Thursday, July 30, 2020


PeterW is going to umpire a Jutland Campaign for us using campaign rules he wrote & used successfully years ago. He is revising & updating his campaign rules,  My Dreadnoughts tactical rules were written for actions of 1 or 2 squadrons a side & need to be simplified to make them suitable for the large fleet action we hope to get.   Today Chris & I fought a small a game to play test my first draft of my Jutland rules.
Chris' British battle cruisers are on the left, Jim's Germans on the right.  Both are in line ahead with DDs & CLs flanking.  Both have a super-dreadnought squadron coming on later from their ends of the table.
The BCs engage at long range as the light ships get out of their way.  The Germans superior range finding allows them to inflict the first hit.
The Brits turn to close the range. 
The British ploy to close the range went tits up when the Lutzow hammered Indominable so hard she had to break off & Siedlitz hit a vital spot on the Tiger & she blew up. 
With every Brit BC now damaged, The Brit's DDs laid a smoke screen to cover a battle turn-away away as the mighty 5th Battle Squadron with 4 Queen Elizabeth class super-dreadnoughts approach. 
Hipper turns his BC away from the QE's as the GHSF III Battle Squadron of 4 late model dreadnoughts approaches. 
The 2 squadrons of super-dreadnoughts steam towards each other as the German BCs lay smoke to cover their retreat.
The two squadrons turn into line on opposing courses as the German DDs move out of the way. 
The squadrons are engaged at extreme range - the biggest guns against the toughest ships.  Both slow down to improve their fire.  Both side occasionally range in a slavo, but at extreme range lose it again.
Margraf has landed two vicious salvoes on Valiant & she has been forced to Break off while Banham did the same to Kaiser.   But the German BC's have now tagged onto the  German line & the Brits decide that 3 ships to 7 is bad odds & that it's time to break off the action.

The Brits lost Tiger sunk while Indominable & Valiant have critical damage forcing them to break off. 3 other ships have significant damage.
For the Germans, Kaiser has broken off with critical damage & 2 BCs have significant damage, but they head for home with no ships sunk claiming victory.

The changes from Dreadnoughts include using smaller ship counters so 2 fit in a hex.  This makes length of a battle line the correct length relative to the ranges.  Not so important in a tactical game, but makes the transition for strategic map to table top work better & will allow the larger fleets we expect the campaign to produce to fit on the table better.  I'm generally simplifying the rules to speed up play but trying to do so without reducing tactical options significantly.  This action only took us an hour, gave us plenty of tactical choices & we both enjoyed it.  My changes worked well & the game pointed to a few opportunities for further improvements - which we'll give another test next Tuesday night before we start the campaign itself.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Crusaders in the desert

As I already had a desert table set up a Crusader battle was a lazy choice for this week's battle.
Chris' Crusaders v. Mark's Muslims.
The Crusaders are on the left. The Arabs have the oasis & the Crusaders need to take it.
On the far flank the Muslims have send forward a cloud of horse archers. On the near flank, the horse archers have fallen back from a charge of Sergeants.  The Christian infantry is advancing slowly in the centre.
On the far flank sergeants have driven the horse archers right back & knights are advancing on the Muslim heavy cavalry on the ridge.  In the centre there is an exchange of bow fire going on.  On the right knights are advancing on the Muslim heavy cavalry on the ridge.
On the left the Muslim horse archers have been driven from the field, but the uphill charge of the knights was met with a shower of hot dice & smashed.
The Christian infantry has moved up preparing to charge in the centre.
On the right the cavalry are engaged, so far indecisively, but some Muslim cavalry are being sent on a flanking manoeuvre.
The initial charge of the Christian archers was supposed to clear out the rabble of Muslim archers for the billmen to get at the main mine behand.  But Oakie was having one of his hot dice nights & the attack failed.  The knights have broken the Muslim heavy cav on the right, but now face horse archers in front & the flanking force behind.
On the left the Sergeants have turned back to attack the Muslim heavy cav on the hill but are making hard work of it.  The Christian billmen have fought their way into the palm grove, but the rest of the Muslim line is holding & Egyptian fanatics are attacking right of centre.  The flank attack has disposed of the knights on the right.
The Sergeants have beaten the Muslim heavy cav on the left but it's too little too late.  The Crusader losses have passed half so they fail their Army Break test.

The Muslims had a good defensive position, used it well, then backed it up with some seriously hot dice in the right places.  An unbeatable combination.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Afternoon BA

John's Afrika Korps v. Jim's 8th Army.
A rerun of the desert scenario Mike & Jim fought a few weeks ago with motorised forces.
The Brits are coming on from the near left.  The Afrika Korps for the far end.  Some Italians are defending the Oasis - which is the objective.
Both sides move their tanks towards ridges with potential hull down advantage as the infantry rush forward.
 The tanks snipe at each other at long range while the infantry dismount for action.
The British infantry have taken half the village, but German fire has reduced the RH unit to 1 fig.
The British infantry have taken the LH sid eof the village, but a German counterattack has re-taken the RH side.  The duel between the tanks has been mainly indecisive with the only loss being the Honey which had bravely pushed forward to support he infantry. 
The German infantry has re-taken the RH side of the village.  The Brits don't have enough infantry left to have any chance of retaking it, so they concede.

So the same result as last time.   Again the Brits drove out the Italians, but couldn't cope with the counterattack of the better equipped Afrika Korps infantry.  My analysis is that the Brits wasted their advantage in armour by getting into an ineffectual long range firefight with the Panzers, rather than rushing forward to give the infantry much needed direct support. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Renaissance remains flavour of the month

We added some  more cavalry & some artillery to last week's forces & tweaked the terrain a bit.
Chris commanded the French again.
 The Imperialists were commanded by Jim on the table & SteveD in Canberra by Zoom.
The French are on the far side of the table. 
The French put 1/2 their cavalry on each flank & artillery in the centre.  The Imperialists put 1/3 of their cavalry on each flank & 1/3 in reserve.  Their pikes form their centre with guns & halbardiers on each side & crossbowmen in the orchards. 
The French are making a general advance.  The Imperialists are moving their reserve cavalry to their left & advancing crossbowmen through the orchards.
On the far flank the French cavalry have charged.  On the near flank the they are delayed by swinging wide to avoid flanking fire from the orchard.
On the left, the Imperialist cavalry repelled the first assault. 
 The French infantry advance was met by a counter-charge by the Lanschnekt pikemen.
On the far flank the Imperialist cavalry supported by crossbow fire from the orchard has got the upper hand & the French cavalry has fallen back.  On the near flank the French cavalry has only now got into a position to charge. In the centre the Landschneckt pikemen have made hole in the French line. 
On the far flank the Imperialist cavalry have now taken the offensive.
Left of centre the French infantry are doing ok, but right of centre the French infantry that attacked the halbardiers are being surrounded by the victorious pikemen from the centre. 
On the near flank, the crossbowmen in the orchard have inhibited the French using their superior numbers against the Imperialist cavalry & the first French charge has been repulsed.
 On the left the Imperialist horse has broken the French horse.
On the right, the French hedgehog has so far held off the converging attack, but the French cavalry has been broken by an Imperialist counterattack.

The French army is now below half strength & fails an Army Break Test.  The Imperialist gained a decisive victory with some good tactics backed up with the right dice.

Over the previous 2 weeks in the period we refined the Renaissance era section in our House Rules rules & this week didn't show up any further need for improvement.  The tricky bit with this period is  the complexities of mixed pike & shot units & we think the rules now do that very well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

More Renaissance Warfare

We selected two roughly equal armies from the troops used last week.
Chris' French had 4 Gendarmes, 4 Heavy Cav, 6 tercios of 1 pike & 2 shot.
Jim's Imperialists had 6 pike units, 6 shot, 4 halbardiers, 8 heavy cavalry.
The Imperialists are on the near side.
The French advance their centre holding their cavalry back.
The Imperialists move their cavalry to the flanks,& advance their pikes to the line of the farmhouse & put arqubusiers in the farm.
Left of centre the French infantry has broken most of the Imperialist shot, but the line of pikes holds firm.  Gendarmes have driven the Imperialist arqubusiers back on the right of the farm, but the pikes prevent further advance.
In the centre the infantry fight is still indecisive with the French superior shot negated by the Imperialist bigger pike blocks. On the right the imperialists are now attacking though wary of the Gendarmes.  On the left half the Imperialist cavalry are moving around the wood on the French right flank.
On the right, the gendarmes have broken the end pike block & broken thru the Imperialist line.
MAD continues in the centre.  On the lrft, the Imperialist flanking move got ;lucky & broke half teh French horse there.
On the left, a French counterattack has turned the tables on the Imperialist flanking move.  The Gendarmes have fallen back to avoid a flank attack by the Imperialist horse.
On the right the French have got on top with the Gendarme's renewed attack breaking half the Imperialist horse & their infantry finally seeing off the halbardiers on the end of their line.  The halbardiers on the Imperialist left have also been beaten off.  But the French gains on teh flanks are totally negated by the sudden collapse of their centre.  More than half their infantry units there have been broken, so the remainder fail a divisional Break test.  Despite heavy losses, the Imperialists have won a close run & very enjoyable little battle.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Pavia 1524

This scenario is based on Pavia 1525.  I found several accounts of the battle & found that some were so totally different they seemed like a different battle.  This scenario is loosely based on Oman's version with the OOBs heavily influenced by what figures we have.  Mike commanded the Imperialists & Jim the French.
The French are besieging Pavia.  The Imperialist relief force was camped beyond the Vernacular Brook running along the far end of the table, faced by the French line of contravallation.  Other French forces were camped around the city.  The Imperialists successfully made an overnight flank march & at dawn the French found their enemy on their side of the brook on their flank.
 The Imperialist army advanced on the main French force beside the brook, pike & shot on their left, cavalry on their right & halbardiers in reserve.  The French army's Swiss pike men & some halbardiers deployed to face them with arquebusiers in front & cavalry on their flank.  More French are on the move from the far end of the table.
 The Imperialist cavalry attack the French cavalry in the centre.
The cavalry fight is inconclusive, but the Imperialist cavalry draw back as French mounted crossbowmen & arquebusiers deploy on their flank. Next to the brook arquebusiers & crossbowmen exchange fire in front of the pike blocks.
The Imperialists have pulled their right back to a new line facing the French left while their crossbowmen have driven off the French arquebusiers beside the brook.  The first charge of the Landsknechts pikemen has been repelled by the Swiss pikes. 
In the centre, the French cavalry is neutralised by a string of pike blocks with arquebusiers lurking behind & in the woods.  Beside the brook the Swiss are about to break.  On the far flank the French left has finally closed on the Imperialist right.
The French right is broken.  Their only hope now is for their left to break through.  The pikes & shot on he end of their line are forcing the Imperialist cavalry back but the Landsknecht swordsmen have beaten off the first charge of the French halbardiers. 
A counterattack by the Landsknecht swordsmen has broken the French attack kicking their losses up to 50% so the French fail their Army Break test.  So we have an Imperialist victory like the real thing.

The French probably blew it when they failed to follow up the retreat of the Imperialist cavalry.  They thought the infantry coming on from the left would deal with the Imperialist right flank while the cavalry could support their right.  But the cavalry was rendered ineffective by a line of pike blocks with shot support & the Imperialists had time to put up a sound defence on their right.