Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Buying Time on the Road to Alten

"Baron Alten, I need time to organize the defenses and you're going to give it to me."  With that, the Baron left to take command of his meager force.  Two squadrons of cuirassiers, two of hussars, two medium gun, a line battalion and the famous Border Foxes lights.

The logical and direct approach to the principality of Alten was up a canyon with a river running down the middle.  Unless slowed the Litharusian invaders would be within striking distance of Alten on the morrow.  And within the environs of the city was a most important secret.

The hills on either flank were half speed terrain and the very top, indicated by the wood chips, were impassable to formed foot, wheeled and horse.  The rivers steep banks made it impassable except at the stone bridge and the ford again indicated by the wood chips.

As the Litharusian forces methodically advanced they were surprised (well, maybe not) by two half-battalions suddenly standing up and ordering themselves.  A battery of two medium guns unmasked itself and cavalry became apparent.  The attacking cavalry was late arriving which allowed the defending Latverian forces to set the tempo of the action.

The Cossacks, carrying forward casualties from the last engagement, crossed the ford as troops from the main body began to arrive on table.  Along with a testy message from over-all Litharusian commander General Ouromov wondering why the advance guard was delaying his advance!

As the advance continued the Litharusian forces started to accumulate casualties.  The Pandours and a line battalion routing after falling below half strength.  Both would rally and the Pandours actually got back into the fray. 

Judging that it was time to withdraw General Alten was tricked into charging his cuirassiers against a depleted, but still steady battalion.  The Elektrenai Battalion emptied a few saddles with their opening volley and then managed to tie and then defeat their armored opponents.  One squadron routed and the other was forced to fall back.

Elsewhere the vastly superior numbers from the main body continued to mount.  So indirectly covered by harassing fire from the Border Foxes on the ridge the Latverian troops rapidly withdrew.

The depleted but undefeated Latverian forces doggedly withdraw while maintained a bold front.

And so it came to an end.  One last cavalry melee where some Cossacks defeated a larger group of hussars had no impact on the successful withdrawal.  The defenders inflicted roughly 50% greater casualties on the attackers and sufficiently delayed the advance to allow for a reasonable state of preparedness at Alten.  The final task was to determine the fate of the lost miniatures.  A d6 was rolled for each figure lost with the following table used: 1 = dead and gone; 2-3 = heavy wound that put them out for the campaign but might return.  Having surrendered the field, all the Latverian heavy wounded became prisoners.  And finally a roll of 4-6 meant they either had a light would or were "helping" the real wounded to get to the rear. 

Next up, the battle for Alten proper.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Latest additions

Introducing the latest painted troops for our historic and Imagi-Nation games.  Two brigadiers and a noted personality with an escort of Dragoons.

Foundry figs, ready to lead my expanded Prussian forces, or act as a stand-in (next post).  Bases are very inexpensive plywood disks from my local Joanne Fabrics in the craft section.  Table and extras were cobbled together with odd bits from the gubbins tray.

Next up some shots of the dragoons, representing Regiment #8 Alt-Platten.

Our games typically have squadrons of twelve figures so I need to scrounge up seven more.  I have some, but they are a different brand and really don't mix well.  While I'm at it, the flanged movement trays are from Shogun Miniatures, as are the magnetic 1x2" bases.  I've had very good service over the years and highly recommend them.

We just played the second game from the enjoyable "Raid on St. Michel" book by Charles S. Grant.  At the moment I have almost all the painted forces for both sides.  However, today I was told my diabolical plan has worked and my Latverian opponent has his army planned out and is working on his infantry second unit.  Yes... yes... all according to my master plan.  Bwah-ha-ha-ha!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Airmen in the Water

In the wake of savage dogfight that drifted over the English Channel a scattering of downed aviators drifted in the sea.  Both sides were anxious to recover their men and perhaps pick up a survivor or two, so rushed light craft into the area.  And hence to the game.

The weather was overcast and the water relatively calm.  As I told the players these aren't SEAL Team members who are trained in high speed pick up, so they would have to go at less than 15 knots during the 30 second turn the pickup was attempted.  (In the end I forgot to make them do the snag and drag roll, so all pick-ups happened automatically.)  Rules are Flaklighter, miniatures are 1/700 scale and the aviators were positioned by tossing a handful of pennies over the table.  When picked up we rolled a dice and odds or evens determined nationality.

 Two Schnell-bootes with a 20mm gun fore and aft, two LMGs midships, and two torpedoes with reloads.

Four Vosper MTBs with twin HMGs in a turret and a LMG at each torpedo tube.

The coin toss favored the British, who closed quickly.  Two boats went to engage the larger, more powerful S-Boats while the other two attempted to make rescues. 

No one's gunnery was particularly effective as the fighting ships were racing at high speed.  Even this point-blank pass failed to score any hits.

In the end the British boats grabbed two British and three German aviators, while the Germans only picked up one German.  One of the Vospers was severely damaged and another mysteriously went off the wrong side of the table, but a Schnell-Boote was reduced to half speed so they could not pursue their lighter opponents further.  Seen here forming up to make their escape.

An introductory game I kept it simple and we were done in less than two hours.  Everyone wanted vessels with more firepower.  Perhaps next time we will get out of the early years for the more powerful coastal craft.  Everyone was in agreement that we should play again.  My thanks to what is turning into the Thursday night crew for gathering again this week.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Crush the Revolution

We had time for a weeknight game so we opted to run Todd's Republican French again, this time against my 1806 Prussians.  They are new (to me) figures and needed blooding, so we rolled the clock back a bit and had at it.

Twenty-four French line and light battalions, with six cavalry regiments and four Class I batteries were opposed by twenty Prussian battalions, eight cavalry regiments and five Class III batteries.  We arbitrarily chose 1794 for a game date and used the values in Empire associated with that time range.  The French were led by Kleber, Excellent/Inspirational; and the Prussians by von Ruchel, Despicable/Impersonal.

The initial French deployment, with the infantry in three small divisions.  Light cavalry on their left, battle cavalry on their right.

The Prussians with four brigades of infantry, light cavalry on the left, medium in the center, and heavies on the right.  Confident of course in their linear tactics.

A setting on my camera was off so I ended up dumping a bunch of blurry pictures.  The short version is  that even with the first turn bonus to activate, half of the Prussians refused to move on the first Grand Tactical.  Fortunately the French were equally aggressive and far more effective, so we got engaged.  Surprisingly, the Prussians won the initiative and the heavy cavalry on the right eliminated the French lights.  Supporting troopers forced the French into square, delaying their attack.

The Prussian left easily held as the French sorted themselves into lines, and the light cavalry on the left traded successes and set-backs equally.  On the second hourly round we again won the initiative as von Ruchel lead a cavalry brigade forward on the left.  Although bad initiative rolls again limited our options, we made good progress on the right and left.  Some French battalions were routed and we seemed to be winning the cavalry fight against the French heavies by sheer numbers.  When the French finally won the initiative it was probably too late to matter.

With steady Prussian lines advancing everywhere and the cavalry either routed or neutralized, Kleber broke off the engagement, the always fleet-footed French easily getting away.  Lots of satisfying action in a three-hour game.

Finally, despite the success since Empire rates him as Despicable/Impersonal, it seemed only fitting to give von Ruchel appropriate Aides. 

See?  Contrary to popular myths, Napoleonic gamers do have a sense of humor.

I'd be lying if I said these early-war games aren't causing some consternation and rethinking of tactics.  The narrower than we're used to French columns really emphasize the need for firepower.  Meanwhile, the Austrians (last game) and Prussians in this one feel slow and awkward.  Next game I'll try out my Republicans and see if I can do better.  Thanks to Dan (my fellow Prussian), Todd and Bob for playing.