18 June 2015

The Battle of Waterloo 200 years today!

Well I did not get to play in any Waterloo commemoration mega games, I am quite jealous of you who have. To live in the Antipodes!

I had to do something to celebrate so I pulled out all my Napoleonics and laid them on a table. Although I am not certain, I think I started painting sometime in 2005-6. The lead pile has considerably reduced, really very few and French and British lying around now. Still quite a few Prussians and a brigade of Dutch-Belgians. I also think there are 2-3 battalions of Austrians and of Portuguese. Could be much worse!

But the big question is how many? Take a guess the answer is below.
6x4' of soldiers
8-9 years of painting
Prussians.....all Calpe
The Brits
A lot of French
Prussian Commanders
The Brunswickers......all from Perry. Two line battalions to go!
The Hanoverians, mostly Perry and some beastly Victrix Plastics
The Portuguese......all Front Rank
An Austrian Brigade.......again from Front Rank
The Rifles
Nothing like massed French
One of my favourite French units.....the 13th légére in pre Bardin.....Front Rank again.
Crusader Miniatures do very nice pre Bardin ligne figures
Perry cavalry are a bit of a challenge to fit in with other manufacturers, but who could resist these Mameluks
Prussian Cavalry
The Black Duke
These Westfalia Miniature's Kielmansegge Jäegers are the best figures in my collection
The man who started this megalomania. F... you all who do not like Bernard Cornwell or the TV shows!
The Front Rank Portuguese are quite nice
Those white uniforms are daunting
One needs some Rockets
The Perry mounted Rifle Officers are really quite superb
Well that is it all 2712 of them. I thought it a little more but of course there is still the pile!

06 June 2015

Hougoumont: A Black Powder Action

This Saturday, I reset up the Hougoumont Scenario that the Boston Trained Bands put on at Huzzah three weeks ago. I did not get a chance to play then so was quite keen to have a go. The club uses the Black Powder rules for Napoleonic wargaming. Not my favourite set, but certainly a good set for an asymmetric scenario like Hougoumont. Few rules sets allow for 4 different sized units, but to recreate this battle with multiple single companies coming on at different times, I have to say they worked very well. One other thing I like about BP is that the movement rules are quite simple. I less like the fact that the combat and firing mechanisms are not related to the number of bases but rather to several (4) intrinsic stats for each unit. I have to admit I also like stand removal. But I should not be too critical, as I have to say I really had an enjoyable game.

We played the scenario as written in the Albion Triumphant (a title which drives my French friends crazy) supplement, with one minor change. The scenario only allows one tiny unit within the wall of the chateau complex. The footprint of the model we used was much larger than described in the supplement, so we allowed 2 units in the chateau and two in the walled formal garden. It was a 12 turn game with a French brigade (21 battalions in total) coming on in turns 1, 3, 4 and 6 while the Allies had the equivalent of around 3 1/2 battalions dribbled in over the same period. The French arrive anywhere on the southern edge while the Allied companies arrive in either the compound, the garden, the orchard or the kitchen garden. The Allies have one advantage and it is significant, the British Guards make up 2/3 of this force. They are fearsome! The Allies also have 2 small brigades as reinforcements in Turn 10. There are also off table artillery firing each turn, 5 for the French and 2-6 for the British. No cavalry in the game.

Four of us played, Rich and Steve split command of the Allies, while myself and Bill had 2 french Brigades each. Aside from myself all well well acquainted with the rules. The French have the first move.
Baudin's Brigade enters
Two companies of Nassau in the walled garden
Prince Jerome issuing orders 
Lord Salton, the Allied commander with a another company of Naussers.
The French légére face off against Hanoverians and a British Guard company in the woods.
The Hanoverian jägers were quite brittle, but the Guards were pretty tough. 
A small Guards unit taking on two French Attack columns
As one can see the French are suffering significant attrition from the skirmishers in the wood
The French right flank is pushing back the Guards and Nassau jägers
The French push through the wood into the killing ground.
More Guards!
Turn 3, another French Brigade:  Soye with 6 battalions of ligne
Turn 4, Tissot's 4 battalions of ligne, by now though Baudins's Brigade has suffered morale failure and is withdrawing from the combat.
Soye rushes in his troops to take the place of the withdrawing légére

The Guards have seized the ground in front of the chateau
Jerome keeps on feeding in the troops.
Soye's Brigade challenges the Allies in the orchard, but the brigade also fails morale and has to withdraw
Jamin's Brigade joins the fight.
Finally the Allies are push back and the French mount their attack on the chateau and the walled garden
More Guards, Tissot's Brigade suffers morale failure
We are now at Turn 9: 3 of the 4 French Brigades are withdrawing. Jamin's battalions enter the compound but his brigade now has more then half their units shaken and withdraw. An Allied victory, a historic result, a good game.

04 June 2015

Winter War: Attack on the Border Post

Last Saturday, I finally got another Winter War game played. Readers of my blog will know that I had some difficulty with the structure of the campaign related to the perceived playability of the Soviets. According to the CoC army lists in January 1940 the Soviets should be rated as green with 4 Command Dice in the Finland. My opponent found this a boring game and I could only agree, after a lot of discussion on the TFL forum it was felt best to increase the CD to 5 while keeping the force green. By then however interest had faded and the campaign went on a hiatus.

Fortunately for me, I met an experienced CoC player at Huzzah (he was actually demonstrating CoC for Eureka Miniatures, the new TFL representative in the US). Mike P was quite interested in playing and actually drove all the way from RI to Malden to have a game. 

I decided to go with the last scenario in the campaign, because I wanted to see my NKVD troops in action. The scenario is as below and is pretty straight forward. I gave the Finns two extra support choices as I had increased the Soviets CD to 5. This is all laid out in the CoCulator. I did not adjust for the NKVD being regular, as I had kept the tactical Finn supports as Eite. There is a bit of debate about this on the TFL forum.

Well we had a great game, Mike is quite an engaging fellow and very pleasant opponent. The game was enormous fun, see-sawing back and forth, I thought I had it in the bag several times. Notwithstanding the Command Dice favouring me in mid game (I had 4-5 double and triple 6's), I eventually lost on morale failure. Mike played a great game digging in his Soviets and bringing out well chosen supports at the right time. Anyway on to some snaps.

I have subsequently found out that the calculations in the Winter War army lists for Force Morale are wrong the Green Soviets with 4CD should be -4 and Finns are +5. Still a -9 difference though so no effect on the game.
I forgot to take a picture of the Patrol phase but I thought it went well for me with JOP's in defendable positions well up the table. We diced for Morale, if I remember correctly the Finns (me) were 9 and the Soviets were 8. We are looking from the north here with the Border Station to the right in the photo. I bring on a SMG squad in the middle of the photo, to the left you can see a Soviet squad in entrenchments behind barbwire. Mike took two entrenchments and barbwire as part of his support advantage. He also took a T28 which gave me no end of trouble.
Here we are looking from the south, my LMG squad with a captured DP-28 are creeping around the Soviets left flank with the hill blocking LOS. This did not really work out for me, as I could do little with them. My supports had included a Maxim MG team, an AT gun with a JL as well as the captured DP-28.
I was able to take out the Soviet squad eventually firing at them from 3 positions despite them being entrenched.
Finnish AT Gun team with JL
Finnish Maxim MG Team. I have finally learned that you can not put support teams down unsupported by infantry, despite them both being elite and in cover they were quickly taken out by combined MMG and HE fire from the T28.
Out of sequence here, the entrenched Soviet infantry squad.
I use 15mm barbed wire and entrenchments from FOW, they seem to work well for 20mm.
The terrain rules for the game worked well, simpler is always better!
The T28, I think from SHQ. I scored one shock on it only despite hitting it 3 times with the AT gun. Mike cleverly used a MMG and the cannon each time he fired (6d6 each), the HE is of advantage when troops are in the woods.
The Soviet 3rd squad in light cover behind the wooden fence surrounding the border station. I have never done this before but I forgot to bring the houses, so had to rely on some Dark Age cottages which were lying around at the Hobby Bunker.
The NKVD arrive! Mike had also took a an NKVD medium mortar team that also gave me some trouble.
I bring on a second SMG team to support the first squad which was now somewhat diminished. It was time to attack the Border Station. Maybe a little prematurely as it turned out.
I had an excellent throw of 3 threes on my command dice. Time to declare Rynnäkköön, unfortunately one of the SMG squads was just out of range so I only could attack with the fresh squad. I did open up though with an LMG squad to the south and the lagging SMG, two kills and some shock resulted. Would it be enough.
Combat is brutal in CoC, and unfortunately I lost the combat by 1 man. The 5 SMG's the NKVD squad made them formidable close order fighters. I was thrown back, both the NKVD and Finns were pinned. But by then both our FM's were down to 3. On the next Soviet turn, Mike was able to force a further morale test, no CoC Dice left, the Finns were down to 0.
Well it was really a lot of fun and more importantly with some minor adjustments, it showed me that a Winter War campaign can give an entertaining game to both sides. But of course, the best thing is that I have met another local (relatively) CoC player.