Friday, June 12, 2015

Some Days the Bear Eats You

We decided to change things up a bit and play a mid-war Flames of War game last weekend.  With four players anticipated we opted for a 3,000 point game.  Dan and I drew up the appropriate Soviet v. German company lists.  Knowing that Dan had mostly armor painted I went with a Panzer company, though decided (wrongly it turned out) to take a list where I could put lots of things on the table for the first time.  The mission I randomly rolled, Counter-Attack was bad for my list.  I could only have one platoon on table with mobility.  Anything else could only be on if they sacrificed transport for the game.  So I took the 150mm battery, single 88mm gun (extra crew), panzerpioneers (at least they have a good AT rating), priority air support and my platoon of 3 MkIVg panzer.  Reserves would come in on the opposite corner section.  I commented "we should just declare you winner and start something else" but I wanted to play it out.  Oh well.

Nothing but tanks with air support.

Feeling a bit naked.  My MkIV tanks are in ambush mode.  Maybe
I'll get lucky.

The Soviets wisely wasted no time assaulting and killing the pioneers.

Ambush sprung!  One hit for a bailed T-34.  Sigh...  Storm-troop back.

T-70s assault the guns.  88 stops one assault, T-70s win theirs.

Killing some Soviets but no reserves, no effective air and terrible
rolls doom us.

I must be in Alabama, 'cause it is "roll tide, roll."

One reserve of Marders comes on but cannot engage in time.
So with the Soviets sitting on an objective already on turn five, no air rolled and my reserves a long ways away we called it.  In this case all armor beat combined arms, though the scenario, which was also a disaster for the defender last time we played it, determined a lot of  the result.  Add in the abysmal dice rolls for both Germans combined with the hot rolls from the Soviets meant it wasn't as close as it appears.

But I made mistakes too.  I should have kept the pioneers back so the Soviets couldn't get to the on the first turn.  Dug in around the guns (we were allowed prepared positions) I might have been able to put up a better fight.  Congrats to Dan and Kevin for giving me the worst spanking I've experienced in Flames of War.  Next time comrade!  <grin>

Friday, June 5, 2015

Steam and Black Powder

Strategically two Confederate blockade runners need to break out, sell their goods and bring home valuable supplies.  Of such importance was the mission that the ironclad CSS Baltic and a trio of gunboats would escort the Banshee and Robert E. Lee to open water.  A random group of Union vessels awaited them.  Getting one runner off table would be a marginal victory, two a strategic and two plus driving off the blockaders would be a decisive victory.


CSS Baltic at top leads her column.  Runners bring up the rear.

Yankee squadron of two rams plus USS Varuna and John Paul Jones.

In another channel the USS Chillicothe and Tyler.

Yankee view of the channels and islands.  Where will they come
through?  Will the islands help or hinder?

Early shooting is extremely ineffective.

The two sides mix it up and shots begin to tell on the wooden
or lightly armored vessels.  Only the Baltic shrugs them off.

Pro-rated movement reveals a double ram.

The Baltic looks for someone in arc to shoot at.

The outside pair of Yankees get into play just as the runners
come into range.

The rammers sort themselves out as fires break out on Reb ships.

Same turn, another angle.

CSS Gaines grapples with the Tyler and Chillicothe in the foreground.

Gaines took a beating as the Robert E. Lee burns and settles.

Baltic and Varuna exchange hits as the Selma glances off the Monarch.
At this point things looked a little promising for the Rebels.  The Gaines and Selma are lost and the R.E. Lee is going down fast.  But the Banshee was breaking for the open sea.  Only a lucky hit could stop her.

USS Tyler has the angle, but the Banshee has a 3 knot speed
advantage and the Tyler's guns are short-ranged.

The table edge beckons and Tyler's guns are now out of arc.

Meanwhile, back in the channel...

We wrapped it when the Banshee exited the table.  Two Confederate gunboats were sunk or sinking and  one of the blockade runner was down.  Many Union ships had taken critical hits but they rolled better than their counter-parts.  The only real ironclads, the CSS Baltic and USS Chillicothe were pretty fresh but the reason for risking combat had passed.  Unfortunately the Banshee had taken a waterline critical earlier and was slowly flooding out.  In the end she sank somewhere off table.

Rules are Steam and Black Powder by Neil Stokes, published in MN by the St. Paul Irregulars.  A fun game that gives results instead of just shooting and plinking off the armor.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A New Regiment

Just in time, or perhaps to distract from the conflicting stories coming from Latveria the Grand Duke of Litharus has proudly announced the activation of a Guard element in the Litharusian Army.  While the main army is undertaking "exercises" afield, this noble battalion will guard the capital and provide a source of valuable officers for the line units.

Containing two elements, the Guard Grenadiers and Leib Guard, they will provide a potent force for delivering the will of Grand Duke Orzepovski.  Each element will be granted the unusual distinction of carrying two stands of colors, for a battalion total of four.  It is said that they are being designed by the Grand Duchess herself.  As the battalion is still slightly under-strength, a presentation ceremony will occur once it reaches full strength.  (Anyone have six spare Russian Grenadier Guard figures?)

The battalion in formation, under review.

The command elements are viewed.

Grenadier Guards, even sporting hand mortars.

The Leib Company.

The Grand Duke accepts the cheers of his men and lackeys.

A handsome wagon to accompany the battalion on their travels.

This and the garrison battalions will provide internal security while the main army undertakes their "maneuvers."  

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Operation Ambrosia

This isn't about an obscure action that the History Channel somehow has missed, but our Mega-Game of Flames of War.  One of our lads is home on leave before being posted to the DMZ in Korea and he asked to play a huge game so we trotted out "Das Book" to guide us in playing a 15,000 point late-war game between the Americans and Germans.

Each side had victory points known only to themselves, along with defensive points that needed to be held, also known only to their respective teams.  Airpower was handled in a unique way to let the American forces be dominate without being a game breaker.

We started with infantry companies on table, along with the special "reserve company" outlined in the rules.  This allowed the thirteen players a good amount to play with from the start and the reserves kept them busy.  Our good friends at Adventure Games, 927 Oregon St, Oshkosh, WI 54902 provided the 12+ x 6' table.


Very picture heavy, enjoy the eye candy.

German right.  Volksgrenadiers with lots of Pak50s.

Part of the German reserve company.  A fast and a slow element.

View from the empty left looking at the confident Americans.

Any why not?  Three infantry companies and a ton of artillery.

The river was shallow but both sides wanted the railroad bridge.

Part of the American left looking towards the right.

We saw a lot of this template.

Calliope Shermans with their distinctive smoke trail.

Heavy armor in the center and "Das Book."

A swarm of American armor came in as reserves.  Chaffees,
Shermans and Pershings in that order.

US paratroopers advance towards the dominate ridge.

American right after coming on table.

The American advance and doomed observer aircraft.

Nein, nein, nein!!  Our only Jadgtiger.

Both sides are rightly scared to come over the hilltop.

Two reserve companies devastate the American light tanks.

More tanks come in on the American left.

The duel for the bridge goes the German way.

Tank destroyers materialize, have an unlucky round of shooting
and are quickly taken out.

Lots of burners on the American right too.

Clearing the way the surviving Elephant tests the bridge.

Pershing enter the fray and the Germans burn and regroup.

Flanked, even a StuG is a threat to a Pershing.  105mm Shermans
are destroyed.

Paratroopers continuing to advance in the distance.

But Panzer IIIs and IVs assault them on the ridge.


American left in the foreground, looking down table.

The distant assault over, the Panzers regroup on their ridge.

We should have allocated the weekend to such a game, but we only could gather the people for a day.  So after spending a total of seven hours at the shop, of which two and half were setting up and sorting troops, we quit.  Seven or eight turns in four and a half hours seemed quite acceptable given the number of troops being moved.

By the scenario the result was a draw.  The extra victory point the Germans held was not enough to claim the win.  However, in my opinion things were looking bad for the Americans.  They had taken heavy losses on the left and center without making any real progress on the right.

We (the Germans) were very lucky in that several times in the game American artillery bombardments of massed batteries did not land at all.  The aircraft were largely negated by the plentiful German AA resources.  There was however, simulated carnage and glory enough for all.  Thanks to all for playing and keeping it light throughout.  Okay, maybe I got tired of the American tank destroyers teleporting in, but there's always something.