Saturday, 9 April 2022

WW2 West Front 1944 Campaign game 06 (last) on a A4 3x4 grid with 6mm forces

Introduction

This is mission 6 in a campaign following a British company through 1944 France.  I am using 6mm forces and playing on a 3x4 grid on a A4 page.  I did a similar East Front campaign in 2017.

Rules

I am using my own rules.  I have modified the ones I used in 2017 to be 1d6 for all rolls, rather than 1-3 per attack.  They are likely to change slightly as I playtest them on the games.   I am using Platoon Forward to generate the missions.

The rules are here:  ww3x4 Advancing Companies V2.0d.pdf 

In summary, most units move 1 square and can fire out 1 square and non-firing units are seen at 0 or 1 square.  Stacking is 3 units of one side per square.  Each turn normally has one square activated (random side but a chosen square) and units in that square can fire, move or rally.  Then the other side activates a square.  After each side has an activation there is a special melee phase where opposing units in a square fire at each other. Play another turn and keep this up until one side's morale fails.

Mission 6

It is 1944 and a UK infantry force is attacking a German infantry force. The UK mission is a screen.

The force is tasked to provide a screen to protect engineers working nearby (just off table from entry point).

The terrain is hills:

Open | Wooded Hill |Hill

Brush | Open |1-3 buildings

Open | Hill |Woods

Hill | Open |Crops

 

Victory is to hold off the attackers until engineers are done. Lose if do not hold off the attackers.

The UK force enters in zones 10-12. The German force Enters at right of 3 zone.

Note: At the end of each turn roll 1d6 and add to previous turn roll.  Once the total of 20 is reached the engineers are finished and you may withdraw.  For my games, I will use 1d3 as the turns are shorter.

The UK has regular morale for its five sections and one leader. Support includes Carrier Platoon.  The Carrier platoon is an LMG team, PIAT team and 2” mortar team.  I will treat is as a section with PIAT and 2” mortar attachment.  If carriers are lost, they will be dismount and be suppressed.

The German has veteran morale for its three sections and one leader. Support includes 2xMMG.

Troops

British


Co HQ Hodgson (Regular)

1 Plt HQ Cole (Regular), 1 Plt 2 Sect Knowles (Regular), 1 Plt 2 Sect Davies (Green)

3 Plt 1 Sect Manning (Regular), 3 Plt 2 Sect Hanson (Green), 3 Plt 3 Sect Williams (Regular)

 

Germans


Germans (1 Zug + 2 MMGs)

 

Deployment


The British need to both hold off the Germans and stop them getting through.  The woods are a good defensive point, and the hill is a good place to hide against.  The buildings are too far to get to and the Germans will get there first.

The Germans will move on the MMGs as a defensive base first and then advance down both flanks to probe for weaknesses and attempt to get though.

Game

The British move 3rd platoon into the crops for hopefully next turn moving into the woods.  There is no much in the way of cover on the British side other than the woods.  Then again, the German have to get past the British so it is not just a case of hiding in the woods.

The Germans move their two MMGS on board at the hill on their right flank, going for the buildings and wooded hill for both probing and good fire bases.

Opening moves

D3 roll = 2.

The British continue to advance with 3rd platoon into the woods.  The aim is to stay there and use the crops as a fallback position.  Next turn will bring on 1st platoon on the left to prevent the Germans advancing down that flank. The Germans bring on their Zug on their right flank (note – they should have come in from the left as per the scenario. Ah well).  Hopefully can advance using the MGs -one or both may advance to assist with the Zug advance.

Turn 2

D3 roll =1. +2=3.

The British advance the 1st platoon (two sections) onto the hills. Could be a dangerous move.  The CO, Hodgson, advances into the crops to provide rallying point for 3rd platoon.

The Germans Zug advance into the brush and spot the 1st platoon.  They do not have the range to shoot.  May be time to swap places with the MG.

Cautious advances

D3 roll = 2. +3=5.

The British bring on the carrier platoon into the shelter of the hills and dismount.  I did not show the carriers as they are not really useful for the battle.  The  Germans move one Gruppe to the rear hill ready to be able to move an MGs in.

D3 roll  =1. +5=6.

The British do nothing but the Germans move an MG from the hill into the brush with the 2 Gruppe, and move an MG and a Gruppe into the building.  I should have done the town approach with all the Germans.  The building is hard cover, and the Germans are all vets.  The British can only activate one square so the Germans will be able to fire at something regardless of what the British do.

The Germans do a pincer move.

D3 roll = 2. +6=8.

The British in the woods attempt to spot the Germans in the building – yes (needed a 5+).  Now to fire or assault.  Assault would be bad as the British are advancing into an MG (3 dice).  Firing is also poor as the Germans are in hard cover.  The British fire and miss with all shots.  Oh dear.

The Germans fire back with 4 dice.  Lucky shots see 2 sections rout off the table.

Two gone from the 3rd platoon

D3 roll = 2. +8=10. Halfway.

The British need to retreat out of fire to delay the Germans. The single section from the 3rd platoon retreats into the crops.

The German MG in the brush fires at the 1st platoon on the hill.  One section destroyed, the other suppressed and retreats to the carrier section.

1st platoon loses a section

D3 roll 1. +10=11.

The British rally 1st section platoon, the Germans move out of the safety of the brush into the open between the hills.  There is no opposition – the British last stand is being made on the edge of the battlefield.

The Germans advance into the open

D3 roll 2. +11=13.

The Germans advance on to the hill.  Risky but if they can advance off the table they have won.

Germans advance to the edge of the battlefield.

D3 roll 2. +13=15.

The British have no choice but to advance into the square, the Germans fire back and force the British to retreat to where they came from and both British sections are suppressed.

British assault the Germans on the hill.

The Germans advance some sections off the road.  The engineers are disrupted and the Germans have manage to win.

The Germans advance off the battlefield and so win

Verdict

The British really had no chance facing 2 MGs and none of their own.  The MMG has 3 dice that is equal to that of 3 sections, and a longer range.  The only way to remove them is suppress them and the close assault.  This would have been difficult to do in this game.  The reason the Germans took as long as they did was the cautious (and I think probably correct) approach in trying to find the weak spot and exploit gaps. The British should also have maybe not put the 1st platoon section on the hill but I don’t think it changed the game much.

Last notes

This is the last game in the campaign.  I like the generation of the battles and playing them out but find I am not really invested in following the status of the units themselves.  I think I could handle tracking 4-5 units/soldiers, but not 10.  I will definitely be playing more of the 4x3 games though. I really like the tactical challenges they provide.  I am also tempted to try out converting some scenarios to 4x3 to see if they still are good to play when moving to a small grid. This  will have more variety for both sides as I will not not be locked into following the same infantry company  If I do this long enough I may even be tempted to scale up to A3 or actually create permanent terrain squares.

Update: The original inspiration for the 4x3 grid was MiG Tank Commander. A fan update provided rules for scaling up to 5x4 or even a bit larger. So I will take the activation rules from the update and apply then to my own rules.   6x4 is a really good size as it also maps onto a 6’x4’ table.  I have dozens of scenarios I have collected over the years and my goal (as of today anyway) is to work through at least some of them using these rules.   I know I will never get to play all these scenarios with 20mm anyway so this will give me an opportunity to play some of them.  Never fear, I still will be playing 20mm WW2 but for a variety of reasons have not the ability to set up my half a table tennis table (my sweet spot size playing area for 20mm WW2).  I have tried a 6’x3’ (dining table) but just doesn’t work for me.  Yes, I know, get a different dining table J

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Battle of Carrhae 53BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash - Gridded

Introduction
This is game 58 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  But there are a lot of changes in my rules between game 57 a few months ago and now.  In summary, they are new rules! With the major changes being a)  plays on a 12x12 square grid b) no disorder so no markers c) Still 1d6 rolled for movement, missile and combat but results are framed similar to  DBA combat outcomes, compared to my old rules that has a list of die modifiers.  This produces a game that flows much better as there are fewer exceptions in the rules.  I have a very dense 1 page QRS and am in the process of writing up the rules. I have playtested them over the last month or so on about 15 (historical battles) games so far.  This did generate some changes but they were unchanged for the last four games so think it is time to continue playing the Peter Sides replays.  The rules are called Ancient Battlelines Clash Gridded (ABCG). Still aim for a less than 30 minute game. While not the same as the old ABC, they aim to produce similar results with similar command and control constraints and missile/melee outcomes.

I have attempted gridding my own previous rules a few times always unsuccessfully.  For grids, I found I needed to use the retire/overlap mechanisms from DA to make it work so I started with those rules and them changed them so much they only have a passing resemblance to DBA.  No PIPS – roll to move a group/unit, overlaps work differently, units are a bit different in combat values and combat outcomes, and combat is a single d6 rather than opposed rolls. 

For this game, I bought a 50cmx50cm square carpet tile and divided it up into 12x12 squares.  This produced 42mm squares that are great for my 40mm base for 15mm figures.  I did not want to mark up my 60m tables in case I decide to go back to non-gridded rules.

Battle of Carrhae
Crassus and his Roman legions are trapped in Parthian territory against a very mobile Parthian enemy.

Troops

Roman

6 legions, HI
2 Auxilia, LI
4 Allied cavalry, LC
1 Baggage train/Camp (movement 1)
1 leader
Breapoint: 9

Parthian

1 Cataphracts, CAT
10 Light Cavalry, LC
2 leaders
Breakpoint: 7

Scenario changes
All I really did was scale down the forces so they will fit on a 2’x2’ table.

Deployment

Deployment

Game
Note: The Light Cavalry will be at a -1 disadvantage Vs the legions but will force the legions to retire on a 6, else the Light Cavalry themselves retire or recoil. The Cataphracts are at +1 to the legions and will rout them on a 4, 5, or 6.

The game begins and the Parthians all successfully charge in.

All make contact

The first combat sees a legion recoil, the second sees a Parthian Light Cavalry flee.
The Cataphract destroys a legion.  All the 2:1 Parthian Light Cavalry Vs Roman Light Cavalry sees the Roman allied cavalry rout.

After the Parthian turn.

   
The Romans do a bit of reorganising but there is not a lot they can do in the short term.  The Light Infantry turn. They do manage to get an overlap on the Cataphracts and force it to retire.

Roman legions (and Crassus) Vs the Cataphracts.


The Parthians move to get as many overlaps as possible.  One Light Cavalry also manages to break through a gap and end up behind Crassus.

Crassus is surrounded.



Overview at end of Parthian move

 
It was never going to end well, Crassus’s legion routs in the subsequent melee.  Crassus is captured or killed.  The entire Roman army reaches their breakpoint and rout 

Rule changes
None.

Verdict
Well, fast.  But it was never going to be a draw out affair with these rules and also a very one-sided affair.  The Light Cavalry rules worked better than I thought.  I do like them do far and so will hopefully write them up properly and play some more. Other games with heavy infantry on each side will last longer Note: I do have some 6mm historical Early Middle East games lined up using the same rules so hopefully will get even more testing. 

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Battle of Sambre 57BC using When Warriors Collide

 Introduction

This is game 57 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  I I was using my own rules Ancient Battlelines Clash but am now using some new own rules When Warriors Collide 2.0, a combination of Bill Bank’s Ancients with some ABC elements.    I am in the process of writing up some revisions to these rules.  I continue to play test the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  WWC2 is designed to finish in around 30 minutes on a 2’x2’ table.

Battle of Sambre 57BC

While making camp Julius Caesar is attacked by a coalition of Gallic Tribes hidden in woods.

Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Sabis 

I also used the Society of Ancients battlepack for this battle to help out with forces and deployment.  Details are in the Slingshot magazine #241.

Troops

Roman


2 Elite Legions, elite HI

6 Legions HI

2 Raw Legions, HI, poor

1 Camp

3 Leaders

 

Gauls


2 Elite Warbands, elite WB

8 Warbands, WB

1 Camp

1 Leader

Scenario changes

I modified the Peter Sides scenario to align better to the Society of Ancients Battle Pack

I considered adding in special hedge rules, or simply making linear hedges exist between the 3 groups of legions. I felt there was no need as group rules, and the fact warbands represent a lot of warriors, will be fine to limit the movement and flank attacks.   The Sambre provides no impediment to movement nor effects combat.

Deployment

Romans to the left, Gauls to the right

The elite legions are on their right flank.  The Gallic elite warbands are on their left flank.

Game

All the warbands advance but the Gallic right leads the way and contact first.  Appallingly they did not do so well in combat (roll a 1 each) and are both disordered.


The Gallic right flank does not do well.

The remaining Gallic warriors clash with the opposing Romans.  Better than the right flank, there are disorders on both sides.


Combat along the line

An interesting next round of combat.  Swings everywhere!  The Nervii (Gallic left flank) lost a unit but in the centre, both sides lost a unit.  The Gallic right flank, after doing so poorly in the first combat, manages to hang on an inflict disorder on the opposing legions


Current state of the battleline.  One unit each lost in the centre.

The Gallic centre unit has made it to the Roman camp.


Gauls have reached the camp.


The centre legion about faces to help defend the camp.

Another Gallic unit is lost to the Nervii. 

The roman reinforcements arrive! As well as the centre legion attacking the Gauls attacking the camp.  The Gauls rout.


The Roman reinforcement and camp attack are in the foreground.

After two more rounds of combat the Romans manage to rout another warband.  This takes the Gauls over their breakpoint and they flee.  The Romans win.   Not this was actually in the last turn so it could have been a tie if no further warband was lost.


End game

 

Rule changes

None.  But it is hard for me to go from a “unit does everything when activated” to IGOYGO. Every time I move a unit into contact I want to conduct a melee straight away, rather than wait for the melee phase or that side.  I may have to go back to doing all the phases for a unit at once, purely to stop tripping me up!

Also, the leader function is really only undisordering a unit if not melee, and a loss cause more breakpoint loss. Jury is out if I want to change that – it was useful in this game as the about face by a legion disordered them but the leader was able to undisorder.  Also, I do know in previous games a unit will eliminate the unit it is melee-ing and so would have an opportunity to remove disorder. No change for now.

Verdict

A very interesting game.  The wild swings of the dice (1 and 6’s) provided some nail biting moments.   The Gauls made it to the Roman camp but the Romans did not make it to the Gallic camp, unlike history. The Roman right flank could have been in trouble if they had continued to roll badly.  The rules held up well.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Operation Jupiter 17 - Crossfire at the Woods 20mm WW2 (own rules)

Introduction

This is game 17 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book.   Links to previous games are on this blog page.


Rules used

My own rules.  I have scaled up my rules for 6mm on 2’x2’ table to play on half a table tennis table with 20mm figures.


Scenario

The British force has six turns to secure the woods, The woods are secure when over 50% of the Germans are KO or routed.


Battlefield


Note the terrain is fairly basic – I don’t have all my terrain boxes easily to hand so this is a subset.  My terrain collection is just average anyway but this game is played on the sparse side and make do.
 
Troops

British


British
1 Company HQ
    6 figures
    2 Universal Carriers
3 Platoons
    1 platoon HQ (1 figure)
    1 2" mortar
    3 Sections (3 figures each)
4 Churchill VII
2 3” mortars
British are all regular
 
Germans

German defenders


1 Kompanie HQ
   3 figures
1 Zug
    1 Zug HQ (1 figure)
    3 Gruppe (3 figures each)
1 MG42 team
1 Pak40 ATG
1 Tiger I
1 80mm mortar
3 Fire missions of 80mm mortar
 
Germans are all regular
 
The Tiger is painted grey as I only have grey painted Tigers.
 
Deployment

The German infantry begins hidden in the woods, split them fairly evenly.  The Pak 40 and MG42 are dug-in anywhere east of the river.  I put the Pak40 at the rear as it has a long range and has a good line of sight to anything comng down the right flank.  The MMG is placed closer to the farm so can harass any enemy infantry at a better range than they can return fire.

The Tiger I must begin on the southwest slope.  It is covering tanks coming down the left flank.
The British enter on turn 1 from the north edge of the board, west of the river. The British have six turns to secure the woods. The woods are secure when >50% of the German infantry is destroyed.

German deployment


View from the British side

Game

All Germans start on overwatch and all the British move on with the second platoon down the road.  It is good to get 20mm figures out to play a company level game after what seems like forever (only earlier this year and they have been out for a few skirmish games).


Second platoon advancing

Now the British bring on the rest of the infantry, except the company HQ


The three British platoons


No rooms for tanks - the Churchills will have to come in later 

 (new turn) 

Might as well open up with the German machine gun to see how my new rules work in action.  Two shots, oh, actually 3 shots. I figure KO.  3 figures – 1 section so a KO represents a permanent loss of firepower due to many reasons but summed up as “KO”.


Machine gun firing at the British


So now I put the machine gun card back in the deck as it is no longer on overwatch.  As it is the second turn I need to start drawing cards.  With the first British activation I firstly check second platoon’s morale. Pinned.  So the whole platoon can't move but they can fire.  The second platoon  fire back at the machine gun.  The machine gun has lost a figure and is suppressed.  Not unexpected with a whole platoon firing at them.  Conveniently, the German Machine gun is over 18” from the second platoon so the British are firing at -1, while the machine gun, with superior range, has not negative range modifier.

The first platoon moves next to the house.

And this is where I remember the Germans have a Commander that can call in some mortar support.  I put take the Company HQ off overwatch and try and call in fire on the third Platoon (the the one coming up to British right flank.  Success!  The rounds land on the first two sections and are suppressed.

The German machine gun recover from suppression but that's all they can do this activation.

The British activate the 3rd platoon firstly check morale because they have a section suppressed, They are Ok and suppression removed.

Maybe I should bring on the Churchills.


The state of the British after turn to and some fire


The 75mm PAK opens up on a Churchill as the range suits the PAK.

With the Churchill’s armour I would have needed a 6 to KO the Churchill. The PaK rolled a 6. 1 Churchill down


Long shot at the tank


The Tiger does the same thing at another Churchill –it's a long shot at the front Churchill and the Tiger misses completely.


The Tiger fires but misses


2nd platoon checked morale (forgot to earlier) and is still pinned.

(new turn)

Germans get the first activation and the machine gun fires any complete misses the second platoon.  The British return fire and do nothing.  The range is past effective range for the British sections and so will only inflict any result on a 6.

The British Platoon on the road moves to the right side of the woods

The German Commander calls fire on the troops still on the road and suppresses the 2” mortar.

 

Third platoon nearly in the woods


The Tiger fires at the Churchill again and manages to damage it.  The first platoon continues to advance on the right flank.  Still not close enough to see the Germans.


Advancing British not quite close enough to spot the Germans.

(new turn)

Get the Churchills away from the Tiger!


Churchills hiding in the road in the woods.


The German MG fires again at 2nd platoon but does nothing.

The first platoon continues into the right flank woods.  The suppressed 2” mortar routs.

 The Tiger advances towards to road to support the infantry.

And finally the first platoon moves into contact with some Germans in the woods


A meeting in the woods


The Germans lose two figures, the British three.

The first platoon also contacts Germans on the left side of the woods.

 

Contact in the left side of the woods.


The Tiger continues up the road.

 

Tiger coming to the Churchills


Overview of the game so far


The German commander calls down mortar fire on the British on the left side of the woods and KOs one figure and suppresses another section.

 

Mortar rounds in the woods


The platoons that have lost figures will need to check morale when they are activated.  Could be bad for the Brits.

The Tiger moves and fires.  Lucky rolls see it damage the lead Churchill that is already damaged, so it is destroyed.  And blocking the woods road.


Lead Churchill destroyed.


The Tiger Vs the Churchill


Finally, the second platoon is unpinned and can move next turn. They fire a the MG and suppress it.  Shortly after the MG recovers!


2nd platoon Vs the MG


The 1st platoon - on the left side of the woods - is now unsuppressed.  Mortar fire rains down on them and they are suppressed again, and lose another figure.  They have lost their CO and also now down to less than 50%, so morale will be interesting next turn. Luckily they never end up having to test morale.

The Tiger moves up to support the infantry

 

Tiger helping the infantry defined the woods.

Churchills have no choice but to go around the blocking wreck to get at the Tiger.


Churchills on the move


I keep forgetting to mention it but the MG and the PaK with HE keep the second  platoon from moving.

The Tiger is whittling down the first platoon (left woods).  Not much of them left now.

 

The much reduced first platoon


The third platoon (right woods) gets an activation and manages to rout the remaining figure and continue the advance

 

Third platoon overcomes the enemy and advances


Third platoon continues to advance into the German Zug command and wipes them out.

 

3rd platoon in combat with the German Zug command group.


The Germans only have one Gruppe left in the woods and so retire.

Something I thought of a lot earlier is that the British CO should have come on and used the off table mortars on the German MG nest.  Ah well.


End game


British losses


German loses


Victorious brits in the shadow of the Tiger


Rules Changes

I will try without the Joker – units get suppressed and cannot do anything in the turn they get activated and pass a morale check.  Also, with a Joker in the deck, the side activates those units that do not need a morale check (or more likely to pass) and so the badly shot up unit never gets to check morale so just sits there.  I get the Joker represents to vagaries of time and distance in a battle.  In my previous rules all units checked morale on the Joker. Or all units got to activate in a turn and so all checked morale.  So I am going back to random unit activation via cards but no sudden end of turn.

Verdict

I thought the game would go fairly easy – the British just enter the woods and fight the Germans.  2nd platoon getting pinned by the MG put all the plans into awry.  And it was not simple to remove the Germans.  They have the advantage in the woods and the German mortar was very annoying.  A good game that ended up being much closer than I thought it would be.