Thursday, 14 October 2021

Midday at the Oasis! - A Men Who Would Be Kings Rules AAR

Monday night we played a Men Who Would be Kings game with the Mahdists up against the British (who else?)!

We chose Scenario B, Seek & Destroy as the basis for our game. What we did this time though to help the 'Native Forces' was boost their attacking points to make up for Messrs Martini and Henry, none of this 24 points against 24 points! Like in our previous games we gave each side an overall Leader who would be the only leader on each side with a 'Trait', this they could apply to any Unit once a Turn. For the tabletop we based a British encampment near an oasis on a plain with some high ground and rough terrain, the British had a few quickly thrown up 'barricades' which gave light cover status.

"Fuzzy-Wuzzies Sah! Fousands of 'em!".
The British Gatling Gun Crew tackle the Mahdists led by Osman Dirka...

Mahdists Army (51 Points)
Commander Osman Dirka (making a second appearance) this time rated as 'Destined for Greatness'
5 x Tribal Infantry at 15 points
5 x Fierce and Veteran Tribal Infantry at 21 points
3 x Well Armed Veteran Tribal Infantry at 15 points

British Detachment (On Table 18 Points)
Commander Colonel Brown-Pants who was rated as a 'Damned Fine Fellow'
2 x Regular Infantry at 12 points
1 x Well Drilled Gatling Gun at 6 points

British Detachment (Off Table 12 Points)
1 x Regular Infantry at 6 points
1 x Highlanders at 6 points

This was going to be one big game, 196 Mahdists against 54 British! The British off board troops were available from Turn 2 and the Mahdists could enter eight Units on Turn 1 and the rest of their Army on Turn 2.

Please note from our previous experience we now play The Men who Would Be Kings with the below House Rules;
1. All Pinned Units retire half a move when initially Pinned and act as Gone to Ground while Pinned (note ALL Units GTG and for the whole duration of being Pinned).
2. If a Unit with multiple Pins fails to Rally reduce the Total Number of Pins by 1 for each failed Rally attempt (Units will always retain ONE Pin until Rallied).

AAR

The British deployed using their cover with an Infantry Unit on each flank and their Gatling Gun in the centre. The Mahdists advanced with a three of Units in their centre and five on each flank!

With amazing alacrity the Mahdi horde advanced (read high rolls for bonus At the Double movement) and they were quickly in range of the British who opened fire as soon as they could causing casualties but crucially not Pinning the Natives.

As the Mahdi got within short range of the British the air was filled with hot lead and attackers losses began to mount, one, two and then three of the advancing Units were Pinned and despite the Mahdi Units good morale their forward momentum was beginning to stall...then on Turn 7 a crucial roll changed the game, the Gatling Gun Crew failed to activate! There was a lull in the British Musketry! Seizing this chance the first Mahdi Unit contacted the British behind their barricades, this first charge failed to breakthrough but it inflicted losses on the British Unit. These losses meant the defensive fire started to dwindle. A second charge struck the British line, this too was unsuccessful but it weakened the British even more! 

The Mahdists now engaged the British left Flank in close combat, the game was in the balance! At this time the British reinforcements on their right flank slowed the Mahdists but they did not reinforce their left, they used their other reserve Unit to move into the encampment in the centre of their line. This weakness on the British left proved decisive, it was here the Natives got around the British defences! The situation began to crumble for the Brits. A shining light for the British at this point of the action was the heroic performance of Lieutenant George; after repelling four ferocious attacks and with his whole Unit slaughtered around him he gainfully fought on with his revolver and sword driving off the the fierce Mahdist warriors single handed, Victoria Cross material indeed! It required a direct order from Colonel Brown-Pants for him to retire to the rear and seek aid (and await his award presentation!).

Osman Dirka, the Mahdist Leader who had been quiet early in the game now came to the fore! Mopping the sweat from his brow and girding up his loins he personally led two great charges; the first overran a British unit near the encampment and the other smashed the Englishmen who had been successfully supporting their right flank, these successes along with the capture of the Gatling Gun after it apparently jammed again (read failed another activation) broke the sprit of the defenders! Colonel Brown-Pants ordered his men to withdraw, his intact Highland Infantry Unit complied while loosing off a final volley which decimated the Mahdist unit they targeted!

HUZZAH! (in Mahdi of course!)

Some Pictures!

The British Encampment is called to "Stand To!" suspicious Natives had been spotted!

Overview at the end of Turn 2 the Mahdi begin their advance (very quickly!)...

The Mahdists Right Wing...

The Mahdists Left Wing!

The undaunted defenders take a bead on the attackers...

Overview at the end of Turn 5...

During Turn 6 the crack of Martini-Henry fire increased...as did the Mahdists casualty rate!

The first contact! Lieutenant George's Unit receive the initial Mahdist onslaught and see it off with ease albeit whilst taking casualties!

But disaster looms for the British, at a crucial moment the Gatling Gun falls silent and the Mahdist seize the opportunity!


Meanwhile Lieutenant George's besieged men see off yet another charge!

They then pepper the never ending swarms of Natives before them!

The British left flank was still holding firm but needed assistance...

...and they failed to get any...they were overrun! The Mahdist Leader Osman Dirka leading the victorious assault in person!

Another Mahdist charge on the British left is repulsed...Lieutenant George himself sees the last of the Natives off with time to spare to twirl his moustache!

Not done Osman Dirka led a second charge defeating the British holding the extreme right of their line!

Colonel Brown-Pants ordered his Highlanders to withdrawal, which they did in good order!

The battlefield at the end of game!
Note the 'death disks' I use to mark casualties and are great at showing the flow of the action well we ran out!!! We resorted to using tipped figures to mark the losses! I have ordered another batch to ensure this doesn't occur again!

Summary
So a Mahdist win with 18 VPs to the British 7, the Umpire gave Lieutenant George a bonus VP for his heroic stand on the battlefield. The casualty count was frightening 87 Mahdists fell as did 37 British! The battlefield was certainly awash with blood! As it turned out we boosted the Mahdists force by a little bit too much BUT next time we have a really good idea on how to bias the forces of the gun armed guys versus paw paw and stick armed ones! So if the defenders have the same 30 Points as the British did this time we'd give the Mahdists 45. Also of note in this game we need to take into account the Leader Traits, being 'Destined for Greatness' Osman Dirka was twice able to advance Units and allow them to charge from quite a distance whilst Colonel Brown-Pants had no special effect on the action at all! Overall another excellent night thanks to the Men Who Would be Kings rules! Can't wait to return to the Sudan again...

Sunday, 10 October 2021

TSOG Longstreet Grand Campaign #2 - Game 2 AAR

Monday night after a rather tasty BBQ the TSOGgers adjourned to a pleasant evening of wargaming! We played Game 2 of our new Longstreet Grand Campaign! The player line up was as per our first game and everyone was fired up and ready for a tough fight!

Entrenched, Colonel Clampett's 'Boys' prepare to receive the Yankees, who were the Zouaves of Colonel Zook!

Onto the Game... The Battle of Twin Peaks

Scenario; The Hilltops
The CSA Won the Scouting Roll and elected to defend
Extra CSA Terrain 1 x Swamp, 1 x Rough Ground
Extra USA Terrain 1 x Rough Ground, 3 x Woods

Attackers George and Pete
Spalding Character Trait: Friend in the State House
 
Defenders Dave and Maurice
Driftwood Character Trait: Fire & Brimstone Preacher

The AAR

The Union Army of the Potomac pushed south into Confederate territory in 1862 and Brigadier General Spalding’s Brigade was in the vanguard! His orders included securing a pair strategically important hilltops known by the locals as the Twin Peaks.

Spalding reconnoitred the Rebel positions and decided on a massive attack using his right wing while his cavalry pinned the rest of the Rebel force in place, he was convinced this would see a quick victory, orders were dispatched and the attack began. Confederate General Driftwood was quick to see the Yankees intent and acted promptly redeploying his Regiments, he also sent a message to Colonel Clampett’s Regiment entrenched on the smaller of the Twin Peaks to hold at all costs and await reinforcements!

Initially the Federal Regiments moved as ordered making good ground and the Confederate right was successfully pinned as they hoped by the Cavalry, but and the Rebel artillery and reserve cavalry did moved to face their advance and assist Colonel Clampett’s men.

It wasn’t long before the Yankee right hook lost all co-ordination, the main columns experienced unexpectedly poor terrain that slowed them while lost orders and rivalries between Officers led to two uncoordinated (and unsuccessful) charges on Colonel Clampett’s stout Confederate Boys! After these events Colonel Zook his Regiment broken and looking dishevelled was heard to comment, "Those damn Rebs they're immovable just like a stonewall!"

The situation was now looking worse for Colonel Spalding and his Yankees but even though the Confederate Brigade had redeployed to face his main attack Spalding continued with his original plan and launched a second charge! This onslaught failed too and under heavy Rebel fire the defeated Federal Regiments broke and Spalding's entire Brigade retired leaving the Rebels in command of the crucial high ground.

A stunning victory to Driftwood's Southerners! They had inflicted heavy losses on the Federals and beat them back decisively! A defiant Rebel Yell echoed across the battlefield!

Some pictures of the action!

The initial Yankee deployment looked promising! Four Infantry Regiments with artillery support facing a single Confederate Regiment!

The best Confederate Unit was on the wrong flank so unable to face the main Union force, in the distance behind the trees the Yankee cavalry can be seen.

The Yankee artillery target Clampett's Regiment as the infantry march past them, unfortunately the guns did little damage!

The Union columns knew there was rough ground before them but the swampy terrain behind that was a surprise and this was to cost them dearly!

Rebel Colonel Clampett ordered his men to 'dig in' on their high ground as the Bluebellies deployed before them! 

The Yankee Cavalry launch their own flank attack!

Colonel Spalding's grand attack unfolding...

The first Union charge on the smaller of the Twin Peaks hill failed as one Regiment failed to get its orders in time and the other attacking alone was easily repulsed by the Southerners!

The shattered Pennsylvanian Zouave Regiment (at the bottom of the hill to the right) retires after getting no support during its charge taking heavy losses!

The Yankee Cavalry's grand ride continues!

After the Yankees initial charges against the Rebel hilltop position failed they prepared to advance again but now that Confederate reinforcements had arrived to cover the rear of the hill and any chance of a breakthrough had all but evaporated!

The Union Cavalry continued to play cat and mouse with Rebel Infantry they faced.

Colonel Clampett's Regiment continue to hold their hilltop position despite being changed twice, bombarded and fired on! To the rear of the hill the Yankees form up to advance again all the while taking casualties from fire!

The Confederate Right wing was tied down successfully by the Union horsemen but it was of little significance in the final result!

The Yankees second large charge was a gamble which they lost, here you can see them attacking with inferior numbers against defenders supported by artillery! Still it looked good for the Northern Reporters!

Well a decisive victory to the Confederates losing only five bases to the Federals seventeen! Dave's skilful interrupt card play really ran the Union attack off the rails initially and with the Rebels reserves redeployed the Yankees were never able to recover! Still the Yankees managed to coordinate a couple of very large (albeit unsuccessful) charges giving them a slight edge in epic Points in the end. Also the Union's heavy losses and a rather lack lustre post game 'process' will make game three in the Grand Campaign interesting! They will start it with four Regiments of four or less bases, a rather fragile force! The Confederates will have a more compact yet intrinsically stronger group of Regiments! Stay tuned for the next game!

Post Game process was completed and the below resulted.

USA Epic Points 6
CSA Epic Points 5

BG Spalding Promoted
BG Driftwood Promoted

New OOBs for Game Three


Wednesday, 29 September 2021

ECW AAR - Baroque Rules

Monday night we tried out and ECW game using Baroque Rules!

Both sides had 600 point armies created using the 'Army Lists' in the Rules.

Each side deployed hidden from the other and it turned out that both had roughly equal centres and beefed up right wings.

The game was aggressive (as we wanted to test the rules to the limit). Initially the Royalist Right ploughed through the Parliamentary flank and threatened to roll up their entire army whilst a similar result was occurring on the other side of the table as the Roundheads Right broke the Royalist Left! A bloody and close engagement ensued that saw the Royalists just win!

Some pictures of the action!

The Parliamentary Infantry form up in the centre of their battle line...

The Royalist Army (to the left of picture) boldly advance as the Parliamentary Leader calmly sipped on a frothy beverage!

Brave Cavaliers crashed into a Roundhead Cavalry Unit soundly defeating going on to overrun the artillery nearby and then rode wildly off and played little further part in the game!

We discovered Cavalry should not enter woods, well actually we knew that beforehand but retreating and pursuing Mounted Units sometimes have a mind of their own!

Parliamentary Infantry advance on their opponents!

The Royalist Horse begin to roll up the Parliamentary line, here a Roundhead Pike & Shotte Unit is hit in the flank by a Mounted Unit while Royalist Infantry advance to their front!

Confusion reigned as the battle reached its climax with both sides Infantry fearing Mounted Units outflanking them!

So an entertaining game was had, we have a couple of rules questions to resolve but will definitely have another go with them. There was quite a lot more movement than we expected especially amongst the mounted units, while the infantry slugged it out! The good thing is mastering these rules will allow us to play Ancients Games as Maurice has an extensive collection of those and these rules are basically the same as Impetus that covers that era!

Monday, 20 September 2021

Kurtsevo - July 29, 1941

 

TSOG Visits Smolensk

July 29, 1941. With Smolensk surrounded, elements of the 7th Panzer division are pressing on towards the ultimate prize, Moscow. Soviet forces have regrouped however and are intent on cutting the German supply lines around the town of Kurtsevo. Tasked with defending the supply depot, the 1st Mechanised Infantry regiment set up a roadblock and a makeshift bunker, deploying on the edge of the town. They were provided with a PaK36(t) anti-tank gun.

 The Russians managed to find some armoured support in the form of a BA-10 armoured car and an aging BT7 light tank and pressed the attack across the sunflower fields on the outskirts of the town.

The German patrols were either timid or arrogant (or perhaps had a cunning plan), but either way, they let the Soviets cross the open fields unchallenged right up to the edge of the village. Quickly occupying the outlying buildings and the gully of a riverlet, two sections of Soviets waited patiently until the Germans exposed their position.

 

 
Russians in the village! 

Alerted to their presence, German LMG teams hurried into position in the bunker and also occupied the river gully further upstream and around a bend. The Russians opened fire as they saw their hated enemy appear, much to the shock of the German troops.

The MG34 is a fearsome weapon though and it cut through the Russian troops in the gully like a scythe.


 
 Take that Ivan!

More teams arrived on the battlefield from both sides and fire was exchanged without any noticeable gains in ground. But after suffering a few casualties, the panzergrenadiers in the gully withdrew back to the cover of the village enabling a Russian section to advance to the wood’s edge unopposed.

The distinctive rumble of engines grew louder and a BT-7 light tank appeared from around a bend in the road, spraying the German bunker with its machine gun. Combined fire from the tank and the rifle squads ripped through the MG team in the bunker and the last remaining gunner withdrew to make room for another team.

The AT gun, positioned behind the roadblock, let fly a round at the approaching tank. A hit on the front armour shook the crew inside but merely scratched the paintwork. It did cause the tank commander to halt and reconsider his decision to close though.

 Things are looking bleak for the Germans

A BA-10 armoured car also entered the fray and joined its fire with that of the tank, which had moved off into the sunflower fields to make some room. Unwilling to risk the devastating fire of the MG34 teams, the Russians stayed where they were concentrating all of their efforts on taking out the AT gun crew. The gun was unable to penetrate the frontal armour of either vehicle, but it did damage the gun sight of the tank limiting the main weapon’s usefulness.

 "Shoot them" said Maurice.

More lethal fire rained down on the Russians in the gully forcing the survivors to withdraw from the battle. But some enfilade fire and accurate mortar rounds on the AT gun killed the crew and left the Germans unable to defend against the Russian armour. A tactical withdrawal off board was decided and the Germans ceded the battle.

A significant victory for the Russians!

The game was played using Chain of Command, setting up according to Table 1 in the excellent Pint Sized Campaign of Smolensk (by Stephen Philp - link). We weren’t using the campaign rules (not yet anyway) as this was just a training game for the guys and a chance for me to try my hand at refereeing. Plus it gave Pete a chance to finally roll some dice! We used scenario 3 Attack and Defend from the main rulebook.

 

 
Table Layout (lifted from the campaign book)

Pete and George played the Russians and Dave and Maurice played the Germans while I pretended to know the rules, while drinking beer and eating party pies.

The game was fun and we pretty much followed the rules accurately (thanks more to Pete than me), with only one or two mistakes. Playing a campaign though will take a well-rounded understanding from everyone playing and so we’ll try a few more stand-alone scenarios before we commit to the long game. Pete and I will need to seriously expand our respective forces’ support options too before we really get going. I have a shopping list of light tanks, mortars and AT guns, as well as additional troops to reflect the scarcity of SMGs in early war Soviet infantry platoons.

Now I'm off to the shed to paint more Russkies!