Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hellfire in the Pacific

December 17th was my 63rd birthday, so I claimed the right to pick the game.  Wanting to get more mileage out of my Marines and curious about the new theatre of operations we got an unexpectedly high player turnout.  Maybe it was the brownie cake. 

The Japanese fielded two platoons of infantry, two platoons of HMGs, a pair of 70mm infantry guns, a battery of four 75mm guns, barbed wire and five Type 95 Ha-Go tanks.  If that sounds familiar I was providing both sides so the only difference from the last game was the 75s in exchange for basically one Ho-Ni tank destroyer.  Marines had two platoons upgraded to having BARs and LVT-4s, an assault platoon, a HMG platoon, pair of 37mm ATGs, three M3 Stuarts and limited air support Corsairs, carrying napalm.  Points for both sides were 2010.  The Marines won the dice throw and were the attackers in a meeting engagement.

I was very busy with new(er) players and answering questions so not many pictures.  But click them to enlarge.

Both sides loaded up on the same side and positioned weapons
to hold the other flank.

My Corsair was 3D printed.  Not the best, but I learned lessons.

Not enough cover but we make use of what is available.
The Marines used the MG platoon and 37s to hold the left while the two straight-leg platoons, assault section and Stuarts went for the objective on our right.  The Japanese used their infantry guns, 75s and MGs to hold their right hand objective, so not much happened there.  MGs in the center and the two infantry platoons and tanks on their left opposite our strength.  Going to be lots of carnage there.

Not enough as we lost an Amtrac.
One Japanese platoon tested the close action option and did a Banzai charge against a Marine platoon and their Amtracs.  They were quickly removed from play against the BARs and multiple machine guns on the Amtracs.

Napalm only hits on a "6" on a d6 but covers a 6x12" template.
The dice represent bailed out tanks.
The napalm was effective against anything not in a bunker or fully armored vehicle.  I rolled very statistical and with the regimental banner I bought for them they always rallied from the pinning effects of an airstrike.  Unfortunately for me I cheated myself, forgetting that Limited air support is two planes so I should have been rolling twice the dice.

Stuarts and Ha-Gos play hide and seek.  Eventually two of three
would be lost but they made their Fearless motivation twice.
Both sides took chances throughout.  The Stuarts lost two of three AFVs to the Japanese 75s firing over open sights.  The third kept going.  One Marine platoon was destroyed and the other reduced to taking motivation tests every turn.  But the assault section wiped out the other platoon and banner and a MG section ran off.  When the Ha-Gos, reduced to two vehicles had to be testing they finally failed and the game narrowly was for the Marines.  If scored in a tournament setting, a 4-3 win.

My Japanese were purchased and built for Rising Sun, an early-war book.  So they aren't faring well against a late-war list.  No AA allowed for example in the early-war lists.  I've since added the better Shinoto tank and Ho-Ni tank destroyer.  More games will be needed.  In honor of my father and uncle, Semper Fi. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Indignant in India

In the hopes of stemming the tide against England in India the French have marched to the support of the Nawob Basmati, as related here.  Previous actions in the loose campaign had seen a British victory at Basmatipur, a French win at Arcot, another British victory near Madras, and now to here.  The remnants of Basmati's army have retired to their hill fort and he has demanded the French assist him.  Though not trusting him completely, the French agree and arrive with European mercenaries.  Taking the field on the Plain of Sorrows we would soon know that it was not mis-named.

Rules are Batailles de l'Ancien Regimes (BAR), colonial version by Bill Protz.  Movement and firing are card driven and features a 10:1 figure ratio.

Baggage train screened by Household troops and irregulars.

Rajah Ruttin Tuttin's forces approach Basmati's hill fort.

Lt. Nerveux, sent to the fort as an observer, watches from on high.

Basmati's forces are seriously out-numbered.

But succor arrives in the nick of time!
I was charged with getting a column of soldiers and baggage through to aid Basmati.  The timely flipping of cards allowed them to arrive without needing to dump the baggage for greater speed.  The only time the cards favored us all day.

Basmati's Household cavalry and irregulars engage and beat
the enemy.

Foreground left to right, la Marck and Lally (Irish),
Royale Bavarie and Ecossais under Lally.

The English send in their Sepoys to face ours and mercenaries.
Their right, our left, was heavily weighted.

Two massive native-crewed cannons raid death upon the French.

But a post-firing roll of "1" on a d6 means it explodes!

We initially advanced but the English held back on the right
so we stalled out of fear of being flanked.

The relief column lines the walls as battle is joined.

A massive elephant charge was too much for the irregulars.

The Highlanders and Royal Americans advance on us.

A new line is established but numbers are grim.

The other side of the fort looking towards Ruttin Tuttin's army.

Volley after volley crash into our brave men before they can respond.
Again... and again...

Desperate to turn the tide the Irish and Scots advance, only to
be met with more crushing volleys.

Our rallied and rested cavalry returns to the fray, but this is
not our day.

We wrapped the European side of the battle as the Nawob and the Guru's forces began negotiations.  The Sepoys and mercenaries were spent forces.  Only two "French" units were fresh and ready to cover a precipitous retreat.  We didn't know the details at the time but the Nawob accepted hard terms for peace and is now an English lacky.  We must now extract the remnants of our army.

While there we enjoyed a hot lunch and December birthday cake for two participants, one of whom I must modestly admit is your author, (In two weeks) and Der Alte Fritz himself, (Jim Purky).  This game and accompanying cake has been a tradition for a few years now.  Till next time, adieu.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Visit to Guilford Courthouse

Finally having the right mix of players and figure owners available we undertook a refight of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse from the American Revolution in March of 1781.  The table was a close to the historic and our stash of "stuff" and geo-hex would allow.  Both sides deployed very close to the historical.

Rules were "Guns of Liberty" 2nd edition.  Figure ratio is 20:1 and each artilleryman equals one crew.  The American militia it was suggested, should get the opening volley modifier usually reserved for regulars since history talks of the "carefully loaded" shots.  The broken terrain forced both sides to utilize the open order (not skirmish) to avoid some potentially serious movement penalties.  The British goal was to break the rebels while limiting their casualties to less than 25%.  If the British took over 50% losses they lost, no matter what else happened.  The Americans were broken and forced to retreat if they had >60% of their force in rout status.  Both Greene and Cornwallis were in good form so both were +2 leaders.

And so to the game.  Click to "big-up" the pictures.  Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.  Oh, purists will note that there are a lot of stand-ins for the Crown Forces, like the Black Watch F&I version for the 71st, but you go with what you have on hand.

Lord Cornwallis and an aide.

The indomitable rascal, General Greene.

Starting position from the rebel view, two lines of militia deployed.

The British view, with the Continental regulars on the far left.

Figures in two ranks represent close order, while a single rank
is open order.  Close order could be significantly slowed by terrain.

The Guards brigade advances very slowly as the tardy Tarleton
is ordered to the right flank.
As Cornwallis it appeared to me that the only place where we might achieve a fast break-through was on our right.  Cornwallis had a few units under his direct control so I sent the cavalry off to make mischief.

Provincials, Hessians and Highlanders on our right.

Quality regular line against militia.

The Guard combined grenadiers and 1st and 2nd battalions offer
morale support.

We have routed several militia units so the Guard combined lights
go in on the left.

Tarleton's cavalry breaks one militia unit and carries on to a second.

Nice orderly lines, advancing steadily, with our prize in clear sight.

The result of the charge and melee.

In the historic action Greene asked his militia to "give them two or three volleys" and then they could skedaddle.  In our game the rebels were crowing that they were holding us longer, which is true.  But we were routing the militia, who are nigh unto impossible to rally, whereas Greene was able to get a sizeable number into the fray supporting his regulars.  So in my opinion the desire to improve on the historic actually hurt them in the long run.

Some rebel riflemen with enemy to either flank and the front.

Cornwallis can be pleased with the progress.

As the American lines recoiled, they disordered themselves and
units behind them.

Rebel view of the late stage by Paul Alaniz.

Another view by Paul after the Highland charge.

The Highland charge has swept to the very base of the American
position.  Kind of an "oops" place to be.

Having accomplished a fair bit, Tarleton's dragoons rest.

I guess that is what you call "man-handling" a gun.

At this point, with 11 of 18 American units routed, we called the game.  Greene would be required to start to pull off.  British casualties were at 22% so if they didn't press they would win a decisive victory, but that doesn't sound like Cornwallis to me.  The Continental regulars all had their opening volleys available, as did the British Guard grenadiers and "hat" battalions.  Only the Combined Lights had fired.  So a bloodbath was likely with the British pushed past their 25% threshold. 

Honors/honours to both sides and kudos for keeping it all in perspective.  On to Yorktown?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hell in the Pacific

Not yet satiated by our recent "Tanksgiving" game we pulled out our Pacific War figures for a small, 1500 point Flames of War game.  Using "Gung Ho" for our Marine list I fielded two platoons of nine stands each and four LVT4 amtracks.  A heavy machine gun platoon, pair of 37mm AT guns and a trio of M5 Stuart light tanks was our entire force.

The Japanese list from "Banzai!" had two platoons of infantry with light mortars, a pair of HMGs, two 70mm infantry guns, one Ho-Ni tank destroyer, five Ha-Go light tanks and two Type 97 Tankettes.  Both of us were kind of winging it with the OB and I suspect both had regrets as the game played out.

The random mission drawn was a Rear Guard action.  So everyone started dug in and gone to ground per v4 rules, plus the Japanese got a series of minefield which they placed on their left to channel attacks.  Neither side had air support.  My lack of a good HE round made things challenging for us.  The Japanese were saddled with the need to withdraw units as the game progressed.

Opening scene.  Markers are for the minefields, off table stands
are in the LVTs.

Move up to hide behind cover.  Ho-Ni (center) springs an ambush.

Ha-Go supporting the infantry and making mine nervous.

We weren't making much progress on the left so when the tanks
redeployed my guys advanced.  A Stuart burns.

Pinning our foes with lots of MG hits (and bloody few results)
we assault, and are still thrown back.

The Ho-Ni is dead but my AT guns are kept busy with Ha-Gos.

We finally assault, the Seishin spirit is invoked and we fight till
all the Japanese are destroyed.

A huge duel in the center between Ha-Gos and Stuarts.  The former
are outclassed and work for flank shots. 

On our left we have more success, assaulting and destroying the
other Japanese platoon.  Victory on the last turn!

On my side the surviving Ha-Gos contest the objective.

Even calling in Godzilla's cousin couldn't save the day!
Guess you can't ask for much more in a game.  Desperate assaults and equally desperate defenses.  At one point my opponent Daria rolled five or more hits needing a 5+ with seven dice!  With no HE to speak of we had to go in with the bayonet.  And as I mentioned it came down to the last turn for us to be able to claim victory.  Thanks everyone!