Saturday, 4 June 2016

Info sent to Baccus

Hi Pete

As requested, a bit more about our demo game at Joy of Six

Deeside Defenders are again aiming to put on a quality demo game for Joy of Six.  Last year they put on the spectacular and colourful Battle of Banja Luka (where the Ottoman Turks defeated the Holy Roman Empire near the Bosnian town of Banja Kuka in 1737).. 

This year they're putting on a battle that combines Hollywood and WW2 : The Bridge at Remagen.

This was the 1969 film which dramatised the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge when the American 9th Armoured captured the last intact bridge over the Rhine.

Although the actual battle took over a week and involved lengthy artillery duels, Deeside Defenders are going pure-Hollywood and aiming to retain the essence of the film instead - a mad dash by the Americans to capture the bridge before the Germans decide to blow it up.  

Both sides have the objective of getting a better result than their film counterparts.  The Americans have Lieutenant Hartman (played in the film by George Segal) who must lead his recon group up to and over the bridge - followed by the tanks of 9th Armoured).  The Germans are led by Major Paul Kruger (played by Robert Vaughn) who must blow the bridge BUT (as a point of honour) also keep it intact long enough to allow remnants of the German 15th Army to escape to the German side of the Rhine.

The Americans have lots of tanks and troops but must get to the bridge quickly using one of three routes - along the riverbank (shortest route but under direct German artillery fire), across country (safer but slower) or along the back roads (even safer but much slower).  

The Germans have limited troops on the 'wrong' side of the river to hold vital areas but a train carrying an armoured division of Panthers is en route.  If the Americans are tardy in getting to the bridge then the Panthers will be in a great position to hold open the bridge and prevent the Americans from capturing it.

The German player must therefore produce a better result than in the film (i.e. destroy the bridge AND not end up in front of a firing squad).  Hampered by poor quality explosives this is unlikely to happen so the German player must send Kruger off to requisition more (not ideal at the height of the battle) and may get shot for deserting his post or failing to do his duty.

The American player must get troops onto the bridge quickly to get the armour across before the bridge is blown and the Panther train turns up.  But running down the shortest route could mean losing all their troops and armour to German artillery!  

Deeside Defenders will be playing their own Hollywood Rules of Spearhead (the popular WW2 rules) - cut to the bone to speed up gameplay and better reflect the essence of the film.  

There will be a few cameo appearances in gameplay (including - for those who know the film - the Hitler Youth who takes on Hartman's squad with his machine gun).  The German player can place him anywhere in a town sector and he will automatically suppress any American unit that strays into his spot!  

The Americans themselves will have access to an airstrike to take out a pesky 88mm gun (or possibly a pesky Hitler Youth!).

While the emphasis is on fast play and enjoyment, Deeside Defenders are not skimping on quality.  They've spent the last 6 months buying and painting specific terrain features to reflect the landscape of the film (not many people know that the Bridge at Remagen was filmed in Czechoslovakia and that the film crew had to do a midnight dash over the border when Russia invaded in 1968!). 

They're putting their usual attention to detail into the troops, vehicles and guns and have playtested the battle a few times (starting in December 2015 (click on the link to see the battle report)). This led to some of the rule changes such as restricting the Hitler Youth to the town sectors.  It also saw a spectacular failure to blow up the train carrying the Panthers ("anything but a 1....aaah crap!") followed by extraordinary shooting by the American tanks to kill the Panthers anyway!  

Work is ongoing to provide visitors to Joy of Six that visit the Deeside Defenders table with information as to what's going on, who's who, what's what and where's where to make it easier for them to follow the action.  And paintbrushes are flying as the team are painting up additional specialist scenery from Leven Miniatures, Timecast and Legions IV Hire to make the table look as good as possible.

More updates to follow on this extravaganza soon!

1 comment:

  1. That's great Phil. But we did the Battle of Banja Luka two years ago and we did the Battle of Plassey last year.