16 May 2022

Huzzah 2022-Chain of Command

 



Last Friday, I had a quick trip to Portland, ME for the annual convention put on by the The Maine Historical Wargamers Association. I could only go for a half day as I have been recently working around the clock. This was the first convention in 3 years so it was extended by a day with 3 days of wargaming rather then the usual two. 

I actually had signed up for 2 games, one Friday morning and one in the afternoon. The afternoon game was cancelled, I would have liked to have played it as it was a WWII version of Epic. But the highlight, of course ,was going to be Dick Bryant's CoC game. I have played three times in Dick's games in the past and they are always characterised by excellent terrain and scenarios. This game was the best he has put on.

The scenario "Just Another Bridge" pitted a German Rifle Platoon against an Elite American Paratrooper Platoon. It was not immediately obvious that although the Americans were the attackers, the German defenders had to go on the attack to win the game. We had 4 players, 3 novice and myself, whom Dick had characterised by epitaph "Expert". I was one of the Germans and as it came to pass Expert does not mean Good!

I will not go into the game itself but Dick and his friend Richard put on an excellent game and my 3 fellow players were all great and picked up on the game quite quickly. So quickly, in fact that the novices easily won the game. Here are some photos.
Dick explaining to Bill and Jon the how to play the game.

Some American Paratroopers, they are protecting a squad of engineers whose task is to blow the bridge.


The Germans aggressively advancing with 2 squads to Handgranaten the Engineers. 

The American engineers were quite difficult to get LOS on.

Thanks to Bill and Jon who played the Americans and David who played with me for the Germans. 



08 May 2022

Escape; A Sharp Practice Scenario

One of my favourite characters in the Sharpe compendium is Colonel Simmerson, he is really an absolutely despicable character and a perfect foil for Sharpe.

Digging through the TFL magazines for another scenario to play, I found Escape. This was written by Kevin Major, and I suppose for copyright reasons he uses the name Major Silverside to represent the leader of the British force. Here we have a British Light Column trying to evade a French force. A British force running, a perfect opportunity I thought to bring Simmerson into a game. The forces used are listed below, I felt a little bad substituting Sgt Harper for Sgt Brisket but fiction is fiction.


The scenario writer suggests that you use a French Light Column for the British opponents abut I only have unmounted dragoons so I substituted the standard 1809 force. I have really enjoyed playing 28mm Napoleonics again and although I will paint some character figures for the games, I have no plans ever to paint cavalry again.

We played our game this past Thursday, as you can see the French force is a few less points than the Brits, we tossed some dice P-Y ended up playing the French and picked an extra Deployment Point as well as a Marksmen too make up his force. The French started with a FM of 11 while the Brits had 10.
Maybe I should be a little more thoughtful in setting up the terrain, a town was called for at the British entry point but putting up so many walls really makes it tough to move formed infantry about as you will see from below.

Terrain, the British enter from the left.
It was a little unclear where to place the deployment points so we place the British one on the road to the left and the French one on road in the foreground.
The game was characterised by an early appearance of the Tiffin chip almost every turn. There were no French chits in the first turn but they were placed in the bag in the second turn. Because of this the French got all their forces on the table before the British had half of their forces down. As you can see the 3 French forces are all in good position with the large British formation just entering the road. The British Rifles are advancing on their left flank with Harper leading the advance.
Simmerson manages to get 3 of his groups in one formation in line but you note he hangs back in a cowardly way with his 4th group to protect him. Unfortunately Lt Sharpe takes a wound early on and is reduced to Level I and loses 2 of his men. He realises that he needs to join up with Harper so makes his way around the house. Colonel Ducos is advancing toward their position with his evil lackey Sgt Challon. The honourable and brave Major Dubronet advances with 2 groups of formed infantry towards the British line. He appears to be undaunted by the fact that he is outnumbered 3:2 but he calls Pas de Charge!
He slams into the Brits, but the Brits are unloaded so 
in Fisticuffs, the Brits end up with no dice to the French 6d6.
The Brits are driven back, as they lose by 2. Their formation is broken and they have to take a lot of FM tests, they are still not broken though and if only Simmerson would move into contact they might yet be saved. But Simmerson being Simmerson hides behind the wall as you can see. He does manage to send his 4th group to support the Rifles on the wall.
The French Skirmishers move into position and rain fire on the Brits, one unit breaks and although the French formation is being pounded by the Rifles behind the wall, Ducos fails to fall. The British FM drops to 2 while the French still have a FM of 10. Game over.

Well another fun game, hopefully I will win one soon.

I will be off line for the next three weeks as I am working every day this week aside from Tuesday until we go on a 2 week vacation the week following. This Tuesday, however, we start playing the Fangs of The Wolf sub campaign in Eero's Winter of No Surrender magnificent Winter War opus. I can not even start to describe the complexity of this campaign. I am playing Colonel Sharov, the Soviet SL of a large force trapped on the road north of Suomussalmi in mid December of 1939.  Suffice to say I have a massive force of Soviets who are cold, hungry, poorly supplied and out of gas surrounded by the White Devils

02 May 2022

Level I/II Leaders for Sharp Practice

 

I thought I would never paid any 28mm Napoleonics again, but I am need of a few personality figures to use as leaders in our games. Brigade Games has some nice personality figures especially related to the Sharpe TV series so I went ahead and obtained some. I painted up to figures over the weekend. These were primed white, I then used AP Speed paints with some touch up with some acrylics.

Everyone will of course recognise Sgt Hakeswill, the second figure will be a French NCO.

Depending on the scenario they will be Level I or II Leaders

Next up will be Major Ducos and Major Nairn. 



01 May 2022

Soviet Infantry-3D Prints

No, I have not started to print Space Marines on my Photon Zero!

I first got my resin printer about 16 months ago in a Black Friday sale, it was $100! I felt there was little to lose as my main focus was to print vehicles that I could not find in hard plastic for my 1/72 WWII wargaming. I am not a big modeller so precise detail on the models was to critical to me but I was finding that my FDM printer although good for buildings was really not the thing for small scale vehicles. I had seen that you could do a lot of post processing to improve things but that would have defeated the purpose of pumping out tanks so I could play games. There are no end of fairly good STL's for free and once I got the trick of placing supports, things were going well. I was expecting to stop there.

And then along came this STL designer, Propylene Foliescu who was putting out the most amazing looking infantry figures for the Winter War, a particular area of interest for me. I knew had a pretty dated printer but I said why not give it a try. I first printed up a bunch of Finns that came out quite well but I already had a lot of Finns so I shifted my focus to the Soviets which I was short one section for a full platoon. 

I went ahead and purchased what he had on Wargaming3D, and made some adjustments to the scale and off I went, I really had a problem with only a single model of the Soviets but when I had a look at the actual models I could see I had a problem. The bulk of my Winter Soviets are from CPModels, these sculpts are really quite nice, anatomic and ...tall. When I compared the 28mm models scaled to 70%, they looked like dwarves. One of the great things about 3d printing is that you can mess around with the scale. I played around and came up with a print where I scaled down the model to 70% and then increase the vertical scale to 80%. They were near perfect as you can see below.
The CP/TQD model is on the right, it still looks a little taller but that is because it has a base, proportionally they were quite similar.

So, I went ahead and printed a batch of models, the Photon Zero has a tiny build plate but it was pretty easy to print 12 models at a time. I was really quite pleased by the result. 
A Soviet section which is quite variably sized through out the course of the war.  there are 15 figures here, with 13 rifled armed troops, a JL and a 2 man LMG team.
Some SMG armed troops to use as supports, there were only 2 different poses.
One thing I was really lacking was guns, here is a Gun team with a SL and  a  m1936  76mm gun as well as a m1937 45 mm gun. 
The guns are from Night Sky Miniatures 

I finally got some troops to put in my Quad Maxim Gaz Truck.
A Soviet Field Kitchen from Night Sky Miniatures
I now have a complete Soviet platoon for CoC, I had been using a unit of NKVD as my 4th section but I am now good. I will try to get the Finns I printed some time ago painted and post them.

 

 

30 April 2022

Hougoumont Resupplied Redux-SP

This past week we again had another game of Sharpe Practice, we decided to play the same scenario but we switched sides with P-Y taking the French and myself taking the British-Hanoverian force.

I will not go into the details of the game but suffice to say unlike the past game the British were crushed this time with a FM drop to 2 while the French finished with a FM of 8. Unfortunately, the small force of British Light Infantry escorting the ammunition cart to Hougoumont was taken out before the cart had moved more then 10". I had to send a unit of my Hanoverian Jaegers to take up escort duties. They were able to get there but not before my FM dropped to 2 and I was forced to withdraw. Here are some photos from the game.


Breaking initial escort party
I am able to flank some of the French Infantry with my main Hanoverian force to give them a good spanking!
I am able to get my 2 Hanoverian formations in good position before The French main force can approach.
Unfortunately, they crumble fairly quickly with the Light Infantry in Hougoumont give little support as they still have yet to be resupplied.
I do break 1 unit of French Infantry
Lots of Smoke!
We again had a lot of fun and plan to have another game next week, but this time a different scenario from the Lard Magazine.

21 April 2022

Hougoumont Resupplied- Sharp Practice

Last night myself and P-Y had another game of Sharpe Practice over Discord. This time I took a scenario directly from the 2020 Lard Magazine. I was directed there to get some stats for the Hundred Days (these are not included in the rulebook) and found 3 excellent looking scenarios there. I should also say that the stats for this period were absolutely comprehensive. 

This scenario sees a small British force with an ammunition wagon trying to get to Hougoumont farm to resupply the beleaguered garrison troops. They are supported by 3 units of Hanoverian Jaegers with rifles but who did not arrive until the 2nd Tiffin card comes up. Trying to prevent British from arriving at the farm are 4 units of French conscript ligné as 2 units of regular voltiguers. All the skirmishers on both sides are classified as Light Infantry.

FORCES

British-FM 11

Cpl Graham Level I (deploys in Hougoumont)
2 units of Guard ( (skirmish light infantry)-12 men

Sgt Fraser Level II (deploys with ammunition wagon)
1 unit of Guard ( (skirmish light infantry)-6 men

Capt von Reden Level II
Sgt Lindau Level I
Musician
3 units Hanoverian Jagers (skirmish light infantry)-18 men

French-FM 9
 S Lt Le Petit Level II
2 units of voltiguers (skirmish light infantry)-12 men

Capt  Dernier Level II
Sgt Popotin Level I
4 units of fusliers (conscripts)-32 men


THE ACTION
Sorry for the bright colour, I did not have time to finish off the mat, still have to dry brush  it. The Hougoumont model is unfortunately a 15mm version but as it is a beautiful model I put it down anyway.


So we started the game with all units off table. P-Y got the Brits on a little quicker than the French arrival with Sgt Fraser arriving first. I did get my voltiguers on fairly quickly and they were able to get some early ineffective shots off at the wagon party. Cpl Fraser's 2 units also arrived quickly followed my Sgt Linda who came on with a single unit of Hanoverians. Next came on von Reden and finally I got my fusiliers on. I bought the ligne on as a 4 group unit which in respect was probably a mistake as they were hard to manoeuvre. I was worried about bringing on a formation with a Level I leader.

Anyway on to some photos.
Cpl Graham with 2 units of light infantry
Sgt Fraser with the ammunition wagon, you can see Sgt Lindau with a unit of Hanoverian light infantry (I do see that they are actually Brunswicker's)
The French trying to get out of their deployment, unfortunately 3 flags ended up in a pall of smoke.
overview
The voltiguers approach
It is all about the dice now, as the ammo has arrived and von Reden is giving support.
I then had the most amazing bad luck with the dice, I try to bring my voltiguers in as a screen so I can get my fusiliers close enough to unload on the Brits. All my save hits are 6's and the only time I roll 1's is if I am checking to see if one of my leaders is hit. Before I know it both Sous Lt Le Petit and Capt Dernier are down. The voltiquers fall back.
No further words needed as you can see, my line falls apart my FM is 2, game over.

Although it was one sided game with me being on the losing side, I am appreciating that SP2 is a fun ruleset once you figure out how it works. We will play this scenario again next week but switch sides. I will use some different dice!

17 April 2022

Normandy Campaign- Hermanville-sur-Mere Redux.

Myself and Jur got together this past Thursday for our next game in his Normandy campaign. I again was the German defender in Hermanville-sur-Mer as I had forced the British to withdraw in our last game. Mikko, a friend in Finland joined in as an observer. I have quite a few members on my Discord Server and  anyone is free to join in if they see game is ongoing. Jur brought in a fresh platoon as he has 2 platoons in each company. I used the same platoon but it was only missing 2 men so it was a pretty equal battle.

Forces

British 3rd Infantry Division/ Company A-Platoon 2

FM 11

Standard British Rifle Platoon

Supports-5

Extra Rifle Squad

German 10.Kp.IR.736 (zug #1)

FM 9

Standard German Grenadier Platoon (less 2 men)

Supports-2

Adjutant

Barbed Wire

Free Minefield

The Game

We played this one as Flank Attack, against the rules in ATSE, but added some variation to a repeat game.

I felt that Jur again got the better of me in the patrol phase, he had 4 free moves and by the time of the actual Patrol Phase he already had 2 of my PM's locked down. 

Jur deploys his yellow squad opposite the church, I try to hold off to a double phase
Jur adds his blue squad as well as an SL and the 2" mortar
The double 6 shows up so I deploy by my green squad to fire at the Brit yellow squad , I also deploy my blue squad in the house on the other side of the cross roads so the Brit yellow squad gets a bit of a pasting, but as you can see my green squad has had some losses.
The Brit yellow squad breaks after losing it's Bren team, the British FM is now 8.

I move my green squad off the wall and them around the church to be able to defend against the British blue squad. As you can see my yellow squad is suffering significant attrition as Jur has deployed his support squad in place of his routed yellow squad. Now we are both at a FM of 8.
By now we have both suffered significant loss, the British have 2 platoons to attack Hermanville-sur-Mer and I only have one to defend, I see that the writing is on the wall and withdraw. Hermanville fall to the British.


Butcher's Bill

British Platoon #A2 (3rd ID)

FM 8

4 dead 2 missing

CO +2

MO +1

HQ Outlook Secure


German Platoon 10.Kp.IR.736 (zug #1)

FM 8

5 dead 3 missing (7 dead now in platoon)

CO -1

MO -3

HQ Outlook Happy


Tactical Decisions


10.Kp.IR.736 (zug #1) to withdraw to Périer-sur le-Dans


5.Kp.IR.736 (zug #2) to hold Sainte Auban-sur-Mer


12.Kp.IR.736 (zug #3) to stay in Douvres-la-Délivrande