Thursday, 18 June 2015

Waterloo - a Russo-Japanese War refight

Waterloo ... 18th June 1815 ... 200th Anniversary .. etc etc ... if you need to know more then then look at wiki

For the past several months I've been playing my La Haye Sainte game at various shows in England. At the club this week I did think about playing it to commemorate the battle but honestly couldn't face it.
Japanese Kobi battalions attack Plancenoit

A few years ago I commemorated the D-Day battle of Pointe du Hoc by playing a game roughly based around it using troops from the French Intervention in Mexico in the 1860s. Therefore I decided to refight Waterloo with my 10mm Russo-Japanese Wars armies using Battles for Empire (BFE). So that's a Napoleonic battle fought with early 20th century troops using a set of Colonial rules

I commanded the Japanese who would play the part of the Anglo-Allied and Prussian armies and the Russians, commanded by Rodge, would be the French. I told Rodge that this was a refight of Waterloo and that the Japanese reinforcements would be coming in from the north because the table was flipped.

The Scenario
A Kobi battalion rests before the battle

During the battle of Mukden a Japanese attack to the north of the city has been held and the Russians are counter-attacking. The Japanese have fallen back on a ridge line but have had no time to prepare defenses before the Russians attack. The Japanese can expect reinforcements from the north but must hold the line otherwise the Russians will outflank the Japanese forces engaged to the south.

The Battlefield

I dumbed down the battlefield and flipped it so that Hougoumont was on the Japanese left flank and Plancenoit would be vaguely on their right flank. The were a few fields of kaoliang dotted around.

The Forces
The Japanese Commander waits for the Russians to advance

Japanese
6 Battalions of Line Infantry
3 Battalions of Kobi (Reserve) Infantry
4 Batteries of Artillery
2 Hotchkiss MG companies

These troops can  deploy anywhere east of the blue line

Reinforcements
3 Battalions of Line Infantry
6 Battalions of Kobi (Reserve) Infantry

Each turn roll 1D6 and note the score - 3 battalions appear when the score reaches 10, then a further 3 battalions at 20 and  the last 3 battalions at 30. Each reinforcement appears randomly along the north table edge.
The Russian commander watches his troops go over the ridge
Russians
16 Battalions of Line Infantry
4 Batteries of Artillery
4 Maxim MG companies
2 Sotnia Cossacks

All troops start on the western table edge

Deployment

The Japanese deployed as follows taking full advantage of the buildings and the reverse slope of the ridge
The Japanese Southern flank with Hougoumont in the distance

Southern flank
1 Line Battalion in Hougoumont
2 Artillery batteries and 1 MG Company on the ridge 
2 Line battalions behind the ridge 

Centre
1 Line Battalion in La Haye Sainte
1 Artillery battery and 1 MG Company on the Ridge 
2 Line battalions behind the ridge 
The Kobi battalions defend the Japanese Northern flank 

Northern flank
1 Kobi Battalion and 1 Artillery battery on the Ridge 
2 Kobi battalions behind the ridge 

The Russians deployed the artillery as a "grand battery" across the central road with 3 battalions to the south. The remainder of the force deployed north of the road. I thought that this was a cunning plan on Rodge's part as he would be coming face-to-face with the reinforcements. Rodge however had forgotten that and thought that the reinforcements were coming from the south.

The Battle

Artillery in BFE is devastating and when the Russian Grand battery opened up on the northern ridge line it qucikly destroyed the Kobi battalion and the artillery stationed there. This allowed the main Russian force to advance almost unopposed. 
The Russians advance on the northen ridge

The Japanese reinforcements arrive

However on turn 3 the the first lot of reinforcements, 3 Kobi battalions, appeared north of Plancenoit. The Russians dismounted the Cossacks in Plancenoit and together with an infantry battalion held off the Japanese.
Cossacks defend the approaches to Plancenoit

Japanese troops start moving north

To counter the Russian thrust against the northern flank the Japanese ordered all the troops behind the ridge to move north. 
The Russians advance ove rthe ridge
Japanese troops in La Haye Sainte about to attack the Russian flank
The two armies about to clash
The tail of the Russian assault force
The fight for the centre begins
With hindsight maybe the Japanese should have brought their firepower into play earlier. At close range both sides inflicted heavy casualties but with greater numbers the Russians gained the upper hand.

Japanese troops in Hougoumont pinned by skirmishing Russians

The southern flank was devoid of troops as the main Russian force fought to the north sucking in the Japanese troops. Hougoumont was held by a single battalion and pinned by two Russian battalions.
The Japanese commander stares defeat in the face

After the Japanese had lost the northern and centre ridge line I conceded the game. The original defenders had lost 6 of the 9 battalions plus both MG companies and 2 batteries. From the reinforcements only 6 of the 9 battalions had arrived and 3 of those would never reach the battle in time.

Therefore honours to the Russians but let's face it the French always win Waterloo. 

Maybe I should have risked putting the Japanese infantry on the ridge to shoot the Russians rather cower in the relative safety of the reverse slope. However the Russian artillery wrecked everything that showed itself.

The figures are all by Pendraken

Saturday, 30 May 2015

FWC Bootcamp 2015 - Saturday

The sixth FWC Bootcamp, the world's premier (only) organised gaming weekend for 6mm Future War Commander, took place on 30th & 31st May 2015 at the Tudor Arms, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.
Saturday's contingent included Gordon, Luke, Mark, Mike, Paul, Rodge & Steve. As tradition demands we started off with a 1000 point Mad Max game based around the Ork/Hunter-Scavenger army list. As tradition demands most people ignored this and used other armies.
We split into 2 teams - Red with Pax Acardians, Eldar and 2 Ork armies facing Black with Space Marine 2 Sisters of Battle and an Ork force
There were two objectives - kill the enemy, obviously , and get data, booty and various other tat from the Ork dropship sitting in the middle of the table. This was represented by having a command unit adjacent to the dropship during the initiative phase which earned the force 1 Victory Point
As usual the battle descended into chaos. Black Space Marines overrunning several Red Ork Command units and pushing them off the table - twice!.Red Eldar refusing to do anything although when they did get going they stomped the Black Space Marines, Black Sisters of Black relentlessly attacking the rear of another mob of Red Orcs. Pax Arcs sitting on a hill lobbing smart missiles at all and sundry and the commander of the Black Space Marine ending up in an acid lake!
Pax Arcadians on the move
The Space Marines Commander finds a case of steroids on the Ork dropship
Red Team Orks occupy the landing pad
Black Team Nazi Orks pass through the ..er.. pass
Sisters of Battle attack Orks in the rear
Black Space Marine Commands ends up in the acid lake
Nazi Orks pile into town
Pax Arc SOP - deploy and fire smart missiles
Eldar toast the Space Marines
Red Team Victorious

Honours eventually went to the Red team with 5 VP to Black's 2 VP

In the afternoon Paul umpired a scenario that looked impressive and kept Steve, Gordon and Luke engaged for several hours. I noticed a Star gate, coastline, a rail network and a bordello among the scenery plus individual player instructions. It's on my list to play.  I've no idea who won - I'll ask tomorrow.
Paul's board 
A Star Gate, bordello and Girl Guide Camp?
The train approaching platforms 3,4 and 5 is coming in sideways
Pax Arcs allow an RDF convoy to pass

I roped Mark into trying out my Dudley Zoo scenario which is based on a throw-away paragraph in a Bolo Story.

Mark's objective was to control all of the floors of  the zoo's Gene Bank.

Simple - just get past the wild fauna roaming around, the half-crazed survivors pouring up from the animal pens and the three-quarter-crazed zoo staff holding the building itself.

Dudley Zoo with animal pens, gene bank and giant pint of lager
I used 4Ground's impressive District 1 Bank ,which they had kindly donated, as the Dudley Zoo Gene Bank. although it is designed for 10mm it does work really well with 6mm. 

Neo-Soviets advance towards the Gene Bank
Half-crazed survivors have a good laugh as the Sovs Forward Artillery Observer blunders
Aftermath of the Artillery Blunder - CO suppressed
More survivors appear from the animal pens
I really should pose my photos better
Neo-Sovs at the doors of the Gene Bank
Ground floor Staff Security welcome the Sovs
We need more troop!

Mark had no idea what to expect so used his Neo-Soviet force (1500 points) which slowly shot it's way through the grounds of the zoo to the building only to have his infantry halted on the ground floor of the gene bank.

Originally I was going to do this as a multiplayer game but with hindsight it's either a one force game or solo game. Capturing the building requires either solid, tough infantry such as Space Marines or masses of foot eg Orks

Tomorrow is a replay of the A Star Gate Too Far scenario - can't wait

More photos here

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Skirmish on the L'Adour - 15mm Napoleonic Muskets and Tomahawks

General Situation
By 1814 an allied army of British, Portuguese and Spanish troops was operating in southwestern France. The French army under Marshal Soult had retired east from Bayonne towards Orthez. followed by an Anglo-Portuguese Army under Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington leaving Bayonne under siege. The siege was described as "leisurely to the point of apathy" with French and British soldiers fraternizing and exchanging goods and letters
View from the south east corner - Shaun is in the river
The Scenario
This scenario is set in a small hamlet somewhere along the south bank of the River Adour between Bayonne and Orthez.
View from the south west corner
The hamlet of 4 houses is set hard against the river, just off table to the north. There is a road running east-west through the hamlet with a road running off to the south. The area to the south of the hamlet rises up through wood hills to a ridge.
The French
A supply column escorted by an infantry battalion and an artillery piece has left Bayonne aiming to join up with Soult's army. The objective is to get the 2 supply wagons off the eastern edge of the table
6 Officers Veteran, Scout
3 Fusilier Companies Average, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases each)
1 Fusilier Company Green, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases)
1 Grenadier Company Veteran, Musket, Firing Line, Scout (8 bases)
1 Voltigeur Company Veteran, Musket, Firing Line, Scout (8 bases)
1 Gun
2 Wagons
The French can deploy 3 companies in the hamlet, the remainder of the force enter on the western road on turn 1. The order of march must be set out beforehand as arrival will be at the mercy of the Activation cards
The British
A large reconnaissance force of 4 Companies, Kings German Legion has been tasked with capturing the supply column and locating and escorting 2 British spies back to friendly lines.
3 KGL Officers Veteran, Scout
2 Light Companies KGL Veteran, Rifle, Scout (8 bases)
2 Line Companies KGL Average, Musket, Firing Line (8 bases)
The British can deploy anywhere along the southern edge of the table

The Game
The French deployed 3 companies  in the buildings at eastern end of the hamlet. The column was set out  with 2 wagons, the gun and the remaining 3 companies.
The British deployed all of their troops in the southeastern area of the ridge and moved rapidly to form a loose north-south line across the eastern edge of the table. The riflemen then proceeded to shoot the French troops in the hamlet.
At the other end of the table the column became a traffic jam as the wagons blocked everything else from coming onto the table. Eventually the jam was sorted out and the 3 extra companies started forming a line to advance against the British
The British realised that if the French advanced them then they would be overwhelmed so they moved a rifle company back up onto the ridge to enfilade any approaching French. They caused severe casualties to the French as a result of this.
Back at the eastern end of the hamlet the rifles played havoc with the French troops picking them off slowly but surely. The French mistakenly decided to return fire rather than charge out and engage the British in close combat.
Inevitably the riflemen wore down their opponents who belated decided to charge out forcing the KGL Line companies to retire with losses
The artillery piece did not get into action and was over run by a rifle company swarming through the buildings searching for the spies. With barely a full company left the French quit the field leaving both wagons, the gun and the 2 spies to the British.
The End
An interesting game between a shooty force and a stompy force with the later playing into the hands of the former by going for the fire-fight rather than closing with the bayonet. The rifles were lethal in this game even though they take twice as long to reload. The artillery was almost useless so I might have a tweak with the rules for them. Otherwise I'm very pleased with this variant of Muskets and Tomahawks.
The Toys
The buildings are from 4Ground's La Haye Sainte range and work fine as standalone buildings
The figures are by Campaign Game Miniatures
The Muskets and Tomahawks variant can be found here