Thursday, November 29, 2007

Camp Cromwell 27/11/07

Late War HTL Grenadiers defending v. US Rifles

MarkO failed to show up for his Mahahrajah Semi-final v. SteveP, so JIm, Nick & Renfrey volunteered to give Steve a practice run. SteveJ & Byron signed on as German advisers.
Happy to command someone else's army, the US players attacked with reckless abandon.
The US Infantry got pinned down by German fire & never hade it over the centreline.
The USAF came often enough, but couldn't hit anything, and the masses of US artillery didn't do much better.
On the other hand the US armour did surprisingly well - the 88 ambush achieved zip before they were destroyed & the Shermans took on the Stugs & destroyed them. But the Shermans ran out of support & were destroyed by a Grenadier counterattack. This left no US over the centreline & a German victory.

Camp Cromwell 22/11/07

Jim's Panzer Grenadiers v. Renfrey's British Rifles

Late War HTL, Brits defending using the 8x6 table SteveJ & Nick used for their Maharajah last week.
Renfrey deployed 2 Infantry Platoons with 17pdrs & M10s in ambush. He had Sextons, HMG Bugs, Churchills & another Infantry in reserve, plus Limited Hurricanes.
Jim had 2 P/Grens, HMGs, Mauliers, Stugs, 37mm SPAA & a KT.
Despite a Nick-like burst of 11 fails in 12 consecutive infantry saves which all but annihilating the German infantry, the dastardly Germans cynically exploited the British inexperience to take the objective with their armour (see pic).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Maharajah 2007 2nd Qualifying Final

Nick's US Armour v. SteveJ's Panzer Lehr P/Grenadiers - LW Breakthrough

Steve's army had 2x3 Pak 40s, 3 small P/grens, Hvy Mortars, 2 lots of armoured AA, & 105s.
Nick had 2x3 Priests, 5M5, 3M8, Cav recn, 3 Arm Rifles, Hellcats & P/Air.
The Mission rules didn't help Steve forcing him to leave his halftracks off the table, makig them a waste of points. Despite have 2 Arm Inf + hellcats in the flanking force Nick seemed to have heaps of troops on the table. He worked his way forward around the German right flank avoiding the zones of death of the Pak 40s on the other flank. The US light armour took out the German AA & artillery while their artillery & air whittled away at the german defence. The 1st US reserves (Hellcats) arrived in time to get within 40cm of the objective before time and after 2 Infantry Platoons also arrived on flank it seemed only a matter of time before they drove the small Grenadier platoon from the objective. But the battle went on and on as Nick cautiously advanced. Eventually at 1am Steve conceded that he had no hope of stopping the US infantry swarm massing near the objective.

Mahrajah 2007 1st Qualifying Final

Jim's Fucilieri v. MarkO's US Rifles - MW FFA

(Started on Tuesday 15/11, with Renfrey as umpire, & finished on Tuesday 20/11).
The table featured a large rough hill at each end of no man's land, a fair bit of scattered cover in both sides rear & a big open space in the middle.
Both sides did their best to try & hide their batteries behind scrub patches & orchards but not entirely sucessfully. The US deployed infantry along the front stiffened with a/tank guns right of centre & HMGs left of centre. The Shermans were tucked behind the hill on their extreme right. The Ities put 2 Infantry on each flank with HMGs & Pak 40s covering the clear ground in the centre.
The battle started with the US digging in while the Ities rushed infantry forward on both flanks. But the Itie advance only went as far as the crests of the two hills and the battle settled down into an artillery duel. Both sides air came regulary. The USAF did bugger all at the start, but got a couple of 105s eventually. The Regio Aeronautica didn't do much either, but their constant attention on the Shermans encouraged them into leaving their hidey hole & this brought them under the template of the very 100 battery that got the KVs at Isdonisgrad (Fearless Vets they are now) - this time they got two Shermans in two salvoes. When the german 105s bailed another, the platoon failed morale to turn the battle decisively in the Itie's favour.
With both sides spead out to provide only one decent target per template it was slow going, but with 3 Vet batteries plus air & mortars, the Ities were clearly in no hurry.
After countless turns, the US had both 105 batteries & their a/tank reduced to 2 guns eachs & the Ities finally made their move. The Guastatori Avantied over the crest supported by Fucilieri & L6s on their right, and an artillery barrage. The US Infantry, battery & a/tank on the US right were overrun leaving the US position outflanked. Mark realised that there was nothing he could do to stop the L6s of doom supported by infantry and massed artillery from rolling up his line & conceded the battle.

At Barrie's 17/11/07

Jim's Falschirmjager v. Leigh's British Guards

LW 1500 pts Free For All on 6x6 table using hidden deployment & spotting
The platoons were initially represented on the table by counters with some dummies. These either had to be spotted or expose themselves by firing or moving before being put down on the table.
The Germans advanced Infantry on both flanks to sieze two woods on the centreline. They also had 3 Hummels, 4 heavy mortars & 4 Stugs behind a ridge in the centre.
The Brits dug in infantry on the objectives on each flank. A double 25pdr battery was behind their left & centre & a Sherman platoon supported their left. In the centre they advanced a Commando platoon though the central village with HMGs in carriers advancing on their left & 2M10s on the right.
The Stugs popped over the ridge and destroyed the HMGs. The Hummel's observer spotted the Firefly & the big guns promptly destroyed it. The 25pdrs failed dismally to hurt the Stugs which then turned on the Shermans & destroyed them as well.
With his Shermans & bugs destroyed, Leigh made a desperate charge out of the village towards the German's LH objective. The Falschirmjager on the left moved back from the wood to counter the attack while the Stugs rushed over from the right. The M10s lost one before breaking off from the FJs. The Commando attack on the FJs was stopped by firepower. The Stugs then finished off the M10s & the FJ counterattck destroyed the Commandos.
The Stugs & FJs advanced to attack the small Rifle Coy on the Brit's LH objective. The Brits took 3 Stugs out, but lost so many doing so that the FJs easily finished them off to take the objective & win the battle.
Barrie's draft rules needed a bit of tweeking, but in principle worked ok. It slows the game down & realistically favours the defence. It probably improves the scenario, but I'm not sure it improves the game. Nevertheless an interesting exercise - probably best used in historical scenarios rather than straight FOW Missions.

Alexander vs. Darius

Club Bowler Wargaming Centre
Alexander the Great: Nick
Darius the Dill: Cameron

Victory is achieved by eliminating / routing a single opposing heavy infantry unit (Phalanx / Hoplite)

Thus it came about that I, Emperor Darius, surveyed yet another dusty battlefield from atop my golden command chariot. A whole lot of flatness out there. Flatter than Bignose the Byzantine after the Imperial elephants finished with him.

Alexander the upstart was knocking on my empire’s door, once again. The little nuisance had a formidable force of …greeks…over there. Why couldn’t he just bugger off back home? Didn’t he realise that the Persian Empire was all powerful?

Clearly not. Only this morning, Leonordis, the royal fan waver, hissed in my ear that there were rumours flying around the camp that Alexander had a terrible ‘itch’. When I queried Leonordis about this affliction he only grunted and his skinny arms flapped the palm frond fan so violently that I may have just as well have been standing on Mount Sinai in the face of a raging Shamal. To long spent with the Zoroastrians does that to you. I’m starting to think they use hallucinogenics in their smoke.

At a loss as to whether Alexander suffered from an anatomical or strategic ‘itch’ I summoned a council of war.

Signortia, commander of the Hoplites was first to speak. “There are an awful lot of Greeks over yonder, my lord”
“Specifically what type of Greeks, Signortia?”, huffed I. A recurring fault of the Persian Empire was its inability to produce any meaningful military minds. Soft succulent servile female companions, yes. Kick ‘em in the teeth, rip out their guts grizzled, gap-toothed warriors, no.

“Phalanx’s and such, my lord. Companions.”
Puzzling…“Oh, they have female company as well?”
“No my lord, I am led to believe that Alexander prefers male companions. Dressed in armour. On a horse.”
Mind boggling stuff. Greeks. What could you say?
Still, there was the small matter of tomorrow’s battle.
“So Signortia, our hoplites can deal with matters adequately I trust?”
“No my lord.”
“Unfortunately, my lord, there is nothing in our current army that can face off against the Phalanx’s.”
“NONE?”“No my lord. The phalanx’s might be dressed in skirts and be commanded by a known shirt lifter but they have long spears and heavy armour. We would be overwhelmed in short order. All would be lost. A terrible curse –“
“Yes, alright, I have the picture, thank you Signortia”
Clearly the Persian army wasn’t where it should be. Haven’t our generals heard of benchmarking? What do they do all day, polish their helmets and wax their leotards?
“And what, pray tell, Signortia, would you advise we do?”
“Run away, my lord. They may be Greek poofters but they are poofters with long spears.”

So it came to pass that as the dawn sun rose in the east I, Darius, took charge of matters and arrayed our mighty forces.
“Signortia, position your Hoplites on the right and as soon as the bugle blows march them sideways as far as you can before forming into a tight defensive position.”
“Sideways, m’Lord?” he muttered, squinting at me.
“Yes sideways you miserable cheese eating surrender monkey. Do as you are bloody well told.”
“Of course, my lord.” He replied, bobbing his head, “Sideways it shall be”. More bobbing. A noticeable cringing about the edges.
Bob away you little turd for by tonight your head will be rolling in the dirt looking for a pair of shoulders to sit upon.
I cast my mind back to business.
“Speedatorium”, the cavalry commander, “I ask only that you put all your light cavalry on the left and all your heavy cavalry on the right”
Speedatorium, apparently suffering from squinters disease as well, peered in my direction.
“Split my command in two, oh wise one?”
“That’s right. Tell them all to gallop around the flanks of the phalanx’s and hit them in the rear. Your horsemen are our only hope. The gods of Fire will be with you all.”
“Yes, oh wise one. It shall be done.”
“Excellent. Proceed.” Good, at last somebody who knows what he is about.

Right, that wasn’t hard. Now where is Leonordis? All this commanding is getting me hot and bothered. Perhaps some olive oil applied by a few winsome slippery royal consorts might help.

Mid morning arrived. All the tedious military formation positioning and repositioning had been completed. Both armies faced each other. I was oiled and ready. All that was needed was the sound of a bugle. I waved my hand and the bugle blared it’s siren call.

Persians (black) and the Greeks (red).

I have to say that it went exceedingly well and according to my master plan. For, oh…, say five, maybe ten minutes. Such was my joy and that of those accompanying me that I immediately ordered wine and food to celebrate.

How presumptuous of me. The God of Fire hissed, sputtered and fizzled out well before any refreshments could arrive. Watching from my chariot I was forced to order all priests and other soothsayers put to the sword, if only to quench my anger at the inadequacy of the entire Persian army.

Signortia, commanding the Hoplites dutifully stomped off sideways only to metamorphose into some kind of self-induced Mesopotamian traffic jam. There were hoplites marching in all directions, becoming more tangled and twisted than the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Speedatorium’s Light Cavalry, attempting to swing around the left flank of the Greeks only succeeded in banging headlong into the entire Greek cavalry force which proceeded to chop them into pieces.

The Heavy Cavarly actually managed to penetrate past the right flank but when ordered to turn in on the rear of the Greek Phalanx’s they rode off into the desert on some kind of wide sweeping arc that encompassed all of Asia Minor. Apparently, so I was told later, Speedatorium got a good deal on horses from Flaky Phil the Philistine at Damascus last summer. Wonderful horses. Strong and fast.

In a straight line.

Try cornering your mount on one of Flakies prize steeds and you’d still be at it by sundown. Bloody horses couldn’t turn.

What a debacle. With all lost and the smelly greeks bearing down on our confused mess of Hoplites I ordered a general retreat. There is one thing that we Persians excel at.

End of the battle. Greeks (red) bearing down on the hoplites in the corner. Persian Heavy cavalry moving around to the rear of the Greek Phalanx's via Turkey and Afghanistan. Persian light cavalry on the left flank decimated.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Camp Cromwell 13/11/07

Maharajah Elimination Final 2: Barrie's British Guards v. James' Grenadiers - LW Encounter

(Continued from last week). Barrie sent his surviving "armour" - his HMG carriers forward on his right and attacked the Stugs with his Commandoes. The Commandoes took out 2 Stugs and the others withdrew to pick on easier meat - the HMG carriers. Two platoons of HMG carriers took a lot of killing but eventually all the German firepower reduced both platoons to just 1 or 2 Carriers. Barrie withdrew the survivors to preclude platoon loses. The Germans didn't feel confident to attack & the Brits advanced very cautiously. Eventually, the Allied Air took out the Stugs one by one to force an Army Morale Test that the Germans failed.
Barrie goes into the 2nd Semi Final v. the loser of SteveJ v. Nick.
James is eliminated.

Maharajah Elimination Final 1: SteveP's Strelkovy v. Byron's Aukschwadron - LW Breakthrough

After an agonisingly slow deployment the battle finally got under way. Both sides did a bit of long range sniping without great effect while Steve moved a Strlk towards the rear objective & Byron waited for his flanking force to arrive. When it did he hit the Strelk with everything & all but anhilated it. But Steve's T34s rushed over to help & the Gods joined in to destroy the flanking force completely & secure the rear objective. Byron then resorted to a direct assault on the front objective with Panzer Grens & A/cars. They cleared a hole in the line, but the Gods & T34s took their toll & the attack ran out of steam.
Steve goes into the 1st Semi Final v. the loser of Jim v. Mark.
Byron is eliminated.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Camp Cromwell 06/11/07

Battle of Isdonisgrad Concluded

We resumed on the Axis' 10th turn. Following their regroup after stomping on some Fucilieri last turn the 3 remaining KVs were grouped so all fitted under a template. The Guastatori moved up within assault range and Gandini pointed every tube they had at the Bolshie behmoths. The Italian 100's fired first, ranged in, hit the two unbailed ones, both threw 1's for armour saves, firepower killed one & bailed one. The 105's, 75's, heavy mortars & MkIVs all missed. But the Guastatori passed tank terror, got some hits & the 3 bailed KV crews were captured. That was the critical moment of the battle - the loss of the KVs stopped the Bolshie attack & removed their chance of overunning the Ities. But the Axis didn't have time to take the Russian objectives either so the batttle petered out into the artillery picking off targets of opportunity - with the Axis doing rather better out of it.

At then end of turn 12 nightfall ended the battle. Under the campaign rules this made it a draw, but the Axis as the attackers must fall back & the Russians hold Isdonosgrad. Both sides can get 1/3 of their losses as stragglers are rounded up, slightly wounded patched up, and equipment salvaged. It is now the Russian's campaign turn 2.

The pic is taken from behind the Axis right. The dead KV platoon is on the far left.

Except from the Gandini Papers:

8 Sept 1942

Herr Hitler,

I am pleased to report that Isdonisgrad is a now graveyard for the Bolshevik army. Their dead infantry are piled high, their batteries and their mighty KV tanks are smoking heaps of junk.

My plan was to hold our left flank with the Fucilieri while the Grenadiers and Panzers smashed the Russian left. As expected, the Bolsheviks made a ferocious attack on the Fucilieri Coy with massed infantry supported by KVs. The Italians fought like Lions, giving ground to draw the Bolshevik tanks into range of our guns. The Italian artillery softened them up and a counterattack by the Guastatori finished them off. Without their tanks to hide behind the Bolshviks turned to water and their attack petered out.

Meanwhile on our right the Bosheviks ran in panic before the Panzers. Only nightfall and fast running saved the Bolshek army from destruction.

In order to minimise casualties to our irreplaceable infantry I did not launch a direct assault on Isdonisgard itself. But while Isdonisgrad has not yet fallen, I have achieved my objective of weakening the Bolshevik army. Overnight I am regrouping our forces.


Maharajah 2007 EF2

James' Gernadiers v. Barries' British Guard Rifles
2000 pts LW Encounter battle.

Both sides dug in on their objectives, but James bravely sent his Tigers forward on their own to wreak havoc on the British artillery. The Typhoons failed dismally to stop them, as did 2 so called Tank Destroyers - which the Tigers disposed of. Barrie's armour arrived and his Firefly took on and beat the Tigers. But James' Stugs were also rushed forward as soon as they arrived and the Firefly ran out of luck - as did two of the Shermans. The British armour is reduced to just 1 bailed up Sherman (which did at least pass morale), but the Germans have 4 Stugs left & thats' the only serious armour left on the table. Casulties to the artillery and infantry also favour the Germans at this stage. Time ran out & the battle was adjourned until next Tuesday.
The pic shows the Tigers emerging from a smokescreen to take on the Tank Destroyers.