Saturday, 31 May 2014

An Unfortunate Event

John put on this Napoleonic game using the rules from Neil Thomas's 'Introduction to Wargaming'. I have been interested in using his nineteenth century set and these bore a very close resemblance. This particular game featured the Austrians and French, I got the latter and the CO bore a striking resemblance to the Corsican Ogre.

Le petit caporal surveys proceedings from a handy hill.

Austrians masses massing in the distance.

My brave chaps march forwards to secure the first hill.

The main weight of the French was on the right, aiming to outflank the cumbersome Austrians.

The Austrians lumbered up to their hill. The reverberations of their boots made the camera shake.

Over on the right we press on against the Austrians in the distance.

Over the hill we go.

Meanwhile on the right we deploy in l'ordre mixte.

Having been shot at by artillery and menaced by cavalry, we fall back and hide in square on the reverse slope of our hill. Well, it is keeping the Austrians busy.

A bloody firefight ensues on the right, battalions melt away but the Austrian cavalry is driven off by the French.

The French left reforms.

The light infantry battle does not go so well for the French. Oh well, what was that saying about omlettes an eggs?

With the Austrian reserves commited to protect their left, the French left surges forwards once more. Grenadiers led by Napoleon himself.

Desperate fighting continues on the right. The Austrians reduced to less than three bases can't form square and are threatened by the French cavalry.

Infantry and cuirassiers approach the Austrian hill.

The Austrian right is reduced to a single stand, victory is in sight!

Things don't go so well on the left as the cuirassiers are repelled by Austrian Grenadiers fighting in line. Oh dear!

Finally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the French cavalry fail to overrun one weakened Austrian regiment, and the other Austrians defeat the French infantry in hand to hand combat. Zut alors!
Well, there we have it, never have we seen such a promising situation messed up so completely in a few turns. The Austrian victory cries were thunderous, and the French may have lapsed into somewhat coarse Anglo-Saxon at several points. Ahem.

I really enjoyed this, despite being thrashed. A great set of rules with some very, very clever ideas (the treatment of artillery supports is simply genius) and they produced some really tense moments. As it was the first time we'd played them, the game went on a bit longer than we normally like, but I'd certainly want to play them again and it has made me keener to put on a nineteenth century game.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Holding back the tide

This was the fourth scenario in our ongoing 'Red Guards at Kursk' campaign. Previous games had seen the Soviets overrun the German infantry defences and push 5th Tank Corps through the German reserve lines and  into the operational depths. In this scenario the German operational reserve (5th Panzer Division) moves to stop the Russians.

In this game the Germans had a battalion sized Kampfgruppe with two companies each of Panzer IVs and armoured panzergrenadiers supported by a battery of 105s. The Russians had the armoured elements of a tank brigade; three tank battalions but only a single company of infantry (SMG armed tank riders). Their mission was to establish a bridgehead over the marshy stream which bisected the battlefield.

Tim and Kayte took the Germans, John and Jerry the Sovs.

Kampfgruppe von Gow moves into position. The Oberst himself is visible in the foreground.

24th Tank brigade pours on, shielded by the terrain.

T70 battalion in the lead, trying for a wide outflanking manouvre.

One T34 battalion plus the brigade artillery battery occupy the hill to provide cover while the other T34s follow the T70s.

The Germans take up position in the hills, fields and woods.

First blood to the Germans, artillery fire hits the hill and a T34 is knocked out by the Mark IVs.

The T70s cross the stream, despite two of their number temporarily bogging down. The woods cover them from view.

They interpret their orders to establish a bridghead as 'charge the Germans at top speed'. Oh dear.

The T34s follow.

Somewhat inevitably the fields are now littered with burning and disabled T70s.

One of the following T34s is also knocked out.

Some T34s make it across the stream as the T70s contnue to suffer heavy fire.

The environment is so target rich that even this Stummel gets a chance to pop away with its short 75mm gun.

The German fire drives back or destroys the T34s across the river.

Having lost two thirds of their tanks, the Russians concede.
Well, that was fairly short and sharp! All the Russians needed to do was establish a bridgehead over the river, which they could have achieved by sneaking through the woods nearest the camera and then waiting for the Germans to come to them, but they got a bit carried away...They were also a little unfortunate with their return fire which pinned but failed to knock out any of the German tanks.

That section of the campaign is now over, and the Germans destroyed enough tanks to pull out an overall campaign victory for this section, despite being flattened in the previous three battles. Historically 5th Panzer Div halted a number of Soviet attacks, and the Russians paused to draw breath and then resume the offensive, which is where we'll pick it up again in the future.