Club Night 20/03/17: 6mm GdB, 1813. Wussians!

There were two firsts for me in this game put on by Ian on Monday. First game of 6mm Napoleonics and it would be the first time I’ve ever commanded Russians so I was really looking forward to it.

The scenario was nice and straight forward, the Russians had to advance and secure a village that commanded a gap in the line of hills that the French were in possession of. To do this I had under command an Infantry Division, a Grenadier Division and a Brigade of Light Cavalry, my Infantry Division had a battery of 12 guns and the Cavalry had a battery of 6 guns attached. The French were in about a Division in strength with no visible Cavalry.

My plan was quite simple. Des would take the advanced guard consisting of the Jager and Cavalry Brigades with the Horse Artillery and engage the French in the village and on the hills on the right. I would take the rest of the Infantry Division (2 Brigades of 4 btlns each) and take the hills to the left where the French forces looked weaker, I could then roll the position up from that side. Ian would take his Grenadiers (once they arrived) and support the Jager, they were also to be the reserve in case any problems arose or to deal the coup de grace once my attack had developed. The French were led by Andy and Martin and, as mentioned, seemed to have the bulk of their forces either in the village or on the hills to the right – both of their batteries were posted in these locations too. On the left flank it seemed as if they only had a couple of battalions and no artillery which augured well for my planned attack on this side of the field.

So we commenced and Des immediately sent the Hussars and Uhlans of his Cavalry Brigade off to the right to engage the French posted on the hills to pin them in place. The Horse battery went with the horse hoping to cause discomfort to any squares that were formed and, if possible, to enable the cavalry a chance to charge home. His Jager Brigade advanced gallantly towards the village, throwing out a screen of skirmishers as the went consisting of a company from each battalion. I started my advance on the left when I arrived on the field and then the French started some long range artillery fire against Des’ command which resulted in some casualties due, no doubt, to Andy’s famous blue ‘devils dice’ that always roll well (a 9, 10, and a couple of 11’s wasn’t it Des?).

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Apart from a message from Ian telling me that his Grenadiers were going to be delayed a while things seemed to be developing well, Des had forced the French infantry on the hill to either form square or retire and his Horse battery had commenced battering one square that guarded the flank of the battery there. The Jager had started trading shots with the garrison of the village and the French suffered a setback when Andy’s dice failed him (allegedly because Martin had used them) and came up with snake-eyes when rolling for the battery in the village which meant that they were now low on ammo. Over on my side of the field I was having to pass through the defile caused by the woods but my advance rolled on even though it was slowed down a tad. I also dispatched half of my guns to the Jager to help take on the French batteries.

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It was about this time when a large cloud of dust appeared behind the village which by its volume and could only mean one thing, French cavalry had arrived. Never mind, we would stick to the plan as it seemed to be going ok, indeed Des now launched his Hussars against the decimated French square hoping to break it and carry on onto the battery behind. Unfortunately this didn’t come off quite as planned, the French infantry did break and retreat but the Hussars bounced back to the Russian guns enabling the French guns to make their escape. The French cavalry then put in an appearance, moving to counter the Russian horse, with one of their Dragoon regiments starting a charge up the hill which the Uhlans countered with a charge of their own the result of which was that both units refused to contact each other! A cloud of dust could be seen moving rapidly across the rear of the French position to the left flank so it was obvious that the French had another brigade of cavalry. Things had started to look a bit more difficult for us, however, the Grenadiers had now arrived and were marching rapidly to the front to support the Jager.

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The French then seemingly became emboldened with both the failure of the Russian cavalry to charge home and the arrival of their own heavies. The battery that had retired on the hills returned to their position and began taking the Jager under fire again, the heavy cavalry brigade then started a series of advances and charges that didn’t give the Russian horse time to rally and effectively took them out of the action, pushing them further and further back. I had finally reached the hills to the left of the village and as my first Brigade advanced to engage the retiring French infantry my second Brigade started to march around the extreme flank of the enemy position.

It was now that the French infantry from the hills on the right and the village assaulted the Jager to their front, who had been suffering from artillery fire, before the grenadiers arrived to reinforce them. This attack was carried out with the usual French elan and it succeeded in pushing the Jager back. I then discovered that the French did indeed have another Cavalry brigade and had to stop the outflanking manoeuvre of my second brigade and put them into square. At the same time my lead battalion in my first brigade  was forced to retreat due to a devastating volley from two French battalions and I was having trouble making the other battalions charge home, (couldn’t manage to change the brigade orders to assault).

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So things had not turned out so well for us: the cavalry was in full retreat on the right pursued by French cavalry, the infantry attack on the left flank was stymied by the presence of the other French cavalry brigade and our inability to close with the bayonet on the weak French infantry. It all hinged on us breaking through in the centre. The French infantry attack here had caused the artillery to retreat and did manage to break a Jager battalion and force the remainder back. However, the Grenadiers were finally in position and they launched a counter attack on the lead French battalion, surely this would see us embark on a glorious counter attack that would sweep the enemy from the field. Alas, it was not to be and so wioth that final throw of the dice failing we decided that there was no use continuing with the attack, we would have to try again another day (we had run out of time too!).

All in all it was a great game. Things were in the balance for a while, I really did think we were going to win for most of the game and it is the small margins that decided the outcome: taking the French battery on the hills, being able to assault the infantry on the left, not having two brigades of heavy cavalry turn up, that sort of thing. As usual it was a pleasure playing with the gents and an absolute joy to be using Ian’s 6mm kit, very nice indeed and does suit Napoleonics so well. Thanks all round.

 

 

 

 

 

Aaargh, bleeding computers!!

My laptop is on its last legs by the looks of it, coupled with those nice Windows 10 updates that seem to kibosh everything as well, and I have had a terrible time getting it to like the internet over the past few weeks, hence no updates on here. It seems like it might like to play again now so I’ll try and get some stuff up over the next few days as I’ve been a bit busy, played a few cracking games and have even done some modelling stuff!

 

Month off!

I’ve had a right old month of it this past few weeks, had a lovely start with a week in Rome with the mem visiting friends and enjoying gelato and walking round Ostia. Then on arriving home had to get down to my Mum’s to look after her as she was ill with a horrible chest infection – a bit scary as she’s a good Northern lass and refuses to be ill usually so quite rough seeing her suffer. This has obviously meant that Wargaming activity has been non-existent over the past few weeks but will be cracking on again soon.

Club Night 21/03/16: FFT3 Poles vs Soviets

Daren was interested in having a bash at FFT3 so I duly obliged. Daren pinged me a list of what Soviet kit he had and I knocked up a force out of it for him to use whilst I would be using my alt-history Poles. We decided on an encounter battle, chucked some terrain down and diced for which side we would be arriving on and got to it!

Daren had a couple of Regimental sized units with a Recon Btln which were in no way near a ‘real’ TOE but as this was a training game really and it was what we had we made the best of it – lets say it was an ad-hoc force made up of surviving units from an earlier battle sent out to secure an objective on a flank?

1st Regt (BMP):

  • Cmnd BMP-1
  • 120mm Mortar + Truck
  • 1 zsu-23-4
  • 1 brdm/sa-13
  • 1 brdm/AT-5
  • BMP Btln:   3 Inf + BMP-1
  •                        3 Inf/Spigot atgm + BMP-1
  •                        3 inf/SA-14 manpad + BMP-1
  • Tank Btln:   9 T-72
2nd Regt (BTR): exactly same but with BTR-70 and T-62
Recon Btln:  2 Brdm-2
                         4 Pt-76
To face this force I had part of the Armoured Cavalry Division consisting of an Armoured Cavalry Regt and a Tank regt. I also had a Mangusta attack helicopter that might make an appearance.

Armd Regt                           

  • 1 Cmnd 4k-7f apc
  • 1 Striker
  • 1 Blowpipe Manpad team
  • 1 Spartan
  • 1 4k-7f-GrW81 sp81mmM
  • 2 Inf Coys @        1 Inf/Bantam
  •                                 2 Inf (3 ar, rg, lmg, law, maw)
  •                                 3 4k-7f-20 aifv
  • 4 Tank Coys @    3 Vickers mk.3

Armoured Cavalry Regt

  • 1 Cmnd LandRover
  • 1 Striker
  • 1 4k-4fa- GrW81 sp 81mmM
  • Inf Coy  @       1 Inf/Bantam
  •                            2 Inf
  •                            3 4k-4fa
  • 2 Lt Tk Coys  @    3 Scorpion-90
  • 1 Tank Coy @        3 Vickers Mk.3

So the forces were quite evenly balanced with roughly equal amounts of tank stands each and off table artillery but with the Sovs far outweighing the Poles in terms of infantry and with better ATGM in the infantry platoons.

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The battlefield from the Polish side. Scorpion-90’s to the fore, Vickers MBT’s head for the wood. Russian Recon units can be seen in the wood on the right and deploying around the manor house.
I won initiative first and lead with the Armoured Cavalry Regt. I barrelled the Scorpion-90’s as far forwards as possible but in position to cover the deployment of the rest of my force. The tank Coy headed for the wooded hill on the right to cover the road and valley to its front whilst the infantry followed them. We were using my command and initiative house rules so I was hoping that I would be able to get the Tank Regt on as soon as possible to push on through and take the battle to the Soviets, if not the Cavalry lads were in for a tough time. Daren decided to beef up his Recon btln by adding a company of T-62’s and BTR infantry and a nice little recon battle ensued with the Poles coming off better once the Vickers came into line.

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Then things swung Daren’s way with him managing to roll up his first reserve unit and decided to bring on the BMP/T-72 Regiment and they came on in usual Soviet style in a menacing looking phalanx of steel. Facing this onslaught was 2 companies of Scorpion-90’s and a Striker platoon. Luckily for me Daren belied his Royal Artillery training and had trouble calling in his artillery during this phase of the game so I didn’t suffer too badly from it, my gunners were doing better and I managed to slow him down a bit with suppression but he soon got his SP atgm BRDM into play and I began to lose a couple of platoons to tank and atgm fire causing the remains of one company to fail its quality check and do the bofski.

However, just when things started to look dodgy I managed to get enough pips on initiative to get my Tanks on the table and they crashed forwards looking to take on the advancing BMP’s ad T-72s. Daren decided to debus his infantry now looking to secure his gains so far as he had taken some hits to his BMP’s from my surviving Scorpions and the Striker. When my tanks got far enough forwards to start engaging the T-72’s we were running out of time so after a few rounds of tank duelling we had to call it a night with us reckoning that with the arrival of Daren’s other regiment we would probably both hold where we were with Daren controlling one junction and me the other, so a good draw was the result.
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Polish Tank regiment arrives to save the day.
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And again in all its glory.
Daren liked the rules and once we got a few turns in the pace picked up somewhat – I was to blame for most of the delays as I kept forgetting bits and pieces of the rules so we had to do some looking up (and asking Terry). The initial battle between the lighter forces was particularly good I thought it was just a shame we ran out of time before the tank battle really got going – maybe we need to do something on a big game Saturday soon so we have more time.

 

Club Night 29/02/’16: FFT3, Austria 1985.

I had been contacted by a new member at the club who wanted to try out Fistful of Tows and as it had been a while since I played I was happy to oblige. Alex was bringing down a Soviet BMP Motorised Rifle Regiment and I was going to try and stop the red horde from steaming through Austria with my Austrian kampfgruppe. We didn’t use my activation/command and control rules but did add Div and Corp artillery – they are rolled for in the usual way but are harder to call in (-1 and -2 to the dice respectively), usually means that they aren’t available but can be great if they are – especially for the Soviets!

Soviet forces

  • Recon Coy
  • T-72 Btln
  • 3 x BMP-1 Infantry Btlns
  • Regt Artillery Btln
  • Divisional Artillery Regt
  • Corp Artillery Btln

Austrians

  • M60a1 Pzr Btln
  • PzrGren Btln
  • Landwehr Inf Btln
  • SK105 PzrJager Coy
  • Landwehr 85mm PaK Coy
  • M109 Btln
  • Corp 105mm Btln
  • Army M-59 mrls battery

Once again due to going through rules  and needing to check them myself (big thanks to Terry here, it is amazing what you forget if you don’t play regularly!), I again forgot to take many pictures. What is worse I forgot to take one of the whole battlefield to help with this AAR, I really do need to get a grip.

Anyway I had set the terrain out so that it had a valley running along the widest axis roughly half way in the table, a road ran across the short axis meeting the lateral road at a small town. This road junction was near one edge of the table about a foot and a half in. There were some woods and a few farms scattered about to break things up further. We diced to see where the Soviets would come in from and they came across the table along the short axis. We decided that the Russians had been tasked to control the valley, I marked my units on a map and we got to it.

Alex started by running a MR Btln along the road heading for the town where I had put my Landwehr with the AT guns deployed in the wood to its right covering the road, these opened up when Alex’s recon elements got close and then got targeted with Artillery for their efforts and were supressed. I wasn’t too bothered as I wanted to channel Alex onto the other side of the town to where a Kurassier company had the road covered, which I duly opened up with.

A second BMP Btln was coming round the left flank as well past the farms at the end of the valley. I had positioned 2 tank companies and the other Kurassier company here though so was quite confident that I’d be able to hold this sector. As soon as the BMP’s got close enough I opened up with the Kurassiers, their overwatch fire causing quite a few casualties. The Soviets replied with their BMP’s and a mixture of ATGM (both from the BMP’s and their SP ATGM platoon) and canon fire resulted in the PanzerJagers losing 2 platoons – the third did pass its formation check but withdrew behind the hill they were on to avoid any further attention.

Alex was hitting me with as much artillery as he could call up , although he had left the town alone, on all the positions that he knew I had units in which was doing a good job in supressing me. He had also brought on the remaining BMP btln across the middle of the table through a large wooded hill whilst launching the T-72 btln forwards to support the stricken BMP btln and as soon as they came into effective range I opened up with a M60 company positioned in a wood to the right of where the Kurassiers had been. This company managed to cause some damage but then suffered from a near full battalions worth of 125mm fire plus attention from the ATGM platoon and although one platoon survived unscathed it failed the formation check and legged it. With their work seemingly done here the T-72’s then moved across into the wood in the centre.

The next phase of the battle saw Alex put in an infantry attack on the town which in usual FFT style was a bloody affair, especially as the Landwehr defenders hadn’t been softened up first (actually Alex did have quite rotten luck all night calling in his artillery), and although I had lost a couple of companies they took about the same number of Soviets with them. Alex was about to put a better attack in on the left hand wood where my tanks had been – he had softened the defending Panzer Grenadiers up a bit first with artillery and BMP fire – but we had run out of time.

It was good to play FFT again, I had forgotten in the past couple of months Chain of Command madness how much I enjoyed these rules. Alex said that he liked the rules so hopefully we might get some more games in in the future, and it was a shame that we ran out of time as the game was poised at a critical point, we both had uncommitted units to throw in and I was thinking about a counter attack! Daren had sat in on the game as well as he was interested to see how they played out and he was a fan too, and we will definitely be having a bash sometime soon.

I think I might have had too much Austrian kit to be fair, maybe losing the extra Kurassier or AT gun company and maybe also the Landies might have balanced things up a wee bit. I had added them as the Austrians are hamstrung somewhat by their lack of missiles, which is actually what makes them such an interesting Cold War force, also they had a hugely inferior amount of artillery – maybe if we do this again I’ll try it out.

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