Saturday, 25 June 2022

Guard Attack - General d'Armee

We played the final scenario "Guard Attack" from the Waterloo scenario book for the rules of General d'Armee from Dave Brown.

This scenario pitches the remnants of the Allied army with Guards, British infantry, Brunswickers, Nassau, and the Dutch-Belgians as well, against the cream of the Guard Chassuers, and two small brigades of infantry and one cavalry, all units apart from the Guard having casualties initially due to the
ongoing battle casualties and fatigue throughout the day.

The Allies were commanded by John, Ian and Steve L, the French by Si & Mike.

Left to right, John, Ian and Steve, commanding the Allies. I think that's their confident, nonchalant look!

I initially made the commanders use the blind card system, and made the spotting range variable, down to the palls of smoke and battlefield debris at this stage of the game; this was 12" plus 2xd6, rather than the standard 24" spotting during the day, and I believe gave a little fog of war.

The Allies were deployed on the table on blinds, and would not be spotted if behind the crest line, but of course could not shoot or spot themselves. 

The French had to deploy and move from the board edge, unknown to either side that there was a 16 turn limit to the game.

The Allies having a reserve of Dettmer's Dutch-Belgian brigade arriving on turn 4, and the French being able to release Cambronne's Brigade from the board edge reserve on turn 3.

The game started off relatively slowly, with the French trying to get their gun batteries forward, and with their infantry supporting them, however with poor rolls initially, it was not until turn 5 that the batteries were in place, during this time the Allies were happy to sit behind the ridge, only sending the 95th Rifles, in skirmish order, forward on the left to scout out the French blinds.

They found Husson's and Danzelot's Brigades trudging forward slowly; a small exchange of skirmish fire resulted in some minor casualties, but the Allied skirmish line had to fall back under the pressure of French columns coming forwards.

Meanwhile in the centre the French deployed their gun batteries, a 12pdr and, 6pdr battery, and the guard horse battery.

At this point the Allies manhandled a battery onto the ridge-line to give fire, unfortunately this did not deliver much and was met but a fusillade of shot from the French batteries.

On the French left the blinds began moving forward at quite a rapid rate for a couple of turns, gaining momentum, and in response the Allies sent forward a blind, with both spotting each other through the smoke and discovering the French left with the brigades of Malet's and Cambronne's Guard Chasseurs in column and skirmish order, seeing the British deploy Maitland's brigade of Guards - this was going to be interesting.

Across the field I could see the British in column though? This is going to be painful I thought; and it was, with the British fire causing a 'fire discipline' on themselves and then the French returned with volleys and artillery fire, eventually causing 3/1st Guards to break, followed by the 2/1st which retired as well, leaving a hole on the Allied right.

The French advanced slowly towards the crest.

It was then than the Allies brought forward there line onto the crest, both sides exchanging fire with each other, the French causing 'fire disciplines' and slowing the advance, on the left, down, but with the Allies managing to fill the gap with the remainder of the guards and Halkett's brigade on their left, with the Nassau, two batteries of guns, Brunswickers, and Adam's brigade on the far left of the line.

The to and fro of shot and musket was deliberate and bloody, however the writing was on the wall as the French pressed their main attack on the left with all three Guard brigades

The fragile remainder of Maitland's and Halkett's brigade broke and the French were up the slope and into them.

On reflection the game may have been different if the Allied guns had been deployed sooner and bombarded the slow moving French' however who knows?

The rules themselves play very well, command and control is key, positioning the ADC's is critical, but even they can't help bad dice, can they Si? Never seen so many hesitant brigades.

Thanks to all those who played in a challenging but fun scenario. Next time we may do the cavalry charges or D'Erlon's attack, or even Quatre Bras again, oh the choices... 

Friday, 10 June 2022

Cheatham Enters the Fray - Brigade Fire & Fury Version Two

This scenario was taken from BFF Great Western Battles Scenario Book. It is the later part of the Battle of Atlanta July 22nd, 1864.

For the purist I apologise for the absence of the railway. I have put it all away pending laying of new track in the future.

Our game started with the Rebels off board and the Union Troops arrayed behind the fortified positions. As the Rebels were attacking, they held the initiative for the entire game. 

Our Union players were Roger on their left flank and Mike on the right. 

For the Rebels, Paul on there right flank and Bob on the left.

The initial moves saw the Rebels advance all along the front and a fair amount of counter battery fire which saw guns on both sides silenced and damaged. As the advance continued the Rebels held back on the left but advanced rapidly through the woods on the right. This gave the impression that they had committed all their forces. In response to this the Union commanders decided to pull their units from behind the second line of defences to reinforce their left.

On spotting the redeployment of Union forces the Rebels committed the rest of their units and pushed forward on the left. On turn three, when the Union reserves arrived, they moved to the right to cover the Rebel advance.

The Union centre was held in position by threatening Rebel units just out of musket range. Meanwhile on the Union left the Rebels burst out the woods to attack the prepared positions. After fierce combat the union units were pushed back, the Rebels moved to the fieldworks, held position, and brought up their only mobile field piece. They now had a foothold on the Union left.

With the Union left held, the Rebels concentrated on the Union right moving up in force and readying to charge the just deploying Union reserves. The Rebel charges went in throwing good dice, a 10 and having lots of plusses, a score of fourteen. The Rebel commander was elated and then the Union leader also threw a 10, not the victory the Rebels were expecting.

On the Rebel right they now arrayed massive fire power at a very silly range and throwing a 10, blew away a complete Union unit. On both flanks the pressure from the Rebels was telling, inflicting heavy casualties and the Union forces reached the magic 30 stands loss. 1 victory point to the rebels. 

Union forces were now forced to pull back to the second line of defences, but it was too late. Rebel pressure on both flanks told and the game was called with an overwhelming Rebel victory. 

As an umpire this was an easy game to adjudicate as only one player had never used the rules. The other players helped, and I didn’t really have to make any decisions. 

My thanks to the guys for making my life easy.

For those who may be interested.
Rule Set – Brigade Fire and Fury Version 2.
ACW troops – AB and Blue Moon figures and I would like to thank Nick S and Mr Steve who painted my figures for me.
Trees were from Buffers near Axminster, Devon, and Amazon.
Roads and Rivers – Search Fat Frank on EBay.
Snake Fences – also on EBay. Search 15mm snake fence.
Walls – I’m pretty sure they came from Pendraken and came ready painted but I can’t remember the link.
Hills – Not seen but were under the cloth were from
Battle Cloth –

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Chain of Command - Scottish Corridor, Pint Size Campaign, Probe at Bas de Mouen & Le Valtru, Games 3 & 4

The latest meeting of the Devon Wargames Group saw the second instalment of our Chain of Command ‘Pint-sized’ campaign: The Scottish Corridor. Having been rebuffed once already at the Eastern end of the campaign ladder, we Germans had a second go at pinching the allied salient from both sides. 

Probe at Bas de Mouen

The Leibstandarte attack the isolated troops of the 3rd Monmouths in Bas de Mouen. They must break through quickly in order to push on to their objectives.

Despite a poor advance roll from German attackers, the patrol phase gave us a good spread of jump-off points on the northern half of the board (extreme right of picture below) of Bas de Mouen. Early phases not only allowed the establishment of a broad attacking front behind a hedge, but units were also able to move south and capture the house on the other side of the road, ultimately capturing the foremost British jump-off point and forcing them to start further back. 

A Tiger 1 as reinforcement caused ripples amongst the enemy too, and despite several PIAT ambushes it ground its way forward, with at least one squad using it as cover as they choked and coughed their way through the clouds of smoke laid down by British mortars, towards the barns on the enemy side of the table.

As the Tiger and two squads crossed the Northern field, the third squad which had moved out of the house and onto the enemy jump-off point ran into increasingly stiff resistance from units trying to flank them in the woods to the South.

The sneaky (or daring, depending on who you ask) Scottish troops popped out of the woods to put flanking fire – including a PIAT – onto the Tiger and the squads crossing the Northern fields.

In support of their suppressed colleagues, the third squad turned North and attempted to get a bead on the Brits on the edge of the woods, but no sooner they do so than the enemy retreated into the woods again to try and flank them. 

Wanting for targets, they laid several men cold who had been sequestering themselves in the barn, providing sufficient support to allow the Tiger and the first squad to cross the hedge by the barn and make it over the objective line. This was a tactic suggested by Chris, and without whom I would not have broken my run of losing games to date. Indeed, when he had to depart mid-way through the second game, I then floundered and lost again. Enjoyment is why we do it, right, not winning?

With progress made on the Eastern map, we turned our attention to the Western side of the ladder for a second stab at Le Valtru. Experience told me that the long straight road from East to West across the board would provide a lovely shooting arcade for any tank that came on.

This scenario sees Der F├╝hrer launch their attack at Le Valtru just as the 7th Seaforth Highlanders
attempt to move into the village. launch their attack into the eastern outskirts of Mouen. This is a Patrol
Scenario, albeit one with a lot of support to reflect this encounter action.

Despite my best intentions, for the second game in a row a Churchill came on first and effectively divided the map in two. 

Close support barrages on both games meant that getting units onto the table was no certainty, and it was several turns before I was able to get the Flammpanzer onto the table. It did a good job of scaring several teams away from the Northern side of the long barn, but this backfired on me later on: they then moved South and threatened to add to the firepower shooting down the line of the river at the two squads trying to make a run for it out of the woods first. 

Meanwhile, an additional squad of support troops did their best to advance along the middle of the table. Learning the hard way that you don’t just climb over a wall and walk across open ground when the enemy has Bren guns on the opposite hedge, they promptly retreated back over the wall again. 

The superior firepower of their MG42’s might have been enough to resolve that long range fire-fight, were it not for the weighing in of the ever watchful Churchill back down the table.

Ultimately the Churchill became the ultimate gate-guardian, turning it’s attention to anything that dared to cross its gaze. In full retreat, one German soldier was heard to mutter ‘why didn’t he use the Panzerfausts?’ T’was a very good question…….

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Ultra Modern American Law Enforcement

Well not exactly Robocop, but you get the idea!

This month Chas and I ran a scenario based on ultra modern law enforcement techniques in America.

The mean streets of any mega city are a busy and dangerous place to be. Only the activities of the boys & girls in blue, keep a lid on the many and varied criminal activities being perpetrated.

So it was, that a number of officers of the law had raided a fast food joint, only to find a large stash of the narcotic known as "Umpty Candy". As the officers called for back up, word soon spread of the find. Soon, gangs who knew the value of this haul were converging on the burger joint.

From the North came a gang of Fatties, in their custom skip truck. From the East came the local block gang, bent on retrieving their drugs. From the South, a collection of rogue robots, intent on distributing the candy to influential "fleshy ones" whose lives they wished to ruin. Lastly, from the West, came a gang of Cursed Earth Raiders on grav vehicles and jet packs, well aware of the trade value of Umpty Candy.

The Judges stood ready on the roof of the cafe, looking for signs of any trouble and guarding the drugs that were still stuffed in a bin.

The Judges didn't have to wait long, taking fire from the mutants on a jet cycle. A Judge was down and more fire was coming from the block gang, as the others closed in. The senior Street Judge ordered his team off the roof and prepared to defend the ground floor.

A dispute now developed between the Block Gang and the robots. A Warbot fired a volley of rockets, dropping a ganger, as a hail of return fire struck the Warbot. A loud explosion was heard, as the Warbot ground to a halt.

Elsewhere a skip load of Fatties was dumped on the street and Dick Porker led his gang into the cover of ruined buildings near the cafe.

Judges exchanged fire all round, as the Block gang felled a Secbot and the Medibot that came to his aid. One of the Judges firing from a window was cut down.

By this time a Demobot was smashing in one wall of the cafe, as the remaining Judges faced the expected entry point.

Mutants moved up to launch a stun grenade into the restaurant, badly stunning another judge.

At this point the Block Gang engaged the Demobot and he broke off to fight them. The Demobot moved into hand to hand combat with a ganger. As the ganger dodged, he was cut down by errant friendly fire.

Seeing his chance, the Street Judge decided to make a break for it, dragging the cash of drugs with him. As he made his escape, he was fired on by several mutants. Returning fire he felled one, but was cut down by another.

A mutant swooped in to grab the loot and a Fattie stepped out and fired at him, missing his target. The Fattie was not so lucky, as the heavy spit gun on the sky cycle spread 600lbs of flesh liberally around the area.

The mutants now made a break for it, as Judge reinforcements, led by Joseph Dredd himself, moved into the area. Judge Dredd's bike cannon spoke and pieces flew off a mutant bike, but it kept going.

The Fatties set off in pursuit of the loot (not a very fast pursuit) and played their hole card on the mutants. A whiff of Umpty Candy escaped the bin, stunning a couple of mutants, but not the bag carrier.

As the mutant leader gunned his sky cycle, he shot off into the distance and away to count his haul in the safety (?) of the Cursed Lands.

Many thanks to Chas, Rob. John and Jason (the winner) for playing in the spirit required for such a game. Chas and I are still arguing as to who got the wooden spoon. I still think it was him!

Special mention to John, playing the robots, who made some of the worst rolls I have seen in a while.

We must do it again sometime.


Sunday, 15 May 2022

Maurice - Seven Years War, Prussians vs Austro-Bavarians, Part Two

It was back in March that Martin introduced his lovely 10mm Pendraken Seven Years War collection of figures to the club using Maurice that produced a dramatic game that saw part of the Prussian force fight its way across a river to the front and pursue the Bavarian rearguard, guarding the river crossings and a small hamlet back to the main Austro-Bavarian line in the hills beyond, that left both forces that were engaged exhausted and with the Austrian force morale in particular, seriously depleted, but with both armies with a sizeable force still intact and unscathed.

If you missed the post covering the action that precedes this one then you can pick up on it in the link below. 

Devon Wargames Group - Maurice, Seven Years War, Part One

With the overall situation still rather undecided despite the Prussian's success in the initial fight, Martin offered another opportunity to pick up from where we left off with the Prussian army now across the river and able to deploy on the road beyond, as its new start line; and with the forces eliminated removed from  the respective orders of battle or with remnants reorganised into reformed units, such as the Austrian Grenzers who were reduced to one battalion from the original two, to reflect those losses, recieved last time.

Martin placing the last few units into the new Prussian jump-off point beyond the river and behind the road as we prepared to renew hostilities using Maurice from Sam Mustafa.

In addition both armies now had a slight top up to their army morale's to reflect an overnight regrouping and reorganisation in preparation for the next day of fighting but leaving those units caught up in the fighting from the previous day, still carrying significant disruptions that would require rallying off or ignoring and fighting on as they were.

As well as changes to the armies the two command teams were slightly different from the first encounter, with Greg taking over the command from Steve M, missing club for this meeting, but joined by two potential new members, John, involved in his first ever wargame, and Max, both newbies to the delights of Maurice.

The First Prussian Infantry Attack - After taking a few moves to rally off remaining disruptions the Prussians massed their infantry to attack the Bavarian part of the line, this time with the full force of all their infantry led by the elite grenadiers and fusiliers, with the Austrian command immediately ordering their second line of battalions to form column and march to the aid of the hard pressed Bavarians.

On the Prussian side I was joined by David who replaced Vince as the other Prussian commander and who brought all his horse and musket expertise to bear on the various command choices that revolved around our card play decisions and helped formulate the Prussian plan to capitalise on the daring attack from the previous battle led by Vince and half the Prussian infantry force.

The first Prussian attack spearheaded by elite Grenadiers and Fusiliers, aimed directly at the remaining Bavarians, designed to remove them from the battle and deplete the Austrian will to fight still further. A large number of the Prussian battalions were still carrying significant disruptions from the fight with the Bavarians the day before, made better by the fact that there were fewer Bavarian battalions now before them, but leaving a rallying decision to be made early on before commencing any new advance.

With the Bavarians now reduced to just three conscript battalions the decision was an easy one to point the spearhead of the Prussian attack right at this weak point in their line as the Prussian Grenadiers and Fusiliers lead the full force of Prussian infantry straight at them, with battalions moving out to the flanks to ward off any interference from those directions as the two foremost Bavarian battalions were quickly dispatched after a fierce little fight and fascinating card play by both sides as each struggled to gain the ascendancy, finished off by a bayonet charge by the Prussians.

Austrian columns can be seen formed up in the rear of the Austrian line on the hill to the left as they attempt to redeploy and relieve their hard pressed allies. Two Bavarian battalions are in line across the valley with the Austrian CinC behind and the other Bavarian battalion in garrison in the farm buildings behind.

As the Bavarians dissolved under the Prussian attack and the Austrian force morale reduced still further, the Austrians quickly sealed off the road with their infantry and with the Prussians still carrying disrupts from their fight with the Bavarian infantry, the Grenadiers, Fusiliers and supporting Musketeers pulled back to regroup as fighting flared up on their right, as the Prussian infantry pushed forward against the the Bavarian artillery and light cavalry, prompting a counter attack by the latter that was met by the Prussian light cavalry coming up in support. 

The Bavarians, now reduced to just one battalion holding the farm (left) are replaced by Austrian infantry descending from the hills to the right of the road as the Prussians discreetly pull back to regroup and reorganise. Note the Prussian infantry on the slopes of the other ridge having pushed the Bavarian guns and light cavalry back in support of the main attack.

The next few moves were spent fighting this bickering little battle as the light cavalry and infantry on both sides, which included the remaining Croatian Grenzers and a Prussian Musketeer battalion, took opportunities to pour in flanking fire on the opposing cavalry lines as they charged and countercharged across their fronts.

The Austrian light cavalry having been pushed back by the Prussian infantry advance, prepare to counter attack to be met by the Prussian light cavalry across the valley

It is surprising how the unique card play mechanism in Maurice can cause little fights to interfere with the main battle and the Austrians were very cleverly looking to pull back the initiative and cause problems elsewhere along the line to keep the Prussian burning cards in response rather than conducting the attacks they very much were wanting to pursue.

The Prussian light cavalry prepare to advance on their opposite numbers, burning up valuable card play in the process as the Prussians got sucked into a little battle within a battle.

Finally the Prussian command got control of the situation as with their infantry now regrouped and disorders rallied off, the light cavalry was pulled back as the Prussian Musketeer battalion supporting them wheeled to flank the opposing Austrian light cavalry thus dissuading any further musketry from the Austrian Grenz positioned on the flank of the Prussian light cavalry, for fear of reply fire against their own mounted colleagues and thus stymieing this Austrian pinning attack to allow the main Prussian attack to recommence.

The Prussian Command advance to better coordinate the closing down of the little battle on the Prussian right flank as they prepare orders for the next Prussian infantry attack designed to win the main battle.

As if sensing the impending attack the Austrian command looked to move Prussian attention elsewhere along the line, by threatening a heavy cavalry advance from their right.

Austrian heavy cavalry drew their sabres and advanced desperately trying to provoke a response anywhere other than where the Prussians were focussing, namely with another infantry assault.

The Prussian heavy cavalry in response remained unmoved, happy to let the Austrians use up their cards marching across the valley with Prussian guns close by to help repel any serious advance and so the Austrians resorted to another tactic, as the Prussian command focussed on removing the last disruptions off the infantry preparatory to another assault.

Getting no response from the Prussian cavalry, the Austrian artillery had a go with some long range bombardment

With the Austrian heavy cavalry failing to provoke their opposing heavies to advance and meet them, the Austrian heavy guns joined in with a long range bombardment. 

Again the Prussian heavy cavalry remained unmoved as the occasional Austrian roundshot ploughed through their serried ranks, until the Austrian commanders recognised their inability to either severely damage this force or cause it to advance, and that the attempts were eating into their card reserve which might easily be needed to deal with the likely upcoming Prussian infantry assault, as the Prussian hand of cards was replenished with rallying and pass moves.

The Austrian line atop the left most ridge facing the Prussian line appeared a decidedly inviting place to attack as with a reorganised infantry force and a replenished hand of cards the Prussian command prepared to make its decisive final attack.

The Prussian command was finally ready to launch the attack that would be designed to knock over perhaps another couple of Austrian battalions to finally break their army morale and seal a Prussian victory.

The generals huddled around the command table to decide their moves and consider their options, with David quickly identifying the now weakened Austrian right flank ridge following the redeployment of the second line of battalions to cover the road valley in the wake of the defeat of the Bavarians.

Orders were quickly dispatched to the brigades and the advance began immediately focussing Austrian minds and card play as both sides attempted to cause early disruptions to the opposing infantry forces as the Prussians advanced.

The Austrians relied on their improved rally opportunities with rerolls of failed rally attempts, whilst the Prussians relied on the superior firepower, rerolling failed attempts to cause disruptions from successful musketry hits whilst leading again with the two units of elite Grenadiers and Fusiliers who were harder to disrupt with the Austrians needing fives and sixes as opposed to the four, five or six against the Musketeers.

The Second Prussian Infantry Attack - Seen from the Austrian left flank, the Prussian infantry goes in against the weakened Austrian line, as the Prussian command (circled) occupies the gap between the infantry and the light cavalry, able to command and keep control of both formations easily with all the infantry in the same formation and within two base widths of each other to ensure coordination as the Prussian infantry's righthand battalions pin the Austro-Bavarian line to its front whilst its left assaults the Austrian centre.

As the Prussians closed both sides exchanged musketry with the Prussians getting slightly the better of the exchange, and with the rallying attempts broadly similar seeing another round of follow up musketry that left one Austrian unit destroyed by the firing and another teetering on three disruptions facing a Prussian charge in the next turn, and the Austrian team down to their last three cards.

If they had a battle turning card in their hand, now was the time to play it as the Grenadiers prepared to close with the bayonet. 

The view of the Second Prussian Infantry attack from the Prussian left flank, with their heavy cavalry, bottom right carrying the disruption from the Austrian barrage earlier as they stoically refused to engage, leaving matters to the infantry fighting up on the ridge beyond in the Austrian centre

It was not to be and after the smoke cleared and the lines separated the Austrians were less two battalions and just one point of morale on the Army card when we called the game. The Prussians had suffered no morale loss apart from a last Austrian card play 'Death of a Hero' that on the subsequent die roll only succeeded in knocking one point of the Prussian total of some sixteen remaining points.

This was a classic game of Maurice with loads of drama, frustrations and delight as the card play intertwined with the command decisions and die rolls to decide the results of those decisions in such an intriguing way that frankly left me happily exhausted from the mental work of deciding the next set of moves.

Of course any game is only as good as the players involved and I have to thank Greg, John and Max for getting their heads together around the Austro-Bavarian tactics and really making the Prussians work hard for any success, and to David for bouncing the card play ideas back and forth to come up with the most appropriate options for the Prussians.

Finally a big thanks to Martin for sharing his gorgeous collection of Seven Years War figures from Pendraken, together with his terrain collection that helps set off these exquisitely cast figures to perfection and really added to the aesthetics of our game.

I have really enjoyed getting reacquainted with Maurice in the last three months and would recommend anyone with the slightest interest of playing a lace war horse & musket big game to try them out as they are a really unique and highly entertaining fun set of rules.