20 January 2015

Chronica Iohannes: The Battle on the Bank of the Tees

Last Thursday after a brief Xmas break we had the next installment in our Dux campaign. Adam has now made his Saxon leader a warlord so we had our first battle. It was an extremely close game with very few casualties, 7 figures lost by the Britons and 9 by the Saxons. Fortunately my levy shieldwall was able to withstand the Saxon assault and the Saxons made an uncontested withdrawal. Time was a little short for this our first battle so there were no pre-battle festivities, but I suspect that many songs will be sung, much mead will be taken and there will be a clash between our champions in our next battle tentatively scheduled for next week. As usual an excellent AAR can be found on the Fencing Frog Blog.

11 January 2015

29, Let's Go: Home Run at Osmanville

Tactical Situation: 
The German morale has risen somewhat after the German victory at Cardonville. Leutnant Fuchs had already withdrawn his troops to the German HQ in Osmanville. The victory at Cardonville had given his troops time to add some extra defenses. Their morale fell somewhat though when they saw that their reinforcements were Russian Hiwis and artillery gunners. Leutnant Fuchs carefully cleaned his MP40 and prepared for yet another fresh American assault.

Yesterday, we played our 7th and 8th games (sort of gives it away on who won game 7) in our Normandy campaign. Although the Germans had won the 4th scenario (game 5), I felt it best to make another tactical withdrawal, bringing us to our 7th game. This was the final scenario in the campaign. In this scenario, the Germans had their original platoon from the the first and second scenarios. I was down 8 riflemen and had 13 supports so I had elected to take the support option of the Hilfswillinge Volunteers, thus adding another -1 to my morale. I also took 2 minefields, an FO, and HMG team. I already had 1 barbed wire defense because of my tactical withdrawal in game 6. Mike had 19 supports. I believe he took a Sherman, 50mm Mortar, HMG team and a FO. The Patrol Phase went well for me, as Mike only got 1 free move and I was able to hold his JOP's to his side of the terrain. Mike started with a morale of 9 and I had a morale of 8, not bad for having to take a -2.

I again played cautiously bringing on just my HMG team and FO in the first phases of the game. The HMG team was again of little value as it was just outside of 24" of American front line. The FO was of more value though as I brought him on with the SL and was able to get off a bombardment pretty early, I gambled and shot it off without an aiming shot and landed right on target. Mike had two squads and 2 support teams in the area of the bombardment. I placed the FO and the SL in a two story building but also added one squad just outside in order to soak up the long range hits from the Sherman on the building. This worked well as the Germans were able to pulverize the Americans who suffered a morale loss about 90 minutes into the game. I had lost my HMG team only and was able to take out 24 men before Mike's morale failed. This was the quickest game we have had.
My 4th patrol marker is under the iPad. This Patrol Phase was a good result for me. 
Easy enough to see the 3 American JOP's. 
I have two JOP's in the orchard and one behind the hedge on my left flank as well as one in the Stone House (German HQ)
A bunched American advance which was to be their undoing once the mortars starting falling.
The American left flank, with a squad advancing and the FO behind the hedge. 
The German HMG team securely behind the wall. Two land mine fields also protecting the approach.
The Americans start their advance down the road.
Off table Heavy Mortar team 
A well placed mortar bombardment. Actually I was lucky as I did not aim.
My second bombardment was even better having 4 infantry teams, a HMG team, the FO as well a 50 mm light mortar team caught in it. This was to prove the American's undoing.
Game over with 24 casualties on the American side. I still had two squads and a Panzerschreck in reserve.

It was only 1pm so we decided to have a quick lunch and move on to Game 8. The terrain takes at least an hour to set up and I was happy to do this. I have to admit I was pretty pleased as this is a tough game for the Germans and I had now denied the Americans a complete victory.

I quickly did the post game throws, and although my men's opinion had gone up by 2, but I still had a -2 on morale. My CO's opinion had also gone up so I got one more support. My supports were the same as the first game, but I took an adjutant. Mike now had 25 supports, he took an extra Sherman. Both the patrol phase and the Morale throw did not go well for me as in the first game. Mike was able to put a JOP in one of the buildings half way down the terrain. He had a starting Morale of 11 while I had a starting Morale of 7!

Mike was more careful this time spreading his advance out so he was not caught in a single bombardment. I was slower to get my FO working and when I did get one off it was never as effective as in the first game. Before I knew it the two American had seized the midground and were in heavy cover behind stone walls. Mike also threw several double 6's and I was doing poorly on the Morale table. I used the cover of the bombardment to scoot one of my squads across open ground to protect the American advance on my left flank. Mike then threw a another double 6 and a 5 thus getting a Chain of Command dice.  He was able to end the turn, remove the smoke and mow down my troops in the open. I was down to a Morale of 2, so I decided to withdraw as it was pretty hopeless.
Much less successful this time.
A very unsuccessful Panzershreck team, the Shermans caused a lot of damage.
My bombardment in this game was a lot less successful only capturing one US squad.
The Americans getting dangerously close.
One of my squads caught in the open, this was my undoing and their destruction ended the game.

So a Marginal American victory in my first CoC campaign, it was really a great time. Hopefully we can start another campaign soon, this time most likely Winter War. I am working on putting the campaign together now, I am thinking a campaign along the Raate Road set in January 1940 and this time I will be the attacker!

06 January 2015

29, Let's Go: The Radar Station at Cardonville

Tactical Situation:
The Americans in their advance towards Osmanville (the German HQ) have eliminated all threats on their left flank, but they now informed that a German platoon is situated on their right flank, they are ordered to attack to clear this threat. The American platoon advances with a Sherman in support.

So this was our 4th game (5th turn) in our campaign, I had to rush into the Hobby Bunker early last Saturday as it was game day and the annual party and it was necessary to secure a table, with luck there was one un-reserved table left. This was a do or die game for the Germans, and I had worked out a pretty careful plan of action to stop the American advance. This is one of the two scenarios where I start with a fresh platoon as well as some fairly reasonable supports. The Americans had 14 points, if I have it right Mike spent it on a Sherman (required), a sniper as well a medium mortar team. I went all defensive with two minefields, 2 entrenchments as well as a HMG team.

My basic plan was to wait to the Americans showed themselves, and then plant down the HMG team in some entrenchments. They were to weaken the American infantry and then I was to bring on my platoon slowly at the most opportune time to benefit from their 4 man LMG teams. My Panzershreck team has been quite successful in taking out Shermans and if I was lucky and got a CoC die early, an ambush would work well.

It started well, with Mike having a relatively unsuccessful patrol phase with him advancing really no more then 18" from his edge. JOP's were placed and the game started, I was starting with a -2 on morale, we both threw poorly and Mike started with a 8 and I started with a 6. Mike had these new pink dice that were really quite lucky for him early in the game and he was able to advance fairly quickly. My much vaunted HMG team took some early losses without a whole lot of reciprocation by taking out Americans. The Sherman also seemed to cause some havoc and unfortunately my Panzerschreck team was quite unsuccessful in taking it out and was destroyed fairly early on in the game. By this time things were looking quite bad for the Germans. Aside from the first game in the campaign, I had been quite conservative playing very defensive games. Mike for the first time played a fairly conservative game, advancing his troop slowly and relying on his Sherman, sniper and mortar team to whittle me down at long range.

It was time to get stuck in I thought, so I just placed all my troops on the table and started to advance against the Americans. They had taken over the chalet in the middle of terrain, but I was able to rapidly advance up my right flank, luckily the LOS from windows really cut down their angle of fire. I was able to take out the Sherman with my Panzerfausts, the first attack failed but my second rifle team fired their weapon at close range and Kaboom! Really it then turned into a meatgrinder with us each trying to rack up morale tests on the other. I dropped down to a Morale of 2 and Mike was at 3 when I launched my final offensive push with an ad hoc team of my SL, 2 JL's, 2 riflemen and a LMG (this was the remnants of 2 infantry squads). I threw a 4 (enough to activate the two teams) and a 5 (giving me a CoC dice). Finally, the dice went my way: Lots of 6's. Mike threw his saving dice, more 6's, his rifle team broke and his morale failed. A German victory! I had lost 18 men but the Americans had lost 24.

On to some photos, unfortunately the batteries went in the camera but I did capture some action.
Cardonville, with the American entry to the left and the German defensive position to the right. Very little hard cover here except for the two houses. Lots of hedges though.
I started my patrol phase 18" into my position while the Americans started at their edge, fortunately they diced up only one free move, limiting their advance to about 2' maximum.
German JOP's. I protected my left flank with a minefield
The American JOP's, causing them to have a long way to advance.
The Panzerschreck team trying to take out the Sherman.

The Americans advance and take the chalet and advance two squads up the road.

Very carefully that is. 
The HMG team well entrenched, despite having a firepower of 10d6 at a close range of 24" and reducing cover by 1, they really did very little before they were taken out.
The battle starts to turn when my rifle team takes out the Sherman with their Panzerfaust.
So after this turn, the Germans made a Tactical Withdrawal. This brings us to the last scenario in the campaign. Hopefully we will get it played this coming Saturday.

23 December 2014

Chronica Iohannes: Thieving Saxons

We played the 6th scenario (5th game) in our Dux Brit campaign a couple of weeks ago, got a little delayed in posting because of the Painting Challenge. Because of the significant Saxon victory in our 4th game, the Saxons were able to win the Baggage Train scenario unopposed as I did not have the troops available to challenge them. Adam was then able to shower gold on his followers and they elevated him to the status of a Warlord.

This time we played the Sheep rustling scenario and I have to say it was the closest game we have played. We are now pretty acquainted with the rules so the game flowed quite smoothly, we still make mistakes but they seldom now affect the game outcome.

You can find an AAR on Adam's blog, but essentially the Britons eked out a narrow victory after a morale failure by the Saxons. The Britons suffered heavy losses but our next game will be set in September of 551. This will probably be the last game of this raiding season. With the money gained in this raid the Britons built the last of their 3 required Watchtowers and with some more gold Antoninius can be promoted to a Legatus.

09 December 2014

29, Let's Go: Flanking St Germain du Pert

Tactical Situation
As you will remember, the last game in our campaign was won by the Germans by an impressive margin. However they were down to to 3 LMG teams and 1 Rifle team from the original platoon. Leutnant Fuchs felt that a tactical withdrawal from Arthenay was the best next move. This would give him more time to prepare his final position in Osmanville. He had gained some time for his comrades to evacuate over the bridge at Isigny and for the pioneers to start laying their charges to blow the bridge. Meanwhile the American commander has realized that he needs to take out the Artillery that has been stalling his advance to the west. Local intelligence informs him that there is a German platoon as well as some mobile 88mm guns in the village of St Germain du Pert to his right flank. He sends in a fresh platoon with two Shermans to do the job.

So we were set for our 3rd game in our D-Day campaign last Saturday at the Hobby Bunker. This is scenario 5 from the main rulebook, and essentially the Americans start with 6 patrol markers along two sides of the table. The German are isolated to a 3x2' rectangle around the the village. They have been outflanked! Mike improved on this by getting 4 moves of his patrol markers before I even got to move one. The good news is that for this game I had a fresh platoon and two Marders in support. I had to other support choices. Mike had yet another fresh platoon and 19 supports two of which had to be Shermans, I know he had a some off table mortars as well a bazooka team. I am not sure what else. So we tossed for morale, and in this game we both started off with an even 9. Mike had to force me to withdraw from the village.
St Germain du Pert
American JOP's, the one in the farground gave me a lot of trouble
German JOP's
Being in buildings may provide hard cover, but is limiting. This was the only squad I really brought into action in the whole game, it did cause damage to the Americans but is hard to maneuver. I should have been behind the stone wall.
Two American squads advancing through the hedges..............
.............slowly but surely
One of the StuG's standing in as a Marder II, which actually should of been a Marder III, one of the several mistakes I made during the game. I was really asleep at the the wheel.
A very pesky American Squad, they are pinned here, but no matter how much I shot at them they would not rout.
The Americans used the hedges to good advantage.
The second Marder advancing, the first was taken out by one of the Shermans.
I thought I would play the game as I did the last ...conservatively. Mike was able to place a JOP within a 8" which was a really problem for me, not only did it make it easy for him to pile troops in right next to my defensive perimeter but also one of my JOP's was with 12" so suffering significant risk of being overrun. I placed a squad in the house with the LMG team and half the rifle team covering the north eastern approach to the village. I also placed one of the Marders on the table early on, otherwise I held all my troops in reserve until I had good close up targets.

As you can see Mike placed 2 of his squads to my right flank (southeast of my position), they were little threat as they had quite a bit of ground to advance over. He did this very cautiously. He brought on a Sherman as well, I was able to disable this fairly quickly with my Panzershreck team.

On his first double 6 throw Mike brought on a squad to the JOP next to the village, foolishly I did not put my LMG team on overwatch, so they were able to fire first causing death and shock on the team in the house. He was also able to get the Sherman to fire some HE at the house causing more shock before I was able to disable it with the PShk team.

I then got fixated on destroying this squad as they were threatening my JOP. And although I poured significant fire into the squad, I was never able to rout them. They took fire from two LMG teams, as well as fire from the hull mounted MMG on the Marders and even were ambushed from their rear by the third LMG team. Would not rout!

By then Mike was able to bring his second Sherman into play, and I had foolishly exposed the sides of both Marders to it's 75mm gun. In fairly rapid succession, both were taken out. I had very little luck on the Morale table and although Mike's morale was now 5, I had dropped to one. Time for a withdrawal to prevent a rout. So the game ended with an American victory. I lost 8 men and two AFV's while Mike lost 6 men and a Sherman. A fairly close game in that sense, but in the campaign a significant loss. The German morale is falling and will now test for -2 in the next turn.

I really played a poor game and we did make some mistakes in the set up and in interpreting the rules, but a good game was had. As you can see from below, Leutnant Fuchs is now become prickly and has a reduced command range of 6", but certainly Col Goode is less troubled.

I thought I would also post some photos of a SYW game in 15 mm. Most Saturday's when I am at the Hobby Bunker, this guy Mike is setting up a large game. I have always been very impressed with the look of his games. The airbrushed mat looks great and he has an expert ability to blend in his lay on terrain elements into the table. It certainly makes me think that I should have gone with Napoleonics in 15/18mm.

03 December 2014

The Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

Well it is that time of year, I am not really sure how Curt does it but the 5th iteration of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge starts this friday. 

I have participated in all 5, I think there were only a dozen contestants the first year, but this year there are 72. I just missed my goal last year of 1500 points, so this year I have put in for a 1000. 

I believe I have lost my painting mojo over the last year. I am now much more interested in gaming and constructing terrain around planned games. I think I also burned myself out painting over 3000 28 mm Napoleonics over the first 7 years of my gaming life. My painting now is more directed with focus on skirmish armies that I plan to use in WWII and Dark Ages/Medieval games. I still have some Napoleonics to paint though and I have primed some for this year's challenge. I still plan to paint a Dutch-Belgian brigade as well as another Prussian brigade but who knows. I bought a bunch of Flag Dude standards about a year ago, and that is how I measure my progress, but 15 more Napoleonic battalions is somewhat daunting.

I have though bought some Victorian Pulp/Horror/Steampunk figures from Westwind Production's Empire of the Dead line, which I will paint for pleasure. These are lovely figures, they remind me of the Conquest Miniature's French Indian war line which are the nicest figures I have seen and painted to date. I am quite looking forward to painting them.

So I am quite prepared this year, with most of the figures prepped as you can see from the above photo. I have also made selections for the bonus rounds each fortnight. I will keep them to myself but I suspect you can guess some of them from the below list. So what do we have.
  • A Soviet Winter War/Stalingrad platoon with supports from CPModels TQD line, these are really are my favourite 20 mm WWII line. I hope to do them justice. I believe there are roughly 66 figures here with a HMG and medium mortar, Roughly 270 points.
  • Next up is a 28 mm French Napoleonic limber with caisson from Front Rank, maybe 45 points here.
  • Then we see the EotD figures, 90 points.
  • Next to some figures to fill out my Moslem SAGA warband, 16 plastic archers from Gripping Beast and an Iman. 85 points.
  • More Gripping Beast Dark Ages figures for my Dux Brit British warband, 4 mounted cavalry and 8 elites. 80 points.
  • Some more Napoleonics, 3 British Artillery pieces from Perry and Front Rank, as well as a French Ligne battalion which has been on my painting desk primed for over a year from Crusader Miniatures. 200 points.
  • Three British AFV from Armourcast and PSC in 20 mm. 36 points.
I make that roughly 800 points, so with the 7 bonus rounds worth 50 points each, I should be good with some room to maneuver.
  • December 14: Cold
  • December 28: Mount(s) & Rider(s) 
  • January 11: Victorian
  • January 25: Myth
  • February 8: Hot
  • February 22: Comedic
  • March 8: Anti-Hero 
I should also mention that the challenge has it's own website now, so stayed tuned for all the action. Wish me luck.