Monday 19 May 2014

The Battle for Grange Farm

As anticipated in my last post, and as already reported by Roger, I hosted another game of AVBCW Chain of Command this weekend. This was an attack/defence with the BUF (played by Derek & John) attacking to take 'Grange Farm' (named after a farm near here incidentally) defended by Roger's Anglicans. It turned out to be a spectacularly bloody encounter and I think one of the best games I've had.

Two views of the table. The farm itself is the new 4-Ground farm complex (in 15mm) with which I am rather pleased; I like them even if they are not to everyone's taste. Flanking the farm was a rather nice orchard which was left entirely unmolested by the parties.

Patrol Markers locked down
The patrol phase was rather odd. The Anglicans placed all of their markers near to the farm and the BUF in attack then rolled a '6', the maximum number of moves available to them. This meant that they were already pretty close before the patrol phase proper started and there was very little room to manoeuvre. The Anglicans ended up with jump off points just short of the farm but allowing them to deploy into the rear buildings but not the more forward ones while the BUF's were on the other side of the road to the farm.

BUF on the hill overlooking the farm
In the early part of the game, the Anglicans had the better of it, rolling multiple 6's to keep the initiative repeatedly and at one time rolling four 6's and finding a stash of beer in the farm! Roger was able to deploy one section into the farmhouse and a second section also on the perimeter. There was also a sniper in the upper floor of the farmhouse. The sniper was though rubbish getting in only two shots in the whole game and killing no-one; I think he spent the rest of the time drinking the beer!

The BUF meanwhile deployed two sections on the hill overlooking the farm. They were able to shoot up one of the Anglican sections as they crossed the farm-yard but pretty soon things evened up and one of the BUF sections was just about wiped out.

The BUF close on the farm perimeter
In time the Anglican's luck began to run out. A third section of BUF deployed and working with the other remaining section they were able to push forward to the the farm perimeter.  Their plan was to try to get both sections in close combat with a single Anglican one. The tactic didn't quite work several times but nevertheless they still pressed on.
The MkVI threatens the farm's flank
As for support from the BUF they had an absolute monster machine; a Mk VI Vickers light tank ! (and an extra Lewis gun team). Like the sniper though the tank wasn't destined to achieve much. It worked its way around the side of the farm to a position to hit the Anglicans in the farm yard. However, after only one shot, the Anglicans were able to deploy their Boys AT rifle in the woods with a flanking shot. They hit (just). Here are the damage dice for the rifle:

What to roll when you hit a tank from the side...
That's 3 'hits' from the side (4-6 to hit) and the tank rolled no saves! That's tank knocked out in one hit! Not exactly what I was expecting. The Boys team then proceeded to crawl back into the woods.

That's one smug Boys team in the trees
Having lost their tank the BUF then had no option but to carry on pushing into the farm the hard way, with bayonet & grenade. There was another Anglican section in the rear of the farm but the two BUF sections were too much for them.

The odds are not good for the Anglican in the farm
In the end the Anglicans were pretty much reduced to just one senior leader in the farm yard, a depleted Lewis team who exited the side of the farmhouse, one sozzled sniper and a force morale of 1. So objective taken, though it must be said at pretty heavy cost. If this were a campaign... but it isn't.

OK we give in. It's a rubbish farm anyway.
So an excellent game and my thanks to John, Derek and Roger for coming and playing with my toys. One very odd thing about this game was the lack of Chain of Command dice. This wasn't an especially short game but neither side managed to get a single complete CoC dice and in fact the BUF rolled only one '5' in the whole game!

I feel now that I've reached a bit of a decision point and there are several ways I could go with this project. In many ways I'd love to run a campaign, but a problem with that are that I don't think I/we play often enough to maintain the momentum for it. Or I could design some more specific scenarios to get some of the unused supports onto the table (that political officer for one..). Or then again it would be interesting to see how it compares to play VBCW using TFL's Mud & Blood rules which incidentally  Rich Clarke (the author of both sets) has said he thinks fit the flavour of VBCW better. Either way I want to fill out a couple of gaps in my collection and get a bit more terrain sorted out, including hopefully a couple more buildings.

Happy gaming.


  1. Campaign systems in my experience tend to get a momentum of their own: if you once lose badly, you tend to keep losing, and this can make the later games not much fun. I agree that we wouldn't get much feeling of continuity with 3-5 games per year.

    No objection to trying Through the Mud and the Blood, though I don't know it.

  2. Great report. VBCW is an intriguing period/premise, looking forward to hearing more of your exploits! Cheers, Paul.

  3. A good read, and great eye candy too! Interesting to read Rich's thoughts on the rules suitability for VBCW.

  4. Great AAR, and nice to see CofC used for VBCW.

  5. Nice report, great looking pictures!