Saturday, August 30, 2014

Away game at Dave's: Vimero

Mike, Steve & I made another trek up the valley to Daves' place for a 28mm Napoleonic battle.  Dave set up a Vimero scenario.  The figures are all of Dave's collection topped up with a few of Mike's French dragoons & Brit inf.
The Brits are on the left, Steve commanding their right (near end), Mike their left.  Dave is in charge of the French left & your correspondent has the French right. The French have another division on a  flank march, to come in on the road on far end of the table after the French get 3+ units engaged.  The Brits have a smaller division in reserve to come on rear centre.
The French advance, except for their dragoons who's leader seem confused about their role.  Mike has advanced to a position around the village.  Steve has sent his riflemen forward to skirmish.
The French have engaged the Brits around the village & their flanking force has arrived.  Mike is redeploying infantry to face the flank threat.
Dave's left stands on the defensive against superior numbers.  His centre has advanced to support the attack on the right, but the move is compromised by the timidity of the dragoon commander.  The flank attack is making progress.  The French pinning force facing the village is suffering from the British artillery.
Steve's infantry on the ridge threw a blunder for command and a minor adjustment of his position turned into a devastating attack.  The French dragoons were thrown in to fill the resultant gap in the line.  On the far flank opportunities for a quick win by the French flank attack disappeared in some bad command rolls, but they still have the upper hand.
On the far flank the Brits are giving ground before the French attack.  The French centre is collapsing having been left outnumbered due to most of the Dragoons being distracted to save the left.   On the near flank, Steve rode his luck letting his infantry take the dragoon counterattack in line.  The dragoons were beaten off by British musketry.
The French have finally broken the British left, but it is too late, the French left and centre are broken.  The French left can only retire to fight another day.

It was very entertaining battle, though for the French the result was depressingly historical.  It was all done in about 2 hours playing time using our modified Hail Caesar rules.    

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wars of the Roses

Mike's Lancastrians v. Jim's Yorkists

Both sides have 3 "battles" each of 2 bow & two men at arms or billmen.  Mike had 4 knight units & he added two each to his flank battles.  Jim had 2 heavy knight units & 4 sergeants, he added 2 sergeants & the knights to the left battle & 2 sergeants to the right battle.  Mike's billmen in his right battle were heavily armoured.
York is on the right in the pics.  They begin an advance leading with their left.
The knights clash on the left.  In the centre York's bowmen move up into range supported by the men at arms.  On the right, the Lancs knights advance while the York sergeants hold back.
On the left the sergeants have moved around the Lanc's flank.  Behind the knights the York's men at arms charged but failed to reach the enemy foot.  Then their bowmen blundered back instead of moving to cover their flank. Not much is happening on the far flank.
On the left the Lanc's escaped disaster by winning the knight fight before the sergeants could charge.  On the near edge of the ridge the Lancs charged the exposed flank of the York men at arms.  But like the Lanc's knights, they held on until the previously reluctant bowmen could come up and turn the tables.  The battles at the far end are now locked in battle.  Arrows are still flying both ways in the centre.
York renews the attack on the enemy's right.  The far flank is an even and still indecisive fight.
The Lanc' right is crumbing, but the York's right has broken completely after a double or nothing tactical gamble in the infantry fight went bad.
The Lanc's right has finally broken, but it's a move or two too late for York.  The Lanc's have been able to overwhelm the York's centre before it could be done to them.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nick in Launceston -- The Curse of Heavy Tanks

Two historical games at the LGC:

1. Nick vs Dennis. Nick had Russian heavy tanks (a KV-1s company). Dennis had German Panzers -- with 4 x Mark IV, and a whole bunch of Mark III L and M tanks. It started off well for the Russians, with a long range shot sniping a Panzer IV, and aircraft killing another, and then a 3rd going down in a firefight. At this point the wheels fell of for the Russian. The Russian CinC was killed by the German CinC. The Horde of Huns (tm) got behind the KV-1's. A second KV-1 was killed, the remainders in the platoon were bailed, and the KV's failed morale. There was nothing else that could get close enough to the objective.

2. Matt vs Rob in late war. I left before the game was finished, so I don't know exactly what happened -- but the Germans seemed to be holding on against a Chaffee horde.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wertingen 1805

Wertingen 1805 
This is a scenario based on the action at Wertingen on the 8th October in 1805.  My prime reference is Jeff Berry’s blog   I have modified the historical scenario a bit to suit the available troops and to make the action fit more conveniently on our 10’x6’ table, but the problems faced by the opposing generals are basically the same. 
In his own inimitable way General Mack has sent Auffenberg’s Corps, which is predominantly infantry, to reconnoitre towards the Danube and find Murat’s cavalry Corps.  At the start of this scenario, Auffenberg is experiencing a classic “Oh S%&t!” moment after emerging from the village of Wertingen at the head of his force.  Down the valley before him to the north he sees a dragoon division coming right at him.   Movement in the distance behind the dragoons indicate that the dragoons are the head of a much larger force.  A minute later the officer he sent to reconnoitre the road north from Blinswagan gallops up to tell him that there are hussars coming down that road.
Auffenburg immediately realises that he has located Murat, as required by his orders and that he can get the hell out of there without risking a Court Marshall.  On the other hand he could stand his ground, heroically hold on until nightfall and win bulk Brownie Points. 
Austrian initial deployment
The line infantry division is in road column on the road between between Blinswagen & Wertingen.  The head of the column just about to leave Wertingen to the north.
The grenadier division is on the road entering Wertingen from the south, waiting for the line column to pass (typical Austrian staff work).
The grenz are on the bridge.
The cavalry are deployed between the 2 infantry columns waiting for a purpose.
 French initial deployment
Boye’s division is deployed on the north edge of the table. Fauconnet’s brigade is at the north west corner of the table.
General Auffenburg’s III Armeekorps
Command rating 8
Baillet’s division6 grenadier battalions with attached light art.
Reusse-Greitz Regiment 3 line infantry battalions with attached light art.
1 small grenz battalion
Gringen’s brigade 1 cuirassier regiment (1 unit)
1 hussar regiment (1 unit)
Parts of Murat & Lannes’ Corps
Command rating 9
Boye’s division6 dragoon regiments (6 units)
1 horse battery (2 guns)
Fauconnet’s brigade2 hussar regiments
Klein’s division6 dragoon regiments (6 units)
Oudinot’s Division
Laplanche-Morthieres brigade4 infantry battalions
Dupas’ brigade4 infantry battalions
Ruffin’s brigade2 infantry battalions
View from the south at the start. The French are on the right.

Wargame rules specific to the scenario
The Austrians get the first move.
Breaking Divisions & Corps:Broken divisions are not removed unless they are isolated from the main body (separated by more than 12”).  Unless isolated, remaining units in broken divisions become shaken but stay on the table, though broken divisions cannot advance.  The Austrian Corps will be broken when all divisions are broken.
Victory conditions:The Austrians have to either hold on with the Corps unbroken with a line of retreat until dark (10pm real time) or make a fighting retreat as a coordinated whole and get at least half their units off the south edge of the table unbroken.

French reinforcements
(This information was not disclosed to the Austrian players until the troops were put down).
Klein’s dragoon divisionThis arrives behind Boye’s division deployed for battle on turn 3. The units of the division can test command and measure moves on from the north edge if they pass command.

Lannes Corps
This arrives at the north table edge on the road north of Blinswagon in a single road column one division after the other with the head of the column moving on on turn 6.
If the Austrians have no troops west of the trees & ridge, if the column remains on the road it need not be put down until the head of the column reaches the road junction in Blinswagon (at which point the Austrians must become aware of it).  This will be where the column head is at the end of turn 9 & it must be put down then.
 The Wargame
Steve commanded the Austrians.  Mike commanded the French with the assistance of James.  Jim umpired.
The Austrians have formed a line of squares.  The French hussars have galloped down the road on the left.  Boye's dragoons have advanced.  Klien's dragoons have just come onto the table.
The lead dragoons throw a blunder in command and charge the squares head on.  They are beaten off.  The French horse guns are moving up bombard the squares.
In the foreground the French hussars have filtered through the wood in the Austrian rear, but the Austrian cavalry have deployed to keep them bottled up in the wood. 
Kleins' dragoons have got lucky and broken the end square of the Austrian line.  But the lead regiment lost too many casualties and was unable to make a sweeping advance to immediately exploit the breakthrough.  Near the village, another dragoon attack has been beaten off & a dragoon unit broken.
Though Klein's cavalry failed to exploit it's break though due to poor command dice, the artillery have blown away the next square to widen the gap. In the foreground, the Austrian cuirassiers have turned right to meet the French dragoons and now with the advantage of numbers, the French hussars have come out of the woods.  Boye's dragoons have fallen back, galled by the fire of the grenz in the village and of the light guns attached to the infantry.  (Note that we have 12" maximum range for muskets, but the Austrian battalions get 1 dice at up to 18" range for their attached artillery).
On turn 9 Lannes Corps was placed on the road on the left having advanced to the village out of sight of the Austrians.   The Austrian cuirassiers are surrounded.  Another Austrian square has been blown away by the artillery which is now redeploying forward.  Near the village the Austrian infantry has formed line & is advancing on Boye's weakened dragoons.
The Austrian infantry near the village are giving Boye's a hard time with their musketry.  The Austrian cavalry ahs been finished off.
Boye's dragoons have withdrawn, beaten back by one & a half battalions in line.   Part of Klein's division have galloped right to cut off the Austrians.  Lannes' infantry is deploying on the left.
With the arrival of Lannes' infantry at the front it's all over.  The Austrians are cut off and destroyed.

The French did rather better than in the real thing where most of the Austrians got away.   In this game, the initial success of Klein's dragoons was both fortunate and critical.  After that the Austrians looked doomed.  Nevertheless, the French did not escape unscathed.  Both dragoon regiments were badly hurt & had 2 regiments broken.  By the end both dragoon divisions were unfit for further advance, but Lannes was now there to finish it off.   If the Austrians had had a bit more luck early on, they may well have stopped the French cavalry & been able to make their escape, so I think the scenario may well be better balanced that this result would indicate.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A good winter's work

A couple of years ago I bought a box of Victrix Napoleonic plastic 28mm's.  Seeing the complexity of the figs I was intimidated by prospect of assembling and painting a whole army.  I decided to stick with my long held view that Napoleonics were best done with the 6mm figs I already had (which allowed large historical battle scenarios to be fought) & gave the box away. 

But this year I tried 28mm Napoleonics on the table with Mike's figs and realised that small actions in 28mm was a completely different game to large actions with 6mm.  I really enjoyed playing it and decided that both scales were worth having.  I also discovered that Perry plastics were a very different kettle of fish to the Victrix - the infantry come in just a few simple poses with the only assembly needed for most infantry is adding a pack and in some cases a head.  Then I selected to raise an Austrian army to further reduce the amount of work (gotta love white cross belts on a white uniform).

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to assemble & paint the Perry 28mm figures & by the time I'd finished my Austrians I was keen to go straight onto raising a French army.  Ruthless efficiency in mass production, moderate quality standards, being mostly retired, plus a winter of late night sports events (you have to have something else to do while waiting for something to happen in soccer) allowed me to churn out about a thousand figures in two months.  They are not works of art like Steve produces, but viewed at wargaming distance they look great - see recent blogs.
On the right are the Austrians: 3 brigades of 6 battalions of line infantry,  3 grenadier battalions (these are actually Victrix that Mike gave me), 3 Grenz battalions, 3 cavalry brigades of 2 regiments each (1 each of hussars, dragoons & cuirassiers), 2 guns & enough officers.

On the left are the French: 4 cavalry regiments (2 of hussars, 2 of dragoons), 8 line battalions in greatcoats, 7 line battalions in full dress, 6 light infantry battalions, 6 guns & enough officers.

The Austrians required a bit of conversion as there are no plastic Austrian cavalry available.  But the Austrian infantry come with 3 complete sets of heads - shako, helmet & landwehr hat.  Conversion of the French cavalry to Austrians was mainly a matter of changing French heads for Austrians.  The French dragoons also needed their boots cut back to make Austrian dragoons & cuirassiers & the French hussars needed paper saddle cloths over the sheepskins.  The grenz are dismounted French dragoons with their boots carved off and Austrian heads.

I got the figs direct from Perry in England.  Their army packs are good value as they throw in some metal guns & officers as a bonus.  They also take 17% VAT off for OS customers & orders over BP200 are post free.  I got two orders of a bit over BP200 each.  The service was great; 8-10 days from email order to door.

At a scale of 600 men per battalion both armies are about 15,000 men - a small Corps - and about as many as you can fit on a 10x6' table & fight to a conclusion in a normal evening.   However, I do intend to fill them out a bit - the French need some cuirassiers, the Austrians need more artillery & some Landwehr would be nice.

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barrie's

We had another all day Musket & Tomahawks Fest at Barrie's this Sunday.  We had hoped for 8 players so we could fullfill our commitment to the current turn of the internet campaign we are involved in in the day, but disease reduced the numbers & there's more to do yet.
Last time we did this we got in 12 games and the Frogs won every game.  This time the Brits did a little better, winning 1 out of 5 games.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Nick in Launceston -- Dogs of War 2015 setup and a regular game

Two games at the club.

1.  A practice set up for Dogs of War 2015.  The Vietnam table.  Trying to make sure we have suitable terrain and figures.

A fun game with helicopters everywhere.  At first it looked like a commie horde was about to overrun a small defending detachment and the landing zone.  But a few helicopter gunship strafing runs later (and some artillery), and the horde looked much thinned out.  Unfortunately, Rob then had a home emergency, and had to head off.

2.  Nick vs Matt.

The dice gods give, and the dice gods take away.  It started well for Nick (as British), when the German King Tiger was killed before it could fire a shot.  The PAK40 ambush was dealt with.  At this point there were 14 British Sherman tanks vs 3 German StuGs.  The StuG's won!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Napoleonic 28mm - El Perez Scenario from Black Powder

Mark's Austrians v. Steve & James' French

Mike being otherwise engaged with his wife's birthday we had no British troops, so we moved the scenario to Germany & substituted Austrians for the British.  The troops are Jim's freshly painted 28mm's, the rules were our modified Hail Caesar.
The main French Corps is coming on the far edge.  One small unit of French light infantry hold the barricaded bridge in the foreground.  The somewhat outnumbered Austrians are in the middle.  Their task is to get as many troops away as possible.
The French are coming up fast but the Austrian cavalry has charged forward on the right.  Though outnumbered, they have done well - breaking some French dragoons then an infantry battalion as well on the sweeping advance.
The Austrian cavalry attack has come to a halt in face of superior numbers.  On the right the French are about to attack with their flank covered by artillery.  In the distance, the Austrians about to attack the bridgehead.
The attack on the bridgehead is not going well for the Austrians.  The first charge has been repelled.   On the right, the first French wave was repelled, but the second attack has broken through.  In the centre the Austrians are hard pressed.  For the moment bad French command dice are keeping their cavalry safe.
The second attack on the bridge has been repelled by the French light infantry.  The Austrian centre has collapsed, their left is about to follow suit.
It's all over for the Austrians.  The French cavalry finally caught up with their horse and broke them.  Their left has broken.  The bridge is still in French hands.  It was probably a hard ask for the Austrians.  The British lost the battle in the book too. Maybe there's a way for them to win, but we haven't found it yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Operation Cromwell Play Testing

Jim's Germans v. Rich's British

Rich came round on Sunday morning to help playtest another possible scenario for Operation Cromwell.  This scenario is based on No Retreat - with tweaks to compensate for a 8x6' table.  The Germans had a Panzergrenadier Coy and a Panzer Coy totalling 2500 pts.  The Brits had a Rifle & a Tank coy totalling 2500 pts, plus priority air support.   All Mid War Tunisia.  There were 6 objectives worth 1 or 2 VPs each on terrain features in the German deployment zone.  The Panzergrenadiers were deployed up to 45cm past the table centreline, the Panzers in the rear 30cm.  The Brits started with all their troops within 30cm of their table edge (in foreground of 1st pic). 
The German forlorn hope in & around the farm, of Pak 38's & HMG's was soon over-run, but it bought time for the Panzers to come up & took a few Brits with it.  The Shermans on the right at first attacked the far end of the German line on the ridge, but fell back as the Panzers came up & picked on the observers on the ridge instead.
The MkIVs engaged the Shermans & got a nasty shock when the Ronstans pulled back out of short 75 range and shot back with semi-indirect fire. The MkIV's died, but they did buy the mortars in front of the village time to inflict GBH on the British infantry.
The German mortars were taken out by infantry & artillery & the Brit infantry gained a foothold In the village. The Brit HMGs never recovered from being pinned by mortar fire.  The MkIII's stormed over the ridge in a desperate counterattack.  This time the Panzers got up close & personal & with a bit of help from the 105's it was time for the Shermans to burn.  It was close run thing though, just 3 MkIII's surviving in the platoon.  (The HQ MkIII's are still in the village).
With the British armour & anti-tank destroyed, the remaining MkIII's could run amok & the Panzergrenadiers came out of their foxholes to counterattack.  They soon finished off the British Rifle coy as well.  With both Brit coys broken, it was a 10VP to zero win for the Axis.  However it was a closer battle than that scoreline indicates.   If the Shermans had prevailed in a pretty even shootout, it could well have been very different.  The Brits also made a couple of serious mistakes - they put their portees in range of German HMG's & they gave the German mortars too many good infantry targets.  The British air only killed a couple of tanks, but it severely limited the German's tactics as they didn't dare bunch up their armour.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Nick in Launceston

Two historical games at the club on Thursday.

Nick vs Rob in Flames of War. Nick had British (from two sets of the Open Fire starter set). Rob had German. The scenario was fighting withdrawal. In the end Rob hung on and won -- though the game was close and was one of those games that goes right down to the wire.  Pic below is the British before the Pak 40s opened up from ambush, turning the British 'row of tanks' into a 'row of burning wrecks'

Dennis vs Matt in Flames of War. Apparently Matt had terrible dice, and Dennis managed to walk to victory. I think it may have been closer than described. But it looked like a great game.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

FOW: Operation Cromwell Scenario Test

Mark & Jim's US v. Steve & James' Germans

This was a test of one of our ideas for scenarios for Operation Cromwell in October.  Each army has 2 coys, one is deployed at the start, the other will come on later.  The place where the second coy comes on is told to the umpire secret from the enemy before any deployment.  The two sides place their 1st coy by alternate platoons in their 1/3 of the table as in a FFA.  The second coy comes on in the nominated area in two waves, up to half on turn 3 & the rest on  turn 4. There are 6 objective markers, the 2 in no mans land (on the bridge & at the crossroad) are worth 3 each, the other 4, 2 in each side's zone (on hill tops) are worth 1 each.  Steve & Mark are CIC's.  James in his first visit to Camp Cromwell & Jim also acting as umpire moved the 2nd coys under direction from the CIC's.
Pic taken after the German's 3rd turn - they are on the left.  Their MkIV's in the foreground are their first wave of the 2nd coy.  Stugs of the German 1st coy have already taken the objective on the crossroad.
The US 2nd coy has come on at the opposite end of the table to the Panzers.  The 76mm Shermasn are taking on the Stugs in the village while the other Shermans advance on the Panzergrenadiers on the hill behind.
The Mk IV's are working their way into the US left flank.  The Stugs of the 2nd wave have double across the rear and are fording the creek next to the farm in the German rear.
The Stugs in the village have destroyed the 76mm Shermans for just one loss.  The other Shermans have turned to help, but too late.  The Honey's are moving to attack the Panzergrenadiers.
The 2nd Sherman platoon has followed their cousins to Stug doom.  The 2nd Stug platoon arrived in time to save the Panzergrenadiers from the Honeys.  On the far flank the Mk IV's have chewed their way through the US units with acceptable loses.

At this point we called time after about 2 1/2 hours as a 10:1 German victory.  The US still hold 1 VP, but their 2nd coy has been destroyed & the 1st is doomed, so with technically half an hour left to the 3 hour limit US morale failure is certain.  It was a decisive win for the Germans.  The US were too defensive - they should have sent infantry to attack the Stugs in village to support the US armour.  As it was, the Stugs in cover were able to more than hold their own until reinforcements arrived.

The players all enjoyed the scenario.  It presented the players with challenging decisions to make, it's a bit different to the usual, it's fair to both sides & it provides scope for making transport useful.  The secret location of the 2nd coy entry zone was done by the player showing the umpire a dice in his palm (the dice is not thrown the player selects which side is up).  1=60cm zone from the LH corner down the LH side.  2-4=60cm zones along the rear table edge from left to right.  6=60cm down the RH side. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barries

More friendly practice for the campaign, testing out the next scenario.  The British have to get a wagon train across the table, the French/Canadians have to kill 2/3 of the British.

Jim's Canadians v. Rusty's British

The Canadians are on the left.  Things went pear shaped for the Canadians from the first exchanges of fire.  The Canadians either failed to hit or the Brits passed their morale test, whereas the British fire was usually effective & the Canadian morale usually defective.   The game finish was determined by dice roll & this occurred at the earliest possible moment - before the Canadians had any chance of killing enough enemy to fulfil their victory conditions.  Not a very satisfactory gam for the Canadians. 

Johns' Indians v. Barrie's British

John showed considerably more tactical nouse than his allies in the first game.  His injuns snuck up on the enemy flank before being revealed and had a high time scalping raping and pillaging.  Barrie's force was cut down to the last man.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Flames of War at Rich's

Jim's Panzergrenadiers v. Rich's Soviets

The rain having washed out school soccer Rich was free for a Saturday game.  We played the Surrounded scenario, Germans defending.
In this mission, the defender deploys in the middle 1/3 of the table with 1 immediate ambush.  The attacker deploys at each end of the table with 2 objectives inside the defender's zone. 

The Germans have placed a panzergrenadier platoon around the objectives on each side, artillery on the right, Stugs & Pumas in the centre & Paks in immediate ambush on the right.  Their HMGs are attached to the panzergrenadiers.  The Soviets have 2 Strelk coys on the near left, a big battery on the near right, Straff & T34's behind the wood far right & a mixed HQ unit next to them.
The Germans felt a bit insecure when the artillery took out 2 Stugs on the first turn.  The remaining 2 Stugs & the Pumas moved to the left & witht he help of an HMG and poor saves decimated the RH Strelk unit.  The survivors hunkered down around the house by the road.  The Stugs then moved back into the village to engage the T34's which have moved to the centre (behind the houses near the table edge).  On the right, the Straff assaulted the guns but were driven back by support from the panzergrenadiers.

The Stugs & Paks disposed of the T34's.  The Germasn then felt the panzergrens could hold off the Straff on their own so moved the Paks to fire on the artillery & the Stugs to support the other flank.  The Strelk on the left tried to assault the objective, but were stopped by the panzergrenadier's firepower.  The panzergrenadiers then moved up on the other Strelk with support from the Pumas & Stugs.  The Strelk broke and that was game over.

The Germans used the classic central position tactics of switching mobile reserves between fronts to good effect.  A couple more good salvoes from the Soviet artillery might have fatally hurt the Germans, but they used up all their luck on turn 1.  Maybe they tried to change targets too often.