Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Show Game update

Had to work late last night so not got as much painting done as hoped and don't look like hitting my target. However I have organised my heraldry properly and repainted the base colours and they are all looking much better. Making progress and looking like will complete with time to spare.

On a separate note, this Sunday, 28th at the Angel Centre, Tunbridge Wells, Cavalier will be the last outing for our 25mm Arab-Israeli which I am looking forward to.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Club Night 19th February

Finally got round to trying out the new Beastman army against Duncan's Empire. At 2,100 points I got to use a bit of everything and see how it all worked, while Duncan used a fairly typical army of his with some big infantry blocks, artillery, a small unit of knights and a Steam Tank and War Altar.
The Empire took the first turn and manoeuvred into position. The gun line then opened up. A mixed blessing as the Volley gun immediately misfired and destroyed itself, but not before unleashing 30 shots at the Bestigors who lost over half their number. In the Beastman first turn the horde surged forward, ready to charge the next turn. In the magic phase the lore of wilds was negated by a dispel scroll and the use of Steed of Shadows on my general also stopped. Duncan clearly suspected there was a reason I wanted to hurl my Beastlord in to combat
Duncan then charged the Minotaurs with his knights and continued to finish the deployment of the rest of his army. His fire was hampered by my use of the Chalice of Dark Rain, but in the combat things went badly for me. The Minotaurs underperformed and were ridden down by the Empire knights. In retaliation I charged the pistolliers with my Centigors and moved the rest of the army forward. My level 2 Shaman had been contacted by the knight so I tried to use Steed of Shadows to get him out of danger but Duncan was having none of it and dispelled it, leaving him to be cut down. Fortunately my Centigors managed to cut down their opponents and overrun to a spot behind the knights.

After another salvo of fire from the Empire the Steam tank charged the Bestigors, now led by the Beastlord. Despite the loss of all the Bestigiors, I revealed my Stonecrusher mace and inflicted heavy wounds on the tank, and rolled an insane Bravery for my General to keep him in the fight. In retaliation I launched my charges, Chariots impacting along the line, but unfortunately held everywhere. By weight of number on my left, and by the insane bravado of the flagellants on the right. In the centre my Beastlord finished off the steam tank, while on my left the chariot broke and was run down, opening up a unit of Gors to be charged by the swordsman, free-company and war altar. Ont eh right the other Gors got in against the handgunners, but the chariots where destroyed by a flank charge from the spearman, despite finally finishing off the flagellants. On the other flank the knights had destroyed the Centigors and turned around to return to the fray on the centre.

The finally play was as the Beastlord charged the Grand Theogenist on his War Altar. Once again using his Stonecrusher mace he destroyed the War Altar and dodge the return blow from the Mace of Helstrom. In the next turn the Beastlord again stuck first, and landed all 4 attacks on his target, now no longer protected by the power of the War Altar. But disaster struck, only 1 wound was inflicted (despite only needing 2+ to wound), and the return below hit home and crushed the mighty Beastlord.

A victory for the Empire, but still some practice needed with the Beastman and they are definitely a more competitive army than they have been for some time.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Show Game update

Ok, having done some work on the terrain and beginning to feel like it might all get done now, I get all inspired. The Teutonic sergeants are mostly done so I have started to finish their horses, and put a base colour on all other mounted troops for the Teutons, ready for the ink washes. I'm going to set myself a target of getting them all done by cavalier on the 28th. Think its doable, then I'll do the Lithuanians, and then go back and do some foot for both sides before finishing off the Poles. A plan and some enthusiams at last, just over 2 months until Salute.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Club Visit 15th February

Luke and I both had the Monday off work so headed up the club. After some work on the show terrain we decided to start a linked battle campaign of 5 missions in Flames of War to give some focus to our games. I took the Italians once again and Luke took his British Armoured.

My Brave Italians consisted of my commander, 3 Carri platoons, each of 5 tanks, 1 with improvised armour, a 2 group Bersaglieri platoon, a 3 gun Semovente platoon and 1 4 gun 75mm battery. This should give me plenty of Anti-tank to oppose the armour, a bit of manoeuvrability and the artillery s good direct and gives me the option to fire bombardments if I need to. Quite suitably the first mission was a 'Big Push' as the British tried to breach the Italian defences on the border. After working out all the defences I set up in two defensive boxes around the objectives, one with the infantry and Semoventes, the other with the artillery, and a bunker to the front of both, protected with layers of wire and mines.

Luke decided to concentrate his attack on his right, my left, against the artillery emplacement by advancing the Grants with the infantry in support, while the Crusaders protected their flank and the armoured cars ranged ahead of them. On the other flank the Shermans deployed ready to bombard the other box and attempt to destroy the Semoventes. After a massive preliminary bombardment by the RA the Italians had abandoned their vehicles and where pinned down, but had taken very light casualties.

The British advance began in earnest, but the Italians quickly reacted with devastating fire fro the Self propelled 75s, engaging and destroying the Shermans, forcing the crew of the remaining Sherman to abandon their post. On the other flank the armoured cars ruthlessly exploited a small gap in the defences and raced forward while the Grants tore up the wire to enable the supporting infantry to advance. Despite the artillery repeatedly pinning down the British motor infantry, they kept climbing back to their feet and advancing, right up to the minefield which they then cleared enabling the Grants to advance again, to catch up with the armoured cars and crusaders who had skirted the field.

In the centre heavy fire from the crusader two pounders pinned down the bunker while some of the British infantry flanked it, and then assaulted it and put it out of action. Meanwhile the heavy 75mm HE fire from the Grants was beginning to cause casualties among the Italian artillery and by the end of the game there was a single gun left operational. By now the Italian armour had begun to arrive and a fierce tank battle broke out around the objective, with the Semoventes and Bersaglieri anti tank guns joining in when any British armour strayed in range.

A highly accurate volley from the Grants destroyed an entire M14/41 platoon and things looked shaky for the Italians. The British had breached their lines and they were hanging on to the objective by the stubborn valour of the crew of a single 75/27 gun. But things were not so great for the British either. The defences had pushed them into the covering fire from the other box and a crusader platoon had been destroyed, and the Armoured cars and the other crusader platoon looked close to breaking. More fire from the embattled Italian tank crews caused the armoured cars to finally break, and when the crusader platoon broke as well, sweeping the C-in-C with them as he tried to hold their in the fight it was all over for the British. They had broken the lines but the cost had been two high.

Now with a Major victory for the Italians (despite their casualties they had only actually lost two Carri platoons in their entirety), the initiative has swung back to the axis and they will be the attackers in our next game.

Show Terrain Update

Luke and I headed up the club to do some work on the terrain for the show, and made some quick, but impressive progress by laying the first texturing across the board which has really tied it all together and made it look like the end is in sight. The texture mixture is our own unique recipe, entirely plagiarised from the excellent terrain made by the annoyingly talented, but altogether nice bloke, Neil, over at Troop of Shrew. It consists of water, washing-up liquid, pre-coloured tile grout and sand mixed to give a fairly thick consistency, similar to porridge. We then spooned it onto the boards and spread with a large brush. We then stippled it with the same brushes to add some extra texture, and finally took a wet 25mm brush and 'painted' the road on and used the end of an old brush to mark some ruts into the road.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Club Night 12th February

Seelow Heights April/May 1945
At the club we tried our first big multi-player Flames of War game using historical forces rather than points forces. Steve H and Rick took the Germans, defending the heights using the lovely resin trench line the club won as a show prize about a year ago and painted up by Steve K. Below is the German right under Steve H's command.

The Russians (myself, Mike, Steve K and Steve D), decided a concerted attack on one part of the line was in order. Steve D would demonstrate against Rick to keep him occupied and prevent him moving to reinforce Steve H, while the other three of us would attack towards the town, where the buildings restricted fields of fire and gave us a good defensive position if we managed to breach the line.

I volunteered to take the lead, with the other behind me, so the Germans could only engage one unit at a time and we could protect the follow up units. So my tanks led off with Steve K's following up, and Mikes at the rear with his infantry, while my infantry moved up on the left and Steve K's on the right to try and pin down any attackers and protect the flanks of our main thrust. As we moved forward I came under heavy fire, Mark IV's, Marders, Pak 40s and Tiger tanks engaged my company, but to everyone's amazement only 2 tanks were destroyed in this opening bombardment and I was able to advance again and destroy the wire entanglements, although the second salvo of fire was more decisive I still had an operational force.

On the flanks of this main thrust the infantry were getting bombarded by Mortars and Artillery and the narrow front we had chosen to advance on made our men bunch up and take heavy casualties, but this failed to deter them. By now we where past the start of the heights and onto the original trench lines and engaging the Germans at short range, but there defensive works were protecting them. My initial infantry assault was beaten back with heavy casualties, but we had opened a gap in the lines. As the C-in-C and the Kommisar moved back to accompany Mikes follow up wave, the ragged survivors attempted a second assault on the isolated part of the defending platoon. With the bend in the lines and a simultaneous (although unsuccessful) assault going in to my right from Steve K, I managed to get the only surviving squad of the company into the trench lines. A breach had been achieved!

By now my force was battered, my last T-72/85s had been abandoned, my infantry reduced to a single stand, and my ISU-152s immobilised by the loss of their commander. But my casualties had absorbed the weight of the German fire, Steve K had kept the flanking fire directed towards him, and Mike had been able to close with the enemy lines relatively unscathed. A viscous mortar bombardment pinned down his infantry command and killed the C-in-C but intervention from the Kommisar rallied the troops and pushed them on to an overwhelming assault on the enemy trenches, taking them in a storm of lead and grenades.

Although the armour on the right of our breach took some casualties from a valiant (and annoyingly persistent) Panzerfaust, we destroyed the armour support, overran the mortars and turned to face the German armour redeploying to try and close the break though.

All in all we all agreed it had been a excellent game. The rules stood up to the multi-player and massed troops we deployed, the battle had been very close, and the Russian were all pleasantly surprised we had managed to breach the lines in an evening with minimal recycling required. Now we need to do a large desert game!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Club Night 5th February

Luke and I continued to be bitten by the FOW bugs and continue our desert games. We are so familiar with the rules now we managed to get in three games, well two games and a false start. First game, the false start. We rolled up a fighting withdrawal mission, with the plucky Italians again taking the role of defender. I set up to defend two objectives, and planned to deploy my ambushing 88's over the third. However I had not allowed for the recce move, or Luke to launch all his tanks across the table at the double, relying on the dust to cover his advance. Also this is the first mission where victory can be judged before the 6th turn. However, there was still a slim chance I could stop Luke. Either destroy the tanks and the armoured cars on the objective, or some manage to destroy enough stuff while it was vulnerable to break his company. But when the 88s opened up on the armoured cars and every shot missed, it didn't look likely. I manfully admitted defeat and we started rolling up a new game, and ended up with the same mission, same defender, on different terrain and decided to go for it.

Luke advanced his infantry against my dug in Bersaglieri on my right and deployed his armour opposite mine in the left. Despite the losses of my Semoventes my 88s inflicted damage before they fell and I managed to have some decisively accurate fire wit my armour to swing things my way on left, while my dug-in infantry resolutely held off the British Motor infantry on the other flank.

I now have to be honest. I don't remember who won. I think I did, but I can't be certain! It was certainly close. And we had time for a third game! This time a hold the line mission., and the Brits finally started defending. There where two objectives for the Italians to take, the first in some scrub on the British right, and the other behind the infantry dug-in on the ridge (below)

I decided to try and take the ridge was suicide, so sent my armour against it, while my Bersaglieri used the Avanti! rule to advance quickly on the other objective and then to dig in, with the Semoventes in support. In the opening salvos the 88s only managed to make the Shermans bail out before return HE fire destroyed them. Meanwhile my tanks advanced on the British armour, displaying the same elan the British had in their attacks. As shown below, they advanced on, closed with and actually passed through the enemy lines, managing to destroy the enemy armour by firing on its rear.

Much to my surprise this attack worked, and my infantry had occupied the other objective, although it was contested by a tank and armoured cars, neither side was able to inflict casualties on the other, the infantry too well dug-in to fear the machine guns of the enemy and their 2 pounders having no HE, and the infantry had no effective anti-tan weapons in a position to retaliate.

On the other flank, the 88 Commander led the surviving tanks across the ridge and on to the objective I had not expected to get near, the British infantry rushing out of their positions to contest it. Both forces were thoroughly battered buy this point, and the British had to take a company morale which they passed and so continued there desperate defence. It was then the turn of the Italians to take a Company morale, unfortunately the commander ad died leading the heroic charge of the Carri, and so the company automatically failed and the Italians surrendered, having been unable to break the British lines.

This was also the first game I had my own rule book for, and having read them some more, I think we are ready to try adding some artillery to the mix in the next game.