Sunday, 29 March 2020

Bolt Action - Tiger Hunt!



In these dread times of social isolation, I guess solo war-gaming is no longer the pastime that dare not speak its name - in fact, rather than an admission of having no friends, its practically a social responsibility!



With a random drawing of activation dice, Bolt Action rather lends itself to solo play without any modifications - you just play each side's dice as best you can one after the other.


To cheer myself up I set up a quick scenario, set in my favourite epoch and with some of my favourite AFV's - Tigers and T34s! 



Somewhere out East, in spring or summer '44. Two Tigers are staying behind to delay the Soviet advance, followed up by six T34-85s, who by this stage of the war have 'regular' crews. The defending Germans get to pick the table edge they want to defend, and can deploy up to 2' in.



The attacking Soviets deploy a foot in from the other edge, and have to KO 1 Tiger for a draw, or inflict any further damage on the surviving Tiger to win. Simples!


Both Tigers set themselves up in woods, at opposite ends of the table.


The 2 T34 platoons pretty much set up opposite them, hoping to maximise the cover from the woods and village to get close.


On the northern flank the T34s advance cautiously....



hoping to take up covered positions in the woods and village...



But the Tiger is watching and shooting...fairly ineffectively as it goes...


On the southern flank 2 of the T34s advance through the deep woods, whilst one is sent to dash in the open, hoping to reach the Tiger's open flank...


Which tactic pays off handsomely - rather than wait for a side shot, the T-34 opened up at point blank range with a KO penetration!


Which means that platoon can race across the table to join in the fight against the sole remaining Tiger...



Which has been trading shots with the platoon hiding in the woods and village - misses on the T34s, and non-penetrating hits on the Tiger - although his turret is jammed - fortunately on the right bearing! 


Finally a Soviet hit converts to a plus 6 penetration brewing up the last Tiger...


A fast and enjoyable game, but I was surprised the Tigers didn't manage to KO a couple of T34s! That's the benefit of solo-play - for sure I'd have been playing the Tigers in a social game!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Flames of War: Ostfront '44


I'll be honest - I didn't have time to research a specific scenario for this game - I just wanted to smash down my recently painted Battlefront plastic T-34-85s as motivation to finish off the fourth and final box...(these are lovely models once assembled, but compared to their later designs getting the pieces off the sprues is hard work!)



So just think generic late war Eastern Front - somewhere in Byelorussia or Eastern Poland - a key road and rail intersection defended by a small but hard hitting Wehrmacht kampfgruppe, attacked by a large Russian T-34-85 horde...



supported by SU-100s, 2 companies of Motor Rifles, and ample artillery and heavy mortars as is the Soviet Way!


Whilst the table is dominated by the village/rail junction, there is also a collective farm in the vicinity:



Forces were balanced at 2,500 (Armies of Late War) with most of the Wehrmacht's invested in a company of Panthers. The scenario was Counter Attack, with the Soviets attacking. Playing on a 8' x 6' table, all distances were increased by a third.




The Germans duly chose to defend the quarter containing the collective farm, placing 1 Panther troop and HQ troop in reserve, and the other Panther troop in ambush. Their objective seemed well protected by the Grenadiers, mortars and Nebs...



The Soviets deployed less subtly, cramming all the T34s in the far corner of the zone as close to the other objective as possible, supported by the 'Cat-Killing' SU-100s and the Motor Rifles. The German held objective was screened by the SU-76 company, and well and truly ranged in by the 120mm mortars and ZIS-3 battery.


Stalin's 'River of Heroes' started off with as swift a dash toward the objective as was possible given the rail tracks and stream, so that the Motor Rifles were well able to keep up...


Unfortunately for the impending liberation of this part of Mother Russia - or soon to be 'free' Poland - the German immediate reserves did just that - arrive on German turn 1! 



Most of them were able to take up nice firing positions on the edge of a large forest, covering all approaches to the objective the Soviets were heading for!



Meanwhile the Panther ambush was sprung on the far side of the T-34 column...so that it was subject to fire from both flanks...



With devastating results!



A rare visit by a Shturmovik flight was able to bail one of the Panthers...




But this did little to balance the fire-fight the Soviet way - even the SU-100s were being whittled down..



Although the 'Cat-Killers' were able to get some in too!
 

In desperation, the SU-76s were ordered to forget the German Infantry...


 and try to sneak up on the Panther's vulnerable flanks...


which they did admirably!


However by this point on the other flank both T-34 companies and the SU-100 battery were no more!



And whilst the Motor Rifles had occupied the village and could have made it to the objective, the German artillery observer's successful ranging-in of both Nebs and mortars on the objective rendered that unlikely...


Game over! 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Black Powder: Waterloo segment


Addicted as I am to 28mil wargaming, playing Waterloo with Black Powder rules is usually confined to setting up specific segments and phases of the battle. For this game the focus was on D'Erlon's corps' attack east of the Brussels road.


The Corp's mission was to get at least 4 infantry battalions in good order breakthrough the allied line and make it over the edge of the dun coloured mat by the end of move 8.



These 3 infantry divisions had the support of Kellerman's III Cav Corps with a brigade each of Dragoons and Cuirassiers, and their own 1st Corps cav - 2 light cavalry brigades.



They also had a portion of the French heavy batteries - 2 heavy batteries and 2 medium batteries. With hindsight, I should have made these all heavies...


They also had a corps skirmish screen to secure the left flank of the attack from the defenders of La Haie Sainte.


The Anglo-Allies were defending with Kempt's 8th and Ompteda's 2nd KGL Infantry brigades, a strong skirmish screen including Rifles in the sandpit, Divisional Foot and RHA batteries. A small light cavalry brigade was in immediate support, and, further back, both Somerset's Guards and Ponsonby's Union brigades of heavy cavalry, also with attached RHA.



The French spent the first 3 turns bombarding the covered allied line, only really driving off one foot battery but doing no real damage to the infantry. The French plan was to focus on the right flank, where the ridge had no covering hedges and was furthest from the British heavies.


Attempting to make up for the time lost in futile bombardment, one of the light cavalry brigades essayed the desperate expedient of charging the guns...


Which promptly evaded, allowing the cavalry to follow up on the infantry to their rear, the 39th Dorsets, who were unable to form square in response. However the doughty Dorsets stood their ground and the cavalry were sent reeling with heavy casualties!


Meanwhile the KGL moved a battalion forward off the ridge to support the Riflemen in the sandpit.


Similarly the British Light cav came forward to deter any more effrontery from the French Chasseurs!


But the French Hussars were still game for a fight - in the drawn combat both sets of cavaliers had to withdraw, leaving space for the French infantry columns to move up...


The allied skirmish line and horse gunners did their best to disorder and break up the huge columns..


Initially inflicting heavy casualties...


Yet implacably on the French columns advanced...


Assaulting the Dorsets once again...


And their supporting guns...


Eyeball to eyeball across the ridge.


Attacking all along Kempt's Brigade...


Allied reinforcements were rushed to the scene of crisis - more horse guns...


Ompteda sent across what he could spare of the KGL, and even Somerset's Heavies moved to the flank of any potential penetration... 


But the French had heavy cav moving up too!


However, by move 7, the key decision would be determined by the Poor Bloody Infantry!


The French dogfaces launched their assaults with grim determination...


And withstood the withering musketry, only to be bloodily hurled back in the assaults, too late to regroup and try again to break through...


With hindsight, I had asked too much of the gallant French. Next time I will give them more time and more firepower!