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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.


  1. Gobsmackingly good table, Vagabond, with some awesome looking minis and enthralling write-up. Loved every minute of this and felt it played out very well indeed. Is there another one ready for posting tomorrow? ;-)

    1. Blax that's very kind of you to say so, is funny how some games go so well and seen to flow and end with the good guy's ahead and some don't.
      Another one tomorrow - sorry;)

  2. We've all missed you while you've been away John, but what a corker of a post to come back with!
    Thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this write up, from your inimitable style, the terrain, mini's, and of course the gameplay. "Bravo Mon Ami" :-)

    1. Greg, cheers mate, I really appreciate your encouragement.

  3. Superb! Just superb! Great scenery, great figures (most of whom I don't recognise) and a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable narrative. You seem to like strong and gutsy females as much as I do. The Resistance ladies performed admirably. I was pleasantly surprised to see that three of the four aircrew were female. I do hope that Honey is okay. John, you are really setting the bar very high with your batreps. Long may you continue!

    1. Hi Bryan I hope Honey pulls through as well. I once met an author who wrote detective fiction, I didn't buy her books but I did steal her characters name.
      Thanks for your kind words, it's a big boost to my impetus to write more.
      You too Greg :)

  4. I have to say John you've got a wonderful script team their knocking out some belters, the cameraman had a mixed day get you that shot that you love & then dropping the ball at the end :) characters & set as always top notch but what Joakim will say when he see Sister A I've no idea he might try offering her a better contract :)

    1. Hi Frank yep, if it's not the continuity girl it's the cameraman, someone always let's you down. The script writer had a dicky fit because the cast as libbed all the way through.
      Sister A is on a 2 year 5 movie contract so Joakim will have to stick with his own Sister or was it Suora. They do have the look of sisters or would it be twins? ;)

  5. Sensational! I was hooked with the opening shot of your exquisite table set up - who wouldn't enjoy playing in a table like that?

    1. Thanks Michael, this was my longest game report to date, so I'm pleased you enjoyed it. I was half expecting everyone to fall asleep in their seats.
      Maybe they did!

  6. I loved everything about this game; set-up, the scenario, the figure, the terrain, your excellent storytelling and I wasn't confused at all.
    Am I right in assuming that this was your own variation on THW's rules ?

    1. Hi Joe - I'm pleased you didn't get confused, so that part worked ok :)

      Yes my version of Chain Reaction and ATZ, to be honest whenever I've tried new rules I just end up spending ages searching for rules and explanations and find I usually don't like them sufficient to persevere. What is so difficult about moving, shooting and fighting that we need 100's of different rules.
      Having said that Greg's last game with the detective and detecting might have a germ of an idea in it that I can graft onto what I'm comfortable with.
      I have some of Copplestones 1930's gangsters unpainted and I can see that idea might fly.

  7. I have got to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Cracking report mate it looks fab and it reads well. What an excellent idea for a game!

    1. Cheers Simon - I guess it was watching too many Ello Ello programs and Michelle of the Resistance - Oh what a woman.

  8. AWESOME table as usual, great minis and storytelling!

    Nice to see a Honey Driver adventure from before her allegedly retirement to become a Bath hostel owner and amateur detective! :O) Looking forward to see her again!

    1. Hi Eduardo - thanks. Yes Honey Driver had a much more interesting time in the war than as an amateur detective. To be honest I only read about half of one of the books, but I did think it was a brilliant name.

  9. Yet another fabulous read and yes even more fab minis and a brilliant board!

    1. Cheers mate thanks for dropping by and I'm pleased you enjoyed the read.

  10. Brilliant! At the risk of repeating other commenters, your terrain and miniatures are fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed your report and found it easy to follow (putting the enemy's names in red helped). I'm glad I encountered your mention in the comments at Awdry Towers and look forward to perusing more of your blog.

    (I confess, I did have a bit of "'Allo, 'Allo" running through my head while reading this) :D

    1. Hi F.B. Thanks for your kind comments, most of the rest of the blog is a similar sort of drivel, so if you enjoyed this you might enjoy the rest, most of them are not as long as this one, so you might not need a cup of tea before them;)

  11. I see that Suora Innocenza has joined the resistance under the nom de guerre Sister Assumptia. I'm very happy she has/will survive all those 1930's Pulp Alley adventures and join your crew in the 40's :-)
    Hope she will serve you as well as she has served the CSSS. But... hmm... she defected... probably for the best. This way she will be on the winning side.
    I really enjoyed this. Great story, thrilling turns of events and as always great terrain.
    Thank you for letting us have this much fun together with you
    (and I seem to be only one adventure behind!)

  12. I think Suora Assumptia is still a good Catholic and so I don't think there is any defection involved, and like in your stories she is still fighting on the side of good against evil. Depending whose side you are on.
    Only 1 adventure behind is good and also bad, I am still in 2015 on your games so I think that is good because I have a lot of enjoyment coming my way.

    1. I guess everyone think of themselves as on the good side, regardless.