Tally Ho!

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.


Thursday 28 September 2017

Kings of War campaign - game 1

Last weekend I fought the first battle of the a new fantasy campaign over in Bristol - a full account can be found here http://fishpondswargames.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/artefacts-of-kyron-campaign-battle-1.html

I took a few shots of the game below - the light was nt ideal so a few rather dark - lets call it moody and pretend that's what I intended.

The army is themed around fantasy Arabians - its core is an Islamic force I'm building for the Crusades but supplemented by some flying carpets and a Mamakil from Lord of the Rings. Somewhat to my surprise the army was victorious on it first outing, breaking my 100% losing streak for Kings of War.

Mamakil preceded by some disposable infantry and with carpets in support

Mounted sergeants charge elfish lizard riders - against the odds they won this fight

Mamakil attacks! moments later its Mamakil dies horribly ;-(

Genie supports the archers

Arabian heavy foot holds the centre

Sergeants still slogging away

The final move where I clinched victory

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.