Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stalin Moves West

We played a 2000 point, late-war Flames of War game set on the Eastern Front.  Army lists were drawn from Red Bear and Nuts and the 4th edition rules were used.  The Soviets were mostly Confident/Trained (some Fearless) with two mixed T-34 formations of mainly T-34/85s, 4 57mm anti-tank guns, 8 Katyusha launchers, 6 82mm mortars, a company of infantry and Sturmovik air support.  The Germans had two platoons of MG/Panzerfaust panzergrenadiers, 4 12cm mortars, 3 3.7cm AAA, 3 Pak40 anti-tank guns, 3 Pak43 anti-tank guns (that could also bombard), 3 Jagdpanthers and sporadic air support from a Hs-129B3.  The Germans were all Confident/Veteran.

A peaceful looking field, somewhere on the
Eastern Front.

And now "filled" with figures.
 The mission was a free-for-all so while everyone started dug in and gone to ground per the new rules, everything was on table.  No ambushes or reserves for a pleasant change.  Neither side had any luck getting air support on a 4+ roll.  Only once in six tries combined.

Two T-34 formations advance on our right.
 With my lack of mobility, the Pak43 and AAA were immobile, I felt I had to hit and then counter-attack.  This seemed to suit the Soviets who were aggressively minded.

Soviet infantry company advances but is pinned by 12cm mortars.
 Artillery against non-armored targets is very effective these days, what with the ability to target a piece of terrain rather than an enemy stand.  Some players were well-practiced in spacing their stands to minimize the effect, but now you just have to take it.

Two anti-tank guns have been lost so the Jagdpanthers move up.

Tanks move up to engage the infantry with MGs, but did not assault.

But we do.  Assaulting from cover, eliminated one and bailed two.
They then returned to their foxholes.

At this point the Soviets conceded the game.  The infantry remained pinned in the open, the tanks were eliminated or run off, and the Katyushas were weakened.  I suppose there was some chance left, we do use dice after-all, but the offensive punch was gone.  At least my Hs-129 got on table once, eliminating a Katyusha.

A quick and violent game, done in an hour or so.  Thanks Dan and Adam for playing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Litharus - Pass in Review

Inspired by other folks blogs I decided to have Litharus' Grand Duke Alexander Orzepovski conduct a grand review of the army, even if technically some are in distant lands fighting for others against the oppression of Latveria.  <grin>  See other posts regarding our Imagi-Nation mini campaign.

The army and beginnings of a navy bear a remarkable resemblance to the Russian army of the 18th century.  Truly remarkable.  Like most it started with, "I'll just do a brigade of infantry."  Then being adept at finding deals I kept getting more figures, which necessitated getting even more so they could be full-strength BAR (Batailles de l'Ancien Regime) units.  Now we have twelve infantry and twelve cavalry units with accompanying artillery and auxiliary units.  Flags are largely my own creation based on a theme and incorporating the city coat of arms that represents the unit recruiting center.

The "Big Picture"

The light brigade, with the Dainava Forest Jagers,
Babryusk Pandours, and Cossack mounted and foot.
 The lights have been an effective part of the Litharusian army.  At one point one of the Cossack squadrons had earned elite status, but an unfortunate turn of events at the Battle of Alten meant they had to be rebuilt and lost their elite rating.

Led by the redoubtable Taras Shevchenko.

The heavy brigade with, front to back, the Vilnius and Minsk
grenadiers, followed by the Leib Guard and Grenadier Guards.
Usually commanded by General Anatol Gogol.

A flag tip 'o the three cornered hat to Lithuania and Belarus.

The Grand Duke and Duchess Mara Orzepovski greet army
commander General Arkady Grigorovich Ouromov.

Honors rendered.  Just in the picture is Count Lippe of the
diplomatic corps.

A brigade composed of garrison battalions Grodno and Mogilev,
followed by Electrenai and Varena line units.  Headed up by
General Georgi Koskov.

Here we see the heavy battery, Memel Pioneers, and the line
units from Virbalis, Jonava and Ariogala.  

The invaluable pioneers, essential for bridging and siege
operations.  Colonel Feyador directs them.

Our heavy cavalry brigade under General Orlov.  In the foreground
the Pinsk Cuirassiers, followed by the Lenkin Cuirassiers, Palanga
Dragoons and Brest Horse Grenadiers.

An army doesn't run without help, so we have maintenance and
supply resources.

A blacksmith shop.

Cannon gin for remounting and repairs.  One of two mortars in
the upper right.

We are experts at raising field works.  Chief of Artillery Colonel
Kronsteen keeps them sharp.

Even the [named-as-needed] militia turned out.

The mighty Inceptum.

The galliot Vindicare, first craft in the navy.

And so we come to the end.  Various other river and coastal craft are available as we are unwilling for the time being to commit to a deep water navy.  No further expansion of the infantry or supporting foot are planned, though the lure of dashing hussars are ever present.  So who knows?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunny Spain, 1812

Sort of.  The occasion was to "break in" a new corps of Northern Italians and the requested foe was an Anglo-Portuguese force.  So, using our favorite Empire rules, 34 Italian and 12 French battalions (each of 12 castings) with French and Italian cavalry under Eugene took on 40 British and Portuguese battalions (almost all 10 castings) under "Daddy" Hill.  Cavalry numbers were about even, but the Allies had a decided quality edge.

A serene view from a small village looking across the valley.

A convoy under Spanish guerrilla protection moves along the road.

Perhaps the destination?  Of maybe just eye candy.

A view of the Allied position.  Click to enlarge the pictures.

Each side could deploy 18" in on the 6x9' table.
Brown patches are cosmetic to reflect the arid terrain in Spain.  Some sections were designated as disordering terrain for charges and all movement was at half speed.  Slopes were gentle and the woods were light.

The right most two Allied divisions with cavalry in deep support.

Eugene's forces advance, then halt to soften up the Allies with
bombardment fire.

Looking over the Allied left and refused flank of the Italians.

Cavalry attacks, infantry squares up and repulses them.

Hill launches a division to attack on the left, but the friendly
cavalry fails to support!

The French form line and engage.
 A pattern quickly emerged in the game.  The Italians and French couldn't roll to close in any of their charges, but also were shooting great.  The Italian Chasseurs, despite firing from the saddle, exacted a heavy toll among the squared up infantry.  More important was the failed elan tests.  Several times infantry failed to close on British squares.

Italians hitting the Allied center, this time in column.

Desperate struggle on the right as the decimated squares hold.

95th Rifles at a heavy cost drive off Italian artillery, a gap opens
in the attacking line.

After four hours of game play and almost four hours of real time play, the Italian/French force was a disorganized shamble.  An attack into the flank of one Italian division saw the rout of three battalions.  The front line had been thrown back onto their supports, disordering all.  On the Anglo-Portuguese right, although clinging by their toenails, they were holding.  The center looked promising for the Allies.  So Eugene and his cohorts conceded the game to Hill.  Overall casualties were relatively light on both sides considering the combat.

We had nine players, each running roughly a division.  Of those, four were rookies.  So all in all, very satisfactory.  Your comments and observations are welcome.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Return to the Arsenal

For the 4th of July I wanted to do a War of Independence game, but the Neville Museum in Green Bay has all my figures on display, so we turned to our Imagi-Nation mini campaign for a game.  Using our countries in Charles S. Grant's work, "The Annexation of Chiraz" we are playing the fourth game.  Tabletop rules as always are "Batailles du l'Ancien Regimes" by Bill Protz.

Early in the Latverian campaign to conquer Rondovia the Arsenal at Petersville, a key source of powder was seized by an overwhelming force.  Now a Rondovian force, chosen after the opening moves of the campaign, seek to retake it.

The view of the Latverian defenders as we march on table.

But lo, a group of lights emerge from the woods to try and flank us.
So we find that our three musketeer battalions and hussar squadron are facing three Latverian units (one a grenadier), a light battalion, a cannon and squadron of hussars.  Oops.  Oh well, we are ordered to attack, so attack we shall.

Room is tight to deploy initially, but the lights are immediately
taken under fire.

Latervian defenders in the Arsenal looking in our direction.

Constricted table works against us as their cannon exacts a
small but steady toll.

Grenadiers and a gun against line.  A losing proposition.

Finally in line and able to get off the first shot against the opposing
line of musketeers.  Lights are suffering.

Latverian line scampers away and eventually off table.  Lights
will soon follow.

The Arsenal defenders make themselves known.  The villagers
cower amid their (lovely) buildings.

The musketeers facing the grenadiers have run off, though not
before "killing" the gun crew and damaging the grenadiers.
We arrive at the crucial point.  Out-numbered and out-qualitied, we have had some success.  Running off two units (one a small unit) and converging on the objective with the Latverian grenadiers on the wrong side of an impassable river.  But one Rondovian unit is testing with each casualty and only mine is in good shape.  Rush the Arsenal or retire to fight another day?  The order was given and...

We back off as our hussars scurry out of range.

Our last view of the Arsenal and the bitter defenders.

"Did they really leave, or it is a Rondovian trick?"

No trick, we left.  Post battle we rolled to determine the status of losses.  On a d6 a "6" is killed, a "5-6" is a heavy wound, and "1-3" will rejoin the colors next day.  The Latverian hussars for example started the game with only 11 of 12 castings and the light battalion with 27 of 30 from the previous action.  The next action will be much larger in terms of troop density.