Monday, April 18, 2011

Mother Russia - 1943

Five of us gathered last Saturday for another test game of Command Decision: Test of Battle.  I am extremely familiar with earlier editions but I'm still getting the hang of this one though I'm still very pleased with it.

In the game, a vaguely Kursk-like engagement, we have the Germans in break-through mode having committed fresh troops to exploit the gap the infantry opened.  Opposing them are fresh Soviet troops trying to deny the Germans a supply depot that has mistakenly been left intact.  All troops are Experienced, Morale 8.  We have five companies of German Panzer grenadiers (sans halftracks) and three Panzer MkIIIj tanks against two battalions of Soviet infantry with the promise of reinforcements.  The stream is fordable at cost, vehicles need a bogging check.  Fields are muddy, fences cosmetic in nature, woods are light and basic two level hills.  Clicking the pictures will enlarge them.

Opening situation and deployment:
German left.  Tanks up the middle, infantry to maneuver.
German right.  Dangerously bunched but trusting they are out of view.

Soviet left, German right.  Defense with mortars ready to sight for themselves.
Soviet right with AT gun on road, MGs on hill.

The Prize

The Germans laid smoke on their left (eventually) to cover a gap between the hills for their infantry to dash between.  The tanks boldly advanced on the Soviets before pulling back, feeling a bit naked.  On the German right the Soviets drew first blood with a lucky kill of a German platoon.

The Soviets took cover in the stream bed.
Infantry moves under cover of smoke.
Tanks get pushy, then think better of it.
Turn four saw the bad German luck continue as two more stands were eliminated by bad dice rolling.  But they are getting into line and ready to unleash their superior firepower and numbers.  Turn five was a bad one for the Soviets.  The Germans opened up with everything, scored some hits and the subsequent morale throws were generally bad for the Soviets.  One of their precious two anti-tank guns was eliminated after missing three shots at a German tank, and the entire left hand battalion had to fall back.

Having been forced back by morale, they continue to retreat.

Three T-34s (one a fill-in model) arrive to help on Turn Six.

But quickly add to the devastation.

Little went well for the Soviets.  Even a lucky shot from one of the three T-34s which "killed" the German anti-tank gun while in transit did little to buoy their hopes.  In turn 7 the two tank companies effectively eliminated each other and the line battalion on the left, with a bad morale situation already, made the worst possible roll and dissolved completely.  With the naval infantry battalion in retreat already, the surviving T-34 with no one to command him, and the way to the depot open we called the game.

Naval battalion retreating before the tanks engaged each other.
Scene just before the Soviet battalion on the left "picked up."

Everyone had at least some bad luck and I'm pleased to say they took it in stride with a good attitude.  The Soviets in particular could curse the dice for bad luck, but didn't.  I was using a "CD light" version of the game as we are getting to know it.  Next  time (this was our second game) we'll have more options, more artillery and more morale modifiers in play.  I believe it to be a superior game system so I'm hoping it will catch on.  We gathered at 1:00, introduced the game to the two new players and were done by 4:00.  Till next time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Problem solved!

So recently I was ruminating on what to do next for projects.  A little of this and that, or concentrate on something big?  Life has a way of giving you the easy out sometimes.  I went to visit family and friends and accepted several painting commissions!  So now I'm up to my ears in 15mm Russian Napoleonics.  Lots of Old Glory and some older MiniFigs.  Now I just have to figure out what Cossack artillery looked like.  ;-)

This weekend one of my reenactment groups got together for our "Spring Muster."  As always we took the opportunity between drill and working on items to do some live firing.  So I got out my .62 calibre Fusil de Chasse.  Firing at cut-outs and others I was nine for 10 with the tenth still grazing the shoulder of the British Grenadier target.  All were at 25 yards so point blank but we were firing at a 6" diameter aiming point.  My only long range shot hit a mounted officer just above the knees at 100 yards.  Pretty easy when no one is on the other side actively trying to kill you.

So I have a plan for painting, can recharge my "fun money" account with the revenue, and can continue to chip away at the hordes of things for myself awaiting paint.  Till next time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Springtime Blues...

or Reds, or Whites, or maybe more of lovely Greens.  I'm at a painting impasse.  I've recently completed two projects, one of 28mm Foundry SYW Russians for double duty in my Imagi-Nation and also Spanish regulars, artillery and militia for any number of games.

Right now I have a mish-mash on the paint sticks.  15mm Bersagliari with mortars, 15mm Russian SYW Cuirassiers, 25mm European sailors and captains, some 25mm Canadian Milicien and some "true" 25mm French SYW artillerymen.  All are part of on-going projects but I'm undecided how to proceed.  Big projects have the advantage of feeling like you've really accomplished something when it's done.  On the other hand you can get burned out on them like I almost did about the 500th Russian.  Doing a shotgun effect of a little of this and a little of that has the advantage of variety and continued interest, but lacks the sense of feeling like you are getting somewhere.

In my foolishness I have duplicate scales of the same figures so I can easily do different game systems.  So waiting to be painted, in no order of importance are:
Another 50+ 28mm Russians (mostly Cossacks)
125 15mm SYW Russians
150 15mm French Revolution French
Several hundred assorted 15mm SYW French and Prussians
Assorted 25/28mm SYW Prussians
A couple hundred 25mm Redcoats and Loyalists
A hundred 25mm Continentals
250+ 15mm Yankees
100 15mm Rebs
1/600 Ironclads, 1/1200 ships of the line, 1/2400 warships from pre-dread to WWII

And that's not even counting "a dozen of this, two dozen of that" into the equation.  So dear readers, since you've managed to get this far: what should I do?  What do you do when you have project you'd like to see get done, but get distracted easily by shiny?