Tuesday, March 26, 2013

100th Post

So I've hit a milestone.  I've been at it for two and a half years and considering I don't publicize it much the 22,520 views as of this writing is most gratifying.  I'm sure most are coming from the highly enjoyable Emperor vs. Elector blog for we Imagi-Nation enthusiasts.  I really appreciate the support and comments made, either on the blog or privately.

I haven't been posting much lately which is not from lack of gaming but rather end of term testing and grading.  I should learn not to have my kids generate so many pages to grade.  So I'm going to catch you up with my gaming world in three short tales of dice and daring-do.  Remember to click on any pictures that take your fancy to enlarge.

Caribbean Raid - 1760ish.  This is a replay of a previous game in which Spanish defenders defeated the British invaders.  This time with new players I decided to try Guns of Liberty to see how that would play out.

The situation was such that the British commanders (land and naval) were tasked with destroying Spanish stores and fortifications along with the French privateer/pirate Loup de Mer.  The pirate stronghold, which was paying protection money to the Spanish governor, was on the right.  Their ship disabled from a recent fight.  A redoubt in the center covered the bay and a navigable river.  On the left was woods and buildings.  The British were a mix of regulars, marines, grenadiers, sailors, colonial rangers and light dragoons.

The attack came in the pre-dawn with the first strike against the pirates.  The longboats were spotted but not in time to prevent a landing.  A shallow draft brig came in close to shore to support them with their 12 pdrs.  Although the Rangers flinched at the initial cannon fire from landed guns, that was about the only thing that went wrong all day. 

The Spanish battalion that had been stationed to help protect the pirates were slow to respond, especially since the pirates had liberally plied them with rum to make them ask fewer questions.  As they manned the ramparts freakishly effective cannon fire from the brig began to exact a severe toll.  In short order they fled to the interior of the tower.

Signal rockets had alerted the island garrison and another regular battalion and unit of Free Men of Color turned out.  The British mortar barge was driven off by the redoubt and good shooting but other vessels moved to shore as the brig moved down the cost to fire on the redoubt.  The pirates were quickly dispatched by the colonials who then began to plunder farms.

The garrison of the redoubt was forced to retire and only managed to spike one of their guns.

Although others established a defensive line along the river, it would be flanked and the governor had no choice to try to obtain terms to preserve the town. 

Various cavalry units were out scouting the coast but failed to arrive in either a timely manner or in a place that matter.  Today God is an Englishman.

A week later we gathered for a Flames of War game which was a test for a possible convention game.  Something in the neighborhood of 1700 German late war points were defending in prepared positions against 3000+ British.  The Germans had the vague promise of a panzergrenadier force coming to their succor. 

Early on the German artillery was able to take the British artillery under effective fire and whittled the 8 gun battery down quickly.  Note for the convention: give the British a place to deploy that isn't in the open.  Masses of recon Bren carriers raced forward on the right, but they were opposed by massive 88L71 anti-tank guns and some StuG IIIs from the on-table reserve.  Burners began to dot the field.  In the center the British prepared for a tank assault on the small garrison defending the forward village.  On the left Churchills, Achilles and infantry slowly advanced.  Priority air support in the face of no anti-air resources looked to do great things, but failed all day long.

Some of the German anti-tank guns that were pivotal to the defense began to fall.  Mortars added to the occasional 25 pdr. fire to pin and occasionally destroy the dug in defenders.  In the center, albeit at great cost, part of the village was cleared by tank assault.  As the infantry were getting into range it looked grim.

And then the Panthers and panzergrenadiers arrived.....

Which quickly brought the game to a conclusion.  With eight turns available and we on turn six the Allies conceded.  To add rare insult to injury the Luftwaffe put in an appearance on its single dice attempt.  They had even previously intercepted a British air strike, so it was only fair that just as we thought something would happen, fighters drove off the Luftwaffe.  It would have looked like this:

And finally last weekend a few of us got together to try out Disposable Heroes in 20mm.  Soviets vs. Germans.  As with most skirmish games, it danced line between so much detail that it bogs down and so much abstraction that we may as well be fighting the Red and Blue armies from those childhood play sets.

Each side had three tanks and eight four or five man infantry fire teams.  Both sides made for cover except for the German sniper who felt he had shots right from the start and began picking off the occasional Soviet.

Although the Germans managed to immobilize one of the T-34s, heavy losses among the infantry meant that the day went to the Soviets.  This was a first time play, using only the basic rules, but several things seemed really goofy.  Like in terms of hitting an opposing infantryman it didn't matter whether he casually strolled in the open, or was stationary for several turns.  Wouldn't you find some cover or at least lie down?  Since a tank can go from zero to 60 in one turn it shouldn't be an issue to get up and run.  More games will be required to determine whether it is faster/better than the more familiar Battleground.

Thanks again for the support over the last two and a half years!  May the luck be ever in your favor.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Battle of Bagger's Crossroads

After the Confederate defeat on the Nishnabotna River Part I and Part II the Rebs fell back attempting to establish a blocking position at Bagger's Crossroads behind some prepared positions.  A fresh division of 18 regiments plus five regiments from the previous battle with three batteries were attempting to stand against 36 Yankee regiments with nine batteries.  With the losses from the previous battle the Reb regiments were generally larger than their Yankee counterparts, but the advantage in artillery was huge.

Playing the long way on a 6 x 9' table the Rebs were instructed to fight and hold as long as possible but not fight to the last.  Works are medium, dark fields are firm footing (clear) while the others are tall crops and broken ground.


With three divisions the plan was to push hard on our left and center, and use the right to tie up and perhaps cut off the lead Reb brigade.  Despite moving forward in column for as long as it was safe the Yanks were unable to prevent the two marching brigades from plugging a hole in the line and establishing a tenuous second line.  On the Yankee right the Rebs skillfully extracted themselves with minimal damage to form a more or less continuous line.

As this reporter commanded Absalom Baird's division on the left I can give the most details there.  Reminiscent of the cartoon in the rule book, my first shot with artillery was "boxcars" to run myself out of ammunition, and next turn got the exact same result with another battery.  Sigh....  Needing to do this the old fashioned way and trusting that the Rebs could not get too aggressive, we combined some first fires followed by passage of lines to continue the advance.  Three successes and three disorders.  The center, spearheaded by Zouaves made progress until running up to the works.  Sensing attacking at 1:1 odds would be a bloodbath, they maintained the pressure without pressing the issue.

On the right progress was steady if slow as the Rebs were pushed back and the works on the hill facing attackers on two sides.  Meanwhile on the left, Brigadier Starkweather led a charge at the head of the 10th Wisconsin while General Baird himself led charges by the 21st Wisconsin and 38th Indiana.  A third charge also rolled forward at the same time as the newly reordered troops advanced behind.

The Rebs being as a disadvantage (down a stand or in one case shaken) could not hold and as they fell back caused some disruption in the second line.  Brigadier Starkweather, as he waved his men forward was struck down.  The 21st WI, in a scene reminiscent of the end of Glory, paused exhausted from their charge atop the hill, only to see a fresh mass of Rebs that opened fire from hasty works and completely eliminated the gallant group.

Still, the line had been pried open and more Yankees charged forward on the left.  Although almost all of the entire Rebel 2nd line had thrown up hasty works, once flanked they didn't help.  In the center two brigades lurked, ready to exploit any movement by the Rebs, while on the right the Yanks finally got into the position they wanted to be able to charge. 

A heroic supported charge threw back the works defender and its supporting unit and the followup created a massive melee as the Rebs would not yield the position without blood. And there was plenty as a crappy dice roll against a huge roll meant the both Reb regiments disappeared in the first round of melee.  Back on the left, an out-of-control charge ended up behind the other works and two Reb batteries with a flag and Confederate brigadier in tow.  One of the Union batteries, having replenished their ammunition, rolled down to where they could enfilade the Confederate works, and just like that a nail-biter saw a Reb collapse. 

After the battle, General George Thomas was heard to ask for a map and comment, "I hear Atlanta is nice this time of year."  "......Recalculating....."