Thursday, 17 January 2019

WW2 Western Desert Game Report

In the post today arrived the secondhand book "The Life and Death of the Africa Korps" by Ronald Lewin. It is a book I once owned in the past but for some reason I let go. The book is to support my current interest in the WW2 Western Desert battles. Over Christmas and New Year holidays I managed to paint all the 6mm models I had, German and British, and have now ordered by next batch of models so I can add Italian forces into the mix and to make up a campaign.

A recent purchase arrived this week
Last weekend I was able to set up a WW2 game based upon the One Hour Wargaming scenario 9, Double Delaying Action. Where British forces must both stop the advancing German forces while at the same time retiring forces off the board. Because the Tank on Tank rules have limited action points the British only had to move onto the road (providing German units have not blocked the road).

British Forces
German forces
The scenario had a turn limit of 15 turns and to win the British had to successfully retire a unit on turns 4, 6, 8,10, and 12. While the Germans are required to take control of the buildings and have control of the road.

Opening positions
British artillery indirect fire proved very effective
The northern German force encountered accurately shooting from British tank units
A tank dual begins as armour from both sides close in
Another British unit prepares to retire
The tank dual continues with British forces getting the upper hand as a german motorcycle  reconnaissance unit tries to  out flank by going further North through rough terrain.
With their northern assault stymied the southern assault on the buildings begin
German units capture the buildings
British units engage to ensure the road remains in their control
German forces push forward
German air support arrives
The last British unit defending the road is eliminated with artillery fire.

The game ended in a draw with both forces achieving their victory conditions.

Force movements

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

ECW Campaign 1643 - Game 13

The 1643 campaign year opened in May with the Battle of Pershore. When a Royalist army marched on the West Midlands region, only to be defeated over two days of fighting. The initiative was now with Parliamentary forces to launch an attack from their West Midland location. The natural option open was to move on the East Midland region, which if successful would create a buffer of regions around London and the Thames Valley.

A roll of 3 on a D3 dice decided the next battle would occur in August (May plus 3 months). Next terrain cards were draws to provide a guide to the layout of the tabletop.

Terrain cards - each one represents a 2x2 foot area and the positioning of the terrain feature on the card is reflected on the tabletop.
The next step was to draw the campaign cards and determine army sizes. The Royalist campaign chance card showed they were able to recruit an elite pike unit to add to their recruited forces. Parliament drew a Royalist card so discard that, but they do have a carry over card for the remainder of this campaign year which allows them to use some or all of their cavalry as gallopers (rather than trotters). They drew this card on day two of the last battle and I was debating at the time whether it was a one off. I have since decided Parliament can retain the card for this year, 1643.

Chance card drawn.
So how did the armies recruit and retain their forces between May and August 1643? The figures in brackets are a D3 dice score and * indicates the one re-roll option each side had.

Parliament Forces

  • Infantry = 2 + (2) = 4
  • Cavalry = 2 + (3) = 5
  • Dragoons/Commanded Shot = (3)*
  • Artillery/Special unit = (1) - 1 = 0

Royalist Forces

  • Infantry = 2 + (3)* = 5
  • Cavalry = 2 + (2) = 4
  • Dragoons/Commanded Shot = (3)
  • Artillery/Special unit = (3) - 1 = 2  so they will field 2 artillery units
  • Plus chance card unit = 1 elite pike

On paper the Royalists enter the game with a larger force.

The tabletop will soon fill up with ECW units after I have finished messing around with a Napoleonic game I am in the middle of. Trying out a new command and control rule.

Napoleonic Spencer Smith figures do battle

Saturday, 12 January 2019

One Hour Skirmish Game

My wargaming effort is currently rotating between:

  • ECW Campaigning
  • WW2 Tank on Tank Western Desert, and
  • One-Hour Skirmish Wargames using Necromunda figures

This weekend I plan to prepare for the next ECW campaign game. First up though is a quick One Hour Skirmish game report using a couple of my very recently painted Orlock gang figures from Games Workshop's Necromunda range.

The game scenario has two undercover Adeptus Arbites, Tango and Cash, along with a squad of Arbites from the local precinct and supported by two Ogryns. They are raiding a local gang's stash of supplies. The Ogryns are slow and can only make one activation, other figures can make multiple activations.

Tango and Cash and their Arbite friends
A brutal looking gang typical of the outer hive sprawl.
The tabletop area is 3x4 foot with a six inch grid. Squares are categorised as open, rough terrain, or buildings. Both rough terrain and buildings provide figures (within the square) with an extra resolution card. However, with buildings it is possible to hide out of view. Also, if firing from an elevated position cover is ignored. There is a definite advantage to the building levels in this scenario.

The rules for the weapons were kept simple and scribbled down on a piece of paper. The later chapters in the book provided useful examples from some modern scenarios upon which I based the weapon rules.

A view from the gang table side. Their stash is on the ground floor of the large building.
The Arbite view from their entry side.
When setting up the gang, two figures were allowed in each flank building and the remaining six started in their base, the large building complex.

A couple of the ganger on guard.
The other flank had a couple for guards.
The Arbite plan was to split their forces and move down either flank. Take control of the buildings before both assault the main complex and gang base.

The Ogryns create a shield wall behind which Tango and Arbite armed with a shotgun move forward.
On the left flank the remaining Arbite squad arrives without Tango who was running late.
Tango and Arbite provide covering fire from behind the shield wall.
Cash turns up late...
...And charges forward with both pistols firing. All shots missed, but covering fire by the Arbite squad downed the ganger.
Cash was able to continue his sprint and dispatches the downed ganger. I like the rule where any downed figure is an automatic casualty in a close combat action. As I am using a square grid I use a rule variant where if another figure is in the square they must be attacked before downed figures.
The squad starts to move forward in support.
Tango, not to be out done by Cash, has cleared the balcony and gives a wave to Cash. As buddy undercover Arbites do.
Surprise! A ganger in hiding gets the jump on Tango. 
Things not going well for Cash either and he has been downed.
Cash survives, he had just hit the dirt to avoid the shots. Whenever a joker is drawn the turn ends and checks are made for all downed figures and force moral.
The gang decides to retire. They drew a 2 of Heart, but Tango ended up a casualty and was rushed to the nearest Orders Hospitaller to receive attention.

I actually played this game a couple of times. In the game described above I made a variation to the action costs. Instead of 1st action = 1 action point, second action = 3 action points, and 3rd action = 5 action points. I went with 1st action = 1 action point, second action = 2 action points, and 3rd action = 4 action points. It meant the game moved along a fraction quicker, and I will see how other games will go.

I am enjoying the book and rules, which are designed to be a toolkit, and do deliver on fast "Hollywood movie speed" action games.

Monday, 7 January 2019

ECW Campaign - Battle of Pershore - day 2

The English Civil War campaign games continue with day two of the Battle of Pershore. In the early morning the numerical superior Parliamentary army had take up position on the Royalist's left flank overnight, having secured a bridge head from the previous evening's fighting.

Troop positions at the beginning of day two
In this game, hits and out of ammo markers were removed from all units, but eliminated units remained eliminated. The army resolve was reset for the second day.

Deployment at the start of the game, Parliamentarian forces in the foreground having secured a position across the fordable river
While out numbered Royalist forces had taken up a strong defensive position between the two woods.  Their cavalry was held in reserve in case any Parliamentary units should round the woods on their left flank.
Royalist infantry push forward and secure a strong defensive line between the woods. While their dragoons secure cover in fields threatening to flank any Parliamentarian advance.
Parliament cavalry split to move around the woods and to try and dislodge the dragoons.
On Parliament's left flank a small contingent of infantry cross the bridge.
Parliamentarian cavalry swing around the woods on the flank and Royalist cavalry reserve move to counter.
More Parliament infantry cross the bridge and move towards the action. 
Royalist try and shore up the line and flank from cavalry.
Royalist forces eventually succumb to the cavalry attacks
The flow of the game
A victory for Parliament who from a strong flank position were able to overcome a valiant defence by the Royalist infantry line.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

ECW Campaign 1643 game report

To open the campaign of 1643 Royalist forces recruited an army and marched on the West Midlands. Parliament diverted their army to meet this threat and an opening battle occurred at the town of Pershore.

The armies sighted each other in the afternoon and deployed. From a gaming view point the Royalists, having the smaller force, were allowed to deploy on their tabletop side of choice. Placing half their units before Parliament deployed all their units on the opposing side. The remaining Royalist forces are deployed and they will get to go first in the turns and adjust their positions.

Opening positions
Neither army seemed to be in a hurry, so it was late afternoon when Parliament attempted manoeuvres. The river was deemed fordable along its whole length by all units. Cavalry could cross unimpeded with a 6 inch move, while foot could cross but would take 1 hit. There was one bridge near the Abbey where infantry could cross without cost.

Tabletop setup based upon the terrain cards (see previous post) 
Prior to the game both sides had drawn a change card. The Royalists were having issues with their leadership (a bit of rivalry perhaps?) And would reduce their turn activations by one. While it was the opposite case with Parliament's army who had an experienced commander. This increased their activations by one each turn.

The smaller Royalist force chose the tabletop side and deployed. 
Parliament deployed with all their cavalry on their right wing.
Royalist forces watch as Parliament prepare to launch an attack late in the day.
A quick note on the use of time in the game. This is something I am playing around with during this year of the campaign. As the rules are a variation of One Hour Wargaming, a game does not take more than 15 turns. However, the game can be limited down to 7 turns due to weather and season of a year. For example: an overcast day in winter can be limited to 7 turns, while a sunny summers day can be as many as 15 turns. A game's turns are further reduced, up to a maximum of 6 by the time of day armies encounter each other.

The lateness of the day has reduced this game to 5 turns. On to the game report...

Dragoons harass Parliament infantry as they cross the bridge.
Royalist cavalry move up to charge Parliament's cavalry as they cross the fordable river.
A surprise advance by Royalist forces places Parliament infantry under pressure as they cross the bridge to avoid taking any hits by fording the river.
A cavalry melee begins as Royalist cavalry try and drive their more numerous opponents back across the river.
At the Abbey bridge Parliament forces retire back across the river after suffering casualties and one eliminated unit.
Royalist cavalry are eliminated by the larger Parliamentarian forces who were able to envelop their flank. Royalist infantry who were slow in moving up were able to inflict some payback with musketry. The slowness in response was partly added to by the reduction in activations due to their chance card.

So as darkness closed in. The battle ends with Parliament having secured a position across the river on the Royalist left flank. With limited reserve cavalry Royalist forces decided to stay put for fear of having the army routed by roaming Parliamentarian cavalry.

Losses for this brief encounter are:

  • Parliament - 1 infantry and 1 cavalry unit
  • Royalist - 3 cavalry units

Both armies now redeploy using their existing unit positions. All remaining units reorganised (removing any hits) and are resupplied with ammunition.

A smaller Parliamentarian force hold the Abbey bridge as most of the army has been redeployed across the river on the right flank.
Royalist reposition to protect their left flank and keep any remaining cavalry in reserve. 
Parliament's right flank safely moved their infantry across the river under the cover of darkness.
The existing chance cards will remain in effect for the second day. But as this is almost another campaign game, both sides will draw another chance card. (A last minute decision on my part to mix things up a bit.)

  • Royalists will be able to resupply one of their "out of ammo" units during the game. 
  • Parliament's chance card is not really suitable for day 2, but let us assume their cavalry were not resupplied overnight and will have to revert to being gallopers (rather than trotters) and use the charge. 

So what will day two bring?