Thursday, May 22, 2014

On Vacation: The Incursion into Holland

Our recent stay in Delft, Holland was superb. The picturesque canal town provided the perfect setting for a bit of R&R from our highly stressed visit of the UK.  ;-P

One of the whimsical canals of Delft.
During our time in Holland we managed to fit in a visit with the storied members of the 'Royal Dutch Waterbicycle Detachment' (aka: Mike (MiniMike), Rob and Jacco). They treated us to a fantastic meal at a wonderful restaurant set along the North Sea beach in Noordwijk (The Witsand Strandclub) where we ate, drank and thoroughly enjoyed eachothers' company.

Mike (with charming elfin smile) and the radiant Lady Sarah at the 'Witsand' restaurant.
A few days later Mike, Rob and Jacco invited me for a game of 'Chain of Command' in Mike's wonderful gaming room. The scenario was set in Normandy 1944 with American paratroopers pitted against a pincer attack consisting of German Heer troops and Fallshirmjager.

The game was fabulous and certainly looked the same. It featured Mike's new terrain matt from Barrage Miniatures which was absolutely gorgeous to play on. The excellent terrain along with the wonderfully painted miniatures (contributed from all three of the guys) really was a feast for the eyes.

Me admiring the wonderful terrain.
Rob and I played the Germans while Jacco and Mike controlled the American paratroopers. I won't get into too much detail here as I think Mike is going to provide a batrep on his blog in the coming days. But as a thumbnail sketch, the game opened with Jacco's Yank paratroopers pinning down my first section of Fallshirmjager who were hunkered in a house on the village outskirts. Nonetheless, I managed to get my artillery observer into a decent position where he could call in some directed mortar fire on the American positions near the center of the position. 

My Fallshirmjagers stepping off from their jump off points (sneaky artillery observer at the top room)
The barrage pinned many of the Americans down and the diversion allowed me to slowly infiltrate deeper into the village under covering fire. On the other side of town Rob had a really terrible bout of luck when he was caught in the open when Mike managed a series of interlinked ambush manoeuvres. Even when Rob tried to 'grab the enemy by the belt' with a close assault the dice didn't come through and his troops suffered heavy casualties.

Resistance is Futile: Rob (left) still not realizing that the the Fates had him in their crosshairs...
A paratrooper in the hedge is worth two... how does that go again? Rob's German infantry (lower left) getting lit up by American paratroopers in the hedgerows.
After about 30 minutes of gameplay all what was left of Rob's force was smoking boots and a bemused panzer Mark IV going in reverse off the board. As can be well imagined, Mike was exultant and rubbed his hands in glee, anticipating the future propaganda, er, balanced report (yes, that's it) that would emerge from his blog sometime during the coming weeks. I really felt Rob's pain.

While I was making slow progress with my attack I feared that I would have a pretty hard go of it facing both elite American platoons. So we called the game there and sat back with a few bottles of plonk to chat about the hobby and made plans for a future get together.

Me along with the core members of the Detachment.
It was a wonderful day out and I really can't thank Mike, Rob and Jacco enough for their fabulous hospitality along with a great afternoon of gaming. Again, thanks so much guys! I hope we can do it again soon.

Next up: Continuing on our travels to Spain and my meet-up with some great hobbyists from the Madrid area! Also, I'll give an update on my recent submissions to the Lead Painters' League.