Wednesday, 16 May 2018

WW2 city fight

Thursday nights game 
Spearhead WW2, 2x American infantry battalions ( regular) with Sherman tanks as escorts, German 3x volksgrenedier battalions (green) with 2 Hertzer tank destroyers.

The idea was to just play a meeting engagement game and hash out any inner city rule additions that we felt suited the game

Americans entering from the bottom, with the Germans entering from the top

 Slow approach by the Americans would cost them, they didn't get much further than the first line of buildings.
 Germans on the other hand advanced boldly to take up forward firing positions

 Firefight ensues.
German battalions have 3 platoons of rifles and 6 of SMG.
the SMG might be good for close combat but at only 3" range struggle to add to the firefight

 3rd German battalion uses the centre city blocks to advance and split the Americans

 End game
Germans have taken the centre block, numbers are beginning to tell 

Rule additions for city boards
1. All town sectors are classed as villages with a -1 to hit
2. stepping from one sector to another within a block takes a full turn
3. Units can step out of a sector into open or step into sectors from open but not both on the same turn.
4. Indirect fire is not very effective, it is 11/12 for less than 150mm and 10-12 for 150mm and over.
5. Sector capacity is based on the longest edge of that sector, so a 4"x 3" sector would have a capacity of 4 units. A city block may be made up of single or multiple sectors .

A good game Gents 
a different game again showing that green troops in numbers can hack it.
city boards are another place to let your design instincts flow with the addition of parks industrial sectors etc and a good colour board it makes for a challenging game.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Has Jon Gone Missing in Action

To quote Ian ,'real life' is getting in the way of my war gaming at the moment with work and family conspiring to deny me the pleasure of watching Mark bugger up yet another plan. That being said, my 'free' time has not gone completely unproductive. My painting room has undergone a major overhaul and is now the calm ,organised workspace I have always wanted.

On the figure side I have based the fifty stands of Napoleonic Russians that my 'painting friend' sent me. With the exception of a few touch ups to faces and hats it I had very little to do other than the basing which took most of an afternoon and I am really pleased with the results.
I have already commissioned  thirty seven stands of ACW Union Infantry (adds another full Corps to the Union OOB) and fifteen stands (3 Brigades) of Russian Dragoons this month with Confederate and Union Cavalry, Confederate Infantry, and more Russian Line bagged up and ready to go. I meanwhile have been painting up three Brigades of Russian Cuirassiers and some Russian Artillery plus units of Modern Germans.
 I have an order with Pete @ Baccus for some Russian Grenadiers, Jagers and Hussars and a new order to go in this month for some Bavarians, Cossacks, Austrians, Wurtemburgers and Saxons plus more ACW . Since the French armies are massive I have also decided  to help Russ out and will be adding some French units to my collection soon.
In short chaps I am drinking lots of coffee, have the impetus and I'm not stopping.
Massed Ranks of Russian Line

Friday, 20 April 2018

Some photos of Thursday Night

Before the horrendous barrage

Incoming.  LOTS of incoming...

Gas and artillery templates

The few remaining Germans attempt to stem the flow

Its not looking good for the Kaiser

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

WW1 artillery - how it should be used.

Shock, horror - we've been deploying and calling in artillery wrongly for WW1 Spearhead.

I checked the Yahoo sight and the correct interpretation is thus;

Artillery that is integral to a regiment or is attached from a regimental heavy weapons company adds to the morale break point and can be called in by any fighting company.

Heavy and Super Heavy artillery can never be deployed on table.

Divisional artillery of less than 150mm or 8" can be attached to a regiment but can only fire as a direct fire weapon OR

It can be brigaded with a FO and attached in support - it does not add to the morale break point and because it is from division it will be called in on the divisional support chart.

The above line is very important and is the difference from WW2 Spearhead from which we are used to cherry picking divisional assets, attaching them to battalions and expecting a better chance of rolling for support.  WW1 is not the same and the rolls reflect the poorer technology and more rigid lines of communication.  As the rules state, in 1914 no army was able to call in indirect artillery unless you were in communication with fortress artillery or naval artillery.  As the war progressed communications and technology improved to allow calling in of artillery but it was nowhere near as sophisticated as WW2.

So, we need to appreciate that artillery is called in on the chart that relates to where it is organised on the ToE.  Divisional artillery can only be called in by designated FO in a regiment that is part of that division.  You may assign divisional artillery to a particular regiment but it is still called in on the divisional support chart - the only benefit is that you don't get a -1 if the divisional HQ has moved.

Artillery at Corps level is called in on the general support chart - again if you do assign it to a regiment the only benefit is that you do not get a -1 if the div HQ moves.

You can assign divisional artillery to general support, and as the rules indicate, this gives greater flexibility as more units can attempt to call it in.

If you buy any artillery assets at Army level then they must be assigned to general support.

The extra artillery allocated for preliminary bombardments are only available for preliminary bombardment.  The paragraph at the back of the rulebook is to emphasise that army level artillery you may have bought in for a scenario may be used in the preliminary bombardment and then must be allocated to general support.

But what about trench mortars I hear you shout (or before Russ contacts E-Bay)?  Divisional mortars can be attached to the regiments regardless of size BUT they are still called in on the divisional support chart.  OR they can be off table, and regardless of their limited range, can only be used against front line barbed wire or trenches.

In general, we have been looking at WW1 from a WW2 perspective.  Of course we want to attach as much artillery as possible to a regiment and punch through with a single unit - but this didn't happen. WW1 is the first period of warfare in which indirect can be called in but it is limited to where it is placed in the organisation.  The reality is that most artillery is preplanned and we will probably get more success with a well thought out artillery plan.

The other main use of artillery, especially for the heavy and super heavy guns is counter bombardment but that's another post..............

Friday, 13 April 2018

WW1 - Germans vs British. Germans win on penalties

Thursday night saw another WW1 battle between Jon and myself (and apparently Russ who despite being referee kept on referring to the Germans as 'us') vs Mark, Frank and newbie Ben.

British waiting for the battle to start

The Germans were defending a narrow frontage with 3 lines of trenches, wire and a selection of strongpoints.  Rules were Spearhead Great War II which we're all still getting to grips with (artillery seems to be the tricky bit although Mark and Russ now seem to have this fairly in hand.

Mark came up with the British plan (at least that's what Frank told us).  This took some time to get to fruition - meanwhile myself and Jon just took it easy waiting for the action to start.

Field Marshal Haig (aka Mark) explaining to Ben what he needs to do.   Ben is not convinced.

Jon enjoying the lull before the storm.  Russ checking if Mark has added more artillery than he should have and Frank checking the morale-check rules (because they're going to need them)

The action started with a pre-bombardment of 2 days of shelling the German lines.  Jon and I kept all troops out of the front line trench and held our troops back in the second and third trench line until the shooting stopped (then snuck a division into the front line before the end of the second day).  There did seem to be an awful lot of guns on the British side though...

Our counter-fire managed to take off 6 stands from the attackers (mainly on Frank's side).

We didn't lose much at all in the pre-bombardment.  A few troop stands, some barbed wire and a front line bunker.  We lost all the pillboxes in the second line) although the British didn't know that at the time).

Key was the failure to destroy a bunker in the front line (despite the attentions of the massed British artillery).  We quickly put two machine guns into it and waited for the British to come into view.  We also had a horrendous 240mm mortar in the front line which basically killed every time it shot.  And it pretty much did.

Our surviving buker - quick, get the MG's set up!

So once the firing stopped, the British came over the top and charged towards us.  We'd left our 'green' division in the front line and our regular divisions in the 3rd line of trenches.  The green division was just there to hold the British up for a bit before they got routed - inflicting hopefully enough casualties to make the task of winning the battle near impossible for the British.  But it depended on how well the green division could do....

Here they come!

Our thin line of green troops waiting for the inevitable storm

Frank took the British left and Ben the right (with Mark taking the middle).  Frank had already taken casualties but the flood of troops coming over looked impressive regardless.  On my side the MG's in the bunker opened up and as troops in the open are incredibly vulnerable in GWSII Ben started losing troops.  Frank too found the going tough as we'd given Jon all the 7.7cm guns which blatted his troops as they approached.  Our indirect fire was limited - unlike the British who not only had pre-planned

The battlefield from the German side.  Bunker to the right is still intact.  Hordes of British on the way!
As the British ploughed in, they started taking heavy casulaties (unlike the Germans who lost stands mainly to pre-planned artillery).  It was clear that the dug-in Germans were fairly happy trading shooting with the British because they were taking far fewer casualties.  So Mark committed another Division (down the centre) and went for a direct approach - assault the trenches!

This proved to be a sound tactic - the ground on my side of the battlefield had been heavily shelled - slowing the British advance down but providing them with cover.  So the German firing was less effective (even the bin-lid mortar missed!) and the British finally got to apply cold steel to the filthy Hun!

There was a lot of British indirect artillery - so much that questions were asked (by me, obviously)whether the British were using what they were allowed to use OR what they wanted to use!    And also who could call the artillery in.  We had to pull Mark up for trying to call in guns which had just fired on another target and Russ had his hands full trying to keep up with the bookeeping as to who had shot with what and how many shots were left.

We hang on with whatever we can!
We felt a bit frustrated as we couldn't call in our ridiculous off-table big guns in retaliation becasue we needed a 5 or 6 to do so and rolled a lot of 1's instead.

Frank  had got close enough for an assault on Jon (albeit with fewer troops than Ben) and managed to get into the trench line (making them harder to hit with the 7.7's).

This led to a morale check on the green division - which we passed!  Yuk yuk yuk.

So we carried on pouring fire into whatever we could - mainly Ben and Mark's troops - and made some miraculous close-combat rolls (like the bin-lid mortar holding off all comers and the MG's in the bunker slapping away the close assaults).

This forced our own morale check on Ben's troops which was failed!  So we'd seen off one division and badly mauled another two.  My machine guns in the bunker had no-one in range to shoot at!  Which was unfortunate as the remnants of Mark's division ran into my trenches and finally forced another morale check - which we failed.

But the green division had performed well above expectations and had effectively already won us the battle.

We already ordered our other divisions into the second line of trenches - making it look like a formidable obstacle and despite Jon losing some stands to indirect artillery we felt confident that Frank and Mark's depleted divisions would be unable to have much effect on two entrenched regular divisions - especially having to cross a lot of open ground and be in range of on-table 104's and off-table 210's and 150's/.

A good run out for the rules (gameplay seemed to be a lot faster this week) and Iron Crosses First Class to me, Jon .....and Russ.