Friday, 31 January 2014

Chain of Command - At The Sharp End

Too Fat Lardies have just released a campaign supplement for their Chain of Command rules called At The Sharp End and so I had to pick up a copy to add to my collection.

At The Sharp End is 47 pages in the same style as the Chain of Command Rules but is only available as a standard PDF from the Lardies website.

After a brief introduction the book is split into four sections.  The explains their approach to campaigns and then suggests three different types that you can use (No map, simple map, full map).  The second section provides the rules for conducting the campaign itself.  The third section provides rules for creating the characters involved and the final section provides guidance on how to build a campaign.

Everything seems pretty well laid out and, as with a lot of the Lardies stuff, it looks like it will be a good read whether you actually end up using it for an actual campaign.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

WSS: Régiment de Bourbonnais

The final actual French regiment for this phase of the project is the Régiment de Bourbonnais.  Raised in 1597 the regiment was dismissed and then reinstated a couple of times at the beginning of the 17th Century.  During the War of the Spanish Succession, it fought at the Battles of Friedlingen, Blenheim, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

Once again the flag is from Warflag and the figures are from Black Hat.

Monday, 27 January 2014

WSS: Régiment de Saintonge

The next addition to my War of the Spanish Succession French army is the Régiment de Saintonge.  Originally raised in 1684 it fought as part of the Marquis de Bligny's brigade (along with the Régiment de Champagne) in Oberglau during the Battle of Blenheim.

The figures are Black Hat and the flag is from Warflag.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lebanon 1982

I managed to get along to the club yesterday and was lucky enough to get to play a 3mm moderns game set in the Lebanon in 1982.  The scenario consisted of the Israeli forces advancing across their border in order to eliminate insurgents operating from settlements in Lebanon and running into Syrian forces.

I initially took command of three platoons of Israeli special forces and eventually ended up commanding both the armour and mechanised forces on our right flank facing off against the advancing Syrians.

With two armoured units and one mechanised unit our plan was to advance the armour up the left and right flanks either side of the settlements as it was much better territory for armour.  Our advance forces including the special forces platoons were initially deployed to secure the closest settlements with the mechanised unit available to support in the case of serious resistance.

Whilst we did meet some opposition we managed to overcome it with our advanced units (eventually) and so that allowed the mechanised unit to be deployed on my flank in order to advance up to the most distance settlement on the table.  However, by this stage a pretty substantial Syrian force was rushing towards us!  The Syrians outnumbered us in armour by about 3 to 1 but their force was a mix of T72s and T62 whilst ours was wholly Centurions.  Unfortunately for Colin who was commanding our left wing he ended up facing the entire compliment of Syrian T72 plus their artillery and so had to withdraw after taking (and giving I should add!) some serious casualties.  On my flank the river held up the Syrian forces and we eventually engaged in the final settlement after some Christian Militia had given their first armoured platoon a but of a pasting (they advanced into the urban area without infantry support and learnt rather rapidly why that's not advisable!).  We got quite a few turns completed but didn't have quite enough time to fight the game to a conclusion though.

Here are a few more photos from the game:

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Polish Command

Obviously I need someone to lead my Polish infantry - here's the officer, radioman, medic and anti-tank rifleman:

Friday, 24 January 2014

WSS: Régiment du Dauphin

The next addition to the War of the Spanish Succession project is another French unit - this time the Régiment du Dauphin.  This regiment fought at both the Battle of Blenheim and the Battle of Oudenarde:

Once again, these are Black Hat figures with a Warflag flag.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

WSS: Régiment de Champagne

The next addition to my War of the Spanish Succession collection is a French regiment - the Régiment de Champagne.  This unit seems to be able to trace its roots back as far as the 1550s but for our purposes it fought as part of the Marquis de Bligny's brigade in Oberglau during the Battle of Blenheim:

The figures are Black Hat and the flag is from Warflag.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

First Look: Regimental Fire & Fury Scenarios Vol. 1 1861-1862

Having enjoyed paying the Brigade level Fire and Fury rules I picked up a copy of the Regimental level version.  With this now tried on the tabletop I thought it would be worth "investing" in a copy of the scenario booklet for the Regimental rules.  I have both of the equivalents for the Brigade level rules and thought they were well put together and have played a few games from them.

The book is sub-titled "Volume 1: 1861-1862" which both indicates more to come (?) and the period it covers.  It is paperback in colour, in letter format and runs to around 80 pages.  It starts off with a brief foreword and introduction followed by some new "optional rules" covering Skirmishers, changes to Extended Line Frontages, Twilight & Night Turns, Change Front manoeuvres, Plunging Fire through Wooded High Ground and Massed Artillery Fire.

The book covers 11 engagements (some with multiple associated scenarios) from various battles or smaller encounters.  Although when I say small it must be said that none of these scenarios can be considered "small" in the sense of the number of troops required.

  • Battle of Big Bethel, June 10 1861
  • First Battle of Bull Run, July 21 1861 - Henry House Hill
  • Battle of Belmont, November 7 1861
  • Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7, 1862 - (2 scenarios - Leetown and Elkhorn Tavern)
  • First Battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862
  • Battle of Port Republic, June 9, 1862
  • Second Battle of Bull Run, August 28, 1862 - Brawner Farm
  • Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862 - The Cornfield
  • Battle of Iuka, September 19, 1862
  • Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862  - (3 scenarios - Polk's Right Wing Attack, Hardee's Left Wing Attack and the Full Battle)
  • Battle of Prairie Grove, December 7, 1862 - (3 scenarios - Herron Assaults The Ridge, Blunt To The Rescue and the Full Battle)

Each scenario follows a similar format with an introduction providing the historical background, a description of the scenario itself, then moving onto the terrain.  This is followed by an Order of Battle in both a summary table and diagrammatic format (which can be copied to provide the labels for the units) along with any specific arrival timing or other restrictions.  The game length, victory conditions and any special scenario rules are then set out.  This is all accompanied by a scenario map.

I had hoped that this would provide me with some useful scenarios to get me going with the rules; however, I found that despite having what I considered a reasonably sized collection (about 100 stands per side) I didn't actually have enough troops or enough of the right troops for any of the scenarios.  Of course you can choose to rescale or adapt the scenarios to fit your own requirements but this does rather reduce the benefit of having pre-made ones.  I guess I will just have to buy more troops!

As with the previous Brigade level scenario booklets this one is well presented but whether you consider it represents good value will depend on looking carefully at the content.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

WSS: Lord North and Grey's Regiment of Foot

The next unit completed for this phase of my War of the Spanish Succession project is another English one.  This time the North and Grey's Regiment which saw action at the Battles of the Schellenberg, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet:

The figures are 15mm from Black Hat and the flag is from Warflag.

Monday, 20 January 2014

WSS: Queen Dowager's Regiment of Foot

I have been slowly progressing the second phase of my War of the Spanish Succession project and have just finished another English regiment to add to my collection.  This one represents the Queen Dowager's Regiment of Foot which only saw action in the Low Countries early in the war, in particular serving in the defence of the fortress of Tongres in Flanders after which it was awarded the title “Royal”, and mottoes “Pristinae Virtutis Memor” and “Vel Exuviae Triumphant”.  It then saw more action in Spain.

The figures are 15mm from Black Hat and the flag is from Warflag.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Polish HMG

Here's a couple of pictures of the machine gun unit that gave the Germans such a hard time in the Defiant Stand, Poland 1939 scenario (but this time not concealed in a building!):

Once again the figures are from the Warlord Games Bolt Action range

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Polish Infantry

Since they didn't make much of a physical appearance in my earlier Defiant Stand, Poland 1939 post I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of some of my Polish infantry (they are from Warlord Games' Bolt Action range):

Friday, 17 January 2014

First Look: Strike of the Eagle

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Strike of the Eagle from Academy Games for Christmas.  Strike of the Eagle is a block wargame covering the Polish Soviet War and is the first (and at present only) game in the Fog of War series from Academy Games.

I was interested in getting this particular game for a couple of reasons.  I am interested in the Polish Soviet War itself, the game has a different take on the usual block game mechanisms and it is capable of accommodating more than 2 players.

The board represents the part of Poland, Soviet Russia, the Ukraine and the disputed land between them.  It is divided into two fronts, effectively separated by the Pripet Marshes, which mean that in the full game the units on each front can be split between players allowing up to 4 people to play.  Movement is point to point and the board shows the various towns and cities of the area and the road and rail links between them.

Whilst this is a block game with the usual fog of war that brings it adds some interesting new dynamics through the use of cards and orders.  Each side has a deck of cards and can use these for one of four different things:
  1. Increasing the number of orders which can be issued (the default is two)
  2. Generating reinforcements
  3. Modifying combat
  4. A historical event 
This provides some serious choices and decisions as you normally only a hand of 6 cards at the beginning of each turn and their are five operations phases when they can be used within each turn.

The orders are represented by thick card counters which are placed either on individual locations and units.  You have to place one recon order each turn which allows you to see the enemy blocks where it is placed and whilst this can be used to bluff the enemy it does mean that you only get one further order each phase unless you play a card to increase it.  The other orders are movement to or from a location (infantry one space, cavalry two spaces), forced marches (as movement but a further space), withdraw (if attacked), defend, reorganise (regain a single strength point) or rail transport (move up to 4 blocks up to 8 spaces along rail lines).

Initiative is tracked separately on each front and this allows the player with initiative to determine the order in which orders are placed and, within the order sequence, who reveals and executes their orders first (which can be critical as blocks can be pinned in place by advancing blocks).

Each block represents between 1,500 and 8,000 men as represented by its individual strength point value (and as you would expect adjusted by rotating the block) which is then combined with various modifiers and the value from a card to determine how many strength points are lost by the other side making the combat diceless.

Supply lines are important too and can have a serious impact if units end up out of supply.  There are also leader blocks which have other effects.

The game comes with 9 scenarios (I have only played the first - the introductory scenario - shown above) which provides for plenty of replay-ability.

The game is beautifully produced, has a good amount of historical information included and provides some really challenging decisions - I am looking forward to getting it to the table again.

If you want to know a little more here's a video review of the game from Marco Arnaudo:

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Defiant Stand, Poland 1939

Our next and final miniatures game was a chance to play with some of the 28mm Polish figures I have been basing using the Nuts! rules from Two Hour Wargames.

I used another of the Skirmish Campaigns scenarios - this time from their Poland 1939 booklet - although I changed the Poles from the Black Brigade to standard infantry (since I don't have any suitable figures for the Black Brigade - though these are now available from Gorgon Studios in the US).

Lenin took command of the Poles and I took the invading German forces.  The scenario has the German forces motorised (motorcycle combinations and trucks) but given the final terrain layout the vehicles became rather redundant after the first turn!

My first motorcycle team advanced up the road towards the crossroads but as they approached the ford they came under fire from the nearby buildings and pulled off the road.  With clear enemy activity I decided to move my trucks off the road and deploy my troops in the woods.

As I came to the edge of the woods my troops came under rifle and machine gun fire from both the houses by the crossroads and the barn.

In decided to try to get my MG teams deployed to provide covering fire to enable an assault across the open ground.  Whilst it was easy to suppress the rifle fire the machine gun was a different kettle of fish.  I had multiple attempts before their MG jammed and I was able to get a team into position; however, when the Poles cleared the jam I didn't fare too well in the subsequent fire fight.  We also had to contend with sniper fire!

After taking quite a few casualties I managed to deploy my mortar team to lay down some smoke and advanced towards the barn under the cover of that and one of my remaining MGs.

Things were going relatively well until we came under fire from an LMG in the barn and most of my men decided to withdraw to the woods.

The NCOs carried on and managed to reach the barn and throw grenades through the openings which dealt with the men inside.  Whilst I had secured one of the three buildings (my victory conditions were two) I had suffered serious casualties, particularly of my NCOs and as a result was not able to press home my attack.

My only frustration with the game (other than the minor one of not actually getting my vehicles far onto the table) was that my new Poles spent almost all their time in the buildings and so weren't very visible. As a result they don't feature in most of the photos of the game.  I will be posting some more pictures of them when I have finished basing up the remaining few.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Crete, 1941

Our second game of 2014 was another chance to play the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies.  In this case Lenin converted a scenario from one of the Skirmish Campaign books on Crete.  I took command of the Fallschirmjaeger and he took the Allied forces.

As with our previous game the patrol phase was an interesting component and something I think is a great aspect of the rules.  Of course I didn't have quite enough Jump Off points (4 per side) and so a little improvisation was required.  In the end the placement of them was a little tricky but I think worked ok.

Deployment is something I think we are both still coming to terms with - as both of us were rather too keen to get as many of our toys onto the table as quickly as possible.

I split my force, with the majority being deployed on or near the hill on my left and with a single section on the right to harass the enemy.  Lenin ended up with most of his troops on the ridge on his table edge but with a section further forward in a small wood.

I deployed my MG team to cover the ridge and started to lay down fire as I continued to deploy men on my left.  This gave me a base of fire which allowed my MG armed section to advance through to some rocky cover and set up there.  My other section advanced through the vineyard towards Lenin's advance section.

Lenin attempted to suppress me using his Bren but the power of my MGs was quickly felt.  He added a substantial amount of rifle fire to it which then gave me a little more of a headache but ultimately the power of the German MGs was decisive.

With Lenin taking some serious casualties on the ridge, his Bren team being forced to withdraw and his advance section pinned in the wood we called the game.

In the post game analysis we decided that the straight conversion of the Skirmish Campaigns scenario probably didn't make things easy for Lenin and that, in future, we would probably look more closely at aligning it with the Chain of Command approach.  All in all a fun game though and we'll certainly be playing the rules again.