Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bull Run using Hail Mr Lincoln

In July Peter Williams is going to umpire a Lee invades Maryland campaign for us by email from Canberra.  So the pressure's on to progress our Hail Whoever adaption of Hail Caesar  onto Hail Mr Lincoln for ACW in 6mm.    It's a small step from Hail Napoleon, but still needs play testing (& we've only done 2 HN's so far anyway).  So where better place to start the ACW than Bull Run?  The scenario & table were worked out and set up in an afternoon, so it's a loose simulation of Bull Run, but an interesting scenario.

Mike & Steve's Union Army v. Chris' Confederates

The Rebs have 3 infantry & 1 cavalry division on the table with another infnatry division coming on the SE corner on a  FOW Reserves test.  The Union have 2 divisions on the table covering Centreville and 3 others on flank march to come on anywhere on the NW or W edges.  A FOW Reserves on teh NW edge, as FOW Delayed Reserves on the W edge.  The divisions vary in size from 4 to 10 units.
Pic taken from behind SE corner.  2 Reb divisions are on the central ridge.  Their cavalry is on their left. A small division is split up with single brigades on the fords on the right.  One Union division on the right covers Centreville (out of shot to the top right).  Another is in the woods on their right.  A big division is on the turnpike in the centre.  2 divisons are cominig on at the Sudly Springs Fords near Steve's hand.
The Rebs have advanced to defend the river line in the centre.  A small inf div and the cavalry have moved left to hold off the flank attack.
The defenders of Centreville decided on a forward defence, but the Rebel reserves arrived early and beat them to the ford.  The Rebs have decided to for Centreville & win the battle by cutting the Union line of communication with Washington.
This pic is looking E from the W flank.  The Rebel left has found that the creek line & woods didn't make up for superior numbers & crap dice & is crumbling.  The infantry has broken & the cavalry (currently dismounted in the woods) is down to half stength & is pulling out.
Both side's lefts have broken, but in both cases poor command dice have prevented them exploiting their wins.  The centre is stalemanted on the line of Bull Run so the Union was able to pull out 3 brigades and are marching them down the road to Centreville.
On the west flank, the Rebs have had time to form a flank guard while the Union flanking divisions straggle forward.   On the east flank, the Union has won the race for Centreville.  In the centre Minee balls are still flying over Bull Run without decisive result.
The Reb flank guard stopped the first flanking division, but can't stop the second.  With Balls Ford  finally taken on the right of centre, the Reb centre in a pocket and doomed.   The attack on Centreville hasn't even started yet.  The Rebs concede the battle.

The principle behind Hail Napoleon & Hail Mr Lincoln is to use a large ground scale (8" = 1km for ACW, 12" = 1km for HN) which allows for grand tactical manoeuvre on the table, but to simplify combat so large battles with many units don't bog down in minor details.  A few bugs & omisions were identified in the rules tonight, but considering it was our 1st HML after just 2 HN's the system is coming along very well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A52 Practice: Free For All

Jim's Hungarians v. Rich's Tankovy

1750 pts Midwar on standard 6x4' table.
The Hungarians are on the left.  The Soviet Shermans went up the scrubby hill to dispose of the Hungarian observers, but then dropped back out of sight of the Marders.  3 of them got bogged in process.
On the near flank the Hungarians have advanced onto the scrubby hill to threaten the bogged Shermans & tie down the Soviet armour.  On the far flank the Hungarians are attacking with infantry & Toldis.  Their artillery has already knocked out the armour on that flank  and the Paks in the central wood make it hard for the Soviets to reinforce it.
The Toldi's died, but the infantry over-ran the guns holding the far objective to give the Hungarians a 5:2 win.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hail Richard III

Jim's Yorkists v. Mike's Lancastrians

Both sides had 2 infantry divisions & 1 cavalry divisions.  The Lancs are on the far side of the table.
Both sides have their cavalry at the far end, 5 Yorks v. 4 for Lancs.  Both centres have 3 bow & 3 men at arms or bills, York with more heavies.  On the near flank both have 3 bows & 2 skirmishers, but the Lancs have 3 bills to 1 spear.
Both sides advanced cautiously with their strongest flank forward.
In the centre it is the Lancs that get their heavies to the front and charge the eneies bowmen still in the front line.  Richard threw a cavalry unit forward to support his centre, but his centre is pushed back anyway.  His right is also doing it tough.  Both side's cavalry are doing nothing, both player's leery of an even fight with a 50/50 chance of failure.
York's centre had managed to reorganise and counterattack now with the men at arms in front.  His right is hard pressed, but some of their oponents have been diverted to help the Lanc's centre.
The Lanc's centre has broken.  Yorks' right is on 50%, his centre almost all shaken, but their oponents have run out steam too.
Finally the moment has come for the cavalry.  4 of York's cavalry units charge hte enemy horse while he personally leads the 5th unit to the right to charge the flank of the enemy infantry.  Good dice give York's cavalry the upper hand, but it becomes irrelevant when Richard breaks the enemy's 2nd infantry division & the Lancastrian army breaks.

For the 2nd week in a row, Mike got the upper hand early, but couldn't finish it off & the enemy came back to snatch victory.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

FOW at Barrie's

Jim's Falschirmjager v. Barrie's Brit Paras

This was a practice match for Barrie for the forthcoming Market Garden Campaign at Kingston, organised and umpired by John.  Both armies 1500 pts, plus Firestorm troops: Air for Allies, 1 Tiger for Germans.  Mission:  Breakthrough FJ's attacking from near corner of the table.
The Germans have smoked the Brit mortars & artillery observation with their mortars while moving up HMGs & Paks to try to suppress them.   An FJ unit is moving up to put somepressure on the Brit defence.  The Tiger & a reinforced FJ platoon are in Reserve.  A Pars units had moved onto the far objective.
An attack on the ridge by the FJ's was tried after the moratrs pinned them, but it did was stopped by defensive fire.  The Tiger has come on in the far corner (on turn 4) & shrugged off the inevitable artillery barrage.  Next turn the FJ's come on from reserve.  The Tiger attacked first & was destroyed by Para counterattack, but FJ's then charged home & all but destroyed the defence.  The Brits tried to blast the FJ's off the objective - they got lots of kills, but the FJ's passed morale.  A forlorn charge by the few para within reach was wiped out by defensive fire giving the Germans victory.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Operation Cromwell Testing: FOW

Jim's Germans v. Rich's US & Thomas' Brits

This was a test of a proposed scenario for next October's Operation Cromwell - our annual FOW competition.  The comp will be for teams of 2 coys each totalling 2,500 pts with a Normandy theme.  We want to have 8 teams - 4 German, 4 Allied.  Each team will play the 4 teams of the other side, each game a different scenario on a different 8x6' table designed for the scenario.  The scenarios will be specially designed for the comp with non-standard victory conditions - each battle will have 10 OCVPs up for grabs.  The proposed scenarios are a modified Hit the Beach, a Bocage fight, a German counterattack & Falaise Gap.  In each scenario, the attacker will be provided with extra assets to add to their lists.   This was test run for the Falaise Gap scenario.  It is similar to the standard Surrounded Mission.

The Germans have a Fusilier Coy and a Stug Coy deployed protecting the road across the table.   (Paris is to the left).  A 7th Armoured Rifle Coy is on this side.  A US Mech Inf Coy is on the far side.  The Allies have Air Support & off table heavy artillery provided in addition to their lists.
The Brits are attacking with their armour on the right.  The US have engaged the Stugs with hull down Shermans on the left while pushing forward on the right. 
The Cromwells have smashed through on the right and linked up with the US, but they have to hold the gap closed until time's up.  The Stugs are moving to counterattack and re-open the gap.
The Stugs have taken out the Allied armour and German infantry has moved to re-open the gap.
The Brits are now attacking with their infantry on the near side.  They are making good progress, but probably erred in starting the attack too late and have run out of time.  The Germans have kept the gap open with slight losses and have won 9:1 victory.  It was an interesting game with both sides having their chances of winning.  We didn't find any problems with the scenario, but we'll test it again before October to be sure. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scots at the Gates: English Civil War

This is an English Civil War version of the modified Barbarians at the Gates scenario from Hail Caesar we've used before with Romans v. Barbarians (see blogs of 28/03/12 & 09/04/12).  In this version we have the Scots as the Barbarians at the town gates with the New Model Army rushing to the rescue.  The rules are Hail Cromwell - our hybrid of Hail Caesar & Pike & Shotte (mainly HC).

The town wall has been breached, the battery moved to start making another breech and the Scots army is lined up ready to attack when Fairfax's flying column turns up on the Roman road behind them.

The Scots have 3 infantry divisions of 2 pike, 4 shot, 2 cavalry divisions of 4 & a heavy artillery battery.  The English have 1 infantry division in the town of 2 pike & 4 shot.  On the road there is are 2 foot divisions, in the lead 2 dragoons & 2 shot,  followed by a division of 2 pike & 4 shot.  Beside the road is a cavalry column of 2 divisions of 4.  Cromwell's ironsides lead the way.
The Scots have a camp (just off left of pic above) which counts as a division lost in the Army Break Test if taken (they won't like losing their loot).  The Scots can win either by getting a unit into the town, or if the English fail an Army Break Test.  The English win if the Scots fail an Army Break Test.  Both have 5 divisions, so both break if losing 3, or alternatively for the Scots 2 plus their camp.
The English were commanded by Steve and Chris, the Scots by Mike & Steve Daniels (on hols from Canberra).  Jim umpired.

At the far end of the table, the English advance guard has occupied the village.  Their pike & shot are on the road.  The Ironsides have formed up & advanced, and the medium horse have deployed behind them.  The Scots artillery has already madea second breech and 1 & 1/2 foot divisions are advancing to attack the town.  On their left a horse and a foot division are redploying to face the ironsides. On the right their cavalry ahs advanced right down the table edge while 1/2 an infantry division is moving towards the ridge.
In the distance the Scots are attacking the walls without much success.  In the centre their foot is attacking the village and a mixed line of horse and shot has deployed to face the ironsides.  The English medium cavaly was ordered to follow the slow moving ironsides on the right, but instead blundered towards the only enemy in sight, the Scots cavalry on the left, moving in front of their pike & shot.  The intervention of English dragoons from the village is turning the cavalry fight the English way.
In the foreground the Scots horse has been defeated, but the English horse is badly mauled and teh English advance much delayed.  Right of the centre, the combinatin of Scots horse and shot broke the ironsides allowing the Scots foot to make a serious attack on the village.  In the distance the Scots are still hammering away at the town without success.
On the left the English horse is galloping down the flank trying to bypass the Scots foot.  Their advance guard has been on the point of breaking for some time, but has hung on in the village and the pike & shot are now coming to the rescue.  The town is still holding out despite high casualties to the garrison.
The English counterattack in the village has stalled, but on teh right they are driving on.  The English cavalry has got into position to charge the attackers of the town, but their previous losses in the cavalry fight have caught up with them.  The divison is about to be broken by musket fire.
The Scots foot on the left having disposed of the English horse have tried to intervene but were too late.  The Scots last chance to take the town has passed.  The English pike & shot have taken the battery from the rear and are in the rear of the troops attacking the town.  The Scots have lost 3 of 5 divisions and the English have won.

The Scots got the upper hand early gaining plenty of time to take the town, but despite repeated attempts never got the right dice at right time to actually take a breach to win the battle.  They also went within a good dice roll of breaking 3 divisions to win that way, but the dragoons & shot in the village stubbornly hung on.  This was epic battle - it went on for over 4 hours - our longest ever Warlords game, but it never dragged - the result hung in the balance for the whole game.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

FOW Mid War 1750 pts - Surrounded Mission

Jim's Hungarian Light Infantry v. Rich's Tankovy

This was the first time either player had fought this Mission.  The Hungarians are deployed in the centre 60cm wide strip defending 2 objectives.  The Russians start deployed at each end of the table.

Rich used Nick's random army generator to make up his list.  It threw up 2 tank platoons, one with tank riders, rockets plus lots of gun platoons.  The Hungarians suffered from having nowhere to hide.  Their artillery & light tanks got picked off, then the Russians blasted away with guns & tanks from both sides until the Hungarians were reduced to below half strength & failed army morale.  The Hungarians didn't help themselves by forgetting their Stukas until it was too late, but even so it looks like a tough mission to defend.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Hail Caesar: Rome v. Mithradates

Steve & Mike commanded Mike's new Marian Roman army against Jim & Barrie's Pontic army.
The Romans are on the left.  Cavalry on the near flank, then Spanish, then 2 legions.  Mithradates has cavalry on each flank and 2 phalanx divisions in the centre.  Jim faces Steve on the near flank, Barrie faces Mike on the far flank.
The Pontic plan was to send the right flank cavalry around the wood into the Roman left rear while pinning them frontally by the phalanx.  This was immediately compromised  by poor command dice on the far flank even though Mithradates was there to help.  Then the Pontic plan really fell in a heap when the RH phalanx's pinning attacked turned into an instant disaster due to simply awfull dice.  On the near flank Jim's dice were no better than Barrie's.  His heavy cavlry was pushed back by Steve's mediums & his attempt to get at the Spanish couldn't get moving.
After a disasterous start the Pontic cavalry were at least now hanging on.  Jim's phalanx finally got to grips with the Spanish, but again the dice gods gave the medium infantry an advantage over the heavy and then the easy victory over the RH phalanx allowed the Romans to support them with legionaries. 
The Pontic left is still hanging on though both divisions on wood.  On the far flank the Romans have had time to reorganise to face Barrie's cavalry.  Barrie had no choice but to charge anyway.
While Barrie's cavalry had one successful charge, it did not break the Roman left.  The remains of Jim's infantry division was surrounded and broken to give the Romans a decisive victory.

The Pontic plan did run a risk of the main body being beaten before the flanking cavalry could arrive, but one doesn't expect a phalanx division to be rolled in 2 turns - so it wasn't a bad bet.  While Hail Caesar is notorious for wild swings of fortune, never have we seen a battle where one side has had such a continuous run of bad dice as the Pontic side had in this one.     But all along the front for the whole battle the Ponts consistently threw bad command dice, bad to hit dice, bad saves, then bad Break Tests.  Even on the rare occasions when the Ponts managed to win a combat the Romans threw well in the Break Test on all but 1 occasion.  On the other hand the Ponts failed almost every Break Test they took.   The Pontic players feel the dice gods owe them big time for the next battle.

Monday, May 06, 2013

FOW Tournament: Kingston Kup

This year the Kingston Bunker Rat's annual FOW tournament was held in the Battery Point Community Hall.  5 rounds, 1555 points, Early War.   There were 12 tables for 24 entries, 3 from Launceston, 6 from the Monday Knights Victoria, 4 Camp Cromwell & the rest Bunker rats.
Barrie set up a Van Dieman Miniatures stall on Sunday with 20% off as well as helping out with the prize pool.
As always there was a great selection of tables, mostly by the Bunker rats, and a couple from the two Nicks.  Missions played were Breakthrough, Encounter, Fighting Withdrawal, No Retreat & Dust Up.
There were tables for Poland, Belgium, France, Greece and the desert, though of course the Swiss roster meant they didn't always have the right armies on them.  Goodness gratious me!  How did my Indians get to Poland ? 
The Monday Knights dominated the competition.   They took out the top 3 placings in the individuals with Lord T winning undefeated as he did last year.   They also won the Kingston Kup Team Trophy by a big margin from Kingston 2nd & Camp Cromwell 3rd.   Declan won the best opponent award, Patrick the Best Army Award.  Camp Cromwell did pick up some loot - Mark & Leigh won lucky door prizes & Jim won the De Gaul Award for valiant lack of achievement - as the highest ranked Tasmanian with 4 wins 1 loss, but behind the row of carpetbaggers from Melbourne on VP's.
Many thanks to the Rats for another good show & in particular to John Mumford for being TO.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Hail Caesar: Rome v. Carthage

Chris's Carthaginians v. Mike's Romans

A training battle for Chris with Jim & Mark mentoring.  We used the same armies as Jim v. John a couple of weeks ago.  Chris's Carthos are on the left.
Chris has his 2 Punic divisions on the far flank, Gauls in the centre & Spanish on his right.   He soon learned some of the joys of Hail Caesar as his wings advanced while his centre blundered backwards.  The Romans advanced steadily with 2 legionary divisions on their left & 2 allied divisions on their right.
The Carthos continued to have mixed fortunes with command. The Gauls charged forward in the cemtre eventually but the Romans opened a gap in their line leaving half of them facing only Caetari in open order which evaded.  The Cartho cavalry on both wings were pushed back as were some of the Gauls which made contact.
The centre legion's triai wheeled right after the hastasi in front of them pushed their oponents back and hit the 2nd warband in flank, breaking it.  The Punic cavalry on both wings has fallen back.
The Gauls in the centre fell back out of the salient.  The legionaries push forward.
Both side's left flanks are attacking.
The Carthaginian attack has made some gains, but too little too late.  Both the Spanish and the Gallic divisions break on the near side.  The Carthos have lost 2 of 4 divisions, the Romans none of 4 giving the Romans victory under our rule for 4 division a side battles = break on losing half divisions if enemy has lost no divisions, otherwise break on losing more thna half.