Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bolt Action Tank War

Chris & Mike's Soviets v. Jim & Mark's Germans in a Bolt Action Tank War on a 10'x6' table with 8 objectives.   Both sides had about 2000 pts.
The Soviets had 3 T34/85, 2 T34/76, 2 Sherman, 1 ISU-122, an M3 with a veteran SMG squad & a truck with an inexperienced squad (all tanks regular).
The Germans had 2 Panthers, 2 MkIV, a Sdkfz 222 & 2 Hanomags with panzergrenadier squads, all regular except the veteran Panzergrenadiers.
We started with a deployment turn 0 where units were deployed within 18" of own table edge but no firing as the command dice were drawn.  The Germans deployed on the right of pic concentrating their force on the near side of the table.  The Soviets divided their force, putting the ISU, Shermans & M3 full of vets on the far side of the stream.
The German plan was to crush the Soviet left gaining the 4 objectives there, plus either holding the objective on the bridge with panzergrenadiers, or win by having equal objectives but inflicting 2 more casualties.
On this flank, the Panzers engaged the Soviet  tanks while the armoured car & a Hanomag + panzergrens dashed down the left flank - they took out a T34/85 plus the inexperienced infantry crossed the rear of the Soviet line to take the objective on the road.
On the other flank, the M3 & vets grabbed 2 objectives unopposed.  The ISU did a lot of damage firing across the valley while the 2 Shermans attacked the panzergrenadiers who had seized the bridge.
At the start of the last turn the Germans held 5 of the 8 objectives, but then a Sherman charged over the bridge scattering the Panzergrens & went on up the hill to dispute the objective on the crossroads while the other secured the bridge objective.  This put the Soviets in front.   Then the last MkIV moved to the right of the village & took out the Sherman on the crossroad putting the Germans back in front on kills.  But in the last action of the game the ISU took out the Panzer IV reducing the Germans lead on kills to just one - so this most enjoyable battle ended as an honourable draw.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Kingston Bunker Rats Stalingrad Weekend

The Kingston Bunker Rats had a Flames of War Stalingrad weekend with a linked set of battles in 5 rounds of 5 battles each.  Round 1 was on Friday night with 2 rounds each day Saturday & Sunday.  I haven't played FOW since the May Kingston Kup Tourney & couldn't face 5 games of it in a weekend, but I signed up for 2 Sunday Games for the Reich.  Nick did two Saturday games for the Ivans.

There were 8 tables set up with a wide variety of terrain representative of Stalingrad & the land around it.
My first mission required me to attack a horde of Russians defending ruined buildings.  I tried to rush an objective before their reinforcements could arrive but the dice gods wouldn't cooperate & simply ran out of men (which I had a whole lot less off than the Russians).
In my second mission I was again outnumbered (in points as well as numbers).  This time I didn't even try to attack & take an objective.  I dug in in the hope of hanging on for draw, or if I got lucky maybe breaking the attacking Russians.  But again there were too many of them & I ran out of men.

Playing FOW again only reinforced my opinion that Bolt Action is a better game.  BA is simpler & much easier to play & if it has some silly rules, FOW has a whole lot more of them.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

English Civil War: Scots v. English

A small ECW scenario with Nick's Scots fighting Mike's English.  I looked after Nick's right wing.  Both sides have 4 divisions.  For the army break test getting troops to the place to where a road crosses the enemy's table edge was worth an extra broken division.  (The was secret deployment by sketch map & this was designed to ensure troops were deployed both sides of the creek by both sides).
The Scots are on the far side of the table.   On the near flanks the English have two cavlry divisions.  The Scots have their only cavalry division supported by some dragoons &  a pike & shot regiment supporting a battery of 4 guns.  On the far flak the English have two infnatry divisions each of 3 regiments.  The Scots have a division of highlanders behind the village, a regiment of pike & shot on each side of them & one behind.
On this flank the English strated to concentrate all the cavalry on the lef tof the hill, but when the Scots began deploying dragoons & shot on the flanks of their cavalry  they changed their mind, pulled back on their left & moved a division back towards the centre.
Pics are now taken from behind the Scot's right.   The highlanders charged forward through the fields, but the Pike & shot were slower to advance.   On the right this was due to bad command dice.  On the right it was due to the right flank commander not realising that the infantry regiment between teh village & creek was in in his command.  
The highlanders had mixed success before the attack petered out for lack of support.  When the pike & shotte finally got into contact on the far left theri faltered in a run of terrible dice.
In the centre the English horse valiantly charged up in front of the guns preventing them supporting the attack of the foot on the other side of the creek.
Between the village & creek the large Scots pike unit pushed though, but their shotte were outnumbered & pushed back leaving the pikes isolated.
The English horse took heavy casulties in front of the guns & shotte but did their job ensuring that the infantry attack  on their right succeeded. The Scot's left has been destroyed & while they still have an infantry & a cavalry division unbroken, they have no hope of cutting off the English advance down the road from reaching the table edge (even though they have begun to move their cavalry to the centre).

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Battle of Winwick Pass 1648

The scenario was one from the To Kill a King supplement to Pike & Shotte slightly modified for our Hail Cromwell variation of Hail Caesar.
The Scots have formed up to fight a rear guard action against the English army after the Battle of Preston.  They have erected improvised defences on the crest above the valley on the far side of the stream.  The larger English army has detached a cavalry division on a flank march.  The Scots don't know on which side, no one knows when it will arrive, or exactly where. 
English players: Steve (left), Nick (right), Jim flankign force.
Scots players: Mark (right), Mike (left).
The English have launched an attack all along the line.  On the near flank Scots cavalry have forced a regiment into hedgehog.  On the far flank the English advance has been slowedby poor command dice.
The Scots are holding the line pretty well & the English cavalry remain reluctant to advance.
While doing well on their left, the Scots line has developed some cracks on their right.  The Scots have withdrawn their right flank cavalry suspecting the flank attack will be on that side.
The English flanking force has come onto the table behind the Scot's right.  The English left has began to advance.  The English cavalry on the right is finally in action, though their foot there has replused. 
Despite a spirited counterattack by Scots cavalry taking out 2 musketeer units, the Scots right flank infantry division has broken.  With the English flanking force working their way though the hedgegrows behind them, the Scots are now doomed & concede the battle.

The scenario is heavily biased against the Scots making this a tough one for the Scots to win.  But in our battle the Scots have done much better than historically & claim a victory of sorts.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Operation Cromwell 2017: Bolt Action Tournament

Operation Cromwell 2107 was held at the Good Games shop & cafe on Sunday 01/10.

We had 12 players on 6 tables for for the event played at Good Games, Hobart. There were two last minute withdrawals due to illness or injury, but their spots were taken by reserves who were not able to play all 3 rounds who shared byes so all the other players still got their 3 games. The players' attitude was great & made TO'ing a pleasure.

There was great variety of armies: 1 Fin, 2 Italian, 3 German, 1 French, 1 British, 1 Australian, 1 Soviet & 2 US. Most of them showed great modelling skills & minimum cheese, making the decision on Coolest Army boil down to a bit of a lottery. Matt won it with his Fins, but Ryan's French only missed out because it was a borrowed army (from Dennis in Devonport).

The terrain was supplied by 5 players, me, Sean, Matthew, John & Devonport GC, providing good variety from my functional to Sean's magnificent French village.

The competition was very close & wins were hard earned with many ties. The war went down to the last round where Sean gave Jim W his only defeat. But Jim's 2 wins were enough keep in the lead as Best Axis while Sean slipped into place as Best Allied.

Frankie was given the Banzai award for fighting the bloodiest battles.

The roster was Axis v. Allies: The Allies won the Axis v. Allied count convincingly 29 Tournament Points to 17.

The Roster also split the players into Team Good Games (the regular players at GG on Sunday arvo) & Team Rest of the World, each team 3 Axis & 3 Allied. Team Good Games beat the Rest of the World 26 to 20.
John & Mark fighting over Sean's lovely French village
Mike & Frankie fought a draw size difference not withstanding.
Richmond's run had to end somewhere, Ian's Italians couldn't crack a win.
Jim W & Steve on John's table.
Three tables in the main area.
 Three tables in the back bunker.
Close up of Seans' village.
Some one enjoys a pizza!
One Stug salvages a draw from a horde of Frenchmen.
A cheapo stand-off.
The winners names on the trophies in the Good Games display cabinet.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Bolt Action at Good Games

We tried out the the new back bunker at Good games with two Hold Until Relieved scenarios.
Jim's Panzergrenadiers attacking Steve's US. 
After an early disaster when the Germans lost their main strike squad of panzergrens in an ill-advised assault, they turned to plan B - whittling away at the enemy & making a massed assault on the single objective in turn 6 to win.
John's Soviets defended against  Frankie's Luftwaffe.
The Soviets never let the Germans get close to the objective & the Germans lost this one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Battle of Blenheim 1704

My main reference for this scenario was Jeff Berry's excellent Obscure Battles Blog post of Nov 2013.  This provides a detailed map of the initial deployment, a detailed order of battle & notes on the troop characteristics, as well as a detailed battle description - everything you need to design a wargames scenario. 

The rules used were Hail Napoleon - our house variant of Hail Caesar for the black powder era - with a extra few tweaks we use in large historical battles.  Some tactical options are simplified (with 50+ units a side the players have plenty to think about without concerning themselves with what individual battalions are doing).  We halve our standard ranges (so 6" for muskets, 18" for artillery) so they are a better match to the ground scale.  We maintain the standard move rates (0-3 times 6" for inf, 9" for cav), but consider each turn to represent twice as long a time to compensate.

We used 15mm figs in this battle for 2 reasons:
1) We don't have any figures for 1704, but our 15mm 7 & 30 Years Wars figures pass pretty well as long as you don't bend down too close, so a much better visual match than 28mm subs.
2) They are much less out of scale with the terrain than 28mm figs, so make for a better simulation in a large battle with a small ground scale.

The battle front was 7.5km long so a ground scale of only 400mm per km was required to allow it to fit on our preferred 10'x6' table configuration. This scale also suited the available number of figures.  At this scale, the 150mm wide units represent brigades of 1500-2000 infantry or 600-900 cavalry (varying because the number of ranks in the formations varied between the several national armies involved).  The Command Groups are divisions of 3-8 units & closely follow the historical order of battle though there is some simplification of the OOB below that level (variations in numbers, size & quality of individual battalions & squadrons within command groups add complication we don't need when there are so many).  When deployed historically on the table, our figures matched very closely with Jeff Berry's map so our calcs on the spaces occupied per formation match nicely.

Pic taken from behind the French left with historical deployment (and my beautiful assistant).

The players tossed off for places:
Tallard = Mike.  Marsin = Mark.  Chris = Marlborough.  Steve = Eugene.
They started the battle in the historical deployment except for a bit of shuffling of artillery batteries.

The French got the first move and immediately advanced in the centre.  (Blenheim is in foreground in this shot - the rest of the pics are taken from behind Malborough's line).

Marlborough & Eugene seemed to be taken by surprise & threw lousy command dice.  Only the division on the right of Unterglau advanced immediately.   Malborough followed up on his run of 6's for command dice with a run of 1's in combat & Break Tests & his advanced division evaporated.

Marborough got his left in order but Marsin joined in the attack on the hinge between Malborough & Eugene and pushed infantry through to Shwernnenbach cutting the Imperial army in two.
Marlborough's infantry reserve is holding a line behind Unterglau while he is trying to counterattack the left flank of the French advance & Eugene is trying to do the same to its left flank. 

Close up of Schennenbach.  Eugene's cavalry counterattack is held by Marsin's cavalry & outflanked by Marsin's infantry & artillery around the village.

Malborough's counterattack on his left has failed & is falling back on the Nebel.

Eugen is bottled up beyond  Schennenbach & unable to help Marborough.

Marlborough's left is driven back over the Nebel & all his remaining divisions are on the verge of breaking.  We called in the mercy rule & ended the game.  It took less than 2 hours.

So our Blenheim reversed history big time.  Our Tallard & Marsin seized the initiative, got on a roll, rode their luck & never let the Imperial army recover.  They broke through the Imperial centre to split the two Imperial armies apart then destroyed their desperate counterattacks.  By the end the French & Bravarians lost just 2 units each.  Eugene lost 3 units & had no trouble retreating his force, but Marlborough's army was entirely broken.  Alas, no great palace in Oxfordshire for our Malborough. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BA Sunday School at Good Games

I lent Rich a Soviet army to try out Bolt Action v. my Panzergrenadiers.  The Germans defended in a Surrounded scenario.
The Soviets were crushed by an unbeatable combination of experienced enemy & their good dice, but it was still an entertaining game.  The Soviets did have some fun - the T34 popped a MkIII & an inexperienced Soviet infantry squad took out a panzergrenadier squad in an assault. 
Meanwhile Chris' Japs took on Steve's US in the jungle.  Maybe Chris was a bit rusty after his extended exile on Matt Is as the Us won comfortably.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Modder Fokkers

I had set up Blenheim with 15mm figs for the night, but too many other things came up & we didn't have enough players.  So we cleared off an end of the table & got out some Fokkers.  We'll do Blenheim next week.
Game 1: 
A Roland had to do a recon run across the table escorted by a Fokker DVII but attacked by 2 Camels. 
Mike's Camel had it's engine shot up by the rear gunner & the Fokker & had to glided to earth (making a safe landing).  Then Nick's Camel got on the Rolland's tail but the Fokker got on his.  The Camel shot the Roland down, but paid dearly for his heroism, going down himself immediately afterwards.  So both sides claimed victory - the Brits shot down the recon, the Fokker pilot got 2 kills.
Game 2: 
We then swapped sides & changed scenario.  The Germans had a Fokker Dr1 & an Albatros.   The Brits also had two fighters - a Bristol fighter at the start & a Spad to arrive if the Bristol was shot down.  The Bristol couldn't handle two enemies & was shot down, but not before it inflicted serious damage on the Fokker.
The Spad arrived & son finished off the Fokker.  The veteran Spad pilot then got onto the Albatros' tail & it just couldn't shake it off.  2 kills for the Spad, 1 for the Brits.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Viva Italia in Bolt Action

The new toy syndrome still hasn't worn off my BA Italians & I took on challenges from Dave at Camp Cromwell last night & from John at Good Games today.

Last night Dave's 8th Army attacked in a Point Defence scenario - the Italians are on the left.  Dave concentrated his attack on the Italian left, but his flank attack was countered by Paracdutisti kept back in reserve & his CS Crusader was no match for the combined might of the AB42 & the M14.  The Italians held onto all 3 objectives to win.

Today John's British para's fought my Italians in a No Man's Land Scenario.  Things looked bad for Italy when they lost their ATR to the preliminary bombardment & their Howitzer to the British Mortar's first shot.  When John's sniper took out the Italian MMG, the Italians were 3 kills down, in negative morale under the Avanti Savoia rule & looking like big losers.  But the Italian armour took our the British Tetrach, suppressed then killed the PIAT & became King of the battlefield.   Then the dice gods paid Italy back for their early horrors when a shot up Bersgalieri unit defeated an assault by an almost full strength commando unit in the oasis.  The British casualties steadily mounted & the Italians snatched a victory.

Also at Good Games this afternoon Sean & Matt fought a scenario from the Bulge Supplement - Matt's Germans won the day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Tuesday night Bolt Action

Steve wanted to try out a possible Operation Cromwell list & I'm still in love with my new Italians so it was more Bolt Action at Camp Cromwell this week. 
Steve's US Airborne fought a Panzergrenadier army I lent to Mitch in a Double Envelopment Scenario.  Steve's greater experience gave him victory.
On the other table my Italians won their first victory in a Sectors Scenario v. an 8th Army List I lent to Mike.   After draws v. Steve & Mark & defeat v. Matt, I finally landed an inexperienced opponent my Italians could beat.