Fall Recruits 2006 Convention Report

By Terry Callahan

Fall Recruits Lees Summit, MO September 16, 2006.,

I attended Fall Recruits Convention in Lees Summit MO on Sept. 16. We left at 5:00am from Papillion arriving at the convention site at 8:30 am. Recruits is sponsored by the History Club at Lees Summit High School. All student get into the convention for free everyone else is charged $3.00 for the day.

I hosted two games and played one game.

Games Hosted

The morning game was "A Rude Awakening" the German dive bomber attack on the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. The British had four fighters as air cover over the fleet of the CV HMS Illustrious, BB HMS Malaya and three destroyers. The German - Italian attackers consisted of four torpedo armed Italian SM71 bombers, eighteen JU87 Stuka dive bombers, 2 Ju88 bombers. The SM71's were escorted by two MC200 fighters.

The Italians were first to attack. The SM71 and escorts engaged in a running battle with two Sea Hurricanes. Both nations' fighters were equally matched. T The bombers were damaged by the fighters by with the exception of one plane that could not climb or dive the bomber got through unscathed. The bombers worked their way into range but failed to hit the carrier in all four attacks.

The dive bombers came on behind the SM71's. The eighteen Stukas were in two groups both attacking from on the starboard bow side of the HMS Illustrious. The bombers began their dive at the Fairy Fulmars fighters came in. The Fulmars were ineffective in their attacks only getting minor hits and only downing three planes in the two groups. An error in judgment on where to start the dives caused six of the nine planes in the first group to either abort their dives dropping their bombs in the water or crashing into the sea when they were unable to pull out of their dives. The second group had many of the same problems with two missing the ship because of a too early start on their dives. The reaming six JU87's did minor damage. The JU88's were the last to make the attacks. These were a modified glide bombing run. The first plane missed the HMS Illustrious. The second plane hit the target with all his bombs. As the Remaining German attackers left the HMS Illustrious was seen rolling over on it side as it slipped beneath the blue surface of the Mediterranean. It was clearly an Axis victory.

The Second game I hosted was "It's the Push". It recreates the last push by the 3rd Army in it relief of Bastonge.

The Americans attacked with two task forces each made up of a company of armored infantry and a company of tanks. The Tanks companies were a mix of 75mm, 76mm and Jumbo Shermans. One American group was to attack the town of Assenios and the other push onto Bastonge with all haste. They had ten turns to accomplish their objectives of capturing the town and moving off the board towards Bastonge.

The German defenders consisted of a company of Volksgrenadiers in the town of Assenios and a company of Falshrimjagers behind the town in the woods. They were supported by four 88mm PAK43 and two 75mm PAK40 anti tank guns.

The game began with an artillery attack on the town and the woods behind. The artillery took out a couple German squads and suppressed many others. The American moved on to the table after the barrage. It is here where the US players got into trouble. The move on to the table was free but the players failed most of their command rolls and the attack stalled. On the second turn the artillery accounted for more German losses in the town and left half of the remaining squads suppressed. But again the Americans failed to follow up by failing their command rolls again.

When the Americans finally made several command rolls they made a very large tactical mistake by attempting to go around the right side of the town. A second tactical error was made with the US armor got to close to the town and the Germans were able to destroy three of ten tanks and several half tracks. The UIS players pushed down several streets into the town.

Meanwhile the force that was to got Bastonge reversed it course end tried to go around the left side of the town. The tanks and half tracks went between a hill and the edge of Assenios. The ATG's began to chew up the halftracks and some of the tanks. The American player hesitated a turn trying to destroy the ATG's. This put the force further behind its timetable to the objective. Concentrated tank fire destroyed the PAK43 anti-tank guns and the US tanks began to roll on to the objective.

The delays and the reverse of direction took too much time and the American failed to reach their objectives of Bastonge. The fight for Assenios continued but that to would result in an American failure to take the town. The German player was pulling back into the town trading space for time. The German's carried the battle; the 101st Division was not relieved on 26 Dec 1944. History was changed.

Game Played

Fast Play Grand Armee'

I played a Napoleonic game using Fast Play Grand Armee' There were six players, three on each side. I was the French Commander. The opposing Austrians were holding a crossroads which was the objective. The French needed to capture and hold the crossroads.

We won the first turn inititive and advanced eschalon right. This placed a hill and lake area as an anchor on the French left and a wooded area on our right. The move also placed our three French divisions against two Austrian divisions. The thrid Austrian divison faced could not fit al its forces into the area left between the center Austrian Division and the lake. This was the key to the game, were able to place more forces against the Austrians than they us. The batlles in the center and right seesawed back and forth with the Austrians getting the worse for it. The Austrian divisoins on the French left piece mealed itself into the fight, while the Austrian center and right divisions bore the brunt of the French attack. In the end the Austrians lost too many brigades and retired from the field. Our Light Cavalry failed to press it's pursuit.