Thursday, 28 January 2016

A game of Blucher

French Ist Corp advances over the hill supported by artillery

We ran our first napolionic game of the year using our French and British armies last weekend in a 300 point battle. I opted to use the armies from 1812 and picked 2corps of French infantry and two corps of cavalry, I had decided to field a all French army with no allies for this game.

"A hard pounding gentleman" the French artillery devastates the Highland brigade as Picton arrives on the scene to rally the under pressure scots.

For most of the game both players rolled very low MO points so coordinating attacks was difficult to do. I had planned on using my left centre to throw a diversion attack by committing half the 1st Corp into attack, I hoped this would grab the attention of my dad and he would commit his reserves to reinforce this sector while the rest of my 1st corps brigades would use a reserve move to move right around to the right flank to support my actual main attack. 

The 1st Corp commits 4 brigades against the Britsh centre right and immediately puts the British line infantry under pressure.

My dad revealed the troops he had as part of his reserve and he committed his cavalry Corp which moved into a position to threaten my advancing 1st Corp. I had achieved part of my objective as I had committed his reserves but the problem was I had been unable to activate the remainder of the Corp to get them into support of my right flank attack. In actual fact these 3 brigades in reserve didn't move all game as each time I went to activate them I ran out of MO points as I was to concerned about my front line troops!

Dutch-Belgian and the British guard horse cavalry brigades sweep around to threaten the French centres flank

On the right flank my attack had been launched and the French light cavalry Corp had stalled the British advance. Although the horse artillery and supporting infantry made in roads against the defensive lines of the British I really needed the reserves to arrive in support to push home any advantage I had, but this was not to materialise.

"Steady lads hold your formations"..the British prepared infantry stand firm in front of heavy fire from the horse artillery at canister range

My French second Corp was heavily involved in the fighting against the British right flank and managed to break a couple of British line brigades, however the second line of British were made of sterner stuff as it was made up of the Guard brigade and heavy artillery and I was to make no further progress on this flank...oh where was myreserve 1st Corp troops when I needed them!

All alone..the KGL brigade is all that remains of the British front line on the right of centre but puts up a heroic defensive and beats back attacks from both the French line and elite brigades.

With my attack stalling on the right flank my decore attack had become somewhat isolated. After its initial sucess the presence of the British cavarly core had prompted me to become prepared and at the mercy of the British horse artillery and massed battery on the hill, I was also involved in a fire fight at close range with a brigade of British infantry which with their fire trait is not the best of ideas. Once my leading French brigades had been softened up my dad sent his heavy cavalry in and despite my infantry been prepared they were no match for the British heavies as they broke two brigades and swept away a supporting artillery unit along the way.

"Sire it's the British they are in the woods"...the British cavarly core and guns getting into position to wreak havoc on the French infantry.

"Onwards for the guns boys".. Not content with defeating a unit of French Dragoons the British guard cavalry overrun due to been impetuous towards the prepared infantry and guns on the hill guarding the French left flank

"Fix bayonets".. With the British cavalry regrouping the British infantry and allied Nassauers brigades charge into the remains of the French 1st corps

A supporting French infantry brigade is caught in flank by the Dutch Militia brigade whilst already engaged to the front,this flank attack proved to much for the French and they broke.

With my 1st Corp under mounting pressure I released my heavy Calvary Corp in the form of 3 Currasier brigades to help balance the fight. The sight of these currasiers got the attention of the British cavalry and one unit of hussars who had run down a French battery was caught out of position and broken by
One Of these brigades. Also a British infantry brigade fresh from defeating the French line infantry was caught not prepared and as a result were run down and broken. This helped balance up the French left flank but with time drawing to an end the battle looked like it was heading for a stalemate.

The French Currasiers didn't need a second invitation at the British infantry presenting themselves unprepared.

With no infantry support and the British and Dutch troops well prepared the French cavalry stay back out of musket range.

And we had reached that time of day where the battle drew to a close. At the end of the game I had lost 3 units to my dads 5 (I think it was around them totals) with both of our break points been 7. However I had a few units who were very close to breaking so the game was very much in the balance both armies still had enough fresh troops to influence the game. In the end a draw was a fair result IMHO and once again had shown the tactical problems you face choosing which of your troops to activate and in what order, not knowing how many motivation points you have to play with can put the best laid plans in disarray. Great game again though :-)

Monday, 25 January 2016

The first troops for the beastman

After my first taste of dragon rampant fantasy rules I stated in my blog that I quite fancied doing a beastman battlegroup and so here is the first unit. My dad had rummaged around his spares box and he managed to obtain 6 minotaurs which he painted up for me to show how they are going to look. The models I think look great (pendraken) and I really like the colour scheme my dad has used.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Refighting The Battle of El-Teb

                                                  The Sudan 29th February 1884                      

Last weekend we had a crack at refighting the battle of El Teb using the scenario from the Blackpowder rulebook. This was our second go at this game after we botched our first attempt using the wrong measurements for movement as we used pike and Shotte distances, (so no wonder it took the British a age to march across the desert!). My dad took the part of Sir Gerald Graham commanding the British force while I in charge of the Sudanese army took the role of Madani ibn Ali. As per the scenario we give the British 8 moves to win the game, however this is a tall order so we deemed that if the British hadnt broke the Mahdist force or captured the village in this time then any victory would only count as a minor victory. The British entered the game from their table edge in March column while the bulk of my force was hidden behind the hills which I had marked onto a map. The Mahdist force was made up of two brigades, one large infantry brigade and a cavalry brigade, with the Britsh having two infantry brigades and a mounted one to. 

The initial set up

I planned to use the Mahdist cavalry as a speed bump, hopefully if I could get them moving quickly I could distract the British infantry from their objective of flushing the Sudanese from their defensive position on the ridge and capturing the village. If I was to get involved in a cavalry fight with the British hussars I was sure to be broken but hopefully I could cause enough to damage in return to at least shake if not break the brigade.

The Britsh troops didn't exactly show much enthusiasm to get to grips with the Sudanese on the hill and made very slow progress with some poor command rolls hindering their movement. Already it didn't look likely that they would capture the village in 8 moves.  

My Mahdist cavalry brigade moves to threaten the British left flank but are met head on by the 10th & 19th Hussars. I missed an opportunity to catch the leading British infantry in March column with my camels as I forgot that troops with the skirmish trate can charge if the unit is in March column! As the British infantry formed into line in front of my camel riders I feared I would regret this oversight

The 2nd British brigade deploys their Navel Maxim Machine guns and Royal artillery ready to pound the ridge under the commanded of General Davis

First blood to the British as the counter charging 10th Hussars beat the under matched  Mahdist cavalry who flee taking their support along with them. With a camel unit also shaken as a result of the Birtish infantry fire the Mahdist mounted brigade was already broken and started to retreat leaving my left flank very exposed.

The British 1st brigade led by General Redvers Buller form into line as a howizer shell from the Mahdist artillery finds its target on the unsuspecting Gordon highlanders who quickly change formation from March column..que much shouting and celebration from the Mahdist gunners on the ridge.

Beja armed riflemen ready themselves for the approaching British infantry in their defensive positions with a field howitzer in support

Three Warbands of Beja and allied Sudanese spears run for the cover of the dried out river bed under fire from the machine guns from ready to attack the British 2nd brigade led by Abdulla ibn Hamid.

The Beja skirmishes retreat from the dried out river bed as the British advance with impressive cohesion. Unlike in our first attempt at this game my artillery and riflemen couldn't find a disorder roll for the love of money so the British moved towards the first defences of the village.

The first Warband of Beja spears charges into the Royal Irish fusiliers and although the closing fire sees them become shaken they manage to get into combat. The following round of combat saw the Beja fall just short of shaking the fusiliers and retreating away shaken from the melee.

However Abdulla ibn Hamid was not to be Denied his glory as he issued a follow me order to the second band of Beja Spearmen who survived two volleys of British traversing fire to smash into the flank of the York and Lancasters batallion who had moved ahead of the British infantry lines. Although Abdulla was killed in the combat he managed to see the British infantry destroyed by his Beja Spearmen before his death, a worthy sacrifice.

Roused by this act of heroism the hidden Warbands of the Mahdist infantry started to move in support of the ridge as the British infantry destroyed the artillery and pushed into the defensive positions, the British hussars had now rallied and were menacingly moving around the Mahdist flank towards the village, over running a hapless Mahdist field gun emplacement on their way and moping up the retreating Mahdist cavalry.

The Kings Royal rifles move over the defences onto the hill to be confronted by angry mobs of Beja & Sudanese infantry, who move into position to defend the out skirts of the village. Madani Iba Ali also reveals his remaining hidden Warbands behind the ridge ready to stop the British infanty advancing onto the village.

After the Blackwatch had destroyed the Beja riflemen they were themselves caught in flank by a band of sudaneese Spearmen, led by the newly appointed commander after Abdulla had been slain. Despite the new commander been shot from his horse and killed he had managed to get this rabble whipped up into enough of a frenzy to do the unthinkable and destroy the famous scots as my dad rolled a rather dismal morale roll. (This should come as no surprise as my dads record with this unit of scots is pretty dismal as he always seems to roll a morale throw of 3 or under on two D6!) This saw General Davis brigade broken and they started to retreat from the battle without his navel machine guns ever really contributing to the battle! The pendulum was now swinging in the Mahdists favour.

Crunch time on the ridge as the British 2nd brigade make one final assault at taking the Mahdist position. This sees the Kings Royal rifles attack the Beja rifles in flank who manage to surprisingly hold their ground. In return a Beja Warband charges the rifles in their flank but thanks to there steady rule they automatically pass there morale throw when they are beaten in combat.

The Gordon highlanders need no second invite as they charge into the flank of the Beja spears fighting the Kings Royal rifles. This combat sees the Mahdist break but not before they managed to shake the Kings rifles rending General bullers brigade broken. In the final combat of the game the British 10th hussars destroy a Beja Spearmen Warband but themselves become shaken. The British although they had taken a lot more than 8 moves had come very close to taking the village of El Teb, the 10th hussars were literally knocking on the door of the village just as the Royal rifles become shaken and  General Bullers brigade were forced into a withdrawal. My Sudaneese army was 1 unit been shaken from total defeat as this would have seen the infantry brigade broken and forced into retreating and abandoning the village.

Although the scenario is difficult for the British, especially to gain victory in 8moves the game was played in a good humoured fun manner,. However a point of discussion which arose at the end of the game was regarding when your force is deemed broken in Blackpowder. In this particular game my dads Kings rifles became shaken in my turn which ment that his army was broken, ending the game in my turn thus denying my dad any chance of been able to rally the shaken unit(s) ,( the Britsh brigades in this scenario were only 3 battalions strong so they are very vulnerable to been shaken) We were both in agreement that should your army become broken in your opponents turn you should be able to have the chance of rallying your units in your following command phase, however if you were to fail this order then your army would still collapse and be broken after your own command phase. this just seems to be fair as at least you are granted the opportunity to at least have a go in your own turn of attempting to keep your force in the battle. We will be introducing this amendment into our future Blackpowder games. A good game though even if I did manage to loose 3 commanders of the Mahdist infantry brigade leading glorious charges destroying those invading infidels....

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Not one not two but three games of Dragon Rampant..

I got to play my first bit of Dragon Rampant on my day off and my first impressions were very favourable. The rules took no time at all to pick up and the games we played ran very smoothly without a great deal of reference to the rulebooks. The first game my dad had set a scenario up tocollect the   treasure tokens before your opponent. This was a quick play scenario to allow me to see how the initiative and movement works, my Orc forces quickly out manovered the drawfs thanks to winning the initiative rolls and good command rolls. Once this scenario was finished my dad used a wood elf force while I opted to still use the Greenskins in a straight forward clash between the armies

Wa arrghhh The Eagles feel the force of an Orc charge

Woodelves archers loosen their arrows into the Greenskins horde

The action came thick and fast and the Woodelves proved to be no match against the orcs in close quarters. The Woodelves failed there orders to shoot on a number of occasions which proved very costly. The ogres were devastating in this game and walked through all that stood before them, however the presence of my leader granted me a free move each turn which really helped but my dad managed to roll a cowardly result on the random table and his leader was unable to launch attacks! After a couple of hours I mopped up most of the elves and took the victory. So with another hour remaining before I had to take the daughter to gymnastics my dad got the drawfs out again and we set to a slogging match once more..

The elves failed to make their shieldwall in time and the results were not pretty for the elves despite them managing to kill an ogre they quickly became battered and failed to rally.

A pack of wargs lurk ready to attack the elvish horsemen as they rout the wolfriders

Orcs breaking through the Elvish battleline

The final game proved a full reverse of the the previous as this time I could not seize the initiative and failed a number of orders. The drawfs as would be expected were far tougher in melee and after been so successful in the pervious game my Ogres were smashed in a single round of combat as the drawf stone men rolled 12 out of 12 successful attacks wiping the ogres out in a single round of combat! After about an hour my Orc army had been comprehensively defeated.

The Troll slayers looking to meet their oath of a heroic death as they counter charge the orcs...they quickly become battered and fail to rally and ultimately flee ignoring their oath at least for today!

Under the supervision of The drawf King tne Heavy armoured drwaf Warriors battle if out with the trolls

The Greenskins have enough and flee from the battle 

A bit of drawf Magic "lights up" the Orc pricklers 

I think this is the first time I've managed three games in one afternoon and good fun it was to. Dragon rampant is a fun set of rules to use for a small size fantasy game and despite been simple to play they still have enough quirks and tactical challenges to keep the game interesting. I think I'll have to get my own a Warband for these rules now I've had a game, I'm tempted by some kind of beastman / chaos marauder army, it's about the only army I haven't collected or played with at some stage of my fantasy gaming life so it seems as good as time as any to do it :-)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Halt the Russian tide BGK game.

Our first game of the year saw my WW2 Russian and German forces get run out after abit of an abscense for a defensive line battle, I roughly used the scenario from the BGK book with a couple of added extras. As the German player I was unsure what armour would be arriving from reserve, When turn 4 arrived I would have to roll a dice to see what armour was available. I picked the armies in advance, basically the Germans had dug in around the out skirts of the train station and village. Anti tank guns in the shape of a 88mm and two PaK 38 and a platoon of infantry and a mortar battery is all that would stand in the way of a heck of a lot of T-34's and Russian infantry until the reserves started to arrive,if they arrived in time that is.

88mm A/T gun dug in in the wood with a  German MG38 and grenadiers behind the trench line

The German 80mm mortar battery to provide some much needed indirect fire support. They did manage to slow the Russian infantry advance from pinning hits but despite finding the target on numourous occasions I was failing to get any direct hits.

The road is the area the German armour in will be arriving from. Anything from Panzer III or IV's,Stug G platoon or a Panther platoon ( I would need a 6 on the dice for these beasts to turn up)

The Russian mortar battery was to prove useful in support of the advancing Russian infantry and tanks as it repeatedly pinned the German A/T guns. The chits I had to take as a result of unpinning the A/T guns was to prove very costly at the end of the game 

The Pak 38's engage the on rushing T 34's but despite some fine targeting I keep failing to penetrate the armour of the T 34's.

A Russian infantry platoon dismounts forms it's trucks and runs behind the cover of the hill towards the German trenches, when they came into view from behind the hill the German Grenadiers opened up from heavy fire and halted the Russian infantry 
On the Russian right flank the bulk of the armour was attacking the German trench line along with a infantry platoon in support. This platoon was to bear most of the indirect fire from the German Mortar battery. 

With the Getman A/T guns proving ineffectibe the T 34's covered the ground quickly using the Starl Starl Starl rule and knocked out the German A/T guns with a barrage of machine gun fire as they reached the trench line.

The Arussian attack on the right flank in full flow

Mortar rounds drop around the Russian infantry pinning the advance but causing no real damage, the Russian armour still pushes forward not effectived by the mortar rounds.

When the German armour arrived ( I rolled a 3 on a D6 so I got 4 X Stug G's) my dad managed to pull a aircraft chit so the Russian fighter plane headed straight for the Stug's.however the bombs scattered wildly and missed their target. The Stug's then became involved in a fire fight with the T34s at the trench line. Finally some Russian armour started to go up in smoke although the Stug's where surviving by a fine margin as a few times my dad equal led my armour value.

However the remaining two Stug's didn't last to long as the Russian SU-122 was on fine form and put two rounds from long range (6's required both times) into the Stug's easily knocking them both out

The remaining Stug's ammo was all but out so the supply truck got into the action reloading the Panzers 

However despite the remaining Stug's fully reloaded they are helpless to stop the Russian machine as the T34s storm over the trench line and the poor HMG dugout bottom left of the picture.

Finally the German BR was broken and the Russians had proved victorious. They had broken the German defence line and the German reinforcements were pinned in the village. 

The train station was now to fall into Russian hands and the use of a vital supply line had been lost by the Germans. What was was left of the defenders retreated away from the village as more T34s rolled in.

It was always going to be a hard task for me to try and stop all those t34s and T70's but the ineffectiveness of the anti tank guns proved very costly as I was drawing high chits to un pin them ( the first 4 chits accounted for 17 br points). My 88mm was out of position to really have an effect on the game as my dad choose to attack the opposite flank and the my dad used the Stal rule to good effect with his T34's closing the distance very swiftly. If I had managed to knock a few of those Russian tanks out as they advanced onto my position it may have given the Stug's more of a chance to counter attack. Great game to kick start the year, and with out doubt man of the match was this monster below, I'm sure it only fired twice and it recorded two kills..deadly!