Monday, April 28, 2008

Rourke's Drift

Rules : The Sword and the Flame
Scale: 25mm
Host Jim Ferich

Truly a classic battle as a few British soldiers hold off the Zulu nation. The game was played with 8 man units which helps players from cluttering up large numbers of figures in a small space. The Zulu goal was to capture or burn the hospital and capture the storage building.

The thin red line holds fast as chants of ZUUULUUU are heard in the distance

As the British set up to cover all the areas of approach. They did not know the initial entry was condensed to one area of the board.

The barriers help keep the Zulus at bay so they do not overrun the British. Any melee modifier is welcomed.

The Zulus enter and start to take casualties as only they can. The first wave hits the Brits, additional waves wait for their turn. The Zulus close fast so they can melee before taking too many casualties. Some units falter and leave before making contact.

Using 8 man units instead of 20 man units keeps the battle spread out and easy to play.

The Zulus round the corner only to be met by a devastating volley. No worries, there are thousands more in the wings.

Zulus finally close on the Brits, the stone wall has less protection than other areas. The Zulus break through the defenses after slaughtering the wounded. Zulus are also approaching the hospital with a meager defense. Most of the Brits are fending off the natives around the store room. A few defenders fire from the roof as the Zulus run over the undefended walls. The British are in disarray as they are getting hit from all sides.

Here come more Zulus pouring through looking for anything wearing red and the last stand of Bromhead....poor bloke. It looks like another rough day for the 24th.
Truly a bad day as the stores are being overrun, perhaps the Brits should get inside?

There are just too many of 'em and the defenses have fallen apart.

Knock Knock...who's there?

Hospital assault

The Zulus start to swarm the lightly defended hospital. The defenders desperately try to hold off and avoid a terrible fate. The fighting is getting into close quarters. The wounded and sick await their fate.

Store room last stand

Over by the storeroom a firing line forms to buy is too little too late.

Hospital top view...last turn

A top view of the hospital....the Zulus did well in this game.

A very popular game with the club, everyone had fun. important to note that the second wave of Zulus never came on as it was getting late. We finished the game in about 4 hours.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Normandy Breakout

Host: Jim and Chris Ferich
Rules: Flames of War
Scale: 15mm
Game Length: 4.5 hours
Objective: The British were to exit as many units as possible off of the opposite edge.

On Saturday 3/22/08 a game was played on a 6'x6' playing surface. The game consisted of German Fallschirmjaegers and SS holding off British infantry and armor units breaking out around Caen. The Germans were veteran units that set up hidden across the board, and had the support of a company of Tiger Tanks.
As you can see the game board consisted mostly of bocage with narrow roads leading out of the town. There were a few hills that were used by German mortars and tanks to fire long range harassing fire. The bocage rules in FoW make movement very difficult, infantry had to stop when reaching it and could then pass through the next turn. Tracked vehicles were in danger of bogging down and exposing the vulnerable under carriage to enemy fire.
Germans were secretly deployed in the fields waiting to ambush the advancing British forces.

The beautifully painted town was a focal point of the British advance. The Gemans did not deploy in the town, bu the British player did not know where the German deployment zone was located.

The British enter and deploy mortars and Sexton SPG's to lend support to the upcoming advance. Since there were no targets, the artillery sat idle until recon units arrived to find targets. The British have established a rather large support group. They deployed behind the town fearing the possibility of urban combat. The biggest worry to the British is the thought of dealing with Germans in the hedgerows. Hopefully the artillery would be the great equalizer.

British recon units begin to enter the town. They have a special ability allowing them to see hidden units in an 8" range. These prove extremely useful in uncovering enemy units lying in wait. Without these troops the British casualties would quickly mount.

These units made it safely through the town after thoroughly inspecting each town section. The British player was wondering what was on the other side of town.

German Fallschirmjaegers open fire on advancing British Troops.

German paratroopers guarding the left flank attack, they inflicted light casualties. Stuart tanks lend support, even these light tanks are a threat as the Germans had little anti-tank capability.

The British recon arrive a little too late to uncover the ambush but their machine gun support and artillery spotting ability make up for their late arrival. The Germans are really up against it.

(Note - These are the same figures appearing in the Flames of War supplement.... these are fantastic to look at and are really inspiring.)

Action on the British left.

The British that advanced on the left flank opposite the town had open ground to cover. The Achilles tank destroyers gave the British some comfort knowing that a company of Tiger tanks were roaming the field. The lethality of the Tiger was evident as British armor suffered from long range fire. British armor approaches a farmhouse.

British reinforcements arrive and stack up along the road. If there were only a Stuka provided the British may not have been so bold.

The reinforcements arrived by company, every turn added a D6, for every die roll grater than or equal to 5 the British could bring in a company. Unfortunately for the British most of the results were lower than needed and the companies entered piecemeal.

Sherman tanks start to brew up from long range shots. The Firefly is still out of range to counter the Tiger tank threat. The British press forward to close the attack.

German paratroopers take casualties as British troops press on. The Germans are forced back to a second line of defense as they also dish out fire and take a few Tommies with them.
British armor scoots around to the road and are trying to find more hidden Germans waiting in ambush.

Sextons wait in a field waiting for a target to be called in.

Germans line the road and try to halt the armor by any means

The lightly armored recon units suffer from a hidden recoiless rifle...definitely a cheap (cheat?) shot.

The British are running out of time.

The town is stacking up with armor for the final push.

Anti tank guns are brought in to try and help break out.

The British attempt to double move but the Germans bring the Tiger company to bear on the column.

Time has run out ...the game was very close, but the Germans held out.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

WAB - Arthurian Battle

Rules: WAB - Authurian Supplement
Miniatures: Old Glory, Gripping Beast and Foundry
Host Jack Pope
Game length: 7 turns
Played 2/22/08

The lay out of the battlefield before the game... the livestock is a nice touch.

The battle field put two opposing forces advancing toward each other for control of a watch tower (the main objective) and a town (secondary objective). The table is 6'x12' and we always try to use s much of it as possible. We had 3 players per side with Jack hosting and acting as umpire.

The figures were panted in Sri Lanka and by Jack. As you can see by these close up pictures they are exceptional by anyone's standard. I could never hope to come close to this kind of quality. The bases are from Litko, Jack has spared no expense in his collection. It made the game much more fun to play. I have never had a desire to collect this period...yet. Our club is diverse enough that we can play almost any period twice a month with no repeat games. We are fortunate, we lucky few.

A kit bashed Warhammer fantasy standard looks great in the ranks of the ancients. You never know where the good ideas come from.

The battle was set in England after the Romans had left. This involved two very distinct troops, those who fought with strong Roman influence, and those who had a war band mentality in their fighting style. The war band troops were a bit unpredictable as there was a chance every turn that they would charge uncontrolled at the closest enemy. The randomness of discipline meant that you do not have complete control over your troops. Your best plans would be soon discarded when the combat started.

The Roman style troops led by Ambosius advance with a screen of archers and light troops. The heroes Crisius, Sextus and the priest Cassius lead the way. This is the left flank of the army, they had solid leadership and morale and proved to be a tough opponent. The right flank had allies that fought in a war band style.

You can see he WAB style formations, these rules are very popular with the club. The supplements do a great job explaining the details of each unit type.

The two forces approach each other at the top of the hill.

By turn 3 the two sides started closing in. There was the customary opening volley of arrows and spears in a "getting to know you" game turn. Casualties were very light as most archer units had 8 or 9 figures firing, there was not enough missile weapons to sway the battle in either direction. It was very clear that we had to close and kill; with minimal dancing around the table. All we had to do was find an opponent and start the melee sequence.

The cavalry were placed on both wings of each army. These units played important roles as infantry had to be careful of their flanks. Infantry was kept in check and could not advance too far.

On the Roman right flank the cavalry maneuvered around the town to hit the enemy from an enfilade position. A large cavalry battle ensued with a Roman victory. But the fate of the town remained in doubt.

The fight through the town was brutal....urban warfare never changes!

The forces opposing the Roman troops fought well, but the generals and heroes were used to force the issue. We did forget that the general and heroes were soon out of command range of the units in the center....oops. This caused the Roman allies in the center to quickly flee. The war bands fighting the Roman center were victorious when they committed their king to the battle, he killed a lot of Roman allies that day. At this point the Roman/Brit flanks were stable but the center was lost. The war bands soon seized the watchtower... it was a see-saw battle and anybody could win it..(except me as my units routed with poor leadership!). The Roman/Brits were in trouble as the war bands charged the Roman/Brit center to secure a victory. It was amazing to see a unit lose very few troops , and run from the field. Leadership is the key to this game.

The Roman/British army give one last charge...but fall short!

The game was a very close one, a very balanced scenario. The game lasted about 3 hours and took 7 turns exactly. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the game and it was an inspiration for me to start painting more figures, (I have been working on Macedonians from Zvezda). As I do not play these rules frequently I did rely on the others for help... yes we even help the opponents. Our next game is postponed due to Cold Wars.... I hope I can make it. There is also a Ground Zero Games convention on March 1st , we have a few members going to that one as well.

Here is the overview of the battle.....oh the humanity!

Well off to Cold Wars!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

1815 - New England Rebellion

RULES: Fire and Fury
Scale: 15mm
Figures: Old Glory
Hosted by Jim Carpenter
The game was played on Friday 2/8/08 and we had 9 people show up for the game. The battle was a fictitious battle in a fictitious war. We played the first Civil War in 1815 in which New England decided to break away from the United States. They were supported by British and Canadian forces. The rebels set up defenses outside of Hartford Connecticut and decided to hold off approaching Federal troops led by Ole' Hickory himself, Andrew Jackson. The Federal troops approached from two roads from the south and consisted of troops from Kentucky, Tennessee as well as the regular army. There was a mix of veteran and militia armed with muskets and rifles. There was support in the form of 6lb guns and cavalry. The rebels were mostly green troops of militia quality supported by British and Canadian regulars. They also had artillery support and were entrenched waiting for the approaching government troops. Federal troops steadily advanced to the defenses and began to fire to soften up the defenses. The Federals had a distinct advantage as they had rifles instead of smooth bore muskets. Casualties were light on both sides as the exchanges went on for a few turns.The defenders remained static for as long as they could, waiting for reinforcements. The defenders enjoyed modifiers making it difficult to to hit them and giving them a favorable ground advantage for the upcoming hand to hand combat. Here the rebels troops can be seen exchanging fire with the federal troops in open field. Their veteran status of the federal troops gave them a slight advantage. In a wider shot of the battle you can see the rebel set up, reinforcements are staged in a town behind the battle. Canadian and rebel troops advance to the center in an attempt to halt the advancing enemy. British cavalry an be seen moving along the tree line trying to get to the flank in support. The red markers show disordered units that have already been engaged. As you can see the rebels had good coverage and a well organized reserve to act as a relief force if needed. Since this is an ongoing campaign it is important not to lose units completely, they will be needed for the next engagement.
Now he battle gets fully involved. Red markers are marking the disordered troops all over the field. The rebel militia (New Englanders) are taking the brunt of the attack. To the right you see British flags marking the the better quality troops, they were held in reserve. The blue and white chips mark low ammunition and silenced cannons. Andrew Jackson can be seen on the left on his command stand. Casualties began to pile up on both sides. On the rebel left flank you can see the rebel forces holding up inside the town and in their defensive position. Columns of federal militia stream to meet an approaching rebel unit. In Fire and Fury it is a huge advantage to have one unit supporting another. Riflemen in green uniform advance down the road with more militia to their right. Six pound cannons are coming up in support to deal with the rebel defenses. The federals stop the advance to stay out of musket range but remain in rifle range. The rebels use cannon fire to shake things up instead.
The rebel forces start to become disordered and have supply problems. A second line of defense starts to develop in an effort to stem the tide. Rallying green troops is very difficult. The disorder causes your troops to fire at half strength. The low ammo causes a half strength as well, so the unit with multiple color chips is very ineffective in its current state. At the bottom of the picture troops meet in hand to hand combat. It was a hard fought game indeed.
Federal troops poor over the top in an attempt to catch the disordered unit in a vulnerable state. The federal troops have broken through and are pushing the rebels back with the bayonet. In this game melee causes much more casualties than firing. At the bottom of the picture you can see another engagement. Canadian and British troops are waiting in the rear.

The federals have punched through the rebel defenses. The troops will need to reorganize before the next advance. With the flanks secured the rebels will need to establish another line of defense. Andrew Jackson is really pouring it on, but will the momentum carry on?
15mm is a great scale to see the detail of the figures and for gaming large battles. The rules are a club favorite and the night went very fast.
At table level the figures make an impressive sight. Here is the militia from Kentucky and Tennessee mixing it up with the boys from New England. The artillery is moving up in support and is having difficulty keeping up. They only move 8 inches compared to the 12 inches that infantry moves. When the infantry receives a 1.5 move rate (18 inches) they can leave the artillery in the dust. Militia and regulars hit the rebel line simultaneously. The federals are moving in support of each other and there just isn't enough rebel units to counter. In the rules you count all stands making contact and in support, this gave the federals a 3-1 advantage. The situation is critical for the rebels and they are being pressed. The defenders make a valiant stand but just can't hold the line any more. The federal fired and caused a disorder result to gain additional advantage before pressing the attack. If British and Canadian troops had been present, perhaps there would have been a different outcome.
The center of the rebel line is compromised. The federal militia scored high on the maneuver roll and were able to move at 1.5 time the normal rate. They hit the left flank of a rebel unit creating a delaying action. This unit was outnumbered 4-1 and took heavy casualties.
Rolling to maneuver adds uncertainty to the game. A low roll could just have easily been made causing the unit to halt for a turn. It was a bad day to be a rebel as the momentum stayed with the Federals. Here is an overview of the battle, federals are on the left of the picture. As you can see there is not a lot of clutter in the game. Maneuvering troops makes for a better game than just plowing straight ahead and hoping to roll well. The game started to wind down when Federal troops started to enter the town. The rebels had trouble holding on as the Canadian and British forces just looked on. Andrew Jackson had the rebel towns put to the torch as there was no room in this country for traitors. We played an entire game in about 3 hours and had a blast. The rebel troops were a outmatched by the quality and concentration of federal troops.
The rules are fun, but the trouble (and strength) with a club our size is that we never play the same rule s frequently enough to get really good at them. I may not ever master a set of rules but I am never bored and we always have a great time....barring politics.
I hope to have another post in 2 weeks.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fall of Khartoum

Our battle of Khartoum actually spans two battles that were held on two different nights. We used "The Sword and the Flame" rules through out the campaign.

The dervishes have held the city under siege for several weeks. Supplies and living conditions in Khartoum have been poor. The defenders are fewer but morale remains high in the hopes that relief is on the way. The fort is buzzing with the news that British troops have landed in Egypt and they are working their way south. A gunboat was spotted heading toward the town, could it be the relief they have been waiting for?

At this point the dervishes decide to attack. If they can press the battle then perhaps Khartoum will fall and the infidels will be put to the sword. The great and all knowing Madhi commands that the battle is today.
Thousands of dervishes come screaming out of the hills. The defenders have been stunned by the awesome sight. The desperate struggle begins as Ansars, Fuzzy-Wuzzy and other tribesmen pour forth to destroy all that is unholy.

The dervish forces close in for the kill as rifle fire has not been entirely effective. The issue will be decided by cold steel.
The +1 for defending the wall really helps even the odds for the Sudanese.

The dervish enjoy the ability to throw spears prior to closing for hand to hand fighting.

The terrain and figures were accumulated over the years by Jim Ferich. There are several different manufacturers represented on the table. Jim has been playing these rules since their inception.

The close quarters fighting continues on, the Egyptian and Sudanese infantry decide to fall back to stronger defensive positions. There are just too many tribesmen to fight and they are being overwhelmed.
Infantry takes position behind the barricades to await another fanatical charge. Artillery and reserves are repositioned to deal with the threat.

Smoke can be seen on the river, an approaching gunboat is spotted, are the relief forces arriving?

The tribesmen lose heart and withdraw at the sight of the unexpected force. They have no desire to face the artillery and machine guns of this new threat.
The gunboat arrives to the horror that it has been shot to pieces steaming to Khartoum. There is no supply column or relief force accompanying the crippled steamer. The meager supplies are offloaded, perhaps the survivors can hold out.

The sailors tell Pasha Boyle-Gordon that the river journey has been hazardous and there is no escape. The gunboat is too damaged to remove civilians.
The dervishes watch from the hills with great interest.

The following day the Madhi commands his army of faithful to go forward and finish off the defenders. There is no sign of a relief force, and Pasha Boyle-Gordon must be killed. There are too few survivors to man the walls around the fort. The have consolidated to defensive positions through out the town. The dervishes pour through the outer walls with ease. Allah is indeed great.
The defenders have no choice but to hold fire until it is necessary.

Pasha Boyle-Gordon looks on with interest and great concern. He holds his position with fewer defenders as casualties mount.His loyal body guard stands by his side throughout the ordeal.
He exudes confidence despite the odds, is his will enough to carry the day?

The dervishes roll through the streets raping cattle and stampeding women and children!
They never knock before entering either, how rude! How un-British!!
The dervishes stopped to kill any wounded infidels they happened to come across.

The buildings are foam core, they look great don't they?

The battle carries through the streets as dervish rifles take their toll on the defenders.
The tribesmen with rifles scale up to the rooftops using ladders. The spearmen skewer anything moving in the streets and houses.

The defending Sudanese prove a tough match even when out numbered. Mounted officers help decimate whole units of attacking Ansar. There are just too many, the defenders fall back the last remaining defense of the inner fort. The gunboat offer support from the river. Soon the walls are covered with Tribesmen hell bent on destruction. The battle rages on.

The defenders take many enemy with them as they fall. Artillery crews were soon overrun by natives. One by one the defending units fall. Even the Pasha Boyle-Gordon has defend against the onslaught. He defends the doorway with his body guard. He kills 20 of the screaming tribesmen (he gets a +3 to his roll, and Eric rolled very well all night), but another unit of angered Ansar step on and over the bodies of their fallen to strike, they are more frenzied then ever. Finally a spear finds its target.

The epic defense of Khartoum is over. The struggle was the stuff of legends. The London newspapers will carry the name of Pasha Boyle-Gordon to history.

The campaign continues on as the dervishes gained 25 points for capturing the town of Khartoum.