Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Bally Jerry, pranged his kite right in the how's your father;..."

Pulled out an old-timer this afternoon for our "Gentlemen of Leisure" weekday game.  I first met "Red Baron" in the 80s and for many years it was a staple of our gaming experience.  So since I still had  the sticks and planes, we decided to give it a go, as a true 3D flying game.

Keeping it simple, the Americans had a pair each of SPAD XIII and Nieuport 28 fighters.  The Germans had a pair of Fokker DVII, a DVIII monoplane and a Dr.1 triplane.  We diced to see our entry points.  The Americans came in together and the Germans separated.  Altitude was 3,100', plus or minus 100' at the players discretion.  Each solid mark on the stick represents 100'.  Tally ho!

My Fokker Dr.1 and DVIII with the Yanks in the distance.

Americans in a loose gaggle as Bob plots and plans.

I swung over to join with the others then turned into the enemy.

One our of old, classic traffic jams.

Taka-taka-taka as the Yanks draw first blood double-teaming
a Fokker DVII.

It looked promising for us at first.  Bob's first shot resulted in a double jam and when he later tried to clear the jam one was permanently out of action.  One SPAD flew off table severely damaged so the odds were even again.

A diving half-loop puts one in a perfect firing position.

Close-up of the attack.

A head-on shot that turned out bad for me.

After catching fire I maneuvered to try and put it out and promptly exploded.  And we ended it.  Whie we caught on to the plotting fairly quickly, I had forgotten a lot in the last 12 years since I played so we messed up shooting.  But consistently for the game, so it didn't really matter.  In the end 2-0 Americans, so a rematch is in order!  Thanks Bob, Todd and Dan for playing.

PS. The post title comes from Monty Python.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Beda Fomm with FoW

The third and last of our mini-campaign for Early-War North Africa was played today.  We used the 4th Edition charts for Flames of War to resolved the game.  Scenario was a Breakthrough Mission though we skipped the objectives part.

Historically the "Desert Rats" had gotten ahead of the retreating Italians and set up a blocking position while the 6th Australian Division pursued the main body.  Having been repulsed the day before, the Italians gathered up what forces they could and threw them at the British positions in an attempt to clear the way for the others.  Our forces were 1700 points.  The British had immediate reserves and ambush, and the Italians delayed flanking reserves.  As it turned out, the latter did not even get into play.

Pausing at the well, wondering what all the noise it about.  Also
marking the center point of the table.

Broad view of the mainly open table with some rocky outcroppings.

The initial deployment for the Italians and British.
 The dice rolls for "8 Million Bayonets" were kind to the Italians.  Everyone was at least confident and with rolls on the Elite table for the tanks and Bersaglieri it was a formidable force.  I considered lowering them given the long retreat, but decided for these elites and the desperate nature of the battle to keep the dice rolls.

Dug in British infantry, some cruiser tanks and more in ambush.
 The Italians started with two platoons of five M13 "tanks," one veteran and one trained.  A veteran Bersaglieri platoon, a platoon of 47mm anti-tank guns, a battery of 75mm artillery and a battery of 100mm artillery.  Ah yes, and my beloved biplane, the CR42 Falco.  Off table in delayed reserve were L3 tankettes, more trained Bersaglieri and a pair of AA trucks.  The British had veteran infantry and twelve trained cruisers, half in immediate reserves.  British tanks are very spendy compared to the Italians.  Almost twice as fast and with a better gun, but lower armored and only trained while the Italians might be veteran.

Surprise, flanking reserves immediately hit the Italians.

Simultaneously the ambushing tanks were sprung.

Good shooting coupled with poor morale and one Squadron of
Brits take to their heels.

Artillery, anti-tank guns and M13s take out another squadron.

Starting to look good for Italy.
 The British got their other reserve squadron and elected to bring it in on the flank again.  Good shooting but poor firepower rolls bailed most of the veteran squadron of M13s, but they passed morale.  In return the man-handled anti-tank guns and remounted tanks ran off the flanking force.  The Bersaglieri assaulted and eliminated on British platoon but then poor saves and morale forced the remainder to run away.

At the end.  No British tanks remain and the infantry will be
fodder for the tanks.

The Falco appeared in two of our four turns of play but although bomb hits we made, British saves largely negated them.  Italian artillery was intimidating but also unable to do much.  The lower AT values and firepower for bombs and artillery really took the teeth out of them.

All three of our mini-campaign games have seen a blowout of one side.  The first which saw the Italians hitting the Egyptian frontier was shot to pieces by British artillery (3rd edition).  The second game, an assault on an Italian frontier fort area was likewise destroyed by the Italian reserves (also 3rd edition).  None of them even went six turns.  You can read the accounts in the blog archives.  Not certain what to make of the results, but 4th Edition definitely puts a different spin on the game play.

After discussion we decided to continue the thematic games and allow the arrival of the Deutsches Afrika Korps, henceforth referred to as DAK.  The Italians were still running for Tripoli and while perhaps not the historic disaster, still a defeat.  Watch for more game reports.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Battle of Arcot - Somewhere in India

The background to our action:
"Messieurs, we have gathered at the behest of the Nawab of Arcot to repel the British and their allies who have invaded Madras from the Northeast coast.  Clive will no doubt be marching to support the force which seized the village to our front.  Following a preparatory bombardment, when the sun is at its zenith we will attack.  The honor of the assault will belong to the Nawab's forces.  I will place myself near the center with the Royale Ecossais and Grenadiers de France and support from native irregulars.  Monsieur Lambert (my mother's maiden name) with the Irish regiment Lally, converged grenadiers and marines will cover our right.  A swarm of native cavalry and some French light cavalry will support.

Bon chance mes amis.  To your positions!" -- Marquis d'Bussy

The French primary objective,

The French back table, fully in play.

The rest of what we knew of the English/native army.

Native irregulars to the front.  Europeans in the second line.

Turn 2 Clive arrives with reinforcements.

A methodical French advance.

My elites (dice roll) scatter enemy vedettes and hit regular cav.

Protecting the center flank by pushing.  Thr new Duc d'Arboy
Marines in the foreground.

Pushing the center as the British quietly await.

Slow advance on Arcot.

We are noticeably out-numbered on the right but a bottleneck
greatly helps.

Routing irregular cavalry are jeered by the advancing Irish.

The Irish are greeted by a charge of enemy light horse,

They calmly empty all but a few saddles and the remainder rout.

Having taken galling fire the redcoats charge my native infantry.

The infantry didn't immediately rout so cavalry to the rescue!

Marines and converged grenadiers against Sepoys and regulars.

Close order natives charge our open order troops so cavalry pile
in to help. 

The regulars prepare to decide the center.  But they have elephants.

A real cluster... uh... mess in the right-center.

After the fact, my lights eliminate the British regular cavalry.

The center is won!  Despite the British getting the first fire card
seven turns in a row.

Final position on our left.

As time (and energy for me) ran out at 4:00 the consensus was that it was at least a marginal French victory.  The defender of Arcot felt that it would eventually fall, the center was a clear French win, and the right would be turned by Clive in time.  Though having the only viable cavalry on the right would hopefully make it take long enough.  We saw a number of cavalry mobs swarm in all directions during the game.

The game featured the colonial version of our popular "Batailles de Ancien Regimes" system which caused a few "oops" for those like me that assumed things were the same.  Although there were some wonderfully painted new units specifically for India, we were forced to press into service an assortment of Eastern Europeans, Afghans, etc.  Not an area of concern.  The occasion was the birthday of our host and rules author Bill Protz.  We even got birthday cake decorated with the image of the Taj Mahal.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rolling dice again!

As I alluded to in my last post I have a huge medical crisis at the end of February and nearly cashed in my chips.  Happily things look good but recovery has been painfully slow.  And slowly painful.  :-)  Today I finally got together with some of the gang for an exploratory game of 4th edition Flames of War.  I've been anxious to give them a try so we went to the ever hospitable Adventure Games and set up a 1500 point late-war game.

We kept it small because some were on a short timeline and my endurance still has a long ways to go.  So three Germans and three Soviets split up the 1500 points.  Our side had a force from a PDF with five Tiger I, two Hetzers and a funky little infantry kampfgruppe with a Pak40, two HMGs, four PzGr. MG stands, a tank-hunter and the command stand.  The Soviets had five JS-II, four gun batteries of 152, 76 and 57mm guns, plus two infantry units.

Starting positions, Germans defending.

Turn two and we're already down 40% of our Tigers.

Those Soviet 57mm ATGs are wicked.

The last picture requires some explanation.  For maybe three turns these three tanks dueled.  The Soviets couldn't hit and the Tiger couldn't make a firepower roll.  So when we quit after about six turns they were still facing each other.

It was a tough day to be an infantryman as both sides suffered.  The 57s were run off but three Tigers had died.  The Hetzers weren't going to do much against the JS-IIs to I figure we were losing.  But people needed to leave and my endurance ran out so we called it a friendly draw.  Nice to roll dice and nice to be among my buds once more.

First impressions of 4th edition: the learning curve is going to be a lot more than I expected.  Artillery had better survival chances.  Infantry that get hit with a bombardment have the choice of moving or dying.  Casual players are going to have a tougher time keeping track of all the little changes to their vehicle stats and capabilities.  Most of the changes are subtle, but there are a LOT of them.  Looking forward to the next test game.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Introducing battalion ???

At What-Khan back in October I picked up a box of Spencer plastic 18th century figures for a song.  All were in varying degrees of painted/flaking but I was pleased.  Having gotten started decades ago with "The Wargame" and similar old school games, they hit a nostalgia note.  Deciding to add a unit for my Imagi-Nation collection I found a group that were painted similarly and added enough others to form a 30 figure unit.

Next the decision of how to paint them.  Do I go with my modern methods or continue in the old school style they were already painted?  After much thought, helped along by an unexpected health crisis and being laid up for a long time, I decided on old school.  So yes, I can and do paint faces and such, but just thought to make it look like when I started out so long ago.

Still mounted on one pence coins.

So why the question marks in the title?  Well since they aren't based on an actual unit they need to be named.  I'm thinking they will most often serve with my Frenchish forces but that isn't locked in stone.  So suggestions are welcome.  I just need to identify them before they take the field the first time.  Now, what to do with the other 275+ figures?

Next up, I wanted to share a commission vignette I did.  Apparently the Ottomans had a regimental cook pot that had importance, so although it has no combat value in our games, it is important to have and keep it.

No sure what it doing with my camera, I usually get much crisper shots.  But there you go, "proof" I can paint in a modern style.

Thanks for looking.