Friday, March 29, 2013

Ities & Indians in the desert

Capitano Marko's Fucieleri v. Captain Gandhi's Indian Rifles - Free For All

The Indians are on the left in the pics.  The 2 armies were quite similar with lots of infantry and artillery, but the Italians had the advantage in armour with 4 mighty tanks.  The Indians attacked on the right, scaling the escarpment onto the plateau with infantry & bugs.  The plan came a bit unstuck when a whole bug troop bogged & the Itie armour moved up onto the plateau & popped the other troop.  When the front Indian infantry platoon was decimated by artillery, the survivors scuttled back down the scarp & dug in around the objective.
It was up to the Ities to attack.  They began to attack on their right but when their infantry there was constantly pinned down by artillery, they also advanced on their left.
Fucilieri & Carri came down the scarp  towards the objective.  The Fucilieri, already decimated by artillery broke & ran, but the Carri and artillery did the job, eliminating the Indian left so they failed army morale giving the Itiies a 4:3 win.  But the battle went way over the tournament time limit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hail Napoleon: Talavera 1809

French: Jim & Barrie v, British & Spanish: Steve

With about 46,000 French v. 20,000 Brits & 35,000 Spanish and good data David Gates' "The Spanish Ulcer" this was a good battle to test progress on my 6mm Napoleonic Big Battle variant of Hail Caesar.  These rules are a simplification of the book rules to allow many more units to be used without brain fade & excessive game time.   We have cherry picked some Black Powder for period feel, but as we did for Hail Cromwell our ECW variant, we generally prefer the Hail Caesar systems to the Pike & Shotte/Black Powder systems where they differ.
The figures are based on 80mm wide bases representing brigades.   This solves the problem of moving the numbers of figures required.  The rules are trimmed back to bare essentials to make combat resolution easier & faster.  In doing so we lose some opportunities for tactical finesse, but this is compensated for by have more divisions on the table & more higher command decisions to make.
The ground scale is 12" = 1 km, or 1m = 2 miles.  The French are on the right.  We used the historical deployment more or less, but then went our own way.
The Brits are lining the river in the centre with Spaniards in the difficult agricultural ground in front of Talavera & also on the far left.
Victor is advancing on the Brits in the centre.  Sebastiani is moving his Corps towards the Spanish in front of Talavera with cavalry in support.  The guard is in reserve & some light cavalry on the far flank.
In the centre Victor has moved up to skirmish range and has engaged the Brits with artillery & skirmishers (the skirmishers are not represented by figures - infantry with skirmisher capability can fire at longer range at reduced effect.
Sebastiani has engaged the Spanish in the fields while the French Cuirassiers have charged the Spanish heavy cavalry next to Talavera.  The Spanish foot is predictably wilting, but their cavalry with the support of British fire across the river is doing surprisingly well.
On the far flank the Spanish infantry and cavalry is on the move& has crossed the river in a move on the French flank.
Sabastiani has broken the Spanish in the fields and they have fled the field.
The Spanish heavy cavalry next to Talavera has also broken, but surprisingly, so have the Cuirassiers they fought - thanks to the flanking fire of the British infantry
In the centre, Victor's LH division was broken by British artillery and skirmish fire, but the rest of the line is holding it's own.
On the far flank, the Spanish light cavalry showed uncharacteristic enthusiasm by galloping over the ridge and charging Victor's flank (after the French reserve which was supposed to be protecting it blundered backwards). They swept away Victor's Hussars, but his infantry got into square and the reserve's counterattack made short work of the Spanish once it got moving.

At this stage it was 9.30 and Barrie's chauffeur was outside, so both sides declared victory & we stopped. But the battle is far from over - given an 8am start it is now after 8 turns only 12 noon.  The Spanish are destroyed, but the Brits are intact and won't mourn their loss much.  The French have significant losses, but still outnumber the Brits.  I played on solo the next day trying out some more rules tweaks & the Brits were defeated - but I cannot say it was an unbiased process.

The rules worked really well in general.  Considering both sides had about a dozen divisions.  Standard HC is designed for armies of 3 or 4 divisions, BP for a few more, but to cope with so many units in a reasonable time frame requires considerable simplification of the rules.  In this test game we got through a lot of action in 2 hours which is pretty good, but I identified a few areas where it could be improved even further.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Barrie's Sunday School

Richard's Greek Infantry v. Jim's Schutzenkompanie

1555 pts Early War.  Fighting Withdrawal, Greeks defending.
The Greeks had a nice line of hills to defend.  The Germans threw themselves at the near end of the Greek line with 5 Mk III's and infantry supported by mortars.  The armour was destroyed by artillery and anti-tank guns.   The first infantry assault was mown down after the mortars failed to deliver smoke cover.  The second infantry assault di get some smoke cover, but still didn't make it.  Not an easy mission to attack a large FT army.

Force on Force 28mm in modern Afganistan
Barrie's Taliban v. John's US
Your reporter was too busy being blasted by Greeks to see much of what was happening on the other table.  It was first time with the rules for both players so a fair bit of fumbling took place with the US eventually discovering enough rules to win.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hellfire & Back

Cpt Gandhi's Indian Rifles v. Rich's Shutzen Coy

Kingston Kup practice begins:  1555 pts Counterattack mission, Germans attacking. 
The Indian's deployment zone is the near corner, the German's the LHS corner.  There is an objective between the guns in the foreground and another in the sandblow beyond the centre.  The Indians won comfortably in the end, but not without losing almost all their infantry.  A coy tried to move to the central objective, but was cut down to 2 teams by HMG. Pak & Mortar fire form the village.   B Coy in the centre was over-run by German infantry, but did take them with them.   C Coy on the plateau in the foreground saw off a panzer attack with the help of artillery & 2 pdrs then drove back the German infantry following up.  But they were destroyed in turn when they assaulted to try to finish the Germans off.  The heroes for the Indians were their bugs which came on from reserve down the road, helped the artillery clean up the Paks & HMGs in the village then scooted around the village to finish off the German infantry.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hail Richard III

Jim's Yorkists v. Mike & Steve's Lancastrians

Jim & Mike christened their newly painted Perry medieval armies.  We used Hail Caesar with our usual house rules plus a few tweaks for period flavour.  For standard units we used 150mm bases as we do for the Pike & Shot rather than the 200mm we use for ancients.
Both sides have 3 battles.  Steve commands the Lancastrian cavalry (2 men at arms & 2 Welsh medium) on the far flank, Mike commands their 2 their foot battles.  York has 3 mixed battles, each with 4 foot & 1 horse.
The Lancastrians advanced on the whole front.  Richard of York stretched his army to the left so as not be outflanked by the Welsh cavalry and personally lead the cavalry from the centre battle to reinforce his left.
The fighting started on York's left with the heavy cavalry.  Both sides lost one mounted men at arms  unit.  One of the Welsh cavalry recoiled back from the bowmen on the end of the line.  York's foot attacked  on the right of their cavalry with some success.
After some initial success the wheels started to fall off for York.  Richard rallied his surviving heavy cavalry on the left first after a mutual fall back & charged back at their still shaken enemies...and lost, though  Richard himself survived the rout.  Their foot attack gained ground at first, but one unit of Lanc's men at arms hit back and drove York's centre back almost to the table edge.  On the near flank both sides were still exchanging arrows.  York did try to launch a counterattack there when his centre started to crumble, but bad command dice killed that plan.
York's centre battle has broken & the survivors have been removed.  On the far flank a spear and a bow units are making a stand against the Lanc's horse.  On the near flank, Richard had abandoned plans to attack and has pulled the horse out and sent it left to save the bow unit from the left battle - whichwas the only unit left in the centre.  It still looks black for York.
But Richard wasn't done yet.  He took command of the cavalry from the right battle and smashed a path right through the Lancastrian centre.  The heroic bowmen on the far flank stopped the Welsh horse for a second time, this time breaking them, and with them, the Lanc's whole cavalry battle.  York's right is still holding on and now it is the Lanc's under pressure as York's left turns right to attack the now exposed Lanc's flank.
York's right has fallen back while his left attacks.  For some time the battle hung in the balance. Richard  rallied his horse & charged the bowmen at the end of the line, But defensive fire stopped the charge and he had to rally them again while the foot moved up in support.
York's right only just held on, but Richard finally managed to get a combined cavalry and infantry attack against the Lanc's right.  The Lanc's centre battle broke to give York victory.

This was a very entertaining battle, and a fine example of the need to be philosophical playing Hail Caesar. A run of bad combat results all but did for York, but he hung on in there, went for any opportunity going, and as it so often does, the dice gods relented allowing York to snatch victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nick in Launceston

Nick and Rob had their first game of Early War. Nick's panzer company (Panzer IIs, IIIs, and IVs) vs British Rifle (infantry, Matildas, 25lbers, and some funny Frog tanks).

The game was a breakthrough, and Nick cunningly had almost all of his army come on on the flank -- even including his heavy artillery (that were to be used as big AT guns to open up the Matildas). Rob was slow to respond, with the slow movement of the Matildas preventing them from getting into the action until the last turn.

Nick overran the objective, and then massacred British troops as they moved up to try to take the objective back. There was a slight hiccup when 5 Panzer II's attacked a depleted infrantry platoon in a plowed field -- none came out. But the infantry failed morale after the attack, and fairly quickly the British only had Matildas and 18/25lbers on the table.

EW was fun -- there will be more tweaking as we get ready for the Kingston Kup.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

FOW Tournament in Launceston

The 3rd "Dogs of War" FOW tournament was run by the Launceston Gaming Club at the Soldiers Hall in St Leonards over the weekend.

13 players from the Kingston Bunker Rats, Camp Cromwell, Launceston Gaming Club & New Zealand  (Nick & Smithy shared one spot to avoid byes) fought out 5 rounds with 1750 pts Late war Armies.
Daniel, John Mumford's mate from New Zealand came first, John (KBR) was second & Rob Holloway (LGC) 3rd.

The Camp Cromwell reps, Jim & Byron came 6th & 8th respectively.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Maharajah 2012 decided at last !

Jim's Pontic army v. Steve's Imperial Romans

After 2 drwas, the candidates agreed to allow a change in  armies for the second re-fight of the grand final for the Maharajah trophy 2012.  Steve changed to an all infantry Imperial Roman army of 3 divisions - an elite legion, a standard legion and a large auxilla division.  Jim stuck with Mithradates, but changed his heavy infantry from imitation Romans to phalangites - still supported by light infantry archers, and kept teh 2 big cavalry divisions with a mix of heavy cavalry, light horse & horse archers..  The Romans deployed with their elite legion on their right and their auxilia on their left.  Mithradates deployed infantry in the centre & cavalry on the wings.
The pics are generally taken from behind the Pontic right.  The Romans advanced their legions in testudo in advance of the auxilia.  Mithdates sent his bowmen forward & waited.
The Pontic bow fire did little to the Romans, safe in their testudos.  The Pontic cavalry waited until the Romans got close, then pulled the skirmish line back and charged.  But they failed to break through.
The phalanx joined in the counterattack all along the line.  On the near flank the legion has got ahead of the auxillia and the Pontic cavalry has moved left to close up on the phalanx to join in the attack on the centre legion.
The general melee all along the line gave some wins & losses to both sides, but Mithradates had his whole army involved while a whole Roman division, their auxilia, was not in the fight at all.
The Ponts lost 2 heavy cavalry units, 1 on each flank in attacking the legions, while the Romans lost 2 cohorts, but tough as the legionaries are, the numbers told in the end as every single cohort became shaken.  A series of fall back results caused the opposing lines to break off all along the line, but both legions broke under the" all remaining units shaken" rule and the battle was over, the Romans having lost 2 of 3 divisions.
Mike, the umpire (on the right) presented the sought after trophy.
This was the 18th Maharajah Trophy competion.  The winners have been:
Mark Oakford: 1995, 1996
Peter Moy: 1997,1999, 2001
Barrie Macdonald: 1998
Leigh Watson: 2000, 2009
Jim Gandy: 2002, 2005, 2010, 2012
Steve Jendrich: 2003, 2004, 2007
Chris Raine: 2006
James Oakes: 2008
John Mumford: 2011

Monday, March 11, 2013

More DOGs practice

Jim's Hungarians v. Byron's Czechs (British equipped)

Byron attacked in a Fighting Withdrawal Mission:  1750 pts practice match for next weekend's Dog of War tournament in Launceston.
Byron probably got the short straw in winning the dice off to be the attacker.  The table gave the defenders good cover, though it was partly negated by the fact that the Czech's had an air observer & a double 25pdr battery.
Byron's luck did not improve as the battle progressed.  His mass of 25pdrs did little and 2 of his tanks got bogged in the hedges. The main attack was on the Czech right where they smoked the Panthers to cover their advance.  They let the smoke clear to have first shot at the Panthers with their souped up 1945 17pdrs, with Semi-indirect fire, but they missed.  The Fireflies then evaporated under the Panther's return fire.
The Czech infantry attack was blunted by good work from the Werfers.  5 turns & 2 1/2 hours were up with no prospect of the Czech's taking an objective so Byron conceded.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday School at Barries

DOGs practice
Jim's Hungarians v. Mark's US in Hold the Line, US defending.
The US defended with a line of infantry supported by artillery with 90mm AA in ambush.  The Hungarians simply attacked the objective with everything they could fit on the frontage.
90mm ambush missed their targets & they were destroyed in a storm of retalitory fire.  The 5.5" artillery took out the Panthers, but with the US reserves didn't show up fast enough to save the GI's on the objective from being over-run.  A desperate counterattack couldn't remove the Zringy's & infantry from the objective.

Saga:  Nick's Vikings v. Richard's Anglo-Saxons.
Barrie initiated Nick into Saga.  It looked like Richard had it sown up when Nick was reduced to just 1 figure.  But it was his warlord & in true Viking fashion he cleaned Richard's on his own to snatch an amusing victory.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Nick in Launceston

Played Battlegroup Kursk with D. last night.  It was a fun game.  I've cut and pasted the review D. wrote on TMP:

Played Battlegroup Kursk last night for the first time.
Forces were:
Russian: 6 x T-34, infantry platoon with Maksim, 2 off board 82mm mortars, forward observer
German: 4 x Panzer IVG, Panzergrenaider platoon, 2 off board 81mm mortars, forward observer.
Russians got thumped because of a bonehead Stal! Stal! Stal! got most of their T-34s killed (realistic enough).

Anyway impressions of the game:
1. Rules are relatively easy to pick up.
2. Rules could be written a little tighter. E.g. I wasn't sure whether unit applied to squad or platoon. By extrapolating from Russia Ura rule, I worked out a basic infantry unit is the squad.
Definitely not a tournament system but I'm not a tournament player so who cares.
3. Game plays relatively smoothly. The order system is nice and easy. Though it sucks when you role a 1 for your orders and you have only 1 officer (total of 2 orders)! C'est la vie.
4. It really captures the Kursk vibe well. This is a very important factor in my book.
5. I like the Battle Rating system which works as follows:
a. Your force has a numerical Battle Rating.
b. Every time a certain event occurs, you take a Battle Rating Counter from a bag. Counter has 1-5 points or mine strike or air strike or other special events.
c. Once your counters equal to over your Battle Rating you lose (though you can lose by having all your force pinned/wiped out or the opponents captures all objectives).
6. The lists are fun and extremely flexible and once again capture the essence of Kursk. Options for both onboard and offboard artillery are welcome. You can even get Off Board ATG shots.
7. It's firepower/morale based without much emphasis on close quarters combat.
8. Scale and troop density worked well at 15mm.
9. Finally rule book is absolutely gorgeous. One of the most beautiful rulebooks I've come across.
Overall a great game and I look forward to playing it more often.

I would agree with D's assesment.  The artillery rules seemed a little strange -- it actually works out to have fewer troops under the template.  But we were probably playing them wrong -- it was our first play.  And, as everyone keeps saying, the book is gorgeous -- on par with the Flames of War hardbound books.  It is definitely on my shopping list!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hail Cromwell 3

Jim's New Model v. Mike's Royalists

We were supposed to be finishing last years's Maharajah Trophy, but Steve's cat got sick.  Mike used the same army as last week, Jim changed the Ironsides down to ordinary heavy cavalry and took some more infantry.
The New Model is on the left.  Both sides have an infantry battalia each side of the road and cavalry on the far flank.  The Royalists have tried to make a general advance, but not very effectively.
The Royalists have allowed their centre battalia to move forward well in advance of the rest of the army.  The New Model is waiting, muskets at the ready.
Parliament supported their centre battalia with a cavalry unit from the left and a shot unit from the right to make a ring of fire around the unsupported Royalist centre.  The Royalist shot was badly hurt & Mike tried to withdraw, but instead the pikes blundered into a charge.  Both pike blocks were stopped by converging defensive & traversing fire, then the whole battalia broke.
The near Royalist foot battalia withdrew as the New Model foot advanced to envelop it.  The Cavaliers finally went forward and have got the better of a swirling cavalry melee.
The cavaliers eventually mopped up the New Model horse, but they are too far away to save the foot.  Outnumbered 2 to 1 the foot made a stand near the table edge, but it was hopeless, they were broken long before the cavalry could arrive.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sunday School at Barrie's

John's SSPanzergroup v. Jim's Hungarian Mototised
1750 pts Dust Up mission
The Hungarians are defending the near quarter of the table with 2 infantry platoons, werfers & Pak 40's on the table and Panthers, Zringys, HMGs & Nimrods to come as delayed reserves.  The Germans have 4 King Tigers and 3 Pumas on the table with armoured panzergrenadiers & SP AA to come.
The Germans tried to get it over quickly attacking the central objective with 2 KT's with AA & A/car support.  But the Infantry stiffened with Panzerschreks killed one & beat them off.
When the Hungarian armour came on the KT's fell back to defend the objectives while the panzergrenadiers took up the attack.  The panzergrens hurt the leading Hungarian platoon, but it fell back still holding the objective and the 2nd platoon counterattack destroyed the panzergrenadiers in the wood.  On the  far flank the Panthers & Zringys went around the flank looking for rear shots on the KT's but got smashed.  The HMG platoon rushed up in trucks but was blown away by KT mg fire.  The Nimrods came on late and hid behind the wood on the far left.

Both sides attacks had failed, but it seemed only a matter of time before the German armour crushed enough platoons to win.   The KT's headed towards the Paks, A/cars went on a Nimrod hunt on the far side and the SPAA hid from the Werfer observers behind the central hill.
It looked a cakewalk for the Germans, but they reckoned without the mighty Nimrods.  They charged out from behind the wood, destroyed the A/carsin one volley, then doubled down the table edge towards the objective.  The KT's & AA rushed back towards the objective, but the Nimrods also wiped out the AA and the KT's could get back fast enough.  A surprising win for the revolting Hungarians.

Meanwhile Barrie introduced Richard to the joys of Saga by smashing him with his Vikings.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Nick in Launceston -- The Return of Starn!

Starn had been absent for the last year. He gave some weak excuse about university study etc. etc. But last week he poked his nose in at the club -- just long enough for us to rope him in to playing again this week. And we got him hooked enough he went and bought the Version 3 flames of war rules.

Andyway, Starn and I played a 1500 point late war game. Starn was Russian Strelkovy, I was a German StuG Batterie, and the mission was dust up.

Both players started with the infantry holding an objective with Artillery support. The German artillery looked rather weak -- 3 guns vs 12. But Starn had his usual dice rolling difficulties, and none of his troops managed to dig in. Very quickly the German airpower (some Stuka G planes armed with 37mm cannon) and the German artillery managed to start whittling away at the Russian Artillery. Things were going well for the Germans until the first Russian reinforcements arrived - a platoon of 3 KV-85 heavy tanks. This was followed in rapid succession by some SU 122's and a company of infantry.

There was a chance to really damage Starn's attack force -- the SU 122's were in a nice bunch when a flight of Stuka's arrived. But a flurry of 1's on my behalf evened out the die rolling for the night :)

The German reinforcements arrived on the other flank -- 6x StuG G and 3x StuH 42. A race developed -- who could kill the others flank first. But Starn won -- the Germans just couldn't touch the KV 85's, and when the Russian infantry started using their flamethrowers it wasn't pretty!  A 4:3 win to Starn.

It was actually a great game, with the Russians bleeding everywhere, but able to roll over the objective regardless.  And it was great to see Starn back after so long!