Sunday, September 24, 2017

Battle of Lindenau in 6mm

Refight of the Battle of Lindenau, 16 October 1813, using Commands & Colors Napoleonic Rules. French figures from Baccus and Austrians from Adler, hex terrain from Kallistra, houses from TBM and trees from Timecast.

Background:

Gyulai’s Austrians were on the left bank of the Pleisse River, to the west of Leipzig. Although ordered to attack, the main intent of his demonstration was to take pressure off the fighting on the right bank and possibly draw off some French reserves. For Napoleon, Lindenau was the only plausible withdrawal route for his entire army, yet the Allies did not grasp the obvious, and chose not to reinforce Gyulai.

At 5 am the Austrians moved against Bertrand’s prepared French IV Corps. This corps had been in action since August and had been much weakened, but the soldiers now fought like veterans. A short cavalry clash sent the French cavalry screen back, but the Austrian cavalry could not overrun the French earthworks.

Around 10 am Austrian artillery was moved into position on the heights and began to bombard the French earthworks, but with little effect. The Austrian infantry, by this time, had pushed the French back to Plagwitz and Lindenau, and for a short time had even gained part of the villages.

A renewed French counter attack, supported by reinforcements, expelled the Austrians and drove them back to almost where they had started the battle.

The Setup:

We removed some of the villages on the Austrian base edge because we didn't have enough model buildings to represent these and they have no effect on the battle.






Reinforcements:

At the start of each turn, the French player makes a reinforcement roll using 3 dice. This determines what, if any, reinforcement unit that can be placed onto the bridge hex. The bridge hex must not have a unit on it for the reinforcement unit to be placed.

Reinforcement roll:

  2 Infantry symbols = one Line Infantry unit
  3 Infantry symbols = one Light Infantry unit
  2 Cavalry symbols = one Light Cavalry unit
  3 Cavalry symbols = one Heavy Cavalry unit
  2 Artillery symbols = one Foot Artillery unit
  3 Artillery symbols = one Horse Artillery unit

Any other die roll symbol combination yields no reinforcing unit

The Battle:

The battle started with an Austrian attack on the French left flank. The French had a good position in the village and this combined with the necessary of fighting through the woods was too much for the Austrians.


The Austrians had left their light cavalry unsupported in the centre, so the French took the opportunity to attack an destroy them, but themselves taking casualties too.


The Austrians tried to take back the initiative by attacking the French right flank.


While at the same time even attacking on the French left flank.


General Morand entered the fray at the head of the French infantry in the village, and yet again the Austrians were defeated and pushed back.


The fighting on the French right intensified with both sides pushing forward more troops.


The Austrian Jaegers crept forward to the edge of the wood and started to bring a heavy fire to bare on the French defenders.



The French responded by clearing the woods with a bayonet charge.


But they took heavy losses from the Austrians supporting the Jaegers.




The Austrians made one last big effort, but couldn't shift the French defenders.


Now the Austrians were exhausted, and the French redoubts in the center still stood firm. A good victory for France!



Battle Of Britain - Scenario 1 - May 10th 1940 – The End of the Phoney War

This is the first scenario in a Battle of Britain campaign the follows the exploits of a fictitious 69 Squadron RAF (this squadron didn't exist during the Battle of Britain). We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play, together with out own set of campaign rules. We use the Wings of Glory planes from Ares where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

The Background

May 10th 1940 was the day the real war started and the Phoney War ended. It was today that Hitler’s armoured divisions launched their Blitzkrieg attack in the West. The same day, in the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Winston Churchill and a new Coalition Government.


The Action

One Hurricane Mk I (Pilot Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh) and one Dewoitine D.520 (Sous-lieutenant Napoleon Schickelgrüber) were sent up to patrol just behind the front lines. The Hurricane belonged to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Dewoitine to the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) so there was no possibility for cooperation or communication between them. Two Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3s (Oberleutnant Sepp Schlangenaugen & Leutnant Adolf Halland) flying westwards spotted the Allied planes and dived to attack.

A dogfight occurred where the Germans had an advantage because they were flying in their Rotte as a pair, while the two allied pilots were flying uncoordinated.



Seeing the Dewoitine diving in flames, Schlangenaugen claimed a kill, but unbeknownst to him Schickelgrüber managed to coax his still smoking Dewoitine back to the nearest airfield.

The Result

German Victory - both opponents fled.
Schlangenaugen: 1 kill

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wings Of Glory WW2 targets

I have been making some more targets for my Wings of Glory / Wings of War WW2 game. More fun using models as targets than just target cards.

IRREGULAR MINIATURES

Vehicles in 6mm from Irregular may not be as detailed as those from GHQ but they are much cheaper and work great as targets.

German vehicles

British vehicles

HALLMARK SHIPS

Hallmark (sold by Magister Militum) have a range of 1:1200 ship models. A scale that fits nicely on a target card. I will be using these for refighting the early stages of the Battle of Britain; the kanalkampf when the Luftwaffe attacked shipping in the English Channel.

SS Kylebrook (Collier)

SS Holme Force (Tramp)

SS Fulham (Flat Iron)

SS Broomfield (Tramp)

HMS Azalea (Flower class Corvette)

HMT Inkpen (Hill class Admiralty trawler)


Kylebrook towing a barrage balloon (made from modelling clay) 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sails Of Glory: A first test with autopilot

This was basically a simple scenario on the open ocean with two British 74's (HMS Vanguard and HMS Bellona) meeting two French 74's (Generaux and Commerce de Bordeaux). They start at opposite ends of the game mat, both sides in line astern and beating into the wind.

We use the Sails Of Glory rules.

The scenario was made interesting, when we chose to sail one British 74 each and let the French sail on the "autopilot" rules written by Herkybird. These rules are simple to use and surprisingly effective although we amended them somewhat during this test.

Once the ships near each other, you determine what the "autopilot" ship does, by using a combination of...

  • the direction of the nearest threat - using a simple "clock" system
  • the distance to the nearest threat
  • if the "autopilot" ship is on fire
  • a D6 die roll
The two forces approach each other and battle commences.
The leading French ship (Commerce de Bordeaux) could rake the leading British ship (HMS Bellona) using it's forward starboard guns. Although the rules say "autopilot" ship will not fire with only their forward guns, we quickly amended them to allow this when it is a short range rake.

The ships closed and HMS Bellona fired a first broadside into Commerce de Bordeaux.
Commerce de Bordeaux replied using continuous fire (another rules amendment we made).

Now HMS Vanguard and Generaux join the fight.
While Commerce de Bordeaux misses her chance to turn downwind and rake the British.

HMS Bellona turns into the wind to tack, while managing a stern rake on the Generaux.
HMS Vanguard and Generaux exchange shots from their rear cannons.

The ships are now no longer within cannon shot, but HMS Bellona successfully completes her tack and goes in chase of the French. 
HMS Bellona pursues the French. HMS Vanguard decides to gibe rather than risk tacking.

The French turn back towards the British in an attempt to get back into cannon shot. They probably should have done it the previous turn but we missed that sentence in the "autopilot" rules.

Commerce de Bordeaux opens fire on HMS Bellona, but luckily she wasn't in a position to rake, and her previous damage made the fire less effective.

The ships are now at close quarters, the musket fire from the Royal Marines was especially effective. At this moment, the battle still hung in the balance, all four ships were damaged. Was it the skill of the British captains, or perhaps luck, that at this critical moment caused both French ships to catch fire? We suspect it was the extreme close range that allowed burning wadding from the British cannons to catch the French ships alight.

HMS Bellona raked the stern of the Commerce de Bordeaux while HMS Vanguard poured a broadside into her port side. On fire and with a serious leak the Commerce de Bordeaux settled slowing into the Ocean. On fire and with many crew killed and wounded, the Generaux was having trouble fighting the fire.
We stopped the game there, with a convincing British victory. The Generaux will be chased down by the British ship, while she is fighting the fire, she will be boarded and taken back to Portsmouth as a prize. The victory was without a doubt won more by luck than the skill of the British Captains. That however won't be mentioned in the letter sent to the Admiralty, and when printed in the Gazette both British Captains will be national heroes.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros in 6mm

Refight of the Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros, 10-11 November 1808, using Commands & Colors Napoleonic Rules. Figures from Baccus 6mm range, hex terrain from Kallistra, houses from TBM and trees from Timecast.

Background:

After the escape from Zornoza, General Joaquín Blake y Joyes’s army was still in trouble. Marshal Victor was pressing forward through the mountains and in position to cut off one of Blake’s divisions under the command of General Pedro Caro y Sureda, III marqués de La Romana, but Blake halted his retreat and turned to join Romana at Espinosa. The 23,000 Spaniards occupied a strong position. Romana’s division, composed entirely of regular Spanish regiments, held the Spanish right flank. After defeating the Prussians in 1806, Napoleon demanded and received this division to garrison the Baltic coast area. Upon learning of Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, the entire division boarded Royal Navy ships and returned to Spain to fight. On the first day of battle, they repulsed General Villatte’s advance division of Victor’s corps. When Victor arrived later in the day with the rest of his corps, he launched a second attack on Romana’s division, but once again the French were driven back with heavy losses on both sides, including Romana himself, killed leading his troops.

Victor was no Napoleon, but he realized the day’s attacks had forced Blake to weaken his center and left to shore up Romana’s weakened division on the right. The following day Victor ordered Lapisse’s division to attack on the Spanish left at Las Peñucas ridge. It was a fortunate decision. General Acevedo’s division held this ground, but most of his troops were newly raised, inexperienced and untrained. After a short struggle, the Spanish left flank broke and fled. With Lapisse in firm control of the heights above Espinosa, Victor ordered a general advance and the Spanish army collapsed. After the battle over 8,000 Spaniards drifted away to return home rather than reform with Blake’s shattered army at Reinosa.

The Setup:

The Spanish had deployed in front of the town of Espinosa de los Monteros in what would have been a strong position except that to their back was the River Trueba. In the middle of the Spanish line was Espinosa de los Monteros and in the middle of the French line was Quintana de los Prados.


View of the battlefield from the South: showing French left and Spanish right.

The Game Layout

The First French Attack:

The Spanish seemed to have deployed their right wing in a back position with their backs to the river. This tempted the French to attack as hastily as possible before they could rectify their "mistake".

Ruffin's French left wing preparing to advance.

Romana's Spanish right wing waiting to receive the French attack.

The French advanced quickly performing a bayonet charge with their first line. This was done so quickly that their second line remained stationary and failed to support, only some cavalry from the reserve advanced in support. The terrain broke up the advance of the columns and a fierce fight ensued with the Spanish on the hills.

The French attack

With no way to retreat, the Spanish fought bravely but lost many casualties. The French columns charged home bravely, supported by their skirmishing light infantry. The French cavalry did serious damage to the Spanish who had no cavalry of their own in support, and when they went into square made a good target for the French infantry. However the French had been over confident, and had not brought up their second line, so the could not force the Spanish off the heights and thus the French attack was not a success and the French retired.

The Spanish forced the French to retire. The French second line look on passively.
While not the great success the French had hoped for, the Spanish had taken serious losses and even been forced to reinforce their right wing with troops from their centre in order to push back the French attack, so the French were not displeased with the result.

The Second French Attack:

Having been stumped on the right wing, the French looked around for a better place to continue the fight.

The Spanish centre

In the centre, the Spanish had placed a large artillery battery which was far from a tempting target for the French.

The Spanish left

However the Spanish left looked rather strung-out on the ridge and gave the impression of not being very confident. So the French decided to attack here.

Lapisse's French right wing prepare to advance

Thinking the poorly trained Spanish to be an easy target, the French advanced rather rashly and opened fire with their supporting artillery. This caused the Spanish to retire into cover behind the ridge leaving a gap in their line. An enterprising Spanish cavalry commander jumped at the chance, and charged through the gap and surprised the French artillery. Taking courage from this, the Spanish recruits foolishly advanced again where they were destroyed by the superior French infantry.

The French right advances

The Spanish line had been thinned out

The Spanish Counterattack:

The Spanish were getting desperate. They had taken heavy casualties on both wings, their left wing looked in danger of collapsing and the French second line in front of their right wing looked like it was waking up. So they decided a bold stroke was needed, and a counterattack in the centre to capture Quintana de los Prados seemed the way to go.

But the counterattack was stopped by Villatte's division and the Spanish morale was broken. Defeated on their right, then left and now their centre they retreated hastily from the field.

The result:

Yet again, Commands & Colors delivered a scenario which played out like the historical battle. It was however a closer run thing than the original and the Spanish had caused the French to take heavy losses. It is a scenario that either side could have won, but this time Lady Luck was on the side of the French.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wings Of War: Bombing with Autopilot

This was basically a simple scenario where a British Airco DH.4 light bomber escorted by a Sopwith Camel scout would bomb a German infantry reserve camp protected by two Fokker D.VII scouts.

The British entered in the centre of their short board edge. The camp was placed one foot in from the centre of the German short board edge and the German scouts each rolled to determine if they entered at the right corner, centre or left corner of their short board edge.

We use the Wing Of War WW1 (now Wings Of Glory) rules.

The scenario was made interesting, when we chose to fly one D.VII each and let the British fly on the "autopilot" rules written by Herkybird. These rules are simple to use and surprisingly effective although they lack some features such as tailing which we added.

To determine what the "autopilot" plane does, use a combination of
a) the direction of the nearest threat (using the clock shown)
b) the distance to the nearest threat
c) the attitude of the nearest threat
d) a D6 die roll

For bombers even the direction and distance to the target is important.

Unfortunately there were no rules for tailing, so we added our own.
The DH.4 never made it to the target, it was shot down before it could get there.
We replaced the original target card with a camp of tents using Irregular Miniatures' 2mm models.

The result was a near run thing, which surprised us. The autopilot DH.4 was shot down, but it did so much damage to one D.VII that it limped off the table with one damage point remaining. The other D.VII and the autopilot Camel fought a duel which was just won by the D.VII. Fun rules, we will try them again.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Battle of Ocaña in 6mm

Refight of the Battle of Ocaña, 19th November 1809, using Commands & Colors Napoleonic Rules. Figures from Baccus 6mm range, hex terrain from Kallistra, houses from TBM and trees from Timecast.

I had just read “The Battle Of Ocaña – the Army of Spain’s Greatest Victory” by Pierre Juhel so I was inspired to refight the battle.



Background:

The Spanish campaign of fall 1809 was unfolding successfully. The subsidiary Army of the Left had beaten the French at Tamames. Now the 55,000 man Army of La Mancha commanded by Juan de Aréizaga was a mere 35 miles from Madrid. The French were reacting quickly and soon assembled over 30,000 troops, with more approaching to cut off the Spaniards. Aréizaga realized the threat and began to fall back, but not quickly enough. The French army, under the tactical command of Marshal Soult, brought the Spanish army to bay near the village of Ocaña where it deployed in terrain unfavorable for the defense. The Spanish center and right were formed on an open plain – excellent terrain for the French cavalry. On the 19th Soult ordered Sebastiani to attack the Spanish right flank infantry with his German and Polish divisions. When the infantry was fully engaged, Milhaud’s French cavalry attacked Freire’s cavalry, severely battered in the previous day’s cavalry battle, and quickly routed the Spanish horse. Meanwhile the Spanish were funneling reinforcements to the right and began to press back Sebastiani’s troops. The Spanish advantage was only temporary. Soon the victorious French cavalry, including the feared diablos Polacos (the Polish Vistula Legion lancers), fell upon the rear of the Spanish right flank infantry. In minutes three Spanish divisions ceased to exist.

Marshal Soult advanced infantry on the newly exposed Spanish center divisions, pinning them in place. Soon the French cavalry descended on these troops too, scattering them to the wind. Dessolles’ division then stormed Ocaña, and all remaining Spanish formations fled except for Zayas’ division. It attempted to cover the Spanish retreat, and retained its formation for several miles, but it too collapsed later in the day to a French cavalry pursuit that could not be stopped. Over 5,000 Spaniards were casualties and another 14,000 were captured, along with virtually all of the army’s artillery.

The Setup:

The armies deployed on what was basically an open plain in front of the village of Ocaña,

View from the French left


















View from the French right

















The Game Layout

The village of Ocaña, heavily defended by Spanish infantry. Houses are TBM and the statue is a Baccus SYW general.


The Battle:

The battle commenced with an artillery bombardment from both side, in the hope of softening up their opponent. This was more successful for the Spanish than the French; a cannon ball decapitated le général Jean François Leval early in the battle.

Spanish artillery

French artillery

Realizing that they were getting the worst of the bombardment, the French commander ordered an attack by his left flank, led by the feared Polish Vistula Lancers.

The Polish Vistula Lancers, supported by général Édouard Jean-Baptiste Milhaud and his dragoons, charge and totally defeat the Spanish Húsares de Extremadura.

Following in the wake of the fleeing hussars, the Lancers encounter Spanish Heavy Cavalry which they also totally defeat.

Seeing that the Lancers were so successful, Milhaud charged his dragoons at the nearest Spanish infantry, who just in time managed to form square and repulse the dragoons. Fortunately for Milhaud, his supporting infantry arrived just in time with a bayonet charge at the Spanish square which stood no chance and was defeated totally.

Returning from defeating the Spanish Cavalry, the Vistula Lancers attack the Spanish light infantry in the rear, the remnants of which retreated hastily into the nearby woods to save themselves from the lances. 

The Spanish tried to distract the French by a counter-attack in the centre, but the French infantry fought this off. At the same time the French left continued to roll up the Spanish troops. Milhaud's dragoons, supported by fresh French infantry, charged the Spanish infantry which failed to form square in time and was annihilated. Simultaneously the Vistula Lancers charged the Spanish artillery which had been damaging the French centre. 

Having defeated the Spanish artillery, the Vistula Lancers continued their charge, swerving to miss the steady Spanish infantry, they attacked the Granaderos a Caballo de Fernando VII. The Spanish cavalry had not been having a good day, and this was to be no different, they were defeated and the remnants fled the field. 

Having seen their right wing and centre being rolled up by the French cavalry, the remains of the Spanish army lost heart, and withdrew from the battlefield. The French had been lucky, two Cavalry Charges and a Bayonet Charge by the supporting infantry had decimated the Spanish.