Wednesday, February 15, 2017

South Pacific What If

In preparation for a large-scale campaign we set up a training game at Adventure Games in Oshkosh, WI.  The premise is that Pearl Harbor never happened and the Japanese attacked as expected.  So there has not been Coral Sea or Midway either.

Each side had a pair of WWI vintage BBs, three heavy cruisers, a torpedo cruiser for the Japanese and an AA cruiser for the Americans.  Each side had six destroyers as well.  Rules are Naval Thunder, slightly modified,

With just a 4x6' table all the main guns started in range.  In the foreground the Fuso and Yamashiro split away from each other, in the company of a cruiser or two.  Meanwhile the Arizona and Tennessee quickly maneuver to uncover their formidable broadsides.

Mogami leads Yamashiro and Atago, the BB in trouble already.

We quickly learned that while the points for each side were almost exactly even, the Japanese 12" guns simply couldn't penetrate the American battleship armor.  So they shifted to cruisers in the hopes of being able to swarm the enemy with Long Lances.

Americans adopt a linear formation.  USS Astoria is suffering.

The Americans kept in formation throughout while the Japanese split up, perhaps in the hope of dividing the enemy fire.  On the same turn the Astoria and Yamashiro took bridge hits which necessitated command checks.  Both ships failed and fled the battle, while the Mikuma managed to pass her test.

Kitikami seeks torpedo range while the damaged Mikuma plunges
straight ahead.

Somewhere in here the USS Chicago had taken enough damage that they chose to withdraw her under cover of smoke from destroyers.  This cost two destroyers but she made it away, still plugging away through the smoke with radar directed fire.

Mogami is a strong breeze away from sinking and Fuso is heavily hit.

The battle raged on for some time and technically there were more American ships sunk than Japanese when we quit but the victory cleared belonged to the USN.  Only a staggering 23 misses out of 24 battleship dice had saved the Fuso for another turn.  The sole consolation (for me) was having the Kitikami put a pair of torpedoes into the Arizona.  Unfortunately for our side neither beat her armor.

After this game we did a quick airstrike to test the campaign modifications.  More tweaking will be in the works.  Thanks Todd, Todd, Zach, Jay, Bob and ref Dan for getting together.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Empire: Attack and Defend

A multi-corps action was fought between the French and Saxons against the Austrians by our group over two short sessions.  The table featured a stone building village at the center of crossroads.  They placed one division within a deployment area, under the obligation of holding the crossroads.

Looking from the far left Austrian flank.

The French view and initial deployment.

After seeing the deployment, the Austrians were allowed to bring divisions and other maneuver element onto the table, one at a time.  The French/Saxons received similar reinforcements after the first hourly round.

A division of 12 battalions moves on the village.

First reinforcements.

First and second French reinforcements, going to the right and
forming a reserve.

Second Austrian reinforcement of 8 battalions, lead by Kollowrat.

The Austrians sent the "Light" division of one corps on a wide swinging operation.  It only had six battalions along but four were elite Jager battalions.  Also along were two light batteries and two fine cavalry regiments.  The Archduke Charles commanded the two corps force.  Davout led the French.

We are now locked in combat across almost the entire front.

Some success early on, driving off two French battalions, but
not getting into the village.

 On the left the Austrians used their superior ranged Jagers and light artillery to pry open a gap in the formidable French line.  The large cavalry regiments have the option of breaking into two or three battle-groups.  Finally getting the desired opportunity, they were released.

A battle-group of the Blankenstein Hussars rides down a battalion,
breaks a hasty square, and smashes two closed columns.  The last
three with no better than a 35% chance.

The ebb and flow of the battle around the village.

Openings on the Austrian left but not enough troops to fully exploit.

Now four French divisions on table with the Saxon coming up.

The Archduke Charles oversees the attack and inspires the men.
But where is Davout?

Gaining the edge in the cavalry fight.

A division under von Ulm takes the long, but open route to the French.

A grand battery was formed behind friendly cavalry, which was
promptly run off, forcing them to defend themselves.

The same Blankenstein battle-group over-ran two battalions
and a battery.

Austrian Chevau-Legers threaten the French left flank.

A grand battery anchored our right flank, though never bombarded.

After six hourly rounds in seven real hours we called the game.  One French division was near the breaking point.  Another French and one Austrian division passed their determination test to continue the fight.  Three of the four French infantry divisions were engaged while the Austrians had two more coming.  So although the crossroads were still tenuously in French hands, it could not last long.  Interestingly the Austrians got the initiative in all hourly rounds except one thanks to the Archduke Charles attaching himself to maneuver elements.

Thanks Dan, Todd, Bob and Andrew for an enjoyable game.  The scenario was loosely based on Quatre Bras, with the numbers significantly bumped up and sides reversed.