Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Play Testing for Operation Cromwell V

Preparations for our annual FOW doubles comp, Operation Cromwell V, to be played 11-12 Oct, are just about complete.  I'm happy with the scenarios & am fine tuning the terrain.  We have a full quota of entrants: 4 Axis & 4 Allied teams.  Armies are 2 coys totalling 2,500 pts.  The 4 Axis teams will play each of the 4 Allied teams in 4 different scenarios, each on an 8'x6' table specifically designed for the scenario. 

Kampfgruppe Kromwell: Steve & James (Panzers & Panzergrenadiers)
Cromwell's Warts: Jim & Chris (Kiwi Rifles)

Tonight we play tested the Djebel Ali Baba scenario - a fight for a strategic mountain and adjacent passes.  Steve's team-mate for the comp, NickB is in Launceston, so James helped out tonight.
The Germans won 6:4 though the death roll was much more in their favour than that.  The scenario itself is good, but we found a few issues with the terrain where we think could improve the scenario by making negative tactics less attractive by opening up more opportunities for attack. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

M&T at Nick's

Today John & I took M&T to Nick's to introduce him the genre.
My mission as the British was to burn the 3 buildings on the left, coming on from the near edge.   My Militia shot up the French regulars & their few survivors retreated up the road behind their Indians in the orchard.  My Indians fought off the Militia in the big building (with the roof off) and then set it alight.   All was going well until the turn my militia in the foreground got all their cards first up & advanced to set fire to the nearest building.  But then the British Militia in reserve came on from the left with all 4 cards to come.  With no actions available the British militia was helpless for the rest of the turn as they were attacked from the left by the militia & the right by the Indians who came down the road.  A last lunge at victory by trying to take out the surviving French regulars with my Indians & firing the third house was stopped by good shooting by their 3 survivors.  I blame my defeat on being forced to use British troops for the first time.  I was quite discombobulated.

We tried out a computer program I wrote to select the cards, shuffle them and deal them out - with a touch screen netbook on the table.   I found a little glitch in the system near the end of the first turn & we reverted to cards to compare - only to find after a couple of turns that my Indians had been short changed by a card slipping to the floor undetected.   We reverted to the program for the last turn & at least my Indians got all the moves again, even it was too little too late.  The verdict on the computer assist v. using the cards: A one-all draw today, but I know how to fix the minor computer issue, nothing will stop human error.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Operation Cromwell Practice and Force on Force

Operation Cromwell practice in Launceston.

Not much will be said of this.  The British referred to the US troops as 'our Italians' after Kasserine pass, and in this case they lived up to that name.  What's more, they were trounced by a combined force of Italians and Germans.  I think the US managed to kill one tank and a few motorcycle stands -- but that was it.  Nick and Matt as US, Starn and Rob as Italians / Germans.

On another table, there was an impressive game of Force on Force with Doug back after a long absence.

The battle was the raid on Tora Bora by Delta force to get Bin laden.  Dougs Delta Force troops were massacred, but they did manage to guide a bomb down onto Bin Laden, so the scenario was a narrow victory to Doug.

Also, I really like Force on Force, but I thought this picture of duelling rule books was appropriate!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bolt Action at Good Games then Operation Cromwell Testing

Bolt Action at Good Games
Having enjoyed last week's expedition to Good Games, this afternoon I met Chris there for more Bolt Action.  While the place is primarily focused on fantasy games, it is a convivial venue where even grizzled historical wargamers are made to feel welcome.  We used our 2014 Cancon armies, my Germans fighting Chris's Soviets in the Maximum Attrition scenario (which is basically a Free For All).
The Germans got on top early and never let the Soviets recover.  Chris did have one good rocks-off moment though - after the Germans got one of their best infantry units into the RH house Chris's heavy mortars ranged in next turn and totally destroyed them in one salvo.   The Germans got their own rocks-off moment a bit later when their MkII swung around the back of the wood into the rear of the T34 and put a 20mm cannon shell up its exhaust pipe. 

Flames of War at Camp Cromwell
Back at Camp Cromwell in the evening we test played one of the proposed scenarios for Operation Cromwell, our annual FOW teams comp which is coming up on the weekend of 11-12 October.  Kampfgruppe Kromwell commanded by Steve & Chris fought Cromwell's Ironsides Commanded by Leigh & Rich.
The scenario is similar to the standard Surrounded Mission, but tweaked for a big table (the Operation Cromwell format being armies of 2 coys totalling 2,500 pts on 8x6' tables).  Tonight the Allies held off the German attack on two fronts quite comfortably.  The scenario looked pretty fair with the Allies putting up a sound defence against a less than optimal attack, but I noted a few issues for improvement.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Walcourt Scenario from the Pike & Shotte Book

The Pike & Shotte book has a scenario based on the battle of Walcourt 1689.  We don't have any 1689 figures so we adapted it for 7 Years War figures using roughly the same number of units.  We are happily using Hail Caesar ancients for rules so why not?  We also amalgamated the small brigades to make 4 divisions each.

We brought on 1 division each for the first 4 turns, each time dicing for which one and which 2' strip of the rear table edge it would come on in.  Steve & I commanded the Dutch/British & Mike & Chris commanded the French.
Both sides got a cavalry and an infantry division on early on the same flank - Jim's Dutch divisions on their left & Chris's French divisions on their right (pic taken behind the Dutch/Brit table edge).  The Dutch cavalry got only their front line over the fence, which was left unsupported when they were charged by French cavalry and was beaten back with some losses.
Mike's French infantry division came on the far corner while his cavalry division came on in the centre.  Steve's British divisions both came on in the centre.
The Dutch cavalry lost a unit then fell back behind the fence.  The French cavalry fell back as their infantry & artillery came up.  The Dutch infantry are moving into the wood near the church.  Steve's British cavalry is moving to the left while the slow advance of the French on the far flank has given him plenty of time to form a defensive line behind a hedge with his Scots infantry.
The Dutch & Brit cavalry has formed a combined mass and is advancing on the French foot in the left foreground.  In the centre, the French cavalry crossed the hedge and caught a musketeer unit in the open.  The foot failed to make it into hedgehog & was ridden down.  But a wood full of musketeers and pikemen has persuaded the French cavalry to halt. 
The French infantry in the distance continue a glacial advance while Mike's French cavalry are having second thoughts about taking on a line of Scotsmen behind a hedge. In the centre the French cavalry have fallen back & the Dutch foot are advancing again.   The French foot got into hedgehog & the massed Allied cavalry charge came to a halt pistols drawn.  The French guns were ridden down between the hedgehogs and the Dutch guns are being dragged up closer to the hedgehogs.
On the far flank the French cavalry are withdrawing as their foot finally come up.  The hedghogs are being whittled away by pistol & artillery fire.  The French cavalry has been partly surrounded by Dutch & British horse and is doomed.
The French infantry on the far flank is finally getting into action while Mike's cavalry is coming to help their right.  But it's far too late.  The Dutch infantry blunder beautifully to charge out of the field to finish off one hedgehog & the other has been shaken under heavy fire.  With half their while no enemy divisions are broken the French fail the army break test.

The random deployment made an interesting start for the scenario & ensures that every time it's played will be different. The French got the worst of the deployment with an infantry division coming on along way from the action & then was slow to advance.  But they also got no value from their 2nd cavalry division as they did a Grand Old Duke of York trick with it.  The Dutch/Brits saw the weakness in the French dispositions and despite early reverses exploited it.

The paper/scissors/stone of pike, shotte, artillery & horse is a feature  of this era & our slightly modified Hail Caesar replicates it beautifully.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nick in Launceston -- FOW and FOF

Nick vs Matt in FOW

A 1500 point late war bash -- 11th Armoured vs Kampfguppe Spindler somewhere in the Netherlands.

This looked to be over on turn 1 when Matt, with his new FOW dice tin, shot 6 times with 88's needing a 5 or 6, and hit 5 times, destroying the British commander, second in command, and one whole platoon. This was roughly 1/2 the British force! Some more shots from Pak 40's only managed a bail. The British slowly fought back, despatching the 88's, then the Pak 40's, and then the StuG G assault guns that arrived from reserve, and then the heavy artillery that arrived from reserve. All of a sudden, Matt had infantry dripping with Panzerfausts that couldn't be attacked, but only some mortars that could reach out and touch the British. An extended stalemate lasted a few turns until Nick launched an assault with his one infantry platoon. The Germans didnt manage to stop the assault, and they were pushed off the objective. Once out of their trenches, the tank machine guns took their toll, and Nick managed to steal a victory.

Dennis vs Daniel in FOF

A spectacular looking game, where Daniel's US special forces were actually rather mediocre, and ended up being overrun by Taliban.

See the detailed write up on Daniels blog: http://cailuswargaming.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/the-battle-for-arghendab-bridge.html

Muskets & Tomahawks at Barries

Another day at Barries for the Muskets & Tomahawks world wide campaign. We played two rounds of 3 games with a convivial lunch in between.
When I downloaded the pics I took I was reminded that my bushwalking camera isn't near as good as my Ipad or SLR for taking photos indoors.  This is the best of a bad bunch of pics.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Nubeena Sherman Imortalised

In 2010 I posted a pic of an engineering vehicle on a Sherman chassis in a boatyard at the small town of Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula which I discovered while on a yacht cruise.
The blog was noticed by a South African chap, David Strauss, who's life's work is making models of every vehicle ever made on a Sherman chassis.  I sent him the pics I took and now he has sent me pics of his finished model.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Afternoon at Good Games

A new Games Store has opened in Hobart - Good Games in Brisbane St between Elizabeth & Argyle.  They are of course mainly concerned with fantasy & sci-fi, but they are also supportive of historical games.  They quite reasonably don't carry stock in historical stuff (we being such a fickle lot), but will order stuff in.  They have a well lit & spacious area with a coffee & snack bar available for all comers to play games in.  Thursday is designated historical wargames day in their calendar. 
Today I took some Bolt Action troops & terrain along and introduced Munt from the Bunker Rats & a young bloke named Miles to the game.
Munt chose to be British & as can happen was put on the back foot when his artillery barrage turned friendly in turn 2.  With plenty of non-historical experience Miles soon picked up on the game system  & took full advantage of Munt's difficulties.  It turned into a crushing German victory but the lads clearly enjoyed the game. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hail Caesar: Rome v. the Germans

Germans: Mike, James & Chris:
3 infantry & 1 cavalry divisions

Romans: Jim, Mark & SteveD:
2 legionary (inf) & 2 auxillia divisions (mixed cav & inf)

The Romans are on the near side of the table, deployed with the legionaries in the centre & auxilia on each flank.  The Germans cavalry of 4 medium units looked formidable on the far flank & not surprisingly the Germans advanced in echelon right flank forward.  The Romans put their champion of saving lost causes with hot dice, Oakie, on their left and also advanced in echelon right forward.
Bad command dice delayed the German right.  The Roman CIC saw that his horse was little use on the right and started moving it across their rear of his army. 
The German cavalry have now advanced & Oakie has counterattacked with his single heavy cavalry unit.  While their 9 command hasn't entirely eliminated chaos from the Roman line they have seized the initiative in the centre largely countering the barbarian charge bonus by getting in first.
On the left Oakie's cavalry is doing remarkably well, more than holding its own.  The centre is a confused mess of charge and countercharge, but the Romans are getting the upper hand.  On the near flank, the German foot have come out of the wood to attack the auxilia archers.
On the left the German horse has finally been able to use their numbers to gain the upper hand, but Oakie's archers are hanging on grimly while his auxilia spearmen are helping break the German foot.   The Roman cavalry is still moving slowly across the rear (the CIC is a political appointment & only 7 command and it shows). On the near flank, the German archers broke the auxilia archers, but a legionary cohort about faced, attacked the victors in flank & broke them.  Two of the German infantry divisions are now broken & thanks to Oakie's heroic fight on the left the Romans have lost none.  Half an army's divisions broken before  the enemy loses any equals army breaks & game over.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday afternoon Bolt Action

Jim's Germans v. Chris' Soviets

Chris & I dusted off our Cancon Bolt Action armies to celebrate his return from his extended tour of the battlefields of Europe.
The dice decreed  the  Envelopment scenario, Germans defending.  The Germans have half their force on the table within 12" of the back edge of the playing area (which is the back of the wood on the left rear of the pic), the rest in Reserve coming on turn 2 or later.  The Soviets have chosen to have 2 units (a T34 & a Smg squad) on flank march.  The rest have started 12" from the RH edge of the table.

In this scenario, the attackers gain 1 VP per enemy unit destroyed plus 2 VPs for any unit in the defender's deployment zone or 3 for any unit got off the enemy's table edge.   The defenders get 2 VPs per enemy unit destroyed.

Things started bad for the Soviets when they failed to get a preliminary bombardment (needing a 1 to miss out).  The Germans started with infantry just behind the village & they quickly occupied the houses.  The terrain and the dice favoured the Germans and they systematically picked off the Soviet units as they advanced.
When the T34 came on in the German flank it shot badly and was immediately blown away by panzerfausts loaded with 6's.  The Soviets conceded with 8 units of their 10 destroyed for no German units lost.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Napoleonic 28mm

Chris made up tonight scenario.  The Austrians are retreating before a superior French force, but have been ordered to hold the vital bridge and crossroad.

The Austrians have one infantry division deployed on the river, the other infantry division & the cavalry are still over the river.  The French have just come onto the table.

The Austrian infantry have formed a double line behind the river.  Their cavalry charged the advancing French cavalry and beat them back, but lost a unit in the process.
The French infantry have formed lines to fire over the river.  The French cavalry have advanced again.

French counterbattery fire has broken the smaller Austrian battery.  The Austrian cavalry has retreated over the river, but all units are now shaken.  The French cavalry have used their superior command to has fall back, rally their shaken unit and advance again.
Both sides are losing battalions in the firefight., but the French artillery has advanced to close range is really hurting the Austrians.  The French cavalry has crossed the creek and has broken the Austrian horse.  The Austrian grenadier battalion ahs been sent right to cover the flank.
The French cavalry has turned right and charged the Austrian infantry which had gambled on staying in line & finishing off the weakened cavalry with musketry before they could charge.  Their musketry wasn't effective enough and the lines were ridden down.

That broke the Austrian infantry division on the right so it was game over.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Stalingrad FOW Campaign at the Kingston Bunker

Over the last 3 days I've been involved in a Stalingrad FOW campaign organised by the Kingston Bunker Rats.  It wasn't a map based campaign but a typically FOW style structured system for linking a series of battles in 5 rounds of 5 battles each - one battle on each of Thursday & Friday nights, then 3 on Saturday.  Each player had his own 750 pt force and each side had a pool of support troops that the CIC's could allocate out to the players according to the importance, mission, terrain & likely opponent in each of their battles.  Between each round the CIC's determined which tables could be fought on by who & the allocation of supports.  VPs were accumulated by each side by battle results, but also be holding key objectives.  The airfield table was particularly important because if the Russians took it, the Germans suffered even worse supply problems until they took it back.

Mark & I fought for the Germans, Leigh for the Soviets.  It was hard work fighting for the Riech.  After deployment we had to test every platoon for "Deprivation" with the test worse still after the Airfield was lost (by me) in the first round.  This test lead to most of my units being "Cold & Hungry", Low on Ammo", Too Week to Fight" or Lost the Will to Fight" with penalties regrettably appropriate to the title of the condition.  They might also roll "You'll never Take Me Alive" or "Fanatical Will to Survive", but these didn't seem to happen often, and certainly not to the poor platoon that happened to be in the very front of the onrushing horde.

There was one long table set up fro a long grind with the front moved back each round as the Soviets pushed the Germans back a bit more each round.

In the other room there were 8 other smaller tables, an airport table, one open ground "flanking" table and several city tables, all with pretty amazing terrain.

The airfield table that I lost in round one & no one managed to take back.  In this battle and the next my panzergrenadiers were screwed by a combination of lack of ammo for the MG42's & fog which let the Ivans get up close before we could kill them.

The wheat silo table finally gave me a win, when good work by the previous German player had gained ground (the strings mark the front lines after the previous round) and my Cold and Hungry stormtroopers from support threw enough 6's to overcome their handicaps to storm the silo.

My last battle was on the long table where the Germans had retreated almost far as they could & I had to hold the line.  But I was also closer the back of the table & would get my reserves sooner.  The fact that my opponent had to stand on a stool to reach over the table was little consolation when faced a massed battery of heavy guns, a full T34 platoon & the usual infantry dripping with flamethrowers.  The big guns blew my front line away, but they bought time for me to bring up my reserves and stop the Ivans at the river (which was frozen so crossable). 

Mark & I had to leave before the paperwork was completed, but I expect the overall result was a Soviet win.  I'll add more info here when I get it.


Edit by Nick

After Jim left the Bunker Rats re-arranged the city tables into one big table.  Pictures below

Friday, September 05, 2014

Nick in Launceston - Bolt Action with Dennis

A couple of weeks ago you had to fight to get a table -- this week the club was almost empty. But Nick and Dennis had a pre-planned Bolt Action game. Again using 15mm figures.


Army lists were:

US Infantry

From Bolt Action, page 126

Compulsory Veteran Lieutenant (p.146) - First Lieutenant (90 pts)
- Additional man (13 pts)

Compulsory Ranger, Airborne, or Veteran Infantry Squad (p.148) - NCO, 9 men (130 pts)
- Arm man with BAR (5 pts)
- 10x Arm man with anti-tank grenade (20 pts)

Compulsory Ranger, Airborne, or Veteran Infantry Squad (p.148) - NCO, 9 men (130 pts)
- Arm man with BAR (5 pts)
- 10x Arm man with anti-tank grenade (20 pts)

Ranger, Airborne, or Veteran Infantry Squad (p.148) - NCO, 9 men (130 pts)
- Arm man with BAR (5 pts)
- 11x Arm man with anti-tank grenade (22 pts)

Veteran Forward Observer (p.147) - Air Forward Observer (90 pts)
- 2x Additional men (26 pts)

.30 cal Machine Gun Team (p.149) - Veteran Machine Gun Team (65 pts)

.30 cal Machine Gun Team (p.149) - Veteran Machine Gun Team (65 pts)

.30 cal Machine Gun Team (p.149) - Veteran Machine Gun Team (65 pts)

60mm Light Mortar Team (p.150) - Veteran Light Mortar Team (46 pts)

Bazooka Team (p.149) - Veteran Bazooka Team (78 pts)

1005 Points, 10 Platoons


German Infantry

From Bolt Action, page 126

Compulsory Regular Lieutenant (p.127) - Second Lieutenant (50 pts)
- 2x Additional Soldier (20 pts)

Compulsory Wermacht Infantry Squad (p.129) - NCO, 9 men (100 pts)
- Arm man with SMG (3 pts)
- 2x Arm man with Light Machine Gun (another man becomes a loader) (40 pts)
- 2x Arm man with Panzerfaust (10 pts)

Compulsory Wermacht Infantry Squad (p.129) - NCO, 9 men (100 pts)
- Arm man with SMG (3 pts)
- 2x Arm man with Light Machine Gun (another man becomes a loader) (40 pts)
- 2x Arm man with Panzerfaust (10 pts)

Medic (p.128) - Medic (30 pts)

Regular Forward Observer (p.128) - Artillery Forward Observer (100 pts)
- 2x Additional men (20 pts)

Machine Gun Team (p.130) - Regular Machine Gun Team (50 pts)

StuG III/IV (p.136) - Regular StuG III/IV with MMG (245 pts)

Transport (p.142) - Regular Sd Kfz 251 (84 pts)

Transport (p.142) - Regular Sd Kfz 251 (84 pts)

Transport (p.142) - Regular Kubelwagen (21 pts)

1010 Points, 10 Platoons

The result was a close game that Nick won 13 to 10 victory points.  The key differentiator was the Kubelwagen that Nick managed to sneak around and off the board for free victory points -- super cheesy!!!!  The army was surplus FOW figures individually based -- they worked well!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

More 28mm Napoleonics

Jim & Chris' Austrians v. Mike & Steve's French

I made up a scenario on the spot for tonight's battle using our Hail Caesar variant for 28mm figs in the black powder era, Hail Frederick.

Both armies have 3 columns converging on the village and vital crossroad.  The pic is taken after the first move.  Steve's column moving down the road on the left foreground have already deployed into line and started to advance.  Mike's column is coming down the road from the far edge.  Mike's cavalry is coming down the road from the far left corner.  The Austrians have two infantry columns converging on the village, Jim's this side and Chris's on the right.  Jim's cavalry division is on the ridge at the far right corner of the table.

Mike's infantry column on the far side of the village has got there first.   His cavalry is moving around the wood to cover the infantry's left flank.  Everyone else is having command problems and are deploying slowly.

 Steve's infantry has moved up into musket range (12" in Hail Frederick).  Mike's infantry in the houses are holding Chris back.  The head of his column has just failed to charge home on the head of Jim's column.  On the other side of the village half the Austrian cavalry have just charged and taken the French battery of 2 guns, then rallied back.  The other half of the cavalry failed to advance leaving their comrades out on a limb. 

In the foreground Jim's infantry is hard pressed and giving ground (the French have 6 dice to 5 in musket fire).  Chris has lost units, but his gun is pounding the village & the French are hurting too.   On the far flank a furious cavalry melee is going on. 

In the foreground Jim's infantry is melting away.  In the centre Chris is assaulting the village ina  desperate attempt o take it before the Austrian left collapses.  The cavalry fight has petered out with both sides too badly hurt to continue and rallying back.

Chris' attack on the village has failed and his division is broken.   The Austrian cavalry is too badly hurt to advance.  The Austrian left is outnumbered and break next turn to end the battle in a French victory.

The Austrians cavalry was their strength (2 cuirassiers & 2 dragoons v. 2 dragoons & 2 hussars) & after their gamble with the charge on the guns came off they had a significant advantage.  They did break 2 French cavalry and 2 guns while losing only 1 dragoon, but the cuirassiers were shaken and the surviving dragoon nearly so they could not exploit the win.  They had to win decisively so they could assist the infantry.  As it was the French infantry won the day.

The Hail Frederick variations to HC have really tightened up over the last few battles as we filled in a few gaps & fine tuned them.  As usual we had a quick & entertaining battle that even the losers enjoyed.  (I got my rocks off charging the guns with my dragoons).