Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bolt Action

Steve & Jim's Germans v. Mike & Barrie's Brit Paratroopers

Maximum attrition mission = free for all.  We made it 8 turns not 6 to compensate for the larger table.  Both sides had 1,000 pts.  The Germans had 2 infantry, mortar, HMG, HQ & a Panther.   The Brits had 4 infantry, 2 PIATs, HMG, HQ & a Cromwell.  All vets except the Panther.
 Both sides put their tank on their right   The Germans moved up to defensive positions & waited for the Brits.
Barrie's high point of the battle:  His HMGs on the ridge needed 5's to hit the Germans in the houses, then 6's to kill...and did just that...that's 4 sixes following 4 5+'s.
The Germans quickly moved their Panther down the road to the left flank to take on the Cromwell.  Their mortar pinned a para unit down in the field on the right.
The Panther missed the Cromwell which ducked back over the hill.  It came out around the side of it for a side shot after the Panther started shooting up the paras, but missed.  The Panther missed again in reply, but got first move next turn and the Cromwell once again turned to Toast.  In the centre, the pars advanced to the line of trees and shot up the German HMG, but the German infantry moved left and took them out in turn.   On the left, the paras over-ran the Germans in the hamlet.

Both sides had lost 2 units when time ran out so it was a draw.   It was long enough since our last Bolt Action game for us to have forgotten most of it, but it gradually came back as we played.   Still good fun if a bit odd in some respects.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barries

Jim's French Canadians v. Steve's British

The French Canadians  had 2 Regulars, 2 Militia & 1 Indian.  Objective: Raid.
The British had a Grenadier, 2 Regulars & 1 Indian.  Objective: Scout.
The 1st pic is taken from behind the Brits, the rest from behind the Frogs.  The Frogs have had most of the early moves in turn 1, advancing their Regulars behind the houses (which they have to burn to fulfil their objective), their Militia through the cornfield in the centre & their Indians down the left side.  The Brits haven't moved yet.
The Brit Grenadiers have driven the Militia out of the cornfield with Steve's Panzer Lehr dice (the ones which always seem to throw 6's) and turned to fire on the French Indians (which had previously driven the British Indians back).  The Militia had set fire to the house before they had to retire.
On the left the Frogs have set fire to the other farmhouse and moved around the left of it.  The Brit Grens have driven the Indians back and resumed their advance on the centre.   The Militia have fallen back again.  The Frog Regs in the centre are exchanging fire with the Brit Regs by the river.
The Frog Regs have driven the Brit Regs by the river back into the woods.  The Brit left has advanced past the table centreline.   This was the end of turn 3 and it was determined that the Frogs had won.  They had burnt the two houses and achieved their objective while the Brits had not got troops into every quarter of the table to achieve theirs. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ACW Campaign Battle: Antietam Creek

Our ACW campaign produced an unexpected battle on the north end of the actual Antietam battlefield.   The Confederate force that took Harpers Ferry had rested up, gathered the loot and was marching NW when they were caught up with by a Union Corps marching up the road behind them.  The Rebs had a good defensive position on Antietam Creek and deployed to fight.  The Reb force is one of their weaker divisions further reduced by the fights at harpers Ferry.  The Union force was one of the Union veteran Corps and outnumbered the Rebs almost 2:1.  The Rebs had to hold on for 12 turns until nightfall.  Their only ace was the creek.  The creeks runs through a scrubby valley and every 3" length had to diced for when a unit reached it ... 4+ = fordable.  The Rebs were allowed to use hidden deployment behind the scarp on their side of the creek.
The Reb army is mostly out of sight beyond the crest on their side of the creek.  The Union cavalry has been sent to the right, the infantry have begun deploying out of their road column.
 On the right the Union cavalry have dismounted to attack the Reb flank.  Infantry has begun crossing the valley in the centre where the Rebs have popped into view to open skirmish fire.  The artillery of both sides are firing at targets of opportunity.  The Union infantry is still deploying on the left.
The Rebs are all in view now - lining the crest of the valley so their sharpshooters can weaken the Union advance.  The Union cavalry has broken a Reb unit and caused the Reb left to curl back.  The Union found an adequate number of fords on the right, but so far none on their left of the bridge.
The lone Reb general on the right takes on the three stooges from the North.
The Union struggles to find their way over across the valley in the centre while the Union cavalry are still being held off.  The Reb artillery makes forcing the bridge too unattractive to even try.
The Union have finally found a ford on the left, but it's too late & too far back.  The Rebs begin to withdraw on this flank.  In the centre the Union finally get to grips with the Reb line.
The Reb line was finally pushed back off the escarpment in the centre, but it was too late in the day for the Union to exploit it.  The Rebs make an orderly withdrawal as night falls.

This was a fine example of the sort of interesting uneven scenarios that campaigns can throw up.  In the end both sides were happy with their night's work.  The Union have carried the position with light losses (1 unit broken, 5 shaken).  The Rebs held on long enough to make an orderly withdrawal also with light losses (1 unit broken, 5 shaken) and live to fight another day.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barrie's

We fought two 300 pt battles on two 4' square tables.

Jim's French v. Rusty's British
The French objective was "Slaughter" - they have to kill all the villagers.
The British objective was "Raid" - they have to burn the village.& Canadians.
Either way not an attractive proposition for the villagers, though the ladies, particularly the comely barmaid in the tavern could at least have some hope that the French would misinterpret their orders.
The French in the foreground have their regulars deployed in the open ground right of centre, Indians & Militia in the woods on the left and Militia in the centre.  The British have Militia on their right and 2 Regular units centre & left.
The French Indians & Militia rushed down the left while the Regulars engaged the Brit Regulars.  The Militia in the centre took the tavern & with their firepower added to the Regs one of the Brit units was blown away.  On the left, the other Militia unit & the Indians drove the Brit Militia back.
 French firepower (& some bad morale dice) has routed the rest of the British forces leaving the villagers at the mercy of the French.

Leigh's British v. John's Indians

Your correspondent was too obsessed with his own battle to pay much attention to the next table.  He did notice a rather neat canoe on the river, that one of Leigh's units got savaged by a bear, and that John won.

Having now played 3 games of M&T I have decided that they provide a good fun game with scope for military skill rather than just learning to use the system.  They have their issues - the rules are not well laid out, there is no index, and the summary sheet is deficient.   However, John & others are working on a better summary sheet and that, and a bit more familiarity should solve those problems.    

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Harpers Ferry - the Rebs try again

Our American Civil War Maryland campaign continues.

Last week the Rebs failed in the their attack on Harpers Ferry.  But as they fell back in good order they were able to rally their troops overnight and having received a small division of 3 brigades of recruits decided to attack again next morning.  Both sides were fatigued by being in battle the day before & having had no rest, so stamina was down to 3 for infantry & 2 for cavalry.
The Union Line on Bolivar ridge looks out at the Rebs coming to get them - cavalry on the right, the reinforcements on the left.  On the far side of the Potomac the Rebs are bombarding the town from the Maryland Heights while their infantry wait strung out on the railway lines between river & hill. 
 The Union spread out to meet the oncoming swarm of infantry and dismounted cavalry
 The Union line is crumbling.
The Rebs are at the gates of the town & the Union have lost 40% of their units.  General Butler runs up the white flag.  Harper's Ferry and its invaluable arsenal are in Reb hands.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Area 52 Flames of War Tournament

Area 52 included Flames of War in their annual tournament again this this year.  Ten FOW payers took part in a corner of one room amongst all the Fantasy & Sci-Fi players.  The historical gamers were very different demographic - with a much wider age range - from 11 to 65 & considerably less aromatic.  Once again a selection of the usual suspects from Camp Cromwell, Kingston B/Rats & Launceston GC turned out - where are the other people that buy the FOW stuff in the shop ?  Most of the scenery was set up by the Bunker Rats to their usual fine standard.
There were 5 rounds over the weekend - Counterattack, Encounter, Fighting Withdrawal, Hasty Attack & Dust Up. The prizes were all FOW terrain sets.  Competition was close with no one winning all 5 rounds & no one losing all 5 either.  The winner was the only one to win 4 games & there was little between the next several places.  Results:

1st: Nick Ridge - Panther Coy (previously LGC, now KBR).
2nd: Patrick Oxborough - Soviet Guards (KBR).
3rd: Jim Gandy - Hungarian Light Infantry (CC).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

15mm ACW using hail Mr Lincoln

Mike Shevak's Union v. Mark's Confederates

Mike Shevak is in Hobart on hols & after observing Harpers Ferry on Tuesday was keen to have a go at Hail Mr Lincoln himself.    Both sides had 2 divisions of 6 infantry & 2 guns.  The Rebs veterans, the union trained.  The Union had 2 cavalry.  All artillery was trained, Union's rifled, Reb's smoothbore.
 The Rebs are on the right deployed in a double line.  The Union on the left are in two blobs. 
The Union deployed their right around the farm while rushing forward in familiar Shevak style on the left (some things never change).  But the Rebs charged forward into contact before the Union were properly deployed & quickly destroyed the Union cavalry. 
The Union counterattacked the counterattack on the far left, but the winning units got carried away, became isolated and attacked in flank.
The Union left is on the verge of breaking, but have fallen back as troops have been sent left from the centre to help them while their artillery has been moved to the centre.
The Union movement to the left spooked the Reb command and they failed to finish off the Union division on the left.
 The Rebs have belatedly launched an attack on the near flank.  But the Union artillery & the infantry in the farm stopped the attack.
 As the Rebs fall back, the Union spring forward.
The Union attack needed more luck than it got and failed to break through.  The Union are pulling back again. The players agree to a draw.  It was an enjoyable little action with wildly fluctuating fortunes - a draw was a fitting result.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

ACW 1862 Campaign: Harpers Ferry

We have started our ACW campaign based on Lee's advance into Maryland of 1862.  Peter Williams the chief umpire is still in Japan on a research trip, but the internet is everywhere & we got started anyway.   The first battle is on day 3 - the Rebels have surrounded Harper's Ferry and are trying to take it and its valuable supplies.  The campaign has sparked a lot of interest in the group with 8 attendees for the battle.
The Union army of 5 raw infantry, 5 trained infantry & 2 guns occupy the town and Bolivar heights behind it.  Overnight the Rebs have dragged artillery onto the Maryland heights and placed a few sharpshooters up there.   At dawn the head of the Reb division of 7 trained units is marching up the railway line on the right between the river & the steep almost impassable hillside.  The union expect more Rebs to appear from somewhere, but don't know where from.  The rivers have just two fords (marked with tape).  Bolivar heights behind the town is difficult ground, but nowhere near as bad as Maryland Heights on the right.
On turn 6 a Reb cavalry division of 5 veteran units & a gun appeared on the far side of the table and tried to move rapidly forward, though only half of it did.  The Reb infantry have moved along the railway line and there is an exchange artillery & rifle fire across the Potomac. 
The Reb artillery has been silenced and their infantry is taking steady losses, but they have half the union army pinned down in the town as the Reb cavalry dismount and attack over Bolivar Ridge.  With veterans v, raw troops, the odds favoured the Reb cavalry.  But alas, the dice gods decreed otherwise.  The Rebs failed every Break Test while the Union passed all but one.  On the other front, the Rebs also had 3 units break or fall back into the hills while the Union passed almost every Break Test.
On turn 13 (of 18 for the day), the Rebs pulled off in good order, deciding not to gamble on another attack, which if it failed may have lead to a rout of the whole army.  It was a closer run thing than it looked as the victory conditions (which both sides only knew in principle, not in detail) took account of Union's General Butler's lack of ticker - the Union didn't have to lose more than half their units to fail their Army Break test as the Rebs did.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Napoleonics at Nicks

Continuing on with my attempt to find the ultimate Napoleonics rules, we played the same scenario with Field of Glory Napoleonics.

The battle was 3 French divisions (infantry, elite light infantry, and light cavalry) vs Austrians (infantry, landwehr, and cuirassiers)

Steve was the French, and Nick the Austrians. The French won -- their massed cavalry attacks on Austrian squares were stalled, but were slowly taking effect due to poor Austrian command. The French attack in the center stalled, and the Austians counterattackd. But the counterattack fell apart. And the Landwehr were starting to crumble against the elite French light infantry.

Steve says the game would have looked a lot better in 28mm -- which is true. But I refuse to succumb to the 28mm cancer that has spread through the group!

Field of Glory Napoleonic is an interesting set of rules. I think there is a great set somewhere in there -- I certainly felt they were 'crunchy' enough. But the table of contents is abysmal -- and there is no index. So finding something in the rules is impossible!

My summary of rules so far is that Lasalle has the best scenario generator. Black Powder probably has the most maneuver. But FOGN has the most crunchy detail. At the moment, if pressed to pick one it would be Lassalle by a nose over Black Powder.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barries

Steve & Russell's British
Mike & Jim's French

Barrie & Leigh umpired and looked up the unfamiliar rules.  We used the same table as last week but fought it other direction & with a different scenario - this time M&T's equivalent of Free for All.

All players had 1 officer, 2 regular inf, 1 militia & 1 Indian  & each side had a CIC & 1artillery piece. 
 Pic from behind the French.  The French regs are advancing up the centre.  Their militia & Indians are advancing up both flanks.  Their artillery is on the right, hidden from the camera by trees. The brits are doing something similar, but are not quite so well organised.
 For once a close-up - Rusty's British regs looking good.
On the right, Jim's artillery & regs have blown away one of Steve's regular units.  His Indians have defeated their opposite number, but then badly mauled by Steve's militia's fire from the far right.  the British artillery is not well sited and is reduced to taking pot shots at the French gun.  Mike is taking on Rusty's advance guard on the left.
The right is a stalemate with the militias a few surviving Indians exchanging long range volleys with little effect.  In the centre, Jim's regs have been mauled, but more hot shooting from the French artillery has destroyed Steve's regulars.  On the left, Mike is making steady progress.
Rusty's men are gradually wasting away under the fire of both French commands.  The British concede after about 2 1/2 hours fighting.

This week the game rattled along a lot faster than last week.  This time not only did we generally know more about what we were doing, but we also gave both players of each side some of each type of troops (regular, militia, & Indians), rather than having different players for the regs, militia & Indians.  This allowed both players to do stuff simultaneously.  Having 2 umpires helped too as we could keep going while someone searched for obscurely located rules.

The game has a lot going for it - interesting variety of troops types, interesting scenarios, small numbers of figs so easy to raise your own army.  The rules are not that complicated, but it was originally in French & it seems the translation isn't always as clear as it could be.  Items are often not where you'd expect them to be & regretably, as usual there is no index.  I find the sighting rules confusing & not that logical.  Maybe we just haven't got it yet, but the end of game rules seem a bit unsatisfactory - a side can be clearly losing, but the game seems to keep going on without a definite end.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

ACW 15mm - Rules test for upcoming campaign

Jim & Mike's Confederates
Steve & Chris' Union

The Confederates had 2 Divisions of 8 infantry & 2 guns, one veteran, one trained.  The Union 1 Corps of 13 infantry & 3 guns, all trained.  The outnumbered Union force had to hold the road junction until nightfall (12 turns).
 Pics are taken from behind the Confederate lines.  The Union force is in a cordon defending the village & fields.  The wooded hills on each side are very difficult ground where a blunder means the units have got lost for the day.  The Rebs have their veteran division on the left, the trained division on the right.
 The 1st Reb division got good command dice and rushed forward to attack the Union right.  The 2nd Reb division spread out and with poor command dice advanced slowly to pin down the Union left.
 The impetuous Rebel advance was a 2 edged sword.  They broke a Union brigade, but exposed themselves to flank attack when the Union counterattacked from the village.  The Union artillery in the village also took a toll on the Reb attack columns.
 The union counterattack was beaten off, but it gained time to extend the line to the right.  the 2nd Reb division's deployment was painfully slow.
 The Rebel right is now putting real pressure on the Union centre.  Their left has broken through again, has wrapped around the Union right and has got a foothold in the village.
After weakening the Union centre with skirmish fire & artillery, the 2nd Reb division finally attacked and broke through in the centre.  The Union army had now lost 7 of 13 units and broke.  This happened on turn 11, just before nightfall.  It was a Confederate victory, but the Union had done pretty well, almost lasting until nightfall & breaking 4 Reb units.