Thursday, September 25, 2014

Road to Seville

No, not a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movie (God, I'm old) but a skirmish in Spain, c. 1810.

The British under Sir Henry Simmerson and Spanish under Captain Morillo set an ambush for the French convoy coming up the road.  The French, tied to the road had to deploy in the spot where the allies planned to spring their ambush. 

The game system, Tirailleurs en Grande Bandes is my own card activated game.  Each unit has two cards in the deck and on any card they can perform one action (move, fire, reload, etc.) or hold it to respond to a charge or similar emergency situation.  Two jokers are also in the deck.  When drawn the gifted CO can choose one unit to receive an extra action.  A game changer in today's encounter.

The French had an escort of 17 dragoons, 20 grenadiers, 26 legere, and three units of 26 fusiliers each and four wagons.  The allies had 18 Spanish dragoons, 10 British hussars, 27 British line, 18 Spanish grenadiers, 25 Spanish lights, and 30 Spanish guerrillas.

Starting positions, prior to the first card being drawn.

Appearing from cover in the French rear, Spanish dragoons.

French dragoons advance on Spanish grenadiers, pay for it.

French legere find a mass of Spanish guerrillas in hiding.

After taking a volley on a joker, the French charge!

The grenadiers decimate the now dismounted dragoons.

The French fail to break the British, who will now wrap around.

Though out-numbered the legere charge home against the guerrillas.

The dragoons remount to be hit by British hussars.  Everyone
routs, cavalry and French infantry.

Scene of the disaster and now uncovered convoy.

Rally attempts fail and the rout continues.

Having destroyed the guerrillas the legere see an escape rout.

Necessary since the Spanish lights and dragoons have closed the road.

Two untouched units form the rear-guard.
Final tally, French dragoons, grenadiers and line platoons routed.  Spanish guerrillas and British hussars routed.  The wagons, never good at cross-country are exposed and easy prey.  In one pass through the deck the allies got both jokers and wise use of them ensured the win.  Though it was an ambush situation the use of cards meant that the French had most of the early actions to react.  The game was over in two hours.  Which I guess is a desirable outcome these days.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Battles

Games for me lately have been hit or miss due to work and reenacting.  So I was happy to get to play in our regularly scheduled game at Fire for Effect (now Adventure Games) in Oshkosh, WI.  Our Battlefront Rangers came prepared to offer demo games with our travelling kit, as well as both sides of a 1000 and 1500 point game.  Decorated with Battlefront buildings and terrain we had an attractive table.

With no new players we went for the 1500 point game with the "Sardinien" panzergrenadiers against US armored infantry.  The random Pincer (defensive) mission had half the Americans in delayed reserve, meaning they only had self-propelled artillery and an ambush platoon available.

Looking at the table and starting positions.

MkIVh with SPAA support are our maneuver element

Thunderbolts show up a lot to attack our 12 cm. mortars and guns

With the inevitable result

Stuarts spring an ambush but pay the price

With only two platoons on table the Germans advance unopposed

Getting too close, the Stuarts are assaulted from cover

Racing back to defend the objective they are too late

As it turned out the respective force compositions coupled with the mission did not match up well.  The American armored infantry only had one chance to even get on table and it ended after three turns. 

So since we had time and extra hands, we set up the other 1500 point game using the same table.  This time 1945 Gebirgsjagers heavy with panzerfausts against Churchills and no infantry.  The mission rolled was Counterattack (mobile battle).  With only one mobile platoon the Germans got to have everything available with an ambushing element.  I wanted to give my Churchills some table time so had them plus recon, SPAT, some 25 pdrs. and limited air support.

Limited Spitfires keep the artillery pinned throughout

Moving cautiously against the dug in Germans

Swinging wide to the left

Knowing the Germans have an ambush element, the Brens sneak

Sturmvogel strikes!

Effective strike, but the ambushing Hetzers burn

Ranger Paul says, "my poor Hetzers..."

The end

Once again the charmed-life recon Bren section win a game.  This is something like #4 for them.  It was well that the attackers and defenders matched up as they did.  The Gebirgsjagers were well suited for defense but would have had a difficult time attacking the armor-heavy British.

Thanks to all that played.  Good times and good sports.

Empires Made and/or Broken

Raevski's VII Corps and Tuchkov's III Corps with cavalry support under Bagration from 1812 are arrayed against Vandamme's 1815 corps with additional attachments including Guard cavalry.  Both sides were expected to attack at least somewhere.

The first hourly round saw both sides have elements that failed to activate their orders despite the first round modifier.  That didn't keep us from locking horns however in strong action.  For the Russians from left to right the grenadier division went into action with Cossack flank support.  The line infantry and cavalry decided to sit out the first hour.  Raevski got all his formations moving.  The line division heavily engaged with a Russian grand battery hitting the French flank and a line division and cavalry following their orders and hitting empty air. 

The Russian left

Russian grand battery and right

Deadly combat on the left

Hammer blow follows blow on the left

The counter-attack begins

On the right the French cavalry is gone and the French are just hanging on

Piling on the pressure on the Russian right

 After three "hours" of combat the French threw in the towel.  Totally blunted on the Russian left and losing on the right they failed their personal morale test.  Both sides had uncommitted reserves, but having thrown their best shot and missed, it was a natural result.  The amazing thing was that the Russians had the tactical initiative every hour.