Wednesday, 18 September 2019

1066 Paper Soldier wargames and Books

It was time for a change of period after playing through quite a few WW2 games as part of a campaign. So out came the 1066 paper soldier armies for some quick games using Lion Rampant rules, while I try and decide what the next campaign will be.

Norman inafantry and Breton cavalry look across at the Saxon army in the distance
Start of the game
Game in progress
Last week a couple of secondhand book purchases arrived. The book I was after was "War-game Through the Ages Vol. 3 1792-1859" to get the series and "A Wargamer's Guide to The Desert War 1940-1943" was an impulse buy as it was at a reduced price.

Purchases
The series of books now complete
I have started reading The Desert War guide which has chapters covering:

  • The Desert War - 13 pages
  • Armies, Organisation, and Equipment - 19 pages
  • Wargaming the Campaign - 36 pages
  • Choosing Your Rules - 19 pages
  • Choosing Your Models - 11 pages
  • Scenarios - 11 pages
So far I have found it an easy ready with the chapters providing a good and straightforward summary of their topics.


Sunday, 15 September 2019

WW2 rules used in recent campaign

During the WW2 mini campaign I used the following rules to play out the actions on the tabletop. They are very much based upon the WW2 rules from "One-Hour War-games" by Neil Thomas. No surprise there, as this book got me back into historical wargaming with its pared down rule systems and small tabletop needs. However, they do use a different activation mechanism with movement and shooting having very similar rule mechanisms.

The rules started out as a series of notes which have finally been written up and is a first draft, and will no doubt include the usual typos and spelling errors. I am not a good proofreader and my eyes are starting to glaze over.

The choice of these simple rules were so the tabletop action, or actions in some cases, could be played quickly in an evening or weekend. This way the campaign would not get bogged down with the resulting loss of interest on my part.

Units

Each player’s army has a selection of units representing platoon and troop size units. Each unit has two bases which must remain within 1” of each other during the game. Base sizes do not matter in this game providing there is a level of consistency.

All units have an assigned class which is used when determining shooting results.

Infantry types:
  • Infantry units
  • Armoured infantry after 1 base loss

Gun types:
  • Mortars
  • AT Guns
  • Artillery

Armoured types:
  • Armoured Infantry
  • Armoured Cars
  • Tank
  • Self-Propelled AT Gun/Tank Destroyer

An armoured infantry unit with two bases. The unit is treated as armoured until the first base is lost, then the half-track base is removed and the remaining base operates as infantry.
AT gun unit with a transport base and gun base. Only the AT gun base can shoot. Hits are taken against the transport unit which when removed will reduce movement to 6".
Mo rtar unit with a transport base and mortar base. Only the mortar base can shoot. Hits are taken against the transport unit which when removed will reduce movement to 6".

Sequence of Play

Using a shuffled set of playing cards deal a card for each unit, placing the card face up beside each unit.

Units are then activated from the highest value card to the lowest. When activated a unit can move or shoot.

Off-table artillery and air support can only shoot when receiving a red suited card.

Unit Movement

All units must move in straight lines.


Any unit moving into cover can only move a maximum of 6” for an activation.

Terrain

Open Terrain - no effects
Buildings - all units can enter, but only infantry can claim cover
Woods - only can enter infantry and claim cover
Marshland/Lakes - are impassable to all units.
Fields - all units can enter, but only infantry can claim cover
Rivers - Units may only cross rivers at bridges & fords. Rivers do not block line of sight.
Roads - no effect.
Hills - block line of sight & Tank units are able to be “hull down” & treated as in cover for combat.

Observation

Units may only shoot units they can see. All units can observe units at a range of 12” providing their line of sight is blocked by terrain or smoke.

Units have a 90 degrees of observation from the front edge of either unit base.

The exception to the observation rule is indirect fire from Artillery & Mortars, which can attack units they cannot see providing a friendly infantry or reconnaissance unit can observe the target & radio in the coordinates.
Both bases have individual 90 degree fields of fire. This allows a two base unit to increase its field of fire by careful positioning of both bases. Single base units and AT guns only have the single 90 degree field of fire.
An example of the AT guns single 90 degree field of fire compared to an armoured and mobile AT unit.

Shooting

Units cannot move and shoot.

Direct shooting bases have a 90 degree field of fire. Only one base needs to observe a target in the field of fire for a unit to shoot or call in artillery support.

Artillery and mortars when not direct shooting don't use a field of fire. However, after targeting a unit they cannot switch to another target in the following turn without a break of one turn.

Determine if in range.


To determining damage roll 1 D6 and make adjustments in the table below. When increasing or reducing by 50% any fractions are rounded up to the attacker's advantage.


The result is further reduced by 50% for:
  • Infantry in woods, buildings, or positioned behind armoured units.
  • Tanks (not other armoured units) hull down on a hill.

An infantry unit seeking cover behind an advancing tank unit.
Target units which cannot claim cover and are yet to be activated at can sacrifice their card and take evasive action. They are then treated as being in cover reducing the hits by 50%. For infantry that is going to ground, other units must retire out of range. However, the attacking unit must be in their field of fire to take evasive action.

An infantry unit (9 spades) has been flanked by the armoured car unit (Queen diamonds) and cannot take evasive action. Having a narrow field of fire and this rule to evasion encourages flanking moves on the tabletop.
The this example an infantry unit (9 spades) positioning of its bases means it can sacrifice its card and take evasive action to reduce the shooting hits from an armoured car unit (Queen diamonds).
Split units, such as armoured infantry, will always be treated as armoured until the half-track base is removed. Then on after they are treated as infantry and operate like infantry when taking hits.

This armoured infantry unit will now be operating as an infantry unit only.

Elimination

Units are eliminated after 14 hits. When 7 hits are taken remove one base. This means hits can be recorded on a single dice as the 7 or 14th hit removes a base.

The removal of one base limits a unit’s field of fire as the combination of two base's field of fire when carefully positioned increase the field of fire.

Optional Rules

Smoke ScreensArtillery & Mortar units may provide smoke screens. On a score of 4+ place 6” of smoke which blocks line of sight. All smoke is removed at the start of turn.

Aircraft SortiesOn a read suited card air support can attack any unit not in woods or buildings. Air support attack as AT guns.

AA GunsIf there is an AA gun within 12” of the unit being shot at by air support reduce hits by 50%.

Wrecks - Mark eliminated armoured based with smoke. If behind these wrecks units can be treated as in cover. The wrecks do not block line of sight.


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Thoughts on my completed WW2 solo-campaign

Here are a few thoughts about what worked and didn't in my WW2 solo campaign which I have now finished, or maybe I should say lost.


A quick reminder about the campaign that used the chapter "Panzer Grenadiers vs. Guards" from "War Game Campaigns" by Donald Featherstone as inspiration and guide. During the course of the campaign Panzer Grenadier forces are trying to push southwards attempting to breakout into more open country.
Original map from the book
Breaking up the original map into squares each representing a tabletop worked well as it helped to create a point to point map which allowed the Panzer Grenadier forces to be simply moved from one point to another based upon a dice roll.


The dice generated moves were very simple and worked well. Details can be found here. During the campaign there were situations where the advancing Panzer Grenadier units had a Guards unit on their flank, then on a 1-4 they attacked the flanking unit or 5-6 they pushed on southwards. This approach occasionally produced the odd result which I put this down to fog or war.

The campaign produced a 13 tabletop games and good number of them were asymmetrical games, requiring a side to make a fighting withdrawal or not be reckless with attacks, to preserve units so they could continue in the campaign. Units which were eliminated in the tabletop game were removed from the campaign as being no longer being combat effective, while units with losses were returned to the campaign at full strength. The assumption was they were able to reorganised and there were a level of reserves or leftovers from eliminated units to make them effective again. I chose this approach as I did not want to keep track of unit's strengths during the campaign. Although I did ticking off platoon loses on the infantry company counter.

Panzer Grenadier forces. Each company had 3 platoons while Reconnaissance companies have one AC section and armoured infantry platoon. 30 units in all.
Guard forces. Each company had 3 platoons while Reconnaissance companies have one AC section and armoured infantry platoon. 25 units in all.
I am not totally sure as to why I chose to be the defender rather than the attacker. It may have been the way I read the chapter, anyway I just automatically took to the defender's role. 

Having decided to be the defender I then added a few additional units to the attacking forces to make up for any deficiencies with the dice decided campaign moves and random positioning of hidden units. (Note - given I lost the campaign this could be considered a mistake or an overestimation of my wargaming abilities)


The number of games (13) was about right and I was happy for the campaign to wrap up. If it had gone on longer I suspect my interest would have waned. The small scale of the games themselves suited me well, taking about one hour to setup and play.

One area of the campaign rules I would definitely change was how the orders were actioned. Having the Guards make their orders before dicing for the Panzer Grenadier movement worked well. My error was not making the movement simultaneous. What happened was the German moves were applied and actions were fought where opposing units are in the same map square, then the Guards moves were applied. This often meant the guards moves were not always carried out due to the result of tabletop actions. I cannot remember the reasons why I complicated the campaign moves, but simultaneous moves would have been a simpler approach.

Would I refight the campaign reversing roles and play attacker? Yes, but I would reduce the size of the attacking force and would have to decide to randomise were the defender stands or makes a fighting withdrawal.

Anyway these are my thoughts looking back at the campaign. The next post will cover off the rules used.



Sunday, 8 September 2019

WW2 Solo Campaign wraps up

I was able to play out the last few games of the WW2 solo campaign this weekend. Here are two quick summaries of the games which saw the Guards defences succumb to the advancing Panzer Grenadiers units.

The penultimate action has a small and well armoured German force advancing upon a small Guards force before it was able to retire as ordered. Air support had been called in and was available.

Air support arrives early and quickly deals with some armoured infantry outside of AA cover.
The Guards ground forces are easily dealt with as air support has a final attack run.
Campaign map showing the above action circled in blue.
The campaign map below shows the new positions after the above action. The Guards defences are struggling to hold back the advancing Panzer Grenadier forces. As usual the Guards make their orders before the German moves are determined. They chose to split their forces to cover the two nearest threats.
Guard orders
Panzer Grenadier moves
The Panzer Grenadier moves, all dice driven, consolidate a couple of forces and push forward south displacing a lonely AA unit. The final action has a Guard's tank troop, armoured car section and mortar section making a last ditch attack.

Units deployed on the tabletop.
German armoured infantry push up on the flank.
The Guards tank troop respond to the flanking move and the German tank troop advances to become involved.
The Guards's tank troop is eliminated, but not before inflicting damage to both the armoured infantry and tanks.
The German tank retires to a defensive position. With only an armoured car section and mortar any attack on the  remaining tank would be futile.
So the Panzer Grenadiers have successfully broken through the Guards defence and can advance into open country side. But how strong are their remaining forces?



Looking at the available Panzer Grenadier units they could certainly push ahead with their tank troops, but without many infantry lack the ability to hold any gains. Remaining units:

  • 2 mortar sections
  • Mobile AT section
  • 2 AA sections (one being an 88mm)
  • 2 tank troops
  • AT section
  • 1 armoured infantry platoon
During the course of the breakthrough as they pushed southwards. Over half of their units were lost or rendered ineffective.

A win for the Panzer Grenadiers who had to breakthrough. The next post will cover the rules used and any other thoughts on what worked and did not work in the campaign.



Saturday, 7 September 2019

WW2 Campaign action report

I expect to complete this campaign over the weekend, helped by some rainy weather which will mean no outside chores to interrupt my wargaming. The first action to be fought was on the Guard's left flank at Mont Etoile.

Campaign map - the action is circled in blue

The section of the campaign map
The Guards defenders are a full infantry company with a supporting mortar section. They are under orders to hold their ground and have dug in two of their companies. These positions are indicated with barbed wire.

Tabletop setup and forces deployed 
The attacking Panzer Grenadier force has a full armoured infantry company, a weakened armoured car company, a mortar section, armoured artillery, and AT gun section. A powerful and a well balanced force.
Turn 1 - Panzer Grenadier units waste no time and quickly advance on their right flank around the lower slopes of Mont Etoile.
Turn 2 - The defending Guards infantry open fire and their mortars are soon providing support.
Turn 3 - The Panzer Grenadiers push on as one of their armoured infantry platoons is eliminated. The Guards defensive positions were coming under both artillery and mortar attacks.
Turn 4 - Two of the Guard's defensive positions are overrun.
Turn 5 - The final Guard's defensive position on Mont Etoile is eliminated.
A quick with for the attackers, but not without cost. Two armoured infantry platoons were lost. With this loss the left of the Guards position is open.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Another book purchase arrives

Another book arrived today "The Wargamer's Guide to Jacobite Britain" by Martin Hackett. I had a discount voucher and the opportunity to grab this was too tempting. So in the next few weeks I suspect the Jacobite paper armies will make their way to the table top.


The book itself covers the history from 1685 through to 1746 and covers the various battles with hardly little maps of troop deployments and key terrain features. The final chapter has a set of wargaming rules.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

WW2 campaign map moves

The mini WW2 campaign is coming to a conclusion. I suspect this will be the Penultimate set of map moves before there is a breakthrough. Then the question will be are there sufficient Panzer Grenadier forces available to exploit the breakthrough? As usual the Guards set out their orders (shown with red arrows) before the Panzer Grenadiers make their moves. Air support is available to support their armoured car and tank troop units in column 4.

Guards orders are recorded with air support available to support row 4
The Panzer Grenadier forces are then moved at the whims of the dice, trying to move south or attack any enemy unit on the flank.

Panzer Grenadier moves - blue arrows
There will now be two actions to be fought (blue circles) before the Guards orders take effect.



These games will be played over the latter part of this week or weekend. This is as I have set up the tabletop for some Napoleonic games to try out some rule modifications.

A Napoleonic game in progress