Tally Ho!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Victory is near, WWII camapign - week 3, battle 1

As we enter the third turn of the campaign both sides are on the attack. The Germans are still trying to cross the river in square 9 and the Russians are assaulting fortified positions in square 1.

The first game was the Germans renewing their attack on the river crossing. For this game we increased the pregame bombardment to 6 rounds of fire from 3. The Germans went with a single Tiger as their reinforcements. The table was as before - heavily wooded with three crossings, but the river assumed to be mostly dried-up.

Overview of the board from the Russian left 
As with previous games the Germans spread their forces across the table, with infantry on both flanks in the woods and more infantry plus the Tiger in the centre. The pregame bombardment proved wholly ineffective, either hitting the wrong place or missing the target by too wide a margin.

The central attack forms up

Russians advance to hold the river

Germans sneaking around the left flank

The German right - largely static

Some German sniping
After some initial caution the Germans eventually deployed their ace card - the Tiger - right in the centre of the table ready to lead the advance. It headed straight for the main bridge across the river in the centre of the Russian position.    

The Tiger advances

Tiger's eye view of what awaits
This was a bold move as the Russians had laid a trap with both their AT guns concealed in woods and trained on the bridge.
The trap is laid
Bold is not always wise though and as the Tiger trundled over the bridge and into the heart of the Russian position some exceptional dice were thrown. Three 10s in a row from the Russians left the Tiger brewed-up in the middle of the road.
With their main attacking weapon destroyed the Germans then relapsed into a long period of exchanging fire with the Russians deployed opposite them. This actually proved surprisingly effective with the Soviets slowly worn-down and the German left flank largely cleared of Russian infantry.

Germans in the centre form a base of fire

Russian right exchanges fire

Russian left

Germans clear their left flank
As the light faded the Germans advanced across the rover forcing the Russians to redeploy their last reserves to block the attack on the German left that penetrated deep into the Russian position. This was sufficient to stall the attack but the Russians were thinly spread and with more time the victory could have been the Germans. In the end a 6 - 2 win on points to Russia.
Scramble to the flank

Germans stall on the river assault

Russian centre stands firm
This was certainly the best of the German attacks to date and should have been a win for them but for two factors. Firstly their infantry attack could have been made earlier and in greater strength thus allowing time for this to effect the outcome of the game. Secondly the Tiger charge was fairly suicidal and so took this powerful asset out of the game far too early.

Tiger Tiger burning bright...
 A rule change we discussed was to allow some coordination between fire teams all shooting at the same target so there is a cumulative effect. The following rule is proposed

Optional: Instead of firing individually, up to 2 fire teams may provide supporting fire to another. The supported team receives +1 for each supporting team, maximum +2.

So in the case of a standard team supporting another (e.g. deploying a whole squad) you get the same score as you would for a large fire team, as now. You may still choose though to fire as two teams in the hopes of doing greater damage.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Forward, Victory is near - WWII camapign, week 2 battle 2

The first battle of turn 2 saw the Russians successfully expands their bridgehead and move towards the German baseline. In this second battle we see the Germans still trying to force their way across the river and begin their drive to victory.

For this scenario we made two tweaks to favour the attacker. Firstly we assumed the sun had come out and so the river was largely dried-up, so counting as rough ground. Secondly we allowed the attacker some pre-programmed artillery. They got 3 medium artillery strikes, which must be aimed at Jump-Off points, be within the first 3 turns, and be predetermined. The battlefield itself was heavily wooded, offering ample cover to both sides.
Table from the Russian right

Table from the German right with a broken-down Hannomag  
The German's preprogrammed artillery was targeted at the ford on their right and the bridge in the centre, arriving in turns 1 and 2. The Russians chose to ignore it and deployed early, which proved a good decision as the artillery strikes did little damage due to some poor dice.

If you go down to the woods today...

Russians guarding the foot bridge on the German left 

The central bridge
The Germans chose to deploy their forces across the front of the Russian positions with infantry squads spread thinly across the board.  On the German right they deployed their Panzer, hoping to work it through the woods on that flank.
Germans in the centre

Panzer sneaking through the woods 

Russians on the German right

With most of the Germans deployed the game settled into a exchange of fire at fairly long-range which was causing limited damage to both sides.  The Russians deployed their 2 * AT guns in a position where it could cover the dried-up river at a point where the Panzer would need to cross.

The AT battery arrrives

Germans approach the ford

Face-off across the river

At this point the Germans felt they were bogged-down and so rolled the dice by advancing the Panzer to break the deadlock. As it dashed across the river it shrugged-off several rounds of AT fire before engaging the gunners. Poor rolling by the Germans and good rolls from the Russians eventually told and the Panzer brewed-up mid-river.   
The Panzer advances

They shoot, they miss

The AT guns find their range
At this point the German attack began to stall so it was agreed that the game was a draw, which means the Germans must attack again to break through.

Germans on the left well entrenched

Brewed-up Panzer

We concluded that the pregame bombardment was a useful addition but needs to be more powerful. So for the next round of games we will use 6 strikes from heavy artillery instead.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Forward, Vicotry is near - WWII Campaign, week battle 1.5

I've titled this "battle 1.5" as we fought a non-campaign battle this week, but using one of the campaign maps. We had two returning players and the planned German attack promised to be a cagy affair, so I decided we would instead play a game that did nt count towards the main campaign to give people further practice.
The game played is one that will likely appear later in the campaign as the Germans assault a defensive position featuring a bunker and some trenches. In Fire Team bunkers are treated as super heavy tanks rather than as BUAs. In this scenario the bunker can either accommodate an AT gun or two HMGs or an infantry section. The table was heavily wooded with a more open area having been cleared in front of then bunker.
The view from the German right

The view from the German left
The Germans initial plan was to deploy half their troops in the centre of the board opposite the hard cover and then to scout the woods on  their left flank. The Russians responded by occupying the defences and covering the flanks by securing the wooded areas.   
Germans in the centre under fire

More Germans pinned in the fields

Germans sneaking onto the flanks

Russians on the German right

The main line of resistance

The Russians on the German left flank

There then followed a tentative advance by the Germans in the centre which resulted in the loss of a Panzer 4 to the bunker and the infantry teams becoming pinned down in the fields in front of the Russians positions. After some head scratching the Germans then switched plans and began to attack instead on their left with a StuG III supported by infantry. This met with some success ousting the first line of Russian defenders but the sneaky Soviets were able to reinforce the position and so hold off the flank attack.
The game was declared a Russian victory as the German attack ran out of steam. The post game analysis was mixed. Firstly the Germans could have largely ignored the centre and focused most of the troops against the Russian flanks to achieve a greater superiority.  Secondly we agreed that we would increase the size of the German forces by adding a free weapons section and reduce the Russians slightly.

Close-up of the bunker with a Russian 45mm AT gun



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Another 28mm flying carpet - Jarvis, Ophidian Obsessed Academic

I've been busy painting more Arabs / Turks for the Crusades but found time for a quick foray into more of the fantasy Persian  army I've been building in parallel. This time its a wizard mounted on a carpet.

The model is a resin figure from Mantic Games - Jarvis the wizard. Its my first attempt at such a small resin figure having only previously done vehicles. The detail is lovely and sharp but it was slightly hair-raising cutting the completed figure the sprue knowing how brittle they are.

Jarvis, Ophidian Obsessed Academic


The construction is the same method as the previous batch.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Forward, Victory is near - WWII campaign week 2, game 1

The second turn of the campaign has two battles as both sides launch attacks. The first battle fought was the Russian attack in the north against a small village surrounded by farm land. The village dominated the eastern side and fields the west with a large hill and the village centre as the attacking Russians victory objectives.

The fields to the west

The village on the east side 

Close-up of the village and a wrecked Hannomag - nice models so they will appear again! 


The Setup

Both sides have rather different plans, which makes for an interesting game. Hauptmann Koch opted not to defend the hill or the Jump Off Points in the western part of the table, but instead to focus all the German troops in the village and the fields to the east. The theory was they would destroy the Russians in this sector and seek a win on casualties.

Fallschirmjäger in the fields

FSJ occupy the village
The Russians had a somewhat opposite plan - they would mass their armour in the fields to the west and attack towards the hill. The village would be screened and infiltrated if possible.

KV-1 and SU-76 seeking to flank the Germans 

Infantry mass across the table 
Russians deploy to flank the village but are outnumbered


The Game

The battle opened with the Russians making rapid progress unopposed in the fields to the west. I've very few shots of that as there was no meaningful action against this half of the Russian forces. Near the village things were more intense though. The Russians deployed on a hill overlooking the village and in the fields surrounding it. Both sides began to bombard the other with mortars that pinned a few units and killed a Russian Maxim team. 

FSJ in the village under mortar fire - it made them duck but little else

Critically though the Germans had elected not to garrison the church which allowed the Russians to infiltrate the building and contest the victory marker in the centre. This was likely an oversight not a deliberate plan.
Sneaky Russians occupy the church
In the fields to the east of the village both sides hunkered down unable to see each other, leaving the Germans to exchange fire with the Russians on the hill to their front. In this uneven fight where only the Germans could ever be the winners, but it did keep most them busy for much of the game.

Mexican standoff in the corn
With the Germans largely static the Russians pushed forward. They reinforced their position in the church and were able to overrun the German AOP who was left isolated in field to the rear of the church.  
Russians built-up in the church continues 

The German AOP and a JOP is overrun.

Having finally cleared the hill of Russians the Germans now advanced a section in an attempt to flank the Russian weapons teams firing into the village. They made a crucial error though and came in sight of the KV-1 that had finally made it across to the village. There were no casualties but raking machine gun fire pinned them and prevented them from competing their attack.  

Germans on the move at last
As the game was drawing to a close the Russians rolled the dice one more time and launched an assault against the Germans closest to the church as they had been pinned by combined Maxim and mortar fire. The attack was a stunning success, clearing the Germans from the building and meaning that the victory objective was definitely contested.

Russians ready to assault

FSJ have skedaddled
So a win for the Russians by a single point - their losses were higher but they had captured a victory objective and two Jump Off Points whilst contesting the second objective.

The Verdict

Ultimately it seems the Hauptmann Koch's gamble did not pay off. Ceding a victory objective and two JOPs was too much ground to make up even with the Germans greater firepower and survivability.