Sunday, 19 April 2015

Franco Prussian Fracas, Beumont.

For our Wednesday night tabletop delectation fellow Strategist, Adrian, put on a Franco Prussian scenario from his endless cache of Volley and Bayonet scenarios. The figures and all the terrain were from his immaculately painted collection.

French commanders confer.

This evenings game was Beumont. I know zilch about this real life battle so google it to see what really happened.

The battle was a holding action by the French to allow their baggage train to escape following a prior defeat at the hands of the Prussians.
The French set up with troops holding the Southernmost village astride the main road with more troops covering their Left flank.
Way back down the road to the North another large French force are defending the bridge to maintain an escape route.

The Prussians begin the game arriving from the Southern baseline with  more troops due on turn two and a large Bavarian force set to appear on the Prussian left flank about midway along the table.

I 'll keep the narrative brief and try to put some sense of order to the accompanying photos as my recollection of events allows.

French defend the line of retreat while the baggage scarpers.

 The Prussians were quick out of the blocks and quickly pushed forward their infantry whilst deploying their guns to shell the town. As the commander of this particular force I knew that I couldn't afford to waste time pointlessly assaulting the town so opted to get to grips with the French infantry pronto.

Prussian forces advance

Bring artillery down on that town!

French defenders about to cop hell.

No sooner had the Prussian gunners unlimbered their guns than they were bringing down accurate and telling fire on the French. The French responded with some indifferent volley fire.

The Prussian infantry soon came within range of the French Chassepots but, as turned out to be the case for most of the night, failed to inflict enough casualties to halt the Prussians.

I kept the pedal down and was soon trading fire with French units right across my line while still pummelling the town and nearby French infantry with artillery causing one French infantry unit to rout. I brought my remaining guns round the French Right flank and covered their advance with a unit of cavalry (Dragoons)
At this moment my ally, Geoff,, arrives on the French left flank with his force.

Prussians appear on the French Left flank. (See red dice)

Clearly the French are in a very sticky predicament here as their rear is threatened and they face a strong force to their front. Fortunately they are stationery so receive a double complement of dice when firing...not that it does any good. They don't even slow the Prussians down.
The plucky French commander throws in a cavalry attack against the Prussian Hussars and a melee quickly ensues.

French Lancers charging Prussian Hussars.

Unfortunately the French crappy dice throwing continues and the French Lancers are routed.
The Prussian infantry follow up with a massed assault on the French from front and rear. This is too much for the French and they are driven back towards the centre road and the retreating baggage train.

Now it is the turn of the Prussian's Bavarian allies to arrive on the French right flank. Their light blue uniforms and checker-board flags make a stirring sight. Their aim is to head off the baggage and block the French line of communication.

Bavarians arriving on the French right flank

They are met by stiff French resistance and both sides trade fire and face off in a number of mellees. As the game progresses this half of the Bavarian command eventually goes exhausted however the remaining half are still in good shape and advance en-mass to sit astride the main road forcing the French to move from defending the bridge to shoving them out of the way.

Meanwhile down my neck of the woods things are progressing to plan as I push aside the French on my Left and in partnership with my ally Geoff bring overwhelming pressure on the centre.

By now French units are routing or are being destroyed at such a rate that it is only a matter of time before they reach the inevitable morale collapse. By comparison Prussian losses are minimal. Clearly the dice gods favour the Prussians this night as the dejected French Commander, Chris, can only stare in disbelief at a continual succession of one's and two's whilst his opponents roll sixes with ease. As one who has been on the receiving end of this sort of thing on numerous occasions I couldn't help but feel for Chris.... fortunately his wife is a trained counsellor.

French baggage in sight

I detect a note of despondency in the French Command

 The situation at turn six sees Chris's French command suffer morale collapse as expected, leaving the way clear for the Prussians to race forward with their cavalry to begin assailing the French baggage and with their escape rout cut the French call it a day.

Prussian Dragoons eyeing up the French baggage train

Thanks to Adrian for putting on another challenging and attractive game and thank you the 'Dice Gods' for smiling upon me this night.

My celebratory beverage of choice for the night was.....Longbeard Blonde

Longbeard Blonde, IPA, intense hops and lingering fruit notes....outstanding!

Some more of Adrian's superb troops

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Bolt Action in the Pacific, The Green Hell.

Wednesday night's game was a WW2 Bolt Action engagement between the Forces of Imperial Japan commanded by Colonel Notsoyumi Sukiyaki (Dave Houston) and the 2nd US Marine Corps commanded by Colonel Richard 'Rick' Draper over some pitiful scrap of an island that had limited strategic importance, absolutely no night life whatsoever and some very nervous looking goats.

General Notsoyumi Sukiyaki issues orders from his command post

Japanese marines wade ashore to reinforce the island 

The Japanese force is a mixed bag of Regular Imperial infantry and Veteran naval assault troops, some rather odd looking anti tank suicide pole troops, a self propelled howitzer and a small machine gun armed jeep.

The forerunner to the Toyota Starlet

The Japanese enter the table from the North and begin the game with all their troops in reserve behind their baseline.

The US Marine force consists of a Regular infantry-only force with the usual support weapons,
80 mm mortar, HMG, flamethrower and MMG's

The Americans also begin the game by deploying from behind their baseline at the southern end of the island.

The objective, located approximately in the middle of the table, is a downed Japanese Navy float plane which crash landed, after running out of fuel.  Incredibly inside the dead pilots satchel is the plans and latest coordinates of the Imperial Japanese Navies' 3rd  Pacific Task Force including the Battleship Musashi. and the carriers Suckimota and Sockitumi. Recovery of this vital information is paramount for both sides.

The battlefield consists of a small island bisected by some rudimentary tracks, a couple of native dwellings, two prominent rocky outcrops and scattered palms and jungle.

The Americans get off to a great start as one American order dice after another is removed from the dice bag. Colonel Draper pushes forward a unit to capture the smaller of the two dwellings. He positions his mortar at the rear to bring down support fire and likewise places his HMG near the rear with a clear field of fire right up the length of the table. His remaining troops take up watch and shoot positions on the jungle fringes.
Finally the Japanese order dice start to emerge from the bag and Colonel Sukiyaki wastes no time in bringing up his S.P gun up behind the large building while his remaining troops advance towards the centre and flanks.

Some excellent spotting by the Jap Forward Observer allows the S.P gun to bring down fire on the enemy troops lurking in the jungle on the American Right Flank,
Unfortunately the Japanese gunner is not up to the mark and, despite a very impressive display of smoke and flying shrapnel, not a single GI is hit.

At this point the US Navy lends a hand as Colonel Draper retaliates by calling in an air-strike by a trio of carrier based Corsair fighter bombers.
Now, I have to say here that I have been present at numerous games where air strikes have been about as useful as teets on the proverbial bull. In most cases they either fail to turn up, get shot to pieces by ack ack or blissfully drop their payloads on their own troops. Well this night none of the aforementioned happened, instead the Yankee fly-boys not only arrived on target they proceeded to unleashed hell as a great handful of 5's and 6's were thrown. KABOOOMB!! bye bye S.P gun.


Undeterred by this cataclysmic setback so early in the piece Colonel Sukiyaka continues to push his troops forward toward the objective in the jungle, he also secures the larger building by positioning troops inside it to cover the main central track.
Somewhat rashly, he orders the jeep forward on what appears a suicide mission to pour fire into the enemy troops advancing up the track and in the smaller dwelling. Some average shooting puts paid to a couple of marines but a return fusilade of fire from the Amercian HMG and the grunts in the building pepper the hapless jeep, exploding the fuel tank and annihilating the heroic crew.

With the loss of the enemies' jeep Colonel Draper considers this a perfect opportunity to assault the large building. Two units dash forward to the walls including a flame thrower to overpower the Jap defenders. The flame-thrower  is singled out for particular attention by the Japanese riflemen and he is cut down before he can even ignite his flame. A number of other Marines hit the dirt but the attack still goes in. A short but bloody melee ensues leaving the G.I's in possession of the building and the Japanese defenders wiped out to a man. "Well if they wont surrender what the hell else are we s'posed to do Sir?" asks Sergeant Kawolski.

Once Colonel Sukiyaki has stopped beating his head against a nearby rock in apoplectic rage and frustration he manages to regains his composure enough to orders his Naval vets to race forward at maximum speed to seize the objective and remove the secret documents to safe keeping at all costs.
To support them he sends a unit of Imperial infantry round the Right flank along the edge of the beach. 

Sensing the prize may yet slip from his grasp Colonel Draper switches his attention to the central patch of jungle and the wrecked aircraft. He orders as many units as possible forward to assault the objective. 
As his men race across the open ground in the centre they are met by a fanatical but futile Banzai charge by the pitiful remains of a unit of regular Imperial infantry, swords waving and flags fluttering. Barely breaking stride the GI's open up on them and the glorious charge is stopped in its tracks leaving a carpet of dead Japanese.


With very few other targets to concern them the Americans can now bring their considerable fire-power to bear on the objective. "Spray that God damned jungle with everything you got boys" yells the Colonel.

Colonel Rick Draper in action

Fire in the hole! 80 mm mortar bringing down some pain.

Spray that jungle!

The American Mortar and the troops from the American Left flank bring down accurate supporting fire as the Marines charge toward the objective. Japanese casualties begin to mount at an alarming rate and there are very few Japanese order dice left in the bag. Incredibly the fanatical Naval veterans continue to pass their morale test.

To close the deal the Americans send a unit racing up the middle and round the Left flank unopposed to cut off the enemies retreat. 

It's now obvious that, though the Japanese are in possession of the top secret plans, they cannot get  the plans off their end of the table and in fact another turn would almost certainly see them wiped out so, thanks to some incredibly lucky dice throwing and excellent tactics and some abysmal luck on Colonel Sukiyakis part the Forces of Democracy prevail with a decisive victory 'God Bless America!'

I know those Nip pilots are small but this is ridiculous?


Radioman Wally Cronkite radios back to headquarters "Objective secured"

Colonel Sukiyaki's last bottle of Asahi before committing Hari Kari.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Steampunk shennanagins

As it was my turn to arrange the Southern Strategists fortnightly game I thought it about time I inflicted another steampunk game on them. I say inflict because our merry group of gamers are evenly split between the traditionalist, strictly historical types and the more adventurous open minded spirits. I say this tongue in cheek because I fully accept that this style of gaming is not everyone's cup of Darjeeling. My fellow Strategists have been wargaming mates for over 25 years so clearly we have learnt to accept each others little foibles with gentlemanly good grace and not a little grinding of teeth at times.

"VOLTAVIA INVADED", Teutonian forces occupy Voltavian Industrial Region.
Britainia Declares War

My scenario was based around the ongoing struggle between the Teutonians and the Britainians over the Teutonians unprovoked invasion of the coal and mineral rich principality of Voltavia. As an Ally of the Voltavians the Britanians have no choice but to declare a state of war against the Teutonians in outrage at their naked aggression and illegal occupation of the Voltavian coal mining and industrial region of Anthracillia. This conflagration is showing all the signs of escalating into something much bigger as neither side is prepared to back down despite frantic diplomatic wrangling behind the scenes. Their has already been talk of atrocities being comitted by occupying Teutonian forces but for the moment this appears to be purely conjecture and rumour.

The scenario had the Teutonian advance columns racing forward to capture the crossroads and village to secure their route of advance and lines of communication.
Rules used in the game are FUBAR Vic Sci-fi and figures are a mixture of Black Tree, Foundry, Great War Miniatures, Renegade and Ironclad from our various collections. Please excuse WW1 Germans mixing it with Sudan era Brit Naval Brigade...hey nobody said it had to make sense!

The game.
The Britainians are pooling every resource at their disposal to halt the Teutonian juggernaut and have thrown up a hasty defensive perimeter around the village as they await reinforcement by any friendlies available within the vicinity of the village.

Britanians arriving from the South as the Teutonians arrive from the Northern edge

This was a bit of a knocked together game so dont look for finely balanced forces and well thought out terrain as will become readily apparent from my report.

From the very beginning both sides suffered miserably form abysmal activation throws. The Brit tanks with the exception of the WW1 female Tank refused to budge and it was rumoured that this may have been caused by Teutonian secret agents tampering with the fuel reserve. Damned unsporting!
This however didnt explain the extremely tardy advance of most of the British infantry reinforcements. Possibly suffering the after effects of a dodgy batch of Miggins, Field Pie, Mince Mk2 which would account for the foul odours emanating from the Britanian latrines.
Fortunately for the Brits the Teutonians werent faring much better as their artillery and tanks refused to advance.
The Teutonian infantry on the other hand positively raced forward and were advancing in force on the Britanian left flank.

Teutonian lead elements of infantry rushing forward to seize the crossroads

It was at this point that the Brit female heavy tank made an appearance and began pouring a sustained and galling fire on the Teutonian infantry. The Teutonian Jager also came under heavy fire from the Britianian troops located in the village.

After draining and refilling the Britanian light tanks fuel tanks a more acceptable rate of progress was adopted and the Brit reinforcements, including a Company of Naval ratings and their supporting Aeroneff cautiously took up position on the Brit right flank next to the cemetery and rag tag bunch of Voltavian Militia and Brit regulars who were frantically throwing up sand bag defences in the centre to hold the crossroads.

Brrrm Brmm The Britanians get their tank going

Her Magesties Scout Aeroneff Goshawk in an aerial support role.

The sudden appearance of the strange Britianian Aerial contraption seemed to throw the Teutonians into something of a tizz as every available gun was brought to bear on her. Despite a number of telling hits including a shot clean through her boiler the plucky Aeroneff stood her ground.

The Teutonian Armour remained afflicted by an inability to move which left the Britanian heavy tank unrestricted license to deal to the unprotected Teutonian infantry. By now the Teutonian grunts were trapped in the crossfire of the tanks MMGs the rifles of the Britanian infantry and an Armstrong Gun that the Brits had managed to bring up on their Left flank. Inexpicably the Teutonians continued raining fire on the Brit Aeroneff rather than getting to grips with the annoying heavy tank. Their continued fire did however pay off as a lucky shot bore straight into the Aeroneffs magazine just as a hail of machine gun fire swept the Brit gunners from the deck. KABOOM!! the the doomed craft fell to earth in a maelstrom of burning fuel and twisted steel plating.

It was at this point that the game degenerated into something of a one-sided affair for the Brits as they had firmly ensconsed themselves in the village and were dug in on the cross-roads. The Teutonian infantry had taken appalling losses and were clearly incapable of seizing their objectives. With no hope of pushing forward the Teutonians decided to order a strategic withdrawal.

The village safely in Britainian hands
German light tanks and Teutonic Knight Walker blasts away at Britainain forces
on the outskirts of Anthracillia, Voltavian Campaign, March 1889
In hindsight this game was poorly thought out by yours truly. The forces were totally wrong for an attack defender game. The Brits probably had at least two too many infantry elements and the heavy tank with its three forward firing MMg's was devastating. The Teutonians would have benfitted by the game being played across the table as well as they would have had room for flanking and would have got their armour and artillery into play much sooner and more effectively. That said I am very happy with the FUBAR rules and I love the look of the thing so sadly for my more conservative fellow gamers you haven't heard the last of the Voltavian Campaign.