Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pike & Shotte in 28mm

We had an early start night for the benefit of our out of town players.  SteveP had the lurgi, but Byron made it.   Mike brought the English Civil War figures he has painted up - enough for a small battle.

Jim & Steve's Royalists
Mike & Byron's Scotts
Pic taken from the Royalist left after their first move.  Both side put their cavalry on the far flank.  The cavaliers immediately charged forward 3 moves, but not quite into contact.  Their foot moved forward more sedately.

The cavalry fight was resolved quickly.  With 2 cavalier units v. 3 Scots both sides were content with both sides breaking the other.  Meanwhile the infantry are closing slowly.
In the centre the large Scots commandeered musket unit is approaching the village.  In the foreground Scots musketeers have charged the light guns before there was a pause in the action for da Angelo's pizza.
The Royalists have counterattacked in the centre & destroyed the commanded musketeers and their supporting pikes with a converging attack by pike & shotte.  Their musketeers & pikes in the centre are dangerously exposed, but are surviving on bad Scottish dice.
The Royalist centre has been blown away by artillery & muskets, but their two infantry battalia just survive on half strength.   However the Scots battalia on the near flank has lost another unit and is now broken giving a narrow victory to the Royalists.

The small numbers of units made luck more of a factor than in larger battles, but it was still an interesting and enjoyable battle and the there's no doubt that the 28mm figs look great.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Operation Cromwell Practice

Steve's Panzers + Mark's Hungarian Light Infantry
Jim's Soviets - Guard Tankovy + Strelk

Each army 2 coys totalling 2,500 pts.
Breakthrough Mission on 8x6 table, Russians defending.
The Soviets are defending the near corner with an infantry cordon.  On the right the infantry is dug in behind the river.  On the left the infantry had to deploy beyond the table centreline & are moving  to take up a position behind the river.  An IS2 tank platoon is in the cornfield on the left seeking to delay the German advance.  The other IS2 platoon is in reserve.

The Axis advanced armour & infantry to the left then turned left to attack the objective.  The 1st tankovy made a fighting retreat, but were whittled away.  The Axis reserves came on early and gained the near objective, but the 2nd tankovy platoon coming in from reserve on the right doubled over & took it back before turn 6.  The 2nd tankovy then turned right to help defend the centre where the Strelk were selling their lives dearly.  Firing from hull down on the ridge they knocked the panzers about, but the Strelk died and the Hungarian infantry took the objective.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bolt Action

Jim's Reg Brits v. Steve's Vet Germans

1000 pts, scenario 2...maximum attrition.
Both sides are supposed to come on opposite edges, but as we were using an 8x6 table we instead had a turn 0 where we drew dice as normal to deploy squads within 12" of out table edge without any firing.  Then we did turn 1 as a normal turn.  The pic is taken after turn 2 - the Germans are on the far side.  They have taken up defensive positions in the town and in the wood in the left centre rear.

The Brits are advancing in echelon, right forward.  They opened up on the Germans in the wood from the centre while another infantry squad advanced down the far flank (in the village in the pic).  The plan had a hiccough when the Germans in the wood had a dice fit and suddenly killed half the supporting infantry squad, which failed morale and disappeared.

On the near flank, the British barrage initially pinned down most of the Germans in the village, but then it suddenly moved onto the Brit squad advancing up the centre.  The Brits got an order through to pull the barrage, but the Panzer unpinned, moved through the village and started mowing down the pinned down infantry.  The Brit command had moved them too far forward - not only under an artillery barrage, but they had deployed their anti-tank assets badly, leaving them defenseless v. the MkIV.

On the far flank we saw our first close action.  Despite losing the infantry support, there was firepower left to get enough pins on the Germans to charge them and take them out.

The battle ended as per scenario rules on turn 6 (the dice did not give an extra turn).  At this stage the Brits had lost 2 squads & the Germans 1.  The scenario rules made that a draw - you have to win by 2 to call it a decisive win.

In our second battle we were still groping a bit to find the right tactical moves, but we are getting there.  There's a lot to get your head around.  The off-table artillery rules don't impress - too much chance of friendly fire & as written no way of calling it off to stop friendly fire, or to allow you to go in and mop up.  Looks like there has been an oversight - we adopted a house rule allowing the observer to use a normal order to call a barrage off.

The book scenarios we have played seem a bit indecisive - not sure if that is because we don't know how to kill efficiently yet, or because our table's too big (though we tried to adjust for that).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hail Caesar

Rome v. Sassanids

Team Rome: Mike, Mark & Jim.
Team Sassanid:  Steve, Rob & Dylan.
The Romans are on the right.  Jim's cavalry and Mike's Auxilia are holding back while Mark advances with the legionaries in the centre.  The Sassanids are making a general advance: Steve pulled rank & commands the cavalry on each flank, Rob has the elephants right of centre and Dylan the infantry left of centre.
The first action was between the cavalry on the near flank.  The left hand Roman heavy cavalry lost their light support due to blunder, but made up for it by throwing bulk 6's & routing the cataphracts opposing them.  The right hand heavy cavalry with support of light cavalry and legionaries shook their enemies, but were pushed back anyway.  The clash left the opposing cavalry divisions unbroken, but in no fit state to do much for a while.
In the centre the legionaries closed with the elephants.
On the far flank the Sassanid cavalry advanced only slowly while the Auxilia stood on the hill.
The legionary attack on the elephants was only semi-successful.  Both sides won on their right and lost on their left.
On the far flank the Sassanid cavalry is finally getting close to the huddle on the hill.
In the centre, the Roman advance turned into a mixed blessing as part of the Sassanid foot turned right and attacked their flank.
In the centre the legionaries have been broken by the combination of elephants and infantry.
On the near flank, the Romans have finally got reorganised and are ready to attack again.
On the far flank the Auxilia are under pressure from a combined cavalry and infantry attack.
The Roman cavalry broke their opposing cavalry, but it was too little too late.  The elephants turned into their flank and broke them in turn.  On the far flank the auxilia have been outflanked and are also collapsing.

A decisive victory for the Sassanids, but great fun for all.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bolt Action - First Go

Steve's Germans v. Mike's Brits

Mission 2: Point Defense, 1,000 pts on 8x6 table.

As I was the only one who actually had a copy of the rules & had read them I umpired.  The figures are the Airfix 1/72 troops from my uni days of the 60's which have been in a box for about 40 years waiting for a suitable new set of rules to take our fancy. Are they veterans, or dad's army?
The British regulars are defending 3 objectives on the left with 4 infantry squads, a 6pdr, a 25 pdr, a mortar, a MMG, a Piat & a FO for off table artillery.
The German veterans are coming on the right hand edge with 3 infantry squads, a MMG, a mortar, a flamethrower & a MkIV.
The Germans attacked on the right flank with most of their force and took one objective by turn 6, so the battle was a draw (they need to take 2 to win).

We were all fumbling about as we learned the system which lead to an indecisive battle, but the general impression of the rules was good.  It's at a different level to FOW - platoon rather than company - so there's room for both.  The rules could be used with 15mm figs, but the scope to use bigger figures opens new horizons for modelling.   While my old 1/72 are serviceable & a cheap way to try them out, 28mm WWII does look so good & you don't need so many that it would get expensive (at least until obsession set in).  There are aspects we found a bit hard to get a handle on in the middle of a battle...including off table artillery, fire effect v. guns & some aspects of morale.  But the general level of complexity seems about right and the basic system seems to work well at producing an interesting game...which I think will only become more interesting when we know what we are doing.  The mechanism of randomly selecting units of each side for action in each turn makes a refreshing change from the standard IGUO.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hail Caesar - Maharajah Trophy Practice

The Maharajah Trophy is Camp Cromwell's annual club championship - fought as a knockout series.  For the last few years it has been fought using FOW, but this year we are doing it with a mix of Hail Caesar & FOW.  The Hail Caesar games will be 700 points (including command points as in P&S).  The FOW games will be 2,000 points.  All games on 8x6 tables.

Steve's Sassanid Persians
Jim & Mike's Early Imperial Romans

700 points including house rule command points.  The Romans had 2 large infantry divisions & 1 cavalry division.  The Persians had 2 cavalry divisions, 1 infantry division & an elephant division - it isn't quite kosher - too many cataphracts & elephants according to the list - but it looked too good to complain.
The Romans (on the left) tried to advance in echelon left forward.  Their cavalry was slow to activate & the Infantry got ahead.  The Persians tried to advance their elephants on their left, but this also was delayed by poor command dice.  Their main line waited, bows at the ready.
Both side's plans are starting to take shape as their left flanks eventually get going.  The Persian bowfire has driven most of the Roman skirmishers back in the centre.  (Note how much better the pics look after I remembered to turn the flash off - less light, better pics ?!)
On the far flank the Persian foot division's centre has been broken through despite their bowfire stopping one cavalry & one infantry unit.  In the centre the legionaries are facing up to a wall of cataphracts.
On the far flank the Persian foot has broken under combined infantry and cavalry attack.  In the centre the legionaries are giving ground, but holding on.  The Roman right is looking very vulnerable and they are pulling a light infantry unit back to defend the camp.
The victorious Roman left is rushing back to help their comrades, less one light cavalry unit sent to pillage the enemy camp (the scenario rules have it that the loss of the camp counts as losing a division in the army break test).  The Roman left is being crushed by cataphracts & elephants.
For a while things had looked black for the Romans.  The light cavalry were strangely unenthusiastic about getting to the enemy camp and their right was doomed.  But the right had bought some time and the Persians now had their right flank exposed to the returning Romans.  The Persian cavalry division on their right was attacked in flank and broken.
The victorious Persian left turned right and counterattacked the other infantry division, but it held on until the light cavalry finally got their act together and took the Persian camp.  That meant that the Persians had lost 2 of 4 divisions plus the camp which meant the army broke.  The Romans had lost 1 of 3 divisions, but had wisely defended their camp.  It was a close run thing with the 2nd Roman infantry on the verge of breaking but just hanging on long enough.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Operation Cromwell Practice

Steve's Axis - Hungarian Light Infantry + Panzers
Jim's Soviets - Strelk + Tankovy

No Retreat Mission 2,500 pts on 8x6 table.  The deployment line was 30cm on the defenders side of the centreline to compensate for the big table.
The Axis deployed their infantry & artillery with panthers in ambush.  The Soviets advanced with infantry alternating with armour.  The T34's got smashed by the panther ambush, but it kept the panthers busy.
The infantry got pounded by Axis artillery & rockets, but pushed on.   A king tiger came on & started picking off the ISU122's.  Sturmovics came every turn & kept on trying to kill the king but the Axis AA kept them off, or they missed.
In true Soviet style, 2 surviving Strelk stands & a few officers actually took the objective,  but the panthers on the hill were close enough to counterattack.
There weren't enough Strelk left to hold the panthers & they retook the objective.   The surviving T34's had been moved right behind the village and the Soviets attacked again with their armour.  They got 2 panthers, but there was still enough Axis firepower to stop the Soviet's desperate charge.  

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Go Meek Into The Desert 260AD

This is our second go at this scenario from the Hail Caesar book.  Last February Steve & Renfrey's Romans beat Jim & Mike's Persians.  This time Mike took the Romans & Steve the Persians, with Jim umpiring.
The Romans deployed as required by the scenario.  3 infantry divisions on the table, one cavalry division to arrive in the far left hand corner when the dice gods decree.  Regretably we had no palm trees - perhaps they have some hardy conifers in eastern desert.  The Persians deployment, from the far end was: light cavalry, elephants, infantry & heavy cavalry.  The Persians advanced all their force as fast as possible, though command issues lead to the infantry & elephants advanced fastest.
The Roman cavalry was slow to arrive & this left the left end of the infantry line exposed.  The infantry pinned the front while the elephants turned the flank.
The Roman infantry was attacked from two sides.
The Roman infantry in the centre was being rolled up, but help was at hand - the cavalry finally turned up.  Near the tower, the cataphracts finally charged home.
The Roman cavalry quickly rode down the Persian light horse on the far flank but only 1 unit obeyed orders to move right.  In the centre the left hand Roman division was broken, but the shaken survivors still in combats refused to break, keeping the Persian infantry bogged down.  On the near flank, the Romans had withdrawn losing a unit or two to the cataphracts, but keeping 2 divisions in the fight. 
For a while it had been looking like a Persian victory, but the stubbornness of the 1st infantry division turned the battle.  They broke, but they had held out long enough for the elephants to run out of steam and break & for the Roman cavalry to help finish off the Persian foot.  Suddenly the Persians had lost 3 of 4 divisions and failed the army break test.  While the Roman foot was badly knocked about, they had only lost 1 division.   So the Romans won again.