Modern Wars, Bolt Action, 28mm
This was another of those rather crazy games laid on by The League of Gentlemen Wargamers. Actually, it was a game in two parts. The Saturday was spent fighting one-on-one battles with opponents, but for the Sunday all the tables were shoved together to create the 30 foot long stretch of river delta you can see above. Actually, this photo doesn’t do it justice – the table was huge, the terrain varied, and the whole place “belonged to Charlie”. This Vietnam weekend was one of three played by this group each year, and was held in a Brownie Hut (they’re junior Girl Guides for the uninitiated). It’s located in Kirriemuir, in the wilds of north-east Scotland. I actually came late to the party, arriving late on the Saturday morning, having flown up from London. I was also feeling a little under the weather. I’d been at a reunion in the Tower of London the previous evening, and flown north nursing an almighty hangover. Still, it had largely cleared by lunchtime when I sat down to play my first of three games.My opponent was Charles Grant, who launched a series of human waves against my thinly-defended firebase. Despite breaking into the compound at one stage the attackers were eventually repulsed. Game two was something of a non-game, fought against Dale Smith. His Special Forces were tasked with blowing up a bridge, which they did without waking any of my sleeping garrison. Thanks to randomised movement my two guards were always in the wrong place or looking the wrong way, and on the one occasion I spotted the raiders my sentry was “taken out” by a silenced pistol. It was all very frustrating!Game three was an attack on a VC-held village, held by Peter McCarroll. Rather than advance through the open paddy fields I placed a squad and a machine gun team in overwatch, covering the open ground, while everyone else went around the flanks through the jungle. It worked up to a point – any ambushing forces were soon disposed of through copious amounts of firepower, and a final assault saw off the last of the defenders. Still, Peter needed to inflict 25% casualties on me to claim a moral victory – and he got 24% – 11 out of my 45 figure force! The game was therefore really a draw. There were also other tables and scenarios I didn’t have time to play… but the games looked fun.That evening we slung the tables together, and arranged the Mekong Delta table under the guidance of Peter Nicholson. Play began on Sunday morning. There were several objectives in play – the Americans had to rescue a captured special forces team, they had to abandon one firebase and establish a new one up-river, and they had to check all local villages for a VC arms dump. Charles and I were given riverine transports, and ordered to vaguely head upstream, while Dale was left to sort out the problem of the firebase. The other seven players (5 VC/NVA and two US) had other commands, and of course we had no idea where any of the enemy actually were. Charles and I both chose an island apiece, and cleared the village on it. In both cases we became embroiled in nasty firefights with the VC. Having found one of the prisoners I pulled back to my boats and left my island to Charlie, but Charles – the old soldier that he is – kept at it, and eventually cleared his island, which was crawling with enemy troops.Then we noticed that Dale had somehow left his new firebase undefended, while the old one was garrisoned by nothing more than his headquarters squad. The rest of his force were careering around in helicopters, without actually going anywhere. Seeing their chance, Pete McC raided the site of the new firebase, dismantling its makeshift defences, while Dave O’Brien launched a series of attacks against the old base, and eventually captured it.This was a bit of a blow, as now we didn’t have a secure base! It took the rest of the day for my transports to chug up river, and for Charles to polish off his opponents. We then ran the gauntlet of tank fire from a hostile river bank, and reached the site of what would have been Firebase Eagle’s Nest. We secured the place, and Dale even landed his guns there, but without a scrap of defences the place was a firebase in name only.Meanwhile Colin Jack was fighting his own private war in defence of a little forward base, while other fighting was going on between a somewhat lost Special Forces platoon and a whole pile of NVA regulars, supported by tanks. In effect the table was so big and the terrain so carved up by the rivers that everyone seemed to be fighting their own private little battles. All of a sudden it was time to pack up. Given that we hadn’t really achieved any of out objectives victory was awarded to the locals. Charlie continued to control the Delta, but we all had a great time fighting in it! In previous games of this kind we’d used Disposable Heroes, but everyone felt that Bolt Action gave a much cleaner and faster game.