Tally Ho!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Victory is Near, WWII Campaign - Week 4 battle 2

The second battle of this turn saw us returning again to the Russian-held river crossing that marked the German start-line for the campaign. As this as the German's third attack on this table they received a heavy artillery bombardment and +2 point of reinforcements.

Regular readers will be familiar with this table by now - the shallow stream has two bridges and a ford, with scattered woodland and fields covering most of the ground.

Table from the Russian left

Table from the Russian right
Expecting the Germans to have amour the Russians went for 2 * medium AT guns as their reinforcements. The Germans opted for a mortar, a StuG III and an infantry squad. The Germans picked the StuG as they are beginning to suspect the Panzer IV could be cursed as it seems to rapidly in every battle!

The Russians plan was largely to react to the Germans deployment and try to ensure their precious AT guns could fire at the StuG as they had no other AT capabilities. The Germans for their part spread across the table with the StuG in the centre and infantry overloaded on their left flank opposite the foot bridge.  

Germans deploy on their right

Germans sneak forward in the centre

German infantry on the left flank 

And finally the STuG 

Sensing an infantry assault on the German left the Russians responded by placing additional and both their Maxim's to face this threat. The preprogrammed artillery bombardment rained-down on the Russian's front line but on this occasion fell mostly wide of the mark and caused little damage.
Russian hordes on the right

The all important AT guns - centre piece of the defense 

Russians near the central bridge

The Russians on the left
Seeking to shift the axis of attack the StuG moved from the centre to support the assault on the German left. As it pushed across the table it came under flanking fire from the Russian AT guns deployed near the road bridge. The German's run of bad-luck with their amour continued as the second shot penetrated the side of the StuG and brewed it up.

Germans press forward as the STuG repositions


With this set-back the Germans paused for a re-plan and began to lay down fire on the Russians whilst seeking positions from which they could later launch assaults.

Germans base of fire in the centre

The ford still under Soviet control

The STuG well ablaze

The superior German firepower began to chip-away a the Russians but it was a slow business and the time was ticking-away towards darkness, which would leave the Soviets in possession of the victory markers.

Russians on the right

Germans mass for the attack against the Soviet-held hill

Sensing their moment may be slipping away the Germans launched a series of attacks across the line against the weakened Russian forces. Assaults on both flanks were repulsed due to some poor German rolling. The attack in the centre was pinned-down as it tried to capture the hill dominating the centre of the Russian position by flanking fire from Maxims and AT guns.

Desperate struggle on the German left 

The attack stalls under flanking fire

The main attack grinds to a halt
So a third defensive victory for the Russians at the river crossing but a tense game. Its certainly true that the Germans were unlucky on the melee dice but perhaps they were a little slow in getting their assault underway which meant they did not have time to develop their attack fully. Loss of the StuG and accurate Soviet flanking fire.   

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Victory is near, WWII campaign - Week 4 game 1

The first battle of round 4 featured the Russians attacking the dug-in Germans defending their last line of tables. The Russians attacked this table in the last turn but were unable to break through, so received an additional 2 points of reinforcements.

The Germans again went with 2 * 75mm AT guns and a Panzer IV. The Russians shifted tactics slightly and went with more infantry using 1 * SU-76, 1 * T34-85, 1 * medium mortar, a scout squad and an engineering squad.     
Table from the Russian left - German bunker visible in the centre

Table from the Russian right
The core of the Russian plan was to overload the right flank, attacking with 5 squads of infantry and both the tanks, preceded by the pre-game artillery bombardment. The centre would be screened by the scouts and a smaller force of infantry would threaten the left.

The battle stared with the Russians deploying both tanks and a sizable infantry force in the fields to the right. Partly this was to ensure a rapid advance and partly it was to try and draw-out the Germans tanks  and AT gun, so they would be vulnerable to the pre-programmed bombardment. This proved highly successful with the Russians making rapid progress through the fields and the German AT gun perishing in the bombardment - advantage Russia.

Russian attack deploys

Germans counter with their Panzer IV

The Pak-40 succumbs to artillery fire  
With the Panzer IV forced to stay on overwatch in case the Russian tanks moved, the Russian infantry pushed forward in two waves. The first was initially pinned but the second was able to launch a successful assault by moving through their comrades. Commissar Boss-ski purred with delight at the successful execution of a "pepper-pot". In the same turn the Soviet engineers snuck through the woods and opened-up with a flamethrower on the unfortunate Germans, pinning them.
Russians attack

Engineers open fire on the Germans
Meanwhile in the centre the Soviet scouts advanced through the fields towards the German squads holding the German centre and right. The scouts are low on firepower but are veterans and count cover one level higher. As a result they proved very tough to shift and were able to distract 2 valuable squads of Germans.
Scouts with a maxim in support
With the infantry assault made the Russian tanks popped-out from behind the hill where they were sheltering and attacked the Panzer IV. The fire fight left the SU-76 damaged but the Panzer IV was destroyed, opening up the right flank to attack. The infantry assault smashed through the isolated Germans, turning the flank of the position.  

Panzer IV brews-up

A desperate struggle
The Russians pressed the advantage and pushed through a further two squads of Germans, thus capturing the whole right side along with its jump-off point and victory objective.

Russians assemble for a second attack

Soviets sweep through

Russians clear the right flank
With darkness falling both sides agreed that the Soviets had achieved a decisive victory - very fitting for the 100th anniversary of the Oktober revolution.

Russians celebrate

This write-up makes it sounds like a straight-forward victory for the Soviets but it was in fact a much more tense affair than that for several reasons:
  • The Germans were unlucky with their AT fire and the Panzer IV could have easily done better. Had it survived the main Russian attack would have bogged-down rapidly.
  • There was a key decision to fire on pinned Russian troops when going on over-watch may have been better to have a better chance of stopping a second team assaulting them.
  • The scouts could have been ignored or at least blocked with a smaller force, freeing up troops for the flanks. 
So probably our bet game so far - genuine tension and historic tactics winning out.

T34-85 rumbles up the flank

German commanders lament

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Medieval Arabs completed - Abbasid / Seljuk / Arabian Nights

After just over 2 years painting I've finally completed my long-held dream of producing a medieval Arab army. It started life as a small force for use in Lion Rampant but has been expanded over the last year to a larger army for use in Armati and Kings of War.

I've painted lots of options so should be able to cover Abassid, Seljuk Turks, Fatamid, or Saladin's Saracens.  Most of the figures are Gripping Beast.

The whole army

Left flank


Right flank

In Armati terms the total force comprises
  • Heavy Cavalry x 5
  • Light Cavalry x 7
  • Dismounted Cavalry x 1
  • Foot x 5
  • Skirmishers x 3
  • Light Infantry x 5 (3 bow and 2 javelins)

The light cavalry - mixture of Turcoman, Arabs, and Seljuk

Arab javelin armed lights

The heavy cavalry

Close-up of the heavies

Bow-armed skirmishers

Light infantry with bows

Low quality Arab foot 

Javelin-armed light infantry

Some more lights

Black Guards

Dismounted cavlary

Sword armed foot - often berserkers in KOW battles

Saladin the knight of Islam

A better view of the flag

Sub commander
For about the last 6 months I've also been looking at options to make this a Kings of War army themed along the Arabian nights by the addition of flying carpets, heroes, and an air elemental.
The fantasy elements 

The flying carpets

Flying wizard

Genie in a bottle

Air elemental

So now the next project is to paint a force of Crusaders to oppose them. I'm going for the first Crusade as this should give an army reusable as Normans or early medieval Europe.