Title

Title
Tally Ho!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Forward, Victory is near - WWII campaign week 1

The first game of the campaign featured an encounter battle for the northern-most river crossing, as both sides sought to capture the neutral ground between their battle lines. A central river dominates the board with 2 bridges crossing and open farm-land on both banks. For those able to withstand the enemies fire there was the possibility of finding an unmarked ford.

View from the Russian left

View from the Russian right
Both sides chose a similar set of reinforcements selecting armour and a medium mortar section. The cheaper Russian tank enabled them to also purchase a medium AT gun.

The Battle

 
The Russians won the initiative and quickly deployed about half their troops. The T34 hull-down covering the western bridge, the AT gun the central bridge and weapons teams covering the fields within the Germans deployment zone. The Germans were more cautious deploying their AOP an a few infantry teams but holding most of their troops off table. 
 
T-34 goes hull-down

Russian base-of-fire

AT and infantry in the centre

Germans begin their build-up in the eastern fields

Germans near the western bridge

The Germans slowly built-up their forces in a field on the eastern side of the table. Meanwhile the Russians laid-down heavy fire against the Germans deployed near the western bridge, catching them in the cross fire of several infantry and heavy weapons teams. This began to whittle away these troops and also allowed the Russians to manoeuvre infantry onto their side of the bridges.  

The German build-up continues 

Russians move against the western bridge 


Germans suffering near the western bridge

With the Russians well placed the Germans were forced into a more aggressive mode - deploying the Tiger and pushing forward with the bulk of their infantry still hiding in the eastern-most fields. The German infantry fire provided fairly ineffective against the well entrenched Russians and critically the Tiger was brewed-up by the combined fire of the T-34 and AT gun.

Tiger Tiger burning bright

View from the T-34s ridge

Germans advance at last

With the Germans armour destroyed and much of their infantry pinned or damaged the game came to an end, with the Russians in control of both bridges.

There be Russians


The Verdict

A good win for the Russians and the early deployment of their main forces perhaps help them seize the initiative in the game. We decided that artillery fire was perhaps too accurate with little chance of mishaps so may try D10 vs D6 for the fall of shot dicing.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

28mm Arab heavy cavalry

My current painting project is preparing both Islamic and Crusader armies for a forthcoming Armati campaign later at some point later in the year. Armati has the option to dismount your heavy cavalry to bolster the infantry line.
Arab heavies from Gripping Beast with replacement wire spears

So with that in mind I've done some kit-bashing to produce a dismounted unit. I've taken the bodies from the Gripping Beast plastic infantry and replaced them with the torso, arms, and head from their heavy cavalry kit.

Its only a flesh wound 

The completed models

Front view of the dismounted cavalry

Rear view showing the armour better
I'm pretty pleased with the end result and the final look of the unit - a good addition to the growing Islamic forces. I'm considering producing another unit as either heavy infantry or dismounted cavalry.



Saturday, 16 September 2017

Forward, Victory is near - WWII campaign opener

We opened our new WWII campaign with a half-sized practice game to refresh the rules and give time for last minute tweaks. We're using our home-brew Fire Team rules available here.

Our setup was a simple one - both sides had an infantry platoon seeking to push onto the table and scout the farm complex, which is an Italia 1/72 Le Haye Sainte I've had for a while.

View from the Russian left flank

View from the Russian right flank
The Germans deployed the bulk  of their infantry early including the recoilless rifle  in a good position on a low hill. This spent much of the game trading blows with the Russian maxim deployed just in front of the hill on their deployment edge. 

Germans deploy early

Russian AOP and HMG
On the Russians right they advanced into the farm unopposed and took up residence in the farm house. To their right another squad advanced to cover the flank by occupying the edge of the wood.
Ruskies sneak into the farm 
Seeing themselves slightly at a disadvantage the Germans pushed-forward across the line with the Hetzer moving at full speed down the road towards the Russian lines and begin shelling the Maxim. At this point the Soviets made two important interventions - a German squad was pinned crossing some open ground on the Russians left and accurate mortar fire forced the Hetzer to button-up and seek cover.      

The Hetzer advances

Ouch - Germans get pinned in the open

Russian right
Concerned about the growing threat on the Russian right the Hetzer withdrew and moved across to cover that side, whilst also moving out of site for the mortar team. In the centre the Germans were caught in a cross-fire and pinned by more mortar fire.  

Now the Hetzer retreats


Germans move forward in the middle
With looses mounting the Germans quit the field and left the farm to the Russians.

The Hetzer arrives on the Russian right
So a good win for the Russians and serious casualties for the Germans. The mortars definitely proved useful in pinning the Germans to allow the other Russian troops to inflict some telling damage on the Veteran Fallschirmj√§ger. The Germans could perhaps have helped themselves though by establishing better covering fire for the advances.

We will make two tweaks to the rules.
1.  Troops touching the back of tall cover (hills, woods, BUA) will count as in dead ground.
2. AOPs will have a limited range - 36"

The second change is to prevent a single AOP on a hill dominating the whole battle field and preventing any movement. The range limit is a bit of a fudge but avoids the need for spotting rules.  

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

WWII Campaign Rules

Forward, victory is near!

 Image result for soviet propaganda posters


A WWII Eastern Front campaign for Fire Team.

In this late war campaign, both the Russians and the Axis are seeking to seize a foothold across an important river and then breakout to achieve a strategically important victory.

Turn Sequence

Both the sides begin the campaign in their respective deployment zones. Each turn you may launch a single assault move, counting as the attacker. If both sides assault into adjacent, or the same vacant square,  then an encounter is fought.

This means that each turn will either consist of 1 encounter or 2 attack vs defence games.   

Forces

Both sides receive core units (infantry platoons) and then reinforcements depending on the mission involved. You may vary the amount you allocate to your attacking and defensive games within certain bounds.

·         Core units are always = 8 points (4 per player assuming 2-a-side)
·         Encounter games = both receive 6 points in total
·         Attack verses defence = 8 points in total
o   Attacking = 4 - 6 points
o   Defending = 2 - 4 points

 
Battles

Terrain and jump-off-points are predetermined for each battle. To allow battles to begin promptly we are not using the Patrol Phase rules for this campaign.

The attacker must win in order to capture or remain in the square, otherwise the assault has failed. Should neither side win an encounter game then the battle is drawn and both fail to capture the square.

Casualties are NOT carried forward from game to game - this is an important sector so the whole battalion is available to support you. 
 

Tactical Rules

      
For this campaign we will be using our Fire team rules here. http://cirencester-wargames.blogspot.co.uk/p/world-war-ii.html

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Warlord Games T34/85 Review

T-34/85 medium tank (plastic)To boost my Soviet forces for the forthcoming WWII campaign I  purchased the Warlord Games 28mm T34/85. Its £20 from the Warlord site itself but there always seem to be plenty of deals on Amazon and eBay, so you should be able to get it for about £18.

 

Unboxing


The box contains just two sprues and a single set of transfers. The main hull and turret are each in two parts with a few add-ons. The road wheels come as a single unit with a two part track that fits around them. Options are minimal with a slightly different stowage box, a different bow MG and the choice of a commander or not. The transfer set is much more extensive with numbers, slogans, tactical unit markers and Guards badges.
  




Everything is presented in light grey plastic with not obvious mould lines or warping on the one I bought.



Assembly

With so few parts assembly was rapidly completed in about 30mins total. As you can see I chose to paint most of the model before assembly but did partly build the upper hull and turret on the sprue. This was mostly to reduce handling during painting.



The only slightly tricky part was the track assembly, which comes in upper and lower parts. The plastic is thin and quite springy so be prepared to hold these during drying so they don't pop apart.

The Verdict


All-in-all a quick model to assemble and paint, very much aimed at the gamer not the modeller. I would give it a solid 8/10. I'm sure those with more time could customise this additional stowage or tools to add additional detail.




Some PSC 28mm Russians for comparison

The Real Thing


Whilst on my summer holidays I happened across the real thing on exhibit at Campo Eden Musem in North Yorkshire. A great day out for the history buff, with a great collection of WWII and 1950's material. http://www.edencamp.co.uk/



  

  

Monday, 28 August 2017

Bank holiday game - War of the Roses

Rather than risk the Bank Holiday traffic we assembled on a lovely day for some War of the Roses action. We've previously used Bloody Barons (Peter Pig) but on this occasion opted to test out some modifications for Dux Bellorum Luddite1811's blog.
http://luddite1811.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/dux-bellorum-wars-of-roses-unofficial.html

We opted to fight a short introductory battle as a reminder of the rules and then a larger encounter as the main event. The only change we made from  Dux Bellorum was to assign 5 leadership points to each general rather than 6 as the armies would likely contain less units than the Dark Ages version had assumed.



The preview


Our first game was a small 32 point / side affair with the Yorkist's commanded by Mike and the Lancastrians by Nigel. York was immediately on the attack with their light horse pushing towards the  flanks while the archers opened-up on the Lancastrians pike men. 

Yorkist horse move to threaten the levy archers

And then crunch into them 

The Lancastrian pikes lumber forward
As the pikemen approached the Yorkist line they used the Passage of Foot special rule to bring forward the billmen and household troops to engage the Lancastrians heavy infantry.

Yorkist foot attack

Battle is joined in the centre

The Lancastrians managed to achieve a flanking position but were in turn flanked themselves. Meanwhile the Lancastrian foot were steady pushed back resulting in the death of their general and the army reaching the 50% point. now lacking any leadership points it was a hopeless position.

Desperate struggle in which Nigel's general dies 

The end is nigh
So the game ended with a clear Yorkist victory. There being no obvious defects we deployed for the main game.

Capture the King


For the main battle we played a simple scenario where the Yorkist's tried to capture the Lancastrians King. All players received 32 points to spend on troops.We allowed 3 shots per missile unit to encourage combat.






Given a free choice of forces the players made rather different choices with their points. The Lancastrians went heavy on the pikes and fielded four units supported by some pointed. The balance was made-up with levy and retinue troops. 

Lancastrian left - pikes and some bows

Lancastrian centre - more pikes and a line of archers in front

Lancastrian right - pikes and knights but not much shooting
The Yorkist's opted for a higher proportion of missile troops with no cavalry and only one pike unit. They did however throw-in a few crossbow units.   

Yorkist left - retinue bows backed by heavies 

Yorkist centre - retinue bows backed by billmen

Yorkist - crossbows and bows backed by heavies

Long shot from the Lancastrian right 
The battle began with the Lancastrians pushing forward on their flanks while both the retinues  in the centre advanced towards the hill.  
The lines advance

Lancastrians close in on the Yorkist right

The Yorkist claim the hill

In traditional fashion we then indulged in a long-range archery duel which had limited impact. the ability to use leadership points to mitigate hits meant it was hard to achieve a decisive edge. Ominously the Lancastrian left chose to hold fire and close the range seeking a better target.

Lancastrian right moves forward cautiously

Tally ho - Lancastrian knights


On the Yorkist right the lines closed rapidly with the Lancastrian pikes leading the way with the archers protecting their flanks. This encounter went badly for the Yorkist as the Lancastrian steam roller trundled over them suffering limited casualties.
Yorkist right - not looking good for the white rose

In the centre the Yorkist were able to get the drop on the Lancastrian and using the Passage of Troops rule surprise the Lancastrian archers who had strayed too close.

Yorkist billmen launch a surprise attack on the Lancastrian bows in the centre

Whilst on the Yorkist left the archers and crossbowmen found themselves up against the heavier Lancastrian units having done only limited shooting damage.

Lancastrian right crunches into the Yorkist bowmen 

After a couple more turns the Yorkist right had completely collapsed forcing the retinue archers from the centre to move across.  Using their greater manoeuvrability the archers were able to catch the pike men in the flank but did only limited damage.

The Yorkist right is blown away

A sneaky flank attack on the Lancastrian pikes

In the centre the Yorkist's continued to push forward and picked off several units of archers. however on their left their comrades succumbed to the heavier Lancastrian troops.   

Yorkist's make progress in the centre
 
Yorkist left is also blown away

So with the two flanks shattered and the Lancastrian King in no danger the game was called a Lancastrian win.
 

The Verdict


A fun game and we managed to conclude the main battle within about 2 hours. There was a great deal of debate about the merits of different rules for handling the pikes but in the end we concluded it may be best not to obsess over them and simply limit the numbers more strictly.

Crossbows require more attention though. Their limited aggression and no passage of troops ability made them easy-meat and unable to shoot-down the approaching knights. On balance we felt they might work better with the same stats but designated as Skirmishers.