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Friday, 30 March 2018

Rescue The Pilots

BANG, SMASH, CRASH. We’ve been hit announced the calm voice of Pilot Officer Driver, everyone out now, I can’t hold her steady and we're going down.

The plane carrying the new Resistance Liaison Officer (RLO) from SOE has been hit, just as he was about to make his jump.
Miraculously no one was injured and the whole crew bailed out with him, the good news is that they were in roughly the right area to meet with up the French Resistance, the bad news is that they would have to walk home.

So instead of 1 man the resistance were collecting a Pilot, co Pilot/Radio Opp and Navigation Officer as well as Liam O’Rorke the RLO.

Overall shot of the area, The Pilots and O’Rorke have made their way to the old disused barn on the east (right hand side) of the board, they are to wait here to rendezvous with the French Resistance.

The Resistance would enter from the road on the west (left hand side) of the board, cross the board collect the airmen and return the same way. Their objective was to leave by the entry point as this was the shortest route back to town, but they could leave by another road although there was a greater risk of running into enemy troops on the way back to town if they did that.
Secondary objectives were to blow up the gas and fuel stores, but I never expected to be able to do that.

The main problem was that there was a known German Garrison in the concrete bunker, the building surrounded by wire to the North West, the gas storage tank was located there and the number of the garrison was unknown. There was also a probable garrison guarding the fuel dump at the new barn in the centre of the board. There were expected roving patrols in the area as well.

So - not too much to worry about then.

In this shot you can see the strong point and new barn a bit more clearly. A very fertile part of France lots of cover, good for a night action.

A close up of the disused barn that the airman are hiding in, the pilot can just be seen by the tree. The green counters are some of the encounter markers. There are 14 in total and they move in a random direction and distance and may move off the board.

As usual these represent any number of things, from wind in the trees (nothing) to German troops or a flock of hens, but usually nothing good.

It is night time and so visibility is only 12” but hearing is 18”, sound travels further at night or maybe loss of sight makes it seem so.

Text relating to the pictures is always below it and I will endeavour to write the German sides names in red to try and make it comprehensible, OK make a cup of tea, buckle up and settle down at the back.

Pilot Officer Honey Driver – reflecting that when she joined up for the RAF Women’s Delivery Service (WDS) she thought that meant delivering planes not spies – hey ho it certainly makes life interesting.

She keeps a lonely vigil waiting to be rounded up, either by the French or Germans, straining her ears for the slightest sound, although lifting up the flaps on her flying helmet might help a little.

The French Resistance move stealthily along the hedgerow, this all female group have at point Barbara Vasseur with her deadly shotgun, she can shoot the pips out of an apple, mind you there was not much left of the apple last time she tried it.

She is at point because not only can she shoot, she is like a cat in the night with razor sharp reflexes and a 7th sense, much better than a 6th one, however she is a bit scared of the dark and very likely to run away at the slightest noise.

There are two encounter markers up ahead and she sees 2 groups of figures, the 1st seen here are a couple of Italians - the officer is Silvano Bertone he has none of the brains and guts of Vito Pasquetto the soldier with him, but he does have a noble family lineage that goes back 100’s of years and that counts for more than brains in this man’s army.

The other group are 3 dark uniformed figures, fortunately they are both moving away from our Heroines of the Resistance.

Barbara freezes (failed activation) and just before the 2 groups move out of sight in the dark she recognises the dreaded uniform of the Gestapo.

Honey is surrounded by encounter markers, one turns out to be chickens, one is the wind rustling through the leaves in the tree she is sheltering behind and the last she doesn’t see. Honey it’s behind you!

The Italians and Gestapo join together but continue down the road towards Honeys hideout.

Here is the full Resistance team. Sister Assumptia is in charge – she might be as clumsy as a bull in a china shop but she understands small unit tactics and details 2 of the girls to remain behind to watch the German strong point and provide cover for when the team need to return. Lorretta Salerno from Italy is a crack shot with her American produced tommy gun, as is Maria Radomira with her Webley revolver.

Yet again Sister A makes a noise but there is no reaction from the far side of the road, is the sentry asleep?

Is there even a sentry?

The Gestapo and Italians continue down the road, talking loudly, Honey hears them early and freezes, they don’t see her. Sister A makes no noise this move, the 1st and they continue following after the enemy. Maria and Lorretta make themselves comfortable watching the German strong point.

The Germans halt for a couple of turns, the Resistance catch up to them.

This was quite tense because the Germans saw no one. Barbara still at point saw the Germans but also saw Honey’s airman’s helmet and so was sure she was a pilot, so far so good. Honey had already seen the Germans but also saw Barbara’s beret appear over the hedge however she was not sure if she was the Resistance, fortunately she held her nerve and made no rash move.

I had been using a variation on my random movement rule once a marker turned in to an actual encounter, and so for this group there was a greater likelihood of continuing in the same direction or veering off, rather than a totally random 360’. However now as they had been stationary for 2 turns I gave them a 360’ random move and they turned around and marched back up the road the way they had come. Bugger just when I thought they would march off the board, out of the equation.

The Resistance had taken up firing positions along the hedge and were all set to open fire. Honey meanwhile has recognized Sister A as a nun and has decided they must be the Resistance rather than trouble.

Here the enemy are moving back up the road, they have still not seen the Resistance who have been really really quiet, Even Sister A.

Honey gestures that she will fetch the pilots. Everything else is calm and still.

Inside the old barn are the rest of the W.D.S. - Navigation Officer 1st Class Hazel Arnesen from Norway, she stole a small sailing boat and a German Officers pistol after Norway was invaded and crossed the North Sea to Britain. She had no idea about sailing or navigation and that trip made her realise how important navigation was, after spending 7 days on what should have been a 2/3 day trip and she was fortunate to see the Orkneys, before America.
She consoled herself with the thought that the Vikings had gone that way before and knew very little about navigation but it was a close run thing.

With her is Amelia Eckhardt (in another incarnation) as co-pilot and Radio Operator. The 3rd man is Liam O’Rorke SOE and no one knows much about him.

This is now turn 19, very slow due to all this creeping about trying to remain undiscovered, but very tense all the same.

All was going well until Meinhard Wenke decided to move off the road and into the fields (probably needed the toilet). He moved within 12” of Maria and Lorretta, saw them in the gloom and shouted it’s the Resistance, everyone went for their guns, and as they say “all hell broke loose”.

Wenke ducks down behind the fence (failed guts test) but draws his pistol. Vito Pasquetto the Italian soldier cannot see what is happening but being brave and foolish runs forward and takes cover. Maria of the Resistance reacts next and calmly shoots Wenke and in spite of the cover from the fence he is hit and OOF. Karmilla Altmann the Gestapo officer remains in cover pulls her pistol but does not fire. Gerda Nerlinger the Gestapo Soldier sees Wenke go down and can’t see the enemy so ducks back into cover, bumping into the Italian Officer Silvano who also can’t see the enemy and retires a way back. Lorretta of the Resistance reacts last, holds her nerve and sees Vito as he runs forward opens up with the Tommy Gun and he goes down OOF.

Karmilla now fires but misses, Maria ducks back from the shot but Lorretta fires the trusty Tommygun and hits Karmilla who is OOF from the 1st shot, just as well because there is an ominous click and Lorretta is out of ammo.

In the dark everyone is now out of sight and it goes very very quiet.

This is the situation just after Karmilla Altmann got shot, she is behind the wall. Wenke in the foreground down, Vito shot and laying in the road Gerda’s hat middle right ducked down in cover, and Silvano on the right out of sight bringing up the rear.

Sister A and Barbara move into the old barn area and meet up with the pilots and O’Rorke.

The Resistance and Airmen are at the far end of the board and you can just see Maria’s head at this end, it’s a long way back. At this point Sister A decided her plan of action. Well I decided it for her and she agreed. She has a strong party of 9 combatants, she knows there has been fighting but the last sound was the distinctive Tommy gun so it’s likely the 2 girls are still in play and some of the 5 enemy between her and escape are almost certainly down. She has a lot of faith in Lorretta.

While making this decision (inactive for 2 turns) Silvano follows behind Gerda to see what has happened, they see Karmilla dead and the other 2 moaning and groaning but they don’t have the guts to rescue them, or was that, they do have the sense not to go further forward and into sight of whoever has the Tommy gun.

The gun firing has roused everyone else and the 1st to appear are Horst Dankers and his squad who were out patrolling the perimeter of the strong point. They are under strength and are missing the squad LMG but they all have SMG’s and so are a formidable force. I also rolled for the forces in the strong point and barn.

Horst leads his men to the hedge, you can’t see them but Lorretta and Maria are across the road. Horst couldn’t see them either but his men had made too much noise and Lorretta had heard them and was ready.

Silvano had left Gerda to look after the wounded and he had gone to the new barn for help. There is a small squad of 3 men led by Dieterich Amlinger, Dieterich had a sentry posted – Walter Breckt but he had fallen asleep. Walther will be on a charge if he survives the night. Silvano is screaming at Walter that he needs to go and help the wounded and shoot the enemy. Unfortunately he is screaming in Italian.

Walter doesn’t speak Italian and he will only leave his post if he receives orders from a Teutonic officer. Preferably with blonde hair.

I just love this picture sorry.

Horst has a decision to make, should I stay or should I go (The Clash in case you didn’t know). Fails brains test so goes into the road to find the source of the firing. As he pushes his way through the hedge and into the road he sees Lorretta at the same time as she sees him but against the odds he reacts first and fires, 1 shot and there is that clicking sound again, out of ammo, he misses. Lorretta returns fire but is a bit flustered and also misses, Horst and all of his team duck back through the hedge.

A massive firefight ensues, Horst loads while the other two fire at Lorretta and miss, she returns fire and hits Michaela OOF, Eckehardt who is a lousy shot returns fire but misses and runs out of ammo. Lorretta returns fire and he drops dead. Horst with 2 men down runs back to any cover that is further away from Lorretta. (wise man)

Sister A starts to lead her men through the fields and towards the shooting.

Albrecht Stahl finally gets his men dressed and out of the strong point.

Horst recovers his nerve and creeps back to see how his men are but trips, making a lot of noise but Lorretta is confused in the darkness and doesn’t fire.

Sister A has heard Silvano shouting at Walter and so has three of her team guarding her right flank as the rest move through the fields, sadly they are spotted by the guards in the new barn.

Walther fires first, hitting Honey who falls to the ground. Nichole in the blue hat ducks down and Hazel using her German Pistol fires back, misses and runs out of ammo. Walther returns fire and she is hit and OOF.

Everyone takes cover.

Over by the strong point Albrecht leads his men down the path between the wire and gets in a firefight with Lorretta and Maria, he goes down dead and his men run back into the bunker. Horst sees this and decides to pull back completely.

The Heroines of the Resistance had kept their heads down (poor reaction tests) but then advanced to the cover of the wall and hedge lined road and a fierce gun battle erupted with the Deutch Afrika Korps (DAK) by the new barn. Walter and Silvano fire at the very pretty Nicole in the blue hat and miss, Sister A snap fires at Dietrich and he is OD, Nicole wounds Gotfried but he is also hit by Barbara with the shotgun, remember the apple, well the apple is now Gotfried OD. Silvano ducks back, Walter fires and misses and everyone in the Resistance fires back, he is OD.

Silvano shouted Mi arrendo, Me arrendo in Italian and no one understood him, but when he threw his Beretta out they got the gist.

Gerda of the Gestapo (remember her?) meantime was hearing gunfire all around but couldn’t see anything other than gun flashes. Passing her brains test she decided to pull back out of the way of anything coming her way.

The Bunker proved very comforting for the other group of DAK and they stayed there.

Final moves of the game the Resistance passing the Bunker, the DAK finally came out but didn’t venture far from the door and the Heroines escaped, with Hazel wounded, and Honey presumed dead but everyone else unharmed and ready to drink a little wine in celebration.

The Enemy lost 4 dead 4 wounded, 1 ran away (Horst), 1 hiding (Gerda), 1 quivering (Silvano) and 3 guarding the Bunker. A resounding success for Girl Power, I mean the French Resistance.

The game lasted 34 moves, and I hope it’s not been too confusing for anyone reading this far. Take heart it's nearly over.

The Blue Eyed Girls from the Women’s Delivery Service and the man from SOE.

Some of the Heroines from the Resistance - Barbara of the Apple, Nicole of the blue hat and Sister A, you can see why she may be a little clumsy at times. Lorretta and Maria are staying incognito, photo too blurred.

The Gestapo. Boo Hiss.

The Italians

This glum looking group were from the new barn and all got shot. Walter may get shot again for being asleep on duty.

The other squad from the DAK and the Army wouldn’t stand still enough for their photos which also came out blurred, I blame the cameraman!

A bit of a mammoth sitting but if you're still here - thanks for reading and let me know what you thought.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Palaeo Diet - Dances With Wolves

Yani explains to the clan how easy it will be to obtain young dogs. We just go into the wolves den and take their cubs. That’s when it went very quiet!

Following on from my previous post the clan had a successful hunt, no one got any more disfiguring scars they have plenty of meat and Yani felt a change in her perception of the animal kingdom and she has become a Shaman, able to commune with, and influence animals.

She’s had a vision of animals helping the clan hunt. She saw these animals as helpful wolves but as everyone knows wolves are one of mans oldest enemies, along with cave bear, cave lions, sabre tooth cats, hyenas, eagles, vultures, well it’s quite a long list but we’ve managed to reduce it somewhat in the last 35,000 years.

The clan were not ever going to share their homes with wolves, and so to help them swallow this huge change in their relationship she explained that in her vision they were a new animal – a dog. When asked how they differed from wolves she explained patiently – well they don’t eat you, and quickly added but we can eat them if we get hungry. The clan all smiled and nodded their heads, this seemed like a good idea until the bombshell about how they were going to recruit these wonderful creatures.

After much discussion and suggestions, including leaving her on the ice to die in the coming winter she finally persuaded them that it would make hunting easier, and as none of the other clans had such an asset it would increase their status at the solstice clan meetings, so finally they all agreed. Well Akoba was still not very happy about it but 3 to 1 and he went along.

The wolf pack that had tried to take the horse kill from them was much reduced in numbers after the fight, and the clan tracked the sole survivor back to the rest of it’s pack and the den.

The wolf den in the centre of the board, there are 4 cubs and 5 adult wolves. Each member of the clan starts in a corner of the board and has to capture one cub each and escape with it. I am actually using one of the scenarios from the rule book, I guess it is for 4 players which is why they start in separate corners.

I placed the wolves using a directional dice and most of them are on one side of the den.

Akoba in the far corner has very little cover and even less once he gets closer to the den. He never wanted to do this in the first place.

Nuponda and Tumak have much more cover and are fortunate that all the adult wolves are on the far side of the den.

Yani whose idea this was is out of our sight to the right.

Tumak’s leg has fully healed and so he has no excuse for being clumsy – except he is naturally clumsy!

He moves forward and is so close he can hear the cubs playing.

That’s when he slips and one of the wolves comes bounding round the rocks and attacks him, taking a big bite out of his arm. Fortunately it’s his left arm and he doesn’t drop his spear.

First bite to the wolf but then the next 2 stabs are to Tumak and he manages to kill it.

Nuponda has made her way into the den and has picking up one of the little balls of fluff. She quickly leaves, making coo cooing noises to keep the animal quiet, strangely - soothing sounds and tickling it’s tummy work wonders and the cub remains quiet.

About now you might be forgiven for thinking these wolf cubs look very much like my Mouflon sheep kids but you would be wrong, it’s just the poor light in the wolf den.

Akoba has not made it any further forward but in his anxiety to remain quiet has stood on a stick which makes a loud snapping sound, attracting the attention of one of the wolves which rushes over towards him.

Around the camp fire that night he would brag that he had drawn off the wolf pack to make it easier for the others. No one believed him.

Yani and Tumak are both in the den but suddenly a wolf appears attracted by noise. It moves forward in a menacing way but does not attack.

It’s a bit confusing now (why now, you might think) because the wolf and hunters move back and forth before the wolf leaves and Yani and Tumak both pick up a cub and get out of the den and make their way to the rendezvous.

Nuponda is making her way back to the rendezvous point when the cub made a noise, attracting one of the wolves.

Well actually Nuponda failed an activation and attracted a wolf. She is able to walk backward, slowly and the wolf doesn’t follow.

Lots happened over in the far right hand corner, Akoba has not moved much at all, the wolf that was attracted over his way was followed by 2 others, Akoba howled, well you would with 3 wolves coming your way. It was a good loud howl fuelled with fear and 2 of the wolves ran away.

The other one didn’t and attacked him - biting his left leg, ouch!!

He hit it with his stone club and the wounded wolf let out such a tremendous howl of pain and rage that Akoba backed away.

Akoba decides he doesn’t want a wolf cub to play with, it means taking it out for a walk 2 or 3 times a day, carrying those silly plastic bags, picking up poo etc and besides he’s a lazy bugger. So he turns and moves back to the rendezvous empty handed, blood streaming from the bite in his leg. He’s feeling a bit grumpy, but he did see off 3 wolves, that must count for something in the clan hierarchy he reasons.
As he continues to explain at every opportunity, the rest of the clan were only successful because of his bravery and self sacrifice, but no one takes any notice.

Back at the campsite the wounded see how badly they are hurt.

Akoba would have lost any positive traits but he hasn't accrued any yet so he's OK

Tumak recovered quickly and as he was the 1st one off the board is the man of the match and gains the Gatherer trait, which is quite appropriate as he gathered the cub most successfully.

So after a very difficult start the Rock Ugly Clan are doing well, they have food, and now 'Dogs' and providing these don't turn into wolves and eat them, the future is looking reasonably bright.

However this is a dangerous era - starvation is only a meal away, death a heart beat away and a good nights sleep a life time away - life is exciting and short when you live in - Palaeolithic Times.

The story will continue but it’s going to take some time before the wolf-dogs are ready to hunt with the clan. I was hoping to post a final picture showing the clan with the dogs but they still need basing. I'm such a light weight. ;)

For those interested in such matters, after the first hunt the clan stayed close to the mammoth kills, while they tended their own wounds, before they were fit enough to add 1/2 a mammoth to the winter store a new herd of the huge animals came by.
One of the females was in milk but had no calf, wolves or lions must have got it, or maybe just the cold, it's on the edge of existence here. Anyway she took to the desolate calf with two dead parents and they bonded, both leaving with the herd on the journey south.
I'm pleased about this, I no longer need to feel angst about the future of the calf.

On the bright side we will hopefully kill it on it's way north next year, it will be bigger then with more meat on it's bones.
Just thought you might be interested.  :0

If you are still here – thanks for reading and let me know you passed this way.

I'm away for a few days and may not have internet so will respond to any comments when I get back if not able to do so sooner.

Cheers and take care out there....

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Palaeo Diet - Hunting Horses.

Horse meat for dinner - the Rock Ugly Clan certainly hope so, they have been on the track of this small herd for a while and are getting very hungry.

Having decided mammoth hunting requires a lot of effort, is dangerous and put's the health insurance premium up substantially they are going after food that is considerably less testing this time.

The previous hunt is the previous post.

The horses have finally stopped moving and started grazing which gives the Clan a chance to carry out their most successful hunting technique. Bearing in mind what happened with their last successful? hunt.

They are using a hunting technique known as Beat, Beat, Stab, Stab, this involves getting hunters in a line in front of the prey and then have beaters Beat, Beat and drive the animals on to the ambushers who Stab, Stab. This usually results in a few broken bones and a full larder.

This technique has been passed down to us through countless millennia and is in current use, even today where it is known as grouse shooting in Scotland, boar hunting in Bulgaria and numerous other terms elsewhere.
So now you know how this form of hunting developed, it's not because the aristocracy are too lazy to chase the damn birds after all, hummm maybe it is!!!

The overall view of the immediate landscape surrounding the herd, the wind is blowing from the East, that’s the right hand side of the table to most of us and the clan is over in the north east, that's the far right hand corner, out of sight of us and the horses.

The plan is for Yani the female on the right to wait, until the rest of the clan get into position and for her to move upwind of the herd and push them slowly to the ambush. She doesn't want to stampede the prey or they will go straight past the hunters and tonight's meal will be dried Mammoth meat from the last hunt and the whole clan is getting a bit weary of it.

I believe Yani has no concept of counting time and so without measuring I estimated 6 turns for the hunters to get into their ambush position, they have to move quite a distance and to do it stealthily.

The ambushers set off, led by Nuponda the other female, she gained the Alert trait after the last game, in which the two blokes were a bit of a liability.

I decided that having no watch or other way of telling short amounts of time that Yani would start to move on a die roll of 1 on the 4th turn, 1,2 on the 5th turn 1,2,3 on the 6th turn etc. So the plan should be enacted roughly on time.

Just to add a bit of spice to the proceedings each turn I also rolled 2D6 die and on the 3rd roll of a 7 carnivores would arrive, they could be wolves or cave lions depending on a die roll and arriving in a random placement on the board edge.


Turn 1 - Tumak one of the males tripped, he is the one with the wounded leg from the last game. The horses realised he was a hopeless hunter and not to be feared so they carried on grazing.

Turn 2 - Akoba the other male stepped on a twig with a loud snapping noise, again the horses didn’t react.
At this point the ambushing hunters were getting spread out, mainly due to the clumsy, noisy, males failing activations, causing a racket and falling behind Nuponda - the graceful and quiet female. Yes the one with the nasty disfiguring scar.

Turn 3 and 4 - All went well and the ambushers were getting close to their positions. Yani remained in her place, counting sheep for want of a watch.

She started to move on turn 5 so not bad for someone who probably can’t count or tell the time. She needs to move a little way south so that the wind will carry her scent to the herd and hopefully get them to move away from her towards the line of ambushers.

Turn 7 - They are all in place and Yani is now upwind of the horses. I counted this as 2 failed activations in the rules which cause 2 horses to react and they both moved away from her and towards the ambush. I love it when a plan comes together.

Turn 8 and 9 - The horses are gradually moving away from Yani but in a leisurely manner.

Turn 10 - The final 7 was thrown and the carnivores arrived – a small pack of 4 wolves. You can see Yani centre right slowly moving the herd off to the west and hopefully you can see the ambush line.

Turn 11 - The wolves see Yani and howl, this makes the horses nervous and they move directly away from the wolves and so no closer to the ambush line.

Yani realizes this will drive the horses away from the ambush and so she lopes around them and howls, we know how good she is at howling and the horses move away from her and back into the trap.

The hunters spring the trap, Tumak steps out from behind a bush and attacks a horse, missing his strike and it flees, straight towards Yani, she attacks and wounds it.

Akoba on the right attacks the horse nearest him and does no damage, the horse rears up and strikes out with it’s hooves but he is fast and ducks out of the way.

Yani gets a 2nd blow in, killing the horse, but the wolves attracted by blood are already moving her way.

The rest of the herd stampede and are lost to the clan.

Akoba and Nuponda move forward to help Yani drive the wolves away from Yani’s horse kill, but the wolves are hungry and made bold because of it, one attacks Nuponda.

She drives it off as Tumak runs up to help the rest of the clan.

This was decision time, do we fight for our kill or back off and avoid confrontation, hell yes we are not going to let these mangy wolves have our meat. They might have sharp teeth but we have sharp spears with very pointy ends. (Notice the difference between killing wolves and baby mammoths)

Two of the wolves are attacking Akoba and Yani the other two have been driven off, but still look dangerous.

In the distance Yani has killed her wolf and two of the others are wounded. One is just howling but no one takes any notice. Akoba is bitten by a wolf but continues fighting.

He finally kills it just as the wounded one returns to attack.

but it is finally killed and the remaining member of the pack slinks off.

The Horse hunt didn’t go so well but the meat from the wolves makes up for it and so another successful hunt for the Rock Ugly Clan.

Akoba was wounded but recovers for the next hunt without any lasting damage.

Yani did well and she becomes a Shaman! Able to commune and influence animals.

That night she had a vision, normally it would be a dream but she's a Shaman now so it's a vision. In the vision she sees smaller wolves helping the clan in their hunts.

Knowing the Clan's aversion to wolves, unless roasting over an open fire, she realises she is going to have to explain this idea slowly and maybe not tell them the whole truth or they will think her mad and leave her behind on the ice that is advancing from the north.
As the clan will not embrace her idea of inviting wolves into their dwellings so she talks about a new and unknown animal - dogs.

What are dogs they ask and when finally pushed for an explanation she describes them as wolves that don't eat you, the clan don't find this description very reassuring!!

To be continued ......... Next episode - Dogs - The Wolves That Don't Eat You.

Disclaimer - I stole this brilliant description of dogs from another blogger, but I can't remember who or I would point you to them - sorry :(

Well if you are still here – thanks for reading and let me know if you passed this way.