Tally Ho!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Crete 1941 - week 4, attack on DZ Sturm

The fourth game of the campaign saw the British once again on the attack, in this case seeking to capture the second of KG Sturm's DZs. The British began on a hill-line overlooking a wooded valley in the edge of the DZ. A farm guarded the Germans left and the gully bisected the table on their right.  
View from the British left, gully in the foreground

View from the British right - farm just visible

In this game the Patrol Phase was crucial as some clever manoeuvring allows the British to outflank the Germans on their right and secure Jump-off Points in the gully.  In response the Germans deployed most of their troops early to establish a strong defence. The British were more coy though, establish a strong base-of-fire with HMGs and mortars on the ridgeline but holding most of the infantry off table so they could pick their fights.    

Germans our early and in force

Farm's defenders

British HMG sections

The British launched a furious fire assault on the German right with HMGs, mortars and flanking fire from the safety of the gully. This first pinned and then began to wear-down German defenders occupying the wood-line.

Germans take a beating

Always a restless commander, Hauptmann Koch decide to counter attack rather than be bogged-down. The Germans therefore sought to advance from the farmhouse on their left in the hopes of securing the Jump-off Point. However with troops in reserve the British quickly countered the thrust and it stalled as the infantry became pinned as they moved through the woods.    

German attack stalls

The Germans position was now largely hopeless. They were flanked by British infantry preparing to assault them and pinned-down by HMG / mortar fire. So with the evening drawing to a close the Germans surrendered rather than take a losing situation into a second week of play. 

Flanking fire
The final action was an assault by the British on the Marder II, damaging but not brewing-up the tank destroyer.

So a good and decisive win for the British. a good Patrol Phase helped but also an infantry / HMG heavy list worked well for this scenario. The German decision to deploy all their infantry immediately may also have left them unable to respond to the British attacks.     

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Crete 1941 - week 3; Attack on Hill A continued

In the first part of their attack on Hill A the Germans were able to capture the summit of the ridge. In part 2 they had to attack down into the valley beyond to clear the British from their new defensive positions. The terrain was fairly open with a small farm house and a ruined temple the main features.

View from German right

View from British right

The ruined temple

The Germans initially deployed a strong force of Fallschirmjagers on the British left, aiming for the cluster of Jump-Off Points on that part of the table. A strong base of fire was established on the ridgeline with HMGs, mortars, and a recoilless rifle. The Marder II was also deployed in the first turn.  

The British countered by deploying support weapons in the farm, a solid line of infantry in the centre  and more infantry covering the gully on their left.

After an initial advance the German attack on the British left was stalled by the arrival of a Matilda to shore-up the defences. This left a section of Fallschirmjager isolated in the gully and forced to Go-to-Ground under heavy fire.

Germans isolated in the gully
With the British defence fairly well set, the Germans began a period of fire combat where they sought to pin the defenders and create an opening. Accurate British mortar fire severely damaged the  Germans base of fire but at the same time there was attrition amongst the infantry ranks. With the main assault on the British left badly stalled, they advanced some troops against the right in the hopes of sneaking an objective marker.  

Germans move forward on the British right

Attack stalled
The end game was a chess match - the British mostly waited on Over Watch while the  Germans sought  a lucky round of fire that pinned enough defenders to allow an assault. In the end of coarse this happened over on the British right with a Fallschirmjager section managing to capture an objective after about 6 hours play (2 evenings).

Easily our longest game to date and a cagey affair from the German attackers. In the end the superior assault rating of the veteran Fallschirmjager was the difference as with enough rounds of shooting they would likely always get an assault somewhere against a pinned opponent.

Marder II

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Kings of War Lizardmen - first outing

Having finally completed my KOW Lizardmen (Salamanders / Trident Realm) I got a chance to try them out this weekend against my brothers Herd. Its an interesting matchup; the Herd are quick and hard hitting but fragile, whilst the Lizardmen are slow but tough.

Knowing I'd likely be charged first I went for a core of infantry tough Hordes (Primes, Tyrants, and Placoderms) supported some flyers (Skylord and Skyraiders) and mounted (Ancients and Lancers). This mix meant I could also look at all my different options.

Primes heavy infantry in the foreground
 The Herd went for lots of fast and high attack  units - Spirit Walkers, Brutox, Stampede and Werewolves. A few monsters and flyers rounded-off the army.

Winning the initiative I pushed forward slowly to preserve my front-line and allow my Chaff units to do their job of shielding the heavy hitting units. As the Herd are so quick caution is needed not to expose a flank to a sneaky charge.

As expected the Herd quickly got in range and charged straight into my force across the line. Three nasty units crashed into the Primes Horde holding my right flank. The casualties were high by an unlucky "snake eyes" meant they held rather than crumbling. This was crucial as in the next turn I was able to flank the attack and destroy all three units - a battle turning event.  

Lizardmen victorious in a key combat
 On the other flank my phalanx was routed but this bought precious time for Ancients and Tyrants to chew through the Herd's centre and open up the board.

Herd's centre collapses
On the left both sets of flyers faced-off against each other. For most of the game neither was prepared to make the first move and risk being charged. In the end I sacrificed my lancers to draw out the Chimera and tie-up the flank.

Skylord into the action

We declared win for the Lizardmen as the Herd was shattered by this point. A somewhat lucky win though as the right flank likely should have collapsed when the Primes found themselves  facing off three units.

The unit-of-the-day was the Tyrant Hordes - although slow they are hard hitting and munched through quite a few units. The archers also did well (Naiad Heartseekers), chipping away the enemy and mounting a flank charge.

Tyrants - Schleich mini dinosaurs

Archers - Karnac's Regiment of Renown from Oldhammer

Saturday, 20 October 2018

KOW Lizardmen - done at last

Its always nice to feel you've completed a project and this weekend I based my last unit for my Kings of War Lizardmen army. They will be mostly Salamanders plus some Trident Realm. This unit is a further lot of heavy infantry that could serve as either Primes or Ancients.

They are individually based and attached to magnetic strips to fix them to the unit base. This allows them to be used as a Vanguard unit for Mantic's new skirmish rules. We plan to incorporate this element into our future KOW campaigns.

Some detached infantry

Units commander

Midweek WWII

This week I managed to sneak-in an addition game at Boss Towers, a quick WWII Flames of War set in Italy. I was the British on this occasion in a straightforward attack vs defence. 

I decided to play to play to the British strength, so covered one objective with 2 batteries of 25pdrs, 2 batteries of AT guns, and some infantry. The other objective was covered some infantry and a all my tanks (6 Sherman's) poised to counter attack.  
British gun line

The AT guns
The Germans split heir forces; Tigers + infantry in the centre, AT guns covering an objective on one flank and assault guns + infantry on the other.

Tigers ready to roll
Those who have played at Boss Towers will know there are always tasty snacks to hand, on this occasion a mixed savoury plater. 

The Germans pushed forward after an initial bombardment whilst I sat back relying on my fire power to blunt the attack. Post deployment it was clear that the German right was weakly defended opposite my Recce units. So I quickly changed plan and advanced them rapidly to contest the Objective there.  
German attack stalls

Bren carriers win the day
The result was a marginal win for the British as the Germans made no real headway with their own attack.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Crete 1941 - week 2, attack on DZ Sturm

In the second battle of the campaign the plucky Tommie's launched their own attack to try and overrun one of the four Drop Zones needed to win the campaign. The target was one of KG Sturm's DZs on the north of the map. The terrain consisted of a wooded valley occupying about half the table with a area of scrub and fields in the other. A church provided the Germans with some cover.

The British mostly picked off-table mortars as their reinforcements, rounding the force off with a Matilda, some HMGs, and a little additional infantry. The British attack started cautiously with infantry deploying into the wooded valley whilst the mortars quickly found the Germans range.

The damage was limited against the Germans deployed along the ridge, but did keep them pinned for the opening parts of the action so limiting their ability to react to the British build-up.

The Germans also occupied the church guarding their left, with one (later two) sections of Gebirgsjager occupying the churchyard.  
With the appearance of the British armour their attack moved up a gear. As the tank trundled up the road towards the Germans main position, the British massed two sections for an assault against right.  
Scary sight - observant readers will spot its actually a Soma subbing for the Matilda

Glad the Germans have no artillery!
Disaster struck though as precious armour was brewed-up by a lucky hot from a German recoilless gun located on a hill top. It was rapidly dispatched but the damage had been done.  
Not in the plan!
On the British left a small force kept the Gebirgsjager occupied and eventually attracted the attention of the Marder II we had allowed the Germans to air-land into the DZ. Although making limited progress they did occupy the Germans attention and thin-out the defences.

Despite the loss of the armour the British were in a position to launch and assault against the Fallschrimjager holding the ridge-line. Accurate mortar and HMG fire pinned the Germans whilst two sections stormed the hills. They swept the outnumbered defenders aside and captured the hill. More or less in concert a Bren carrier was able to storm forward and capture one f the German Jump Off Points.    
Tally ho

Looks bad for the Germans

The German line was now flanked and one JOP had fallen with little chance the Germans could stage a successful counter. A second JOP looked likely to fall and so a British victory was declared rather than fighting into a second week.
British HMGs pour on the hurt

Cautious advance

The church is safe at least

Bren Carrier holds the JOP
Having completed the first round of battles both sides have succeeded in capturing one of their objectives. The Germans are slightly ahead as the British have lost one of the tanks in their strategic reserve.