Friday, 30 March 2012

FOW - Mid-War - Panzergrenadierkompanie Vs British Armoured Company

I finally made the trip over to Deeside Defenders HQ at the WINGS social club in Broughton, mainly to have a look around, and as a side benefit I got in a game of Flames of War against one Ian Shaw.  1750pts was the points limit, and I plumbed for panzergrenadiers because I felt they would both do best against an unknown opponent (I knew it would be British and from Tunisia/Sicily/Italy but not which company).  They were also the best painted option and I didn’t want to show up the side to the next nearest club.

I went for a mix of platoons and capabilities, with panzergrenadier platoons and pioneers forming the core, backed up by mortars and the AT capabilities of some PaK40’s, some 88’s and a platoon of StuG F/8’s.  The opposition had one tank, 15 times – 15 Shermans!  It didn’t look good.  We rolled up Breakthrough as a mission, with both of us quite rust regarding the rules – Ian hadn’t played 3rd Edition but luckily it made no difference. 

I was obviously defending, and sent the pioneers scurrying for the nearest objective, with a panzergrenadier platoon and the mortars (both virtually defenceless against the Shermans) going towards the trees by the other.  My PaK40’s and 88’s covered the main approaches, with the StuG’s backing up the PaK40’s.  Ian adopted a refused flank tactic, sending most of his armour towards the PaK40’s and StuG’s rather than face the 88’s, the rest covered the advance. 

However despite his weight in numbers he appeared hesitant (I don’t think he had used the army before), and although I lost a StuG to an early shot the others and the PaK40’s had a field day against British armour in the open.  One of the 88’s was smoked by the Shermans most of the time, but the other got an angle to join in and the burning British tanks mounted up.  The StuG’s got into trouble once, but Ian’s re-game expectation of winning by destroying my army rather than claiming an objective ended when they both remounted and continued to cause damage.  By the time turn 6 arrived the Shermans had managed to destroy the PaK40’s, but were still over 24” from either objective and Ian conceded.

Analysis: I was fortunate that I had picked the 88’s rather than artillery or more anti-personnel weaponry, probably out of a sense of paranoia, and they helped pick off the Shermans at long range.  The enemy tanks thankfully stopped to deal with a mortar spotter, then tried to cope with the well dug in and concealed PaK40’s and their StuG backup, which were able to pick off the British platoons piece-meal.  The vast majority of the army did absolutely nothing but dig into defensive positions around the objectives due to their inability to damage the enemy armour.  A good kill ratio; 5 teams (the PaK40 platoon, a StuG and a spotter) for a return of seven Shermans, two platoons and a 2ic I think.

The scene at the end of the battle, the StuG's to the left have just watched the PaK40's wiped out from the wood in front of them, the burning Shermans stopping short of the objectives around the far wooded areas.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Marvellous Adventures of the Dashing Lord Flasheart and his dog FuFu - A Warhammer Quest Tale - Part 1

My First Adventure

"Dear diary,

I hope one day that I will have the chance to write a book of my mighty adventures in this great old world of ours, and that this will be the first dynamic and exciting chapter.  That said, it doesn’t start very excitingly.  I met a wizard (a student wizard called Sidney with the sweatiest palms you’ve ever seen) and some chap in total body armour in a pub – I’ve no idea how he drinks anything without taking the helmet off.  We were in an unremarkable village called something silly that I can’t spell, and I had been engaged by the mayor to go on a merry jaunt into the mountains to close some (obviously fictional) hole to another world full of daemons.  The usual superstitious nonsense.  I decided to take Sidney and the Tin Man (my own nickname, and an apt one I feel) with me.

We found mountain, despite Sidney’s rubbish map reading, and I, having grown tired of holding it, handed lantern to the Tin Man.  This was a mistake as it turned out because he then started to behave oddly, shouting he was the leader etc etc, I let him because it suited my purpose.

As we made our way through the dungeon we kept getting pestered by these (obviously fake) ‘monsters’ (honestly, that mayor who sent us up here must think I’m a simpleton!).  Sidney looked terrified, but I just made the right noises and actions and pretended to slay a few, the Tin Man really got in on the act, a few times I even thought I saw him trying to bite some of them!  Very OTT, will have to have a word next time.

Part the way round we met an odd chap, who claimed to be a Priest, can’t remember his name, wasn’t really listening at the time, but I let him tag along with my little party thinking he might be handy with a hammer, or at least good for bait.  Very realistic snakes, cave-in and skeletons in the room we found him in, my estimates of the mayor improved.

By the time we had made it to the right room, and Sidney had waved his hands and proclaimed the ‘hole’, which turned out to be a trapdoor, I had had to pretend to have been nearly killed 5 times to avoid embarrassing the ‘monsters’.  The minotaur was dashed convincing though, and obviously forgot his part, hitting harder than he should have!  I lost consciousness a few times, and kept waking up to find Sidney looking down anxiously with his hands in places they shouldn’t have been.  Will have to have a word, not very gentlemanly conduct.

Having done the deed and left the mountain we came across a horse and cart on the road, and I paid the driver to take me to the next village, leaving Sidney, the Tin Man and the bible-basher to walk – score one to the nobility!  Arriving in the village, I spent my time waiting for the rest to catch up by getting involved in a couple of duels, both with the same chap called Ludicrus Sextus, which I allowed him to retain his honour by calling it a draw.

The rest of the week has been spent in a variety of hotels, none up to my own personal standard, while waiting for my companions to arrive and slake their thirst in the local drinking establishment.  This dump of a village hasn’t even got a decent clothes shop which sells fashionable robes, if we don’t find somewhere bigger soon I’ll be the laughing stock of the next adventure.  I’ve managed to secure shot, but no powder for my pistol, and plenty of provisions, mostly sausages.  The seller was most odd, kept looking like he was about to burst out laughing, I’ve no idea what was so funny about a man buying sausages!  They were a trifle expensive though, and I need to get them cooked, perhaps Sidney would oblige with his ‘fireball’ spell, it was almost convincing last time.  I also learnt an interesting fighting trick from a local ruffian, but it involves pig fat so I might give it a miss, too messy and smelly.

My companions, since they finally arrived, have spent the week in the pub and lying around, with the Tin Man getting conned by firstly a circus (honestly, how can a village have a circus but no clothes shop!), then by a beggar, while that odd Priest chap also fell foul of the circus, and went for a steam bath.  Personally I don’t hold with religion, but theres no reason to chance it so I donated some gold to the local church.

Oh, and I’ve adopted a dog and decided to call it FuFu.

Signed: Lord Tiberius Derek Ramses Flasheart, Mr. "

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Romans – A Hail Caesar Project – Part 12

A Roman painting update post! In the overall scheme of things a mere month and a third doesn't seem too long to wait, but its been that long since any interesting Roman-related news appeared. With the matt varnish being applied to the latest batch of finished models that interesting news has arrived.

I decided to paint the remaining 16 slingers, half of my auxiliary cavalry (6 models on a total of 3 50mm by 50mm bases), my second tribune character model and a scorpion. After starting I decided to add the other two scorpions in, and gradually worked my way through all 32 models (the war-machines counting as 3 apiece – 2 crew and a catapult). I actually finished painting a couple of weeks ago, but various bits of life got in the way and I only 'dipped' and flocked and sprayed in the: last couple of days.

I now have two units left to paint; the 1st Cohort (a total of 24 legionaries to represent its extra size), and a squadron of auxiliary cavalry (6 more horsemen), plus my overall CO, plus his dog and handy helper. The army even got into a punchup last week against a bunch of greeks (see part 11!), which enthused me enough to start on the 1st Cohort.

Painted: 137
Un-finished: 33

Finally, and in a rare twist, here is a picture of the latest troops to be finished. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Romans - A Hail Caesar Project - Part 11 - Fighting!

After what feels like months of painting (well, a few months on and off, and interspersed with the odd Royalist regiment) the Romans finally took to the field of battle in a Hail Caesar game – and damn good they looked too!  Their opponents were Reds Greeks – Hoplites a-plenty, not a very historically accurate matchup, but good visually – who were slightly fewer in number so I opted to just use what was fully painted.  Given our inexperience with both the rules and our forces we chose to fight out a pitched battle encounter, setting up in an authentic looking way and rolling off for first turn, the winner would be the first army to break its opponent.

Red’s Greeks seemed more numerous than last time I saw them, but on that occasion I don’t think he used the full might.  This time he had four units (regiments?) of Hoplites to call upon, heavy infantry standard in size and each in a phalanx formation and numbering around 16-20 models.  They had light troops in their droves to support them, with five units in total, some ranked up light infantry, other smaller skirmishing units.  They were all lead by a single nameless Greek who fought in the front rank of the leading phalanx, and meant the Greek army was a single division, 9 units strong.

My Romans were able to field two divisions; the first was lead by the newly named Tribune Julius Farqaard (the army general), and consisted of my heavies; 4 cohorts of legionaries, plus an artillery battery of scorpion bolt throwers and a small slinger section.  The other division was commanded by an unnamed tribune, leading the bulk of the auxiliaries – two cohorts of medium infantry, one squadron of cavalry, two sections of slingers and a small artillery battery.

Red opted for his Hoplites to lead in the centre, with light infantry on their wings.  I had my legionary cohorts facing them, with the auxiliary division out to the legionaries left.

The Battle: 
Early doors:  Tribune Farquaad won the roll off and marched his legionary cohorts off towards the Hoplites.  The auxiliaries decided the Romans could win the battle without foreign help and refused to move, while Farquaads own slingers turned and blundered off to the right somewhere leaving him a little red in the face.  No such worries for the Greeks, who advanced their Hoplite phalanxes towards the legionaries, and, without stopping to consider if it was a wise idea charged, headlong.

The legionary cohorts took the impact and refused to run , although their artillery was swept away.  However, they were gradually battered backwards towards their own table edge in a series of breaktests and retreats.  Some of the Greeks light infantry assisting on the Hoplites left flank, the rest copied the auxiliaries by just watching from afar.  The auxiliaries seemed quite happy to let the legionaries do all the work, something which it quickly looked like being beyond them!

The Middle Ground: The legionary cohorts fell one by one, despite their skills with their pilum evening the odds often, but at least they provided an education in the mysteries of the proximity rules in Hail Caesar.  The auxiliaries waited for an age, failing every command role while the legionaries suffered, and then, as soon as the first couple of cohorts had been wiped out they sprang into action, both medium infantry cohorts charging into the Hoplites.

At this point the battle had truly become messy.  The Greek light infantry was too far away from their leader to hear his desperate pleas for them to get stuck in and had no effect upon most of the battle.  The Hoplites bore the brunt of most of the fighting, eventually wiping out all four legionary cohorts without loss, but sustained plenty of damage in doing so.  This meant that when the medium auxiliary infantry cohorts finally arrived they were the ones being forced backwards while they tried to recover from shaken results.  The damage was done by two unlikely sources however.  Firstly the auxiliary cavalry squadron, which destroyed the first and second Hoplite units (yes, ‘Follow Me’ was used by Tribune Farquaad – a man now minus a command after the legionaries had gone), then the slingers were finally galvanised into action, and their stones saw off a third, before the auxiliary cohorts got rid of the last of the Hoplites for the loss of a single cohort. 

The End:  The battle was nicely balanced, and with the heavy infantry of the legionaries and Hoplites gone it was down to the light Greeks, and the remaining auxiliaries to slug it out, and it was the auxiliary cavalry squadron which was the clincher.  Another ‘Follow Me’ saw it charge up a hill into the exposed rear of a formed up light infantry unit, destroying it and another skirmishing unit at the same time, taking the Greeks below their half way point and winning the battle (just) for the Romans.

First things first – that fully painted army looked good on that battlefield!  The last time I fielded an army that close to completion was at Vapnartek (FOW, Feb 2010) or my Bretonnians previous to that (circa 2006??).  Onto matters of tactics and battles and the Hoplites and Legionaries were evenly matched, with the Romans having the better of the initial clash, then the Hoplites starting to wear them down.  The Greek heavies proved the stronger in the end, but it weakened them before my auxiliary wing finally decided to join in, while the Greeks own lighter troops were too far away to intervene or help.  An addition of at least one more officer/commander for Reds troops is a must!

As a first outing for the troops we didn’t do too badly in getting the rules right – and nothing came across as too odd.  The proximity rule took a bit of reading, and getting the Hoplites to run away took some more surrounding the concept of breaktests and phalanx formations.  Finally a legionary cohort trapped with its back to a wood took far too long to be worn down so I’ll have to look that up and check we got it right.

The initial deployment, Romans on the left (auxiliaries far left), Greeks on the right with the Hoplites in the centre.

The Hoplite phalanxes.

The Greeks wasted no time in getting stuck in to the Legionary cohorts.

The legionaries are pushed back and fragmented by the Hoplites brutal assault.

Fortunately the auxiliaries finally work out which muscles work their legs and begin their attack.

Counter-attack in full flow, and the Hoplites are now on the back foot, glory beckons for the cavalry, if not for the cohort in front of them.
Overall opinions – an enjoyable game, without any clear winner for most of it.  The Greeks looked like they had it in the bag early on, then the auxiliaries struck and had an extremely good run of luck with saving throws.  The cavalry seemed to be the deciding factor, but perhaps only because each opponent was very worn down and hit in the back/side.  Looking forward to another game soon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

English Civil War - The Battle of Musley

Last night an in-depth discussion surrounding pasta, house prices, and other things that Aidan will soon learn about, took place.  And somewhere in the middle a battle started, had a middle and abruptly finished.  The battle, although less important than the pasta sauce under discussion, is what I will deal with here.

The usual protagonists took their places on their usual sides; Luke & Aidan playing a mixed role covering various Parliamentarian characters including the Earl of Essex, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Montrose (who was clearing confused again).  Chris Fazey deigned to join the Royalists at my side as the fictitious Brigadier Wolfe, while I took the part of Sir Hugh of Beeston and Lord Flasheart, the army general.

With some new style rules (based on Blackpowder as always, and created by Aidan) being tried, a simple fairly open battlefield was used, Parliamentarians to the right, Royalists to the left in a 6ft by 5ft space.  Chris’ horse division took the left, while my foot division had the centre and right.  The parliamentarians considered this to be unsporting because they had split their horse on both flanks, and the foot in the centre.  We ignored them and belittled their hats and feathers.

The Battle:

Chris uttered the opening word, setting the tone for the battle, and said simply “Charge!”  His horse ignored him mostly.  When they did get going they had a proper bit of horse on horse action on the Royalist left as the Parliamentarian counter-charged, and after a lot of the ‘C’ word being used the Parliamentarian horse and Lord Fairfax himself were sent packing by the Royalists superior numbers, although not without the loss of 50% of the Royalist horse regiments.

Initial Deployment

Chris' Royalist horse charge up a hill into the enemy.

In the centre not a lot happened.

On the right Oliver Cromwell decided to be canny and lead his brand new cuirassiers in a hell-for-leather charge into a unit of musketeers, who bizarrely stood their ground.  This enabled two units of Royalist pike to get stuck in and see Cromwell and his chums off the battlefield.  This left the Royalist foot very disjointed, but the Parliamentarians seemed hesitant to get stuck in, instead watching the horse clash on the far side and trading musketry.  The Royalist CO (me) became frustrated at the lack of action and movement and ordered a general charge, leading to a generally complicated melee involving most of each armies foot at some point.

Key amongst the clashes was the remaining Parliamentarian horse regiment (complete with a third commander - Essex) being driven from the field by a unit of pike, then the Parliamentarian Scots pike decided they had had enough as well and fled, along with some train guards.  Some Royalist troops were pushed back, but in good enough condition to return, but with time ticking, and their right flank now open to Chris’ horse, the Parliamentarians decided victory was beyond them and surrendered the field.  Victory for the Royalists - Hurrah!
The main foot on foot contest.


Not much analysis to be honest.  I spent most of the start and a substantial part of the middle of the battle talking pasta with Chris Fry, and only recovered my focus towards the end to shout ‘Charge’ very loudly in the direction of my foot regiments.  Chris Fazey’s horse did most of the fighting, and were probably key in causing the enemy to quit the field, although I was fairly close to throwing in the towel because I felt we were finished and had little chance of winning!  The viewpoint from the other side of the table must have been a tad different.  Few pictures as well due to the pasta conversation.  Royalists models were mine, Parliamentarians were painted and Aidans.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Work in Progress.....

Work in progress time, following on from having finished some Romans and other developments.

So, Roman time, and as will be mentioned soon ive finished the latest batch of 32 romans, primarily of the auxiliary variety, but leaving me with only 33 to do to finish the army, perhaps an upcoming game will give me the energy for that, or perhaps not.

The carry case has arrived, and I spent many hours making Romans, Royalists and FOW Germans fit into it. The Romans were easy, the FOW took a lot more thought, and the Royalist infantry with their pikes needed a knife taking to the foam to ensure they all fitted in, hopefully I'll take a few pictures at some point of it. I haven't had chance to use it yet, tomorrow evening hopefully will give me the opportunity.

Elsewhere my one pot in the fire turned into a damp squid (some nasty elven magic in there somewhere) and no job beckons as yet. Plenty of time spent catching up on the work for a H&S training course this week, then hopefully some proper hunting. Time and money available for a trip to the RGMB however this week.

Purchased - 106
Painted – 213

Good percentage going on still.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

FOW - Mid-War Panzergrenadier Kompanie Vs. Hungarian Motorised Company

A first meeting with the lessser spotted Hungarian, and as it turned out only about the 3rd time the lesser spotted Dave the Hungarian has been out in the wilds of the FOW world.  Given Daves (apparent) inexperience we stuck to a 2,000pts Mid-War battle, and rolled up the mission 'Surrounded'.  The Hungarians were happy to be stuck in the middle and left me with the first tactic decision of the battle, and one which I promptly got horribly wrong.

Surrounded allows the attacker turn one, but also gives the option of deploying a minimum of one platoon on each side of the battlefield.  Despite every instinct screaming 'don't split the army!' I couldn't resist and, guess what, split the army 50/50.  The pioneers got some mortar backup, a couple of PaK40's and the captured KV1e heavy tank to make sure the Hungarians on what I will refer to as the right side stayed put, while the bigger force of 88's, StuG's, HMG's and two panzergrenadier platoons (truck mounted) started on the left.

The Battle:
Having committed a glaring error already I then underestimated the Hungarians abilities, only to discover too late that they are essentially german grenadiers (confident veteran rifle/mg teams) but in larger numbers and with fewer decent support choices.  Their CO turned out to be highly capable as well, and notinexperienced as I expected.  His opening gabit was to use Recon moves to reduce the effect of opening salvo, then, with me managing to strand the StuG's in a nasty position on a hill he swiftly about-turned and agressively charged his T-38's (?) light tanks into their ranks.  It turned out that even their puny guns were enough to destroy two STuGs and give the third enough of a fright to scare it from the battlefield.

This happened simultaniously with his airforce (Stuka's, on the irony) wiping out the 88's while I bemoaned my shocking saving throws.  Suddenly the future looked bleak; most of my AT support had been wiped out, and my main assault of panzer grenadiers were on their own.  The only good news was that my KV1e survived an attempt on its life by the Hungrian pioneers, and they were worn down until they were almost wiped out.  My own pioneers and PaK40's were stalemated though, unable to advance in the face of mortars, Hungarian infantry and machine guns.

My panzer grenadiers attack bogged down in front of the (now virtually invincible) armoured cars and the infantry they were supporting and disaster loomed, I seriously considered surrender and starting again.  However it was too late in the evening to get a second game in, so I resolved to invoke one of my better traits - sheer bloody mindedness - and fight to the bitter end.

I concocted a high stakes plan with little chance of success using the KV1e to provide invincible support to the remaining grenadiers.  The KV1e part went well, and it stormed the objective, but lacked the firepower to drive off the surrounding Hungarians whom its armour made it almost impervious too.  The panzer grenadiers however took heavy casualties fighting their way towards the tank, and when the T-38's finally caught up to attack them from behind the two platoons were wiped out, along with the company CO, and I automatically failed the company morale check.  Defeat was mine.

Well that went badly.  Ably assisted by my glaring tactical errors the opposition proved himself a worthy opponent and I was soundly beaten.  The Hungarian infantry were as tough as the german grenadiers, and their anti-personel weaponry was enough to see off any infantry-based force.  Their AT was much more ropey, but I solved this issue for them by throwing away 25% of my army (the StuG's) for the cost of one T-38.  Against an armoured company they might struggle more, but dug in they will always provide a tough challenge. Their 'Hussar' move also gave me a couple of frights!  Hopefully I'll get round to adding some pictures inside the next week, but only a few have come out so don't put your life on hold.