Friday, December 23, 2011

Death from above

So my First German Army was Falsherjages. I figured as nother light infanty froce they would make a good foil for my free french and on this they have generaly delivered. I about 4 years of playing them I have done a death from above mission... Chris and I decided it would be fun and Gordon supplied an Air Field for us to try to jump into, sort of a Battle of Crete set up.

I do not know if I will do another Death from above. 1) it took too long to set up and 2) I got my ass kicked and it had very little do do with Chris's normally very high standard of play. (Don't get me wrong Chris played a good game but he could have played a bad one and I would been beaten just about as badly.)

Trouble started when one of our infantry Platoons jumped off board, as did a squad from the other platoon. My pioneers came down ok but they Heavy mortars all got hurt in the sudden stop and my other support platoons were out of the game because their containers landed among Chris's HMGs!

Chris got reserves who quickly started rounding up my suport units, my Light Gun Pltoon bork and ran and my Mortar and AA gun platoons just died.

They Chris got his battery of 25Lbs to show up right behind my pionneers and my Rifle teams!

This is the before picture...

and this is the after.

With that I was making company moral check and even with fearless you should lose those eventual... that happend two turns latter... I lost another platoon and had my lost platoon show up by then but the game was already over.

This was one of my worst defeats in memory, and that includes my attack on Gorden's Italian a few weeks ago.

Finally we are at 1250 points in the league and this is the current make up of Panzer Kampfgroup Von Carriere.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flames of War Version 3

So the rumors are finally confirmed. Take a look here if you have not seen it. (you may have to copy past that I have trouble with links for some reason. Now if you have been following the rumor mill this will not tell you much more than you already know but at least many things have been confirmed.

Battlefront is a great company they are providing free Mini rule books to every one who has a current hard cover. I am thrilled to hear this even if I do not get one of the free books.

I got into FOW though the Open fire Set so I have the mini book and Das Book I had considered upgrading but the rumor mill made me hesitate. I look forward to seeing what they have come out with.

Monday, December 12, 2011

From the work Bench

Some items I have been working on for the escalation league that I brought for show and tell at the basing clinic. The event was very casual but I picked up some good trick and saw some great products from Gale Force 9 that I will have to pick up in the new year.

Here we have two squads of Pioneers to support my Panzer Company
My new objective for our Desert campaign a French R-40(R-35 with a modified turret) stuck in the sand...
The ugliest collection of motor transport in the world. I used a mix of Italian, British and Russian vehicles hey the Zis truck is a Ford there had to some of those in Africa that got pressed into military service.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Black Powder Sunday

Sunday we gathered at Adler hobby for a game of Black powder. Don and Gordon played the Prussian who were trying to get their supply convoy off board while AJ and another fellow (I am very sorry I forgot your name) commanded the raiding Austrian force.

The First battle went the Austrians way they moved up quickly on the first turn while the Prussians only got their free moves for being column.

One unit of Austrian Grenzers charged the wagon train while the rest of the Austrian light infantry and Hussars pined down the Prussian troops. When the Prussian Hussars were broken by the Austrian Grenzers and the Prussian Re-enforcements failed to appear three turns in a row the Prussian fate was sealed.

We had enough time so we reset and tried it again. This time the Prussians had better luck with command dice and Austrians had poorer luck (AJ was unable to move any thing for one turn a huge problem for his side).

The Austrians did manage to get two of for transports before the Prussian Dragoons arrived after that Austrian fortunes to a considerable turn for the worse.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Escalatation Legue 8 Trench Fight

First let me thank all of the membership of the leagues I was pleased and flattered to receive the Sportsman Award for the last round of the league. I used my free blister to pick up a recovery vehicle that I had been eying, so don't worry the results of your vote will not be shooting at you.

Chris and I were the only players last night so after a quick dinner we set up on a glorious board that Gordon had prepared.

Chris was playing his first game with his new Toburk force and frankly made some miss calculations that hurt him. Chris set took advantage of the terrain to set up two kill zones but had to hold the other three of his five platoons off board in reserves this was the result of the miscalculation I spoke of. Chris had an 8 gun battery of 25 Pounders but although the two 4 gun sections operate as two separate platoons once on the board they deploy as one platoon.

I advanced on the closest objective Chris used his AT gun pits to kill two of my panzer IIs. I had no luck with shooting that turn. My Artillery had nothing to shoot at (except for Chris's 2iC and that seem ungentlemanly) so they stayed quiet.

Turn 3 I a was able to take out one of Chirs's AT guns and maneuver my tanks out of range of the other gun but we were held back by one of my tank hitting a mine (I did make the armor save).

Also in turn 3 Chris's artillery arrived and he double timed them trying to get the command teams near enough to contest the objective. My artillery finally had a target on Turn 4 so while while my Panzer IIs advanced on the objective my Artillery took out two of Chris's guns and my Panzer IVs also tried to bombard but did not get any hits.

That gave me the win when Chris's artillery was unable to kill one of my Panzer IIs.
Chris was a gentleman about it but but I think both of us would have liked a "do over"

Chris also unveiled his new objective marker a lovely recreation of an actual event. The visit of the Free Polish leader General Władysław Sikorski to Toburk.

And here is the picture that inspired him

Monday, November 28, 2011

Escalation League 7 Black Friday

AJ and I played a night attack mission at Adler hobby as part of a special Black Friday event for escalation league.

I was faced with AJ’s Australian Infantry force, though with one infantry, two platoons of tanks, and a four gun 25 pounder battery (not to mention a mortar platoon) it was infantry in name only.

On my side I had three Panzer IVDs (including the CO), two Light Panzer platoons each with two Panzer IIs and a Panzer I. I also had a batter of two 10.5cm howitzers; sadly these proved less than effective and I think I would have been better off fielding a two section Panzerpahs platoon instead.

I pushed forward on the center objective hoping that this would cause AJ to come at me. Unlike Chris AJ deployed his 25s up close at the edge of his deployment zone so I faced a lot of AT shots from these and his two platoons of tanks.

Since any shot from his 25s was basically and auto kill (or bail) on any of my tanks I resolved that the 25 pounders had to die first. Over the course of the game I did kill two of his guns and the battery CO (had my battery not had to reroll hits I would have also gotten the staff team and anther gun).

Unfortunately that left AJ with two working guns and six tanks and they wiped out my Panzer IVs and one of my Light panzer platoons over the course of five turns. That left me with only two operating tanks (because I also had one panzer II that was bailed out).

Still with the start of turn six I still had a chance to win the game by moving my two active tanks into a position to take the center objective and get flank shots on AJs tank platoon who had double timed to contest the objective. My shots however did not kill his tanks and the counter strike by AJs two remaining artillery pieces and tanks kill my active Panzer II and bailed the Panzer I so that AJ was alone at the objective giving him the gamem,

I was very lucky in my dice rolls this game but not lucky enough to overcome 10 AT barrels and AJs skilled handling of his force.

For AJ's View of events:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Escalation League (5 & 6)

Sorry no write up on last weeks battle pitting my German Panzers against Chris’s Polish(Using the Australian list). For those you are interested that battle was a night battle and though the casualty count was strongly in my favorer Chris played well and it was closer than the score indicates.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same of my Night fight battle this week. With the new burning empires book I have the option to put my early war French on the table as Free French and since we had two Axis and one Allied player I field a company of Foreign Legion Free French. I was contending with James and his African Schurten Platoon.

I was too aggress sending my pioneer sappers forward to take the center objective… James used his half track to good effect mowing them down with 24 VMG shots and the next turn assaulting my still pinned men. The next few turns my mortars and French 75s (and even a lucky ‘sniper’ shot from my 2iC) killed many Germans but with one of my two platoons of infantry gone I could not effectively counter attack.

Had I hunkered down I might have won or at least had a more even game. The fact that dawn did not break until turn 5 didn’t help my cause much either. James used his army with skill as I have come to expect.

At the other Table Gordon and Chris had a nasty close quarter’s battle using the Witches Cauldron scenario that looked like great fun.

Next I played Gordon and his Italian Positional force. I was up to 950 points of Legionnaires for this one and I had actually designed this list with Gordon’s Italians in mind. Gordon was a little sick of the night combat rules (and I really cannot blame him) so I agree to play a free for all mission. While I had planned to use this list against Gordon’s Italians I had also planned on having the cover of darkness.

My plan was to have my HMG equipped platoons (using the French integrated defense rules to hold Gordon’s attention to the front (and hopefully keep his head down) and then send my sapper flanking using the cover of a rocky hill to take the objective on the right hand side of Gordon’s position.

Turn one my Mortars and Artillery counted as moving… so I tried to dig them in… My Legion Mortars dug in like good Kepi Blancs… but the Colonial Artillery men did not (lazy no good…)

Gordon hit my HMG Platoon with 12 HMG and 3 AT gun shots scoring 6 hits… I failed two infantry and two gun team saves… and that platoon was down to two men! One of my other infantry platoons suffered similarly losign about a 3rd of its men.

Thanks to the “Legion is our Homeland rule” my shredded HMG platoon passed it’s moral and stayed…

Turn two I smoked part of Gordon’s Artillery, (and got an AT Bunker and HMG Bunker too) and tried to get my men moved into firing position. Gordon’s two batteries ballasted and smoked my own Artillery an my mortars (smoking the smokers is a good tactic, well done Gordon).
Gordon’s Gun pits kept taking their toll and though less bad than the previously turn I still lost a platoon. Still I felt I was still in a postion to carry out my plan if I could get my Mortars unpinned (which I did) and if Gordon didn’t smoke me again (naturally he would.)

The real damage came in Gordon’s turn three when he got air support and turned his guns on the Sappers working around the flank… A three Squad platoon of 12 stands was reduced to two in the blink of an eye and with it French hopes. The sappers failed both Platoon moral check and re-roll. Although I was still in the game there was no way I could cross the open ground with one full strength and one badly shot up infantry platoon… I choose to concede the game a this point.

Gordon had a lot of advantages here and I think my plan was as good as it could be given the army I had.

Next time I plan to bring my H-35 Tanks and maybe get some Australian Cavalry Scouts to help close it. I think the Positional forces are going to prove very hard to shift with out the cover of darkens (especially for infantry)

Chris and James mean while had a very close night action that Chris just managed to pull out (join the Club James I have had a lot of games like that with Chris)

Thanks Gordon, James and Chris for a great night of gaming. Pictures will be up some time this weekend or Monday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Escalation League (3)

Thursday night Chris and I met for another epic Flames of War battle. All summer I got to play Megamind to Chris' Metroman. In other words "our battle were epic, he won some I almost won other." Thurdsays result was some what different.

This particular battle started with Chris' polish infantry in a dug-in position with a unit of 2lb AT gun portees in ambush. Chris also had another infantry platoon and a 81mm Mortar Platoon off board in reserve.

I had a platoon of Panzer VIs(includig the company CO) and a platoon of Light Panzer's two Panzer IIs and one Panzer I.

Chris set his defences well as I have come to expect with the infantry dug in around the objectives and behind difficult terrain.

My Panzer IVs moved up the center while the light panzer moved to the left to flank Chris' line and maybe pull out his ambush. (Chris was to smart to do this of course but one has to try.)

Chirs got reserves on his first turn and moved in his second Infantry platoon... right in Front of my Light Panzer. Shots from is Boys rifles bounce off my panzer and on my turn I used my Panzer Ivs to bombard his second infantry platoon killing two and pinning them. My Light Panzer then moved in firing MGs and killing several more. The rest of the platoon died in the Assault phase.

Chris got his revenge however uncovering his ambush 2 pounder porters. His shots killed on Panzer VI and bailed the other.

A lucky Boys rifle shot bailed my Panzer I. Oh how fast the tide of war can swing.

Chris's mortar also arrived on board but had minimal impact on the battle.

I now faced a choice keep my CO in the line of fire of Chir's Portees and support the bailed out Panzer IV or maneuver for a better shot a them with MGs. (I failed both remount rolls but also forgot I had rerolls for protected ammo) I chose to manuver and my Panzers combined to kill one Portee and it officer. Chris assaulted my bailed out tanks killing both the next turn. My Panzers launch assaults on his infantry killing several but being driven back with the loss of one panzer.

Fortunately Chris failed to hit with his lone remaining Portee and I killed it the fallowing turn. MG fire killed more infantry and Chris' CO and the next turn he failed a Platoon moral check prompting a company moral check which he could not make due to the loss of his CO.

Chris and I always fight a close battle and one finaly broke my way. Chris made a rare mistke marching his men on in range of my light Panzers but he almost made up for it with his ambush. This battle could easily have gone against me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Escalation League (2)

Last week I met up with the guys at Adler Hobby in Holis New Hampshire. I arrived late due to some work and other obligations and two battles were already under way. After the first round of battles were through the allied players had to leave (well actually AJ stayed though he claimed he had to leave early) so James and I decided to hols a little Africa Korps Training exercises.

My Panzer force faced James Afrika Shuetzen company. James was the defender and started with two of his four platoons off board.

Now at 600 points my army only has two platoons a Miltler Panzer platoon of two Panzer VIs and a Liech Panzer platoon of two Panzer IIs and a Panzer I. I normaly play infantry so this list has been my efort to try and understand armor. Chris schooled me most of the summer in a series of very close battles.

Since starting the escalation league I have decide to embrace the idea that my force is a blunt instrument and my first attack reelected this. My Leich Panzer raced ahead and assaulted James' dug in infantry on turn 1!

The result was disastrous. I didn't kill any infantry and lost two tanks. So much of the knockout blow. James got his AT guns on his half of turn one. He also pulled an ambush with Pioneers and his flames throwers killed on of my priceless Panzer IVs. I had started the battle with six tanks now in only one turn I was down to three things did not look good.

Over the next Six Turns Panzers, half tracks, Pioneers, AT Guns and Infantry engages in a battle of thrust, parry and counter. James Bailed my tanks many times especially the sole surviving Panzer II but he was unable to destroy any more. Slow my Panzers killed his men one at a time with MGs and the occasional cannon shot I killed his pioneers, then his AT guns and finally his infantry driving his men off the objective on turn seven and securing the win.

I would have received a stern talking too about risking light panzers against dug in infantry from Rommel had this been a true training exercises.

I may have won but James deserves high praise for his skilled handling of his troops.

Pictures will follow at some point sorry for their absence.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No Longer For Sale

I have some T-34s and SU-57s I painted up a couple of years ago for a Soviet Army project that never got off the ground. Anyone interested? T-34s are Battlefront, SU-57s and tank riders are Command decision (Old Glory)

Saturday battle at 3 Trolls

Since Ariana was working Saturday(as our only common day of Saturday is date day for us, excepting her taking OT or me having a reenactment) I had a chance to visit my old friends at 3 Trolls Games and puzzles in Chelmsford MA.

For those who do not know 3 Trolls its a game store with a mix of products from children's games to miniatures and hobby products. Still the hear of the store is gaming mostly Flames of a number of fantasy games. Flames of war is played Saturday.

I was pushing two of for Soviet infantry companies, Warren Smith had the other two Soviets companies including some "Black Death" Soviet Naval infantry. Dick (the store owner) commanded the Soviet Artillery.

The game lasted about 5 turns and was a simple kill and break through game 2800 point on the soviet side against 1600 points of German Grenadiers. The Germans started dug in and were commanded by Charlie and Harry.

Warren had limited cover on his side of the board and Dick's less then godly rolling as the "red god of war" lead to his assault bogging down at the river. Some units did cross but were killed by German troops.

My force took advantage of some hills for cover and managed to assault across the rive under cover fire from 4 HMGs. It took about three turns but repeated assaults caved in the German flank eliminating an Infantry gun unit, and kill most of two infantry Platoons. I was in a great position to hold against counter attacks but could not go further. The We decided to call the game at this point since it was clear the Russians would not be able to push further but also clear that the Germans would not be able to effectively drive us out of the limited gains we had made.

Friday, October 21, 2011

EW North Africa Escalation League (1)

Last night a number of us gathered for the escalation leage at Addler hobby in Hollis NH. Gordon and AJ had a hard fought battle that you can read about here: Aaron and I had a battle with my German Panzer company against a British Rifle company in a dug in postion with sticky bombs.

I was worried about having to pierce those defences and take an object in six tourns. Fortunatly the 'peliminary bombardment' killed three stands in one of Aarons infantry platoons providing me with the opening I need. Minfields forced me to manuver so that it took two turns to cover ground that should have taken one. Had Aaron had even one AT gun platoon or a battery with a decent fire power I would have had serious trouble.

I consentrated fire on his damage platoon pinning them and killing another stand then launched an assult with my Light Panzer platoon. I killed two more stands but his men counter attacked and the Boys AT rifle killed one of my Panzer IIcs. I failed the motivation test and my tanks fell back.

Aaron tried taking out my light tanks with his AT rifles but had no luck. Turn 3 I had my Panzer IVD Platoon and Company comander drive over the now mostly unoccuped trench and on too one of the objectives. Aarron launched a dairing assult with his reserve platoon but two of his 4 assulting units died yelling "hey guys watch this!" as the rolled 1s with their sticky bombs thus blowing them selves up not me. My counter attack kill two more and Aarrons men failed moral and british bull dog rolls. His second assult on my light panzers (hoping for a break through to let him contest the objective) also failed. By scenario rules I had the objective and the victory.

British infantry are tough I'm not sure I could have pulled this off if they had Artilery or At guns. Aaron played a good game with the army he had and was gracious in defeat, very sporting if I may us a British phrase ;)

Pictures will follow, tonight or over the weekend.

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Black Powder game

OK so first of all you can see from the photos this is no ‘little demo/learning game’ I jumped in with both feet and probably into water over my head. I’m happy to report that despite that the game played well.

No points were used I simply wrote up two forces one an allied army of Austrians and British and the other French based on what I felt would work based on my study of this period (I set the battle in the War of Austrian Suspension). Keith indicated he felt the game played in a balanced manner as did Gordon so I think I was reasonably successful.

The battle started off with my infantry running forward on my right and center though my right Wing cavalry was less enthusiastic. On the left the Cavalry screened the infantry as intended. This was a result of my command rolls.

The orders function of this game is a key element and the one I was most concerned with but I found this system worked, since usually you can move, and you do have options to move with out making an order roll when you really need to.

Keith countered and we had a Cavalry battle that was a split decision (one unit retiring on both sides) right off. Over the next few turns Keith used his Grenadiers, Dragoons and British line troops to hammer my Right and Center. I got in several good blows of my own especially on his grenadiers when they had to face my closing fire… (Their “Steady” attribute meant their Breaks turned into retires) At the end of 4 turns I was in serious trouble in this area. Four of my infantry units were broken by a combination of English fire and German bayonets. Still the situation was only bad not desperate as my Irish and Swiss troops had formed a second line. Keith did have local superiority especially in Cavalry.

On the Left I had massed 4 units of cavalry with an infantry brigade in support I infantry and guns had broken Keith’s cavalry on this side and I was about to try and exploit this open area when we had to call the game.

The situation was ripe with opportunity and danger for both players just how a good balanced game should feel at about mid point… So I call Black Powder a win for me and for the Club.

Some observation about the game:

I have see BP described as a “division” level game. But I don’t think this is correct. It’s an army level game. I think the confusion is one of language.
The basic unit of BP is called a Unit so as not to cause confusion when speaking of regiment, battalion or Impis (spelling?). This is wise because these units really could be Companies, Battalion or Brigades (or any thing else) and as long as both players are playing at the same “level” it makes no difference.

The confusion comes when we start grouping these units into what I am going to call “Command Organizations” (COs) but BP calls them “Brigades.” The choice of that word is unfortunate as it leads one to make certain assumptions about the units below and the commander above. After all Brigades are made up of Battalions (or regiments) and are grouped into Divisions. Really though these COs could be Battalions, brigades or Divisions.

You then have an Army commander who is in fact an army commander, the lack of any intervening command structure between him and the “COs” I think has lead some to think he is a Division commander(since he has Brigades under him) but really he is the army commander.

I sincerely hope I am not confusing people further, but I probably am.

I think the command and control element of this game is a great strength and I am usually not a fan of having to roll to see if my units do what I want… still they worked well and added fair bit of flavor to the game.

Also adding flavor are the attributes you can assign to your troops. First Fire was devastating, Tough Fighters gave units a bit more kick and Steady was a real game changer (Keith would have had three more Broken units with out this). I think the Cards that have been added to the forum will really help with game play because there is a good bit to track. Gordon’s Token system was a great help in this regard but some things like First Fire, Steady and so on really need to be tracked with out adding clutter to the table.

Over all I was impressed and I'm looking forward to my next game.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Current Porjects

Greeting all. Adler Hobey is starting a Napoleonic game day using the Black Powder rule set. I'm still not sure about the rule set as I have yet to play a game but I am working a French Napoleonic "Army." Actually it will probably represent a Large Infantry Brigade or a small Division depending on how you count these things.

I just about finished the first unit which I am calling the "foul weather" battalion. The entire force is dressed in over coats the base unit is completed I'm just waiting on an officer and musician from Front Rank so I can fill in those spaces. The Perry Box (25mm) that provide the bulk of the Soldiers only came with one officer and one drummer and since neither had an over coat other options had to be explored.

I also finally painted up some 25mm American Revolution French that had been in the Bits box for a long time... No Idea what I will use them for but they would make a reasonable wing scale unit for V&B.

Next up are my Voltigeurs and the Irish Legion for my Napoleonic force.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting Started

OK so the Folks at Adler hobbies (see G dog's blog) are starting to get into Napoleonic and the black powder new England forum has been buzzing with the discussion of how to get started.

I thought I would share my own incites. I'm not writing with any particular system in mind.

Battles in the black powder era are big, it doesn't really matter if we are talking War of Spanish Secession, Seven years war, Napoleonic or American Civil war.

There are two approaches on one end is V&B my personal favorite game because you can portray an army. Each stand is a multi-battalion Regiment or Brigade representing one to three thousand men. I'm not going to address this system at all in this particular article. (I may write something up on this as well)

Most other system have multiple stands per battalion or brigade, This is the case with Black Powder, Might and Reason, Age of Reason and Rank and File (just to name a few I have some knowledge of).

Some folks coming from games like Flames of War may be initial confused because in Flames of war you can start off with an HQ and two platoons and start playing buy like 8 tanks and off you go.
In black powder its Rock, Paper and Scissors an all infantry force will suffer badly at the hands of some one with Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry so you want some of each from the get go.

So get that HQ usually one or two officers on horse back you are going to need him.

Infantry is the basic building block of armies in this period,(in any period some would say) yes that box of Guard Cruisers looks sexy but it may not be what you need, you will need some solid regular infantry. In my opinion you want enough for between two and three units of infantry to start. This is because generally speaking two to three battalion make up a regiment or brigade and two or three regiments or brigades make a division of infantry.

The above is an extreme simplification but it works as a starting point.

After regular infantry I would recommend getting some Elite infantry. In most cases Grenadiers are the way to go but in some armies you may be better served by some light infantry type. If your not sure what will suite your army best or if getting these guys means buying another expensive box of miniatures hold off.

So that's your infantry force 4 units at a maximum! How many figures that will be is going to vary but if we assume an average of 16 per unit(Black Powder recommends 4 infantry per 40mm x 40mm base and 4 stands per unit, if memory serves) that's 32(if you go small with two infantry units)to 64 figures (if you go with 4 units)

Artillery get one gun stand ready make it a light or medium gun if you can. You will probably have to buy more than one gun in a set or several players could buy and split a set if money is tight.

Cavalry in the black powder era comes in three flavors Heavy, Medium or Light. For your first cavalry unit I recommend going with what ever the army you are portraying had the most of. In most cases this will be Medium or Light cavalry. If you can get a Light Cavalry unit. They look good and most armies can benefit from having at least one unit of Hussars or light Dragoons. I would advise the novice painter however to go with a unit of Dragoons as their simpler infantry like uniforms will prove easier to paint.

Hope this information is helpful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

France and Austria at the Whiz

Once Again Tyler and I met to do battle. This time he had an Austrian Army of 11 Division and my French army had shed its Wurttemberg troops making it 12 divisions (I used the points saved to up grade several of my regiments form moral 4 to 5). Our scenario was that a French army was conducting a siege and I commanded the covering force.

The battle field was crossed by two roads one down the middle and one at an angle from the South East to North West corner. (East refers to Tyler’s side of the board, west to mine) Three villages run along the diagonal road the one to the south east was a farming village with a field in high summer growth and the other two abutted forests. Tyler got his pick of side and I rolled to move first.

We used the V&B Road to Glory deployment card system. This meant that once we were deployed we removed certain troops based on the card and they would return as reinforcements. Tyler had Echelon Left and I had returning detachment right. My army marched forward only to see Tyler’s Right Center and Reserve forces vanish at the end of turn 1! My left wing was similarly removed.

Now had I know Tyler’s center was phantom I would probably have rushed forward but instead I unlimbered both my heavy guns as I expected I would have to blast him out of the Center village.

Since my left was gone I sent Regiment Saintonge with two other regiments and artillery in support moving left around the forests it would take me two turns of dealing with my Poorly trained men to realize I could move my boys in march column… resulting in a French Infantry division more or less missing the battle! (FACE PALM!)

On my right the Irish Regiments of Claire, Buckley and Berwick crossed the ford and took up a position on a low hill. They were supported by three Brigades of French Heavy cavalry. Initially I looked at this as a holding action use two Divisions to hold down three.

On the right Tyler was again very clever moving his Cavalry Davison toward the center for two turns (causing me to follow them on the second) then swinging them back to charge after my cavalry was back behind the stream. My light gun was hit and took another disorder falling back across the stream but the Claire Regiment sent the other Austrian Cuirassier brigade tumbling back with heavy loses. Tyler with drew his horse since I had three new infantry Brigades and a field artillery battalion arriving to support the Irish.

It was in the center was where most of the initial action occurred. My troops advance hoping to take the cross road and the village, with an eye to taking the large hill the dominated the cross roads. My German Division as on the left with a field Artillery battalion , with Vieux Division in the center and the Swiss on my right supported by two heavy artillery battalions. Skirmishers infiltrated the woods and raced into the village.

Tyler’s center division returned at the start of turn two and his Dragoons and Hussars rushed forward backed by Grenadiers, Grenzers and other infantry! I had to move my infantry forward on turn three but if I did they would be charged by Austrian horsemen and would have to face them with out the benefits of being stationary. The Vieux and Swiss are the finest infantry in France and would be need to hold the line… So I moved them and then moved the Division of French horse and the Household Cavalry Division in front of my infantry line to screen them. I don’t know how the king will feel about my shedding the bluest blood in France to protect artillery men and infantry but the king is too far away to complain.

Tyler’s Hussars and Dragoons charge my Troopers on the next turn. The fight goes mostly my way as I win 4 of the 6 Melees that result. The Hussar Division of the Austrian army is exhausted and the Dragoons are bloodied enough that they fall back the next turn when my Cavalry fall back opening shots for the French Artillery.

The German Division mounts the hill and Vieux moves up to help as new French infantry and cavalry divisions arrive to their rear. The two weaker German brigades La Marke and Anhalt went back to back in all around defense (the V&B equivalent of going into square but for a brigade formation, so several mutually supporting squares) with the Alsace Brigade supporting the Divisions artillery.

Tyler moved his heavy horse into position but I attacked with my own Cavalry and both sets of horsemen got a bloody nose, though the French were hurt worse. Despite this the Austrian cavalry with drew. Austrian Light troops began clearing there French counter parts form the woods to the south of the center village.

About this time the Saintonge Brigade and its supporting units reach the north east side of the table and while not strong enough for an attack they did start to draw the attention of Austrian troops that way.

On my right Tyler sent his infantry forward into musket range 8 brigades of his infantry with 3 Artillery battalions against 6 of my own brigades and 2 Artillery battalions. The exchange of fire and a French counter attack with the bayonet resulted in damage to both side and exhaustion for one each of our infantry divisions. The French had 3 Cavalry brigades ready to try and exploit the damage to the Austrians while in the center the French were creeping forward taking ranging shots with artillery.

Had we had mote time the French Cavalry on the right might have burst between the woods and the stream and gotten behind Tyler’s army in the center. If they had things would have gone very badly for them. If that attack had failed his infantry might have done the same to me. Though I had two Cavalry divisions that I think would have given him pause. Still with both side having two divisions Exhausted the tie breaker goes to Tyler because his deployment had the lower victory rank.

Much like the last battle this one was very close and Tyler played well. Last time I think he would have won in the end… this time I think it would have gone the other way but we will never know.

More pictures here

Friday, July 29, 2011

My not quiet a review of Black Powder.

So I finally got to see the rule book in the flesh last night. I wasn't able to buy a copy because of some other purchase though I did fund AJ's purchase, thanks again for the Bases.

I like what I see. The book has lots of great pictures AJ commented the book was almost worth the price for the eye candy (a little more on that latter). I like the attitude of fun these authors infused into the sections they read. The game mechanics look good (but have not played its hard to judge) and the little I read makes me think Gordon is right these guys did a good job of getting the rules in their head on to the page.

From my stand point (and I do not think I am alone) an important consideration is the fact that I can use my V&B based troops for this game. I don't plan on dropping V&B so getting double duty out of my extensive 18th century collection is important, especially given the massive rebasing project I have been working on (thanks AJ).

So that's the good part, now the "negative."

Really the only criticism I can give at this point is price. The book weights in at a hefty $54.99, its a quality product at that price, and I will probably be buying at some point. Still this is not an impulse purchase. I get the high price, the weak dollar, the cost of shipping to the US, the very high production value. As a comparison Volley and Bayonet Road to Glory costs $49.99 and while an excellent set of rules, its a soft cover and the pictures are mostly black and white where as Black powder is hard cover and has lots of color photos. So the price isn't bad it may even be a value (if I like the rules a much as I like V&B it will be an outstanding value) but like I said its not an impulse purchase, I want to get in a few games and see what some gamers I know think before I buy.

Though I do not believe any one from Warlord will read this I wanted to add one more little thought. Offering the book at one price through certain on line vendors and another at smaller retail stores may make sense for short term profits but in the long run your better off getting the book into stores at a reasonable price (hey if you can shave some money off the on line price you can offer the book for less generally) and is a better investment. If I buy this book it will because my local gaming circle plays it and speaks well of it not because of reviews I see on line.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Battle of Whizdenburge (Some were in Germany)

French General Carriere having by passed the Army of Observation and penetrated into central Germany met Prussian General Tyler Bembenek.

Both armies were approximately 3000 points using the V&B Seven year’s war army list. To simply the game both armies used full deployment rather than the deployment cards option. General Bembenek using my personal rule for Fredrick the Great got the advantage of selecting the side of the table he preferred and of setting up second. General Bembenek chose the more open side of the map, permitting the French a stronger defensive position but General Bembenek’s position being more open allowed easier maneuver between sectors of the battle field. (sorry I have no pictures or maps to share my words will have to be enough I hope.)

The battle field as seen from the French side was centered on a Y shaped road with the split on the French side. Off set from the Y on the right was a town with its adjoining fields and orchards. To the left of the road was an open area approximately 10” wide were an oblong forest about 12-14” long and 6” wide crossed the battle field with one end pointed at the Prussian left hand corner. A small hill baked stood in the split of the Y but too far back to influence the action. The farm fields were surrounded by stone walls providing cover and the orchards around the town were ruled open enough to allow formed units to recover from disorder but movement though them would still causes disorder to formed stands (true woods do not allow formed troops to recover form disorder.

The other Key terrain features was a plateau with a gentle slope on General Bembenek’s side of the board and scaleable cliff face (well for skirmishers any way). The gap between the Plateau and the wood provided a gap of only about 8” on the left for formed troops to exploit. On the Right had side the area to the left of the orchards provided about a foot of open ground before the “end of the world”.

The Prussian Army consisted on 12 “Divisions” 1 Grenadier, 6 Infantry, 1 Hussars, 2 Dragoon and 2 Cuirassiers. In total this represented 44,000 men under arms.

The French army consisted of 13 “Division” 7 Infantry 1 Light division (mix of lt. infantry and Hussars) 1 Wurttemberg infantry division and 4 Cavalry (all heavy cavalry). The French army represented 66,500 men. French infantry stands have 4 SP while Prussian stands had 2 SP; in addition French Cavalry Divisions have 3 brigades as apposed to Prussians Division which have only two. This accounts for the difference in numbers even though the number of stands was about even. Each side had 5 artillery units and battalion (or Dedicated as the rules now call them) guns. SP or Strength points represent 500 men or 6 guns each.

We diced to see who would move first and I have the high roll so the French moved first. Rather than describe the battle turn by turn I’m going to stick to the action in each sector.

ON the left the French had their light division, a division of 3 French and One Scottish infantry Brigade with a light artillery unit attached and a Division of Cavalry.
French Hussars rushed into the gap while light infantry infiltrated the woods. The heavy Cavalry followed the lights trailing them by a safe distance while the infantry brought up the rear. French light cavalry was rushed by their Prussian counter parts and driven back but the counter charge of the French Cavalry sent the Prussian lights back in turn. A sharp bloody battle with a division of Prussian Cuirassiers followed. The French Cavalry had the worse of it in the end but drove the Prussians far enough back to ensure the French infantry could secure the Gap. General Bembenek as if to assault with one of his dragoon division drawing one of the French reserve Cavalry division to the area but then sent his horsemen back to the center. Since French cavalry is mostly poorly trained this was an action General Bembenek to make much quicker than I could. Things stalemated here more or less.

It was on the right that it seemed the main Prussian blow would fall. Here General Bembenek had placed his Grenadier Division (4 Brigades) an Infantry Division (3 Brigades and 1 Artillery) and his Guard Cuirassiers (two Brigades) another Infantry Division and a Dragoon division were echeloned to the left of these. The French forces placed to oppose them seemed far too meager. One Division of infantry consisting of 3 French and one Irish Brigade with the support of a Light artillery unit was quick to move into position to the right of the orchards behind the town. These were backed by three brigades of cavalry. For those of you counting at home General Bembenek had the potential of concentrating as many as 14 Prussian Brigades on 7 French. French light troops occupied the Orchard and sniped at the Grenadiers as they advanced. General Carriere sent the French Guard cavalry two Brigades to the right keeping only the Irish men of Fitz-James as a final cavalry reserve in the center. Another division of French infantry (3 Brigades) also began its ponderous march to support the right. Unlike the charge and counter charge of the left the battle on the right was an infantry contest. Prussian Grenadiers assaulted the French infantry. The Initial exchange saw two Grenadier brigades driven back or destroyed and two French brigades including the Navarre Brigade (one of the oldest and finest in France) were like wise driven back but the Irish brigade held as did the Orleans Brigade (when French regiments are brigaded together the brigade is named for the senior Regiment, the Nava Regiment with 4 battalions so it is a brigade unto it self while Orleans has two battalions so the other two are from two other less senior regiments). My Wing commander on the left was also killed in the this melee, this would make command and control problematic as regiments advance and or fell back and would prevent me from rallying troops who had routed. French Cavalry quickly restored the situation though one brigade was force to retreat in the process forcing the division commander to leave two units out of command in order to bring up the third that had fallen back.

The Prussians brought up one infantry division and were content to fire with their artillery form beyond my range. This force was backed by the Prussian Guard cavalry and despite our victory over the Prussian Grenadiers I did not yet have the strength to push them back. General Bembenek sent his dragoons to the center and diverted his second infantry Division on the right toward the town in the center. I still had a second infantry division advancing on the right… I might have been able to use these to turn the Prussian line had the game lasted longer.

In the Center the French moved the German Division into the town of Whizdenburge this force consisted of a Field artillery unit, two German Brigades and the Loraine Brigade, Brigades La Mark (German) and Loraine occupied the town it self and the Ansbach Brigade with the artillery stood to the towns left. Left of them was the Swiss Division a Heavy artillery unit with 3 Swiss Brigades took up positions on either side of the Road. Two French Brigades with a field artillery unit held the ground to the right of the woods with one French Brigade immediately to the rear to pug any holes. Be hind these initially were posted the French reserves the two cavalry division which were quickly sent to the flanks. Two French Divisions were also posted here though one was sent to the right almost immediately. The remaining Division was the Vieux Division with the Regiments of Picardie Champagne and Normandy (4 battalion regiments like Navarre also one of the Vieux regiments) a powerful reserve but with the diversion of troops to either flank they and the troopers of Fitz-James were the only reliable troops behind the fount lines. The French do not trust there Wurttemberg allies to fight well against the Prussians.

General Bembenek advanced slowly in the center his troops moving to musket range and soon fire was ripping into both lines. From time to time single units would close into contact a process that soon blasted wholes in both lines. Two Prussian Brigades were blasted from existence by French muskets and Cannons but Prussia did equal damage to two French Brigades. The battle in the center see-sawed for two turns with the French holding their line by virtue of position and luck. General Carriere prepared to advance his last fresh infantry division while General Bembenek sent his Dragoons hurrying to support the assault.

Sadly we had to end the battle just as it was reaching the decision point because the General Carriere had to pickup his mistress after work (you know how the French are).

A great battle Tyler deserves a lot of praise especially since he is new to gaming the period and was not familiar with the rules. After failing to gain the flanks he took advantage of his troop’s ability to march and maneuver better than mine to rush troops to the center.

I made some mistakes. 1) I should have ignored Tyler’s attack on my right as there was not good object for him to attack instead I let my soldiers get sucked into a battle that was irrelevant to the decision, unless I got very luck. 2) I should have placed my weakest troops (the Wurttemberg division) in the most secure position the town. This would have given me another French division to plug the holes in the center line.