Monday, July 17, 2017

Russia 1943 - KGCII

Mark drove up from Olympia last Saturday to host a game of Kampfgruppe Commander II. He has an extensive collection of 15mm WWII Germans and Soviets so it was no surprise that the scenario pitted four battalions of Germans assaulting a russian fortified line. Well ok it was only one battalion of very good Germans and three battalions of not so good Hungarians attacking so so russian infantry regiments.

The axis force had to clear the center lane and capture the Village sitting astride the road. The Soviet main line of defense sat along an east west road, centered on a fortified hamlet at the crossroads, though they had refused their right flank.



The Axis plan was to have the German battalion sweep wide left and outflank the soviet line, they were to be supported by a battalion of Hungarian infantry. Two other Hungarian battalions would attack down the center to keep the Russians from reinforcing the flank. The Soviet plan was just to hold up in their field works and wait for the tanks to arrive.

Soviet strongpoint in the center. This proved to hard of a nut to crack for the Hungarians.

Two Hungarian battalions preparing to attack.

German Bn crossing its start line.

Supporting Hungarian infantry companies.

The Axis attack on the soviet right flank got off to a slow start. Terrain disrupted the movements and the Hungarians supporting attack stalled out quickly. However after massive artillery and mortar fire on the hilltop location, the Germans eventually got around the flank (covered by a woods) and forced the remnants of the defending Russian battalion to retire.

Hungarian infantry moving forward to attack.

The Germans were supported by a veteran StuG III company.

Hungarians finally move up and occupy the vacant hilltop fortifications.
By this time the Hungarian commander called off the attack on the hamlet. There were just too many russians to make an assault, and russians had moved down to flank them on the right. Soviet tanks also showed up at this time.
This small hamlet was bombarded extensively. The Soviet defends dug in and could not be dislodge.

Relief is coming!

T-34's finally show up.
 As it became clear there was no threat in the center, most of the Russian tank regiment moved to counter the Germans flanking the Russian line. While the Germans got the better of the Russians, and had completely turned the flank, they did not have enough troops to push the reformed flank back onto the village.
Most of the tank regiment moved to stem the Soviet right flank.

Though battered Soviet infantry holds on in the hamlet.

The Germans just about to turn right and attack the Soviet flank.

T-70's raced to cover the flank ... went into action and were knocked out quickly.

T-34's with infantry support cover the open area. They were later driven off from Stug and mortar fire.
We called the game after several hours of gaming. The axis side felt they did not have enough troops to effectively continue the attack, even though they had turned the flank and the German battalion was in relatively good shape.

We all thought it would be a cool idea to take this result, adjust the table somewhat and game out a follow up attack by the axis side. We'll see if that comes to fruition, as I suspect Ken will be hosting the next game and there was talk of British...










Thursday, July 6, 2017

1777 Saratoga Campaign - Sharps Practice 2

So our SP2 Mexican-American War II has been going pretty well ... we just finished round three and I am prepping for round four which will be our 1st "big" game where all six of us will be at the same table.

That said, most of us are already working on our forces for the next narrative campaign: 1777 Saratoga. I am no exception and have finished my first group for my Mixed British-Loyalist force ... British Grenadiers!

Eight Grenadiers from the 20th Regiment of Foot
The 20th Regiment of Foot has already had combat experience, assisting in the relief of Quebec in May 1776. The grenadiers will be the hard hitting unit of my force, ie my foot cavalry.

Lt. Whitham of the Flank Company, 20th Regiment of Foot
The Grenadier detachment is led by Lieutenant Whitham, who is familiar with the colonies due to his family having holdings in New York. An experienced officer serving with the 20th for several years; he is the senior lieutenant of the force.

1777 British Mixed Column 99 elements from Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser Advance Corps
Leader III 9 Major Stedman
Leader I 3 Ensign Bramley
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
British Regulars (8) 6 24th Rgt
3pdr (1+5) 6
Indians (12) 7
Leader II 6 Lieutenant Fraser
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Loyalist (8) - Provincial Regulars 4 McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists
Leader I 3 Lieutenant Beaubien
Loyalist Ranger Skirmishers (6) - Canadians 7 3rd Company (quebec)
Leader I 3 Sargeant Trahan
Loyalist Ranger Skirmishers (6) - Canadians 7 3rd Company (quebec)
Leader I 3 Lieutenant Whitham
Grenadiers (8) 7 20th Rgt
Musician 1 24th Rgt
Exploring Officer or Scout 3 Ensign Adams of Adam's Rangers
Specialist - Marksman 2 from Captain Frasers Ranger Company
Water Cart 2

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Battle of Mark-Kleeberg - General d'Armee

Last saturday we had our second run through of the GdA rules ... I really did not get to play for several reasons, more people showed up to game than expected, had store customers and unbeknownst to me at the time, was coming down with a bad chest cold (still kicking my butt!)

The scenario had most of the Polish 26th Division defending Mark-Kleeberg, I decided to have the Vistula Legion rated as an elite unit, mostly to see how elite units fare in the game than any statement about the quality of the unit in question during 1813.
My latest scratch built building is on the far right.
I made the village three sectors, and was able to test out the "tall" 20mm idea I am leaning towards for villages. And in this case, think it work out very well. The other two polish battalions along with a battery held the French right anchored on a school house complex.


A polish battalion and artillery battery were in the open linking the school with the village, they supported the battalion in the school that ended up bearing the brunt of the allied attack.

Another French brigade (lower left), this one from the 51st Division was
tasked with keeping the Austrian's on the other side of the river.
Though hard to see the hill, two brigades of the 52nd French Division were on reserve behind the creek.

The French had to keep a brigade near the ford to keep the Austrians from arriving to the battle.

The calm before the storm ... Looking from the Western side of the Pleisse River where the Austrians are trying to force their way across. The Allied units will be arriving from the right side.

French Columns waiting to support the Polish troops occupying Mark-Kleeberg ... turned out they were not needed and instead turn and faced the russian troops arriving from the flank.

1st Bn, 8th Infantry Regiment (polish) 
The Polish battalions on average were a little over 225 men, so I decided to combine 1st and 2nd battalions of the regiment into a standard sized battalion for GdA.

The detachment comprise the fusilier bn from 12th Brigade and two reserve Bn's from 9th Brigade!
Col. Lobel detachment of fusiliers and reserves under assault orders advance quickly upon the school house. The tactic look good ... at least until the combat started :)

Initial actions of the battle
Along with their brigade skirmish screen, the Prussian detachment on the left were the first troops to engage the Polish. Two massed columns charged the polish defenders, both sides supported by infantry. The odds favoured the more numerous Prussians but not by much and the Polish held the initial round of combat.

Several Bn's from the 10th Landwehr Infantry Regiment 
The Prussian reserves arrive in the center with orders to take Mark-Kleeberg ...sadly this was as far as they would advance!

Both brigades of  GdD Semele 52nd Infantry Division
The French commander started releasing his brigades in reserve to respond to the multiple threats opposing him. Turns out he did not need most of these units.

French 6lb foot batteries from IX Corps
The batteries on the hill got into the action by engaging prussian units with long range fire.

The final round of combat had the Prussians with a 13 to 9 dice advantage ... they lost 1 to 6!
The Polish defenders held on but it looked grim for them as the combat continued ... But of course the stubborn polish troops threw the massed prussians back!

1st Landwehr Cavalry Regiment 
The Prussian landwehr cavalry pretty much just suffered under French bombardments during the battle...

The Russian had even less men per Bn than the Poles. The whole 14th Division was
 less than 1600 men and was represented by four small battalions and a large battery.
The Russian 14th Division moved on from the right flank, but soon became a mass of confused units, as it tried to face two directions and make room for the Russian cuirassier brigade to charge through them. It did not work out to well, especially when a unit of Polish cavalry charged that mass of men.


The attack stalled out so they called the game early. It was at that point a solid Polish victory but the bulk of the Allied troops had not been engaged. Ken in particular had some horrendous die rolls for activating brigades ... even with the attachment ADC he had multiple turns with hesitant brigades.

This game did not flow as well as our first game, though I think this was due in large part to a larger game, more people and everyone still new to the rules. We are also suffering relapses of Black Powder tactics, in that we are used to freely moving around battalions, which is not the case with GdA as the maneuvering of individual battalions is more restrictive.

We have another game scheduled for the end of the month and suspect it (and every additional game) will go smoother as more of us have the rules in hand and have forgotten our BP gaming foibles.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Napoleonic Buildings - Plancenoit

Ken and I have been floating the idea of doing the Prussian attack at Waterloo in 28mm. This got me thinking on what terrain we would need. The village of Plancenoit should be the main focus of the game so started thinking about how to represent it on the gaming table. My initial thinking is that we'll need about ten 9"x9" BUA's, or about five feet of village.

I am pretty sure I will be using "tall" 20mm bldgs, as I think we need lots of buildings to get the "village look" but still have space to put bases in each sector. I already have a couple of 20mm resin buildings and plan on using them as templates to create up about 15-20 buildings.

I created up a test building, and while it took a little longer to make than I thought, I think it turned out pretty good, or at least good enough when put next to 15 other buildings, walls and trees.


The Original
I'll most likely need to do something different for the roofs ... too costly for essentially "throw away" buildings. I am leaning towards just drawing them in, though might cut strips and stack them up for the roof tiles.
The Front
Using the grid paper really made making the windows and doors easy ...
The Back
I added some coffee sticks and brick to the sides, then applied spackle. I'll thin out the spackle even more on the next batch of buildings. I might add more features on a few select buildings but am thinking I'll build most of them like this. Sanded down the spackle, and primed the building.

Once the primer was dry, I rough out the colors for the roof, building sides and brick work.

Then brightened up the colors with heavy dry brush.

 Painted in few details, such as the windows and different colored bricks.

Walla! One down fourteen more to go :)

Most of them won't be this big, I'll do about eight single level buildings and half a dozen smaller two story buildings.

Edit: Looking at the map and deployments of the French and Prussians I may rotate the village and just have the top half or two thirds of it on the table. This would cut down on the number of buildings needed

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Festeplatz - KGCII

Ken has been working on a lot of WWII Russians the last couple of months and was keen on running an Eastern Front scenario. So he came up with a scenario that had a reinforced Russian Mechanized Corps sets its sights on a German "Festeplatz" held by a battered infantry division.  Their only hope is to hold on long enough for the 3rd SS Panzer Division to arrive and restore the front line.

As is the norm on these big games, I was not able to participate that much! Though I was able to get some pictures of the game from Mark and had a brief understanding of how the game played out.

The Russians advanced upon the 1st line of fortifications held by infantry with a few AT guns ... the preliminary bombardment was fairly effective and pinned most of the line. The Germans eventually fell back or retreated as several battalions of Russian tanks arrived, in particular the battalion of ISU-122 really threatened to open up the German center.


A German PaK front was established on the right flank made up of a whole lot of PaK 43's! Though they took heavy return fire, the batteries smashed the ISU-122 battalion and halted an advance column of T-34's. Now most of the Russian armor skirted wide of the PaK front over to the German left flank.

So when the Recon bn from the 3rd SS arrived it drove down to the left flank to counter the massing Russian armor and troops. 



Both sides advanced into and around a wooded area that some German grenadiers decided was a good place for a final stand. The Soviets made a big push into the woods but could not dislodge the grenadiers or SS troops, so fell back to recover.


While the russian attack smashed the front line troops, it was not able to make headway into the village as more German reinforcements arrived. And when the flanking mechanized corps arrived the Germans had stabilized both flanks ensuring that the road was clear. It was at this point the soviet attack was called off (aka we ran out of time!)



We called it a German victory even though the Grenadiers took a pounding, but that was expected as they bore the full brunt of the soviet attack and were able to maintain complete control over the village.