Monday, 11 July 2016

Team Yankee - Night fight!


In preparation for the forthcoming Team Yankee comp at the Hall of Heroes, Bryan and I have been working our way through the varied repertoire of TY scenarios, and we knew we had to get some experience of night fighting...


I laid out a fairly bland landscape, a good mix of urban and woods, with a river and railway cutting across the table - with the night fighting rules obstacle crossing takes on a whole new aspect, for the cold light of dawn can reveal a richness of embarrassments...


The scenario we chose was 'Bridgehead' from the TY 'More Missions' scenarios pdf:


And Bryan appropriately chose to defend from the river end of the table:


He had brought an Aussie Mechanised force, only one platoon of  4 x M1 Abrams (We appreciate the Aussies were actually running Leo 1s in 1985, but be patient, they will appear in due course!)


Several platoons of Mech:


Three x M109 155mm arty attached from the US Marine Corps:


And his rotary aviation assets a mix of USMC and Aussie helos for a total of 100 points:


For my part my 100 points were made up of lots of T-72s, lots of AA assets, a couple of Grach FROGFOOT fast air:


And for the first time, a small battery of Grad HAIL rocket launchers, for which I had high hopes!


As attacker I had the first move, and as usual used my 3 car scout platoon to extend my deployment bubble as far forward as possible...however the additional penalty for crossing obstacles at night meant that 2 of the recce BRMs ditched as soon as they entered the woods!


I soon discovered that keeping your artillery observer safely back in the woods at the edge of the table is pretty useless at night, so Bryan graciously allowed me to redeploy him further forward at the edge of the town...


I would use him to spot for the rocket battery, whilst the Gvozdika CARNATION battery, being armoured, would be more use up close using direct fire, or so I thought...


My T-72s attempted a barrage of fire against the mech infantry dug in around the closest objective...


But despite a couple of lucky hits, and Bryan's unlucky saves I soon realised that firing at night against a marginal target is foolhardy - all it does is open you up to be shot at yourself! Henceforth I would lead the infantry suppression work to the less valuable BMPs...


So duly began moving them up into position...


Bryan was unlucky with his reinforcements roll, and decided not to cut loose with his Abrams platoon which was in ambush, so I decided to push on boldly...


Once again the difficulty of obstacle crossing at night, not to mention minefields, cramped my style somewhat, with the red tide becoming more of a trickle...


Still my T-72s felt there way more successfully through the town, although this time the company commander exercised more fire discipline...


As my armour was steadily eroding Bryans M1 deployment options, he finally sprang the ambush....


TARGET! TARGET STOP!


 With more success on this reinforcement dice, he also launched a helo attack...



On my Strela GOPHER platoon of AA SAM missile launchers!



He knocked one out and bailed another, but lost 2 helos in the process...I moved my Shilka platoon up to beef up the defences around my precious armour - at night close range weapons seem more useful!



For the next few moves our tanks exchange fire :



In daylight this would have been a lethal exchange, as we were in or around close range,



however at night...



Whilst there were some hits,



these were few and far between compared to daytime. Time for the Red God of War to make his presence felt - cue the HAIL!



The observer did a great job of bringing the massive salvo template down on top of a rich haul of M1s, M113s, and dug in infantry...However, despite a several hits, the 4+ firepower check resulted in bails and pins rather than anything more lethal!



However as his M109 platoon came on as the last of his reinforcements, Bryan had learnt from my demonstration that, at night, direct fire is best! His artillery engaged my artillery, brewing two and bailing the surviving CARNATION!



Well past packing up time, the Battalion commander decided that the might of Soviet Armour would do better in the cold light of day, and the battle group pulled back to the cover of the trees for some hot tea, and a chance to survey the mess and think again...
 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Gettysburg Day 2 Mega game!


At the Hall of Heroes FLGS this Sunday we replayed the Battle of Gettysburg Day 2. However, we added a bit of a twist - the long and disasterous Confederate approach march did not get lost, so Lee's attack went in on time. Which in turn meant that Sickles didn't have time to disobey his orders and deploy the Union III Corps so far forward, with such dire consequences... As we were playing a counterfactual, the Confederates were also free to try to envelop the Union 'fishhook' from the North, instead of, or as well as, the South. Originally the plan was to incorporate Ewell's attack on Culp's Hill as well, but we didn't have sufficient players or models to attempt this this time around...We used Black Powder rules, an incorporated the 'Glory Hallejulah' supplementary rules lock stock and barrel, including their 1863 Eastern theatre stats. All Confederate units had the 'Rebel Yell' attribute, and 2/3rds of the Union brigades had 'seen the elephant'! General Lee had a command value of 9, all the others were 8.
The table was 6 foot wide by 18 feet long.



The teams were made up of the usual suspects, but with the addition of a few new faces, who hopefully weren't too scarred by their first experience of a Megagame!
The gallant Gen'ruls L-R: Vic, Philip, Alex, Craig, Josh (all Union); Bryan, Mark, Mark, Terry, Jim, Caleb, James, Caesar.
As occurred historically, Lee was a little concerned that his Corps commanders were a mix of grizzled, overconfident veterans, and inexperienced novices at the game:


 However, as always, we all helped each other out, particularly as it was the first time we had used the new supplement rules in such a big game! And the new recruits certainly proved able to fire volleys of 6's when required!


Fans of Sparker's Wargaming Blog will know by now that I have given up on expecting players to actually read my beautifully detailed scenarios, but in an effort to save precious playing time by speeding up the unpacking and setting up process, I had circulated a schematic that laid out who and what everyone was doing, both sides working out from the centre green column giving locations to work from:


In fact it worked so well I'm thinking of using this format again - dispositions of both Union and Confederate armies were hopelessly jumbled up on Day 2, but its straightforward to plot the relative position of Divisions and Brigades north to south of such a long and narrow action.


I should confess however I didn't spend to much time exhaustively plotting the position and type of artillery batteries, since I knew we didn't have enough models to do justice to the weight of fire required, having adopted the Supplement's recommendation of using 2 or 3 gun models per battery. However with the lovely Perry plastic arty available I'm sure we will have enough redlegs to go around for next time!


Again to save time, whilst Syke's Corps wasn't due on table until the end of move 4, it was deployed on the table edge at the game start. Philip reassured Caleb and Caesar they were there just for show....


The Confederates had the first turn, and pushed forward on the south flank up to Devil's Den...


boldly marched up to Cemetery ridge...


And indeed up to and around Cemetery Hill - clearly they were going for a double envelopment - a Cannae!


The fighting in the close country around Plum Run, Devils Den and the Wheatfield got up close and personal early on...


Whereas in the centre, strong artillery volleys slowed down the Rebel advance considerably...


So Josh was maintaining a stiff upper lip....


There were a lot of Rebs out there, heading our way...


In fact there were a lot of the southern gentlemen everywhere!


Nothing daunted, Craig, holding the Union left by virtue of his lovely models of the 20th Maine, decided to channel the ghost of Sickles anyway and boldly ventured forth into the Wheatfield...



So the fighting in that sector got as jumbled and messy as it ever did historically!



In the centre Alejandro and I were initially a little nervous...


But gained in confidence as the battery nestled in The Angle did its bloody work...


Up and beyond Cemetery Hill Vic was also feeling a bit of pressure, since the Rebels made so bold as to charge his guns...


But Philip around the Codori farm was arranging his positions for all round defence...


Using the lungs God gave me I gave good voice on a regular basis to keep the game moving along, and it wasn't long until the Blue and Gray were closely engaged all along the line...


There was a bit of dithering and confusion in the Union centre about where best to deploy our reserve artillery brigade, so that actually it spent most of its time limbering and unlimbering...Well, OK, I'd forgotten I'd promised to both Josh and Alex!


The fighting continued hot and fierce in the broken country to the south...



With Bryan and Mark working hard to try to force a passage across the Plum Run.


And also in the centre, as the authors of the supplement intended, Southern gallantry was finding it hard to overcome Northern grit and firepower...


So that we found that using the supplement did indeed emphasise the role of firepower, with most attacks degenerating into protracted firefights - some, but not all!


The Confederate team I think sensed about halfway though the game that their best chance of success was at the northern end of the table,



where James, Caesar and Caleb were pushing us hard...its always a bad sign when the opposition have to come around to your side of the table to move their troops! The Bryan farm seemed about to fall!


Whereas in the centre the relentless attacks were just about held at bay once they came into close range, the majority of the ever thickening Blue line protected by the stone wall...



So Terry launched a determined, all out attack between the wall and the Wheatfield. It met its doom at the hands of a well handled battery of rifled artillery...



Back on the Northern flank, the Rebel pressure was unrelenting...



And there was indeed a short breakthrough...


But in so doing, the Regiment became 'whipped', and hence the Brigade became 'Broken', and ample Union reserves were just over the otherside of Cemetery Hill...


A fine day's gaming, with lovely models played over professional terrain, all in the very best of company!