the crossroads
 US Infantry 'encourage' the German withdrawl

 The final state of play (in colour, no less!)

All in all, a very interesting game.  With armour on the table, the infantry pretty much put their heads down until one side had superiority, perhaps not an unrealistic result!  The only infantry unit to open fire was the bazooka, with spectacular results.  Armoured combat in FAD5 is incredibly simple and pretty deadly between matched opponents.  Roll to hit, roll to penetrate and, if you do, it's likely a  kill.  No record keeping of damage points or endlessly shooting different bits off the same tank here!  For me, this seems entirely appropriate for armour clashing in a game that's pretty much occuring in small arms range.

The Stugs really struggled with a having to act offensively in this game because of the 'slow firing' rule but, again, I think this felt right and I think I'll keep it.  It'll be interesting to see how they fare in a more defensive role.  I do think that some using opportunity fire will be needed for these and AT guns to keep them from being too vulnerable to more conventional tanks.

I did find that the vehicles fair zipped around the table.  Was it too much or was this appropriate?  Not sure, Jury's out on that one for now (I could always swap units from inches to cm if needs be).  The temptation to nip about is probably what led to both armoured cars getting themselves exposed and in so much trouble.  It certainly proves why recon units were not supposed to go engaging 'true' armour!

Here's hoping it's not another 14 months until the next installment!