Saturday, 31 December 2011

Club Night 28th December

As a mid week, post-Christmas game Luke, Duncan and I decided to play a flames of war desert game. Duncan has been reworking his Germans to suit early war as well as mid, but only had tanks done, so we played 3,000 points, with me using my army I have been using against Luke in the axis of attack game to provide the infantry and he provide the Axis armour. Against this Luke fielded a Crusader company. We played the desert dust up scenario from Hellfire and back.

Luke started with his artillery, infantry and machine guns on table, while I dug in my infantry around our objective. The German armour then began a head on attack on the British positions, pressing them hard, and demonstrating the difference between the quality of the tow Axis nations vehicles as Luke struggled to knock them out.

As the Germans pushed centrally and my Italians dug themselves deeper in around our objective we could see the reserves could be decisive. And here we had the luck, a few British tanks turned up but had to manoeuvre around the wadi, bringing them towards the centre of the board, in range of the anti-tank guns and German armour. By the time the rest arrived it took so long to get into position it was too late as on the other flank the Italians had won it.

The Italian reserves hurried on in the opposite corner and despite casualties pushed on towards the objective, managing to overrun the machine gun platoon. Once again the L3 tankettes proved their worth. Finally the demolisher platoon pushed on to the objective, only to have their commander gunned down, but we then discovered he was an unknown hero and I could now pass my motivation on a 2+, which I did, hanging in there to claim the objective and victory for the Axis forces.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Club Night 23rd December

As it was almost Christmas and finish work early day so I headed up early with Steve K to meet Luke and play some early war desert games as it has been a while. Also the club has juts bought the desert fort and we were keen to try it out.

Our first game had me take a Compagnia Mitraglieri of two platoons, with a fort, an AT platoon, and a cannon battery with a Meharisti platoon and Autosahariana platoon in support, fighting a withdrawal against a British rifle company.

This first game did not go well. Attacking under darkness I could not see the British until they assaulted the fort and pushed me back and almost out twice, while on the other flank they took the objective without me even seeing they were there! My poor deployment had exacerbated some poor dice rolls and lead to my quick defeat, still at least it was early and there was time for more games.

The second game saw my force unchanged, while the British gave up their artillery and took a pair of Matildas. This was going to be an issue as I had a slim chance of bailing them out if they exposed a flank to my 75s, otherwise I could not hurt them. Playing a hold the line scenario I decided to use my fort to make an issue of the game by deploying it quite far forward in to no-mans land and forcing them to pass close to it to get to the objectives.

Despite the sneaky Brits again trying to creep forward under nightfall, there must have been more moonlight as I clearly saw them and demonstrated the power of massed machine guns, even in the hands of the poorly trained Libyans as my opening volley reduced one platoon to two stands which ran away and damaged the other, which subsequently tried to assault the fort but was eventually defeated too.

To the left of the fort the armour moved forward with impunity with infantry support to encounter an ambush Mitraglieri platoon which forced the infantry to stop and dig in for survival, but made no difference to the tanks which continued there relentless advance. Again and again they assaulted the infantry driving them back so they became intermixed with the anti-tank guns and the Meharist, but although I was able to deny them the objective I could not stop their attack.

However on the other flank the Autosahariana rushed forward, speeding up as dawn broke and swept into the British rear decimating their support unit and breaking the enemy before the tanks could drive off the massed infantry trying valiantly to hold the objective on the other side.

One game all and time for a final game. A total change this time as Steve and Luke took an Australian Divisional Cavalry squadron while I took a Positione Fucilerito try something different. And as we found ourselves playing an encounter battle this could be tough for me, as although me defences might make it easy to deny the enemy victory, pushing forward to take an objective for the win could prove tricky.

After a couple of false starts I think I deployed my fortifications legally with one platoon covering each side of the table and a cannon battery covering one objective on one flank and the howitzers on the other flank. And it began to go wrong immediately. The howitzers were pinned by the enemy artillery and for the rest of the game repeatedly failed to unpin and also eventually lost three guns to the fire as well. But worse was to occur on the other flank. The armoured cars had recce'd forward and then dashed in and assaulted the cannon battery. With 8 shots against lightly armed vehicles I felt confident and then missed with 7 shots, lost the assault and fell back being wiped out in the process.

I now needed to do something decisive. My 47mm gun nest covering the objective destroyed the pesky armoured cars, but my force had still taken a big hit. And armoured forces still streamed forward on that flank to try and take the objective. Fortunately my trusty L3's turned up on that flank and the Solthum armed tank proceeded to knock out a vehicle a turn until overwhelmed by the sheer amount of fire. By now I had also managed to get a mortar platoon deployed in the trenches abandoned by the cannon battery but they got pinned down and remained so for the rest of the game, but somehow managed to survive when numerous vehicle trying to get at them got stuck trying to pass over the gun-pits also vacated by the cannon battery.

On the other flank my 3 tankettes had arrived and proceeded to bombard the Australian Vickers machine guns and to my surprise caused heavy casualties. Behind them the demolisher platoon crept forward taking lighter causalities than expected from the surviving enemy machine guns. Eventually however the tanks strayed within range if the 25 pounder and met their inevitable end, but by now the engineers had got close enough to assault and wipe out the machine guns.

They were not quite close enough to the objective though and had to move forward and brave a turn of enemy fire. Everything engaged them, Bofors guns, infantry, 25 pounders, even the 2-in-C in his MkIV tried to dash across but ended up out of range. It was now time for dice to turn in my favour. Despite the mass of fire I lost my last rifle base, and even the platoon command was hit, but decided he was an unknown hero, so remained, and improved the chances of the platoon hanging in there, which they did.

All that was left was for him to pass his last man check at the start of my turn and victory was mine! I nervously rolled the dice, but the fickle gods of luck where back with me and I managed to make it 2-1 to the Italians. A great afternoon of dashing about in the blue (or in the case of my Italians, finding a big fort or trench and hiding in it!).

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Club Night 16th December

Although I have not got them painted yet we decided to risk the mockery of other club member and try out Hammerin' Iron. I umpired/learnt the rules while Luke and Steve concentrated on rolling dice. First of all we played a version of the demo game Martin runs at shows, tweaked to fit my vessels just to introduce them to the rules.

Once we had done this we leapt into a full game and it was great fun, even if I was mostly watching! Luke cunningly used his army support to bombard one of the objectives, while in the river his fleet engaged CSS Arkansas which fought long and hard and took a real pounding, but somehow was still afloat at the end of the game.

The union also took heavy losses, but managed a minor victory. This game really got me enthused again and I am keen to try and find the time to finish adding all the masts and details to the ships so I can then get on and paint them!

Club Night 9th December

I had finally arranged another Warhammer league game, this time against Colin and his dwarves. With a mass of warmachines and some favourable terrain it looked like it could be tricky. However some gods somewhere were on my side, warmachines misfired and destroyed themselves, thunderers could not hit, even before I used the chalice of dark rain and all my spells went off. Seeing my general under the influence of Mantle of Ghorok chucking out over 10 attacks was an awesome sight! I think my luck was confirmed when they finally killed my giant and for the dirst time ever he fell over on top of the unit he as fighting and took some of them with him

In the end I achieved a good victory and moved up the league table. Whether I can catch Duncan and his Daemons is another issue though.

Monday, 5 December 2011

London Toy Soldier Show 3rd December

The London toy soldier was a very relaxed affair this year, although a little disjointed as we were not able to meet for our usual pre-show breakfast. After an initial wander round, we gathered back at the table Chris R had set up with one of his magnificent building in the centre and a cunning scenario and some clever little combat rules.

Having rigged the character selection Mike and I found ourselves on opposite sides as the main characters with other members playing our faithful companions/lackeys. We were both out to seek our claim to the widows fortune, and perhaps even her as well!

While I strolled forward with my faithful men (or at least down right rogues I thought I had paid enough to be loyal), Mike haughtily rode up to the inn with his man. One of his men read out a proclamation claiming his rights, which I rebuffed, and told Mike exactly what I thought of his honour and manhood!

He then retired around the corner of the inn and dismounted before coming back round. Now I thought something fishy was going on here (the giggling from the players was a clue), but challenged Mike none the less, knowing I was a far superior swordsman. As we drew blades I realised I had been conned and it was in fact one of him men posing as him, and renowned as a superior swordsman, but I had my honour and would not back down. And it turns out of greatly inflated reputation, our first clash of blades left me with a slight cut to my arm, but as we moved in again I ran him through much to my amazement and Mikes horror.

Meanwhile my men had dealt with Mikes other man and Mike had remounted, and despite my cries rode off, leaving me to claim the widow and her fortune, take Mikes man into my employee and generally be quite smug! It was a fantastic little game from Chris, fun, individual characters and nice and quick to giuve us time to look around the show, which Mike and I then did and I managed to pick up some cavalry for the start of my Duchy of Warsaw force for our Liepzig battles. 2013 will be the 200th anniversary so that give me plenty of time to prepare forces for a big game.

Above and below: Some example of Chris' beautiful figures

Club Night 2nd December

I finally had the opportunity to try out the Culps hill scenario I have played with the skirmish wargamers (see here). With a few players for each side I was excited to see how it played out with some very different players.

The game looked like it was off to a positive start with Steve K hurling a unit of Rebs straight into the Yankees on the hill. But then Steve's recent luck reappeared and he not only managed to lose the combat, but then break completely, losing a unit in the first turn!

And the game continued in this vein for the southerners. They could not get their commands going, or if they did they were losing combats or being out shot. The union right took a long time to get going and did look like it might get in trouble, but eventually out shot its opponent and when they charged it was decisive. The middle of the Union line waited until the Confederates were hard pressed on their right (the Union left) and began to make a remorseless advance across Spanglers meadow and on to Culps hill.

By now on the Southern right they had been pushed back off Culp's hill and although we ran out of time to complete the game (probably fortunately as Rick seemed to be suffering from a case of very bad jokes that evening and was in danger of getting lynched - McDougals brigade as the flour of the union army - and that was one of the good ones!), and also as the Confederates were getting pushed back and could just about argue they hadn't been defeated, but I suspect it was just a matter of time.

Above: The Union right, Below: The Union drive the Rebels off Culps hill
Above: The Confederate left, Below: The Union retake the defences