Friday, 21 April 2017

Maurice Campaign - 'the First War of Succession'


Gary and 3 other lads at the uni club have been running a Maurice campaign loosely based around the Seven Years War, or at least that part of it when a madder than usual Russian Czar was enamoured of Frederick the Great...


Their armies are largely composed of beautifully painted Pendraken 10mil figures, which unfortunately is one of the few scales I don't have an army in, so I have remained aloof from the fisticuffs, also because my time is more than taken up with a Hail Caesar Ancient Greek campaign, Team Yankee, Bolt Action, getting my head around FOW V4, etc etc - typical wargamer overstretch!


But the pair of game put on by the lads this Thursday evening were not only visually very attractive, but also featured some interesting, possibly unusual, and definately not noice tactics so I thought I might blog about it from a position of ignorance - confusion and ignorance has never stopped me blogging in the past if a couple of half decent photos come out of the dozens I snapped!


Please allow Gary to set the scene:

In the South the Prussians hastened to support their Russian comrades and intercept the pursuing Austrians. The course of the battle may well have been predicted when the Prussians won the initiative against an Austrian +2 superiority in scouting.


Once the Austrians had deployed and committed their considerably superior (in both numbers and quality) Cavalry force to their left flank, the Prussians promptly deployed their own cavalry as far away as possible on the opposite flank and covered the Austrian line with their own Lethally Volleyed superior infantry and Grande battery.


Of course marching ones cavalry into such a hailstorm would be quite silly but regardless, the Prussians were a little surprised when the Austrian cavalry about faced and headed over to the other flank seeking out those Prussians now pre-occupied with maintaining their lines in perfect order.


This relocation of the Austrian mounted did however take several actions and the Prussian infantry did not hesitate to advance into musket range of the now mostly conscript Austrian infantry after the battle last month against the Russians. (Units get degraded in quality in the next battle of the campaign after being wiped out in battle)


The Austrian foot could not retrograde fast enough and soon felt the full rathe of those lethal volleys with several lucky rounds of firing reeking considerable carnage amongst their ever diminishing ranks...

 

As the Austrian mounted rounded the right flank of their army and advanced on the Prussian cavalry...


the Prussian cavalry now in the most absolutely perfect straight lines ever witnessed on any battlefield, the Prussian guns and a couple of infantry units came into action in support of their social betters on horseback.


The subsequent clash of horses and men, charge and counter charge, was appropriately deadly.


Was it ever! The dice you see here besides each unit represent their effectiveness at the start of the combat round, 6 for line, 8 for elite, minus disruption points, etc. To these are added the actual combat die roll, and the difference determines winner or loser...


I was surprised to see the much maligned Prussian Cavalry eventually overcome a larger force of renowned Austrian cavalry after an extended and hard fought combat (although the Prussians were characteristically methodical, not to say Teutonic,  throughout the combat around measuring their positioning at each stage of the battle to the exact micrometre and minute of arc, which slightly detracted from the dash and impetuous with which equine fisticuffs are normally associated in my mind!)


Gary explains:

However the narrow frontage of the Prussian mounted plus the assistance of the Prussian infantry all contributed to dulling the advantage of numbers and quality enjoyed by the Austrians (and a couple of very lucky rally rolls for the Prussians helped as well). As the dust settled 3 Austrian cavalry had been shattered including 2 Elite Cuirassier units for the loss of only one Prussian Hussar unit, and the remaining Prussians were in reasonably good order courtesy of those opportune Rallies.



On the other flank the remaining Conscript Austrian Infantry tried as best they could to blend into the scenery to avoid further attention from the Prussian musketry. The Austrian General now suggested that the worsening weather plus interminable saddle soreness should see an end to hostilities. The Prussian leadership quickly acquiesced to an honourable evacuation of the battlefield with colours, weapons and baggage train intact (minus a few trophies of course – damn nice gilding and braid on those Austrian scabbards!) – all soldiers returned to their campfires and bratwurst.


Unfortunately the gods of light and darkness decreed only my photos of the Austro-Prussian game were worthy of public exposure, so please take my word for it that on the other table was an equally enthralling and well presented game between the Russians and French, which involved the Russian main line attack heading directly through the largest forest on the table, to the bemusement of the French and Russian skirmish forces alike!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Team Yankee - Hasty Attack at Eiterfeld - Part Deux


As we left the first part of this Batrep; Team Yankee - Hasty attack at Eiterfeld - Part I it was just coming to NATO's Third Move, and the position of the US Mech team holding the line at Fulda was looking critical.



Admittedly the US Commander had resisted the temptation to spring his M1 Abrams ambush too early, and still had this nasty surpise up his sleeve - but the Soviet Motor Rifle in their BMP2s had crossed the valley like greased penguin poo and were threatening to overwhelm the objectives...



It seemed like it all hung on the US recieving reinforcements, and getting them in the right place - with Scattered Delayed Reserves these could turn up anywhere on the NATO table edge...


So there was good news and bad news - a platoon did turn up in reserves, but right out on the flank in the town of Eiterfeld itself! And unfortunately, though Bradley models were used, these were just to represent the much slower M113 - would they be able to race to the area around the objectives quickly enough to make a difference?


The US commander had no choice but to deploy the ambush, which thanks to the mobility of the Abrams, was able to get forward and contest both objectives - unfortunately at the cost of splitting the platoon...2 headed for the enemy armour...


The remainder to dispute the objective already held by the Soviet Motor Rifles...


Whilst the M1s were able to thin the ranks of massed T-72s,



they were less effective against the Soviet Infantry, so in another first, the surviving Cobras brassed up the Motor Rifles with their Chain guns, whittling them down sufficient to pin them - both objectives were now back in play!


However the Soviet Turn 4 was equally lucky, with an airstrike arriving on scene...


And reinforcement of yet another T-72 company arriving on scene...



The Soviet Frontal Aviation had no hesitation in targeting the Abrams..


As did a volley of Hind ATGW missiles...



With all those missiles flying around, some had to hit - and so it was that all 4 Abrams were knocked out in that single fateful turn!


The US fourth turn seemed like deja vu - once again the objectives were in Soviet hands and if they weren't evicted this go it was game over! With everything depending on the reserve roll, and the location of any reserves, yet again a platoon did arrive - but in the wrong place - Eiterfeld again!


So the only forces capable of coming to the aid of the beleaguered dismounts in the woods near the objectives were the remaining Cobras, and a fortuitious airstrike arriving on scene...


The A-10s concentrated their Maverick missiles on the T-72s, and the Cobras cannoned the infantry again...


Once again the Cobras did their part, rendering the Soviet infantry pinned and thus unable to claim their objective...


But the A-10s, though managing to knock out 2 T-72s, left enough surviving for the Soviets to claim that objective at the start of their move 5 - Game Over, Soviet win!


As I hope I've managed to convey, it was a really exciting game, seemingly with the NATO forces on the back foot every move, but hanging in their by the skin of their teeth until they were inevitably swamped. To be fair, they could have been much luckier with their reinforcement rolls, particularly the locations - 'scattered' doesn't begin to cover it!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Team Yankee - Hasty Attack at Eiterfeld - Part I



In preparation for our big LARIAT ADVANCE Team Yankee campaign game coming in May, I wanted to practice a medium sized game also set in the Fulda gap, with 2 Formations per side, with the Soviets attacking with 235 points and the US defending with 211 points.




The action takes place across the eastern half of the valley running N-S 4 miles from Schenklengsfeld down to Eiterfeld, interspersed by the village of Oberweisenborn a little higher up the slope. The actual map has been 'interpreted' a little, and of course just the northern outskirts of Eiterfeld, and southern areas of Schenk are shown. Oberweisenborn, in the middle, is just a hamlet, so if anything is probably fairly accurate in terms of footprint, although I've moved it a little to the west as an effect of ground scale. All in all the table provides a good mix of cover and open ground, but is characterised by a very comprehensive road network, as you would expect of West Germany in 1985. However I did restrict road movement on the forest trails to x-country dash speed.

This post will be the first of 2, and will just cover the intial deployment and opening salvoes...



US Forces as the defender placed half their forces in scattered delayed reserves, so it was mainly the Mech Inf that deployed on table. Their first objective was hidden away inside the red rimmed factory in Eiterfeld, and surrounded with a Mech Inf platoon and M113s.



With the approaches to Eiterfeld from the East well covered by 2 Platoon's Dragon and 66 teams...


Further up the road north, a battery of M109s was hidden in the copse outside the marshalling yards...



And their aiming point placed on the most likely Soviet avenue of advance - the forest trails up on the forbidding ridge opposite...



A flight of 4 Cobras maintained vigil in the centre of the NATO position, making full use of the cover behind Oberweisen, but also focussed on the the northern approaches to the two Soviet objectives.


The next link in the chain north was another platoon of Mech Infantry, holding a small copse ideally situated between the 2 objectives. This cover was also utilised by a section of Vulcan air defenders.


The northern edge of the NATO line was anchored by a third Mech Inf platoon ensconced in the southeastern corner of Schenk, with its tall buildings also occupied by artillery spotters and the Mech Inf CO.


Oberweisenborn in the centre fell outside the NATO deployment zone, so would have to be occupied by the 4th Infantry platoon if the reserves came on early enough - in the mean time the Cobras would have to do! And there was always the unit placed in ambush to fall back on - 4 x M1 Abrams, on attachment to the gravelbellies for the duration!


The Soviets also decided to lead off with their Motor Rifle formation, so it was the larger of the artillery batteries which deployed in the cover of the extensive woods on the ridgeline.


Next came the large Motor Rifle company, which was a bit jammed up along all the forest tracks...


But the road network promised quick access en route to the objectives!


The attached company of 10 x T-72s also struggled to deploy within cover!


A squadron of Hinds was on table but held back well out of Vulcan range!


And to complete the Warsaw Pact deployment the smaller Motor Rifle company was deployed up on the northern edge of the ridge ready to head straight accross the road to Schenk.




As attackers, the WarPact had the first move. No luck on the immeadiate reserves, but the Frontal aviation comrades were enroute...



and with no NATO MBTs in view, they were tasked with shaking up the infantry sitting between the two objectives, so I tried my first 57mm rocket salvo. One SU25 went down to Vulcan AA fire, but the remaining 5 let loose...


To little effect other than pinning the infantry down. An artillery salvo of 6 x 122mm guns also caused no casualties, but at least everyone in the vicinity knew the war was on!


The road network was put to good effect to push the armour forward towards the objectives with a x-country dash, but with an Abrams ambush in prospect the Hinds were left loitering with intent...


And the infantry pushed down the valley and into the village of Oberweisen, just dropping off a couple of BMPs and teams to cover the forward NATO objective from the edge of the woods. It also eased the road congestion somewhat!


The US first move also provided some on-task fast air, 4 x A10s (2 represented by models, the second pair by dice)...


and it was fair to say it was a target rich environment, with every road in the valley nose to tail with Soviet AFVs!


Their Maverick missiles gave them the reach to stand off well outside Soviet SAM range, and the Shilkas were sitting frustrated and useless at the back of the traffic jams...


The USAF airmen were free to make every missile count!


Damn those 'Devil's Crosses'!


Not to be outdone, the US Army aviators had also been stalking their prey...




And wrought havoc amongst the Motor Rifle company that was passing through Oberweisen!


However the Soviet second move saw the armour press on resolutely towards the objectives in the hope of compessing the available space for the US to deploy their M1 ambush.

And the Soviet traffic regulators had been kicking ass and taking names so that the Shilkas were now priority traffic!


Within the village order had been restored after the Cobra strike, and the rallied Motor Rifles were relieved to be able to debus from their BMPs and trot off towards the objectives from the south east...and a volley of 7 Spandrel missiles from their now empty BMP2s were fired in anti-helicopter mode, bringing down one of the 4 Cobras in revenge. A lot of firsts were being attempted in this game!


The US second turn brought neither Fast Air and reinforcements were not due til the next turn. Hard thought was given to embussing and redeploying the Mech inf from the 2 towns now that the Soviet main effort seemed to have been identified, but with the Abrams ambush still in hand it was judged unneccesary to change plans just yet...


The Soviet third turn saw 2 companies of T-72s from the Tank formation arrive from their forming up positions on two seperate roads opposite the objectives...


But no fast air would be arriving this turn - Nu Chotz! The Hind comrades would just have to do the work instead. After all, with no sign of the dreaded Abrams ambush they'd been loitering with intent for far too long - so far as much use as tits on a bull!



And bless those Afghantsy chopper pilots - they flew through a torrent of Vulcan cannon fire to do the job - 3 M113s and a Vulcan brewed for the loss of 1 Hind!



A T-72 took out the surviving M113, so at the end of the Soviet third move, the Red Hordes were dangerously near the thinly held objectives....


The next move was the third NATO move, would reinforcements arrive in time and in the right place to stem the Red Tide? More to follow...