Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Maharajah 2011 Semi Final #1

Munt's Finns v. John's Cossacks

Encounter battle on 8x6 snow table.

Munt won the dice roll and chose the LH side of the table where he thought the better fields of fire would serve him best.  He deployed his artillery & 2 infantry at the start with most of his HMGs & mortars attached.

The Russians had heavy tank, SP guns & Cossacks on at the start with 3 small platoons to follow.  The armour was on the roads (movement off roads in the snow meant bogging tests each turn) & Cossacks left & centre.

The Finns dug in while the Russians moved their heavy armour up in the centre while moving the Cossacks to their left. 

In the early turns things went well for the Finns.  Their Stukas got a tank and the Cossacks lost a few when they strayed too close to the Finnish HMGs.  Also, all the Finn reserves came on quickly (though all in the far corner).

As the Cossacks continued their sweep to the left, the Finnish Pioneers attacked out of the wood  at the Russian armour.  Munt didn't get the attack right and it was beaten off.  In the centre the Russian armour pounded away trying to take out the Finnish support weapons.  They got the Paks, but found the HMGs difficult targets.

The Cosacks lined up on the Finn's flank and waited for the armour to clear the HMGs.  With losses steadily mounting, the writing was on the wall for the Finns if they just sat there and took it.  So their infantry left their trenches and attacked the Russian armour under the cover of smoke.

It was a brave move, but the Russians fell back losing just one tank.  They could afford to lose that and now the Finns were out in the open they were easy targets for the Russian tanks.

The Finns had put up a brave fight, but the Russian commander had kept a cool head, stuck to his plan and eventually prevailed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Field of Glory -- Nick in Launceston

Nick vs Dennis in a Field of Glory game, using starter armies.  Dennis had Carthaginian.  Nick had Phyrrus of Epirus.

Not quite a historical matchup, with two of the great generals of Ancient times seperated by a few years battling each other out.  To be truly historical, the Carthaginians would have to have been early Carthaginians.

Nick planned a sneaky double envelopment.  Such plans are risky, as that leaves a weakened center.  But Nick even had luck with his dice in the center, and his phalanx broke a unit of Gauls.  And Nick's right flank cav got around the carthaginians and sacked their camp.

Then it all fell apart.

Nick's right flank cav charged some skirmishers in the rear.  The skirmishers held, and even started to win!  On the other flank, the Carthaginian light cav had been tied up in knots by some peltasts, but they managed to get away, and get into the rear of the Phyrric phalanx.  The Phyrric cavalry had been victorious, and set up a flank charge on the Carthaginian heavy infantry, only to have a Tarentine phalanx win a battle, and have the pursuing phalanx block the flank charge.  The Carthaginian Elephants got in the act.  And suddenly the victorious Phyrric army was on the verge of breaking.  When the Phyrric camp fell to some slingers, it was game over, and the Carthaginians squeaked out a win.  But the game was most enjoyable, and Dennis's troops were beautiful!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hail Caesar meets FOW dust up

Jim & Mike's Carthaginians
Two Steves' Romans

The scenario was a variation  of FOW Dust UP Mission.  The table was divided into 4 quarters.  Two camps were placed in diagonally opposite quarters in place of FOW objectives.  Each side could deploy up to half their divisions in their own quarter.  They could also detach 1 unit from any division as a camp guard.  A camp guard no longer counts as part of the division, but can't leave the camp. The remaining divisions are diced for from turn 3, 1 dice on turn 3, 2 on turn 4, etc.  On a roll of 5+, one division can come 6" onto the table within 40cm of the corner on their left.  Victory is gained either by army morale, or taking the enemy camp.
The pics are all taken from behind the Carthaginian camp.  At the start the Punes have their spearmen & elephants in front of their camp. Numidian infantry, medium cavalry & heavy cavalry divisions are off table.  One Numidian infantry is camp guard.

The Romans have 2 legions, each 2 velites, 5 hastasi/principes, 2 triari (all small) deployed around the camp on the hill.  Off table they have an auxilia infantry division & a cavalry division.

The Romans were content to sit on their hill & let the Punes do the running. 

The Punes sent their elephants to the right to meet the Roman reinforcements while the spearmen stayed in place in front of the camp.   When their cavalry arrived, they sent the medium division forward to harrass the Romans while they sent their heavy division diagonally across the table to support the elephants - which by then were enagaged with the auxilia spearmen & Roman cavalry.

The elephants defeated the spearmen and took out 1 cavalry unit before breaking.  The surviving cavalry was pursued around the back of the Cartho camp by the Punic heavy cav before being caught and destroyed. 

On the other flank,  the Punic cavalry had a lucky win in destroying a triari which blundered forward.  The  Numidians came on, then blundered off again, but eventually took over from the cavalry in the front line.  With the Numidian slingers harrassing SteveP's flank and the heavy cavalry returning from the chase, the Punes were finally ready to attack.  The spearmen charged the left hand side of the end of the Roman ridge.  

After 2 hours of careful manoeuvre and fussing about at the edges, the battle suddenly changed.  The dice gods clearly favoured the brave as the converging Punic attack caused chaos in SteveP's legion.  Now nothing went right for the Romans, one unit even routed from cavalry skirmishers as the spearmen rolled up the line along the ridge.   SteveJ's counterattack on the other flank was held off and SteveP's legion broke.  That was 3 divisions out of 4 gone and the Roman army broke.

This was a longer than usual battle due to the Romans being so defensive and the Carthaginians taking a systematic approach to destroying all the legions' supports before taking them on, but the end came suddenly once the Carthaginians went for it.  A good time was had by all as again a FOW Mission provided an interesting scenario.   

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Maharajah 2011 Match 4

Mark's US Rifles v.
Steve's Panzer Lehr

Breakthrough, US defending

The US deployed with 155 artillery in the far valley, 90mm AA on the plateau, infantry behind the ruined church, heavy platoon on the central ridge, Shermans, then infantry on the left and 105's in the foreground.  Some SP AA & 2 M10s in reserve.

The Germans have a large SP Werfer battery protected by SP AA on the right. Armoured Panzergrenadiers with 3 Pumas in the centre.  On flank march they had 3 Panthers another Armoured Panzergrenadiers, more SPAA and command.

The Germans attacked the centre as the US moved infantry towards the LH objective and brought up their reserves.

The Panthers came on, drawing the US armour away from the centre.  But the Panthers had no luck, being destroyed by the M10's & artillery.

The 2nd Panzergrenadiers came on and attacked the GIs on the objective.  The GIs stopped their first charge with defensive fire buying time for the Shermans to come up.

With the Shermans going elsewhere the German attack on the centre now made some progress clearing the ridge and pushing on towards the central objective.

But the German chance of victory had passed, both attacks petered out against the combination of GI's, armour & artillery.

Mark joins Byron, John & Munt in the semi-finals. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nick in Launceston -- Firestorm Bagration

Nick B vs Nick R.  1500 pts, Hold the Line.  Nick B attacking with Tankovy, Nick R defending with German Panzers.

Nick B had a subtle army of 31 x T-34, 9 of which were upgraded to T-34/85.  Nick R had 10x Panzer IV, 2x 88, and Panzer Pioneers.

There was a massive road block as the Russians advanced.  However, the German Panzers were hard to kill -- they kept stormtrooping into cover.  But just about every turn a Panzer would fail to stormtroop, and the retribution fire would knock it out.  The Russians kept having to avoid the 88's, and the forested terrain meant they couldnt just charge ahead.  And the Russian losses were mounting too.  Fairly quickly the Germans switched tactics, going for the easy kill of the normal T-34 tanks, killing any where they could get a shot and not have much return fire.  The game was cat and mouse.

But eventually weight of numbers won out.  Both panzer platoons failed morale or were destroyed.  The Russians had lost two platoon, and had one that was close to a morale check.  But the Germans had only one platoon to hold two objectives.  The Russians rushed the undefended objective.  Nick R had to kill a Russian tank in the weakened platoon to force a morale check, and possibly save the day, but he missed.  So the Russians squeaked through in a 4:3 win.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hail Caesar in FOW Cauldron

Jim's Carthaginians defending
v. Mike's Gauls.

To adapt the FOW Cauldron mission to Hail Caesar we just substituted a camp for the objectives (and used an 8x6 table).  The camp rules were: Defenders +1 defence.  Attackers no charge bonus.  All troops fight as if in open order (but don't count as skirmishing in break tests even if they are skirmishers).  Long spears & cavalry disordered.

The Carthos deployed 2 spear divisions on the table with their elephant division and mixed cavalry/infantry division in delayed reserve.  The spearmen formed up around the camp with their supporting bowmen in the camp.

The Gauls put their infantry on the table at the start (4 standard warbands and 2 fanatics plus skirmishers) and their chariots and cavalry in reserve.  Both Gallic divisions deployed in the same quarter (on the Gaul's side of the table) under the random deployment rule.   Naturally they tried to charge forward imediately.  The fanatics did, but the others just watched.  The fanatics must have overdone the mead, the one on the right pushed their opponents back at first, but then ran out of puff and broke.  The other unit also failed to break through & fell back shaken (but rallied before the divisional break test).

The Gallic cavalry & chariots arrived fairly promptly and were brought on centre and right.  The Cartho reserves arrived a bit later, but also in good time.  The cavalry & numidians were nicely placed on the Gaul's flank, but threw awful command dice and did not take advantage - the fanatics fell back to cover the flank.  The elephants were brought on on the left to counter the chariots. 

The second wave of warbands finished off the RH spear division which broke with all heavy units shaken.   They then attacked the camp while the cavalry pinned down  most of the other spearmen.  A furious melee ebbed & flowed thru the camp for several turns.  The bowmen gave a good account of themselves - they withdrew shaken, but so did their opponents and they bought time for the spearmen to take over the defence.  A renewed assault was beaten back by the spearmen as the Cartho cavalry finally came up. 

The cavalry charged Gauls who had been beaten back out of village in flank in flank and also caharged the weakened fanatics.  Both the Gallic infantry divisions now broke.

The Gauls still had 2 of their 4 divisions unbroken, but  their chance of taking the camp had passed.  Their chariots were neutralised by the elephants in an interesting but indecisive side show on the far flank.  Their cavalry had been weakened by their pinning attacks on the spearmen and was clearly no match for the remaining Carthaginians.  The Gauls conceeded.

It was, as always it seems with Hail Caesar, an exciting and interesting battle.  The FOW mission converted nicely. The Gauls had their chances early but couldn't nail them.  They got another chance when the Cartho cavalry got timid, but the  camp guard held them off again. 

The chariot/elephant face off, though a sideshow, was fascinating.  Love these rules.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Hail Caesar - another Breakthrough

The scenario dice again decreed a FOW Breakthrough scenario.  This time Nick & Tom's Carthaginians defended against Rich & Byron's Gauls, Jim umpiring. 

The match up might be a bit un-historic, but it was a matter of using all the 28mm available.  To modify the FOW mission to Hail Caesar we used the Cartho camp as the only objective and allowed the defenders to reposition some terrain (to replicate the FOW advantage of being dug in at the start).  The rules for fighting for the camp were: Defender +1 morale.  Attacker no charge bonus.  Both count as open order so -1 attack. Cavalry & spearmen disordered.

The Carthos deployed their 2 citizen spearmen on 2 ridges facing the Gaul's deployment area with their elephants between.  Their 4th divison, Numidian cavalry & infantry was in rear ready to protect the camp.

The Gauls deployed their large warband division on their left with their slingers in the centre of it facing the elephants, their chariots were on their left, cavalry behind and fanatic warbands on flank march.

The Gauls advanced their left while their cavalry milled about aimlessly in the rear.  But the Carthos didn't wait for them, they charged off the hill on the right while moving their elephants and 2nd spear divisions to the right.  The Numidian infantry set up a defence in the camp with their cavalry in support.

Tom's spearmen attack was indecisive and they fell back onto their hill as a swarm of chariots skirmished with them. The Gallic infantry were too shaken to follow up.

On the other side of the table, the 2 fanatical warbands and their supporting skirmishers came on promptly and charged the camp.  The Numidian infantry held on grimly in the camp and defeated one warband while their cavalry engaged the other.

Nick's spearmen advanced on the Gallic right as Tom's elephants charged the chariots.  As they were in open order the chariots tried to evade, but one unit was caught and destroyed.  A chariot unit counterattacked the elephants while the others tried unsucessfully to defeat the spearmen by skirmish fire.  Nick's attack beat the warbands to his front and cut off the advance of the Gallic cavalry.

The battle ended when the Numidian cavalry broke the warbands on the flank leaving no Gauls in that quarter of the table.  But on the other flank it was only matter of time before the Gauls broke anyway.  Their cavalry and chariots were pinned down by spearmen and their infantry were on the verge of breaking with elephants loose on their flank.

The scenarios seems pretty well balanced.  In this case, the Gauls failed to take any advantage from deploying second and the Carthos did a good active defence strategy, so a fair result. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hail Caesar meets FOW

FOW Breakthrough Mission modified for Hail Caesar

Jim & Mike's Carthaginians & Gauls v. SteveJ's Romans.  8x6' table.

We used the FOW Breakthrough Mission as the basis for tonight's Hail Caesar scenario.  Instead of 2 objectives in the defender's rear we placed their camp as the Roman objective.  Either side could win by normal army morale test.  The Romans could also win by taking the camp.  The Carthos could also win if there were no Romans in the quarter of the table with the camp after turn 6.

The Carthos deployed first in the 2 quarters of the table either side of the camp.  The Romans deployed second in the table quarter opposite the camp, at least 18" away from any enemy, except 1 division was put on flank march - to arrive in the corner near the objective on or after turn 3.  The Romans to throw 1 dice on turn 3, 2 on turn 4, etc until a 5 is thrown to allow the fanlking division to move onto the table edge ready for orders that turn.  Pic 1 showing the initial deployment is taken from the Roman side.  The rest of the pics are taken from the Cartho side.

The Carthos advanced their elephants on their left, their spearmen in the centre and the gauls on their right.  Their Numidian infantry moved to protect the camp while the cavalry moved into a central position as a reserve.

The Romans have 2 legions on the table with 1 auxilary division on their right & another on flank march.

The Gauls were the first division to break, but not before inflicting a bit of damage and giving the reserve cavalry time to get in position to take
over the Cartho right.

The spearmen drove the Roman front line back off the crest of the ridge, but didn't break through before their front line ran out of steam.  The spearmen's front line was pulled back and the second line sent forward.

On the Cartho left the elephants got the better of the Roman flanking division (2 heavy cav and a auxilia infantry) and eventually defeated it. 

The Roman flanking force took its time arriving, but when it did, it immediately attacked the Numidians each side of the camp.   The 3 Numidian infantry units clearly had their work cut out against 2 auxilia infantry & a heavy cavalry and the battle became a desperate race.  Would the Roman main line crack before the camp was over-run ?

The Cartho cavalry pinned down one legion while the spearmen renewed their attack on the other.  The elephants were too far away to help.
The legion on the hill broke leaving the other legion with an exposed flank.  The spearmen wheeled to attack it but didn't quite reach it, but the cavalry charged a flank and broke through into another unit's flank.  The legion was 1 unit break off failing morale and with that, the army would fail morale. The Romans lost the grossly unequal combat but threw just enough pips to hold on.

Then in the next Roman turn the Numidians lost two combats - to the cavalry and to an auxilia.  They failed both morale tests and the division was broken.  

At this stage we assumed that as the defenders were broken the camp was taken and the Romans had won. 

Not until afterwards was it remembered by the Carthaginians that the remains of a broken division is not taken off the table, so logically, the camp should have been deemed to be still in Cartho hands as the last unit of the division was still in it.  That unit would have had to leave the field and thus abandon the camp in their next turn, and the Romans would certainly take it in their turn following.  But there would have been another chance for the Carthos to break one more unit of the legion to break the Roman army and win that way.  The Carthaginian players at least think this would have been a better way of doing it. 

Our experiment with converting an FOW mission into a Hail Caesar scenario was certainly a success - it was a rattling good game.  The principle of having other ways of winning or losing, as well just killing more enemy, is one of the things that makes FOW such a good game - the players have so much more to think about.  And having several standard missions provides variety without the hard work involved in making up different balanced scenarios every week.  We're keen to try some more FOW missions Hail Caesar style.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Maharajah 2011: Game 3

Nick's US Armour v. Byron's Panzers

2000 pts on 8x6 Italian table - Free For All Mission

Byron advanced on the objective on his right (in the vinyard) with 2 panzer platoons.  More Panzers kept the US right busy while his Stugs covered the open ground in the centre.  His Panzergrenadiers were initially deployed defending his RH objectivem but they mounted up to follow the Panzers in the attack.

Nick was on the defensive from the start.  He tried to clear his right by engaging the Panzers on his right with hull-down Shermans and using his artillery on the Stugs.  He moved all his infantry into the vinyard to protect the objective, then moved Stuarts up onto the ridge to support them.

Here the spectators watch the fight between the Panzers & Shermans on the German left.

But the critical action was up the other end.  The Stuarts on the ridge line slug it out with the Panzers now supported by 155 & 105 artillery.  The artillery failed to make a decisive impact.  The Stuarts were destroyed and the GI's were being whittled away as the Panzergrenadiers drove up to support the Panzers.

With his left melting away Nick tried to rush his armour across from his right under the cover of smoke.  But the Luftwaffe finally showed up and together with the Stugs moving out of the smoke destroyed the Stuarts in the centre.   The Panzergrenadiers cleaned up the vinyard and the US had no way of disputing the objective.

So Byron joins John & Munt in the second round.  Steve  Mark are yet to play off for the 4th spot.