Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kingston Bunker Rats Flames of War Tournament 2018

The Kingston Bunker Rats Annual Flames of War Tournament was held at Area 52 this weekend.  Not having played FOW since last year, I was a bit wary of combat fatigue playing 5 rounds in two days & Chris didn't feel confident enough to play on his own.  But the Rats allow a slot to be shared if a player can't play all rounds, so Chris & I shared a slot.   I played rounds 1, 3 & 5 while Chris played rounds 2 & 4 (with me providing tactical advice).  The theme was "Market Garden" so of course Team Cromwell took a British Armoured Reece Coy with Cromwells (backed up with some armoured infantry & the inevitable 25 pdrs).

The Team Cromwell plan was to make it easy for ourselves by having a small fast moving veteran force with no complications, and to attack at all costs so we would either win or lose fast before our old brains got too tired.  We were amazed at how well that worked.  The dice gods were also kind to us when it really mattered & we had 5 very enjoyable games.
Game 1: Free For All:  We lost a tank platoon on turn 1, but stuck to the plan & kept going at the objective on our left flank.  The dice gods relented & the enemy couldn't stop us.  8 VPs.
Game 2: Fighting Withdrawal:  We were the defenders, but we counterattacked anyway.  We destroyed the enemy armour on one flank then used the Cromwells' speed to rush back across our rear to also counterattack on the other flank before it fell.  8 VPs.

Game 3: Hold the line, with us attacking.  We swarmed forward drawing the inevitable 4 Tiger ambush onto the tanks on our right flank.  Then we plastered the Tigers with smoke, converged to the left & took the objective on our left flank before the German reserves could intervene.  8 VPs.

Game 4: Breakthrough:  We had to attack a German infantry army.  Chris got lucky on turn 1, wiping out the 3 Pak 40's before they even got to shoot, but German infantry armed to the teeth with fausts & annoying special rules still got to the objective before us.  A series of bloody attacks by infantry, tanks, bugs & more tanks saw the last of our Cromwells grab the objective & then hold off a desperate counterattack just before our army could fall below half strength. 6 VPs.

Game 5: Dust Up:  This was a blue on blue v. a Canadian army with a frightening array of artillery.  Our initial death or glory charge directly at our objective on the left, which was defended by infantry & artillery, soon proved to be all death & no glory.  So this time we abandoned plan A & found a plan B.  We left a tank platoon burning in front of the enemy line & used our speed to move right to counterattack the enemy's attack on our right.  It was a desperate struggle with neither side able to take an objective.  Both sides were reduced to half strength struggling to find a way to finish off one more enemy platoon to win by army morale.  It was a matter of luck, but it was the Canadians that broke first.  6 VPs.

Team Cromwell won the Tournament by a big margin with 5 wins & 36 VPs.
Pat came 2nd & Nick Ridge 3rd, both with about 25 VPs.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Flames of War again

The Kingston Bunker rats are running their annual FOW tournament at Area 52 this weekend.  Chris & Jim are making a team entry to fly the flag for Camp Cromwell (neither of us feeling quite up to playing 5 games in 2 days).  As we haven't played FOW since same time last year we had a practice match this afternoon.  We fought a Free-For-All Mission with Chris commanding our competition list of British Armoured Reece & Jim commanding a Panzer force.  (CV Cromwells v. CT Panthers).
 It was quick & bloody affair resulting in a table load of burning tanks.  It was a British victory, perhaps lulling us into a false sense of security, but it certainly helped to get our heads back around the rules - QED.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Battle of Benburb 5 June 1646

This is a scenario from To Kill A King the supplement to Pike & Shot.
We fought using Hail Cromwell, our house ruled Hail Caesar for the era.
The Irish are on the hill on the right & are being attacked by an Anglo-Scots army.
The Irish have 7 infantry regiments of 1 large pike & 1 shot & 5 cavalry.
The Anglo-Scots have 7 infantry regiments of 1 pike & 2 shot, 5 cavalry & 2 guns. 
The A/Scots army advances with musketeers moving ahead of the pikes.  Their intention was to line the creek bank with musketeers to keep the enemy back, then cross the creek with pikes  to cover the crossing by the muskets.  The Irish sent shot forward to dispute the crossing.  On the far flank a blunder saw the English musketeers cross the creek ahead of the pikes.
In the centre more blunders also sent the Scots shot over the creek prematurely.  The irish responded by charging down the hill with horse & pikes.  The musketeers either broke or were pushed back across the creek.  The A/S cavalry tried to push forward on the flanks but were pushed back by the Irish horse. 
The A/Scots do have pikes across the creek left of centre & on both flanks. The A/S cavalry are regrouping on both flanks. 
The Irish have fallen back on the near flank.  The A/Scots are now advancing again on both flanks with foot & horse.  But the Irish foot are now attacking beyond the bridge & driving the Scots back there.
On both flanks desperate death or glory charges by the A/Scot horse have failed in a shower of 1's & 2's & both cavalry brigades are broken.  The Scots infantry is verging on breaking. 
The A/Scots conceed the battle & start to withdraw.

While it is normal for the loser to blame bad luck for defeat, even the winners admitted the A/Scots had a rough time with the dice in this one.  Their plan for an orderly passage of the creek was kyboshed by blunder dice, then compounded by the Irish always getting the 3 moves they needed to exploit the resulting weakness.  The Irish were able to turn it into a pike battle where they had an advantage  while the A/Scots couldn't get full value out of their extra musketeers & artillery.  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Musket Action: War of Independance

Renfrey (French & Americans) v. Chris (British)
1,300 pts, No Mans Land Scenario
The Brits on the far side have their regular infantry battalion in the centre, cavalry & artillery on their right, Indians & light infantry on the their left.
The French line battalion is in the centre, Colonial regulars on their left & woodsmen on their right. In the
The regular infantry are slugging it out in the centre.  Light troops are skirmishing on the far flank.  On the near flank, the Colonials are moving to the centre rather than take on the cavalry.
 In the centre & on the far flank casulaties are mountingwith no one gaining a clear advantage.
In what could be a decisive move, the British cavalry have smashed through the French & Colonial line.
The Brits got the first command dice out of the bag next turn, but poor command dice put their cavalry down & out on a limb & it was blown away by musket & artillery fire, undoing the advantage gained.

The battle ended in a draw with heavy but equal casualties on both sides.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Marsden Moor 1644

We did not attempt to make this a particularly precise simulation, but concentrated on the main features of the battle to make a good balanced wargame.  Both sides had 2 cavalry divisions of 6 units, 2 pike & shot divisions of 6 units & a couple of guns.  The Royalists also had 4 musketeers for a forlorn hope while the North had 2 dragoons & a small pike & shot division of 4 units.

Mike, Chris & JohnS commanded the Royalists.  Mark, Jim & Renfrey the Northern Association.  All troops were standard types with command rating 8.  Rupert, CIC of the Royalists was a 9, Cromwell commanding the Northerners left wing cavalry a 10 (no bias showing there).  Rules: Hail Cromwell - our house ruled Hail Caesar for the era.
The Royalists deployed their forlorn hope behind the ditch & waited.  Cromwell lead an oblique attack from the left.
Cromwell made a measured advance with his cavalry with dragoons on his left & infantry on his right.  In the centre the forlorn hope is doing significant damage to the Northern foot as they force their way past the ditch.
On the left, the Royalist horse has chickened out  rather than fight Cromwell with their flanks under threat.  In the centre the forlorn hope has been pulled back to the main line.
Cromwell has swung round to face the now refused Royalist right.  In the centre, the Royalists are making spoiling attacks as the Northern foot fight poor command dice in their advance.
Cromwell's horse has forced the Royalits to form a hedgehog to anchor their right.  His dragoons on his left are peppering away at the Royalist horse, who are deterred from a counterattack by the dragoon's cavalry support.  In the centre, the Royalists have fallen back to their main line. 

On the near flank, Rupert has tried a cavalry counterattack on Cromwell's horse but was beaten back.  The Northern foot is now attacking in the centre.  Cromwell's attempt to make a coordinated attack on the flank of the Royalist foot failed due to poor command dice.  On the far flank The Northern horse is now advancing with infantry support on their left. 
On the far flank the infantry support gave the Northern horse a critical advantage & Renfrey's dice did the rest.  The Royalist cavalry on that wing has been broken.  The net is tightening around Rupert.
Rupert's position is now hopeless at our 10pm cut-off.

From a parliamentary perspective it was a very satisfying battle.  They had a good plan which came off.  There was some frustration at times when poor Northern dice prevented some potentially devastating charges on the left, but the dice gods balanced the books by giving Renfrey a dream run on the other flank.   

Monday, May 07, 2018

Sunday Action at Good Games

While posted as Bolt Action afternoon the two games played were What a Tanker & Musket Action.

JohnM set up a Two Fat Lardies' What a Tanker game for some of the BA guys to try out.

Each of the 4 players had either 1 monster tank or 2 normal ones.  It's a game for a small number of tanks given depth by the use Saga style playboards & the need to optimise the result of handful of dice.  It looked great on Matthew's terrain & the blokes obviously enjoyed it, but personally I think it's too much playing a game system & not enough war.

Musket Action:
1350 pts, double envelopment scenario.  Chris' French v. Jim's Brits.  This BA scenario has half the forces on table at the start & the rest in reserve to come from turn 2.  VPs are gaimed by killing enemy units (1 each), getting your units into the enemy deployment zone (2 each) off the enemy's table edge (3 each).
Both side put their regular infantry & artillery on the table at the start.  The Brits advanced immediately.
The French advanced to meet the Brits on their right with Colonial regulars coming up in support.  They defended on their left.  The Brits supported their left with their cavalry
On the left, after the infantry softened the French up, the cavalry charged & broke through, taking  out the front line, then the Colonials behind. A fire fight rages along the rest of the line.
On the left, one Brit cavalry cavalry won lost a lot of casualties in the breakthrough.  The French gun turned & broke one of the cavalry troops.  The other has dashed for the enemy baseline as the Brit infantry wraps around the exposed French right flank.  In the centre the French have now attacked & have broken through the Brit front line.  In the woods on the right, the Brit Indians have beaten of the Colonial militia.
On the left the Brit infantry & Indians are wearing the outflanked French down.  In the centre, Indians in the farmyard have held off Colonial regulars, but the French grenadiers have over-run the gun.  The Brit grenadiers in the little wood are holding off the French on the right.

By the end of turn 6 when the game ended, The Brits have lost 7 units, the French 6, both sides have 1 unit over the enemy baseline (Brit cav & French grenadiers), but the Brits have 2 Indian bands in the enemy deployment zone to win 13 VPs to 10.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Saltanokova 1812 continued

We decided to continue where we left off a week before & fight the battle to a conclusion.
Renfrey took over the French right from Dave.

The French consolidated their cavalry left of centre, but it was too blown to make counterattack.  In the centre numbers counted & a hole developed the French had no reserves left to fill. The Russian advances on both flanks were inevitably slow but inevitable just the same.  With 2 divisions broken the rest of their army shaken or near to it the French gave up.

Although we played it over 2 nights, there was only 3 & half hours playing time - not bad for the size of battle with the Russians attacking.  Their low command rating made their manouvre slow.  Their poor shooting stat made killing the French a slow business & their stubborn-ness made it hard for the French to break them too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Friday Musket Action at Good Games

Jim's Brits v. Chris' French

The 2 houses are objectives.  If not cleary held by one side, most kills wins.
Initial deployment:  The Brits are on the near side.
The Brits have rushed forward to secure the houses with infantry (RH) & Indians (LH).  
The British overlap on the right is working well.  The end French line coy broke & the Colonials are being shot up.
Once they had established superiority the British line wore the French down on the right.  Desperate French attacks to try & grab the houses failed.  So a big win for the Brits.

Thus battle only lasted a bit over an hour.  It makes a big difference if most of the battlefield is open ground.