Sunday, December 30, 2012

Normandy Tank battle

A new feature I'm starting on my gaming blog is guest articles. For the first one my good friend John has been working out the kinks of his micro armour game and has supplied me with his latest work on a Canadian armour formation meeting to German Panthers in Normandy. Enjoy!

Here's the latest scenario I was playing with. I'm using Schwere Kompanie rules which once you get the hang of it is pretty fast and furious.  1 inch = 50 yds

The Canadians have been tasked with taking a ridge and advance with 2 troops of Shermans each with 4 M4's and 1 FireFly each.  Normally the troop would only have 3 M4's. They will have to cross an open field in order to reach their objective.  They have also been informed that there are 2 Panthers on the ridge.

Image 1 is the start line and the Canadians have the initiative.  Combatants are 30" apart or 1500 yds.  The Canadian plan is to hit the pedal and sprint the screen of M4's across the open ground as two separate battle groups with the FF's in support.  Max move for the M4's is 16 inches which uses all there action points for the turn and they will not be able to fire as seen in image 2.  Gutsy but let's see what happens.
 The Panthers get to declare  fire on the fast approaching M4's. 

P1 blows his roll due to the M4 fast moving target modifier.  P2 2 is luckier and gets a kill but the crew survives.  Panthers get a 2nd shot as they have only used 1/2 of their action points.  The Fireflies are curiously immobile.  P1 gets a hit and due to his roll suppresses his target and the crew breaks.  P2 gets a miss.  FF's advance half of their action points and are able to fire. FF1 hits and suppresses Panther but survives his break test.  FF2 fires to no effect.
Now it's ugly time.  This part is a judgement call as the easy targets are the M4's but the prize are the FF's.  I opt for the easy target and am able to kill 3 more M4's as they are the one's I've opted to move first. The rules are 'I go you go' and the Panther's have expended all of their action points but were able to fire twice. However notice that, hey where did those trees come from?  Notice that 2 of the M4's have advanced to a flanking position expending all of their action points. The FF's advance half of their action points and are able to fire which results in the death of one Panther.
Aspect from the Canadian side.
In the image above, Panther 2 decides to bugger off at this point in reverse using all action points and Canadians advance on their objective and get a lucky flank shot and kill the fleeing German. So ends tactical experiment 1 with a Pyrrhic Canadian victory with 50% casualties.  This was strictly a move and fire experiment to see if it would be possible to go Russian style on the Germans and overwhelm them in open ground at high speed. 
I found the rule set to be very easy to use and realistic and made for a fast and furious pace. I'm looking forward to adding other elements into the mix.

Hope you enjoyed.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WW1 village attack

It's been a long time since I've played a WW1 skirmish game so I dusted off my trench terrain and invited some friends over. The scenario is the British found out that the Germans have moved into the shelled out village in no-man's land. The British Colonel does not like it at all and informs the battalion major to send out a company in force to claim the village. To help 4 tanks are added to the mix plus a few batteries of off board artillery.
The situation. Germans in the village and the British are getting ready to push them out.
The Germans were thinking of adding a reinforced observation post in the village and anticipated the British would challenge them. They send a company's worth of troops to support the OP.
The opening few turns finds the British working their way through their own wire and approaching the outskirts of the village.
The Germans are settling in.

The Germans decide to seek cover. The British off board artillery starts coming into the village area and provides a screen for their infantry.
Tanks lead the charge.
The tanks move ahead of the infantry and start driving down the main street in the village. The German off board artillery starts opening up now but somehow the tanks keep coming.

The Whippet gets into the thick of it.
With the Whippet tank leading she takes the brunt of opposing fire. Even a flamethrower is having problems igniting it's stream! The front MG on the Whippet is knocked out but the side MG's are still working.

The infantry move up.
As the Germans struggle dealing with the tanks the British infantry move up to the village.
More British move into the village outskirts.
By now the British infantry start trading fire with the Germans and slowly start pushing them back.
More British infantry move in.
The tanks were the trick to the job at hand. Soon the Germans are overwhelmed with the onslaught of British troops and are forced to give ground. The game was a tactical victory for the British. The Colonel can sleep tight tonight!
The figure scale is 15mm. The gaming scale is 1 figure = 1 soldier. Squad level action. The rules are my home grown skirmish rules. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Commonwealth Beach Assault. Part I

After a successful Totalize scenario we decided to whip up a beach assault game. It would be a combined beach assault and airborne landing further in. The airborne drop had the job of securing at least 1 of the 2 bridges that isolated the town on the coast.
The coast and the shelled out town. The German defenses consisted of concrete pillboxes, Pak guns, and barbwire.
The Allied assault consists of 2 ARVE Churchills, a 25 Ib'r on a landing craft, and 4 fully loaded infantry landing craft. The Germans mainly have numerous infantry squads, 1 self-propelled gun, and a Wespe. No other German armour (yet).
View from the land side. One of these 2 bridges has to be secured by airborne forces.
The Allied paratroop drop was successful and they managed to land in an unprotected field. About 8 paratroops ended up in the trees.
The Germans were caught a little off guard with the airborne drop and start to advance on the British airborne troops. A halftrack didn't last long against a PIAT.
A furious firefight develops on the southern flank of the airborne forces. The German attack fades.
The airborne landing was successful with the British troops holding off probing German attacks. Their next objective is to capture a bridge (or two!). The beach landing hasn't begun yet but the 25 Ib'r on the landing craft has a lucky shot and takes out a Pak 40 gun that was located close to the beach.

Canadian breakout - Operation Totalize

With the City of Caen more or less secured the Canadian forces (with the help of Polish and British forces) decided to spear point an attack south and attempt a link up with US forces and thus complete an encirclement of the German army in Normandy.
We would attempt a segment of this scenario over 3 separate days of wargaming. I would command German forces while my friends Bob and John would command considerably more Canadian forces.
View of the field of battle from the Canadian side.
The German forces consisting of elements of 89th Infantry division, and 12 SS Division position themselves on the high ground at the end of the table. A screening forces of German infantry set up just south of the ruined church.
German infantry set up at a stone wall. The Panther in the top of the photo is a wreck from an earlier aerial attack.

2 Panthers on the hills with a supporting Tiger I holding the road. In support were 2 Mk IVH tanks and a couple of Wespes.
Most of the heavy German weapons were further back with the exception of 2 Pak guns halfway across the field hiding in some ruins.
The Canadian attack begins with elements of the  2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade moving forward.
As the Canadian armour advances around the church ruins the German infantry get quickly overwhelmed.
The German infantry managed to knock out a Firefly tank with a Panzershreck but soon had to fall back through the orchard.
My mistake was keeping the German infantry too long in the forward position. I ended up losing most of the infantry force positioned there. The Canadian mechanized infantry started a successful running battle through the orchard. My 2 Pak anti-tank guns succumb to 25 Ib'r artillery fire.
On the other side of the table the Canadian armour starts to bunch up and waits for the right time to launch the attack.
A Panther in over watch position.
My opponents  don't like what they see and decide to lay down a smoke screen to hide their advance.

So far so good for the Germans. The Canadian attack on the right is losing steam.

Eventually the German right starts to crumble. A Mk IVH brought up to support the retreating infantry gets nailed. Another Mk IVH had it's main gun knocked out and attempts a retreat out of the Canadian advance. The Panther on the hilltop suffers the same fate and starts to back up.
The German right starts to give way. The Canadians lose 5 tanks in the advance but manage to get into position to roll up the German defensive line.
On the German left the other Canadian armoured column starts forward and feels the sting of the Tiger's 88.
The Canadians managed to start rolling up the German line on the German right. A Firefly and M10 Achilles ignore a Panther that has it's main gun knocked out and concentrate fire on it's sister. The remaining Panther does get knocked out but takes the M10 with her.
With the German right dissolving the Canadian armour on the German left makes a dash for it. A Panzershreck takes out a cresting Sherman while the Tiger takes out another Firefly.
The Germans were eventually overwhelmed with the Canadian attack and had to give ground. We decided it was a Canadian tactical victory.
If you didn't notice in the photos the plowed fields changed appearance. I was using cut up floor mat for them but decided to replace them with Hot Matz ones I found on the internet. The rules used were my homemade ones. The gaming scale is 1 figure = 1 man, 1 vehicle = 1 vehicle. The figure and vehicle model scale is 1/72.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Micro Armour terrain

My good friend John has been bitten by the wargaming bug. I bought a pile of micro armour off a mutual friend and has been busy making terrain for his gaming needs. One of his first projects was making a ruined village. He got the idea of doing tiles from me. I did 1 ft tiles for my WW1 trench game. He used this concept and shrunk it down to his scale.
I village tile nearing completion.
For the walls he was using hobby clay.
Nice open areas to fit the mini's in.
From ground level the terrain looks very realistic. Now for some paint.
Once all the tiles were built John started to add colour to finish it off and make the project look great.

A Panther is about to stop some Shermans.
The tiles can be switched around to create different variations.
He's been working on some other features like hedgerows and orchards too.
Somewhere in Normandy...
A German armoured column moves up to the front.
His first orchard is done.
I think John is well on his way to making a superb gaming table. I must talk him into doing Ortona!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hotlead convention game

Bob and I decided that our contribution to Stratford Ontario's Hotlead gaming convention would be to put on a large scale Lundy's Lane game. This would follow the War of 1812 theme of the convention. To add to the 'WOW!' factor we'd use a ratio of 1 figure = 5 men. Bob supplied the figures and since Bob is a human painting machine he had enough figures to even do the battle on a 1 to 1 ratio! Can we? We figured we'd need a 25' wide table and I wasn't prepared to make all that terrain so we kept it at 1 to 5. The figure size was 15mm.
Our test game. The hill was on it's last legs.
For our test game back at my house we used our original hill terrain from a game we did about 10 years back. The Styrofoam flocked hill was in poor shape. The flocking was coming off and the edges of the hill were chipping away. To transport this one large piece to a convention would be a nightmare. We had to make a new hill.
A 6' x 10' table for our setup. Our new terrain at the convention.

I made the new hill out of Styrofoam again but in 3 easier to transport pieces. I also decided not to flock it. I hate flocking! This time the hill is taller to really show the Lundy's Lane heights.We also decided we didn't need tons of trees as per our test game. We used some historical maps as a terrain reference and we noticed the fighting zones of the battle were not wooded except the eastern edge. To further increase the portability of my terrain I decided to use for the first time my new woods terrain. You can see in the photo above they are pine trees with magnets glued on their based in a recessed hole. The base stands are painted pieces of sheet metal. I'll do a report later on the details of this tree project.
The game starts. Scott's bridge approaches the hill.
We had 3 players for each side. The opening moves are on the US side with Scott's bridge approaching the hill. The British force on the hill, Pearson's light brigade and Morrison's force send out a cavalry squadron to see if Scott's artillery hugging the trees is worth an charge. They stayed too far out and 2 of Scott's regiments got close enough to fire some deadly volleys into them. The cavalry suffered heavy losses and routed. They never make an appearance again.
Scott's brigade presses forward.
Because of the deadly British battery on the hill top the US forces never go near the center. Scott's brigade concentrates on rolling up the British left flank.
As the game progresses the British decide to occupy the front center of the hill.
The British players decide that to alleviate pressure on their left they'll move a few regiments down the hill in the unoccupied center.
As a routed Canadian militia regiment (IMUC) leaves the field, Scott's brigade reforms.
The Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada breaks and runs. Now Scott's brigade has to contend with Hercules Scott's brigade coming up the other other side of the hill.
The last US brigade arrives on the field.
Porter's brigade finally arrives on the field. The US side decides to deploy them on the British right. Hopefully this will take pressure off Scott's brigade on the opposite side of the field. Against them are part of Morrison's force (Glengarry Light Infantry) and some embodied militia units.
Porter's brigade advances.
Now one would think that Porter's fresh brigade would easily push back the militia in front of them. Porter's first regiment actually has a poor moral check and ends up routing throwing the whole line into disarray. At this point after gaming for 4 hours and 13 turns of a nail bitter game we called it over. We agreed it was a British / Canadian victory with heavy casualties on both sides. Actually quite like the historical outcome.
The rules we used where home grown and worked very well except one melee that had a cavalry charge on a routed unit being a failure resulting in the cavalry unit routing! I'll have to work on that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coldwars 2012

Bob and I decided to go to the Coldwars gaming convention in Lancaster Pennsylvania. We haven't been there in 3 years so we were long overdue. Coldwars is one of the larger conventions that occupies the whole Lancaster hotel. All the ballrooms were used. After a 9 hour drive we were greeted with a $40 fee for the convention. Wow! Prices have gone up. This will definitely be an every other year event for me.
Well we got what we wanted from this event. The dealer hall!!!
Shopping anyone?

After doing some serious damage to our wallets it was time to game. This year's theme at Coldwars was the War of 1812. There was quite a few 1812 games presented. Some of the presentations were beautiful. One of the first I observed was the Battle of Chippewa done in 25mm.
Looking at ground level the Chippewa battlefield.
Most if not all the terrain was bought by the game host. Still the visual impact was evident.
A US regiment attempts to clear British skirmishers on the US left flank.

British Artillery
The 2 apposing lines get engaged.
I thought at first the British had the upper hand in this one but the US forces prevailed.

I saw the largest age of sail game in my life. It was the Battle of Beachy Head, June 30th 1690. This was a naval battle between an Anglo Dutch force and the French.
Naval battle of Beachy Head 1690.
This game was huge. I believe they were looking for 30 people to play it. The most I saw play was about 10. Perhaps it's size was intimidating?
A closeup view. An endless line of ships.

There was some excellent games going on. The neatest trend I saw was the use of mini flashing LED lights in cotton puffs. It really looked like gun fire through the smoke. I managed to capture the look in the photo below.
English civil war, 25mm.
The fighting gets hot as the opposing lines get closer (ECW)
One of the strangest presentations was the use of a sand table. These guys actually slugged bags of sand and put together some framing to contain it.
The sand is formed and ready for terrain colouring and trees.

The finished product.
 I can understand the versatility of the sand table but for gaming it's not practical for portability or even gaming. The sand is very soft so you can't lean on it. I even found it was difficult to even see the gaming figures on it!
A large ACW game done in 25mm.
I loved the beautiful terrain for this ACW game. The cornfield in the center became the main combat area.
The Rebs make a stand at the edge of the cornfield as the Union attack in column.
Gettysburg, Devil's Den, 15mm.
The one game I did participate in was the Battle of Queenston Heights, War of 1812. This was a fun game and a nail biter I might add. I played on the Brit/Canuck side and had to repel the US landing on the Canadian shore.
Boats full of US troops make their way to shore.
The US Forces managed to land on shore and capture the battery that was halfway up the heights. That became the area of fighting. The US tried to capture the town of Queenston but couldn't hold on to it. The game ended up with a Brit/Canadian victory.
Overall I highly recommend going to these larger conventions. Just the dealer hall alone is worth it.