Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Return to Sur-Ly-B'Stard

For this Thursday's game we will return to France but in June 1940.  The perfidious British have abandoned their Allies at Dunkirk and the French are desperately trying to form a solid front against the German Blitzkrieg which is pushing on to take Paris.

By this stage, the French high command is attempting to form hedgehog positions of artillery and infantry to stem the German onslaught.  The village of Sur-Ly-B'stard has been selected as a vital holding position and Colonels Marcel Jaquespierre and Pepe LeFewtrell  have been ordered to hold the village and prevent enemy armour and motorised elements from opening up the road to the south. The battered reserve units of the Glorious 52nd have been reinforced with whatever artillery is available in this sector.

Heinz Guderian.  He had been an artillery officer in WW1 and had been on the receiving end of British tanks attacks.  Maybe he had been at our previous game at Sur-Ly-B'Stard!

The Germans, under Von Broednitz (a former officer of the Austro-Hungarian army who refused to flee with the Von Trapps) and Von Okey (a staunch hater of all things French, especially their air traffic control) are commanding lead elements of General Heinz Guderian's Panzer Corp.  Fast Heinz is the leading exponent of Blitzkrieg and his famous motif, "Don't tap them, boot them!" is the essence of his orders to Broednitz and Okey.

The town sector will be 2x village sectors in this game.  Troops in the open, even if entrenched, will still count as in the open if over run by armour, and remember they do not count as entrenched if attacked in the flank.  Therefore, all terrain pieces on the table do not count as "open" and so I haven't made the hills objective points as they may well take on an importance regardless.  Support troops firing behind others in the woods will, as ever, be crucial, but this may be so for the Germans as well.

The Germans will have armour, motorised troops and air support and will be able to flank attack.  The Germans will win if they are able to trace an open road through Sur-Ly-B'Stard from the North to the South. The French will have managed a draw if they lose the position but inflict +18 losses to the Germans.  A good plan will be crucial.

Jaquespierre and LeFewtrell dicuss where the nearest Michelin starred restaurant is located!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Last one
Russian Napoleonic
 just waiting for reinforcements from Jon

Hussars and Cossacks

Grenadiers and Jaegers

Line infantry

Heavy cavalry.

Will it ever stop raining

English Tudor

Bow units with stakes
Bill and bow with men at arms as reserve

Right wing Bill and bow with second line of bill

A serious lack of cavalry

Still raining in Clocaenog

So another army to showcase
Renaissance German army

Landschneks with the option of more Landschneks

Heavy cavalry with mounted xbow skirmishers

Skirmishing hand gunners

More cavalry on the other wing.
Wing commanders are only D4

A rainy night in Georgia

Or a rainy day in Clocaenog
A fine time putting the finishing touches to my sword and spear Imperial Roman army
Imperial might

Medium auxiliary archers and light troop with Bolt throwers for support


Contari impact heavy cavalry

The Roman equivalent of trench mortars

More archers and another unit of bolt throwers, Mwah mwah mwah!!

Auxiliary infantry

Did I mention heavy cavalry with impact!!!!

Italian Wars Campaign

I've had this idea in the back of my mind for many years, ever since I read a simple set of campaign rules in "Wargames Illustrated" Issue 4 back, I think, in 1985.  We will be using the map from that article.

My idea is that all of you take charge of one of the main Italian powers in 1500.  You can have someone else fight the battles (which could be me as Umpire or one of the other players) on your behalf if you are not able to make it to a game, but you are in charge of the strategic moves and decisions of your state.  Of course, I would rather you fought your own battles but the emphasis is on simple mechanics that allow the campaign to move without it becoming a job of work.

The moves would be transmitted to me by email as well as all correspondence between players.  I would update everyone through email again as well as maintaining a background story with news on the blog.  The Italian Wars are ideal for this simple multi player game as the level of historical deviousness will match anything we are able to employ.  Alliances shifted quickly as all the states worked against each other for their own interest.

The four powers will be Venice, Milan, Florence and the Papal States.  Naples was also an important power in 1500 but was wrought by internal weakness and fought over by Spain and France.  In our campaign I have it already under the control of Spain, leaving us with a convenient four states.

In addition, there will be three great powers looking to expand their territory in Italy.  They will each have a client Italian state which can call on this big brother to support them.  The Great Powers will be France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire; the Ottoman Empire may also make a guest appearance!  Be warned though, the Great Powers will expect to get their cut first from any alliance and they have every chance of expanding at their clients cost.

All states will generate revenues to buy armies, mercenaries (Swiss, Lansknecht, Stradioti) or intrigue against the others.  All kinds of back stabbing and skull duggery will be allowed.

So, the Italian states will have the following attributes;

The Doge of Venice.  You can't see his hands because he has a knife in your back!

Venice; Starts the campaign as the leading power in Italy and the Mediterranean and in no need of a Great Power Ally.  Its navy is more powerful than any other Christian state.  It also starts with the most territory and the greatest revenue as it has an overseas Empire.  However, it is the state most vulnerable to the Ottomans.

Niccolo Machiavelli.  He's smirking because he's just screwed you over!

Florence; Its ally is France.  A cultural powerhouse in the Renaissance, its wealth is generated through its extensive banking interests (Even in Britain, an old 2 shilling piece was known as a Florin).  Its political influence is greatly increased through the machinations of its chief minister Machiavelli.

All the Sforza's love fighting.  Katterina's favourite fashion accessory are Stilettos!
Milan; A powerful industrial city and the centre of arms manufacturing in Europe, it is under the leadership of the warlord Sforza family.  Leonardo DaVinci is in charge of its weapons development!  Its ally is the Holy Roman Emperor.

Trust me, I'm the Pope!

The Papal States; Christ's vicar on earth and the Papacy still holds sway over all the Christian monarchs of Europe.  Assured of his place in heaven, the Pope can commit actions that only God will forgive! Spain is the chief ally of the Pope.

So, that is a brief outline of the campaign.  The objective will be to become the dominant power in Italy by 1525.  If that honour is taken by a Great Power then the objective is to ensure that your state is more powerful than any other Italian state.  The campaign can be declared at any point that the players have had enough and a peace treaty will be signed and a winner declared.  Also, if a Great Power is beaten in battle twice successively then the Great Powers will force a settlement on Italy under an agreement of "Utti Possidetis" or whatever any one owns they hold!

I would hope to roll this out in October so let me know whether you are all interested and if you have any preference for a particular state.  If you really want to get in the mood, watch "The Borgias" on Netflix.

Beaten by the Swiss - Again!

Yesterday, Russ and I played a game of PoW Renaissance.  A grudge match between a reconstituted French Army and the Swiss.  My optional 4 points were spent on the 2x Stradiot and 2x Mounted Crossbow Italian mercenaries.  Russ stuck with his Milanese option.  Russ opted for mountainous terrain but the rolls generated a fairly benign rolling battlefield.
Goddammit, surely hitting you in the flank counts for something!

The game turned out to be gritty and I think every unit was involved.  Russ was able to order his right flank to advance across the front of my army, their 6" move whipping past my artillery salvoes and support his left flank that had crashed into my right flank.  My left flank had orders to attack his right flank but was intercepted by his centre command.  After 10 turns both our armies had dropped to "Hold" orders but my CinC who commanded my right flank was killed forcing the French to retire and leaving the Swiss masters of the field.

I had hoped that the light cavalry would pin and delay his pike, pulling off individual units from his main phalanx and allowing the Gensdarmes to smash in and overwhelm the remaining pike blocks. To some degree this worked and Russ was annoyed by my skirmishers to start with.   However, the Swiss are fast and upon you before you get much of a chance to organise a battle line.  The charge of the Gensdarmes and Retainers is powerful but the Swiss are strong enough to withstand it and then wear down the knights in successive combats.  The pike get +2 when facing mounted and this was a big bonus even when charged in the flank.  Of course the Dice worship Russ, and my D20 rolled very low for him all day!

It is worth reflecting on the rule amendments I blogged on 16th March and the comments Russ added to it.  Yesterday, both armies required a 3 to accept orders and it made a big difference.  Russ did well to get an early order change for both his flanks which gave him an edge.  My right flank (or Van) is commanded by the CinC which means he was a distance away from the rest of his army.  The only army we could see that was disciplined enough to change orders with a 2 is the early Imperial.

The only thing we did do wrong was that when I charged the Swiss light cavalry I have an option to punch through with my Gensdarmes as you can ignore class 1 troops.

Ultimately it was a great game and Russ played the Swiss well.  Somehow, I need to slow him down with my lights, shoot him to pieces with my heavy guns and crossbows and then sweep him away with my heavy cavalry; it's a challenge that I am enjoying trying to work out!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Advance upon the Monastery of St Cyril

Pavlov, do you think we are in the best formation to withstand indirect artillery?

This is the same basic scenario as we played two weeks ago.  Only this time it will be on the eastern front in 1917.  The village will be replaced with a orthodox monastery somewhere in the Ukraine.  The first Russian revolution has occurred and a liberal Western government has replaced the inept Tsarist regime but is determined to stay in the war.  However, the July offensive has been an unmitigated failure and the German and Austrian armies are pushing into the Russian Empire whilst the new Russian government struggles to get a grip on the situation.  Meanwhile, the German army has smuggled Lenin into Russia and his Bolsheviks are undermining the will of the Russian people to continue the war.

This time the Austrians are defending the important cross roads and communication hub at the Monastery of St Cyril.  They will have the remnants of two brigades that will be tasked with holding this advanced outpost.  By this stage of the war morale was not good in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and many Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and other nationalities that made up most of the army, had a great deal of sympathy with the Bolshevik propoganda.  The Russians will be counter attacking at divisional strength but will have to cope with the poor command and control that was endemic amongst the Russians by this stage of the war, as well as the widespread defeatism at this time.

Well equipped Austro-Hungarians.  Good against the Italians but a bit dodgy when fighting the Russians.

Generals Miroslav Shakespearov and Ivan Ivanovich Okevski will take charge of the Russians.  Generals Broednitz and Fewtrelli will be leading the Austro-Hungarians.  I will send specific OOBs and objectives to you individually.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Spearhead Great War - Obligatory Movement

After Thursday nights game I promptly pre heated the oven and re baked my white dice.

I had only recently found my missing white dice so was really pleased and looking forward to using them again, only Jon took a liking to them on Thursday and I had to watch throughout the evening as some audacious dice rolls too place, all against us!

Jon managed to use my 77mm guns to great effect, something I have never been able to do for 5 years.

Phil became the dice god on the night and every time it was an 11/12 Phil managed to come up with the rolls...... using my dice.

All in all though in the end it was a lot closer than it was looking earlier on. The Germans dug in with MG's are a potent force. I just wonder what would of happened if they had been able to call in the 150 gas earlier.

Anyway.... I was reading the rules and if you check out page 9 3.7.2 you will see that it clearly states no stands are allowed to pivot unless they are reacting to spotted enemy.

On Thursday after we bunched up and got what we deserved Ian had made a subtle hint to "spread out". Unfortunately according to the rules we could not of done that as we had not spotted any enemy at this stage.

This is going to be an important rule to follow in future games. If you come on table in close order then even after taking a thumping from artillery you will just keep moving in a straight line.

It also states that all companies must move at max speed until they either contact enemy or reach they end of their command arrow.

It always pays to read the rules. I think like WW2 we will find stuff out all the time as we play.

"Stinker" Shakespeare - he has just brushed his mustache.....

Monday, 3 August 2015

Advance upon Sur-ly-B'Stard!

I have tinkered a little with the game scenario we had last Thursday and come up with the following scenario.

It is September 1918 and the Imperial German Army has failed in its bid to win the war during its Spring offensives.  British Empire units have counter attacked and forced the Hindenburg line.  The Germans are struggling to consolidate a defensive line under the repeated attacks.

The British have punched through with one of these limited offensives and have not required the reserve to achieve this success.  Instead, British Army Command have seen an opportunity to take a ridge line above the rail head and mining town of Sur-ly-B'Stard which will set them up for the next big push.  Lt Generals "Whiffy" Fewtral and "Stinker" Shakespeare have been given command of a two regiment divisional reserve with the remaining tanks from the last advance.  Supporting artillery is limited and the tanks are prone to mechanical breakdown.  They have been tasked with securing the ridge line.  In addition, if the rail head was secured then the Germans would be forced to continue their withdrawal all along the line as this is a key logistics hub.

The Germans have struggled to pull a regiment sized group together for the defence of this key sector.  Oberst  Johannes Okey will have to make the most of the terrain to delay the British advance.  Corp assets are limited but Headquarters have sent their most experienced defensive expert, General "Quadratkopf" von Broeders, to aid in the defence; but he may be delayed!

I will send detailed OOBs to each side but they will be proportionately based on the forces we used last week.

Acw farm (total battle miniatures)

As yet unpainted this farm complex is to be at the centre of the Gettysburg battlefield beside the peach orchard. By accident or design I don't know but my artillery stands fit inside the cattle(pig) pen and my 20mm bases fit snugly between the farm building and the wall , an ideal fit for a sharpshooter stand. The plan is to allow a brigade to occupy the farm complex in loose order allowing its individual stands to fire from any face as long as the infantry stand has line of sight to the Enemy it wishes to fire at. Any close assault on the farm will involve all of the brigades stands with the defender gaining defence modifiers. Historically the farm was the scene of intense fighting with horrific casualties on both sides and was made famous by the assault by the confederate troops of Mississippi and the heroic stand of a union artillery battery that positioned itself in the courtyard and fought ( and died) to the muzzle

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Stalingrad in 1/285

Thought you would all like to see this.  It's the whole of Stalingrad in 1/285.  It's based on the Avalon Hill game which is an excellent basis for playing such a big game.  The table looks about 18' x 5'?  It shows how thin and stretched the city was and allows for the open terrain that bounded the city approaches.  The Volga looks a bit narrow to me.

Germans, can you push the Red Army into the Volga, and Russians can you hold the city whilst fresh armies build on the flanks for a counter attack?

More Terrain For Our Games & Age Of Dreadnoughts Navwar Fleets

I decided that this Month's budget of Wargaming cash would be spent on 2 things....

An order for my overdue WW1 German & British Fleets for Victory at Sea Age Of Dreadnoughts and a shit load of terrain pieces from various sources....

Ian had advised me to call the chap who own Navwar on Saturday's as he only opens up once a week so yesterday I took the plunge and called him.

 53 minutes later after being enlightened on all aspects of WW1 Naval battles and ships I was ready to send out my order of ships. I was really really tempted by the GHQ 1:2400 ships but quickly realised I would need a second mortgage to buy what I needed. 1:3000 scale it is then.

Tony at Navwar was very helpful and for the money I spent I think that I got a very nice selection of German and British ships. Looking forward to painting these up and developing the period further.

Today I based up my fields which I bought on Ebay a few Months ago which do look nice and I thought about ordering more but for the cost I thought I could do better....

So I found a company in the good old US of A which makes some very nice felt fields. Order placed for lots and lots of fields......

Here are some photos. I think that these are excellent and will cover all our War-gaming periods effectively. The company URL is here http://www.hotzmats.com/fields_main_page.html

What I like about these fields is that you can cover the entire table with them and with some practice create undulations and hills by placing stuff under them. I am open to suggestions but I don't think from a practical point of view we could do much better than this?

On to Timecast for some more Deciduous and Poplar trees to line the roads like this

You can also see the felt fields here which look nice.

I am now going to Leven Miniatures to purchase a load of Normandy buildings.......

I will burn in hell for this flippant spending!