Sunday 16 October 2011

61-65 at the Worcester Club 15th October 2011

I set up an introductory game of 61-65 on my second visit to the Worcester club (Friends of General Haig). I based it on the capture the farm scenario played previously. By way of recap, both sides have identified the farm (top of the picture) as an important part of the line in an ongoing battle as the area also has a ford by which troops could threaten the flank. In this case the area north of the ford is held by 4 squads of Rebs. 5 Union squads are tasked with seizing the farm.

The field, woods and stream (apart from at the ford) are difficult going for formed troops. The fences, wood and banks of the stream provide cover). The Union (Clive and Ed) have one veteran unit (Q3 C4), all other troops are regulars. The Rebs (Paul) are all regulars and will get one more squad which will turn up on their board edge after the 6th turnover by either side (the Reb commander does not know this).

The Union advance steadily, forcing a keen Reb squad back over the ford.

The first exchanges between skirmishers.

A nice ordered Union line.

The Rebs' skirmishers have been driven back exposing the squad to Union fire.

The Rebs prepare for the onslaught.

The Union prepare to push on towards the stream.

The first exchange of squad volleys.

Having pushed the Rebs away from the stream, The Union line advances, much the approval of their drill instructor.

On the Union right, the veteran squad gets ahead of the rest of the line, softens up a Reb squad with skirmisher fire and then routs it at the points of their fixed bayonets.

The Union veterans are counter attacked by the Reb reserve squad and with no skirmishing screen they are decimated by volley and skirmisher fire. Their morale holds however.

The Union squads, having lost a number of their protective skirmishers, fix bayonets and get in close, charging a Reb squad in the central woods

With much whoopin' and a-hollerin', at last the Rebs try their hand at charging. Both sides throw in their junior officers and both sides lose their junior officers! Morale holds and the fight will continue until the end of the game.

The lines begin to swing diagonally across the field of battle. To the left of the wood, a Reb squad is formed into column to counter the Union advance on the farm.

The farm is threatened now as the Union bring another squad alongside the beleagured veterans.

The Reb Captain encourages the column to move at the double.

The fight in the wood rages on. This time, the NCOs call each other out and both are killed during the melee. Casualties continue to mount on both sides but neither squad breaks.

As darkness falls across the field, the Rebs still hold the farm, but are under serious pressure, having lost two squads completely to the Union's one. Both sides have taken heavy casualties and have fought themselves to a stand still.

Friday 14 October 2011

The Treasure of Convento de Christo - A Song of Drums and Shakos game report

This game is based on one that I think was in a Free Hack magazine and was played out between Paul and Mark from the Gloucester Club at my place in the Forest of Dean.

I played the same scenario the following night against Julian from the Gloucester Club with very different results.

French Briefing
You are Lt Henri Legrand. You find yourself in charge of a small party of 12 infantry who are escorting a treasure chest to the front. The treasure has been taken from the Convento de Cristo and is needed to pay the hard pressed French army. Your Captain and most of your men were killed in a number of ambushes by guerrillas. You have managed to get the wagon load of gold to the village of El Abalario but the horse has succumbed to its injuries and now lines your men’s bellies. The village is deserted so you have sent 4 men off to the west during the night to find a horse. The remainder of your men (8) are with you in the village. Dawn is about to break and still no sign of your men nor a fresh horse.
You start the game asleep in the inn. 6 men are resting in the church. 2 men are on sentry duty. They can be positioned anywhere south of the stream.
The sleeping soldiers will be woken by a shout from a sentry or by gun fire. The sentry will spot a foe if within 2 long (still not full daylight) if he has 2 successful activations. It will then be up to him to either shout (free action) or fire to raise the alarm.
Each sleeping soldier will take 2 activations to be awake and combat ready.
The gold is too heavy to move and is still on the cart. It will take two activations to harness the horse.
French forces in El Abalario
Lt Legrand Q3 C3 Leader, sabre and pistol
Sgt Clouseau Q4 C2 NCO, Strong, sabre and pistol
7 infantrymen Q4 C2 musket and bayonet
Foraging party
Corporal Blanc Q4 C2 NCO, musket and bayonet
3 infantrymen Q4 C2 musket and bayonet
NOTE All French forces count as Scouts so can move through woods with no penalty.
A Get the wagon off of the table with the pay chest
B Be in possession of the pay chest at the end of the game

Portuguese Briefing
You are Lt Alfonso Aresta. You are in charge of a patrol of 10 Cacadores, including 1 Sergeant.
You start the game at dawn in the north east corner of the board. The Village before you is El Abalario. You have met villagers hiding in the hills who report that a small French force is occupying El Abalario and that they seem to be guarding a wagon very closely. You believe that this is a chest containing gold which was stolen from the Convento de Cristo to pay the Emperor’s soldiers
It is still not fully light so you will spot enemies within 2 long if the spotter has 2 successful activations. It will then be up to him to either shout (free action) or fire in the usual manner.
The gold is reported to be on a wagon. If it is the treasure then you know that it will be too heavy to carry.
Portugese patrol
Lt Aresta Q3 C3 Leader, sabre and rifle
Sgt Batista Q4 C2 NCO, Strong, rifle and bayonet
10 infantrymen Q4 C2 rifle and bayonet
NOTE All Cacadores count as Scouts so can move through woods with no penalty.
A Get the wagon off of the table with the pay chest (off of the eastern edge)
B Be in possession of the pay chest at the end of the game

All is peaceful in Abalario. The top of the photo is North. Paul placed his sentries on the church roof. Lt Legrand is sleeping in the inn (large building, bottom right) and the rest of the men are asleep in the church. Lt Aresta's Cacadores enter the board from the woods at the top right corner. They have a forage cart which comes on at the road at the top right corner.

The Portuguese have some terrible luck with their command and control but eventually make it to the stream. The French sentries spot them and pin them down with fire from the church roof.
In the meantime, Lt Legrand, unable to sleep is checking his men when the alarm is raised, allowing him to help Sgt Clouseau get the men up and out of the church. Capt Legrand gets up to the church roof to direct the sentry's fire.

One infantryman takes up position to pick off anyone brave enough to come across the bridge.

Lt Legrand waves his shako in delight as a succession of 6 vs 1 rolls are made, decimating the Portuguese attempts to cross the stream.

Sgt Clouseau gets his men in position behind a wall adding to the accurate fire from the church roof.

Lt Aresta, finding himself in the open, has been felled by a shot from the church, causing the first morale check on the Portugese who begin to fall back.

Corporal Blanc has outdone himself finding not only a horse, but a wagon as well. Unfortunately as treasure is so heavy they will have to unharness the horse and reharness it to the treasure wagon.

The horse is successfully harnessed and the treasure is on it's way to the front, "Vive L'Empereur!"

Fire continues to pour down on the hapless Cacadores...

...whose Sgt decides that the game is up and leads his surviving men away.

An easy victory for the French who made the most of some good early initiative rolls (and some awful Portuguese ones!) to take up a strong defensive position. The Cacadores were never able to bring enough accurate fire to bear to make the most of their rifles.

I played the Portuguese on the following night against Julian's French who were not up and ready quite as quickly as the previous game. This allowed the Portuguese to get over the bridge and stream with most of their force early on. The French took up the favoured Church roof position but this time with almost all their strength. This gave away a bit of initiative to Portuguese. The French foragers returned with the wagon and some furious hand to hand followed with control of the wagon exchanging between the two sides. Lts Aresta and Legrand had a sword fight in front of the church after the French failed a morale test and retired from the roof top. Aresta was killed by a sabre thrust which forced his men to fall back for a rethink. Both sides were now down to below half strength, but they fought on, desperate to recover the treasure. Sgt Batista provided covering fire as the last Cacadore made a last dash to grab the horse's reins. Batista's fire caused a final casualty which was enough to make th French fall back far enough that the Portuguese could get away.

Thursday 6 October 2011

The Road to Petit-Fillou- Rapid Fire at the Gloucester Club - 5th October 2011

Having planned an exciting, involved June 1944 scenario for us, he left it at home. In true wargaming tradition however, he managed to wing it and provided us with a splendid game. An assortment of pictures follow.

The main road to Petit-Fillou, down which my brave British Motor Battalion with supporting armour must push, in order to drive to the rescue (again!) of Julian's confounded paratroopers who are tasked with blowing a bridge there. No doubt they have got themselves lost again.

What's this? Gary's Bosch in the cemetery, what nerve they have as they take an early Reserve Fire option and bring down a brave British infantryman who was dawdling in the open humming Vera Lynn tunes to himself (typical sneaky German ploy).

Even more cheeky are a couple of blasts at short range from a skulking Pak 40 at my halftracks. Not sure who is crewing it however as a succession of 1's and 2's cause no more than a scratch to the paintwork.

Ah there they are, milling around, admiring the French countryside. Yes it's the Paras.

Aha, perhaps we'll storm Mark's AA position. In scenes too distressing to display here, heavy casualties ensue.

Numerous gun-sights converge on the Pak 40.

The VMGs on the halftracks pick off a crewman as their infantry hurry across to support them.

More wandering Paras converge on Petit-Fillou...

...and start to engage the defenders of Petit-Fillou in some short range fire.

Para's cross the fields under heavy fire and begin to take heavy casualties. Where's that armour?

Here it is. The infantry finally clear the Germans defending first bridge. The armour arrives and pushes on down the road.

Eventually the German recce vehicles are forced back, despite some shockingly poor firing from the British tanks.

"Wo sind wir Jurgen?" A stray German recovery vehicle finds itself between the lines.

As the British armour reaches the outskirts of Petit-Fillou, they are held up by the arrival of 3 PzIVs.

The lead Panzer is taken out early on.

The Panzers retire to the shelter of the buildings and take out two Shermans before the Firefly can take it's revenge.

"Where's those bloody half tracks gone?" Moaning British infantry on the road to Petit-Fillou.

The rest of the British column, hurries along the road to catch up.

The game ended with the Paras unable to blow the bridge due to some sterling work by the defenders of Pet-Fillou. The Panzers were defeated, leaving the town to the mercy of British who followed up the successful armour.

Really entertaining and very good looking game using Paul and Gary's super terrain. Was nice to get my Brits out of their boxfile barracks for the very first time in some cases. Unusually for first timers they performed quite well.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Dettingen - More Photos

Another close up of the Austrians.

A thin red line....

...aimed at by the massed French guns.

The French artillery.

Allied cavalry.