Thursday, August 30, 2012

Operation Cromwell III Practice

Jim's Hungarian Light Infantry + SteveJ's Panzers
Rich's Canadian mech + Leigh's Canadian Armour

With Operation Cromwell III, our FOW doubles comp coming up in October it was high time we got in some practice.  This was a Breakthrough Mission, modified for the 8x6 table by having the deployment zone 30cm from table edges & the Defender's reserve zones 60cm along the long edges.
The Canadians are attacking from the near right to the far left. They have M10's, mech ing & mech HMGs on the flank attack.  The Hungarians are deployed on the table with a German Panther platoon.  The rest of the German armour was in reserve.
The Hungarians moved to cover the objectives as the Canadians attacked through the village and towards the Hungarian artillery.
The attack on the artillery took out the Werfers, but a King Tiger from reserve and the command Panther helped the heavy artillery stop the attack.  The attack on the village succeeded in driving the Hungarian infantry back, the Paks in the cornfield and the Pumas coming on from reserve on the Canadian flank stopped the attack.

The Canadian reserves were slow to arrive giving the Axis plenty of time to form a defense of dug in infantry & Panthers.
The remaining Canadian armour on their right dived for cover behind the wood.  Their remaining 6pdrs plus the command tanks pounded away at stubborn Hungarian infantry.  Their reserves finally arrived and deployed out of sight behind the hill in the corner & in the wood ready to assault.
On the right, the artillery and the King Tiger picked off the last Shermans.

On the far left the Canadian flank attack came out.  The M10's didn't hurt enough Panthers & were annihilated next turn.  The Canadian Armour Coy was all but destroyed now and failed morale.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hail Caesar: Rome v. Carthage

Jim & Mike's Romans v. Two Steves' Carthaginians

For a change we decided to reverse out usual sides so Mike could try out being Roman.  We`also tried a new meeting time - starting straight after work and getting pizza for dinner.

The Punic army had 4 divisions - deployed on the right of the pics in the order from this end:   Punic Spears, mixed Gauls & Spanish, Elephants & cavalry.
The Romans also had 4 divisions, deployed in order from this end, cavalry, 2 Legionary &allied.
Victory conditions were either army to break on any 3 divisions broken.  The Romans would also break if they lost both Legionary divisions.
The Carthaginians got first move and began their advance with their cavalry on the far end, but they got generally good command rolls and the whole line advanced with only the elephants lagging  a little.
The Romans held back their right, formed up a defense against the cavalry and advanced slowly against the elephants.
After a feed of pizza the Romans sprang to life.  Both legionary divisions in the centre.charged forward against the Gauls, Spanish & elephants.  On the far flank their allied were doing a good job holding off the Punic cavalry while on the near flank the Romans light horse tried to slow down the spearmen while the medium cavalry withdrew out of harms way.
The Romans immediately gained the upper hand in the centre.  The Gauls broke, but the Spanish & elephants gave ground then fought back.  The Spearmen ponderously wheeled right to try and help out while the Romans light troops tried to delay them, & the triari put up a brave face.
The Spanish broke just in time for the Legionaries to turn to be able face the right hand spear unit, but bad command help up the rest of the spearmen.
The legion was hard pressed, but the Roman cavalry (after failing the previous turn) were lead by their CIC in a decisive charge into the rear of the Punic spearmen.  (The gap between the cavalry and the legionaries in the pic above is where the spear unit has been removed - having a fall back break test result while surrounded).  The elephant division is still hanging on.
The elephant division is now broken and is withdrawing.  The Carthaginians still have 2 of 4 divisions unbroken, but they conceded the battle.   The Roman cavalry is clearly able to delay the spearmen while the rest of the Romans army drives the surviving cavalry off the far edge.

Another most enjoyable wargame.  The critical factor in the Carthaginian defeat was that they did not get good value out of their spearmen on their left flank.  It looked a good deployment initially, with the spearmen clearly superior to the cavalry facing them.  But the Romans bogged down the flanks and the Legionaries were able to concentrate on the Carthaginian's allies.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

FOW Dust Up

After a bit of a break for ancient & renaissance obsessions (and holidays) it's time to do some practice for the upcoming Operation Cromwell III.  This FOW tournament is to be on 13-14 October and will have the same format as Operation Cromwell II (repeated by popular demand) - a doubles tournament of 4 rounds with 2 coys a side totalling 2,500 points played on 8x6 tables.  Tonight's battle was to check the necessity of modifications to the Dust Up mission rules to compensate for the big table.

Jim's Hungarians v. Rick's Canadians

The two armies were similar - the Canadians had a mech coy and a tank coy, the Hungarians a Gepkocsizo Lovez coy and a Rohhamagyus coy.  Both deployed most of their infantry coy on the table with their armoured coy and left-overs from the infantry coy as reserves.
The Hungarians deployed in the near left quarter, the Canadians in the far right quarter.  The Hungarians moved infantry and Paks into defensive positions covering both objectives..  The Canadians deployed their 6pdrs to face the expected Hungarian armour and attacked the centre with their bugs & wasps.

The bugs & wasps reduced the Hungarian infantry to half strength, but were destroyed before they could break them - mainly by the heavy artillery.

The real action started when the reserves started to come on.  On the far flank the Hungarians brought their mortars on first and tried to soften up the 6pdrs with mortar and artillery fire before the armour arrived.  They got some of them, but the Turans, the first armour platoon brought on was still wiped out in one turn.  Next turn the Stugs came on and with help from mortars & artillery the 6pdrs were destroyed.

On the near flank, Shermans and armoured infantry attacked the Paks.  The Paks died but took a Sherman platoon with them.  At this stage both flanks had similar results, but while the Hungarians had a second line of defense in a village full of infantry, the Canadian objective was protected only by 2 HQ Shermans plus air and naval bombardement.  They had little chance of stopping the swarm of Hungarian armour that had now come on the table.
As the mission is symmetrical, there is no serious play balance issue with the big table.   The only issue we see is that the big table means that reserves have a lot further to go if they are to be used defensively - potentially changing the options available to both sides.   Increasing the reserve entry zone to 60cm (from 40) on the long table edge addresses this.  There is less reason to increase the zone on the short edge as the reserves are still too close to the enemy objectives for comfort.

According to the standard morale rules the Hungarians should have lost this battle when the Turans were destroyed as they were the only platoon of the Rohamagus platoon on the table at the time.  I am thinking that the rule that platoons in reserve are not included in morale tests should not be used in Operation Cromwell - the rule is fine for normal single coy forces, but forces of two platoons are highly vulnerable to unlucky defeat if this rule is applied - not a desirable situation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ottomans at the Gates

After a 4 week winter break Camp Cromwell resumed with Pike & Shotte.  The scenario was a variation of the Barbarians at the Gates scenario we tried a few months ago.  The scenario rules are below the report.

The Hungarian town of Blott is besieged by the Ottomans.  The town guns have been silenced and the Ottoman battery has made a breach.  The Ottomans are lined up for the assault when the Polish relief army arrives at the far end of the table.  The Poles have to break the Ottomans before they can take the town.  The Ottomans have the option of continuing with the attack while delaying the Poles, or bottling up the garrison & trying to defeat the Polish relief force.

Mike commanded the Ottomans, Steve the Poles.  Jim umpired.
The Ottomans ready to attack.
Looking the other way - the Poles are coming on the far edge.
The Ottoman horse move off to meet the Poles.  Their foot move up to attack the town.
The mercenary pike & shotte  in the foreground got mixed up with the Polish horse, bit despite the confusion the winged hussars smashed a hole through the Ottoman horse.  The rest of them were mopped up by the  Ratjars & infantry.

On the far flank the Ottoman light horse held only just held their own against half their number of Pancerni - which had got well ahead of the foot on that flank.
After breaking the Ottoman heavy cavalry the Poles press forward.  On the left, the Ottoman light horse have fallen back behind the fortified camp (defended by light infantry).  The Turkeki have been beaten off but the Janissaries are pressing home the attack on the breach.

The Jannisaries went within a bad Hungarian morale throw of taking the breach, but the defenders held by the skin of their teeth until the Ratjars arrived.

Once again this scenario gave us a great battle.  The Ottoman strategy of delaying the Poles with their horse while storming the town with the foot was sound enough.   It was probably lack of experience in attacking towns that cost Mike the battle.

Ottomans at the Gates:  Pike & Shotte Scenario

The Hungarian border town of Blott is beseiged by an Ottoman army lead by the redoubtable Mustapha Kunt.  Kunt's engineers have silenced the town's guns & made a breach in the walls.  Their infantry were about to launch their assault when a messenger arrived with the disturbing news that Count Longpolski has forced marched from the Danube and is only a few miles away.

The table is 10'x6'.  A fortified town extends about 9" onto the table in the middle of one short edge. The town wall has one breach.  A road runs out the gate and runs roughly down the centre of the table meandering around terrain features to the centre of the other short edge.  There is a clear glacis at least 24" wide in front of the town wall.  The rest of the table is a plain dotted with farms, vineyards, orchards, etc.

Defending the town
The Blott garrison is commanded by the Herzog von Blott himself and comprises 4 musketeer units which can be deployed anywhere in the town or on the walls.   The garrison can sally out the main gate or over a breach after turn 1.  It takes 1 move to get 1 unit thru the gate or breach and deployed immediately outside.  (3 moves would allow 3 units to get out if they were lined up inside).
Garrison: 4 musketeers (3/2/5+/3), commander 8.
Defenders on wall: -1 to hit by muskets & artillery.
Saves 3+ v. muskets, 6+ v. light art & none v. heavy art.
Attacking a breach:   Defenders count as in building:
Only infantry can attack the breach.
Defenders count as in building:
2 dice 4+ to hit, 3+ to save,
count as supported by 3 units whether they are or not,
stand on break test result of Fall Back.
There is one breach in the wall and the artillery can try to make more.
If the artillery are firing to breach the wall (rather than at the defenders):
5+ to hit.  For each hit: 4+ = damage - place a counter.  When there are 6 counters, the wall is breached.
The defenders break if the Ottomans take a breach and move a unit into the city.
If they sally forth and 3 of 4 units are broken, or all are shaken, then the remaining unbroken units run back to the city at 3 moves a turn & defend the walls.

Ottoman battery & camp:
Battery: 4 heavy guns (-/321/4+/5) deployed in earthworks.
Battery to be placed between 18" & 24" of walls opposite the breach.
Cannot turn around and fire at the relief force.
Infantry guards defend the battery as behind obstacle using same rules as camp defence.
Gunners don't fight - if there are no infantry the gunners rout if enemy charge home.
Camp: Located at least 36" from walls if in sight, or 24" if out of  as sight.
Is partly fortified so counts as defenders count as defending an obstacle.
Under musket fire are +1 to hit, +1 save.  (No advantage v. artillery).
In H-T-H attackers lose charge bonus.  Own save is +1.  Test fall back = hold.
Guard: 4 Irregular Infantry (2/1/5+/3, skirmishers), no commander.
Any or all of the units can be deployed in the camp, the rest must be in the battery.

Ottoman Deployment
Ottomans deploy first and the Poles have the first turn.
Their field army must deploy in the band between 18" and 36" from the town wall.  The troops must all be deployed facing the town.  May be deployed in 2 lines, but if so, infantry must be in front facing the town.

Ottoman OOB
Div 1: 4 Jannissary (5/2/4+/3, elite 4+)
Div 2: 4 Tukekci (3/2/5+/3)
Div 3: 4 Feudal Sipahis (7/1/4+/3)
Div 4: 4 Gonullu (7/1/4+/3, lance, pistol, heavy cav+1)
Div 5: 4 Tartars (4/1/6+/3, maurauder)
Battery: 2x3 heavy guns (-/321/4+/4) + 2 Irregular Infantry (2/1/5+/3, skirmishers)
Camp guard: 2 Irregular Infantry (2/1/5+/3, skirmishers)
Command:   CIC: 8.  Three cavalry: 8.   Two infantry 7.

Polish Deployment
The Polish relief army comes onto the table on the edge furthest from the town.
The Poles have the first turn (but the garrison cannot move that turn).
Each division takes a command test.
One unit may come on along the road in road column, moving the number of moves determined by the test (and at least 1 move if it fails).
Other divisions can either follow on along the road of come on already deployed in battle formation elsewhere on the edge.  If the divison passes the test it is deployed within 6" of the edge.  If it fails, it stays off and tests again next turn.
Once a division is on the table it uses the standard command test.

Polish OOB
Div 1: 2 Mercenary pikemen (6/-/4+/4, mercenary)
+ 4 mercenary musketeers (3/2/5+/3, mercenary)
Div 2: Same as 1.
Div 3: 1 Winged Hussar (10/1/3+/4, lance, elite 4+, heavy cav+3)
+ 2 Pancerni (7/1/4+/3)
+ 1 Dragoon (4/2/5+/3 fire & evade, marauder)
Div 4: 4 Ratjars (7/1/4+/3 caracole)
Command: CIC: 8.   Two infantry: 8.    Two cavalry 9.

Victory Conditions
The Western Allies win if they drive the Ottomans off by causing them to fail army morale.  The Ottomans fail army morale on losing 4 divisions, counting both the battery and the camp as divisions for this purpose.
The Ottomans win if they break the rescue force, or if they take the city.
The rescue force breaks if they lose any 3 of 4 divisions.
The city falls if the Ottomans take a breach and move a unit into the city.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nick in Launceston

Another Flames of War doubles practice.  Nick (using Rob's US armour) vs Rob and Shane (Panzer Lehr).

The mission was encounter.  Nick tried to rush the German infantry guarding their objective before the German reserves arrived.  The German infantry were loaded down with panzershrecks -- it was a hard ask.  But it was hoped that 2x Jumbo Shermans would help the US attack.  Meanwhile, Panthers were marching up the center.

The initial US attack faltered -- the panzershrecks stoped the assault, and two shermans were 'bailed out'.  The next assault worked a bit better -- one platoon got in, and did some damage, but the other platoon, with two tanks already bailed, tried to attack, and ended up with two more tanks bailed out.  The German infantry then attacked and destroyed all of those juicy bailed out tanks, and sudenly life got a lot harder for the US. 

The US reserves arrived, and although they were only Stuarts, the German Panthers didnt fancy trying to take an objective when faced by a stuart horde.  So the Panthers swung over to complete the destruction of the Shermans.  Even more Stuarts arrived -- but the flank shots of 10 Stuarts on the Panthers only ever resulted in bails.  Once the Shermans died, the Panthers turned around, and the Stuarts evaporated.  A well desrved win to the Germans.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Nick in Launceston -- Magic

I have started playing Magic each Tuesday night at Good Games in Launceston.  Rather than fill up the club blog with descriptions of my misadventures, I have started a new blog:

My plan is to play standard event decks, and rate them.  For those that know Magic, this will make sense.  For those that dont -- feel free to ignore me :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Doubles Practice

Another practice game for operation Cromwell. Flames of War, 2500 points, on a 8x6 table. Nick R and Nick B with Russians. Rob and Shane with Germans.

Rob and Shane had an army with tiger support. And the battlefield was wide open, with very few trees / hills / crops to hide behind / in. Nick and Nick had their work cut out.

Fortunatly for the Nicks, the scenario was 'Counterattack' -- where there is an unprotected objective that the attackers can take (but they need to hold it to turn 6).

The game started out with the Russians running towards the unprotected objective with t-34s. Unfortunatly, tigers came out of ambush and destroyed a company of T-34's. This made the Russians change tack, and they moved their tanks back to support an infantry assault on the other objective.

The infantry assault was remarkably successfull. It looked to be in trouble when German artillery rained down on the Russians -- but a flurry of good dice saw the Russians only lose one stand. They unpinned, moved foward, fired flame throwers, and went into an assault. The Germans just melted away! Well, not quite -- there was actually a viscious exchange, which resulted in a much reduced Russian company (two stands of pioneers and a surfeit of leaders) holding the objective. The tigers were in range to assault. They went in, and killed a pioneers stand. The Russians counterrattacked, and hit a tiger. The tigers had to roll anything but a 1 to keep going -- and rolled a '1'. But wait -- they had a re-roll for company command -- and they re-rolled a '1'. A final desperate attack by a much reduced German infantry platoon reduced the russians to just the company command. But still the brave Russians kept fighting -- the attack was beaten off, and the Russians won with 1 stand of infantry left out of over 30 they had attacked with. (It wasnt that bad -- there was an untouched Sapper company ready to walk over the dead bodies next turn anyway)

No pictures -- my pictures didnt work. I blame the glare of the unpainted figures that Shane had on the table temporarialy (before they met an untimely end)