Sunday, 27 November 2011

Club Night 25th November

Steve K and I dusted off his copy of Victory at Sea for some WW2 Naval combat. We decided for a change to pick fleets using the points system and play a standard scenario and see how it went. I continued my love affair with the Italians and took a battleship, a trio of cruisers and a destroyer squadron. Steve took the British and decided to try out a carrier, with some cruisers and destroyers in support.

Our game quickly focused on just one flank of the table, I think mainly as we were sitting nearer that end and wanted to keep our forces concentrated. I sent my destroyers steaming out ahead and tried to close to torpedo range. The first shots were exchanged to little effect. Meanwhile overhead my spotter plans were easily despatched by the massed British fighters and these then moved on to escort the torpedo bombers in.

By now my destroyers were in among it and the cruisers of both sides began to exchange fire, with the Italians having the better of it. The my Battleship came into action. In one massive salvo (with more 6's in one dice roll than I have see from my for quite a while), I changed the landscape of London, by sinking HMS Belfast. It then began to deteriorate for the British.

They lost another cruiser to combined gunfire and torpedo attack, and most of their destroyers were lost as well. I managed to weather the aircraft strike. This HMS Illustrious and a surviving destroyer against the majority of my battle fleet so they turned and fled, while I hunted down and sunk the last British cruiser.

A decisive victory for the Italians, with my Battleships opening salvo being almost as noticeable as yet another set of shocking dice rolls from Steve.

Warfare 19th Novemeber

Having finished my French Line I managed to get the scenarios written too and headed up to Warfare at Reading to join the rest of the Skirmish Wargamers for our Napoleonic extravaganza. With a 20 foot table we managed to fill it all with terrain and began to set up our troops. Between the group we have managed to amass quite a collection and can deploy quite substantial forces.

The first game for the Saturday was a typical fighting withdrawal that represented the early part of the campaign using a modified version of the Flames of War scenario.

Above: Beth commands the French left against the Russians, Below: Ted commanded the Austrians in the centre of the allied lines
Above: French forces deploy in front of the Prussian forces, Below: A view across the battlefield
Above: A view down the battlefield, Below: The French cavalry take advantage of a gap in the enemy lines and a great command roll.
Above: The allied cavalry moves to counter attack the French, Below: The French find themselves surrounded on the right flank
Below: French squares repel allied cavalry

The whole battle was hard fought. In the centre the Austrians made an early advance and took heavy casualties, but were the first brigade to withdraw from the battle. On the French right a single brigade found itself facing the entire Russian army. Despite the fact the heavy cavalry was being held in reserve the Russians fought hard, with even the Militia managing to hold off the French. When the heavy cavalry was released the poor French infantry's fate was sealed.

On the opposite flank the main attack was lined up against the Prussians, spearheaded by the Old Guard. While the extreme right of the Prussians held their positions, the right advanced to take on the French. This left a gap between the line the French cavalry ruthlessly exploited, riding down the Prussian artillery and forcing the infantry to form squares which were then pounded by the French artillery and Infantry. The Allied light cavalry counter attacked, but were chased off, one unit of French cavalry ending the game in possession of two enemy standards.

Despite this the French attack was simply not quick enough and the Allies held on till the end of the game to claim victory. It was hard work running a game this big in a noisy environment, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

I was unable to make the Sunday, but they played the scenario I wrote based on Grossbeeren, and all accounts report that it was enjoyed again and the same French cavalry caused havoc again. And as an added bonus the group won best in show. For more photos see Mikes pictures here.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Painting Napoleonic French Line (Pic Heavy)

At Warfare the Skirmish Wargamers planned to run a very non-skirmish using black powder on a 20 foot long table set during the Liepzig campaign. I agreed to plan and umpire the games, but when I got the army lists I noticed there was no line infantry for the French and mentioned this to Mike who said "OK, I'll send you some, paint them!" I agreed, not really thinking through that this would mean I would have two weeks to complete them as well as plan the games and do all the resources to help make them run smoothly.

When the figures arrived from Mike the first thing that struck me was that they were Armies in Plastic (AIP) elite infantry, so were not line and all the officers were the same. The first job was to base them up (fortunately I had some spare bases), trim the epaulettes and plumes from my centre company figures and convert the officers. I decided for variety I would make each 12 man unit up of 6 2 man companies just like a real battalion, a Voltigeur, a grenadier and 4 line companies. They are not quite perfect as they still all carry hangers, but needs must and they are close enough.

Above and Below: Unpainted figures converted and based
Above and Below: Unpainted figures converted and based
Above: Converted officer, Below: Unpainted Tradition metal figure for regimental commander.
Above and Below: Figures sprayed grey primer and then white airbrushed on where appropriate
Above and Below: Coats painted below and paper flags tested out
Above: Red trim base coated, Below: Flesh, green and yellow base coat
Above and Below: Voltigeurs and Grenadiers highlighted and bases painted
Above and Below: More shots of the flank companies
Below: The centre companies bought up to the same standard as the flank companies
Above: The entire regiment of 3 battalions, Below: Command receives a coat of army painter
Above: The whole force covered with army painter and bases dry-brushed, Below: Matt varnish applied
Above: The completed force

Not too bad for 10 days work! Now it just remains to see how the 13eme Ligne perform on the battlefield.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Club Sunday 6th November

We gathered up the club to play the finale in our Crusader campaign, but some events conspired and so we could not really proceed. Instead we threw together a quick total war game using the desert forces we had. Due to numbers I found myself on the Allied side so took a compact little Divisional Cavalry Squadron, to fight alongside an infantry company and a tank squadron against a Panzer company and a Bersaglieri battalion. Rather than recount all the details as lots happened I will just illustrate them with some photos.
Above: Initial deployment on the diagonal
Below: The Australian Cavalry dash into a depression and try to hold on against the Italians

Above: Another shot of the position in the depression
Below: German armour surrounds the Aussies, Grants arrive to the rescue and artillery continues to land in the depression
Above: German armour arrives behind the British artillery

At this point I got all caught up in the game and forgot to take any more pictures. It really broke down into two separate games. The fight around the depression had more armour from both sides thrown in and finding fire lines through the burning wrecks began to prove tricky and neither side really made any progress. On the other flank the German tanks caused problems behind the British lines, while in front of them the heavy Panzer IVs shelled the dug in infantry with their 75s, while staying at a range that the British anti-tank was ineffective. This gradual crumbling on the far flank eventually cost the Allies an extremely close game and I am keen to try some total war again in the future.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Club Night 4th November

Steve K and I decided to try out the 7TV rules from Crooked Dice that he had purchased at SELWG after seeing them at Salute. Now my youthful years means a lot of the 70's jokes I don't get, but I follow enough to get an idea of the intention of the game and so was looking forward to trying it out.

I naturally took the bad guys, an evil boss, his henchman and a series of faceless heavies against a smaller (and female dominated) band of heroes. We set up the terrain to be outside and distinctly Scottish by using a few of the buildings from the Border Reivers game the club put on a few years back to get a nice busy table.

The first game was a rescue as the good guys tried to rescue a prisoner from my crooks. But it stated going wrong for the good guys from the start, I ended up with more action tokens as well as having more men and was able to quickly bring my guys against a smaller part of the raiding force and mercilessly gunned them down, before switching against the other part of the force and gunning them down too. A dreadful start for the good guys and certainly not good for the ratings!

The second game was a more simple reconnaissance mission and the good guys made a better start, clearing a couple of the objectives and taking out a few of the bad guys, but then my SMG armed heavies came into action again and gunned down the good guys. It was so bad one of the good guys ran out into the open to shoot down my henchman, with all her skills and gadgets she just needed a 2+ to hit, promptly missed and then despite needing a lot more to hit her in return machine gunned her down.

Despite a ratings calamity with the good guys getting taken out twice, they are fun, clever rules and with some more figures and tweaking the forces should make for some more balanced games. We did a few things wrong (you can't aim an SMG, one of the good guys with the melee skills could infiltrate so avoiding running the gauntlet of the fire) and the limitations of the figures (way too any SMG armed bad guys, although it did cost points), they showed some real strengths and I can see them useful for many other, personality driven, episodic type games.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Club 2nd November

Luke and I continued our desert themed axis of attack campaign, with my Italians forced to attack in a hold the line scenario. As a primarily foot force this was always going to be a tough ask. I decided to try and use smoke more effectively and plastered his artillery with guns and mortars to prevent them shooting as I tried to push forward as fast as possible, flanking him with my motorcilisti and L3's.

However this was not enough and under constant heavy fire my relatively immobile force just could not bring enough combat power to bear, quick enough to force the breakthrough and the Italians were thrown back and yet again the attack moved in neither direction.