Sunday, 18 January 2015

AAR: A dabble in AVBCW at Wyvern

I made it to Wyvern again a couple of weeks ago, to play an A Very British Civil War scenario using Stu's collection. We used Chain of Command, as its known and remains popular at the club.

Stu kindly put on a scenario for Mark and I involving the Astwood Defence Association protecting their most prized asset. Stu briefed each player:

Since the opening salvo in the war things have been quiet for the Astwood Defence Association. They had guarded their parish boundary from "wrong'uns" and had cooperated with the authorities when required to do so.

With 149 men to call upon and a WW1 Artillery piece as the centre of power they believed they could see out the current difficulties until peace returned.

That was until the crack down, fliers were posted at the guildhall requesting that all weapons were handed in to the Government to aid in the war effort. Sources within the council has indicated to the ADA that if they did not offer up the Artillery piece it would be taken by force.

With the gun they knew they would be easy pickings for other stronger forces close by. The Gun would have to be moved, if only they had time....

I played the dastardly Fascist forces: two sections of Police and one section of BUF. After a short, sharp patrol phase, this was the layout: the sacks of grain being BUF jump-off points. The location of the gun was not known - my bet was either in or beside the farmhouse courtyard. The ADA would have to move it off one of the exit roads on my right flank.

In a play to start aggressively and throw the ADA off-balance, I brought my armoured wing right on - a recon patrol. Mark realised he hadn't taken any antitank, though we consulted carefully for the MGs vs.vehicles rules, and agreed for the sake of balance and good fun that each of his sections could have a single, precious mills bomb.

Mark shut down the quickest road route with a MMG team and sniper, forcing me to avoid the danger by pushing through the wheatfields either side.

Brave ADA troops leapfrogged the hedgerows under covering fire. This was to oppose my troops which were massing on the right flank, particularly after the MMG drove my 'armour' off the road. THat suited me in the end, as they could draw line of sight to the exit points for the gun. 

Seeing the right as a knotty problem to be unpicked slowly using the armoured cars, I pushed asecond section of policemen widely around the left to avoid the loitering ADA sniper. I hoped that Mark would be too focused on the other flank to pay them much attention. Then, they could seize the gun ansd claim victory - bwa ha haaa! Alas, another section of ADA emerged from the farmhouse, and the two sections settled down into cover to trade shots

With my left flank ploy blunted, I turned back to the right, pushing police into the dead ground behind the barn. But....


The local farmer's association were inside, preparing the gun to be moved. A melee ensued and the my police driven off, though the farmers were also mauled and combat ineffective. A burst of fire from the armoured cars' lewis guns saw them rout too. The combat was hotting up.

The dispositions - both forces split either side of the road - I nestled a sniper to the rear of the central field with the corn stooks, with good lines of fire. I also held the advantage of a third section off-table. But where to put it on, to swing the game?

Morale was balanced - both of us around the 5-6 mark, and I couldn't see an obvious way to swing the game in my favour. For a few turns, I spent all my command dice on the police section and my sniper on the left - firing both if possible every round meant they could see off the more numerous and lewis-gun carrying ADA section. While the recon, fairly safe from significant harm on the right, just sat on a hedgerow, reluctant to proceed further without support.

With the left won, though my section now below strength, both our morale around 4, Mark pushed a fireteam down the road to the barn, no doubt in a further attempt to move the gun inside and claim victory. Seeing my chance, I spent a CoC dice moving a jump-off point far up the left, putting my BUF section in good cover with flanking fire.

A sharp of fire burst saw the attempt to move the gun blunted and the ADA team fleeing back down the road. At this point, Mark's morale collapsed and he conceded.

All in all, a cagey game of Chain of Command. Investment in attacks on one flank or the other paid off for me, as I wasn't afraid to withdraw to the lee of hedgerows when out-gunned. Really, the ADA section with lewis gun should have beaten the police, but I just had more command dice to spend so won out. And something to be said for patience - having a fresh section to bring on when a moment presented itself paid dividends and claimed the win.

My taking armoured cars did riskunbalancing the game, without any antitank on the opposing side. Mark had 10 support points too, the shame! But actually, the MG against vehicle rules worked well - they could mount up shock (forcing me to spend orders removing it) or drive them into reverse or towards cover. While I had two mobile lewis guns that were fairly safe from fire, this just made up for me having one less to start with. It didn't overly unbalance the game - though I suspect Mark will have learned a lesson to bring something with a pit of punch.

Its interesting that as well as the different feel of AVBCW, playing CoC in 28mm felt rather different to 15mm - much closer terrain and larger footprints of units gave even more of a different game. And boy was I happy not to be attacking against German MG42s once again!

I've always been intrigued by AVBCW, and can see the appeal of it as a platoon game with esoteric and underpowered supports compared to more historical games of the era. So I'm glad I got this game of it in, cheers to Stu for putting on a great fun scenario. All of the miniatures and terrain are from his collection.

I couldn't make the club tonight, but who knows what will be in store in a fortnight? 


  1. Splendid! I've always been intrigued by VBCW, perhaps one day. ;)

  2. A very attractive table. I don't play AVBCW (it doesn't mean all that much to me as a Canadian) but I do see the attraction in using underpowered supports and basic infantry - I could see the same attraction with SCW games. CoC does seem the natural rules choice. Thanks for an entertaining post.

  3. Looks brilliant - just what VBCW is all about


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