Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Camp Cromwell 29/06/10

Joe's Schnellschwadron v. Jim's US Mech
1500 pts Midwar Free For All

Joe pushed forward with infantry & Stugs in the centre while trying to dig in an infantry platoon on each objective.  The US saw that Joe's right was inadequately defended and had open ground perfect for the Shermans & Honeys.  The US armour rushed forward with mech infantry following.

The Stugs, Stukas & Neblewerfers tried to stop them, but the Shermans took them on while the Stuarts charged on.  The German infantry had two chances to dig in & failed.  Not surprisingly 5 Stuarts backed up with 4 half track mgs had to use shooting too sucessful to take the objective.  The German attempt to blow the Stuarts of the objective failed miserably - game over with zero US casualties.  A case of a depoyment mistake backed by bad luck ruthlessly exploited.

The pic is behind the US left.  The Honeys are on the objective.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Camp Cromwell 26/06/10

Rich's US Mech v. Jim's Fucilieri
1500 pts MW Cauldron, Ities defending

Rich benefitted from a good deployment dice putting all his troops in the one corner on his side of the table.  He used his recon well to restrict the Ities options for their Immediate Ambush of Semoventes.  The Semos made a mess of the Honeys, but were vulnerable when the Shermans came on early.  The Shermans blew them away, and went on to take an objective before the Itie reserves could make any impression.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

At Nick's on Friday Night

Nick's Panzers v. Carl's US Armour
1500 pts MW Hold the Line

A rather brief report I'm afraid as your correspondant was somewhat preoccupied 200 years in the past on the next table.  Carl seemd to do alright for a while, but the evil genius of the Germans pulled through in the end.

Joe's Prussians v. Jim's French
Black Powder 7YW

Both sides had 3 Infantry Brigades, a Cavalry Brigade & 4 guns.  The Prussians had better command & better infantry except for their Saxon Brigade.  The French had better cavalry.

The Prussians started with an advance on their right.  The French advanced to meet this with their Bavarian allied Brigade and sent their reserve infantry Brigade  to assist.  They also sent their cavalry on a wide sweep around the Prussian left.

The Prussian attack was held by the Bavarians in the hedges while the French reserve outflanked it & broke it.  The French cavalry got some good command dice and moved rapidly around into the Prussian rear.  The Prussian cavalry was pulled back to meet it  but was caught in abit of a muddle & quickly defeated.  The French Dragoons continued on & took out a battery from the rear, but the other battery turned & blasted the French cavalry so it also broke and could not exploit its success.

At this stage the Prussians were in trouble with half their Brigades broken, and their left flank brigade split up to deal with the cavalry manace.  But the French did not find it easy to finish them off.  Their bad command rating made it a slow process to roll up their right flank and difficult to get their centre into the action (the CIC beng in the enemy rear with the cavalry didn't help).  But  eventually, their centre did get going and concentrated on the isolated Prussian left to win the battle.

The pic is taken from behind the French left.  Another enjoyable BP battle.  The Brigade morale test we used was: break if more than half units routed or shaken, or if half or more are routed.  The Army Morale test we used was more than half brigades broken = fail.  In the book the brigade test is half units shaken or routed, army test is half brigades broken.  This battle indicated that our revised brigade test is ok, but that the army test might be better be left as in the book. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crimea River Scenario from Black Powder

Jim's Brits v. Joe's Russians.

Nick attended fresh lagged from Paris for a short time.  Rich also made a cameo appearance.

We played the Crimea scenario from the Black Powder book on a 6x4 table with 15mm figs & half distances.  The Russians hold two hills with 4 guns in redoubts with 3 infantry brigades on the table & 2 cavalry brigades off table (can be brought on using normal command test anywhere on back edge or 12" up the sides).   The Brits had 3 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigades and 3 guns.  Victory conditions for the Brits were to take the batteries & avoid losing cavalry brigades, or by normal army morale test.

The Brits deployment from the left was light brigade, heavy brigade, grenadiers, line inf, scotts.  The Russians put 1 inf on their right 2 on the left.

The Brits commenced with an infantry advance.  The Russians sent  two battalions forward to occupy the hamlet & the field between the lines.  The Russian occupation of the hamlet held up the advance with the British brigade becoming bogged down in front of it.  But the Scots went round it into the copice to outflank the battery.  The Russians countered this by bringing cavalry on to cover the flank of the battery.

The Brits sent the heavy brigade to the right to support the Scotts.  They were met by Russian cavalry and fought a mutually destructive action.  But before the heavy brigade broke, one regiment charged the redoubt in flank and destroyed the guns (only to be shot up by the infanry beyond).

The grenadiers took forever to get round to advancing & were fortunate that the Russians in the field blundered & charged out of it to be dispatched.

On the far left, the light brigade was finally ordered forward after all the Russian cavalry reserves were committed.  But before they could get to grips with the enemy, the battle was decided on the other flank where the Scotts came out of the copice & broke the Russian cavalry protecting the battery.  This caused the Russians to fail army morale.

Once again Black Powder provided an ejoyable little battle.  The poor command rating of the generals on boths sides cause a lot of delay, but in the Crimea, such was to be expected. 

Pic 1:  The Russians advance their forlorn hopes as the Brits prepare to cross the river.
Pic 2:  The Russians hold onto the hamlet.  Remnants of the heavy & brigade & Russian cavalry are in the forground.  The Scotts are about to leave the wood & blast the Russian cavalry out of the way with Black Powder

Monday, June 14, 2010

Queen's Birthday Black Powder

Joe & brother Matt's French
Mark's Prussians

The French covered their centre with a massed battery & an infantry brigade & put their other infantry brigade on their far left.   They divided their cavalry into 2 brigades on their right.  The Prussians put all their cavalry on their left, and their infantry in the centre.

The French tried to outflank the Prussian cavalry with one brigade while pinning their front with the other.  The Prussians pushed back the pinning brigade, failed to get orders through to meet the flank attack and were partly rolled up. 

Part of the French infantry in the centre advanced into the cornfield to pin the Prussian right, but the French left flank commander turned out to be hopeless & the planned flank attack stalled.  The Prussians counterattacked in the centre & although a grenadier got carried away & got slaughtered by the guns, they broke the centre brigade.

On the other flank Prussian infantry deployed out of the village to help the cavalry out  and a blast of Oakie dice finished off the French cavalry.  With both cavalry brigades and 1 infantry broken, the French failed their army morale test.

Pic 1: From behind the Prussian left.  The French left is milling about doing nothing.  The Prussians are counterattcking the cornfield in the centre.  The French cavalry is sweeping down the far flank.
Pic 2: The brothers Dexter survey the carnage.  Their centre broken, their left still not fully involved & their right running out of steam.
Pic 3: Oakie triumphant as the French cavalry break under the weight of musketry & hot dice.

Black Powder continues to impress - it's easy, fast & exciting to play.  I might even like it better than my own rules.  Like FOW the luck element can be scary, but there are ways of dealing with it and ways to win anyway if you're smart enough.  I  want to try it out with my 6mm Napoleonic troops - I think it should work well for big battles with only a few special rules.

Friday, June 11, 2010

van Diemen Wargames Club visit

Joe & I made another visit to the van Diemen Club.  They were all in training for the upcoming Warhammer & Lord of the Rings championships, but a few guys showed definite interest in FOW and said they'd like to give it a go after the championships.  We did a 1500 pts Midwar.

Jim's US Mech v. Joe's Schutzenkompanie (out of Afrika), Joe defending a Hold the Line.

Joe put one infantry platoon on the forward objective & the other in ambush (both had 2 Pak 38's).  In reserve he had 105's & panzers (3 MkIII longs & 2 MkIV longs).

The US had 2 mech inf plats, 6 105 HTs, 5 Shermans, 5 Honeys, 2 AAHTs & scouts. One infantry advanced on each flank (in their HTs), Shermans up the middle, Honeys on the left, scouts in front on the left.

The advanacing scouts forced the early deployment of the 2nd Schutzen on the German right.  The Panzers came on 1st turn and lurked behind the hill with the objective on it.  The US popped most of the Paks, but the panzers shuffled round the the hill & helped the last one destroy the Honeys. 

But the US refused to get distracted and form their objective.  With Sherman support the 1st mech rifles drove the german infantry off the hill and took the objective.  The Germans counterattacked with the panzers now supported by the 105's.  The 105's bailed up 2 Shermans & the panzers destroyed the rifles, though with some losses.  The 4 bailed Shermans failed morale.  The CO tried to rally them & also failed leaving the panzers in control of the objective.    But the 2nd mech rifles had been moved over from the left.  They jumped out of their HT and charged the panzers.  The US 105's finally did something bailing up a panzer & the rifles finsihed them off retaking the objective.

The 2nd german schutzen platoon tried a last counterattack, but with the help fo the AAHTs, the GIs stopped their charge & held the objective to win the battle.

Another rattling good battle with lots of twists and turns.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Nick in Paris - Les Invalides

Went back to Les Invalides for a second visit. The museum is open on Tuesday nights till 9:00 pm, so I planned a quick visit after work. They only open part of the museum, but fortunately they openned the Horse and Musket wing when I visited. This time there were less people -- but there was some sort of event for highly important people in the chappell, as the museum was surrounded by police swat teams etc. But the best thing was that there were multilingual guides all through the museum. I'm not sure if they are there every Tuesday evening, or just because VIP's were cruising through. Anyway, I had a great chat with one guide who let me play with some replica swords and wear a replica shako! I also discovered that the reason there were less uniforms than I had hoped was that many are on loan to another museum. I also found Napoleon's coat from Marengo, and his horse (stuffed of course). To quote a French woman who saw Napoleons coat, 'Il est miniscule'. Not only was he short, he was skinny. No bigger than a typical 13 year old today!

I was finally kicked out when the museum closed!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Black Powder 7YW

Jim's Prussians v. Steve's Austrians

Both sides had 2 infantry & one cavalry "brigade" (as they call them in BP but they feel more like divisions) plus 4 guns.  The Prussians had a bigger cavalry brigade, but one infantry brigade was smaller.  Deployment was Prussians drew a map in secret, Austrians put down, then Prussians to the map. 

All pics are taken from behind the Prussian left.

The Prussians anchored their right on a  farmhouse deploying infantry with guns between in two lines across the centre.  They put all their cavalry in the open ground on their left.

The Austrians put their 2 cuirassiers on their right facing all 6 Prussian cavalry.  Infantry in the centre and far left.  The hussars & dragoons were between the infantry brigades, the artillery between the cuirassiers and the infantry.

The Austrians advanced along the line.  The command system made it a bit disorderly, but advance they did.  On their right the cuirassiers charged their opposite number (pic 1) and although initially successful were beaten back and their brigade broken.  It fell back into the cornfield, but French attempts to get their cavalry to the right were delayed by bad command dice.

The advance of the Austrian left was delayed by slow command (that was their dumbest commander) & terrain.  The hussars marched up the road over the bridge in column, then blundered into a charge on a French battery.  They bounced back and spent the rest of the battle trying to recover.

In the centre the Austrian command was a bit too successful, the infantry moved forward so quickly their right was exposed - covered only by a massed battery.  The Prussians seized the opportunity and attacked the flank with infantry.  They sacrificed one battalion to the guns while the Austrian line was rolled up.  See pics 1 & 2.  When the centre brigade broke the Austrians failed army morale & it was game over.

The Black Powder rules are not for the faint hearted.  The dice gods can be fickle & cause all sorts of mahem, but they are easy to learn, fast paced, exciting & fun to play.  The combat & morale systems are delightfully simple & easy to use.  The command system can be frustrating & chancey, but there is a lot of skill in it too.  Certianly you get a realistic feeling of not quite being in control of things.  We had 3 "blunders" (double 1 on command test) in this game - with very mixed results:  The Austrian hussars charged deployed guns while in road column & were beaten off but not destroyed.  The Prussian dragoons moved backwards instead of forwards to exploit the retreat of the enemy cuirasiers.  The Prussian grenadiers got a blunder order to wheel right - which was actually what their commander was trying to get them to do anyway.

In the last week I've also had a good look at the Napoleon & Lasalle rules.  All three sets have some things in common, but big differences too.   I'd like to try Napoleon & Lasalle if someone put on a game, but they don't have enough appeal to make me want to go to the trouble of learning them to do so myself.  Black Powder on the other hand had immediately appeal to me on first reading.  I'm usually hard to please with rules, but for once I found little I didn't like & much I did.  The only item I instantly disliked was that the command test has high dice bad - the only place in the rules where this is so - it just isn't right that double 6 is a blunder rather than double 1.  But this was easily fixed by a house rule reversing the test. 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

More Black Powder

Jim's French v. Rich's British + Allies.

For simplicity we had 2 identical armies.  Each had 2 infantry brigades of 1 grenadier & 4 line, a cavalry brigade of 2 each cuirassier, dragoon & hussar & 4 guns.  Each had a CIC & 3 brigadiers.

We used half distances to match the 15mm figs.

The French deployed their horse on their left, infantry centre & right, artillery in the centre.  The Brits made a matching deployment except with their artillery on their left.

The Brits made a massed infantry attack of 8 line infantry on the French right with grenadiers on their right & guns on their left.  The French attacked with their horse on the left and with the infnatry in the centre while defending on the right.  The 1st pic is from behind the French right - note the Allied columns, the French advance in the centre & the cavalry in the distance.

The French cavalry attack went haywire when their cuirassiers were beaten by mere dragoons.  Eventually the French cavalry was defeated by just the Allied hussars & dragoons but the consequent freeing of the cuirassiers was not taken advantage of as they moved back & forth between right & centre.

In the centre the French infantry advanced on the Allied grenadiers and drove them back into the wood.  The massed Allied infantry attack failed to break through quickly while the French grenadiers & artillery attacked their right flank.  The centre Allied brigade was shaken leaving the other one with its flank exposed & doomed - see pic 2.  When that brigade broke, the Allies failed army morale.

It was an enjoyable little battle - BP certainly produces lots of hair raising & entertaining ebb & flow.  We used a modified brigade morale test - fail if more routed than unshaken or if all shaken or routed.

Friday, June 04, 2010

FOW in Launceston

Jim's Bersaliglieri v. Nick R's British Heavy Armour.  1500 pts MW Breakthrough on excellent desert table.
A trip to Launceston is a bit downmarket compared with gay Paris, but it has to do. At least the wargaming was top class - we had a great little battle.
The Ities defended with 2 small Bersaliglieri deployed on the line, 75mm & Semos in rear and M14's & L6's in reserve.
The Brits had Sherman HQ, a Sherman platoon & a Grant platoon on table, and a 2nd grant platoon & an armoured car platoon in flank & Hurricanes.
Pic 1 shows deployment (objectives on near left).

The Brits made a cautious advance while waiting for the flank attack.
The Ities moved onto the objectives leaving a thin line of 47mm a/tank guns & HMGs to delay the tanks.  The L6's came on immediately and moved with the Semos to cover the objectives.  The M14's came on soon after in the rear of the Grants.  They popped one & the 47's finished the platoon off.  The Grants arrived from reserve on the 1st throw & caught the Semos in rear.  The Ities were lucky to get away with the loss of the Command tank plus 3 bails.  They then unbailed the lot, had the 2IC close enough to take over & fought back.   They missed firng back and then came under fire from Shermans advancing up the wadi behind them.  The Grants missed the Semos (now hull down in the wadi).  The Artillery smoked the Shermans to protect the Semos who finally got a kill while the L6's popped the other two with rear shots.  The Brit armoured cars arrived from reserve and traded ineffectual blows with the L6's while the Shermans advanced up the wadi.  One was killed by the M14's & Semos & the others assaulted & destroyed by Bersaliglieri.  With just 2 HQ Shermans & 2 Armoured cars left the Brits conceded.

Pic 2 is near the end.  The Bersaliglieri are assaulting the Shermans in the wadi.  The armoured cars & L6's are just off the bottom LH corner.  The Hurricanes had come often & took out a 75, a L6 & 2 M14s so they paid their way.

I found that the Launceston chaps have also discovered Black Powder.  There were no games of it being played on this night, but they tell me they are using it for 15mm ACW & loving it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Nick in Paris -- Wargames Club and Tank Museum

I wandered along to one of the local wargames clubs -- Immotals de Paris Ouest. I had arranged to play a Field of Glory game with Gilles -- Romans vs Carthaginians. The club meet started at 7:00. But due to work I didnt leave the office till 7:00, and I had to run to get food, and then get the metro (changing twice) to get to the club. I got there at 8:00, and there was no one there. I was about to leave when another wargamer arrived, and at 8:15 a whole horde appeared. There was then a lot of chatting -- the game was changed to Akkadians vs Sumerians, and setup proceeded. The game didnt start until 10:00 pm. I was worried -- due to rail works the metro line I used shut down at 10:00 each night. But I was persuaded to stay, with an offer of a lift.

Gilles and I had a cunning plan as the Sumerians. The Akkadians fell into our trap, and we out deployed them. Unfortunately, at that point it all fell appart -- our Chariots refused to maneuver. And I compounded the mistake when I charged what I thought was undisciplined rabble, only to find out they were royal guard!

The game finished at 2:00 am. I got home, and got up at 5:00 am to get the train to Saumur.

The tank museum is a must see for boys of all ages!!! What can I say that hasn't already been said. I walked through the exhibits twice. Unfortunately, my planning was bad -- if I had gone a week before I would have seen the annual concourse where they get the running tanks outside maneuvering around! As it was, some of the tanks had fresh dirt still on the tracks!!!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Black Powder 7YW

The rules as written are for 28mm figures but there is an appendix on using other scales.   As we were using 15mm troops we used half the listed move rates and ranges.  On a 8x6 table this gave us plenty of room for manoeuvre and the half distances worked just fine.

Leigh & Joe's army had a British infantry brigade with 4 line, 1 grenadier & 2 guns, a similar German infantry brigade and a cavalry brigade of 2 heavy dragoons, 4 dragoons & 2 hussars.
Steve had a French brigade of 4 line infantry, 2 cuirassiers, 2 hussar & 2 guns, a 2nd French brigade of 4 line inf, 2 small grenadier & 2 guns and a Bavarian brigade of 4 line inf.
Leigh put his Brits in the centre, Germans on his left & Joe's cavalry on the right.
Steve put the 1st French on the left, 2nd in the centre & the Bavarians on the right.

Leigh got 1st move and advanced on the whole front.  Steve advanced both flanks a little to better positions, but basically defended.

Joe's cavalry crossed the river and smashed through the French infantry in the cornfield.  The left flank French brigade became shaken & fell back.  Joe's cavalry wheeled left to roll up the French line, but Steve just managed do enough damage to it to cause it to become shaken also & the manoeuvre petered out.

On the other flank Steve counterattacked with the Bavarians but the Germans held firm and the Bavarians became shaken.    At the same time a French counterattack in the centre caused the British infantry brigade to become shaken.

At the end of that turn, both sides had 2 of 3 brigades shaken so the battle was declared a draw.

Pic 1 is early in the battle from behind the French right.
Pic 2 is the end from behind the Brit left.

Despite our lack of familiarity with the rules, the battle rattled along really well.  Generally everyone liked the system, though there were a few things we thought might do with a tweek. 

- The cavalry seemed to be too powerful - but we later realised that at the unit size we used, they should have been called "small" units and been less powerful.  Also we didn't realise that a morale test was required if shaken by defensive fire - so our fault, not the rules.

- The brigade morale test didn't feel right in this battle.  A brigade becomes shaken when half its units are destroyed or shaken & the brigade then has to break off.  It seemed to us it was too easy to get shaken as the Brit cavalry was on the brink of destroying the French army when slow attrition suddenly stopped it in its tracks even though it had been consistently winning.  Maybe Joe should have paused & rallied some units before pressing on.   Maybe a  FOW test where you ignore shaken (like bailed) & fail if more routed than left would be better.

But despite a few apparent glitches the game is easy & fun to play and the consensus was that they are definitely worth continuing with.  Maybe the perceived glitches are misunderstandings, but if not, there was nothing that couldn't be fixed with some minor house rules (which is quite in the spirit of the rules - they are not a competition set where they try to cover every contingency to counter tabletop lawyers).