Wednesday 27 August 2014

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Last week I had a short family holiday in Devon - Ilfracombe to be precise - and this coincidentally brought me within a short distance of the Cobbaton Combat Collection, a museum I have wanted to visit for some years. The Museum contains exhibits and vehicles mostly from World War Two but also contains some stuff from other periods as well. I shot far too many pictures as usual and showed a little too much of my geeky side to the wife and kids...but this was 'my day' in a week of activities which included the usual shopping and sitting by the pool (pursuits I don't normally entertain). Anyway, here's a selection of the best pictures from this excellent little museum.

Centaur Cruiser Tank Mk IV

A collection of anti tank obstacles including these 'Bouy' type examples

WWI Newspaper from the Winter of 1914

Ford F60S LAAT (1944)

Daimler Armored Car Mk 1 (1942)

Ford Windsor Carrier (1944)

Chevrolet C15TA (1944)

Inside one of the 'halls' of the museum

Ford F15A (1941)

British 25Pdr Mk II (1943)

Morris Quad C8 Mk II (c1940)

A British Churchill Crocodile, A Chinese tank and a Centurion in another hall of the Museum

This replica Horsa Glider was built for the war movie "A Bridge Too Far"

The replica was used for interior shots

White Scout Car M3A1

A Priest Self Propelled Gun

The ubiquitous Jeep

A Russian T34/85

Morris C9B Self Propelled Bofors (1943)

\A post war Centurion Mk 5 AVRE (1949)

A Home Front display including several children's toys of the period

Standard Light Utility vehicle or 'Tilley' (1944)

BigLee is in 'Happy Land'.... I've been wanting to visit this museum for years

A Churchill Crocodile flame thrower

BigLee and the Centaur Cruiser Tank Mk IV

A British 17 Pdr Anti Tank Gun

An American infantry Landing craft (a replica I think)

Sherman V M4A4 - Note the Applique armour plates welded on the side. These gave extra protection to the Ammunition storage racks inside.
Whats left of the engine from the Sherman
There is a huge amount more to be seen here and I heartily recommend a visit if you are in the area. Although the large exhibits are a bit cramped for space for me this just added to the charm of this private collection, clearly many exhibits have been lovingly looked after and restored. One thing I would recommend is that you buy the guide book when you enter the museum as this gives a lot more information on all of the vehicles on display and is a very interesting read in itself.

Friday 15 August 2014

Military & Flying Machines 2014

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Military & Flying Machines Show at Damyns Hall in Essex.  I haven't got round to posting my pictures until now so here's a few from what turned out to be a great day. 

Ray was there selling his D-Day Anniversary book accompanied by some of the veterans featured in the book. 

There was a small selection of vehicles at the show but no heavy armour this year.

A Dodge Weapons Carrier alternatively known as a  'Beep' 

The vehicle was beautifully kitted out with lots of extra equipment, weapons and personal items.

Another highlight was this German Field Hospital with a vast amount of kit on display.

The only heavy armour on site was this replica Stug.

The main highlight was a flyover display by a wartime Dakota. 

...and very late in the day (probably due to the weather) this Spitfire.
A very nice day with lots of time spent chatting with the Veterans and exploring the various trade stalls on the site. Not a bad show this year but noticeably smaller than previous years. 

Right we are off on holiday for a week. I'll bring my tablet away with me but I can't guarantee that I'll be able to post next week, but I have some militray museums on my hit list (including the Cobbaton Combat Collection) so expect some pictures the following week. 

Monday 11 August 2014

The Road to Hue : A Vietnam BatRep

On Saturday Posties Reject 'Smiffy' (Mark) ran another Vietnam game using all his growing collection of figures and his own rule-set. This is the second time I have played the rules and aside from a few minor tweaks they remained unchanged from last time. Overall the game went very well and the rules work excellently to convey the period, equipment and tactics of this period.  I was the US commander, with Clint as my 2iC facing off against Postie and Surjit as the VC (as in the last game). It was an epic game, starting at ten in the morning and ending after nine PM because we literally played to the death. 

January 1968 and the Tet Offencive has exploded into action. Across the country, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army units have created havoc everywhere. Even Saigon is under attack. A Few miles east of the city and American unit has been tasked with holding a small village that sits across a road leading directly into the ancient Vietnamese capital. Although the village only contains a few buildings, your forces have fortified the village area. Makeshift bunkers sit either side of the road and barbed wire fencing raggedly strung out in a few places. You must defend the village and rout the enemy forces. 

Order of Battle
Oops...I actually forgot to copy these down. If I get them I'll update this section.

The opening turns of the game saw all hidden movement for both sides, so no models at all on the table.

Players used a dry-wipe pen to mark the position of their units on a tactical map. The red cones show where we placed our Claymore mines!

The VC players look unhappy...or maybe that's just confused?

The Village that the US/Aussie players had to hold. Until units were revealed by observation no models were put on the table. Hidden somewhere here is a US Army Rifle squad, a team of US Marines, a two man Mortar team and a HMG.

The VC begin to be spotted and so the US Marines decide to open fire, which also reveals them to the enemy. At this stage I wasn't sure if this was a feint attack designed to draw us away from the front of the village. 

We (the US/Aussie players) made a lot of use of smoke rounds to obscure LOS for the enemy or to screen our own movements. 

More VC appear on our flank. What initially looked like a feint is actually turning into the main assault on our defences.

The VC push hard and fast and force back the Marines. We fall back and give ground to regroup and form a better firing line for next turn.

Smiffy did an excellent job as Umpire.

Aussie reinforcements arrive, but they have a long way to run to reach the battle.

More Australians appear in a better position and are straight into the firefight.

VC reinforcements also appear but they are a long way from the battle and will take five or six turns of movement to reach the battle.

The battle for the village is a fight of attrition with high casualties on both sides.

Surjit moves his forces again trying to dislodge the defenders but being forced back several times. He fought a stubborn battle right to the end.

Smiffy taking it easy as the rest of us battle on for hour after hour.

Reinforcements?, just a supply vehicle with some much needed ammo for the US Army troops. 

Most of the US troops are dead but the Australians fight on and regroup for another push to shift the remaining VC from the edge of the town.

One constant thorn in our side was the VC mortar which rained down accurate fire on our positions for most of the game.

The orange markers show troops with one wound. The brown markers two wounds. A third wound is a kill.

Casualties continue to mount as the last VC unit presses forward fanatically.

The endgame arrives with the last two VC continuing to fight to the bitter end.

The final scores. An American/Aussie win but bot buy a huge margin.

The game lasted an epic 11 hours but in the end Victory never tasted sweeter!

The final score was 44 points to the VC and 57 points to the US/Australian forces. In short the game was a bloodbath with both sides fighting almost to the last man. Overall we all thought the rules worked very well although with hindsight I think the Morale value for the US/Aussie forces was probably a bit too forgiving. We took over 80% casualties and I think most forces would have broke and run long before reaching that level. Mind you I'm not about to hand victory back to the VC, we fought a long hard game and we damned well intend on enjoying the win!