Report and photos by Colin Foster

As usual in May, our club – The Mailed Fist Wargames Club – attended the Battlegroup North militaria show at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington (just to the south of York) in the UK.

It’s a great fun show, even ‘though the wargaming element is relatively small (a dozen or so games being the norm) as in addition to the wargaming, there are traders, re-enactors & military vehicles all over the place (& usually several thousand visitors over the weekend). Not only that, we usually get a fly past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; this year, it was the Hurricane. Also, being held in a large hanger, we can spread out a bit & our game took over 3 sets of 6ft x 12ft tables… for the basic terrain on the first table, we used a green cloth, laminate floor underlay on the second table & terrain tiles on the third the idea being to show that gaming doesn’t have to be expensive.

We made use of resin Panzer 1s, 2s, 35T, 38T, 221s & 223s kindly donated by Frontline Miniatures & HäT German Cyclists & Motorbike & Side cars & Armourfast Panzer 3s (kindly donated by HäT). So, to the game…

The museum tries to persuade the gamers to fit in with a theme & this year, the initial focus was on VE Day; however, for some reason, they didn’t think that it would be appropriate for us to hold a street party in the middle of the hanger (where the games are run) with me sat in a corner getting drunk celebrating the end of the war!! It was pointed out that I could do that afterwards in the NAFFI!!

So, we chose May 1940 with the German Army cutting a swathe through the French countryside.

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The basic game was that the public would play the Germans, choosing;

Light (Bicycles), Medium (Motorbikes), or Heavy (221/222/223 armoured cars) 

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Reconnaissance or Light (Panzer 1s or 2s), Medium (38T or 35T), or Heavy (Panzer 3 or 4) tanks. 

Alternatively, they could be infantry or artillery, and we would play the gallant French & British. The aim of the game was to clear the village, town, farms & fields of any enemy.

The Germans had a few problems, such as doing reconnaissance in heavy tanks, and calling down a Stuka strike on “the town” without being fully clear which one they meant, and then driving their armoured cars into the town just as the Stukas arrived! ( Ahh, the joy of being the gamesmaster ) wargames13.jpg (34169 bytes) wargames14.jpg (31373 bytes)
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By the second day (we had largely the same core group of players each day with others joining & then leaving as & when they had time), the lads playing the game had learned their lesson & did much better using their recon vehicles far more effectively – unfortunately, they didn’t check for the British Artillery’s FOO & 25pdr shells show Panzer 1s for what they were!! wargames19.jpg (48772 bytes)
Overall, a lot of fun was had by a lot of people, culminating in us being awarded the 1st prize for the Best Participation game.

Looking forward to returning next year… one of the lads continually asked for Fallshirmjaeger support, but never rolled high enough dice rolls, so we’re going to give them lots next year, we’re going to do Crete!!

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On a final note, right at the end of the show, we found out that one of the lads (who’s family are members of the Military Vehicle Trust) has started running some simple participation games at the MVT rallies that he attends with his parents – apparently (according to his parents), playing our games has been the “driving force” behind this, so we passed on a number of kits to him to use as prizes in his games – but we thought that this was really great… the next generation becoming involved.

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