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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Of Bunkers and Beaune-la-Rolande (FPW BBB)

As if one underground bunker visit this year were not enough, Sunday's excursion was to the secret nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch.

 
Corridor of uncertainty

This was a Cold War installation that in the event of nuclear war was to serve as a UK Regional Government HQ, accommodating up to 600 personnel, possibly including the Prime Minister. All very evocative of a scary time. It's been a while since I last donned an NBC suit and respirator. I had to explain to a 4-year-old that even though it made me look like a bad guy, I was one of the good guys.

On Monday it was back to conventional warfare. We fought Crispin's new Franco-Prussian War scenario for Beaune-la-Rolande. This is a battle I had originally ignored because although there were plenty of French, there weren't enough Germans for me to consider it a big battle. It turned out to be a really excellent scrap. As with so many of the Republican battles of 1870-71, it pitted French quantity against German quality, an asymmetry which often makes for fascinating games, and this was no exception.

Raw, Fragile, Passive, Spent, Disrupted, Low Ammo ...

For the first half of the game, Nigel and I with just three German brigades were outnumbered 4 to 1. We could have posted troops forward to delay the French advance but chose to concentrate around Beaune-la-Rolande in a reverse slope position to avoid being outranged massed chassepots and tabatieres. This just meant that Mark's French were able to race unhindered round my flank in column of march, and mass their rifle fire from that direction instead. Nigel was having better luck on the other flank but still the French overran the 4 villages they needed for a draw. Usual exciting end-of-game situation: on my flank I was running out of troops and Mark had a chance of taking my last position to claim a win; meanwhile Nigel was counterattacking with our reinforcements to try to retake a village and earn a German victory. In the end both bounced off, and everyone was happy with a tie. This was Crispin's first attempt at writing a BBB scenario and it was a truly outstanding debut.

The scenario is now posted in the BBB Yahoo group as usual.
[Edit: now also posted in Flickr]

With this draw added, my running total for the year is now:

Games played to conclusion - 31.
Won - 14.
Drawn - 7.
Lost - 10.