Thursday, January 22, 2015

20MM RAPIDFIRE: THE ROAD TO DUBNO 26TH JUNE 1941

Having been inspired by last week’s Mtsensk game I put together another 20mm Operation Barbarossa Rapidfire game for my visit to Falkirk Wargames Club.  I supplied the troops, scenario and most of the scenery.  I setup a scenario so that I could use my T35 tanks.

T35s rumble onto the table and 1 breaks down!


Background
On 26th October 8th Mechanised Corps was ordered to counter-attack attack the German advance.  Its 34th Tank Division and elements of the 12th Tank Division advanced northwards, cutting the main road between Dubno and Brody.  The 34th then advanced east towards Dubno.  This forced the 16th Panzer Division to wheel round and attack the 34th Tank Division in the area of Verba in order to clear the road. 

The 34th Tank Division was the only division equipped with T35 tanks.  They had previously served with the 50th Tank Brigade - the Moscow parade unit. 

BT7 and T26 battalions lead the advance
How the game played
This is a tank heavy meeting engagement and both sides were limited in the numbers of units that could enter each turn.  Dave Paterson commanded the Soviets, Kevin Bowman the Germans whilst I umpired. 

The Germans started the game sweeping onto the table with their 2 companies of Panzer IIIs which the Soviets countered with thei T26 and Bt7 battalions.  In turn 2 the Soviet T35 land dreadnoughts drove onto the table but one of them immediately broke down.  A single heavy damge hit caused the BT7 battalion to flee from the table.  The plucky T26s and the giant T35s fought on eventually destroying both companies of Panzer IIIs.  However the Germans finally got their antitank unit and lighter vehicles into action and they dealt with the T26s – one surviving tank fleeing the table.  The 2 mobile T35s were then destroyed by the Panzer IVs and that effectively ended the game.  I am going to restage this game at the SESWC in 2weeks.

German armour advancing but 1st company is in trouble
Historically the 34th Tank division had no T35s surviving on 27 June – just 5 days into the campaign.

OB

34th Tank Division

68th Tank Regt
1st btn: 3 T35 Land Dreadnoughts *
2nd btn: 4 BT7 fast tanks
3rd btn: 4 T26 light tanks

34th Motor Rifle Regt, 1st btn
HQ:  CO + 3 figures including 50mm Mtr, car
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Supp Coy:  MMG, 82mm Mtr, 6 figures, truck

34th Recon Btn
2 T37/38 Light Amphib Tanks, FAI armoured car (Note:  I forgot this unit for the game so substituted a flamethrowing T26 tank)

NOTES
Morale – Regular.  Infantry test as 1 unit. 
Tanks and armoured cars are poor except for T35 battalion which are elite. 
Tanks and armoured cars test per battalion

*T35s are unreliable so after moving dice and on a 6 the model breaks down.  It can still fire but cannot move.

Tank battle in full swing.....

Two T35s burning -a  sad end to a gallant action
 
16th PANZER DIVISION KAMPFGRUPPE

2nd PANZER REGT, 1st Battalion

HQ: PZIII Cmd
1st Coy: 2 PZIII
2nd Coy:2 PZIII
3rd Coy: 2 PZIV
4th Coy: 2 PZII
5th Coy: 2 PZII

16th MC Battalion
HQ: CO + 5 Figs incl ATR, 50mm Mtr, car
1st MC Coy:  9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
2nd MC Coy: 9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
3rd MC Coy:  9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
4th MG Coy: 2 MMG, 81mm Mtr, 9 Figs, truck
5th Hvy Coy:  50mm ATG, 75mm IG, 6 Figs, 2 trucks

16TH Recon Battalion
Coy: 2 Sd231 6-rad armoured cars

16th Panzerjager Battalion
Coy:  Panzerjager I
Coy:  3 37mm ATG each 3 crew and tow

Artillery Support
16 PZ Art Regt:  2 105mm How, 8 crew, 2 tows off-table
Plus FO, Car on-table

Morale – Regular. 
Tanks are ELITE. 
Infantry test as 1 unit. 
Tanks and armoured cars test per company.

Friday, January 16, 2015

20MM RAPIDFIRE: MTSENSK 6th OCTOBER 1941

Dave Paterson and I had not decided on our game at Falkirk on Monday so I quickly adapted a game that I played previously.  I supplied the troops, scenario and the club provided the scenery.

The game was a variant on the 1941 Kamenewo scenario in the Rapidfire Eastern Front scenario book.  I simplified the terrain by omitting the river in the original map – moving it of table and revised the German OB to agree with the models I had available.  Dave Paterson commanded the Germans, Kevin Bowman the Soviets whilst I umpired.

Germans advance confidently against the weak Soviet rearguard
The Germans made an impressive start to the game sweeping onto the table and quickly knocking out the rearguards T26 which was dug in near Woin.  The Germans panzers were making good going when on turn 6 the soviet BT7s and T 34 command appeared on the scene.  The shooting of these reinforcements was uniformly abysmal. Next turn the T34s and KV1 appeared and their shooting was not much better.  The game was all over in 2 more moves with the Soviet player conceding at the end of turn 9 by which time their only remaining tank on the field was the T60.  The Germans lost one tank destroyed.  This was a complete reversal of the result the last time I staged this game.  This game has inspired me to do another 1941 game next week

PZIV heavy tank company covers the motorcycle troops

Here is the OBs and briefings for the players.

Soviet Forces

Rearguard
HQ:  CO + 3 figures including 50mm Mtr, car
Rifle Coy:  8 figures
Rifle Coy:  8 figures
Rifle Coy:  8 figures
Supp Coy:  82mm Mtr, 45mm ATG, 6 figures, truck
Att Coy:  T26

Reinforcements
4TH Tank Brigade HQ  - turn 6
T34/76 , T60

2nd Tank Battalion – turn 6
4 BT7

1st Tank Battalion – turn 7
4 T34/76, KV1

4th Motor Rifle Btn: - turn 8
HQ:  CO + 3 figures including 50mm Mtr, car
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Rifle Coy:  8 figures, truck
Supp Coy:  MMG, 82mm Mtr, 6 figures, truck

Morale.  Test per battalion.  4th Brigade tanks are ELITE!

Objective
The German objective is to cross the table and advance to Woin.  The Soviet objective is to stop the German advance and drive them back to within 2ft of the fascist entry side. Urraah!

Notes
The Soviet rearguard including the T26 can be dug in any point 2ft north of the south table edge.
Reinforcements enter anywhere along the north table edge.
Woods are impassable to tanks.
The Germans will enter along the road or on their wide left flank due to them crossing the river running along the south table edge.

Soviet armour burning in front of the German right flank
 
German Forces - elements of the 4th Panzer Division

35th PANZER REGT
HQ: PZIII Cmd
1st Coy: 2 PZIII
2nd Coy:2 PZIII
3rd Coy: 2 PZIV
4th Coy: 2 PZ38t
5th Coy: 2 PZII

34th MC Battalion
HQ: CO + 5 Figs incl ATR, 50mm Mtr, car
1st MC Coy:  9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
2nd MC Coy: 9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
3rd MC Coy:  9 Figs on 3 MC combinations
4th MG Coy: 2 MMG, 81mm Mtr, 9 Figs, truck
5th Hvy Coy:  50mm ATG, 75mm IG, 6 Figs, 2 trucks
Attached
Armd Inf Coy: 10 Figs, Sd251

Support
AA Bty:  88mm AA, 5 crew, tow

Morale – Regular.  Infantry test as 1 unit. 
Tanks are ELITE.  Tanks test per company.

Objective
The German objective is to cross the table and advance to Woin.  The Soviet objective is to stop the German advance and drive them back to within 2ft of their entry side.

Notes
The German units must enter in a 1 vehicle wide column along the road and in a 1 vehicle wide column on their left flank.  This simulates them crossing the river Lisiza of the south table edge.  The Panzer Regt must all be on table before any other German units can enter.

Woods are impassable to tanks.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

BLACK POWDER: MODIFIED HAIL CAESAR BREAK TESTS

When I was at Claymore last year Jim Wallace from the Dumfries  Wargames  Club mentioned that they were experimenting with using a modified Hail Caesar break test chart in their Black powder games.   Since it was Jim who first alerted me to the Alternative Turn sequence which I now use in all my BP games this got me thinking and I started drafting my own version.  I first tested it in my Bennington  AWI game.  See
http://blenheimtoberlin.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/28mm-awi-bennington-16th-august-1777.html

Following that game I made some more modifications and here below is the latest version of the chart.  The chart gives  less chance for unshaken infantry units breaking under fire.  However it does make skirmishers more vulnerable to shooting.   When to test and the break test modifiers are unchanged from BP.

TEST WHEN:
A             Test if excess hits suffered from Shooting                                                                           
B             Test if Shaken or suffering artillery casualties by closing fire                                       
C             Test if defeated in Hand-to-hand Combat                                                                           
D             Test if Shaken in a drawn Hand-to-hand Combat   
E              Test supporting units if supported unit breaks and flees

BREAK TEST MODIFIERS
-1   Per excess casualty
-1   Disordered
-1   Suffered casualties from artillery for tests A or B
 
 
SCORE
TYPE
SHOOTING
HAND TO HAND
10+
ALL
Hold your ground without penalty
Hold your ground without penalty
9
Infantry & Art
Cavalry
Skirmishers
Hold your ground without penalty
Hold your ground without penalty
Hold your ground without penalty
Hold your ground without penalty
Retreat in good
Retreat disordered
8
Infantry & Art
Cavalry
Skirmishers
Hold your ground without penalty
Hold your ground without penalty
Retreat in good order
Hold your ground without penalty
Retreat in good order
Break if shaken, otherwise Retreat disordered
7
Infantry
Cavalry
Skirmishers
Hold your ground without penalty
Retreat in good order
Retreat disordered
Retreat in good order
Retreat disordered 
Break
6
Infantry

Cavalry
Skirmishers
Hold your ground disordered or Retreat in good order
Retreat disordered
Retreat disordered
Retreat in good order

Retreat disordered
Break
5
Infantry

Cavalry

Skirmishers
Hold your ground disordered or Retreat in good order
Retreat disordered

Break
Retreat disordered

Break if shaken, otherwise Retreat disordered
Break
4
Infantry

Cavalry

Skirmishers
Retreat disordered

Break

Break
Break if shaken, otherwise Retreat disordered
Break if shaken, otherwise Retreat disordered
Break
3
Infantry

Cavalry

Skirmishers
Break

Break

Break
Break if shaken, otherwise Retreat disordered
Break

Break
2
ALL
Break
Break

Artillery are treated as infantry except  Artillery in Hand to Hand always Break instead.

At some point I will add this to my BP House Rules page.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

LEUCHARS BIG GAME: 28MM NORDLINGEN 1634

Between Christmas and New Year I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Leuchars Club’s traditional big holiday game.  This year it was a 28mm refight of the  Battle of Nordlingen 1634. from the Thirty Years War.  There were 8 players a side and 3 busy umpires.  We used a simple set of rules developed by the Leuchars club – they worked well for such a big multi-player game.
 

 
VIEW FROM SWEDISH LEFT FLANK
 
HAPPY SWEDISH COMMANDERS - HOPES SOON TO BE DASHED

The terrain was fairly simple as it all has to be setup and removed on the day of the game.  I started the game commanding the forlorn hope cavalry brigade on the far left of the Swedish Armies flank.  The brave boys did well holding up their more numerous Imperialist opponents until after lunch – an action described as miraculous!   I then commanded a reserve infantry brigade which arrived to shore up the rest of the disintegrating Swedish  left flank.

MY PLUCKY CAVALRY HOLD OF THEIR OPPONENTS


SWEDISH RIGHT FLANK PREPAES TO ATTACK THE REDOUBT - BUT THAT WAS NOT THE PLAN!

SPANISH COMMANDERS CALMLY AWAIT THE ATTACK BEHIND THEIR REDOUBT
Altogether it was once again an enjoyable game at Leuchars – I will be back late this year.  My thanks to the organisers.  Angus Konstam has written a fuller report from the Imperialist side on his site at

http://www.edinburghwargames.com/Journal%20101.htm

Saturday, December 27, 2014

28MM BOLT ACTION: MARTIANS ATTACK BERLIN 1910

Having built Berlin for our 1945 Rapidfire game we decided to use the setting for a bit of pre-christmas fun with a Martian attack on the city in 1910.
The mighty supreme quadrapod - a tincast toy and yes it does move.....



Earthling steam walker explodes
 
Colin Jack provided the great bulk of the models.    The scenario was that the Martians had sent a punitive expedition to earth and they had targeted Berlin.  After bombarding the city from space they set up a space gate in the Tiergarten and were landing ground forces thru that to attack the city.   An alliance of European forces faced their attack.  We used the Bolt Action rules for the game with the most Powerful Martian quadrapod being rated as a Tiger I.  Since their earlier invasion you will see that they have added an extra leg to their larger walker designs.

Martian Quadrapod Mk IV and levy infantry

More steam armour falls victim to the supreme quadrapod - brave but fatal deployment
 
It was quite enjoyable playing the role of a Martian commanding the most powerful of their quadrapod walkers.  It’s heat cannon knocked out 3 of the earthling steam tanks.  This allowed the lighter Mark IV quadrapods to enter the city thru the Brandenburg Gate and begin attacking the remaining civilian population.  It was a fun, enjoyable and very silly game….

All my photos with descriptions on Flickr at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bill26048/sets/72157649966970615/

Bart has written a report at

 
Mark IV quadrapods stride thru the Brandenburg Gate preceded by a scout tripod
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

20MM RAPIDFIRE: BERLIN 1945

In November at  Hugh Wilson’s we completed a long term project which was a refight of our 20mm Rapidfire Berlin 1945 game.    We first played this game in my garage in 2008 but we decided that we needed to do more work on the game.  Over the years we obtained more large ruined buildings including a considerable number loaned by Kenny Thomson of Falkirk.  In addition Hugh improved the Tiergartern area by adding shell holes and all the shell blasted trees.  Colin Jack and I provided all the figures.  For this version I painted and based 40 extra Soviet and German vehicles to be used in the city area.  They included lots of heavy Soviet armour - IS2s, ISU152s and ISU122s.

View from the Tiergarten

Ruined city centre

Defenders look down on Soviet armour
The game is a race by 2 soviet armies, one starting at each end of the table for the honour of planting the red flag on the Brandenburg gate.  It took us 2 nights to play thru the game – in 15 turns the Soviets had broken all the German defenders including knocking out the mythical Maus.- but had not raise the red flag.
Panther engages IS2s

ISU152s batter the Tiergarten defences at close range
 
For more photos and descriptions see flickr at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bill26048/sets/72157649797746105/

The full OB is already on Bart Zynda’s blog at
http://asienieboje.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/judge-dredd-berlin-update-sedzia-dredd.html

Soviet heavy armour column winds thru a side street

Mythical Maus explodes - shot in the rear

Thursday, November 27, 2014

28MM AWI BLACK POWDER: BENNINGTON 16TH AUGUST 1777

This week’s 28mm AWI game that I arranged at the my house was based on the Rebellion scenario for the battle of Bennington August 16, 1777.   Scott Duncan was up visiting from Gatwick and this gave me a good excuse for the game.

Hessians and Indians deployed near the Hessian redoubt
Some History
The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles from it’s namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by men led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum's detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians. He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies.

Rebels close up on the Loyalist redoubt
The Setup
The game was fought on a 10ft by 6ft table. We used the standard movement and ranges given in the rules not the 66% version that we use in most of our BP games.  The terrain for the table was based on that in the Rebellion map – it is largely wooded except for an area of open ground in front of the 2 redoubts and along the road and the ford.   I used 20 figure units for the standard units and 10 figure skirmishing units as small units.   The figures are mainly Front Rank, with some Perry, Foundry, Old Glory and Sash and Sabre.  Given the size of the units used I slightly reduced the number of units given in the scenario – you will find the revised OB at the end of this report.  I used the troop ratings given in the scenario including the Militia with a Ferocious charge but added in some Rebel skirmishers.  We used the alternative turn sequence, a Break Test chart based on the one from Hail Caesar, and I did not count formed troops in woods as an unclear target but did give them the +1 to their saving throw for the cover.   We decided to ignore the scenario rule about the inactivity of the British troops in the first 2 moves.

Loyalists close up on the River to engage Stark's brigade
How the Game Played
Scott Duncan commanded the British Army.  Dave Paterson and I commanded the Patriots.  The Loyalists deployed 1 unit in their redoubt on the south bank of the river with the rest of that command on the north bank.  The Hessians deployed 1 unit and the gun in their hilltop redoubt with their other 3 units deployed around the hill supported by the 2 Indian units in the forest.

In turn1 Stark and Herrick’s commands both arrived on table with Nicol arriving on turn 2.  All of Stark’s command under Dave advanced on the redoubt and after several turns of a firefight broke the defenders.  Then Stark’s brigade was broken by the steady fire of the Loyalists who had closed up to the north bank of the river.  The Rebel action was reinforced by Warner’s brigade which after some command issues  got across the river and started to force back the right wing of the Loyalists when Breymann’s reserve finally began to get into action.

Continentals cross river and engage the Loyalists
I commanded Herrick’s and Nichol’s brigades whose objective was the Hessian redoubt.  They came into action first with some of the Hessian infantry supported by the Indians.  I lost one unit very quickly but after that the ability of the militia showed thru and they broke the Indians and all the Hessian infantry.  Their ferocious charges into flanked Hessian units was a feature of the action.  They took the redoubt and then Herrick’s force moved west thru the woods to shoot at the flanks of Breymann’s reserve while Nicol’s force moved to support the Continentals.. 

We had played 12 turns when we had to end the game.  It was agreed that it looked like a Rebel victory, as though we both had 1 broken brigade, it was obvious that the Loyalists would be the next brigade to break.  Good enjoyable game – having not played full movement for a long time it worked okay – possibly because a lot of the fighting near the Hessian redoubt was done in the forest which halved formed troops movement.

Redoubt falls to Herrick's militia
Notes
All my photos are on flickr at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bill26048/sets/72157647170199483/

I staged my own Hubbardton scenario at the SESWC 3 weeks ago and it is written up in Angus Konstam’s Edinburgh and Orkney Wargames site at

http://www.edinburghwargames.com/Journal%20100.htm

I dont have enough troops to stage the Rebellion Princeton scenario in 28mm with sensibly sized units so our current plan is that we will stage the game using Dave Paterson’s extensive 6mm collection.

I will write a separate report about the HC based Break test idea later.

Order of battle

BENNINGTON 6th AUGUST 1777

CROWN FORCES

LT COL BAUM (C-in-C)
4 Brunswick Infantry
Light Artillery

LT COL PETERS
4 Loyalist Infantry
Canadian Militia Skirmishers
2 Indian Skirmishers
British Marksmen Skirmishers

LT COL BREYMANN  (reinforcements)
4 Hessian infantry
Field Artillery

Reinforcements arrive on turn 7.

REBEL FORCES

BRIG GEN JOHN STARK (C-in-C)
3 New Hampshire Militia
New Hampshire Skirmishers

COL MOSES NICHOL
2 New Hampshire Militia
2 Massachusetts Militia (reinforcements)

COL SAMUEL HERRICK
3 Vermont Militia
Vermont Skirmishers

COL SETH WARNER (reinforcements)
2 Continental Infantry
2 Vermont State Infantry

Nichol’s reinforcements may try to enter from turn 3 and Warner’s from turn 4.